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View Diary: Death of the American Dream is marked by the weakest social safety net & largest prison population (176 comments)

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  •  Democracy Now! did a great show on Prison labor (6+ / 0-)

    yesterday.   http://www.democracynow.org/...

    "The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor"

    New Exposé Tracks ALEC-Private Prison Industry Effort to Replace Unionized Workers with Prison Labor

    Many of the toughest sentencing laws responsible for the explosion of the U.S. prison population were drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which helps corporations write model legislation. Now a new exposé reveals ALEC has paved the way for states and corporations to replace unionized workers with prison labor. We speak with Mike Elk, contributing labor reporter at The Nation magazine. He says ALEC and private prison companies "put a mass amount of people in jail, and then they created a situation where they could exploit that." Elk notes that in 2005 more than 14 million pounds of beef infected with rat feces processed by inmates were not recalled, in order to avoid drawing attention to how many products are made by prison labor.

                         ...................................................

    AMY GOODMAN: And let me just remind people, ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    MIKE ELK: Yeah, ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, started passing bills in individual states to privatize prisons. So now, state—there’s prison companies that could make money by keeping people in prisons. So then ALEC—what they did after that was they got states to pass tougher drug laws, tougher laws that would put prisoners away for a long time. In fact, one of the first bills introduced in 1995, by then-Wisconsin State Representative Scott Walker, was an ALEC bill, where he cited ALEC statistics, and he was an ALEC member, where he drew his inspiration. So they put a mass amount of people in jail, and then they created a situation where they could exploit that.
    And now what we’re seeing is the incredible rise of prison labor, where you have prisoners making as much as 20 cents an hour, making everything from the electronic components in guided missiles, that are being used in Libya, to breaded chicken patties that your children are eating at school, to, in fact, maybe even these office chairs we’re sitting in now. We have over 100,000 prisoners employed, working for private corporations. And before the 1990s and ALEC, this did not occur in this country.

    (emphasis mine)

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Sat Aug 06, 2011 at 12:15:40 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  there is a Democratic version of ALEC (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, xynz, MsGrin, Mike Taylor, cpresley

      within the halls of Congress, something even the Koch brothers never tried.

      And make no mistake about the role of Third Way.Third Way runs the policy apparatus of the Democratic Party. In Congress, staffers attend regular Third Way policy briefings, where the group hands out pre-packaged legislative amendments in legal form, generic press releases, polling around those policy ideas, and talking points.It’s a soup-to-nuts policy apparatus.
      . . .

      The group has enormous juice. On the Congressional side, it has six honorary Senate co-Chairs, and seven House-side co-Chairs. Jim Clyburn, a co-Chair, is in the House Democratic leadership. Two current cabinet members are former co-Chairs. Steny Hoyer, the House minority whip, held regular briefings for the freshmen member staff in the last Congress.

      . . .

      Finally, most of the Board members are from the FIRE Sector (Wall Street and real estate), including the head of equity trading for Goldman Sachs and one of the heads of investment banking for Morgan Stanley.

      What the Naked Capitalism article does not mention is that theThird Way" Foundation is a front for the Democratic Leadership Counciland that its purpose is to capture corporate and Forbes 400 donations in exchange for neoliberal domestic policy and neoconservative foreign policy.

      If you don't own a private jet, the DLC is not your friend. But it may be even more instrumental in the end of the American Dream than the Koch brothers ever dreamed of being.

      Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Sat Aug 06, 2011 at 03:45:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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