Arizona’s New White Panther Party: Money & (Anchor) Baby Hate

Three weeks ago I woke up and started organizing my thoughts to write this post. I had no more than written the title when news started coming in hot, first on Twitter and then local news channels, that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in Tucson. In a strange dichotomy, it was both an event which brought the ugly underbelly of hate in my state into even better focus than it had been before, which is the subject of this post, as well as an event which put the desire to write it, and the moment for it, on the back burner. With the filing in the Arizona legislature of twin bills at the end of this week attacking the automatic citizenship granted to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants under the 14th Amendment, it seemed like time to return to the matter.

Specifically, we are talking about the following Arizona Legislative measures:

– House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 1309 would define children as citizens of Arizona and the U.S. if at least one of their parents was either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent U.S. resident and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

– House Bill 2562 and Senate Bill 1308 would seek permission from Congress to set up a system so states can create separate birth certificates for children who meet the new definition of a citizen and those who do not.

These are the provisions engendered by the hateful right wing “anti-anchor baby” effort. Arizona is, as it was with the previous “immigration papers please” law enacted in SB 1070, on the cutting edge of the national anti-immigrant and hatred of brown movement. While Arizona may be the test lab, it is certainly not necessarily the originator for these discriminatory and bigoted efforts. The “father” of the measures, leader and vocal mouthpiece for them in the Arizona legislature is State Senator Russell Pearce, newly crowned President of the state senate. Pearce worked off the template written by national movement conservative Kris Kobach for SB 1070, and the attempt to blow up the 14th Amendment birth citizenship guarantee is also being pushed by national extreme right wing movement conservatives such as Rand Paul and David Vitter.

But the point man and patron saint of anti-immigration hate in Arizona is indeed President of the Arizona Senate Russell Pearce, a former top deputy and confidant of the pernicious Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. When Pearce first arrived in the Arizona state legislature in 2001, it was as a state representative from the heavily Mormon (Pearce’s religion) area of Mesa, and he was known for little more than being a

…loudmouthed backbencher, unhealthily obsessed with illegal immigration.

So how did this two bit back bencher, who only came to the legislature because he was terminated as the state director of the Motor Vehicle Department for malfeasance in tampering with department records, come to be the most powerful man in the Arizona legislature? The old fashioned way, money, lobbyists and a push from the movement conservative national political machine. In short, the craziness of the ever more extreme and immigrant fear mongering national Republican party caught up to Russell Pearce’s local innate bigotry. And the big money and high powered lobbyists now backing and fueling Pearce is the story of this post.

On Friday night, January 7, a high dollar fundraiser was held for this front man for divisive hate and bigotry in Arizona, Russell Pearce. But the fundraiser was not in the middle and lower class neighborhood Pearce represents, but instead in the tony Camelback Mountain/Biltmore area of East Phoenix (picture of the estate above). As fundraising is prohibited during the legislative session that was set to start the following Monday, it was a last chance for big business and the moneyed elite to pump up Pearce and give a push to the “anti-anchor baby” legislation he had stated would be a priority as he began his new position as President of the State Senate three days later. The money for hate fest for Pearce ended less than twelve hours before Gabby Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and approximately twenty other souls were shot down by Jared Loughner, in an act that would instantly come to symbolize the divisive brand of hatred sown by Russell Pearce and his right wing supporters.

Who were these people bankrolling and gleefully toasting Pearce and his in your face brand of bigotry? It is all too easy to pin this movement on the supposedly grass roots “Tea Party” movement. Except the truth is the “Tea Party” is not particularly grass roots in the first place and instead is an outgrowth of mainstream GOP lobbyists, and this group of luminaries comprise the monied elite of the traditional Republican party in Arizona, not to mention more than a few national interests. The hate is quite mainstream and is the work product of big money and big political lobbying operations.

Stephen Lemons, who pens the excellent and biting Phoenix New Times political blog and column Feathered Bastard clues us in on the names behind Russell Pearce:

There are some familiar ones: Corrections Corporation of America shill and Governor Jan Brewer’s Svengali Chuck Coughlin; Mark Spencer, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association; Bas Aja of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association; Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; and former Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, of the Washington, D.C.-based Upstream Consulting.

But Lemons did not stop there; working off of an official invitation to the uptown fundraiser soiree obtained by Tucson political blogger extraordinaire Three Sonorans (pictured above; click for larger size), Lemons provided a true service to one and all and did the research to provide the affiliations for all the power players hosting the Pearce event. As it is such a roster of the who’s who of mainstream Republican political elite in Arizona, I am going to include the entire stunning list:

Barbara Meaney, Triadvocates LLC

Barry Aarons, Aarons Company

Bas Aja, Arizona Cattleman’s Association

Brian Livingston, Arizona Police Association

Brian Tassinari, Upstream Consulting

Charles Bassett, Blue Cross Blue Shield

Chris Herstam, Lewis & Roca

Chuck Coughlin, HighGround Public Affairs (clients include Corrections Corporation of America)

Courtney LeVinus, Capitol Consulting LLC

Dave Childers, (lawyer)

Dave Kopp, President, Arizona Citizens Defense League

David Landrith, Arizona Medical Association

Richard Foreman, Southwest Gas

Donald Hughes, Kutak Rock LLP

Donald Isaacson, Isaacson & Moore

Doug Cole, HighGround

Ellen Poole, United Services Auto Association

Farrell Quinlan, National Federation of Independent Business – Arizona

Genevra Richardson, Ziemba Waid Public Affairs (clients include Democratic candidates)

Gretchen Jacobs, AZ Governmental Affairs

Gretchen Kitchel, Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

Gibson McKay, Veridus, LLC

Jaime Molera, Molera Alvarez Group

Jake Logan, former aide to Jake Flake, not sure who he works for

Janna Day, Fennemore Craig

Jason Bezozo, Banner Health

Jason Isaak, Policy Development Group (clients include CCA)

Jay Kaprosy, Veridius, LLC (clients include ATT, American Express)

Jeffery Hill, Hill and Hill Accounting

Jeff Sandquist, Veridius LLC

Jim Norton, R&R Partners

Joseph Abate, of counsel, Curtis Goodwin Sullivan Udall

John Kaites, Public Policy Partners (clients include EDS)

John MacDonald, Husk Partners, Inc (clients include CCA, Hopi Tribe)

John Mangum, Law Offices of John Mangum

John Wentling, VP, Arizona Citizens Defense League

Joseph Sigg, Arizona Farm Bureau

Ken Quartermain, Public Policy Partners

Kevin DeMenna, DeMenna & Associates (clients include City of Phoenix, Pickens Fuel Corp)

Kristen Boilini, KRB Consulting,

Kurt Davis, FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs (clients include AZ Cardinals, American Traffic Solutions)

Laura Knaperek, former legislator

Lee Miller, Mario E. Diaz and Associates

Lyn Harry White, FreeportMcMoranCopperandGold

Marc Osborn, R&R Partners

Marcus Dell’Artino, FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs

Mark Barnes, Barnes and Associates

Mark Spencer, PLEA

Matt Salmon, Upstream Consulting

Michael Racy, Racy and Associates

Michelle Ahlmer, Arizona Retailers Association

Mike Gardner, Triadvocates, LLC

Mike Williams, Williams and Associates Public Relations

Nick Simonetta, KRB Consulting

Norm Moore, Isaacson & Moore

Penny Allee Taylor, Southwest Gas

Rip Wilson, SRW Consulting

Rob Dalager, Galagher and Kennedy

Robert Shuler, The Shuler Law Firm

Russell Smoldon, SRP

Sheriff Paul Babeu

Stan Barnes, Copper State Consulting Group (clients include Covance, Blue Cross)

Spencer Kamps, Home Builders Association of Southern Arizona

Stuart Goodman, GoodmanSchwartz

Susan Anable, Cox Communications

Susie Stevens, Stevens and Stevens Law

Sydney Hay, Southwest Policy Group

Thomas Dorn, Dorn Policy Group

Suzanne Gilstrap, Capitol Consulting, LLC

Tim Lawless, NAIOP-AZ, trade association representing the commercial real estate industry in Arizona

Tom Farley, Arizona Association of Realtors

Wendy Briggs, Veridius LLC

These names may not all ring a bell with the national readership of this blog, but it is pretty easy to see their status and positions of power from Stephen Lemons’ fine work in ferreting out the affiliations and, as a native Arizonan, I can assure you these are the highest levels of movers and shakers in the business and legal world here. They are NOT the “grass roots”, and do NOT represent the “power of the people”. No, they are, quite instead, the people with the power. They would surely not want it, but should be known far and wide for the bigotry, hate and disrepute they have encouraged and bankrolled for the state of Arizona. It is their handiwork Russell Pearce fronts for.

And nothing brought the ugly face of Arizona painted by Russell Pearce and his merry band of backers to light more than the horrendous carnage of the Giffords shooting less than twelve hours after their party concluded. The picture painted of Arizona in the aftermath was a hideous one of bigotry, hate and guns run amok. Nothing, at least for me, captured this picture quite as well as an article by Will Bunch in the Huffington Post entitled “Arizona, Where the American Dream Went to Die“:

Welcome to paradise. Indeed, it doesn’t take much time in the Arizona desert, or a lot of shoe-leather reporting, to see how the nation’s 48th state had become the undisputed No. 1 in vitriol and bile. Just in the remarkably short time I was in the greater Phoenix area last March, the newspaper was full of stories about a bill in the Arizona legislature — that turned out to be SB 1070 — that would be so harsh toward undocumented immigrants that its sponsors openly admitted to making the streets so hostile to Mexicans that they would leave. On Saturday, I saw campaign volunteers swoon to get Sheriff Joe Arpaio to autograph a pair of the pink underwear that he makes his immigrant prisoners wear in the brutal desert heat to humiliate them. On Sunday morning, I rode past fathers and sons cheerfully walking to a spring-training game in Tempe so I could meet a Baptist minister named Steven Anderson who told me that Obama “deserves to die” because the president supports abortion rights, and over lunch a Tea Party leader calmly told me that Mexicans want to reconquest Arizona up to 16th Street in Phoenix and “kill all the white people.” While I was on my way home to Philadelphia, there was the death threats against Mitchell, and when a militia leader called for Tea Party activists to break the windows of House members who voted for health care, some responded. In Tucson, at 2 a.m. someone shattered the window of a congressional office, possibly by firing a pellet gun, belonging to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

It it any wonder that they call Arizona the Grand Canyon State? When news bulletins first flashed on Saturday that a congresswoman had been shot at a public event, it didn’t take too much imagination to correctly surmise that it was Arizona, and that the victim was Gabrielle Giffords. Nor were you shocked, as some clearly were, when Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik declared his home state to have become “a mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” The grim, blood-soaked crossover from death threats and broken windows to actual murder and mayhem seemed inevitable. But why here, in such a naturally blessed, sun-soaked corner of God’s earth?

Why Arizona?

I have long read and respected Will Bunch, and his entire piece is well done and worth a read. His words hurt deeply, and I contacted him to tell him so. But, in fact, there was more truth to his biting article about my home state than I, and probably anybody else who lives here, would like to admit. When Bunch asks “why Arizona” the Republican lilly white monied elite and politically powerful described above are exactly why. Loudmouthed ignorant bigots like Russell Pearce have always been around here and there, but nobody paid much attention to them until the mainstream GOP gravitated to the extreme right and merged with the crazy. Now they are one, as clearly evidenced by the willing and celebratory backers of Russell Pearce at the fundraiser prelude to the massacre at Congress on the Corner the following morning.

Far from being limited to the random wingnuts like Pearce, Rand Paul and David Vitter, the New White Panthers of hate are led by mainstream GOP voices like John McCain, Jon Kyl, the current power center in the GOP Senate caucus Jim DeMint, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority leader Eric Cantor.

Republicans have made a cottage industry of whining about, and ginning fear of, the New Black Panther Party; all stemming from a harmless and uneventful episode where two well behaved men were present at a polling place in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential election. As Adam Serwer recently pointed out, the entire story is a manufactured fraud. But while the New Black Panthers scare is a hoax perpetrated by the Republicans, the New White Panthers constituted of the Republicans, their money men, lobbyists and front men like Russell Pearce are certainly no hoax and far, far from harmless.

When Pearce and his elite backers held their fundraising sunset soiree, only a dedicated but somewhat rag tag group of about 40 protesters (photo of the remnants thereof above) in the street outside stood up to object. Without a larger and stronger voice of opposition from national Democratic leaders, including Barack Obama, this pernicious brand of hatred and bigotry that has turned Arizona into a laughingstock will take hold and grow in other states. Like the security state and loss of privacy, it will become the unacceptable, yet ratified, norm.

[Editor’s Note: I apologize about the too dim pictures of the event. I live rather close to where it took place and rode my bike over to check it out, and take pictures, after my wife and daughter saw it while walking the dog and reminded me about it. I had forgotten, was blithely home watching the Cotton Bowl and, by the time I got there, the fundraiser was ending and it was nearly past sunset (although a quite beautiful one)]

  1. PhilPerspective says:

    Thanks for this. It just goes to show that things like the KKK never truly died. They just moved states, and took a far more upscale way of doing things. Do any of the big newspapers there have any guts to write about these bigots and assholes?

  2. orionATL says:


    this is a most excellent piece of journalism.

    i have come to believe that nothing is as important to controlling uncaring, misleading, immoral political or journalstic behavior as naming the inevitable list of enablers behind the souless politician like pearce or the self-serving journalist like judy miller.

    your report also reads as a heart-felt and unstinting description of the moral depraviy of a number of arizona’s political elite. the thought that came to mind as i read it was of the moral depravity of political “leaders” in some southern states in their relentless exploitation of race to achieve and retain power – a depravity, i will add, that has reappeared in the south in a scrubbed-up version, this time propagated by republican state politicians rather than democratic.

    p.s. “…road my bike over to check it out…”

    bmaz, my internal picture of you has changed forever :-).

  3. orionATL says:

    paid for by “peace for arizona” says the invitation.

    that phrase radiates slick republican orwellian p.r.

  4. orionATL says:

    very insightful bmaz :-).

    when returning to ATL (from a graduation in phoenix, as it happens) my wife said our luggage was at carousel x.

    i asked “how do you know that”?

    she pointed to the very large sign on the wall.

    i could not read a single letter or number.

    as i type this, on the table by my chair is the address and phone number of our optometrist in my wife’s handwriting.

  5. Mary says:

    Great piece – scarey how statewide politics create just as many monsters as federal politics, isn’t it?

    BTW – when did Arizona decide that the Unites States courts have abdicated in personam jurisdiction based on physical presence?

    “and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” So – the US has no jurisdiction over illegal immigrants once they are in the US? It took a real cast of characters to come up with that one.

  6. orionATL says:

    mary @7

    along similar lines, i was wondering why one or more of the u.s. attorneys’ offices in az wasn’t involved in talking pearce’s efforts down before they become law and gain a life of their own.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, they tried. The US Atty here is Dennis Burke, and he is a decent chap, but they cannot stop the right wing lunatics that control the legislature now.

  7. MadDog says:

    As bad as is the racism implied by these Arizona State laws if passed, what bothers me even more is their deliberate antipathy for the US Constitution.

    And these folks know full well that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment prohibits the things they want to do regarding US citizenship, so the undeniable takeaway is that these Arizonans believe that states can nullify Federal Constitutional law.

    This is echoingly familiar to the rationale used by the Secessionist states as they betrayed our country before the US Civil War.

    As a matter of fact, it would not surprise me at all to find the very same Secessionist arguments coming to the forefront by these folks should the Federal courts rule that these Arizona State laws obviously unconstitutional.

    The definition of treason hasn’t changed since the attempted Secession in the 1860s. Do these folks understand that?

    • PJEvans says:

      They think that’s not what they’re engaged in. Because of course they know what all the Founders (their caps) would be doing if they were here.

      I’d bet that the founders would be setting up a second try that would write the Bill of Rights into the main body, and make it absolutely clear that ‘people’ and ‘persons’ don’t exclude non-citizens, but do exclude corporations.

    • bobschacht says:

      As bad as is the racism implied by these Arizona State laws if passed, what bothers me even more is their deliberate antipathy for the US Constitution.

      Well, Arizona is only newly acquainted with the Constitution, having been a frontier state only admitted to the Union in 1912, the 48th state. We still are, in too many ways, still a frontier state with a Tombstone mentality. Somehow, too many Zonies think that the ideal solution to every problem is the OK Corral.

      Bob in AZ

  8. MickSteers says:

    Those toying with secession have no intention actually going for it. They can bravely preen and posture in safety and comfort, knowing there is no possibility of having it happen.

    These theatrics, bills that will absolutely be ruled unconstitutional, are great for fund-raising, riling up the base and focusing national debate on their fringe agenda. What better way to marginalize those they hate than to harass and abuse them a while until the federal cavalry shows up. Then they get to play victim to big government against the will of the people.

    They won’t get secession (they don’t want it) but they may get most of what they really want; a very different America.

    • bmaz says:

      That is the point, and they are pretty open about just that in relation to the immigrant baby attempt. They have been wildly successful, beyond anything supposed experts predicted, with the SB 1070 effort. It is a mistake to sell these people short, especially if the Democratic leadership keep treating them as a serious and viable negotiating “bi-partisan” partner in governance.

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    The federal constitution made some difficult promises, but I think those paragraphs* and articles* strengths will be too much for Republican majority Arizona legislature machinations to subvert.

  10. greenharper says:

    Thanks, bmaz, for this post and for the link to Will Bunch’s article. That Arizona contribution lineup is really revolting. What it will take to neutralize the influence of that crew beats me.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, you know, the majority of people here a re good and decent people. What is going on politically here is not the state I know and grew up in. It is a paradox I also do not have the answer to. I did not always agree with Gabby Giffords (a bit too blue doggish for me), but she honestly cared and tried to do what she felt right and proper for her constituents and the state and her heart was genuinely warm and in the right place. Maybe if she really pulls through this okay and stays in public life she can be a focal point for reclaiming some sanity. Short of that it is hard to see where the leadership back towards the normal comes from. It is a little disturbing.

      • Kelly Canfield says:

        I know what you mean.

        Previously AZ produced Rose Mofford, who couldn’t have been a better governor after Mecham. Sane, a real healer at the time, and people were very glad she was at the helm.

        Fast forward to Brewer, and I’m like “What in the HELL?”

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A frank and honest piece of journalism. Recommended.

    Pearce is portrayed as a flailing loud-mouth given a lucrative stage contract to strut and fret by wealthy powerful producers and directors who want him to “put on a show”. He is the swirl above the pacific water, not the many-toothed finned tiger below.

    An obvious objective for enabling such well-paid fools as Pearce is the standard oligarch’s goal of setting the mob against itself rather than against the oligarchs. I imagine that law-abiding and hard working immigrants often make a pittance, but many earn as much or more as Tea Party devouts. Their economic – and hence, political – interests might ordinarily be aligned against the interests of these favored few, were Tea Partiers passions not inflamed by the likes of Pearce and aimed at an identifiable “other”.

    That objective can be seen written larger in the Pete Peterson program to cut Social Security and other aspects of the safety net. But the history and culture of old Arizona seems a more welcoming home for explicitly violent rhetoric. Pity everyone seems to have forgotten that the clean-up of its old wild west towns, which helped civility and predictability replace frontier angst, started with banning guns inside town limits.

    • onitgoes says:

      An obvious objective for enabling such well-paid fools as Pearce is the standard oligarch’s goal of setting the mob against itself rather than against the oligarchs.

      Bingo! Sadly, at the end of the day, this is what all of this ginned hatred, race-baiting and ignorant bullying is all about: pitting the proles against one another. Whether it’s conservatives v. dreaded awful CommieNazi libruls, or lilly white “hard working” Tea Partiers v. Anchor baby lazy slacking illegals, or what have you… imo it’s all about distracting the white racists and liberal-haters against the rest of us.

      Distracted from the real culprits creating our problems and issues, which are the 2% elite.

      Excellent reporting. It’s very sad to see what’s happening in AZ, which is a gorgeous state that I love to visit… but anymore feel a bit leery of. With Loughner’s recent sad spree, it’s clear that ginning up hatred and nuttiness has a bitter outcome, and usually it’s against those perceived either to be illegal, lazy, damned liberals or all three.

      We have to keep on pushing for our rights and keep on trying to educate the populace about what’s really going on (albeit hard to push against the monied elite mounting their furious campaigns via RushGlennSarah).

      And so: on it goes…

  12. wayoutwest says:

    Bmaz, you should call them The New Grand Dragons because the White Panthers opposed everything they stand for.

    Here in NM we are moving in the same direction since electing our New La Tejana governer.

    • ondelette says:

      Yeah, bmaz, I’m with wayoutwest. If “New White Panthers” is their term, we can’t do anything about it except sit stunned by it’s inappropriate appropriation and use. If it’s yours, well, the White Panthers were some of the sweetest people that ever put together a free peoples’ concert (or a free clinic) in the Panhandle, and don’t deserve to have their good name mixed up with the hatred in Arizona.

      • bmaz says:

        It was my term, it was meant to be in contrast to the New Black Panthers which I made quite clear, and your concern is exactly why I modified it to be the NEW White Panthers. I am much more worried about the current than an old violent relic of the past. And yes, I know exactly who the original “White Panthers” were, and they were by no means the benign entity you seem to perpetuate. “Good name”?? You have to be joking. In fact, they were responsible for violent activities, including bombings, and the only reason their founders did not rot in prison is because of the ruing in the Keith case, aka US v. US District Court explained in depth here, here and here by Mary. They were not nice little hippies with a “good name” spreading peace and love through some groovy MC5 concerts; very far from it.

        • medicinecat says:

          Old Panthers (Left), New Panthers (Reactionary Right), what’s the difference, eh? Why don’t you just start calling the Teabaggers “anarchists” like the mainstream media? I mean, it’s an emotion-laden word, right?

        • ondelette says:

          The ones I knew did exactly as I said, I went to the concerts, I was treated at the clinics. Personal experience. Don’t care what you cite, that’s what I saw, ca. early 1970s. Stop talking down.

          Besides, if all you do is go to court records, I’m sure you will go find that the Black Panthers are a violent party that did battle with the FBI and went to jail repeatedly during that period, and that, for instance, Bobby Seale is a violent man who had a violent career at the 2nd from the top position, and not that it was he, and not Sargent Shriver who originally came up with the idea, in Oakland, California, for the Headstart program.

          Stuff on the streets in the 1960s and 1970s is important. Go bury your head in your court cases. All I did was tell you that you might have picked a different title. You can disagree without talking down, lawyer.

  13. pajarito says:

    Just drove in to NM from AZ, saw a prominent sign on I-40 “Is It Constitutional?” No doubt “Tea Party” as it was in ‘that’ part of the state.

    The Difference in NM is that Gov. Martinez was elected by corporate money. The legislature and the majority of people are solid Democrat. She has been handed some early defeats by the State Supreme court.

    She has moved to gut environmental regulation and controls on monopoly utilities. Thankfully, she won’t get far.

    Though the Texas Oil Lobby and others are getting their money’s worth!

    • bigbrother says:

      The Guantlet an Eastwood film describe the taste for violence and power in Arizona. The sheriff Joe craptastic treatment of inmates is another. The starvation wages that businesses pay in AZ is another. Driving with a loaded piece is another.
      The hatred produced by Lu Dobbs for years on MSM feeds hatred. A high member of the catholic lay order Knights of Columbus, a business friend was so vitrolic I banned him from contacting me. My father a Phoenix resident, and a member of the John Birch Society would literally rant about Robert E. Lee and was still fighting the Civil War as many on the list might be.

  14. PeasantParty says:

    Good GAWD Y’ALL!

    That list of benefactors could feed and house half of my state of unemployed!

    Yeah, we have to get out in front of this Hate regime somehow.

  15. BeachPopulist says:

    All the evidence of conservative, right-wing, corporatist ulterior motives and skullduggery notwithstanding, there is still the issue of whether or not kids of people here illegally should have citizenship status. As I understand it, no other country in the world allows this. (If wrong, please correct and give examples.)

    We are facing a huge unemployment crisis that shows no signs of abating any time soon. We have huge deficit problems at the local, state, and federal level. We have issues regarding resource overconsumption and degradation. As easy as it is to write chalk up public support for these kinds of measures to pure racism, I submit that a good portion of the public knows, or senses, that we can’t be all things to everybody, that we can’t be the job and benefits provider to the world.

    I know it sounds mean and crass to say it, but we have to secure our borders, we have to stop more people from coming here in hopes that it will solve their problems, and we have to get a handle on our population growth. You can’t be worried about global warming and our national carbon footprint and then turn around and support measures that encourage and facilitate growth in our population that put additional demands on resources, job creation, public services, etc.

    • Kelly Canfield says:

      You’re right; it does sound crass and mean.

      You realize that there’s an ancient migrant history on our southern border, right? And that in the case of AZ, it’s been a state for a mere 99 years of that history?

      And more to the point, if you legalized these folks, much of the social insurance problem gets smaller, as there become more payees into the SocSec, since this country has a declining birth rate.

      • BeachPopulist says:

        You realize that there’s an ancient migrant history on our southern border, right?

        Yeah, sure, but you’re arguing the old “it’s an American tradition” argument. Hey, slavery was once an American tradition. So was women not getting to vote, and senators picked by state legislatures. Suggesting we go back to those traditions?

        if you legalized these folks, much of the social insurance problem gets smaller, as there become more payees into the SocSec, since this country has a declining birth rate.

        Umm, yeah. Except:

        a) As been argued here with much vigor, simply raising the SS withholding cap extinguishes all SS funding issues as far as the eye can see. (75 years minimum, which, given the wide range of future unknowns, is as far as any rational economist or actuary is willing to base projections.)

        b) Your argument about those people paying into SS assumes that they are in addition to legal and citizen workers already here, when in fact they quite often displace those workers and work for lower wages and fewer, if any, benefits.

        c) More people paying into SS doesn’t solve the problem of escalating health care costs which are the primary, almost sole, driver of non-defense deficit problems.

        d) Allowing more and more people to come here does not do anything to reduce our consumption of world-wide resources, our carbon footprint, etc. We can’t attempt to get the rest of the world to confront climate change, alternative energy requirements, population adjustments, etc., as long as we are notoriously and egregiously the worst offender.

        It would be nice if we could be solution to the world’s problems. But not everybody can have the “American Dream”. Indeed, these days lots of native born citizens (of legal resident or citizen parents) can’t have the “American Dream”. Witness the unemployment/underemployment plight of Margaret, DakineO1, Larue, and many others who post here.

        What the world needs are changes in both the domestic policies of other countries and American/corporate meddling in those countries so that they can each have their own national dreams. Aside from the fact that the elites don’t want it to happen there is no reason there shouldn’t be, and can’t be, a “Mexican Dream”, a “Honduran Dream”, and a dream in all those non-latin/non-hispanic countries which send so many illegals here.

        • Kelly Canfield says:

          Yeah, sure, but you’re arguing the old “it’s an American tradition” argument. Hey, slavery was once an American tradition. So was women not getting to vote, and senators picked by state legislatures. Suggesting we go back to those traditions?

          You’re putting words in my mouth I didn’t say.

          What I mean is that there should be a recognition of migrant activity that supercedes any “American Tradition” because it was well before America that these folks migrated back and forth with the animals and crops.

          As far as the rest of your comment, it’s perfectly conservative, certainly not progressive. No problem with that, as long as you acknowledge it.

  16. Margaret says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we fight a civil war over, among other things, nullification of federal law? And didn’t the nullification advocates lose? Badly?

  17. Twain says:

    I really want my daughter and grandson out of that state. Daughter is an active Democrat and it scares me.
    Arizona is beautiful but that beauty now covers the ugliness and rot underneath.

    • beguiner says:

      Arizona is not just a beautiful state in terms of scenery, it has great cultural institutions like the Phoenix Symphony (which I saw last weekend) and lots of cool people. I’d hate for all of the cool people to leave, just because the bigots currently have the upper hand. They will be soon be outnumbered by Latinos and sane folk… then politicians like Arpaio and Pearce (and McCain and Kyl) can go f*** off and disappear.

      • bmaz says:

        Thank you, and exactly right. What seems to be front and center now was nowhere in sight my entire life, even up through the mid 80s or later. It is an attitude imported with a lot of bigoted retirees who moved here and monied elite that came and walled themselves in to Scottsdale east Phoenix and Paradise Valley as well as the Tucson Foothills. They teamed up, for political convenience with a some previously almost completely marginalized idiots that were indigenous and grew into what is on display today. But the real Arizona was here before and will still be here when this dies down in the future. Leaving in fear is NOT answer

  18. epiphyte says:

    If Kris Kobach defines you as something other than a citizen, what rights does he deign to grant you?

    Do you still have the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”? Maybe just Life; grudgingly; and even then only until the moment you’re actually born. Otherwise you’d have to let illegals have abortions; and that wouldn’t do at all. Who would Kris have left to dehumanize then?

    In my line of work I come across many clever, motivated people from countries such as India and China. Most of them were educated in the USA. For the Indians, at least, the first question they ask when they get here is “Where is everybody?”. Just as with previous generations, there’s plenty of room for those who are motivated to succeed. Conversely, it’s a small world and if those people end up somewhere else, their success will be at our expense, rather than to our benefit.

    For my money, the only test for US citizenship should be that you should want it badly enough to make an effort.

    What’s more, being a US citizen shouldn’t confer upon you any rights that you didn’t already have, other than the vote.

    That’s it.

  19. medicinecat says:

    Calling these racists “White Panthers” is an insult to the Michigan anti-fascists (including myself) who belonged to John Sinclair’s White Panther Party in the late 1960’s – early 1970’s.

    Why not just call these Arizona reactionaries “The Abraham Lincoln Brigade” and insult anti-fascist volunteers in the Spanish Civil War?

    How about calling these right-wing thugs “The Vinceremos Brigade” and slur the leftist volunteers who went to Cuba to help with the sugar cane harvest?

    Names have meaning within an historical context. The name “White Panthers” is taken. Leave it alone.

  20. chili says:

    Are any of you aware of the fact that the welfare requirements are skewed to favor the illegals? A citizen must provide income information in order to qualify for welfare. An illegal, on the other hand, does not have to provide any income information because it is illegal for them to work in the us of a.

    And believe me, they’re working, not paying for medical, food and a minimal amount for housing. That’s why they’re driving ’10 350 Fords and I’m driving an ’86 Nissan. And I work.

    • beguiner says:

      “That’s why they’re driving ’10 350 Fords and I’m driving an ’86 Nissan.”

      Yeah chill… it’s brown peoples fault that you drive a piece of shyte auto. I’m sure that they are responsible for everything else wrong in your life. And using the term “illegals” for human beings who lack government issued residency cards tells me plenty. Am I an “illegal” if I fail to have my tail pipe emissions checked by the DMV.

      Do you support Pearce’s bill that creates separate designations for newborn babies based on their parents identity — in effect creating 1st class and 2nd class citizens?

  21. wayoutwest says:

    It appears that senior bmaz is a revisionist historian or possibly just ignorant of the cultural revolution of the ’60s and what actually happened.

    It also appears that we have some nativists here who don’t know jack-shit about the immigration status requirements for welfare benefits in the US or that the majority of people on welfare are White women.

    It is a shame that this supposed Left-wing site attracts this type of reactionary drivel.

  22. roya says:


    Thank you for the excellent piece of journalism. Thank you for having the courage to write it. I have been amazed at the racism and bigotry coming out of this beautiful state. I have lived in AZ for 17 years, love it, but we have a very scary situation here. The in-state hate rhetoric and organizations that are taking over the state, is dangerous and alarming.

    The state legislature, thinking they are above the law, is out of control.

    Thank you for speaking up about this. You might be interested in a meeting on Feb. 15 in Phoenix, to stop Private Prisons is in connection to a group American Friends Service Committee. We have to bring attention to how Private Prisons are ruining the state and to try and stop them. This is just one more blight on the state.


    Legislative Delegation and Press Conference

    on Opposing Prison Privatization

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 11:00am

    Arizona Capitol House Lawn

    please contact us at 520.623.9141 or email cisaacs AT to participate!

    Thanks for your courageous article.