Saturday, September 4, 2010

Political Digest September 4, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

I expect there will be few posts over the long weekend, as I have family and friendship commitments.

Joe Miller: Obama moving America 'toward socialism'
Excerpt: Traditionally, when a candidate wins a party primary by appealing to the base, he or she frequently "runs to the center" in the general election campaign in attempt to draw support from moderates. Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller, fresh off a stunning upset of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), is apparently not a traditional candidate. In an interview Wednesday with CNN's John King, Miller didn't mince words when asked to describe President Obama in one sentence. "Bad for America," Miller responded without missing a beat. He added that Obama is "one of the major forces moving this country toward socialism." (Things that will play well in Massachusetts for, say, a Scott Brown, won’t play well in Alaska—and vice versa. What we need from Millar sand Brown are to be Republican members of the Senate in January of 2013, and vote to put Republicans in control of the flow of business and the committees. No other vote comes close in importance. ~Bob)

Economist Christina Romer serves up dismal news at her farewell luncheon
Clueless in DC. ~Bob. Excerpt: She had no idea how bad the economic collapse would be. She still doesn't understand exactly why it was so bad. The response to the collapse was inadequate. And she doesn't have much of an idea about how to fix things. What she did have was a binder full of scary descriptions and warnings, offered with a perma-smile and singsong delivery: "Terrible recession. . . . Incredibly searing. . . . Dramatically below trend. . . . Suffering terribly. . . . Risk of making high unemployment permanent. . . . Economic nightmare." Anybody want dessert? At week's end, Romer will leave the council chairmanship after what surely has been the most dismal tenure anybody in that post has had: a loss of nearly 4 million jobs in a year and a half. That's not Romer's fault; the financial collapse occurred before she, and Obama, took office. But she was the president's top economist during a time when the administration consistently underestimated the depth of the economy's troubles - miscalculations that have caused Americans to lose faith in the president and the Democrats. Romer had predicted that Obama's stimulus package would keep the unemployment rate at 8 percent or less; it is now 9.5 percent. One of her bosses, Vice President Biden, told Democrats in January that "you're going to see, come the spring, net increase in jobs every month." The economy lost 350,000 jobs in June and July. This is why nearly two-thirds of Americans think the country is on the wrong track - and why Obama's efforts to highlight the end of U.S. combat in Iraq and the resumption of Middle East peace talks have little chance of piercing the gloom as voters consider handing control of Congress back to the Republicans.

A Rocky Mountain showdown
Excerpt: Put away the pitchfork metaphors that are prevalent in this season of populist ferment: Colorado's Senate contest is a duel of distinguished diplomas. Tea Partyers toiled mightily to nominate Ken Buck as the Republican candidate to run against Sen. Michael Bennet, who is a direct descendant of a Mayflower passenger, grandson of an economic adviser to Franklin Roosevelt and son of an official in the Carter and Clinton administrations. He attended tony St. Alban's school in Washington and Yale Law School. Buck is a Princetonian. But to erase the stain of privilege, Buck stresses that his family, although hardly poor, was frugal -- "No, you won't get a Happy Meal, you'll get a burger." And he worked in a Princeton cafeteria and later as a truck driver, ranch hand and janitor, so there…. Colorado is a red state that has recently turned purple and that Democrats still hope to make blue. Doing so would have national implications because until recently the Republican strategy in presidential elections was to hold the South and the Mountain West and spend half the gross domestic product to carry Ohio. In the past decade, however, parts of the Mountain West, and especially Colorado, have become competitive. Colorado's governor, both senators and five of seven U.S. representatives are Democrats, and Obama carried the state with 53.66 percent.

White House considering major tax breaks for businesses
Trial balloon to see if the leftist base will let him do something for business that might work. But the devil will be in the details. What’s probably needed is a capital gains tax cut like JFK pushed through, to encourage investment, and an extension of the Bush tax cuts. ~Bob. Excerpt: With the recovery faltering less than two months before the November congressional elections, President Obama's economic team is considering another big dose of stimulus in the form of tax breaks for businesses - potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars, according to two people familiar with the talks. Among the options are a temporary payroll tax holiday and a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit, say people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to describe private deliberations. Permanently extending the research credit would cost roughly $100 billion over the next decade, tax experts said. And depending on its form and duration, a payroll tax holiday could let businesses keep more than $300 billion they would otherwise owe the Treasury.

Indoctrination Nation
Excerpt: Yet Texas is not the only state that influences the content of American schooling: a few other states also determine textbook standards that end up being used in other parts of the country. California, in particular, is also an important textbook market for publishers. Yet mysteriously, one never hears of any controversy erupting when the California State Board of Education meets to decide the content of textbooks used throughout the state and in many other school districts around the country which shun the Texas-approved textbooks. Why is that? Could it simply be that California-approved textbooks aren’t as politicized as those in Texas? Quite the contrary. If anything, the textbooks approved by the California State Board of Education are even more politicized than Texas textbooks, and more ideologically biased. So: Why does the media ignore what happens in California textbooks? Because the state’s bias goes the other way. California-approved social studies textbooks are politically correct in the extreme, with multiculturalism and “social justice” as the defining characteristics. The pressure groups and board members setting policy for California’s (and hence a substantial portion of America’s) textbooks exceed their Texan counterparts in their extremism, but since California pushes the “correct” kind of extremism, you never hear about it. (This is part 3 of 5. There are links to parts 1 & 2 in the column. I must confess I haven't yet read the first two, but if they are as good as this one, I'll probably save the links for them, too. Ron P.)

Gas Prices Explained
Excerpt: Good news for American drivers! Just in time for the Labor Day weekend, gasoline prices are falling. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) gas prices peaked in the spring. Gas prices usually rise in the spring because of the supply constraints created by the switchover to specially formulated summer gasoline mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EIA reports that in May the average price for a gallon of regular got up to $2.87. Since then prices have been wiggling downward to around $2.65 per gallon today. So what determines the price of gasoline? Speculators? Evil conspiring oil companies? Well, actually no. It's demand and supply, of course. On the demand side the American automobile fleet gets better gas mileage than it did a few years ago and Americans, whacked by the recession and high unemployment rates, are driving a bit less than they used to. In addition, thanks to government subsidies, about 9 percent of what goes into our gas tanks is ethanol produced from corn, which also reduces the demand for refined crude. On the supply side, global oil supplies are ample and refiners in the U.S. evidently believed the Obama administration’s rosy “recovery summer” scenarios and stockpiled a lot of gasoline.

Dentist starts 2012 ad race by touting Hillary Clinton for president
Hillary somehow doesn’t seem as scary as she once did. ~Bob. Excerpt: This could make for awkward chatter at the White House: Even before the 2010 midterms are over, a Chicago dentist has started the 2012 ad race with a spot that supports Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president. The $5,000 ad began running on television in New Orleans on Wednesday, CNN reports, and it will soon run in Washington, New York and Los Angeles, and possibly Houston, said William DeJean. Asked why he paid to create and run the ad, DeJean told CNN, "I don't think this country is headed in the right direction. ... I think she is the most qualified." The ad, a 30-second spot, features a soaring, almost sci-fi-movie quality theme. On-screen text tells viewers that Clinton "has more experience working in and with The White House than most living presidents. ... She is one of the most admired women in our nation's history. ... Let's make sure the president we should have elected in 2008 will be on the ballot in 2012." The graphic fades to reveal a photo of Clinton and the words, "Hillary 2012: Hillary Clinton for president," and "Start Now. Where there's a Hill there's a way."

Tea Party sees repeat of Alaska GOP primary in Delaware race
If they are successful, they will likely hand the seat to Harry Reid and the Democrats. I was happy about Alaska, because a conservative can win there. But we need to have moderate Republicans in states like Delaware, Massachusetts (Scott Brown) and Maine (Snowe/Collins) or liberal Democrats will control the senate in 2012. So I would have voted for Miller in Alaska, but not for Angle in Nevada, who may lose our chance to take Reid out. Get a clue. ~Bob. Excerpt: Tea Party supporters hope that what happened in Alaska will repeat itself in Delaware — that a no-name, disregarded Senate candidate wins a stunning upset against the presumptive nominee. After Joe Miller’s surprise win over Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Republican Senate primary, observers started taking a second look at another Tea Party candidate: Christine O’Donnell.

Pulling the Plug in Delaware: The and Christine O’Donnell Matter
From the VERY conservative Red States blog. Interesting. If O’Donnell wins, the Dems keep Delaware.

End birthright citizenship (Rep. Phil Gingrey)
Excerpt: Controversy surrounding illegal immigration has been topping recent news headlines, as thousands of people continue to pour across our borders unlawfully each year. This is of particular concern to me, as Georgia is home to more illegals – nearly 450,000 – than the state of Arizona. One aspect of the immigration debate on which lawmakers can all agree is that our current system is broken and in dire need of reform. But surprisingly, the latest disconnect centers around what should be a very simple question – does being born in the United States automatically constitute citizenship? For decades, the statue defining citizenship has been a point of contention. It is long past time to clear up the ambiguity.

Marine vet running for Congress in AZ
Tied in the polls. I assume he could use your help.

The enthusiasm gap (and seven races where it matters)
Excerpt: An imbalance in voter enthusiasm between the parties is aiding Republican chances in at least seven key statewide races this fall, a Fix analysis of Reuters/Ipsos polling data reveals. Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Kentucky are among the states where polls show the so-called "enthusiasm gap" playing a pivotal role, according to the Reuters/Ipsos data. (A full rundown of the poll data is available after the jump.)

Want Middle East Peace? Deny Iran Nukes
Excerpt: Those of us who hope for peace in the Middle East applaud the meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The fact that Palestinians finally agreed to direct negotiations, without preconditions, is a positive step. But let's not delude ourselves: There can never be peace in the Middle East with a nuclear-armed Iran. I don't pretend to have all the answers on how to end the conflict between Arabs and Israelis, but I do know that it is doomed so long as Iran remains a menacing actor on the world stage. Now is the time to ratchet up the pressure, to further isolate Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and to impose even more punishing sanctions on the Iranian economy. For this effort to succeed, we must enlist the full support of neighboring Arab states. I took my first trip to the region last month. I went primarily to listen and learn. I met with both Mr. Netanyahu and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Upon my return, all the talk of diplomacy was put into grim perspective when Ahmadinejad posed in front of cameras with his country's first unmanned long-range bomber. He wasn't very subtle about the purpose, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

From a Lefty: Five Things the Right Is Doing Right
Excerpt: For nearly two years, the Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate, the presidency and two new judicial appointments to the Supreme Court. So why does it feel like the Democrats lost in 2008? I think it's because the Democrats have turned losing into an art form. You know how they say a good dancer makes it look easy? That's the Dems. They make winning look like losing, and losing look like the eternal hell-fires of damnation. The left could learn a few things from the right. To wit: 1) The right talks to average people. Even unabashed progressive Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) thought that it was smart to talk to the people. A while back he went to a Tea Party to see what all the fuss was about. His takeaway was that the Tea Partiers felt pushed aside and forgotten by their government. (Interesting look from the other side of the fence. Especially see #5. Ron P.)

Former 'car czar' Rattner rats on Obama in new book
Excerpt: “If his team had linked arms with the outgoing administration, as President Bush's advisers had proposed, billions of dollars could well have been saved." Rattner says Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel dictated Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's schedule, public appearances and staff selections. He also writes about infighting between Obama economic advisers Larry Summers and Austan Goolsbee and says Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair was an obstacle to decision making.

S. Korea, U.S. to Hold New War Games
Excerpt: South Korea and the U.S. will hold joint antisubmarine exercises in another show of force against North Korea, officials said Friday, as Pyongyang renewed threats against the war drills. The exercises will be the second in a series of joint maneuvers the allies planned in response to the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March that they blame on the North. The two sides staged large-scale joint naval drills in July followed by South Korea's own naval drills last month. The drills, set to run from Sunday through Thursday off the Korean peninsula's west coast, will involve about 17,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, seven ships and two submarines as well as aircraft, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. military. The exercises are "designed to send a clear message of deterrence to North Korea, while improving overall alliance antisubmarine warfare capabilities,'' the U.S. military in Seoul said in a statement. The announcement of the war games comes as China reportedly holds live-ammunition exercises in the Yellow Sea. (Just did this two months ago (in the face of NK threats of nuclear war) with no visible ill effects. Ron P.)

Fewer Young Voters See Themselves as Democrats
Excerpt: The college vote is up for grabs this year — to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama. Though many students are liberals on social issues, the economic reality of a weak job market has taken a toll on their loyalties: far fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now identify themselves as Democrats compared with 2008. “Is the recession, which is hitting young people very hard, doing lasting or permanent damage to what looked like a good Democratic advantage with this age group?” asked Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan group. “The jury is still out.” How and whether millions of college students vote will help determine if Republicans win enough seats to retake the House or Senate, overturning the balance of power on Capitol Hill, and with it, Mr. Obama’s agenda. If students tune out and stay home it will also carry a profound message for American society about a generation that seemed so ready, so recently, to grab national politics by the lapels and shake. (Young doesn't imply stupid, merely inexperienced; most people, even young ones, learn by making mistakes. Pew may be non-partisan, but only in the sense that they don't care which leftist group enacts the policies they support; Pew couldn't get much more collectivist if they worked at it. Ron P.)

(Lt Col)West Still Fighting For the Ten
Excerpt: When President Obama said it was time to turn the page on Iraq, he should have also declared his intention to close the book on the lingering, festering injustices the U.S. government has perpetrated on 10 American veterans of the Iraq war still incarcerated in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. As noted in this column, these Americans are the war's forgotten men, soldiers trapped by restrictive, legalistic rules of engagement on an ultra-fluid battlefield where the enemy knew no rules. For killing this enemy and, it must also be admitted, surviving to live another day, these soldiers were sentenced to terms ranging from 10 to 40 years. In other words, for the rest of their young lives. Allen West, himself a retired Army lieutenant colonel and veteran of both Desert Storm and the war in Iraq, has not forgotten these men. West, the Republican candidate for Congress in Florida's 22nd District, is speaking this Labor Day Weekend at the first, and, it is hoped, last Leavenworth Ten Freedom Ride, a parade past the Leavenworth military prison to draw attention to the plight of the Ten, resulting in their freedom. (no chance for clemency from an administration with a base that despises America, the military most of all, their honeyed words aside. ~Bob)

Revenge of the Jack Bauer Republicans
Another Marine vet running for Congress. ~Bob. Excerpt: The central facts of the incident that made Ilario Pantano famous are not in dispute. On April 15, 2004, Pantano, a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, led a small group of Marines to search a suspected insurgent hideout in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, outside of Fallujah. As the patrol neared the house, two men tried to leave in a car. The Marines stopped, searched, and handcuffed the men. A Marine scoured the vehicle, but didn't find anything incriminating. After other Marines found weapons in the house, Pantano had the men uncuffed and ordered them to search the car themselves. At some point during that search, Pantano felt threatened by the two men. He shot them both—pausing to load a second magazine into his M-16 before emptying that clip too. Then he placed a cardboard sign reading "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy"—the motto of his Marine battalion—on top of the car. He wanted "to send a message to these Iraqis and others," he said later. For a time in 2005, it looked like Pantano might be court-martialed for killing the two Iraqis. One of his subordinates claimed the shooting was unjustified. But the prosecution's case collapsed in an early hearing, and Pantano was never even tried. The judge in charge of the hearing recommended non-judicial punishment—but Pantano's commander didn't agree, and he was never disciplined. After all, what Republican congressional candidate in his right mind wouldn't want to be compared to an ass-kicking, name-taking, terrorist-slaying all-American hero? Cut to today. Pantano, a Republican, is running for Congress in North Carolina's 7th district, hoping to pick off seven-term incumbent Mike McIntyre, a "blue dog" Democrat. The district votes Republican in presidential elections, and the Cook Political Report recently moved the race from "Solid Democrat" to "Likely Democrat"—meaning Pantano has a chance, especially in what's shaping up to be a GOP year. Liberal blogs have taken notice of Pantano's past, seizing on a term coined by the Daily Beast's Benjy Sarlin, "Jack Bauer Republican," to describe the former Marine. Sarlin says he didn't intend the term as an epithet. Still, it carries a certain negative connotation among liberals who have blasted the TV series 24 (and its hero, Bauer) for glamorizing the use of torture to fight terrorism. So it was only natural that liberal blogs and bloggers, including Daily Kos, Steve Benen, Matt Yglesias, and Crooks and Liars would use the term as an attack. ("Love of violence and brutality is deeply ingrained in the conservative worldview, which I think is what you can see here," Yglesias wrote.) But if Pantano hasn't totally embraced the "Jack Bauer Republican" label, he's certainly used it to his advantage. Instead of arguing against the charge, Pantano has employed it—and the incident that earned him the nickname—to raise money and energize his base. (Pantano's campaign didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.) After all, what Republican congressional candidate in his right mind wouldn't want to be compared to an ass-kicking, name-taking, terrorist-slaying all-American hero?

Mistresses and Wives Clash Over Chilean Miners
They may not want to be rescued.

The Peace Delusion
Excerpt: It’s been nearly two years since Palestinian representatives and Israelis sat across a table from each other to talk about peace. As the latest round of talks got under way yesterday, it’s hard to imagine that the results this time will be much different than any other time. Has anything changed that might lead to a different outcome? Gaza is still being run by Hamas. The “moderates” sitting across the table from Israel – Fatah, Egypt and Jordan – refuse to do to take any action that would delegitimize the group of terrorists who rule Gaza. The much vaunted “two state solution” can hardly work when half of the proposed Palestinian state refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, sneers at peace talks involving their enemy and, just to emphasize their contempt, carries out terror attacks two days before those talks commence.

Big Labor's Legacy of Violence
Excerpt: To mark Labor Day 2010, President Obama will join hands with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in Milwaukee and pose as champions of the working class. Bad move. Trumka's organizing record is a shameful reminder of the union movement's violent and corrupt foundations. The new Obama/AFL-CIO power alliance -- underwritten with $40 million in hard-earned worker dues -- is a midterm shotgun marriage of Beltway brass knuckles and Big Labor brawn. Trumka warmed up his rhetorical muscles this past week with full-frontal attacks on former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. He indignantly accused her of "getting close to calling for violence" and suggested that her criticism of Tea Party-bashing labor bosses amounted to "terrorizing" workers. Trumka and Obama will cast Big Labor as an unassailable force for good in American history. But when it comes to terrorizing workers, Trumka knows whereof he speaks. Meet Eddie York. He was a workingman whose story will never scroll across Obama's teleprompter. A nonunion contractor who operated heavy equipment, York was shot to death during a strike called by the United Mine Workers 17 years ago. Workmates who tried to come to his rescue were beaten in an ensuing melee. The head of the UMW spearheading the wave of strikes at that time? Richard Trumka. Responding to concerns about violence, he shrugged to the Virginian-Pilot in September 1993: "I'm saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you're likely to get burned." Incendiary rhetoric, anyone? A federal jury convicted one of Trumka's UMW captains on conspiracy and weapons charges in York's death. According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Legal and Policy Center, which tracks Big Labor abuse, Trumka's legal team quickly settled a $27 million wrongful death suit filed by York's widow just days after a judge admitted evidence in the criminal trial. An investigative report by Reader's Digest disclosed that Trumka "did not publicly discipline or reprimand a single striker present when York was killed. In fact, all eight were helped out financially by the local."

Muslims Resume Building on Christian Graveyard in Pakistan
Where do they think they are, New York? ~Bob. Excerpt: Muslims led by a hard-line cleric on Friday (Aug. 27) resumed building on a Christian cemetery in Mandi Bhawaldin, desecrating more graves in spite of a local government order to halt construction, according to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA). Radical Muslim cleric Mirza Abdul Ghani had built a mosque on the Christian graveyard off New Rasool Road in Mandi Bhawaldin after allegedly occupying the land 16 years ago, when area Christians were too intimidated to object, said Salamat Zia of APMA.

U.S. Allowed Terrorists on No-Fly List to Buy Guns
Excerpt: The only thing stupider than allowing a known foreign terrorist into the United States may be allowing that terrorist to buy guns. Current U.S. law allows this to happen. It also allows known terrorists on the no-fly list to buy guns. Perhaps worse still, the U.S. government has approved background checks for watch-listed terrorists to possess explosives in the United States. From March 2009 through February 2010, according to prepared congressional testimony from Eileen Larence, the Government Accountability Office’s director of homeland security and justice issues, 272 National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks turned up individuals on the terrorist watch list. All but one was for a firearms purchase. The other was for explosives. (well, I certainly hope they gave them a firearms safety class. Otherwise they might get hurt and sue us. And with our judges, they’d win. ~Bob.)

In Pursuit of Cultural Hegemony
Excerpt: While educators may be unconsciously relying on dubious theories of psychological modeling (as mentioned in yesterday’s essay) to justify the unrelenting ethnic tokenism in our nation’s schoolbooks, their official explanation revolves around the supposed need to boost students’ “self-esteem.” Those kids who do poorly in school, the theory goes, fail only because they have low self-esteem, leading to low expectations. Therefore, the best way to boost performance for struggling students is not to make their curriculum more challenging or to tailor it to their needs, but rather to use the curriculum as a mechanism to improve students’ self-image. If kids love themselves, the educational theorists claim, they’ll want to succeed, and if they want to succeed, they will succeed. Problem solved! And so the entire educational system has systematically been re-tooled to focus on self-esteem building. In early grades this involves unsubtle classroom activities — assignments, songs, everybody-wins “contests” — directly informing each student how wonderful they are. In later grades, however, kids begin to grow more sophisticated and skeptical of such heavy-handed methods, so the curriculum designers “cleverly” embed self-esteem building hidden messages into the reading material where it can work on each student’s subconscious. (...) True self-esteem is not a precursor to achievement and success, it comes as the natural consequence of achievement and success. It’s something you earn, not something you’re given. And to the extent that one can artificially induce baseless self-esteem in someone who has not done anything noteworthy to earn it, one has only succeeded in creating a child with a personality disorder whose swollen ego and sense of entitlement will only later serve as a hindrance in adult real-world interactions.

'Honour killing' parents dramatically re-arrested seven years after death of Shafilea Ahmed
Excerpt: The parents of a suspected honour killing victim were yesterday dramatically arrested on suspicion of her murder after new allegations by the dead girl's younger sister. Shafilea Ahmed, 17, disappeared more than seven years ago after claiming her parents were trying to make her take part in an arranged marriage against her will. Her remains were later found hidden by a riverside and a coroner ruled that the Muslim teenager had been the victim of a 'vile murder'. Despite a number of arrests, no one has been charged over her death.

New evidence undermines feds' case against Arizona
Excerpt: You've heard a lot about the Justice Department's lawsuit to stop the new Arizona immigration law. But that's just one part of the Obama administration's multi-front war on immigration enforcement in Arizona. In addition to the drive to kill the new law, Attorney General Eric Holder is also suing the Maricopa Community College system in Phoenix, alleging it broke the law by requiring a job seeker to provide a green card before being hired. And on Thursday the Justice Department filed suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, run by the flamboyant Joe Arpaio, as part of an extended investigation into alleged civil rights violations there. Despite the splash of attention from the newest lawsuit, the Justice Department's investigation of Arpaio could end badly for Holder. When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures." But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio's office -- and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio's lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act. ICE officials evaluated how the sheriff's office performed under a law that allows specially trained local law enforcement officers to enforce parts of federal immigration law. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which is the largest sheriff's office in the Arizona, has 189 officers who have been trained by ICE to enforce federal immigration statutes. The report, crammed with acronyms and bureaucratese, is not light reading. But struggle through it, and the key sentence is this: "The OI and DRO supervisors consider the conduct and performance of the MCSO ... officers to be professional and meeting the requirement of the MOA."

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