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View Diary: Slave Labor, ALEC, Koch and their Conservative Agenda identified and exposed... (80 comments)

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    Glen The Plumber, majcmb1, alizard, emal, antirove, walkshills, Spoc42, artebella, nosleep4u, cotterperson, GrumpyOldGeek, CJnyc, hopeful human, yet another liberal, DebtorsPrison, eeff, Bluerall, elwior, rhubarb, MattYellingAtTheMoon, alguien, zett, karmsy, opinionated, kevinpdx, plankbob, where4art, Danno11, lcrp, frisco, BarackStarObama, alyosha, rk2, on the cusp, Jean Sloan, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, rage, kdrivel, zukesgirl64, RhodaA, MrFrost, carpunder, G2geek, bnasley, mswsm, jmknapp, Jim R, litoralis, fiddlingnero, deha, ballerina X, sceptical observer, panicbean, NoisyGong, reflectionsv37, bwren, La Gitane, JekyllnHyde, Lefty Coaster, tonyahky, blueoasis, Fishgrease, bronte17, AgavePup, worldlotus, ladypockt, concernedamerican, tommymet, KateCrashes, peachcreek, Involuntary Exile, Matt Z, Esjaydee, NBBooks, shaggies2009, djrez, ctsteve, millwood, marina, rebel ga, Daily Activist, ozsea1, drawingporno, Jeff Y, PeteZerria, klingman, vahana, Abra Crabcakeya, Randtntx, xanthippe2, northsylvania, jnhobbs, DRo, cyeko, Nebraskablue, fallina7, Floande, MartyM, glendaw271, The Lone Apple, frisbee, cama2008, magnetics, LillithMc, Hector Solon, norwood, FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph, imokyrok, parse this, JonBarleycorn, cybrestrike, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, CroneWit, targetdemographic, Mayfly, banger, Tommymac, Limelite, flavor411, googie, lol chikinburd, bleedingheartliberal218, Cedwyn, kmbaya, liz dexic, Oldowan, HCKAD, kafkananda, SingerInTheChoir, mungley, metiche, bakeneko, TexasLefty, Ken in MN, Mighty Ike, timethief, zerelda, Horace Boothroyd III, Arishia, dle2GA, Quicksilver2723, yaque, MadMs, Neon Mama, rmx2630, Oh Mary Oh

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

    by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 03:46:28 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for all your great work (33+ / 0-)

      and continued perseverance to get the story out to everyone.

      I seem to remember a piece - perhaps a diary here - around 2005 or so that stated that many of the assorted manufactured goods for military for the Iraq conflict was supplied by prison labor out of the Southeast, particularly Florida.

      At the time it seemed just another insidious piece of the puzzle but it has taken a long time to find a serious place for it in the constellation of afflictions we face from these predators.

      The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

      by walkshills on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 05:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great diary (8+ / 0-)

       Informative and well researched.  Seems like a lot of the injustice done to man stems from the mighty dollar and the pursuit of cheap labor.

      Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by Ming117 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:17:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks and you are so right about the dollar - (12+ / 0-)

        the oil and other resources combined.  I often wonder why it is so important for those with most of the wealth in this country to want to hold on to it?  I mean, they nor their families will ever be able to spend it all, yet they'll ignore the plight of others in their communities where they have the ability to ease that suffering.  Go figure!

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:35:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ignoring the suffering would be an (9+ / 0-)

          improvement; they seem to delight in it.

          "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

          by ahumbleopinion on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:56:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They don't do it for the money. (9+ / 0-)

          They do it for the power over people it gives them.  The money is just a marker to indicate whether the power is going up or down.

          Humans are a peculiar species in that they kill their own kind.  However, some have discovered that killing what you don't eat is both pointlessly terminal (no ongoing satisfaction) and liable to being avenged (personally hazardous).  The response as a result of these observations is human husbandry, formerly known as slavery or, after the adoption of the Constitution, deprivation of rights under law.  
          Deprivation of rights, which is what every criminal act basically is, is now no longer legal, except as a response to criminal acts, after they have been proved against a person through due process.  In other words, slavery is legal as a form of punishment.

          Deprivation of rights under law reverberates throughout American culture.  We not only have the recent example of a resurrection in DADT, but involuntary servitude by inoffensive people persists in the military draft (waiting to be activated at any time).  And then there's the fact that, under the law, children are the property of their parents until their emancipation at age 18.  Deprivation of rights under law is a hard thing to surrender.  That it flourishes in the prison industry is not a surprise.  Neither should it be a surprise that deprivation under cover of law (most commonly in the interest of national security) is also flourishing.  Respect for human rights has always come in as a poor second even to respect for property rights.  Had to, otherwise slavery (people being owned as property) could not have been justified.  For many people, the rule of law means making deprivation of rights (crime) legal.

          Personally, I am less concerned about the effect of incarceration and slave labor on the victims than I am about what it does to the perpetrators of this system.  While it may not harden these people to the plight of their own kind, keeping slaves is debilitating and morally corrupting to the people who do it.  By depriving some humans of their rights under law, they are degrading the law itself and, to put it simply, engaging in abuse and torture, behavior that places them squarely in the category of predators and parasites, only worse because they are doing it to their own kind.

          IMHO, we pay too much attention to life and death in this country and not enough attention to guaranteeing the necessities of living and preventing deprivation.  It's a bit difficult to argue that people convicted of crime should not be deprived when the vast majority of the population exists in a state of deprivation (deprived of food, water, shelter, health, peace of mind) under the rubric that there shall be "no free lunch."

          You could say that equality is the great deceiver.  For people into exercising power over other people, equality is the enemy, but only because it's a principle that prompts people to demand that their rights be respected.  However, what the proponents of power over people have discovered is that it is quite possible to deprive almost all people equally.  The real opponent of power over people is human rights and human rights have never been foremost in the American agenda.  Indeed, Americans have long been put off insisting on human rights being respected (not just not restricted as the Constitution demands) by the sop of property rights.  Getting to have exclusive use of things is supposed to distract us from the fact that our human rights are being disrespected and abused left and right.  That's why we are an "ownership society."  Remember that phrase?  It's what Dubya announced in 2001.

          It's not unusual that part of a phrase almost seems designed to distract or even negate the other part.  Indeed, just as in "equal rights" the equal tends to cancel the rights, in the phrase "national socialism" not only is the social nature of humans degraded, but the nation, an immaterial and impersonal figment of the imagination, is elevated to a position of supreme importance in whose interest the rights of natural persons are effectively wiped out.  We have all been equally subordinated (or enslaved) by the rule of law to an imaginary secular being.  It's happened before, during the last century in Germany.  When the rule of law is used to subjugate humans, it's a more implacable tyrant, if only because immortal, than any flesh and blood ruler whose head can be offed.

          "How do I dominate other humans without them knowing I'm doing it?  Let's pass a law."  

          The prison system is an obvious example of what's being surreptitiously on us all.

          "What you do to the least of these, you do to me."

          Men should not want to have earthly kingdoms.  Rotating the personnel and limiting their terms does not guarantee the effort to create kingdoms on earth won't be made.  It has always been Satan's aim and his minions are ever eager to comply.

          by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:01:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, the injustice done to man stems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, yaque

        from the urge to have power over people, to exercise control.  It is this impulse which conflicts with the desire to be free.  Enshrining that power in the law is a grand illusion or, if you will, deception.

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some who live among our society have the (6+ / 0-)

          notion that "being free" means they can do that which is personally appeasing and enriching to them.  If in accomplishing that other humans are oppressed or imprisoned - they adopt an attitude such as Boehners ("So be it!") response to the loss of more jobs.  As an ALEC Alumni, Boehner and his brethren truly act as if there is a class war today.  It really is an "Us versus THEM" atmosphere of war brought by the affluent against those of us they consider less equal, due to our lack of tremendous wealth, lack of influence and position within society.  Today the society we live within has totally different definitions of equality.  I say this because if you are wealthy those with similar wealth believe themselves your equal.  Those without such wealth are considered beneath them or a sub-class within society.  This sub-class composed of more than 95% of our society is looked down upon by the other 5% and considered to exist only to make their lives better through enrichment.

          This is part of the problem with their pursuit of acquisition of wealth, influence and power - not given to them by us, rather usurped and used against us by them.  This allows them to sleep nights after spending their days incarcerating more of us to make their bank accounts grow.  This exploitation of prisoners and prison labor performed for the upper echelon of Americans presents the wealthiest with a cash cow that continues to keep them at the top of the "food chain".

          Just as the corporate interests have used the Conservative principals as a means of furthering their own non-conservative agenda, Evangelical Christians have used conservatism to advance their agenda within society.  Conservative values, principals and goals have been used by both to oppress the rest of us that don't agree with their exploitation of the masses, or believe in "their" God.  This tug-o-war created within the Republican party of today between Evangelicals and Conservatives is driving our country down a treacherous road.  They wish to treat us as mere bystanders along the way - as if we're not really involved and thus the outcome matters less to us and is beneath their care or concern.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:32:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I Rec'd And Tipped You Bob n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 11:57:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ALEC Is A 501c (3) Charity So How Do They Get Away (9+ / 0-)

      With Political Activities!

      The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership association of state legislators and private sector policy advocates.


      The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

      Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

      Interesting fact:
      501(c)(3) charities can keep up to 75 per cent of donations as
      operating expenses. So be careful whom you donate money to!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:22:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Charities are corporations (artificial (6+ / 0-)

        man-made bodies).  As such, they are only taxed on their profits, regardless of their objectives.  If their objective is eleemosynary, then people who give (donors) these corporations money can avoid paying taxes on their income, if the charity has been properly certified.  Whatever the charities pay out in salaries is subject to being taxed as income by the recipients.  So, charities are simply tax avoidance schemes for rich people who don't like being dictated to.  Being taxed -- i.e. being obligated to contribute to the support of the state -- is an abomination to people who want to be in charge.  

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:30:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Think CArol Shea's Great Too! n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

          by rebel ga on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 09:56:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  When caught with dirty money --ASK (0+ / 0-)

          exactly which "charity" the guilty politician "donates" the ill gotten gains to?

          Especially when they know that the money was fraudulently stolen from say a Native American tribe, as in Abramoff et al,  why exactly would an HONEST candidate fail to simply "donate" the stolen money back to the known victim of the theft?

          Make them NAME the charity and then check if their "charity" is really just beginning at one of their other "homes."    

          Is their spouse or offspring or an in-law or other relative being employed by said "charity"?   Newspapers with staffs large enough to keep their eyes on this stuff --- are disappearing.   So we citizen journalists will have to web crawl ---- to name them and nail them.

          Eternal vigilance indeed.

          De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

          by Neon Mama on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 02:21:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your assessment of the 501(C)(3) tax codes (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, kafkananda, yaque, rebel ga, Neon Mama

        are accurate but they have found a way around that by declaring their organization is one of education and training - of lawmakers, but "training" none the less.  This use of semantics is important.  Take a moment and consider that just like ALEC claims they are "training" lawmakers in the way of politics - they use the same terminology to describe their exploitation of prisoners; "training" them to make their products and provide their services for the low wages they are willing to pay them.

        We hear daily, key phrases or words uttered by politicians to instill a belief of confidence within us for what they're doing.  The latest spoken many times over the past week or so is "unique capabilities" to describe why we went into Libya and had to lead the way in, due to our possession of such unique capabilities.  This use of terminology to give humans a "picture" to focus on, allows us to not focus on the actual acts that are being committed under the umbrella of such terminologies.

        With the expansion of criminal justice laws and prison populations, we were given the picture of public safety so we would be supportive of those efforts.  Who doesn't want to be safe?  So realizing this they beat us over the head with that kind of terminology for thirty years to increase prison populations, the need for privatization and corporate profits from doing so.  All along we carry this picture of the need to do this, due to our wish for "Public Safety".  If you If you voiced opposition to this, you were pointed out as Un-American and Un-Patriotic and probably a criminal yourself, all rolled into one.

        We have to get away from these pictures and reliance upon terminology they use to control us.  During the past twenty-plus years crime has dropped steadily in all categories - yet the pursuit of continued need for "public safety" has kept the cells full and allowed the imposition of more and more laws - that apply to us but not to those in the upper elite class.  Corporations violate the laws daily with impunity and no - or little - legal consequence.  This happens because they have the ear of lawmakers who work tirelessly to keep their supporters above the laws.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary And I Love Your Sig Line Bob! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks rebel ga! I believe in that concept as (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, kafkananda

        well.  If someone breaks the law seriously enough to warrant imprisonment, it should be our civic duty to change their behavior, not put them in a pool of never ending imprisonment that is exploited for profit.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:52:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or that puts them into a cycle of resentment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neon Mama

          and hatred such that when they get out they are all the more likely to prey on the rest of us again.

          Awesome diary!

          I'm going to remember, with the fullest sense of irony, this most important question to ask of our representatives...

          Are you now, or were you in the past, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council?

          No one is outside the circle of the heart

          by kafkananda on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:53:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The key and most critical political question (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Mama, kafkananda

            of this new millennium.  Hopefully the demonstrating and protesting we have planned for ALEC's Spring Summit in Cincinnati on April 28th and 29th will be the beginning of their end as a detrimentally influential political presence in America.

            There is no real way to ascertain the number of laws they have written, proposed and gotten enacted in the past 30 years.  If any of them were as harsh and harmful to our society as the criminal justice laws and their recent SB 1070 fiasco, we can now know exactly who has been responsible for leading us down this terrible path.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hamlet: "Denmark's a prison." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 06:35:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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