Emulating North Korea

I have little tolerance for enforced patriotism of any sort.  In fact, having loyalty oaths and singing songs and genuflecting to flags all seem more consistent with totalitarianism than the values of liberty that patriots are nominally trying to promote.  If I were rotting in a crappy Phoenix jail for being caught with marijuana or busted for driving while Mexican, I would be even less patriotic

Dozens of Arizona inmates will eat nothing but bread and water for at least seven days in the latest punishment by one of America's toughest sheriffs.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio handed down the sentence after inmates defaced American flags hung in each jail cell. He says the men tore the flags, wrote or stepped on them and threw them in the toilet.

The flags are part of a push for patriotism in county jail cells. Arpaio has ordered thatGod Bless America and the national anthem be played daily in every jail facility.

This isn't Arpaio's first controversial move. He made headlines for keeping thousands of inmates outdoors in repurposed military tents in weather that was hotter than 117 degrees. He also made male inmates wear pink underwear.

He banned smoking, coffee and movies in all jails. And he's even put his stamp on mealtime. Inmates are fed only twice a day, and he stopped serving salt and pepper – all to save taxpayers money, he says.


  1. norse:

    How on earth is this man still in charge of anything?!

  2. Russ R.:

    Justice will be served the day that the Sheriff is convicted of abusing his authority, and is sentenced to imprisonment among the general population.

  3. ErikTheRed:

    One of my (formerly neo-con) friends said it best: Sheriff Joe is a walking, talking civil rights violation.

  4. Matthew Slyfield:

    Now why on earth would you be that cruel to the rest of the inmates?

  5. Incunabulum:

    The rich old people in certain parts of Maricopa county are scared fucking senseless over the 'reconquista' and keep supporting this obscenity.

  6. Curtis:

    I despise the kind of man that he is but you don't end up in his jail if you didn't break the law that your fellow citizens passed and require him to uphold.
    Uphold democracy and vote the miserable little shit out of office. You should probably also purge his deputies too.

  7. mlhouse:

    I like your forum and agree with most of your positions. But your views on patriotism are just plain ignorant. Patriotism is much more important in a Republic than they are for a totalitarian system. The reason for this is that for a Republic to be a true Republic the citizens of the country must carry out most of their duties voluntarily and history has proven that citizens that are doing their duties voluntarily also perform these duties with more efficiency and higher quality.

    Patriotism and the mythology that surrounds this aspect of life (George Washington never told a lie) are valuable community traditions and important for the functioning of a true Republic. One of the major failings of today's version of our society is that these lessons are no longer being taught and our society is descending into tribalism that will not be able to maintain a Republic for much longer. The concept of "My country, right or wrong" may seem like the thoughts of a simpleton to the Libertarian elite, but the reality is that in a Republic you need to accept the voting and policy results that do not go your way. You can utilize the political (and propaganda) methods to change the outcomes but you must accept what other people decide when they have the political power to do so.

    Some may argue that we live in an age of low information voters, and I agree with them. These low information voters are "non-patriots" that do not do their civic duty to be informed on issues. But, unfortunately, they are allowed to vote and their votes are counted. This, in my opinion, is the result of less patriotism, not more.

    As far as Maricopa County, I don't live there. He seems to continuously get reelected based upon these publicity schemes. If you live in Maricopa County and don't agree with his policies as sheriff you can continue to vote against him, help organize opposition, and anything else that is legal. If you simply cannot stand it, you can vote with your feet and move to a different county. Otherwise, there is nothing else to say, or do, or worry about.

  8. Fred_Z:

    The beatings will continue until patriotism improves.

  9. MingoV:

    Even as a junior high school student, I was annoyed at the forced recitation of the pledge of allegiance, one of the worst pieces of propaganda ever written. I don't know anyone who became more patriotic from saying it.

    My sister worked for a small town as financial manager. She had to give a loyalty oath to that sh*thole town. (She was sexually harassed by her 70-yr-old boss's husband. How's that for weird.)

    @mlhouse prattles about the need for patriotism. Bull. Patriotism leads to that horrid state of 'my nation right or wrong.' That's the usual prelude to wars. It's good if you like your country. It's good if you are proud of your country because it improves the lives of its citizens and of people around the world. But, patriotism goes dangerously beyond liking and pride.

  10. marque2:

    I usually side with Sheriff Joe, but in this case the flags were both a waste of taxpayer money and entrapment as well. I think this could possibly work against the good citizens of Maricopa county when the lawsuit comes in.

  11. dmon:

    Here in Los Angeles, a "sanctuary city" where the police are forbidden to even ask for proof of legal residence, they still trample on the U.s. flag, fly it upside down, and spit on the American soccer team at world cup qualifier matches. Maybe the popularity of Sheriff Joe is a result of the lack of patriotism exhibited by his inmates, rather than the cause of it.

  12. bigmaq1980:


    It is not about the flags. Most folks with common sense would know that prisoners wouldn't take kindly to anything up on their cell walls. Several will trash whatever they can get their hands on just because they can.

    These are not mentally stable people we are talking about. Most probably have serious authority issues. Waving a flag (a symbol of authority) in their face is not going to make them good little patriots.

    Sheriff Joe probably knows this well and was looking to provoke a reaction, for whatever gain he personally gets out of that.

    What a stupid waste.

  13. NeoWayland:

    How is it patriotism if the only way you can get a square meal is to lie?

    Is it voluntary if it depends on the threat of force?

  14. mlhouse:

    I really don't care about this specific issue. That is a county sheriff that likes to make head lines with "unique" ways of treating prisoners. Most of what Sheriff Joe does I don't think is really that terrible like limiting television and pornography for the prisoners. But other actions are just pure publicity stunts, like this.

    Should they be punished for not towing the line about the flag? I don't know and I don't really care. If I voted in that county I might have an opinion. But I don't vote there.

  15. Q46:

    Well all tribes like their totems, but I agree in principle that freedom means you can do whatever you like to a symbol.

    But is this about that? Is it not about making prison a not-to-be-repeated experience? Prison populations are not representative of the broader population, otherwise they would not be in gaol, so that raises my sympathy threshold.

    By the by: the real punishment of bread and water goes beyond sensory deprivation, it causes chronic constipation.... which will give the inmates even more to belly-ache about.

  16. Q46:

    Some call that democracy and it is what gave you the current success story sitting in the Oval Office, who it seems has inflicted far worse on far more.

  17. NeoWayland:

    You're right, Arpaio is a headline grabber. He runs his own political machine in Maricopa county, and apparently can't be touched by county, state or Federal officials. He's less interested in patriotism than he is political power.

    When a politico wraps himself in the flag, double check your liberty and count on finding brown stains afterwards.

  18. MNHawk:

    What if I don't feel like being very patriotic to a country who elects buffoons to drive urban assault vehicles into rooster growing operations, in order to pose for dumbf***s watching reality TV?