Joe Arpaio Goes Medieval, While Barack Obama's America is a Million Miles Away
|Welcome to the 14th century...|
Joe Arpaio is the King of Maricopa County. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And today, our sadistic septuagenarian wanted an inhumane spectacle to make everyone ignore the fact that one of his chief underlings, Captain Joel Fox -- the MCSO's bagman -- was being scrutinized over a $105,000 campaign contribution made to the Arizona Republican Party, which was used to smear Arpaio's opponent Dan Saban in the 2008 campaign for sheriff.
|Please note the word "UNSENTENCED"...|
Almost all of the men running the press gantlet were Hispanic. They wore striped uniforms, were chained to each other, and in some cases carried their belongings with them in paper or plastic sacks. Their garb read "UNSENTENCED," a reminder that 70% of those in Joe's jails have not been convicted of anything, and are simply awaiting trial.
|Many of the guards were Hispanic; not a bad move, when you're pulling a stunt as prejudiced as this.|
|Some of the inmates carried their belongings in paper sacks.|
|Next they'll have 'em "breaking rocks in the hot sun"...|
|Straight out of Cool Hand Luke.|
Afterwards, the sheriffs' deputies blocked the marchers from coming any closer to the Tent City for Hispanics, and we all walked several blocks over to Maricopa County's Juvenile Courts building.
Assembled for a news conference there were lawyers Danny Ortega and Antonio Bustamante, the AZ ACLU's Executive Director Alessandra Soler Meetz, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, and others. They denounced the day's events, all while being menaced by about a dozen or more MCSO thugs nearby.
|Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox (second from right), the ACLU's Alessandra Soler Meetz, Danny Ortega (last on the left), and others blast Arpaio.|
I wish I could feel as confidant about the new administration, but I am not. Especially since one of new DHS chief Janet Napolitano's first official statements declared her intention to ramp up the 287(g) program. Wilcox also talked about how the BOS had ordered Arpaio to find 20% in budget cuts, and that the Supervisors were unanimous on this. I'll buy the unanimous part when I see the Supervisors actually cut Arpaio's budget themselves, without waiting for Arpaio to follow their directive.
As I was leaving, I waylaid Alfredo Gutierrez, whose new bilingual Web site La Frontera Times is a must read these days, and asked if he knew how Arpaio could top himself after this latest circus act.
"Public floggings," he quipped. "Every time he does one of these things, it increases the level of audaciousness...I used to think, `Well, now, he's gone too far, and the public's gonna have some revulsion to this.' But I don't believe that any more. I think he's got kind of a zeitgeist of hate out there. This Romanesque show is going to resonate."
We talked about how we both thought Arpaio would love to provoke a fight with the Obama administration. And I mentioned that I was pretty cynical that help was on its way from the feds.
"I can't allow myself to get cynical," he told me. "Then there really is no hope. I've got to believe that [the Obama administration] is going to take this on, this level of violation."
|The answer is, it doesn't...|