Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tea Party Tries to Oust Arizona Sherrif

By Fred Goldstein
Published Jan 26, 2011 5:28 PM

The Pima County Tea Party Patriots are holding a rally Jan. 28 in Tucson, Ariz., to launch a campaign to oust County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. The Tea Party and right-wingers all over the country have opened a campaign of vilification against Dupnik because he pointed the finger at the ultraright in his press conference on the day of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an attack that claimed six lives.

On Jan. 8 Dupnik said: “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

In addition to the Tea Party rally, an anti-immigrant racist from Salt Lake City, Utah, has filed with the Pima County elections director to initiate a petition to recall the sheriff. Dan Baltes, head of Americans Against Immigration Amnesty, was given permission to head up the Recall Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik Committee, even though Baltes is not from Arizona. At least 91,000 signatures from Pima County are required by May 24 to get the recall measure on the ballot.

To show that the right-wing frenzy has not abated in Arizona, in addition to the recall petition, a law is now being considered to forbid the application of any international law in Arizona, shielding the state from international human rights agreements.

Another law is in the works requiring the advance registration of any federal agents in Arizona, which would prevent any on-the-spot inspection of violations of civil rights, environmental laws, labor laws, etc.

It is ironic that Sheriff Dupnik has become the lightning rod of this ultraright-wing storm. He has been a cop for decades and has been no friend of undocumented workers. In 2009 he approved the screening of students in schools for documents giving their immigration status, even though this was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dupnik said at the time, “It’s wrong for taxpayers in this country to spend the millions and millions of dollars that we do catering to illegals,” including free education for their children. When Rep. Raul Grijalva and 10 others demanded an apology, Dupnik refused.

But simply for pointing the finger at the ultraright, Dupnik has now become the target of a racist, anti-immigrant witch hunt. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, the Washington Times and other right-wing media and politicians have used Dupnik to accelerate their attacks since the massacre took place.

While the right wing raves, the Obama administration, as well as the big business media and political establishment, have done all in their power to personalize the massacre and reduce it to the act of an individual, without regard to the growing political ultraright-wing tide.

This only enables the racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-labor, anti-immigrant, fascist and ultraright currents in U.S. capitalist society while also serving the interests of big business, which seeks to divide everyone during this economic crisis.
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