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Reposted from Daily Kos by jethropalerobber
SB1070 vigil
Brown people held vigil protesting SB 1070 outside the Arizona state capitol in May 2010. Republicans freaked out. (Joshua Lott / Reuters)

Republicans around the country are rushing to adopt Arizona-style anti-immigration laws, designed to criminalize undocumented immigrants and hassle them into oblivion.

Problem is, Americans are addicted to cheap immigrant labor -- from domestic help to farm labor -- leading to schizophrenic hilarity like this, from a couple of weeks ago:

The [Texas House] bill would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed. Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

Yet Utah, locked in a battle with Oklahoma to claim the status of "most Republican state in the union", has decided a different approach:

Utah, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by better than three to one in the state legislature, has passed the nation's most liberal - and most reality-based - policy on illegal immigration. And the Republican governor is expected to sign it.

The legislation includes both a watered-down enforcement provision that police say won't make much difference and a guest-worker program that would make all the difference in the world - if it survives constitutional challenge - by granting legal status to undocumented workers and allowing them to live normal lives. In a nutshell, it's a one-state version of the overarching immigration reform package that Congress has repeatedly tried, and failed, to enact.

Conservative Republicans here - and Republicans don't get much more conservative than the statehouse variety in Salt Lake - say their bill is a gauntlet thrown down to the feds for their inability to deal with illegal immigration and the nation's demand for unskilled labor.

That's one way of looking at it. But the "Utah Way," as some are calling it, is also a fraternal attack on Republicans, in Washington and elsewhere, whose only strategy is to demonize, criminalize and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

Karl Rove, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich are among the Republican grandees who have distanced themselves from that approach and warned of the peril it poses for the party. In the wake of Arizona's legislation last year, a wave of copycat bills would go a long way toward permanently ridding the GOP of Hispanics, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority.

Now to be clear, this may be the most "liberal" immigration bill passed in America, it's by no means liberal. its guest worker program is a Chamber of Commerce's wet dream -- providing a stream of cheap labor, without the need for granting those workers with the rights and privileges of citizenship.

On the other hand, it's a million times better than the Arizona model, and it is still dramatic hearing unimpeachable conservatives say things like:

"They've had their 15 minutes in the media and now the adults are going to start talking about how to handle matters," said Paul Mero, executive director of Utah's most prominent conservative think tank, the Sutherland Institute, who helped draft the compact. "We've been able to break through that political barrier put up by the wing nuts who see every brown person as a criminal."


In the face of sound bites from reform opponents such as "What part of 'illegal' don't you understand?" Utah conservatives shot back with: What part of destroying the economy don't you understand? And by the way, what part of breaking up families don't you understand?

If conservatives were smart, they'd adopt this model. While not fully granting undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, it's also not a hateful and destructive approach to a complicated and often vexing issue. Given that Latinos are naturally socially conservative, such an approach on immigration would give Republicans a fighting chance in winning their vote.

Politically, the Arizona approach is a gold mine for Democratic electoral chances. The GOP's zeal for demonizing the fastest-growing demographic in the nation is a wonder to behold. But from a policy perspective, the nation would be far better off if Republicans opted for the Utah model itself.

Heck, I'd be happy if our own Democratic administration would stop bragging that it is tougher on undocumented immigrants than even Bush was.

Reposted from lcj98 by jethropalerobber
This bill provides a way to find the right balance between the public’s right to know and the personal privacy of both constituents and policymakers, while protecting taxpayer dollars... Our goal is open and transparent government.

That is a qoute from our most exulted govenor, Gov. Gary Herbert, after he signed the bill last night.  The bill in question, HB477, which sailed the both chambers in complete secrecy and made public late Friday, is a bill that will restrict the publics access to government records.  This is an attempt to the pesky "Liberal mainstream media" from bothering our illustious state legislature with those oh-so annoying questions.  As one state senator said, "this bill would merely inconvenience the media and called the anticipated impact of the bill 'hyperbole'."  

Even though there was a protest last night to urge the govenor to keep his word and veto bill, he decided against it because it's easier to go ahead and pass the bill now then call a special session in a few months and "have a process where everyone can come to the table."-- the Utah legislative session ends this Friday.  So between now and June this bill will be an enforced law that will keep the public from knowing who has been emailing and texting their state representatives.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by jethropalerobber
Orrin Hatch and Matt Kibbe
Orrin Hatch crashes FreedomWorks party on March 1. Photo: David Weigel.

You know how Utah Senator Mike Lee (R-Teahadistan) doesn't want to take sides in fellow Utah Senator Orrin Hatch's (R-TARP) bid for renomination by the GOP? Well, it's obviously not because he think it's important to stay neutral in primary battles, because he's just made a Senate primary Texas:

Lee is backing former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R), who is actively courting Tea Party voters and competing with Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) for support from the conservative end of the party.

"I am proud to enthusiastically endorse Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate," said Lee in an email distributed by Cruz's campaign Monday. "The 2010 election showed that voters are looking for strong, principled conservatives in the Senate. Money and the establishment aren't what they used to be; principle and message -- real conviction and a proven record -- matter much more."

That stands at stark odds with Lee's declaration in his home state. "It's not my intention to support any candidate until the Democratic [sic] process has had a chance to play itself out in Utah," Lee told MSNBC when he announced he wouldn't support Hatch in the primary.

Of course the 'democratic' process in Utah involves getting nominated by the state Republican convention -- the same folks who ousted incumbent Senator Robert Bennett in 2010 because he was insufficiently versed in fundamental teahadism. And especially with Mike Lee standing on the sidelines, the same thing is going to happen to Orrin Hatch in 2012, no matter how many parties he tries to crash.

Reposted from ImmigrationPolicyCenter by jethropalerobber

By Wendy Sefsaf

Late Friday night, the Utah Legislature passed three immigration-related bills that now go to the Governor for his signature or veto in the coming week. While some may be quick to celebrate Utah’s unique approach to immigration, others are left wondering whether these bills are all they’re cracked up to be.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by jlms qkw

Worship any God you want, but if you buy into any belief system that says some people are more equal than others, you're a fool. Further, if you think your savior's prejudice should shape public policy, you're a tyrannical fool.

Former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham was all of that, but the Mormon car dealer was also a bumbling nincompoop whose fundy ego drove him straight into an impeachment cul-de-sac. Unfortunately, the state's new crop of authoritarian crazy is organized and downright vicious. In the past couple weeks, a long list of anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-education, and anti-healthcare bills have sailed through some important committees. If they land on Governor Brewer's desk, it's unlikely she'll wake up from her 13-second stupor long enough to veto them.

To a large extent these laws are grounded in the intolerant beliefs of the legislature's Mormon leadership, abetted by other religious zealots.

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Reposted from RLMiller by jlms qkw

After deliberating five hours, a federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah has convicted Tim DeChristopher on two felony counts.  DeChristopher, "Bidder 70," bid in December 2008 on Bush administration midnight auctions of oil and gas leases near Arches National Park in Utah.  The judge severely limited DeChristopher's defenses of necessity and stopping of a higher crime both before and during the trial.

The Salt Lake Tribune has the facts, but I prefer to use Bill McKibben's thoughts via Twitter:

Tim has shown the power of civil disobedience to shine a light -- the government should be giving him a medal, not a sentence.

In time this will be recalled as a key early battle in the century's long fight for a livable climate

If the Feds think this will deter protest, they couldn't be wronger. Tim was brave alone; we need some mass bravery
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Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 04:10 PM PST

The ghost of Tom Joad shows up in Utah

by engine17

Reposted from engine17 by jlms qkw

It snowed like hell with strong, gusty winds. The spirits of Joe Hill and Tom Joad warmed the crowd and shone in the eyes of Utah AFL-CIO President Jim Judd and Julie Holzer, International Representative of the United Steel Workers Union.

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