Today many have had their eyes opened regarding the huge profits made off of what is commonly called the "Prison Industrial Complex." Suddenly awareness has turned from disbelief to anger as taxpayers realize the screwing private prison companies, their lobbyists and elected Legislators have been giving them for more than three decades now.
People representing taxpayers, activist groups, families of prisoners and immigrants have begun to protest nationwide. These protests have been targeting the American Legislative Exchange Council, Corrections Corporation of America, Inc., Geo Group, Inc., Management Training Corporation and one of the largest investors in Geo Group - Wells Fargo.
These demonstrations against privatized prison operations, ALEC and their connection to SB 1070 legislation and other laws benefiting commercial companies began last month in Cincinnati, as I wrote following the event. This diary has a few of the pictures from that Rally.
We had a good turnout in Cincinnati on April 29th and since as more people learn about ALEC and their funding by the likes of the Koch brothers and their right wing foundations and organizations, they have begun to hold their own protests, rallies and informative videos.
Below are several videos and links to pictures of the events taking place regarding ALEC and their legislation enabling mass incarceration and privatization that allows ALEC's corporate affiliates to realize huge profits and wealth (one or more are in Spanish, and I haven't found a way to translate them through dubbing yet...)
Here is a link to the Protest videos I've included below.
In a surprising and unexpected development, Lawrence O'Donnell's show last night, "The Last Word" had a segment on ALEC and interview with Andrew Gillum, with People for the American Way Foundation (pfaw). O'Donnell showed some of the first video I included above, "Immigrants For Sale". Below is a clip from that airing:
Here I've provided a link to the complete pfaw report titled; "ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests In State Legislatures"
As both the Last Word interview and the report provide, the Koch's are mentioned throughout and their influence upon legislation presented and passed in the various states around the country. Their influence cannot be emphasized enough. Most of us are already aware of ALEC and their close relationship with Koch and other corporate moguls and their companies, but this outing of them on MSNBC last night will hopefully spread the word more rapidly.
Obviously I'm delighted with these developments over the past three weeks that help expose ALEC and their impact upon taxpayers through their privatization efforts on behalf of Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group - both key members of ALEC. I have worked for more than 8 years now trying to expose these bastages through my writings, reports and speaking engagements.
Last year I had about decided I had done all I could to expose the use of prisoners by these corporations belonging to ALEC as a slave labor workforce. Over a long period of time I had contacted the usual suspects; Maddow, Olbermann, Schultz - and out of desperation I even sent off a report to Beck when he was reporting on prison industries. All of this was for naught as I received not one whisper of response from any of these media representatives who could help. Sometimes help comes out of nowhere from the most unlikely of sources.
A friend of mine who has Republican leanings was discussing these issues with me over a couple of drinks, and he said;
"Bob, you need to quit spinning your wheels with your web page and blogging. Open an account at Daily Kos and start writing about these issues there. Kos is filled with Progressives and they're the only ones who will be interested in ALEC and what they're doing on behalf of corporations. Put the issues out there and let the readers start to understand how what's happening, impacts everyone - regardless of political affiliations.
"I agree that the way this is being done is secretive and for that reason alone, their activities are suspicious.
I had joined DK in August of last year, but had never written anything here - didn't know I could. The next day - November 8, 2010 - I wrote my first Diary titled "Corporatocracy" , republishing some of the material I had already posted to my blog a few days before - with no comments or responses.
I received 3 comments to that diary but wasn't disappointed as it was a relative new topic to most Kossacks and hell, that was 3 more than I'd gotten on my personal blog and just enough to keep me writing and posting for the next 6 months. Today I now understand the power of networking and the abilities of a collection of Progressives when they come together to form a front-line in this battle over our democracy. Over these past months many of you; Ohiodem1, MNDem999, Hector Solon, DaNang65, Manfrommiddletown, CincinnatiBengali, bfealk, mswsm, ThisIsMyTime and many others, too numerous to mention (but you know who you are!) contributed time and effort in providing advice, links, documents and information that assisted in exposing ALEC and the Kochs and all of their activities. Together you made the Cincy Protest and Rally a rousing success. I was awed by the way you Kossacks rallied and put that protest together in less than 30 days! You deserve so much credit for what is happening today to keep ALEC and the Koch's activities front and center in the news. Hopefully we'll have even more "Teach-Ins" in New Orleans in August. DK needs to have our own version of teaching Progressives about how to combat ALEC's legislative manipulations.
Through the efforts of many of you here at DK, ALEC is no longer a shadow moving silently through our legislative process, wielding their power and influence to benefit the corporate elite. They have been properly outed for what they are and how they have used their secretive agenda to nearly destroy us from within. Together we have to keep the pressure on ALEC and their members - corporate and legislative - to keep them off balance for once.
Now I'm looking forward to August and hope to see many of you there at ALEC's Annual Conference in support of our Protest. If you live in the New Orleans area and can help with housing or other needs of those traveling there in August, or would like to volunteer to help organize the event, please send me a message so I can get the information to those working on putting the Rally together.
I thank all of you who have participated in discussions on these issues and topics in my diaries and hope you will continue, seeing how far we've come on ALEC and Koch in just a few months time. A special thanks goes out to everyone that attended the event in Cincy and made that such a special day for so many.