Joe Arpaio

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011.

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sheriff Joe
Maricopa County, Arizona
Must go
Pink underwear? No
Prison tents? No
Poor food? No
No air conditioning? No
No entertainment? No
Racial profiling? No
Neighborhood sweeps? No
Obama birth certificate? No
Sheriff Joe
Must go
Forced retirement?
YES

Birthers

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011.

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt says that Barack was born in the US. So why all the birthers scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention? Among the prominent birthers present will be Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Are the Republicans really ready to write off all the people who The Donald has fired and/or offended and the latino voters offended by Sheriff Joe’s heavy-handed enforcement of the law in Arizona? The GOP has lost the black vote 94% to 0%  in recent polling and they are behind by double digits among latino voters. Can they really afford to lose more latino voters at the same time they are losing more of the female vote? Women are more than 50% of the voters. I suppose the GOP have more plans to further disenfranchise voters. It is the only rational explanation that I can think of.

War on drugs

Cover of "Joe's Law: America's Toughest S...

Cover via Amazon

We have lost the war on drugs and it is time to try another approach. In his book Joe’s Law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio talked about his thirty year career in the DEA and preceding government agencies. He estimated that at the beginning and the end of his career, the government was successful in stopping only 10% of the illicit drugs coming into the US. That is 30 years of effort and 90% of illicit drugs still manage to enter the US market. And what have been the results? Crime and violence in the US and crowded, privatized prisons. Drug wars and 10s of thousands of deaths on our southern border.

Prohibition of alcohol until it was repealed led to the formation of organized crime syndicates in our major cities and the political corruption they brought with them. I don’t advocate the legalization of all drugs, but I do think that at least the weaker drugs, like marijuana, should be legalized. Rather than spending our resources on combatting the use of marijuana and putting people in prisons, we should be spending the money on education.

Please see Joe’s Law | Arizona

Immigration reform

The Death of Josselin

Dust jacket

The Death of Josseline, Immigration Stories from the ArizonaMexico Borderlands by Margaret Regan is an eye-opening account of today’s border as seen from both sides. Now I have a much better understanding of why Arizona residents along the state’s southern border are so unhappy with the present situation.

The undocumented traveling across private property and public lands sometimes steal, frequently discard trash, and harm a fragile environment just by their passage. US authorities trying to apprehend the undocumented assert the right to go anywhere at any time in the pursuit of their jobs. This produces an approximation of a war zone with low-flying helicopters and bright lights turning darkness into daylight. As crossing points evolve and change, the action moves from one quiet, rural area to another, causing a loss of privacy and sleep for the residents who have the misfortune to live there.  Some moved to the area to escape from big cities and they object to the presence of both the invaders and the US defenders.

This is my suggestion for reform along our southern border. The undocumented should be supplied with documents for a nominal fee that would allow them to cross back and forth across the border at established crossing points. The documents would also allow them to work legally in the US at the jobs that the undocumented now perform illegally without the protection of labor laws. They would pay taxes and receive the government services to which their humanity entitles them that they now fear to claim because they might be deported. We currently allow guest workers under the H-1B program; this would be a similar program for the less skilled.

The undocumented would be sure to use this program due to its lower cost, smugglers charge $hundreds or $thousands, and its openness would be much safer than crossing wilderness on foot. Requiring employers to hire only documented workers would ensure that fewer, if any, undocumented would try to cross the border illegally. This would be safer for the border crossers, and it would restore tranquility to the border area. It would also be cheaper for the government to enforce than the current program.

In his book Joe’s Law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes the point that human traffickers are frequently drug smugglers also. By taking away their profits in human smuggling, we would be reducing the profits that the drug cartels are currently earning. A small step true, but a step in the right direction.

Please see Joe’s Law | The undocumented | Moral obligation | Snowflake, AZ.

Joe’s Law

Cover of "Joe's Law: America's Toughest S...

Cover via Amazon

Joe’s Law by Joe Arpaio and Len Sherman is the 2008 autobiography of America’s toughest sheriff with his opinions on drugs, illegal immigration, politicians and everything else that threatens America. Sheriff Joe is the sheriff of Maricopa County which includes Phoenix. He has been elected and re-elected to the position with continuing very high voter approval. He is also quite controversial because of some of his policies. I am not going to discuss that in this posting because I have read only his side of the story.

In this posting, I want to discuss his career in drug enforcement which spanned 30 years in the Federal Government. Drug enforcement is dangerous work, but Joe enjoyed the challenge. When he retired, he tried being a travel agent, but missed the challenge and excitement of law enforcement. Then he ran for sheriff and found a new niche that he enjoyed. Most of the book is devoted to his career with the Drug Enforcement Agency and its predecessors. One telling fact, I consider it THE telling fact, drug interceptions into the US were about 10% when he began his career and they were still only about 10% when he ended his career. 30 years and no change. I think it is time to change our focus to the 90% that is not intercepted and enters the US.

I have never used recreational drugs nor have I researched the subject, but I intend to research it and will report on my findings. If we able to reduce the demand for drugs, then the suppliers would lose all incentive to smuggle it into the US. Right now we are treating the symptoms of the problem, not the cause(s). Until we focus on the causes, we will never lick the problem which I consider more of a threat to the country than al-Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and a nuclear Iran all rolled into one.

Let us list some possible sources of the drug problem: poverty, boredom, lack of parental guidance, lack of leadership by our religious leaders and our politicians, divorce, declining moral standards, corruption in high places, lack of opportunity, inadequate schools, and the list goes on. Until we determine why people use drugs and make the attempt to reduce their incentives for drug use, we will never solve the problem. It will take honesty and courage to face why people use drugs. To date, we have taken the easy way and as Sheriff Joe relates, the easy way has not worked.

I would like to add an aside at this point. Sheriff Joe describes his encounters with John McCain in this book on pages 227 through 233. He found John to be bad tempered and vindictive. That confirms my impression from reading other accounts about John McCain that I read before the 2008 election. I admire his contributions to the nation but I thought then and continue to believe now that John McCain was the wrong person at the wrong time to be elected President of the US. We can count our lucky stars that Barack won that election.