There are several new articles on my friend Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
And I decided to take a little time refreshing my memories of this character from some discarded Eastwood movie made during the Nixon Era.
But standing back a bit from the huge canvas depicting the life of this octogenarian something struck me.
All political parties have coalitions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE
And since we have (usually) only two viable political parties in this country, each party depends upon a number of coalitions and those coalitions differ depending upon which part of the country you are investigating.
But one of the core values of the Republican Party is supposed to be private enterprise. And Arpaio has been sucking governmental teets his entire life. And that is a long stretch of time.
Joe was in the army for four years, then a cop in Las Vegas, and then a DEA agent for some 25 years.
So we have a nice pension and a complete health care package for Joe care of the U.S. government.
He takes that pension and runs for Maricopa Country Sheriff in 1992. So this man is most likely getting Social Security, Medicare, Federal Employee Health Insurance, a Federal Pension, a State salary (and after 18 years of service a fully funded state pension), a state health insurance package…
As repubs like to point out, once you are on the governmental teet, the more likely you are going to lose sight of the basic core values of the GOP.
Arpaio will tell you that he earned all his governmental packages and I doubt anyone could disagree with that reality.
He is so full of himself that he actually brags about having arrested Elvis-- http://www.arpaio.com/arpaio-truth/index.php
He has arrested owners of newspapers. http://realneo.us/content/sheriff-joe-arpaio-arrests-owners-village-voice-meanest-sheriff-world
He arrests peaceful demonstrators. http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2010/8/1/13321/03415
He loves to do sweeps under the new Arizona law: http://newworldorderreport.com/News/tabid/266/ID/486/Disagree-with-Sheriff-Joe-Arpaio-Get-ready-to-have-your-office-searched-be-subject-to-arrest-and-frivolous-vendetta-law-suits.aspx
I think that any good solid Republican will tell you that the problem with a government insider—whether functioning in DC or not—is that pretty soon that insider thinks he is helping run his own business of sorts and that the insider will forget that he is dealing with taxpayer monies.
Joe Arpaio thinks he owns Maricopa County and is free to run the county as his own damned business. I am sure Joe thinks he earned that right.
The problem in reviewing the life of this man is that sympathy creeps into all of this.
You start thinking, or at least I start thinking that the man has really attempted to strive for truth, justice and the American Way.
Which is why I must recount the darker side of this giant of American law enforcement.
The man did not initiate this jail tent program in Arizona. Tents had been in use for some time.
And just reviewing this issue all by itself, I get stomach cramps. Am I upset that we send rapists and murderers to desert gulags where you are invited to get out of 118 degree heat by entering a canvas covered area that is only 113 degrees?
But I am concerned that drunk drivers, shoplifters and drug users are being treated like this.
Was Joe solely responsible for the green bologna fed to the inmates? No I am told there is green bologna throughout the Arizona prison system. It is some sort of program involving second hand food.
But after 18 years on the job, Joe is responsible for maintaining this system of torture, that is for sure.
And he has become so callous after half a century of policing that, in my humble opinion, he has turned into a very evil force.
There is the immigrant issue.
From his own blog site, here are some statistics:
· Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies of persons transporting or being transported illegally into Arizona: 2,164
Under the Federal law· Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies who, in the course of their duties, determine the arrestee is in Arizona illegally:1,933· Each inmate booked is interviewed for immigration status. Sheriff’s detention officers have turned over 36,983 illegal immigrants to Immigration authorities for deportation. http://www.mcso.org/
And you can bet that Arpaio is sooooooooo proud of all these stats.
In 1995, Arpaio reinstituted chain gangs. In 1996, Arpaio expanded the chain gang concept by instituting female volunteer chain gangs. Female inmates work seven hours a day (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), six days a week. He has also instituted the world's first all-juvenile volunteer chain gang; volunteers earn high school credit toward a diploma
2001, Arpaio was the first sheriff to require all inmates aged 18 and over to register for the Selective Service System. Registration is required by federal law for all U.S. males between 18 and 26 years of age, as well as for resident aliens of the same age, regardless of their immigration status. Since 2001, a total of 28,000 inmates (including 9,000 aliens) have registered for Selective Service.
The Sheriff also started the "Have a Heart" program in which inmates may volunteer to be organ donor
Chain gangs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmZdvVnMXCc
I am attempting to put this in some sort of context.
Now it must be true that Arizona road crews have to suffer in 118 degree heat. And road crews do not have it that easy anyway.
So you are using convicted felons in a useful manner? And providing a benefit to the state.
But juvenile chain gangs? Oh but it is only invoked on a ‘volunteer’ basis. I get this picture of 13 year old boys breaking rocks in the hot sun and receiving green bologna twice a day.
Of course all these volunteers are paid—at fifty cents a day.
And how exactly do you get this ‘consent’ anyway? What do the juveniles face if they stay out of the chain gang with all of its camaraderie and such?
The good news. Well when the kids give up the ghost while breaking the rocks, their organs are available to the highest bidder I should think. I mean a healthy liver from a 13 year old corpse can be very useful to the Mickey Mantles among us.
And the selective service does not normally take felons as recruits.
But if programs like this are legal, how in the hell can you seek change? Obviously the Arizona legislature wishes to keep the gulags running. The Arizona legislature evidently has no problems with chain gangs or even juvenile chain gangs.
What is a mother to do?
Well you investigate the devil from other angles.
Add one more FBI investigation to the list of federal probes into Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Federal agents and the U.S. Attorney's office are probing whether top Arpaio aide Chief Deputy David Hendershott -- who has directed the day-to-day operations of the office for a number of years -- mismanaged the department, according to a letter from the U.S. Attorney obtained by TPMMuckraker.
In the letter, first reported by the Arizona Republic, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke confirmed to Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox that his office and federal agents are looking at allegations of wrongdoing by top Arpaio aides, including Hendershott, his second in command.
Deputy Chief Frank Munnell alleged in a 63-page memo that Hendershott and two other aides "willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence."
In the Mennell memo, Hendershott was described as a bully who retaliated against those who questioned him and forced subordinates into refusing to cooperate with federal and state investigations. The memo also alleged that Hendershott used a public-corruption task force to allegedly launch politically motivated probes of the sheriff's opponents, the Arizona Republic reported.
I frankly could give a damn if two grand was spent in DisneyLand. Who cares?
But when you screw with evidence, when you use extortion to get what you need, when fear and trembling is your prime tool in running a county, when you misuse millions upon millions of dollars…you are out of line.
And Sheriff Joe might be prosecuted for at least some of his sins—even though I do believe he is just too senile at this point to ever be cognizant of even some of his past sins. He will go to his grave thinking of himself as the hero.