I’m not an expert in gun buyback programs, but the basic idea seems pretty straightforward. In the hopes of getting more guns off the streets, there are organized events in which members of the public bring their firearms, and exchange them for cash. They’re usually publicly funded, though as Rachel noted on the show in March, some are privately financed.
But what matters is the point of the programs: removing guns from circulation. It’s possible Arizona Republicans find this confusing.
Arizona cities and counties that hold community gun buyback events will have to sell the surrendered weapons instead of destroying them under a bill Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Monday.
The bill was championed by Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature who argued that municipalities were skirting a 2010 law that was tightened last year and requires police to sell seized weapons to federally licensed dealers. They argued that destroying property turned over to the government is a waste of taxpayer resources.
Hmm. Let’s say a local sheriff’s office in Arizona wants to reduce gun violence in its community by getting more guns off the streets. The sheriff decides to do this through a gun buyback program, encouraging local citizens to participate in exchange for money, helping to keep weapons out of the hands of children and criminals. The guns are then destroyed.
Under a new law championed by state Republicans, however, that sheriff’s office can’t destroy the guns — the firearms collected during the buyback will instead be brought to gun stores, where they then can be sold and put back on the streets.
The Arizona GOP wants to turn gun buyback programs into gun recycling programs — watch the assault rifle go from the street … to the police … to the gun dealers … back to the street.
Let’s all marvel at the cycle of life, or more accurately in this case, death.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 30, 2013
As the pundits swoon over bipartisanship and Senate Republicans jump all over themselves to say that yes, they support the latest blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform, they seem to be mostly forgetting the teeny, tiny detail that can derail the whole thing—a pathway to citizenship that would depend upon:
… a commission of governors, law enforcement officials and community leaders from border states that would assess when border security measures had been completed.
And therein lies the rub. No one seems to agree on what kind of power this commission would have in determining when our borders are forevermore secure, thus opening up that elusive pathway to citizenship. Democratic senators say it would have an “advisory” role, while Republicans insist that:
[W]e have to make sure that the way this law is structured, [it] ensures — guarantees — that the enforcement things happen…. Yes. That’s absolutely one of the key standards I bring, it’s one of the key parts of our principles.
So which is it? No one seems to be sure, but the fact is, it can be the poison pill that kills any kind of immigration reform. If the only pathway to citizenship is getting an A-okay from a commission that will include Arizona’s bigoted Gov. Jan Brewer—champion of SB1070, the vile walking-while-brown law—then the legislation will be nothing but a fig leaf for Republicans heading into the 2014 elections, and every Democrat should oppose it.
Granted, any legislation is probably DOA once it hits the House anyway, because let’s face it, there are House Republicans who are two steps shy of requiring suspicious-looking brown people to sew a sombrero on their clothes. But do you think they would even consider anything less than a commission—that would include the nutcase who imagines headless corpses littering the desert—having the final say on when our borders are secure? No way.
The bottom line is, we don’t know—and Republicans certainly aren’t saying—exactly what power this commission would have. But they were certainly quick to disagree with their Democratic counterparts who said it would only have an advisory role. And without a real pathway to citizenship, any legislation masquerading as immigration reform would be meaningless.
By: Barbara Morrill, Daily Kos, January 29, 2013
As Republican elected officials—hoping to save their political party from going the way of the dinosaur—race to grab as much credit as possible for a newly minted immigration reform effort designed to create a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million people illegally in the United States, the moment of truth for the GOP-Tea Party alliance may now be at hand.
And make no mistake…it’s going to get ugly.
While the immigration plan proposed on Monday by a bipartisan panel of eight U.S. Senators would create what the group is calling a “tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required”, it seems unlikely that Tea Party backed Members in the House of Representatives can support any such plan without being viewed as having sold out the most basic of Tea Party principles. As a result, any action in the Senate to approve such a reform effort is likely to kick off an inter-party war in the House that will make the battles inside the GOP caucus over the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling and tax increases for the 1 percent appear, by comparison, to be a walk in the park on Sunday.
The problem is as simple as it is glaring.
A willingness on the part of Tea Party supported elected officials to abide a policy that could lead to 11 million illegals achieving American citizenship or green card status would be seen as the ultimate betrayal of the principles that give the Tea Party movement its strength—not to mention its financial support. Thus, a Tea Party backed politician who votes for any immigration reform bill will be seen to have sold out the movement in favor of the preservation of the Republican Party— an action that would be anathema to many loyal Tea Partiers.
As Matt Maggio writes in the Greensborough TEA Party Examiner:
“Another reason why the Tea Party will shift its focus to immigration now is that – with this year’s election now over – many of those in “traditional” Republican circles who had seen the Tea Party as a helpful parallel force for their goals are now out of active involvement. As such, the Tea Party’s own grassroots main issues – illegal aliens, taxes, Obamacare, and bailouts – are what will matter in the movement, not the Republican Party’s goals.”
The issue also presents a political ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for members of the GOP Congressional caucus who come to Washington without the strong backing of the Tea Party and choose not to overtly identify with the group. Despite their non-reliance on espousing Tea Party principles in their rhetoric and Congressional voting records, these elected officials will, nevertheless, be forced to choose between continuing a policy that has alienated the Hispanic community (fast becoming the most important voting block in the nation as proven by the 2012 presidential race) and will lead to political irrelevancy for their party, or get behind the GOP survival effort and face the inevitable electoral nightmare for Republican elected officials everywhere—a Tea Party backed primary challenge.
Talk about a Catch-22 with no way out.
While the Republican members of the group of eight—including Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona—have sought to appease the most extreme wing of their party by including language that would prevent much in the way of forward movement for illegal immigrants until a committee to be formed of Southwestern state leaders first approve the satisfactory completion of new efforts to secure the border, it is highly unlikely that this language contained in the bipartisan framework will pass muster with enough Senate Democrats to allow such a provision to make it into a final Senate bill.
After all, it is these very Southwestern elected officials—including Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona—who have made a career out of doing everything in their power to block illegal immigration and, as a result, are likely to never give the “thumbs up” that would be required to allow the process of legalizing immigrants to begin.
This means that any bill to make it out of the Senate would likely create a less restrictive opportunity for legalization, putting increased pressure of those House Republicans who want to vote for the legislation in the effort to please Hispanics and preserve their political party’s future.
At the end of what will surely be a hard-fought process, the odds are that the nation will get some sort of new immigration policy that will allow both political parties to claim a measure of credit. But the odds are equally good that the inevitable battle supreme that will play out inside the House Republican caucus will drive the final wedge between mainstream Congressional Republicans and their Tea Party flank—splitting off the extremist from the GOP caucus once and for all.
You can read the full text of the “Bipartisan Framework For Comprehensive Immigration Reform” here.
By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, January 28, 2013
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer hosted a meeting of the Western Governors Association over the weekend, where she was scheduled to deliver a speech on energy policy. Beforehand, the governor chatted with local TV station KTVK, which asked whether Brewer believes in climate change.
“Everybody has an opinion on it, you know, and I, you know, I probably don’t believe that it’s man made,” she said. “I believe that, you know, that weather elements are controlled maybe by different things.”
Once the interview was over, Brewer asked the local reporter, “Where in the hell did that come from?”
Of course. Because nothing’s more outlandish than asking a governor about climate change before a speech on energy policy.
And how did the speech go? Not well.
Although she was introduced as a political rock star Saturday, Gov. Jan Brewer wasn’t a very big draw.
The Western Governors’ Association held its annual winter meeting in Paradise Valley. But of the 19 governors in the group, only two showed up to see Brewer deliver a brief keynote speech. [...]
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) were the two governors who attended the meeting. They are the current vice chairman and chairman of the organization.
Brewer spoke for a grand total of three minutes before leaving the stage.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, December 3, 2012
Convention officials evicted the tossers, who, like almost all of the delegates in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, were white. The Romney campaign condemned the antics as “deplorable” and “reprehensible.”
It’s good to know that some behavior on the far right exceeds Mitt Romney’s tolerance, but this episode of “animal” feeding was, well, peanuts compared with the broader issues restraining racial politics in the party. In his acceptance speech Thursday night, Romney became more than the Republican Party’s nominee for president; he became its zookeeper. To win the presidency and to become successful in the Oval Office, Romney must keep the animals in his own party in their enclosures — and that’s no easy task.
Hours before Romney’s speech, about 100 GOP delegates from the Western states assembled for a “special reception with elephants” at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, hosted by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the state GOP. There, in the faux-adobe Safari Lodge, delegates mingled with Chanel the East African crowned crane, Pita the South American porcupine, Bo the African martial eagle — and Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.
Arpaio, you’ll recall, is the guy who claims that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, who calls for the arrest and deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, who is being sued for racial profiling, and who has been an outspoken champion of the Arizona immigration crackdown largely invalidated by the Supreme Court.
At the zoo, Arpaio argued that there is no daylight between him and Romney. “The governor’s stance corresponds with my stance,” the sheriff said. “Everything he says, I agree with him.” He further boasted that he was Romney’s “campaign guy in Arizona” in 2008 and that he conferred with Romney during this year’s debates, during which Romney buried other opponents for being insufficiently tough on immigration.
Arpaio justifiably took credit for establishing the party’s position on immigration. “I don’t know how to say this without being egotistical,” he said, but “I have a lot of support across the nation from all these delegates.” Asked if he was hurting Republicans, he scoffed. “If I’m hurting the party, why did all the people running for president either visit my office or call me?” he asked. “And they all want my endorsement.”
He’s right — and it’s a shame Romney won’t send Arpaio where convention officials sent the nut-throwers. Romney needs urgently to broaden his appeal beyond the white faces on the convention floor, and he made a nod in that direction in his acceptance speech, reminding delegates that “we are a nation of immigrants.” Romney’s advisers filled the program with leaders of color such as Marco Rubio, Condi Rice, Ted Cruz and Nikki Haley.
But such gestures are easily undone by others. Romney has long lacked the courage to stand up to the more dangerous beasts on the right, from birther Donald Trump to the woman who accused President Obama of “treason.” In some cases, Romney has encouraged these sinister elements, with his recent quip in Michigan that “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate” and his false claim that Obama is gutting welfare reform. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got into a tense standoff with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus this week when he accused Romney of playing the “race card.” Priebus called that “garbage.”
No, “garbage” is what Arpaio was tossing around at the zoo on Thursday afternoon. The sheriff let everybody know “my mother and father came from Italy — legally, of course.” And he gave them an update on Obama’s birth certificate. “We’re just looking at forged documents,” he said. “Fraud, that’s what we’re looking at.”
He discussed his round-’em-up views on illegal immigrants, he voiced his opposition to driver’s licenses or other benefits for the children of illegal immigrants, and he assured his audience that Romney was of like mind. “He’s not just talking,” Arpaio said. “I’m convinced that, the first year at the White House, he will bring this issue out.”
It’s easy to dismiss Arpaio as, er, nuts. He went on a paranoid rant about how “I’ve got demonstrators I hear out there. . . . They’re the same ones who go in front of my church.” But there wasn’t a single demonstrator outside.
Romney should be making clear that Arpaio doesn’t speak for his Republican Party any more than the nut-throwers do. Instead, the sheriff wore a convention floor pass that said “honored guest.”
BY: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, August 31, 2012