Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

UPDATED: Tucson is ‘suffocating the Occupation in the dead of night’ and in the courts

UPDATE: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against the Tennessee governor and other state officials– including 100 state troopers– for violating Occupy Nashville protesters’ first amendment freedom by citing protesters for breaking curfew laws– the same tactic that the City of Tucson is using. From News Channel 5…

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking the state to stop enforcing the curfew that led to the arrest of Occupy Nashville protesters.

The ACLU is seeking a temporary restraining order against the new policies enacted last week by the state of Tennessee, claiming they violate the protesters’ First Amendment rights of free speech.[For the rest of the story, click here.]

UPDATE 2: A federal judge has sided with the Tennessee ACLU and the Occupy Nashville protesters and granted their request for a restraining order against the state– thus halting curfew citations. [For the rese of the story, click here.]

In dealing with the Occupation of downtown Tucson, our local government has taken passive aggressive route– hundreds of citations, demands for costly permits and insurance, threats of late-night sprinklers, and bureaucratic maneuvering.

Homeless in the shadows of corporate America (Image credit: Pamela Powers)

The city’s latest legal tactic– zoning restrictions– popped up during the court hearings last week. When someone receives a citation at a certain location and the court allows the city to place a zoning restriction on that person, they cannot go back to that location for fear of further legal action. (This tactic is often used to keep prostitutes and drug dealers from locations where they practice their trade.) In last week’s Occupy Tucson court hearings, City Attorney Mike Rankin, City Manager Richard Miranda (former Tucson police chief), and others asked the court to place a zoning restriction on the cited protesters. The judge said “no” to this idea last week, but as the protesters cycle through the court system they will appear before different judges. One of them could agree to place the zoning restriction on cited protesters.

That would change the whole ball game, according to former City Councilman Steve Leal, a vocal supporter of Occupy Tucson on his talk radio show on KJLL The Jolt. If people are systematically barred from Armory Park, the protest could dwindle as more and more protesters are cited. As fewer and fewer tents are seen, the public perception would be that Occupy Tucson is loosing steam and that protesters are giving up their fight against corporate greed. Unless new people step up and camp at Armory Park or the Occupation moves to a park without a curfew, Occupy Tucson will die a slow death in the court system as the activists are prosecuted.

Passive aggressive tactics are easier– physically– on the protesters than night sticks and pepper spray and, in terms of public relations, may be easier on local officials, but that doesn’t mean that Tucson has completely avoided bad press in their dealings with Occupy Tucson.

Two weeks ago, I posted this storywith a video of Occupy Tucson’s Craig Barber discussing the Tucson Occupation with Keith Olbermann on national television.

In recent days, Tucson’s 350+ $1000 fines levied on Occupiers made the national news– in the left wing media, at least– Democracy Now, The Nation, and In these Times.

From The Nation

Occupy Tucson Needs Our Help

As my friend and colleague Greg Mitchell noted today in his invaluable live-blogging of the Occupy movement, “Perhaps the biggest little-told OWS local story is the massive number of arrests for OccupyTucson. Another 20 yesterday boosts overall total to an astounding (for the size) 351.”

And, unlike in Oakland, local authorities aren’t even trying to convince the rest of us that the Tucson police reacted defensively and appropriately in trying to ward off anarchist attacks. According to what Tucson Sergeant Maria Hawk told the weekly New Times, “most of the arrests were for remaining in a city park after hours.”

Hawk also estimated that on any given weekday in Tucson, there are about 100 “occupiers” demonstrating in city parks and on Tuesdays—when City Council meetings are held—and on weekends, that number increases to as many as 1,000 demonstrators. These are impressive numbers for a state without the liberal infrastructure of organized labor and nonprofit anti-poverty groups that has been supporting protesters in New York City, Boston and Washington, DC.

According to local activists, the Tucson Police Department is utilizing a strategy of financial and legal attrition to kill the movement by issuing criminal citations to occupiers who remain in any city park past 10:30 pm. This citation carries a $1000 fine, a potential prison sentence of six months in jail and up to three years probation. The rather sophisticated idea is to bleed the movement financially instead of using pepper spray and batons, which will only engender outrage and foster larger demonstrations. [For the rest of the story, click here.

Dinner time at Occupy Tucson, October 2011 (Image credit: Pamela Powers)

From In These Times

Police Disguise Protest Sabotage As Public Safety

The Occupy movements, in addition to being some of the most important activist movements to come along in the United States in several decades, have helped underscore several societal crises. For example, the failure of the establishment media and the rise of the beltway pundit class, the disappearance of public space, and also vanishing civil liberties, to name only a few.

Occupy has also served as a reminder of the ever-present police state, which rather than acting to “serve and protect,” oftentimes crushes and suppresses freedom of expression. We’ve witnessed this in obvious, overt, batshit crazy behavior like police using horses to stampede into a Times Square crowd, and when Oakland police turned their city into a war zone. But there are subtler, far sneakier [guess who they are referring to here] ways so-called public servants such as firefighters and the police, and by extension city officials, use the law as a weapon, or a convenient scapegoat, to control a rebellious faction of the population…

Then there’s the outrageous example of Occupy Tucson, one of the comparatively smaller Occupy movements that has suffered a disproportionately large percentage of arrests. On any given weekday, there are about 100 occupiers demonstrating in city parks, according to Tucson Sergeant Maria Hawk. That’s not exactly a wild surge in the population, or anything that should overwhelm the city. Yet, an astonishing 351 protesters have been arrested since the genesis of the movement. Hawk admits “most of the arrests were for remaining in a city park after hours.” This was also one of the excuses given in Oakland, along with the usual, “your fuel tanks are going to raze the entire city to the ground” speech.

The citation carries a $1000 fine, a potential prison sentence of six months in jail, and up to three years probation. Tucson activists rightly view this as an effort by police to bleed the movement financially instead of using bad PR-generating pepper spray and batons. While Occupy Wall Street got its moments to publicly “battle” the police and display how a force gone wild stifles dissent, Tucson is being quietly suffocated in the dead of night, and most of the public will be none the wiser.

What’s so deeply nefarious about this kind of civil rights assassination is that curfew and fire safety laws were created with genuine good intentions. It makes sense to not want individuals walking around in secluded, dark spaces at night, or not allow people to create bonfires in the middle of grounds covered in dry grass. But these well-meaning laws are now being used to crush the First Amendment

The NYPD, OPD [Oakland], and Tucson police don’t want a bloody, drawn out war on their hands. It’ll look terrible in the media, and public sentiment is already on the side of the protesters.

What police and city officials prefer is a death by a thousand subtle little cuts. Take the generators, issue tickets, pull down the tents, and make life unbearable for the protesters. Hope they give up and go home when it snows, and if that doesn’t work, try to freeze the bastards out. [Emphasis added.]

71 comments on “UPDATED: Tucson is ‘suffocating the Occupation in the dead of night’ and in the courts

  1. Alex Maldonado (Peacekeeper/Veteran For Peace)
    October 31, 2011

    Pam, thanks for showing up on Friday’s Family Night and getting a citation, as we fight for our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Again thanks.

  2. Carolyn Classen
    October 31, 2011

    Occupy Tucson organizer Craig Barber was also on KUAT Channel 6 last week:
    http://www.azpm.org/politics/story/2011/10/24/1830-occupy-tucson-why-participate/.  I believe that Green Mayoral candidate Mary DeCamp is in City Court today for her first citation.  She is camping out there as well.

    • Pamela Powers
      October 31, 2011

      Yes, Mary has her day in court today.

  3. The Baron
    October 31, 2011

    The city can issue a million citations-it doesn’t mean they will be paid. The whole point of people being in the park in the first place is because their lives have imploded financially due to our economy and the actions of those who control it.  Do these ignorant council members think that funds for the fines will magically materialize and flow into their coffers?  You can’t draw blood from a stone.  Do judges honestly believe that placing a “zoning restriction” on those arrested will keep them away?  Why should one more legal threat deter them?  If the law had been enforced against the thieves and fraudsters of the financial world in the first place, the protesters wouldn’t have any reason to be in the park. 
    The only purpose these citations serve is to further underscore the hypocrisy of the government, which protects thieves while attempting to punish those who demand action against the thievery.  When the rule of law is restored through fair and equal application (i.e. arresting the bankers who defrauded their customers and the nation’s treasury), the protesters will no longer have a reason to occupy Armory Park.  Until then, the tickets issued should be used to counter the camp’s shortage of toilet paper.

    • Long John
      October 31, 2011

      “their lives have imploded financially due to our economy and the actions of those who control it”Do not blame others for your situation. You have the personal choice to either be lazy or to be productive. Hard work, education, personal sacrifice and a simple lifestyle are the keys to success. Lack of personal responsibility is the true cause of their financial implosion. Get a job and provide for your family, stop looking to others for a handout and stop the self-pity. The people I’ve encountered with Occupy Tucson do not have a clear message or goal; just people feeling sorry for themselves instead of going to work, and the politically motivated trying to get some free publicity. These politicians (and all politicians) seem to be just fine collecting their salary from our tax dollars and really do much less work than the average American worker. Don’t let yourself be fooled, the politicians concern for your situation ends at the point that it negatively impacts their own public perception.

      • leftfield
        October 31, 2011

        “You have the personal choice to either be lazy or to be productive. Hard work, education, personal sacrifice and a simple lifestyle are the keys to success.”

        This is great.  It’s like the child who, given a pile of manure for Xmas, digs through it because, “I know there’s a pony in there somewhere”.  The problem, LJ, is that the large part of the Occupy Movement is made of people who followed and are trying to follow your recipe for success, only to find it was ONE GREAT BIG LIE!  Take your little mantra to the person who has sent out 600 resumes without getting a job.  Take your mantra to the people who lost their hard-earned money investing in the stock market.  Take it to the person who “worked hard and lived a simple lifestyle”  only to lose it all because they had the “lack of responsibility” to get sick.   See if anyone’s buying.

        Don’t get the impression that I don’t welcome your message.  I do, but only because the greater the acceleration of inequality of opportunity in this country, the sooner the whole s–thouse goes up in flames.  

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        The majority of people I have met at Occupy Tucson do not have a resume and do not present themselves in a way that will make it easy for them to find employment. The majority of the responsibility is on the individual, not the potential employer, you present what you have to offer and if you have spent your time seeking education and gainful employment you will find a job. I meet people that made their decisions in life, such as quit jobs when they become challenging, quit school because it requires too much sacrifice. A history of problems, yet they are so fast to blame society, or the economy, or government, or ‘got sick’, or any number of other things…instead of giving an honest look at their own choices and the consequences of those choices when dealing out blame for their situation. I have also met people who succeed no matter what obstacles are put in their way. Put both type of people in the same room, take some time talking to them and most of the time you’ll notice the difference right away.If you give me the resume of the person who sent out 600 and I will have a job for them within two weeks. They might not be qualified for the positions they are applying for, they may be qualified but there are no openings. Either way I will show them what humility is. Give your skills an honest appraisal, seek employment that fits those skills, don’t be greedy (pay most attention to that), if there are no jobs in your field don’t be slave to pride…find an job that you might feel is ‘beneath’ you….if that doesn’t meet your financial needs, reassess your lifestyle and adjust or get two jobs.

      • Lavender Pitt
        October 31, 2011

        Whatever, pal. I don’t believe you’ve seen anything you weren’t already looking for.  Anything that might have changed your preconceived notion was deliberately ignored.
        I have three college degrees, full-time work, and I pay my bills. I also support the Occupy Movement 100%, and find-self-satisfied complacency and arrogance like yours to be the reason the 1% can screw over the rest of us.

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        ” have three college degrees, full-time work, and I pay my bills”

        This might be hard to understand, but no one asked for your personal info. In no way is this discussion about what You have. I might have scales and a tail, but what does that have to do with anything….some people just love to talk about themselves.

      • leftfield
        November 3, 2011

        Nice one, LJ.  You were confronted with information contrary to your beliefs and what did you do?  Why you changed the subject and attacked the messenger, of course. 

      • Pamela Powers
        November 3, 2011

        That seems to be a favorite tactic. “The Truth” also does this. 🙂

      • The Truth
        November 4, 2011

        Pam, if the Citizen was still a real paper you wouldn’t even be allowed in the news room to mop the floor………

        …..wait was there something in your comment to actually reply to? Guess not, I’ll stick to the whole ‘not fit to mop a real reporter’s floor’ thing.

      • Pamela
        November 4, 2011

        Actually you just reaffirmed my statement that when you have no facts you resort to putdowns and/or change the subject.

        BTW, I graduated cum laude  in journalism.

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        BTW Leftfield. I’m not the type that would look through someone else’s manure for a pony. You make your own ponies in this life….being content with looking for happiness in manure someone gives you might be the real problem.

      • leftfield
        October 31, 2011

        “BTW Leftfield. I’m not the type that would look through someone else’s manure for a pony.”

        Perhaps not, but like the little girl in the story, you willfully ignore the stinky reality that is right under your nose.  On the other hand, you are “the type” to engage in the reactionarie’s favorite deflection: blaming the victims.  

      • The Truth
        October 31, 2011

        Hey, I know about the stinky reality that Left speaks of, I walk by them everyday in armory park and the library on my way to my job. Must be nice to not worry about going to work or taking a shower.

      • leftfield
        November 1, 2011

        “Hey, I know about the stinky reality that Left speaks of…”

        Spiro Agnew, wherever he is, must be very pleased to know that his legacy and words live on.  He made a living mischaracterizing the anti-war protestors of old as “dirty hippies”.   

      • inkling
        October 31, 2011

        “the greater the acceleration of inequality of opportunity in this country, the sooner the whole s–thouse goes up in flames.”

        Everyone should think long and hard about the fact admitted here that the far left has an interest in exacerbating and prolonging – or, failing that, redefining – oppression and injustice in this society. They are the new segregationists, and in a huge twist of irony they rely on white supramacist concepts to validate their viewpoints. Consider this the next time you hear them argue that various laws of one form or another are racist.

      • leftfield
        October 31, 2011

        “Everyone should think long and hard about the fact admitted here that the far left has an interest in exacerbating and prolonging – or, failing that, redefining – oppression and injustice in this society.”

        Hopefully, anybody who engages in any thinking at all will realize that the right wing has always stood in the schoolhouse doorway blocking progress towards a more just and equitable society.  Whenever I see this country go through the periodic economic crises it goes through, I am always of two minds: first, I deplore that the bulk of the suffering will be borne, as always, by the most vulnerable;  secondly, I hope that there is some purpose to their suffering, that being it brings us closer to the day when the current regime is destroyed and reactionaries like yourself are persecuted.

  4. George
    October 31, 2011

    Why do people think standing in parks with signs is changing anything? Its not. The people who are responsible for the corruption are still living their lives in perfect harmony, with all of their money (and yours) and financial security. You standing in the park with a sign that has random words on it is not doing anything to change the situation. Nothing will change until the people responsible actually face a consequence.

    • Jacki
      October 31, 2011

      And just what do you suggest George???  What do you know that so many others don’t?   WHAT ARE YOU DOING, counting your money the you “earned” off the backs of the 99%?  Or are you waiting, hiding, watching and just being a criticizer of those at the end of their rope?

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        If you have the time to write on a message board, the time to camp out in a park, the ability to have a computer to read this on…..you are not even close to the ‘end of your rope’.

      • tunkashila
        November 5, 2011

        Someone has time enough to tap out a response to your latest inanity on a borrowed computer and you can magically tell their life’s situation..thank you for playing “Moronic Assumptions”-we have a new champion!

    • Ernie McCray
      October 31, 2011

      So people should do what since, apparently in your way of thinking, tactics, like carrying signs, that helped end the Vietnam War and brought about civil and human rights to black people and gave women the right to vote no longer work? What can we do to see that the “people responsible actually face a consequence?” Don’t ridicule us, help us! Or at least leave us alone and let us gather together with our signs.

  5. Tip O'Neill
    October 31, 2011

    There’s an election coming up, and a healthy vote for Green candidates might be persuasive. 

  6. Pretty Funny
    October 31, 2011

    That’s pretty funny, and pretty cool! 351 x $1000! You guys are so generous! Look at all the good the city can do with that money you so graciously donated! $351,000 will go a long way toward paying back the social injustices you so vociferously protest. Hurray for you!

    • juan
      October 31, 2011

      Naw, just don’t pay the fine and choose jail instead.
      3 hots and a cot at City expense!
      What does it cost to house a prisoner nowadays?

  7. John
    October 31, 2011

    I will not be supporting or voting for ANY of the current city council members who are voting against the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Tucson to peacefully assemble to redress their grievances.  I hope many Tucson citizens will do the same.  

  8. Byron
    October 31, 2011

    For George, what do you want them to do – become revolutionaries? Peaceful protest is about the only tactic people have to express their disgust with the class warfare being waged on them by the financial elites. I stand with the Occupy protesters and implore the Council to get involved and stop this terrible harassment.

    • JUST LIKE GREECE
      October 31, 2011

      I stand by the 50% who are toting ALL the water for those who do not participate.

      This %99- 1% B.S. is just that…A cute marketing catch phrase that does not even begin to examine who REALLY should be getting tired and just bothered by the fleabaggers.

      • leftfield
        October 31, 2011

        Wait a minute – I thought the mantra was “cut taxes”?  If so, then how and why complain when taxes are cut low enough that some people don’t owe any taxes?  By your logic, if they are not paying taxes, doesn’t that make them “job creators”?    Unless, that is, the real intent is to allow the wealthy to avoid taxes, while increasing the tax burden on everyone else. 

  9. terese dudas
    October 31, 2011

    Bottom line, kids, is that the Occupiers are breaking our laws – their laws too.   If they can get away with it,  the rest of society should be able to get away with breaking laws they don’t agree with.  Is this what the Occupiers really want – Anarchy?  There ARE legal avenues of redress available; use them not lawlessness. 

    • Tip O'Neill
      October 31, 2011

      > There ARE legal avenues of redress available; use them not lawlessness. 

      Yes – ” the right of the people peaceably to assemble” comes to mind. 

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        “the right to peaceably assemble” does not allow you to break the law. Local governments are completely within their rights as determined by the US Supreme Court to require normal permit fees for use of certain areas. No one is denying the protestors (even if they do not have a clear grievance) their right to assemble, but they do need to follow the laws, just like every other group.

      • Tip O'Neill
        October 31, 2011

        I think we will soon see what the ACLU thinks about that 🙂

      • The Baron
        October 31, 2011

        “A statute does not trump the Constitution” – People v. Ortiz (1995)  32 Cal.App.4th at p. 292, fn. 2
        This is a California state decision, but it makes the point perfectly.  A city council may craft all the civil violations it wishes to quash dissent, but they are meaningless in light of the right to peaceably assemble and protest guaranteed by the Constitution.  This is the only law one need cite or argument one need make in court as it is stare decesis, a.k.a. established case law.  A judge rules against it at their appellate peril.

      • The Truth
        October 31, 2011

        Everyone knows California laws do not count. Do your research before you post.

      • The Baron
        November 1, 2011

        Yes, as a matter of fact, case law counts in every state in the union and can be argued with full reciprocity anywhere in the United States.  My research is solid, unlike your wishful thinking.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        Nope, still say California laws do not count. You much research further, sorry.

      • tunkashila
        November 6, 2011

        The term is “legal reciprocity”-look it up and learn something.  Logic is not contained by state borders.

    • The Baron
      October 31, 2011

      Once again, a Teabagger who whines about lawbreakers unless those who broke the law are rich…she misses the point that the rest of society IS breaking laws they don’t agree with.  Unfortunately, their crimes have real victims and consequences, unlike the “crime” of sleeping in a public park.
      The whole point of civil disobediance is to break petty laws in order to expose a wider injustice.  So long as rich men can defraud this nation and its citizens (i.e. crimes with real victims) without fear of prosecution, anarchy is what we already have.  Had the “legal avenues of redress available” done their jobs in the first place and arrested the wrongdoers on Wall Street, the movement would not be occupying the park to break such a meaningless curfew “law” in the first place. 

      • Long John
        October 31, 2011

        Baron, I do not think it is your responsibility to interpret and classify laws as meaningful or meaningless.

      • The Baron
        October 31, 2011

        Certainly not-fortunately, it’s already been done for me through legal codes which make different classifications for levels of lawbreaking, ranging from civil to criminal.  Since fraud and theft are criminal infractions and curfew-breaking is a civil offense, it is clear to see that it is contradictory and immoral to enforce civil offenses against protestors but not charge bankers like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein or politicians like Henry Paulsen or Tim Geithner with the infinitely worse crimes they stand accused of.  Until arrests and prosecutions of these people and their ilk are undertaken, our legal system has no more legitimacy than a Soviet kangaroo court.

      • The Truth
        October 31, 2011

        I’ll try that logic next time I get a speeding ticket. If those people you listed used the park after hours they too would be cited by TPD, and that’s all there is to it.

      • The Baron
        November 1, 2011

        Of course they’re being cited by TPD. The point is that the system itself carries no legitimacy when it refuses to apply the law equally, a point apparently beyond your comprehension. I don’t expect judges to employ logic or compassion, regardless of their professional obligation to do so. Nevertheless, it would be a refreshing change.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        What part of ‘that’s all ther is to it’ is hard to understand?

      • tunkashila
        November 3, 2011

        Probably the same part you found hard to spell.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        That is all there is to it. You break the law, you deal with the penalty. If not, do you really care about your cause? Don’t be so scared.

      • Pamela Powers
        November 4, 2011

        You break the law, you deal with the penalty.

        The problem is that this rule of yours is not applied to corporate people like Halliburton, Bank of America, CHASE, Citibank, Black Water, Goldman Sachs, BP, Exxon, etc. Defense contractors, in particular, break the rules all the time, get a slap-on-the-wrist fine, and get more government contracts. Financial institutions gamble with our pensions, and the government bails them out when they lose their (our) shirts. Help for underwater homeowners? Nah. Help for the homeless? Nah. Medication for the sick? Nah. Community centers and swimming pools to keep youth out of trouble? Nah. That’s what private prisons are for. Get a grip.

  10. Jim Hannley
    October 31, 2011

    Thank you for posting the updated, Pamela. Thanks also to Carolyn who posted the KUAT TV interview with Kaycee and Craig. It is very interesting to read the posts here, especially those by LJ and others. Street protests are part and parcel of the political process which does indeed lead to significant change; witness Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Greece. This phenomena occurring in USA is unusual because of the ideology expressed by LJ. This has been perpetuated by the oligarchy for decades. The logical failing of this is that workers do not control their destiny in capitalist economies. The nine percent of the population out of work cannot be blamed upon the unemployed themselves; the system is failing them. Capitalism at its current stage of development does not foster widespread self-employment. Jobs must be created with capital investment. The state of the current economy is that enormous sums of capital have been sequestered by the 1% who have no motivation to create jobs by adding more productive capacity while they have excess productive capacity. The service sector cannot expand and create jobs if it has excess capacity as well. That’s why only large scale projects which are labor intensive can break this cycle. Only Government has the organizational and planning capability to create these large scale projects. But it cannot do that without capital. It has the moral authority and the economic necessity to tax the 1% to have the capital necessary for investment in large scale projects to employ millions of the unemployed. With millions of people returning to the workforce consumer demand for products and services increases substantially and excess capacity for goods and services is reduced and the demand for labor in the private sector is increased. I am self-employed as a registered investment advisor. I support the 99% movement because the cause is just and the cause is right.

    • JUST LIKE GREECE
      October 31, 2011

      The fact that you believe Government (at any level) can do “the planning” to create large scale projects means you either think a central committee and 5 year plan is best, or don’t undertsnad government cannot arrange a two car parade. 

      I will take you at your word about the investment advisor bona fides; So I give you more credit than to use the”1%” media- generated catch phrase- Frankly it is below an investment advisor in my opinion.
      I want your take on the REAL bread and circus’ developing…The REAL significant precentages- 50/50% – The 50% that contribute Vs. the 50% that do not. The fact that “government” cannot even see it’s way clear in ‘super committee” to cut or restraint even 10% of the amount that realistically needs to be done.  

    • Long John
      October 31, 2011

      Jim you make a solid point. I do have some areas I do not agree on. Workers might not control their entire financial destiny, but that isn’t what truely matters. If your sense of happiness and self worth is directly related to your job or paycheck, you are chasing an empty dream. A person controls their own destiny, I am seeing greed from corporations and a different type of greed from the protestors. Now maybe if the protest had more people like you, that can put together thoughts and express them, we might actually see something come of this. I also cannot get pass people not shouldering some (or most) of the blame for their current situation, be it good or bad. Where you find yourself is mostly due to the choices you make. I agree that large scale projects and new jobs would be great…..now if we could just find people willing to put in an honest day’s work and not too good for manual labor we might be on to something. Not everyone is going to be the CEO, not everyone is going to work their dream job. I really do not get the impression that most protestors are not willing to work for what they want.

      It is sad to see people so misguided that they are protesting in one of the least corporate cities in America. They might have legitimate issues like you stated, but is our City really to best place to protest corporations.

      • leftfield
        November 1, 2011

        “I really do not get the impression that most protestors are not willing to work for what they want.”

        So, the problem is not that there is 9% unemployment with millions out of work (which actually is probably closer to 16%)?  The problem is that beginning somewhere in 2008 or so, the nation experienced an unprecedented epidemic of acute laziness? 

      • The Truth
        November 1, 2011

        I think the percentage is probably closer to 35-42% (if we are going to make up facts, lets go for it).

        Housing boom/bust had a lot to do with those figures. Which is people looking for things that are beyond their means. When reality sets in, they had to face the fact that they did not use their best judgement….taken advantage of, sure…didn’t use good common sense, sure. Is it a corporation’s or bank’s responsibility to teach you personal finance?

        Large numbers of the unemployed are contractors, developers, construction industry…people that were being very overpaid during the boom, so now they are dealing with the bust. Don’t feel sorry for them at all.

        If a corporation lays off workers or goes out of business, what would you like to happen? A person has to find another job, not easy sometimes, but that’s how it is.

      • The Baron
        November 2, 2011

        Well, if that corporation lays off workers to send their jobs overseas, then I’d like that company to be penalized via the tax code.  You know, the way they’re supposed to be but which is never enforced.  And if that company goes out of business, then the least they can do is pay severance and provide benefits for six months to a year.  You know, like companies used to do because it was the right thing but which got pushed to the wayside when profit became more important than doing right by the people who worked for you.  And if they are unable to do so, then there should be a national fund to cover said workers, (perhaps funded by payroll contribution), one which includes job retraining or schooling.  That way there’s no worry about usurous loan rates as the schools get their cash up front and the students get the necessary education to find work in another field.  That’s what I’d like to see.

      • The Truth
        November 2, 2011

        I do not know which part of the tax code you are referring to? I remember that is something about the percentage of your workforce and where they are located in determining certain filing requirements, but I do not remember anything about a penalty?

        If a company goes under, I doubt they will continue to pay ex-employees or continue to pay their insurance coverage. I think our welfare/unemployment proivdes the safety net until you find a new job, I think the insurance carrier themselves are required to provide the option of the ex-employee to continue their coverage directly with the insurance company through COBRA.

      • The Baron
        November 2, 2011

        Yes, that is the current system, and having experienced it firsthand, I can safely state that COBRA is a joke. Essentially, it requires the worker to assume full payment of premiums, something far outside the realm of possibility for most people who’ve lost a job due to more pressing matters like rent, food and utilities.

        Also, welfare and unemployment, while helpful, are a drop in the bucket. And since the newly unemployed person paid into that system while working their job, they have every right to that money-it’s not a ripoff or an entitlement.

        You are correct that there are no current penalties for domestic corporations who outsource overseas-I was mistaken. But as a wise man once said, “If it ain’t true, it oughtta be.” Might make them think twice about such an unfriendly gesture towards the nation that made them possible. Add that point to my list of what should be done above.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        Ok, so again. I think we have these systems in place now. Would you like the insurance carriers to waive fees for the unemployed? Would you like the government to paid 100% of what a person made before they were unemployed? Would you like everyone to be wards of the state…..I think that is how it works in North Korea, maybe even Canada…but they are about the same anyway.

      • tunkashila
        November 3, 2011

        Yes, systems are in place.  If they were working, there wouldn’t be a problem, now would there? 
        Waiving fees for the unemployed sounds like a good idea.  And as long as the govt. is obviously in the business of subsidizing financial CEOs’ retirement funds through TARP, why not pay the unemployed 100% of their former salaries until they’re back on their feet? 
        Finally, having been to both Koreas and Canada, it’s obvious you know nothing of either society.  However many citizens may be wards of the state, at least the effort is made to care for them.  Sounds better than leaving them to die, which is what our system has bred.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        Yes, systems are in place.

        Yes, there is no problem.

        Thank you, time to pack up the tent and move along.

      • leftfield
        November 3, 2011

        “Is it a corporation’s or bank’s responsibility to teach you personal finance?”

        Lenders do have responsibilities to borrowers (see Truth in Lending Act).  That aside, let me turn the question around and ask you, Do corporations and/or banks have any responsibility to behave in a moral manner, or at least a manner that is non-injurious to society in general?  Or, is their only responsibility to return profit to shareholders? 

        You see, it seems to me that the right of wing are very big about personal responsibility, but not so much on corporate responsibility.  Blame always seems to flow downhill in the right wing world.

      • The Truth
        November 3, 2011

        I do not look to someone else for my thoughts, right/left mean nothing to me. Think for yourself, putting yourself on some imanginary team is sad.

        The way you phrase your question means you already know what a corporation’s responsibility is.

        My exact point is ‘truth in lending’ means you present facts and allow the individual to make an informed decision. You make your own decisions and deal with what happens.

      • leftfield
        November 6, 2011

        “My exact point is ‘truth in lending’ means you present facts and allow the individual to make an informed decision.”

        Which facts?  The fact that the broker will get a bonus for each loan regardless of the qualifications of the borrower?  The fact that the bank doesn’t care whether you are qualifed to borrow X dollars because they are going to collect the signing fees and sell the loan the very next day?  The fact that the loan experts know very well there’s not a chance in a million that you can repay this loan, but “what the heck”, we’ll make money and it will be somebody else’s problem tomorrow when you can’t pay?  The fact that the final holders of the CDO’s were repaid dollar-for-dollar by the rest of us?  The fact that, in the end, the only people who lost out on the deal were the same people you blame for the entire scheme in the first place – the (former) home owner?  

        Your brand of capitalism is nothing more than a glorified, complicated, yet legalized, pyramid scheme.  

  11. Tip O'Neill
    October 31, 2011

    >The fact that you believe Government (at any level) can do “the planning” to create large scale projects means you either think a central committee and 5 year plan is best, or don’t undertsnad government cannot arrange a two car parade. 

    I’ll try to remember that next time I’m cruising down interstate 10 using the Internet to explain that the Apollo moon landings were faked  

  12. Mark in Sandy Eggo
    October 31, 2011

    Overheard this weekend – UC San Diego students hiking in a local mountain.
    Student 1: My major is English.  I have no idea what I would do in my life, but I like reading and talking about books.
    Student 2: Oh, I took an English course from Professor XYZ.
    Student 1: Is he easy?
    This student is consuming $20,000 a year of either her parents money (or far too easy to get student loans).  In five years, she will be at a protest demanding that someone else pay off her $100,000 of debt, because she cannot get a job.  Students that go to school and get worthless degrees and don’t work hard are irresponsible.  Also irresponsible are all the administrators, counselors, and instructors that teach subjects that will never lead to gainful post-college employment.  

    • leftfield
      October 31, 2011

      “subjects that will never lead to gainful post-college employment.”

      Is an education only about learning a skill that makes one employable?  Once again, the right wing’s favorite tactic, blaming the victim, is exposed.  

      Is it irresponsible that private, for-profit, schools, which represent about 12% of all the students in post-HS studies, generate 42% of the defaulted-upon loans?  Does this put them in the same category as “all the administrators, counselors, and instructors that teach subjects that will never lead to gainful post-college employment”?  Apparently not according to your “handlers”, because they are blocking any attempts at reform of the industry.  I guess they’re just “good businessmen seizing an opportunity”.  

      • Mark
        November 1, 2011

        So, the college student that borrows $100,000 to explore herself intellectually is a victim, eh?  Unless you are independently wealthy, a responsible person should make sure that the investment that is being made is worthwhile.  If it does not lead to gainful employment, than it is just expensive entertainment.
        On the topic on how for-profits private colleges are so much worse in terms of defaulted student loans — I believe that this is a lagging indicator.  In the past decade, the cost of public universities have skyrocketed.  This will lead to larger student loans, and more defaults. 
        My handlers?  How about this for reform.  Required colleges provide a truth in advertising showing the graduation rates, percent of graduates that are employed in their field, and the salaries of these graduates.  How about another reform for higher education.  How about removing the focus on Profs for research.  Do we as a society really need a 400,000th journal article on Nitche?  Significantly lower the focus on publishing, and make the profs teach more classes, and LAY OFF the worst TEACHERS of the bunch – not just last in first out.
        So Leftfield, what are your ideas for Higher Education Reform?

      • JUST LIKE GREECE
        November 1, 2011

        When TUSD/Sunnyside knock out students that can’t get into Pima CC for want of an objective test score above a 7th grader (thats 13 year old, folks)-

        Then who exactly is to blame? Not the victim of course. As soon as a student is left to their own devises as far as course selection, and they are encouraged to take as many MAS classes as possible by their adult (idiot) council…
        AND follow this extremely wise idea that education is NOT ONLY about “learning a skill that makes one employable”    These victims end up with NEITHER an education OR employment AND the adults who promoted this travesty should be horsewhipped.

    • Tip O'Neill
      October 31, 2011

      Agreed – kill the Lawyers 🙂

    • The Truth
      October 31, 2011

      Mark, very good point.

      Overheard this weekend in Tucson….
      ….well, I couldn’t tell you. Sorry, I don’t speak spanish.

  13. aherodias
    November 5, 2011

    I’d like to reframe the conversation to address the issues that seem to concern Long John, Truth, et al. the most, i.e. personal responsibility.I believe the fundamental question in American society today is whether all individuals are to be left entirely to their own devices (BTW, that’s the correct spelling) or if we are mutually interdependent. On the personal level, this means: should we have compassion for the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the disabled? If you see a person on the street who is obviously in need, do you tell him/her “Get a job!” or do you make an effort, regardless of how small, to help? Ron Paul’s’ idea is “Let ‘em croak.” Is that yours?From my perspective, nobody in this society is self-reliant. To begin with, everything you create or manufacture is subsidized to a large extent by the infrastructure provided by government and paid for by your and my taxes. If you use water for your project, it is supplied by a municipal or state water system. The waste you create is taken away by collectors paid in a similar fashion. As has been pointed out already, if you need to ship a product or have one shipped to you, none of it would be possible without roads bought with public money. As Elizabeth Warren noted, if you hire workers, they have been educated in a public school system.These rules apply even to people we consider to be true innovators, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, who never could have made it without the help of all those government-planned and –operated facilities. And even their intellectual property was not possible without the work of countless individuals who came before them.The concept of “self-made” individuals arises from the American myth that one can achieve greatness, even great wealth, by simply applying one’s native talents with assiduous hard work and dedication. The idea is promoted in this country that you, too, can rise above the level you were born into. Unfortunately, many, many sociological studies have proven that only a tiny fraction of people are able to move upward out of their socioeconomic class.  On the flip side, it’s really hard to fail if you are born into wealth. Look at bozos like George W.  Bush for example.Every member of the United States Supreme Court went to an Ivy League university, primarily Harvard and Yale. What are your chances of similar achievement if you are a U of Arizona grad?If you believe that government is incapable of planning and executing important projects, you should stop going to the library; don ‘t call the police when you are assaulted or the fire department when your house is on fire.  If you think our country needs protection against various enemies, perhaps you should hire a private army, navy and air force to do the job that presumably our national armed forces are incapable of doing.But back to the original point: If you are in trouble – unemployed, hungry, perhaps foreclosed and homeless – you can always come to me, and many of the Occupy Tucson crowd, for assistance. No questions asked, no qualifications, no contracts to sign,Would you do the same for us?

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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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