Various & Sundry, 5/6/10

Short thoughts about what I’m thinking regarding things and stuff:

* Over the last couple of days I’ve been asked if I have any thoughts about the British elections, which are today, and the answer is, not really, no: It’s not my country and while I’ve been reading about it casually off of friends’ blogs and from Andrew Sullivan, what I’ve really learned is that I don’t know enough about British politics to make any sort of informed comment.

What I can say is a) I really like the fact that election season in the UK is confined to ten weeks, which seems sane compared to the US “eternal campaign” mode, and b) it’s interesting to look at politics in a country where the typical MP of the mainstream “right” party would be something like a moderate albeit slightly hawkish member of the Democratic party here in the US. I took one of those “which UK party would you belong to?” quizzes myself and found my positions being somewhere between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, with the quiz ultimately assigning me to the Conservatives. As someone who occasionally gets sniped at by right-leaning folks here in the US as being a pinko commie liberal, I found this deeply amusing.

* Also have very little to add to the story of George Alan Rekers, professional conservative homophobe found engaging the services of a twinkish young man through male escort site Rentboy.com, except that it once again feeds my perceptual bias that when a conservative male says “the gays are a danger to our way of life,” the unsaid portion of that sentence running in his mind is “because they are so delicious and I just want to gobble them up.”

What irritates me most about these things is how appallingly stupid their excuses are when they get caught. “Oh, I just hired this hot young man from an online gay escort service to lift my luggage.” “Oh, I hired this male escort to massage me for three years because I was stressed.” “Oh, I offered this guy in a public restroom $20 to blow him because I was afraid he would beat me up, in his dusky, chocolately blackness.” Bitch, please. I mean, no, I don’t expect these guys to say “Wow, you caught me, fair enough,” and then patiently lay out their down low proclivities over the years to a happily gnashing press. But, come on, guys. Not even in deepest Religious Conservatania are these things going to fly.

There’s also the lesson here that when one is in fact tolerant of gays and lesbians, one then has the option of not having to resort to male escorts and public restrooms to find congenial company. It’s just a thought.

* Oh, look: Joe the Plumber has won a seat on his local GOP board. Nice to see he’s getting work.

* Oil Spill! My thought on that, aside from the general and appropriate “well, this sucks” response: Hmmm, bet Obama is regretting his plan of a few weeks earlier to open up more portions of the seaboard to drilling. I’m aware of Rush Limbaugh and a couple of others floating the idea that the spill was some sort of planned sabotage by environmentalists, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any sort of traction, I suspect because it requires a “he’s just carrying my luggage” level of credulity.

* Guy trying to bomb Times Square: One, glad we caught him; two, glad he was an incompetent bomb maker; three, oddly enough it does seem that reading the dude his rights and not trundling him off with a bag over his head to be waterboarded is paying off in terms of getting him to talk. Oddly.

The New York Times has an interesting article today in which friends of the attempted bomber note the correlation between the decline of his economic fortunes and the rise of his miltantness. I say “correlation” because I want to be very careful to avoid going “Look! That’s the cause!” because, really, what do I know about the guy? And also I suspect there’s a lot that happens between being a normal sort of fellow and becoming the sort of guy who tries to bomb a bunch of people with an SUV.

There is apparently evidence of a tie between this event and the Pakistani Taliban, to whom I say: Please to enjoy our Predator Drones! They will be saturating your sky soon. I also rather strongly suspect our Ambassador to Pakistan has had a nice conversation with that country’s president, along the lines of “this is the part where your army goes up there and kills all the Taliban our Predator Drones miss.” So we’ll see how that goes.

* People who have looked at my appearance schedule know I will be appearing at the Phoenix ComicCon later this month and wanted to know if I was planning to back out because of the immigration law that was passed in Arizona. The answer is no: I made the commitment before the law was passed and to the best of my knowledge the Phoenix ComicCon was not integral in its passage so I’m not inclined to punish it therewith. Moreover Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has been pretty vocal against the law, so I feel fine about being in Phoenix.

But, yeah, I’ll note after the Phoenix ComicCon I won’t be in a huge rush to trundle back to Arizona. Backers of Arizona’s immigration law have been lately bleating about how they had no choice but to pass it because Washington’s not been doing anything about illegal immigration. Well, you know what, you don’t protest your landlord not fixing a broken door by burning down the apartment building. In my estimation the Arizona immigration law is unconstitutional, and despite the wall-papering amendments added to the law after it was passed, in practice it will almost certainly be racist, as the very excuse its proponents give for its passage rather explicitly notes who the targets of the law are, since Arizona is not precisely concerned about illegal aliens from Vancouver.

This isn’t an official boycott, since I don’t have the real inclination to double check everything I do or buy to see if it’s got any Arizona component. Nor do I feel inclined to tell anyone else what to do on the matter. But on the other hand I’m not going to go out of my way to spend a whole lot of time in a place where I feel members of my own family are part of a general suspect class, and that a police officer might see them drive by, notice their skin color and features, and then look to see if their tail light is working. Sure, they’re not supposed to do it in that order, and I don’t think most of Arizona’s police officers will. But if you don’t think some will, you live in the same land where “he’s carrying my luggage” is a reasonable excuse.

235 thoughts on “Various & Sundry, 5/6/10

  1. I live a 15-minute walk from the intended bombing site in Times Square, so am quite especially interested in the incident. I find it interesting that this fellow’s financial troubles came after he quit his well-paying job to go visit family and take some Terrorism 101 courses in Pakistan for five months. Talk about creating your own problems . . .

  2. you word it so it all seems sensible, and yet when I say these things to my family, they look at me like I’m crazy. alas!

  3. With regards the NYC terrorist boob, I find it rather unsurprising that certain Republicans got all foamy at the mouth over his being Mirandized, yet when the suggestion was made that those persons deemed suspect enough to be on the ‘No Fly List’ should also be on a ‘No Buy Guns Or Explodey Devices List’ their response was, “Yeah, not so much.”

    Because telling someone who just tried to kill a bunch of people he has the right to shut up and have legal counsel is far worse than, you know, not letting him buy things with which to kill said people.

  4. “…and yet when I say these things to my family, they look at me like I’m crazy. alas!”

    Maybe it’s the clown make-up and the way you keep swinging that chicken over your head and making helicopter noises with your mouth. Just sayin’.

  5. With the Arizona laws, I was pleased to see that one of the first legal challenges was from a police officer. When you have the officers themselves suing to overturn the law, that’s not a good sign.

    And thank you for the unspoken ending to “the gays are a danger to our way of life”. I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking at the time or else I’d have me one wet monitor.

  6. As for the oil spill, I think Ken Salazar needs to resign as Secretary of the Interior…

  7. @John H… um, what? Anytime something bad happens the relevant cabinet secretary should resign?? Wanna hook some explanation up with that one?

  8. ben, they sort of listened to me when I was dressed in all black and whiteface, I figured it was the next logical step

  9. . I’m aware of Rush Limbaugh and a couple of others floating the idea that the spill was some sort of planned sabotage by environmentalists

    Former FEMA chair (and catastrophic failure) Michale Brown claimed that Obama deliberately delayed the response to the spill in order to back out of his commitment to offshore drilling. Never mind that the Deepwater Horizon was built in 2001, and BP’s management was lax because of the Bush era bonanza of deregulation and neglect of consumer and worker protection. It’s not at all surprising that we’re seeing incidents like this and the Big Branch mine disaster happening now.

    It’s going to take a long time to undo the damage Bush did. Sadly, Obama is not being anywhere near as responsive as he ought to be. It’s too cheap for energy companies like BP and Massey to pay fines and ignore the consequences. The various regulatory agencies have all been de-fanged and sedated. It’s a bonanza for businesses, but it means there’s going to be more and more incidents like this until we learn to regulate dangerous industries.

    WRT Arizona, I’m not planning to head there anytime soon myself. The imigration law is bad enough, but removing ethic studies classes from schools is blatantly punitive.

    Few people would support a class that promotes resentment of a race of class of people, or the overthrow of our government. But the bill’s intended target is actually a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson Unified School District that allows students to learn in history and literature courses about how particular ethnic groups influenced history, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

    Let’s not pretend that Arizona Republicans haven’t decided that Latinos, citizens and non citizens, are the enemy.

    WRT LuggageGay(t)e: I’m so thrilled the idiot is denying it.

    WRT Times Square bomber: He’s educated, middle class, and seems to have enjoyed a comfortable life. His family is allegedly horified by his actions, and any sane interrogator would use this to their advantage, pitting his loyalty to his family (which has been distant form him since he moved to the US) against his loyalty to the terrorist group, possibly portraying the group as a threat to his family.

    Despite the idiocy of Lieberman’s lust for torture, this tactic worked wonders on the “underwear bomber”. Him having a lawyer, and the possibility of living with some future contact with his family was enough to motivate them to speak to him. As I said, that tactic *works*.

    The U.S. officials later traveled to Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, and eventually gained the trust of two unidentified relatives of the suspect.

    On January 17, the FBI agents secretly flew back to the U.S. with the two relatives in order to work with the suspect.

    One senior Obama administration official said the family members privately conveyed to the suspect they “had complete trust in the U.S. system” and they believed he “would be treated fairly” by the Obama administration.

    The senior administration officials said that since AbdulMutallab began talking to investigation again last week, he has been cooperating on a daily basis. The officials added the information gained from the interrogations has been disseminated throughout the intelligence community.

    Now, if we’d tortured him, there’d be zip all chance of getting Faisal Shehzad’s family to come over and try and convince him in the same way, wouldn’t there? So, if you’re whining about Shehzad getting a trial, and having his rights read, do us all a favor and clutch your pearls in private. Sit down, shut up, and let the grownups do their job. Go watch 24 or something.

  10. Haven’t even finished reading because I’m rolling on the floor here over your “because they are so delicious and I just want to gobble them up” comment.

    I’ll be adding that unsaid portion from now on. Thanks for the smile!

  11. John H @ 6: as opposed to the head of BP? (Or whichever overpaid BP exec decided to drill in that area, knowing that there were ecological hazards and ignoring them?) It was his company what did the spilling.

    But sure, it’s Salazar’s fault for putting all that coastline in the way of our precious, precious oil.

  12. Re: Rekers. Maybe he’s actually being honest and “carrying my luggage” is a euphemism.

    You know those middle-aged guys and their crazy lingo!

  13. Couple of thoughts:

    About that ol’ fertilizer thing: yes people, the ammonia factories that keep us fed also keep our guns and bombs fed. It isn’t a secret that ammonium nitrate causes huge explosions, and that it can be made into gunpowder and various high explosives.

    What I DO admire about this country is that, despite the fact that American farmers go through hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate every year, it seems to have become quite difficult for would-be terrorists to get enough to cause trouble (after the Oklahoma City bombing). I’m not sure how it’s all done, but it qualifies as a neat trick. Kudos to the legions of faceless bureaucrats who have figured out how to keep us safe without a fuss.

    In comparison, fireworks are much more poorly regulated.

    As for the oil spill….Sigh. LESSON #1 to regulators: if the project proponent is planning something that’s never been done before, do you believe him when he says, “a) nothing will go wrong, and b) if something does go wrong, we can easily fix it?” Try saying, “prove it, please,” not “oh yes baby, give me more.”

    The new factor in the oil rig was working in mile-deep water. We’re going to be developing lots of new energy plants over the next decade (YAY! HIGH TIME!), but there are similar concerns with all of them.

  14. I am scared sometimes to see how reasonable your political posts are. This is where “reasonable” equals “agrees with me.”

    Also how humorous. The “gobble them up” was definitely worth a chuckle!

  15. Just a note about the NY bomber. I suspect that the police and feds are downplaying the sophistication of the bomb, because they always downplay such things. . .

    But the description of the contents (Propane, Gas, and some unidentified brownish ignition source) seems to suggest an attempt to create a home-grown Thermobaric Weapon.

    From Wikipedia:

    A thermobaric weapon, which includes the type known as a “fuel-air bomb”, is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of casualties and causes more damage to structures.

    Thermobaric explosives rely on oxygen from the surrounding air, whereas most conventional explosives consist of a fuel-oxygen premix (for instance, gunpowder contains 15% fuel and 75% oxidizer). Thus, on a weight-for-weight basis they are significantly more powerful than normal condensed explosives. Their reliance on atmospheric oxygen makes them unsuitable for use underwater or in adverse weather, but they have significant advantages when deployed inside confined environments such as tunnels, caves, and bunkers.

    Basically, the intent would be to saturate the area of the SUV with aerosolized propane and gasoline, then ignite it.

    The complexity of the device would have made failure more likely, but had it gone off I doubt anyone would be talking about how unsophisticated it was.

  16. John- they DID NOT Mirandize him until they had quite a bit of information (under that stupid un-constitutional law whose name I refuse to remember). He is still co-operating, though. Funny, I thought we (American citizens, LIKE HIM) had rights no matter what went down.

  17. Huh. I’m going to Phoenix on June 1st for the annual meeting of The Association of Genetic Technologists (I edit their technical journal) and it looks like it’s at the same hotel. Try not to trash the place. Thank you for your consideration.

  18. Neale Osborn:

    That fact is noted in the linked entry. After the FBI questioned him about specific imminent issues, he was Mirandized and waived those rights and kept cooperating.

    Mark Terry:

    YER NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

  19. @John:

    “Not even in deepest Religious Conservatania are these things going to fly.”

    Heh. Heh, heh. You betcha they will, but only if the perps show proper public repentance. There’s something with evangelical Christianity that /loves/ stories of people overcoming their personal demons, be it homosexuality, alcoholism, what have you.

  20. I would, ok I did, laugh at the evangelist with gay luggage handler. But the truth is, that all though this will likely shut him up for a bit, there will be another one to pop up in his place. Possibly two because in evolution of these things, the loss of one means that the breed needs to revitalizes itself by speaking louder and longer to recover position. They will probably throw him up as an example and leave his bloody carcass behind in their efforts to make their point.
    But it does make good entertainment for the sane of us, both the stupidity of their claims and the inevitable fall of their most prominent leaders.

  21. Keith @14 and Rick @7: When Ken Salazar took over at Interior he vowed to clean up the corruption at MMS (oil and gas companies providing drugs to and having sex with employees of the oversight agency), but doesn’t appear to have done much more than slap a few wrists. It sure doesn’t seem like much has changed in terms of favors to Big Oil since it was MMS that gave BP an exemption to forgo the required environmental impact study for the Deepwater Horizon project. Had BP done the study, their plan could have been scrutinized to see that they knew how to handle such a disaster, and stop them from going forward if the plan was lacking.

    MMS also seems to have ignored numerous whistle-blowers’ complaints about the operation of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

    His apparent failure to adequately address the cozy and corrupt doings at MMS should cost Ken Salazar his job…

  22. “…when one is in fact tolerant of gays and lesbians, one then has the option of not having to resort to male escorts and public restrooms to find congenial company.” Well, yes and no. Here in the DC area, an extremely well-regarded DC middle-school principal (recruited from my own daughter’s middle school in MD), age 42, was murdered a few miles from my house 3 weeks ago, and the three 18-year-olds who have now been charged in the case evidently found their victim when he was looking for partners online. The principal was surely “tolerant,” even though he kept his private life private, but he may have felt that he had no options other than anonymous ones.

    I just wanted to make the point that all sorts of people, not only anti-gay bigots, periodically go online to meet their social needs. (I feel lucky not to be among them, although if the Internet had existed before I met my wife, who knows? Actually, now that I think about it, I did know a guy in college 20 years ago who found female partners this way via CompuServe.) Whether or not this is a good thing, I’ll leave for historians to decide – but surely it can be dangerous. Technology has given people more opportunities for stupid behavior than ever before, and many of these are less visible than (e.g.) crashes caused by texting while driving.

  23. As someone who has to move to AZ soon, all these crazy laws they’ve been passing are not making me happy. I can only hope the various boycotts by cities and people are successful and preferably quickly successful. The state is already not doing very well economically.
    Either way, UGH.

  24. There is apparently evidence of a tie between this event and the Pakistani Taliban, to whom I say: Please to enjoy our Predator Drones! They will be saturating your sky soon.

    That sort of response is probably one of the things that nudge your “which UK party would you belong to?” results ever so slightly to the right.

    from the link: There is no doubt among intelligence officials that the barrage of attacks by C.I.A. drones over the past year has made Pakistan’s Taliban, which goes by the name Tehrik-i-Taliban, increasingly determined to seek revenge by finding any way possible to strike at the United States.

    The taliban was not interested in attacking the US back in 2001. They were local warlords in afghanistan who had religious compatibilities with Al Queda. Not to mention, the leader of the taliban knew the leader of al queda. I believe they fought the soviets together in the 80’s.

    The taliban was really only interested in local power in afghanistan. I believe when bin laden attacked on 9/11, that the taliban leader and bin laden had a bit of a falling out of sorts. Not neccesarily because the taliban thought the attack was wrong, but because the taliban knew it meant the US would come to afghanistan, and they wanted to maintain their power in the south.

    They were local warlords interested in local power in local governments in afghanistan. Unfortunately they’re interested in enforcing the most extremist views of Islam on all of Afghanistan, but that was the extent of their goals.

    The taliban have been attacking american troops in afghanistan exactly the same way they attacked the soviets when they were in afghanistan. They see us as a foreign power trying to conquer and occupy their country. And, well, that’s what we are right now.

    If the Taliban has expanded their goals from the local scope of afghanistan/pakistan and have now set their sights on direct attacks on the US, that’s a huge failure on our part. We made them that way because they weren’t like that ten years ago.

    And while al queda had been estimated to have a membership of around 10k individuals at one point, the taliban are based mostly in pashtun territory that is the land along the shared border between afghanistan and pakistan. And the pashtun number in the millions.

    And that’s exactly where we’re sending the predator drones. Into pashtun territory. And if we lose the pashtun and turn them into taliban recruits because we keep droning the occaisional wedding party, then we can do nothing but make the situation worse.

    As much as the chest-beating hoo-yah might feel good to send in the drones and get some high explosives on the ground in retaliation, it would appear that so far that has only made things worse in the big picture.

    Sure, we’ve killed taliban leaders, but the taliban weren’t interested in attacking the US ten years ago. Now they are. And we’re the only thing that has changed.

    The idiot response to this is that they don’t hate us because of anything we ever did to them, they hate us because of our freedom, they hate us because of their blind adherence to their religion (which is not like our totally open and accepting religion in any way at all).

    But an honest appraisal of US policy towards Afghanistan is that we at least had a part in creating the problem in the first place and we at least have a part in making it worse even now.

    In ’79, Carter sent guns and money into afghanistan to buy himself a local revolt against the soviets during the cold war, in an attempt to weaken them by drawing them into their own vietnam. It worked. The locals revolted. The Soviets invaded. 8 years later the pulled out and the country was broken. We had instigated the events that caused the invasion, and sent guns to the “freedom fighters”, but then turned our backs on the country after they were of no direct benefit to us. The power vacuum led to teh taliban taking power in the south. And Al queda came in because of the relationship between the leaders formed while fighting the soviets. The al queda attacked on 9/11 and we invade. We pay warlords from the north to fight taliban warlords in the south, then we set up a central government that is one of teh most corrupt on the planet. And the taliban who we armed and supported while they fougth the soviet occupiers are now fighting american occupiers and we’re surprised by this? We keep sending predator missiles into areas and killing civilians. We just recently machine gunned a bus full of civilians killing a whole bunch of people. Now we’re saying that the taliban has gone from a local warlord group in afghanistan to a internatinoal terror group, and we’re surprised by that?

    Any american who is surprised by what’s goign on in Afghanistan either doesn’t know what’s going on or doesn’t know their own history. We are committing the equivalent of “Boston Massacre” type incidents in Afghanistan on a regular basis. The boston massacre saw a total of five civilians killed by british troops. Up until that point, the colonies were basically divided between loyalists who supported enlish rule and those who wanted to become independent. The massacre became a massive PR event that galvanized much of teh colonies against england.

    The US goes in a machine guns a bus full of civilians and what do you expect to happen?

    Predator drones aren’t bloodless, surgical, cauterizing strikes that kills only people who want to do us harm. They’ve killed women and children as well as taliban leaders and warlords.

    Sometimes I swear we are the most short-sighted bunch of people on the planet.

  25. @21/@23 RE: Miranda. This whole episode has been a great educator to the public on Miranda rights. I thought a suspect HAD to be read his rights when arrested, and that is not the case at all. He only needs his rights read to him if the prosecution wants to use what he says (or evidence found resulting from what he says) in the case against him. If the prosecution already knows it is a slam-dunk case (like, for instance, a hundred people on a plane see you attempting to light your underwear on fire), then worrying about whether the suspects speech can be used against him in court is hardly one of their major concerns. Pressing an immediate interrogation to try and see if there are other short-term dangers they need to be going after is far more important. And doing an interrogation without Miranda is completely legal – just not admissible.
    And that is what happened in this case, with much success.

    So we already don’t need to read Miranda rights in those ticking time bomb cases – so what is the problem? What needs to be fixed here? It seems to work pretty well and logically.

    On another note – remember that dude who flew his plane into that building in Austin a few months ago? Evidently he was running into money problems which made him more militant (in an anti-government way, not an islamic way) too. So perhaps this latest wave of terrorism is more linked to the recession than anything else…

    @20 I love me some Whataburger. That place was founded in Corpus Christi, TX, which was just listed, coincidentally I am sure, as the fattest city in America.

  26. Ten weeks of the Brit elections? Hmmm, still seems like forever to most of us here in Britland. I suspect most people like me made their minds up months ago and can’t wait to formally suggest that Bottler Brown departs. Ten weeks is far too long!

    However, apparently we UKers cannot be without a Prime Minister so as the current holder, our strange failure of a leader can stay in Downing Street a little longer.

    Guess we will see how long Bottler hangs on , but likely there will be scratch marks down the wallpaper when they finally drag him out.

  27. I’m not sure what I liked most:
    “gobble them up”
    “dusky, chocolately blackness.”
    or
    “Bitch, please.”

    X-D

    Scalzi you slay me.

  28. ‘When you have the officers themselves suing to overturn the law, that’s not a good sign.’

    I think it’s a very good sign…

  29. Heteromeles @17: I’m hoping for deep hot dry rock geothermal plants — fairly clean and cheap to operate, the biggest hurdle is digging the well…

  30. If they didn’t care about the admissibility of his confession they wouldn’t be interviewing him.

  31. mythago @37: True, if they were only looking for evidence with which to convict him. I would assume they are equally interested in any actionable intelligence they can get from him…

  32. As a person who lives in New Orleans, I’ve been following the gulf oil spill as you might imagine. I am not an expert about oil production (I do have friends that work in the oil patch) and this should serve to remind everyone that working in the oil patch is very dangerous. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed on the rig. I’m waiting to hear from those who will say that we should stop drilling offshore. My answer to that is NO! If anything we need to drill more and produce more of our own energy. To raise national awareness of how important this region is to our energy needs to have written the Governor that Louisiana should change the phrase on our liecense plates from “Sportsman’s Paradise” to “America’s Energy Coast”. I know that many who read this blog will disagree with me, I just thought I’d put in my two cents.

  33. John—

    For over a century non-citizens present in these United States have been required by Federal law to carry their legally-here documents on their person at all times. Is that also unconstitutional? As I understand the new Arizona law it permits local law enforcement to ask to see those papers when they have reasonable cause to think the person here illegally, and then only after they are engaged with the person on an unrelated matter. I am seeing no reason to think either the Federal or the new Arizona law is unconstitutional. So what is your reasoning as to unconstitutionality?

    And another thought. Some suggest that local Arizona officials have no business enforcing what is in effect a Federal law. I heard this one on the talk-radio circuit: robbing banks is a Federal crime. So when a bank teller trips the alarm why do local law enforcement officials rush to the bank? Seems they should stay away by that logic and let only Federal officials rush to the bank.

    And finally, when did profiling on any basis (racial, psychological, socio-economic, etc) become a bad thing when used to catch a criminal breaking a local, State, or Federal law? I always thought profiling was a good tool used by law enforcement officials to catch law-breakers. Is there something unethical or wrong about profiling to catch criminals?

  34. Just a quick comment to say thanks for being so sane! (and well of course for the books etc…)

  35. My favorite political quiz is the PoliticalCompass. It’s been around at least going back to 2004.

    Instead of simple left/right, it plots you on the grid formed by the Left/Right axis and the Authoritarian/Libertarian axis. Then they have graphs showing where they estimate historical and current political figures reside.

    Here’s their graph for the 2010 UK political parties

  36. Greg @ 31:

    You beat me to it.

    To which I might add — because some people are oblivious to such nuances — that I do not, repeat not think that being pissed off about the collateral homicides in your country of birth is a valid excuse to try to flame-broil a bunch of tourists in the city so nice they named it twice. (Or anywhere else.) Nevertheless, that sort of response is really only shocking and/or confusing to people who either haven’t been paying attention or who haven’t been weaned from the milky goodness of American exceptionalism.

    The word for it is “blowback”.

    (It’s also worth noting something that seems to be curiously underplayed in MediaCorp coverage: Duane Jackson, the street vendor who tipped off the cops about the suspicious SUV, is a Muslim and an immigrant.)

    That mini-rant aside, the rest of the Various and Sundry are as appreciated as ever.

    It’s getting to the point — if not past it — where a reasonable reaction to homophobic crusaders is to wonder what rest stops they hang out at.

  37. Gary Willis:

    “For over a century non-citizens present in these United States have been required by Federal law to carry their legally-here documents on their person at all times. Is that also unconstitutional?”

    Gary, this question suggests that either you don’t understand the differences in the Constitutional responsibilities of the federal government and the states, or you think that I don’t.

  38. I live here in Arizona and upon first hearing about this law my knee jerk reaction was so strong I may have busted my right leg. After getting into the details a bit more my reaction isn’t nearly as strong but I still strongly dislike the law. That said, few people like the word racist and in today’s environment calling someone or something racist (whether it is or not) can actually make a big impact. So in this case, the people coming from the poorer country to the richer country should be thankful (as much as one can feel thankful for racism) for that coloring difference since it makes laws like this have the auto-tag of racist.

    In general, any two countries that have touching borders or moderately close borders and have widely disparate GDPs will have large immigrant movements. I lived in Venezuela for a time in the 90s and at that time Venezuela was one of the richer countries in South America while Columbia was more on the poor side. The color of skin between rich and poor country was approximately the same so racism couldn’t be called in when laws were made to single out Columbians, but race also made it so that the police had a bit harder time weeding out the Columbians. Buses were stopped on a regular basis and everyone had to show their ids, harassment was a normal daily event, even being white I would get hassled on occasion and Venezuelans considered my skin color to be a good thing. Just like here in Arizona one of the big excuses was drugs and the drug trade for the clamp down. Venezuela ‘assumed’ most Columbians were farming drugs or were somehow involved in the drug cartel. The interesting thing now is that Columbia and Venezuela have switched places on the rich/poor scale so I’d be interested in seeing what kinds of laws Columbia might put in place that would target their poorer neighbors.

    Being a libertarianish leaning person I think open borders are an ideal setup. But something has to be done to combat the free rider issue in our social programs. And on top of that, ending the drug war would make a good impact on some of these draconian laws that we have in place in the US. But these are subjects for another time.

  39. Note to lawmakers: when you sound crazier then Glenn Beck, its time to stop and reconsider your position. Really.

  40. I do understand the Federal government’s role in regard to our borders as I know you do. I do wonder why the States on our borders cannot also serve the same role in regard to their own borders with other nations. People seem to think the Federal responsibility removes any similar responsibility from the border states. Why I wonder? Why cannot both the Federal government and the Border states safegard our borders? I would never suggest that you, John, are not up to speed on these or any issues of concern to yourself or our nation.

  41. What far too many people ignore is that it is not a matter of protecting the rights of illegal aliens. It is a matter of protecting the rights of *citizens*. What the Arizona law is effectively doing is requiring all citizens to carry proof of citizenship.

    The reason people with names like “Gary Willis” aren’t concerned about this is that they know the police are only going to apply this to Hispanics. I guess a lot of people are fine with saying that Hispanic US citizens should be required to carry proof of citizenship because of their heritage.

  42. Gary Willis:

    “I do understand the Federal government’s role in regard to our borders as I know you do. I do wonder why the States on our borders cannot also serve the same role in regard to their own borders with other nations.”

    However, that theoretical question is one entirely separate from the real-world question the current Arizona law presents us with, which is whether a state may unilaterally arrogate to itself a power reserved to the Federal Government.

  43. @Gary:

    The number one reason is because treaties with foreign powers (which are the driving force behind border laws and enforcement) are negotiated at the National level. If states were allowed their own interpretation or enforcement of these laws, then instead of negotiating with the U.S. government, Mexico would be forced to negotiate with the U.S. government and the governments of California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. The same is true of our Northern border which encompasses a larger number of states.

    Not only that, but it could also lead to a situation where Mexico (or Canada) decides it’s not getting a good deal and simply bypasses the Federal government and focuses its efforts on changing the way the border works in a single state (like say California or New Mexico), which undermines the entire point of having the National government negotiate anything at all.

    The bottom line is that a unified national effort with regards to foreign countries is both fairer to the other country (since they don’t have to negotiate a hodge-podge of state laws and enforcement) and better for the states as a whole since a stronger unified front is less likely to be bullied than a single state government.

  44. States do have some inspection rights, or at least they used to. I remember back when the truck weighing stations were in use.

  45. Scalzi

    However, that theoretical question is one entirely separate from the real-world question the current Arizona law presents us with, which is whether a state may unilaterally arrogate to itself a power reserved to the Federal Government.

    Didn’t the Federal Government abrogate their exclusive right by establishing the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC)?

    Regardless, the Federal Courts will look at any incongruity between the Arizona law and the existing Federal law. If there are no conflicts, the law will likely stand as is.

    Arizona previously passed a law that required businesses to use E-Verify before hiring people. That law was challenged by the same groups challenging this law and Arizona won.

    Generally it seems to me that most people are not making arguments on the substance of the law but rather about how the law is likely to be implemented.

    Given the general demographics of the Phoenix area (I lived there for 11 years), I would say that Hispanics are well integrated into the community such that most people do not automatically view an Hispanic person and think they are illegal. Further, Hispanics make up a significant part of the police force and I’m pretty sure the vast majority of LEOs will implement the law properly. Improper implementation by the few would not, however, reflect poorly on the law itself.

    And finally, given the popularity of the law itself among Arizonans, it is pretty clear that it could not be that popular unless a significant part of the legal Hispanic population supported it.

  46. @MyName

    Good point. Now that makes sense.

    Yet, local officials assist Federal officials all the time in enforcing various Federal laws. Seems like they could reasonably do the same in regard to the borders without running afoul of arrogating Federal power to themselves.

    But enough. We can all wait and watch while the courts decide the new Arizona law’s fate.

  47. A state cannot abrogate to itself powers reserved for the Federal govenrment. However the courts have continuosusly ruled that in maters where federal authority is absolute, the states can pass concurring legeslation.

    In this sense “concurence” is generally accepted to mean that the states can pass laws on federal matters as long as the laws do not exceed the federal statute. Thus while counterfitting or interstate comerce are Federal responsibility, the states can also pass laws affecting IS comerce or outlawing conterfitting, but may not make their laws more extreem than the federal statute.

    The new AZ statute was more or less coppied word for word from the current federal statute, which has been on the books since 1946. (the more or less part is that AZ also included some strong anti-profiling language not present in the federal statute)

    Most of the constitutional scholars I know say that part is constitutional. The part that propbably is NOT constitutional is the part that allows citizens to sue the police and city governments if they do not enforce the law. In general the police have no specific duty to enforce the law at all (it’s a general responsibility not a specific one) see Warren v. D.C. if interested.

  48. Steve Burnap: That’s exactly right. Now citizens have to be able to prove they’re here legally. That’s bad news for folks like my dad and my brothers, all of whom look like they’re Hispanic. They’re Portuguese, and born in the good ol’ US of A, but they LOOK Hispanic. On the other hand, I look like a Celt, so I’m not at risk. That did not stop me from choosing to NOT go to Phoenix on a business trip next week. I was leaning towards not going anyway, but this terrible law was the straw that broke this camel’s back.

  49. I am white and jewish. An Obama political campaigner(who was black) asked me if I was illegal when she came to my house to campaign. I told her I am not registered to vote.

    She was clearly a racist.

    John: How should Arizona deal with illegal immigration? Just open their arms and say come on in? Illegal immigrants lower wages for poor people because they compete for comparable jobs. People hire illegal aliens so they don’t have to pay more to an American and can avoid paying social security/medicare taxes. Less supply of cheap labor generally would lead to an increase in wages.

  50. Guess:

    “John: How should Arizona deal with illegal immigration?”

    Not by passing laws that are unconstitutional.

    Frank:

    “Didn’t the Federal Government abrogate their exclusive right by establishing the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC)?”

    Are you suggesting that any time the Federal Government works in tandem with a lower governing authority, it irrevocably cedes powers reserved to it and that the lower governing authority is thereafter a co-equal power in that particular field? If so, this is an interesting theory of law, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  51. Keri @55 and Steve @48: How about the idea for a national ID card that has come up again in response to the AZ law? Personally, I have no problem with this idea, and think if done properly it would be highly beneficial. But I know there is fundamental opposition to it.

  52. How much liberty are you willing to give up for security? The minimal benefits of a national id are not worth the “papers please” laws that will be passed in it’s wake.

  53. Guess:

    “Illegal immigrants lower wages for poor people because they compete for comparable jobs. People hire illegal aliens so they don’t have to pay more to an American …”

    Well, it’s already illegal to hire illegal immigrants (from a number of laws), so possibly better enforcement of existing laws would help rather than passing new and unconstitutional laws.

  54. Nuclear power, please. Obama just purchased a bunch of old nukes from other countries. We’ll blend them down and use them as fuel. Turn bombs into electricity. We bought a bunch of nukes from the russians when they were hurting for money after the soviet union collapsed. I think we’re just now about to use the last of that bomb-turned-to-fuel material.

    Get a permanent storage repository fer cripes sake and go nuclear.

  55. Scalzi,

    Are you suggesting that any time the Federal Government works in tandem with a lower governing authority, it irrevocably cedes powers reserved to it and that the lower governing authority is thereafter a co-equal power in that particular field?

    No, but in this case it is quite clear that LESC responded to something along the lines of 1,300 calls per day mostly reported by local LEOs during traffic stops or similar situations; coming upon individuals who they believe are unlawfully present. And this is precisely what Arizona is asking their police to do.

    So again, the main thing the Federal Courts will be examining is whether or not the State Law is in conflict with the Federal law. As was pointed out previously, while the Feds have the ultimate responsibility for investigating counterfeiting, this does not mean that the States can not outlaw and arrest counterfeiters.

    And in this case, Arizona is just saying you have committed a crime in Arizona if you are not legally in the US.

    I mean they are called “illegal” immigrants for a reason.

    What I found most amusing is the offense the Mexican President took to this law. But don’t you try to be in Mexico illegally. Mexico is very anal about enforcing that particular law.

  56. John H @ 58:

    I’m willing to consider the idea again, but I’m strongly resistant. I think the potential for abuse outweighs the benefits — particularly given the security theater self-mutilation that the US continues to engage in. (To say nothing of the near-inevitable corporatization of any such system.)

  57. Why didn’t Rekers claim he was doing research for his many books on the subject of gay men? Or trying to save the chap? A Prime Minister of Britain, William Gladstone, was notorious for finding street prostitutes late at night after late-night sittings in Parliament and trying to save them.

    Greg and Bearpaw, nice to see some Americans still understand Abraham Lincoln’s advice: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” Unfortunately the British political class didn’t understand this and went against the majority feeling against the wars.

  58. John H @58

    How about the idea for a national ID card that has come up again in response to the AZ law?

    I’m personally not in favor of it. The main reason is that it gives a false sense of security. Anything that can be made can be forged. It’s a law of the universe.

    Steve Halter @60

    Well, it’s already illegal to hire illegal immigrants (from a number of laws), so possibly better enforcement of existing laws would help

    Yeah, and in the absence of that, we have Arizona.

    Frank’s priorities go like this:

    The Federal Government should first seal and secure the border and (simultaneously) get infinitely more efficient at processing immigration requests.

    Next, set up a guest worker program that meets our needs.

    Once all of the above is completed and deemed to be working properly, then and only then should we grant amnesty to all the illegals still in the country.

    Then all will be right in Frank’s world with regards to this particular issue.

  59. Greg @ 62:

    Get a permanent storage repository fer cripes sake and go nuclear.

    Whose backyard shall we use for the next mumble thousand years?

    I’m not knee-jerk opposed to nuclear energy, but that does seem to be a tricky problem. Well, that and the fact that some of the folks running current reactors seem to be constitutionally unable to not lie about safety inspections.

  60. Frank@52: The big difference is that the E-Verify thing applies not just to Hispanics, but to you, me and everyone else equally. The way the Arizona law is written, it certainly will be unequally applied given that there is little that one could call “probable cause” other than a skin color and an accent.

  61. Frank:

    “No, but”

    See, you went a word too far there. Also, beyond the “no,” everything you’re adding is your theory as to why this particular law is in fact Constitutional, which is fine, but is a separate discussion from whether the federal government “abrogated” its exclusive right to reserve certain powers to itself. The latter discussion does not flow from the former question, in my opinion.

    As an aside to the above paragraph, while I believe the law will be found unconstitutional on the grounds Arizona is attempting a land grab on Federal responsibilities, there’s also a chance the law may be found unconstitutional on the grounds that the practice of the law will result in the racial profiling of US citizens, which is a point separate from the powers issue but no less actionable.

  62. The way the Arizona law is written, it certainly will be unequally applied given that there is little that one could call “probable cause” other than a skin color and an accent.

    Probable cause example:

    Sir, I have stopped you for speeding. May I see your license and registration please.

    Er, officer, I do not have my license on me. I left it at home.

    Please tell me your name and date of birth.

    blah, blah (officer goes to his car)

    Sir, the DMV records do not list anyone with your name and date of birth as having been issued a driver’s license. Evah.

    Um…

    Scalzi

    which is a separate discussion from whether the federal government “abrogated” its exclusive right to reserve certain powers to itself.

    I agree, which is why I used the word “regardless” (@52) in between the two arguments.

    While I believe the law will be found unconstitutional…

    We’ll see. And you could be right. I do not know if the Arizona law is in conflict with the Federal law or not.

    But I’m pretty sure it won’t be vacated on the grounds you propose.

  63. Frank @ 63:

    I mean they are called “illegal” immigrants for a reason.

    From an ACLU issue brief:

    The act of being present in the United States in violation of the immigration laws is not, standing alone, a crime. While federal immigration law does criminalize some actions that may be related to undocumented presence in the United States, undocumented presence alone is not a violation of federal criminal law. Thus, many believe that the term “illegal alien,” which may suggest a criminal violation, is inaccurate or misleading.

    Entering the United States without being inspected and admitted, i.e., illegal entry, is a misdemeanor or can be a felony, depending on the circumstances. 8 U.S.C. § 1325. But many undocumented immigrants do not enter the United States illegally. They enter legally but overstay, work without authorization, drop out of school or violate the conditions of their visas in some other way. Current estimates are that approximately 45% of undocumented immigrants did not enter illegally. See Pew Hispanic Center, Modes of Entry for the Unauthorized Migrant Population [May 22, 2006].

    Undocumented presence in the United States is only criminally punishable if it occurs after an
    individual was previously formally removed from the United States and then returned without permission. 8 U.S.C. § 1326 (any individual previously “deported or removed” who “enters, attempts to enter, or is at any time found in” the United States without authorization may be punished by imprisonment up to two years). Mere undocumented presence in the United States alone, however, in the absence of a previous removal order and unauthorized reentry, is not a crime under federal law.

    American flag stickers on cars are against the law (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq). I wonder how many million “illegal patriots” there are …

  64. JimF @59, Bearpaw @64 and Frank @66: If done correctly, the security issues should be no worse than those faced when shopping online. I would expect the card itself to have very little in the way of actual data on it, but allow authorized users to access information they need through a backend database.

    The one card could supplant all those cards you carry in your wallet or purse today — driver’s license, medical insurance card, credit cards, etc. — just by linking it to the correct database. It could be made secure and reliable.

  65. There is no electronic system that is secure. All systems can be broken with the the right resources and time.

    And you missed the point of my post. I will not live in a place where I can be stopped randomly on the street and asked to prove my identity.

  66. Bearpaw @71

    Good points all.

    Interestingly, Arizona’s law, SB1070, says pretty much the same thing:

    Requires officials and agencies of the state and political subdivisions to fully comply with and assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and gives county attorneys subpoena power in certain investigations of employers. Establishes crimes involving trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens, and their respective penalties….

    1. Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.

    2. Requires the person’s immigration status to be verified with the federal government pursuant to federal law.

    3. Requires an alien unlawfully present in the U.S. who is convicted of a violation of state or local law to be transferred immediately to the custody of ICE or Customs and Border Protection, on discharge from imprisonment or assessment of any fine that is imposed…

    33. Stipulates that the terms of the act regarding immigration have the meanings given to them under federal immigration law.

  67. JimF @75: Have you ever been subjected to a random roadblock on New Year’s Eve (or St. Patrick’s Day, or etc.) and asked for driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance? How reliable is a state-issued driver’s license as a de facto form of identification, and how much worse would a national ID card be, if at all?

  68. Frank @ 76:

    Interestingly, Arizona’s law, SB1070, says pretty much the same thing

    Sorry, I don’t get the joke.

  69. AZ has 90 days to implement SB 1070. It does not go into effect until June 29th. Our laws go into effect 90 days after the legeslature adjourns, rather than on 1 Jan like some other states.

    I’ll be very curious to see the guidelines published for what constitutes “reasonable suspician”. I suspect that they are going to be very careful in drafting the guidelines in order to avoid even the appearance of discrimination.

    Driving without a liscense and insurance is a pretty obvious one, because AZ won’t issue a liscense to unless you are a citizen or legal resident. (clearly not race based). So is fleeing on foot after an accident.

    Watching someone walk across the border would be another.

    What about catching 200 people in the desert with supplies and a map and writen instructions on how to sneak into the US?

    Arresting someone who has been previously deported?

    Now the law can clearly be abused. But that’s true of ANY law, and any use of goverment force.

    I have some concerns as to how it will be implemeted, but it does not appear to be unconstitutional in any way.

  70. Steve @#48: Exactly. If I was a Puerto Rican or other citizen hispanic, I would be thinking really hard about whether I want to get anywhere near AZ. As soon as the first citizen is incorrectly/falsely arrested under the immigration law, there’ll be a lawsuit, if not before the fact.

  71. Scalzi – Do you know that you wrote something 6 years ago that you need to reference or do you just vaguely remember writing it and then search your blog for the relevant link?

  72. Would I be wrong in guessing there is a lot of overlap between the “we have big government” people and the “get the illegals out of my country” people?

    If not, doesn’t the Arizona law qualify as “Very Big Government Indeed”?

  73. Scalzi,

    Thank you for keeping your commitment to come to Phoenix Comicon. I live in Phoenix and will be attending the con and I am looking forward to seeing you there.

    I am against the new law as it is, but something does need to be done about immigration. Almost everyone I know in Arizona is against this immigration law. Our politicians passed this law, not the citizens of Arizona. When you boycott the state of Arizona, you are punishing the citizens not the politicians.

  74. @Frank #71:

    Your hypothetical example of probable cause presumes that every police officer in Arizona will never select which traffic violations to act upon based upon the physical appearance of the driver. Your trusting law enforcement to not use racial profiling as a tool is either naive or convenient to your political beliefs.

    Comment in general:

    Much of the debate here is based upon the constitution and rule of law. On the face of it, that would be admirable. However, those laws were written, for the most part, by rich white males of Anglo Saxon descent.

    It is interesting to note, in my mind at least, said descendants of Anglo Saxons were the last people to arrive in the states in question. I’m sure we’re all aware of how they came to be the landlords of these lands. Alcohol and small pox ridden blankets took care of the indigenous people and guerilla warfare (see the history of cattle barons) took care of the Spanish.

    Throughout American history, each wave of immigrants faced resistance and discrimination from the established society. First it was the Irish, then the Italians, then the eastern Europeans and now the Central Americans and Haitians. Nor should we forget the Chinese who built the railways in the 19th century and the Japanese Americans who were interned in WWII.

    America has no official language. The language of power, as it is throughout the world, is English. Spanish, however has a longer and richer heritage in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

    Maybe if we started giving the honest people who wish for citizenship and are willing to work hard a chance, it might be easier to stop the criminal element from getting through. Not to mention, that eager new blood might continue to strengthen us as a nation.

    America’s political power base, despite the groundbreaking results of the last election, remains firmly in the grip of your basic WASP. Whatever the law, all this turmoil over immigration, simply amounts to a group of people fighting to retain the power and wealth that their ancestors stole from others.

  75. I agree that a boycott would punish the citizens of AZ, but hopefully that would provoke the citizens of AZ to punish their legislators by choosing some new ones. While I’m stuck living here, I’m glad people are still coming to visit, but if I lived in another state, I would be boycotting AZ myself.

    Not until the law takes effect, though, which isn’t until after the Phoenix Comicon.

  76. Sorry, I disagree with the commentor who said that Hispanics are well-integrated into the community. I’ve many times been shopping with friends who either are, or look Hispanic. Surest way to get followed around by security. Driving while brown in some parts of Scottsdale will get you pulled over almost automatically. The new law is disgusting.
    I also have to disagree with Lorien-sorry, the people of Arizona elected these politicians-many by the majority. Not all of us voted for them, many of us have protested the law, but sorry, we should suffer for it.
    As far as the “strong anti-profiling” language. HAhahahahahahahahaha. As if.

  77. The well-reasoned opinions (even those that are obviously wrong) expressed here give me great hope for the future of this nation. As long as these competent citizens (and associated riffraff) are in charge I am convinced we will seek out the best and most equitable solutions to the myriad of complex problems facing our community.

    Oh…
    Wait…

    It is rather unfortunate this is such a small and select sampling of the general population. Alas.

    Thanks, John Scalzi et al, for such a nice, if brief, dream.

  78. Whose backyard shall we use for the next mumble thousand years?

    Yucca Mountain was fine by me. Sure is a hell of a lot better than putting a “Someone Else’s Problem” field around it, putting it in “temporary” onsite storage, and pushing the problem out a decade or two for someoen else to deal with.

    Coal and oil produce all sorts of toxic chemicals that need long term storage as well. Mercury, arsenic, all sorts of nasty stuff. And apparently we deal with that by dumping it in nearby rivers. Meanwhile, the gulf has an oil slick that could potentially kill everything in it. Everything. Which it may never recover from.

    And I’m just thinking, certainly nuclear waste could have a problem with it, but how much of that problem is based in irrational fear of “nukular” and how much is based in rational decision making? Like, for instance, we’ve had two massive oil spills that I can think of Exxon Vadez and the gulf pipeline in recent history. At what point does the probability of a nuclear waste accident become less than the real life oil accidents that we’re seeing?

    If we kill every living creature in teh gulf, can’t we say that that is worse than any realistic failure that would statistically happen every ten years with nuclear waste buried in Yucca? How fricken bad does the oil and coal accidents have to fricken get before it becomes worse than nuclear waste?

    Seriously.

    Would we have to fill the pacific with light sweet crude, and kill all the fish we eat before we decide, well, nuclear can’t be any worse.

  79. JohnH @77 There is a big difference between traffic stops and a show your papers. In the first case I am being stopped to certify that I am capable of operating a dangerous instrument. One that if I am negligent can kill many people. In the second I am walking down a street, minding my business, and stopped. Now if I was walking down the street with an AK-47 on my back I would not object for an Officer to stop and ask to see my gun license.

    I should not have to prove that I am a citizen in the middle of my own country.

  80. Nukes. Part of me says, “Yeah sure, why not?” Part of me says it’s been 30 years since Three Mile Island, 24 years since Chernobyl, etc.

    I’m not disagreeing that oil and coal fuck things up and have horrible waste issues too. In fact, I can even throw in the nasty details about the problems with our current solar power development in the deserts (big hint: where are they gong to get the water to wash the arrays? Their answer: it’s not a problem, and if it is, we can fix it easily). Geothermal, if not done carefully, can bring up all sorts of interesting sulfides and other chemicals too.

    The problem with all of these power plants is a) investors want to get rich, so they go for maximum size, and b) that painful oops factor. Combine the two and you get large-scale disasters in the energy sector.

    It sucks.

    Personally, I do want more oil and coal development within the US, just so we’ll take responsibility for cleaning up our own shit, rather than passing it off some Third World state where they can’t scream loudly enough to be heard here.

    I also say conservation should be the first thing we sink our money into. Unfortunately, I’m not an energy mogul, so I can’t scream loudly enough to be heard either. Still, that’s the first, best solution.

  81. JimF @90

    Now if I was walking down the street with an AK-47 on my back I would not object for an Officer to stop and ask to see my gun license.

    In Arizona, this would not be considered a legitimate police contact under the new law. You see, for as long as I’ve known, Arizona has been an Open Carry State: It is not illegal to walk around with an unconcealed weapon.

    And come to think of it, IIRC, Arizona just became a Concealed Carry State as well. Of course, if the weapon is concealed, a police officer wouldn’t know you were carrying.

  82. Frank @93 Even with open carry, you still need a gun license, you just don’t need a permit to carry it around loaded.

  83. JimF

    Even with open carry, you still need a gun license, you just don’t need a permit to carry it around loaded.

    I don’t think so. Now granted, it’s been a while since I lived in Arizona, but I didn’t need a license when I lived there. You used to need a license for concealed carry, but that requirement is now gone under the new law though you can still obtain a license if you want one.

    Here in Vermont, I don’t need a license to carry open or concealed. In fact I couldn’t get a license if I wanted one (which I do).

    Now if the AK was fully automatic, then you need a Federal Transfer Tax Stamp that applies to the particular weapon, but it is not a “license” per se.

  84. John, I thought this was your non-traveling year. You just got back, and you’re getting ready to leave again! I don’t want to sound judgmental, but you suck at not traveling.

    While you have been not traveling by going to Toronto and Penguicon and L.A. and Arizona, etc., I have been not traveling by staying in Cincinnati all winter and spring. THIS is the way to not travel. I am an expert at it and an example for others.

    (Also stir crazy, and therefore really looking forward to my trip to Vancouver in a couple of weeks.)

  85. You forgot (like most everyone else) about a piece of news a little closer to me. The 20-some people and billions of dollars of damage in Nashville, Tn…seems we get forgotten when an oil spill happens. Oh well.

  86. As somebody that lives within 15 miles of Mexico and gets stopped by Border Patrol and asked about my citizenship all the time, I know better than all those people in Phoenix and Ohio about feeling like we live in a fascist country. And since I work at a hospital that gets stuck for better than 25% of all our bills, because the patient is an illegal and won’t pay – I understand the AZ government’s problem with the piss poor enforcement of Federal statutes causing them financial grief.

    Most people I know in Arizona do support the law (and 70% if the polls from Fox news can be believed). This isn’t an easy issue, and the knee-jerk liberal “racial profiling!” argument conveniently bypasses an inconvenient truth (to borrow a phrase). Illegal immigration is a big problem here on the border.

  87. For those who think that this new law in Arizona isn’t going to affect citizens, guess again. At least one natural born American citizen, a truck driver of Hispanic descent, was arrested when he was unable to prove that he was a citizen at a weigh station. He had broken no laws, was not acting suspicious, and ended up in jail because, like 99% of us who were born and bred here in the USA, he didn’t have either a passport or his birth certificate in his wallet. He had to have his wife retrieve his birth certificate and bring it to the police station to prove that he was an American, and if you aren’t outraged about *that* little breach of his civil rights, *you should be.*

    As for the impact on Arizona, one of my co-workers recently spoke to one of the state’s economists. The economist said that this is going to be a financial disaster for Arizona, not only because literally thousands of conventions, meetings, and individuals have already canceled their reservations, it’s going to be almost impossible to attract young professionals to move there.

    It’s going to be a really ugly, ruinous mess, and they brought it on themselves. Not good.

  88. @Heteromeles

    “What I DO admire about this country is that, despite the fact that American farmers go through hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate every year, it seems to have become quite difficult for would-be terrorists to get enough to cause trouble (after the Oklahoma City bombing).”

    Ammonium nitrate is rarely used as a source of nitrogen for agriculture in the US any more (except for specialty crops). The vast majority of farmers use Urea – and its millions of tons – to grow corn and soybeans.

    More nitrogen no boom.
    (Worked in the industry… tired of the misconception)

  89. Frank @95 That seems to be pretty standard for hunting rifles, does it apply to pistols and semi-automatics as well?

    Hmmm I don’t know. I still think there should be a gun usage license, much like a drivers license with various classes. I remember getting certified back in Minnesota when I was young. But looking at the Law that was due to being under 16.

  90. …Arizona is not precisely concerned about illegal aliens from Vancouver.

    This!

    I am the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of illegal aliens. My great-grandparents came from Wales on my mom’s side. My grandparents on my dad’s side came from Mexico. I look exactly like my Welsh/Scottish mother, and you’d never think I have a short, dark Mexican father. The idea that I could drive without a qualm in Arizona but that my father would have to always look over his shoulder is unacceptable.

    As an aside, it’s weird being half of a minority and not looking like it. You get to hear a lot of racism because you look like you’re part of the club, even though you’re not. When I speak up, I always get a shocked, “I’m sorry!” But I can’t help thinking that they’re not sorry they offended me; they’re sorry I’m half Mexican. (Touchy? Moi?)

  91. @102, Bush League Critic: Thanks. I knew they used more urea, but not the amounts. I stand corrected, but I’m still happy that little Johnny Bombwanker can’t get his mitts on large amounts of the ammonium nitrate.

  92. Elid @ 101. The law does not go into effect until July 29th. Thus your story has a pretty big hole in it.

    Exactly which driver’s license did this “truck driver” have? Under the law, (again not effective for another 80+ days) any driver’s liscense issued by a state with a legal residency requirement is considered prima facia evidence that a person is not here illegally.

    Possibly this was a US Border patrol checkpoint? The BP does not have a “legal contact” requirement. They can get away with just about anything they like.

  93. Greg #63 and Bearpaw #68 … intersting comments…

    I’ve got into the habit of assessing who might benefit from the way we are informed and programmed by the ‘facts’ presented to us.

    Those benefiting from the usage of oil and coal are connected to the mining and drilling industries, oil and energy importers, transportation and shipping, electricity generation and power stations, and would really prefer to see the status quo maintained. There is a large proportion of the populace who have a reason to denigrate the concept of nuclear power generation.

    It is apparent that a re-organization of energy usage would require some major economic restructuring, which would adversely impact many, but most especially hitting the pockets of those mentioned above.

    However, it would be likely that the overall impact of reducing the dependence on imported oil would be substantially positive for the country, particularly for future generations, and the overall impact on the emission of greenhouse gases would undoubtedly be positive.

    The French have a very positive and successful approach to nuclear power:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html

    Of interest also in the article is the more positive attitudes of the French towards scientists and engineers mentioned in the article. A great fault of many western democracies is everyone wants to be a lawyer, and this group forms the most predominant component of our elected governments. Whilst remarkably adept at twisting words, they don’t necessarily make the best ‘governors”.

  94. Tree mile island event was extremely expensive since it turned a multi billion dollar investment into so much scrap metal, but as an industrial disaster, it does not rate – the public exposure to radiation was limited to some steam vented during the emergency crash shutdown – This was according to design and deliberate, the steam contained trace amounts of tritium and other radioactives, and it can be statistically inferred that out of the millions of people who got hit by this tiny dose, 1 (that is one. uno. solitary) person got really unlucky and the tiny radiation dose from this release was the last straw that caused him/her to get cancer and die. This is naturally less than ideal, but it should be noted that an equivalently sized coal plant kills several people every year during normal, no-accidents, operation via the toxins it releases into the air, so if a full transition nuclear power caused a TMI every year, that would be some 29.999 fewer casualties from electricity generation than the US is having per annum now..

    Nuclear waste is also a non-problem. Dry cask storage will work for long enough for the Indians, or someone else to perfect the fast reactor, at which point all that waste becomes fuel to be sold. Yucca would be an excellent solution to the tiny amounts of waste left after all the heavy metal is burned (Technium, mostly)

  95. where the typical MP of the mainstream “right” party would be something like a moderate albeit slightly hawkish member of the Democratic party here in the US.

    Let’s face it, John, in Teabagistan your average Anglosphere center-right politician is a raving Maoist.

  96. JimF @103

    That seems to be pretty standard for hunting rifles, does it apply to pistols and semi-automatics as well?

    It does, but obviously the requirements differ from State to State. But Arizona and Vermont (as well as Louisiana and Alaska which are States I’m also sure of; there may be others) do not require a gun license to own or carry a gun of any sort.

    I still think there should be a gun usage license, much like a drivers license with various classes.

    I would welcome this so long as it meant that I could carry in any State; like a driver’s license.

    Perhaps when the Supreme Court decides Macdonald vs City of Chicago such a thing will come about. If at least I’ll be able to travel through New York State without having to lock up my guns, that will be a big improvement.

  97. ellid @111

    And the Obama Administration is worried that the Arizona law will lead to racial profiling?

    How’s that old Blues song go?

    Before you accuse me,
    Take a look at yourself

  98. Ellid, thanks for the link. As I surmised, it was a USBP checkpoint. It’s a bit sureal, they have given up on the actual border and have checkpoints on the major highways and interstates.

    For example, one cannot drive from Phoenix to San Diego without hiting at least two checkpoints. I personally think that these checkpoints are unconstitutional, but USPB has a LOT of power to pretty much do whatever they want.

  99. ***Oh, look: Joe the Plumber has won a seat on his local GOP board. Nice to see he’s getting work.***

    Precinct committee-people don’t get paid for it, other than perhaps in networking rewards. Though I suspect his speaking fees have given him a nice cushion, if he hasn’t been stupid with them.

  100. re: Times Square
    I look forward to regularly reminding people that the first person to see the smoke and sound the alarm was a Muslim immigrant.
    re: Arizona
    Illegal immigration is one third of what it was ten years ago.

  101. Me too, John. Someone wants to give you free money, it’s a hard thing to just say no. Especially when you’re not loaded with it in the first place.

    Precinct committee-persons are the people who vote in the meetings of the county party. As compared to us regular voters who only get to vote in elections. For pretty obvious reasons if you think your county party is full of what makes the grass grow greener, becoming a precinct committe-person (especially as part of a coalition of like-minded) is one of the few ways of enacting direct change in the county party. The county parties also send delegates to the state party to set THEIR agendas.

    Of course it’s also how small factions of loonies can take over county parties. Which in my county applies to both parties.

  102. JimF@91 and Ellid@101

    Saying “I shouldn’t have to prove my identity” to the police… sounds reclusive and paranoid.

    Today you must prove your identity when making a credit card purchase. You must show ID when entering a bar. Carrying your ID card has hardly been a real inconvenience. Or caused major economic impact. Or resulted in a police state with gas chambers.

    Perhaps y’all should play Wolfenstein3D as psychotherapy to treat your fear of the looming US Nazi dystopia.

  103. re 119

    Be warned. The Daily Telegraph is a right wing newspaper (though thankfully not Murdoch owned unlike a couple of other of our national disgraces) so will probably try and claim you as one of its own whatever your thoughts. However, I can tell you straight away that any of you arguing over the minutiae of whether you need to a permit to carry a gun openly or hidden will automatically find yourself doomed to the lunatic fringe! Most British people love gun control as much as free health care, and we really love free health care!

  104. Surfwax:

    Watch the pointless snark, please.

    Also, trying to compare a government requiring a citizen ID to be carried at all times with a bar asking to see an ID before a patron can enter is all sorts of crazy bad false equivalence and you should actually think about whether this is a line of reasoning you really want to go with.

  105. USBP pretty much garantees I don’t go to the mailbox without ID. If you want to get paranoid about the gov requiring ID – live on the Mex border.

  106. In Arizona, so long as you are 21 years of age and not a felon you can carry firearm, concealed or otherwise, without a concealed carry license.

    Further, Arizona does not have a licensing process to purchase a firearm.

    And despite some of the upset on this board, IMO, Arizona’s anti-immigration law (SB1070) is very likely constitutional. Arizona law enforcement cannot stop based on ethnicity, is required to have a reason independent of ethnicity to make the stop, and can only inquire as to immigration status with cause, and (the kicker) confirms lack of legal status with the Feds before either turning the immigrant over to the Feds or prosecuting locally as a misdeamenor.

    As some posters have pointed out, it is very similar to local police apprehending a counterfeiter and turning that person over to the federal government for prosecution.

  107. Stevem:

    “And despite some of the upset on this board, IMO, Arizona’s anti-immigration law (SB1070) is very likely constitutional.”

    Yeah, not actually. People really seem to be having a problem with the concept of “states can’t make laws regarding foreign affairs,” but the Constitution really doesn’t. Note that this aspect has nothing to do the fiddly bits you mention. Although again I suspect the actual implementation of the law will show evidence of racial profiling in relatively short order. Which will make it unconstitutional on those grounds as well. Basically, I suspect this law will have constitutional problems coming and going.

  108. I get the sense a lot of people are using the phrase “the law is likely constitutional” to mean “I really think this law is awesome”. As has been pointed out repeatedly, and in John’s link:

    The Arizona law appears to be “facially unconstitutional,” Manheim said. “States have no power to pass immigration laws because it’s an attribute of foreign affairs. Just as states can’t have their own foreign policies or enter into treaties, they can’t have their own immigration laws either.”

    Seriously, you don’t need a J.D. to grasp this.

  109. Scalzi

    People really seem to be having a problem with the concept of “states can’t make laws regarding foreign affairs,” but the Constitution really doesn’t.

    You make it sound as if this is a settled argument and that disagreeing with this would only be tried by imbicils. But that is far from the case.

    First, Arizona is not “preempting” the Federal perview. It is true that Arizona could not, say, make a treaty with Russia, or Mexico. And it could not make laws regarding another country that is in conflict with Federal laws regarding that country. In either case the State would be “prempting” Federal powers.

    Arizona’s law supposedly does not do this.

    So the Constitutionality of the Arizona law will hinge on whether or not it preempts Federal law or not.

    The Supreme Court ruling in De Canas v. Bica makes it clear that States can in fact make laws in this area so long as they are not in conflict with Federal law.

    So again, as I have pointed out (numerous times) previously, the Constitutionality of this law will hinge on whether or not the Courts find the Arizona law in conflict with Federl law.

    If Arizona’s law is seen as “helping” enforce the Federal Law, it will survive this test.

  110. Frank:

    “First, Arizona is not ‘preempting’ the Federal perview.”

    I like how you chastise people for jumping to peremptory assertions here and yet do the same thing in the next paragraph, Frank. From my point of view that’s exactly what it’s doing, and it’s not a fringe point of view, as the link I provide in my earlier comment makes clear. Just because you want to unilaterally declare otherwise doesn’t change any of this.

    I see a whole number of reasons why this law is going to get laughed out of court, starting with the constitutional conflict and carrying through to the likelihood that the practice of the law will involve racial profiling of US citizens, no matter how carefully it’s written to avoid such a thing. Stevem’s argument, to which I was responding, in any event didn’t even touch on the matter of Arizona pre-empting the Federal government’s responsibilities, which is why I pointed it out.

    Leaving aside that the concept of a state law “helping” a federal law as regards immigration doesn’t show up anywhere in the ruling and is in fact a rather contentious interpretation of the De Canas ruling, I think you may find that it’s less helpful to your argument than you think, not in the least because the law being adjudicated there involved businesses employing illegal aliens, while this law has a direct focus on the illegal aliens themselves. I would suspect that if your state law directly addresses an aspect of federal power, it’s rather more likely to be seen in direct conflict the federal government’s role, regardless of whether you want to contend that it’s “helping” or not.

    So, yeah, in my mind still very much unconstitutional. Where I believe you are correct, of course, is that all of this will be decided in the courts.

  111. Scalzi

    I like how you chastise people for jumping to peremptory assertions here and yet do the same thing in the next paragraph, Frank

    I do admit that the one sentence does read as if I am presuming that the Arizona law does not pre-empt the Federal Law, but the sense of the post is that I do not know if it does or not. And that is because I do not know if it does or not.

    And it may be your opinion that it does, but the sense I’ve been getting from your posts is that your position is that a State can not write a law in this area that does not pre-empt a Federal prerogative in a de facto way.

    And it is this point that I am contesting. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your position, but that’s what I took from #50 when you said:

    the real-world question the current Arizona law presents us with, which is whether a state may unilaterally arrogate to itself a power reserved to the Federal Government.

    I think you may find that it’s less helpful to your argument than you think, not in the least because the law being adjudicated there involved businesses employing illegal aliens, while this law has a direct focus on the illegal aliens themselves.

    Yes, well the point of bringing De Cana up was this bit:

    Power to regulate immigration is unquestionably exclusively a federal power…. But the Court has never held that every state enactment which in any way deals with aliens is a regulation of immigration and thus per se pre-empted by this constitutional power, whether latent or exercised.

    So quite clearly a State can write such laws without it being considered a “land-grab”.

    Since you have not stated specifically what parts of Arizona’s law you believe to be a “land grab” it’s difficult to discuss this in anything but the general case.

    the likelihood that the practice of the law will involve racial profiling of US citizens, no matter how carefully it’s written to avoid such a thing.

    Well do you think it will be enforced worse than what ellid cited the Feds as doing at 111? If not, wouldn’t a successful suit open the door for these same groups to challenge the Federal Law on the same grounds?

    I think the law will have to be considered separate from specific enforcement incidents that may arise. And on the face of it, it seems to me that the Arizona law seems to be pretty clean in this respect.

    But as you say, the courts will tell us. But I doubt it will be “laughed out” of court.

  112. As is most often the case in America for the last few decades, you have to go to non-American sources to get good information, critical information, that doesn’t dovetail into the usual talking points.

    Al jazeera has a good article about the law and about what various people think of it and some of the history around it.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/20105275016497244.html

    Some highlights: One arizona sherriff said he would refuse to enforce it and called the law racist.

    A congressman from California said that he supported the law and even supported the idea of deporting legal American citizens who were born here by illegal immigrants. In direct violation of the 14th ammendment.

    Recently, Arizona revoked the voting registration of 100,000 voters, claiming they were all illegal immigrants. A federal investigator came in and couldn’t find a single case of someone whose registration was revoked was an illegal. Every single one was a legal registered voter. And nearly all of them just happened to be Hispanic Americans.

    When you start looking at the facts of recent history in Arizona, you start seeing an obvious systemic problem of white people in power trying to disenfranchise brown people, whether they’re legally here or not.

    That right there should be a red flag to anyone invested in the truth wherever it leads that this law is motivated by more of the same that pulled the voting registration from a hundred thousand legal Hispanic American citizens.

  113. John at 127: I agree with you that States cannot make laws regarding foriegn affairs. I disagree with you that Arizona’s SB 1070 constitutes a regulation of a foreign affair.

    Whether a person is determined to be an illegal alien, or not, is based in inquiry with the federal government. It is the federal officials who are declaring a person an illegal immigrant, not Arizona. Arizona’s law does NOTHING to grant or take away legal or illegal status. It simply makes an inquiry to the federal government, and then based on the federal response makes the federal government aware of whether a person in Arizona’s custody is here legally.

    Arizona does not even deport the person found here illegally. It turns the person over the ICE, who takes what steps it deems proper in that regard.

    The decision on who is here legally or illegally, and whether they should remain, is vested in the federal government. Thus, there is not usurpation of federal power.

  114. Frank @129, it’s less about being an imbecile than about drawing a conclusion purely because you approve of a law.

  115. John Scalzi,

    There doesn’t seem to be any consensus among constitutional scholars on the constitutionality of the Arizona law. If the law is unconstitutional, it is most likely on somewhat arcane grounds relating to the Supremacy Clause. The mere fact that the law involves state law enforcement officers and the state criminal justice system in immigration does not mean the law is unconstitutional.

    As for your comment #124, the law does not require “a citizen ID to be carried at all times.” It imposes no documentation requirements on either citizens or aliens. Since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to carry their registration documents with them, with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail. European countries have similar laws.

    I oppose the law, but in general I find the arguments of its critics to be grossly misinformed and exaggerated.

  116. Joseph K:

    “There doesn’t seem to be any consensus among constitutional scholars on the constitutionality of the Arizona law.”

    I would personally disagree, because the majority of constitutional scholars whom I’ve read opine on the law seem to believe it is. If you have an actual poll of Constitutional scholars that backs up your statement, Joseph, I’ll be pleased to know of it. Otherwise I’m going to assume you pulled that statement right out of the air. This is another one of those cases where simply asserting something doesn’t make it true.

    “If the law is unconstitutional, it is most likely on somewhat arcane grounds relating to the Supremacy Clause.”

    And? If the reason that it is found unconstitutional is for a reason you personally find “somewhat arcane,” will that make it somehow less unconstitutional? I find apparently trying to dismiss the possible unconstitutionality of a law because you find the aspect of the Constitution with which it conflicts in some manner trivial somewhat contemptuous of that particular document.

    “I oppose the law, but in general I find the arguments of its critics to be grossly misinformed and exaggerated.”

    Oddly enough, as do I many of the arguments of those who support it.

  117. John Scalzi,

    Since you are the one claiming a consensus, it’s up to you to produce a poll or other evidence of that consensus. You haven’t even produced evidence of a bare majority, let alone a consensus.

  118. Joseph K:

    “Since you are the one claiming a consensus”

    Yeah, no. I have said I believe it’s unconstitutional; I have pointed to Constitutional scholars opining in a news article saying they think it’s unconstitutional; I have noted (in response to your assertion) that in my own reading I’ve found most constitutional scholars seem to think it’s unconstitutional. I haven’t asserted a wide-based consensus among constitutional scholars on the matter, because, among other things, I haven’t taken the time to ascertain if there is one (although it would not surprise me if there was). You appear to be asserting certain knowledge on the matter, however, so I’m asking you to produce it, or otherwise acknowledge you’ve pulled that comment out of your own brain.

    In any event, don’t confuse what you think I’ve said with what I have actually said. It’s irksome.

  119. John,

    What do you think of Stevem @133’s comments? They seem pretty sound to me, if true.

  120. John Scalzi,

    The statement of mine you disagreed with referred to a consensus, not a majority. But you haven’t presented any evidence that even a bare majority of constitutional scholars believe the law is unconstitutional. All you’ve produced is a news item quoting a single law professor. How is that a serious basis for a claim about majority opinion? There are thousands of law professors in the United States.

    My own reading of news reports and legal blogs suggests that there is little scholarly support for the position that the law is clearly unconstitutional. Even scholars sympathetic to that view generally say only that the law “may” be unconstitutional and that the question may turn on matters such as how the law is enforced in practise and findings about the motives of the lawmakers. In other words, there doesn’t seem to be any clear answer to the question.

    And I have no idea how you can seriously construe my statement that “There doesn’t seem to be…” as “asserting certain knowledge on the matter.” If anyone is guilty of excessive confidence in his views on the constitutionality of the law, it’s you. And your confidence is even more misplaced in light of the fact that you don’t even seem to know what the law actually requires, as in your comment #124 that I mentioned previously.

  121. There’s the requirement that you carry your draft card (although I think that’s been abandoned in the regulations.) You still have to keep the record of registration, and update it through your 26th birthday.

  122. Joesph K:

    “But you haven’t presented any evidence that even a bare majority of constitutional scholars believe the law is unconstitutional.”

    And I need to do this why, exactly? Unlike you, I have not asserted any claims regarding constitutional scholars which beg for evidence to back up my assertion; I have discussed my own thoughts on that matter and pointed to information which supports my own position. I think it’s interesting that when asked for the data on which you base your assertion, you get all huffy and demand my data first, but again, you appear to be confusing what you think I’ve said with what I’ve actually said.

    “And I have no idea how you can seriously construe my statement that ‘There doesn’t seem to be…’ as ‘asserting certain knowledge on the matter.'”

    Because the statement rather strongly implies that you’ve looked around and found hard evidence which supports your assertion, which quite obviously at this point you haven’t. Although you don’t appear to think so, there is a difference between “There doesn’t seem to be…” and “I have not seen…” The latter is unobjectionable while the former implies a frame of reference outside one’s self. You can argue with me about that reading of your sentence, but you know what, I feel pretty comfortable with my grip on the English language and how it’s supposed to work.

    Mind you, all this could have been avoided if you’d been making it clear your statement was based your own anecdotal wanderings about various outlets of opinion, but you didn’t, which is why I asked you for your data.

    What it appears you are actually saying is that you haven’t seen a consensus among constitutional scholars regarding the law. Which is fine. My own experience of reading about the law is different than yours.

    htom:

    I don’t think one’s been required to carry one’s draft card for a couple of decades now. I registered for the draft a couple of decades ago and as far as I can remember was never required to carry a card with me.

    Garry Willis:

    Inasmuch as the Federal Government is currently considering whether to sue the state of Arizona over the law, I would suggest that perhaps its interpretation of the law is that it is not as benign as Stevem suggests.

  123. John Scalzi,

    “And I need to do this why, exactly?”

    Because you asserted that there seems to be a consensus (though you subsequently claim to have meant “majority” rather than consenus) among constitutional scholars that the law is unconstitutional. I wrote that there doesn’t seem to be such a consensus, and you responded that you disagree. In support of your position, you have cited the opinion of precisely one law professor. I don’t see any empirical basis for the view that scholarly opinion generally supports your personal belief that the law is unconstitutional at all, let alone that it is “very much unconstitutional.” I think you’re confusing wishful thinking on your part for evidence. If you think you have evidence supporting your belief that majority opinion among scholars supports your belief about the constitutionality of the law, produce it.

    “Because the statement rather strongly implies that you’ve looked around and found hard evidence which supports your assertion,”

    I have looked around and did not find hard evidence (or even soft evidence) that a consensus, or even a bare majority, of constitutional scholars believe the law is unconstitutional. Hence my statement that “there doesn’t seem to be” such a consensus. Again, I have no idea how you think a statement of the form “There doesn’t seem to be X” constitutes an assertion of “certain knowledge” regarding X.

  124. John Scalzi,

    “And? If the reason that it is found unconstitutional is for a reason you personally find “somewhat arcane,” will that make it somehow less unconstitutional? ”

    No, the point of that remark is that if the constitutionality of the law rests on arcane legal questions having to do with matters such as the precise scope of the Supremacy Clause, opinions of nonexperts such as yourself are even less relevant.

  125. John at 142: I’ve read the link (http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/05/09/holder.arizona.immigration/). A few thoughts:

    1. Attorney General Holder used the word “may”. May sue is not shall sue.

    2. AG Holder did not reference the federal supremacy clause. Instead he referenced concerns of civil rights and racial profiling.

    3. President Obama and his administration are under a lot of pressure from their interest groups, including those groups they promised to deal with comprehensive immigration reform within the first year of his term. President Obama broke that promise. He has indicated that while he would like to address it this year, there is no political stomach in the Democratic Congress to deal with it at this time.

    4. The Arizona law (a state in which I reside) is wildly popular amongst conservatives and independents, and even gets a big chunk of support from Democrats.

    5. This is an election year.

    Considering all of the above, President Obama and the Democratic party are between a rock and a hard place. They have to talk tough in order to placate an already dissatisfied constituency. But if they “act” tough, either by suing Arizona (which I think would only embarass the federal government, even if it were to win) or placing comprehensive immigration reform before the Congress, they will not only be sticking it to the majority of independents, but will also be alienating a significant portion of the Democratic base.

    Personally, I think there is a lot less legal research going on in comparison to polling. How to navigate these dangerous political waters is the primary concern of the Democratic party, not doing what they believe is the right thing.

  126. Joseph K:

    “Because you asserted that there seems to be a consensus”

    Joseph, apparently you have problems with reading comprehension, as I’ve noted more than once that I have done no such thing.

    At this point you seem to be arguing just to argue. Here, I’ll make it easy for you: Stop. Move on.

    Stevem:

    “Attorney General Holder used the word ‘may’. May sue is not shall sue.”

    Nope, although if the constitutionality of the law were as much of a slam-dunk as you think it is, it’s doubtful “may” would have been in the mix at all.

  127. John Scalzi@124, the purpose of my “pointless snark” is to illustrate that nobody here is talking about WHY it’s a bad thing to have citizens prove their identity.

    There is clearly a bunch of FEAR about the government asking to see your ID. So what’s the fear about? Is the fear rational? Or does it just go back to some movie noir memory of Germans asking for YOUR PAPERS PLEASE (as JimF@91 and other have mention).

    Today we must carry ID to conduct most commerce. We must carry ID to drive a car. We must carry ID to drink alcohol in a public establishment. The argument that enforcing ID would be a massive economic burden (as Ellid@101 argues) is clearly bogus. That’s my point (or counterpoint as it were).

    I did not argue it that the government requiring ID is “equivalent” to carrying ID of-your-own-will. I’m just saying it’s not a huge burden or change of behavior for today’s society.

    And I wanna know why people fear it. Tell me the downside of requiring it. I don’t see abuse today. Nobody is complaining about the downsides of carrying ID to the bar, library or grocery store. What are you worried about?

  128. Surfwax:

    From my point of view your pointless snark was to act like people who have concerns about the government are paranoid whiners, in the process making you look a bit like a jerk. You can make the point without mocking.

    Or to put it another way: Perfectly good point to raise, not terribly effective way of raising it.

    “Nobody is complaining about the downsides of carrying ID to the bar, library or grocery store.”

    They aren’t?

    Suffice to say you apparently know different people than I do.

    Also, and again, the government isn’t a bar or a grocery store. I’m not sure why the difference between a private business one does not have to do business with, and a national government one must follow the dictates of, is hard to grasp.

  129. surfwax @147, your argument would be stronger if you quit giving bogus examples. You do not need “ID” to drive a car; you need a valid driver’s license. (Having a valid passport, or state ID card, or expired driver’s license, will avail you not at all in your right to drive, even if all three are valid as proof of your identity.) The assertion that “you must carry ID” to drink at a bar is nonsense, at least in any state of which I’m aware; you must be of legal drinking age, absolutely, and many establishments will require you to prove that you are so they don’t unwittingly serve a minor, but the act of drinking at a bar without your ID in your pocket is not itself illegal.

  130. Scalzi@148,
    Thanks, yes I grasp the difference between the private sector and government.

    But you evaded my question. What is the fear? The circle of people you know, what are their concerns with ID? How would a national ID hurt them?

  131. What do people fear about the government asking for that ID? Simple. What if they take it from you. Here you are legal with your proper papers and all. A government agent asks to see your papers. You show them. The agent takes your papers and refuses to return them. Wala! Now you are illegally walking about the streets without your required legal papers. The first agent walks off with your papers. A minute later a second agent walks around the corner, asks for your papers. And then arrests you for having no papers. Yep, those evil Nazi’s did just that during their rule over Germany. I think the fear quite legitimate. Goverment officials can always abuse their power.

    Solution? How about that biometric chip implanted in your forearm?. They cannot easily take that. But then I guess they could wave an electromagnet over your arm and erase it. But it would still be there as prima facia evidence you tried to comply with the law.

  132. John at 146: If you go back to my post 126 (quoted by you in 127) you’ll see that I characterized it as “very likely” constitutional, not that it is guaranteed constitutional. And I have provided the basis for my opinion, namely that Arizona subordinates itself to the federal government in determining legal status and whether deportation occurs, and makes no inquiry whatsoever on the issue unless reasonable cause exists to do so. Arizona’s statute, despite the buzz it is receiving, is actually very restrained, IMO.

    And AG Holder’s use of “may” is very telling, but not in the sense you suggest. If he (or his staff) thought it was clearly unconstitutional, he’d be saying so. Instead he is dancing around the issue, playing politics. Which is fine, as he is a lawyer with a political bent working for politicians. If and when he starts acting like a lawyer, not a politician, is when I’ll take a potential federal constitutional challenge seriously. For political reasons, I suspect that AG Holder will not do anything, and instead rely on private challenges to the law.

    What I think many are missing is that SB 1070 is not motivated by race, but rather economics. Depending on which numbers you use, around 1 in 10 occupants of Arizona are illegal immigrants. The state budget is under enormous pressure, and coupled with the Mexican drug wars which are spilling over the border, this tipped SB1070 over the edge, both in the legislative vote and in public opinion.

    And its that basis which is causing the Democratic controlled federal government to lose sleep over SB 1070. If they challenge it in Court, whether they win or lose, they’ll be cutting the throats of Arizona’s Democratic representatives (numbering 5 of Arizona’s 8 representatives). I think the Democrats will likely lose 2-3 of their current seats already. If they challenge the SB1070, I think there will be a very good prospect of the Democratic delegation being reduced to 1 seat, not to mention that Terry Goddard (our Democratic AG who opposes the bill but is running for governor) losing the gubernatorial race.

  133. Surfwax:

    “Thanks, yes I grasp the difference between the private sector and government”

    And yet you continue to make the false equivalence between a private business requiring an ID to business and the government requiring its citizens to carry ID with them at all times.

    I’m not evading your question, I’m just not convinced to my satisfaction you understand how different these two things are, and if you don’t then attempting to answer your question will be futile.

    Stevem:

    It’s clear we differ on the interpretations of many things regarding this law.

  134. Good grief, stevem. If Holder had dropped a lawsuit bomb on Arizona, you’d probably be complaining it was a frivolous lawsuit filed for purely political reasons; since what he actually said was that DoJ is considering its options, including filing a lawsuit, clearly he secretly knows it’s like totally constitutional.

  135. Scalzi@153 Wow, I’ve never seen you respond like that. In years of reading you. I must be all kinds of stupid.

    Mythango@149 A distinction without a difference. Thanks for the distraction, but my point is, they are practically used to identify you. They got’s your picture on it, bro.

    We are talking about government issued documents which are used to prove to a THIRD PARTY (tavern, police officer, or grocer) that you (your face) has been certified to lawfully do the thing which otherwise is restricted. Without these documents you will not be allowed to conduct your business, either by government officials or by private sector.

  136. Surfwax at 147: I do not believe that being required to carry ID would be a burden, practically speaking. The great majority already do.

    On the other hand, being required to show ID is not palatable to me as a citizen. Ditto a national ID. I don’t like the fact that law enforcement, or other government official, can demand to see my identification. It stinks of the “papers, please” mentality referenced by other posters which should be anathema to a free society.

    How we balance the freedoms and privileges of citizens in light of the ten million plus illegals, remains to be seen. But we shouldn’t ignore the possibility of a slippery slope where in the name of enforcing the laws and controlling our borders we actually harm our individual freedoms.

  137. surfwax @155, if you really think there is no difference between some private businesses sometimes requiring you to show varying forms of ID before they will do business with you, and the government always requiring you to have ID on your person at all times, then Scalzi’s right, you either don’t get it, or you just can’t fathom being wrong.

    I mean, you can’t tell the difference between a grocery store and police officer, and you keep asserting as ‘proof’ examples that are flat-out lies.

  138. Mythago at 154: Holders comments do not mean that he views the law as constitutional, as you seem to imply is my reasoning. Holder’s comments indicate that he does not know whether it is or is not constitutional. A fair enough position, for which he should be commended. His caution on the point should cause some of the anti-SB 1070 crowd here some concern.

    In the meantime, for political reasons, he needs to be seen doing something about SB 1070 in order to placate portions of the base but cannot be taking an overt, express anti-SB1070 stance (“we will have it struck down!”) for fear of offending other potential voters. SB1070 came at the exact wrong time for Democratic politicians.

  139. surfwax:

    “I must be all kinds of stupid.”

    Such was not the implication, and I apologize to you if that’s the vibe you’re getting off it. But on the other hand I think you are skating over the difference between when a private business asks an ID of you to engage in voluntary commerce, and when carrying the ID is a compulsory requirement of a government. These really aren’t comparable situations, and I’m not getting a sense from you that you see why they are not.

  140. stevem @158, I’m going by Holder’s actual comments, not mind-reading. He did not say “We are looking into whether the law is or is not constitutional”; he said that DoJ is considering its options in response to the Arizona law, one of which may be a lawsuit, and some of the grounds for which may be violations of civil-rights laws.

    I’m not sure why you think this should cause anyone critical of the law “concern”.

    I’m mostly following the coverage in the legal wing of the blogosphere; a good summary of the current goings-on, with links, is here. I’ve yet to see a defense of the legality of the law based on something other than “well it looks OK to me even though I’m not a legal type and anyway illegal immigration is bad”, though I’d certainly be interested in reading one.

  141. Scalzi@153 Apology accepted. And truthfully I’m honestly curious why it’s a bad thing to require ID?

    Today it does not matter if I’m showing my ID to some government official or a private sector business where I’m voluntarily doing business. Both the private and public sector are ACCEPTING my driver’s license (or passport) as proof of my identity.

    My ID validates me to them. They trust the issuer (the govt) and therefore trust I am who I’m presenting myself to be. They extend privileges to me BASED on that trust.

    Thus a third party, who does not know me, is using my ID as verification that I’ve been validated to legitimately do the thing I wish to do. That’s the purpose of ID. It’s a trust-model.

    Sometimes the trust-model breaks down. Some places don’t trust out-of-state ID. I’ve seen a bouncer refuse an Alaskan ID. So be it. When IDs are easy to forge, or not easily validated, they won’t be trusted.

    Today, both business and government rely on the same ID trust-model. So yes, there is some crossover, from a practical perspective, because the model is the same.

    Therefore relying on this type of ID trust-model seems a natural response when faced with a large population not meeting the criteria to legally be engaged in commerce, public services, or admission in the country. So, I ask, why is enforcing it a bad thing?

    Of course I understand the difference of voluntarily showing my ID for dinner compared to being asked to prove my citizenship. But tell me, why is the later a bad thing? What’s the downside, for me?

    Stevem@156 We are not in a police state. The police are not likely to ID me at the beach, while in the ocean without my documents. So, yes, I’m suggesting that we may collectively have an irrational fear of a “papers, please” slippery slope future. We FEAR this so much we are not even WILLING to engage talking about the real (verses imagined) downsides of requiring ID. Tell me how enforcing ID erodes my freedoms?

  142. We FEAR this so much we are not even WILLING to engage talking about the real (verses imagined) downsides of requiring ID.

    Define “police state”.

    If you can come up with an objective definition such as “when the cops make people do this, then it’s a police state, otherwise, it is not a police state”, then I’ll eat my flat fricken hat.

    The thing is that you at least in taht post right there, are not arguing based on any objective measure whether we are or are not a police state. What you are arguing is that you trust the state, so whatever they do, they’re not a police state.

    Which means you trust the state so much right now that you’re not even WILLING to entertain the possibility that what they’re proposing would qualify as the behaviour of a police state.

    Tell me how enforcing ID erodes my freedoms?

    WOuldn’t being able to move around without showing your ID qualify as a “freedom”? Therefore doesn’t this law erode some of that freedom?

    What you’re doing is demanding an objective definition of “freedom” and “eroding”, and unless you are sufficiently satisfied with our defintion, you’re arguing that the law is not a problem.

    What I’m saying is that if you want to argue that line, then you get to tell me how you defien police state in an objective, empirical way. And if you don’t ahve an objective, empirical definition, then all you’re really saying is you trust that the government isnt’ a police state, with no objective definition fo police state, and you’ll hold to that unproven belief until we prove otherwise.

    And if there’s one thing I know, when someone’s got a deep held belief like that, facts and proof don’t mean anything.

  143. There is a difference between the idea of the federal government issuing an ID card to each citizen and legal resident and the idea of police demanding papers (as in the new AZ law). While it could be argued that one might lead to the other, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this will happen.

  144. It already has happened. The Federal Border Patrol has a number of internal checkpoints where you must show ID (or be very hassled without, or if you object to their orders.) The number is currently still less than fifty (or was the last time I looked) but they’re there, it has already happened. Fifty is greater than zero, which is what many people think the number currently is.

    You are required to do business with the government; it’s not optional. If Caribou won’t sell you coffee, maybe the Starbucks on the other corner will, or you can make your own. But the policeman, you don’t get to choose, and you don’t get to choose (in a general sense) when you encounter her.

    The American understanding of identification and tokens and … is woefully lacking and frequently just wrong. The Social Security number was designed intentionally to be a very bad identification number, to prevent its use in any way other than its intended use: to distinguish between people with otherwise identical full names. For that, it does very well.

    John — yup, you don’t have to carry your Draft Card any more, just keep it updated until you’re 26 and in a secure place so you can produce it if needed. For those who are of a certain age, there might be a need to carry something else to show that they were of an age where they couldn’t be made to produce proof of registration. Knew a girl who was told to report for a pre-induction physical and did. Life can be so much fun if you follow orders.

  145. Greg@162

    I’m not demanding any empirical objective definition of any word. I’m not sure why you are hyper focusing on the word ‘police state’. But it’s not central to my point, so I’ll just take it back, k?

    I’m not saying I ‘trust’ the government. But bro, the law is NOT setting up checkpoints therefore your point about eroding freedom because we’d be ‘unable to move around’ is exaggerated to the extreme.

    I’m not trying to ‘prove’ anything. I’m not even arguing FOR the law.

    I’m simply asking why enforcing ID is a bad thing. And I’m not getting many examples of bad things that could/would occur to me. (I did get one example from Gary@151, thx)

    I AM suggesting (from the beginning) that there seems to be a strange paranoia about this topic for which I don’t see rational reasons. Your vibe suggests you heavily mistrust ‘the government, so I’m going to put you in that camp.

    True, I don’t believe we’d suddenly have a massive monolithic evil government hell bent on clamping down on freedom. And I do believe we us ID in our everyday life. So I don’t think ID enforcement would be akin to WWII Germany.

    So far I’ve not seen a non-extreme argument against enforcing ID rather all I’ve seen is a paranoid fear of legalized racism OR big brother controlling your every move.

  146. What I find interesting (if incongruous) about the National ID card sub-thread is that some of the people argueing against it are some of the very same people who have argued here for single-payer government-run healthcare.

    And yet, in my view, a National ID card holds the same incipient threat to liberty as does government-run health care.

  147. Frank @168, presumably people arguing for a single-payer health care system and against a national ID card do not share your view that they cause “the same incipient threat to liberty”. I admit that of all the arguments against a single-payer health care system, “it will plunge us into a police state” is not one I’ve heard.

  148. mythago

    I admit that of all the arguments against a single-payer health care system, “it will plunge us into a police state” is not one I’ve heard.

    You know, it’s not unheard of in the history of the 20th Century where governments used the health-care system for political purposes; to purge various people, or groups of people who were deemed undesireable.

    I’m sure if you thought about it some, you could come up with an example or two.

  149. Frank @170, sorry, it’s not my job to come up with examples to prove your argument. If you don’t wish to present anything more than opaque snark, that is of course your prerogative.

  150. Frank@168 “National ID card holds the same incipient threat to liberty”. What is the threat?

    Help me out. I’m the slow guy in the back of the classroom.

    Mythano@169 lol, funny.

  151. Mythago at 160: Holder did not say that they were going to file suit or that the law was unconstitutional. He did reference potential civil rights concerns. This is a very soft, equivocal statement which commits him to absolutely nothing. The anti-SB1070 crowd should not rely on President Obama’s administration active support in light of Mr. Holder’s current position.

    As to the validity of the law, I believe the author is a law professor out of Kansas, if memory serves, and he seems to think it would survive a challenge. And of the New York Times articles on the subject, the ACLU types are screaming its unconstitutional while the more middle of the road professors are claiming its right on the edge and whether it tipped over or not will have to await a trial judge’s opinion (and likely appellate review).

    Surfwax: I do have a irrational (or rational, dependent on your viewpoint) fear of a police state. I hate to break it to my fellow Americans, but we aren’t special or substantially different from other nations who have gone down the police state road. It could happen here. So I tend to be knee-jerk anti-anything that might get us closer to that possibility. One of the many reasons I prefer conservative (small government) libertarian (individual freedom) philosophy.

  152. stevem @173, again, I would suggest that you look to what actual legal scholars are saying, not to unreferenced NYT opinion pieces (and of course the author of the legislation thinks it’s constitutional; what did you expect him to say?). That is, of course, if you’re actually concerned about the legal issues, rather than in deciding whether a law is valid purely because you like the results, or because you see it as scoring a point against the pinko commies – whoops, “ACLU types” – in the grand red-vs-blue game of political foosball.

  153. stevem@173 I hate to even concede to talk about ‘police-state’ because I’m allowing the conversation to drift towards the paranoia I’m talking about, but ok, I’ll bite. How do you feel ID enforcement will bring us closer to a police-state?

    For expediency wanna go with the Wikipedia definition of police-state?

    The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

    The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.

  154. surfwax: I’m not saying I ‘trust’ the government. … there seems to be a strange paranoia about this topic

    I don’t think you quite get the issue I’m pointing at.

    You’re saying you’re not blindly trusting the government, but you’re saying everyone who doesn’t is paranoid until they prove otherwise.

    that everyone is “paranoid” is an implicit premise in your argument. (Assuming you’re using logical arguments as a basis for what you’re saying.) And then you’re asking for people to disprove your implicit premise. And if they don’t prove it to your satisfaction, you’re going to stick with “they’re all paranoid”.

    So I don’t think ID enforcement would be akin to WWII Germany.

    So, it’s only a police state if you kill a few million of your own population?

    I asked you for a definition of police state. You say it doesn’t matter because it isn’t central to your point. Now you’re invoking nazi germany. Which would suggest that you don’t think its a police state until the government tries to kill a few million of its own people.

    Sorry, lets remove “police state”, sicne you insist it isn’t your point.

    What you seem to be saying is taht everyone is paranoid about ID’s and that paranoia isn’t justified until the government goes otu and kills a few million of its own people. Police state or not.

    I don’t know what to tell you. If you can’t see the implied premises in your arguments, and the fallacies taht you’re invoking, then I can’t make you see them.

  155. Greg@176 Stop putting words in my mouth.

    I’m simply saying those against the idea of enforcing IDs don’t explain their reason for being against it.

    They make a long jump to legalized racism or police-state.

    I’m asking why it’s bad thing to enforce IDs? If your answer is “the US will become a police-state” then I’m asking how? Tell me how that will happen. Or do you just fear it, because of watching old movies.

    To me, when you have a fear of something, and you cannot justify your fear, it appears paranoid.

  156. Mythago at 174: You seem to make a lot of assumptions. For you edification, I have read the articles listed above, in addition to others, including:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/us/28legal.html

    http://www.goodporkbadpork.com/2010/05/kris-kobach-architect-of-arizona-immigration-law-sb1070-is-behind-other-controversial-laws/

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202457530844

    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2010/04/arizona-immigration-law.html

    http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/how-could-they-do-that-in-arizona/?singlepage=true

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20003631-503544.html

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/05/10/20100510illegal-immigrants-overstay.html

    What it comes down to is not merely my opinion. If a NY Times news article ranges from “it’s terrible” to a begrudging “it might pass muster, barely”, in my view (and internally adjusting for the Times’ bias) that it will likely survive. Especially as that conclusion meshes with my admittedly limited understanding of the involved constitutional issues. It doesn’t hurt that Karl Rove thinks its a bad law.

    More to the point, the Justice Department, despite (or as indicated by) its limp wristed rhetoric, will not challenge it. Come November, the question is not whether the Democrats lose seats, but how many seats will they lose. Challenging the bill would push their loses into the higher range, as opposed to the damage control the administration would like to engage in to minimize losses so they have a Congress it can work with, either because they retained control or because enough ‘moderate’ Republicans (including McCain) survive to work with them on an issue by issue basis (bi-partisan immigration reform!). The Democratic party and the Obama administration wants to have this conversation next year, not this year. If the Feds go head to head with Arizona, the independent voters (and some Democratic) will punish them at the polls more so than they are now. And then President Obama will get nothing done for his last two years, not to mention damaging his re-election prospects.

    Surfwax: You confuse me. Are you saying that a mandatory national ID card would not be one of the first things a police state would do, if able? If you don’t understand the advantages a national ID card or equivalent gives to a central authority (whether his name is William the Conqueror (via the Doomsday Book) or future directors of Homeland Security) then we have very little basis for conversation.

  157. It’s a racism of paper. There are those with paper, and those without. Those with white skin, those without. Those with blue eyes, those without. Those who are vets, those who are not. Those who are handicapped, those who are not.

    Been there, done that, seen the results from both sides of the fence. The fear is entirely rational. Uncle takes away your papers, or voids them, you become an un-person. This is not a new concept, in reality or science fiction. John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider did a good job showing what the advantages — and the woes — of universal IDs brought, decades ago.

    For those interested in watching lawyers have opinions of the new Arizona law, I recommend that you look at http://volokh.com/?s=arizona

  158. stevem @178, in the NYT article you linked to, the weight of consensus is rather against the law being unconstitutional. Your Law.com link goes to a personal profile and interview of the law’s author. Your lawprofessors link goes to the same article I referenced in @160. Your other articles have nothing to do with legal analysis of the law: Karl Rove doesn’t like it (apparently because it hurts GOP cred with Latinos), Victor Davis Hansen likes it (surprise), though he manifests about the same interest and ability in legal analysis as that possessed my elderly cat, and an Arizona newspaper reports we have a lot of illegal immigrants (wow, that’s news?).

    So, again, it’s not much of an assumption to note that you keep phrasing this in terms of whether you like the promised effects of the law, and on us-vs-them, as a substitute for answering the question as to whether it is a valid law. Links to conservative opinion blogs are not quite it.

  159. stevem@178 I’m not ‘saying’ anything. I’m asking a question. Please stop putting words in my mouth.

    Your statement presumes a police-state PRIOR to a national ID card. As opposed to being causal.

    It’s you who confuse me, sir.

    I’m still waiting for someone to tell me why enforcing IDs is a bad thing. We already have de facto IDs in the US. It’s a driver’s license and/or passport. Tell me why enforcing them is bad. Anyone?

  160. htom@179 Interesting comment. But Uncle could take away my SSN#, DL, and passport today, yes? If that happened today what would happen to me? What would I do? What’s different right now, as opposed to under National ID…. or enforcing ID. Would I be doomed to wander the streets forced into using cash only for the rest of my life?

    No, I’d fix it. I’d have a plethora of evidence to prove myself, from birth certificates, and school records, etc. Why could that not exist under National ID?

  161. Because the sole source of that National ID is denying it to you. Unfairly. Unjustly. Illegally, even. And you can’t use those other IDs, because they’re no longer accepted!

    You’ve got credit cards, right? One of them gets goofed up, somehow. You forgot to pay, some scammer ran up the bill, … doesn’t matter; the card is put on hold, you can’t use it. You have the card, but it’s rejected. So … you use a different card, or pay with a check, or cash. (Good reason to have at least two credit cards, folks; use one to pay for the phone calls to the other one.)

    But in the society with National ID, if that gets goofed up, for whatever reason, good, bad, error, … you are out of luck. There is no substitute.

  162. Mythago: In my opinion, you are ignoring or marginalizing that legal authority or argument which goes counter to your position. You accuse me of the same thing. Which is fair enough as that is the reason that we have courts.

    Surfwax: Why did you say “stop putting words in my mouth? I did no such thing, as my attempt to translate what you are saying is posed as a question.

    And on the whole issue of why national IDs may be offensive to personal freedoms, google it. You may be enlightened (or more likely not, I suspect).

  163. Stop putting words in my mouth.

    Pointing out implicit unproven premises in logical arguments isn’t putting words in your mouth.

    I’m simply saying those against the idea of enforcing IDs don’t explain their reason for being against it. They make a long jump to legalized racism or police-state.

    And again if you think that’s a valid logcial argument, then my counter is simply this: Prove to me it wont and if you can’t prove it, then I shall assume it will.

    All I did was take your argument and use the exact same approach for the other side. If it’s not a valid argument for the other side, then it’s not a valid argument for your side.

    So, either you say I’m making an invalid argument, in which case you are too, or you prove how it won’t be a police state or I get to assume it will.

    To me, when you have a fear of something, and you cannot justify your fear, it appears paranoid.

    Uh, OK, what I’m about to do is take what you just said, use the same logical fallacy you just used, but use it from the other side of the argment. If this statement you’re about to read is invalid, so is yours:

    When you have faith in something and you cannot justify that faith, it appear to be blind obediance to authority.

    If you agree with that, then you’re agreeing that you have blind obediance to authority because you have faith without being able to prove it. If you say its not valid logic, then neither is your statement.

    But you can’t have your statements be valid and my versions of your statements (flipped to the other side of the argument) be invalid.

  164. Stevem@184 (sigh) You are putting words in my mouth when you acribe my position to your false premise.

    Your questions assumes I’m debating if an existing police-state would desire to establish national ID. I am not debating that.

    I’m asking HOW enforcing IDs would CAUSE a police-state. Very different question.

    And you’ve not attempted to answer this clear question. You evade and dodge. Dodge and evade. Why is ID enforcement a bad thing? I don’t need to google it, I’m looking for your answer.

  165. Greg@185 Thanks for the logic class. That was cool.

    But why dance around the subject? Why not just explain why you think enforcing IDs is bad?

    How will it cause a police-state?

    All that evading sounds like you cannot find good reasons on the merits.

  166. surfwax: All that evading…

    Dude, I just used your exact same fallacies on you. If my arguments sound like I was evading, it’s because you are evading.

  167. stevem @184: what legal authority am I “ignoring or marginalizing”? All of the actual legal authority you link to says that the Arizona law is very likely constitutional – with the sole exception of the law’s author, and he sidesteps around many of the Constitutional issues (while getting in a cute dig at the DoJ: nobody would possibly challenge my law except for venal reasons!).

    Again: I would be very interested to see a cogent legal argument, made by somebody who knows what they’re talking about, as to why the law is most likely constitutional. The fact that you don’t appear to have thoroughly read or understood your own links, other than those to your favorite political blogs, is not making me optimistic on this point.

  168. Surfwax: How about the blatantly obvious method that has already been mentioned on this thread?

    Right now, if the cops don’t like you, they can harass the hell out of you – and I know people this happens to all the time – but they have a hard time actually pinning anything on you if you’re law-abiding. This current state of affairs is already a problem, in my book, but it is at least livable.

    If it is made a crime not to have your ID on you, a pair of police officers can make you commit a crime; one officer asks for your ID, then walks back to his car or whatnot, and then another officer comes up and asks for your ID … which you can’t provide to him. At that point, we are a police state. If the cops don’t like you, you will be arrested. If you try to record them doing something illegal or questionable … now you just get your ass harassed. With mandatory ID, you’ll get arrested.

  169. Michael@191 I’ll think about that. On first blush I’m not sure it’s very different than today. If cops don’t like you then you are going to get harassed and arrested.

    Cops can lie now, and arrest you now. Cops could shoot you and plant a gun on you, right? If they wanted. The kinda extreme example you are pointing to requires two cops in collusion.

    With mandatory ID would that change? No. Would cops use mandatory ID to mess up your day till you got your identity proved/replaced. Doubt it.

  170. …still evading. Answer my question.

    You haven’t answered mine.

    I asked you to define “police state”, you then “retracted” the term, but then almost immediately after that you invoked WW2 Germany saying “national ID isn’t THAT bad”.

    So, whether you “retract” the term or not, you’re obvioiusly invoking “police state” in the conversation. And by all accounts, it would appear that you’re trying to say that the definition of police state requires the state to murder millions of its own people. Anything less than that is not an real problem.

    So, when a police department implements a stop and frisk program and by all measures it appears to be racially biased (80% of stops were blacks and latinos who compose 58% of the local population), then do you leap to the cops defense or do you acknowledge what the facts say.

    From that same article, it says “Far and away the most often cited reason for a stop by the police is the vague and undefined, “furtive movements” (nearly 50 percent of all stops),”. Meanwhile, people keep trying to tell you that laws that give cops wide latitude for stopping someone for no obvious and apparent reason is an invitation for abuse, and no matter what is presented to you, you remain steadfast to your ignorance, claiming you don’t know of any possible way this could really be a problem, really, and everyone here raising concerns is just paranoid until they can sufficiently prove to you otherwise.

    That link concludes with this: “An inappropriate police stop may feel like a nuisance on an individual basis, but when multiplied thousands of times, it adds up to a collective sense of utter powerlessness. While communities of color wait for the next scandal to erupt, their defenses are quietly being worn down every day in the low-grade warfare waged on their neighborhoods”

    And here you are, trying to maintain the focus on the individual stop. How bad could it be if maybe you get stopped once in your lifetime? Which conveniently avoids looking at the problem systemetically. In 2009, NYPD stopped and frisked half a million people, and by every measure that is objective, those stops reveal systemic racial bias.

    You wanna keep playing dumb, you wanna keep playing the “How bad could it be?” nonsense, you wanna keep playing the “It’s not like we’re WW2 Germany” stupidity, then, well, it’s not a crime to force yourself to remain ignorant and demand everyone else educate you while simultaneously calling them all paranoid.

    But it sure does get old.

    For those grounded in reality, the facts speak for themselves that systemic racial bias exists in the police departments. And one of their favorite weapons is vague and open-to-interpretation excuses to stop, search, question, people.

    It’s a problem. It’s a real problem. Anyone trying to ignore the facts adn statistics of the problem and instead try to focus in on a single individual stop and demand “prove that stop was abuse or none of the stops were abusive”, that’s someone who can’t quite grasp the important distinction between individual bias versus systemic bias, or from a logical argumetn point of view, its called denial of the antecedent. You keep doing that, and it’s more than a little tiresome.

    your other fallacies include ad hominem, begging the question, plurium interrogationum, shifting the burden of proof, strawman, converting a conditional, bifurcation, and what appears to be your favorite, argumentum ad ignorantiam. And since you keep repeating exactly the same thing without addressing anything that anyone says, argument ad nauseum.

    The state and the police abuse power if they’re given it. That’s why there are all teh constitutional checks against state power. Anyone who needs that “proven” to them is living in denial.

    Arguing “what’s the worst that could happen”, tries to focus on the individual stop, while ignoring the problem at the systemic level. It is impossible to prove a single stop is racially motivated if the cop knows what to put in the report. But when you look at the numbers systemically, it becomes obvious and undeniable.

    Now you can either acknowledge this fact of systemic abuse as a real issue or not, but if not, then you’re making it pretty clear that absolutely nothing will ever convince you of anything other than what you already believe. At which point, you’ve made clear that you’re really arguing from blind faith in the government, and well, there’s no point in trying to show something to someone who’s blind, is there?

  171. mythago @171

    If you don’t wish to present anything more than opaque snark, that is of course your prerogative.

    I didn’t mean to sound snarky, I just assumed that you were sufficiently informed about history as to not need a lesson.

    But if you like:

    In 1933 Germany passed the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses) which required doctors to report anyone that they considered to be suffering from a genetic disease so that the patient could be steralized. This also allowed Germany to prevent people from getting married by requiing couples to be tested for genetic diseases.

    All of this was based on eugenics laws passed by 29 states in the US that pretty much did the same thing, but the difference was that in the US the law only applied to people in psychiatric hospitals whereas the German Law applied to the general population.

    In the US

    Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

    President Theodore Roosevelt was a supporter of the Eugenics movement and it was supported by the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune.

    They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

    Under the Nazi idea of Lebensunwertes Leben (Life unworthy of Life) program, “impared” children were put to death as well as “impared” adults mostly from psyciatric institutions.

    In Stalinist Russia, people who exhibited “anti-social” behavior (which could, and often did, include people who criticized the government) were forced to to become psychiatric patients, and of course the psychiatric institutions were part of the government health-care system.

    Do I need to go on?

  172. Just like: National ID cards = Police State!

    But you’re right, it can’t happen here:

    Other factors contributed to the situation in Germany that led to the acceptance of Nazi policies. Economic pressures on the healthcare system were severe in the early twentieth century. For example, between 1885 and 1900 the number of people in the mental asylums of the state of Prussia increased by 429 percent while the general Prussian population increased by only 48 percent [39]. A prominent science journal held a competition in 1911 (with a considerable cash prize) for the best essay on the topic, “What do the bad racial elements cost the state and society?” [40]. The winning essay examined the costs of institutionalizing “inferior” people in Hamburg, and was later used by an anatomy professor at the University of Vienna to support his claim that, “As cruel as it may sound, it must be said, that the continuous ever-increasing support of these negative variants is incorrect from the standpoint of human economy and eugenically false” [41]. Only when the economic pressures were combined with social Darwinism’s view of human dignity did the elimination of the weak and unfit become an acceptable option.
    Under such influences, medicine and nursing changed dramatically in early twentieth-century Germany. In addition to economic pressures and eugenics, social Darwinism’s prioritization of race over individual impacted the day-to-day activities of doctors and nurses. Warren Reich has demonstrated how the notion of care itself was transformed during this time. Popular reformers of the healthcare system advocated moving the traditional emphasis on care as concern for sick or weak individuals to a view of care as preservation of the health of those who had the most to contribute to society. This was based on “the meaninglessness of the individual in the larger biological picture” [42]. This transformed medical and nursing attitudes towards their practice and the meaning given to the duty to care. Thus, “Nursing care was not to be given to the weak. Nurses were cautioned against trying to show false mercy to uselessly sick people; and, in fact, nurses were taught that taking care of ‘useless’ people did harm to the nurses themselves” [43]. All based on the ideology of social Darwinism.
    German medical academics combined such principles with racist ideas. Alfred Ploetz co-founded the German Society for Racial Hygiene in 1904. A sociologist with whom he worked closely stated that the highest moral principle is, “Everything that promotes the increased reproduction of the more fit racial elements, even if [it is] at the expense of the unfit” [44]. Ploetz attacked Christian morality as too focused on love and sacrifice. Wilhelm Schallmayer rejected Christianity because of its concern for the weak and vulnerable which counteracted natural selection. Instead, Schallmayer held that the first state to adopt evolutionary ethics would prevail over all others in the struggle for existence [45]. To the notion of the survival of the fittest individual within a society was now added the notion of the struggle of one society against the other – so that the fittest race would survive. Extermination and war then became moral goods to eliminate the weak.

    Or maybe it could….

    As I pointed out previously, it did happen here (to a much limited extent) with the blessing of many in the political, upper economic, and acedemic class. Who could resist such a confluence?

    And while it may not be anything so prosaic as eugenics, one might simply ask what the cost is to society for people who are a burden on healthcare resources and simultaneously not productive in return.

    Do not think that particular argument is not being made today as we type.

  173. Bravo Greg & Frank! I’ve been following this discussion, and really felt inclined to give a nice loud “Woooooot!” for #194 and #198.

    I’m also quite appreciative of the myriad of other worthwhile contributions – having stumbled upon it in a quasi-random fashion I have been refreshed and restored by the obvious intelligence and civility displayed. I feel I’ve gained a few IQ points just hanging out in the room with y’all.

  174. Frank @197, I can’t believe you forgot to mention Buck v. Bell. But I’m still waiting for you to link this up to single-payer health care. Of course, I’m also still waiting for stevem to come up with a sound legal defense of Arizona’s law beyond “the author says it’s constitutional” or “conservative pundits like it”. I’m not waiting for either of you gentlemen underwater, as the saying goes.

  175. Please to enjoy our Predator Drones! They will be saturating your sky soon.

    On a related note, Al Jazeera had an article today:

    “Drone attacks have stirred anger in Pakistan as they often result in civilian casualties. According to statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, more than 90 per cent of the 708 people killed in attacks targeting the tribal areas in 2009 were civilians.”

    yay us.

  176. Mythago at 200: I haven’t responded as I haven’t seen the point. You and I disagree and we will not see eye to eye on the issue. You will not receive from me any quote or analysis which you will accept, and vice-versa, as we are both entrenched in our positions. In light of that, the mature thing to do is to disengage and wait for the opinion which matters, namely the court’s.

    But, if you want (yet another) a simple explanation of my position, refer to Kobach’s op-ed piece:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/opinion/29kobach.html

    Kobach is the lawyer behind the bill and, likely, Arizona’s legal counsel on the issue (as Goddard has announced he will recuse himself). I think his arguments are straight forward and to the point. He also has a very good track record with these issues in court and, to paraphrase an attorney from one of the groups who has opposed him in the past (recently interviewed on TV), Kobach’s dangerous in a courtroom.

    You might also consider 8 USC 1373 which affirmatively requires federal officials, including immigration officials, to provide information to state and local authorities on a person’s immigration status. For all the talk of ‘preemption’ or ‘supremacy’, which I think is bogus on the face of SB 1070, those opposed to SB 1070 should consider the federal government has APPROVED a state’s inquiry into a person’s immigration status and has forbidden federal employees from withholding that information.

    Which is one reason I think AG Holder is focusing on potential civil rights claims, and not so much the preemption or supremacy claims, in contemplating a challenge to SB 1070.

    And if that still does not satisfy you, see paragraph number one above.

  177. Greg@194
    Thank you for attempting to answer my question. Sure I’ll concede racism and abuse of power has existed throughout history. Sadly your argument’s premise contends it’s racist if a ethnic group is stopped by the police more than ANOTHER ethic group when compared to the population make up. It may, or it may not be. I think the economic status of an ethic group may have been shown to have an influence on crime, and therefore police involvement. You forgot some important factors. Your iron-clad statistical proof is, well… suspect.

    Have police EVER abused power? Surely. Will they in the future? Likely. Are they doing it ALL THE TIME? I don’t believe that. Will they do it MORE with ID checking? I don’t know. Maybe, but prolly not a LOT more. It seems like they have enough tools for abusing power.

    With this in mind, I’m currently HIGHLY doubtful the US would become a Nazi police state if we started enforcing IDs in Arizona. Sure, the Arizona law could allow racist cops to abuse their power. But I’m doubtful it’s a license for SWEEPING racism or radically GREATER abuse than currently exists.

    Why do I claim people are being paranoid? Because they are making a radical leap in logic that ID checking is equal to legalized racism and a police-state. I think that’s an extreme position. Are other ID checking countries caldrons of racism and police abuse? Do we have overwhelming pattern of this? I’m looking for a collected debate of merits rather than radical slippery slope arm waving screaming “papers, please!”.

    We prove our citizenship status when we leave or enter the county, why not while inside it? The clear subtext of your position is you don’t want to crack down on illegal immigration. So you call any attempt to do so racist. If you have 10 million illegal immigrants, then you have 10 million law breakers who need to be deported. Whatever their race. No matter their contribution to our society. No matter their long-term ties. Or children. I admit, that’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m not sure how I feel about that. But that’s crux. You gonna enforce our immigration laws or not? And if you decide to enforce them, you are going to need to spot-check the population. Rather than conducting random searches, it seems prudent we have police check IDs while in the course of their lawful duties.

  178. Sadly your argument’s premise contends it’s racist if a ethnic group is stopped by the police more than ANOTHER ethic group when compared to the population make up. It may, or it may not be.

    Wow. So, after pointing out argument from ignorance, you must be aware of that logical fallacy, which means at this point you’re doing it on purpose.

    I’m currently HIGHLY doubtful the US would become a Nazi police state

    Thus you’ve made clear that the only suitable definition of “police state” is WW2 Nazi Germany. Anything less than that is something less than a police state.

    I asked for a definition, and you provided one. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

    Why do I claim people are being paranoid? Because they are making a radical leap in logic that ID checking is equal to legalized racism and a police-state.

    Well, see, here’s where you keep making the same fundamental mistake every time. You keep assuming that when other people use the term police state, that they mean the same thing you mean when you say police state. i.e. you mean WW2 Nazi Germany.

    The problem is, you see, that your definition of police state, is well, bonkers.

    The second problem is that not everyone is actually objecting on the grounds that this law will create a booga booga police state (shudder). A lot of people are objecting to this law because police departments have repeatedly been shown to exhibit systemic racial bias, and this law is exactly the sort of tool that would allow systemic racial bias to be conducted under the cover of law.

    But you keep strawmanning everyone into ZOMG! POLICE STATE! GAS CHAMBERS! YAAAGGGHH!. Strawmanning is a logical fallacy, and in this case, well, stupid, because the only one buying your nonsense is you.

    Are other ID checking countries caldrons of racism and police abuse?

    Oh, this I really have to hear. Please do tell, what countries are “ID checking countries”?

    Do we have overwhelming pattern of this?

    Gee, wally, I gave you statistics based on one year of stop and frisk by the NYPD. The percentage of minorities stopped where disproportionate to the percentage that minorities make up the local population.

    Any sane person who wasnt’ willfully trying to ignore that racism is real would look at that and admit that systemic racism exists.

    You, on the other hand, manage to explain it away in an interesting explanation (“the economic status of an ethic group may have been shown to have an influence on crime”) which could be read as nothing more than an attempt at camoflaged racism.

    Could I take a complete shot in the dark here and guess that you’re white and male?

    I’m looking for a collected debate of merits rather than radical slippery slope arm waving screaming “papers, please!”.

    You’re not looking for anything. Every bit of hard evidence presented is dismissed for one excuse or another. And every reasonable concern raised by anyone about this law is turned into ZOMG! NAZIS!. “radical, slippery slope, arm waving, screaming, “papers please”” is a perfect strawman nugget that represents you’re technique.

    But I’m doubtful it’s a license for SWEEPING racism or radically GREATER abuse than currently exists.

    You see what you wrote right there?

    PROVE IT.

    I’m looking for a collected debate of merits that justifies your “doubt” here. Otherwise you’re just forwarding an unproven premise from a logical argument point of view, or “blind faith” in common language.

    Sometimes referred to as bovine stercus.

    The clear subtext of your position is you don’t want to crack down on illegal immigration. So you call any attempt to do so racist.

    You know, I really hate it when people repeatedly strawman my position into nonsense, like you did right there.

    There is no “subtext” of my position. I’m all for enforcing the law. Even immigration law. And I’m all for doing it within the context of crazy stuff like “due process” and various other checks against abuse of power by the state and police.

    This law doesn’t turn the US into ZOMG! NAZIS! but it does open up a lot of potential for racial profiling and other abuses.

    I already posted this link that had some interesting statistics, I’m sure you figured out how to dismiss them:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/20105275016497244.html

    “Arizona Governor Brewer’s crusade against illegal aliens needs to be understood in this context. … in 2004, then Secretary of State Brewer initiated a campaign to revoke the voter registration of alleged illegal aliens that wound up removing at least 100,000 voters from Arizona’s rolls, the vast majority of them hispanic. When a federal prosecutor was sent to investigate, he found not one case where a rejected voter registration actually owed to an illegal alien”

    Brewer revoked the registration of a hundred thousand hispanic voters, and not one of them turned out to be an illegal alien.

    So, it’s clear that the subtext of your position is that you’re so hot to crack down on immigration that you don’t realy care if a hundred thousand people get swept up in some government crackdown and not a single one of them is actually an illegal alien.

    That is Arizona’s current governer’s track record.

    You gonna enforce our immigration laws or not? And if you decide to enforce them, you are going to need to spot-check the population.

    Oh? really?? I must do random checks of the population to enforce immigration laws?

    You remember that bit I mentioned about unproven assertions and bovine scertus? This is one of those. Somehow we’ve managed to enforce immigration for a century or two without this Arizona law. If you want to assert that the only way to do it is random checks, and this law is random checks, then you get to add something called “circular logic” to all the other logical fallacies you’ve committed thus far.

    Prove it or it’s BS.

    What this does prove is that you’re starting with a premise (we must have random checks to enforce immigration law) that is your conclusion (we must have this arizona law or something like it to enforce immigration law). And the thing about circular logic is that people who do circular logic are damn near impossible to change their opinion. You not only have blind faith in the government, you’ve got the perfect flat earther explanation as to why.

  179. surf, so you know, you either prove all those unfounded assertions I just pointed out, or you retract them. Anything else is just evading.

  180. “We prove our citizenship status when we leave or enter the county, why not while inside it?”

    Uh, because if I’m Hispanic AND an American citizen, I don’t want to have to spend the day in jail while my wife tracks down my birth certificate because there was an APB out for a hispanc male, age 25 to 45 5 foot 10ish 150 to 180 pounds.

    Or, crap my pants everytime I get pulled over for speeding because I was born in Hawaii and in Arizona, some people in law making positions think a certificate of live birth is somehow different from a birth certificate.

    Greg:

    “Brewer revoked the registration of a hundred thousand hispanic voters, and not one of them turned out to be an illegal alien.”

    Wow. I did not know that. I’m surprised I haven’t seen that on the national news yet. Wow. I wonder if she closed out that press confernce with “I hope we can meet another time, uh, well under better circumstances. Ha!”

  181. OtherBill, yeah, al jazeera is definitely not like Fox News or even CNN. If you want an informed critical appraisal of something in the world, al jazeera is a good place to check.

    Oh, from that same article: it says that one reason enforcement of immigration laws in the past has “been lax is that the Republican Party’s pro-business wing has traditionally not supported tough enforcement, since low wage illegal workers are a boon to business owners. But with the ascendance of the Party’s ultra-nationalist, ideologically motivated Tea Party wing, they are far more concerned with saving America’s “soul” than with the wallets of the Republican upper class.”

    It’s pretty clear that this wasn’t an issue of such extreme importance until the teabaggers came onto the scene. And given that the teabaggers are the source, I think it’s fairly reasonable to attribute most of this to nothing more than xenophobia and racism. Ultra-nationalists aren’t much for give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Whether the teabaggers are aware of their own racism is a different matter.

  182. Greg:
    So ‘tea party’ = racism? How many tea partiers do you actually know?

    I hate to come down on Surfwax’s side on any point in this debate, but when you assert that Arizona’s law will institutionalize racism, and he says it won’t, the onus is on *you* to prove *your* point since asking someone to prove a negative is, as you may know, a fallacy. (I’ll grant I tend to roll my eyes when folks start bemoaning how inherantly wicked and prejudiced law enforcement is.)
    That said, I have to say that as a libertarian-conservative I’m utterly opposed to the concept of a National ID. Something needs to be done about our immigration situation, admittedly, but I’ll be damned if I’ll give the govt. another tool by which to keep tabs on its citizens.

  183. So ‘tea party’ = racism? How many tea partiers do you actually know?

    I’d say, as a bare minimum, at least one.

    Hi tea party member (waves).

    Maybe more.

    I hate to

    No, you don’t. Really, it isn’t polite to lie.

    when you assert that Arizona’s law will institutionalize racism, and he says it won’t, the onus is on *you* to prove *your* point

    You either missed or ignored the links I provided about systemic racial bias in NYPD and in Arizona Governor’s attempts to unregister non-existent illegal alien voters and instead unregistered a hundred thousand legal hispanic americans.

    That’s evidence supporting the notion that sytemic racism already exists.

    You apparently also ignored that Surfwax asserted a whole lot of things, none of which came with any sort of supporting objective evidence.

    I pointed out several of his unproven premises and asked him to prove them. I haven’t heard anything yet.

    since asking someone to prove a negative is, as you may know, a fallacy.

    Uhm, no, no it isn’t.

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/theory.html

    Besides, we’re talking about human behaviour in the future, which can’t be proven from any kind of hard, logical point of view. But it can be reasonably predicted based on past behaviour. (those who who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, etc.)

    And for me to assert Arizona’s law will be used as part of systemic racism, I would have to show that systemic bias is currently (or recently) happening. I showed the NYPD bit whichi shows racial bias in police procedures for “stop and frisk”. I also showed historical behaviour of the current governor of Arizona and the whole “phantom menace” of illegal aliens registerd to vote, showing the governor’s disregard for reality and for non-white voters.

    What, exactly, has surfwax shown as far as any sort of historical or current facts of human behaviour to assert that this will NOT be used for systemic racism?

    Nothing.

    He’s done nothign but assert it as true based on his own personal faith in government. Not based on any facts or history. the best he could do to cite history was to invoke WW2 Nazi Germany and say the law wouldn’t be THAT bad.

    I tend to roll my eyes when folks start bemoaning how inherantly wicked and prejudiced law enforcement is

    I’ve got family who work in law enforcement. What’s your excuse.

    I’ll be damned if I’ll give the govt. another tool by which to keep tabs on its citizens.

    Given you’ve been such a stickler for details, you really ought to prove your implicit premise that government will use national ID to “keep tabs on is citizens”.

    Seems only fair, don’t you think?

  184. Greg:
    Actually, I’m not a tea partier myself, although as you evidently surmise I do sympathise with much of the movement’s philosophy and goals. And I at least am not racist (kind of hard to adhere to a racial identity anyway when you’re biracial).

    And I said ‘hate’ since I’m at odds with Surf’s position in the discussion, as you’ve doubtless gathered. Speaking of which…why else would there be a national ID but for the purpose of keeping track of a nations’ citizenry? That certainly seems to be the case in countries which have them (Greece I know is at least one, but I’m pretty sure there are a number of them in Europe and elsewhere). Such a premise makes me nervous, and if *that* makes me ‘paranoid’, then so be it. Anyway, I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m just explaining why I don’t like the idea of a National ID. Others may trust the govt. if they so desire, but I trust it about as much as I can sling a piano.
    Although I don’t have family in law enforcement, I do know people who work in that capacity, one of them considerably well, and race has never been to them an issue so far as I’ve known. Interesting that you would use the NYPD to further your point, since I at times wonder that this may be something that varies geographically. Out of curiosity, in what part of the country do you live? Having grown up in the South, and lived for the past year in the North, I’ve noticed that race is much more of an issue in the latter than it is in the former. People sometimes react with incredulity when I say this, at which point I like to note that vis-a-vis law enforcement, racial discrepancy in incarceration is lower in the South than elsewhere.

  185. BTW, that was an intriguing article to which you linked, though I didn’t take the time to pore over it at my leisure. Ironic that it should come from a seemingly irreligious site, since in most religious debates the ‘negative proof fallacy’ is something that’s used *against* the religious side.

  186. I do sympathise with much of the movement’s philosophy and goals.

    I can sympathize with quite a lot of different beliefs. But the folks making the most noise, holding the teabagger signs, the folks trying to shout down any debate about healthcare reform, the folks at teabagger rallies with stuffed monkeys with “Obama” nametags on them, they’re the “true believers” of the teabagger party.

    Oh, and, once again, I’m basing this not just on my own personal beliefs, but off of some statistics. Here’s a link for you, for example:

    http://www.groundreport.com/Opinion/Tea-Party-Racism/2921697

    Excerpt: “Approximately 45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy. … Tea Party members are 36 percent more likely to be racially resentful than non-Tea Party supporters”

    So, it would seem that there is statistical evidence to support the notion that the Teabaggers are in large part motivated by racial bias.

    You being a teabagger “sympathizer” isn’t exactly the same thing as a “true believer”, but regardless, in terms of logical arguments and fallacies, your singular case is anecdotal evidence compared to statistical studies of the group as a whole.

  187. Greg@206,
    I’ve officially gotten bored of you twisting my words. Name calling and insults do not offend me so much, I expect this. I just find it really annoying when you say I believe something I don’t believe, or tell people I’ve said something I did not say. It’s horribly exasperating for me. I bet you don’t think you’ve done this, so let me point out a few examples.

    Greg@194 said:
    “it would appear that you’re trying to say that the definition of police state requires the state to murder millions of its own people”

    : I never said that EVER. I defined police state on post#175. Why you think I’ve said differently?

    Greg@205 said:
    “Thus you’ve made clear that the only suitable definition of “police state” is WW2 Nazi Germany. Anything less than that is something less than a police state”

    : First you keep telling me I’ve NOT defined police state (when I had) then continue to tell me I’ve defined it as something other than I’ve ACTUALLY defined it as. Please stop doing that, it’s so frustrating.

    Greg@205 said:
    I think “everyone here raising concerns is just paranoid until they can sufficiently prove to you otherwise.”

    : Untrue, I did not say that. The entire time I’ve been ASKING for reasons against ‘enforcing ID’. I’m curious for good reasons against it. And UNTIL RECENTLY very few folks had provided an argument without hyperbole. Their vibe was only fearful exaggerated generalizations with phrases like “papers please” (invoked by others, not by me, as you also have claimed). They suggest that ID checking would cause the U.S. to become like Germany in WW2. They are worried Arizona is on the slippery slope to Nazism. This sounds like an UNREALISTIC fear to me. And a very extreme position. I don’t care if you to PROVE to me you are NOT paranoid, but IF you are against ID checking I’m hoping you can come up with a better argument than ‘we’ll all become like the Nazi’s’. Try to elevate the discussion. is all I’m saying. Anytime you invoke Nazis in your debate you should be worried about being taken legitimately.

    Greg@ said
    “And here you are, trying to maintain the focus on the individual stop. How bad could it be if maybe you get stopped once in your lifetime?”

    : I did not say anything like that. What are you talking about? Why do you make stuff up?

    Greg@ said “You’re making it pretty clear that absolutely nothing will ever convince you of anything other than what you already believe.”

    : How did I make this CLEAR?! I’ve steadfastly asked for REASONS people think enforcing ID is a bad thing. I’m ‘seeking to understand’ objections to checking-for-citizenship. Finally you gave me the argument of institutionalized racism and police abuse-of-power. Thank you. And wow, that took nearly 10 posts for you to adopt an argument against.

    So far both your arguments don’t appear strong when considering the Arizona law attempts to head-off them off explicitly. Thus intent is established. And apparently the risk appears (to Arizona) worth the value of enforcing our own immigration rule-of-law

  188. Greg! Surfwax!

    I’m separating you to for the rest of the thread. It’s clear neither of you are getting anything out of this at this point but pokes in the eyes. So: deep breaths, and you’re done talking past each other now.

    Also, Greg, you’re doing that thing where you’re sliding into personal attacks first. Reel it in, please.

  189. Since Scalzi doesn’t have a post about the gulf oil spill, this (“various and sundry”) seems to be the closest thing to an open thread. And I just wanted to ask all the objectivists out there, “where’s the invisible hand of capitalism to clean up this oil spill?”

  190. Actually I prefer threads not to wander off, Greg. Although I may put up a genuine Open Thread soon, at which point feel free to ask this there.

  191. Some people are outraged at Arizona’s “paper’s please” law, comparing it to Nazi Germany. Others are outraged at all this outrage, saying that taking the systematic extermination of millions of Jews and comparing it to Arizona’s new law it outrageous.

    Who is outraged? Why, Glenn Beck, that’s who.

    “glenn beck uses more swastika props and nuremburg clips than the history channel”.

    glenn beck says that comparing Arizona to Nazi Germany is just unfair.

    This has got to be one of the funniest clips I’ve seen in a long time.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-12-2010/back-in-black—glenn-beck-s-nazi-tourette-s

    Oh, and in other news, Arizona apparently just passed another law, this time outlawing the teaching of ethnic studies classes in schools. So, I’m sure this has nothing to do with racial bias.

  192. AG Holder admits that he hasn’t read SB1070, and his critical statements were based on news reports. Wow.

  193. Greg

    “So, I’m sure this has nothing to do with racial bias.”

    It’s almost like they’re doing it on purpose. There was an official from Arizona on Olberman to defend it. At the end ofthe discussion, olberman complimented both sides ontheir civility. And all I could think was that was the most blatantly baldly civil racism I can remember seeing in a long time.

    I think they’re just waiting for the president to call them racists so they can flounce out of the union. I mean, this is just flat out appallingly fucked up.

  194. From Wikipedia (don’t take their word for it, follow the links in the article):

    “Jan Brewer signed a bill repealing legislation put into place by the former governor Janet Napolitano,[17] which had granted domestic partners of state employees the ability to be considered as “dependents,” similar to the way married spouses are handled”

    No bigotry here, people. Move along. Move along.

    Also, Brewer eliminated a program that provided health insurance to uninsured children, and is challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform.

    So, it doesn’t seem like Brewer is specifically a racist. It appears that she is running all the standard plays in the the standard Right-Wing-Political-Playbook (RWPP). Thing is, the playbook is racist. And whether Brewer intends to be racist or not is irrelevant. As Gump always said: Racist is as racist does.

    The other bit about the RWPP that becomes clear after seeing the hilarious Louis Black clip in #218, is that it is a standard WRPP play to compare anything they don’t like to nazism, or communism, or fascism. If they really don’t like it, they’ll compare it to all three at once, even though that just highlights how ignorant they are.

  195. From Wikipedia article about Jan Brewer (don’t take their word for it, follow the links in the article):

    “Jan Brewer signed a bill repealing legislation put into place by the former governor Janet Napolitano,[17] which had granted domestic partners of state employees the ability to be considered as “dependents,” similar to the way married spouses are handled”

    No bigotry here, people. Move along. Move along.

    Also, Brewer eliminated a program that provided health insurance to uninsured children, and is challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform.

    So, it doesn’t seem like Brewer is specifically a racist. It appears that she is running all the standard plays in the the standard Right-Wing-Political-Playbook (RWPP). Thing is, the playbook is racist. And whether Brewer intends to be racist or not is irrelevant. As Gump always said: Racist is as racist does.

    The other bit about the RWPP that becomes clear after seeing the hilarious Louis Black clip in #218, is that it is a standard WRPP play to compare anything they don’t like to nazism, or communism, or fascism. If they really don’t like it, they’ll compare it to all three at once, even though that just highlights how ignorant they are.

    And I guess the real test of consistency would be this: All those people out there who are crying about how comparing Arizona’s “papers please” law to Nazi Germany is so unfair, can they demonstrate a history of decrying the exact same unfair comparison when all the right wingers compared Obama to hitler?

    I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and say ‘hell, no’.

    Which makes them bigots and hypocrites.

  196. (wrestle) *struggle* #curse# writhe[thrash]

    Arrrg, these Scalzi binds burn… they… burn!

    (replaces gag)

  197. Yowsa

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/12/arizona-ethnic-studies-la_n_572864.html

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district’s ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

    State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the measure for years, said a Tucson school district program promotes “ethnic chauvinism” and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.

    “It’s just like the old South, and it’s long past time that we prohibited it,” Horne said.

    This would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn sad.

    It’s sort of like the Glenn Beck bizarror-world approach to reality. Call socialized medicine “fascism”, compare the Peace Corps to Hitler’s brown shirts, and call ethnic studies classes “racist”.

    Un… believa… bull.

  198. It just keeps getting better:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/education/14arizona.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    In June 2007, in an open letter to the residents of Tucson, Mr. Horne said, “The evidence is overwhelming that ethnic studies in the Tucson Unified School District teaches a kind of destructive ethnic chauvinism that the citizens of Tucson should no longer tolerate.”

    Mr. Arce and Ms. Burns said that they had repeatedly invited Mr. Horne to visit the ethnic studies classes, but that he had declined the invitations.

    “We wish he’d come see it, so he’d know what we do, and not just go on hearsay,” Ms. Burns said.

    Mr. Horne acknowledged that he had never sat in on a class, but said he did not believe that what he would see would be representative of what regularly took place.

    I just love it when bigots openly admit just how ignornant and ill-informed, they are, and more importantly, just how close minded they are.

    So, he’s made up his mind what goes on in these classes, but he’s never been to one, and he refuses to sit in on one because they might just cause him to question his unfounded beliefs.

    Classic. Just classic.

  199. I forgot to highlight the part where Horne says the evidence is overwhelming, and then doesn’t provide *any* evidence at all, and on top of that is *unwilling* to even sit in on a real class and get real evidence.

    Classic right wing nut job move.

    Just classic.

    He might as well have said he won’t look through the telescope for fear of what he might see.

  200. Obviously he tipped his hand too soon. You can’t tell the ethnic insurgency that you are on to their seekrit plans. Oh wait, that IS exactly the right play. You’re doing -x-. But now that everyone knows your bad peoples, you’ll trick any investigation with double super seekrit fakeout plans.

    Ha, I bet their lesson plans even reflect that Horne is wrong. I bet students and teachers largely say he’s wrong. Ha! That’s just what they want youto think. Don’t fall for the obvious easily provable.

  201. (breaks the Scalzi gag binding him)

    Greg@218 You seem to have fallacy’d all over yourself. You want people to follow rules of debate and then go break them yourself.

    You say: the people who DON’T agree with ‘the Arizona law being compared to Nazi Germany’ ARE WRONG because Glenn Beck made the same point, and well, he’s a right wing nut job.

    You go on to prove Glenn Beck is a hypocrite and generally a narcissistic scumbag, thus ‘proving’ all his beliefs are wacky and wrong.

    By this logic, if someone feels the ‘Arizona=Nazis argument’ is a GROSS OVERSTATEMENT…well, those people must be wild-eyed Glenn Beck supporters. THOSE people must be patently wrong, ignorant, and racist. That’s the ‘ol guilt-by-association fallacy YOU are dropping.

    Greg@222 you say: those AGAINST the Arizona=Nazis comparison should DENOUNCE ALL OTHER UNFAIR COMPARISONS IN POLITICS or else (you say) they are being inconsistent. (and thus wrong?)

    Geez, I don’t even know what to say. Speechless.

    Greg@224, 225, 226 Um, why is Tom Horne and his school district measure germane to this discussion? Are you attempting to prove he is a racist… and thus his measure is racist…. And thus the governor who signed the measure is a racist… and thus the people supporting a DIFFERENT law signed by the governor are ALL racists? It that your point?

  202. Surfax –

    Regarding your last point in that post, why would this new law not be germane to the discussion?

    It’s not irrelevant considering the discussion, in this thread and in other places, of the immigration law has involved its effect on Hispanic Americans. Arizona has now passed a law that puts the burden of proof on American citizens and told the same group of people, in a different law, that courses that teach their heritage have a deliterious effect on “American” culture.

    I’d say that’s relevant. They’ve outlawed the teaching of specific cultures and their influence on America. In my view, that shines a distinct light on their complete lack of concern for the potential impact of the immigration law on American citizens of Hispanic decent. Particularly when the substance of their defense regarding said impact is “Well it says in the bill they can’t be racially profiled.” but when asked directly about the training that officers will receive to fullfill this obligation without racially profiling they quite literally do not know.

    I believe the outlawing of the teaching of their culture, for its negative effects on American culture, speaks directly to why their lack of ideas on how to enforce the immigration law without racial profiling doesn’t seem to bother them.

  203. So, in summary:

    Jan Brewer launched a campaign against “illegal aliens who registered to vote”. She revoked the voter registration of a hundred thousand hispanics. A federal investigator looked and could not find a single case of an illegal alien who had registered to vote. Every single registration she revoked was a legal american citizen who just happened to be Hispanic.

    Brewer overturned an Arizona law that had given domestic partner benefits to gays who worked for the state of arizona.

    Brewer then signed into law a “papers please” law for Arizona, that could only negatively impact hispanics, for the benefit of whites.

    Brewer then outlawed “ethnic studies” classes in arizona public schools.

    What this shows is that Brewer has demonstrated years of discriminatory behaviour. Note that I say behaviour, rather than intent. I don’t care what is in Brewer’s heart and soul, I care how she is behaving. And she is behaving like a bigot.

    The outlawing of ethnic studies courses had been lobbied for years by Arizona state school chief, Tom Horne. Horne said there was “overwhelming evidence” that the classes teach reverse racism and that the classes are “just like the old South”. Horne has never explained what this “overwhelming evidence” actually is. Horne also admitted he’d never actually sat in on a single ethnic studies class ever in his life and he refused an invitation to attend one.

    What this shows is that one of the biggest and most vocal backers for the law based his support on ignorance. And understanding the intent of a law can really only be extracted by looking at the behaviour and arguments from its biggest supporters. Horne exemplifies the intent behind outlawing ethnic studies courses.

    Taking all of this together, one sees an overwhelming history from Brewer that shows a consistent pattern of bigotted behaviour. This is all evidence that supports the notion that Brewer has been behaving like a bigot and that the “paper’s please” is part of this pattern of behaviour.

    Those defending the “papers please” law have no evidence to show this behaviour is *not* bigotry. They’re either like Horne who argues from ignorance, saying they have “overwhelming evidence” to support their case, but don’t actually provide any, and refuse to sit in and see actual evidence that contradicts their conclusion. Or, they’re like Glenn Beck, who try to represent the opposition to this law with the most extreme position from the political spectrum and ignoring anyone who rationally opposes the law based on historical evidence and avoids references to Nazi Germany and Hitler.

    The comparison to Nazi Germany is hyperbole. Comparisons like that don’t prove anything. But they don’t *disprove* anything either.

    What matters is the objective evidence. And looking at the behaviour of Brewer over time, there’s a lot of objective evidence that she’s a bigot.

    Now, folks like Glenn Beck, they find one person who compares the Arizona “papers please” law to Nazi Germany, and use that one person to condemn any and all criticism of the Arizona law. They try to represent all opposition to the law as if it all was nothing more than hyperbolic comparison to Nazi Germany and zero evidence of actual bigotry or any other problems. This is called a “straw man” fallacy.

    Meanwhile, folks like Horne who lobbied for one of the bigotted laws in Arizona, claims he has overwhelming evidence to show that the law is not bigotry but rather addressing some real problem. But not only does Horne not provide any evidence, let alone overwhelming evidence, Horne admits that he has never observed the thing he so readily condemns, and refuses to look at anything that might provide evidence that disagrees with his evidence-less position.

    And lastly, there are the “know nothing” folks who do nothing but repeat the mantra “prove this is racist” while ignoring the historical evidence of Brewer’s own behaviour: revoking the voting registration of a hundred thousand American citizens who were hispanic while pursuing some nonexistent phantom menace. Revoking the domestic partner rights of gays who work for the state of arizona. Enacting a “papers please” law that can only result in hispanics being targetd by the police (cause who is going to question whether some white guy is an illegal alien from Mexico?). And outlawing ethnic studies classes lobbied for by some ignorant, uninformed bigot, who refuses to look at facts even when invited to.

    When presented with all that, these “know nothing” people look at you wide eyed and say “I’m open minded enough to be willing to consider this law is racially motivated, if you’d just provide some evidence. Any evidence at all, really, and I’d be willing to consider it.”

    And then cue the Glenn Beck “They’ve got nothing but some crazy comparison to Nazi Germany and that doesn’t prove anything” strawman follow up.

    The defenders of this papers please law seem to break down into three basic categories:

    (1) nazi-strawmen like Glenn Beck

    (2) I’ve got overwhelming evidence but my dog ate it like Horne

    (3) I’m willing to consider this is racism if you’d just provide any evidence at all to support that, while ignoring all the evidence.

    And these people like Brewer and Horne and Glenn Beck, they’re not a bigot, no sirreee. Not until you can prove it to the satisfaction of Brewer or Horne or Glenn Beck. Until Glenn Beck confesses to being a racist, well, he’s a bastian of equality who is misunderstood by all these reverse racists.

    Yeah, until we “prove” it, and by “prove” they mean that they confess to being racists, until then they’re the poor innocent misunderstood victim here.

    So, I think that pretty much sums up the whole of the Arizona/Brewer brew-ha-ha. If any evidence shows up to either support or counter this, I’ll post it here. But if it’s just more of the (1) nazi-strawman, or the (2) I’ve-got-overwhelming-evidence-but-my-dog-ate-it excuse, or the (3) I’m-willing-to-look-at-evidence-if-you’d-just-provide-some responses that we’ve already seen, then, well, there’s no point in rehashing it again.

  204. Oil Spill! My thought on that, aside from the general and appropriate “well, this sucks” response:

    Some updates:

    http://trueslant.com/allisonkilkenny/2010/05/28/allegations-emerge-bp-prevents-fishermen-from-wearing-respirators/

    BP would fire members of cleanup crew for wearing a respirator. It would mean there is a problem and then they’d be resopnsible if workers got sick. It would also look bad in the news.

    http://trueslant.com/allisonkilkenny/2010/05/22/obama-politely-asks-for-cooperation-while-bp-rules-spill-zone-with-iron-fist/

    BP has local police chasing reporters away from scene.

    Obama won’t subpeona info from BP. Will ask nicely and accept whatever he gets.

    Obama’s “investigation” committee will include William Reilly, a Director at DuPont and ConocoPhillips.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/19/bp-coast-guard-officers-b_n_581779.html

    The Coast Guard is chasing reporters away too.

    http://trueslant.com/allisonkilkenny/2010/05/25/what-is-obama-supposed-to-do-about-bps-disaster/

    Obama has approved more offshore oil drilling permits.

    http://allisonkilkenny.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/bp-tells-cleanup-workers-no-photos-of-dead-oil-covered-marine-life/

    BP won’t allow workers to photograph dead animals

    But here’s a dead dolphin that someone managed to capture on film:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_the_hidden_death_in_the_gulf.html

    BP is only interested in Public Relations spin and avoiding any liability for their actions, and they have no interest whatsoever in actually cleaning up the mess or paying people they’ve hurt physically or economically.

  205. There is apparently evidence of a tie between this event and the Pakistani Taliban,

    The US government has announced that Afghanistan has won the mineral deposits lottery.

    Estimates put the total value of minerals in Afghanistan at around one Trillion dollars.

    Apparently some of the deposits are in the mountain area along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. i.e. where the Pashtun live and where the Taliban have been known to hide.

    The US government seems excited that this would help improve Afghanistan, but given how dysfunctional the country is, and given how a third of all lottery winners in the US declare bankruptcy within five years, I don’t think we should assume that this is a slam dunk.

    Since the Pashtun don’t really consider themselves as “Afghanis”, but rather their own people, the mineral deposits under their land might end up being sufficient incentive for them to revolt and demand their own country. The borders of that country were essentially arbitrarily drawn by the British, so it’s not like they’re attached to it.

    http://www.warhw.com/2010/06/15/afghanistan-wins-lottery

Comments are closed.