Transcript #167

They're Still At It: Arizona Immigration Law Is Part Of A Decades-Old Right-Wing Campaign To Attack Minorities For Political Gain


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Your sources today include, I'll list them real fast:, the New York Times, the Washington Post,,,, the Associated Press, the Boston Globe,, the Nation magazine,, the Chicago Sun-Times, and McClatchy newspapers.


Before analyzing any legislation touching on race that comes from the right, it's absolutely critical to know the right's history in this realm.  So let's go over that before discussing this particular Arizona law.


What I want you to get in the habit of doing is, with this law, and with any measure proposed by right-wingers that touches on race, immediately say to them: "Mr. or Ms. Right-Winger, any measure you propose is automatically suspect as being racist, given right-wing past practice and behavior.  The burden is on you to prove otherwise."


Here's the historical evidence you can draw upon to be able to confidently make this assertion to your friendly local right-winger.


To start off with, we have to debunk the line that the right-wing will always throw at you: the Democrats are the racist party.  Lincoln freed the slaves. 


Yes, the Democrats were the racist party, the operative word being "were," as in the past tense, things change, sometimes even get reversed, which is what happened here


Before the Civil Rights era in the 60's, the Democrats had a racist wing, the Dixiecrats.  The split back then on race wasn't Democrat vs. Republican. It was conservative vs. liberal.  By and large, liberal Democrats and liberal Republicans supported the Voting Rights Act, right-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans opposed it. 


And --this is what's important -- after civil rights legislation passed in 1964 and 1965, the Republican Party, the GOP, became the place where racist voters and politicians migrated.  Whites changed their vote to Republican, African-Americans to the Democrats.


And to encourage this process, the Republican Party flipped from being the party of Lincoln, to become the party of the Southern Strategy.


The Southern strategy was designed to get the support of Southern whites who were upset that Democrats had led the effort to protect the civil and voting rights of African Americans.


The GOP used race as a wedge issue, in order to produce white votes for Republicans.


Richard Nixon was the first to employ the southern strategy in a presidential campaign.


The existence of the Southern strategy is something you should never let a right-winger deny.  You can quote some prominent right-wingers themselves.


Lee Atwater, Karl Rove's mentor, explained this strategy:


You start out in 1954 by saying ‘N-word, N-word, N-word.’  By 1968, you can’t say ‘N-word.’  That hurts you.  Backfires.  So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.

In 2005 Republican National Committee head Ken Mehlman said the GOP's effort to benefit from racial polarization had been wrong.  Current GOP head Michael Steele just recently lamented that the GOP had pursued a Southern Strategy.


Podcast 159 deals with this in detail.


Dixie dog whistle appeals weren't all the GOP did to hurt minorities.  Right-wingers engaged in what's called "vote-caging."  You send out a mailing and if a letter comes back, you tell the voting registrar, that person doesn't live there, remove him from the rolls.  And Republican registrars did just that.


The Republican National Committees' vote caging operation, its voter suppression operation against African-Americans, got under way in 1981.


The Republican Party was sued, and


The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct[ing] mail campaigns to "compile voter challenge lists." 

What's a consent decree mean to right-wingers?  Not a whole lot, apparently.  The GOP has continued to engage in this illegal practice.


In a wrinkle on this, the GOP knowingly and erroneously threw thousands, maybe tens of thousands of African-Americans off the voter rolls in Florida before the 2000 presidential election.


Check out podcast 99 for all the gory details.


Continuing on, guess who personifies all this racist GOP behavior?  Their icon, Ronald Reagan.  I call what you'll now hear, the Five Pillars of Ronald Reagan's racism.


One, Reagan opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Who except the Ku Klux Klan or its fellow travelers would oppose such a measure? 


Two, Reagan opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Same question.


Three, Reagan sent a huge, Southern Strategy Dixie dog whistle during his presidential campaign.  Philadelphia, Mississippi was notorious for being the town outside of which three civil rights workers -- James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner -- had been murdered.  In an unprecedented move, Reagan chose to give a speech at the County Fair there.  He didn't even mention the civil rights workers.  Instead, he spoke of states rights, code words at the time for pro-segregationist sentiment.


Four, Reagan opposed making Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.


And five, Reagan sided with the racist, apartheid South African government in its fight against worldwide economic sanctions.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Reagan's policies evil, immoral and unchristian.


Do listen to podcast 159 for much more on Reagan's racism.


Was the right-wing Southern Strategy successful?  You betcha.  LBJ reportedly said, as he signed civil rights legislation, that the Democrats had lost the South for a generation.  He underestimated.


For example, here's a stat to make your neck hairs stand on end: the 25 states that had the highest lynching rates per capita, all supported George Bush in the 2000 and 2004 elections.


And racists who voted for the GOP, got just what they were implicitly promised.  The Bush Justice Department gutted its Civil Rights Division and decreased enforcement of civil rights laws.


Ok, that's a good hunk of the historical context of GOP racism.  Is there evidence of it continuing to this very day?  Stay tuned.






How about some current-day examples of right-wing Dixie dog-whistling.  Actually, as you'll hear, some of it isn't even that subtle.


There's of course, the recent "Oops, forgot about that slavery thing!" brouhaha.


Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia declared last April Confederate History Month in Virginia.  That would be bad enough.  But his proclamation didn't even mention slavery.


McDonnell explained that he had "focused on the [aspects] I thought were most significant for Virginia."  After an uproar, McDonnell conceded he made a mistake.


Still, days later, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, right-winger to the core, said he didn't think the original proclamation was a mistake.  He said all the controversy was a "nit" and "doesn't amount to diddly."


Any racist listening knows just what he meant.


Let's now turn to our good friend, Mr. Rush Limbaugh.


Here's what this fine gentleman had to say recently:


audio: Rush Limbaugh

What is it that's remarkable about the tea party is that it's the first time an uprising of common, ordinary, average everyday citizens since the Civil War has risen up like this.

The Civil War was an uprising of common, ordinary, average citizens?!  Insanity.  And apparently not limited to Rush.


Former Virginia Governor George Allen supported Confederate History month by proclaiming that the Civil War was really "a four-year struggle for independence, sovereign rights and local government control."


As New York Times columnist Gail Collins deftly put it:


Confederate History Month was promoted by … George Allen…with such cheer that you would really think the fight was all about zoning.

The dog whistle chorus grows.


Now back to Limbaugh again, for something also very racially ugly.


audio: Rush Limbaugh

People are finally standing up to this little boy, this little man-child President, whose primary job, if you want, in life, has been leisure.  This guy is practiced at leisure more than anything else.

Limbaugh on multiple occasions has referred to Obama as a "little boy" and a "man-child," most recently just last week.


This is a level of racist invective just below explicitly using the N-word.


In the segregated South, one of the ways African-American men were humiliated, was by being called "Boy." 


Limbaugh knows this.  Every time he calls Limbaugh a little boy, a man-child, it's Limbaugh's Dixie dog whistle to the racists: "We all know what Obama is, don't we?"


Another of the more vicious racist stereotypes, is the "lazy Negro."  


Limbaugh said Obama's "primary job" in life has been leisure.  That Obama is "more practiced at leisure" than anything else.


It's crystal clear, this explicit harkening back to the old racist stereotype.


How about we take a look now at the tea party people?  They're certainly a visible bunch of right-wingers these days.  And boy, are they racist.


A CBS/New York Times poll found that a majority of them feel that "too much has been made of the problems facing black people."  They're far more likely than the general public to feel that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites. 


Even worse: A University of Washington poll found that a majority of tea party supporters don't even think that blacks are intelligent, hard-working, or trustworthy.  Wow, pretty hard-core.


The GOP's continuing Southern Strategy obviously has a sizeable built-in audience.  Lots of eager ears pining to hear those Dixie dog whistles.


Of course, the Arizona "show me your papers law" is directed not at African-Americans, but at another minority, Hispanics.  Don't worry, there's equal opportunity racial bigotry and hatred on the GOP right.


Listen to radio talk show host Neal Boortz.  He's not fringe.  He's syndicated. 


audio: Neal Boortz

…During the warm-up hour of The Neal Boortz Show, we came up with a marvelous suggestion for solving two of America's problems at the same time: disposing of nuclear waste and doing something about the illegal aliens in this country. And that is, if the evil listeners to talk radio can just succeed in killing the amnesty bill, or if we can at least succeed in getting an amendment to the bill that says before you can get a visa to work here, you have to go home. OK?

Then all of the Mexicans who are here, as they leave the country we can give them a lovely parting gift, like they do on Jeopardy! We can give them a little -- yeah, a little bag of nuclear waste from one of our nuclear power plants or maybe one of our nuclear military vessels.

Give 'em a little bag of nuclear waste as your lovely parting gift. AMF, which means "Adios, my friend." Send them back across the border to Mexico. Tell 'em it's a tortilla warmer. You know, to put it in the tortilla box, and the tortillas stay warm. And then they will. And you'll be able to find them at night too, because they'll glow. And this will be a big hit.

Simply appalling.  How ugly.


Black or brown, the name of the game is the same.


Current GOP head Michael Steele recently addressed the question, do African-Americans have a good reason to vote for Republicans.


For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South…You really don't have a reason to, to be honest -- we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one.

You might ask your right-wing friends, do they think it's any coincidence, that there hasn't been a single Republican African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003?  And -- get this -- a total of three -- three! -- since 1935.


Ok, all this is the historical context, the sewer of racist appeals and actions that the Arizona law has to be looked at in.  And why you can tell any right-winger you're talking to, that the presumption is that this  right-wing law is racist, that the burden is on them to prove it's not.


Before we get to the Arizona law itself, there's one more thing particular to the area of this law, immigration, that I must add.


For over two decades, we in effect invited undocumented workers into our country with a wink and a nod.  We won't police our borders, we won't bother you when you're here, just come and work for us cheaply, and you'll be fine.  You can marry and raise a family and send your kids to school.  Just work for us cheaply.  This went on for over two decades.  Millions of Mexicans and others took us up on our offer.  We benefited from their cheap labor.


So, as I argued at much greater length in podcast 100, analogizing to some legal concepts which I won't get into here, it is absolutely unfair and immoral to now, all of a sudden, scream at these millions of people, "What, you snuck in here without our permission, violated our sovereignty, and have been evading the law?  We'll find and deport you." 


But that's exactly what the Arizona law is designed to do.


GOP wordmeister Frank Luntz and other right-wingers have tried to mislead people into believing, that the law only gives Arizona police the power to question the immigration status of those who are caught in the process of committing a crime.


That's just plain wrong.  The Arizona police already had the power to check the immigration status of anyone committing a crime, or even suspected of a crime.


No, this new law "greatly expands" the power of the police to check immigration status, directing them to check the status of anyone that they merely stop or detain.  And this applies to non-crimes, like violations of traffic rules and city and country ordinances.  Speeding.   An expired registration.  Loud parties.  Barking dogs.  All could trigger an immigration check and deportation.


You know that if a policeman wants to stop someone, there's always a reason that can be found.


The police must have "reasonable suspicion" the person is here illegally.  The law says color or national origin can't be the "sole factor" in establishing reasonable suspicion.


But I'll bet it'll be a pretty big one…


Please!  All mere window dressing so an argument can be made that at least on its face as written, the law isn't unconstitutional.  But you know why the law was written, and how its supporters want it to be enforced.


Arizona apparently wants to find and deport, all the brown people it allowed to settle on and peacefully live in its territory for over 20 years.  Or at least the right-wing politicians in that state want it to appear so -- a new type of Dixie-dog whistle, as it were -- a Rio Grande dog whistle --  to stir up racial antagonism and garner white votes.


Immoral.  Racist.


In a moment, more evidence of the racist intent behind this law.  Stick around.






Want some more evidence to back up the claim that there is racist intent in Arizona behind their new immigration law?


How about this nugget from Arizona's past:


Arizona was the last state that refused to accept the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.  Things got so bad, that there had to be a national boycott of Arizona before it agreed to honor Dr. King.  What could the motivation have been for Arizona's defiance, other than racist sentiment?  Think that racism has simply vanished?


Jumping back into the present, did you know that shortly after passing its new anti-immigrant law, the Arizona lawmakers then decided to target ethnic studies in that state?  They passed legislation aimed at ending ethnic studies.


I couldn't put it better than columnist Eugene Robinson, who wrote that in light of the new anti-ethnic studies law:


At least we don't have to pretend anymore. Arizona's passing of that mean-spirited new immigration law wasn't about high-minded principle or the need to maintain public order. Apparently, it was all about putting Latinos in their place.

The real kicker is, some of the propaganda the right is putting out to garner support for the Arizona anti-brown immigrant law.  Evoking memories of the Willie Horton ad, the right is screaming that Arizona had to pass the law to protect itself against rampant illegal immigrant violence. 


O'Reilly: "The Arizona authorities say we're desperate ... Our crime problem is through the roof.  Phoenix is one of the most dangerous cities in the country."


William La Jeunesse, Fox News correspondent:  "[T]he state is staggering under the impact of human smuggling, drug trafficking and other crimes committed by foreign nationals who shouldn't be here."


The facts are the exact opposite, as if often the case when right-wingers are making assertions of any sort.


Crime rates in Arizona are at the lowest point in four decades, and have dropped in other border states as well.  Phoenix crime is the lowest in 15 years.   U.S. border towns have similar rates of violence compared to non-border towns.


Immigrants have lower incarceration rates than U.S-born men.


Even the CATO institute felt compelled to say "[i]t is a smear to blame low-skilled immigrant workers from Latin America for creating a crime problem in Arizona."


From the law enforcement perspective, the Phoenix police chief says the law isn't needed to fight crime, they already have the tools they need.  In fact, the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police says it could hinder the police by diverting scarce resources to immigration matters.


Yet none of this matters to the right.  Fox News continues to promote scary, discredited claims, like their on-screen graphic reading "2,158 killed by illegals every year."


While you now know the facts, most people don't.  And the right knows they're tapping into a primal need, to feel safe.


Laura Ingraham:


audio: Laura Ingraham

[G]ood people who are law-abiding and just want to live in peace and just to feel safe on the streets, those people are being demonized, frankly, by the President of the United States.

Unfortunately, the right-wing's effort has been successful.


A trio of recent polls show that nearly two-thirds of Americans support the Arizona law.  A fourth New York Times poll found 60% of people supported the law or wanted it to go further.  This was even though they felt that it would " burden police departments and disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups." A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found majority support, even though respondents agreed it would likely result in more discrimination against legal immigrants.


Almost half of Democrats support the law.  Young people support the law less than others, but still almost half do.


You know the Blast The Right bottom line mantra:


Everything the right-wing does is designed to accomplish one of two things, either (a) transfer wealth from everyone else to the rich, or, (b) distract everyone else from the fact that (a), that wealth transfer, is occurring.

This anti-immigration law is a perfect example of (b), a wedge issue, a distraction mechanism, riling up the base against brown people, who are violent criminals, don't you know?


And (a), the wealth transfer, is involved as well.  How?  Because the wealth transfer can occur, only if the right is in power.  And riling up the base helps the right win elections.


But there's more to this law.  And it's not without historical precedent.


Did you know that the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, right-wing Republican William Rehnquist, earned his political chops in Arizona by challenging minority voters at the polls?


Yes sirree.


And present-day Arizona Governor Jan Brewer improperly has prevented at least 100,000 voters, most of them Hispanic, from registering to vote.


One of those US attorneys fired by Karl Rove was David Iglesias, for refusing to fabricate evidence of illegal voters in Arizona.


Super-investigative reporter Greg Palast sees the current anti-immigration law as part of the same process, of intimidating even legal Hispanics into not voting, since many might not be easily able to find their birth certificates or other documentation.


What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote -- and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

Not just Arizona Republicans.  The entire right-wing knows that nationally, by 2012, "non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority."


So where do we stand?


Around the nation, boycotts are being organized against Arizona. The City of Los Angeles has joined in.  At this early stage, the city of Phoenix alone stands to lose $90 million in hotel and convention



U.N. human rights experts have said that the Arizona statute may violate international laws that are binding on the United States.  Such experts are also saying the same thing about the anti-ethnic studies legislation.


Now self-professed right-wing Christians like Ann Coulter have advocated deporting all undocumented immigrants:


audio: Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly

Coulter:  I'd build a wall--in fact, I'd hire illegal immigrants to build the wall--and throw out the illegals who are here.

O'Reilly:  You'd throw them out.

Coulter:  Yeah!  Yes!  Actually, we could have done it very easily in the last week, since they organized themselves into groups.  We could have just sent paddy wagons to the protests.

And moreover, it's actually very easy to catch them.  I mean, these people are living amongst us.  They have to apply for jobs, they show up in hospitals, they show up in schools. 

But now, in light of the Arizona law and other developments, there are several evangelical leaders calling for a path to citizenship for these individuals.


So there is some positive movement.


Let me close.


You've seen here that GOP right-wing racism is consistent, deep-rooted and irrefutable.


The right-wing is all about money, money, money and power, power, power.  Right-wing leaders will happily sow racial dissension and polarization in order to get the money and stay in power.


William F. Buckley famously said:


A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'

Stop the world's progress?  Sorry right-wingers, you can't do that, and you'll be seeing yourselves increasingly thrown into the dustbin of history.


We progressives, on the other hand, are happily pushing history along, fighting for social justice.


So take heart, my friends, you and I may not see the entire victory, but we can rest assured that our efforts will have helped achieve it.



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