The Rule Of Law: Excising The Local NeoCon Rot

The FDL family has had a profound positive impact on the federal scene on issues surrounding the rule of law. We are all hurt when justice is politicized. As I pointed out in Deceit In The Desert, the problem with politicization at the state and local level in many places is every bit as bad, and the effects every bit as ruinous.

In Maricopa County Arizona a battle to turn the tide and restore the fair and equal rule of law is in full tilt in the last two weeks leading up to the election. In the video, governor Janet Napolitano, former Arizona Attorney General and United States Attorney for Arizona, describes the critical significance of the office of county attorney, and how Tim Nelson will repair it. Let me tell you about the guy that broke it and who must be ejected from office.

Andrew Thomas has been the theocratic right wing tool in office as the Maricopa County Attorney since 2004. Attorney Gerald Richard, who represented the Phoenix Police Department and law enforcement interests for over 19 years, had this to say about Thomas:

As County Attorney, he has diverted resources away from prosecuting violent criminals to persecuting immigrants charged with “smuggling themselves.” His wiretapping of the Serial Shooter suspects without a court order could jeopardize the expected convictions in the case. Thomas has cut training for his staff attorneys by 90-percent, creating the need to spend 11-million dollars hiring outside law firms (that coincidentally helped pay for his election campaign in 2004). He has spent more than two-million dollars on billboards, booklets and TV ads that primarily promote himself. And he has signed off on the arrest of newspaper publishers and invading the privacy of their readers.

Senior trial lawyers and division leaders in the County Attorney’s Office, many of them there for decades, have been forced out or marginalized. Critical decisions are made on the basis of ideology, theology and public relations value instead of the law. Andrew Thomas has brazenly used his office to attack and persecute personal enemies. When Thomas went after local newspaper publishers that disagreed with him, he not only attacked them, he also subpoenaed and tried to attack their readers by using a grand jury to attach their personal and private internet profiles and usage.

Oh, did I mention the theocratic element of Andrew Thomas? Thomas is an aggressive and dogmatic right to life maniac. His hero is Clarence Thomas, on whom he has authored the most slavishly prosed biography you have ever encountered. Andrew Thomas is an up and coming darling of the NRO and Katherine Jean Lopez. Just how far will Thomas go in proselytizing and forcing his religion on others? Very far, and he will convert public money and resources designated for law enforcement and prosecution to do it.

No, the office financed the [religious] donation with RICO funds — money seized from illegal enterprises and granted to law enforcement for four purposes: racketeering investigations, gang prevention, substance abuse programs, and substance abuse education.

[A review of] RICO fund expenditures by Thomas’ office during his tenure and found $168,000 in earmarks for church-based programs and Christian ministries — many of them blatantly focused on converting people to Christ.

And the donations to Christian churches aren’t the only RICO funds Thomas is using to win votes. He’s also used RICO bucks in an endless campaign to increase his name recognition.

Read the whole article; it is an amazing report on as blatant and objectionable conversion of the justice powers of the state to proselytizing for a pet religion as you will ever encounter.

As related above, Thomas relentlessly attacks anybody who disagrees with him. Even judges. His attacks on the Maricopa County judiciary that try to adhere to the law have become an ongoing scandal in Arizona, resulting in several of them retiring and seeking state bar action against Thomas. Thomas has even sought, in conjunction with the NRO, to break up the Ninth Circuit, a federal court he doesn’t even practice in front of, because they are "too liberal". Thomas is also a favorite of right wing crusader David Horowitz and his FrontPage Magazine. Thomas is an excessively ambitious political climber that is being groomed by national right wing extremists. (Did I mention that one of Thomas’ other life heroes is Dick Cheney?)

As described in Deceit In The Desert, there is a wonderfully viable alternative to Thomas on the ballot, Democrat Tim Nelson. It is a neck and neck race with the critical two weeks until the election to go. If Nelson can defeat Thomas, it will not only make a world of positive difference in the justice system in the fourth largest county in America, it will put a serious dent in the ability of Thomas to grow and become a national problem like he is being groomed to be.

Tim Nelson’s race to defeat Andrew Thomas is so critical, both for the present and the future, that Thomas’ predecessor as Maricopa County Attorney, Republican Rick Romley, as well as former Republican Attorney General Grant Woods, have both endorsed Tim Nelson. So has wrongfully purged former Republican US Attorney Paul Charlton.

With two weeks left, Nelson is in a dead heat with Thomas, but Thomas has the benefit of massive advertising advantage both from his office propaganda efforts described above, and, more importantly, from independent right wing and Republican groups, both in-state and national, supporting him. Barack Obama has shown the power of the many through small donations to a candidate. Your assistance, no matter what the size, can help Tim Nelson be competitive in advertising down the stretch.

The effort is critical even if you don’t live anywhere near Phoenix, Maricopa County or the State of Arizona.

Help make a difference for Nelson over Thomas.

54 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    I don’t know Roach personally, but he has a spotty record as a prosecutor. Some very good work, but some ethical lapses in regard to withholding of material evidence in a homicide case, which led to his reprimand and leaving the county attorney’s office. I have done some checking, and have no reason whatsoever to believe that he will really follow through on any of the wild promises made in that post linked, and Pima County is certainly not any hotbed of voting fraud to begin with. The assertion that this dude is going to singlehandedly do diddly squat just doesn’t pass muster as far as I can tell

    Furthermore, the Democrat who has been the Pima County Attorney for over a decade, Barb LaWall, I do have knowledge of, and experience with many years ago when she was a line level prosecutor. She is not flashy, but is very competent. I can also unequivocally state that the assertion that our current AG, Democrat Terry Goddard, is any kind of road block to anything as asserted in that post is pure unadulterated crap. Goddard is a good guy, a very solid Democrat, and an excellent Attorney General. There is no question that Pima County purchased some machines that have security issues, but there has been no substantive showing that any fraud has been perpetrated from them.

    There is about zero chance this guy Roach can even come close to LaWall, I would be stunned if the election is even remotely close; and that is irrespective of the fact that I think this election savior stuff is pure bunk. This dude looks like a Republican wolf in some false sheep’s clothing to me. Pima County is in fine shape compared to the hell we have going here in Maricopa County.

  2. kspena says:

    OT-Florida Times has a story on the McCain campaign’s denial of the McCain’s family involvement in slavery dating back to the family Mississippi plantation and the family’s reunions over the past 15 years.

    ‘W.A. “Bill” McCain IV, a white McCain cousin, and his wife Edwina, are the current owners of the land. Both told the South Florida Times that they attend the reunions. They also said the McCain campaign had asked them not to speak to the media about the reunions, or about why the senator has never acknowledged the family gatherings…

    ‘The McCain campaign did not respond to repeated questions about John McCain’s black relatives, or about his relatives of both races who support Obama. Pablo Carrillo, a media liaison with the McCain campaign, said the senator was aware of his African-American relatives, but asked the reporter to put his questions into writing, and that someone would get back to him.

    ‘After the reporter sent questions in writing, and made repeated follow-up phone calls, neither Sen. McCain nor anyone else from the campaign responded.

    ‘Based on information obtained by the South Florida Times, the senator has numerous black and mixed-raced relatives who were born on, or in, the area of the McCain plantation. The mixed races in the family can be traced back to the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where his family owned slaves…

    ‘White and black members of the McCain family have met on the plantation several times over the last 15 years, but one invited guest has been conspicuously absent: Sen. John Sidney McCain.’

  3. Sara says:

    kspena, good catch with the South Florida Times piece.

    I have a statistical index of lynching between the 1880’s and 1930’s and looked it up. Carroll County Mississippi had a higher than average rate of lynchings in that period, probably a total of 9. It is perhaps ten miles from Money, where Emmett Till was murdered in 1955. The towns in Carroll County all ring with me as places where SNCC workers got arrested or beat up back in the 60’s — if I think about it, I probably could put specific people in each of the county’s towns — people that we hosted after bad things had happened to them, so they could unwind a bit.

    There is literally no way that John McCain could not have known about things going on in Mississippi in the 50’s and 60’s. There are only 9400 residents of that county, less than half of whom were white. It was almost all that was talked about in rural Mississippi in that period. We are, I think dealing with an old man who never had the will, or felt the necessity for examining his own attitudes, and coming to terms with them, and now in the heat of this particular campaign he is coming face to face with that failure.

    What I am talking about here is not precisely Racism as we commonly use the term. With an “ism” it is more of an ideology, and this is much deeper than a vaguely structured belief system. It is about how children in that racially stratified society ordered their world. Frequently their closest trusting relationship would have been with a nanny, playmates would have been both races, early personality formation would have taken place in this context. The natural order of things was unquestioned, even though it demanded leaving behind comfortable relationships as one matured. Most Southern White Adults figured out during the Civil Rights Years why this system could not continue — they figured out their own adjustments as necessary, even if it was painful. But some didn’t sort it out and figure out an accomodation, and that’s what I see in McCain. He just can’t believe that in the end Obama is going to be President, and he will be a failed candidate — and he hasn’t examined his own attitude origins sufficently to see beyond Obama’s color. Thus the rage and the other emotions we’re seeing. I just hope someone on his team can hold him together till this is over — The aftermath could be ugly, and I would rather it be more or less private.

    One thing McCain probably missed was the process the Military went through around dealing with racial attitudes that were totally dysfunctional to normal command relationships. Prior to Vietnam, there really were very few military situations where black soldiers and sailors were in command of white personnel. Vietnam forced the services to complete the integration of the services, and that meant fast tracking black officers (such as Colin Powell) into command positions, and rooting out those who could not adjust, and side-lining them into non-promotable positions. (It took an epidemic of fragging to get the services to comprehend.) But once the services understood their problem in the context of command, they acted quickly and firmly. Someone who had disappeared around 1967, and then returned in 1974 would have missed the process. I have doubts whether McCain fully understands this — but I think it a source of his rage now directed at Obama. (and now probably Colin Powell too.)

  4. pajarito says:

    When I lived in Phoenix, I always read the New Times; great investigative journalism, an almost dead art in most print media. Their reporting and digging is top notch and fearless. Take back the rule of law, for our country’s sake!

    • Ann in AZ says:

      I second that about the New Times, which is free and can be picked up almost anywhere in any store in Phoenix.

      I do know that I want to see the last of Sheriff Joe this time around also! Sure hope he can be defeated, because he does a lot of the same things that Andrew Thomas does in regard to taking it on himself and his dept. to persecute “illegal aliens.” At least, he did until Janet took his money away!

      Great job, Bmaz!

      • Raven says:

        I lost my pop about 5 years ago. He was a DuPage County (IL) Republican who moved to Phoenix about 30 years ago. The New Times drove him nuts!

          • Ann in AZ says:

            Of course he was; you even said so. Poor guy. New Times does drive Rethugs nutso! Too many exposes, although they are about all types of things, not just politics. I seriously don’t know how they continue printing; either they have a benefactor, or the owner has deep pockets, or they attract a lot of money in advertising. It’s much meatier than something like the Penny Saver type of paper you get in the mail for free. Uses a lot of dead trees!

  5. freepatriot says:

    looks like mcsame is gonna give the country a lesson in “MOVABLE MORALITY”

    5 months back, mcsame was an honorable man, who wouldn’t stoop to mentioning the Reverend Wright issue

    now mcsame’s moral values have changed

    Barack Obama forced mcsame to abandon his moral values

    another example of how liberals are destroying the moral fabric of America

    if only Obama would have agreed to town hall meetings

    then mcsame wouldn’t have to toss his moral values under the straight talk express

    I often make accusations like this, along with accusations that a person is illiterate, has no friends, is color blind, or anything else I can possibly think of, just for a laugh or two. I wouldn’t consider this strategy for a political campaign

    ten yeards back, I wouldn’t have thought we could hear such bullshit from a politician, much less expect to have the evangelical community eat this shit up with a spoon. fucking fake christians

  6. Leen says:

    Bmaz sending your piece out to folks who do not come here to read.
    “Critical decisions are made on the basis of ideology, theology and public relations value instead of the law.” More examples of the corrosive Bush/Cheney/ Culture of Corruption strategies trickling down.

    Andrew’s heroes are Clarence Thomas and Dick Cheney. Telling. I am shocked that Andrew Thomas did not say Karl Rove and David Addington are on his heroes list.

    Where are Dick and George these days? Are any Senators or Congresspeople being seen with them? We are watching all of our Reps run from Dick and George and all of the policies that these Republican Reps supported the last eight years. Does Cheney visit the NSA offices any longer?

  7. freepatriot says:

    Put a Fork in mcsame

    While Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado are still officially listed as McCain target states, two top strategists and advisers tell CNN that the situation in those states looks increasingly bleak. Iowa and New Mexico always have been viewed as difficult races, but the similar assessment of Colorado reflects a dramatic shift for a campaign that had long counted on the state.

    “Gone,” was the word one top McCain insider used to describe those three states.

    I have been using an electoral calculator

    If Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico go blue, we’re done here …

    • kittykitty says:

      posted this at ox, but ray of hope is a ray of hope

      OT – sorry but a really good discussion with three economic folks and geoffrey brown on Newshour tonight. Told it like it is for a change. I couldn’t believe it, real straight talk on the failure of the bailout. check it out.

  8. skdadl says:

    OT: WaPo on Bush’s current position on GTMO.

    I don’t know — this seems to me such blenderized unsourced chat that it’s hard to know whether it means anything, except that someone wants you to believe that it would be very dangerous to have all these detainees on American soil. Oh, and they’re sending Obama a warning/dare:

    A senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s internal deliberations said it would be much harder to fulfill a campaign promise to close the prison than either candidate has stated. “This may not be the ideal answer, but what we are trying to do is work with the system we’ve got,” the official said.

    Let me precise that for you, Charlie Brown. You’re working not with the system you’ve got but with the system you created.

  9. Jkat says:

    well .. having lived in mojave county for a few years in the ’80s .. and knowing that my rheumatism is surely forcing me back to the dry hot desert .. i’ve just sent a few bucks to help out ..

    thanks for the heads up Bmaz …

  10. katymine says:

    another issue with Andrew Thomas is that he is BFF of Sheriff Joe Arpio…… they work together in their anti-immigration agenda…….

    This race is a three for…… we need to replace the County supervisors with a few Democrats…… the Sheriff’s office has no record of EVER being audited…… Get Tim Nelson elected AND Dan Saban to replace Sheriff Joe and return sanity to Maricopa County……. AND save the people of Maricopa millions in dollars in legal actions for deaths and injuries in the county jail……..

    Please donate as the county races are not subject to clean elections
    Tim Nelson – county attorney
    Dan Saban – for Sheriff

    • bmaz says:

      Actually Nelson has run his race under strict guidelines of no corporate or PAC donations, only individuals; and even individuals are limited to $390. So he has about as clean a slate on his financing as any candidate imaginable.

      That is also why he desperately needs some last minute help from us.

      This is a really good guy, he has a real chance to win, and he would make all the difference in the world to Phoenix and Maricopa County. The county justice system is almost worse off than the DOJ is right now; we are just dying for renewal.

      • katymine says:

        What I meant is that Arizona has a Clean Election’s law but some office are exempt from that law. The county offices are exempt and they need to raise money to conduct their races. Yes individuals are limited to the $390 but still they do not get the matching state funds.

        The AZ GOP was forced to return finds to a shadow PAC that was running scummy ads against Dan Saban in violation in campaign finance laws.

        It seems that Sheriff Joe has been targeting donors to Dan Saban’s campaign using the FEC filings……. the county party has been asking donors to donate through the county to reduce the risk to local residents.

  11. Marretta says:

    katymine at 24,

    That is the kind of three for that would make me very happy. The sound of Sheriff Joe’s voice raises my blood pressure quicker even than Dubyah’s, and that is saying something. This state can’t go purple fast enough.

    • bmaz says:

      Dude, AZ-3 is basically me; East Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Shaddegg is mine; but, hopefully, not for long. There is a good guy named Bob Lord running against him and he has a decent chance. I would be shilling for him too, but he is not as hard up as Tim Nelson. Lord has been running TV commercials consistently and has okay funding, although I wish the national committee had done more for him.

    • demi says:

      Kinda weird. But, I’ve learned not to try to second guess or understand what goes on here.
      Don’t have time to do that. *g*

        • demi says:

          Hey you, I haven’t said Hi in a while.
          It is what it is….whatever.
          That is my attitude. Makes the kids crazy sometimes, but, that’s the way it is.
          Hope you are happy and well.

          • Raven says:

            We’re ok. A friend had a doggie birthday Sunday. We walked around the hood with 15 or so critters and their peeps. Went to a nice little grove to give them treats and toys and promptly got attacked by a swarm of yellow jacket. Everyone is alive but damn!


            • demi says:

              Oh no, not yellowjackets.
              Poor doggies and peoples.
              Hey, I’m hanging. House didn’t burn. Made a few bucks last week. But, the 2nd car bit it this am. Just hanging. Trying to be positive. *g*

  12. MichaelScott says:

    I’m proud to say, I was a classmate of Gerald Richard at ASU College of Law (n/k/a “Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law” – yuck!). In fact, he and I were 2/3rds of a study group that managed to get me through Prof. Cohen’s Con Law class first year!

    WTG, Gerald!

    • bmaz says:

      Welcome Michael Scott, always good to see another ASU alumni. Gerald is a decent chap. He ran against Tim Nelson this year, and it was a very close race. Gerald too would have made a great county attorney; and I would have been thrilled with either one of them. He is now helping Nelson because the situation here really is as bleak as I have indicated above. Hope to see you around here more often.

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