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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Joe's Gulag

There are so many things wrong in so many ways, on so many levels about Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signing that Papers-Mein-Herr bill into law that one is at a loss to know where to begin. But the BBC's Greg Palast, writing this week for Truthout, has perhaps hit upon the real reason for this legalized form of racial profiling.

You see, Palast has for years been crisscrossing the country, especially in the American Southwest, looking not for the voter fraud that Republicans have been screaming about for decades but Republican electoral fraud. Not coincidentally, he's found plenty of evidence of that in Jan Brewer's old office when she was the Secretary of State. Ironically, Brewer was put in the Governor's mansion when President Obama tapped then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be the Secretary of Homeland Security, the same Janet Napolitano who would quickly warn us of the rise of right wing extremism in a now-infamous report April last year.

Because it's Palast's assertion that the new "immigration law," loudly lauded by the mainstream media as "the toughest in the country", isn't predicated so much on illegal immigrants as on legal immigrants who could put the kibosh on the GOP's chances of gaining any ground or even remaining relevant in Arizona in the 2010 midterms.

Latinos, as with African Americans and Native Americans, tend to vote Democratic. All this is a coincidence, we're oleaginously assured by the Republican Party, although one is hard-pressed to find a similar law that specifically targets po' white trash in the Rust Belt and forcing them to produce documentation proving their citizenship. Because, as the GOP and MSM keep reminding us, illegal immigrants are never white, only brown, black or red.

Enter into the fascist fray Sheriff Joe Arpaio, "America's toughest Sheriff" (and one who uses pink handcuffs), as the mainstream media always reminds us, the J. Edgar Hoover of Maricopa County and a man renowned for surrounding himself day and night with dark, swarthy, sweaty, sexually frustrated men wearing pink underwear.

Matt Lauer, never a consistent voice for truth and justice, nonetheless peppered Arpaio a day or two ago about the new "immigration law", asking him if he thought it would, well, color peoples' perceptions about Arizona or distract local law enforcement from going after real criminals. (In fact, late last year ABC News learned that even child rape cases are going uninvestigated, with 85% of crimes not involving illegal immigration receiving short shrift, some for reasons as astounding as suspects not showing up at the Sheriff's office for questioning.)

Of course, Arpaio poo-poohed those notions while admitting some remarkable things. First off, on the pre-emptive charges of racial profiling, Arpaio admitted, "We haven't been doing that in the past three years." So, at the very least, we have Sheriff Joe admitting that even when it wasn't legal, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Dept. was targeting so-called illegal aliens. So why should we think they'd succumb to some Gestapo temptation to ask dark and ethnically-challenged people for their papers now that it is legal?

The other surprising admission was that out of the 8,000-10,000 prisoners housed by Maricopa County, a full half of them are there for misdemeanors, a surprising statistic.

Oddly enough, no one in the mainstream media seems to be screaming about the hypocrisy of a Sheriff who uses illegal immigrants for slave labor, putting men, women and even children in chain gangs to work, forcing them to register for Selective Service regardless of immigration status and quite possibly has an organ harvesting ring going on (The oddly-named Have a Heart Program involves giving a heart on pain of death, not having one.).

When one looks at Arpaio's tent city prisons and hears the touting about how they and chain gangs "saved" Maricopa County $500,000 in the first three years, one thinks about refugee tent cities and war contractors such as Halliburton cutting corners while reaping huge profits from the taxpayers.

But that isn't the extent of Arpaio's controversies. As recently as last month, Attorney General Eric Holder said that charges against Arpaio of usurping the federal government's authority in arresting illegals were "serious and ongoing." (It's worth noting that after initially saying he welcomed the charges and vowed to cooperate with the feds and that "we have nothing to hide", Arpaio then reversed himself and refused to cooperate with the Justice Department as if he does have something to hide.).

Arpaio enjoys his status as a big, ugly old fish in a little pond and, when viewed objectively, one sees more than a passing resemblance to Marlon Brando's Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. He has his own little fiefdom and sycophants and had no problem with violating the 14th amendment rights of pre-trial detainees in his sick but short-lived little reality TV show that was ended with a federal injunction.

And, just a year and a half ago, federal judge Neil Wake condemned the Maricopa County jails as being unconstitutional and violating state and federal health and safety standards for their inmates. Under Arpaio, the county prison system has lost its accreditation for these very same reasons.

In short, Arpaio is a miserable right wing misanthrope (perhaps a tautology) who usurps the federal government's authority and is openly contemptuous of it, blames politics for being called on breaking the law he's sworn to uphold, collects illegals through racial profiling, denies them basic food, medical care, in short, basic human rights, and is profiting off illegal immigrant slave labor so his competitors in the private sector can't. Throw in some organ harvesting and possible kickbacks and you see what this pint-sized J. Edgar Hoover has going on here.

And this new immigration law now gives his lazy Sheriff's department that can't be counted on to clear even 15% of actual crimes involving the rape of children will turn Arizona into the Warsaw ghettos of the 30's and 40's and/or the Soviet gulags.
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