Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 9, 2010

LOSING THEIR HEADS.... We talked a week ago about Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) trying to defend her anti-immigrant policies, prompting her to argue that immigrants entering the U.S. illegally are responsible for "beheadings." All available evidence suggests Brewer just made it up, and her office hasn't been able to substantiate the claim.

But Brewer seems to be leading a larger crusade among Arizona Republicans, making it seem as if their state is on the verge of immigrant-based anarchy, overrun with immigrant drug trafficking, kidnappings, and police shootings. The more the rest of the country hears about these nightmare scenarios, the more they're inclined to support measures like the odious Arizona immigration law.

Dana Milbank explained today, "Last year gave us death panels and granny killings, but compared with the nonsense justifying the immigration crackdown, the health-care debate was an evening at the Oxford Union Society."

Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been "essentially flat for the past decade." For example, "In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes." The Pima County sheriff reported that "the border has never been more secure."

FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago -- yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen." President Obama justifiably asserted last week that "the southern border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years," yet Rush Limbaugh judged the president to be "fit for the psycho ward" on the basis of that remark.

The "beheadings" lie was amusing in its hyperbole, but we're reaching a point at which nearly every claim made by Arizona Republicans and their allies is simply, demonstrably wrong. Violence from Mexican drug cartels is spreading north? There's no evidence of that. Phoenix, according to McCain, is the "No. 2 kidnapping capital of the world"? No, it's not. Most immigrants from Mexico are drug mules? That's wrong, too. Most law-enforcement shootings are at the hands of undocumented immigrants? Total bunk.

At this point, I'm hard pressed to find any GOP talking points on immigration policy that aren't made up. We can't even have an honest debate on the issue because one side of the divide is living in fantasy land.

As for the real-world effects of rhetoric from Brewer, McCain, and their allies, it seems the only obvious consequence is a drop in the number of people who actually want to visit the state of Arizona. After all, why would tourists want to go to a place its own leaders describe as some kind of lawless, violent dystopia?

Steve Benen 2:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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we're reaching a point at which nearly every claim made by Arizona Republicans and their allies is simply, demonstrably wrong

You could take out "Arizona" and this would still be true, and more broadly applicable.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on July 9, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Immigrants in Arizona are not white and many don't speak English. Therefore, they are evil, and lies about them merely serve to get at the deeper truth: Many people who aren't immigrants in Arizona are amazingly stupid, and nasty bigots to boot.

Posted by: JMG on July 9, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I have a very hard time understanding the perceptual ability and conceptual continuity of our friends on the extreme Right.

I doubt I would be able to navigate in their made-up world - fear and loathing are not two emotional traits I would cherish, and as for the nightmarish imagery continually employed by Brewer et al., well, it reflects poorly upon the realm of commonly accepted sanity! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on July 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I used to comment on the right wing blogs, but I gave up. When you argue with a right winger, you can never get to the point of actually arguing policy because you spend the entire time arguing over facts. I think that's intentional on the part of right wingers. They know that if the argument is always about facts, they'll never have to explain their policies.

Posted by: fostert on July 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK


"At this point, I'm hard pressed to find any GOP talking points on immigration policy that aren't made up. We can't even have an honest debate on the issue because side of the divide is living in fantasy land."

Steve,

Why limit your analysis to immigration policy?

Bob

Posted by: Bob on July 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Tell me again why this hyperbole would make any sane person (of the white persuasion, at least) want to move to Arizona or locate a business there? Are they now so overpopulated that they need to discourage in-migration from elsewhere in the US? I thought they had lots of vacant, foreclosed houses.

Making Arizona sound like a scary, anarchic battleground seems kind of counterproductive to me.

Posted by: Mimikatz on July 9, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Governor Brewer is just trying to make Arizona safe for White Males.

It ain't the immigrants that are the probem, its the Mexicans.

Posted by: RepublcanPointOfView on July 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Are they now so overpopulated that they need to discourage in-migration from elsewhere in the US?"

Actually, yes. From a water perspective, at least. The Colorado River can't supply any more water and reservoirs are dropping fast. Fifty years from now, cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix may have to be abandoned for lack of water. And if we attempt another oil shale boondoggle, that 50 years becomes 30. Those of us living in in the Southwest know that population sustainability is based on water, not how many houses you can build. By that measure, the Southwest is already overpopulated.

Posted by: fostert on July 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Among all these other things, we could talk about the way McCain and Brewer are doing an injustice to law enforcement agencies that are doing a hard job well. And even making things worse by passing silly laws that interfere with good police work.

We need more police chiefs and sheriffs taking the lead on getting this message out. I imagine they are generally loath to be involved in political messaging, but this area might constitute a good exception.

Posted by: Algernon on July 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

There are no consequences for lying.

Posted by: Knows the Game on July 9, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to Knows the Game...

There are no consequences for rethugnicans lying.

Posted by: SadOldVet on July 9, 2010 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it'd be helpful if our esteemed media would report the facts of things, instead of the politics of things. But the circle jerk continues.

Posted by: nepat on July 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

We can't even have an honest debate [strike]on the issue[/strike] in this country because one side of the divide is living in fantasy land.

Fixed for accuracy.

Is there any issue on which the Republicans aren't living in a fantasy land of disastrous wrongness?

Posted by: Gregory on July 9, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

The MSM feeds the perception of a massive crime wave overtaking the nation. Every statistical measure in the world shows crime rates declaining for the better part of 30 years (since the early 80s). But the 'it bleeds it leads' mantra of the MSM means every crime gets hyped way out of proportion.

If my local news broadcast can't find a juicy crime happening nearby they'll lead with a juicy crime that happened on the other side of the country. Hell I've even seen them lead with crimes happening in other countries if nothing bloody enough happened in the US. And even if crime isn't the lead story it's a good bet that there will be a least one crime story (usually two) at some point in the broadcast whether it happened locally or not.

Add to that the plethora of crime shows filling prime time and the constant bellow of punidits (from both sides of the political isle) talking about how 'ugly' things are getting or about how 'unsafe' things have become and its a wonder people leave their houses in the morning.

Posted by: thorin-1 on July 9, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The 100% accurate failsafe test to determine whether a Republican is lying: are their lips moving?

Posted by: TCinLA on July 9, 2010 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen."
-------------

Yah, short-term memory problems will do that!
Of course, his wife benifits by being the new woman in his bed every night!

Posted by: Moxo on July 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

And as a reflection on the citizens of our country When did it become perfectly acceptable for duly elected senators and congressmen to daily stand in front of us make up stuff that is false, bald face lie to our faces and yet we accept it and our watchguard? media accepts it without a word being said or anyone being called on it . Well other than by the ones of us on these blogs who are willing to call liars, liars.
When McCain makes one of his outrageous lies in public why is there not one person in the MSM who will call him on it? If it was a Dem you can bet that it would be headlined the next day.

Posted by: grandpajohn on July 9, 2010 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is what Gov. Brewer was talking about, amongst scores of other incidents in the last few years, including 21 dead a week ago. This report has photos of the "Mutilan a 9 en Caborca" as the local Caborca paper, "Elimparcial.com" reported.
(Warning: very, very graphic if you scroll down)

http://borderreporter.com/2009/06/gods-gonna-cut-you-down/

Caborca is as far from AZ as DC is to Annapolis.

Milbank missed his lying/clown calling...he'd be sitting in Olby's chair right now making some real coin, if he hadn't made the fatal error of considering himself a serious WAPO/journo.

Posted by: tao9 on July 9, 2010 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why bloggers keep referring to Republican politicians as living in fantasy land.

Living in fantasy land requires that you believe in your fantasy. Has anything that national Republicans have done over the last 10 years reminded you of fantasy?

The correct word is "lying". They lie to confuse, sow fear, misdirect, and misinform, with the sole purpose of regaining national power so they can keep feeding themselves and their favored pals.

So let's get real...let's not confuse lying with fantasy. You don't debate liars, you call them out. Otherwise, we're the ones living in fantasy land. Exactly like a Democratic Party that thinks it can negotiate with professional liars.

Posted by: steve on July 9, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

I saw a representative for the Mexican farm workers who have a website asking Americans to come and take their jobs. Apparently after quite a while they have only been able to coax 3 Americans to come and work in the fields. They work in the fields of California part of the year and work the fields in Arizona the other half of the year - each year. My question is - now who will grow the vegetables and harvest them in Arizona?

Posted by: JS on July 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

In todays Richmond Times-Dispatch there is a quote from AG "Cucchi" that Arizona "is in a much worse situation than VA".( of course beheadings are a bit rare here too.) Plus he says that "If Virginia doesn't have standing (re:federal health care) then the US doesn't have standing against Arizona. I personally want to see this mans law school transcripts to see if he really did pass or did he pay someone.

Posted by: mishanti on July 10, 2010 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Then, I guess there's no further point in debating.
Let's just enforce the Enable Act, declare a national emergency and perform immigration reform by executive order.

Posted by: agentX on July 10, 2010 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

"The more the rest of the country hears about these nightmare scenarios, the more they're inclined to support measures like the odious Arizona immigration law"

Also, the more people hear about these hallucinations, the more they give Arizona a wide berth as far as visitations. Officials in the border areas say business is hurting as no one wants to come.

Posted by: bob h on July 10, 2010 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

Calling it wrong is wrong.

They are lying. Intentionally. One doesn't discuss or debate this, one points out the lie.

Discussing it validates it.

Calling out the lie and responding with truth telling is the response to lying.

Posted by: pheski on July 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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