[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
There are some things about state Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona's new police-state immigration law, that Greta Van Susteren and all the other Fox anchors who've had him on this past week aren't telling you.
Indeed, they let him just come on and spew misleading nonsense, as he did last night on On the Record, telling Van Susteren that the law only "takes the handcuffs off" for law enforcement officers and "allows" them to arrest suspected illegal immigrants. Actually, it requires them to.
Well, we mentioned previously that Pearce has a colorful background involving the white-supremacist far right, including dalliances -- like his close pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- with neo-Nazis.
Rachel Maddow discussed some of this in her segment last night, but it's worth discussing some more so that people can fully appreciate the nature of the police state just signed into law in Arizona. Byron York has proclaimed it "a very carefully crafted law" -- and he is quite correct about that. Crafted to what end, however, is quite another story.
Y'see, back in 2006, Pearce caught a lot of people's attention by forwarding to a bunch of his friends and associates an article on immigration from a neo-Nazi news source -- namely, the National Alliance, the folks who brought you The Turner Diaries. The article was about Jewish control of the media and how it supposedly creates a bias against whites and favors minorities and Israel. Pearce apologized, but never could explain why he was reading material from the National Alliance in the first place.
But then he was seen working arm in arm with this fellow:
That's a guy named J.T. Ready, who also happens to be one of Arizona's leading neo-Nazis. Here's J.T. at a neo-Nazi rally in Nebraska:
Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times reported:
Ready's tight with state Representative Russell Pearce, who's bashed Mexicans ever since a Latino teen shot off his finger when he was a county sheriff's deputy. Pearce is a racist law machine, pumping out statute after statute targeting the brown segment of AZ's population. At a June anti-illegal demonstration at the state Capitol, Ready and Pearce worked the crowd arm-in-arm.Pearce's political career has been built on an obsessive effort to demonize, scapegoat, and attack Latino immigrants. One of his more noteworthy previous efforts was an effort to eliminate Hispanic outreach programs in Arizona schools, predicated on the phony "MEChA is racist" meme. He's also proclaimed that illegal immigrants have no rights under the Constitution.
Remember when Pearce forwarded a neo-Nazi e-mail to supporters in '06? Pearce claimed a "friend" sent him the e-mail. Could that "friend" have a last name that rhymes with "Freddy"?
The blanket isn't big enough these days for all the bigoted bedfellows who want in on the nativist lovefest. In any other state, Pearce's ties to a white nationalist like Ready would make him a pariah, especially after the outrage over that neo-Nazi e-mail.
Instead, both Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Candy Thomas recently honored Pearce at a "gala reception" and dinner to raise moolah for Pearce's committee exploring a primary challenge to Congressman Jeff Flake, a moderate Republican who's championed comprehensive immigration reform. It was $100 a plate for the dinner, $200 if you wanted a pic of yourself with Thomas, Arpaio, or radio wingnut Bruce Jacobs. Minuteman leader Chris Simcox was on the fundraiser's planning committee.
Just as noteworthy, perhaps, is this bit from his Wikipedia bio:
In 1995, Pearce became the Director of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. Pearce was fired from that position in 1999 by then Arizona Department of Transportation Director Mary Peters after an investigation revealed that Pearce and two underlings had tampered with a Tucson woman's driving record.This is someone who obviously has no problem with handing police officers totalitarian powers -- and no problem with a little procedural abuse along the way.
And now his vision of law enforcement is Arizona law. Lovely.