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Happy Hour Roundup

* It isn't every day that Rush Limbaugh agrees with Dems, but the talk show host is now claiming that Joe Barton's apology to BP expresses exactly what GOP leaders truly believe.

* Senator Jon Kyl's claim that Obama told him he's holding border security hostage to immigration reform is being widely treated as a he-said-she-said story that will forever remain unresolved.

* But it's hard to see how Kyl's claim squares with the empirical fact that Obama has already announced steps to secure the border.

* Ben Smith says the pundits may have been out of step with the public in deriding Obama's Gulf spill speech: His net approval has jumped seven points since then.

* Why, oh why, does the left keep criticizing Obama? Marcy Wheeler takes a random stab at an answer: Because criticism might push him to do better.

* AFSCME and Americans United for Change go up with a spot that boils down into Dick-and-Jane speak why investing in jobs now is the best way to tackle Federal debt later:

* An emerging climate change compromise? A utilities-only carbon capping energy bill might not be the end of the world.

* I noted the other day that the new crop of Senators is perhaps our best hope for reform in the world's greatest deliberative body. John Sides did some digging and found that there's actually historical precedent for this happening.

* Jamison Foser raises more questions for CNN about contributor and BP consultant Alex Castellanos.

* You already knew this, but a new Pew Research study finds that left wing media emphatically did not toe the White House/Dem leadership line during the health care debate, and was often quite critical.

* Also: Left-leaning media devoted more coverage to health care than right wing media did, which is a bit surprising considering how much fear and loathing reform stirred on the right.

* And Steve King says he wouldn't be surprised if Obama is tacitly importing small numbers of Muslims into the U.S. on a regular basis.

Does anyone doubt that Socrates and Plato would reach precisely the same conclusion if they were alive today?

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 6:39 p.m.: A new CBS poll finds a majority, 61% say Obama's response to the spill was "too slow." More broadly, the number who say he has strong qualities of leadership is down eight points, though it's still a respectable 62%.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 21, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Happy Hour Roundup , Health reform , House GOPers , Immigration , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Steve King: Socrates and Plato have my back
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Comments

Countdown until Steve King calls for the banishment of poets from the Republic.

3, 2, 1....

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that's some unfortunate positioning you got in your round up Greg. After all it was "the left's" criticism of Pres Obama's speech that supposedly made any criticism legitimate. I figured that Maddow, KO and others were out of step with average folks because they were looking for a speech most folks weren't expecting. Thats not to say the left shouldn't criticize or that it doesn't help. Hell I consider myself a part of the Left after all. But it is to say not all criticism from a segment of the Left is constructive or even valid in some cases.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 21, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that's some unfortunate positioning you got in your round up Greg. After all it was "the left's" criticism of Pres Obama's speech that supposedly made any criticism legitimate. I figured that Maddow, KO and others were out of step with average folks because they were looking for a speech most folks weren't expecting. Thats not to say the left shouldn't criticize or that it doesn't help. Hell I consider myself a part of the Left after all. But it is to say not all criticism from a segment of the Left is constructive or even valid in some cases.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 21, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

So here comes my criticism of criticism from the left. The problem isn't criticism, which is a vital ingredient in democracy, and the vital component of a party system to check against errors by those in charge. Had there been more criticism from the right against Bush, we may have avoided Iraq. The problem with criticism in liberal circles has been a pattern of failing to acknowledge or educate the audience about institutional rules and constraints or offer alternative solutions beyond "fighting harder" or "twisting arms." And there's often been a failure to acknowledge that many of the causes supported by liberals become exponentially more difficult to achieve, perhaps for years, if Obama is unpopular or fails. Plus, there's the time honored tradition flailing around about no differences between the two parties, which is absurd, and may only be remedied by House Speaker John Boehner.

Posted by: fbacon2 | June 21, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

sg and fbacon2 -- Agreed, of course some criticism from the "left" is legit and some isn't. My point here was to push back on the idiotic meme that has it that left wing critics should shut up b/c Obama has accomplished major reforms.

Yes, he has accomplished major goals, and some criticism is just whining, but the overall role of advocates on the left *should* be to keep up the pressure on him so he does better.

That was my only point in linking Marcy -- not to say that *all* criticism from the left is legit.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 21, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

fbacon and sg, solid points, but what's important is the substance of the criticism, isn't it? If the left complains that Obama isn't saying things the way they'd like, or proposing radical solutions that are from his perspective impractical, don't we have to hope that this will lead to more scrutiny of underlying issues? This is where the right will always fall short.

Let's take healthcare. For the right it was about blocking change. Period. For the left it was a battle for how radical, or far-reaching, the change was going to be. This should lead to a substantive discussion of the HC system and the merits of changing or keeping what we have. What the right did was utter nonsense about this, for the most part, in order to obfuscate, and the left clamored for a more progressive system by digging into the policy.

I know qb and the others on the right here will disagree, but I really see the difference here as the right blocks everything Obama pushes for based on a negative principle that has no, or little, substance, while the left on its best days offers a substantive path to change that Obama can ignore but that still enlarges the conversation.

Didn't we all learn a LOT more about HC and the system from the left and the many writers who weighed in on the substance?

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 21, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"Ben Smith says the pundits may have been out of step with the public in deriding Obama's Gulf spill speech: His net approval has jumped seven points since then."

Yeah...I remember how John McCain won all the Presidential Debates too. Great freakin' work, pundits!

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 21, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Agree with BG. You can always find fault with some of the the criticism on the left but the larger story is that it was trying to broaden the conversation and pushing to broaden the field of what's "possible."

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 21, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Kyle's claim is perfectly consistent with Obama's behavior. See, e.g., Arizona, soon to be sued by Obama for trying to enforce federal law.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

qb: "Kyle's claim is perfectly consistent with Obama's behavior. See, e.g., Arizona, soon to be sued by Obama for trying to enforce federal law."

Where do you figure in the extra National Guard he authorized for the border in your equation?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Considering that oil is still pouring into the gulf and the media has been very tough on Obama these past few weeks, it is astouding that Obama's approval rating has held up overall (Gallup 49%, CBS/NYT 47%) and is oil spill approval rating is not in the toilet (Gallup 44% which is up from 40%, CBS/NYT 43%).

Once this leak is capped, checks start arriving for residence, and there is a better handle on the clean-up, Obama will probably be okay overall.

However, the Obama administration must be much more pro-active in the future on future "disasters" or "catastrophes".

The Obama administration should also work hard on selling Energy bill as a jobs bill too.

Posted by: maritza1 | June 21, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

The three last lines in the Limbaugh piece are fun...

"We'll let Joe Barton get eaten by the Democrat lizards on this to protect ourselves. This is politics and this is the reason why true believers have such a problem with politics. It's just that simple and no more complicated than that."

"True Believers". Yes, Rush, that's your product.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@BG & @Greg:
We'll probably be able to find anecdotal evidence of both "good" and "bad" criticism. My question for critics often focuses on whether they are actually expanding the realm of the possible or likely collapsing it by undermining support at key moments and refusing to engage a fight at the front lines. My own experience was that trying to muster support for the health care bill in the final weeks was significantly harder because trusted voices in the progressive left had spent close to a year running down the Senate bill. There were many faults with the Senate bill, but on the whole it was good legislation with historical import that would ultimately save lives. But did the bulk of criticism from the left push Democrats to try harder or did it distort debate enough so that much of the base only defined "real" reform in terms of a public option? It's an open question.

Posted by: fbacon2 | June 21, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Countdown until Steve King calls for the banishment of poets from the Republic.

3, 2, 1...."

That was wonderful, BG.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The problem with conservative talking points on Obama not upholding the immigration laws is that he is. Now, the Arizona law is a bit different to some of us because it targets everyone with a certain ethnic look.

"The number of deportations each year more than tripled during the Bush era -- and has kept going up since then. During fiscal year 2009, the first fiscal year of the Obama era, 387,790 immigrants were deported -- almost 100,000 more during the last full fiscal year of the Bush presidency."

"Department of Homeland Security officials stress one big difference between Bush and Obama policies: that the percentage of convicted criminals among the deportees is rising dramatically."

"In fiscal year 2008, 31 percent of the 369,221 deportees had criminal records. From October of 2009 to late April of 2010, that figure was up to 48 percent."

From HuffPo

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the best thing progressives can do is applaud the positive and not just complain about the negative but do something about it. I think that was one of the disappointments with the Halter/Lincoln contest.

Everyone gave it a good run, and I believe it was important to challenge Lincoln, especially since her seat is not a given by the polls. But I also think the WH Rahm "un-named source" Emanuel came down on the wrong side of the fence in criticizing the unions and progressives. It was very counter-productive and just pissed a lot of people off.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Just had a couple from Houston Texas in my store. Their hopes were that Obama would have pushed harder and gotten more re health care and financial reform. Smart, thoughtful folks. Next-door neighbor is a BP exec but I'm no more left than these two. When I asked them whether any other individual sitting right now as President might have been able to achieve more, they thought probably not.

And that fact (or educated premise, at least) has to be factored into any discussion on this presidency, I think. This WH is, after all, taking on the most powerful people and entities that exist. None of which is to say that Marcy has it wrong.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Smart thoughts from Yglesias...

"Now of course if you want to be literal about it, Arabs are deft at disguising reality just like Europeans and Americans and Chinese people. This is a human trait. And this is precisely one of the main tropes of anti-Arab discourse in the United States, a tendency to pluck out basic human character flaws and then attribute their manifestation in Arab people as an expression of their Arabness. In reality the Dubai bubble was of a piece with similar events in Ireland, the Baltic states, and to an extent the United States." http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/06/human-beings-are-good-at-disguising-reality/

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

bernie, I think one of the problems with Obama is that he seems too willing to compromise his position early on. Let's see what we can get first, then compromise.

I've been around politics for 40 years now and I just don't remember anyone quite so willing to give up a position so early in the fight. The deficit commission is a perfect example. He implicitly turned the debate from short term spending to long term deficit.

Now he is making noises for more spending on unemployment, cobra subsidies, infrastructure jobs, etc. etc. but Congress has moved on to deficit reduction.

Obviously, I will fight for Obama and just about any other Dem over the alternative, but sometimes it's a tough sell.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I think where the progressives missed the boat on HCR was in community outreach. It's one thing to blog about it, or talk about it on cable tv, but the most effective way to reach out to people is face-to-face, door-to-door. They were totally outplayed by the Tea Party in showing up to town halls, rallies, etc. It really seemed to me that by the time they caught on to that, it was too late, and then came the "Kill the Bill" stuff.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

"I know qb and the others on the right here will disagree, but I really see the difference here as the right blocks everything Obama pushes for based on a negative principle that has no, or little, substance,"

You're right about the first part of that. Except for the fact that conservatism is definitionally . . . conservative, and that radicalism is definitionally radical, I doubt you could be more wrong.

Even if you assume -- counterfactually -- that Republicans merely seek to prevent the "change" that radical Democrats seek to effect, that does not mean their position lacks substance. It means only that, first and foremost, they seek to prevent harm.

The shoe is regularly on the other foot, as well. When Democrats reflexively resist any reform of the regulatory and welfare state, we could just as easily assert that their opposition is mere negativism lacking substance.

It's a silly argument.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

BG, if you're around anymore tonight, I left a brief response to your Wolffe-Alter question when I closed down Plum Line After Dark on Saturday night. Sunday a.m., actually.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 21, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

sue, I agree the "kill the bill" stuff ended up being counter-productive, although I admit to being tempted. I think again, when we found out that the compromise with Pharma undermined both transparency and drug re-importation, some of us were shocked. All of our work on HCR was knee-capped at the start. And who could have anticipated the "death panel", "pull the plug on Granny" talking points? But hey, we got a bill, by hook or by crook and it seems to be gaining support. Now we need to do something to actually bring down the cost of health care.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

"Where do you figure in the extra National Guard he authorized for the border in your equation?"

As meaningless talk about a meaningless gesture.

It's 1200 NG, maybe, if he actually follows through, who won't even be at the border but behind the scenes helping more with drugs than immigration and won't have any interaction with illegals. Bush sent more than that, and it made no difference at all. Obama knows this won't, either.

Why don't you just admit the obvious truth: That the Democrats have an electoral strategy that depends in part on open borders and amnesty. Liberals on PL crow about it enough, when they aren't pretending it isn't true.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

"That the Democrats have an electoral strategy that depends in part on open borders and amnesty."

Just another bogus talking point. Hey qb, have you noticed that ACORN has been absolved of all wrong doing. A right wing witch hunt if ever there was one.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Ims - "Obviously, I will fight for Obama and just about any other Dem over the alternative, but sometimes it's a tough sell."

Understood. I'm not unsympathetic.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

fbacon2--I think your points on the opposition to Obama from the left at times undermining the causes the left wants are valid. I also think people ought to read Jonathan Alter's chapters on HCR in his new book to get a better understanding of what was actually going on behind the scenes with that. He certainly doesn't give Obama a pass on some of what transpired, but he really offers a view of the complexity of the whole process plus some evidence that things the left was beating drums for as new were already worked into the equation.

My main concern has been with the tone of the criticism. For instance, a lot of the time KO treats Obama with the same disdain he had for Bush. How that is helpful to Democratic causes is beyond me. Raise the points. Argue the case. But don't we need to remember we want this president to succeed?

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 21, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"This WH is, after all, taking on the most powerful people and entities that exist. "

What bunk. The person who resides in the White House is one of the most powerful people, if not the most powerful person, in the nation and he is running what is undoubtedly the most powerful entity that exists in the country and probably the world. The government, after all, has a legal monopoly on the use of force.

But to Bernie Obama is an underdog. How completely and utterly absurd.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

"Just another bogus talking point."

No, this is a bogus talking point:

"The problem with conservative talking points on Obama not upholding the immigration laws is that he is. Now, the Arizona law is a bit different to some of us because it targets everyone with a certain ethnic look."

In fact, your second sentence is flatly untrue. You obviously haven't read the law and have little idea what it says.

But I'll keep your statement in mind the next time Plum Liners start celebrating how being the party of amnesty and nonenforcement will ensure their electoral success for years to come.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

qb: The point I was making is that you said "Kyle's claim is perfectly consistent with Obama's behavior."

The only "behavior" thus far is an authorization for 1200 NG and a request from Congress for $500m. The lawsuit that may or may not end up being filed is not an "action" because at this point it doesn't exist. No "behavior" there, my friend.

As far as the whole immigration issue is concerned, both sides have their electoral strategies. The conservatives aren't really about solving the issue because the business community loves cheap labor.

The other point that I'd like to make is that Obama is taking some pretty big hits from his left on immigration. Why? Because his record of deportation of illegal immigrants has increased over the last administration. There is a handy chart here: http://americasvoiceonline.org/research/entry/charts_enforcement_spending_and_deportation_levels_continue_to_skyrock

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

If John McCain had been elected President:

When The Gulf Oil Spill first started:

President McCain would have canceled his entire schedule, and declared to the nation;

My Fellow Americans; Today We Are All Citizens Of BP.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Eric Alterman on the fight for Helen Thomas' seat. Here's a graph from near the end:

"Then there's this matter of the legitimation of Fox News. As I have written over and over in this space, Fox is not a news network. It is a propaganda arm of a political movement, one that seeks to employ the Republican Party to serve the needs of corporate wealth, religious extremism and narrow-minded resentment against non-Christian, nonwhite Americans. As Media Matters argued in the wake of the debate over Thomas's seat, "Fox News aggressively promoted the 'tea party' protests, which Fox itself described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies, and uses its airwaves to engage in open advocacy against the White House and congressional Democrats. In recent years, at least 20 Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes.... Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities' affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events." (It is worth noting that Fox's reported competition, Bloomberg News, while much more dependable professionally, is devoted largely to providing news to businessmen and investors and spreading their laissez-faire ideology. The interests and views of working people and the unemployed, who lack sufficient disposable income for investment purposes, are of little concern, either to Bloomberg or much of the rest of the room.)" http://www.thenation.com/article/cutthroat-crybabies

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Actually qb, I have read it and I stand by my statement. Interesting you didn't dispute the deportation numbers I cited. I thought you would be thrilled that Obama has exceeded Bush's numbers so I assume that's why you couldn't come up with a counter argument. And your radical is the new moderate. Hey, we can't all be libertarians, who would build our bridges, roads, extinguish fires, fight crime, protect our drinking water, food and drugs and plug the damn gusher or make sure it's cleaned up?

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

lms (quoting huffpo):

"During fiscal year 2009, the first fiscal year of the Obama era, 387,790 immigrants were deported -- almost 100,000 more during the last full fiscal year of the Bush presidency."

I don't know for sure, but I imagine that deportation is the end of a long process. Of these deportations, how many were the result of proceedings begun prior to Obama? What is the rate of deportation processes begun under Obama relative to Bush?

The mere fact that more took place in 2009 than earlier does not necessarily mean that it is due to, rather than in spite of, Obama policy.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Two very good pieces from The Nation on "mama grizzlies", the conservative movement and femininism. Here's the first... http://www.thenation.com/article/mama-grizzlies-working-moms-drop-dead

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's the other
http://www.thenation.com/article/mama-grizzlies-working-moms-drop-dead

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting point Scott, I'll get to work on that. I do remember several articles here in CA crediting Obama for deportation of criminals and OMG reuniting families w/o said criminal records who were citizens.

"From October of 2009 to late April of 2010, that figure was up to 48 percent."

I think the dates substantiate the fact that this is an actual Obama priority but I will verify the timing for you.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, I'm glad you're staying on the mama grizzly thing. In fact, I appreciate your entire effort to show the way propaganda, politics, and policy are interwoven on the right. I feely strongly that it needs a lot of attention, and it doesn't get that much.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 21, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

ims, check out the chart I linked for qb above. It has the stats you are looking for.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

AllBut:

"In fact, I appreciate your entire effort to show the way propaganda, politics, and policy are interwoven on the right. "

I think you are a little confused. What Bernie has been showing us is how propaganda works on the political left.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I was originally a Hillary person tho I made 3000 phone calls for candidate Obama between June & Nov. Every time I begin to seriously fade on Prez O, I remind myself of McCain/Palin and my mind gets right (as in re-sane). My focus gets trez crisp.

Remember those benighted 90,000 purist Nader voters in Florida -- the ones who brought us 8 hideous years of escalating Casino Capitalism, butchered environmental regulations, et cetera. The short-sighted Naderites who paved the Road to Hell.

I have been a leftie since JFK was murdered on my 19th birthday. Sulking and stamping one's tiny tantrum feet in November would only lead to More Grueling Hell. *YOU* want McConnell & Boehner running things? Really?

Posted by: wendyf | June 21, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

lms: "The Arizona law is a bit different to some of us because it targets everyone with a certain ethnic look."

qb: "In fact, your second sentence is flatly untrue."

lms: "I have read it and I stand by my statement."

So you stand by your statement even though you know it is false.

Breathtaking.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 21, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Fact Sheet: Setting the Record Straight on Border Crime

The facts on crime in Arizona

Violent crimes in Arizona are down by 15 percent since 2006

Per-capita violent crime rate dropped by 22 percent

Arizona’s violent and property crime rate drop was twice the national average

Kidnappings are tied to Mexico’s organized crime syndicate, not innocent Americans

A safer southwest border

Border cities are among the nation’s safest: Phoenix and other large border (and near-border) cities have some of the nation’s lowest crime rates, including San Diego, El Paso, and Austin.

Border counties have low violent crime rates: Counties along the southwest border have some of the lowest rates of violent crime per capita in the nation. Their rates have dropped by more than 30 percent since the 1990s.

There’s no evidence of “spillover” of violence from Mexico: El Paso, Texas has three bridges leading directly into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where the number of killings has approached 23,000 since 2006. El Paso experienced only 12 murders in 2009, which was actually down from 17 in 2008. San Diego, California saw 41 murders in 2009, down from 55 in 2008, and Tucson, Arizona experienced 35 in 2009, a significant decrease from the 65 murders committed in 2008. Claims of spillover violence are clearly overblown.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/06/border_crime.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Scahill looks at the disparity between congressional moves to defund Acorn based on a fake scandal and the treatment of BP on what we all know has happened in the Gulf. And as his title suggests, there are reasons for this which also has ramifications for our earlier discussion on what a modern President is up against:

"Fueling War: Pentagon Still Buying Most of Its Oil and Gas from BP"
http://www.thenation.com/blog/fueling-war-pentagon-still-buying-most-its-oil-and-gas-bp

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Violence is not up on Arizona border despite Mexican drug war


NOGALES, Ariz. - Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez shakes his head and smiles when he hears politicians and pundits declaring that Mexican cartel violence is overrunning his Arizona border town.

"We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico," Bermudez says emphatically. "You can look at the crime stats. I think Nogales, Arizona, is one of the safest places to live in all of America."

FBI Uniform Crime Reports and statistics provided by police agencies, in fact, show that the crime rates in Nogales, Douglas, Yuma and other Arizona border towns have remained essentially flat for the past decade, even as drug-related violence has spiraled out of control on the other side of the international line. Statewide, rates of violent crime also are down.

While smugglers have become more aggressive in their encounters with authorities, as evidenced by the shooting of a Pinal County deputy on Friday, allegedly by illegal-immigrant drug runners, they do not routinely target residents of border towns.

In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes. Aggravated assaults dropped by one-third. No one has been murdered in two years.

Bermudez said people unfamiliar with the border may be confused because Nogales, Sonora, has become notorious for kidnappings, shootouts and beheadings. With 500 Border Patrol agents and countless other law officers swarming the Arizona side, he said, smugglers pass through as quickly and furtively as possible.

"Everywhere you turn, there's some kind of law enforcement looking at you," Bermudez said. "Per capita, we probably have the highest amount of any city in the United States."

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/05/02/20100502arizona-border-violence-mexico.html#ixzz0rXnGGEal

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, thanks for that Alterman on Fox. Right on.

ABC, saw that post, and thanks. Glad to know that Alter, who I like, is getting it right, and Wolffe, who I think is a punter, is thin on the complexities. At least the latter wasn't a hatchet job.

And qb, I still don't see the substance on the right on the HC debate. Status quo? Yet another way to bankrupt the country, but I guess like pizza and beer it goes well with tax cuts.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 21, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@ABC - You're welcome, and thanks. I think it's important too.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

"Republican charges that the Obama administration is giving border security and immigration enforcement short shrift are false."

"In conjunction with the fact that border security spending and personnel have also increased in recent years, the deportation numbers show that an aggressive “enforcement-only” immigration policy built during the Bush Administration is still the status quo of the Obama Administration."

Thanks to Sue, here you go Scott:

http://americasvoiceonline.org/research/entry/charts_enforcement_spending_and_deportation_levels_continue_to_skyrock

Posted by: lmsinca | June 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Looks clear to me from the evidence and statistics that steps taken to secure the border started under Bush, and continued and increased under Obama, has paid off.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, thanks for the Scahill. That guy's a great reporter. It's sad, isn't it that he probably makes a fraction of what the hacks at the networks are making, as well as the newspapers.

But then again, he has his self-respect.

Hope he has some Blackwater reporting coming out, as the latter have just got a big Afghanistan contract again. Amazing.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 21, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"Actually qb, I have read it and I stand by my statement."

Then you are not being honest. There is no way the law can be read to say what you asserted.

"Interesting you didn't dispute the deportation numbers I cited. I thought you would be thrilled that Obama has exceeded Bush's numbers so I assume that's why you couldn't come up with a counter argument."

No, not interesting, when you consider that even the Huffpo column to which you referred reveals many of the fallacies in your argument. I thought it not worthwhile. A few fallacies:

Theoretically, of course, increased deportations could merely be a result of increased illegal immigration and slack border enforcement. Indeed, it is just as possible that Obama's election would have encouraged more illegal immigration. He is, after all, our first Citizen of the World President.

And Bush himself was not a very strong immigration law enforcer, so raising the deportation number wouldn't necessarily show that Obama is "securing the border." (He plainly is not.)

But we need not rely only on these theoretical fallacies to conclude that your argument is wrong.

Deportations rose steadily from 2002 on. Obama did nothing to increase deportations, nor did he materially increase them. As Scott notes, deportations during Obama's first year in general are not likely to have been begun under him.

And did you notice the huge math error that you repeated? There was no 100,000 increase from Bush's last to Obama's first year. Froomkin added a zero.

Finally, what ever happened to "It's Bush's fault"? That is Obama's governing philosophy.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@wendyf - "Every time I begin to seriously fade on Prez O, I remind myself of McCain/Palin and my mind gets right (as in re-sane). My focus gets trez crisp."

That really is the center of things, isn't it? This movement and party are, by the nature of who they have become and as a function of who supports them, unable and unwilling to face up to the damages they have perpetrated on the country. The level of denial and refusal to accept accountability is stunning. But of course it also tells us exactly what they'll do again.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"Thanks to Sue, here you go Scott:"

I don't see any information at all on whether or not the deportations that took place in 2009/10 were instigated by Obama.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@BG - Yeah, Scahill is one of a whole bunch of good reporters/writers now working at The Nation. Not too long ago, the corporate media pulled a stunt where they lobbied the Post Office to increase the postal rates on publications that had relatively small distributions. For political journals, this was no small financial burden. And their continued existence is clearly increasingly important.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The Border has to be secured.

However, no matter how secure it becomes, it will never block all illegals from sneaking in.

The EU can not stop all illegals, from as far away as Africa or South America from making it into the EU countries, even though there are no common borders to cross.

It is economic osmosis at work. The overpopulated, and underdeveloped, third world will find ways to seep in to the strong economic regions.

Japan has illegal workers, and so does Israel. It is impossible to stop them all from getting in.

Tighten up the border as much as humanely possible, and also set a rational path toward green card status, for those who are already here, who wish to come forward, and commit to meeting reasonable qualifying steps, toward become legal residents, or naturalized citizens.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

After a long hiatus I now subscribe to the Nation again, and I'm glad I do. It's got a really great staff now and the arts sections are good, if a little scaled back sometimes from when I ate up their work in the 80s.

I'd recommend to others, as it's really cheap for what you get.

qb, you'd probably like the personals too. You know, opposites attract and all that.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 21, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle has hired another key player for her campaign against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Angle's TV and radio ads will be crafted by national Republican media firm BrabenderCox.

Angle is a tea party favorite and the firm has a record of working with other conservatives, including Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

BrabenderCox also worked for Rudy Giuliani during the former New York mayor's 2008 White House run."

They want Reid's scalp and they absolutely do not care who might be utilized to take it. Had Jeffrey Dahlmer won this primary, the RNC marketing crowd would be hired on and put to the task of making him look like a Norman Rockwell cutie (or to look like whatever over-arching narrative they were pumping).

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"The only "behavior" thus far is an authorization for 1200 NG and a request from Congress for $500m. The lawsuit that may or may not end up being filed is not an "action" because at this point it doesn't exist. No "behavior" there, my friend."

You apparently (and incorrectly) equate behavior with action, excluding inaction. But, even so, you miss the mark. For example, Obama and at least three high-level officials all attacked the Arizona law (only to admit none of them had ever read it). Please don't try to suggest that all of this public bully pulpit pounding by Obama and his officials was not calculated to send messages to all concerned parties that this Admin will not be vigorously enforcing the law and will not tolerate anyone else's trying to.

Similarly, while it isn't Obama himself who was directly responsible, his party welcomed the President of Mexico into Congress and applauded as he denounced the state of Arizona for trying to enforce federal immigration law, which it has the legal authority to do. Obama was clearly complicit in this outrage, and again, it sent a clear message to everyone concerned, including illegals, actual and potential.

"As far as the whole immigration issue is concerned, both sides have their electoral strategies. The conservatives aren't really about solving the issue because the business community loves cheap labor."

Republicans have had some sellouts and weaklings, like Bush and McCain to a large degree. But "conservatives" are very much "about" stopping illigal immigration.

At least you admit that the Dems have an electoral strategy involving illegal immigration.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

BG,

I much prefer The Nation's new website format, to their previous one.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, time to close down this rolling gem show and go cook up a T-bone. Night all.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Lastly, I almost forgot, the Huffpo column itself suggests that 2010 deportations may be trending downward. I don't know whether that is true, but one would think the statement would not be overlooked by persons citing the column for Obama's supposed heightened deportation efforts.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"At least you admit that the Dems have an electoral strategy involving illegal immigration."

So to the Republicans, and even conservatives, especially in the business community. It's okay to face it.

Jan Brewer and other pols in AZ were all over the airwaves that at least one BIG reason that they needed the law was because of the rampant crime on the border....which as the evidence I provided shows...is and has been DECLINING.

No "politics" involved on the right, right?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how Arizona will be able to verify if some immigrant's green card is legitimate or forged?

Does INS share the information, with each state, on how to determine if a green card is legit, and that it belongs to the person who presents it?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Slave-Sargent:

In your e-mail to me you justified banning Bilge and not any of the abusive lefties here by claiming that Bilge's abuse was "constant". How often, then, can I address lefties as, say, "slave" without getting banned? Every other post? Every third?

Please let me know as I do not want to run afoul of your (unwritten) rules. Thanks.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight Bernie,

Don't Burnett your T-bone.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

lms & qb,

My money is on no AZ suit at all. The admin could easily lose at SCOTUS and they know it.

This is Gitmo-ReduxO, stringing the amnesty faithful, also a head-fake for the base and (desperately hoped for) short time-out from the Gulf debacle.

Posted by: tao9 | June 21, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"Lastly, I almost forgot, the Huffpo column itself suggests that 2010 deportations may be trending downward."

From the chart I posted above:

**ICE goals for FY 2010, according to a 2/22/10 internal memo released by the Washington Post. The memo said that as of February 15th, ICE was on track to
deport 310,000, and outlined steps ICE would be taking in order to "meet or exceed" the goal of 400,000.

And if they meet or exceed the goal, that would be an increase of at least 12k deportations over 2009.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

tao9: "My money is on no AZ suit at all."

My money is in the pot with yours. I think they will let the other suits play out first.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Bernie says:

"They want Reid's scalp and they absolutely do not care who might be utilized to take it."

Shocking...just shocking...that Republicans are trying to defeat Democrats. Will the nefarious plans of these immoral evil-doers never end?

"Had Jeffrey Dahlmer won this primary, the RNC marketing crowd would be hired on and put to the task of making him look like a Norman Rockwell cutie (or to look like whatever over-arching narrative they were pumping)."

Angle and Dahlmer...now there is a thought-filled comparison. And of course, Democratic PR firms are well known for high standards in selecting the Dems that they will help out in an effort to get a Republican scalp.

Bernie, you are a living caricature of the unthinking partisan.

(BTW, I daresay that Reid is such a putz, Dahlmer just might have a shot.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 21, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Again,

How will Arizona's law officers be able to determine if some immigrant's papers are legitimate or forged.

INS has always kept that screening information a closely held secret. They have never been willing to tell employers what to look for, when screening an applicant.

It would seem likely, with today's web tools, employers should d be able to just scan over a copy of the papers, to INS and get a rapid response.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Liam: "INS has always kept that screening information a closely held secret. They have never been willing to tell employers what to look for, when screening an applicant."

Employers can use the E-Verify system to determine eligibility to work in the US. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

It's not perfect, but it much improved in recent years.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Scott, FYI, I began with the good news, more of the deportations are criminals, the bad news is that some of the folks in favor of immigration reform are unhappy about the increase. IOW, how does that play with your denial of the remote possibility that Obama is singing your song?

"A total of 387,790 people were deported from the United States in 2009, up from 264,503 under the administration of President George W. Bush, according to government figures cited by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of several organizations."

"We are asking President Obama for an immediate halt to deportations and to show leadership to advance immigration reform," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

What we are seeing in the US now is not an instance or an example of the premise that government doesn't work. It's an example of how corrupted government doesn't work.

And it doesn't because it's not supposed to. That's the idea.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Bernie says:

"What we are seeing in the US now is not an instance or an example of the premise that government doesn't work. It's an example of how corrupted government doesn't work."

Ah yes....the classic defense by communists when confronted with the obvious failure of any place that tried their ideas. It works, but it just hasn't truly been tried in practice. The fact was that communism was working pretty much exactly as it must in practice.

Bernie now updates the argument for the new socialist. It is as fallacious an argument as the old one.

He fools himself (or is perhaps simply trying to fool us) into thinking that somehow the very human characteristics and motivations that produce the actions and results that he decries with regard to those evil corporations are somehow magically absent from people who enter government. Or would be, if only Democrats (or is it progressives?) held the reigns of government. Or something.

It has become a cliche to say, as Baron Acton first pointed out over a century ago, that power corrupts, but it remains true nonetheless. We would all do well to remember that, regardless of what foolishness Bernie is peddling.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 22, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I am not quite sure who Bernie thinks is advancing the premise that "government doesn't work". Whether or not it "works" depends upon what goal one is working towards. Certainly if one's goal is to redistribute wealth from Peter to Paul, then government "works" just fine. If one's goal is to know what price to charge for a product, say insurance, then government doesn't particularly "work" at all.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 22, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

"No "politics" involved on the right, right?"

I didn't say there wasn't. I said the Democrats have an electoral strategy that includes lax immigration enforcement and amnesty.

And I said there are some sellouts among Republicans as well, but it isn't because of business. It's essentially the same as the Democrats'approach -- we must not offend Hispanics by enforcing the immigration laws.

And if you are suggesting that Republicans like Brewer take the opposite approach, yes, thankfully some do. Here is the difference: They are "playing politics" by advocating enforcement of our laws and combatting illegal immigration. Democrats are playing politics by resisting it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing what a night's rest can do. I went to bed a liberal and wake to find myself a communist. Come, Scott, join with me now in a chorus of the Volga Boat Song.

The note above isn't terribly original I suppose but it was a way of thinking about things I hadn't really crystallized.

A community develops, for example, a set of rules regarding what locals can and cannot do adjacent to the drinking water supply. Part of the system involves policing and adjudication of violations and penalties for violation. One local slips the policing or judging entity some money to ignore his violations. The drinking water degrades. The community is stymied in cleaning up the problem because the policing/judging entity is now operating covertly and counter to the efforts of the community. Government, now, doesn't work.

And that's the fundamental idea behind a corrupting endeavor - to thwart the proper working of community goals or rules or policies. And such an endeavor has to be kept as invisible as possible through secrecy, deceits or snowjobs.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

And I'd like to see McChrystal gone in 24 hours. I haven't read the RS piece yet but the chances that McChrystal would be unaware of the consequences of his statements is zero.

But in the world of the Pentagon, how many seniors there actually believe that a civilian should actually head up their operations?

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

tao,

You could be right that Obama/Holder won't actually sue AZ, and I might put too much stock in admin leaks.

I think they would have a slim shot at winning. Perhaps no serious shot. Their preemption argument is very weak, and is all they have. It is also a big political loser.

But I see no reason to think the admin's rash and bellicose assault is just a head fake for the base rather than a reflection of their true opposition to immigration enforcement. DOJ would not be "reviewing" the law for legal attack if Obama were serious about illegal immigration.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

"I began with the good news, more of the deportations are criminals,"

Just to point out another of the fallacies floating around this argument, suppose this is true. Obama's defenders imply that it is because of some nebulous change of priorities on his part.

But an equally good explanation is that there are more criminals flooding into the country illegally, or simply more crimes by illegals, or both.

The entire argument is silly, considering that Democrats have campaigned against immigration enforcement, and attacked Republican candidates for favoring it, for many years.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Bernie has been big on denouncing what he views as straw man arguments lately.

He advances another large one himself. No one thinks "government doesn't work." As Scott notes, the questions concern what it should do and can effectively do, as well as how it should be founded, etc.

Nor does anyone as far as I know believe that offshore oil drilling should not be regulated. Is he really suggesting that the Gulf disaster was intentionally allowed to show that "government doesn't work"???

These are not serious arguments. This is tin-foil-hat la-la land.

"One local slips the policing or judging entity some money to ignore his violations."

If that is the explanation, then it is a problem for Bernie's thesis that it was the Obama admin that was paid off to ignore BP's violations.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

ScottC wrote:

"Slave-Sargent:

In your e-mail to me you justified banning Bilge and not any of the abusive lefties here by claiming that Bilge's abuse was "constant". How often, then, can I address lefties as, say, "slave" without getting banned? Every other post? Every third?

Please let me know as I do not want to run afoul of your (unwritten) rules. Thanks."

I'm just going to write one post on this to you Scott. I've little reason to imagine you'd approve of rules in this context whether written or not. So that's not likely your beef with this decision.

Surely you perceive some unfairness with Bilge being singled out. There's something to that as we all know.

But Bilge was worse, and measurably worse, than anyone else. His violations were "constant" as Greg said and the site was suffering from that. Why don't you go back over any day in the last week or two and count his posts that were free of such violations then contrast with the posts of anyone else?

Either we do this community-policing function in some seriously anal check-each-word mode or we do something more ad hoc.

In over a year, this is the first such instance. It's unfortunate, but it's not unfair. Bilge doesn't get to spoil it for all the other people who attend and contribute.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of corruption leading to government failure/inability to act reasonably or ethically or transparently towards the common good, Tomasky on AIPAC's hold on Congress:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/jun/21/congress-israel

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

And from Tomasky again:

"Those who subscribe to the escrow-fund-as-shakedown thesis might bear O'Neill's tale in mind. Exxon fought the claims in court for nearly 20 years:

"CNN: Did anything surprise you once you started representing the fishermen and taking on Exxon after the Valdez spill?

O'Neill: I thought that -- like a lot of people think now with regard to BP -- that Exxon would want to settle the case relatively early and move on and I was surprised a number of times with the fact that this was World War III to them, and they dealt with it that way ...

They spent over $400 million on lawyers, essentially defending [against] our claims. They took every appeal they could take and they took every delay they could take and filed every motion they could take.

Don't kid yourself: the oil companies have the best lawyers money can buy." http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/jun/21/bp-exxonmobil-valdez-gulf

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/the_morning_plum_35.html

...and thanks, Bernie, that's my view of the Bilge situation, too.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 22, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

So, what was yesterday's SCOTUS decision limiting speech rights really all about? According to Elliot Abrams and John McCormack, it was this...

"SCOTUS Backs Israel"
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/scotus-backs-israel

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Bernie says:

"I went to bed a liberal and wake to find myself a communist."

Naturally Bernie mischaracterizes what I said. I did not accuse him of being a communist. I said that he was employing an argument that communists used to employ, and that it was fallacious for the same reasons that the communist argument was fallacious. Government is corrupt because it is populated with human beings, who by their nature are subject to corrupting influences. A belief that a benign government free of corrupting influences could possibly exist is akin to a belief that "pure" communism absent authoritarianism could possibly exist. And they are both akin to a belief in unicorns...or, as our late, great friend might have said, a belief that unicorn farts might power the world instead of oil.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 22, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Bernie says:

"Surely you perceive some unfairness with Bilge being singled out."

The disparate treatment is manifest.

"Why don't you go back over any day in the last week or two and count his posts that were free of such violations then contrast with the posts of anyone else?"

Yes...let's look at the single period in which a movement by a few think-skinned and whiny part-timers had begun to get him banned while Greg himself upped the ante by publicly soliciting complaints from others, essentially daring Bilge to tempt being banned or to back down to the will of the whiners. Or we could be more sensible and look at his entire history here, which is most definitely no worse than some of the very regulars who are treated by Greg as welcomed guests (one of whom's departure Greg even lamented.)

Greg's disparate treatment of posters depending upon their poltiics is wholly to blame for this. He can say that his hand was forced, but he himself was doing the forcing. He allowed, and then encouraged, a couple of posters to make Bilge's posts and his alone an issue on the board. He put forward the ultimatum to Bilge and turned it into a contests of wills. Greg could have easily simply ignored both the complaints and Bilge himself, but he chose to allow it to become an issue on the board.

qb was right yestserday when he said that Greg can and should do whatever he wants with his blog. But let's not pretend that Bilge's poltiics had nothing to do with either the complaints against him or Greg's escalated reaction to those complaints.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 22, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

think-skinned = thin skinned

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 22, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Scott nailed it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Wrong fastener.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 22, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Okay then he rivetted and welded it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 22, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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