What came to mind as I was blowing leaves1 where they clearly did not want to go this afternoon was two investigations, one a criminal civil rights investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio by the US Department of Justice, the other Sheriff Arpaio’s investigation of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
In the former, the Justice Department investigated false charges brought by Arpaio against political opponents in 2009. It is claimed that Arpaio had a judge arrested to prevent him holding a hearing that day that Arpaio thought would go against him. The Justice Department investigation proceeded in a professional manner insofar that the Justice Department did not create a media circus around the ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, criticism was raised because the Department kept the investigation open so long without bringing charges: “put up or shut up.” On September 1, far in advance of the 2012 Sheriff’s election, the Justice Department decided that they didn’t have sufficient evidence to be sure of a conviction, so they shut up and ended the investigation2.
In the latter case, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, at the instigation of a local Tea Party group and anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi, launched an investigation of Barack Obama’s historical documents including his birth certificate and Selective Service registration. In a remarkable departure from normal law enforcement practice, Arpaio gave three public press conferences detailing evidence and conclusions that his volunteer Cold Case Posse had developed, publicizing suspicions that the documents were fake. To date, no charges have been filed. Even if charges were filed against the so-far unnamed person of interest, how could anyone get a fair trial since Arpaio’s public presentations and conclusions have been webcast, YouTubed, blogged, tagged, liked, chain-emailed and Twittered over the entire country? I say it’s long past time for Arpaio to put up or shut up.
- Obama Conspiracy Theories articles about Joe Arpaio
- Fox News article about the end of the Arpaio federal investigation
1Leaf blowing creates a different thought environment from mowing: Mowing is more serene and contemplative. Leaf blowing is plain aggravating.
2The reason for ending the investigation stated here is based on reasonable conjecture. A civil lawsuit against Arpaio over the same issues is ongoing.