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It comes as no surprise that uber Republican State Senator Russell Pearce won re-election last night. His Democratic challenger Andrew Sherwood was a pretty cool guy, a young man who pulled no punches in nailing Pearce on his extremism. But he was running in a conservative Mormon district, and Pearce is both. In fact, he's a really conservative Mormon, a follower of Cleon Skousen, the late John Bircher nutjob author of The 5000 Year Leap, which says the US Constitution was divinely inspired; but it's in danger of being destroyed by communists and secularists, and the only people capable of saving democracy are white Mormon men. Glenn Beck wrote the foreword to a new edition of The 5000 Year Leap, and he's been hawking the book and its author on his show.

Pearce read all of Skousen's books and attended his lectures. That's what is behind the Senator's most notorious piece of legislation, SB1070. We're saving America here folks, brown people need not apply.

So tonight comes word that Russell Pearce has been elected President of the Senate. It's a State Senate and House where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1. In other words, Pearce will have little opposition to his looniest ideas, pushing Arizona into a perpetual-SB1070 miasma. Cribbed from an earlier diary, here's a list of some other Pearce bills, both passed and pending. First, joining Rand Paul and others,

Pearce announced last month he plans to introduce 2011 legislation to challenge automatic U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Arizona Republic

Yeah, that damn 14th Amendment is what's causing our problems. Then there's SB1097, which will quantify the costs of immigrants to the education system. It singles out, stigmatizes, and blames brown kids for Arizona’s budget woes; and it implants the idea that discrimination is justifiable early in the education system. Silly us, thinking we might educate kids out of poverty – kids who might later contribute to, rather than drain from, society.

If you happen to teach Mexican American History (which is hard not to do in a region that was part of Mexico until 1853), then check your syllabus. SB1108 will prohibit or at least change ethnic studies in public schools. The bill is written so broadly the legislature could probably ban any ethnic studies program if they wanted. Senator John Kavanagh said, “You’re here. Adopt American values … If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture.” Hey John, what if I teach Hopi history. They were sorta here first.

We’ve seen Pearce introduce or support other crackpot legislation, such as HB2631, which essentially says Americans can only marry other Americans; the birther bill that requires a birth certificate for anyone on Arizona’s presidential ballot; and another law that fines landlords who rent to immigrants. He was a vocal supporter of last night's Proposition 107, the so-called Civil Rights bill, which bans preferential hiring in all municipalities. It passed 60-40. All his bills sing the same tune: keep non-whites out of here or at least render them powerless. Because God says so.

It's likely we'll see more and crazier pieces of legislation from the new President of the Arizona Senate, and they'll land on the desk of a compliant Governor Jan Brewer, as Stephen Lemons writes tonight in New Times.

Pearce figures Governor Jan Brewer "owes" him for saving her career, bullying 1070 through the legislature, giving her a racist piece of legislation to sign, one scapegoating Hispanics, and diverting attention from the state's $2 billion budget shortfall.

And he's right. Brewer owes Pearce like some owe the rent. If she'd not had 1070 at her back, and a wave of xenophobia to ride, she might've never made it out of the GOP primary.

"Headless-bodies" Brewer also owes Peace for helping out two of her key advisors, Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, former prison industry administrators and lobbyists. Their former employers, represented by the Corrections Corporate of Arizona, are certain to benefit from SB1070, as the private prisons will be used as holding and processing centers. Lemons notes that the links between Pearce, Brewer, her campaign advisors, and the corrections industry were detailed on public radio:

A recent NPR story highlighted the connection between the private prison industry and Pearce. But his ties to nativist organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and FAIR's top law dog Kris Kobach, now Kansas' Secretary of State, are far more profound.

Ah yes ... those FAIR and other nativist associations like, oh, Nazis. Until the relationship became too smarmy for even Arizona's conservative media, one of Pearce's buddies was the National Socialist J.T. Ready, a man proud to wear a brownshirt and boots and lead "Arrest an Illegal Day" for Cinco de Mayo. Tasteful. While Pearce was hanging with J.T. and his camouflaged militiamen, he thought it was hunky dory to send around white supremacist emails.

On the other hand, maybe Pearce's cowboy ego and Brewer's blank stare will do battle, and the power standoff will hamper progress. At least one legislator thinks that might happen, says tonight's AZ Republic:

Democratic Sen. Paula Aboud of Tucson said Pearce could prove to be an obstacle for Brewer, given his personality and the bulked-up legislative majorities.

"He's not very good at cooperation. He tends to get what he wants," Aboud said.

Yep, like that playground bully. Last night Arizona said goodbye to a blue dog but good guy, Congressman Harry Mitchell. Yes, Raul Grijalva held on but the rest of the state, led by its new Senate President and catatonic Governor, is approaching the lunatic cliff, and there's a wind at their back.

Originally posted to Maggie's Farm on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 12:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The Goldwater Arizona and its (4+ / 0-)

      libertarian racism has been replaced with a more confrontational form...

      •  Goldwater would not be allowed anywhere near (10+ / 0-)

        the GOP in Arizona today. He's far too progressive. I remember when the Republican Party threatened to take his name off their headquarters when he made his famous "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight" comment.

        stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

        by Mother Mags on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 12:16:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember (6+ / 0-)

          being shocked by half the Goldwater family supporting Obama/Biden:

          Being Barry Goldwater's granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state's senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain 'dyed in the wool' Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.

          Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year.


          Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.

          My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported.


          Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it's standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

          After the last eight years, there's a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.

  •  Arizona is still on my shit list.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags, Nulwee, Larsstephens

    And yes i'm still boycotting that racist state.

  •  can the fence along the southern border (5+ / 0-)

    extend to the western one with California?  Perhaps AZ can just go ahead and secede already... I doubt the other 49 states would really care this time.

    "The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty." -- Board of Trustees, Boston Public Library

    by debaterdanny on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 12:09:54 AM PDT

  •  Arizona is lost for probably 20 years at least (8+ / 0-)

    Being an Arizona liberal, I'm used to disappointment.  I know how pendulums swing in politics, and even though I'm bummed about the national results, I know that these things are cyclical.  Arizona, however, is different.  This state has been going farther and farther to the right every election.  When Russell Pearce has as much power as he does, when Jan Brewer coasts to election despite not being able to put together a coherent sentence, when the downballot statewide races go Republican across the board... I can go on and on.  The extreme radicals on the right are getting more and more deeply entrenched, and winning by wider margins every year.  

    There's a confluence of factors that my pessimism is based on.  One is that our population skews heavily towards the older folks, since we have so many retirees out here.  Then you have a sizable - and growing - Mormon presence in the state.  Add on top of that the immigration issue, and it's a conservative's dream come true.  While the Latino population is starting to wake up politically, it will take a while before they are enough of a voting bloc to make a difference.  Plus, the "kick the brown people" game that the wingnuts love to play here helps bring the racist vote out to the polls in droves.  This year, it's SB1070.  Next year, it's a bill to challenge birthright citizenship.  They've got many more bills to keep kicking the immigrant population, and their base just eats it up.

    Arizona should turn eventually.  The Latino vote will eventually be a serious force in the elections here.  The youth that relocated here over the last decade will be old enough to vote.  Eventually, progressives will stand a fighting chance here.  It's just going to be a while.  

  •  A part of what's so sad about Pearce (9+ / 0-)

    and his fellow travellers is that so much of the legislation, like S.B. 1070, that they seek to pass will inevitably fall in federal court to the "Supremacy Clause", Article VI, Clause 2, of the Constitution of the United States.
    The State will spend millions in legal fees defending these doomed from the start legislative acts rather than actually applying those funds to genuine budget problems.
    However much they might want to rail against the 14th Amendment, the "let's go back to the original intent" crowd is kind of stuck with the plain meaning of the fundamental document.

    Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty, too. Townes van Zandt

    by DaNang65 on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 12:30:13 AM PDT

  •  Correction: Mormon "fundamentalists" are (5+ / 0-)

    by definition polygamists.  I suspect that Russell Pearce is not a polygamist. The "fundamentalist" term should not be applied to the über-right-wing Skousen acolytes. Call Pearce a mormon rightwing extremist instead (though "nutcase" would also do).

  •  Elected officials seem to go out of their way (5+ / 0-)

    to be nasty in Arizona:

    Eleven Tucson, Arizona, educators sued the state board of education and superintendent this week for what the teachers consider an "anti-Hispanic" ban looming on Mexican-American studies....

    On Tuesday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne defended the new law, which will go into effect December 31. The law authorizes the superintendent to stop any ethnic studies classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government ... promote resentment toward a race or class of people ... (or) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals."

    Horne said he would seek the first-ever ban in Tucson for its "raza studies" program, now called Mexican-American studies. Raza means "the race" in Spanish.

    The law allows the state to withhold 10 percent of monthly aid -- which would amount to $3 million a month for Tucson Unified School District No. 1...

    The 11 educators in Tucson's Mexican-American Studies Department are asking a federal judge to stay the new schools law, passed last April, because it violates free speech, equal protection and due process, the suit contends

    The program, created in 1998 and initially called "Mexican American/Raza Studies," has been effective in reducing dropout rates among Latino students, discipline problems, poor attendance and failure rates, the educators say.

    The Superintindent of Schools is leading the way to undo a program that reduces the dropout rate and promotes self-respect among students.

    And I am supposed to actually believe that in AZ, the people voting for these heinous laws are just misunderstood.

    Their sole agenda is to get the government to step up and introduce comprehensive immigration reform.

    Right. That is the only agenda of Gov. Brewer, Pearce, sheriff Arpaio and the Superintendent, who is only thinking of the children.

    •  A few years back I worked on the remodel (6+ / 0-)

      of one of Tucson's most Hispanic high schools, Pueblo. I worked as the "pick up man", fixing things that became apparent after classes were back in session. My schedule would be based on during what periods each class room was open.
      Spending a couple of months in the school while classes were in session convinced me that the most highly motivated students were the ones in Hispanic Studies. Indifferent in many classes, they tool special pride in the classroom set aside for their program, and left a period in that room with a visibly improved attitude as they went to their next classes.

      Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty, too. Townes van Zandt

      by DaNang65 on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 01:06:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, we can't be teaching courses that (4+ / 0-)

      provide self-respect among Hispanic students. Many people know it was Horne and Pearce's hatred of the Tucson program that led to this bill, but that "advocate ethnic solidarity" phrase in the law is so broad, they could outlaw any class that celebrates a minority culture. I sometimes teach Native American lit, and some of it absolutely does "advocate ethnic solidarity," and rightfully so.

      stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

      by Mother Mags on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 01:11:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like AZ is going to be a lab test (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags, Larsstephens

    for the now new crazy teagop. So is Kansas with Brownback as gov., and Oklahoma, and possibly a few others, like even Michigan with the Repub sweep there.

    The Great Recession is a happy happy joy joy time to drop your obsolete skills and train for new ones.

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 01:01:29 AM PDT

  •  You said nothing about his anti-gay views (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags, Larsstephens

    As I recall, Russell Pearce is also an uber-homophobe.

  •  tucson's a great town (4+ / 0-)

    i'd like to move back there someday

    what the fuck does "man up" mean?

    by memofromturner on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 05:52:43 AM PDT

  •  Just great. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags, Larsstephens

    Thanks MM for the update. So, Russ Pearce went from pariah to President in less than 2 years?

    I think its time the AZ Dem party gets its ass in gear, because the GOP has officially gone off its rocker.

    Good policy is good politics

    by AZ Independent on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 08:03:52 AM PDT

  •  These laws aren't just against illegal aliens; (0+ / 0-)

    they're Jim Crow laws, intended to intimidate all Hispanics and reduce their visibility in public life so that the shrinking white majority can reassure itself its mastery still prevails.

    We fought this war once before and supposedly put an end to Jim Crow. But here it is fifty years later: its spirit rises again, and most of the country apparently could care less. What have we become?

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