Our Arizona Governor is Truly Lame

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has been insisting for MONTHS that immigrants have been beheading people in the desert.  I wrote about it here,  shande doubled down on the claim in way back in June.   She repeated the claim on a televised debate the other day, and got all the national attention on this idiotic claim that she deserves.  She has reiterated this close-to-outright-racist-paranoid-fantasy any number of times through the whole summer.  So it is grossly disingenuous for her suddenly to act like it was a one-time mis-statement:

Gov. Jan Brewer rose to national fame defending the state's immigration law and warning of rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, including a claim that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert.

But the claim has come back to haunt her after her stammering debate performance in which she failed to back it up and ignored repeated questions on the issue from a scrum of reporters.

Brewer has spent the time since backtracking and trying to repair the damage done from her cringe-worthy debate against underdog challenger Terry Goddard.

"That was an error, if I said that," the Republican told the Associated Press on Friday. "I misspoke, but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there's a lot of violence going on and we don't want that going into Arizona."

That is as craven and mendacious a response as I have ever heard from a politician, and that is saying a lot (it had to be, to bet me worked up enough to blog from a seaside resort in Italy).


  1. TomG:

    mahtso, is that supposed to be "proof" of beheadings that are related to the governor's absurd claims? I can't believe you are serious.
    First of all, the article is TWO YEARS old (nearly to the day, actually). Secondly, did you bother looking up the location of "Merida Mexico" ? It's nowhere near the New Mexico border.

  2. BlogDog:

    "this close-to-outright-racist-paranoid-fantasy"

    Psychoanalyzing one's opponents seems to be a particular trope of the left and is unbecoming in rational debate. Other than that, I have no quarrel with your take.
    Though perhaps the overstatement is another instance of such tricks as climate-scare mongers lying about the environment to "raise awareness" of the issue. Always wrong, just not always called out.

  3. TomG:

    I meant Arizona, of course - which is even further from the "wave of beheadings" in Mexico's southeastern Yucatan peninsula than New Mexico. The whole article points to the drug wars as the reason for so many beheadings - i.e. the illegality of drugs, which ramps up the violence inherent in the drug trade.

  4. Henry Bowman:

    Actually, shortly after she made her first statement, some news outfit [I do not recall which] published an article that corroborated her statement, although there was but a single person found beheaded in extreme southern Arizona.

    But, who cares, really? If you're dead, you're dead. I guess it matters if the beheading itself caused your death [more pain], but if someone is beheaded after being murdered, really, what do we (or they) care? Medical examiners frequently do it.

    But, Coyote, calling people racist is truly ad hominem and, without explicit evidence, unbecoming, unless of course you can now read people's minds.

  5. gavin:

    yes we understand that shire-reeve arapio is a bit off his recliner.it also seems that our south of rio brothers are having a bit of bother maintaining something resembling civil society,as would be expected from a country that was established on socialist principles.As were the countries south.point be Latin America be a wee bit authoritarian so that criminal element will be ugly. just wait 'til the canucks get ugly.they until '90s were allowed to have guns.read up on MC gangs in Quebec.i have seen mostly nice from people but i sort of get that some ain't so

  6. bobby b:

    " . . . to (g)et me worked up enough to blog from a seaside resort in Italy . . . "
    - - - - -

    Oh, I get it now. The R's hired you to play the over-the-top caricature of a limo lib, right? Next we'll be hearing how limits on immigration will endanger the arugula crop? Or how Free Range Veal prices are gonna skyrocket 'cuz American cowboys aren't willing to lead those nighttime-only cattle drives where each vaquero carries his own ten or twelve Calves of Leisure on his back?

    At the very least, you've easily placed yourself far outside of the American demographic that most severely suffers when poor immigrants flood a job market. One might even picture you as an employer who eagerly awaits the accompanying downward-spiraling wages.

  7. Bill Beyer:

    All right, I can agree she is a ditz...
    but at least she isn't going to jail!
    Arizona, which I regard with fondness
    as I lived there for a decade growing up,
    has had a remarkable string of whacky
    governors. And I think it's been illustrative
    to see the current regime in Washington
    react to her, and the legislature there.
    I do think we ought to have better control of
    the borders, while not being paniced over
    a 'brown invasion'- the number and identity of
    the 'OTM' (Other Than Mexican) actually
    detained should give anyone pause. That said,
    I regard Brewer's statements as typical
    political theater... albeit a bit further divorced from
    reality than some. Placed alongside the serial
    prevarications from the kleptocrats in Washington,
    at least she isn't going to cost us trillons ranting
    about illegal immigration, and is more entertaining
    than the president and his teleprompter.

  8. caseyboy:

    Gov Brewer may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but in some ways it is refreshing to find a politician that is not all flash and sizzle. Too many cute polished pols that spin the tale, but rarely deliver on the promise. Gov Brewer touched a raw nerve on illegal immigration. We'd like our border closed to illegal trafficking, drugs or people. Most of us would like our immigration policy changed to streamline the path to citizenship and expand guest worker eligibility. Some of those who frequent this blog would like to see legalization of drugs and open borders. Those are debates that are worth having. However, until those debates lead to a change in the current laws the point is mute. What discourages me more than anything else is that our arrogant Federal Government can create de facto laws through the non-enforcement of existing laws or via executive order. What Gov Brewer and the AZ legislature have said is enforce the current law. It appears there are a lot of Americans who feel the same way and I don't think they are racist or bigots. Close the border, enforce the current laws and then go to work to improve on those laws.

  9. economist:

    Since it was brought up, there is not economic theroy that predicts that overall wages in the US will downwardly spiral with more low skilled immigrants. There is more going on than just a simple increase in supply of labor. First, more people will increase demand for many types of labor. Also, the low skilled immigrant laborers might be either compliments or substitutes for various current domestic labor. If they are compliments, then wages will certainly go up. If they are subitutes, then wages could go down or could go up given the relative shifts in supply and demand.

    Technical progress, trade with foreign labor that "stays home" and domestic population changes all do the same thing.

    So while there are many good arguments for limiting legal immigration and harsh crack downs on illegal immigration, the effect(s) that those things have on the domestic labor markets are very weak since other forms of globalization, new technologies, and your citizen neighbors living longer and having babies have a much larger effect on the labor market than several million Mexicans looking for work mowing lawns, roofing houses etc.

  10. bobby b:

    The only way an influx of immigrants would increase demand and thus increase production and thus bolster The Circle Of Life would be if the immigrants all brought lots of money with them. Currency smuggling into the USA hasn't seemed to have been a major problem on our southern border.

    "Complementary labor" can't boost wages unless the wage-paying bucket gets bigger.

    "Several million" additions to a huge labor market would indeed have only a slight effect, IF those additions were somewhat average (amongst the existing market) in terms of assets and skills, and IF those additions were spread out somewhat evenly. Neither condition exists pertaining to Mexican immigration; the immigrants generally lack job skills, speak English poorly if at all, and are able to contribute only basic labor-intensive horsepower, plus they tend to concentrate in discrete areas and overwhelm local labor-demand capabilities.

  11. economist:

    Low skilled immigrants (legal and illegal) increase labor demand in two ways. Frist, they buy stuff. This is the easy one. Second, they allow others to buy stuff. I can go to a movie becuase I've hired someone to mow my law, for instance. This increases demand for everyone in the movie business.

    They certainly don't have to bring their own money.

    You cannot make an economic argument against factor mobility. If labor and capital is free to move to its most productive place, then the greater efficiency is a net gain for all of society. Again, just focusing on the economics and ignoring any other types of arguments, immigration is is win of everyone except low skilled "natives." But if you are threated by an uneducated immigrant that can't even speak the predominate language, you are screwed anyway.

  12. caseyboy:

    I thought that a fair amount of money that is earned in the US is being sent back to Mexico? What is the economic impact if a large amount of money earned here is sent abroad?

  13. TomG:

    caseyboy - earned by whom? what do you consider "a fair amount of money"? Are you suggesting that people who work in the U.S., regardless of their citizenship, should not all have the SAME RIGHT to send THEIR MONEY where they want? It's their money, after all. I would guess that you assume that any money you earn is yours to send to anyone you want to, inside the country or outside - or am I wrong about that?.
    I am somewhat curious about your questions, but I'd love to see hard data with sources, not guesswork. And not just for workers sending money to Mexico, but to all countries. I am definitely NOT suggesting that the data be used to justify restrictions on the free movement of money.

  14. DrTorch:

    Whatever happened to "dispatches from a small business"?

  15. caseyboy:

    TomG - My comment is in reference to the premise that the presence of illegal immigrants creates consumer demand thereby creating an economic plus. I'm only suggesting that one would have to temper that positive impact by the amount of money being sent back rather than spent here. I really don't take issue with the right of people to use their money the way they see fit, except maybe if the money is earned under false pretenses or through illegal activities. I'd be in favor of confiscating ill-gotten gains to make sure they stay here.

    As for some facts, dated, but could the numbers be lower?
    Immigrants sending record sums of cash home to Mexico - About $10 billion transferred across border during '02
    By Sandra Marquez, The Associated Press, December 31, 2002, reprinted in The Desert Sun, February 27, 2003

    "Money transfers from Mexican immigrants working in the United States to relatives back home increased to a record $10 billion in 2002, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. This year's amount is up $800 million from the previous year. The transfers, or remittances as they are officially known, are Mexico's second largest source of income behind oil exports...

  16. economist:

    Remittances are not a drain on the economy. The cash finds its way back to the US as Mexicans use US dollars to buy US stuff. And if the money stays away forever, the Fed can just print more.

  17. caseyboy:

    economist - I guess it is a matter of degree. Certainly a dollar earned and spent here has more domestic economic impact than a dollar earned here and taken overseas, given that only a portion of that dollar is likely to be used to purchase USA made products.

  18. Ted Rado:

    The argument is made that illegals do work that Americans won't do. Thus, fruits and vegetables can be produced and sold for less.

    Suppose there was no cheap labor. Employers would have to pay a competitive wage. Prices would go up, and consumption of labor intensive products would go down. For example, if avocados were $5 istead of $1, people would eat something else, and avocado growers would find other means of livlihood.

    When I was a boy, there were no winter veggies consumed back east. It was all canned food. If growing fresh veggies in California in the winter and shipping them back east became uneconomical, we would revert to canned food grown in the east. Thus, there is nothing inevitable about the need for cheap farm labor.

    In the same way, other work done by low cost labor would increase in cost until it became desirable employment for US citizens. You might pay $10 more for a motel room, or a couple more dollars for a car wash.

    Also, higher cost labor would encourage innovation and investment in labor saving devices.

    Bottom line: Economics really works, if we just get out of the way and allow it to do so. Supply and demand would reequilibrate at the higher labor costs.

    There are immigration laws on the books. Enforce them or repeal them. To keep them on the books and ignore tham encourages contempt for the law. Who decides which laws to enforce and which to ignore? Immigration laws must take into account the number of new people that can be accomodated by the US economy. Thus, it is essential that immigration be controlled.

    The argument that poor Mexicans are merely trying to improve their lot leads to the subsequent argument that they should be sent home and people from even poorer countries allowed to replace them.

    What is really needed is a calm study of the whole immigration and labor problm. It has degenerated into name calling, accusations of bigotry, buying the Latino vote, etc, etc. It will be a miracle if anything sensible comes out of Washington. Same ole, same ole.

  19. DensityDuck:

    Ted: "In the same way, other work done by low cost labor would increase in cost until it became desirable employment for US citizens. You might pay $10 more for a motel room, or a couple more dollars for a car wash."

    In reality, the slave laborer would be replaced by automation.

    It's actually kind of funny that you bring up car washes, because that's a perfect example. It used to be that a car wash was a dozen unemployables wiping rags all over your car. Now it's a giant machine that sprays and swabs and blow-dries all by itself, without any human interaction other than you driving into it.

  20. Benito:

    In the last four months Jan Brewer has been caught lying, three times and counting.

    The comments made on June 16, 2010, and June 27, 2010, clearly indicates that the Brewer says that immigrants are beheading people in the United States desert. She first ran away from the question and the press when confronted with the question. She finally when to FOX/ FAKE News to recant her lie.

    When Brewer was confronted with the fact the two of her top Advisors (Paul Senseman, Chuck Coughlin) are lobbyist for “Private Prisons” giant CCA she first ran away from the question and the press.

    In an attempt to gain sympathy, she first said her father had died in Germany fighting the Nazi in World War II (which ended 1945) but of course we find out the truth that her father was never in Germany and died in California in 1955. Do you see a trend here?

    Brewer signed into law SB 1070 Bill (Did she even read it?), lied about the crime rates in AZ (even Janet Napolitano knows that all crimes rates went down), and now we find out that she is in the pockets of PRIVATE PRISONS who stand to benefit with the increase Federal jailing, and thus they will pay her back, I wonder if it has to do anything about the fact that her son was transferred to a brand new prison, he was convicted for rape and sexual assault, I guess the fruit does not fall far the tree.

    “Private Prisons Lie”

    “AZ Crime Rates”

    “Father Lie”