Apparently, maybe not always, but sometimes, when there is smoke there is a significant probability that there is fire also.

This seems to be the case in Arizona where the well known but smokey Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, seems to have run a department in an area of the country known for its significant Hispanic population, not to mention close to the border of Mexico, that

unfairly [targeted] Latinos for detentions and arrests and [retaliated] against those who complain.

Who would have guessed?

After an investigation that lasted more than two years, the civil rights division of the Justice Department said the sheriff’s office has “a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos” that “reaches the highest levels of the agency.” The department interfered with the inquiry, the government said, prompting a lawsuit that eventually led Mr. Arpaio and his deputies to cooperate.

So, you elect a bigot to public office, there’s another likely probability that the bigot will institutionalize his bigotry. Reasonable oversight won’t work because the bigot is in charge of his own oversight. It was necessary to call in the Federal Justice department (though I wonder how many people will try to deflect this investigation and report by pointing to the apparent Hispanic surname of the assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation).

Still, the responsibility for this rests squarely in the lap of the people who voted him into office.It’s now up to them to vote him out, if this report pans out, although, with a separate criminal investigation, he may be forced out.

The report is likely to increase calls for the resignation of Mr. Arpaio, whose fifth term ends next year. He has vowed to run again. The sheriff, who has won election by wide margins even while riling critics, has seen opposition to his leadership increase in recent months with reports that his department misspent county money and failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sexual-abuse cases, many involving illegal immigrants.

What’s the deal with Arizona? It’s a beautiful state, but it seems to have a disproportionate number of wing-nuts there, especially in politics.  Governor Brewer, now Sheriff Arpaio. Then there’s John McCain and John Kyl, who also seem to have enough problems of their own retaining credibility.

2 thoughts on “Smoke/Fire

  1. a disproportionate number of wing-nuts…Governor Brewer, now Sheriff Arpaio. Then there’s John McCain and John Kyl…

    What’s truly frightening is that the nearly senile, almost certainly demented “Bomb, bomb, bomb- bomb, bomb Iran” John McCain is the least alarming member of that notorious quartet you’ve assembled.

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