Sheriff Joe in Klansmen's gear? Hey, if the sheet fits. That was the first thought this nutcracker had upon seeing the now-infamous Photoshopped pic of "Nickel Bag" Joe Arpaio in KKK garb about to lynch a Latino. The photo's made the rounds of late under the slug, "cosas curiosas en Maricopa County," or "curious things in Maricopa County." In it, a stereotypical Mexicano dood in a poncho's being strung up for "doing the jobs nobody wants," while Arpaio's called out for his "new political career" in the White Knights.
The pic was sent anonymously to Elias Bermudez of Immigrants without Borders, who then forwarded the image to others with the observation, "Just the plain truth from the eyes of the Hispanic community."
That's a mild comment considering Arpaio's recent anti-Hispanic activities, like the racist MCSO "hotline" that's been set up for reporting illegal immigrants. Also, Arpaio continues to collar the undocumented for the crime of "conspiring" to smuggle themselves into the country. And Joe's promised to pop any illegals who have the temerity to show up to visit loved ones locked in his gulags.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Heretofore, this tweeter's just figured Joe for a cruel, power-mad asshole. But more and more, he's been pandering to the nativist crowd, including a recent appearance at one of the regular Thursday-night prejudice powwows at Rusty Childress' Kia dealership, wherein members of United for a Sovereign America do everything but don white robes, burn crosses, and, uh, you know, lynch some beaners.
Oddly, at the Childress meeting Arpaio attended, Joe mentioned that he felt some compassion for illegals, but this sentiment garnered scorn from the Childress chowderheads, as was reported previously in The Bird ("Arpaio, Compassionate?," August 16). Deep down, Arpaio's an equal-opportunity sadist, but his doings of late have nudged him over to bigot Russell Pearce's camp.
The Photoshopped pic seemed right on the money to this mockingbird. Why then all the squawking from the local Fourth Estate, who you'd think had never seen a political parody before?
KTAR's Darrell AnKKKarlo did a segment denouncing it. No surprise there. Ankarlo-brow doesn't draw a check as a flack for the MCSO, but he might as well, for all the derrière-smoochin' he does. The Arizona Repugnant ran a brief item, acting like the scrutiny of Bermudez over this was normal. Bermudez himself was getting so much pressure that he felt the need to apologize on Channel 12, though for what, this buzzard's uncertain.
"The resending of that picture through the Internet was truly a stupidity on my part," Bermudez told the camera. "And I do apologize. I apologize to the sheriff. I know he's upset about this."
Channel 12 had Arpaio on camera ready to respond.
"First of all, I don't accept his apology," growled the decrepit copper. "And I think in a very short time, he'll know why."
Did this not-so-daffy dodo hear that right? Was Arpaio threatening some retaliation because Bermudez forwarded a satirical pic of the county's top doughnut-eater? Or was something else involved?
Someone should inform the chief constable of the little thing called the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects satire, especially when leveled against public officials. Not that Arpaio gives a hummingbird's hiney for America's highest law. The MCSO regularly violates the constitutional rights of those in its custody, and rides roughshod over the First Amendment rights of this paper and others, gloating all the way.
Channel 12 indulged Arpaio, noting that the sheriff was "traveling with security staff for the first time in 15 years," even though it's Bermudez who's been receiving veiled death threats over the 'toon.
Why did Bermudez even bother to say sorry to the sheriff? He didn't do anything wrong.
"I'm not just one person," Bermudez peeped to The Bird. "I represent a whole bunch of other people, and I don't want the sheriff going after them even more because of this."
Bermudez confessed that he's afraid Joe's thugs will soon arrest him on trumped-up charges, perhaps unrelated to the Klan pic, and that he has hired an attorney in case this occurs.
"My information is that for some reason or other, the sheriff feels that I might be part of a conspiracy to take his life," he said.
As wild as it sounds, it would not be the first time Apraio's pulled such a stunt. Anyone remember James Saville, the poor schmuck whom reporter John Dougherty wrote about in New Times ("The Plot to Assassinate Arpaio," August 5, 1999)? The sheriff's office unsuccessfully attempted to entrap an 18-year-old parolee in a fake bomb plot. Four years later, a jury acquitted Saville, who turned down a plea deal while waiting for his day in court.
And Saville was a guy who'd never done anything to incur Joe's wrath, unlike Bermudez. The whole thing's beginning to smell like a ploy to conveniently hobble one of the Sheriff's most persistent critics.
V FOR VENDETTA
The Bird feels for Bermudez because there but for the grace of that great winged deity in the sky goes this ink-slingin' egret. Recently, as regular readers of The Bird's bloggin' buddy, Feathered Bastard, know, Arpaio flack Paul Chagolla insinuated that this jocular jaybird may be jailed should he ever stop by in person to pick up copies of requested public docs.
See, a few months ago, The Bird requested public records regarding travel expenditures for MCSO staff ("Bird Alert," June 28). Perhaps feeling he had to respond since the MCSO had requested similar docs of Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks, Chagolla eventually informed New Times that the documents were prepared and could be viewed at the offices of a private law firm. Requests for copies could be made, but those copies could be retrieved from the MCSO only by a "runner." An appearance by The Bird in person to pick up and pay for the docs might trigger the so-called dire legal consequences.
Could this mean slappin' the cuffs on this canary? Chagolla didn't deny it.
Arresting a journo doin' his job sounds insane. But so does the number Joe's machine pulled on once and future sheriff's candidate Dan Saban, detailed in New Times scribe Paul Rubin's cover story ("Boob's Tube," January 25, 2007). Saban was seen as a viable threat to Arpaio during the 2004 Republican primary, so Arpaio and his henchmen, such as three-ton boot-licker David Hendershott, tried to hang a screwy, decades-old rape claim on Saban, currently Buckeye's police chief.
Saban's lawsuit against Arpaio over the matter began in Superior Court on August 20. Whichever way it goes, it should serve as proof of the vindictiveness and meanness Arpaio and his cronies continue to display toward anybody or any entity refusing to bow down to them.
The sheriff's spitefulness was further highlighted with the determination of the MCSO not to send press releases to the tiny West Valley View, even after being bitch-slapped by two courts! Cost to the public coffers? Oh, an estimated $100K.
Arpaio's regime regularly forces Maricopa County's taxpayers to foot the legal bill for unnecessary injuries and deaths that occur in its facilities, sometimes to the tune of millions a pop. But the MCSO doesn't care, even when the taxpayer's tab is a direct result of something really pathetic, like removing a newspaper (the WVV) from its e-mail list.
New Times isn't on the sheriff's e-mail list either. The MCSO likes to use the lame-o excuse that New Times is in litigation with sheriff's office over legal fees resulting from the MCSO's refusal to pony up certain public docs.
The MCSO also wants New Times prosecuted for revealing Sheriff Joe's address in a years-old John Dougherty column, though anyone smart enough to access Google can find out with a few mouse clicks where the sheriff beds down at night. County Attorney Candy Thomas had kicked the case over to the Pinal County Attorney because of what he deemed a conflict of interest. Now, Pinal has refused to prosecute and has kicked it back to Thomas.
This duck digresses. Back to the scrappy WVV, which was once on the sheriff's e-mail list, but instead of using Arpaio's press releases to pucker up to the penal potentate, the paper used the info to point out the sheriff's vampire-like need for publicity. Propaganda hack Chagolla told the View it was removed from the e-mail list because sending the newspaper press releases had not been "fruitful."
The View, dedicated to covering issues and news in Avondale, Goodyear, and other West Valley communities, sued the sheriff and won! Well, sorta. It didn't get back on the e-mail list, but the MCSO had to at least make the same press releases available for inspection by the newspaper.
The MCSO appealed the decision that Arpaio must make his press releases available to the WVV. On August 16, Arpaio lost the appeal. Not only did the panel of three appellate judges uphold the lower court's dictate, it decided Arpaio was such an ass that he should pay the WVV's lawyer fees.
"The record fully supports the Superior Court's observation" that Arpaio's refusal to put the View on the list was "without a doubt arbitrary and capricious," reads the judgment.
The sheriff says he'll be appealing that decision to the state Supreme Court.
Attorney Dan Barr, who represents the View, says the newspaper's legal fees come to about $43,000, maybe a bit more. Even if the Supreme Court reverses the appeals court, taxpayers will at least pay Arpaio's legal cost to fight the First Amendment. Barr estimates the fees of his opponent, the MCSO's private attorney, Dennis Wilenchik, are probably the same as his. Ka-ching!
After the ruling, this persnickety pelican caught Chagolla on the horn, and asked if the MCSO would adhere to the court order pending its next appeal. At first, Chagolla said it would, then he waffled.
"I can only do the best I can," kvetched the so-called public servant.
Pressed on the issue, he practically exploded.
"Are you going to be there every day?!" Chagolla asked heatedly. "What time are you going to ride there every day?!"
Well, if the pig-headed PIO would just add the WVV (and New Times) to its e-mail list, he wouldn't have to worry about it. But the sheriff's office would rather persist in the pettiness of wasting everybody's time and county taxpayers' money.
So get this: Andersons Fifth Estate, which is being investigated by AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard's office for allegedly discriminating against transgender doods/doodettes will play host on Monday, August 27, to the most famous transgendered musical act ever: Psychic TV.
The band's frontperson, Genesis P-Orridge, is currently engaged in an art project whereby s/he and life-partner Lady Jaye Breyer will exchange sexual identities until the point that they together become a third entity, "Genesis Breyer P-Orridge." Nutty.
P-Orridge has had breast implants and other body modifications, but no tallywacker-wacking. And, oh, s/he does use the ladies' loo.
"I can assure Mr. Anderson that I do sit down to pee," cracked P-Orridge on the phone from NYC, referring to club owner Tom Anderson. P-Orridge told this titmouse that the female bog is a lot more welcoming to trans folk, and that s/he regards peeing standing up, whether by men or women, as barbaric.
As explained in an earlier column ("Tranny Tweeter," August 16) the whole brouhaha has to do with customer complaints that gender-bending activist Michele de LaFreniere and her tranny pals were allegedly flaunting their still-maleness, peeing upright in the ladies' room at Anderson's, and so were barred from the normally square nightclub.
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Club owner Anderson was clueless about Psychic TV when asked, and had no idea P-Orridge is trans. Still, he said that fact doesn't bother him.
"I'm sure some of the customers will be transgender in nature," he said. "So we'll have to use some special arrangements to get through that show. I'll have to have security for the men's room, and they'll have to use the men's room."
P-Orridge gets to use Anderson's personal crapper, of course. The whole thing reminds this beak-bearer of a quote from the film Trainspotting, uttered by Ewan MacGregor's character Mark "Rent Boy" Renton:
"In a thousand years, there will be no men and women. Just wankers. And that's fine by me."