Saturday, July 31, 2010

SB 1070 opponents one-up supporters: actual terrorism!

Thursday evening I linked and briefly commented on reports of terroristic threats made against Judge Bolton by SB 1070 supporters.

There's no game of one-upmanship going on that I can discern, but there might as well be; the Arizona Daily Star reports that on Thursday afternoon a group of 8-10 SB 1070 opponents engaged in an (almost) unsuccessful act of terrorism on I-19.

Tires bound together by rope were dumped onto I-19 during rush-hour, followed by tar, paint, broken glass, and a banner. This could have caused a multi-car pileup. Fortunately, it merely caused severe traffic delays. If the faux-"civil disobedience" of downtown protesters amounted to bullying (and it did), I'm out of words, left to say that instead of death on the highway, the I-19 wackos merely achieved super-bullying.

It sounds like like the group at fault is good old-fashioned socialist or other leftist nutcases, the sort that were supposed to have died out in the 1980s. From the Daily Star's report:
Neither SB 1070 nor the deployment of National Guard troops to the border do anything to address the root causes as to why people migrate.

"U.S. economic policies and wars have displaced and impoverished millions of people all over the world. Capital-driven policies, such as NAFTA, create poverty. These policies and laws not only consume and exploit land and people, but they also displace us from our homes, forcing us to migrate in order to survive.

In linking NAFTA to migration, they're half right. And the creation of free trade in goods without also establishing free movement of people not only makes zero sense from a Ricardan point of view, it also has had the effect of class legislation. But one would have to be insane enough to be a socialist to see free trade as "exploitation".

And what any of this has to do with the I-19 commuters they could have and possibly intended to kill is anyone's guess. Then again, the left has always hated the "bourgeois" middle class, so perhaps they didn't feel a link was necessary.

A little more digging shows that the group, which calls itself "Freedom For Arizona", posted its press release to Indymedia. The name makes them sound like Ron Paullistas or teabaggers. They're clearly not, and they're as stupid (and grammatically challenged) as they are crazy. To wit:
*Partial justice is no justice at all! Despite Judge ruling to block parts of SB 1070, racial-profiling, raids, deportations and the militarization of the border will continue unchallenged. This is why today we shut down Interstate 19 (I-19)*
It appears our new left-wing terrorists don't understand what a preliminary injunction is. What they call "unchallenged" is being challenged in at least two current lawsuits.

And it gets dippier. Here's how they end:
We want an end to the militarization of indigenous land, I.C.E. raids, deportations, the attacks on ethnic studies, violence against women and queer people, the expansion of prisons and immigration detention centers, empire, the border wall and the genocide at the Arizona-Sonora border that has claimed the lives of over 153 people during the first 8 months of this fiscal year alone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

John Dougherty is a spoiler!

John Dougherty is the only candidate for US Senator willing to call a spade a spade on the twin scourges of immigration prohibition and drug prohibition. If John McCain manages to beat his Republican opponents in the primary which Democrat is equipped to put the screws to the only remaining member of the Keating Five to hold elected office (two have died)? Further John Dougherty is willing to advocate for an end to the tremendously wasteful overseas occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Dougherty must as yet prevail over his three opponents but given that most of the voters in Maricopa county hadn't heard of any of his opponents come a year ago one can only hope that exposure will earn him enough votes to prevail over his Democratic primary opponents.

I hope John Dougherty will spoil John McCain's post-election day plans.

Speaking of doing it wrong: xenophobes and bigots now resorting to terroristic threats.

The Associated Press delivers a credible report of threats against Susan Bolton, the judge who issued yesterday's preliminary injunction against most of the truly onerous sections of SB 1070.

Yeah, that'll show her that the Federal government isn't likely to win its case on its merits!

The Arizona Republic also reports that someone shot at Raul Grijalva's office. Congressman Borracho should be "boycott" himself for calling for a boycott of his constituents. Perhaps those who believe it can also explain why he should be shot? It doesn't make sense.

"Civil Disobedience": You're doing it wrong.

Michael Bryan's "Blog for Arizona"--a quality source of leftist commentary, thanks to contributor David Safier--also employs an anonymous character called "AZ Blue Meanie" who's partisan in a trite way and often simply a slob who discredits the others by association. Today, he hit a new low. Regarding arrests of protesters chaining themselves to rails and blocking the streets he had this to say:
The First Amendment is under assault in Arizona today...

Blocking the street, lying down in the street, chaining one's self to a rail, none of these are First Amendment protected activities. The First Amendment is not understood as protecting any and all acts so long as one can spin a tale claiming that they are a mode of expression.

"Civil disobedience" in particular is not usually protected by the First Amendment--unless it is disobedience of an official who is infringing First Amendment-protected activity. Civil disobedience is by definition the defiance of legal authority and inherently involves breaking statutory or common law.

What we are seeing from protesters today barely qualifies as civil disobedience. It's more a bully tactic than anything else. Incapable of expressing themselves in a responsible fashion (e.g. in writing) or of legitimately attracting the attention of the press, and perhaps ideologically opposed to (horror of horrors) buying advertising time or space they instead attract attention to themselves through disruption. Some are likely doing it as a "macho" thing. Next to mixing passable Lemon Drops and Cosmopolitans, few things make college-age panties drop faster than "Gee, aren't I the stud. I got arrested 'protesting against injustice'".

This bullying/posturing activity is, from a semiotic point of view, quite far from the civil disobedience of Thoreau, of Ghandi, and of SNCC and other 'Civil Rights' groups. Thoreau quite nearly defined the practice as forcing the authorities to shame themselves enforcing an unjust law. Lunch-counter sit-ins perhaps epitomized this: forcing the authorities to brutalize peaceful people to enforce the trespassing laws that made segregation possible. And the marches and blockades of Ghandi and King were no mere disruption, no mere bullying, and not in any way tantrums: they were demonstrations of the humanity of people treated as an underclass.

Every illegal immigrant engages in an act of civil disobedience when he crosses the border, when he goes to work without a visa, and when he fights to stay here. Ask "Why is that man (or woman) being taken away from his livelihood and community?" and the State is left to answer "He doesn't have the required permission slip. We don't issue those."

The "civil disobedience" we saw today, that has become a ritual on the far left, a rite of passage and perhaps one way young would-be radicals get laid, is a shameful mockery of the semiotically meaningful civil disobedience of the past and of the everyday civil disobedience of the illegal immigrant. And to assert that it is protected by the First Amendment when the point of civil disobedience is to demonstrate the injustice of a law is simply a sick joke.

Respect rule of law. Prosecute Sheriff Joe.

18 U.S.C. § 242:
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

(from Cornell's Legal Information Institute.)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his goons deputies are supposedly going to conduct yet another sweep today. These inevitably end in civil rights violations, of which the case of Julian and Julio Mora is about the best-known. They inevitably depend on civil rights violations--arrests without probable cause--to operate.

This from this morning's ACLU-AZ e-mail:
In mid-June, a teenaged Latina girl was driving home. Near the entrance to her gated community, she was pulled over by a police officer for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. When asked to produce identification, she showed the officer her valid Arizona driver's license. The officer said the driver's license was not enough and stated "he was required by law to ask for further documentation as proof of citizenship." The girl, a high school senior, is a US citizen and speaks perfect English without an accent. Although the girl knew that SB 1070 hadn't yet gone into effect, she was so frightened and confused by his request that she agreed to have the officer follow her to her home (around the corner), where she went in and got her US Passport for him to review. The officer left without issuing a warning or ticket. Because she was extremely nervous, the girl was unable to write down his name or badge number. The student was (and still is) shaken by the incident. It's the example of someone being humiliated and treated like a criminal solely because of the color of her skin.

There we have it again: No probable cause, not even reasonable suspicion.

It needs to stop, and (successful) civil suit after (successful) civil suit has not stopped it. Joe Arpaio and any deputy who so much as violates one person's protected civil liberties and any of these sweeps must be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 242.

Sheriff Joe "fans" might recall that last year former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias remarked that if it were up to him, he'd seek an indictment of Joe Arpaio over civil liberties violations committed in the course of harassing his enemies, including the ACLU-AZ's Dan Pochoda, Maricopa County Manager David Smith, and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon. U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke still hasn't developed the guts or the integrity to do what needs to be done. Now that Arizona immigration policy has the White House's attention, it's time for Eric Holder to put his foot down. I'm not expecting it to happen, but it's the sensible thing to do.

For what it's worth, my "pop sociology" conjecture--no, I can't cite any literature!--has Sheriff Joe's popularity dropping after he makes the perp walk on camera. The sort of people who support him are the sort who'd support Putin or Mussolini and perhaps the sort who support Barack Obama in his giving of extralegal orders to BP or his wiping out of GM shareholders. They're the Authoritarian Personality Disorder types who'd support any strongman just because he is a strongman. A bit of humiliation of the strongman will fix that. U.S. Marshalls at his Fountain Hills home will be best.

Clarification: I am not advocating 18 U.S.C. § 242 prosecution due to the actions in the specific incident mentioned in the ACLU morning e-mail; it would appear to be a very weak case. I am advocating prosecution for any "winning" incident of deprivation of rights under color of law and most certainly for any documented violations today or in the future.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Most of SB 1070 blocked: victory and a minor disappointment.

As readers are already aware, Judge Susan Bolton of the Arizona District Court issued an order on preliminary injunction, enjoining most of SB 1070, which was to take effect tomorrow. Few others are linking the official order, but as has been the practice since this 'blog was started, of course I do so here.

Left standing are the law's provisions
  • Prohibiting political subdivisions of the state from limiting enforcement of Federal immigration law,
  • requiring that State officials work with Federal officers to determine immigration status,
  • allowing Arizonans to sue political subdivisions which restrict immigration enforcement to less than the full extent allowed by Federal law,
  • making "harboring" or "transporting" undocumented aliens a misdemeanor
  • criminalizing the inhibition of traffic by solicitation of day labor,
  • establishing as a state offense the knowing or intentional employment of undocumented aliens,
  • increasing requirements for verification of employment eligibility,
  • and establishing the "Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission Fund"
Most of these provisions are bad law. That there was no injunction does not mean that there is no longer a reasonable Federal pre-emption case against SB 1070's the requirements and penalties SB 1070 established for employers. Probably the worst bit left standing was the authorization of lawsuits. "Full extent" is a very dangerous idea: if Federal law allows a police department to spend every last dime and every man-hour on immigration enforcement, someone can sue if police do other things, like respond to calls or attempt to bring in suspects in crimes, especially the real sort that have identifiable victims. But there was never much of a Federal case against that and certainly none that merited an injunction.

It is a significant victory: most of the provisions of SB 1070 that would have led to violations of protected civil rights were enjoined from taking effect until the cases are decided. That these provisions were enjoined signifies (by legal standards) that the US DOJ can expect to succeed against them with high likelihood. I would have preferred that the order was based more on the ACLU and Co's 4th Amendment complaint than on the DOJ's concerns about preemption, but the effect is the same, at least in the near future.

The disappointment comes at Ms Bolton's introductory phrase:
Against a backdrop of rampant illegal immigration, escalating drug and human trafficking crimes, and serious public safety concerns...

A better version would have referred to this as perception, and not reality; the court should not perpetuate folktales. This is the bigots' narrative, the history that they Just Made Up to whip up support for oppression of outsiders. This session, it became the legislature's cause of action. It is false.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Daily Star gets self-defense wrong

From the Daily Star's editorial lamenting the legalization of CCW without a permit:
Some supporters even argue that the more people who carry firearms, the safer we will all be from robberies, assaults and lunatic shooting sprees.

We think not. We suspect a bunch of armed citizens trying to intervene in such incidents will be more likely to endanger innocent, unarmed citizens than to prevail over the bad guys.

From a certain perspective--that of someone who understands this argument in favor of liberalized carry--the Star just characterized my defense of myself as an "intervention" that will endanger third parties.

Of course, the Star isn't writing from that perspective. Perhaps nobody made it clear to the editors that the reason safety is expected to increase is that that rapist, muggers, and the like will feel more at risk of being shot by their prospective victims, with little open indication of who the "safe" targets are. Perhaps it would take the Ludovico treatment to really get this across. Whether or not concealed carry does make third parties significantly safer is still an open question, but we know at least that it does not make people less safe.

This isn't to say that more people coming to the aid of others is a bad thing. The Star seems to think so, and to think it is dangerous. Reality has never been a strong influence on people with beliefs like that: we are over 20 years into America's successful experiment with CCW, and evidence that aiding others is a dangerous activity has not emerged.

Speaking of reality not being a deterrent, why is the Star still calling the borderline non-entity known as the Brady Campaign?

On the topic of concealed carry: The one concern I've had about this measure is that it takes away the "carrot" that induced a significant minority of Arizona firearms owners to undergo some sort of formal training. I do not doubt that most can shoot adequately at a reasonable distance and that even more can safely "handle" firearms. I would like to think that they familiarize themselves with the law, as well, but (although it has not manifested itself as a major problem) my "anecdotal" experience says that isn't the case. I get worried even more because libertarians and right-wingers are probably more likely to carry than moderates or lefties, and the capacity a certain large "paleo" subculture of both libertarians and right-wingers has for simply Making Things Up and assuming that they are the law is on par with lefties' capacity for pretending their class-warfare prejudices are "economics". Every so often some idiot makes up, that one can legally shoot trespassers (more accurately: "I Have A Right to shoot trespassers"). Usually this ends in simple assault. Sometimes people get hurt.

For a more concrete example (not related to trespass) of what can go wrong, read up on the murder of Grant Kuenzli by Harold Fish. Harold Fish, apparently afraid of dogs, escalated a tense situation by firing a "warning shot." There is not (and there ought not be) any such thing as a "warning shot" in this state, nor anyplace else in the U.S., to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps influenced by silly TV shows, Fish applied made-up use-of-force law to his situation.

I also want readers of this 'blog to stay out of trouble. Heed Charles Heller's advice (as communicated by the Daily Star) and learn the use-of-force law. It's short and given in plain language in Chapter 4 of ARS Title 13.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tim B. Lee, Honorary Tucsonist

Judging from his observations concerning the effects of freeway construction on St. Louis, Tim B. Lee would probably get along well in Tucson.

There used to be plans here, from 1958 into the 1970s, to to build an "I-710" freeway following the route of Campbell Avenue. Earlier versions of this scheme followed this by construction of a freeway over the bed of the Rillito.

Nowadays putting concrete and exhaust fumes over our greenbelts seems ridiculous, the stuff of self-discrediting old curmudgeons who've lost the part of their brain that makes it clear why such things are valuable. Tucsonans know in their gut that our resistance to building superhighways is what made and makes our city coherent, bikeable, walkable, and keeps our air free of smog despite our being caught between four mountain ranges. It may frustrate the newcomers, but we have no inclination to destroy neighborhoods for suburbanites' convenience in the way New Orleans, St. Louis, or Philadelphia did. If they wanted that, on their way in from Orange County they should have gotten off the I-10 about 120 miles earlier!

Friday, July 23, 2010

SB 1070 hearings: injunction likely.

No transcripts of today's two District Court hearings concerning motions for preliminary injunction of SB 1070 are yet available, nor was a video or audio recording made. Preliminary reports are up on the websites of the Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Republic.

It's pleasing to see a hard-hitting judge assigned to the case, and from the nature and tone of questions, it appears that at least portions of the law will be enjoined, although "when" and "how much" is still up in the air.

From the Republic:
The other part of this section of the law that was addressed was the portion that states that any person arrested must have his or her immigration status determined before he or she can be released.

Bolton asked Bouma whether lawmakers really intended that anyone arrested, regardless of his or her legal status or whether the arrest involved citing and releasing someone on the spot or booking him or her into jail, had to have immigration status determined before being released from jail.

Bouma gave her several different answers at different points in the day.

He first said that U.S. citizens don't have an "immigration status" and therefore SB 1070 wouldn't apply to them. He also said that part of the law was intended to follow the part allowing officers to ask someone about their legal status, which means it would apply only to individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

"But (police) training materials specifically acknowledge that they don't know what it means and that it will be left up to each agency to decide what that sentence means," Bolton replied, adding that she had heard from some law-enforcement authorities that this portion of the law could lead to the arrest of tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have just been cited and released.
and from the Daily Star:
One section of the law that appeared to trouble the judge says people who get arrested, for any reason, must have their immigration status checked with federal officials before they are released.

She pointed out police "arrest" people all the time for minor crimes, issue them a citation and let them go about their business. Bolton said this provision of SB 1070 would appear to require police to hold people for some extra period of time beyond what is necessary to cite and release.

Bouma said lawmakers meant to apply that only to people who actually are booked into jail.

"That's what they should have said then," Bolton responded.
Classic. "What we meant to say is...". Ordinarily that doesn't even pass the laugh test, but Arizona legislators' sloppiness with language and general ignorance are notorious. (Anyone remember the wording of the "No Taxpayer Money for Politicians" initiative, written by a few legislative heavyweights?)

It looks as though Dave Euchner's amicus brief, which pointed out the prospect for extension of detentions without probable cause, had a bit of impact there, and that the Judge Bolton is a bit hostile to that portion of the law. Also, from the Republic,
Section 3: Documentation

Section 3 of SB 1070 as amended creates the state crime of "willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document."

Attorney Nina Perales with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, one of the civil-rights groups that filed the lawsuit along with the ACLU, said this portion of the law creates new classes of non-citizens because it doesn't offer exceptions for individuals who may be in the midst of citizenship or asylum proceedings and have permission to be in the country but don't yet have documents.

Bouma responded that that argument gets into a hypothetical "chamber of horrors" that people would be hauled off and thrown into jail to wait until someone could determine whether they belonged there.

Bolton agreed that all this portion of the law does is create a state punishment for violating federal statute. But she added that state punishment may create a pre-emption problem.

Bouma argued otherwise but then seemed to concede that he may lose on this part of the law.

"I didn't have the feeling I convinced you last week, either," Bouma said, referring to an earlier hearing.

Section 6: Removal

Section 6 of SB 1070 as amended allows law-enforcement officers to, without a warrant, arrest people suspected of committing offenses that make them "removable from the United States."

Bolton seemed to have serious concerns about this portion of the law. She said there is no list of crimes deemed to be removable offenses and questioned who would make that determination and at what point during the arrest it would be made.

"How can a police officer make a determination that a person has committed a removable offense when that decision can only be made by a federal judge?" she asked.

Plaintiffs appeared to be taking a "shotgun" approach concerning preemption, and Bolton was skeptical or even dismissive of many such claims, but as seen above, some of the pellets appear to have hit their target. Right now I'm expecting portions of the law, including prolonged detention following arrests, to be enjoined pending the cases' outcomes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Water from the sky? Imagine that!

That air-conditioning units, during humid months, cause liquid water to condense out of the air was always obvious. A recent KOLD web article puts a high estimate on the amount: 2-3 gallons per hour from households, and over 500 per hour from the U of A's Marshall Building.

This is clean water, that could be potable were it filtered to remove airborne particulates, and can certainly be used to water landscaping--without draining the aquifer. Whether or not the effect is a significant contributor to the "Non-Soon" is a question I'll leave for another time.

List of ballot propositions

Proposition-by-proposition commentary and some coverage later, but don't expect the day-by-day coverage of developments in the news that I've given in the past. Either personal or joint endorsements likely.

Which reminds me: if you enjoy reading this site and share a classical-liberal point of view, you're welcome to volunteer as a regular or occasional contributor. If the site gets past its current below-break-even level of ad earnings, I'll share the excess.

On the November ballot Arizona voters will see the following questions:
  • Proposition 106: An updated version of the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act,
  • Proposition 107: A much-overdue LRCA prohibiting racial discrimination by the State or any of its political subdivisions,
  • Proposition 108: Guaranteeing secret ballots in both political and union elections,
  • Proposition 109: A somewhat enigmatic LRCA guaranteeing an affirmative right to hunt and fish,
  • Proposition 110: An LRCA pertaining to exchange of trust lands to prevent "encroachment" on military bases,
  • Proposition 111: Eliminating the office of Secretary of State and establishing that of the Lieutenant Governor, who is to be co-elected with the governor,
  • Proposition 112: Changing "centum" to "cent" in the law pertaining to ballot initiative signatures (stupid), and also requiring that signatures be filed six months before the election,
  • Proposition 203: The only initiative on the ballot this year, a medical marijuana law with real backbone,
  • Proposition 301: Transferring land conservation fund money to the General Fund, overriding a past ballot initiative,
  • Proposition 302: Repealing most of the "First Things First" initiative, transferring its funds to the general fund, with the stipulation that they be appropriated to Health and Human Services for the benefit of children.

Ballot initiatives didn't have the momentum they had in 2006 and 2008, but the legislature was busy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Greg Patterson had better have 'blog insurance.

"Espresso Pundit" and former legislator Greg Patterson had better have 'blog insurance, that is, if Malcolm Hughes and the University of Arizona have the good sense to destroy him like the fleabitten dog he is sue him into last century.

An accusation of academic fraud is serious, and if not substantiated, is the sort of false allegation of fact that amounts to libel. Way back when the "Climategate" e-mails were first being exaggerated and twisted into evidence of wrongdoing, Patterson first smeared Hughes as a fraud, and it was apparently let go. Now he's doing it again--evidence that libel from the anti-science set must be snuffed out early on--dazzling his audience by parlaying a conclusion that a figure Hughes contributed to a report was "misleading" to an accusation of academic/scientific fraud.

Fraud in science is presentation of fabricated or altered data, data that are not as described, or of conclusions that do not follow from the data. Contributing a figure that may be misinterpreted by a "casual" reader--the worst that can be inferred from the report cited by Patterson, is not fraud.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We will find out the truth about SB 1070 in 15 days.

Many commentators--radical leftists to a man--have said a lot of patently stupid things about SB 1070. Miguel Guadelupe of the "Huffington Post" claims that it imposes a "papers please" policy on anyone who looks Latino, as though "reasonable suspicion" means "stupid hunch". Tucson Communist Party factotum (no joke) Carolyn Trowbridge likened it to apartheid and ethnic cleansing. If Raul Grijalva can be said to think at all ("th" and "dr" being similar but not identical), Raul Grijalva thinks the bill so bad as to justify an economic boycott of his constituents.

A common-sense reading--taking into account that "reasonable suspicion" is a legal term of art that does not mean "a bigot's hunch"--is not the only thing that rules out "papers please." History does as well. In 1997 Chandler officials attempted an immigration-enforcement dragnet, known now as the Chandler Roundup. Policemen asked those who looked Latino to prove their citizenship, detained those who could not do so (picture Cheech Marin: "Greencard? I'm from East LA!") and as a result the city ended up paying over $400,000 to plaintiffs in a class action.

SB 1070 is bad policy and probably unconstitutional, too--see the Justice Department and the AACJ's respective Dormant Commerce Clause and 4th Amendment arguments. We can confidently say that Grijalva and co. aren't being truthful, and we can confidently call Panglossian, disingenuous, or ridiculous the right-wingers who claim that 1070 merely parallels Federal enforcement policy. Beyond that, honest observers will simply have to wait until the 29th to learn the implications of SB 1070.

One of the more pressing questions is its implications for public schools. Arizona has gone along with the (upsetting) trend of keeping a police officer around public schools through the course of the day. These officers are often friendly with the schoolkids and may learn something about students' immigration status either directly or through word of mouth. Suppose a student is lawfully stopped due to participation in a fight and the "school resource officer" has heard that he's in the country illegally. Does SB 1070 require prolonged detention and an inquiry into the student's visa status?

Jack Chin's whitepaper law review article (very much worth reading) provides some clues as to SB 1070's effects outside of schools. Among his claims are that it's a racial profiling bill, but he's not using "racial profiling" to mean what it's commonly taken to mean. "Racial profiling" to the average Joe means "treated like a criminal because I'm (e.g) black", but in Chin's usage it applies even if ethnic appearance is merely one factor among many used in a police decision to stop or detain someone. Perhaps the most important document, however, are the new police guidelines issued by AZ POST.

While it emphasizes the totality of circumstances, the POST guidelines document features a troubling bulleted list of criteria for reasonable suspicion. Copied verbatim:
•Lack of identification (if otherwise required by law)
•Possession of foreign identification
•Flight and/or preparation for flight
•Engaging in evasive maneuvers, in vehicle, on foot, etc.
•Voluntary statements by the person regarding his or her citizenship or unlawful presence (Note that if the person is in custody for purposes of Miranda, he or she may not be questioned about immigration status until after the reading and waiver of Miranda rights.)
•Foreign vehicle registration
•Counter-surveillance or lookout activity
•In company of other unlawfully present aliens
•Location, including for example: A place where unlawfully present aliens are known to congregate looking for work, A location known for human smuggling or known smuggling routes
•Traveling in tandem
•Vehicle is overcrowded or rides heavily
•Passengers in vehicle attempt to hide or avoid detection
•Prior information about the person
•Inability to provide his or her residential address
•Claim of not knowing others in same vehicle or at same location
•Providing inconsistent or illogical information
•Demeanor – for example, unusual or unexplained nervousness, erratic behavior, refusal to make eye contact
•Significant difficulty communicating in English

Some of these are extremely problematic, elevating mere "suspicious" behavior--familiar to anyone who's ever been in the company of e.g. illegal gamblers or paranoid pot smokers--to "reasonable suspicion" of a particular civil offense having to do with visa status. And as Martin Escobar noted in his complaint, skill with the English language is no indicator of status as an alien, let alone of visa status.

What remains to be seen is how many of these criteria must be satisfied before police decide that they have "reasonable suspicion" and apply SB 1070--and how many lawsuits police departments will get from bigots who think they're not being loose enough with their standards of suspicion. Taking Phoenix Law Enforcement Association president Mark Spencer's
remarks to the Arizona Republic
as being representative, I predict that most policemen will err on the side of caution. Somewhere--and it wouldn't surprise me if "somewhere" was either in Prescott Valley, Chandler, or anywhere under the MCSO's watch--a policeman or department will push at the boundaries and ruin someone's day. (MCSO goons were doing this long before SB 1070.) That person will "win the lottery", so to speak. A bad day followed by litigation, probably with a lawyer on the case pro bono, and a large payout from the public purse.

That's hardly "apartheid" or "papers please". If, on the 29th, I turn out to be wrong, I'll correct myself here. I don't expect the Miguel Guadalupes, Carolyn Trowbridges, and Raul Grijalva's of the world to be honest enough to do the same; if I turn out to be correct, they should be brought to account: removed from positions of public trust, fired from newspapers (Guadalupe was not merely wrong: he was wild), and shunned from polite company until they issue retractions, apologize, and preferably make some sort of material amends for the harm they did to working Arizonans by their boycott-inducing exaggeration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good news and bad news about photo radar.

The good news applies to all of you. The bad news is bad only to me.

The good: After this Thursday, the Arizona DPS's 76 photo radar cameras will be shut down. After years of denial that it was a way to squeeze drivers out of their hard-earned money, it's being shut down because it wasn't the revenue-generator it was expected to be.

That means that 55 mph I-17 (no, that's not a typo: 55!) will no longer be as bad a speed trap. And it also means that there'll be less risk of rear-ending or being rear-ended while avoiding idiots who hit the brakes and slow to below the speed limit.

County and municipal photo radar and cameras, including the infamous Show Low and Tempe cameras, will remain in service.

The bad: For the second time, Maricopa County served a photo ticket on me. I'm out another $240. For a long time, Maricopa did not send process servers to Pima. Even now, it's rare. I suspect that I was deliberately targeted, but it could be a statistical fluctuation.

Don't make nonselective enforcement of speed limits and traffic signals--especially of the I-17 speed trap--pay: never respond to a mailed complaint. Make counties properly serve you your citation. This is done less than 1/4 of the time. Chances are high that you will simply not have to pay your fine.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A sign that Arizona ecotourism is less popular than usual this year.

Aravaipa Canyon permits, especially for the west entrance, usually come very close to selling out on the weekends and sometimes even on weekdays. This year only 25 September and 2 October

Could it be that the (probably incorrect) that SB 1070 will actually be widely oppressive (as opposed to symbolic, a nuisance, and a sure-win lottery ticket for the few it affects) is keeping eco-tourists away?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Upcoming events

Three upcoming events for classical-liberal Arizonans:
  • Tomorrow, Thursday 8 July at 11 AM, the Goldwater Institute (no affiliation with this 'blog) is hosting an Internet chat in which the implications of McDonald v. Chicago will be discussed. For details, see the event website.
  • On Thursday, 15 July the Goldwater Institute is hosting a luncheon speaker event with Frank Luntz, one of the behind-the-scenes architects of the Contract with America, in which the nature of the American electorate in 2010 will be discussed. Non-member tickets start at $50; see the event website to register.
  • On Friday 30 July, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity will celebrate the anniversary of Milton Friedman's birth. Details are as follows:
    Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

    This year, the late economist and freedom fighter Dr. Milton Friedman would have celebrated his 98th birthday. He won’t be here for that event, but we’re going to celebrate it for him!

    In coordination with the Foundation for Education Choice ( and its 2010 Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity Foundation is throwing a birthday party for Milton.

    On Friday, July 30, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, we will meet at the Mama Java Coffee Shop, on the southeast corner of 36th Street & Indian School in Phoenix.

    Here is the schedule for the event:

    6:00 to 6:30 pm – Guests arrive. The first 25 persons to respond will get a free ( Milton would say “unpriced”) drink. RSVP to Tom Jenney, at

    6:30 to 7:30 pm – Viewing of Phil Donahue’s 1976 interview with Friedman.

    7:30 to 7:45 pm – Exclusive (and very geeky) video footage of AFP Arizona director Tom Jenney talking to Milton in 1994.

    7:45 to 8:45 pm – Q&A on the progress of the school choice movement, featuring Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

    8:45 pm – We sing “Happy Birthday” to Milton.

    RSVP to me at If you are one of the first 25 persons to respond, I will send you a coupon for your free (“unpriced”) drink.

These sorts of events are an excellent means to network with fellow liberty lovers. It is unlikely that I will attend any this month, but the Friedman event is a possibility.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jan Brewer has gone off the deep end.

In her effort to win the votes of the bigot wing of the Republican Party, Jan Brewer has joined the ranks of those who simply make things up about undocumented immigrants.

The claim: decapitated bodies of undocumented immigrants are being found in the desert. As reported by the Arizona Republic, six county medical examiners, including those of all four border counties, could not recall a single example of such a corpse being found.

Of course, were this happening, it would be an argument for less enforcement--for moving immigration back to the roads, where it belongs--not more, but that's beside the point.

HT: Vishal Ganeshan

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day

Unlike last year, no commentary on the fireworks today. I had contemplated an essay on rebellion in free society, but to write such would be self-indulgent, and besides that, I'm away visiting family, and it'd difficult to so much as think with eight people milling about in a "bi-level" house. (What a loud and un-private floorplan!)

If you'd really like something to ponder, think of why the early American govenrnment (Continental Congress), despite the American Revolution having been a minority movement, earned legitimacy. Perhaps it is because the (classical-)liberal ideals on which the law was based are so inherently considerate of others. The Revolution itself, unlike most of today's movements which have adopted some of its symbols, was not one of whiners out to take but not to give. It wasn't "People just want to be left alone". And it was not based on inflexible (and insufferable) ideological "principle", either.

For some inspiration, hunt for an essay of Loren Lomasky titled "Libertarianism as if (the other 99% of) people mattered." Send me an e-mail if you cannot locate a copy. But today, just celebrate liberty.