The Arizona Republic's editorial board must be patting themselves on the back right now. Why, they scored an editorial on the Gang of Eight's immigration bill from none other than recalled, disgraced two-time loser Russell Pearce, Sand Land's high satrap of hate.
See also: -Russell Pearce, Ol' Buds with Killer J.T. Ready, Now Wants to Be the Poster Boy for Gun Rights -Russell Pearce's Massive Whoppers on Horizon -Russell Pearce Seems Incapable of Telling the Truth, Even About His Own Religion -Does Russell Pearce Believe in the "Holy Lie"? -Russell Pearce's Falsehoods, Inaccuracies and Inventions on Channel 12's Sunday Square-Off
Gee, what will the Rep do to top this dumb stunt? Maybe they could get David Duke to comment on race relations, Eliot Spitzer to pen a piece about the scourge of prostitution, or Bernie Madoff to write a column on how to invest your excess cash.
And why not open up the commentaries on immigration reform even further? I'm sure nativist anti-Semite Glenn Spencer would love to horn in on the action.
Not to mention Spencer's ex-bud, minutewoman Shawna Forde, now sitting on Arizona's death row after being sentenced to die for the murders of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul.
Forde could do an op-ed for the Rep. Then a Rep flunky could interview her via phone, and let her explain why it's okay to off brown people.
My point is, not everyone's opinion is equal or even valid. And if the "paper of record" is going to grant a 1,000-word-plus column and several online video snippets to a hatemonger like Pearce, then it should at least challenge his bogus facts, misinformation, and prevarications.
Pearce has a history of bending the truth or just making it up to fit his ideological agenda. This is the guy who said he "never took a penny from the Fiesta Bowl," though he and his family accepted $40,000 in free trips and tickets from the bowl and he took campaign contributions from Fiesta Bowl execs.
About his extensive ties to neo-Nazi (and eventual baby-killer) JT Ready, Pearce once claimed it to be a "fiction" that New Times made up.
Of course, we now know that Pearce groomed Ready for politics, endorsed his run for Mesa City Council, attended his baptism into the LDS faith, and ordained him a Mormon elder as well.
Then there's Pearce's mendacity on why he was booted from his job as head of Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division by a fellow Republican.
Actually, he occasionally has denied that he was even fired, though, according to press accounts from the time, he and two other MVD officials were sacked for altering a Tucson woman's driving record so she would not face a one-year suspension of her license due to two DUIs she had received.
That's just a few in a long list of canards and prevarications Pearce has spewed over the years. I'd practically need a library to detail them all.
What I'm saying is, the guy has a track record of deceit. And yet the Rep's Joanna Allhands comes across as incredibly gullible and deferential toward Pearce in the videos that accompany his written diatribe.
She stares at him blankly as he makes this ludicrous assertion:
"When we passed employer sanctions, our employment rate went up two percent overnight."
On it's face, this statement doesn't make any sense. Why would a law forcing employers to spend more time and money checking applicants' work eligibility through the federal e-verify system result "overnight" in more people being employed?
The employer sanctions law, HB 2779, passed its final votes in the state Senate and the state House on June 20, 2007. Governor Janet Napolitano signed it on July 2, 2007. The law went into effect January 1, 2008.
The Arizona Department of Administration's Office of Employment and Population Statistics issues monthly news releases giving an analysis of employment and unemployment.
According to an archive of these, in July of 2007, Arizona's nonfarm payroll employment was at 2,671,500, slightly down from 2,690,300 in June.
In August of 2007, there was a slight uptick to 2,708,400, a 1.4 percent monthly gain, which the report said was "largely due to the start of the academic year."
What happened when the law went into effect in January of 2008? Nonfarm payroll employment dipped 1.7 percent from the previous month to 2,647,100. In February of 2008, it was a percentage up at 2,672,400.
But Arizona's unemployment rate was on the rise, as the state's economy was shrinking.
According to the chart below from the ADA's AZSTATS.GOV, in June and July of 2007, the unemployment rate was hanging steady at 3.5 percent. Then it began a climb in August that did not cease until peaking at 10.8 percent in January of 2010.
I would not be so simplistic as to suggest that Arizona's rising unemployment rate was due to Pearce's employer sanctions law. But Pearce is implying that the economy got better after employer sanctions passed, and that is clearly not the case.
Indeed, in a 2012 policy analysis from the libertarian Cato Institute looking at the economic effects of both the employer sanctions law and Senate Bill 1070, Cato's Alex Nowrasteh concludes that both laws hurt Arizona's economy.
Nowrasteh finds that the employer sanctions law and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's raids intimidated businesses, with some choosing not to expand or locate in Arizona as a consequence, and some simply closing their doors.
Additionally, Nowrasteh concludes that Arizona's recession and its housing bust were worse because of its policy of trying to make illegal immigrants self-deport.
"By January 2011, the number of unauthorized immigrants in Arizona decreased by 200,000, a large 35.7 percent decline, due largely to Arizona's immigration laws. Upon leaving Arizona, these immigrants took their labor, businesses, purchasing power, and housing demand with them. As a result, Arizona's economy suffered."
And no, they did not "self-deport" to Mexico. They merely moved to states friendlier to their work ethic.
"When we passed 1070, our crime rate dropped to a 30 year low," Pearce tells a credulous Allhands, later adding that, "Homicides in Phoenix are down 50 percent."
Let's start with the one about Phoenix homicides being cut in half because of SB 1070, much of which was enjoined by the federal courts until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June of 2012, allowing section 2(b), the so called "papers please" section of the law to stand, while overturning three other sections.
Here are the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters per year as reported by the Phoenix Police Department to the FBI for the latter's annual crime reports.
So, um, where's that 50 percent drop, Russ? SB 1070 was passed in 2010, and it technically went into effect on July 29, 2010, though, as I mentioned, parts of the law were enjoined and later overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bottom line: these numbers from the FBI do not back up Pearce's contention of a 50 percent drop in murders.
What about Phoenix's crime rate hitting "a 30 year low" because of 1070? Pearce gets this bull from the right-wing police union PLEA, whose former president Mark Spencer was an ally of Pearce's. PLEA produced a document to this effect for Pearce's benefit.
I've addressed this shibboleth so many times, I could practically debunk it in my sleep.
Here are the number of violent crimes in Phoenix from 2008 to 2011.
Once again, SB 1070 was passed in 2010, going into effect (minus the enjoined sections) on July 29, 2010.
Now if 1070 was the reason for a 30 year drop in crime, wouldn't you see a larger decrease from 2010 to 2011 than from 2008 to 2009, or from 2009 to 2010? Indeed, the number of violent crimes in Phoenix actually went up a tad from 2010 to 2011.
Furthermore, how can a factor that's only introduced in 2010 go back in time to affect events 30 years past? Unless Pearce has mastered the mysteries of time travel.
I don't know why Allhands and her bosses at the Republic have allowed Pearce to spew his hateful rhetoric unchallenged. They've also given him space recently to rant about gun control, as well.
I've caught Pearce in direct lies before, standing face to face with him. You know what he did? He shrugged.
That's what you're dealing with in Russell Pearce. And it's part of the reason he lost the historic 2011 recall and a 2012 GOP state Senate primary, each by double digits.
Pearce's own people know him for what he is, and have removed him from power. The Rep should catch a similar clue. Or at least do its job instead of giving a scalawag like Pearce carte blanch to prevaricate with impunity.
Oh, and that last video snippet asking Pearce about a possible run for governor? Gag-inducing. No doubt Pearce was flattered, as he has about as much chance of becoming governor of Arizona as he does of donning a tutu and dancing Swan Lake for the Bolshoi.