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It must be true, a grocery store tabloid says so.
The Ringling Brothers just left Phoenix, but don't worry, boys and girls: Another circus is coming to town this week, and it's shaping up to be a real two-ring doozie. In one ring we have a tea party ass-kissing media hog; in the other you'll find a, well, criminal. Psst! They're the same guy.

First up, on Tuesday, July 17, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his sidekick jokers at WorldNetDaily have scheduled a second press conference that promises to reveal even more explosive evidence about the president's "forged" birth certificate.

Right on cue, the Globe reported on Arpaio's earth-shattering investigation. In addition to revealing "Dirty secrets of the NBA champs," the fish-wrapper's front page screams, "BUSTED! This man forged Obama birth certificate." There's even a photo of the president having a sad and a man hiding his identity, so it must be so. Oh, and Kathie Lee hates Regis. And check out the words beneath the president: "Breaking News: Bloodbath!" Classy.

Back in April 2011, billionaire birther Donald Trump breathlessly told Meredith Vieira he had investigators in Hawaii who "cannot believe what they're finding." To emphasize the unbelievability factor of their discoveries, he added, "I'm serious." Apparently whatever they found was lost somewhere between Honolulu and NYC because neither Trump nor his team of expert Clouseaus ever said what this unbelievable shit is that Trump's so serious about. Now "investigator" Mike Zullo, who's heading Arpaio's "Cold Case Posse," promises even more revelations: "I can't disclose to you what we've discovered, but it's going to be a shocking revelation at our press conference."

Here's what'll be "shocking": If the presser doesn't simply dredge up the same tin-foily claptrap that WND, Orly what's-her-puss, Drudge, and dozens of show-us-the-birth-certificate websites have been throwing against the wall for years, hoping one of the turds will stick. Speaking of turds, here's how Arpaio summarized his iron-clad evidence at the first birther press conference on March 1, which was streamed live by every far-right dogfart in the nation:

"A six-month-long investigation conducted by my Cold Case Posse had led me to believe, there is probable cause to believe, that President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate released by the White House on April, 27, 2011, is a computer-generated forgery," Arpaio said at a press conference this afternoon.
What led him and WND comedian Jerome Corsi to arrive at their "probable cause" conclusion was the "layering" effect of Obama's birth certificate, which they spent a great deal of time explaining, with PowerPoint slides and everything. Only problem: Most scanned documents are layered, and that's the format Arpaio's Cold Case Posse examined. They didn't have the actual birth certificate—the one Hawaiian officials deem authentic—only a scanned version yanked from a website. Even the National Review called Arpaio's accusation kooky, using their own magazine cover to illustrate the dumbshittery of the layering brouhaha.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

As further proof, the Arpaio-Corsi tag team introduced an affidavit from a "retired government employee," who said a young black man with a "foreign sounding name" told him back in the '90s, on the doorstep of Bill Ayer's mother's house no less, that he had a "prearranged" presidency! Turns out the government whistleblower is mailman Allen Hulton, who delivered mail to Ayer's mother for years.

Hulton never actually met Ayers, he says, but his father just so happened to speak "like a Marxist and talked about the class struggle between the rich and poor" while he was putting mail in his mailbox.
Holy shit! Barack Obama, a young student-lawyer at the time, and some diabolical pinko overlord, have had the skids greased to the White House for decades! The UN is no doubt in on it. And Obama is hiding a Yeti in an ice cave in South Dakota. We know because a mailman said so. Newman!

No, Mr. Zullo, here's what would be really "shocking": If Maricopa County had a sheriff who investigated and prosecuted actual crimes instead of starring in screwball publicity stunts that make Geraldo Rivera's primetime search of Al Capone's vault look downright rational. There are more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. Why the fuck does one octogenarian lard-butt in an Arizona county, of all places, waste his agency's time and resources investigating dead-end racist conspiracies that are even too Looney Tunes for many Republicans to cozy up to? (Although they're careful not to call the birthers gooberheads: They'll hem and haw and make non-statement statements without casting doubt on the "bloviating ignoramuses.") And don't tell me the Hawaiian trips and the Posse's work are being paid for by contributions, not county funds, which is what Arpaio says. That doesn't matter. He's still spending a crapload of time in Oz, and those donations and the volunteers' time could've been used to solve real crimes.  

Hmm, could it be that Arpaio's antics have something to do with two ongoing federal investigations of the sheriff—just coincidently brought by the administration he's hellbent on delegitimizing? And then there's that looming November election, one Arpaio and Romney could actually lose here, unless they turn out the wackadoodle base. No one should be surprised that he's exploiting the birther bait to whip up anti-Obama voting fever. After all, he's the media-savvy schmuck who brought us:

• pink underwear (and pink everything else if you want to buy some, say, pink handcuffs from the sheriff's office)
• tent city (the creation of one Russell Pearce when he was Arpaio's deputy)
• daily website videos
• female chain gangs
• more than one book (you know, "toughest sheriff," blah blah blah—cough! Chickenhawk!)
• TV reality shows (including running over a guy's house with a friggin' tank while he and Steven Seagal, obviously in need of work, were filming a Cops!-type episode—oops, another lawsuit)
• unlawful "sweeps" through neighborhoods and businesses, often with news cameras in tow, where his goose-steppers haul in "suspicious," i.e., brown-hued, people (even if the town's officials and residents don't want Arpaio there: video link)
• his own PR department: "In 2007, Arpaio's office was spending $370,000 on a five-member public relations team 'to keep him favorably in the public eye.'"

A few AGs, at state and federal levels, have investigated or even sued Arpaio, like in 1997 when Janet Reno filed suit against him for the piss-poor condition of his jails. But for the most part they've danced around or even with him, arm-in-arm, and have not targeted the corruption at the fetid center of his regime. Eric Holder is the first to do that, and it doesn't sit well with sourpuss, who is vindictive if nothing else. Just look at what's happened to elected officials, judges, political opponents, reporters and even colleagues who've crossed Arpaio: lawsuits, indictments, dismissals, smears and other assaults, including harassing the secretaries of his political foes. Some of this petty-ass, schoolyard bullying ended up as expensive settlements for the taxpayers of Maricopa County. All of it is fodder for the two federal probes.

When asked whether the birther shit isn't just an ugly fishing expedition to deflect attention from the feds' investigations of him, or perhaps a way to slam Obama and his Department of Justice to gain political points, Arpaio said, "I'm not going after Obama, I'm just doing my job." Right. Where in the job description does it say you'll pursue every crackpot conspiracy theory because a few Obama-hating nincompoops urged you to? That's the reason Arpaio's been giving—because some cranky old tea party dupes in Surprise, Arizona asked him:

"I serve the 4 million people in this county," Arpaio said. "When 250 people come up to me and say, 'Sheriff, you're the chief law-enforcement officer, will you look into it?' I'm not going throw it in the waste basket and forget it."
Well, shit, Sheriff, you threw in the waste basket and forgot 400 sex crimes you were supposed to investigate. Why are the injustices suffered by those victims and their families, most of them Hispanic, less important than the prejudices of a handful of flatulent wankers in one of Arizona's 9,000 senior-paradises? Arpaio actually said, "If there were any victims, I apologize to those victims." If!? The last count was 432, some as young as two. There's no "if" about it. Ex-cop Bill Louis was livid about Arpaio's media whoring at the expense of his community's safety:
"What we learned was that Arpaio and his people had been spending so much time on getting publicity for his so-called 'illegal-immigration' publicity routine that [the MCSO] had mishandled—really screwed the pooch on—dozens of potential sex-crimes cases that just disappeared. It was beyond my comprehension, and it was repulsive to me both as a police officer and as a human being."
While Arpaio's had his nose wedged firmly in the butt crack of this birther booty, and while his deputies troll the county looking for Mexican burger flippers and other dangerous felons, like undocumented six-year-old girls, Maricopa County has become the only county in the state that's experienced an increase in violent crime, says a complaint filed against him:
84. Statistical reports show an increase in violent crime in Maricopa County, and of homicides in particular, during the period of enhanced immigration enforcement.
"... enhanced immigration enforcement." Just call it what it is: profiling, harassing and mistreating brown people. Arpaio is divisive, expensive, and ineffective. Tuesday's birthy funfest will only underscore that point.

[Stage direction: Arpaio self-deports stage right in a clown car]

Ring 2
Two days after Arpaio's birther clown show, on July 19, the sheriff switches from prosecutor to defendant, when a trial of the old coot for racial profiling begins. It's been a long, slow slog getting to this point—more than three years that a Justice Department probe looking into racial profiling and a grand jury considering abuse of powers have been underway.

The racial profiling charges go back to 2007, when Manuel de Jesus Ortega Malendres, a legal resident, filed suit against the sheriff's office for unlawfully detaining him. He wasn't the first, but the case gained traction when other U.S. citizens who had been profiled signed on, and the case finally lands in court Thursday. Because the charge against Arpaio was a federal offense, the civil rights division of the DOJ planted their feet on Arizona soil in June 2008, under President Bush, throwing cold water on Arpaio's complaint that Obama started the probe to "get" him. Obama's Justice team did pick up the investigation's ball, but in July 2009, a defiant and dickish Arpaio said he wouldn't cooperate: no documents, no interviews.

Arpaio and [County Attorney Andrew] Thomas have denied all wrongdoing and are suspicious of why the probe began. Both blame the investigation on a left-wing conspiracy among U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the White House.
More than a year later, in September 2010, after trying to deal with the sheriff's office and getting nowhere, the DOJ filed suit to compel Arpaio to cooperate, which he eventually did, turning over thousands of documents and allowing the feds to talk to county staff. The first big clunky shoe dropped on Dec. 15, 2011, when Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez told a packed press conference in Phoenix that the findings of the DOJ probe were not based on one or two incidents, but on a "culture of disregard for the constitution."
The findings, which Mr. Arpaio is sure to contest, paint a picture of a department staffed by poorly trained deputies who target Latino drivers on the roadways and detain innocent Latinos in the community in their searches for illegal immigrants. The mistreatment, the government said, extends to the jails the department oversees, where Latino inmates who do not speak English were mistreated.
Legal experts said Arpaio "oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history." According to the Justice Department's 32-page report, Arpaio's office routinely stopped Hispanic drivers without probable cause (4 to 9 times more often than other drivers), punished Latino inmates who didn't speak English, used excessive force against detained Hispanics, failed to provide training that might help eliminate civil rights abuses, and retaliated against human rights activists with arrests and lawsuits (video link). Assistant AG Perez said it was the first time in 20 years the DOJ civil rights division had to indict a law enforcement agency.

Then right on cue, as if to put an exclamation point on the charge that the sheriff and his deputies discriminate against Latinos, the very next day in Arpaio's jail Hispanic Gulf War veteran Marty Atencio was the victim of a multi-deputy "dog pile," which beat and Tased him until he was unconscious and soon brain dead. He died five days later. Suffering from mental illness and off his meds, Atencio had been taken into custody because he yelled at his girlfriend, who called authorities, not because she wanted him arrested, but to get him help:

"I knew there was something wrong with him and I just wanted him to go to the psych ward, at 24th and Van Buren, to get some help, not necessarily go to jail because he had not done anything...."
The county has already spent $1 million just preparing for the trial that begins this week. Of course, that's small change compared to the more than $50 million that Arpaio has cost taxpayers of Maricopa County, to pay for the illegal and deadly horror shows he directs. And the payout will surely increase once the Atencio family's $20 million lawsuit works its way through the courts, especially since the whole ugly feral scene was caught on video:
One of the witnesses to the brutality stated, "Marty was screaming in pain, in a deep voice." A woman, who told the witness that she works in a medical office said, "If they tase him anymore, they are going to kill him." After the tasing stopped, the punching began. (PDF)
At the Dec. 15 press conference, the DOJ presented its findings, not an indictment, and in fact the feds offered to work with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to establish procedures that minimize racial profiling. But Arpaio's immediate reaction was to grandstand and bluster, as if he knows any other way: "Quite frankly, I'm very happy that we are being sued" (video link). Harumph! Harumph! He must be a jolly guy, as much as he's sued. ("I didn't get a 'harumph' from that guy!") Rather than respond to the charges, or even talk to the DOJ, he stomped out of meetings and even refused to accept an "independent mediator" to work with the two agencies. Instead, the sheriff issued a 4-color, 18-page glossy booklet (PDF) that says he's sad and will change.
[I]t seems that my high-profile nature and that of my Office, along with my willingness to take on difficult and at times controversial issues, have led some people to feel dismayed, even alienated, particularly as it relates to our Hispanic community.
Aaawwwlll ... :( How could anyone, especially in the Hispanic community, "feel dismayed, even alienated"? His critics were not impressed with the PR puff piece, which is titled "Integrity, Accountability, Community." I shit you not. Why in the world would anyone think a big-headed nativist who has no integrity, who has never been held accountable, and who, more than anyone else, destroys communities, can reinvent his agency and lead law enforcement out of the shit hole he's helped dig?

Finally, this May the DOJ had had enough of the goddamn stonewalling and meaningless glossy brochures, and filed suit against Arpaio for racial profiling. They gave the sheriff a month to respond, but of course he was bogged down with his all-important birther investigation and did what he always does: bristle and bluster like a bull moose. At the same time the 2007 civil case, which has been working alongside the DOJ's investigation, goes to court Thursday:  

The case alleges that the sheriff's Office engaged in institutional discrimination against Latinos when it embarked on what has become the defining mission of Arpaio's 19-year tenure: immigration enforcement.
Bet on it: If the courts indict, remove or otherwise curb the power of this 80-year-old flaccid fart, he and his merry band of birther nitwits will say it's because Arpaio was getting too close to the truth of Obama's "real" history.

Ring 3?
That's still to come! The Big Top's center ring is reserved for the large kahuna, the nearly 4-year-old federal grand jury that's looking into abuse of powers charges against Sheriff Arpaio. "Like what?" you ask. Try this on:

• a culture of corruption inside the department, such as his top aides creating an illegal slush fund that laundered money to support the sheriff's 2008 campaign;
• misuse of county funds, like stealing $100 million intended for inmate services to buy tanks and other boy toys for his immigration task force;
• harassing politicians, state and county staff, reporters and judges who questioned or blocked his unconstitutional tactics.

Here's just a partial list of vendettas: Maricopa County Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox balked at his methods and found themselves on the unhappy end of indictments and perp walks, filmed for the 6 PM news. Judges Gary Donohue and Barbara Mundell were intimidated to keep them clear of Arpaio's cases. Dan Saban, Arpaio's opponent in the 2008 race, was slimed with the ludicrous masturbation ad. New Times founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had their asses hauled out of bed in October 2007, and were indicted for writing not-nice things about the sheriff. Arpaio fired his top aides when their illegal schemes, many described in the explosive Munnell memo, got too close to the sheriff (written by a former deputy, the 63-page blockbuster alleged a shitload of corruption, cronyism, pettiness, and financial shenanigans at Arpaio's office). Sometimes, rowdy prisoners just end up injured or dead.

For his part, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas has paid a steep price for the prosecutorial tango he danced with Sheriff Arpaio. The two men, one a power-hungry bleating goat, the other a fundamentalist snot, worked in concert for 5 years, laying the foundation of their police state, with the help of Sen. Russell Pearce in the legislature. Two legs of that stool are gone.

Thomas's rulings provided legal cover for the sheriff's boneheaded methods, and he filed the lawsuits fueling Arpaio's vendettas, which the Arizona State Bar and Arizona Supreme Court later deemed unwarranted, retaliatory and unethical. Thomas was charged with more than 30 ethics violations, and both he and his top aide eventually lost their license to practice law. And like pickleheaded SB 1070 author Sen. Russell Pearce, who was recalled, they're out of a job, while Jabba the Hut still sits in his office.

It's time for the circus to leave town again.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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