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Many over the past few months have said more than once, "Next they'll be trying to bring back Debtor's Prisons."  Well as I answered then, many states have done just that due to lobbying by financial, investing and loan companies and corporations.

Wednesday's Wall Street Journal had this article titled: "Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition ."

"More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can't or won't pay to be jailed. Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal of filings in those counties. Nationwide figures aren't known because many courts don't keep track of warrants by alleged offense. In interviews, 20 judges across the nation said the number of borrowers threatened with arrest in their courtrooms has surged since the financial crisis began."

The Federal Trade Commission has become involved in this return to debtor's prisons and when asked to comment on the subject:

"An FTC spokesman declined to comment on whether the inquiry has led to formal investigations by the agency, which oversees the debt-collection industry and enforces a U.S. law that restricts how borrowers can be pursued for debts.

So here we are once again with the government agency representing the people, looking the other way and issuing a series of "no comments" on the matter - as if it will go away on it's own.

As the article says, when an individual is arrested for failure to appear at court hearings about the debt(s) owed, warrants can be issued and the debtor arrested.  Any bond that is set for the "charge" is usually in the amount claimed to be owed by the finance company, loan company or bank.  Once the "bond" is met by the debtor (in cash) the money is immediately turned over to the claimant and the prisoner/debtor released.  This manner of using our courts to collect debts is so inefficient that it clogs the dockets with unnecessary debt cases.  Sheriff's also complain it causes needed personnel to be shifted from criminal cases to pursue warrants for owed debts.

All of this not only clogs law enforcement agencies and causes backlogs in the Courts, it also necessitates substantial expenses in court costs, prosecution expenses and manpower costs of issuing and attempting to serve warrants for bad debt.  The cost to the taxpayers is enormous.  We are paying for the pursuit of collecting bad debts brought into the courts by the corporations.  Any of the money collected through the issuance of the "bonds" or settlements going to reimburse the public for the costs involved with the recovery of their money?  I would presume the answer there is no.  When we consider that anyone arrested and held in jail for any amount of time costs the community for such incarceration, it is easy to see just how insidious this return to laws that were abolished more than a century ago are to not only the debtor, but also to the community that has to pay for prosecuting him/her on behalf of the owner of the debt.  This simply represents another way corporations are getting taxpayers to cover the costs of their using our governments for their personal needs and goals.

If it wasn't for the fact that the same financial institutions are responsible for issuing tens of thousands of unsecured loans that brought our economy to it's knees, maybe there would be some amount of sympathy for those holding the debt.  As it is I have no sympathy for them.  Loans are a gamble - just as investing is - and once you put your chips down, betting on making a profit and lose, there should be public bailout for your actions.  Corporations and loan companies know the job is dangerous when they take it.  To later want us to help them recover what they lost gambling with our money, is adding insult to injury.  How many of them toss us a few bucks when their gambles pay off? NOT!

Since debtor's prisons were outlawed by the federal - and most state systems - in 1833, debts have been considered civil matters to be handled in civil courts.  This new trend of using criminal action against debtors is only the first baby step in turning back the clock 175 years.  It benefits no one but the corporate interests pushing for this kind of debt system.  As the article I linked to above informs, many Republican and/or conservative states are the ones leading the way.  Here is a look at some of the model legislation and "resolutions" adopted or passed by ALEC's task forces involving wages and consumer debt:

Business and Entrepreneurship:

Business Ombudsman Act

Standards for Competitive Contracting

Competitive Contracting of Public Services Act

Uniform Photographic Records Act

Council on Efficient Government Act

Prohibition Against Regulation of Nutritional Information Dissemination

Economic Civil Rights Act

Business Exit Interview Act

Licensing and Certification Common Language Act

Resolution in Opposition to a Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Public-Private Fair Competition Act

Electronic Pay Choice Act

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Employment Policy and Regulatory Reforms:

At-Will Employment Act

Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act

Breach of Personal Information Notification Act

Omnibus Common Language Act

Civil Rights Act

Prevailing Wage Repeal Act

Employment Reference Immunity Act

Starting (Minimum) Wage Repeal Act

Full Employment Act

Professional Licensure and Certification Reform Act


Opposing Any Increase in the Starting Wage

Resolution on Occupational Licensing

Opposing Comparable Worth Legislation

Resolution opposing increases in minimum wage linked to the CPI

Opposing Employer-Paid Health Care Mandates

Urging Congress to Pass Legislation Requiring Expedited Waiver Procedures to States

Opposing Ergonomic Regulations Based on Unsound Science

Resolution Opposing Federal Mandates on Unemployment Insurance

Opposing Federal Regulation to Extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits to New Parents

Resolution on Criminal-Background Checks

Financial Services and Consumer Banking:

Access to Financial Services for Unbanked and Underbanked Consumers

Free Contract in Financing Act

Consumer Banking Act

Loan Originators Voluntary Registration Act

Credit Enhancement Loan Act

Nationwide Interstate Banking Act

Deferred Presentment Services Act

State Power to Regulate Lending Act

Expanded Consumer Choice in Financial Services Act

Title Pledge Act


Opposing Government-Imposed Caps or Elimination of ATM Fees

Urging Congress to Oppose Measures Designed to Impose Ceilings on Credit Card Rates

Supporting Insurance Commissioners’ Exclusive State Regulatory Authority over Variable Life Insurance and Variable Annuities

Urging Congress to Protect Our Uniform National Credit System

As the foregoing "few" topics and laws proposed by ALEC show us, they are all about deregulation and eliminating all government interference with wages, debts, corporate banking and other fees...issues and subject important to ALEC's corporate membership and donor base.  Granted some of the issues presented appear to be beneficial to consumers...but we'll never know because when you click on the subject to expand it and see what ALEC's position is, we are told access to each page is unavailable to non-members.

Take a few minutes and peruse the Task Forces of ALEC here and click on the links to all nine of them.  You will not only be disgusted with some of the legislation they are proposing but will also not believe that all of these efforts are ongoing off of everyone's personal and political radars.  Multiply what is disclosed today at ALEC's site by the 30 years of influence they have wielded since Reagan was elected President and one begins to understand how we find our country in the state it's in currently.

Want to know what they think about wages, especially "living wage" proposals?  Check out this page from ALEC's site that provides:

· “Living Wage” laws, generally enacted as ordinances at the municipal or county levels, set hourly take-home pay above the federally defined poverty level.

· While such action is driven by good intentions, living wage laws are an inefficient and ineffective means of fighting poverty. According to a survey of 336 labor economists, all members of the American Economic Association, 75 percent of respondents said that a living wage would require employers to hire entry-level employees with greater skills and experience than current standards; since labor will cost more, employers will demand more efficiency and production from employees. In addition, only 7 percent of those responding agreed that the living wage is an efficient means of fighting poverty.

· Living Wage laws hurt low-skilled employees, the very group that supporters of the living wage portend to be helping. Even The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal workers’ rights organization, has sued the State of California in an attempt to avoid having to pay its own employees the state’s $4.25 per hour minimum wage. In its legal brief, ACORN said that the more it must pay each worker, the fewer workers it can hire.

· The arguments for the living wage are similar to those in favor of other wage laws. Commonly, the private sector is seen to be untrustworthy in the setting of wages because it is perceived that corporations will take advantage of low-skilled workers by paying them very little. However, in reality—and just like other wage laws—the living wage produces higher, not lower rates of unemployment among impoverished workers.

· Living wage ordinances generally apply to companies that receive government contracts, or subsidies such as those located in an “Enterprise” or “Empowerment” Zone. This means that not only are large corporations affected by these ordinances, but small businesses such as those that lease space from a city or county must also comply.

· Left-leaning organizations actively support the living wage campaign. Because living wage laws have thus far been enacted only on the local level, rather than in state legislatures, these organizations target specific municipalities or counties in an effort to circumvent the legislatures’ resistance to setting exorbitant wage laws that they know will hurt small businesses.

· Unions support the living wage too, but for the wrong reasons. Labor organizations such as AFSME and SEIU support the living wage because in so doing, they can thwart governments’ efforts to privatize public services. As evidenced in recent years, moving jobs out of the government and into the free market economy can have a significant and positive impact on the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these services. However, such movement into the market also threatens these unions’ hold on the labor pool. Sometimes unions even ask that living wage laws be preempted by union contracts if the union wage is the living wage, so that governments will be bound by union contracts.4

· State legislatures need the power to preempt local governments from enacting their own wage laws. Every state except for Alabama, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have at least one living wage ordinance put in place by municipal governing bodies.5 Without centering the ability to set wages at the state level, local governments will continue to be the targets of unions seeking to maintain full employment of their members while thwarting municipalities’ efforts to assist small businesses, and hindering efforts to more productively provide public services to taxpayers."

Hmmm...they don't much like Unions or others who support living, fair or prevailing wages - especially for public workers.  Wonder where they got that philosophy?  Let's glance at their Private Enterprises Board:

Koch Industries
Energy Future Holdings
Johnson & Johnson
American Bail Coalition
Kraft Foods
Coca-Cola Company
AT&T Services, Inc.
Pfizer Inc
Intuit, Inc.
ExxonMobil Corp.
Reynolds American Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

and the list goes on and on.

Now we start to get a better picture of how and why the fair wage and collective bargaining issues have begun to be exploited in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and several other states.  We've heard about the funding of Governor Walker of Wisconsin by Koch money.  Additional funding for Republican lawmakers there in Wisconsin and the other states.  All of that funding to ensure that the states where that money has been spread around, will put forth right to work legislation and implement other laws eliminating collective bargaining and Union-busting.

As my forthcoming books points out, the wage, imprisonment, slave labor and privatization issues are all supported and funded by the same collective cabal of conservative lawmakers, corporations and businesses belonging to ALEC and funded by the Koch-Dealers.  Lawmakers are like any other addict person; when it comes to money, power and influence and they're hooked and high on Koch.

In conclusion we know where the money comes from to fund these conservative pursuits for profits and attacks upon labor, unions, wages and now debtors.  We know what organization is being used - ALEC - and who their corporate and legislative members are (check out the members from your state at this link).  We also know they frequently use our government agencies, courts and judges in pursuit of their goals...the same governments they want to butt out of corporate business.

ALEC and those such as Charles and David Koch have been able to argue for smaller government while they continue to use it to fulfill their needs.  Maybe what they really want is for the government to serve their needs alone and forgo serving America's citizens...Oh, wait...isn't that the battle that's taking place now, all across our Midwest?

The fight's upon us, folks.  They have prison labor, foreign labor and now they want our labor at wages they're willing to pay foreigners and prisoners.  We join with Unions and fight now or work for less later...

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 07:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Earthship Koch and Community Spotlight.


Should government resources be used by debt holders and collectors to pursue collection of private debt(s)?

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  •  Tip Jar (206+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hopeful human, arendt, tardis10, Toon, timewarp, NMRed, whoknu, Involuntary Exile, JG in MD, marykk, dotsright, Bluerall, OldDragon, vcmvo2, opinionated, MadMs, sceptical observer, Alexandra Lynch, dark daze, rogereaton, Dobber, history first, bwintx, GrannyOPhilly, laserhaas, bnasley, Tookish, rosabw, XajaX, OHknighty, Dave925, GANJA, Ignacio Magaloni, prfb, Catte Nappe, norwood, rhp, CA TreeHugger, Neon Mama, mollyd, Shockwave, wiseacre, mamamedusa, lzachary, 1Watt Hermit, jay23, expatjourno, anafreeka, allie123, freesia, Statusquomustgo, bibble, yoduuuh do or do not, Kimberley, DaNang65, cassidy3, linkage, winter outhouse, walkshills, FrY10cK, DontTaseMeBro, super390, artebella, Iberian, RubDMC, OpherGopher, mkor7, PhilW, James Kresnik, Moderation, ilex, DixieDishrag, Bluescat1, JesseCW, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, wilderness voice, Lovo, roses, Blueiz, bachrock9, G2geek, terabytes, Ultranaut, worldlotus, dwahzon, Pinko Elephant, Words In Action, Th0rn, reflectionsv37, greengemini, pvmuse, dcreba, barbwires, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, anastasia p, limae, cama2008, mawazo, Betty Pinson, tonyahky, MartyM, the mom in the middle, Progressive Chick, irmaly, forrest, jethrock, joynow, LanceBoyle, MJ via Chicago, Tommymac, BarackStarObama, socalmonk, ratcityreprobate, jcrit, eru, Ducktape, DerAmi, eeff, frisbee, aoxomoxoa, gabriella, Thutmose V, bay of arizona, frisco, gosoxataboy, djMikulec, bablhous, berko, triv33, TBug, CitizenOfEarth, Noor B, muddy boots, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, aliasalias, Eric K, statsone, k9disc, litoralis, sboucher, Preston S, zerelda, SeaTurtle, IreGyre, HCKAD, supercereal, johnmorris, MouseNoMore, Cassandra Waites, temptxan, technomage, xanthippe2, too young to give up, millwood, commutergirl, oldcrow, Time Waits for no Woman, Uberbah, fhcec, talismanlangley, DEMonrat ankle biter, pickandshovel, jnhobbs, third Party please, Crazy like a fox, Picot verde, kerflooey, Debs2, JekyllnHyde, Weaselina, dionys1, vacantlook, elwior, Danjuma, Otteray Scribe, edtastic, Josiah Bartlett, pbearsailor, wader, Oaktown Girl, concernedamerican, kurt, wsexson, psnyder, rage, JRandomPoster, Funkygal, bluestatedem84, Naranjadia, vinylgirl, BlackQueen40, exsimo2, greenchiledem, boophus, NoMoreLies, peachcreek, metiche, alizard, coppercelt, geez53, Matt Z, kyril, Jean Sloan, OllieGarkey, i like bbq, Dube

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

    by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 07:18:12 AM PDT

  •  Wow. Question... (25+ / 0-)

    What happens to someone if they are arrested and can't/won't pay the bond?   Is there some kind of trial - or does the judge simply have the discretion to order whatever sentence it likes?

    •  I haven't found the answer to that question as (21+ / 0-)

      I've searched the net.  Seems to be uncharted territory that is being explored and probed by bill collection companies.  It is usually third party collectors that are behind this use of courts to recover debts.  This fact makes the use of our courts even more questionable as these collection agencies acquire these outstanding debts by buying them up for less than the amount owed.

      Collecting the full balance through court intervention boosts their bottom lines under those circumstances.  But as to your question, there appears to be no firm answer as to what happens to the debtor.  In every situation I've read up on, the cases are usually resolved by the posting of bonds - as stated in the article I cited.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 07:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then it is blackmail (10+ / 0-)

        Take your chances (and the prospect of jail would scare the shit out of me--and I have defaulted on debts due to unemployment) or figure out a way to pay up.  If you can (which I wouldn't be able to do if it happened to me).

        •  I have been repeatedly cheated; (11+ / 0-)

          I have defaulted on student loans due to unemployment and had them turned to debt collection agencies and I can tell you that just over the last 4 months they have violated agreements made by phone 3 times (by taking more than the amount agreed to or taking 2 hits a month instead of one) AND get this, I don't have anything in WRITING.

          I said specifically last time, I want something in writing first - - and I was told "the "computer" puts out a statement in the mail when the first payment is made, until then we don't send anything" - - that is verbatim what I was told.  I said that sounds like something a Nigerian money making scheme would say and he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about.

          But what can I do?  Tape my phone conversations?  I don't have the money to buy the equipment, write letters, fight - - I have to be applying for jobs.  I simply changed bank accounts and told them I will not sign up for anything until I get something in writing.

          "How can the United States be the Greatest Nation in the World and the only Super Power when its citizens hold bake sales to raise money to pay for life saving medical care?"

          by 4CasandChlo on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:08:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sadly everything is now designed to benefit the (11+ / 0-)

            few at the expense of the majority in the U.S.  I've had similar problems due to unemployment, etc.  I have called and volunteered to pay down the debt if they would refinance at a lower rate, etc.  They always say yes and once they have your money, they then give excuses like the person who agreed to that with our company was not authorized to make that agreement, etc.

            In the good ol' US of A it is now all about the money.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:49:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re: recording phone calls... (6+ / 0-)

            One easy possibility-- you can use google voice to record incoming phone calls.  It might be worth looking into if this is a recurring problem.  

            There are little adapters that you can buy that are supposed to connect a phone to a recorder (or computer) that has a microphone input.  I tried a few of them (for doing interviews); they all had a terrible buzzing, so I made my own for about $10 worth of parts.  

            The google voice option might be the simplest.   Simply telling them when they call "I'm going to record this call" might make things go a bit differently as well.

          •  Write a confirming letter (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drewfromct, elwior, kyril

            addressed to the individual with whom you spoke.

            Dear So-and-So -

            This will confirm that in a telephone conversation today [make sure you have dated the letter] at __ a.m./p.m., we agreed to the following terms for handling my debt in the amount of $___ to Moneyhungry Inc:

            1. Term 1
            2. Term 2
            3. Term 3

            Please notify me in writing if the above differs in any way from your understanding of our agreement.

            Send it certified mail, return receipt requested so you have a record that it was sent and received.

            "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

            by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 04:43:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  PS - I'm sure they won't give you an address to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, kyril

              send it to, but you can look up the address of their business office and address it to the person's name, Collections Dept, at that address. That's why I suggested a letter rather than email, because they probably won't give you an email address either, but at least if you do a letter you can get it sent to the right general vicinity.

              "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

              by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 04:46:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Corporations and collection agencies alike are (7+ / 0-)

          always looking for ways around the laws in order to get what they want from consumers.  Because they have such influential lobbyists, they get away with creating these new debtor's prison system.  They are going at it from state to state.  6 months ago there were only 3 states doing this.  Now as the article says, they are doing it in 1/3 of the states (16-17).  They're like parasites that won't be cured with anything less than firm laws to stop them.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:46:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is a huge difference (17+ / 0-)

      between can't pay and won't pay.  A saying about blood from a turnip comes to mind regarding those that can't pay their bills.  All the harrassment in the world from collection agencies isn't going to get a dime from someone who doesn't have the money...

      When do I get to vote on your marriage?

      by jarhead5536 on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:55:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in which case make them slaves. (21+ / 0-)

        The strategy being pursued there is to criminalize both the can't pay and the won't pay by calling it some kind of financial fraud to "knowingly" take on debt that one has no means of repaying or "could foresee" having no means of repaying.

        Lose you job and live off your credit card?  My oh my!

        In which case you get shipped off to some private prison to work for their profit.  All legal under the 13th Amendment too: the loophole big enough to sail a battleship through.

        Unless.  We.  Fight.  

      •  and some of the won't pay... (18+ / 0-)

        ... consists of cases such as "rent and food comes first."

        According to these monsters, "can't pay" is when you're homeless and starving first.   If then.

        •  That doesn't even matter to them...if you went to (5+ / 0-)

          court and said I don't have any money and go ahead and keep me in jail - at least I'll have food and a roof over my head - they won't care.  If the court can't get money out of you, then they hope the court keeps you and they move on to the next name on the list.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:53:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do You Know Of An Actual Case... (0+ / 0-)

            where the individual was put in jail for merely owing money?

            I have talked to more than one Texas Judge or Prosecutor that would not put a convicted felon in jail who was not making his court ordered restitution payments to their victims.  Their thinking was that if they violated them for non-payment and they went back to jail, the victim would be no better off.

            So, at least in Texas, it doesn't seem like a true debtor's prison is in our future.

            •  A personal tale...I was serving a sentence in (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              laserhaas, NoMoreLies, alizard, kyril, G2geek

              Florida in the 1980's.  The court had entered an order of restitution attached to a suspended sentence to be completed following my release.  During my incarceration the prison industry sent the prosecutor $10,000.00 to be applied to my restitution.

              No amount had been set as I was incarcerated and had no personal assets or way to pay, so the prosecutor could not accept the money.  He immediately filed for and got a hearing to set the amount of restitution to be paid.  I appeared with an attorney as did PRIDE (the prison corporation in Fl.).  The court asked how much and how frequently PRIDE could pay against any restitution ordered.

              PRIDE advised they would pay $5,000.00 every six months toward any ordered restitution.  Based upon that assurance from PRIDE, the court entered an order that I pay $45,000.00 in restitution, accepting the $10,000.00 already sent, reducing the amount to $35,000.00.

              PRIDE immediately defaulted on their bargain, paying only $500.00 every 6 months.  I was held in contempt and brought back to court from prison.  The court then amended the restitution order to require my payment of the balance of $35,000.00 within five years.  If I failed, the amount would increase to $72,000.00 and if I did not pay it off in five years, it would increase to $272,000.00.

              When I was released in 1990 I began paying what I could but by then the amount was at the $272,000.00 level and the court wanted me to pay $3,500.00 per month.  I couldn't pay that much and when I had an accident, broke my back and couldn't work, they violated my probation (suspended sentence).  In the end I was forced to leave the state or go back to prison for an inability to pay the restitution.  I was rearrested and sentenced to another five years in prison for that violation and a judgment entered against me for $272,000.00 that remains to this day.  I was sent back to prison in 2003 and it took me a year and a half to get an honest judge to issue an order releasing me and letting me go home.

              Since the accident that occurred in 1992, I have been totally disabled, cannot get SS or SS disability and regardless of my inability to pay - noted by the court in 2003 - I was returned to prison anyway.

              So, my answer to your query is yes, I know of a case where an offender was returned to prison for an inability to pay restitution.  They should never have set the amount based upon what a third party could pay, rather than what I could pay when released.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:16:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  WoW -- you should write the book (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, G2geek

                Cannot believe this; absolutely appalling!

                It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

                by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:26:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It Sounds LIke In Several Instances... (0+ / 0-)

                yo were not treated fairly.

                But my question was not did you know anyone who was incarcerated for not paying restitution, but instead was "Do you know of an actual case where the individual was put in jail for merely owing money?"

                If you were put in jail for not paying restitution, that implies that you were convicted of a crime (I am not wanting to debate the merits of any conviction).  Your Diary was about Debtors Prison coming to the USA and that is different than serving a legally imposed sentance for a crime other than oweing money.

                In some states, in order to receive a suspended sentance you must agree to the terms of restitution which in effect binds yuo in a contract that has consequences for both adhering to the contract and breaking it.

                Unfortunately, I am not aware of any jurisdiction that has finite and uniform rules on restitution in criminal cases.  And even if we did, only a small percent of people would agree with it.  Obviously, most victims would like complete restitution and most offenders would like none.  It is a situation that makes everyone unhappy.  And when you throw in incompetent and dishonest players in the system, judges, lawyers, witnesses, just makes the problem worse.

                I hope your situation improves, Good Luck.

                •  The point of the personal story is that regardless (0+ / 0-)

                  of well intentioned agreements,  a defendant has no real say in the matter where restitution or debt is concerned.  An agreement, loan, advance, etc.  are binding upon both parties and provide that default can be "cured" through any means "legally" available against the defaulter.

                  Over the years those involved in third party debt collection have lobbied for less restrictive laws and a lessening of regulation over the industry.  Today's diary on the creation - or return to - debtor prisons represents how those efforts by collectors have changed the face of the industry and now allow the use of our courts to enforce the terms of civil debt.  Bankruptcy laws - that were changed a few years back to increase the ability of such companies to collect debt and disallow those filing to keep much of their assets coming out of bankruptcy - are insufficient to debt collectors in the face of today's economy.

                  No doubt every debtor wishes they didn't have to repay a debt in today's economy, if such could be avoided.  Many that entered into contracts for loans, mortgages, vehicle and personal loans had no way of knowing that a collapse of our economy was upon the horizon when they agreed to such loans and the terms.

                  Once the U.S. began to suffer from the mortgage, retail, and loan fiasco's of 2008, everything changed - for debtor and those who held that debt.  When jobs disappeared, wages dropped, businesses closed down and the market imploded, the government quickly provided aid to the financial industry, banks, loan companies and mortgage providers.  There was no such aid immediately available or provided to those of us that owed the debt.

                  Instead of accepting the billions of tax dollars to offset their losses, forgiving the debts of their clients (and thus creating a clean slate for both), these corporations invested that money in acquiring other companies on the verge of collapse and refused to provide loans to the consumers who were in desperate need of help with their debt.

                  Just as the same financial outfits sought deregulation that caused the collapse, they sought even more deregulation of the debt industry - and changes in policy and procedure whereby they could pursue those they know have no ability to pay.  The use of courts was the last bastion of safety to debtors to protect them from the pursuit of debt recovery of many loans that were issued as predatory lending, sub-prime loans and payday loans.

                  Instead of using the existing laws that disallowed incarceration for indebtedness, debt collectors decided to pursue the debt they'd purchased by using the courts to incarcerate to help them recover the debt they'd purchased.  They know - as do the rest of us - that if forced to make a choice between jail and finding a way to pay the debt, we choose to pay the debt.  We will beg borrow or in some instances steal to pay the debt and maintain our freedom.

                  Today that is why this new tactic is necessary - by the debt collectors - because so many of us are without work, income or even roofs over our heads.  We simply do not have the ability to pay debts we acquired when we believed our jobs and the economy were secure enough to warrant going into debt.

                  In the end it all collapsed - after being built by those who profited off of handing out credit cards and loans as if they were candy - and we bailed those creditors, banks and financial investment firms out.  In return they took the money and rather than erase that debt, looked for ways to quite literally, get blood out of a turnip.

                  I provided my story to demonstrate that though all involved have an understanding and enter into an agreement concerning financial responsibility - in my case restitution - the future is unpredictable.  The circumstances in my case resulted in more imprisonment due to an inability to pay as a third party had agreed to pay.  Medical disability was no excuse to the court and in the end the victim did not receive that which he sought - instead the taxpayer bore the costs of my imprisonment, prosecution and legal costs.  I didn't have to pay for that, and neither did the victim that was owed the money - the taxpayers of Florida paid for it. And this is the point - the issue involving money was between two parties - and when the courts are used to pursue collection of debt, it is the taxpayers who wind up footing the bill, regardless of how the cases turn out.

                  Entry of a judgment, placement of a lien were the tools available to debt collectors prior to 2008.  The laws have not changed but the pursuit on behalf of corporations pursuing debt have.  It is no longer acceptable to merely secure a judgment and hope that someday in the future the debtor will find the ability to pay off the judgment.  Now they want to force the courts to use incarceration to enable debt collection immediately, now - in the face of few having an ability to pay.

                  A big, radical change in policy being allowed under the watchful eye of the Federal Trade Commission, that remains aloof with "no comment."

                  "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                  by Bob Sloan on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:52:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. They know that and that is why they (8+ / 0-)

        have begun going after debt in this manner.  They know you don't have it, but maybe your family will cough it up if you're in jail...that's the whole purpose of doing it like this.

        They should be ashamed after what has happened to our jobs, savings and retirement accounts since 2008.  They know there is less money out here and people are hurting just to feed their families, yet they are willing to put somebody in jail to get their way.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:52:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Eat, or pay up. Meds, or pay up. Rent, or pay up. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, kyril

        Charles Dickens would feel right at home here.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:06:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A couple of reports (22+ / 0-)

    I posted a diary on debtors in the courts when two reports were issued about it. Maybe it, and they, can answer some of our questions.

    Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

    by JG in MD on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:28:07 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Bob (25+ / 0-)

    for consistently lifting this rock to expose the disgusting insects below.  

    And I might note that, given it was St. Patrick's day this week, this reeks of the same primordial ooze that sent the starving to the poorhouse in the nineteenth century.  We sure haven't advanced as a species.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:43:03 AM PDT

    •  Welcome...I think we have advanced as a species (6+ / 0-)

      but we have developed a cancerous  "growth" that is attached to us.  In medical terms it's referred to as "Corporate Greed" and works the same as leeches attacking those wondering in the tropics.  They see us as a source of unlimited income and go after it from every angle - time after time - while paying for sharp ads on TV to tell us how they are looking out for us and our needs.

      The fully sad part is that they have managed to find ways to enlist our own governments to further their insatiable pursuit of money.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:58:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're a Company Nation (4+ / 0-)

        The government is the debt collector for corporate plutocrats.  JUST TRY to live without a credit card, they've made it impossible.  Just try to go to cash only - some places simply will not accept cash!  

        We are being enslaved, no question, just will we be able to tear the majority away from bread and circuses to see the Leviathan bearing down on them - slavering fangs bared - in time to save themselves?

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:10:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  uninsured + medical bill = (41+ / 0-)

    cya in court.
    They dont care if you are unable to pay.
    The local clerk told me that aprox 75% of the people they see are there for medical bills.
    I had to file bankruptcy it got so bad.
    The ohh your paying higher insurance to cover those not insured is BS, they are forcing them to pay with the threat of jailtime.

    •  Medical collection attorneys are some of the (8+ / 0-)

      worst of the worst.  I know from personal experience after I had a heart attack, quadruple bypass and could not work for a while.  My insurance paid and the out of pocket was so much I couldn't make a dent in it.  No matter how I talked and sent in what I could, in the end they went after my wife because in Indiana they can go after the spouse for your debt.  She was forced to take out a loan to pay the hospital bill in full or have her wages garnished by the collection attorney.

      Only in America...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:01:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seems you're saying they're not being jailed... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azubia, johnny wurster

    for not paying their debts, but for failing to appear in court concerning their debts.

    It sounds like two different reasons.

  •  I've been on the wrong end of this myself. (49+ / 0-)

    Years ago, I found myself overwhelmed with student loans and medical bills. I could pay one, but not both. I was not allowed to lower my payments or alternate monthly payments. Neither side cared about my predicament, nor was either side willing to negotiate.

    Harrassing phone calls ensued. One side or the other called every day, and they were not nice. The medical-bill people sent me a letter that stated that if I didn't pay them immediately I would be arrested. I thought it was an empty threat: since when was not having enough money a criminal offense in this country?

    A few weeks later there was a sheriff at my door with an arrest warrant. I was incredulous as he cuffed me and shoved me into the back of his cruiser: "Aren't there people being robbed or assaulted? Aren't there speeders needing to be chased? Drug dealers needing to be busted?" He told me he was just doing his job--oh, and while he was there, he was taking the opportunity to search my home and my car. It was surreal.

    Long story short: I got out of jail with a payment of ten percent (which cost me a week of electricity and almost my car); the judge said the officer had gone too far with the search, then she forced the medical-bill people to work with me. I'm still paying.

    The unique thing about America has always been that we can risk money and fail and come back and try again; that's what bankruptcy laws were made for. Debtor's prisons is NOT the way we do things here!

    If this happened to me today, would I still be jail? This is callous and greedy behavior, and completely unacceptable.

    Thank you for a great diary.

    There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

    by Phil T Duck on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:15:55 AM PDT

  •  Next step: hereditary debt bondage (46+ / 0-)

    You'll be arrested, confined, and then set to involuntary labor for your parents' debts. And since you'll be charged more for your lodging and food than the legal minimum you'll get for your labor, you'll die in debt and they'll arrest your kids.

    Yeah, I'm only kidding.  Until it happens.  The destination of right wing economics is not a "free market", it is feudalism. Oh that's too extreme? Show me evidence to prove me wrong.

    Apocalypse? I'd prefer Wax Lips.

    by dryfoo on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:30:08 AM PDT

  •  If Koch wants a prison for Debtor's - maybe (20+ / 0-)

    he could start by setting an example.

    The Robber Baron's, such as Goldman Sachs, Bain, Cerberus etc; should be subject to the incarceration of America's choice - for the money they bleed by schemes from US citizenry.

    It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

    by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:40:21 AM PDT

    •  Exactly. (17+ / 0-)

      I'm all for debtors prisons... for the CEOs of the corporations who don't pay their taxes, the corps who use offshore P O Boxes, and the wealthy who manipulate the political landscape for their own personal gain at the expense of hard working Americans.

      Too bad we can't tax all the money the Koch brothers spend to buy Congress at 95% then tax congresscritters 95% as corporate flunky income.

      Excellent diary. I agree it should stay up as long as possible. Perhaps TPTB can rescue it for others to see during the next week.

      Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

      by GrannyOPhilly on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:25:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree 100%. Put all the greedy bastages behind (3+ / 0-)

      bars...then if there are any cells left put their family in them - just as they want to do with those of us who have lost a loved one with a debt, and now come after us...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kudos on your maxim Mr. Sloan (0+ / 0-)

        The number 1 priority of incarceration should be training/education and consequentially Reformed!

        It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

        by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:27:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the kudos! :) n/t (0+ / 0-)

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:35:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why wouldn't a qui tam suit work against these (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            laserhaas, elwior

            people - surely someone out there can scare up evidence of fraud that could be brought in state court if not federal

            qui tam meaning we stand in the taxpayers shoes - cause we are taxpayers, after all

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:25:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know. You could be right if there is a (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, laserhaas, NoMoreLies, alizard

              waste of taxpayer dollars for these debt efforts.  I also imagine incarceration costs; medical, housing, booking, feeding etc. would count as a waste...then there's the cost of the use of the court, judge, clerk, etc.  Another waste of tax dollars to collect debts.  I have a qui tam attorney working on the wages issue now.  I'll send this question along to his office and see what they think.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:43:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They control the courts - and make up phony (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Sloan, NoMoreLies, alizard

              rulings and/ or opinions in an arbitrary/capricous manner that relentlessly corrupts our systems of justice.


              We provided irrefutable proof that Goldman Sachs and Bains Attorneys ( and Paul Traub) conspired to perpetrate Fraud on the Court vis-a-vis 34 acts of Perjury. (In re eToys 01-706). One Deputy Director of the DOJ resigned, 2 Chief Justices quietly quit those positions. A State Sup Ct Judge was promoted off the case to the NY Sup Ct of Appeals (their highest Ct) and a DE Dist Ct Judge was promoted off the case immediately after he threatened the attorneys they were in peril. He went to the US 3rd Cir Ct of Appeals.

              Immediately after those Judges were promoted off the case (1 by Eliot Spitzer); illegally a Magistrate Judge colluded to expunge the case.

              We appealled that corrupt ruling to the 3rd Cir Ct of Appeals. They in turn ruled arbitrarily and capriciously that the Fed Rules Appellate Procedure (FRAP) --- Do NOT apply to the case! (See page 7 of 3rd Cir Opinion ( here)).

              If FRAP does not apply - then the Circuit Court does Not exist.

              This act of ruling contrary to the Law is known as "Color of Law"; which the FBI polices ( here) and Never prosecutes a court case or judge under the statute.

              All of these crimes in our cases were confessed - but the Chief Justice (now formerly so) - wanted until they expunged me and I appealled. Then she ruled illegitimately that 34 false affidavits intentional was Not Perjury (see page 52 of this OPINION ( here).

              After Traub received this illegitimate Color of Law -- Get out of Jail Free Card by corrupt federal system of justice - he then became involved with Marc Dreier (20 years in Prison) - Tom Petters (50 years) and OKUN (100 years).

              What did Traub get for his Fraud

              POLAROID for FREE!

              That is what proof of fraud and perjury gets you when Goldman Sachs, BAIN or Cerberus are involved.


              It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

              by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:48:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sad and exactly what I've run up against at state (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                laserhaas, alizard

                and federal levels since 2003 on the prison labor issues I've been working on.

                When we have them dead to right on illegal activities, the perpetrators are removed from large firms and promoted to positions of Deputy U.S. Atty. General and U.S. Atty. Gen (Florida) - in the same offices that were conducting the investigations to begin with.

                Case files turned over to the FBI disappear within weeks of submission and no information is forthcoming about purported investigations on the issues given to them.  The DOJ and BJA are complicit in assisting corporations and prison industries in violating the mandatory provisions of 18 USC 1761(C) to increase corporate profits.

                When I presented a formal complaint to the Florida AG, McCollum in 2009, providing his office with documented violations of lobbying by a quasi-state corporation operating the prison industry as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, for amending a state law to benefit them...the AG refused to accept the complaint of investigate.  Instead he forwarded the complaint and evidentiary evidence to the corporate general counsel/lobbyist named in the complaint.  He resigned as gen counsel as did the other corporate official named in the complaint...but nothing was ever done.  When they couldn't get the amendment they wanted, they simply went around the law and state's department of Management Services to give them a waiver to not comply with the statute they found offensive.

                "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:04:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We are kindred spirits - our idealistic view of ju (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  justice systems has been destroyed by the reality.

                  Truth, unfortunately, remains much stranger than fiction.

                  In our case(s), the Region 3 Trustee was removed and then a Motion to Disgorge the perpetrators. Only to see that less than 10 days later - the DOJ then gave the guilty party a Stipulation to Settle and DOJ Get out of Jail Free Card (plus a promise of future Willful Blindness).

                  FBI raided the Office of Special Counsel and though he may even get a month or so in jail (for destroying files); our case is still being Buried!

                  The removed Region 3 US Trustee (DeAngelis) was secretly promoted to the post of General Counsel of the EOUST in Wash DC.

                  And - the DOJ Public Corruption Unit was shut down - with Threats made against career Asst US  Attorneys to keep their mouths shut or Else! ( see LA Times story ( here).

                  It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

                  by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:35:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Again - KUDOs - for keeping up the Fight (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bob Sloan

                  Only when we give up - Do they really win!

                  Me, myself, I like finding new stuff and giving them sleepless nights.

                  About to make huge allegations against a former Deputy Director of the DOJ who took the cowards way out and Resigned - after he gave me his own personal email promise to resolve the case.

                  Instead - he joined the fray.

                  I hope you achieve success one day and Nail their Ass!

                  It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

                  by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:38:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks and rest assured I will keep at them (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NoMoreLies, laserhaas

                    on a daily basis.  Their resignations - in my particular case and issues - was not sufficient to put the matters to rest.  When I discovered the depth of the corruption through 7 years of investigative research I had to start making it all public in the hope that others would realize how all of us and our courts and governmental agencies and departments are being manipulated.

                    The DOJ is at the core of the government involvement in the prison industry operations that is making several large corporations even richer, while they turn civilian jobs over to inmates to increase profits.

                    If you haven't read any of my other posts, check outthis linkand see how the DOJ is involved in recruiting more and more private manufacturers to forgo using civilian workers and replacing their jobs with prisoners.  The DOJ now has control or influence over 100% of federal prison industries and 80% of state prison industries under the federal PIECP program (18 USC 1761(c).

                    By researching this single issue the money trail is what led to ALEC, DOJ, BJA and Koch Industries and others involved in labor and wages in the U.S.  From there the rest opened up.

                    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                    by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:47:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Bob nt (8+ / 0-)

    John Kasich, R-OH-gov hates black people, women, children, and unions, I guess that covers almost everyone.

    by OHknighty on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:46:25 AM PDT

  •  I just recently learned (12+ / 0-)

    I live in one of those states. Serfdom. Who knew we'd see it in our lifetime.

    Every American has the inherent right to be screwed, by corporate America.

    by Village expects idiot home soon on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:59:47 AM PDT

  •  history of relationship with China (14+ / 0-)

    Reluctantly began normalization be cause China's history of poor human rights. Often cited was use of prison slave labor.

    Most favored nation status award, in time they would become more like us.

    Transferred our manufacturing jobs there to take advantage of low wages and prison slave labor.

    Now our Corporationist government begins to view China as the model for dealing with labor. Now viewing prison slave labor as a positive thing.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:20:04 AM PDT

  •  ALEC meets in New Orleans August 3-6, 2011 (23+ / 0-)

    That is enough time to plan something for them, like a counter-ALEC (like any MSM will cover it, but one can always hope, like the WJS reporter cited).

    How are the unions involved in fighting this?  Surely some union members are getting hauled away, too?

    Another outstanding diary on this important issue Bob.  You are doing some incredible work here!

    Which side are you on?

    by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:20:43 AM PDT

    •  Spread this around. Notify the Unions etc.... (13+ / 0-)

      Everyone should schedule their vacations in NOLA for that week and show up en masse. It would be good for the NOLA businesses and hopefully we could embarrass the greedy bastards in public. And we all know how much they hate that. Follow them all around town wherever they go. Bar to bar...and especially if they planned on enjoying some extracirricular activity, iykwim. Bring cameras!

      Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

      by GrannyOPhilly on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Count me in! I'd love to go toe to toe with the (5+ / 0-)

        lawmakers in the corporate pockets.  Make them think twice about having annual conferences where the public can show up and yell shame shame at them in public.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:58:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Brave people, those who go (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DEMonrat ankle biter

        Not only because you'll see the face of evil up close, but because New Orleans tends to be a hell-hole in August (trust me, I grew up there; the humidity alone was what kept me from returning after I finished school in Wisconsin).

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. ~Mohandas Gandhi

        by MouseNoMore on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 04:18:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We'll just have to weather the weather, huh? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wiseacre, elwior, GrannyOPhilly

          I'm willing to put up with the high humidity for a day or two...spent 35 years in south and central Florida, so wouldn't be anything new...what I worry about is the street cops down there.  Don't know which way they'll react to a demonstration at a conference NOLA worked hard to get for the local economy.  Could be vellly Intelesting, as Artie Johnson used to say...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:39:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bob let's have a real alternative conference! (6+ / 0-)

            Envision your dream conference. You've already done most of the work pulling together the information.  We could have workshops, press conferences, speakers galore.  

            Every progressive celebrity disappointed with how things have gone.  Unions.  And people hurt by this can come and tell their stories.  Attorneys who work in this area can speak pro bono - they get credit with their state bars for donating time to stuff like this.  Workshops telling people how to fight back.

            First, we need to really commit - set our minds to accomplish this.  Second we need a name.  Third we need to figure out good sponsors (be selective).  Fourth we need a list of people to contact for speakers.  Fifth we need to get the word out to "save the date".  Then parcel out the work to the people who volunteer - starting with this diary and comments.

            It's early enough that people with busy schedules still might be able to come.  Think BIG!!! It's important, Bob, and you already have done most of the work as far as having all the information, experts, problems, bad guys, etc. identified.  All you need are worker bees - and I'll step up and commit right now to help.

            Union halls are the logical place for venues unless the crowd is too big.  For any vendor, just make sure it's a union shop with a union bug.

            Woo-hoo, NOLA in the summertime, it will be sweltering.  But that's Ok, they need the business.  We can kill several birds with one stone, all we need to do is commit and say we will work as hard as possible to bring this off and will not back down.

            Please diary this idea soon Bob, it is totally doable.  Our ancestors fought for the right to be free of an aristocracy.  This isn't effing Versailles or Newcastle.  At least, not yet.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:58:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm working on a manuscript now on the (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hopeful human, elwior, NoMoreLies, alizard

              prison labor/corporate situation and have a deadline to get it done for the publisher.  So as you said below, I am busy and quite tied up.  I will get your email addy and put you in touch with another DK diarist that is working on getting a DK group together for me, and could possibly work on this at the same time.  I'm all for it and even have a couple of well known former Secretaries (DOC)  that might attend and speak on the issues if invited.

              August for a conference to refute what ALEC does and stands for - in the same town and time as their conference would be outstanding, to use an old military exclamation.

              I'm supposed to be on one of the panels at Net Roots in June and hope to spread the word on the issues I'm writing about here.  Also, Possibly plan a workshop for 2012 Net Roots get together?

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:38:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not to mention, the distinct possibility (0+ / 0-)

          Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

          by NoMoreLies on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:55:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not only that, but have our own conference, too (3+ / 0-)

        Explaining what it is they're doing, shining a spotlight on it, line up speakers, etc.

        This could be a real "teaching moment" as they say.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:16:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Call the alternative conference SMART-ALEC (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          States Made Aware of Rightwing Tactics - ALEC.  

          Now I know someone can do better than that - come on people.  Acronym challenge, w00t!!!

          By the way, the membership cost for ALEC for private sector participants starts at $7,000.  They have state meetings as well as national meetings.  Their policy paper titles look suspiciously familiar - there is something exceptionally creepy and mendacious about an organization claiming to be Jeffersonian pushing school choice when Jefferson was the preeminent advocate of free public schools.

          I wonder if we could get a list of their state legislative members, because after all these politicians need to hear both sides of an issue before voting on it.  Oh, excuse me, ALEC provides model legislation, so no need for them to trouble themselves at all.  

          But I'm sure that they would need to disclose membership even if ALEC doesn't from that side.

           This is a 501(c)(3) it looks like - I'm sure they aren't partisan at all!!!  And what foundations are funding them - where do they get their grant money?  Why the F do they need grants anyway if they have 2,000 members at 7,000+ each?

          Which side are you on?

          by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:00:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here is a link to the corporations, foundations (4+ / 0-)

            and others funding or supporting ALEC.  Read and be concerned... and more here: that informs that the Heritage Foundation and Charles Koch Charitable Foundation and other conservative groups fully fund them.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:11:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So what are the dues for, I wonder... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              hmmmm....How deep does this rabbit hole go?

              Which side are you on?

              by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:18:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I want to know who the legislators are? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bob Sloan, elwior, NoMoreLies, alizard

                Also, really, what are they doing with that money?  They have 300 corporate contributors at $7000-50,000 each but they get most of their money from grants?  And they have changed their accounting procedures so that they used to have multimillion dollar income and now show no income?  

                What benefits do legislators get?  Do they report every meal, trinket, junket?

                Bob, taxpayers pay the ALEC dues of legislators. We have a right to know all about this organization.

                BTW - seems like ALECWATCH would be good sponsors for a conference ;)

                Which side are you on?

                by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:27:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've written to AlecWatch in the past and it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is no longer responding to requests for information, or updating their site...wonder who pressured them into backing off?  Legislators trips, junkets and everything else - including the annual conferences are paid for out of state tax dollars.

                  The cost to join for lawmakers is $50.00 per year, so taxpayers can't complain about the dues.  As you found, corporate membership is much stiffer and task force seats can cost as mush as $10,000.00 per seat and a corporation can buy as many seats at the table as they can afford!  Which means if AT&T has legislation they really want to push for, they buy up seats on the Telecommunications and IT task force at $5,000.00 per seat.  This way they have the most influence and can push the lawmaker members to pursue AT&T's initiatives.

                  "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                  by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:53:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We could still get the info from the legislator (0+ / 0-)

                    side, because although $50 isn't much, if 100 in a state are members that's $5000.  Also, contacting members and asking them flat out if they belong should work, they can't keep that secret.

                    Which side are you on?

                    by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:59:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  They list the state chairmen on their site but I (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elwior, NoMoreLies, wiseacre

                  suggest all readers simply call your representative and flat out ask the intern who takes the call if the representative is a member of ALEC.  They will tell you if they are or aren't.

                  If they lie to you, better yet when they're found out.  That's why I write to mine and make them answer by snail mail...paper trail and all that.

                  "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                  by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:57:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The reports I have say that in addition to the (5+ / 0-)

                dues paid into ALEC and the money made from selling seats on the task forces, ALEC takes in around $6 million in "donations".  Since they claim they do not lobbby - they insist they are a legislative "training Council" - they are not required to disclose donations or the names of the donors.  So coming up with hard, firm figures is nearly impossible.

                Check out this link I put into one of my other comments.

                "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:41:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe find out from legislators' side (0+ / 0-)

                  some of that has to be disclosed - but first we need to know who the legislative members are...maybe a FOIA to the State Budget Offices asking for dues paid to ALEC and members.

                  Which side are you on?

                  by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:49:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks again wiseacre. Trying to involve the (0+ / 0-)

      unions on this or the slave labor issue involving using inmates to take the civilian jobs does not interest them as much as one would think.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:55:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't need no one but ourselves Bob ;) (0+ / 0-)

        meaning DK folks.  It's amazing how many people try to jump on board the train just as it's heading out of the station.

        If you build it they will come, I promise.

        Do you want me to try to get something going?  It is a lot of work, and you are probably overwhelmed.  Just be my source of information.  

        Do you have a press packet put together?  That's the first thing.  If you do, contact me by message and I'll send you my private email.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:28:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In a way, I hope for a Cat 5 hurricane (0+ / 0-)

      to strike when the ALEC folks are in town, but I don't because I don't want to see New Orleans devastated again. However, a massive hurricane would be just desserts for these criminals.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:49:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  but money can't buy them love. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    walkshills, bablhous, elwior
  •  Bankruptcy law should be liberalized (17+ / 0-)

    This return to an era of debtors prisons is not surprising in light of the unremitting assault on working people now underway in state after state.

    But rather than just fighting back against this outrage, progressives should fight for a comprehensive reform of bankruptcy laws.

    A much more liberal federal bankruptcy law would not only put a brake on this kind of abuse but would also provide a needed discipline on lenders, and possibly even a check on inflation in sectors where it is fueled by debt. Unfortunately the so-called Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 added more restrictions just in time for those caught in the collapse of 2008. (A bill which was strongly backed by then Senator Joe Biden, in deference to the many bank/credit card companies based in Delaware)

    In my  view, the healthiest bankruptcy policy for the economy as a whole would be to allow anyone to declare bankruptcy, even on student loans, and undergo only a very limited penalty period - perhaps clearing the bankruptcy off credit ratings in 3 years or so.

    This would help working people to both avoid excess debt and to make a fresh start if they do unwisely take on too much debt. Who would it hurt other than predatory lenders?

    If lenders knew that mortgagees and credit card users could declare bankruptcy with a relatively minor penalty, they would stop pushing credit on working people who clearly are already over-extended.

    If lenders knew people could safely default on student loans, the exorbitant tuition rates of recent years would fall back to what students can actually pay.

    If hospitals knew people could safely default on medical bills, medical costs would drop. (Currently, the highest hospital rate is set for those without insurance and insurance rates are jacked  up to a percentage of that rate.)

    If a real fighting Democrat went on the offense against predatory lenders, you'd see a lot of the debt-addicted working people now deluded by Tea Party lies joining the battle.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:24:09 AM PDT

    •  add a homestead clause and a ceiling. (7+ / 0-)

      Put a ceiling on the amount of assets that can be owned by a person that are not subject to the proceedings, and include in that list a home of size / value consistent with middle class to slightly above.  

      Thereby minimizing the degree to which the plutocrats can take advantage.  

    •  Discharged BK debt auctioned off by major banks (8+ / 0-)

      mainly to Sherman Financial who is the largest in this steadily growing "specialist " field that is against consumer law. How long before they start using jail as a deterrent to use the the last thin blanket of consumer protection.

      The profits are enormous. Since Sherman is a private company I don't know who has dividend paying shares. Yet they keep winning bids against more and more competition . They have grown from a 400 Million dollar a year company to a Multi-Billion dollar company with  a 99.99% gross margin. It makes one wonder if bank officials have shares so they can get into the action from the back-end.

      One sample. They bought a tranche of bankruptcy discharged credit card debt from Citibank with a face value of 7 Billion dollars for only 7 Million dollars in 2002 (1/10th of 1 percent of face value). Sherman  somehow manged to turn that 7 Million into 400 Million in 2002. They had almost identical results in Q2 of 2008. Imagine where they are now. How much are the banks personnel benefiting from this?  

      Add this into the debtors prison "solution", If it gets high publicity, it won't harm Sherman or Citi . However people will pay the credit cards before they feed their kids for the rest of their lives. That's about when we will have another credit bubble.

    •  Excellent post, thanks so much! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopeful human

      So many smart informed people on DK.

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:30:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Incredible attack on the middle and lower (9+ / 0-)

    class wage EARNERS.  

    If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders --- George Carlin

    by winter outhouse on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:37:47 AM PDT

  •  History (14+ / 0-)

    One of the first steps towards ancient democracies was make impossible for someone to become a slave because of his debts. That was one of the first steps in ancient Athens and the n in the early Roman Republic.

    Then came serfdom and the debt bondage and the company store system....

    The basic principle of capitalism is more profit, not some profit or good profit but always more profit. Unregulated and unchecked it always, always produces some form of slavery

  •  Here's to hoping (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, Noor B, Bob Sloan, elwior, NoMoreLies

    for a false imprisonment, a lawsuit, and a fitting jury verdict that makes the victim almost as rich as a hedge fund manager.

    A collection agency that puts debtors in jail consists of nothing but vermin. No-one "needs" a job that badly.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 12:16:18 PM PDT

  •  Jail by Mail? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Kresnik, XajaX, JG in MD, joynow, elwior

    Maybe they use "contempt of court" or "failure to appear" which is kind of the other side of same coin?

    Only time I was ever cuffed and stuffed was for "failure to appear".  (For hearing on a misdemeanor licensing violation I'd already been proved not guilty of in three other cases filed by the same pissed of state bureaucrat.)

    I'm not a scofflaw and someone should have been jailed instead for "failure to notify."    I call it Jail by Mail.  Notice of hearing is supposedly sent to last known mailing address.  When PO returns it undelivered notice, judge automatically signs a warrant for cops to pick you up for failure to appear.  Even tho they have the sent/returned notice in hand  which should be prima facie evidence that they failed to notify you of the existence of the hearing or your need to appear. (Papers here still print stories on others jailed this way. It should be illegal.)

    In my case the notice of hearing was mailed to an address with no mailbox which I had therefore never given out as my mail address. But the bureaucrat HAD my correct mailing address in my licensing records & instead used physical address -- which was not supposed to be made public to protect our families from retaliation by angry debtors. In my opinion, he broke the law by making it public record.

    For over a year I had been battling a state regulatory agency which added an idiot rule requiring purchase of an insurance policy which could never legally pay off to public and therefore couldn't be law since it would illegally limit availablity of services with no benefit to public.  I refused to buy useless insurance from the only crony agency in state which would issue it and therefore turned in my state license to repossess, which I had always held was not even required since I worked for a collection agency and only took property if collection attempts went south.  

    At that time, we had no state agency in charge of regulating collection agents -- therefore the more stringent federal rules applied and I kept careful track of legal changes so I would NOT violate those rules.

    In fact, my refusal to violate those federal rules is what angered the bureaucrat in the first place. He insisted he had a right to info on a person who complained about her repo after I'd already stopped being under his jurisdiction by surrendering my license --- so fed rules said I could not reveal what I'd learned about her as I went about finding her in attempt to collect her debt.  It is privileged -- whether he liked it or not.  

    IANAL -- but I'm not stupid either.  Yet I'm the cat that got skinned.  Sort of.  Because I eventually won my battle, they changed the law so his division now regulates collection agents.   I still could be failing to appear at any moment because no one gets upset about jail by mail until it happens to them.  Sigh.

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

    by Neon Mama on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 12:20:36 PM PDT

  •  don't buy georgia pacific (12+ / 0-)

    in the store the other day I commented to my wife that brawny brand paper towels were evil and convinced 5 people that overheard me say it why they should not buy them.  Vote with your wallet and spread the word when you can.

  •  Something very odd about the ALEC site (8+ / 0-)

    This part of the "living wage" page must have been written at least 15 years ago:

    Living Wage laws hurt low-skilled employees, the very group that supporters of the living wage portend to be helping. Even The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal workers’ rights organization, has sued the State of California in an attempt to avoid having to pay its own employees the state’s $4.25 per hour minimum wage. In its legal brief, ACORN said that the more it must pay each worker, the fewer workers it can hire.

    Of course, ACORN no longer exists, but also: the minimum wage in California was only $4.25 from 1988 to 1996.  It is now $8.00.

    Another thing: "portend" (to give warning of; predict or foreshadow) is a very poor choice of words here; "pretend" or "purport" might work, but not "portend".

    •  I saw that the MW was $4.25 in their statement (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wiseacre, hopeful human, elwior, alizard

      but it is their current position, as stated at the site.  If you look under all the model legislation you'll see that a lot of stuff we thought was resolved previously - by vote or legislation - has not gone away for ALEC.  They continue to pursue the same legislation over and over again, state by state.  With the Republican dominance in central state assemblies, we'll have to watch and see  what they will try and push through after the right to work crap fails or gets thrown out by courts.

      An example of their perseverance on issues: they opposed minimum wage way back when, and living wage options when they came out.  Right now I've read that several Red states have legislation to reduce or abolish state minimum wage laws and the statements from ALEC - though old - are being offered as fresh to state voters.

      They also have a prison industry resolution and proposed legislation on it at the Public Safety/Elections task force page.  They also are pushing for legislation to have offenders released from prison "early" (from gain time set at 15%) to have to post a Conditional Early Release surety bond with the state to ensure they won't commit more crimes and will abide by conditions set by the state and bail bonding company.  They want a $25K to $50K bond posted, with 10% (non-refundable) paid by the offender or his/her family.

      The American Bail Coalition (sits on ALEC Board and Public Safety Task Force) is pushing for this and the legislation would require the states to use one of ABC's insurance companies as the bonding agent.

      Wonder if they somehow profit from the debtor's bonds described in the article?

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:00:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Typical, we're being enslaved by ignorant fascists (0+ / 0-)

      If they were really an elite, it would still be infuriating, but to be done in by people who can't read, can't write, can't spell, and can't think?

      No, I'm not being elitist.  A decent education is within the reach of every American, if they work hard and supplement it with the library and the Internet.  And don't just sit there expecting to be spoon-fed.  

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:37:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is one of the issues that is dear to my heart (9+ / 0-)

    It may seem small but it reveals so much about the class war.

    I don't live in a state where you can be arrested for failure to appear in court over an outstanding debt. However, a type of 'debtors prison' exists for those who don't end up in handcuffs.

    In Colorado up to 25% of your after-tax wages are subject to garnishment, which makes it even more difficult to pay for necessities. In addition many companies do credit history checks on job applicants, limiting some peoples' career choices even further.

    I can see it soon all over the land. Those who get in financial trouble sent off to a labor camp, but it won't be called that. It will be given a benign-sounding name, such as a "debt recovery and financial rehabilitation center".  Inmates will be paid minimum wage (if that) but something like 60% of what they make will go to the "debt service". They will work long hours, and most likely not be given any days off. They'll be fed 2 or 3 times a day, but something like what happens in Joe Arpaiao's hotels - green bologna with the crust removed from the bread to save costs.

    Then, just like Arpaiao's hotels, they will be forced to sit through Newt Gingrich lectures, hear anti-union speeches, maybe even be forced to attend David Barton Wallbuilders seminars on the plantation.

    And, of course, all of these will be privately run with little or no oversight. Who knows what would happen to those who even mildly object to their treatment?

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:25:54 PM PDT

  •  About ALEC (7+ / 0-)

    I was looking for more information about ALEC and ran across this report which aired on National Public Radio (NPR) last October:

    Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny
    , by Laura Sullivan, October 29, 2010.

    Could this be another reason the Republicans are working so hard to kill NPR?  ALEC certainly does seem to want to stay below the radar screen.

  •  what a freakin' hideous trend in a free land (nt) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, elwior

    Poverty exists in direct proportion to greed.

    by jcrit on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:16:05 PM PDT

  •  One solution to this effing mess... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, Betty Pinson, elwior

    Everyone here on DK should call their CC companies Monday and tell them to stuff their fucking cards up their collection asses.

  •  Are all those states in the south? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:46:56 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, Joe 'Bankrucy Bill' Biden (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, Debs2, elwior

    for doing your part to enslave the people.

    Go ahead. Make believe it's not just Madness.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:00:28 PM PDT

  •  So what does ALEC stand for? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Always Leave Everyone Confused?

    No, I haven't clicked on any of the links. No one should have to click links to figure out what a diary is about--and one sure as hell can't figure out this diary without knowing what ALEC mean.

    If you're going to use an unfamiliar acronym extensively--even unto tossing it into the diary title--you owe your readers a definition of said acronym.
    Good writing style requires any & all acronyms to be defined as soon as possible, normally at first use (or to be placed in an appendix to which the reader is referenced at the first appearance of one).

    snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

    by Uncle Cosmo on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:02:59 PM PDT

    •  This is probably the 100th or so diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, NoMoreLies

      about ALEC on DK in the past year.  I know I've written about them in 30+ myself.  I tend to forget that not all who read the latest diary have read the previous ones.

      As I explained above ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council.  It is a Conservative group of lawmakers and about 300 top corporations who develop, write and offer proposed legislation to the individual states through their conservative lawmaker Board and membership.  Currently they boast of passage of 20% of the legislation they write and propose, annually.

      Koch Industries sits on the Public Enterprise Board, fund their efforts, purchase seats on their task forces and donate to other lawmakers who can be swayed by the conservatives pushing their agenda.

      Most recently they were linked to Arizona's SB 1070 legislation that created the discriminatory immigration legislation there.  Because they were linked to that terrible law, publicly called out by MSNBC, Rachel, Keith, Huff post and here on in the heck did you not recognize that acronym when you saw it?  If you didn't check the links, you're more interested in the lack of definition by a diarist than the important issues and message presented.  A little research on one's own sometimes enriches more than reading what others wrote.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:12:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you just assumed that anyone (0+ / 0-)

        who was interested in your diary--which features the acronym ALEC in its title--would instantly know what it meant.

        As you can see from some of the above comments, you were wrong. I for one have never read any of the "100 or so" DK diaries dealing with ALEC, and certainly none of yours. I don't get MSNBC so I don't see Keith or Rachel and I don't read HuffPo. Even so I was intrigued by the idea of "slave labor," so I clicked into this diary, figuring you would surely explain what the acronym meant. (NB Explaining it in a comment doesn't qualify. I'm not the only one who occasionally passes up the comments section of a diary.)

        "If you didn't check the links, you're more interested in the lack of definition by a diarist than the important issues and message presented.  A little research on one's own sometimes enriches more than reading what others wrote." Bullshit! That is not only wrongheaded but insufferably arrogant. If you can't be bothered to make the minimal effort to define your terms--i.e., typing all of four words (that you could just have c&p'd from one of your linked documents if you can't spell)--you're essentially telling the uninformed reader that s/he isn't welcome, that you're only interested in addressing those who already understand the jargon (or will put in the effort to learn it on their own).

        Do you really want to limit your audience in that fashion? Sounds like it. Great way to collect supporters.

        snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

        by Uncle Cosmo on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:42:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once again you take offense at the writing (0+ / 0-)

          rather than the issue.  My previous comment to your comment in complaint of the lack of including the full name of ALEC fully explained who they are.  I also brought to your attention their involvement in SB 1070 in Arizona and now Wisconsin - which I sadly presumed you were knowledgeable about being a Kos reader and diarist.

          You have taken the position of "shooting the messenger" who delivered a report on an important topic that is intertwined with current events.  I think your tag line explains your reaction.

          Sorry to have put you off by not identifying ALEC better in the diary.  As you point out, that was a failure on my part.  Not knowing who or what that important "group" is - and how they are involved in current events in this day and time should also be considered a failure.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 06:54:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Always keep you crap detector on for the WSJ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, elwior

    I guess it’s possible the law has changed since I retired from practice,  but it seems to me there is a whole load of  bullshit in that WSJ article, and it is pretty obviously written by a non-lawyer. There is just a fundamental misunderstanding here about how the court system works.

    I know of no jurisdiction where you can be jailed for debt, certainly not here in California. You might be arrested for contempt, or failure to show up for a debtor’s examination, or maybe fraud, but not for failure to pay a judgment per se.

    Judgments do not take that form, they are not court orders to pay, they are judgments that money is owed, and the remedies the plaintiff has to collect a debt do not include imprisonment.  There would have to be some other act, some violation of criminal law before anyone could be jailed.  That might happen, but it should not be confused with imprisonment for debt.

    Further, a bond for an arrest warrant is to secure appearance. If the bonded party appears, the bond is discharged, returned to whoever posted it, and that is usually a bail bondsman, cash bonds are really rare.  If a bonded party fails to appear, the bond can be declared forfeited, but the money then goes to the Court, to the public coffers, not to a creditor.

    •  California has relatively good debtor protection (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, elwior, NoMoreLies

      and consumer protection laws, other states are not so lucky.

      In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

      If this is nothing new, why the big jump?  Usually if you don't appear in a civil suit, you just get a default judgment against you, and then the creditor tries to collect with the usual methods.  What is happening now is that people are being arrested for failing to appear, and held until they do, instead of being found liable by default.

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:18:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Serf City (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, elwior

    Here we come.

    "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." -- Mark Twain

    by rambler american on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:27:24 PM PDT

  •  Can we get a list of states (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, wiseacre, elwior

    that allow this horrible, disgusting practice- so that I can stay out of them?

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:52:38 PM PDT

    •  There are none. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      None. Nada. Zilch. The WSJ article is pure bullshit, written by a woman with an English Lit degree, and with no understanding of law.

      I will go further out on a limb, to say that all of her anecdotal cases, if you dug into the actual cases, which are not cited so as to make that possible, you would find some element beyond debt which make the imprisonment possible. Debt alone won't do it.

      Yes, if it existed, it would be a horrible, disgusting practice.

      But I would still avoid Kentucky.  Just to be safe...

      •  Take a few seconds and visit wiki at this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crazy like a fox, elwior

        linkwhere you'll find:

        "Six states (Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington State) allow debt collectors to seek arrest warrants for debtors in default if all other collection methods have failed. Whether a debtor will actually be prosecuted or not varies from state to state, county to county, and town to town. The individual is taken into custody and is typically required to submit financial documentation to the courts (to facilitate seizure of assets or wage garnishment), although in some cases the individual may be held indefinitely until a payment plan is reached or the debt is paid in full, especially if the individual is insolvent.[10] Other states have outlawed this type of collection action (Tennessee and Oklahoma have ruled it unconstitutional).[11] unless the court finds that the debtor actually possesses the means to pay--except in the case of child support obligations."

        Or this source from CBS Moneywatch titled: "Could Debtors’ Prison Make a Comeback?"  At least in this case the appellate court tossed it out, but it does happen - and right here in my backyard, in Indy!

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:23:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The warrants are for failure to appear in court (0+ / 0-)

          to provide the requested information. ("he individual is taken into custody and is typically required to submit financial documentation" is the important part)

          •  From the Minneapolis Star article: (0+ / 0-)
            This process happens several times a week in Hennepin County. Those who fail to appear can be held in contempt and an arrest warrant is issued if a collector seeks one.

            •  I read these articles from MN. previously. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, alizard

              Have you read the Wikipedia article on debtor's prison? They identify the states where warrants can be issued for owing a debt  = not necessarily failure to appear, etc.

              "Six states (Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington State) allow debt collectors to seek arrest warrants for debtors in default if all other collection methods have failed."

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:14:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Apparently Minnesota is one, according to recent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      article here.

      Key phrase:  "creditor-friendly", meaning laws lean toward protecting creditors rather than debtors.

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:22:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  libertarians for slavery! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric K, wiseacre, elwior, NoMoreLies

    libertarians only want a government just big enough to protect themselves from their slaves

  •  Life -for being unemployed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, NoMoreLies

    Sent to a 'for profit' prison, forced to work for next to nothing, 'less costs', which his wages won't cover, leading to 'forever' incarceration. F**** wonderful!

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:04:51 PM PDT

    •  Sheeesh ! (0+ / 0-)

      What a huge, non-sequiturian leap that is !

      Not even the barely legally literate WSJ writer even suggests anything so extreme, which would, by the way, be entirely unconstitutional.

      •  Please read my comment above. nt (0+ / 0-)

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:19:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For failure to make a court appearance ? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster

          Yeah, you can be jailed for failure to make a court appearance.

          People who don't understand the system can get in trouble with it in lots of ways, and not always understand why. They can also make agreements they don't understand and be legally required to fulfill them, and the system is not very forgiving, even to mistakes of lawyers.

          But I'm still looking for that jurisdiction which imprisons for debt and nothing else.

          •  I (0+ / 0-)

            remember reading of an account of a man thrown in jail (in Ohio I believe) for owing something like $275. And he spent quite a while in there because he didn't have the money.

          •  That happened here in Indy without a failure (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, NoMoreLies

            to appear.  When the debtor showed up he was asked what he could afford to pay per month against the debt.  He said he was on SS disability and could not pay the debt.  The court insisted he was going to pay it.  When the man agreed to pay $5.00 per month, the court denied that and sat the amount per month at $25.00.

            Here's what Wiki had to say on it:

            Six states (Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington State) allow debt collectors to seek arrest warrants for debtors in default if all other collection methods have failed."

            An important point of the story and issue is that 1) every state has their own laws regarding debts, debt collection and garnishing of wages.  They also differ on whether or not a warrant can be issued for merely being in debt and not having the ability to pay, and; 2) this is an activity that has recently become an option by debt collectors.  Every story read indicates that there have been serious increases in this type of pursuing debtors in many states.  Therefore it is not some quirky law that is being applied in one state...rather it is an action taken in many states which to me indicates someone or some group is behind the spread of this type of debt pursuit.  ALEC has task forces working on these very issues as well as reducing wages, union busting and eliminating minimum wage.

            Today all of those issues are on the conservative agenda of every red state from Wisconsin to Texas and Michigan, Ohio, etc.  If you read the story about what happened here in Indy linked to above, then you must realize that this is what is happening - regardless of your belief that it is illegal.  This has never stopped an agenda advanced by politicians in the past - legality.  They do it first then make laws to make it legal.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 07:56:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So target AR,AZ,IL,IN,MN,WA as consumer-hating (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Sloan, NoMoreLies, mkor7

              because really, that's what we're talking about here.

              Consumers get sweet-talked into borrowing money, the fine print is impossible to understand or is changed unilaterally, and then when they are caught in the trap the people won't negotiate and they are thrown in jail.  There should be a disclosure in big red letters on these agreements saying "If you miss a certain number of payments or a certain amount (to be determined unilaterally by us) we can sue you, and if we unilaterally think we can't collect, we can get your sorry ass thrown in jail - bwaahahahha.

              Maybe we should make big black mustaches out of something clingy and put them on the windows of these banks and other villains.

              Shame these states - call them out by name.  If I lived in one of them, I'd move.  I moved away from Texas, and I'm a 7th generation Texan.  It hurt!  But I just couldn't stand living with the grasping, fascist ignorant yahoos that had taken us over, and yeah I include the Bushes from Connecticut in that crowd.

              Which side are you on?

              by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:15:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Speculative income enough to be jailed? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Just where can you draw the line here?

            Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code § 31.002. COLLECTION OF JUDGMENT THROUGH COURT PROCEEDING.  
            (a) A judgment creditor is entitled to aid from a court of appropriate jurisdiction through injunction or other means in order to reach property to obtain satisfaction on the judgment if the judgment debtor owns property, including present or future rights to property, that:
                    (1)  cannot readily be attached or levied on by ordinary legal process;  and
                    (2)  is not exempt from attachment, execution, or seizure for the satisfaction of liabilities.
                (c)  The court may enforce the order by contempt proceedings or by other appropriate means in the event of refusal or disobedience.
                (d)  The judgment creditor may move for the court's assistance under this section in the same proceeding in which the judgment is rendered or in an independent proceeding.
                (f)  A court may not enter or enforce an order under this section that requires the turnover of the proceeds of, or the disbursement of, property exempt under any statute, [except for] the enforcement of a child support obligation[...]
                (h)  A court may enter or enforce an order under this section that requires the turnover of nonexempt property without identifying in the order the specific property subject to turnover.

            [...]Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 52, § 1, eff. May 17, 2005.

            If you default at a civil court hearing, the creditor can
            1) allege you have non-exempt property that can be used to satisfy the debt, or that you will have such property in the future, without being required to prove that to be the case, since you're not there to deny it and everything on the creditor's side comes in;
            2) allege that they can't readily attach the property
            2) ask for the court to enforce the attachment order without specifying what property is to be used to satisfy the debt, and when you're arrested and ordered to show cause why you shouldn't be held in contempt and you can't,
            3) the court can find you in contempt and order you to jail, for basically as long as they want.

            So, you can be jailed for not turning over property you don't have. How do you prove what will happen in the future? Texas used to be a debtor-friendly state.  Still has exempt property including homestead, unless of course it's a home equity loan, which used to be illegal in Texas as attractive to predatory lending practices.  Now Texas is just another company-store state.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:01:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "future" here means future interest (0+ / 0-)

              in property, like a trust that will be distributed later.  So if you have a trust that will distribute out in 5 years, the creditor can attach that. (those sorts of assets typically can't be attached, so it's probably exactly what the statute is aiming at)

              •  ok, but are you sure that's all it means? (0+ / 0-)

                is there case law saying that's all it means and all it can ever mean?  has it been litigated to the Supreme Court?

                Which side are you on?

                by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:41:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, it looks like it means more general (0+ / 0-)

                  stuff like accounts receivable or amounts due under contracts.

                  •  And if the contracts are breached? (0+ / 0-)

                    Or the A/R's default, is the debtor back on the hook?

                    You see my point, I'm sure.

                    Which side are you on?

                    by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:02:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The debtor was always on the hook. (0+ / 0-)

                      If the contract is breached, then the debtor can't pay.  I'm not sure I see the problem here.

                      •  The problem is getting jailed because the (0+ / 0-)

                        creditor alleges there is future income expected, and needs contempt to enforce it, when future income is speculative

                        contempt is meant to enforce something that can be performed, otherwise it's punishment, and everyone claims that debtors cannot be punished with jail.  in fact, if they are being jailed in order to enforce a speculative future performance, I can't see how that isn't punitive

                        maybe you can explain

                        Which side are you on?

                        by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 10:18:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You wouldn't get jailed; you'd explain that the (0+ / 0-)

                          expected asset is gone and can't be paid.

                          Pretty simple.

                          •  Grrr, they are jailed BEFORE the future happens. (0+ / 0-)

                            while the future interest is still inchoate.  It may remain inchoate, and the debtor might not have any control over things like trusts, or long-term contracts, etc.  They are in jail until ...?  Creditor gets their money?  They assign their rights? Judge feels like letting them go?

                            If the interest is inchoate by nature, how does jailing the debtor help enforce it, particularly if the debtor has no control over whether or not it happens?  If jailing doesn't help enforce it, it's punitive.

                            Are you a creditor's attorney or something?  You seem to have a very rosy idea of the way these cases go.  

                            Which side are you on?

                            by wiseacre on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:14:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You've had 861 comments posted in than 3 months (0+ / 0-)

                            about a hundred a day, every day - pretty prolific.

                            Which side are you on?

                            by wiseacre on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:18:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Suppose the trust goes bust? (0+ / 0-)

                has the judgment been satisfied then - or when the trust goes bust is the debtor thrown back in jail?  Who assumes that risk of the future unfolding in a certain way?

                suppose the trust is invalid?
                suppose the fiduciary steals the money?

                Maybe there was a good reason why that future interest used to not be able to be attached?

                Which side are you on?

                by wiseacre on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:44:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Great point on a particular state's laws. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NoMoreLies, mkor7

              Figmentary and speculative allegations do not the facts make or support.  Now this leads to corroboration of the last diary I posted about the inmate in Illinois who has worked for the prison industry there for 29 years under a state law that allows him to earn about $2.00 a day.  The state takes back 3% for paying against the costs of his incarceration.

              The inmate did not spend his money at the canteen buying smokes and candy, soup and soft drinks, he squirreled it away, saving for his release.  He has saved $11,000.00 over the 29 years (at $2.00 a day) and the state used another law that allows them to charge current or past prisoners for their costs of incarceration - when/if they inherit money, receive substantial commissions or any windfall of money - to take him to court and get a judgment of $455,000.00 for the costs of his incarceration from 1981 through 2005.  The case is now in the IL. Supreme Court.  They say they pursue collections of that money when they discover an offender or ex-offender has assets exceeding $10,000.00.

              Because this man saved - instead of spent - his earned wages, they now want to take it all.  He's 60 and will be in late 70's when released with no money, no SS and will not qualify for Medicare or any form of state support due to his lack of paying anything into SS, Medicare or state programs.

              This is exactly the same kind of insidious bullshit that they come up with over and over again.  Let's train and rehabilitate an offender, pay him slave wages and if he keeps any of it, we'll take it all back and return him to his community a person broken in will, skill, age and finances.  Will that former offender make it or return to 3 hot meals and a roof over his head?  When he goes back in at his age (2028 parole date) with medical problems out the ying yang, the taxpayers will pay out their ass for his incarceration.

              None of this indebtedness crap makes any sense.  If the government can wipe out the financial and investment debts after they caused all of this shit, then we bail them out with tax dollars, why wasn't any of that money used to wipe out the small debts owed by consumers who became destitute because of the actions of the banks and investors in the first place?

              It really is all about the money...and following that trail is how I accumulated so much documentation and data on the Kochs, Heritage and American's for Prosperity and ALEC.  I was not surprised this debtor's prison led back to the proposals sent to the states by ALEC and their ilk, but knew a lot of readers would be.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:35:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  checked out ALEC website (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior

    top banner shows;
    "Limited Gubmint, Free Markets, Federalism"
    kinda tells you all you need to know about them.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

    by pickandshovel on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 05:52:26 PM PDT

  •  This story really makes me angry (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior, NoMoreLies

    Are these guys serious about people who can't pay their bills due to job loss or medical emergencies? These guys peddling this immoral legislation should themselves be jailed or forced to live in neighborhoods where we live. Maybe they'll have a real feeling of how "the other half" lives.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by alaprst on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 06:52:52 PM PDT

  •  Matches perfectly..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior

     With the Republikans march back to the 19th century.

    What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

    by cagernant on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 07:57:12 PM PDT

  •  I'm owed money by a former landlord, (0+ / 0-)

    and may wind up requesting his arrest.  It's the little bit of leverage I have.

  •  Inhereted Debt (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, laserhaas, NoMoreLies, alizard, mkor7

    My father in law died.  His death was sudden, triggered by a broken arm, which sent him spiraling downward.

    He ended up in the hospital, and they worked double over time to get us to sign "responsibility" documents, saying they were "authorization" documents.

    Of course, me being the resident pedant, I read everything, and declined signatures.

    His wife had died years ago, and I spent most of my 30's taking care of him, at a significant cost as his pension had been diluted, and Social Security barely covered necessary medications.

    That was hard, and I thought I had paid enough, did the right thing.

    Then the calls started coming.  A collections agency, actually a few of them ended up with my phone number, off some contact form.

    They claimed that "somebody has to pay", and when I said there was no estate, no monies, no assets, no nothing, they moved to try and attach the debt to me, because my wife was a home maker.

    Unbelievable.  In Oregon, they cannot do this.  Maybe they can elsewhere though.  I don't know.

    What I do know is they shook me down big.  Calling my place of work, sending lots of letters, and ringing my work phone, which is the only phone I have, non stop, sometimes in the middle of the night.

    We've gone through a similar thing when my wife got sick, at a time when we could not get insurance, due to the classic pre-existing conditions.

    Frankly, I've never done anything wrong, lived lean, and medical debts and insurance have fucked me time and time again, and I've never once been sick like that, but still just thrashed, worried about even being able to retire on anything but Social Security because of it.

    Anyway, I started calling them back, being extremely abusive to supervisors, and demanding they remove my name from their collections efforts, declaring that they can only contact me again, when they can show the note that obligates me to said contact.

    Their push back was for me to give them the name and contact info of a relative able to pay.


    Finally, I just got verbally abusive.  I would entertain each call, telling my compelling and sad story, encouraging them to quit their job, or alternating between that and communication so damn foul that I still feel bad about it.

    The calls have stopped.


    by potatohead on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:47:48 PM PDT

  •  Minnesota Republicans To Outlaw Poor People (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, laserhaas, NoMoreLies, alizard

    Minnesota Republicans To Outlaw Poor People Having Money

    Clever way to attack social services from a new direction while creating another business opportunity for enterprising banksters.

    House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

    The bill also calls for unconstitutional residency requirements, not allowing the debit card to be used across state lines and other provisions that the Welfare Rights Committee and others consider unacceptable.

    "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

    by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:11:52 PM PDT

    •  List of MN Reps. Who Authored HF 171 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, laserhaas, NoMoreLies, alizard

      Daudt ; Gottwalt ; Abeler ; Cornish ; Vogel ; Hancock ; Crawford ; Myhra ; Franson ; McElfatrick ; Dettmer ; Drazkowski ; Gunther ; Gruenhagen ; LeMieur ; Lohmer ; Erickson ; Garofalo ; Kelly ; Westrom ; Fabian ; Shimanski ; Holberg ; Barrett ; Wardlow ; Anderson, S.

      These additional authors were added:
      Holberg and Barrett , Wardlow and Anderson, S.

      I'm in the process of identifying the ALEC members here in MN and so far Rep. Drazkowski has proudly come out. An anonymous Rep. says the Republican leadership has an ALEC "playbook" that they use to ensure they don't miss any opportunities to push the corporate agenda.

      "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

      by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:19:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  MN Rep. Erickson (R) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, alizard

        has also confessed to being an ALEC shill.

        "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

        by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:26:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the list grows...n/t! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:30:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've just begun to turn over the rocks (0+ / 0-)

            Initial emailing of all legislators here in MN has returned 2 Senators and 5 Representatives who have confessed to being ALEC members.  That's already up from the 2 for MN that were listed in the ALEC Watch Report of 2000. I'm sure that there are more that will be revealed with further probing.

            "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

            by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:43:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Like a cancer these creatures spread across (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        our country in the dark of night, under everyone's radar and bring disease to all Americans.

        Insidiousness does not even scratch the surface of how they should be defined.

        Thanks for filling in some of the blanks and letting others know how this is being done in Mn.  Believe me, it is ongoing in all other states where ALEC lawmakers hold a majority in the assemblies.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:29:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Secrecy is Essential for Any of this to Work (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Sloan, NoMoreLies, alizard

          And ALEC is pretty darn secret for a non-profit. From an article on ALEC's crafting of Voter ID legislation:

          (ALEC refused to distribute the model legislation to Campus Progress.ALEC spokesman Raegan Weber emailed, “Model legislation is a privilege of membership and therefore we don’t provide this publicly” -- a somewhat unusual practice by a non-profit public policy group organized under the Internal Revenue Service code as a 501(c)(3) charitable or educational group; most such organizations make public most fruits of their labors, rather than concealing it from people who aren’t members.)

          "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

          by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:59:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes and they continue to get away with this (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            metiche, NoMoreLies, alizard

            kind of thing as a 501(c)(3).  This is the largest hotbed of conservative lobbying in the history of the United States, yet they continue to insist they are a "Training" organization that helps lawmakers understand how legislation works...RIGHT!

            As such they don't have to report donors, donations etc.  This is the part that needs fixed - getting their corporate exemption changed to a real PAC and force them to disclose.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:03:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Typical of a state where $1.3 million a year (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metiche, alizard

      is taken from inmate wages to reimburse the public for the costs of incarcerating them...only to be turned over to the MDOC and given immediately back to the prison industry as profits.

      They have one of the largest and most diverse prison industries in the nation, making tractors and other farm equipment even.

      So suppressing workers and disadvantaged seems to be their state creed or motto now.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:26:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yikes! (0+ / 0-)

        From my youth about 100 years ago I remembered prisoners being forced to stamp out license plates but I didn't know that they were making tractors and farm equipment these days. Slave labor, indeed! Now you've gone and shamed me into looking into this travesty. Thanks. Carry on, Sir!

        "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

        by metiche on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:50:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL sorry for the fright, metiche... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but now that you're awakened read some of my previous posts.  Prisoners are now making everything from McDonald's uniforms and plastic sporks to guidance systems for the Patriot missile program, F-16's and all military body armor.  Sorry if that requires a couple of aspirin :(

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:53:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a headache (0+ / 0-)

            but I can't afford to lose much more sleep. Of course I don't mean that metaphorically. Oh, you know what I mean. I'll definitely check out your work on the new prison/slave labor. Thanks again.

            "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

            by metiche on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:04:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  WOW n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is our patriotic duty - to question authority!

      by laserhaas on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:41:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It will be 17th century England (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, mkor7

    all over again. Debtors prison, deportation to unknown location and hanging. How the fuck did we let this happen?

    We are the biggest bunch of morons in the history of the world. At least England had the excuse that it was mandated by the king or star chamber or whatever.

    Jeez what a bunch of maroons we are.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:42:25 PM PDT

    •  We were all distracted by the disinformation (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metiche, NoMoreLies, alizard, shigeru, mkor7

      they have spewed while working behind the curtains on issues important to their agenda.

      As we all now know they have been at this agenda for nearly 40 years now and have perfected how to manipulate our laws (look at our S. Ct. and most federal appellate courts today), buy our lawmakers - and have the taxpayers fund their travels and expenses for attending "meetings" held by all goes hand in hand.

      Now that the light is searching for them they're trying desperately to scrabble back into the dark crevices that have hidden them so well for so many years...we simply need more and brighter lights and keep after 'em!

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:57:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of the population though, (0+ / 0-)

        including many of those most likely to be hurt by this were either wilfully ignorant at best or complicit.

        I'm sorry but those who voted these vile creatures in deserve as much blame as almost all of the politicos.

        If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

        by shigeru on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:25:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is the stuff f revolution though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Think about it, once you start throwing people in jail (or worse) for their economic condition, that is exactly what will trigger a revolution.

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:55:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Or not. It took 500 years for Britain (0+ / 0-)

            to overcome this (not until after WWII) and still under UK and colonies' (e.g. Australia) law there is some imprisonment allowed for debtors.

            What the pig fucking morons don't understans is that laws like this completely destroy risk taking and are rarely if ever enforced against the worst offenders, the wealthy and the real cheats, the financial mavens. The latter cheat, steal and refuse to pay debts all the time.

            If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

            by shigeru on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:43:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What insanity (0+ / 0-)

    Besides the immorality of locking up someone for debts, exactly what does that accomplish?  Are you making them more likely to pay off their debts?  Hell no!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:53:39 AM PDT

    •  Exactly the point. You won't get any money out of (0+ / 0-)

      those locked away for debt...but tax dollars used to incarcerate these debtors finds their way into the corporate coffers through food services at the jail, canteen or commissary purchases, housing (if the jail is privately run), transportation, etc.

      These folks all use cost analysis to determine where every penny of tax money can be squeezed and diverted to profits.

      Bondsmen make money on writing the bonds (read that as profits to members of the American Bail Coalition - an avid ALEC member).

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:28:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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