Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arizona: Tea Bagger Heaven?

God reaches out to inspire Arizona's Gov Jan Brewer. But will she listen or will she prefer to compete with Sarah Palin for the title of Goddess to tea baggers? News Flash for Jan: You haven't got a chance to over take Sarah. Might just as well face it, and veto SB 1070.

Religious leaders urge Arizona governor to veto anti-immigrant bill
Phoenix, Ariz., Apr 21, 2010 / 06:24 am (CNA).-

Arizona’s three Catholic bishops and other religious leaders in the state have issued a statement calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto recent legislation targeting undocumented immigrants. They warned the bill would separate families and discourage crime victims and witnesses.

The Arizona Senate passed SB 1070 on Monday by a vote of 17 to 11. It requires state and local police to determine the immigration status of people if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are illegal immigrants. They must arrest those unable to provide documentation showing they are in the United States legally.

The religious leaders’ April 19 letter voiced “common serious concerns” about the bill. Bishop of Gallup James S. Wall, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted and Bishop of Tucson Gerald Kicanas were signatories to the letter, as were leaders from Protestant denominations and a rabbi with the American Jewish Committee.

They warned it could classify as felons not only dangerous criminals, but also undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at “a very young age” and have “no familiarity” with any other country.

“We are concerned for these children and for families that may have a mother and a father, one of whom is a citizen and the other of whom would now be considered a criminal,” the letter continued.

While SB 1070 responds to concerns about violence on the Mexican border, the religious leaders said the bill is “not a legitimate solution” and may inadvertently reduce public safety.

They explained that provisions of the bill may compel local police to ignore more serious crimes because of language that they enforce federal immigration laws to the “full extent permitted by federal law.”

Acknowledging that SB 1070 has been improved so that police officers now have discretion over whether crime victims and witnesses should be turned over on immigration charges, the letter said “It would be much better, however, if victims and witnesses could come forward knowing for certain that they will not be deported.”

Fears about reporting serious crime would threaten public safety in all Arizona communities, the religious leaders said.

The legislation would make Arizona the first U.S. state to create its own crime for “people who are merely present in the country without proper paperwork.” A first offense is a high misdemeanor while a second offense is a felony.

The letter noted that supporters of the bill claim the provision requiring documentation would be narrowly enforced. It countered that the bill itself does not limit the enforcement of this provision.

The religious leaders also warned the bill may “scare off” potential employers and employees seeking to come to Arizona. This could further delay economic recovery.

“For all of the reasons above, we are united in respectfully asking that you veto SB 1070 and spare Arizona the many negative consequences of this ill advised bill,” the religious leaders’ letter concluded.

Noting a veto would require “great political courage” from Gov. Brewer, the leaders professed willingness to support her.

Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony harshly criticized the bill in a post on his blog Sunday, calling it the country’s “most retrogressive, mean-spirited and useless anti-immigrant law.”

Blaming the present immigration system for its inability to balance the labor market, he noted that retiring baby boomers need to be replaced. (To be honest, when I read this in Mahony's letter I just laughed. Projection, projection, projection. Apparently Mahony hasn't been to Walmart lately. Not too many boomers can afford to retire.)

The cardinal claimed the bill assumes Arizona residents and law enforcement personnel will give their total attention to guessing which Latino-looking person is properly documented.

“I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation,” Cardinal Mahony wrote.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the proposed law would not in fact require people to report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities. It would require law enforcement officers to make such reports “when practicable.”


I don't have a great deal of hope that Governor Jan Brewer is going to find the 'political courage' to vetoe this bill. It sure looks to me that the Great State of Arizona has been taken over by tea bagger gun toting whites, not brown skinned illegal immigrants.

It is now legal in Arizona to carry a gun into a bar if the bar has no policy against it, and it is legal to carry that weapon concealed, as no one needs a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

She has saved the state a whopping 3 million dollars out of a state employee benefit budget of 685 million by denying benefits to 'domestic partners' of employees. Not that this was aimed at gays or anything. She has eliminated Arizona's version of the CHIP program for uninsured children. The 2011 caps placed on enrollment in the states health insurance program for Arizonans who don't qualify for medicaid will throw 300,000 people out of the program. She has also called for a special session of the state legislature to join 13 other states in challenging the constitutionality of the federal mandate to purchase health insurance. So much for the 3 million dollars saved on the backs of gay employees as convening special legislative sessions aren't cheap. And lest I forget, there is the bill which gives discretionary power to Arizona's attorney general to determine whether a given candidate for office is a real citizen. Gosh I wonder who that could be aimed at?

In the meantime Sherrif Joe Arpaio is saving the state money by purchasing stationary bikes which serve as electricity generators for his prisoners who might want to watch TV. Well, this will save money when the prisoners eventually pedal off the cost of the bikes. The male prisoners are not being all that cooperative as apparently they don't care much for afternoon soap operas. I'm sure Joe will figure out some way to get more prisoner hours on his bikes.

It is inconceivable to me that this law has passed both houses of the Arizona legislature. I guess it's because I have to envision Canada checking white folks for their citizenship papers in order to stem the tide of American illegals. Or vice versa, and I just can't imagine that--and not because of the disparity in the economic situation between between the North and South borders. I can't conceive of this kind of racial profiling practiced against whites.

This bill does not help one iota with the national problem of illegal immigration. The best Arizona can hope for is that they shuffle their perceived immigration problem to the borders of New Mexico, Texas, and California. Which is more or less the whole impetus of the tea bagger movement. Don't actually solve any problems, just shove it off on the backs of some other group, and when in doubt carry a gun. Terrified White America, love it or leave it.

I hope and pray that Governor Brewer vetoes this bill. The economic cost to the state from groups calling for an economic boycott could be a potential disaster for a state that depends on tourism and convention business. The rise of the tea bagger mentality is very bad business for a multi racial multi cultural country. Especially when all of those white tea baggers have immigrant ancestry and most of them don't have families with near the number of generations in this country many of Arizona's brown Hispanic and Native families do. Maybe those Arizona tea baggers forgot that.

I have written in the past that immigration reform would make the political battles over health care reform seem positively gentile. If this bill in Arizona is indicative of the battle to come, it's going to get very ugly.


  1. The expression "tea partier" refers to people that love the Constitution of the United States. You mistakenly referred to them by another name that homosexuals use for their "friends". Pretty embarrassing faux pas, I'd say.

  2. No more embarrassing than Sarah Palin naming her Down's syndrome child TriG. Or maybe she didn't know TriG is the shorthand for Trisomy G other wise known as Down's syndrome.

    In any case, I found this piece from Keith Olberman kind of funny, and it does address your point. And you are wrong about the original derivation of tea bagging. Hate to say it, but it gained notoriety as a Fraternity hazing thing.

  3. As one who has lived in NYC, when I first heard the term 'teabaggers' applied to these conservative yahoos.....I literally ROFLMFAO!!!

    I am not sure if it was Olbermann or Rachel Maddow who first used this term, but kudos to them if they accidentally invented it:)

    The only thing more hysterical then 'teabaggers' is this:

    Some years ago I was driving way out in the sticks & passed a fundie-type Protestant church. They had some ongoing flea market for which they had a large sign advertising it by its rather interesting name:

    "The Glory Hole"

    I am not making this up.

    Now that was over 20 years ago. The REALLY funny thing was that this was in the very touristy part of Eastern Long Island. On a major road, well traveled by hip NYers.

    ...many of whom were laughing, pointing, and even stopping to have their picture taken by the sign.

    Even more amusing: the sign stayed up for at least a year.....

    The locals there were hick farmer types, true. But you would think that after some interesting messages left on the church answering machine.....and some tactful comments by concerned would think the sign would have vanished in a week!

    Damn! I WISH I had taken a picture.

    And now for the punch line:

    As a sociological observation: teabagging & glory holes tend to attract a rather interesting crowd, with more then a few closets involved........

    *runs & ducks for cover*

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. "The expression "tea partier" refers to people that love the Constitution of the United States."
    "Partier" or "bagger", it mainly refers to a group of comfortable white people scared to death of something that hasn't happened or is likely to happen. A third of whom are already the beneficiaries of socialized medicine and pensions in the form of Medicare and Social Security. And you can bet the Constitution they "love" remains nestled unread in a forgotten pocket somewhere. You call them Tea Partiers. I call them sore losers.

  5. As for signs that mean something different than intended, I used to pass a church that advertised: Sun Worship and the time for it. It always gave me chuckle. It still does - and the sign is long gone.

    I think something like this, the ways words (even images) can mean one thing or another thing are often at the root of huge battles that people get into.

    I happen to be related to a Tea Bagger (whatever its derivation). She and her husband fit the profile perfectly. Educated white people who benefit HUGELY from various govt subsidies. But are enraged at the thought of having to pay taxes - which might benefit anyone but themselves (especially those down and out). It makes me heartsick to admit a genetic connection to such a person!

  6. I agree that this Bill will cause more problems than not. It is like saying during a war or natural catastrophe that the people fleeing the area, the refugees, must stay put and die.

    It would be much better if the US worked with Mexico to create the conditions for stability on both sides of the border.

    Allowing gun owners to walk around anywhere with a loaded gun is surely not creating the circumstances for stability.

    If Tea Tottlers, I mean Tea partiers are for the Constitution, it is only for themselves and not for anyone else, especially if you are a different skin color. Very narcissistic group of people those tea baggers.

  7. I'm related to a number of them--closely in fact. I can vividly remember sitting around the dinner table while my elder brothers ranted about the 'welfare' state. Totally oblivious to the fact the welfare state was paying them big bucks not to plant any crops. Not to work--literally.

  8. It is amazing, Colleen, what family members have themselves believing, and there is always a scapegoat for what ails them. They see only up to their noses and not beyond that. I've been called all sorts of names for trying to get people to see beyond their own nose or their own backyards.

    One day along the border the white people in the US may need the assistance of Mexico and Mexican people, but they cannot fathom such an event that God may have in store for those unkind to their neighbors.

    My mother's side of the family is from the South in the USA. My mother told stories of the carpetbaggers who came and took away property after the Civil War. You know, what goes around comes around, but tea partiers have no clue.

  9. What Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has to say about Amnesty and Tax-Dollar Drain,

    Lamar Smith is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

    Outside of the usual articles from Bloggers like myself and other opponents of illegal immigration, here is a very eye-opening correspondence by an insider of the Washington beltway. While others fudge the truth or downright lie or release rancid propaganda to the masses. Here are some bitter truths that this Representative from Texas is availing us of the ugly truth and the calamitous situation sending us into a black bottomless pit of American bankruptcy.

    Rep. Lamar Smith states:

    President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been talking about giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Tax Day seems like a good time to examine the impact that such a policy would have on your wallet.

    Start with education. Using the average annual American public school elementary and secondary education costs, the Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of K-12 education for illegal immigrant minors and the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants is $28.6 billion a year.

    Then there’s health care. If illegal immigrants are covered in the health care bill (there is not a strong verification mechanism to ensure they won’t get benefits), it would increase the bill’s costs between $10-$30 billion. Of course, it won’t matter if illegal immigrants receive amnesty since the new law requires health care coverage for everyone.

    Social Security is another area of great concern. Claims by amnesty advocates that illegal immigration can “save” Social Security are false.

  10. Last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) ran the numbers at my request. Here’s what they found: For a single 25-year old male with very low earnings, today’s value of his and his employer’s contributions to the Trust Fund will fall $15,596 short of the value of the Social Security retirement benefits he will eventually receive. A single female will receive $20,936 more in benefits than she pays into Social Security. If the immigrant is married but the sole wage-earner, the couple will eventually drain the Trust Fund by $52,460; if the immigrant is married to another very low earner, the drain on the trust fund will be $39,037. The legalization of one million illegal immigrant couples who work for very low wages would be a $101 billion blow to taxpayers. And amnesty for all illegal immigrants would multiply this figure many times!

    When it comes to taxes, amnesty supporters like to say that illegal immigrants will pay their “fair share” of taxes after being granted amnesty. This is deceptive.

    Low-skilled workers often pay no taxes and receive a check from the Internal Revenue Service in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Putting illegal immigrants on the IRS rolls will actually cost the federal government money.

    Since most illegal immigrants have less than a high school education and have well below average incomes, even those illegal immigrants who pay taxes pay far less in taxes than they (and their families) consume in taxpayer-supported benefits. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation found that the average immigrant household headed by an immigrant without a high school degree receives over $19,000 more in total government benefits each year than it pays in federal, state and local taxes!

    But the impact goes far beyond these direct costs.

    There are nearly 16 million Americans out of work, and about 8 million jobs are held by illegal immigrants. By simply enforcing immigration laws already on the books, we could create millions of job opportunities for American citizens and legal immigrants who played by the rules and entered the U.S. the right way.

    Instead, the Obama administration has all but abandoned worksite enforcement efforts. Administrative arrests are down 87 percent; criminal arrests of employees are down 83 percent; criminal arrests of employers are down 73 percent; the number of criminal indictments are down 86 percent; and the number of criminal convictions is down 83 percent since 2008. This insults unemployed and underemployed American workers who need the jobs held by illegal immigrants.

    The hit is on your wallet! Illegal immigrants are a fiscal drain on American taxpayers. And the Obama administration’s policies only make it worse.

    Not copyrighted! Tell--ALL--American citizens and permanent residents. PASS AROUND TO EVERYBODY.

  11. Colleen -

    The single biggest problem with the teabagger movement is that it is playing on the selfishness of people.
    Any true Christian, Jew,or Muslim should now that selfishness is the root of sin.

    To ppl of the ilk of the tea partiers.....'charity' is writing a tax deductible check from the comfort of their whitebread home. And let's forget for the moment that this is NOT charity - as you are getting something out of it (the deduction)!

    Tell them that they should put cash directly into the hands of the unwashed homeless & they recoil in horror: "why....he might spend it on drugs or booze!". does your local pastor & administrator of (insert name of charity). Misuse of charity fundsis legendary.

    Tell them to personally bring cash and/or food to the homes of the poor: "WHAT? Make those lazy slobs come to us to get it!".

    When Jesus fed the multitudes, He did not ask for proof of hunger....

    Nor photo ID....proof of imcome....nor even that they believed in His identity as Messiah & God....nor in His teachings. Indeed many of those He fed neither believed in Him nor what He taught.

    Yet He fed them - showing, factually that He, God, does indeed bless both rich & poor...just & unjust with their daily bread.

    Unfortunately none of this concept is the least bit understood by those of the Tea Party ilk.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  12. Britanicus I am aware of the figures you cite. As a union rep I tried to point this very thing out to management in an effort to guilt them into paying living wages for mental health workers--including degreed therapists.

    I don't know what the answer to illegal immigration is, but I do know that racial profiling isn't going to address it.

    What you essentially describe is not limited to illegal aliens. It's a wage crunch that has been steadily progressing in this country since Reagan sold us on 'trickle down' economics. I have been on the front lines of the wage battles and have yet to find a company that really gives a damn about the inequalities in the wage structure in America as it relates to government benefits like social security.

    Selfishness and out right greed have have ruled the day and now the bill has come due. Banning illegal immigration will not rectify the imbalance in wages vs production and social security.

    I can think of a couple of solutions which would send tea partiers through the roof. Wage and price controls--a Nixon strategy, and halving the defense and war budgets. Doing the second option would go a very long way towards balancing budget short falls. But my guess is we will once again resort to a failed option and start a third war--ergh police action-- on our own border.

  13. Anon, Don't you think Jesus was operating from a sense of the true abundance available to man and we operate in general from a sense of scarcity.

    Imagine a world in which people actually learned to do as Jesus did. It's out there. Well, actually it's inside us. It's all about that connection with Divinity that Jesus told us we have and that maybe, quantum physics is beginning to describe. The problem is, you don't get to play in that universe unless you understand the love thing.

    That's why I find the story of Peter so fascinating. He had such a hard time with the 'love' thing, and the trust thing, and the get over his own ego thing. The hopeful thing is that once his connections were cemented on Pentecost he was capable of doing as Jesus did, even though the lessons never stopped. I think my favorite Peter story of all is Acts Chapter 10. Peter's dream should be mandatory reading for all who claim any spiritual leadership.

  14. Brittanicus, you said: "This insults unemployed and underemployed American workers who need the jobs held by illegal immigrants."

    The unemployed and underemployed American workers do not want the jobs held by illegal immigrants, that even you admit are low wages. How anyone can live on such wages is beyond me. Our country should be doing better than that in creating a good life for all people. People want jobs that they were trained to do, went to school for and that they are very skilled at. Corporations are laying off people and leaving the country and this is a large part of the problem we are experiencing in the USA. Plus, investments from these very wealthy corporations are not going back into the USA to create new jobs. There has been a lot of speculation of money to make a quick buck and no real investment in this country. It's a sad story about what businesses did and continue to do in this country. Corporations have had offshore addresses for many years and paid no taxes at all, leaving the burden of making up for their loss on the backs of the middle class, and we're talking about billions of dollars, far more probably than the numbers you have come up with to decide against the working poor immigrants.

  15. Brittanicus:
    "President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been talking about giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants."

    Really? Where? Link, please. In the last 15 years my neighborhood has gone from hillbilly/welfare single mom to hispanic families. It's better now. These guys work, send their kids to school and keep their houses up. My only regret is that I don't know Spanish. You talk like someone who's only contact with brown people is through the television set. Get out and get a life. Pass that around.

  16. Scripto. glad you asked for a link. Seems to me the Obama whitehouse has been pretty silent on this issue, and wasn't it the Bush whitehouse that was floating around the notion of a limited amnesty?

  17. I'm pretty much for a blanket amnesty - I don't know how else you get a handle on the numbers and the problem - if there is one. This proposal is just unworkable posturing and probably unconstitutional. The idea of losing our "culture" is weird. We're Americans, we don't really have one. One that isn't defined by collective consumerism, anyway.

    I was a union officer in our plant back when there was a lot of work to be had. Some of my paler brothers were upset about hispanic workers and wanted to introduce some sort of citizenship test for the union. We were averaging 14 to 16 hours a day in a tough physically demanding enviornment, the kind of work a lot of people can't or won't do. The choice was either we can either go on working our lives away or we can let the company hire who they wanted and let them deal with immigration problems. Cooler heads prevailed and as expected, once people started working together they got along, even with the language barrier.

  18. Colleen,

    I love this quote: "Don't you think Jesus was operating from a sense of the true abundance available to man and we operate in general from a sense of scarcity."

    Great concept. Thanks! Abundance versus scarcity. And that's the problem with universal healthcare WITHhOLDERS as well. Yes, the belief that only some are worthy of whatever the good being discussed - be it fresh water or clean air for starters... and everything else added on.

  19. That's a concept that's prevalent in the circles I tend to run in. Scarcity is a product of dualistic Newtonian thinking, abundance is quantum thinking.

    It's really cool to watch medicine people do their quantum thing. But we're all just toddling around compared to what Jesus is reputed to have accomplished. Just wait though, there are some really gifted kids being born and if our formal education process doesn't destroy their trust in how they see reality we could see a whole bunch of Padre Pio's.

  20. Colleen -

    You raise some interesting points.

    The lesson of Jesus feeding the multitudes (which He did more then once...) was to illustrate that God's bounty is for all. "God makes the sun to shine on the just & unjust alike"....was the point.

    It is true that there is plenty of food/money/clothing in the world. Yet most of it is hoarded. And I am not referring to a stock of canned food banked against winter storms! I refer to selfishness as systemic & intergenerationally taught.

    You & I have plenty of food, clothing, indoor plumbing and money. Even one living on Social Security in the US has more then half the world's ppl do! Those SS recipients may be poor.....but they do NOT literally go without eating!

    Most view the poor as an abstract concept. Not as real ppl. ONLY if you have personally been truly poor (i. e. homeless) can you possibly conceive what poverty is.

    Only if you have lost your job, have no food & have had your power, phone & cable shut off.....and had your 'friends' ignore your plight, can you even begin to understand what poverty & hopelessness feels like.

    And if in that situation -if you ask friend or relative for help, money, food......& been refused...been called a 'beggar'...."How will you repay it?:", etc......only then do you know what poverty feels like.

    And only then do you genuinely see how evil men are: that they would refuse to help those they know. Much less for the multitude of faceless poor.

    Such ppl do NOT know God. They do not really believe in Him, no matter what "religion" they claim to belong to. In doing, thinking & acting thus - with so much cruelty- they are literally serving Satan.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  21. There is great truth in what you say Anon. It makes a big difference in your ability to connect with the notion of poor when you are actually there.

    The funny thing is how you accept it is really dependent on how you look at it.

    I wrote a long long time ago that one of the worst periods of my life, in my estimation, was when I lived in an 18ft motor home and had very little money. Enough for food for my daughter and myself and that was about it.

    She on the other hand, thinks of this as the best time of her entire childhood because mom and her three dogs and her were all stuck in the same little space and it was all cosey secure and wonderful.

    It was cosey. I could sit at the kitchen table and cook without ever having to get up---change TV channels and do the dishes too!

    I also was almost totally cut off from my family. Classic case of believing one wasn't laid off, one was fired because of incompetence and laziness. I remember telling my mother I must have worked for the most incompetent company on the planet since they laid off 225 of us lazy incompetent people at the same time.

  22. Colleen--

    You said:

    "Imagine a world in which people actually learned to do as Jesus did. It's out there. Well, actually it's inside us. It's all about that connection with Divinity that Jesus told us we have and that maybe, quantum physics is beginning to describe. The problem is, you don't get to play in that universe unless you understand the love thing."

    I find it hard to take anything you say seriously, when you label political opponents as "Teabaggers". Such a base ridicule isn't something done out of love. I can't imagine Jesus referring to the Pharasees as "Phags" or something equally as demeaning.

    If this is your idea of Enlightened Catholicism, I want no part of it.