Trump’s unwise pardon

Well, Trump has given his first Presidential pardon, and it couldn’t have gone to a worse person than Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff (1993-2016) of Maricopa County, Arizona—a county that includes the state capital of Phoenix. Arpaio was not only a punitive hard-ass towards prisoners, but widely recognized as an anti-Hispanic bigot, which he displayed not only by upholding a controversial state immigration law, one was largely struck down by the Supreme Court, but by his horrendous treatment of prisoners. As the New York Times reports today (screenshot below, click to go to the article), Arpaio was ordered by federal courts in 2011 to stop “profiling” Hispanics by preferentially making them the victims of traffic stops, and then arresting them if they violated the immigration check that was deemed legal.

While the check was legal, the courts said that preferentially stopping Hispanics without good reason was not, and Arpaio was ordered to cease and desist. He refused, and that led to his conviction last month for criminal contempt of court, for which he might have served up to six months in jail. And that’s the crime for which Trump pardoned him.

The pardon was implied in a statement Trump made this week:

“I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy,” the president said Tuesday night at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, after asking, “Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?”

“I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine,” Mr. Trump said.

From our “President”:

Besides his profiling, Arpaio was an Obama birth-certificate truther, and someone who deliberately made his prison inmates suffer. As the Times reports:

Mr. Arpaio, 85, served for 24 years as sheriff of Maricopa County — which includes Phoenix — building a national reputation for harsh conditions in his county jail, and for his campaign against undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Arpaio had touted himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” making inmates wear pink underwear and serving jail food that at least some prisoners called inedible. He was also at the forefront of the so-called birther movement that aimed to investigate President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

He was also famous for setting up a tent camp which, in the Arizona climate, was murderously hot. As Wikipedia describes it (I well remember when this was in the news):

Arpaio set up a “Tent City” in 1993 as an extension of the Maricopa County Jail for convicted and sentenced prisoners. Arpaio described Tent City as a concentration camp. Tent City was located in a yard next to a more permanent structure.

On July 2, 2011, when the temperature in Phoenix hit 118 °F (48 °C), Arpaio measured the temperature inside Tent City tents at 145 °F (63 °C). Some inmates complained that fans near their beds were not working, and that their shoes were melting from the heat. During the summer of 2003, when outside temperatures exceeded 110 °F (43 °C), Arpaio said to complaining inmates, “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!”

In 1997, Amnesty International said Arpaio’s tent city jail was not an “adequate or humane alternative to housing inmates in suitable … jail facilities.” Tent City was criticized by groups contending that there were violations of human and constitutional rights.

And about his jails (Wikipedia):

Federal Judge Neil V. Wake ruled in 2008, and again in 2010, that the county jails violated the constitutional rights of inmates in medical and other care-related issues. This ruling was a result of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU which alleged that “Arpaio routinely abused pre-trial detainees at Maricopa County Jail by feeding them moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food, housing them in cells so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs, and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines in holding cells for days at a time during intake.”

In a ruling issued in October 2010, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Arpaio to follow Judge Wake’s 2008 ruling, which required Arpaio to end the overcrowding and to ensure all detainees received necessary medical and mental health care; be given uninterrupted access to all medications prescribed by correctional medical staff; be given access to exercise and to sinks, toilets, toilet paper and soap; and be served food that met or exceeded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines.

In the case of Braillard v. Maricopa County, the plaintiff’s attorney cited numerous reports commissioned and paid for by Maricopa county, dating back as far as 1996, detailing a “culture of cruelty” where inmates were routinely denied humane healthcare at Maricopa County jails run by Arpaio. Testifying in this case, Arpaio stated he could not deny making the statement that even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn’t change the way he runs his jails.

Arpaio said his jails were meant as places for punishment, and that the inhabitants were all criminals, although in fact most inmates had not been convicted of a crime and were awaiting trial.

Arpaio stated he reserved the punishment of living in Tent City “for those who have been convicted.” In April 2017 it was announced by newly-elected Sheriff Paul Penzone that the jail would be shut down.

In view of Arpaio’s bigotry and inhumanity, this pardon is ridiculous. He defied a federal court, engaged in ethnic profiling, and loved to humiliate and torture inmates—and was proud of it. What useful purpose save vindictiveness could explain the way he ran his jails? But Trump’s purpose is clear: he is catering to the bigots among his base, and to his hard-nosed “law and order” constituency. But pardoning a miscreant like Arpaio is not presidential, and the ACLU implies that in a statement opposing this pardon:

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang said:

“With his pardon of Arpaio, Trump has chosen lawlessness over justice, division over unity, hurt over healing. Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts. His pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism.”

And John McCain, who’s showing some heartening signs of decency as he nears the end of his life, has also objected. From the NYT:

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain, also an Arizona Republican, denounced the pardon of Mr. Arpaio.

“No one is above the law,” he said, “and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold.”

But Arpaio tweeted his gratitude:

I know of no President in American history who is less, well, Presidential. Trump fails to apprehend the seriousness and gravitas of his position, and is acting out like a little child. The sick thing is that, despite his historically low approval rating, there are still many who support him. From FiveThirtyEight:

Nearly 37% of Americans still like Trump’s performance. I’m not even going to try to understand that.


  1. somer
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    President Dump in action

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    One racist pardons another racist – nothing surprising here. The only positive sign from this is that one racist is 85 years old and the other is 71. Do racist come to bury each other because I can’t think who else would do it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      I dunno, can we do it while they’re still breathing? Gimme a shovel.

      Of course, I kid, but it would be a condign finish for the pair of ’em.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        How about some pink shorts for the burial dress? I was looking forward to Joe spending 6 months in a tent in the summertime in Phoenix.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately he’d’ve done six months of easy time at a federal detention center, since he was convicted of a federal contempt charge.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s possible he would’ve done no time at all. It was a first offence, he’s 85 yo, and all the absolutely dreadful things he did were not things that would have been considered in deciding his sentence.

            A custodial sentence would probably have been grounds for appeal in the circumstances as it could have been seen as political rather than based strictly on the case before the courts.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              Under the US Sentencing Guidelines, a federal judge always retains the discretion to sentence an offender to up to six-months’ imprisonment, so I don’t think there would’ve been much concern over an appeal. The judge also has discretion to impose lesser types of punishment, such as a halfway house, or house arrest, or probation. I suspect Judge Bolton would have imposed some type of incarcerative sanction (even if not the full six months), to send a clear message that federal court orders may not be ignored with impunity. (Federal judges guard their contempt power jealously, since it’s their only means of enforcing their orders, inasmuch as they command no troops or enforcement agencies).

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                Interesting. Thanks for the info. I concede to your greater knowledge.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

                It’s the only subject ’round here where I can finally feel like the kid who did his homework (something a rarely felt like when I was actually in school). 🙂

              • Randy schenck
                Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

                On thing I noticed was Ignorant Joe thanking Trump and stating the judge was wrong and a likely Obama holdover. However, my understanding of a Pardon is, if you accept it, you also are accepting guilt.

  3. tomh
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    It’s easy to understand this pardon. Arpaio is a loyal friend and an ally, who has never wavered in his support of Trump. That’s pretty much all that matters to our president.

    • Tom
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      And it will hearten his core voters, attract back to the fold those who thought he was going soft after seven months in office.
      It grabs all the headlines, pushes all the “RIGHTS” buttons and much to his delight gives all his critics the occasion for much gnashing of teeth.
      Did he get the idea from a book or from a new advisor?
      Whatever next?

  4. James Lindsay
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    There is a twisted “political” logic to this pardon, and I’m shocked that no one is seeing it after the bombshell interview Bannon gave just before his firing. Bannon’s strategy for Trump included the idea that by keeping the Left focused on issues of race and gender, they’d be sure to win, and sure enough, it worked and is even now radicalizing the Left more and more. Pandering to his base isn’t a sufficient explanation. It’s also undermining his enemies.

    Trump’s strategists (and Trump himself) seem to understand that the Regressive Left has gone too far and is initiating a panic across the center, which holds great electoral power for the Republican Party. The election of Trump despite his obvious crimes against decency validates the conviction with which much of the right-leaning world has to repudiating Social Justice Leftism, which is not only frighteningly insane but eating itself and preventing the Democrats from forming a unifiable bloc that can defeat Republicans in elections. The recipe is simple: it’s something rather like “reverse race-baiting,” making racially controversial moves that make the Left focus incessantly on identity politics.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      If Trump didn’t have a record of being racist going back decades (long before any fears of ‘pc run amok’), you might have something there. Sadly, history shows that this is just Trump being Trump.

    • Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      I think there’s even more to ut than what you say. He’s just upset his base by firing Gorka the same day (no he didn’t resign) so needed something to keep them happy.

      Also note that Arpaio and his lawyers had the paperwork on this several hours earlier, but the White House waited until later on Friday night when Hurricane Harvey was getting really bad before it was announced.

      They’re trying to bury this as much as possible, and it’s worked. Normally it would be wall to wall on CNN, for example, but a natural disaster is always going to take a bug chunk of their coverage.

    • nicky
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      James, I think you are absolutely right, very good observation and explanation 👏.
      Whether by deliberate strategy or instinct is another question.

  5. tony in san diego
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Contempt of Court is administration policy now. He is going to pardon everyone Mueller picks up.

    • Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      This was the thesis I saw put forward the other day.

    • Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      This was the thesis I saw put forward the other day. It can be that people of interest in that investigation can obstruct the inquiry and get into trouble for that, but be ok since if they had broken laws before or during the investigation the Prez can pardon them.

      • scottoest
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        That might succeed in keeping Trump out of jail (if the case is strong enough, legally speaking), but it would absolutely, 100% lead to him being impeached.

        My own guess is still that, within two years of his inauguration, Trump will resign and say it’s all the fault of the “Fake News” for being out to get him, establishment Republicans for not having his back, and Democrats for not accepting he won.

        You can already tell he’s terrified about the deep dive Mueller is doing into his finances and tax records. Sources inside the WH have repeatedly said that, privately, he’s obsessed with the Russia investigation. He and his legal team have also gone silent, as far as criticizing the investigation, and Mueller himself.

        Why? Because he knows this is getting serious, and antagonizing the investigation won’t help his eventual court case.

        Resigning and blaming others for it allows him to preserve his frail ego, and probably protect his private financial information. Those are the only two things he cares about.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          I agree. He will resign, and blame thise you say for making it impossible for him to do his job.

      • Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Adam Schiff says the same thing.

  6. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    How many presidential powers has he not yet misused? Can he complete the set before he gets impeached?

    • Posted August 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I hope not, because misuse of the armed forces and their nuclear weapons is one of them …

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    This action underscores how little Trump understands the presidency and politics.

  8. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Trump and Arpaio are like two sadistic peas in a pod. Trump pardoning Arpaio is like Trump pardoning himself, which he has said he would do.

    Acting Presidential? That was never a possibility.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    This action underscores how little Trump understands the presidency and the rule of law.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Doh. Sorry for the dupe.

  10. scottoest
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    The 2016 election, and everything that has followed since, has been genuinely destabilizing for me, as far as how I see other people.

    To realize that if you assemble 10 random Americans, nearly four of them would say Trump is doing a good job. THINK of that. Think of what he has done, and then think again, about how nearly four in ten approve of it.

    And don’t even bother with the dark cloud that is the Mueller investigation if you don’t want to – just look at the actual things he has publicly done and said. Four in ten!

    Liberal democracy, the rule of law, the foundational principles of the West – none of them have felt more threatened or flimsy to me, than they do right now.

    Then I think about how we aren’t even one year into this nightmare yet.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      The 40% is deeply troubling. What kind of people have we been living among for all these years? I comfort myself a bit by thinking that many of his supporters are not deep thinkers. They like Trump because of a certain entertainment value, the naughty Mick Jagger to the pleasant Paul McCartney – not realizing how dangerous he is. They are people who committed to him early on and, although they can now see that that was a mistake, are holding on out of pride and a bit of shame. Part of the appeal for them was that Trump was vulgar and not “politically correct”. He shared some of the same undesirable qualities they could see in themselves. To abandon Trump would be an admission that they really were America’s “deplorables”. That would be very hard to do.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      To realize that if you assemble 10 random Americans, nearly four of them would say Trump is doing a good job. THINK of that.

      If you took 10 non-random Americans, a mixture of police officers, soldiers and reservists (National Guard, is it the same thing?) – the people with real guns and real tactical training, not the idiot “militias” – and repeated the experiment, what would be the Trump-approval level?

  11. Sastra
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    That 37% likely consists of people who love the idea of punishing the wicked more than they love the idea of justice. You have to, in order to see them as the same thing.

    • scottoest
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Trump is the Troll President. All he and his supporters care about, is sticking their thumbs in the eyes of their perceived enemies.

      It’s why they don’t care that he doesn’t actually care about policy, or that he has no real expertise in anything. He is the instrument of their grievances.

      • Historian
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Certainly, one interpretation of where the bulk of Trump’s hardcore supporters revolves around the issue of grievance politics. But, what is the basis for their grievances? An explanation is that a certain segment of the white voters for Trump think in racial terms. They might not be out and out racists (at least some of them), but white identity is important to them, although they may not acknowledge this. Believing that life is a zero sum game, they fear that they are losing if other races seem to be gaining. It is sad that many people (not just whites) perceive their race as an important factor in giving meaning to their lives. I think that people who perceive they have accomplished little in life fall back on race or religion as substitutes for empty lives. Sound governmental economic and social policies should be employed to reduce these numbers, but there will always be people who define themselves by their race or religion and sometimes by the sports team they root for.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Troll President with troll followers. I think troll is too euphemistic though. From now on I’m going with what Bill Maher calls them: sadists. I think that word fits better and has more of a bite. Trump is the Sadist President. Ah, that sounds better.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    It’s difficult to imagine two prominent Americans with greater contempt for the rule of law than these two doltish freaks, Trump and Arpaio. This pardon with play well with Trump’s deplorable hardcore base, and with no one else.

    • Historian
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Trump’s favorable rating is about 37%, which is about the same as before the election, yet 45% voted for him. The great unknown this early is whether in 2020 the 8% who voted for him in 2016, despite not liking him, will stick with him. If they don’t, Trump will be toast. If they do, the election will be close again, thereby forcing the Democrats to do a heck of a lot more in the rust belt states that surprisingly went for Trump in 2016. I think Trump’s strategy, to the extent he has one, of believing that he can hold together his 2016 coalition is a losing one, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Of course, if Trump is not president in 2020, almost anything can happen.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I make Trump no better than even money still to be in office come the 2020 election, with much longer odds on his winning a second term. After all, even if he were to do equally as well as in the freakish 2016 election, I doubt 44% and minus 3 million votes would be enough to do the trick a second time.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see Trump resign eventually, as the Russiagate noose tightens around his neck, if we can give him a soft landing spot, one from which he can claim victory — that he’s quitting the presidency on his own terms, rather being forced out of the White House. I don’t sense he’s much enjoying his time in office (other than at his rallies), and his support among establishment Republicans has already begun to crumble.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Also, although I wish it on no one, we shouldn’t ignore the possibility that Trump, who is 71, might not survive one, let alone two, terms in office. He looks to me to be the type more likely to keel over than to fade away, especially with his unhealthy diet and utter lack of exercise. And we still have no real clue as to the state of his health, since he guards his medical records more circumspectly than he does state secrets. Have you noticed how unsteady he is in negotiating a flight of stairs?

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        He won the electoral college by very narrowly winning WI, MI, MN and PA. Presently, all four of these states show him way down in the polls. If we get someone decent to run in 2020 (assuming this train wreck of a Presidency continues its wayward course) these states will not win him the electoral college. If Trump resigns or is impeached, I doubt Pence could win these states either. He’s forever sullied by his orange overlord.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Minnesota went for Hillary in 2016. Let us not traduce the Gopher State by suggesting otherwise. Doesn’t it have enough to live down with Jesse Ventura? 🙂

          • Mark R.
            Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            I stand corrected Mr. Kukec, thanks. Jesse Ventura…ooof…perhaps a Trump harbinger.

  13. Historian
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    “Nearly 37% of Americans still like Trump’s performance. I’m not even going to try to understand that.”

    To get an idea of the type of voters that make up the Trump coalition, I would take a look at this comprehensive report, written by Emily Ekins for the Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group. The report is entitled “The Five Types of Trump Voters: Who They Are and What They Believe.”

    • This analysis finds five unique clusters of Trump voters: American
    Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%).

    • There is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Many voted with enthusiasm for Trump while others held their noses and voted against Hillary Clinton.

    • Trump voters hold very different views on a wide variety of issues including immigration, race, American identity, moral traditionalism, trade, and economics.

    • Four issues distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and
    views about and Muslim immigration.

    • Historian
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I should add that Tom Edsall of the NYT thinks that white identity is the common thread that holds together Trump’s hardcore supporters. Understanding what went on in the 2016 election is still a subject of great debate despite or perhaps because of the extraordinary amount of data available to analyze it.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        And who helped provide the white identity types with a “sauce for the goose” rhetorical rationale that race identity is a useful metric for almost any situation?

        Thanks, SJW’s. Democrats can’t make a very strong case that Republicans ought to publicly disavow Trump until they start doing the equivalent on their own authoritarian flank.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      These recent results from Public Policy Polling based on surveys of Trump voters are eye-opening as well.

  14. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I do think this should be seen not only as signalling to Mueller’s targets that they are safe, (and clearing the way for pardoning himself); but also as a further step in dismantling the rule of law.

    I understand why Americans judge his actions according to normal standards, and I don’t know what else they should do apart from feeling outraged, but this is not going to stop. Trump is dismantling civil society in the US.

  15. Randy schenck
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    This is exactly the type of disgusting action by Trump that should set the republicans in congress to doing something. Show that their pathetic jobs are not the only thing worth living for. Step over to the democrats and start talking about the 25th amendment. Do something besides doing nothing to earn your limited existence.

  16. damboni
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I suspect that there are a LOT of people who are very happy that Joe Arpaio is going to be walking around outside instead of being safely locked up in prison.

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Well yeah…the 37% that support Trump.

  17. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Arpaio – “…American patriot…”

    Samuel Johnson was right.
    Is patriot now a synonym for asshole?

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I always slightly liked John McCain.
    His being a former POW, it does not surprise me, he is sensitive to the holding of suspected illegals in environments that are practically concentration camps.

    • Posted August 29, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      McCain comes close to being a sane Republican, sometimes. But then I think – why still associate with the crazies?

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    When it comes to racist criminal justice, let us never forget that Donald Trump was the one who took out ads in the New York daily papers to urge that the NY death penalty be reinstated and applied retroactively to the so-call “Central Park Five” (who were minors and weren’t accused of killing anyone), the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws be damned.

    Trump refused to apologize, or even to acknowledge he was wrong, after the defendants were exonerated through DNA testing.

  20. Mobius
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?
    –Donald Trump

    Why, no, no Arpaio wasn’t doing his job. That was the determination of the court, and IMHO the court got it right. He was violating the rights of American citizens, which certainly was not part of his job.

    That Trump has done this does not surprise me in the least. He has no concept of the rule of law.

    The Trump Touch: everything he touches turns to sh**.

  21. Taz
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    As president, Trump has all the dignity and class of a reality show huckster.

  22. azwangster
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Not to mention the $200 million lost by Sheriff Joe on lawsuits over the last 15 years. These losses come out of county funds, not his budget!

  23. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    We shouldn’t ignore the possibility that the main purpose of the Arpaio pardon was to signal to Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort — both of whom are under intense scrutiny from Robert Mueller’s untouchables, and are otherwise likely to become cooperating government witnesses — that Trump isn’t shy about wielding his pardon power controversially, so they should hang tough and refuse to cooperate.

  24. Al
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I will probably get criticized for saying this. Inhumane treatment (bordering on torture) of prisoners who haven’t been convicted is horrific and should be punished. But the actual deed that Sheriff Arpaio was convicted for was stopping Hispanic motorists and checking their immigration status (and continuing this practice after a court ordered it to stop). Now, the court said that it’s illegal but should it be? In my view this is rather akin to terrorist profiling as defended by Sam Harris. Who is more likely to be a jihadi terrorist? A white woman in her seventies or a young Muslim male? It makes sense to focus on the latter, not the former. Similarly, the majority of illegal immigrants in a border state like Arizona are bound to be Hispanic. Surely it makes sense to focus immigration checks on them.

    • Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Racial profiling to protect Nat Sec is a different beast in my eyes.

      The profiling in JA’s case wasn’t even successful, which might be a good litmus test for considering its efficacy, but is never a good litmus test for considering its Constitutionality.

      JA willfully defied a court order and has a history of self-centered and inhumane decisions. With all of the information we have on the guy, if you read between the lines I think it’s pretty clear what HIS agenda is when he’s checking “immigration statuses”.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Think of it as a bit like the way they finally got Al Capone – on income tax charges.


  25. Andrea Kenner
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Dude! I just saw you’re at 50,000! Congrats!

  26. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Of course Trump would pardon a torturer! He does not understand what torture is, witness his attack on McCain for being a (tortured) prisoner.

    Nearly 37% of Americans still like Trump’s performance. I’m not even going to try to understand that.

    Unfortunately it is easy to understand, and the reason people predict he may well be re-elected. [Now that is a scary thought! So I hope people try to understand and act accordingly. Say, by promoting *voting*.]

    Trump’s base does not care whatever Trump does. If he does nothing and/or fail means nothing to them. He is their obstructionist symbol of disappointment (so he cannot disappoint). Trump is the bad hair orange monkey with the wrench thrown into the gears of US governance.

  27. bric
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    P45’s patriotic friend

  28. Mike Cracraft
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    If Arpaio accepts the pardon, then that’s admission of guilt, making him open to civil lawsuits.

    • tomh
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      It’s not as simple as that. The Washington Post has an op-ed today from law professor Eugene Volokh on the subject, Is accepting a pardon an admission of guilt? Volokh’s conclusion, “I doubt that any judge today would genuinely view acceptance of pardon as always being an admission of guilt.”

      By the way, because of the hurricane, the Wash Post has lifted their article limit/paywall today.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

        Volokh’s conclusion, “I doubt that any judge today would genuinely view acceptance of pardon as always being an admission of guilt.”

        There is an important word in there : “always”. Which I take to mean that this law professor thinks that, with other supporting evidence, acceptance of a pardon could be taken as an admission of guilt.
        IANA-lawyer – thankfully! – but I’d bet that there are a number of real lawyers looking to see if this can be leveraged into a civil case against Bigot Joe.
        I’m also assuming (I don’t know if this is right) that Bigot Joe wouldn’t be able to draw upon public funds or public legal advice to defend himself against a civil suit. Equally, I’m assuming that a Presidential pardon cannot affect civil actions.

        “I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine,” Mr. Trump said.

        Trump’s prediction of a “fine future” for Bigot Joe looks a tad optimistic.

        • tomh
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Well, he was convicted of and pardoned for contempt, for violating a court order. If anything, he’s admitting he’s guilty of violating a court order. I can’t see how that would translate into a civil suit.

  29. BJ
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Joe Arpaio is one of this country’s nastiest people. I feel I have to say that. It is a crime in itself that he was never brought up on charges of prisoner abuse. A disgusting person pardoned by another disgusting person.

    • Craw
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Trump says he wants to drain the swamp. This feels more like swamp than drain.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Looks like a cesspool to me.

  30. Jonathan Dore
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Quite apart from his actions, what is anyone doing still drawing a salary as sheriff at 84 years of age? Why is there no maximum age for such a physically and mentally demanding job?

    • Kevin
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      There is no standard. Just a role model for bigotry, in this sheriffs position case, and the job is yours.

  31. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    If the Regressive Left had any nounce, instead of protesting a bunch of half-witted Neo-Nazis, they (all of those who have papers in order and can look a bit Hispanic) would go down to Arizona and drive up and down in front of Sherriff Arpaio’s deputies, thereby swamping his racist traffic stop strategy.


  32. Posted August 27, 2017 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Was that the tuth about the 120 in Iraq for the troops living in tents?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Tents with working ACs and (probably) double skins.

  33. gormenghastly
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    It’s not a law and order constituency. They have no respect for the law. And the only order they like is one they can give, not one they have to live under.

    We should call it the outlaw and disorder constituency, because that is what it is.

    • Posted August 29, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      “Law and order” always seems to mean “the draconian laws I like to enforce on the poor, ethnic minorities, etc. and not the ones that apply to me”

  34. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, sadly it has been hijacked by the right. Maybe we should start a ‘reclaim law and order’ movement along the lines of ‘reclaim the swastika’…



  35. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Damn!, that was a reply to Keith Douglas above…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      … and that was supposed to be an addendum to my comment…

      WordPress is evil!!!


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