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Above the Law: Excuse Me, But I Think I Missed Something?

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I might be old, sitting here scratching my head in disbelief. I might be naïve and a dreamer, and I may be the last scrupulous person on the planet, but I have to throw the question out there: Since when are laws not to be obeyed?

The recent kerfuffle over the damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don’t immigration legislation recently passed in Arizona is just the latest example of how some feel the need for the rules to be bent for some. Pity the poor illegal aliens, or at least that is the hue and cry of some. The truth is Arizona is under siege. When a once-benign town like Phoenix becomes the kidnapping capital of the world, it’s time to take action.

Have I missed something here? Isn’t it already a law that a person must be in the country legally? If so, why would the need to provide documentation of such be considered a racial affront?

Before the pro-illegal immigration people jump my bones, let me say right here that I’m not against immigration. Heck, my mother was an immigrant from Japan, my grandfather on my dad’s side escaped a Turkish death by coming here as a young boy from Greece, and before that were ancestors from Scotland and France. All I am saying is that if you’re going to immigrate anywhere, do it legally and get in line. I’ve seen the grind of bureaucracy up close and personal and even very recently. My daughter-in-law is also seeking resident status and I know what hoops she and my son have had to jump through in the last year.

If I travel to Canada, which is just a short car ride away, I must carry my passport. If I decide to jet off to Cancun (yeah… right) for a quick weekend, I must also carry my passport. If I run a red light in Windsor or cook a hot dog by the side of the road in Puesta del Sol and get pulled over and/or questioned, I must show my passport to the powers that be. If I go to Canada or Mexico and do not have my passport on my person – thus not being able to prove who I am and what I am doing in a foreign country – I can be detained and even incarcerated. I can tell you from personal experience that Canadian law enforcement and immigration have no sense of humor when it comes to misplaced documents. I have no problem with showing my original Department of Defense birth certificate, all of the passports I’ve held since age one and a half, or my recently issued Department of State birth certificate (replacing the tattered DOD document that is over 50 years old) to either foreign law enforcement or the home-grown type. This is because I’m a law abiding citizen.

Let’s move away from immigration to other areas of the law. Here in Detroit, the tragic story that will not die is that of Kwame Kilpatrick, former hip-hop mayor, convicted felon, and political gangster. True, he served his time. He was also fined one million dollars for his role in a scandalous cover-up that cost the city eight million, money he is loath to part with. Never mind that he moved to a rich Texas suburb and is still living large in a mansion with all of the trappings of a gazillionaire. Mr. Kilpatrick has had to be dragged back to court every couple of months because of his non-compliance. He thinks he is above the law, and many people here in Detroit think we should give the man a million dollar pass. They boo-hoo about his “poor” children having to suffer the indignities of being the spawn of Mr. Kilpatrick. If I were them, I’d feel pretty embarrassed too.

While I feel sorry for the kids (not so for Mr. or Mrs. Kilpatrick), there is a huge difference between me and Kwame – I’d still be in jail and the City of Detroit would be raking me over the coals to get to the cash, penny by measly penny.

Let’s now mosey over to the hi-jinx in our Congress. I will not finger-point at one party or the other, but we’ve got senators taking sweetheart deals for mortgages, money changing hands, the votes of our representatives being bought and sold. As a citizen, it’s against the law for me to sell my vote, but not so in the halls of Congress. In any other venue, bribery would be considered a crime, but if you are orbiting the political sphere you have nothing to fear. Politicians seem to be coated with a slimy ooze of invulnerability to protect them from prosecution and subsequent reservation at the Big House. On the other hand, if a person were to come to me and offer me money for a certificate and I complied, I could lose my license to operate and possibly serve jail time.

Then we have guys like Timothy Geithner who neglected to pay income taxes. (“Ooops! I forgot!”) I knew a person once who neglected to pay his income taxes, and the IRS was on him like white on rice. They rightly seized everything that wasn’t nailed down, including his child’s bank account. Or consider Bernie Madoff, who made off with billions of investor dollars. It was amazing to me to see a crook like him continue to live in luxury in a penthouse purchased with his ill-gotten gains while awaiting his trial. Never mind the poor retirees who suddenly had nothing left and were forced to go back to work in the twilight of their supposedly golden years. Poor Bernie is bemoaning his fate of living in his teeny-tiny cell now that he’s incarcerated. The poor guy was beat up! Didn’t he consider the ultimate outcome as he was fleecing his customers? Or did he imagine his charm would shelter him from a room in jail?

When being unethical is commonplace, the snowball rolls faster down the hill. On a smaller scale, I have heard of people who steal, but, hey, it’s okay. Just by being, Big Business steals from consumers and the Man pushes everyone’s nose into the dirt. So if you can cut out of work early or play games online or steal a few office supplies, so what? Students cheat in school, but it’s acceptable if the kid lives in the ghetto. If I don’t have it and you have it and I want it and I take it, why should anyone object? It is quite all right to react with wrong if the end result means you get what you want.

Huh?

It’s the only thing I can think of that explains the free-for-all scoffing of laws.

Let’s see, there used to be something known as equal protection under the law, a clause in the 14th Amendment. When the rich and famous, the supposedly disenfranchised and deprived, and the politically connected land a Get Out of Jail Free card, the laws are no longer protecting all of us equally.

Perhaps what I’m missing is the end of civility, honor, and conscience.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    Joanne –

    What we liberals are all up-in-the-air about isn’t that someone shouldn’t be able to show ID when they get pulled over for speeding or whatnot. What we ARE enraged about is a law that is requiring the police to stop and check for proof of citizenship (or legal residence) based only on “reasonable suspicion”.

    I have some experience with the law (Dan Miller’s got far more), but until now, the standard has been “probable cause”. Now maybe the difference between ‘reasonable suspicion’ and ‘probable cause’ might not seem much to you…but the law contains no definition of what that ‘reasonable suspicion’ is.

    As it stands right now, a cop might be required to stop and say “papers please” just because he sees a Hispanic man or woman speaking Spanish – because in the eyes of the local authority (or what passes for Arizona authority), a Hispanic man speaking Spanish might indeed pass for ‘reasonable suspicion’.

    Do you now see the problem? My mother-in-law is Filipina – she speaks with a heavy accent, has only a moderate fluency in English, doesn’t read well…and the way the Arizona law is written, observations of these might be all that’s required to stop her and force her to prove her citizenship…which she can do, having naturalized back in the late ’80s.

    And you mentioned having no problem with carrying your passport around in Canada or Mexico – and neither would I, because neither of these are MY country. NO citizen of a country should be forced to carry his or her passport within the borders of that country. Furthermore, I think you of all people would understand that a passport – as precious as it sometimes is – should be kept in someplace safe (like a safe-deposit box) until it is needed for travel to a foreign country.

    Joanne, if someone’s pulled over for speeding or picked up for shoplifting, then by all means YES, ask that person for ID. But this law…do you remember what ‘DWB’ meant? It meant “Driving While Black”, and referred to the tendency of African-Americans to get pulled over much more often than whites. This new Arizona law essentially legalizes policing against ‘WWB’ – or Walking While Brown…or maybe ‘SSWB’ – Speaking Spanish While Brown…or even ‘SWB’ – Shopping While Brown.

    And if you don’t think this law is racially-tinged, remember that laws were also concurrently passed which outlawed English teachers with a strong accent and also outlawed the teaching of ethnic history and culture. These other two laws place the ‘reasonable suspicion’ law into a whole different context. There was a certain country back in the ’30s that outlawed a certain ethnic group from teaching in school….

    America! Land of the Free…as long as you’re white and don’t speak with a strong accent.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ironically, Joanne, I suspect that some of those who will be nodding their heads in agreement with you here are the same people who vehemently deny that there are any inequalities in the criminal justice system.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Among the several reasons (Glenn pointed out a few, above) why the Arizona law is a bad law is that it’s redundant.

    If legislation already exists to deal with illegal immigration, why do you need more of it? Why cannot the pertinent administrations in Arizona (state, county, city, local, whatever) simply direct their peace officers to enforce the existing laws?

  • Ruvy

    So, Glenn,

    Your wife should carry her identification documents on her. And carry copies, with the real ones at home, safe in a box or something.

    If I can carry my ID documents on me, and my wife and kids can, and not bitch and moan, why are you complaining? My wife’s Hebrew is far worse than your wife’s English.

    Both you and DD purposely miss the point of Joanne’s article. There is no freedom or democracy without equal protection of the law. That is as true here as it is in the United States.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen, you say,

    What we liberals are all up-in-the-air about isn’t that someone shouldn’t be able to show ID when they get pulled over for speeding or what not. What we ARE enraged about is a law that is requiring the police to stop and check for proof of citizenship (or legal residence) based only on “reasonable suspicion.” Attorney General Holder didn’t bother to read it.

    Attorney General Holder, who had been critical of the new Arizona immigration law, testified that he had based his comments on newspaper and television accounts but had not read the by then more than two week old statute. That is no excuse for intelligent people to fail to read it.

    Would you PLEASE read the Arizona statute? I think it might well deal with many of your concerns.

    The Arizona statute was signed by the governor on April 23 and amended on April 30 by HB 2162 to remove ambiguities as to when people can be stopped and identification sought. It was also clarified to obviate concerns about profiling based on race, color or national origin; the partial text of the law as amended is provided in the previous links, along with links to the remaining parts. Section 11-1051 B, about which there has been much erroneously focused anger is available at the April 30 link. Words deleted are indicated by italics and words added are in bold face print:

    “For any lawful contact stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released. The person’s immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c). A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution. A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

    1. A valid Arizona driver license.

    2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.

    3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.

    4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification.”

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Both you and DD purposely miss the point of Joanne’s article.

    So you’ve now added mindreading to your repertoire, Ruvy?

  • Ruvy

    …now added mindreading to your repertoire, Ruvy?

    I wish, DD. I’d be a multi-millionaere able to buy up BC if I were of a mind to…

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    I don’t know Ruvy IRL but we share many of the same concerns and I would be pleased as punch if he could read my mind. I wish someone would.

    :-)

    Since I’m a person of many colors, I’ve been profiled. Shopping while Brown. Yes, it’s happened to me. It doesn’t ruffle my feathers because when this occurs (and it still does on occasion) I chalk it up to the ignorance of the other person and make it quite clear that my shopping habits are based on how I am treated.

    And I am still mistaken for a resident alien (as recently as a few years ago when I went to the SS office to get a replacement card and was told by the person serving me — speaking very broken English — that I wasn’t a citizen), even though I’ve been told I have the vocal inflections of a tall, ditzy white woman and have been here since 1 1/2. Ignorance again. It’s tragic but it’s no crime.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com Nancy

    Let’s see. I was born in this country to parents who are citizens. That alone makes me a US citizen. I carry ID around with me constantly – my Driver’s license. Green cards should be kept in the wallet.
    This issue reminds me of voting a while back. Have ID (photo preferred), or an ID can be issued to you. People were up in arms about minorities being “disenfranchised”. Nothing in the above mentioned rule singles anyone out. Yes, the laws need work. But people also make mountains over molehills.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    You know, I really do look forward to your comments, because you either enlighten me of my ignorance, or force me to become more educated in order to attempt to refute you.

    As I pointed out to both Joanne and Dave, the Arizona law in and of itself might not seem so racist…until one sees it in the context of the other laws almost concurrently passed: the outlawing of English teachers with a strong accent, and the outlawing of classes teaching ethnic history and culture. The latter law had some truly unnecessary additions to it (as in outlawing a class that promotes the overthrow of the U.S. government).

    Furthermore, read this section that you posted:

    A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.

    So the above makes it clear that race, color, or apparent national origin CAN be used during the implementation of this law…it’s just that this isn’t supposed to be the ‘only’ factor used by the law enforcement official on the scene. Another phrase used for this is “racial profiling”. So much for the national tradition of being a ‘melting pot’ of humanity.

    And what’s more, look at the three laws passed within a span of two weeks:

    1 – the legal endorsement of the use of racial profiling
    2 – the outlawing of English teachers with a strong accent
    3 – the outlawing of classes teaching ethnic history and culture

    Tell me, Dan – are these laws in base motive and actual practice really that much different from poll taxes and poll literacy tests? At least when it came to poll taxes and literacy tests, racial profiling wasn’t endorsed as part and parcel of these laws that were outlawed with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, right?

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    There are two basic modes of constitutional attack on statutes: as written and as applied. As written, I find the new law unobjectionable. Contrary to President Obama’s prematurely expressed concerns about an Hispanic family arrested while strolling along to an ice cream shop because they look foreign or speak funny, he obviously needs to read the statute. Perhaps if Attorney General Holder has finally taken an opportunity to do so, he might explain it to the president. It does not permit an arrest, etc. based on profiling — unless it is profiling to arrest people for speeding, driving recklessly, rushing away from a recently robbed convenience store, etc. That seems clear.

    If the Arizona law as applied turns out to be rotten, so be it; I shall join in criticizing it. We won’t know how it is applied until it goes into effect in July. The courts will deal with it then, as they should.

    As to the other new Arizona law on Ethnic Studies, I haven’t yet had an opportunity to read it. I have read lots of stuff on the web and tend to discount nearly all of it in view of the crap I have read about the Arizona immigration statute. Until I have read the actual Ethnic Studies statute I won’t comment on it. Rhetoric from the left or right is worthless. What the statute says and how it is implemented are important.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Until I have read the actual Ethnic Studies statute I won’t comment on it. Rhetoric from the left or right is worthless. What the statute says and how it is implemented are important.

    That’s why I look forward to your posts.

    But the bolded section is what to me is most pertinent, and why I drew the parallels between the Arizona laws and the poll tax and literacy tests that were used to disenfranchise minorities until the Civil Rights Act. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, if the written language of a law can be used for ill, it will be. The poll tax and literacy test laws – though the later ones did not contain any language that targeted minorities – should be proof enough of that.

  • Jeffrey Taylor

    Read the bill. It is already federal law and has been for 50 years. We are just doing what the federal government refuses to do.
    I carry the bill with me now because of all the propaganda and ignorance out there.

    The fact is that illegals are bankrupting our state and cost us around 2 billion dollars a year. Crime is through the roof, kidnappings highest in the nation, overcrowded emergency rooms, overcrowded schools. We can no longer subsidize this and Napalatano blamed Bush while she was governor. Claimed it was a federal problem. Guess what, she is the fed now and is doing nothing! Another liberal hypocrite!

    Unlike our incompetent attorney general, i have read the bill. My good friend who is hispanic but became a citizen legally is outraged that there is talk about just letting law breakers become citizens. kind of cheapens what becoming an american really means.

    As far as the banning of ethnic studies, again a lot of ignorance and propaganda. The Tucson schools were actually teaching La Raza studies. If you are not familiar with what they stand for Google them and educate yourself. instead of segregating students by ethnicity this law will bring them all together just like the melting pot that made this country great.

    If they still taught history in school and not the watered down revised garbage liberals schools spew out this would not even be an issue.

    Scary times we live in! Propaganda, ignorance, and liberalism will destroy America. It is only a matter of time.

    Socialism is great… until you run out of other people’s money. Margaret Thatcher

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    In support of your assertion in Comment #10 that the new Arizona law allows racial profiling, you cite the following purported quote from the statute:

    A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.

    In Comment #10, You put the word solely in bold face type, presumably to emphasize it. In my Comment #5 quote from the statute, I had put it in italics, because it had been deleted from the statute on April 30, which now reads,

    “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

    Unfortunately, the HTML currently permissible in BC comments does not include strike throughs; that’s why I used italics to denote deletions, as I tried to explain in my Comment # 5.

    With the deletion of solely, which I think was a good idea, I don’t find any remaining indication that race, color or national origin may be considered at all. Even if the Arizona Constitution permitted profiling on the basis of race, color or national origin, it could not do so to any greater extent than does the United States Constitution; the Fourteenth Amendment would not allow it.

    In Comment #12, you say

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, if the written language of a law can be used for ill, it will be.

    That is a point with which I generally agree. As to the Arizona statute, I suppose we will have to wait and see how it is applied in practice, which will begin in July.

    Applying your test to much recent federal legislation should concern all of us — particularly extraordinarily long and complex legislation approved by the Congress and signed by the President generally without having been read and about which we are learning more as time passes. You may recall Speaker Pelosi’s remark that we would find out what the Health Control Law means when it passed. I can think of no valid reason to accord that law the presumption that it will not be used for ill, while presuming that the much more tightly written, short and easily read Arizona law will be used for ill.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    it takes willfully ignoring reality in order to think this law (and those other two floating around it) is anything but a travesty. if it wasn’t racism that prompted the law, it was stupidity. maybe both.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You may as well consider the following law,zing, placing restrictions on ethnic studies and declaring ethnic solidarity as subversive.

    The State of Arizona is doing its best to become a maverick state.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And the following, canceling a basketball trip in the name of “safety concerns” and the values and beliefs we all hold.

    So yes, we are experiencing a backlash.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    re #15, gosh darn. there are so many different realities floating around that we all seem to have our own. maybe the infinite alternative universes are the problem. maybe i should read some more of stephen hawking’s stuff but probably won’t because i am so confused i can no longer even find my caps key (maybe e.e. cummings escaped one of them and stole it) and probably couldn’t find any of his writing which may well be sitting right in front of me. i think therefore i am something but i don’t know what. i wonder whether i actually am.

    this may be the solution.

    (dan miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    An excerpt from Doug Stephan countdown program re: Arizona anti-ethnic studies law:

    ———————————-

    Fresh on the heels of a new immigration law that has led to calls to boycott her state, Arizona’s governor has signed a bill banning ethnic studies classes that “promote resentment” of other racial groups.

    Gov. Jan Brewer approved the measure without public statement Tuesday, according to state legislative records. The new law forbids elementary or secondary schools to teach classes that are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” and advocate “the overthrow of the United States government” or “resentment toward a race or class of people.”

    The bill was pushed by state school Superintendent Tom Horne, who has spent two years trying to get Tucson schools to drop a Mexican-American studies program he said teaches Latino students they are an oppressed minority. There was no immediate response from the Tucson Unified School District, the law’s main target.

    —————————————
    Kind of reminiscent of the loyalty-oath required of the faculty in US universities during the Vietnam era.

    The full program will be available for airing later today; I’ll provide the link.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    In the event that anyone is interested in reading the new “ethnic studies” law, it is available here.

    Section 15-112 A provides (sorry, the all caps format is in the pdf text)

    A. A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR CHARTER SCHOOL IN THIS STATE SHALL NOT INCLUDE IN ITS PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION ANY COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

    1. PROMOTE THE OVERTHROW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

    2. PROMOTE RESENTMENT TOWARD A RACE OR CLASS OF PEOPLE.

    3. ARE DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR PUPILS OF A PARTICULAR ETHNIC GROUP.

    4. ADVOCATE ETHNIC SOLIDARITY INSTEAD OF THE TREATMENT OF PUPILS AS INDIVIDUALS.

    **********

    Sections 11-1512 E and F provide,

    E. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT:

    1. COURSES OR CLASSES FOR NATIVE AMERICAN PUPILS THAT ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH FEDERAL LAW.

    2. THE GROUPING OF PUPILS ACCORDING TO ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE, INCLUDING CAPABILITY IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, THAT MAY RESULT IN A DISPARATE IMPACT BY ETHNICITY.

    3. COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE THE HISTORY OF ANY ETHNIC GROUP AND THAT ARE OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS, UNLESS THE COURSE OR CLASS VIOLATES SUBSECTION A.

    4. COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE THE DISCUSSION OF CONTROVERSIAL ASPECTS OF HISTORY.

    F. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT THE INSTRUCTION OF THE HOLOCAUST, ANY OTHER INSTANCE OF GENOCIDE, OR THE HISTORICAL OPPRESSION OF A PARTICULAR GROUP OF PEOPLE BASED ON ETHNICITY, RACE, OR CLASS.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, yes Dan. I’m sure zing would agree there are different realities. So I’m certain he didn’t mean to speak in any absolute sense of the term, and therefore, neither can you.

    So the question is: how do we adjudicate between different versions?

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re #21 — first we read the laws to see what they say. Then we try to understand what they mean. They are not difficult to find — I found the pdf text of Arizona 15-112 by doing a ten second Google search.

    Although it is often interesting to read what the pundits, on all sides, have to say, reading the actual laws is a necessary reality check.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    OH, DAN… WOULD YOU RATHER ME YELL?

  • zingzing

    AND WHY IS THERE NO SPACE BETWEEN YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nothing wrong with the procedure per se, going case by case, one case at a time (which almost makes it imperative that we can’t judge accurately without a degree in jurisprudence, no?)

    There are other considerations.

    For example, you realize of course that your model of (normative?) reality as based on law is not a foolproof proposition. Some may and do question the presumably objective character commonly attributed to it, and tend to view the entire legal system in terms of instrumentality (as being in service, for instance, of the “ruling class.”

    Which is to say that the status of law either as a merely descriptive or prescriptive device is itself in question.

    And as regards the latter, every prescription is a matter of values. (There is no such a thing as a value-neutral prescription.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Zing –

    What Dan pasted was from a .pdf file already in all caps, and he did apologize for it beforehand.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As regards #20, I suppose the bill is less objectionable since it applies to primary public educational institutions (up to K-12), rather than to universities and colleges. It’s still a can of worms.

    The line between advocating and educating is not as clear cut as the legislators would have us believe: at what point does educating stop and advocating or promoting begin?

    Mere discussion of controversial subjects may end up being regarded as subversive through no intent on the part the instructor. And how does one prove the intent here, to judge the action as being subversive?

    There’s also a matter of political speech, the kind of speech more protected by the Constitution than any other (as per Kagan’s paper.

    Which raises another question. Even if “political speech” should be disallowed in the institutions of higher learning, there is still the matter of academic freedom which mitigates against such a ruling.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    You know, I did see that the words in italics denoted deleted words…and then I promptly forgot all about it and then pasted my ignorance all over this topic and on one, maybe two other topics.

    Please take it as a sincere compliment when I say you’ve been taking me to school.

    That said, it’s once more into the breach!

    On the ‘prohibited courses law:

    1. PROMOTE THE OVERTHROW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

    This is a painfully obvious political maneuver, a completely unnecessary requirement inserted to give the Republicans the chance to say, “see what the Democrats did!” if the Dems didn’t vote for the bill. This really stinks, and prevents serious debate from being held on the rest of the bill.

    2. PROMOTE RESENTMENT TOWARD A RACE OR CLASS OF PEOPLE.

    This is a grossly loaded segment – for who decides which particular atrocity is allowed to be taught, and which atrocity is somehow engendering said resentment? In the second set of sections you posted, it said that the teaching of controversial aspects of history shall not be restricted or prohibited…but one still wonders exactly how one draws the line between (1) not prohibiting the teaching of controversial aspects of history, and (2) not teaching that which promotes resentment towards a race or class of people…since almost every truly major atrocity has been committed by members of a certain class or race (or religion!) of people against members of another (weaker) class or race (or religion!) of people.

    3. ARE DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR PUPILS OF A PARTICULAR ETHNIC GROUP.

    To me, this is a sign of personal insecurity. I can well understand why we should not send those from a particular ethnic group to a class designed for them…but by the same token, we should also take the opportunity to teach ALL students the history of every culture that has had a major impact on national or state history. In other words, since Hispanic heritage has played such a major role in Arizona’s history, I would submit that Hispanic history should be taught in Arizona schools in an amount roughly equal to the percentage of the population that is Hispanic.

    I realize that’s logistically and politically impossible…but it’s a comeuppance for the much-too-insecure Sheriff Arapaio’s of the world that I’d really like to see.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Re Comment #25 — I don’t write the laws and I don’t enforce them. Many are very poorly written and poorly enforced.

    Having read the relevant portions of the new Arizona statutes, they seem to me to have been well written — far better than many state and federal statutes I have encountered. If they are applied as written, I foresee no problem.

    I have encountered many statutes and regulations which were applied incorrectly, sometimes for years without challenge. On at least one occasion, I was able to get the FCC to cease applying an important media ownership rule in ways clearly not within the parameters of the rule.

    If power crazed and/or illiterate and untrained cops apply the new Arizona laws according to their own whims, there will be problems. I am unwilling to presume that such will be the case here. It is far more likely with ambiguously written laws and with laws delegating substantial power to regulatory agencies.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    glenn, #26. it had nothing to do with that. it had to do with #18.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Here’s the thing, Glenn. When the radical Right of the tea-party persuasion speaks, however metaphorically, of overthrowing the government, they’re justified because the government is the usurper of their individual freedoms. But it’s a no no when it comes from the blacks, the Latinos and other ethnic minorities.

    Growing of a tea party movement is encouraged but ethnic solidarity between those who may justly (or unjustly) view themselves as oppressed is prohibited.

    Speech against the government is a sign of righteous indignation and high mark of patriotism when it issues from the teapartiers. But a similar kind of speech from non-whites and the white elite serving as provocateurs, is rightly considered treasonous and falls in the category of sedition.

    I suppose it’s OK to be critical of the government, but you had better be critical for all the right reasons. But it’s a taboo, and you’ll be stopped every which which you can, to be critical of the white moral majority.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #29, let’s hope so. The concept of “reasonable suspicion” is the one that gives me the most worry. It’s an umbrella term which seems to allow for any number of subjective interpretations and variance from person to person. It’s kind of like “shoot first and ask questions later.” And if you made a mistake, well, shit happens.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’d like to believe that the purpose of this bill is more provocative as to its intent than anything else – so as to force the Federal government into the fray. I view it as a political maneuver.

    See, for instance, Cannon’s remark #43 on Nalle’s thread.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Pretty good link, Dan, in #18. Just skimmed through it. Does it change your view of the Huffington Post somewhat as not being “national disgrace”? It is a contrary opinion.

    I would like to add, however, that perhaps it doesn’t matter as much in the larger scheme of things. Most people are predisposed to extract whatever would support their POV, whether its information or misinformation. Only a select few allow themselves to become transformed by the text. Most take the path of the least resistance.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re the link in #18 — I read it as at least semi-satirical; but then perhaps I am unduly optimistic. The examples of “extremists” caught my eye and then this:

    Anytime there is a factual dispute, the Department of Information would render a decision on what the facts are. Those parties who come out on the short end of those decisions would not be allowed to use their “facts” any longer (just like having potentially dangerous drugs or products taken off the shelf). If they do, there would be fines levied to punish the transgressors. This system would not only make clear what the facts are and empower those who want the facts to be known, but it would also discredit the lunatic fringe and reduce the influence of their views on the majority of people.

    So much for robust and informed discussion as means of separating the factual wheat from the chaff. Do you really trust any government to do that sort of thing? I certainly don’t.

    I’ve drafted a satire based upon it, soon (I hope) to be published.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dan, I don’t trust anyone to do my thinking for me. I’m sure you’re no different.

    I’ll re-read the article with a new eye.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Gosh Darn! Here we go again.

    Dan(Miller)