Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time is short. We need to become active in the next election or the malaise perpetuated on the residents of Maricopa County will be spread statewide.
Read my newsletter. Arizona is the tip of the arrow, a poison arrow, and this is where we start talking more, reading more, and voting better to protect ourselves from predatory politicians.
I support Tom Horne for GOP nominee for Attorney General. Democrat or Republican, you know that the GOP primary is the best chance we have of stopping the loss of honor and integrity in Maricopa County government from attacking the rest of the state's residents. Register Republican for this election. Vote for Tom Horne in the GOP primary!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Arizona could tolerate one rotten apple and Sheriff Arpaio was it. But with the one-two punch of adding a political predatory like Andrew Thomas to an elected "county" position, the entire state now suffers the consequences. Here is what one reader in the UK says:
"Between the criminal record barring things like jobs, education, et al...and the memories...it'd be a simpler proposition to go prey on the society that treated me like an animal for nothing.So - good. Keep writing about it, all of you. I have ex-cons in my family, and they are screwed. They get out and still have no choice in the matter. You did time, you're a throwaway to society. Least we can do is make their death sentence vaguely comfortable." --Anon
Friday, October 2, 2009
Stop Andrew Thomas before you too find yourself on a bus as fuel for the machinery of for-profit prison operations. Stop Andrew Thomas before you become a means to create rising stock prices. Stop Andrew Thomas before he targets your family.
Republicans, you can rally to save your party by voting in the election primary.
Andrew Thomas wants to remove all opposition to the for-profit prison takeover of the state now that he has forced state legislators to betray the people. Andrew Thomas wants to stop any intervention of Justice into the for-profit prison industry's plan to dominate Arizona's economy.
You see what they did in Montana! Arizona is their largest catch ever--an entire state penal system! Profit, profits, profits, and Andrew Thomas is their man on the inside, their mole, the champion of incarcerating middle-class Americans for upper-class profit.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Unfaithful woman seeks 2nd chance by wearing sign
An Ohio woman who said she was unfaithful has chosen a very public way of asking her boyfriend not to break up their engagement. Jess Duttry, 19, stood outside a supermarket parking lot in northern Ohio this week with a handwritten sign that said "I cheated" and "Honk if I deserve a second chance." On the back, Duttry had scrawled, "I honestly love him."
She said she choose to stage her vigil Wednesday evening after her fiance took back his ring earlier that day when she confessed she'd cheated on him this summer.
It's not clear if he saw the message, but Duttry said dozens of people honked, and some got out of their cars to hug her and wish her well.
The last sentence says it all. Remember this America? The one with compassion. The one where the local sheriff did not say that belonging to the KKK is a badge of honor. The one where the local county attorney was not hell-bent on breaking the state budget* so the state would sell it's population to the for-profit prison industry that controls him.
The one where media reports were accurate and laws with the harsh words buried in the back like "...the department of administration may transfer some or all of this state's interest in any state department of corrections prison facility..." (Section 34, page 27 of 28) were not reported in the middle of a news article tamely as "...the state will attempt to sell the rights to operate some of its prisons..." (para 8 of 14) when the lease term is 20 years!
The one where government provides more "real" services for the money and less fear mongering to strip our wallets for "protection" money.
The good news is that many people in America are just like these good people in Ohio.
Now, if we could just get them to read more and watch less television.
To avoid the discomfort and look at the shadowy side of life where predatory elected officials prey on citizens to advance their careers.
And to vote.
Then we could get the America I learned about in school back. That will be a happy day!
*Sources for Ranking
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Preface of Accidental Felons opens with: “This book contains many themes. It contains the joy of a newborn child, the heartbreak of a lost career, medical mysteries, death, and stories of survival. But, the overriding theme throughout this book is the abuse of political power by elected officials. “
Now, after 4 years of silence, the woman in the accident, Marion Phelan, has come forward to protest my portrayal of her in Accidental Felons and my portrayal of County Attorney Andrew Thomas throughout the book to the Phoenix New Times. Ray Stern supports County Attorney Thomas as being a benevolent prosecutor to the residents of Maricopa County.
An article like this (with photos) is difficult to address with sensitivity. It is indeed the Horns of a Dilemma that so much about this accident has been. Rather than being “tried by a tabloid” newspaper, I’ve uploaded Chapter 4 from the book that describes facts that Mr. Stern is apparently unaware of. I do find it curious that Ms. Phelan (now living in California) comes forward at a time when County Attorney Andrew Thomas is beginning his bid to become Attorney General of Arizona.
My description of Ms. Phelan’s condition the night of the accident, See Chapter 4, comes from the emergency room medical reports the prosecutor was using to prosecute the case. In that medical record, the following facts exist:
- Ms. Phelan tested positive for opiates.
- Ms. Phelan tested positive for the anti-psychotic schizophrenia drug Seroquel.
- She told both the paramedics and the doctor that she was a recovering heroin addict.
- She said that she was not in a great deal of pain.
- The doctor said he gave Ms. Phelan a shot of morphine, the strongest narcotic in the hospital. He gave this as the reason she failed the drug test.
- There is no record of a shot of morphine administered to Ms. Phelan in the medical record turned over by the prosecutor.
(Note: If a doctor administers a potent narcotic to someone who they know is an addict who denies being in a great deal of pain, it is a serious violation of medical procedure. If a doctor falsifies a medical record, it is a crime. If the county attorney’s office withheld some of Ms. Phelan's medical record – material evidence in charging a crime — it is a crime.)
- There is mention of injury in the area of the collarbone that might be a fracture or a bruise, tests were inconclusive.
- There is mention of a fracture to one bone of the foot by one doctor that is referred to as one bone in the ankle by another doctor in the ER.
- The medical report isn’t conclusive if she had a sprained ankle.
- One doctor describes Ms. Phelan as frail and undernourished.
- There were no stitches, no surgery performed, and no life-threatening (serious) injuries mentioned in the emergency room medical record.
If I was unduly sketchy of Ms. Phelan’s injuries, I apologize to the reader. As I say in the Preface, this is not a book about Ms. Phelan or me, it is a book about the abuse of political power. I do believe that Ms. Phelan's statement to the prosecutor, as well as her refusal to come to the courtroom, influenced my plea agreement.
The second woman in the accident isn't mentioned a great deal, but I should note that she had 18 months to come forward with any complaint of injury or loss. She refused both to show up at sentencing or to file a claim proving loss or injury. The Pre-sentencing report indicates there were injuries that the medical records do not show. The pre-sentecing report is in error (a common occurance I have been told by attorneys).
Like many other county residents I met in jail, Andrew Thomas indicted me as a violent felon--the crime of intentionally attacking another person with a dangerous weapon and seriously injuring them--Aggravated Assault. A serious crime, only two classes below 1st degree murder, and 1 class below molesting a child. All these are laws carry mandatory minimum prison sentences and are intended to be used only against the most egregious predators in society, not the general population.
The book exists because I know in my heart that Andrew Thomas is using the residents of Maricopa County for nails as he builds himself a political resume to run for higher office. I know this because I've met dozens of county residents who had their lives severely damaged by this man's abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing.
While my experience shows me that Maricopa County's Attorney does little to serve society, he does a great deal to create the statistics he needs as a political "crime fighter" for a resume bereft of any such experience. There are hundreds more county residents silenced inside Arizona's for-profit prisons. Domestic disputes without blows = Aggravated Assault, DUI accident with any injury whatsoever = Aggravated Assault, and Post Traumatic Stress in a Veteran = Aggravated Assault. These are the stories that comprise the majority of the pages of Accidental Felons, not the auto accident I was involved in.I merely present the facts, the reader gets to be the judge.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
They are particularly interested in investors who will improve the surrounding infrastructure of roads and utilities of land in the middle of nowhere.
Let's see, we don't get lower taxes, some of the state's operating costs are transferred to a state agency's profit from land sales (rather than those profits being used for educating our children), and the state is up for sale to private developers. What sort of stew does that recipe brew on the heals of sending a historic invite for the for-profit prison industry to settle in Arizona?
I smell an opportunity for the for-profit prison industry to purchase federal lands granted to the state at a fire-sale price on the condition that they build roads and provide utilities for the new incarceration compounds they plan to build in Arizona in coming years. Compounds that will house prisoners from other states to be sent here by the truckload to "relieve" the burden on politicians in other states whose budget suffer from so many incarcerated citizens.
So, it isn't just private developers in the game for land profits. The state is looking to ante up to the table with property that has been entrusted to them as well.
Or, maybe I'm just being cynical. Time will tell.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Exerpt from the Phoenix Business Journal, Sunday 9/13/09
Anti-illegal immigrant slate lining up for 2010 governor's race
An anti-illegal-immigrant slate would include Thomas running for attorney general, Montgomery running for county attorney, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio running for governor and state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Ariz., running for sheriff.
The quartet favor state laws punishing businesses that hire illegal immigrants, raids and sweeps of illegals and denying state benefits and welfare to anyone not here legally.
This just might be the most terrifying idea since Europe in World War II. Let me explain.
After almost 4 decades of making the wealthy even wealthier and having multiple business degrees (BA Biz, MS Finance) to accomplish it, I've learned to read the "code of politics". And the 2nd paragraph above is just that--code.
To me, it's a message to all medium and large businesses that they should financially support these four candidates and ensure they get into office. The reason for that is simple--profit. It has little, or nothing, to do with illegal immigration, and everything to do with increasing the cost of doing business for small micro-businesses (less than 100 employees), putting some of them out of business, and opening up market share for their larger competitors.
These Fearsome Four would create a political force (with a state mission of making more jobs for the rest of us) to diminish the effect of the tiny mom and pop businesses who operate on thin profit margins as it is.
Before you think that this is too cynical, let me remind you of our history.
Following completion of the Transcontinental Railroad there was a great social unrest that the Chinese were taking American (White male) jobs. The Harrison Narcotics Act we designed specifically to create a means for government to deport the Chinese as undesirable immigrants. Smoking raw opium was made illegal, but the heroin and morphine used in the patent medicines of the day (which were 70 percent alcohol and American made products) were not made illegal.
In the last Great Depression, there was a national scare that illegal Hispanics were taking dwindling American (White male) jobs. William Randolph Hearst capitalized on that with a campaign to move America to inferior wood pulp for paper. (He owned millions of acres of timber in the Northwest U.S.) Hearst used his newspaper empire and money to lobby Congress to get the Marijuana Tax Act passed which politicians then used as a means of deporting undesirable Hispanic workers as smokers of the wild weed that the public believed made Hispanic men violent criminals. It appeased the public and made Hearst wealthy beyond imagination.
Prior to World War II, African Americans in the South were beginning to want all the rights of other (White male) Americans. They had one weakness, they used powdered cocaine as their recreational drug because they could not afford the more expensive beer, wine and liquor. The Harrison Narcotics Act was amended to make cocaine a narcotic specifically to control this minority group. There are entries in the records of Congress where the American Medical Association came forth to state that "cocaine makes black Men rape White women".
History Channel has a series on the above and several books exist which explain it as well. The government's own data shows that 75 percent of the people incarcerated today are there for a crime relating to their using one of these substances. Most of the people imprisoned for property crime stole because they could not afford to pay the high price (created by legislators) for these products.
Don't be lulled into thinking there is anything other than economics at work here because 7 out of 10 people in Arpaio's Jail are not "illegal" Hispanics, they are White, and 95 percent of the people in his jail are--and always have been--legal residents of Maricopa County.
That's what the data shows. Scour the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The truth is out there and these four, with their "illegal immigration" chant are tricking you. You'll get jobs alright, but the type of quick jobs that will make the wealthy developers and landowners more wealthy and you even less powerful in controlling your own destiny.
Private for-profit prisons seeking to expedite the transformation of Arizona's desert into a building boom of new prisons, and the resulting flood of prisoners from other states into Arizona, is what you'll get to create jobs and feed your family.
Always ahead of the curve, I've been exploring the idea of death camps for the elderly for almost five years now. Yes, it's a reality. No, it's not Obama's Health Care Plan. I believe that the for-profit prisons are key to this idea, as is the state of Arizona, if it comes to pass at all. I will be writing more about that in future posts and in my monthly newsletter. Go to Accidental Felons and register. It's free!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This is excerpted from a California newspaper. The link above will take you to the entire article.
On an up note, at least he showed the courage to come forward instead of being shamed into silence (the more common outcome).
To: My fellow conservative Republicans in the Legislature
From: Pat Nolan, Assembly Republican leader, 1984-1988
Re: California's prison crisis
I was as "tough on crime" as any of you during my eight terms in the Assembly. I received the Victims Advocate Award from Parents of Murdered Children. I generally favored stronger penalties and also introduced the Death Penalty Restoration Act.
I led the fight to build more prisons.
I was "tough on crime" to make our communities safer.
But then I witnessed reality – inside prison walls. After my conviction in the Shrimpscam investigation, I served 29 months in federal custody. I was appalled to see how little is done to prepare inmates to live healthy, moral lives when they return to society – and 95 percent of prisoners will be released and return to our neighborhoods. I was frustrated that participation in religious programs is often discouraged. And I was shocked to see many people serving long sentences for minor, non- violent offenses.
Our current system of sentences and imprisonment has veered terribly off course. It costs taxpayers plenty but does not make us safer. I'm partly to blame for California's current prison crisis. I supported the expansion of our prison system. But while spending on prisons continues to skyrocket, Californians are no safer than residents of other states that have cut their prison population ...
Here an excerpt from the entire post of Jon's Jail Journal about life in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail. (Note that a similar strategy was used in the tents and I write about it in my own 2007 experience. There seems to be a repeating pattern of human rights abuses in play.)
Here is a more complete bio on the author of Jon's Jail Journal.
19 Feb 04
The toilet I sleep next to is full of sewage. We’ve had no running water for three days. Yesterday, I knew we were in trouble when the mound in our steel throne peaked above sea level.
Inmates often display remarkable ingenuity during difficult occasions and this crisis has resulted in a number of my neighbours defecating in the plastic bags the mouldy breakfast bread is served in. For hours they kept those bags in their cells, then disposed of them downstairs when allowed out for showers. As I write, inmates brandishing plastic bags are going from cell door to door proudly displaying their accomplishments.
The whole building reeks like a giant Portaloo. Putting a towel over the toilet in our tiny cell offers little reprieve. My neighbour, Eduardo, is suffering diarrhoea from the rotten chow. I can’t imagine how bad his cell stinks.
I am hearing that the local Health Department has been contacted. Hopefully they will come to our rescue soon.
And a link to Jon's Jail Journal. In time it may well survive the ravages of history to become an indicator of the dark time in America's history when Mandatory Minimum Sentencing allowed Predatory Prosecutors to rule the world.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Re: Your help is needed at Perryville Prison - there is NO WATER at Perryville Prison for Women since Friday at 5:30; NO DRINKING WATER, NO WATER FOR TOILETS AND KITCHEN FOR WASHING HANDS AND FOOD PREPARATION, FOR MEDICAL NEEDS!!
UPDATE: Water was restored to the facility after two days thanks to the quick response of Freedom March in pelleting legislators with email before someone died.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The 5 inmates you see talking by the door is indeed a trial by the Inmate Council. The man who was attacked was probably sentenced to a beating for not fighting when challenged. Refusing to fight is a criminal offense in jail.
Notice that the inmates, not the guards determine these things. This is "jail" not a maximum security prison, yet the prisoners are neglected to the point of creating their on ad hoc government.
Notice that a non-violent person who stole a car (probably to support a drug habit) is housed with an Aryan Brotherhood enforcer who, in this case, has been chosen by the local inmate council (probably without knowing this man's true violent history) as their local enforcer (its a volunteer position). Normally, a beating in jail is just that. But the enforcer in this case isn't your normal jail resident, but an extremely violent man housed with a population of local Maricopa County residents.
I spent 3 weeks in a cell block like this. The entire atmosphere is filled with tension. Notice that everything in this room will hurt you. Everything in here is steel and concrete (except for a thin piece of foam for a mattress which in the lower bunk is resting on a slab of concrete). Dying in this environment is easy to accomplish without a beating. People's bodies aren't designed to compete with materials so tough they would smash a car.
Notice the small enclosures of the cell. In the cell block I was in, which house 2 prisoners in this size room, the top bunk is about 5-1/2 feet from the floor with no railing or ladder to climb into it. I tore my rotator cuff just trying to get into and out of the top bunk in a cell like this. There are stories of people falling out of the top bunk and rupturing their spleen, dying from a blow to the head from the toilet (a stainless steel fixture just out of sight on the camera), and breaking limbs.
Notice that there are no guards about and no one watching the surveillance cameras. This is very typical. Inmates can smoke cigarettes, take drugs, fight, and do almost anything they want (as long as they follow the Inmate Council's rules). Guards are chatting, talking on the phone, or just not visibly there. This is one reason I say that the employees are the most dangerous people in the jail. In this one incident, none of the 3-5 guards saw anything. These guards are stationed in a "bullet-proof" glass enclosure high on the far wall and level with the top row of cells and above the steel tables shown on the floor below. If the inmate falls, hits his head, has an epileptic seizure, or drops into a diabetic coma, they will probably die if not for other inmates yelling at the guards to get their attention. This is a graphic example of the poor training, lack of supervision, and mismanagement I speak about.
If you replay this video, you will notice that even when the guards to run inside, when they reach the fallen prisoner, they just mill about over the body. No CPR, no first aid of any kind, nothing to attempt to save the man's life. They simply have no idea how to respond to an injured prisoner other than to make a radio call for someone to come to help, which can take up to half an hour.
Lastly, murder is not a normal occurrence in this jail. Death by accident, neglect, and medical issue complications is far, far more common. This unusual incident happened because a violent man accused of murder was housed in an open doom. The idea of "Maximum" and "Minimum" security is a farce as far as I can tell. If you've had a loved one in this jail, they could easily have been in that cell block. People are lumped where ever a bed appears and stay there until some incident (such as this) forces the jail employees to take some sort of action.
If Arizona sells its prisons to the for-profit prison industry, you can expect this type of occurrence on a much larger scale. It has already happened numerous times in other states.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Andrew Thomas truly is a one-man budget wrecking machine and the enemy of every taxpayer in Arizona. Read Accidental Felons. Educate yourself. Learn the truth behind the 30 sec soundbites on TV.
You see, we believe that Andrew Thomas is a smart and ambitious man. We also believe he is using the men, women, and children of Maricopa County as nails to build himself a political resume. He is building his platform on a foundation of high crime and a failed budget. He is hiding the fact that he is manufacturing both to suit his political ambitions.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
It doesn't require any imagination to see Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas playing the lead role in such a film. This movie clearly portrays the future of yet more Arizonians as Andrew Thomas abuses Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, using the citizens who elected him as the nails he needs to build himself a political resume.
Cherry picking from a list of charges to prevent the accused from having a 12-person jury, ignoring pleas from victims and family members to dismiss the charges, and pursuing his agenda of abusive prosecutions, Andrew Thomas is a one-man wrecking machine. Sending 9 people a day to prison is breaking the the back of the state's budget and has created a movement in the state legislature to turn Arizona into a prison state by selling the entire prison system to for-profit prisons. The same for-profit prisons that have become notorious for moving prisoners to other states as it suits their business needs in pursuit of shareholder profits.
Those in Arizona who slip under the radar of a prison sentence still have their careers ruined and lives damaged. Accidental Felons describes the fates of other Maricopa County residents who spend years in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's notorious POW camp, known as the Alcatraz of Arizona. People innocent of the crimes which they are charged who accept trial by prosecutor as their only fate in a world where guilty until proven otherwise is the norm.
Few people realize just how easy it is to wake up for work one morning and come home a felon. Turning ordinary people into violent felons is what Andrew Thomas does best, but people are beginning to learn the truth. They are beginning to see that the most dangerous predators living among them are those same people they elected to public office.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
His 16 year-old son was in a scuffle with another boy at school a year ago. When I was a boy these things happened darn near everyday between someone at school. It was part of getting used to the burden of testosterone roaring through our young veins. A few weeks ago a policeman came to "interview" the family and read the boy his Miranda Rights as part of the discussion. Yesterday, a letter came in the mail. The boy can plead guilty to a Class 1 Misdemeanor of Assault or he will be charged and taken to trial for Assault by the Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
I found this out when I visited my neighbor this morning. He lost his job some time ago and this month he is losing his home. He was having a "sale" to liquidate all of his belongings. I don't want to call it a garage sale, although that was the format. He was selling new furniture and valuable items you wouldn't find in a garage sale. He is in shock. His whole family is in shock. Meanwhile, Andrew Thomas hangs another hide on his wall as he builds a political resume to run for higher public office.
The lawyer told my neighbor about another case he has involving two 15 year-old teenagers who were in love and had consensual sex. The parents of the girl aren't happy this happened. Andrew Thomas has charged the young boy with Rape. I saw this type of thing when I was going through the charge phase of my case and I saw it when I was imprisoned too. I met a man who had urinated on the side of the road one night because there was no business nearby that would allow him to use the restroom. He was intoxicated, which I'm sure didn't help either his judgement or his ability to wait. Someone in an apartment noticed him. He was serving a year for public indecency, was charged as a felon and made to register as a Registered Sex Offender. That was another violent crime, another sex crime, and another life that Andrew Thomas ruined as he follows his strategy for higher office and a life in public service.
I understand that people like Andrew Thomas exist. What I don't understand is why people cannot see them as the violent predators they are until it's too late. My neighbor wasn't even sure who Andrew Thomas was until he read my book. He was one of the people who voted for Andrew Thomas and loved Joe Arpaio. That ended when the policeman came for his son. I warned him. I warn and I warn again, but it takes a total shock to awaken those sleeping and then it's too late. A warning won't help his son now.
God Bless to all. Pray for our country and for our children's freedom. As bad as it is, I feel certain that what we know is but the surface layer of how debase the unvarnished truth really is. Read Accidental Felons.com. Get closer to the truth. Spread the word!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
After reading the book, I received an email that said, "I was completely absorbed with the book. I had read many articles and heard Sheriff Joe speak and though I give him backing on many things I had felt the conditions of those who were enduring the hardships in tent city. I didn't know anything about Thomas--and I thought you brought him up too much in your book. I hope through this book you have cleared your mind of what you endured. Not give up on your message to those on the actions of Thomas but not to let him take over your life either."
She then proceeded to tell me that she had given the book away and needed to meet to buy 2 more copies. We met and talked at length. Like most people, she didn't even know who Andrew Thomas was, she didn't realize that people live in Tent City for a year or more, and she had no idea that Andrew Thomas was bankrupting the state with the assembly line of residents he's built into the state's prison system.
Now that she knows, she's not happy. And, I have the impression that she is going to be quite vocal about it too.
There are actually some days when I have hope for a better future. Not many of them, but when they come I pray a happy prayer of thanks.
Blessings to all! Remember to read the book. Accidental Felons could be a book about someone you love. It can be found online or at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe at the SW corner of McClintock and Guadalupe.
This is a Christian station with a conservative listening base. It is the core of the people who need to awaken. As an indication of how the interview went, when it was over, the host wanted to keep talking about the subject. He was "shocked and awed" to learn the truth about Andrew Thomas' abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing to sell out Arizona to the for-profit prison industry.
Hopefully, Accidental Felons will be read by more people locally now that some media time is being spent on it. Sales on Amazon.com are beginning to pick up. Another thing to be thankful for.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In addition to the education-funding vetoes, she also erased millions of dollars of cuts that lawmakers made to some of the state's largest agencies. And in vetoing the policy bills that attach to the budget, she wiped out controversial changes, ranging from privatizing state prisons, including the possibility of Arizona's death row being run by a for-profit company, to property-tax changes that local governments said would lead to higher tax bills for homeowners while cutting the bill for businesses.
Of course you can bet that some Repubs will be on the hunt to overturn the veto. Andy Thomas has been working overtime for 5 years to break the state's back using Mandatory Minimum Sentencing as his Weapon of Mass Destruction. Nine new Arizona residents head to prison every day. Arpaio's jail is bursting with more Americans awaiting trial. It is truly a low point in American history not seen since the 19th Century. Please, please VOTE Responsibly in the next election. This has to stop. We are all at risk. Read my Book so you can see with new eyes.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It's an interesting history that every bad criminal justice act ever signed into law was done so by some sort of covert action on the part of politicians. From Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, to prisons for profit, Americans have been systematically raped of their rights to live in a free land by the people they have elected to protect those rights. Our Treasury has been looted, our Liberty has been stolen, and our integrity as a nation has been threatened. Slowly the people are beginning to awaken. But what will it take to jolt them upright? It seems like every disaster created at home has a worse disaster happening abroad to steal our attention.
We focus on Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, but the Alcatraz of Arizona (Maricopa County's Tent City) is worse. We focus on the people who hate us living 6,000 miles away while 1 in every 31 adults is quietly handcuffed under penal control at home. And we pretend as if a man who became our president just 6 months ago is singularly responsible for decades of financial mismanagement of our nation. The singular light in this is that the opposition who wants to demonize him is so blatantly obvious that maybe, just maybe, a few more of us will awaken. I can only pray.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I hope that I have an opportunity for more interviews on television. I prefer those over radio phone-in interviews. There's something about talking to actual people face to face that I believe strengthens my message.
Remember that a person goes to prison every 45 minutes from the time the courts open for business until they close after a full days work. Imagine a haggard civil servant, a prosecutor, running from courtroom to courtroom, hair in disarray, sweating, and breathing hard from a day of sprinting between judges. Now multiply this by 350 prosecutors all doing the same thing. This is what Andrew Thomas has done to the courts. It's a travesty that I pray will somehow find its way into the light of public opinion.
If there is one thing that the people of Maricopa County, Arizona are in dire need of, it is a big dose of the facts. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Andrew Thomas is the most dangerous man in Arizona." He is using the people of Maricopa County as the nails he needs to build himself a political resume. He is literally manufacturing crime by using mandatory minimum sentencing to coerce guilty pleas from ordinary citizens, turning them into violent felons.
That isn't a rant, it is a fact proven by his compulsive abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing. By his actions alone, Arizona has moved from number 9 to number 3 in most dangerous states to live in. He alone drained all defense resources in the state for people accused of capital crimes. No one walking on American soil is more dangerous to the public than this man.
I'm continually brought back to the idea that I expressed two years ago. An idea that is in the book. Removing emotions for a moment and thinking that someone somewhere is actively directing the Maricopa County Attorney to such acts, who would that be? Following the money, it is clear that the big winners in this slaughter of freedom is the For-profit prisons that now are one signature away from controlling the first state ever in America. I cannot help but think that if the county attorney isn't in their payroll in some fashion, they surely must have his portrait on their boardroom wall. He has done for them what no lobbyist, no other politician, and no one inside their executive suites could do. He has broken the back of the state of Arizona's budget with a constant flood of prisoners heading to jail and prisons.
I keep coming back to Rick Romley's flurry of ads in the last election. What does it mean when the last Maricopa County Prosecutor, a prominent Conservative Republican, goes on television to plead with the public to vote for the Democratic challenger to Andrew Thomas. What outraged Romley to the degree he would abandon party loyalty? He is a decorated Vietnam Veteran. A man known for passionate values. When he said that "Andrew Thomas abuses the law," he was telling the truth. Maybe what motivated him to abandon his political party in an election cycle was a deep love for his country and the people in it.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
What struck me the most was not that the error happened, but the attempts to force the error to be true in spite of overwhelming facts that a wrong had been committed. Gloria Killian works tirelessly to help the "victims of justice" after spending 16 years in prison despite overwhelming evidence that she committed no crime. She was abused by the justice system even after her conviction was overturned with prejudice for the injustice caused her. Mary Ellen DiGiacom spoke there as well. Another woman victimized by the relentless War On Americans launched as part of America's need to provide service sector jobs.
The parents of Courtney Bisbee spoke about their tireless efforts to free their daughter from County Attorney Andrew Thomas' blood-lust. Like Dracul The Impaler (Dracula), Thomas' flaunts his victims. Abusing Mandatory Minimum Sentencing laws, he routinely strips local residents (ordinary people who have never been arrested) of their identity, their freedom, and even their lives. On a quest to build a political resume, he shows no sign of mercy for those he is elected to protect. I listened to others who spoke of Thomas' House of Horror that Maricopa County has become.
The parents of Mike Lubas did not speak at the microphone because of their terror that anything they said could return as retaliation on their son. They too are a family that has given their life's savings to lawyers able to charge exorbitant fees in this malignant guilty until proven innocent system of justice. I wish I could have told them they were wrong. I wish I could have reassured them of the fairness that exists, re-affirmed their 1st Amendment rights, and told them that they live in a country that does not oppress those who speak for freedom. But, I just looked on, nodding my head in agreement at their pain and disillusionment.
I spoke about how greed, corruption, and special interests control much of America's justice system. I talked about the number of things all of us, ordinary citizens with no prior history with the law, shared in common. I want to share those thoughts with you.
1. Every one believed in our system the justice system and its ability to do the right thing.
2. No one realized that predatory prosecutors can control the courts by using mandatory minimum sentencing as a weapon against ordinary citizens.
3. None of us realized that mandatory minimum sentencing was to be used against ordinary citizens who had never been arrested.
4. All of us were shocked to discover defense attorneys matched their fees to the fear of defendants, rather than the fair and reasonable fees of other professionals.
5. All of us were shocked at the illicit lengths that those in the justice system would go to prove they acted correctly. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, even after a higher court overturned a lower court, and even after the real guilty parties were caught, the nightmare continued.
6. All of us are in shock, almost speechless, now that we are awake to the truth. After a lifetime of believing the America’s Justice System, to see it for what it truly has become overwhelms our every thought. This isn’t the America we learned about in school. We live in a different place.
Having once been asleep, maybe like you are now, we scream for others to awaken. It’s a long, tough battle, but you are worth it. Those at the Freedom Rally ask you to look. Be skeptical by all means, but just take a long hard look. Read some books written by people who are not victims of the system, but are sickened by it. Those experts love their country too, and they wrote those books to help you see how at risk you are at this moment. The Internet is a fabulous tool and websites will guide you to articles a plenty. My website has a page of links. Attend a trial or two.
After millions of wrongs in the name of expediency and greed, a critical mass of victims now exists. They are a network that can help you awaken too. Walk away from the television set. It is lulling you into a hypnotic daze. Drugged, you can’t see that our precious system of laws and justice so many have died to protect is not just broken, it has become predatory.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Yes, there is a conspiracy. No, it’s not an illusion. The alcohol producers tell their shareholders that business is booming. Government licenses the majority of alcohol retailers in the manner most profitable to them, a point of sale that requires driving afterwards. The Food Services industry employs a million more people to handle on premises alcohol consumption ($43 billion retail sales in 2002) than they would were alcohol not served. “To Go” alcohol outlets by contrast employ a fraction of that number of employees. Of course, the restaurants and bars could argue that a smaller fraction of restaurant and bar employment is related to alcohol sales. Between 1998 and 2004, the National Restaurant Association contributed $4 million to political candidates and spent another $6 million in lobbying. Was this for more liberal food preparation?
For the past thirty years 1.5 million drivers have been arrested each year. Doing a bit of math, let’s figure about $10,000 per case attorney fees and we’ve got $15 billion in lawyer income. Estimate about 20 percent of that as pretax profit to the firm and its worth $3 billion in IRS receipts. That’s not including the 80 percent that went to wages, all of which is taxed too.
Alcohol and crime, or rather the pursuit of criminals, creates the movement of money and that creates income for government. If the income received from alcohol and the pursuit of criminals creates more government receipts than it costs, then the government benefits from these activities in proportion to their growth. While it’s doubtful that Congress consciously writes laws to prey upon our citizens, you’ve seen how they directly benefit from special interest money when these laws exist. There is a direct “incentive” for their existence, and a “disincentive” for their elimination.
In 2002, the federal government’s income included $858.3 billion from individual tax returns, $148 billion from corporation tax returns and $7.8 billion from excise tax on the sale of alcohol . The cost for the Federal Bureau of Prisons that year was $4.6 billion. To pay for the entire prison system required only 40 percent of the excise tax money collected from the sale of alcohol.
The crimes legislated from alcohol and illegal drugs are some portion of the individual and corporate tax receipts. While we can’t know exactly the economic benefit to government and industry from alcohol sales and crime in 2002. We can make an quick estimate that it in excess of $63 billion dollars, more money than the gross domestic product of one-forth the states in America.
The real eye-opener is that as large as $63 billion is, it likely counts for less than 50 percent of the full impact. This only accounts for the money made from beer, wine, liquor sales, and DUI crime. It doesn’t account for the billions of dollars (with another 50 percent returning to government) spent within the medical and pharmaceutical industries on the larger problem of alcohol-created disease.
Looked at from an even wider perspective, excise taxes on alcohol sales, paid over half (57 percent) of the operating costs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Prison System, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys, and Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces combined.
This single excise tax was over four tenths of one percent of the total income for the federal government that year. Do you truly think anyone in power wants to end that? All that money changing hands from the sale of beer, wine, liquor and DUI. Well, they don’t. Moreover, they can’t!
If DUI ended—just went away—it would be a crippling jolt to the economy and to the government’s ability to govern us. This explains, in monetary terms, the lack of ‘don’t drink and drive’ messages relative to the abundance of ‘do drink’ messages from profiteering industries.
Well, what about prohibition? If alcohol is so dangerous that it has a negative effect on the lives of tens of millions of Americans, why not make it illegal again. Even without the organized crime argument, the table above illustrates that it would raise unemployment 1.2 percent within weeks and the loss of the excise tax income would be compounded by paying out unemployment benefits to all the laid off workers.
There is no tax income earned by government for the mere ownership of money. If you own twenty million dollars, have no taxable property, and consume nothing that is taxed in America, you would have a tax free lifestyle. For the government to receive benefit, there has to be some economic velocity to money. If you have five thousand dollars in a savings account and earn three percent simple interest on it, the federal government receives income of $23 that year, assuming a 15% tax bracket. If you remove that money from your savings account and pay it to an attorney to defend you, the government earns money from:
a. The portion of the money retained as end of year profits to the firm, estimating 20% of five thousand dollars taxed 20% federal income tax would pay Uncle Sam $200.
b. The portion of the money distributed as wages to the firm’s employees would be the remaining 80% of five thousand dollars taxed at an average 20% federal income tax and 15.63% FICA tax for a tax contribution of $1,425.
I realize this is a rough cut of an income statement, but it illustrates the point accurately. If you have an accident drinking and driving that costs five thousand dollars for a defense to save you from the government’s ire, the government earns $1,625 of your wealth in tax income. If that money stays in your savings account, they earn $23. If you are government — alcohol crime pays.
All of the rhetoric about “Costs of crime” are necessarily limited to a slice of data that supports a single point of view. Looking at the whole, alcohol, and alcohol crime, is a moneymaker for both its industry and the government.
Between 1998 and 2004, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America spent $22 million lobbying Congress and contributed another $14 million to politicians. Much of that money was spent to prevent legal reform that would in effect cut their payday considerably. While this liberal spending is not about alcohol or drugs per se, the point of fact doesn’t change, attorneys win from harsher laws related to drinking and driving. The employees in a lawyer’s office will take the money they received from your savings account as wages to them and spend most of it, yet more transactions that create tax revenues.
Money must flow to earn a living for the government and a cash poor government like ours is heavily incentivized to do all it can to maximize the inflow of cash from all sources.
My point isn’t that the government is trying to trick you into committing an alcohol-related crime, but rather that they have no incentive to protect you so that you don’t. In fact, they are highly incentivized to promote, create, and allow you to drink liquids laced with alcohol, which is notorious for making people do stupid things, and then stand by to cash in when you do something stupid. This explains the explosive expansion of on-premises drinking establishments over the past thirty years better than any other logic!
Upsetting as it might be, DUI crime is an important part of America’s economy if you are the government. Moving back to a common sense theory of economics for a moment, if DUI crime wasn’t profitable, why would our government manufacture so much of it with more liberal on premises drinking laws combined with more severe alcohol-related crime legislation? If it cost more to have alcohol-related crime, then alcohol-related crime would be a source of the nation’s deficit, but if you look at the nation’s income statement, it’s a cash cow!
Now you know that if you visit Happy Hour, consume a liquid containing a government supported drug that makes you stupid, and then do something stupid afterward. You’re not a victim — you’re prey.
Well, the facts about DUI may surprise you. Let’s take the government’s position (which in reality is the most common source for our outrage):
1. Government exists to protect the people.
2. Alcohol-related accidents kill people. Thousands of people die each year.
3. DUI is the scourge of society and an epidemic that must be stopped.
Is that a fair enough description of your viewpoint as well? It is for most people.
Oh, if only it were true, but there are no facts to support such a protest. In fact, the facts say that the opposite is true. The facts clearly show that government:
1. Government preys on the people they are chartered to protect.
2. Happy Hour kills people more than any other alcohol-related activity
3. DUI is encouraged, created, promoted, and protected by government.
Outrageous? Unbelievable? Read on…
These facts are supported by the government, as a matter of fact, they come from the government. You see, alcohol-related deaths are the collateral damage of a campaign to create and promote as much DUI as possible.
Absurd!! No, unfortunately not.
Fact 1: On average 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI and 17,000 people die in alcohol-related accidents. In 30 years these numbers have varied only a few percentage points around these historical averages. Despite improvements in automobile safety, despite laws that are draconian in their harshness, and despite publicly shaming these criminals, nothing changes. Except once.
These numbers did begin to trend downward at the turn of the century, but the law was changed in 2001, lowering the threshold of intoxication from .10 to .08, and the numbers of arrests and deaths returned to their historical norms.
Fact 2: For every family that buries a loved one innocently killed in a DUI auto accident, three to four families bury a loved one killed in a single-car DUI accident. Sixty to eighty percent of people who die in an alcohol-related accident have alcohol in their blood. This is another 30 year historical norm.
Fact 3: Government has grown the number of licensed establishments that dispense alcohol-laced liquids exponentially in the past 30 years. There are even 130 gas stations in America that are licensed by government to have a bar in them.
So far the government has told us that there is no improvement in the DUI numbers, that the majority of people killed have alcohol in their blood, and that they are growing the problem by licensing ever more restaurants and bars to serve alcohol-laced liquids. Still, there’s more—a lot more.
FACT 4: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) spent less than two-percent of its revenue lobbying government between 1998 and 2004. As a matter of fact the Correctional Vendors Association spent more money lobbying Congress during that period than did MADD and both lawyer associations and the for-profit prison industry spent exponentially more money lobbying legislators. Source: Center For Public Integrity, Lobby Watch
FACT 5: The biggest single contributor to MADD is the government. The 2nd largest contributors is the auto industry. Which makes sense when you realize that MADD’s marketing message of fear drives people from small low-profit automobiles into larger high-profit trucks and SUVs. Source: MADD’s annual reports.
FACT 6: If all the alcohol-laced liquid consumed in 2002 were put into tanker trucks, it would make a convoy over 9,500 miles long. Source: The alcohol industry.
Now, that you know the war on DUI is an illusion. I'll tell you what purpose it serves in my next blog. If you can't wait you can read about it under the Political Fictions menu selection on the Accidental Felons Website.
PS: 2,000 to 7,000 of those 17,000 people who die each year are truly innocent victims killed by someone driving drunk. This post doesn't lessen the pain of their loved ones. Speeding, trucks and SUVs are the major killers of people in auto accidents. As sad as it is, innocent people killed by a drunk driver is 20 percent of the people killed in auto accidents. Add in the people who law would argue were not innocent, those with alcohol in their blood, and we still capture only 50 percent of the total. Speed and steel hurling down the highway at 70 mph kills the other 50 percent of people.
A new predator walks the streets of Arizona now. He is arguably the most dangerous man in Arizona, if not the entire United States. Were he in a third world country, our nation would brand him a criminal, but in Arizona he quietly destroys lives in wholesale fashion with a minimum of public scrutiny. He lives in the county of Maricopa, along with over 1/2 of Arizona's population. He is the 800 pound gorilla in the state's legislature.
He is Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. This is a predatory politician with no equal. He is the man who single-handedly drained all defense resources within Arizona in 24 months by charging so many residents with capital crimes. The man who increased the rate at which Arizona residents go to prison by 33% using Mandatory Minimum Sentencing as a weapon of mass destruction to manufacture violent criminals out of ordinary citizens. And, he is a man who single-handedly thrust Arizona from the 9th most dangerous state in America to number 3 with one idea—abuse of the law.
Andrew Thomas, is a one-man wrecking machine of liberty and things American. If he isn’t in the pocket of the for-profit prison industry, then he certainly has his portrait hanging in the board room. He, more than any other factor, is responsible for the collapse of Arizona’s penal system and subsequent sale of Arizona prisoners for profit.
More details on this man and his acts of barbarism are available at the Accidental Felons website.
The For-Profit prison industry was launched in 1984 in response to the birth of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing's huge flood of new prisoners into America's prison system. Some of these companies are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Their history is rightfully filled with controversy.