They're partyin' in the trailer parks. Pass out the free Skoal and Old Milwaukee. The knuckledragger Know Nothings, wing-nut nativists, white supremacists, and toothless beaner-bashers won the day as hopes for a Congressional compromise on comprehensive immigration reform were trounced in the U.S. Senate.
"Down in Flames! Amen and Halaluya!" (sic) huzzahs a header on immigration hater/Kia peddler Rusty Childress Web site for his organization, United for a Sovereign America. "Now the battle is to be waged at the border," reads a report on Chris Simcox's Minuteman Civil Defense Corps page.
Somewhere Satan, er, this tweeter means, State Representative Russell Pearce was rubbing his greasy hands in glee. (And this was before Governor Janet Napolitano signed his brown-bashing employer-sanction state legislation into law.)
This jaybird figures the racist swill has reason to be jubilant. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 52 percent of Americans support a program giving illegals the right to stay and work in the United States if they pay a fine and meet other requirements. Perhaps more importantly, there seemed finally to be a powerful coalition of Republicans and Democrats behind such legislation.
Republican Congressman Jeff Flake informed The Bird in April: "We've got the best shot we've had in a long time . . . [President George Bush is] committed to comprehensive reform. Then you have Democrat control in the House and the Senate that's more likely than Republican control to get this product through. You have a pretty decent partisan coalition here that wants comprehensive reform."
But a vocal and highly motivated minority, fueled by xenophobia and prejudice, inundated representatives with vicious threats of political payback. Flake, Senator John McCain (a veteran with a capital V, by the way), and especially Senator Jon Kyl, who bucked his far-right backers to support the Senate compromise, were denounced as traitors.
Speaking at the June 16 rally against the legislation at the state Capitol, Mesa white supremacist J.T. Ready told a cheering crowd, in reference to certain political leaders, "We're not going to ask anymore. We're going to start yanking people out by their collars."
The reactionary rabble numbered only 300 that day, compared with the 15,000 who jammed Wesley Bolin Plaza for a pro-immigrant May Day protest. But alter kocker anti-immigrants are often retired and have nothing else to do with their lives but spew vitriol day after day after day. Immigrants, illegal and otherwise, and their supporters generally have jobs. So guess who had the leisure time to tie up Congressional phone lines by calling Reps and Senators over and over?
Supporters of a humane and workable solution to the immigration problem did not screech as loud. And the reaction of immigrant-rights supporters to the blatant ties between nativist organizations, and skinhead, neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups was far too tepid.
At that June 16 bigot blowout, for instance, there should have been twice as many counterdemos encircling the prejudice pimps, hurling insults at them, much in the same way the Ku Klux Klan is greeted nowadays whenever its members have the gall to march down the main street of some Southern town.
This pro-immigrant penguin caught up with Elias Bermudez, executive director of Immigrants without Borders, for a postmortem on the failed federal immigration bill, which would have allowed the 12 to 20 million in this country illegally a chance to stabilize their status. Bermudez praised Kyl's efforts on behalf of the bill. He chided extremists on both the left and the right who refused to support the legislation. And he foresaw the situation becoming tenser as states step in where the Feds refuse to tread.
"The lack of a direct action by the federal government is going to give a blank check for state government and state legislatures to do bad law that will only make the problem worse," predicted Bermudez, who warned, "We're going to see a very drastic reaction from the Hispanic community. I'm fearful now to get 100,000 onto the streets, because anything could set them off. That would be devastating for what we're trying to do."
Bermudez's peeps should be pissed. This Monday, Governor Manet bent over for Russell Pearce like a $10 Van Buren crack whore jonesin' for a rock. Despite a laundry list of problems with Pearce's employer-sanction bill, Nappy gave it her John Hancock, ensuring nightmares aplenty for business owners who have to use a flawed database to check the status of employees.
If enacted as is, this Pearce-puke legislation will also discriminate against anyone with brown skin and strike fear into every Hispanic heart, just as the neo-Nazi-lovin' Pearce intends it to do.
A massive campaign of civil disobedience may be necessary, as it was during the struggle for African-American equality in the '60s: Confrontational, MLK and Gandhi-type protests. And if that doesn't work, perhaps an escalation to the Malcolm X school of action.
POT KETTLE BLACK
Whew, this comedy-lovin' lark's been cacklin' harder than it does while watchin' that new HBO series Flight of the Conchords. At what, you ask? Well, at lawyer Dennis Wilenchik's op-ed in the June 26 Arizona Republic, wherein he takes to task Attorney General Terry Goddard for not rolling over and hoisting his hindquarters in the air Janet-style for an investigative "probe" of his offices by County Attorney Candy Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
As The Bird detailed a couple of months back ("King of Pain," April 26), this bogus investigation of the Attorney General involves a $1.9 million dollar payment from the office of former State Treasurer David Petersen. Under state law, the AG's office is due 35 percent of all funds collected for the state through a special unit of bankruptcy lawyers, collectors, and accounting staff under the AG's authority. This $1.9 million was owed the AG's office as a percentage of funds received in a bankruptcy collection from National Century Financial Enterprises Inc.
Such money goes back into the AG's office to fund the very unit that's procuring cash from bankruptcies for the people Arizona. It's not like the scrilla sails into the pocket of the AG. Indeed, in the past five years, the AG's Tax Bankruptcy and Collections Unit has collected more than $60 million for various state entities and for the general fund. Without its cut, as mandated by the Legislature, the unit might not be able to do the difficult legal work necessary to have those funds returned.
Attorney Wilenchik, who works for the County Attorney and Nickel Bag Joe, alleges some hanky-panky because Petersen was under investigation by Goddard at the time and, ultimately, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. This, even though Petersen recused himself from the case.
However, as part of their hypocritical project MACE (Maricopa County Anti-Corruption Enforcement), Candy and Joke are investigating just about everybody but themselves these days. That's why this feisty finch found it funny that Wilenchik was stepping up to bat for the pair denouncing the fact that Goddard recently cut all ties with the sheriff, on advice of outside counsel, until the geezer from hell finishes playing Nancy Drew with Goddard's office.
But Wilenchik's ties to Candy's offices don't exactly pass the smell test themselves. As former New Times scribe John Dougherty reported last year ("Bully Pulpit," June 29, 2006), Candy worked for the wily Wilenchik's law firm of Wilenchik & Bartness in the months preceding Candy's 2004 election as County Attorney. Wilenchik donated money to Candy's campaign then, and Wilenchik's been raising moolah for Candy's 2008 re-election bid, too.
Dougherty reported that Wilenchik's firm had earned $326K for legal work for the county in the year before that July column. A phone call to Wilenchik from The Bird was not immediately returned. But by the time this column goes to print, the winged wonder will have requested records from Candy of all payments to Wilenchik for services rendered.
After all, if Wilenchik's willing to allege that "bribery or attempted bribery" may have occurred in this Petersen business, and if he wants to shoot his mouth off about how Goddard's now kicking Arpaio's cases to the curb supposedly for inappropriate political reasons then surely Wilenchik and Candy will have no problem making their dealings transparent.
This skeptical sapsucker's convinced that the Candy-Arpaio-Wilenchik axis is attempting to smear Goddard's office because Goddard and Candy may eventually go head-to-head in a gubernatorial donnybrook. One day after Wilenchik's piece appeared in the Republic, State GOP Chairman Randy Pullen e-mailed a derisive press release to all and sundry, accusing Goddard of political payback and turning the situation into a "political circus."
Coincidence? Nah. Just means the 2010 AZ governor's race is already under way.
RUN, GOOBER, RUN
Boy, Mayor Phil "Goober" Gordon can move fast, especially with this whippoorwill on his tail.
Philly Cheesesteak had just finished giving a cock-and-bull address to about 200 or more attendees at the Maricopa County Democratic Party convention at the Carpenter Union Training Center recently, and Goober didn't let the doorknob hit him in his scrawny ass as he hightailed it to a waiting SUV outside.
This intrepid egret, who was on hand for the speechifyin', followed alongside our milquetoast Mayor, haranguing the cowardly Goober with queries as this so-called public servant fled, his head down, glowering.
"Why should any Democrat vote for you after your John McCain endorsement?" peeped this persistent pecker. "Why do you need $1 million to run for mayor of Phoenix? Aren't you really running for governor in 2010, Mayor? Why did you take $7,000 from RED Development while it had business before the city? Are you afraid of answering a tough question? Your mother's not here for you to hide behind now . . ."
The last statement was a reference to an incident in May after the mayor's State of the City address, where the pusillanimous pol hid behind his decrepit mom as The Bird assailed him with questions.
But after the Demo Party speech, Goober again refused to take the bait, hopping into the back seat of his black SUV without uttering a word. What a colossal wuss! Doesn't the guy have any pride?
Good thing for him he exited stage left when he did. If he'd remained, he would have learned how thoroughly loathed he is by the party faithful for his butt-kiss endorsement of Senator McCain.
Basically, Goober tap-danced around the 800-pound pooch on the premises, giving the congregants his same ol' tired soft-shoe about how Phoenix is a city on the rise, yadda-yadda-yadda. He then went on to remind them that he's a longtime Dem who's campaigned with Governor Napolitano and AG Goddard. The subtext: Uh, see, I'm really a Dem, not a DiNO (Democrat in Name Only) like most of you think.
However, Jarrett Maupin, who spoke after the mayor left, made Goober's McCain backing the focal point of his roof-raising address, one that earned him loud applause and a standing ovation from the crowd of party activists.
"Any Democrat that crosses party lines and endorses a Republican has sold out the grassroots workers of this party," Maupin preached. "That's who you are. Don't let people sell you out."
Later on, Maupin got big laughs when he remarked that if Goober had pulled the same stunt in heavily Democratic Chicago, "he would be floatin' down the river."
After Maupin's address, seemed like every Dem in the room was ready to spit at the mention of phony Phil's name.
"Mayor Gordon is an opportunist," said Dan ONeil, state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America. "He should change his ways, or join the other party."
Tempe precinct committeeman Randall Holmes stated, "I think he should have apologized. Phil Gordon, whether his position is partisan or not, got his position in large part due to the hard work of Democrats. That's a slap in the face for him to turn around and endorse a Republican."
These being county Dems, it's hard to tell whether such sentiments will hurt Punxsutawney Phil in his re-election bid. But everyone this eagle interviewed believed that Benedict Gordon's turncoat ways will damn him for any statewide office. We can only hope.