THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MCSO: More good use of tax dollars...

25 were smugglers? I'm sure. 

I'm not paying a penny more in sales tax as long as this stuff keeps going on and both the Governor and the Republican legislature endorse it. We've got American-born rapists and murderers and kidnappers all over the place, and Arpaio keeps using all our resources to chase down and incarcerate impoverished migrants whose only crime is "smuggling themselves".

Does all this rounding up of migrants and neglect of real crime have anything to do with the Sheriff's lack of competence as a law enforcement officer? Or does it have more to do with the fact that ICE can be billed by the jail for migrants, whereas no one compensates him for arresting dangerous citizen criminals (well, excpet for the salary, and benefits, and expense account we give him..).





------------------ 

40 arrested during north Valley crime sweep

by Adam Wolfe - Sept. 29, 2009 05:49 PM
The Arizona Republic
 
Forty people suspected of being illegal immigrants were arrested during a four-hour crime sweep in the north Valley, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies conducted sweeps in four areas near Anthem Way on Monday night, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office.

Twenty-five of those arrested face human-smuggling charges, officials said; the others were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

AZ Second in Corrections $$; 38th in Education

This what it means in Arizona to be "tough on crime" - stealing futures from kids. Look at where we invest our money: that's what flourishes. That's why this state is in such a serious decline. People like Kavanaugh are deciding our priorities for us.

I'm trying to follow his logic here: The amount of money we invest in education is not a reflection of how much we value education or the quality of it; however, the exorbitant amount we spend on police and prisons is justified? 

That's what it sounds like he's saying - and he's the AZ State House Appropriations Chairman. He'd sooner put your kid in prison for $26,000/year at 21, than subsidize his college tuition for $5,000/year at 18.  

By the way, Mr. Chairman, a "very median educational performance record" is not something to be bragging about. You might as well be telling Arizonans that they should be delighted that you're feeding our children mediocrity.


-----------

Census data: Arizona second in police, corrections spending, 38th in education

By Evan Wyloge, Cronkite News Service

Published: September 30, 2009 at 7:58 am

Arizona outspent all but one state on police protection and corrections as a percentage of overall state and local expenditures while its education spending ranked 38th in U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday (Sept. 30).

“You get what you pay for,” said Jeffrey Chapman, Arizona State University Foundation Professor of Applied Public Finance. “We’re a low-tax, low-expenditure state. We like police, we like corrections and we don’t want to spend money on public services.”

The census data, based on 2007 expenditures, shows that Arizona’s spending patterns remained fairly constant from previous years. Chapman said that demonstrates shortsightedness on the part of leaders, promoting construction and industries tied to growth and preparing people to work in those jobs.

“They’d rather see retail clerks, construction workers and corrections officers in Arizona,” Chapman said. “They’re giving no regard to our children or our grandchildren.”

The data also showed that Arizona ranked fourth among states in expenditures on fire protection, 21th on public welfare and 28th on highways.

House Appropriations Chairman Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, defended the state’s spending on police protection, which was second only to Nevada, and on corrections, which was second only to California.

“Of course we spend more proportionally on law enforcement than other states,” Kavanagh said. “We have to be tough with criminals, as a matter of justice and deterrence. And being a border state, we deal with cross-border crime and we have one of the largest populations of illegal aliens.”

Kavanagh also said it’s wrong to suggest that Arizona isn’t committed to education.

“We actually have a very median educational performance record,” he said. “I prefer to judge our educational system by performance, not spending.”

Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, said Arizona would be better served by shifting its priorities.

“For four years I’ve been trying to change this,” she said. “And I think the public is unfamiliar with these numbers, so I’m glad to hear that they’re being talked about.”

Roger Hartley, associate professor of public administration and policy at the University of Arizona, said the money states spend on education correlates with earning potential, while poverty correlates with crime.

“We can see that we’re putting more money into putting people in prison rather than educating and thereby keeping people out of prison,” he said. Kavanagh called that conclusion overreaching, and pointed to Washington, D.C., as evidence.”

They have one of the worst crime rates, and they spend more than just about anybody per student,” he said.

Travis Pratt, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at ASU, said crime rates aren’t simple enough to link one-on-one with education, but he said it would be wrong to dismiss any connection with education.

He said spending on law enforcement pays political dividends much sooner than education.

“Budgets aren’t limitless, and Arizona devotes a greater portion of theirs to controlling rather than preventing crime,” he said. “And because spending on institutions like education and social services might not pay off for 10 or 15 years - not before the next election - politicians don’t see a reason for it.”

Marcia Powell vrij!

What would it take for our community to be the kind of place in which Marcia Powell could have lived both safe and free? And are we willing to do to what it takes for the prisoners - and potential prisoners - still alive today to have the options we didn't give her? Will we be willing to change what it is we pay for?

Those are some of the questions that need to be answered and acted upon in order to free Marcia Powell.

From my friends in the Netherlands, a beginning:

http://www.devrije.nl/archives/00002752.html

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SOS: FREE MARCIA POWELL

This post is a message to the Freewaybloggers, Anarchists, and prison activists of the World:

Friends:

Marcia Powell was a prisoner of the State of Arizona when she was left in an outdoor cage in 113 degree heat for four hours last May and fell into a coma. The Director of the Department of Corrections took her off of life support eight hours later, believing - from her criminal record - that she was alone in the world.

She was. She was a drug-addicted, mentally ill prostitute serving 27 months for offering a cop a blow job. Her next-of-kin didn't even want to claim her body.

They've been investigating Marcia's death for the past 4 months. A 3,000 page report is now back. 16 employees were disciplined; five fired. None of those held responsible were the director, a smart man who I believe knows full well what goes on in those prisons. If he doesn't, then he's more clueless than I thought. Maybe that's better than being complicit. In any event, very little appears to have changed policy-wise, except for misters and shade in the cages now, and a box on a clipboard for guards to check that they see someone in the cage breathing every half an hour. No information on what the officer suicide and prisoner arson protest were all about after Marcia's death - the media has completely forgotten that. No talk about the overcrowding that has them using outdoor cages as holding cells, lobbies and "recreation" areas in the first place, and "boats" on the floor as beds.

It would seem as if the use of those cages to punish people (which the director says was not the case here) has been going on at all the prisons for years - formal complaints were made just two years ago, which neither then-Director Schriro nor then-Governor Napolitano (of Homeland Security fame) bothered to do anything about.

THEY could have prevented this death, if they had acted then. I have a few more choice words for them than I've even had for Director Ryan. They could have put an end to the cages and responded to abuse complaints with something other than "motions to dismiss" in court.

But they didn't. Prisoners just don't make up a very powerful voting bloc - one reason to restore their civil rights. And they are seldom encouraged to exercise their voices. If they were, this would have been headed off long ago.

The ADC should make good use of this opportunity now to radically transform their culture, policies, and facilities, because the next catalyst for such change will otherwise be another tragic death or horrendous criminal abuse. At present, however, they appear to be trying to shake this off and reassert themselves as champions of public safety; good old Law and Order.

They couldn't even protect a woman dying outside their window the desert sun, in a cage that only they had the keys to. Short of making sure the prison doors are locked when they leave, how could they possibly protect the rest of us?

Upon accepting a recent allotment of $50 million for employee salaries - which was conveniently and ceremoniously awarded before the abuse report came out - the director thanked the good governor on behalf of all his "brave" and "hard-working" officers. Not a penny was mentioned for prisoner rights, facility improvements, health services  - nothing. Just more money for more guards to abuse more people that more judges are going to put away for the pettiest things that aren't worth paying $26,000 a year/prisoner just to get the satisfaction of vengeance or the illusion of social control out of.

Send a few more kids to college, instead. Build more affordable housing. Expand outreach to people who are homeless. Alleviate a little bit of suffering, instead of imposing more.

Not a word from the governor's office - except confidence in the director's fine work - about Marcia's final hours.

So, I know you're scattered out there, freewaybloggers; I don't get your list-serve anymore, but there's a few wars going on still, and this is one of them. I know you're still at work, and I need your help.  I know it'll take some time to build momentum, but someone has to start it. Just one extra sign every time you go out. Taggers, I want to see your art. Anarchists - well - you all know what to do already. Do your thing.

My international comrades - it would be awesome if you could locate Free Marcia Powell next to major tourist destinations and take pictures. Then we could make postcards and send them everywhere.

Just don't anyone break the law, now. I wouldn't advocate something like that. There are plenty of legal places to put signs and graffiti. And don't stop until we do.

Please photograph and post everywhere possible, as usual. Send me pictures as well and I'll put them on my blog. Hammer the national media with them. It'll get people asking who she is, then Googling, discovering, reading, weeping, wondering, and maybe even writing to their newspapers and legislators and prosecutors and judges. Thye need to be insisting on AZ Department of Corrections transparency and public involvement, more contact between prisoners and the community, smarter sentencing practices, and laws improving - not eroding - prisoner rights and prison standards.

Like Marcia's Law. It has yet to be written. I think a committee of parolees, prisoners and their family members should be the ones who write it; the administrators and legislators who should have been on top of this a long time ago should revisit their own ethical codes and stated missions.

It needs to be a law which protects and empowers prisoners - including giving them the right to organize - not one which just gives a handful of the well-behaved more privileges and the public a prettier view. It has to have real teeth, and real funding.

And it should be the toughest prisoner rights law in the country, one which every prison activist wants their state to emulate.

Maybe we can get it into the criminal justice reform bills Congress is working on. Senator Jim Webb is the man to talk to about that.

We still have to take this monster apart, of course. Until we can do the job, however, we need to make sure that prisoners can survive their sentences - and then do everything possible to keep them from going back inside.

But first things first.

Crank it up a notch.

If my blogs disappear or I tell you to stop before the campaign achieves it's objectives (more will be added), assume someone is just twisting my arm. You're all "autonomous units", and are able to follow the news. You'll know when it's time to come in.

It took almost an hour after life support was turned off for Marcia to die, as her organs slowly shut down. In America, we're even kinder to the people that we execute than that.

Please Free Marcia Powell.

Don't let them bury her in the desert again.

Middle Ground Prison Reform

I try to post a fresh link and reminder about Middle Ground every so often. It's good to consider other perspectives and strategies, and though we have some similar concerns about the prisons and jails, I'm an abolitionist, not a reformer. Anyone interested in what happened with Marcia Powell, some of the history of the ADC, and the position of other prison activists here should visit the website for Middle Ground Prison Reform. They've been around AZ a long time fielding complaints from prisoners and their loved ones, have some good resources on their site, and have been addressing the ADC, the Governor's office, legislators, and the media on the issue of the prisoner abuse in a thoughtful, articulate, professional manner. They're the folks who filed a formal complaint about the cages two years ago, and - as I've referenced elsewhere - Dora Schriro took no action. We agree that she bears a good deal of responsibility for what happened.


As does Janet.



I do hope New York is paying attention, since that's where Schriro's headed to next.

Here's the link to the letter Donna Hamm at Middle Ground wrote Governor Brewer after the abuse report came out last week. It's worth a read. She also gives a synopsis of issues with the prisons arising from Marcia's death that still need to be addressed - these might be helpful. She's more willing to give Director Ryan a chance than I am, but I suspect they know each other better. We don't all sit at the same table. All I want to do at this point is upend it.


That's why we need people like Donna. I count on people in the middle to be there when I push hard from the left, because the process can burn bridges. We do still need a few diplomats. Fortunately, I don't have to be one of them. I even try to keep my distance so as not to reflect badly on them. They are not my co-conspirators; I suspect that I'm seen as something of a loose cannon that blew into town.


Middle Ground has done a lot of important work, and can be a useful resource. If you want a more rounded picture of what's happening here or want to support prison reform in a less radical way, look at what other advocacy strategies are being employed. Not all prison activists are as far left as I am. Check out Middle Ground.

Crowd Control and Resistance

So the G-20 was really the chance for the weapons industry to show off some of their new tools of state repression, and draw attention to what they might be rolling out next. I embedded the links below so folks could find out a little more about these weapons. They may be "non-lethal", but that hardly substitutes for being non-violent. Not only do non-lethal weapons always eventually kill someone, but with some of these there can be permanent disability, and they all inflict severe pain or physical distress. Kind of like billy clubs and cops boots do, only it won't look quite so brutal to ordinary Americans. 

I hope someone gets the use of these weapons into court and outlawed. Otherwise, we'll adapt. We have engineers and scientists and Army Surplus Stores of our own.



You would think that all these police departments trying to equip themselves with this stuff would keep in mind that when democratic processes - like protests - break down and the Bill of Rights are trampled on, that's when you're most likely to radicalize the moderates and have radicals escalate their activities to change a corrupt government. 

The funny thing is that while they're all busy chasing down college kids and union workers in the streets with armored vehicles and LRADs, the rest of the revolutionaries will be quietly going around sabotaging and dismantling the fundamental structures of the state. Arundhati Roy expresses a vision for this revolution well. Some of it has to be direct action in the streets. But not all...


I may have posted this once, but here it is:
/link>
"Our strategy should be not only to confront empire,
but to lay siege to it.
To deprive it of oxygen.
To shame it.
To mock it.
With our art, our music, our literature,
our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance,
our sheer relentlessness,
and our ability to tell our own stories.
Stories that are different from the ones
we're being brainwashed to believe.
The corporate revolution will collapse
if we refuse to buy
what they are selling:
their ideas,
their version of history,
their wars,
their weapons,
their notion of inevitability…"



- Arundhati Roy (quote ripped off of Bill Ayers' blog, January 1, 2009)


Robocops Employ Scary Crowd-Stopping Technology at Pittsburgh Protests
By Mike Ferner, After Downing Street
Posted on September 28, 2009, Printed on September 29, 2009
Alternet.org


No longer the stuff of disturbing futuristic fantasies, an arsenal of "crowd control munitions," including one that reportedly made its debut in the U.S., was deployed with a massive, overpowering police presence in Pittsburgh during last week's G-20 protests.

Nearly 200 arrests were made and civil liberties groups charged the many thousands of police (most transported on Port Authority buses displaying "PITTSBURGH WELCOMES THE WORLD"), from as far away as Arizona and Florida with overreactingand they had plenty of weaponry with which to do it.

Bean bags fired from shotguns, CS (tear) gas, OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, flash-bang grenades, batons and, according to local news reports, for the first time on the streets of America, the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

Mounted in the turret of an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), I saw the LRAD in action twice in the area of 25th, Penn and Liberty Streets of Lawrenceville, an old Pittsburgh neighborhood. Blasting a shrill, piercing noise like a high-pitched police siren on steroids, it quickly swept streets and sidewalks of pedestrians, merchants and journalists and drove residents into their homes, but in neither case were any demonstrators present. The APC, oversized and sinister for a city street, together with lines of police in full riot gear looking like darkly threatening Michelin Men, made for a scene out of a movie you didn't want to be in.

As intimidating as this massive show of armed force and technology was, the good burghers of Pittsburgh and their fellow citizens in the Land of the Brave and Home of the Free ain't seen nothin' yet. Tear gas and pepper spray are nothing to sniff at and, indeed, have proven fatal a surprising number of times, but they have now become the old standbys compared to the list below that's already at or coming soon to a police station or National Guard headquarters near you. Proving that "what goes around, comes around," some of the new Property Protection Devices were developed by a network of federally-funded, university-based research institutes like one in Pittsburgh itself, Penn State's Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies.

Raytheon Corp.'s Active Denial System, designed for crowd control in combat zones, uses an energy beam to induce an intolerable heating sensation, like a hot iron placed on the skin. It is effective beyond the range of small arms, in excess of 400 meters. Company officials have been advised they could expand the market by selling a smaller, tripod-mounted version for police forces.


M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition, with a range of 30 meters "is similar in operation to a claymore mine, but it delivers…a strong, nonpenetrating blow to the body with multiple sub-munitions (600 rubber balls)."

Long Range Acoustic Device or "The Scream," is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can emit sound "50 times greater than the human threshold for pain" at close range, causing permanent hearing damage. The L.A. Times wrote U.S. Marines in Iraq used it in 2004. It can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone…"[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees." CBS News reported in 2005 that the Israeli Army first used the device in the field to break up a protest against Israel's separation wall. "Protesters covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds…A military official said the device emits a special frequency that targets the inner ear."

In "Non-lethal Technologies: An Overview," Lewer and Davison describe a lengthy catalog of new weaponry including the "Directed Stick Radiator," a hand-held system based on the same technology as The Scream. "It fires high intensity 'sonic bullets' or pulses of sound between 125-150db for a second or two. Such a weapon could, when fully developed, have the capacity to knock people off their feet."

The Penn State facility is testing a "Distributed Sound and Light Array Debilitator" a.k.a. the "puke ray." The colors and rhythm of light are absorbed by the retina and disorient the brain, blinding the victim for several seconds. In conjunction with disturbing sounds it can make the person stumble or feel nauseated. Foreign Policy in Focus reports that the Department of Homeland Security, with $1 million invested for testing the device, hopes to see it "in the hands of thousands of policemen, border agents and National Guardsmen" by 2010.

Spider silk is cited in the University of Bradford's Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project, Report #4 (pg. 20) as an up-and-comer. "A research collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center is looking into the use of spider silk as a non-lethal 'entanglement' material for disabling people. They have developed a method for producing recombinant spider silk protein using E. coli and are trying to develop methods to produce large quantities of these fibres."

New Scientist reports that the (I'm not making this up) Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator (ICI), developed by the Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, California, uses a thin-film storage device charged during manufacture that only discharges when it strikes the target. It can be incorporated into a ring-shaped aerofoil and fired from a standard grenade launcher at low velocity, while still maintaining a flat trajectory for maximum accuracy.

Aiming beyond Tasers, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, (FY 2009 budget: $1B) the domestic equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), plans to develop wireless weapons effective over greater distances, such as in an auditorium or sports stadium, or on a city street. One such device, the Piezer, uses piezoelectric crystals that produce voltage when they are compressed. A 12-gauge shotgun fires the crystals, stunning the target with an electric shock on impact. Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a projectile Taser that can be fired from a shotgun or 40-mm grenade launcher to increase greatly the weapon's current range of seven meters.

"Off the Rocker and On the Floor: Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating Weapons," a report by the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre revealed that in 1992, the National Institute of Justice contracted with Lawrence Livermore National Lab to review clinical anesthetics for use by special ops military forces and police. LLNL concluded the best option was an opioid, like fentanyl, effective at very low doses compared to morphine. Combined with a patch soaked in DMSO (dimethylsufoxide, a solvent) and fired from an air rifle, fentanyl could be delivered to the skin even through light clothing. Another recommended application for the drug was mixed with fine powder and dispersed as smoke.

After upgrades, the infamous "Puff the Magic Dragon" gunship from the Vietnam War is now the AC-130. "Non-Lethal Weaponry: Applications to AC-130 Gunships," observes that "With the increasing involvement of US military in operations other than war…" the AC-130 "would provide commanders a full range of non-lethal weaponry from an airborne platform which was not previously available to them." The paper concludes in part that "As the use of non-lethal weapons increases and it becomes valid and acceptable, more options will become available."

Prozac and Zoloft are two of over 100 pharmaceuticals identified by the Penn State College of Medicine and the university's Applied Research Lab for further study as "non-lethal calmatives." These Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), noted the Penn State study, "…are found to be highly effective for numerous behavioral disturbances encountered in situations where a deployment of a non-lethal technique must be considered. This class of pharmaceutical agents also continues to be under intense development by the pharmaceutical industry…New compounds under development (WO 09500194) are being designed with a faster onset of action. Drug development is continuing at a rapid rate in this area due to the large market for the treatment of depression (15 million individuals in North America)…It is likely that an SSRI agent can be identified in the near future that will feature a rapid rate of onset."

In Pittsburgh last week, an enormously expensive show of police and weaponry, intended for "security" of the G20 delegates, simultaneously shut workers out of downtown jobs for two days, forced gasping students and residents back into their dormitories and homes, and turned journalists' press passes into quaint, obsolete reminders of a bygone time.

Most significant of all, however, was what Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, told the Associated Press: "It's not just intimidation, it's disruption and in some cases outright prevention of peaceful protesters being able to get their message out."

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and president of Veterans For Peace
© 2009 After Downing Street All rights reserved.

Another excellent article on crowd control technologies is at Counterpunch, by Mike Ferner.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/142951/

AZ Poverty Growing

This is all the more reason why shifting the tax burden from the rich onto the working and middle classes through regressive tax schemes (like increasing sales tax while decreasing corporate, property and upper income taxes) is such a brilliant idea for Arizona. The more people we shove into poverty - after we've fired them, foreclosed on their home, and seized their assets to pay off high-interest credit card debt - the more people we'll have paying taxes. If they can't pay their bills, we'll send them to prion and charge them for their room and board. Since they really can't pay their room and board we'll be putting them up for $26,000/year, and therefore won't have enough money to send their child to college, unfortunately. We will happily send him to jail for stealing food instead.

Arizona poverty rate increased last year
September 28, 2009 By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

The percentage of Arizonans living in poverty increased twice as fast as the national average last year.
U.S. income gap widens as recession hits poor [http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/145082]
Scholars: Hidden pockets of seniors in poverty [http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/143951]

New figures Monday from the U.S. Census Bureau show an estimated 938,924 residents were in households below the poverty level. That computes to 14.7 percent of the state.

By comparison, the figure for Arizona in 2007 was 14.2 percent.

That half-point increase compares with a jump of two-tenths of a percent nationally, to 13.2 percent last year.
But the numbers — and the trends — are not uniform throughout the state.

Tucson and Yuma reported at least one out of five residents living in poverty last year, both after posting increases.

For example, the percentage of Chandler residents living in poverty went from 5.3 percent in 2007 to 8.6 percent last year.

But both nearby Gilbert and Tempe posted year-over-year decreases, as did Surprise.

There also was a big increase in the number of Arizonans who received food stamps during 2008 over the prior year. That figure went from 155,043 in 2007 to 187,331 last year.

Put another way, 6.9 percent of Arizonans were getting that kind of assistance in 2007. By 2008 that had jumped to 8.2 percent.

But that figure is still below the national average of 8.6 percent.

One potential reason for participation in this program being below the national average, as compared with the poverty rate, is that food stamps are restricted to those who are in this country legally. The poverty rate, however, measures everyone in Arizona regardless of legal status.

Here, too, there were major differences among various Arizona communities — and even changes in patterns from the poverty figures.

For example, while Gilbert had fewer people living in poverty between 2007 and 2008, the percentage of its residents receiving food stamps at some point during the year more than doubled.

Louisiana, Maine and Kentucky had the highest percentages of residents getting food stamps, all at more than 13.7 percent.

At the other extreme, just 4.2 percent of Wyoming residents were enrolled in the program.

Poverty figures also are a bit more complex, with standards that change every year.

The index originated in the early 1960s with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which looked at food budgets. In more recent years, the Census Bureau determines how much is needed by families of different sizes.

In 2007, for example, the cutoff for a family of three was $17,170. By last year it had risen to $17,600; it now stands at $18,310.

Mississippi tops the list with 21.2 percent of its population considered living in poverty.

Percent of individuals living below the poverty level in selected communities:
Community
2007
2008
Arizona
14.2%
14.7%
Chandler
5.2%
8.6%
Gilbert
5.4%
3.6%
Mesa
10.2%
11.7%
Surprise
10.0%
6.9%
Tempe
19.8%
17.8%
Tucson
18.4%
20.9%
Yuma
14.5%
21.2%
Cochise County
15.5%
14.9%
Coconino County
16.1%
16.4%
Percentage of families receiving food stamps in past 12 months:
Community
2007
2008
Arizona
6.9%
8.2%
Chandler
2.4%
4.6%
Gilbert
1.3%
3.4%
Mesa
4.3%
5.2%
Surprise
2.4%
5.2%
Tempe
6.4%
4.8%
Tucson
10.6%
12.2%
Yuma
9.7%
17.0%
Cochise County
9.3%
11.8%
Coconino County
5.7%
8.2%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Monday, September 28, 2009

Communiqué from an Absent Future: UCSC Occupation.

 Occupy California.

University of Santa Cruz California is worth watching tonight. Here's the link to their video coverage. Students there are demanding "the impossible": a more just, sustainable world than the toxic, bloody mess that my generation plans to hand off to them.

They want an end to capitalism.

They want everything.

They intend to hold out for months if necessary (though their site says the cops may hit them tonight) until they see their strategy of occupation and resistance catch fire at universities across the country, where students and employees alike are getting hit hard by this recession. They are an occupying force, and they are not there to negotiate. There will undoubtedly be arrests, and some will be further radicalized to help keep this thing moving forward.

In the meantime, they and their comrades will keep blasting the capitalist system with their brilliant and creative critiques of capitalism, visions for a new world, and statements of solidarity - which are directed most pointedly towards the center left, challenging progressives and social reformers to rethink the limits they set on what could be possible, and the grim consequences of settling for anything less.

Sometimes a little anarchy can be a good thing.

This kind of student movement makes visible the futures we've been so long told can never be, and expresses elements of the prison abolitionist struggle in a more accessible way than I could think of for college campuses, calling not for reforms but for a radical re-conceptualization and reordering of society. The literature from their website includes an interesting analysis of the interplay between the different social institutions which constitute the prison industrial system, particularly schools and prisons. It's embedded in a declaration or two, but once you come across it you'll recognize it for what it is. It begins to make the connections, at least.  The concepts aren't new; the generation shaping and employing them are, though, and I think they deserve the support of all good American radicals.

In Solidarity, from Phoenix, Arizona.

----

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ADC: Safety is Job One.


This is what I found so disturbing: it's all about paying the guards to protect the public - only passing reference to inmate safety, despite this 3000-page report detailing how systematically, carelessly prisoners get neglected and abused.And all Ryan and Brewer are talking about is how brave and hard-working they are, and how they're keeping us "safe". Yes, short-staffing is a problem. But the prisoners are dying at a much faster rate than the guards. Who protects the prisoners from the conditions of their confinement?


And does the governor herself have nothing to say about the horrendous details on the death of Marcia Powell? No reassurances to the families of 40,000 prisoners that their loved ones are safe tonight, and will survive their prison sentences? No word to the women in that pit themselves that none of them will be next, left dying in their own feces begging for help as guards just mock them, passing them by? No acknowledgment to the officers that their ability to do their jobs has long been compromised by over-crowding, short-staffing, excess overtime, and burn-out? Look at the employee suicides out there.

Finally, Ryan et al: you need to be more concerned with protecting your prisoners than the "public" right now; the police are heavily militarized out here and seem quite capable of arresting whomever they want; all you need to do to keep the public safe is to not leave the keys lying around. Your bigger duty - especially now - is to keep your prisoners safe from each other, despair, and their guards. 

 Here's the Governor's happy announcement that the ADC can keep on keeping us all safe (as long as we aren't in their care). Good idea to hold off on releasing that report, Ryan, until after this news cycle passed.

------------------

State of Arizona
Janice K. Brewer Office of the Governor

Main Phone: 602-542-4331
Governor 1700 West Washington Street

Phoenix, AZ 85007 Facsimile: 602-542-7601
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tasya Peterson

September 18, 2009
(602) 542-3464
tpeterson@az.gov


Governor Brewer Announces first distribution of Government Services Funds


$50 million awarded to Department of Corrections for salary expenses of 1,305 officers

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today announced the first distribution of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) Government Services Fund (GSF) monies to the Arizona Department of Corrections through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). A total of $50 million will be given to the Department to pay officer’s salary expenses incurred during the first five (5) pay periods of FY2010 in order to support officers needed to staff required security posts throughout the state’s prison system to ensure the safety of the public, staff and inmates.

“I have long emphasized that I will do everything in my power to see that public safety in the State of Arizona is not compromised,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “By choosing to award the Arizona Department of Corrections $50 million from the Government Services Fund, I have made good on my commitment to mitigate funding cuts to such vital services as public safety and support our dedicated correctional officers.”

The $50 million will go to ensure our Department operates with a full complement of officers to protect Arizonans," said ADC Director Charles L. Ryan. "The money released by Governor Brewer pays the salaries of our brave and hard-working correctional officers in this difficult economic time."

“I am extremely pleased, and so will my officers be, to know that Governor Brewer and the Arizona Office of Economic Recovery care enough about our safety and well being to fund such an important public safety agency,” said Michael Duran, State Executive President of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. “This stretches further than just safety for my officers - this helps us do our first and foremost job of protecting the public everyday.”

The Government Services Funds are one portion of the SFSF, aimed at helping states to provide maximum flexibility in addressing budget shortfalls. Funds are to be allocated at the Governor’s discretion as designed by federal law.

For more information, please visit the State of Arizona’s Recovery Act website at www.azrecovery.gov.
----------



David Rovics: Reflections on Pittsburgh

Just in tonight from David, one of the best narrators of the struggles of our times. You can find his protest music through the link at the bottom.
 

------------------------- 
 

The Police Are Rioting
Reflections on Pittsburgh
David Rovics


If any elements of the corporate media have been paying any attention to what's been happening on the streets of Pittsburgh over the past few days I haven't noticed, so I thought I'd write my own account.

There is a popular assumption asserted ad nauseum by our leaders in government, by our school text books and by our “mainstream” media that although many other countries don't have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – such as Iran or China – we do, and it's what makes us so great. Anybody who has spent much time trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in the US now or at any other time since 1776 knows first-hand that the First Amendment looks good on paper but has little to do with reality.

Dissent has never really been tolerated in the USA. As we've seen in recent election cycles even just voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and having your vote count can be quite a challenge – as anyone who has not had their head in sand knows, Bush lost both elections and yet kept his office fraudulently twice. But for those who want to exercise their rights beyond the government-approved methods – that is, their right to vote for one of two parties, their right to bribe politicians (“lobby”) if they have enough money, or their right to write a letter to the editor in the local Murdoch-owned rag, if it hasn't closed shop yet – the situation is far worse.

Let's go back in history for a minute. After the victory of the colonies over Britain in the Revolutionary War, the much-heralded US Constitution included no rights for citizens other than the rights of the landed gentry to run the show. This changed as a direct result of a years-long rebellion of the citizens of western Massachusetts that came to be known as Shays' Rebellion. Shays' Rebellion scared the pants off the powers-that-be and they did what the powers-that-be do and have always done all over the world – passed some reforms in order to avert a situation where the rich would lose more than just western Massachusetts. They passed the Bill of Rights.

Fast forward more than a century. Ostensibly this great democracy had had the Bill of Rights enshrined in law for quite a long time now. Yet in 1914 a supporter of labor unionism could not make a soapbox speech on a sidewalk in this country without being beaten and arrested by police for the crime of disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk or whatever other nonsense the cops made up at the time.

If you read the mainstream media of the day you would be likely to imagine that these labor agitators trying to give speeches on the sidewalks of Seattle or Los Angeles were madmen bent on the destruction of civilization. Yet it is as a direct result of these brave fighters that we have things like Social Security, a minimum wage, workplace safety laws, and other reforms that led, at least until the “Reagan Revolution,” to this country having a thriving middle class (the lofty term we use when we're referring to working class people who can afford to go to college and buy a house).

Reforms are won due to these struggles – proof over and over that democracy is, more than anything, in the streets. Yet the fundamental aspect of these social movements that have shaped our society – these social movements that have at least sometimes and to some degree ultimately been praised by the ruling clique and their institutions, such as the Civil Rights movement – freedom of speech and assembly, remain a criminal offense.

Fast forward another century to Pittsburgh, 2009. For those who may have thought that the criminalization of dissent was to be a hallmark of the Bush years, think again. Dissent was a criminal offense before Bush, and it quite evidently still is today.

I was born in 1967, so I can't comment first-hand on things that happened far from the suburbs where I grew up as a kid, but I can tell you unequivocally from direct experience that I have witnessed police riots before, during, and since the Bush years. Most recently, last Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (If you want to read about previous police riots I have witnessed go to http://www.songwritersnotebook.blogspot.com.)

In a nutshell, here's how it went down. I drove to Pittsburgh from a gig in Allentown the night before, all the while listening to BBC, NPR, CNN, etc. on my satellite radio. Naturally, the coming G20 talks in Pittsburgh were in the news. The most powerful people in the world, the leaders of the world's richest nations, were meeting in Pittsburgh to decide the fate of the planet, to decide how to deal with the economic crisis, the climate crisis, and other crises caused by industrial capitalism gone mad, crises which affect each and every one of us intimately, crises about which many of us naturally want to do something – crises about which we would at least like to voice our concerns.

Notably absent from the news coverage is anything about the lawsuits that the ACLU had to file in order to force the local authorities to allow any demonstrations or marches to happen at all. Permits applied for months ago by state senators, peace groups, women's groups and others were only granted in the past couple weeks. Many other permits were never granted.

It doesn't say anything about applying for a permit in the First Amendment, and in many other more democratic countries than ours no permit is required for citizens to assemble. In many European countries where I have spent a lot of time, if citizens choose to have an assembly in the streets the role of the police is to escort the march in order to divert traffic and keep things safe, and no permit is required. But not in the US – not in Philadelphia or Los Angeles in 2000, not in Miami in 2003, not in Denver or St. Paul in 2008 and not in Pittsburgh last week.

While various progressive organizations were trying hard to work with the intransigent authorities, other groups took the sensible (but – in the US – dangerous) position that this is supposed to be a democracy and we should not need to apply for a permit so that the authorities could tell us where and when we could and could not protest.

The first non-permitted march that I heard about was Thursday afternoon. I should mention that I heard about it, but only with a certain amount of difficulty, because I and many other people I talked to in Pittsburgh were having strange problems with our cell phones, problems which started in whatever states we came from and continued in Pittsburgh right up until yesterday.

People I talked to – friends and fellow engaged members of society such as Cindy Sheehan, Joshua White, Sarah Wellington and others – reported the same phenomenae. Every time one of us would receive a call we couldn't hear the callers, though we could hear our own voices echoing back to us. When we'd call back it usually would work then. Coincidence? Sure, maybe.

Reports I heard over the phone on Thursday from people I talked to were in between bouts of catching breath and running from the police. Reports on the local media (the only “mainstream” media doing any serious coverage of the protests, as usual, mainly because they were intimately connected to the traffic reports) said the police were “restrained” (what else are they supposed to be?) until the march reached a certain point, at which time it was declared to be an unlawful assembly and the crowd was “dispersed.” How? There was no mention.

Usually – and outrageously enough – whether in North America, Europe or other places I've been, if there's a meeting of the global elite happening you are not allowed in unless you're part of the gang or you're a lobbyist or a (officially-sanctioned) journalist. Usually a perimeter is formed by the police, Secret Service, FBI, and whichever other “intelligence” agencies are there, that you can't cross. This was also the case in Pittsburgh, but like Miami in 2003, St. Paul in 2008, and other occasions in recent years, the authorities were not just being “on the defensive” and maintaining a perimeter around the meetings. They were on the offensive.

If this happened in Iran or China it would be called martial law – but here in America we never have martial law, apparently, even when the military and the police are jointly patrolling the streets with armored vehicles and weapons of all descriptions and attacking people for the crime of being on the streets. Any gathering other than the permitted march (which was a great, festive march involving many thousands of participants from all walks of life, albeit with a ridiculously large, armored and menacing police “escort”) was declared an unlawful assembly and then attacked. I saw it myself on Thursday night and then again, much worse, on Friday night.

And what kind of unlawful assembly are we talking about? Hundreds of students and other folks, a few of whom may have broken a window or two at some point during the evening in the course of being pursued by violence-prone riot police, who were ultimately gathering on the grass on the campus of the university in the Oakland district of Pittsburgh. They had no weapons, they were unarmed, mostly youth, mostly college students from various parts of the country, along with perhaps an equal group of local college students, most of whom were just curious and didn't even have anything to do with the protests – many of whom in fact were just wondering what there is to protest about! They soon found out one thing to protest about – police brutality and active suppression of our Constitutional rights.

I have no doubt that the Pittsburgh police (and cops present from, of all places, Miami as well as other cities) will in the end have radicalized many local students who had previously been apolitical, and for this I applaud them.

On Friday night I went to a free concert a local community radio station was hosting on the campus. It ended around 8 pm. Over the course of the next two hours there were more and more riot cops arriving. Why? Because they knew what I knew – that a few hundred young folks were planning on gathering on the green at 10 pm, many of whom came by bicycle, after having engaged in a criminal, nonpermitted mass bike ride around the city. Around 9:30 I had to leave to go to a different neighborhood, and I returned in my rental car around 11 pm along with Cindy, Joshua and Sarah.

If the police had made announcements for everyone to disperse (as I'm sure they had at some point) we were too late for that. What we arrived in the midst of was a police riot. We parked on the street in front of the campus and walked on the sidewalk on the campus. Within seconds we saw a young man on a bicycle, a student at that very university, being violently tackled by two riot cops, thrown down to the ground with the police on top of him. All of the police all of the time were dressed in black armor head to toe, many of them driving armored vehicles. Earlier in the evening Cindy and Joshua and I were hanging around one of the armored vehicles while Cindy harassed the cops and soldiers strutting around there, telling them her son died in Iraq because he didn't have an armored vehicle like this one. (They studiously ignored her, of course.)

The young man with the two cops on top of him and his bicycle cried for help, perhaps not realizing that there wasn't much anyone could do other than take his name, which he was too freaked out to pronounce in a way that anybody could understand. Within seconds we found ourselves running from a group of cops, along with a bunch of young folks who had their hands in the air, hoping vainly that this might deter the police from attacking them. It didn't. Off the campus, a block away, police were running in groups in different directions, penning people in, throwing them to the ground, hitting them with clubs, handcuffing them and arresting them.

The four of us (an affinity group I suppose) got separated. Sarah and I were running and were about to be boxed in by police coming in different directions. After I was myself clubbed in the back by a cop with his truncheon, we ducked into the front of the lobby of the Holiday Inn and started talking with guests, other protesters, and various students who had also gone there because they were quite naturally afraid to be on the streets. Fifty feet away in either direction the police were assaulting and arresting people, individually and in small groups, picking them off the sidewalks.

Cindy and Joshua had ended up running in a different direction, through clouds of tear gas. They ducked around a corner just in time to watch dozens of young people, running away, being shot methodically with rubber-coated steel bullets in the back. One friend of mine there from Minneapolis said he saw someone who had ten welts on his back from being shot ten times. On both Thursday and Friday nights the authorities used their fancy new LRAD weapons, a sound-based weapon that causes people to flee because it hurts their eardrums so badly. (At future demos, look out for the noise-canceling headphones accompanying the goggles...)

At every turn you could hear the sound of shocked students who had never seen or heard about this sort of thing happening, who were struggling to come to terms with what they were experiencing. They're just attacking anybody on or near the campus, they're not differentiating between us and the protesters! Some of them seemed to think that it might be OK to club protesters as long as you don't club the students, others had concluded that attacking people for hanging out on the grass was over the top regardless. (This is not an easy thing for a sorority girl from a wealthy suburb to come to terms with, so I was duly impressed at hearing these heretofore clueless youth having such epiphanies.) What was particularly entertaining was the first-hand realization that the local students could not themselves differentiate between “their” fellow students and the other ones who had come from out of town. How could they? It is, in fact, completely impossible to tell the difference between a college student from Pittsburgh and one from Toledo, even if they do have very different politics...

Eventually, by 1 am or so, Cindy and Joshua were able to move without being fired on, and they joined Sarah and I in the comfort of the patio at the Holiday Inn. The people who worked at the Inn, at least some of them, were trying to keep protesters out. The thing was, though, that if you could afford to buy a drink you were no longer a protester, but a guest of the bar, which is what we were. A little while before Cindy and Joshua arrived a convoy of limousines and other fancy cars pulled up in front of the hotel, and then security locked the doors. You could still go in or out, though, just not without security opening the doors for you.

We continued going in and out of the bar, passing by none other than Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, and his entourage, who were all staying that night in the Holiday Inn (of all relatively downscale places to stay!) and watching some big Australian rugby match on TV. In our confusion at having just escaped the riot police only to find ourselves ten feet away from the Australian Prime Minister, Cindy, Joshua, Sarah and I were all at a complete loss as far as what we should say to the guy. We all talked a lot about what we could say, but by the time we were getting close to coming up with a plan he had gone to bed.

The next day, Saturday, I joined a couple dozen friends and acquaintances outside the county jail where people had spent the night, waiting to get out on bond. Most folks got out on bond, others were (and perhaps still are) being held on a higher bond, waiting for friends and relatives and comrades to come up with the money. Talking to people just out of jail I heard more horror stories. One man, Gabriel, told of being kept outside between 2 and 6 am in the rain, and then being held in a cell where he was handcuffed to a chair along with another man, not able to stand or lay down, for 13 hours.

I left Pittsburgh in the late afternoon from the jail, heading towards New England to continue this northeastern concert tour. In Connecticut this morning I got a call from Cindy Sheehan, who had just gone to the Emergency Room because she was having trouble breathing. People around her the night before had been vomiting profusely as a result of the tear gas. Having suffered injury in the past from getting gassed in Quebec City, I knew exactly why she was in the ER.

There will be lawsuits, and the lawsuits will be won. People like Cindy and Gabriel might make a bit of money from their suffering at the hands of the authorities. Not to worry, though – the authorities have a multi-million dollar slush fund to deal with these lawsuits. They expect them, and they don't care. This is democracy in the USA. It's always been like this, under Democrats or Republicans. If you doubt me, it's quite simply because you don't know your history.

Protest, however, matters. The end of slavery, the banning of child labor, the fact that most working class people live to be past 30 these days, is all a direct result of protest – of democracy happening in the streets. Marches, strikes, rebellions, and all manner of other extra-parliamentary activities. The authorities are well aware that democracy is in the streets, no matter what they say – that's why dissent is criminalized. Because as soon as we are allowed to have a taste of our own power, everything can change. It has, and it will again, but the powers-that-be will continue to do what they do best – try hard to make sure we don't know how powerful we are. They require the consent of the governed, the consent of those students in Pittsburgh, and they have now lost it, at least for many of those who were in Oakland last Friday night. They would have lost it a lot more if they had done mass arrests or used live ammunition, which is why they didn't do that.

We don't have freedom of speech or assembly and we never have, but it is through all kinds of “unlawful assemblies,” from Shays' Rebellion to the Civil Rights movement, that change happens. So here's to the next Pittsburgh, wherever it may be. I hope to see you there, on the streets, where our fate truly lies.

http://www.davidrovics.com

The Racist Agenda of Russ Pearce

Got tipped off by Matt that this was out (I've been dropped from Russ' email list, apparently. Rats.). The font in the email was a little freaky so I hit the internet and found the exact same email posted at the Minutemen's website (unlike me, they really do support Russ Pearce). Here's the unabridged agenda Pearce hopes to push through, with the help of his enthusiastic, armed supporters. They're all very disturbing. We need to mobilize across movements to stop this guy.

Please make sure to call the legislature this week and tell them the opposite of what Pearce is dishing out; this is dangerous legislation, and it would be in the hands of rogue law enforcement officers. In the meantime, I'll try and work up a point-by-point counter-fact sheet to post this week.

 -------------------


From: russellpearce

Date: Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 8:43 PM

Subject: Enough is enough from the Amnesty crowd at any cost: lies and more lies. Call your legislators and make sure they support: Support Arizona's Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act. Go to www.azleg.gov


"SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD ACT"

www.russellpearce.com and to go to the legislative member list go to www.azleg.gov

KFYI news was using a new report from Arizona Advocacy Network an open border, pro Amnesty group. The Arizona Advocacy Network report is the same old Amnesty at any cost crowd:

The same old lies and mis-information from the Amnesty at any cost crowd. We know the left, open border/anarchist and the cheap labor, profits over patriotism crowd, will sue us. However I have been to court 7 times to defend Proposition 200 and won 7 times (that one was simply to stop voting fraud and welfare fraud and they still sued to stop it from being enforced), I have been to court 5 times with worksite enforcement/employers sanctions (Arizona's Fair and Legal Employment Act) and have won all 5 times including the 9th Circuit (the most liberal court in the nation).

We are currently in court on Prop. 100 a Constitutional Amendment that denies bail to illegal aliens that commit serious and violent felonies in our state. (The deep pocket left never give up on protecting those who break the law over those who are law abiding legal citizens).

According to the Heritage Foundation illegal aliens cost taxpayers 3 to 4 times that of native born Americans. According to Maricopa County Criminal Justice info, they commit violent crimes almost 3 times that of native born Americans. They take jobs from Americans. According to Harvard University Professor George Borjas the cost to Arizona workers are over $1.4 billion a year in lower wages. The spin must stop.

There are those who continue to report false and inaccurate information to benefit their arguments in order to gain political power or profits while Americans pay the price. They include legal immigrants with illegal aliens and call them all immigrants. There is a big difference. I respect and support legal immigrants. I do not support law breakers. I support the rule of law and the Constitutional rights of our citizens to have our laws enforce without apology and I recognize the damage in billions of dollars in cost to incarcerate, medicate and educate illegal aliens. I recognize the cost in maimings and killing of Americans by illegal aliens. A Congressional report indicates that 9,000 Americans are killed every year by illegal aliens. 25 per day, 12 by stabbings and shootings and 13 by DUI and related crimes. That is just collateral damage to the deceptive, treasonous, open border crowd. Enough is enough.

Today the only reason our immigration laws are not enforced are Political, not a lack of Authority.

This Citizens Initiative will pass by 70% to 80% by the voters. The last four (4) Propositions I placed on the ballot in '06 passed by an average of 75%.

In accordance with the Unanimous endorsement of a Resolution by the State Republican Party and the Maricopa County Republican Party at their annual organizational meetings with over 800 PC's present at each meeting and in order to support our citizens Constitutional right to have our laws enforced and recognizing the damage in cost in crime and dollars to Arizona citizens and taxpayers; I will be filing a Citizens Initiative to remove/end all sanctuary policies in the state of Arizona. No more Catch & Release. We the legal and lawful citizens demand the enforcement of our laws.

I will run legislation again also. I hope the Speaker will agree as has President Burns to help me get this out of the Senate the very first week of Session (if we cannot get it in a Special Session Call). I need the same commitment from Speaker Kirk Adams. The Governor's staff has indicated the Governor is in support and will sign the legislation. I just need to get it to her. The Citizens Initiative is good backup, to make sure the people have the last say if for some reason we do not get the legislation passed in the legislature and signed by the Governor. It will cost us thousands and thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours getting signatures to get the Citizens Initiative qualified and on the ballot, a challenge I and others are willing to take on. So let us put most of our energy in this effort in getting the bill passed out of the legislature and signed by the Governor. This is critical legislation for Arizona and the nation as we lead the nation in our efforts and over 30 states are modeling legislation after us. Let's Take Back America One State at a Time!!!!! Phoenix Law Enforcement Association has agreed to be the Treasure of the Citizens Initiative Effort.

"SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD ACT"

1. Illegal Sanctuary Policies: Eliminates ALL sanctuary cities in this state and allows legal citizens the right to sue their government for violating this law.

2. Trespass: Makes entering or remaining in Arizona in violation of federal law a state crime and "allows" law enforcement to arrest them on trespass violation or just call ICE to take them and deport them. (law enforcement's choice). This allows them to hold those that are being investigated for serious crimes and not have deported before the investigation is completed.

3. Employers Sanctions: Tightens up our Fair and Legal Employment Act and gives an additional ability to enforce the Nations Toughest Employers Sanctions Law, with a civil subpoena power for County Attorney and AG with the courts for the proper checks and balances.

4. Day Laborer Enforcement: Makes it illegal for an illegal alien to solicit work (day laborers) and makes a misdemeanor for anyone with a license to do business in Arizona to pick up any day laborer without filling out a employment application. Makes it a state crime to aid, harbor, conceal transport or attempt to aid, harbor, conceal or transport an illegal alien for work with a mandatory impoundment of their vehicle under 28-3511 for 30 days. Also with mandatory $1000 fine per illegal alien being transported.


Closing our borders is a must, however it must be coupled with interior enforcement. Attrition by enforcement. Strict enforcement. It is time to renew our efforts to end ALL sanctuary policies in our states and our nation: Require officials to fully enforce federal immigration laws of the United States. NO MORE TAXPAYER BENEFITS OF ANY KIND, No Amnesty, No retreat, No surrender. We will take back America one state at a time. It starts here!!!!!

My personal background in law enforcement has given me a unique and in-touch perspective with the needs and hazards experienced by rank-and-file police officers and the threats to our citizens. www.russellpearce.com

In this effort I am proud and delighted to have the support of:

(9 of Arizona Sheriffs out of the 15 have endorsed this and two others may soon)

ENDORSED BY: Polls show 75/80% of Arizonans, Arizona State Republican Party (by Resolution), Maricopa County Republican Party (by Resolution), Maricopa County Sheriff Joe, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Pinal Co. Sheriff Babeu, Mohave Sheriff Sheahan, Yavapai Sheriff Waugh, Cochise Sheriff Dever, Gila Sheriff Armer, Navajo Sheriff Clark, Graham Sheriff Allred, Greenlee Sheriff Tucker, Az FOP, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, Maricopa Deputy's Law Enforcement Association, Border Patrol Officers Association, Arizona Highway Patrol Association, Col. Albert Rodriguez - You Don't Speak for Me, Arizona African American Republican Club, Arizona Republican Assembly, The Pachyderms, Anna Gaines - American Citizens United, Arizona's Liberty Caucus, NAILEM, American Citizens United, Anne Malone - RequireThePrior, NumbersUSA, F.A.I.R., Team America, 9-11 Families, ALIPAC and many more.

The burden of blind-eye police department policies and open-border philosophies were paid for with the lives of not only our police officers throughout our state. The danger clearly spread beyond law enforcement into our communities with more lives being lost. The quality of life in our state is being sacrificed for political correctness.

WE stand together in support of safer neighborhoods and the rule of law.

I cannot stand by and be a spectator to the death, maiming or damage to another police officer, citizen or taxpayer by an illegal alien because we refuse to enforce our laws and fail to put America and Americans First.

Simply enforce our laws and you will see less crime, lower taxes, smaller class sizes, shorter lines in our emergency rooms and reduce deaths, murders, maimings, drugs, home invasions, car jackings, kidnappings, jobs taken from Americans, reduced wages, an ultimately save the taxpayer billions of dollars. We cannot afford to "NOT" enforce our laws. Attrition by Enforcement.

This is the “only” law we allow our elected officials to put conditions on before our police officers can do their job. The only criminals that get conditional protection from our elected and appointed officials that dictate under what circumstances an officer may ask. In many cities it requires another crime and another victim before action can be taken.

Citizens have a constitutional right to expect the protection of federal laws which prohibit unauthorized activities by non-citizens and are denied equal protection by law enforcement, police departments or magistrates when they fail to enforce those laws.

I PLEDGE TO CONTINUE TO WORK TO ELIMINATE ALL SANCTUARY POLICIES IN THIS STATE, SECURE OUR BORDER, STOP ALL PUBLIC BENEFITS TO THOSE HERE ILLEGALLY, PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS THE BOTTOM LINE IS: THE RESULT WILL BE LESS CRIME, LOWER TAXES, SMALLER CLASSROOMS, SHORTER EMERGENCYROOM LINES, SAFER NEIGHBORHOODS, JOBS FOR AMERICANS AND A RESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW.

Many of our Politicians and Police Chiefs are in complete violation of their Oaths of Office while citizens and taxpayers pay the price.

As former Chief Deputy of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office under Sheriff Joe, former Judge and now a lawmaker, I witnessed a day that I couldn’t imagine: Police chiefs throughout the Valley stood together and proclaimed their opposition to enforcing the law in complete Violation of their Oath of Office.

I sat ashen as I watched the news reports.

The chiefs of police, including Phoenix’s Harris, former Mesa’s Gascon, stood at a Press Conference and publicly refused to enforce the law. Less than a month after the brutal murder of a police officer at the hands of an illegal alien, they snub the opportunity to make necessary changes, all for the sake of political correctness.

Death and maimings of police officers & citizens by illegal aliens:

Officer’s Figueroa, Erfle, Atkinson, Sitek, Eggle, Collins, Epling, Deputy’s Pearce & Argetsinger, Sgt. Tapia, Martin, Fass, Kirpnick, Schechterle, Gilbert mother killed, Jason Iraq veteran, Mother a "legal immigrant" killed, triple homicide, 3 illegals beat pregnant woman, 5 illegals kill principal, Feds arrest 2,100 violent criminal aliens, deputy in hit and run, Trooper Shot to Death, Day laborer killed girlfriend's baby, Muslim from Bosnia - Killed 5 in crowded shopping mall, Sniper, John Lee Malvo, required by law to be immediately deported. Instead, released Malvo and his cohort killed 10 people, two disabled teenage daughters raped Salvadoran street gang, Dep. March killed, Tricia Taylor lost both her legs, 10 year old Walter Valenzuela murdered, Kimberley Hope murdered, 5 year old Ana Cerna murdered, Joseph Crummy murdered, Amber Merkle only 8, killed, Vinessa, 23, brutally raped & murdered, and the list goes on.

9,000 Americans killed each year, 25 each day, 12 by stabbings and shootings, 13 by DUI and related crimes (Congressional Report; Drawing a Line in the Sand).

Study: 1 million sex crimes by illegals; More than 100 sex offenders crossing border daily Deborah Schurman-Kauflin: Based on a one-year in-depth study, a researcher estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each.

Police officers have the inherent authority to uphold city, state and federal law (the law is clear and the courts have codified that authority and the Constitutional authority is clear). These officers witness the harm done to innocent Arizonans on a daily basis while their superiors instruct them to ignore their oath of office. Officers on the street have the legal authority, will and desire to enforce the law but the hierarchy stands against them, more interested in PC and harboring illegal aliens, rather than doing their job of protecting lawful citizens and that of “Public Safety”.

The more than 800,000 state and local law enforcement officers in the United States constitute a vital force multiplier. Most importantly, state and local police officers represent a critical line of defense in the war against terrorism. In the six months before 9/11, there were four tragic missed opportunities to arrest the leaders and pilots of the 9/11 terrorists. Had the federal government acquired & disseminated information about basic civil immigration violations to local law enforcement through the NCIC system, several terrorists might have been arrested, and the 9/11 plot might have unraveled. The 4 ring leaders all had been stopped by law enforcement just prior to 9/11 and all in violation of immigration law. As George Santayana reminded us: “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. . . . Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

While “We the People” debate the action or lack thereof from the federal government, our cities, neighborhoods, our streets have turned into war zones. Legions of illegal alien gangs fight for the right to smuggle drugs and people. An illegal alien pulled over by police for a traffic offense has no worries about facing anything more than a small fine, many of our Chiefs prefer to wait until they kill someone of commit a serious felony. A congressional Homeland Security Committee report estimates that illegals kill over 9,000 Americans a year; annually they kill twice the number of Americans than the brave soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq to date.

Many of these have prior contacts or arrests and still remain in the U.S. Enough is enough. Had our laws been enforced 9-11 probably would have been averted. 4 of the 5 pilots and main conspirators in the 9-11 terrorist attack had contact with law enforcement and were released, all in violation of our immigration laws.

After years of witnessing the increase in crime, it is inexcusable for our Valley’s police chiefs to maintain their sanctuary policies. We can not stand by and tolerate them putting the rights of non-citizens above citizens.

Every day the cost of ignoring the border increases tax fraud, identity theft, and property crimes, a burden on Arizona residents; billions to educate, medicate and incarcerate; but the irreversible cost of violent crimes can not be endured any more.

Police chiefs in this state are more interested in putting handcuffs on their officers than illegal aliens.

Arizonans have spoken loudly and yet they refuse to listen:

In '04 I put a Citizens Initiative on the ballot, requiring proof of citizenship & ID at the polls to vote (a terrible blow to ACORN in their registration drives), and denying public benefits to illegal aliens; in '06 I put 4 Referendums on the ballot, and in Nov. '06 by a 75% average citizens passed Propositions 100, denying bail to illegals who commit serious felonies; 102, denying punitive damages to illegals; 103, making English Arizona's Official Language; and 300, denying public benefits to those in our country illegally.

We also passed at the legislature the toughest Worksite Enforcement bill in the nation, "The Fair and Legal Employment Act".

I am not sure what part of "illegal" they don't understand, but finally the citizens are standing up and demanding we tackle the problem of illegal immigration. Let's take the handcuffs off from our police officers, Arizona will finally be able to give away its title as a crime capital of the United States.

By allowing our cops on the beat to do their jobs, they could be responsible for the one of the largest crime reduction programs in state history.

Those that refuse to follow their constitutional duty or live up to their oath of office should be forced to step aside and make way for honest, hard-working law enforcement officers that know their job and cost of not doing it. Your Mayor and City Council would have to do their job first.

If we must, lets take it to the voters by initiative in states that have an citizens initiative process. I hope the voters have the final say.





Resolution to Enforce Our Immigration laws and Secure Our Border:

Whereas, The Arizona Republican Party recognizes, “If it be asked, what is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be an inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws” — Alexander Hamilton.

Therefore, be it resolved by the Arizona Republican Party of the State of Arizona:

1. Establishes that there is a significant public interest in the effective enforcement of immigration law & the states are bound by the Supremacy Clause of the United ‘States Constitution to enforce violations of the federal immigration laws:

2. The illegal alien invasion has a corresponding increase in violent crimes, gangs, threat to public health, billions in cost to the taxpayer, jobs taken from Americans; and

3. Demands the elimination of all sanctuary policies in the state of Arizona and require the enforcement of our immigration laws & require law enforcement to turn over to federal authorities for removal from the United States all illegal aliens & where necessary tried and punished for criminal activity before removal.

4. Require state officials to take action that would secure the ArizonaMexico border including putting the National Guard in a primary role on the border.

5. That all agencies and employers ensure compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations related to the immigration status of all employees.


Opposed to these rationalizations are the facts: (Gilbert Office after arresting an illegal alien on a traffic stop found him to be wanted on a homicide warrant, yet he had his Matricular card)

* According to the Maricopa County Criminal Justice records, illegal aliens commit violent crimes at almost 3 times that of native born Americans

* We spend about $1 billion annually in K-12 on illegal aliens

* Arizona #2 in the World in kidnappings

· Illegal alien abuse of our medical facilities has forced many to close

· Illegal aliens use our deserts to dump their non-degradable garbage

· Through increases in taxation, our representatives are stealing our property in order to redistribute our wealth to illegal aliens.

· In the U.S., 26 citizens a day are killed by the actions of illegal aliens (12 by stabbings and shootings and 13 by DUI and related crimes)

· Services we are required to provide to illegals are bankrupting our states and lowering our quality of life and quality of education

· Tucson public schools use race based ethnic study courses to denigrate the U.S., inculcating loyalty to Mexico

· Abetting illegals enables the culture of corruption they bring to grow: Kidnapping, ID theft, drug wars, murder, vehicular manslaughter, gangs, graffiti, drop houses, hostage taking, blackmail, rape and death during transport of illegals, home invasions

· voting for sanctuary cities allows potential terrorists, who are illegals, to walk our streets with impunity (4 of the 5 leaders and pilots of the 9-11 terrorist were stopped by law enforcement and released and were in violation of our immigration laws. Had they been arrested 9-11 would have been averted.

Don't forget Arizonans, if you haven't signed up yet, do so now and use the services @ Life, Liberty & Freedom, to contact all elected officials: http://lifelibertyfreedom.com/component/contactgov/