Tag Archives: Joe Arpaio

B’bye, Sheriff Joe, and don’t let the door hit you

Now, maybe — one can hope — Joe Arpaio will disappear from the public stage.

The man known colloquially as Sheriff Joe lost his Arizona Republican primary bid this week to win election to the U.S. Senate. Thank goodness for that!

He finished third in a three-candidate field seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican and a man with principles and guts.

Arpaio wasn’t your run-of-the-mill losing candidate. He once was sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. He also got into trouble with the federal judiciary by ignoring a court order to cease profiling Hispanics who he suspected of being in this country illegally.

For his defiance, he was convicted of a federal offense. But then Donald J. Trump — Arpaio’s newfound political “hero” — pardoned him before he was sentenced for the crime he committed.

And to think that Vice President Mike Pence went to Arizona to campaign for Arpaio, calling him a man who stood “for the rule of law.” Hell, he stood for nothing of the sort! He stood for defying the federal judiciary and, therefore, for breaking the law.

The New York Times called Arpaio a “sadistic” man. That’s good enough for me.

Hit the road, Sheriff Joe. And stay out of sight.

Is Trump issuing pardons on a whim?

My delight at the commutation of a life sentence for a non-violent drug crime is tempered somewhat by what I sense is the manner in which Donald J. Trump made his decision.

Alice Marie Johnson had served 21 years of a life sentence. Then the president intervened. He commuted her sentence. Johnson was able to go home to her family. She learned that “everyone has a phone” these days and plans to purchase a cellphone.

But … how did the president reach this decision?

He listened, apparently, to the pleas of a reality TV star, Kim Kardashian West. I guess she was appealing to Trump — reality TV celebrity to reality TV celebrity.

Did the president seek a legal analysis of the case from the Justice Department? Did he consult with legal counsel? Did he base his decision on a careful study of the merits of the case?

It doesn’t appear to be the case regarding any of it. That’s particularly true as it regards the DOJ, given that he has spent a lot of energy and Twitter rage of late savaging the “leadership” of the Justice Department and the attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

He is said to be considering pardons for two “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants who appeared on the TV show Trump hosted before running for president: businesswoman Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Is this a perk he is deploying for his pals? His political allies? Those who speak well of him — and about him?

I understand the presidential power inherent in this pardoning process. However, I get this nagging sense that Trump is cheapening it by the seemingly capricious nature of the pardons he has issued to date.

My “favorite” pardon involved former Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been sentenced to a prison term for disobeying a court order to stop profiling Hispanics he suspected of being illegal immigrants. That was nothing more than a disgraceful payback for the political support Arpaio threw at Trump when he was running for president.

Trump looks to be abusing the authority the Constitution grants him.

The president decided correctly regarding Alice Johnson. My concern is that he reached that decision out of favoritism rather than the law.

Arpaio is no ‘champion of rule of law’

I am inclined to think a bit more highly of Vice President Mike Pence than I do of Donald J. Trump … then again, the president has set a pretty damn low bar.

But when the vice president praises the exploits of a convicted felon … well, that’s where I part company with the vice president.

Pence said today of former Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that he is a “tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law.” He said he was “honored” to have Arpaio attending the political event Pence was attending.

Let’s review briefly.

Arpaio earned his far-right conservative chops by being tough on illegal immigrants. He became so tough that he stood trial on grounds that he was profiling Hispanics in the hunt for those entering the country illegally.

A federal court convicted him of disobeying a federal court order prohibiting him from profiling those folks. He ignored the court order and was going to be sentenced for his crime. Then Donald J. Trump issued a full presidential pardon for Arpaio, which means he is eligible to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona that will open up with the retirement of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Arpaio has received a presidential pardon, but he is still a convicted felon. Thus, he is no “champion of the rule of law.” He is a law-breaking scoundrel.

Therefore, the vice president is chumming it up with an (un)common criminal.


Birtherism making an unwelcome return? No-o-o-o!

I wanted to hurl — well, almost — when I heard this little item out of Arizona.

Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff who lost a re-election bid, is now running for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. senator from Arizona. What does this clown say over the weekend?

He said if he’s elected to the Senate he’s going to renew the lie that former President Barack Obama was not qualified to serve — because he was born in Africa and not in Hawaii.

He said this about Barack Obama’s birth certificate: “No doubt about it, we have the evidence, I’m not going to go into all the details, yeah, it’s a phony document,” Arpaio told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Primetime.”

Can you believe this? Neither can I!

Let’s remember that Arpaio, one of the more notorious lawmen in recent U.S. history, was convicted of defying a federal court order banning him from profiling Hispanics in an attempt to round up illegal immigrants.

So, what does Donald John Trump do? He pardons Arpaio, freeing him to run for the Senate in the race to succeed Jeff Flake, the Republican who is retiring at the end of the year.

Sigh …

The task now falls on Arizona Republicans to spare their state the prospect of having to listen to this clown beyond the primary election. Arpaio is one of several GOP candidates running in this race.

Why does this matter to a blogger way over here in Texas, a good distance from Arizona? Because if Arizona Republicans lose their minds and nominate this individual, he then becomes a serious contender for an office that writes federal laws that affect all Americans. That means me. And you. I cannot speak for others, but in no way in hell do I want this guy anywhere near the U.S. Senate.

It boggles my mind that he would consider resurrecting one of the most despicable lies ever told about a U.S. president.

Birtherism: It’s back!

Political nut jobs have this annoying way of getting attention they don’t deserve.

The newest Exhibit A of this phenomenon happens to be the new Republican candidate for the U.S. senator from Arizona, the former Maricopa County sheriff and convicted (and later pardoned) felon Joe Arpaio.

The ex-sheriff says former President Obama’s birth certificate is a phony document. He doesn’t believe the 44th president was born in Hawaii. He said he has “evidence” that the president served two terms illegally. Will he produce the “evidence”? No, he said on CNN last night.

He had this exchange with Chris Cuomo:

“We have the evidence, nobody will talk about it, nobody will look at it, and anytime you want to come down or anybody we’ll be glad to show you the evidence,” Arpaio said.
Cuomo pressed Arpaio again on the topic: “So you believe that President Obama’s birth certificate is a phony?”
“No doubt about it,” Arpaio said.
Ugghh! No, double, maybe triple ugghh!
This is the guy, lest we forget, who was convicted of disobeying a federal court order that mandated he stop profiling Hispanics in his quest to find illegal immigrants. He then was pardoned by the president of the United States, the nation’s “birther in chief,” Donald John Trump Sr.
Now he wants to serve in the U.S. Senate?
Please. No!


A felon for U.S. senator?

This is fantastic. A man convicted of civil rights violations and disobeying a federal court order is going to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.

Oh, sure, Joe Arpaio has received a presidential pardon from Donald John (Stable Genius) Trump Sr., which means that technically he’s no longer a convicted felon.

He had been convicted of violating a federal court order stemming from accusations that he discriminated against Latinos in his hunt for illegal immigrants. That’s when the president stepped in to pardon the former Maricopa County sheriff.

So, the ex-lawman is going to seek to pay Trump back by being elected to a Senate seat that would enable him to support the president’s political agenda. Is this a quid pro quo?

Arpaio wants to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican who’s retiring at the end of his current term, which expires at the end of 2018.

I don’t believe Arizona Republicans should nominate this guy to represent the GOP, let alone elect him to the Senate.

Arpaio said this, according to the Arizona Republic: “I’ll outgun anybody running against me or otherwise,” Arpaio said. “I wouldn’t do this if I felt that I couldn’t put all my energy into being elected and also in Washington, doing what I can to help the country and the state. So I feel good about it. I’m not worried about the age.”

Arpaio would be 86 at the beginning of a Senate term.


Trump makes our heads spin over DACA

My head is spinning. I feel almost like the Linda Blair character in the film “The Exorcist.”

Donald Trump decides to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals executive order; he gives Congress six months to find a legislative solution.

He then says he’ll “revisit” the issue if Congress fails to come up with a way to shield undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents when they were children.

He does all this while — and this is truly mind-boggling — granting a full presidential pardon for a former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of breaking the law. “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio, the ex-Maricopa County sheriff, got a pardon after a judge convicted him of flouting a federal court order that banned him from rounding up individuals who he suspected of being illegal immigrants.

So … Trump rescinds DACA, then says he’ll “revisit” the issue, sending out a signal that he might take back his decision to rescind DACA order. He spoke this week of the feelings he has for DACA residents, how he “loves” them, how heavily the issue weighs on his heart.

I might be inclined to believe the president on that score — except for the Arpaio pardon!

Which is it, Mr. President? In what direction is this individual leaning?

There goes my head again. It’s spinning.

No ‘allegedly’ about it; Arpaio is guilty

I have refrained from criticizing the editorial positions taken by the newspaper where my journalism career ended … but I’m going to make a brief exception here.

The Amarillo Globe-News published an editorial this week that questions the outrage expressed over the presidential pardon of former “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio. The editorial missed the mark on two important points.

First point: The AGN refers to the “alleged” crime for which Arpaio was convicted. Others have said as much already, but there’s no “alleged” or “allegedly” about it.

Arpaio was found guilty by a U.S. District judge of disobeying a lawful court order, which prohibited him from continuing his roundup of individuals he suspected of being illegal immigrants. He was waiting to be sentenced for his contempt of court conviction when Donald J. Trump intervened late this past week with his full and unconditional pardon of the former sheriff.

Furthermore, the former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff’s acceptance of the pardon confirms his guilt — as if it needed confirmation.

Second point: This gets more to the crux of the editorial’s misplaced ire. The AGN suggests that the judge’s ruling was dictated more by politics than the application of the law. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, the AGN notes, was appointed in 2000 by former President Bill Clinton. She’s a Democratic appointee; Arpaio is a Republican. Do you get it? Bolton’s decision was based on political considerations, according to the AGN. I guess I could suggest, too, that the Senate that confirmed Bolton was dominated by Republicans.

Let’s hold on here. The U.S. Constitution allows the president to make appointments to the federal judiciary. It makes no mention of partisan consideration. A judge who gets a presidential nod then is approved by the U.S. Senate. Then that judge is empowered fully to implement the law.

What the AGN has done with this argument is impugn the integrity of the federal judiciary, which is precisely what the president of the United States has done when the courts have ruled against him on other matters. He referred to a federal jurist in Washington state as a “so-called judge” when he struck down the president’s ban on Muslims traveling to the United States. He has questioned whether another federal judge could adjudicate a case involving Trump University because “he’s a Mexican.”

The AGN is now traipsing down that that dangerous path.

I don’t care if Jabba the Hut appoints federal judges. If they are qualified to serve and if the U.S. Senate signs off on the appointment, then they are given the full weight of the Constitution to do their job.

Check out the AGN editorial here.

I’ve said my piece about it. You can make up your own mind. I’m out.

‘Law and order’ boast gets doused by pardon

Donald Trump promised to be “the law-and-order president,” which harkened back to the call issued in the late 1960s by Richard Nixon’s campaign for the presidency.

The way I see it, though, Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio douses the president’s law-and-order pledge bigly.

Arpaio once served as sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. He made a big name for himself by his tough policies on illegal immigration. He would racially profile individuals he assumed were entering the country illegally; he would detain them, often in brutal conditions.

A federal judge ordered Arpaio to cease that round-up policy. He refused. The judge put him on trial. The sheriff was convicted. Oh, and then he lost his re-election bid along the way.

How does this comport with the president’s pledge to be the law-and-order guy? It doesn’t.

The president stuck his thumb in the eye of the federal judicial system. He, in effect, said the rule of law doesn’t apply. The pardon clearly is within the president’s realm of power. Some arguing that the pardon might be illegal; I won’t go there.

A pardon’s legality doesn’t necessarily make it right. In this case, it pulls precisely against the pledge the president made to emphasize law and order.

By flouting the rule of law, therefore, the president has declared war as well on any semblance of order.

Stop the excuses for this hideous pardon, already!

I wish my friends on the right would stop diverting attention from Donald Trump’s hideous pardon of “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio.

The former Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff had been convicted of flouting a federal judge’s order. It was contempt of court charge. The judge ordered Arpaio to cease rounding up individuals he suspected of being illegal immigrants and then subjecting them to brutal conditions while under detention.

Arpaio thumbed his nose at the judge. He disrespected the rule of law. He said the judge’s order didn’t matter. He’d keep doing what he was ordered to cease doing.

He got convicted. He was awaiting a sentence.

Then the president intervened. He pardoned “Sheriff Joe,” reportedly without clearing it with Justice Department policies. He acted, yet again, on his own — which of course is his right; the Constitution gives the president the power to issue full and unconditional pardons.

The diversion occurs from those on the right who keep looking backward at the pardons issued by he likes of, oh, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I will concede that those presidents issued controversial pardons, too. They got hammered pretty damn hard for them as well. I just choose not to revisit those actions, preferring instead to focus on the here and now.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio gives aid and comfort to those on the right and the far right who think it’s OK for law enforcement officials to rough up anyone they think is entering this country illegally.

The pardon further divides an already deeply divided nation.

The president said Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job.” That is utterly ridiculous on its face.

He was convicted because he has demonstrated zero acceptance of the rule of law. The president of the United States has just endorsed that dangerous concept.

That’s why this pardon matters.