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I just read about the new trend in Wisconsin of replacing union and public sector workers with prisoners!  I know many of you who have followed my diaries and blogging, know that I predicted just such a move was on the horizon - and in fact have been posting links to other articles about prisoners being used by banks to clean and fix-up foreclosed homes, taking over care and maintenance of cemeteries and municipal buildings and grounds.  This has been happening much more often in several "Red" states over the past couple of years.

I cautioned that if eliminating collective bargaining and the voice of public sector workers succeeded, it would open the door to a flood of the use of prisoners for such work as civilians were replaced by inmates.

As many other reprehensible things have been accomplished by Conservatives of late, Wisconsin has become the "Showroom" for those initiatives.  Sadly we can expect Ohio, Michigan, Maine, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma (among others) to quickly follow Governor Walker's example.  Kasich in Ohio is working toward every initiative put in place in Wisconsin as this is written.  He is privatizing his prisons, working on destabilizing labor, defunding education and putting the voucher system in place, disenfranchising voters and as an ALEC co-founder with Paul Weyrich and Henry Hyde, he has a long-time working relationship with Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, two of ALEC's initial corporate members.

Below is a contemporary picture of America's new "Slave Master" as he works hard for Conservative initiatives funded by the likes of Koch, Boeing and other big corporations as they pursue an agenda of replacing American workers with free prisoner labor.


The day after Walker signed the legislation ending collective bargaining, union and public workers returned to Madison to protest his action:

But their efforts fell on Walker's deaf ears.

All of today's restrictive and nefarious Conservative initiatives being put in place across our nation - state by state - can be tracked back to, and laid at the feet of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  For thirty years now they have worked toward this time in our history, where the minority would ultimately control the states and through them our national policies.  Now we can plainly and clearly see why they fight so hard to keep the feds out of state policies - knowing that most of their agenda will not fly on the federal level, and they don't want them to be able to interfere as they subvert critical state policies.

First, ALEC created criminal justice laws to imprison more people than any other nation or culture in the history of the world.  Then they offered up "model legislation" (Prison Industries Act) to allow their corporate members and benefactors access to that huge captive workforce and assisted others to enact policy to reduce any wage paid to the inmate workers.  This created a 21st Century styled "legal" Slave Labor pool to draw from as they replaced civilian workers with prisoners.  This prison labor agenda is a huge cash cow for ALEC and their members.  It brings in millions that can then be used to initiate other conservative activities and programs to further their goals.

Two years ago I prophesied that imprisoning immigrants and transferring public sector jobs with prisoners were next on ALEC's agenda - and as of this morning, both have become reality.  All "follow-the-money" roads lead back to ALEC...and the Koch brothers, Boeing, AT&T PhRMA, Insurance and Investment corporations.  I'm genuinely saddened that I was unable to convince more citizens that my warnings were based upon research and predictions upon past performance of ALEC and the corporate elite.  Maybe I wasn't persistent enough - or my voice not sufficiently loud to overcome the disinformation being disseminated by ALEC through the MSM.  Whatever the case, it is now fact and has become a part of our National history, and puts a huge "win" in ALEC's war chest under the "Labor" initiative heading.

I'm hopeful that NOW some of the disbelievers will realize that those of us who have been investigating ALEC and their agenda involving labor and prisons will realize that our words were not just some kind of political rhetoric and begin to join our activism to stop ALEC completely!  This has to be done before there are absolutely no jobs left to American workers and every penny of wealth is owned by the top 1% of our society.  It is coming to that as DK Diarist arendt so succinctly demonstrated in the recent Diary:  "The Scramble for America - The banksters bring neo-colonialism home"

In an effort of demonstrating why I continue to warn about the serious consequences of the activities of ALEC through the manipulations of Charles Koch and others belonging to ALEC...I have been cautioning students that they are on the front lines in this war (have no doubt this is a war for democracy being waged across our land) based upon the following facts;

"Financially controlled universities such as: Christendom College, College of the Ozarks, Franciscan University, Grove City College, Harding University, Hillsdale College, The King's College, Liberty University, Patrick Henry College, Regent University, Saint Vincent College, Thomas Aquinas College, Thomas More College, and Wisconsin Lutheran College. All of these are supported, funded or have departments operating under grants from Charles Koch or one or more of his “Foundations.”

A 1998 report titled: “Uncovering the Right on Campus: A Guide to Resisting Conservative Attacks on Equality and Social Justice,"  provides this:
“According to the study, a network of more than a dozen national conservative foundations with annual budgets ranging from $160,000 to $5 million are coordinating the agendas of many conservative campus activities nationwide. Those agendas, according to the study, are uniformly anti-affirmative action, anti-feminist, anti-environmentalist and anti-gay rights.
“For example, according to the study, Michigan's conservative Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, with assets exceeding $130 million, made $85,000 in campus grants in the 1994-95 academic year. And Michigan's Earhart Foundation, nearly one-third the size of the DeVos foundation, donated $87,000 to campus organizations in the same year. All told, conservative foundations have been funding campus groups to the tune of $10 million to $20 million a year since the 1980s, say the authors of the report.”

Today the amounts spent on funding these conservative universities is quite possibly more than double the amount(s) of funding spent on such efforts back in 1998.  Not only are conservative groups, individuals and organizations spending millions to train college students in conservative matters and principles at colleges like George mason University where the Mercatur Center is under the control of Charles Koch…they are also paying non-conservative colleges for the right to pick and choose both the Professors hired and the curriculum taught.

It was recently reported that Charles Koch paid $1.5 million to Florida State University in the form of a grant, on the condition that Koch’s operatives would have a free hand in selecting professors and approving publications. The simmering controversy sheds light on the vast influence of the Koch political machine, which spans from the top conservative think tanks, Republican politicians, a small army of contracted lobbyists, and Tea Party front groups in nearly every state.  After the story about this broke in the St. Petersburg Times,Think Progress did a report exposing that FSU was merely the latest in such “purchases” by Koch;

“Koch virtually owns much of George Mason University, another public university, through grants and direct control over think tanks within the school. For instance, Koch controls the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, an institute that set much of the Bush administration’s environmental deregulation policy. And similar conditional agreements have been made with schools like Clemson and West Virginia University. ThinkProgress has analyzed data from the Charles Koch Foundation, and found that this trend is actually much larger than previously known. Many of the Koch university grants finance far right, pro-polluter professors, and dictate that students read Charles Koch’s book as part of their academic study.”

The article identified several other colleges where such deals had been made between state and private Universities and Koch:
•    West Virginia University - accepting at least $480,000 from Koch.
•    Troy University - The Charles Koch Foundation, along with the Manuel Johnson and the BB&T Foundation, provided Troy University, a public university, a gift of $3.6 million to establish the Center for Political Economy last year.
•    Utah State University - The Charles Koch Foundation has given nearly $700,000 to Utah State University, mostly for the Huntsman School of Business.

Charles Koch Foundation grants, along with direct Koch Industries grants, are distributed to dozens of other universities around the country every year, to both public and private institutions. Some programs, like the Charles Koch Student Research Colloquium at Beloit College, are funded by grants of little over $130,000  and simply support conservative speakers on campuses.

Budget constraints and other problems at universities have allowed a small set of oligarchs to use school donations to interfere with academic integrity on campuses. A group of hedge fund managers, working through the Manhattan Institute’s Veritas Fund,  have created entire departments dedicated to advancing failed supply side ideas and climate skepticism. John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T Bank, a bailout recipient, has used his corporation’s money to force college campuses to adopt Ayn Rand readings into their programs.

Overall, Koch is a dominant player when it comes to meddling with academic integrity. Part of the effort is coordinated through operatives like Richard Fink, who doubles as a vice president at Koch’s corporate lobbying office. Through an organization called the Association of Private Enterprise Education,  Koch organizes these corporate-funded university departments into a powerful intellectual movement.  The organization allows Koch staffers in Washington DC to request certain types of studies, interfere with hiring decisions, and reward loyal free market academics with hefty research grants.

Charles Koch awards himself

If you think for one moment that this is not a planned and well thought out battle plan that includes pursuing recruitment of a new crop of ultraconservatives from our colleges and universities...check out these words from Eric Heubeck's 2000 Treatise; "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement" under the heading "New Traditionalists Must Concentrate on Students and Young Adults" based upon the teaching and writings of Paul Weyrich, ALEC and Heritage Foundation's co-founder:

"The new movement will inevitably be geared toward children and young adults, especially their education. We will accomplish the goal of retaking our country only when large numbers of young people are educated outside of the indoctrinating environment of many public and private schools, universities, and of course, the popular culture. At this point in their lives, many of their ideas are still in the formative stage, the more so the younger they are. Furthermore, young adults (of college age and above) should be given a large role in the organization of the New Traditionalist movement, as many older people, because of work and family life, simply do not have the time to devote to reading, discussion, and action (and all three are equally important). They also often lack the necessary energy, enthusiasm, and idealism that is prevalent in youth. However, retirees could also make a valuable contribution to the movement.

College students must be a key audience for our movement, since they are free of excessive time commitments and they find themselves in an environment that (theoretically) encourages activism and exposure to new ideas. We should consider creating alternative fraternities where traditionalists can live, interact with each other, learn from each other, socialize with each other. New Traditionalist fraternities can help replicate lifestyles from the past--emulate "civilized" behavior from the past--by discussing traditionalist ideas, literature, and art, and then acting based on what has been learned. Members of the fraternities and collegiate study groups should build each other up in every possible way: in terms of public speaking skills, debating skills, physical fitness, intellect, manners, aesthetic sense. It is imperative that our ideas be lived and not merely discussed.

A basic problem is that most bright, creative, dynamic, energetic young people with leadership skills become leftists, and this is why most student leaders--who eventually become the leaders of society--tend to be leftists. New Traditionalist fraternities and collegiate study groups can help reverse that tendency."

To me this is not merely frightening, it explains the push for defunding public education and installing the current initiative of "voucher systems" on a state by state basis.  Time and again this "Treatise" has been shown to be the mantra used by ALEC and the Koch brothers for the past decade plus.  Reading Heubeck's full essay, is chilling and is why I based the predictions of the eventual pursuit of immigration incarceration and displacing civilian workers with prisoners by this cabal.

This is why I am grateful to, and applaud the efforts of the University and college students in Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and elsewhere who have taken notice and picked up the standard of my generation to carry this battle forward.  A major battle in this war is being silently fought right there on their campuses.  The Conservative faction are led by General's such as Charles and David Koch, the DeVos and Scaife Families under the ALEC banner.  They have a war chest filled to capacity and state legislators in their pockets...the students and their supporters have truth and the vote on their side.  Both have to be used to the fullest extent possible to overcome and prevail.  For if they lose this battle, all of us have a dim future.

Prison incarceration, Privatization, Prison Industries and Buying Colleges and their Curriculum's are only a small part of the overall concept and agenda.  Deregulation, Voter ID disenfranchisement, repealing healthcare and like objectives make up another small part of that agenda.  A visit to ALEC's Model Legislation page fills me with dread and fear for our future as a society and should have the same impact upon you as well.

Collectively their goal is Dominion over society and our governments.  If we continue to ignore this fact, we are doomed to to their succeeding...just sayin'.

Please join us or help fund our Protest ALEC demonstration in New Orleans on August 5th.  Visit Protest ALEC and take part in helping us defeat and abolish this cabal completely - for the sake of all of us - before it is simply put, too damn late...

Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 8:46 AM PT: A rare - but important video - of ALEC co-founder, Paul Weyrich speaking at a Christian Conference in 1980 on his idea of suppressing voters.

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, KasichWatch, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Earthship Koch, Exposing ALEC, Progressive Hippie, and Community Spotlight.


Should it be legal for Governors to authorize or support the substitution of prisoners in public sector jobs?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (177+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jiordan, chimpy, Eric Nelson, Puddytat, MKinTN, MNDem999, commonmass, cotterperson, tardis10, My Name Isnt Earl, sceptical observer, jethrock, PeterHug, Unit Zero, JonBarleycorn, ManfromMiddletown, joe shikspack, Siri, progressivebadger, Terra Mystica, BentLiberal, Clio2, millwood, HugoDog, Ohiodem1, watercarrier4diogenes, coldwynn, ruleoflaw, Margd, NoMoJoe, dragonlady, Orlaine, Kamakhya, Unknown Quantity, Ckntfld, karmsy, Jean Sloan, Swill to Power, cloudbustingkid, dfe, plankbob, brentbent, falina, trinityfly, makanda, Badjuh, MKSinSA, BaxKen, fixxit, third Party please, GrumpyOldGeek, Chaoslillith, rukidingme, phonegery, BarackStarObama, Orinoco, jm214, doinaheckuvanutjob, Shockwave, DWG, zerelda, 3goldens, humanunit, Livvy5, Prospect Park, Jim P, MattYellingAtTheMoon, wader, banjolele, dougymi, MsGrin, teabaggerssuckbalz, Daily Activist, cyncynical, ClickerMel, pensivelady, cardboardurinal, emptythreatsfarm, MartyM, ilovecheese, Bruce Webb, Empower Ink, NoGW, lol chikinburd, Tommymac, supercereal, JVolvo, Lujane, RfrancisR, Carlo, shaharazade, bgblcklab1, Gustogirl, TheProudProgressive, crystalboy, Ivan, revelwoodie, One bite at a time, DRo, Gowrie Gal, elwior, buckstop, BigOkie, Dr Colossus, AverageJoe42, MinistryOfTruth, asterkitty, dsb, 4Freedom, farbuska, terabytes, peptabysmal, frisbee, big annie, slatsg, little lion, arlene, bronte17, antirove, dagnome, createpeace, corpsechorus, cosette, maybeeso in michigan, jnhobbs, fiddlingnero, TheMomCat, NoMoreLies, yowsta, Texnance, mrsgoo, pollbuster, HarpboyAK, swampyankee, northsylvania, libnewsie, radarlady, DiegoUK, Kimberley, lotlizard, boofdah, IreGyre, Hear Our Voices, dadadata, spiceagony, we are 138, marleycat, anyname, most peculiar mama, PBen, Executive Odor, ChemBob, emmasnacker, BluejayRN, Creosote, LaughingPlanet, woodtick, lostinamerica, Cory Bantic, Tasini, Hector Solon, blue jersey mom, DefendOurConstitution, Voiceless, bleeding heart, googie, DEMonrat ankle biter, Oh Mary Oh, gatorcog, rlharry, tomjones, indres, CarolJ, Russgirl, bunsk, DeadB0y, spaceshot

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

    by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:37:25 AM PDT

  •  Not everyone is ignoring you (45+ / 0-)

    believe me. I have been following your diaries and passing them on to everyone I know. This trend is blood-chilling...

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. - Albert Einstein

    by jiordan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:44:42 AM PDT

    •  Thanks jiordan. It just seems that these (29+ / 0-)

      people continue their agenda without anyone noticing or taking them to task previously.  Only over the past few months have others started to take them on and begin demonstrating and helping expose their agenda.

      I'm hoping that this trend can be stopped before our unemployment becomes too large to recover from.  Letters to Obama and others fall on deaf ears time after time, while he and others continue to chant about job creation.  Can't create jobs when ALEC is able to transfer them to prisoners in such a fashion, without any attempt to stop them.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:48:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This Won't Be Popular With Their Base! (15+ / 0-)

        Poor working class whites will HATE using prison labor. There's a reason why that practice is not universal -- poor working class whites see it as using prisoners (usually black or Hispanic) to take their jobs away -- and that's true.

        We would have shifted to a slave based economy 100 years ago if these swine had had their way -- this is a very old problem. But, outside of the most atavistic regions of the deep South it's never been permitted before.

        We just have to get the word out. NOBODY, but NOBODY -- even on the right wing is going to like this at all.

        •  I hope your analysis is correct. n/t (6+ / 0-)

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:57:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wingers tend to see prisoners as subhuman (6+ / 0-)

          and not deserving of anything, and hard labor seen as worthy punishment. I feel more skeptical about how poor working class whites will react, and wingers. I think they tend to love these kind of things, and won't see it as a threat to their jobs.

          •  Well the working class hasn't seen it as a (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doinaheckuvanutjob, elwior, boofdah

            threat to them...yet.  With the use of them in Wisconsin that is expected to change, with all the eyes of U.S. workers and Unions concentrated there due to the continuing war against workers.  This will be noticed and within a couple of days we'll see what reaction comes of this latest move to replace public workers with inmates.  I'll be surprised if it slides by with little comment or objection.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:39:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did this happen before, in the US south, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, forester

              back when textile factories were being closed down, moved overseas etc? I seem to recall some prisons in the south having their prisoners do that work. Seems like this has happened before, under the radar, but less extensively than the current plans you've been outlining in your writings.

              •  It has been ongoing in most states over the past (8+ / 0-)

                quarter of a century - working prisoners in textiles, manufacturing, call centers and some services.  They work for private manufacturers making all sorts of goods which are sold on the open markets under the federal PIECPprogram (18 USC 1761(c)run by the US DOJ).  This program is what got me involved in investigating it and how it was being used, almost 9 years ago.

                In 1995 the DOJ outsourced oversight and policy determination responsibilities to the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA).  This link I provided shows their board of directors.  As you can see they are a private non-profit made up of all those participating in the program (fox guarding the hen house) and they're getting away with murder - literally (several deaths of supervisors committed by inmates working in the program).  They underpay the inmates, hide actual operations from the DOJ, and have found a way to deduct up to 40% of the inmate's wages for room and board deductions to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of their incarceration - and instead keep it as a way of offsetting their cost of operations ( see pages 32 33).

                This move in Wisconsin is the first blatant, in the face announcement of replacing public sector workers with inmate labor.  They've been doing it but quietly for several years in southern states, but they must think the time is right to announce their intentions so openly.

                "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

                by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:06:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Call it what it is (19+ / 0-)

      The American Gulag

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:22:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I roll my eyes at this... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wham Bam, Sparhawk

      What public workers have the fights of the last few months been waged by? Teachers. Police. Firemen. Does anyone really think these positions are going to start being filled by inmates? Please...

      Also, the slavery analogy is offensive. These are criminals that have been locked away because they have committed a crime (granted, some are bogus crimes on nonviolent drug charges, but our society is working to fix that). Slaves, on the other hand, were shackled into a life of servitude at birth, or were captured through no wrong-doing of their own and were forced into labor for the rest of their lives. The term is also saturated with racism, as race was often used to justify the cruel treatment. Quite a different scenario.

      And finally, it's a good thing that we put prisoners to work. For one reason, it helps them learn responsibility and work ethic for the day they may re-enter society. For another, taxpayers are having to pay to house/feed them, so why not try to recover some of those costs. Especially considering a third reason, and that's that it gives the inmates something somewhat pleasurable to do to help pass the days. Yes, in my research, prisoners are happier with the work.

      Try looking at things another way.

      by atheistben on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:22:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ever Heard of the Chain-Gang? (21+ / 1-)

        Do you grasp what the "chain" part of "chain-gang" means?

        Are you so ignorant you think this is something NEW? The use of prison labor to undercut wages for poor whites in the South is a VERY LONG ONE.

        Why do you think racism is so entrenched there? It's not totally without basis you know! Poor whites see prisoners -- who are MOSTLY minorities and always have been -- as being used to supplant them and undercut their wages.

        And then they get angry. They might lash out against minorities, but they also get angry at the use of prison labor too. We can easily win this fight if enough people learn about it.

        It's simply NOT going to be popular with anybody but corrupt businessmen who want sweet-heart deals with the warden.

      •  it's almost as if you know nothing about the U.S. (16+ / 0-)

        penal system. I'm inclined to like you because of your handle, atheistben, but this is some seriously ignorant shit you're slinging.

        Indeed, the evidence is almost too vast to pick out a single statistic or fact quickly -- like trying to marshal evidence against flat-earth theory -- but it isn't just this diarist who's making the analogy.

        Almost at random:

        Not one but several ‘peculiar institutions’ have successively operated to define, confine, and control African-Americans in the history of the United States. The first is chattel slavery as the pivot of the plantation economy and inceptive matrix of racial division from the colonial era to the Civil War. The second is the Jim Crow system of legally enforced discrimination and segregation from cradle to grave that anchored the predominantly agrarian society of the South from the close of Reconstruction to the Civil Rights revolution which toppled it a full century after abolition. America’s third special device for containing the descendants of slaves in the Northern industrial metropolis is the ghetto, corresponding to the conjoint urbanization and proletarianization of African-Americans from the Great Migration of 1914–30 to the 1960s, when it was rendered partially obsolete by the concurrent transformation of economy and state and by the mounting protest of blacks against continued caste exclusion, climaxing with the explosive urban riots chronicled in the Kerner Commission Report.

        The fourth, I contend here, is the novel institutional complex formed by the remnants of the dark ghetto and the carceral apparatus with which it has become joined by a linked relationship of structural symbiosis and functional surrogacy. This suggests that slavery and mass imprisonment are genealogically linked and that one cannot understand the latter—its timing, composition, and smooth onset as well as the quiet ignorance or acceptance of its deleterious effects on those it affects—without returning to the former as historic starting point and functional analogue.

        Viewed against the backdrop of the full historical trajectory of racial domination in the United States (summed up in Table 1), the glaring and growing ‘disproportionality’ in incarceration that has afflicted African-Americans over the past three decades can be understood as the result of the ‘extra-penological’ functions that the prison system has come to shoulder in the wake of the crisis of the ghetto and of the continuing stigma that afflicts the descendants of slaves by virtue of their membership in a group constitutively deprived of ethnic honour (Max Weber’s Massehre). "From Slavery to Mass Incarceration," New Left Review

        •  Well, this nation also elected (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wham Bam

          a black president. Things change.

          From the US Bureau of Justice Statistics:

          On June 30, 2006, an estimated 4.8% of black men were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9% of Hispanic men and 0.7% of white men.

          It's a tough sell to say that we "define, confine, and control African-Americans" via our prisons when only 5% of African-Americans are incarcerated. It's wayyy different from slavery.

          Try looking at things another way.

          by atheistben on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:55:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The same source for statistics provides that (13+ / 0-)

            today there are more African-Americans incarcerated than the total number of those enslaved during the pre-civil war era in America -  from her book "The New Jim Crow" by Michele Alexander.  Considering that 4.8% of the total number of Black men in America are in prison or jail doesn't begin to tell the story, where 1 in every 14 adult Black men have been incarcerated at some point in their life.  So this is not "wayyy different from slavery" as you suggest.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:06:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Please explain (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            k9disc, elwior
            It's wayyy different from slavery.

            At what percentage would it be enough for you to acknowledge that there is a problem?

            This might put it in perspective:

            c.1600, in reference to the practice of punishing mutinous military units by capital execution of one in every 10, by lot; from L. decimatus, pp. of decimare (see decimation). Killing one in ten, chosen by lots, from a rebellious city or a mutinous army was a common punishment in classical times. The word has been used (incorrectly, to the irritation of pedants) since 1660s for "destroy a large portion of." Related: Decimated; decimating.

            The American legal system not only removes a portion of the AA male population from society (not by killing, but by incarcerating, which while more humane, still warrants a comparison), but then after returning them to society, often relegates them to a poor future, which makes returning to a life of crime that much more tempting.

            But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. (1776)

            by banjolele on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:23:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Please do not HR people you are having a (0+ / 0-)

            dispute with.

            Anyway, these idiots are doing a good job of making themselves look stupid.  Why hide them?

          •  lol. nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, Russgirl

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 08:59:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It may well be that prisoners are "happier" (13+ / 0-)

        with the work - but how about those who are no longer employed doing that work?  The pursuit of turning over public jobs to inmates is only the latest in this battle.  For the past 30 years now, private sector manufacturing, labor and service jobs have been transitioned out of the private sector and put behind fences where prisoners now perform that work for pennies on the dollar - compared to civilian wages for the same duties.

        If it were just the allowance of using inmates in mowing grass, cleaning graffiti and other low skilled duties - and only just now beginning to occur - that would be a different story. But it is simply an escalation of such displacing of civilian workers.  If you think it is coincidental that the attacks by Conservatives against Unions and collective bargaining just happens to coincide with putting inmates to work at the jobs once held by those union workers, then you'e being somewhat naive or haven't been aware of this topic in the past.

        Tell me what jobs are going to be available for these inmates who have been given training and a work ethic when released?  The municipalities are now not going to hire them since they have free labor from those inmates the released offender left behind.  Private manufacturers who have access to prison labor in prison industries are not going to hire these ex-offenders, when to do so would make them have to pay them prevailing wages, benefits and pay unemployment premiums - they also will continue to use the cheap prison labor made available to them.  This is the reality of today regarding the jobs available to inmates.  All of this contributes to the recidivism rate hovering around 60% nationally.

        What is happening now is comparable to the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws of the post civil-war era in the south.  Your statement that use of this term is offensive and that "These are criminals that have been locked away because they have committed a crime..." is the same argument Whites used in the late 1800's to justify those laws used to continue to imprison and work Aftican-Americans following the implementation of the 13th Amendment with it's clause

        "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

        That was a poor argument for justification then and it's even a worse one now.  Today African-Americans make up more than 60% of our prison and jail populations, and another 15% are Hispanic or Latino's and both minorities are being fully exploited for their labor, just as they have been for a couple of centuries.  If the term offends you, join us and do something about it.  Being self-righteous and offended over the terminology does nothing to stop this from happening...and it must be stopped entirely.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:56:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Still offensive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, Wham Bam
          What is happening now is comparable to the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws of the post civil-war era in the south.

          No it is not. Drawing the comparison minimizes the struggles of African Americans at that time. That's why it is offensive.

          Jailing 5% of blacks who are found guilty of a crime by a jury of their peers (and the juries are becoming better now, too), and having them do some basic labor is not the same as enslaving or oppressing an entire race. This country is not running off of prison labor, as it used to run off of slave labor. It's the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.

          Try looking at things another way.

          by atheistben on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:09:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  First of all, public employees include (11+ / 0-)

        lots of positions other than those you name, such as groundskeepers, kitchen workers, garbage collectors, housekeepers etc. These are the type of positions that Walker got rid of in Milwaukee County when he was county exec.  The positions were "privatized" - to companies using undocumented workers.
        Also, you might want to brush up on the history of the Jim Crow south.  Prisoners there became a commodity whose labor was traded/sold.  Wisconsin has both an unusually high number of prisoners per capita, and an unusually high rate of minority incarceration.  That is a shameful injustice, which would be compounded by using prisoners' labor to decrease the number of public sector jobs.  Considering the cost of continued incarceration for prisoners, many of whom are locked up for non-violent, relatively small drug offenses, their labor is no bargain.  The Badger state is, embarrassingly, looking more and more like the deep south of several decades ago.

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          The positions were "privatized" - to companies using undocumented workers.

          This is something of a serious charge. Do you have a basis for this?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:45:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, rec list diary yesterday about how (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, MrJersey

            Scott Walker's privatized Medicaid company contract was eliminated in one day of service. In this diary, Privatized Wisconsin Medicaid Ride Coordinator Fails After One Day:

            It sounded like a super-awesome free-market joyride for Wisconsin's Medicaid recipients. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued a press release last week touting their contract with Logisticare, a private company that would coordinate non-emergency transportation services for Medicaid recipients throughout the state instead of having each of Wisconsin's 72 county governments coordinate rides...

            Just one quick example. You ought to read the rec list more often, and the front page. You haven't been paying much attention to what Republican governors are doing in Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and various other places.

      •  Roll your eyes (9+ / 0-)

        When people are FORCED to work for no wages, that is slavery.  Corporations et al don't take advantage of this in order to 'rehabilitate' the prisoners, but to save money. Prisoners that don't go along with this abuse are put in solitary confinement. That is how they are forced. Repeat, forced.

        •  I guess I was a slave growing up (0+ / 0-)

          Because I fit the definition you give.

          Or perhaps there's more to slavery than forced work with no wages - which is the viewpoint I hold.

          Try looking at things another way.

          by atheistben on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:00:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So would you call female sex workers kidnapped (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in foreign countries and forced to work as prostitutes, slaves, or is that only reserved for African American slaves prior to the Civil War?

            •  Yes, I would, but with a caveat (0+ / 0-)

              I would on the grounds that they're being subjected to this lifestyle through no fault of their own - or certainly without fault to warrant this treatment. And the treatment is degrading. And they don't enjoy it.

              The caveat is that in this country, that is illegal. So here, I wouldn't give it all the meaning of "slavery" as I think of blacks prior to the Civil War. The main differences being how widespread it is, and the aspect of the practice being acceptable in our society. In other countries where these elements are in play, yes, I'd call it slavery.

              Try looking at things another way.

              by atheistben on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 08:42:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Right on point and an accurate analysis (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, 4Freedom

          of both the issue and the reprisals if inmates don't go along with the program.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:25:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Read the links in the diary, then get back to us. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, elwior
      •  And I roll my eyes @ your comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, elwior


        Yes, in my research, prisoners are happier with the work.

        Care to show me this "research"?

        Also, the slavery analogy is offensive. These are criminals that have been locked away because they have committed a crime (granted, some are bogus crimes on nonviolent drug charges, but our society is working to fix that). Slaves, on the other hand, were shackled into a life of servitude at birth, or were captured through no wrong-doing of their own and were forced into labor for the rest of their lives. The term is also saturated with racism, as race was often used to justify the cruel treatment. Quite a different scenario.

        Too bad. The slavery term fits, so I, as well as some others, will use that whether you like it or not. There is more than one type of slavery. What is instituted now doesn't literally involve a plantation, whips (at least not yet) or people referring to their overseers as "Massa", but it still involves people being forced to work for the benefit of someone else without being even close to fairly compensated.

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

        by RockyMtnLib on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:38:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, Ben. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Someone in prison is analogous to a indentured servant. They have no meaningful civil rights.

        And it may surprise you to know that indentured servants in the American colonies were treated as badly as, or worse than, actual slaves.

        So use another term if you want. It's a distinction without a difference.

        Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

        by dadadata on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 04:22:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A meaningful response and apt description of (0+ / 0-)

          U.S. labor in the pre-revolutionary era, carried here from England, when one could sell another into such servitude.

          Today they hide behind section 1 of the 13th Amendment and our Lawmakers refuse to change or repeal that section to remove the last loophole allowing this kind of forced - if you will - labor.

          Where corporations have no conscience, our government's duty is to protect it's people from exploitation - but they assist rather than condemn.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:23:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, Bob. (0+ / 0-)

            Indentured servants got here 3 ways:

            1. Voluntarily.
            2. Kidnapped
            3. Transported for crime.

            Voluntarily meant you were really desperate or had a marketable skill (joinery) but no money for the passage.

            The death rate was very high.

            Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

            by dadadata on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 12:33:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  This diary belongs on the rec list. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, 4Freedom, Ohiodem1

      Do something like it again in a few days when pie isn't the only subject on the rec list.

  •  Republished to (22+ / 0-)

    Badger State Progressives
    Virtual America:  Progressive State Groups Newsletter
    Class Warfare:  Plutocracy vs. the Working Class

    RWers must be stopped from turning this country into Medieval Europe.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:50:29 AM PDT

  •  The idea of exploiting prison labor, which is (19+ / 0-)

    not new (especially in the South--see: "Slavery by Another Name" by Blackmon), is however, positively repugnant, positively morally wrong.

    These guys are dangerous. They must be unmasked and stopped.

    Thank you for these diaries.

    •  I continue to try and bring this to a halt as (12+ / 0-)

      more jobs fall to these RWers.   It has been ongoing for more than 20 years and has picked up the pace over the past couple, as more and more public jobs have fallen to prisoners.  There are already more than 100,000 prisoners working in factories - many for private corporations - and they aren't satisfied with just taking civilian jobs any longer.

      Does no good to "create" jobs while they're being stolen by this cabal and their agenda.

      Thanks for coming by and taking part in the discussion and attempts to resolve this important issue.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:06:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's too easy to think of prisoners as "other" (12+ / 0-)

        I think that's the hard part about getting attention focused on this urgent problem. Two forces, denial and division, allow the media to turn us collectively away from many serious problems.

        Simple denial does a lot of the work: even well-meaning people have trouble believing that their own country could have descended to that kind of exploitation. Cognitive dissonance keeps them believing that since we're in a Democracy, then their government must be working in their interests. They fail to see that Democracy means that it's their job to make the government work for good. As long as the media keep the flood of distractions coming, most people won't even turn half a mind toward the larger picture.

        The politics of division does the rest of the job: some people have prejudices, whether they know it or not, that the right-wing media machine can exploit. Worse than just sitting things out because they don't notice them, some people can be whipped into a rage of anti-whatever, and different demographic fragments of the working class turn against each other. For a mostly black prison population, for example, the white media can easily lobby for longer sentences and harsher treatment. For suburban voters, inner-city crime shows help make the case for tougher police tactics.

        Until more people see reflections of themselves in those cells and on those work crews, I think it will be hard to make the case for reform. So, thanks Bob, and I hope more people with experience inside the system will choose to write about it.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 01:41:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks back for staying involved, chimpy. This (8+ / 0-)

          is a serious issue - not just from a social pov but rather because it allows those using the system to take in large sums of money to fund other initiatives  in line with their overall agenda.  It takes money to fund such a system where judicial appointments will benefit them in the future, investing in lawmakers who will someday advance to positions of influence within Cabinets or important government posts and creating the laws that allow them to work freely.  Buying a legislator is sometimes described of requiring only pocket change - but to buy and control thousands across the country, it is expensive.  To keep the money rolling in, this kind of exploitation performs a duality role; providing them liquid assets and reducing the jobs available to voters and thus funds to fight them.

          Thankfully it's not as lonely on this issue as it used to be.  I feel the presence of others at last, lending their voice to mine and other activists to call a halt to all of it.  Thands for taking part.  It is well appreciated.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 01:56:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It takes money to fund the system (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, 4Freedom

            Those who manage the programs, the middlemen who get free or cheap labor, then pocket the markup, do seem to have gotten themselves into the public & institutional systems.

            As we would for products built with involuntary labor, maybe we should also refrain from trading with banks and cities that use it behind the scenes?

            Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

            by chimpy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:04:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You should check out the Brave New Foundation (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, tardis10, 4Freedom, chimpy

              and see how they have been doing just what you suggest.  Here is a link:  They are going after ALEC, Koch and all of the banks and investment companies holding stock of CCA and Geo Group.  They've been demonstrating coast to coast and I think they'll be in NO on August 5th to take part in the Protest Alec Rally.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:29:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Looks good, maybe a bit video-heavy (0+ / 0-)

                I like the idea of tying so many of those issues together, and persistently going after the big players behind them. I did like the image of the cartoon bubble going up on the ballet building front.

                Something I might like, in addition to the big events coming through, are everyday fliers I could post around town. Sometimes I get tired of explaining why I don't bank somewhere. Maybe a one-page newsletter, broadcast as a PDF, that I can print up here would do the trick.

                If some group has the resources and time to lay out newsletters specific to certain companies, I'd be happy to tack them up in the appropriate neighborhoods. It would be too much work to update news for every company every month, but maybe rotating through them, one per week or one per month? Every so many weeks, then, BofA gets a fresh issue up all around their branches.

                Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

                by chimpy on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 09:29:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for what you do. I read your diaries. nt (5+ / 0-)

        I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

        by notdarkyet on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:17:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Too many believe "It Can't Happen Here" (17+ / 0-)

      Until they personally get foreclosed, thrown into debtor's prison, and rented out to the bank to mow their old lawn, some people will stay blind to the forces at work against them.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:24:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just have to chime in here (8+ / 0-)

        Good luck with that, plutocrats.  The revolution will be well-armed, thanks to your 2nd-amendment weenies in the NRA.  

        I truly wonder if the right-wing nutjobs in this country have given 2 seconds' thought to the toxic stew they are brewing.

        Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

        by slippytoad on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:50:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How many will even notice in time? (9+ / 0-)

          It's too easy to misdirect the anger. Money owns the message machines, and too many people believe the message. I'm afraid most of those 2nd-amendment weenies will be "safely" turned against each other, or against poor people, minorities, college kids, disabled people, etc., leaving the actual villains untouched.

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 01:02:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have wondered the same with all of the guns (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimpy, elwior, 4Freedom

          in just my neighborhood, alone!!  I believe when people have no work, no money, no home, no vehicle, no food to eat or access to water...what they'll have left to them is an uncontrolled anger and their guns.  The mansions and limo's of the 1%'ers make awful large and good targets, I'm thinking...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 01:03:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please, don't go there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Guns are far more likely to be turned, in my opinion, by frustrated and depressed unemployed persons on themselves and/or their families and/or displaced targets of anger -- including gays, persons of color, immigrants, Muslims, ex-girl friends, the "liberals" they have heard are ruining the country, etc.

            And even if -- which will not happen -- by chance a whole neighborhood decided to get together and oppose, say, a particular eviction by force if necessary, the authorities possess such a disparate quantity of force, SWAT teams, etc., that it is really pointless to think that way.

            That said -- i have no doubt that some of the rich are fools enough to be scared, and that probably helps to keep us moving toward a universal surveillance society.

            I greatly admire your series, but I think this remark was just off base.  

            •  My reply was meant to be a factitious (9+ / 0-)

              remark highlighting the frustration felt by many and drawing attention to what the future could hold in the absence of any correction of the path we're being led along.

              I don't advocate violence - instead time and again I've called for voters to take notice, turn out and change the course we're on.  However as Roger Ailes has stated time and again, "They're out to get me"...and "The progressives and Al Qaeda are coming for me", causing him to hide in his FOX office, with armed guards and surveillance cameras in place...lends credence to your comment about them being "fool enough to be scared."

              I keep in mind that in our diverse society there are always those who when put in a corner, their response is violence.  Until recently that has been a minor segment of this society, but as more and more find themselves homeless, jobless and unable to care for their families, that group has grown in size - along with their frustration.  This is due in part to the use of public law enforcement as a tool to keep the common mass in place and protect the businesses and interests of the wealthy.

              Here over the past couple of years I've heard conversations, complaints and outrage over efforts of establishing a way to incarcerate debtors, force homeowners to choose between foreclosure and paying medical bills or putting food on the table...and in some of those conversations, violence lay just under the surface.  I argue against that, but recognize the frustration and despair as my city begins to take on an appearance like Detroit of 10 years ago: boarded up homes along most streets, businesses closing due to lack of sales or inability to secure loans to bridge the economic turmoil.

              So it isn't that using 1%'ers as target practice is a reality or will become an actuality, it is rather that if voting doesn't change our course and we continue  in the same direction we've been taken over the past few years, some will ultimately come to see that as a way to seek revenge for their personal situation(s).  Right now that frustration is being taken out in peaceful demonstrations and protests in dozens of our cities...what happens if that and voting them out of office doesn't work?  What then will be the course to take?

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 02:56:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I worry I'd be just as much a target (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Abelia, elwior, gatorcog

            I also wonder about the people I see just getting by, and what they'll do when they can't make it at all. I know some of them have guns, but they all have fists and bricks available to them.

            The mansions are all protected, and when people lash out, violence seems the easiest business to keep local. More likely, the end up hurting themselves, each other or me, just because I'm in the neighborhood.

            Likewise with the limos - more often than not, limos are owned my drivers who don't own much else, or owned by an agency and taken care of by that one driver. That driver or agency might just barely keep up with the payments driving people to the airport. The few limos I see in the neighborhood are parked in front of the smallest houses, and those guys work some long hours in them. I'd hate to see someone shoot his just-as-poor neighbor who happens to be finally driving home after shuttling visitors around.

            Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

            by chimpy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:11:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent point (6+ / 0-)

              It's not that easy for the frustrated poor armed person to find a mansion to target in the heat of the moment. Instead your justifiably angry poor young man walks or rides the bus the few blocks from one of the worst neighborhoods of the city to my modest middle-class neighborhood and mugs a  commuter by whacking her over the head with a baseball bat, or knocks a kid off his bike and steals it.

              Unfortunately the capital-W Wealthy aren't on the subway line . . .

              Excellent diary, to get back on topic. It was not that many generations ago that debtors prison and indentured servitude (often for payment of debt!) were legal and common. We (as a culture) seem to be finding it easier and easier to write off whole categories of humans as not really human and not really in need of human rights protection.

            •  I believe that it isn't so much an "us against (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chimpy, elwior, peptabysmal, gatorcog

              them" (White against Black) thing anymore.  Most know where all this is coming from and it isn't racial in form or context - it is profit driven and has no color preference.  It isn't being done merely because there are more Black and Latino's in prison and jail than Whites.

              Back during the uprisings and riots of Watts and those that took place during the Rodney King incident, those outbursts were all driven out of similar frustrations, but centered around the disparity in races and treatments of one by the other.  Today it is the treatment of all races by a minority group of "elitists" that comprise less than 2% of our entire population that is at the core of the frustration of all ethnicity's in our country.

              An unrecognized fact in all this is: that while less than 2% of our population is driving this agenda, they are assisted in those efforts by 65% of our state legislators and at least 80 U.S. Congressional members - through association or affiliation with ALEC.  All of them are Conservative and work together to force the other 99% of our population to adjust to their demands.  An example of this is going on right now in the debt ceiling furor.

              While I don't think this will turn violent, there is always that possibility, do simply to the mindset of those pushing this shit.  It serves them well, to be able to increase the pressure and do whatever they can to incite others to violence, so they can then point their finger and proclaim "this behavior is why we need jails, prisons and harsh laws to keep these people under control."

              We've all seen this kind of methodology work for them in the past.  They will totally ignore the fact of what they did to contribute to the cause of an explosive response, without taking any blame.  To make this all worse, we have to also realize that today, the Conservatives control SCOTUS, have a majority of Conservative federal judges on the bench (while filibustering all of President Obama's appointments to the federal bench) and use the same filibuster technique to oppose everything they don't like.  The deck is totally stacked in their favor - even though they are a minority political party right now - through control of the necessary control mechanisms available to the public; police, legislative and judicial.

              This is why I advocate voter turn outs to change the political and legislative landscape, and refrain from violence.  All a violent reaction would do is to further aggravate the problems and push us further away from being able to provide a non-violent solution.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:17:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also makes hostages out of middle-income families (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bob Sloan
                While I don't think this will turn violent, there is always that possibility, [due] simply to the mindset of those pushing this shit.  It serves them well, to be able to increase the pressure and do whatever they can to incite others to violence, ...

                The very rich have separated themselves from the geography and daily routines of the masses, that they have no personal stake in civil order. They have thousands of middle-income families between their high gates and whatever pockets of desperately poor might arise.

                ... so they can then point their finger and proclaim "this behavior is why we need jails, prisons and harsh laws to keep these people under control."

                Not only do those middle-income families of hostages tax themselves to build prisons and hire cops to protect the rich, they end up handing that tax money over to those 1%ers who run the prisons. Nice racket if you can keep it running.

                Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

                by chimpy on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 09:16:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  No kidding (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              As I said, it is a TOXIC STEW these people are brewing.  it will taste good to no one.

              Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

              by slippytoad on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 12:57:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Those gun toters will be hired by Xe to round all (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, chimpy

          us irresponsible liberals and deadbeats up.

          The National Security State and Security Economy is ready made for those Authoritarian followers with gun and power fetishes.


          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:08:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But..but... in prison they'll get health care (8+ / 0-)

      Words escape me.  Repugs are nasty fuckers.

  •  Extremely important connection (15+ / 0-)

    made and unfortunatley for you, you've seen the progression of this disaster.

    It is through your writings that people are educated - which will eventually help to stop this travesty of assualts by ALEC member legislatures and the ALEC graduates in the US Congress.

    Nice job as always Bob.

  •  Two good ideas (5+ / 0-)

    This is tough.  I support both prisoner work and work training AND good paying union jobs including public sector union jobs.

    Prisoners who work and learn work skills are less likely to return to crime...not all, not a total solution by any means, but if they have some way work for a pay check when they're out, they're helped.

    •  I agree KLS with your position on this. The (15+ / 0-)

      problem is twofold: 1) today there are few jobs for ex-offenders.  So many of the low paying jobs have already gone to prison (manufacturing, labor, call centers, apparel, electronic manufacturing, etc.) that once released inmates fall into a vast vacuum of joblessness.  Most are under "conditional release" that requires them to obtain and hold steady jobs, or face violations and a return to prison, and;

      2) many companies now use prison labor for their labor force in everything imaginable under the federal Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP).  The labor savings and lack of requiring them to pay inmates benefits, provide health care, etc., keep them from hiring an offender once he/she is released.  It is simply more economical to use their prison replacement.

      Today they continue to use the "training to reduce recidivism" argument to justify the continued use of prisoners as a cheap labor force.  This is severely impacting our civilian workforce.  Secondly and more recently has been the push to replace public sector workers with prisoners.  This has been slowly building through small communities for several years as many pursued and end to collective bargaining altogether.  This situation in Wisconsin clearly shows it isn't about training, providing a work ethic to the inmate - rather it is about money.  Making as much as possible by the corporations and companies...and saving as much as possible by government agencies and departments.

      Training of inmates is a good concept - as is something like PIECP, however it should be done without impacting upon either the private or public workforce's in the U.S.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:25:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But (6+ / 0-)

      are prisoners paid the prevailing wage, or used to suppress wages?

      In the first case, maybe there's an argument.

      Let the state run the system, and let the costs of incarceration be deducted from their pay.

      In the latter case, prison labor suppresses wages, and shouldn't be allowed.

      That's my take.

      I can't help but think that if we didn't have ridiculous drug laws that this wouldn't be a problem. Most states spend more on incarceration than higher education.  It seems like priorities are misplaced to me.

      by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:46:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Added the class warfare tag - nt (7+ / 0-)

    -6.25 -7.08 The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty. The glass is just twice as large as it needs to be.

    by Unit Zero on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:13:08 PM PDT

    •  Thanks n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, elwior

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:25:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bob (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimpy, MKSinSA, elwior

        I always look for your great diaries. What the RW is pushing here is no more than the stratification of the Middle Ages: Royalty (1%'ers, Koch Brothers, etc...), Gentry (CEO's, Hedge Fund Managers, etc), Serfs & Slaves (The rest of us).

        Having lost around 30% of my earnings during the previous administration and seeing what is happening here in Michigan, I fear that moving may be my only option. The issue is: do I move the family to a state that is more progressive or do I pack up the family and expatriate?

        -6.25 -7.08 The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty. The glass is just twice as large as it needs to be.

        by Unit Zero on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:38:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Down here in the South (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slippytoad, Clio2, elwior

    Prison and Jail labor is regularly used to clean and mow the highways. Orange buses are a regular site along the Interstates.

    Is that slave labor? Does that work belong to public sector employees?

    •  It used to be performed by civilians. With the (11+ / 0-)

      contracting out of prisoners to southern state DOT's that stopped and inmates took over.  The current FL. contract between DOT and FDOC amounts to $19 million + for 2011-2012 and encompasses skilled and unskilled jobs.

      Georgia is now diverting parole violators from returning to prison to public sector work...and placing probationers in farm fields to replace migrant workers that have been scared off by the new Immigration laws.

      Mowing along interstates and state highways used to be done by private contractors, but no more.  Most of it is now done by state prison inmates.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sort of condenscending (13+ / 0-)

      You say:

      Is that slave labor? Does that work belong to public sector employees?

      Let me ask you this.  If you're in Miami-Dade County in Florida doing that work, the prevailing wage is $9.98/hr.

      If the state of Florida replaces those workers with prisoners, those prisoners will receive a small fraction of that amount.  That means you put state employees out of work and onto the unemployment line.

      Don't forget that it's often the case that prison laborers are contracted out.

      So let's review.  The state pays once to cover the incarceration costs of prisoners.  They pay again when they hand out contracts that use prisoner laborer without paying them prevailing wage.  Finally, they pay a third time to cover the unemployment benefits of the men and women pushed off the job by unfree labor. Great system.

      And if you're real lucky, maybe the poor bastards you pushed off the job will turn to crime when the unemployment check runs out and they've got to pay the bills.

      It's like the circle of life.  Except that it takes people's lives from them.

      So yes, this is a problem.

      by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:40:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In many cases has been an entire generation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        since public employees had so seldom (in the south) has anyone been put out of work. As for costs, apart for the potential of unemployment, the state is paying regardless of who does the work. Although I suspect the state pays less for the prison laborers.

        But as to the unanswered questions. Does the prison labor qualify as salve labor or is that just hyperbole? And does the public sector, in particular labor unions, have a right to those jobs?

        •  I believe the answer to your unanswered (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Margd, DWG, elwior, k9disc, 1918

          question is yes.  In this economy, with more than 14 million unemployed, vast area's with foreclosures and vacant homes and other issues resulting from our financial situation, it is inherently wrong to use inmates in place of civilian workers.

          Primarily in the south, there has always been the "Chain-Gang" mentality by politicians and public alike.  For years seeing prisoners working along the roads was a common enough sight, that it did not provoke anyone to inquire about the practice - or to ask for their jobs.

          Today as with Wisconsin, prisoners are being worked all across the country in jobs that were previously held by civilian and public sector workers - Union and non-union employees.  In the face of the diminishing availability of such jobs due to the displacement caused by using inmate labor, they have a legitimate claim to those jobs and the actual use of unpaid prisoners in those jobs as described in the article, do qualify as "Slave Labor".

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 02:33:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If it has been generational, you can look at (5+ / 0-)

          as incarcerated workers taking public (or private) sector jobs away from work that other state pay fair wages to employees for.

          You have to ask the question of why do the states who commonly used chain gangs to perform work that other states routinely pay laborors for, "why don't we choose to pay for the work our state needs to do, and instead use slaves"?

          If a state or locality chooses to build and maintain public highways, there is a general expectation that the state should generate enough tax effort from its citizens and businesses who benefit from those highways to bear the cost of maintaing them properly without maintaining an institutionalize system of enslavement to do what civilized nations are expected to do.

          Does  a labor union have a right to those jobs, no.  But unionized employees of either public or private employers have a right to become the best bidder for that work.  Sometimes a unionized work force is better motivated, and has more efficient equipment with which to perform the work, and the contractor, or goverment entity with a unionized workforce, may in fact be able to to the job at lower cost to the taxpayer than a non union contractor.  That is the market working to provide the best value for the taxpayer.

          However, no unionized or non unionized work force earning standard wages for standard work can compete with an employer who pays their workers nothing.  So again, the unionized worker has no right to the work, but he/she should have the right to bid for the work.

          No public entity has the right to enslave prisoners, and deny the benefits of fair wages for a fair day's work to anyone.  If they build public facilities, they should budget a maintenance budget to be paid for with real workers earning real wages for real work.  That's all.

          Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

          by Ohiodem1 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:37:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Also "Down here in the South" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      prisoners are used to weed crops - there's a diary here by Victoria Law that documents how slave-like that situation is.

      And if the fucking 'free' citizens weren't such appalling, lazy slobs the highways would be a lot cleaner.

      Out in the west Texas town of El Paso...

      by falina on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:58:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to agree with your entire comment. I (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, tardis10

        reported in an earlier diary about the women prisoners now being worked in Arizona in the commercial agricultural fields of Martori Farms - the largest U.S. supplier of produce to Wal-Mart - and how inhumanely they're treated, working for $2.00 per day.

        Yes it would help if all of us stopped littering and throwing our trash alongside the roads.  I have to say that is more than just an eyesore - more like a sign of the erosion of our society, where everything now of days is disposable and thrown away wherever and whenever they're finished with a product or packaging.  One thing I don't understand is that at least in Florida and here in Indiana, those convicted of minor crimes receive  community service as a sentence for those offenses.  They go out and work picking up trash, mowing, working in Salvation Army stores, etc.  I see a lot of them along the roads of late - so it's difficult to understand why they also need dozens of prisoner work crews doing the same thing...I mean, most highways, roads and such are now "adopted" by businesses or groups and maintained.  So I don't understand the "need" for all those prisoners doing the same thing as CS defendants and others maintaining and doing the same thing.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:30:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I was referencing your excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sorry if I mis-identified it in my comment. I also agree with you regarding who is picking up trash. A) it should not be thrown there in the first place and B) community service people can take of it.

          The only "need" is to practice modified slavery, imo.

          Out in the west Texas town of El Paso...

          by falina on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:49:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  and they are putting debtors in jail, too (5+ / 0-)

    so after you lose your union job and you can't pay, you can go to jail and work for free...

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:23:17 PM PDT

    •  A sad but true side effect to all this crap is the (9+ / 0-)

      new push for debtors prisons.  Another part of ALEC's model legislation to help financial institutions recover debts owed after the collapse of our economy in 08.

      Goes to show, that regardless of our situation - or the situation that has made them millions in taxpayer loans as a bail out - they are not satisfied until they squeeze every possible penny from our cold, dead hands.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 12:35:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wasn't it one of the points in the founding of (5+ / 0-)

        America that debtor's prisons were to be forever outlawed, as this was one  of the most egregious acts in the European, and especially, British system of Class Warfare, where the Wellborn, had all the marbles, and everyone else lived to serve them?

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 01:58:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes it was abolished over a century ago and (6+ / 0-)

          has been recently resurrected by those pursuing debts owed by those bankrupted by our economic collapse in 08.  This is another of ALEC's pursuits on behalf of their corporate mentors...only they aren't calling them "debtor's prisons" any longer.  Instead they work on installing laws that allow those owed to bring you before a judge who is empowered to order you to pay - regardless of your ability to pay - and if you default or don't agree you're subject to imprisonment for contempt.  Your bond is then set at the amount you owe - if you post it, you're released and the debt paid - but you're left also owing court costs, costs of incarceration and an arrest record, making it easier to track and later use the mark as a reason to enhance any subsequent sentence for some infraction.  They have all bases covered...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 02:14:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but there is an exploit to get around that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Specifically the clause, "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted".  So all that has to be done at the federal level to bring back debtor's prisons is just pass a law making being unable to pay your debts a crime.

          •  Unfortunately I perceive that being an issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that will come up if we are unable to stop these folks.  Already several states are practicing a return to the debtor's prisons.  It's only a matter of time until ALEC's alum's Cantor and Boehner get around to proposing just that.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:54:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to KasichWatch because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, 3goldens, elwior

    founder John Kasich's agenda is ALEC's agenda.

    Good diary as usual, Bob.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 02:00:05 PM PDT

  •  Super! Maybe we can use prisoners (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, elwior

    to teach school, too!

    •  Probably that will take another year or (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, 3goldens, elwior

      two...until they arrest them for protesting and figure out a way to legislate a law to put them in prison for 5 years for such protesting.  Then they'll certainly put them in schools, chained to their desks to teach classes filled with those that can't afford vouchers and private schools...again, being factitious here. :)

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:00:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, they want to use TV's and computer monitors (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, elwior, tardis10

      for that.  I recall Bob put up an ALEC video where the speaker, a Terry Moh as I recall, suggested that "distance learning", using one teacher to teach a class to thousands of students at the same time could be used as a mechanism to bust teacher's unions, even suggesting that the teacher could be "in India", as a means to deny teaching jobs to potentially unionized American teachers with teachers who are willing to take one tenth of the wage of the unionized American teacher.

      Bob, do you remember that link?

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:45:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember writing about that - it is one of the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, tardis10

        initiatives advanced by conservatives.  Here is a link to a report on it:

        It is something being taught in Wisconsin and Idaho Universities.  If you check outthis link, you'll find "Texan Software Solutions" selling the software for distance teaching....wonder if this is part of the same group working so diligently to re-write our history in school and university books today?

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:40:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe we're already doing that in WI (0+ / 0-)

        We have "virtual school districts."

        I don't know what class sizes are, and I believe teachers still need to be licensed to teach in WI, but I guess we'll see what's coming.

        •  It is still all about the money. Companies can (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          not profit the way they want with standard public funded they promote "vouchers" and of late this kind of "distance" teaching to earn larger profits from the sale of software and possibly save money through paying one teacher to teach hundreds at a time.

          One can only imagine if the "right" instructor or professor is given a position of such teaching responsibilities to a multitude of students!  He/she could easily disseminate and spread applicable rhetoric and recruit new party members from afar.

          How insidious when one stops to think about it....and a well thought out agenda.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 08:22:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A thoughtful and well-researched piece (6+ / 0-)

    but I'd add it's important to remember that these oligarchs, while they're mighty, miss at least as often as they hit. They aren't all-powerful--hardly.

    As one example, I'm thinking of the pitiful "counter-demonstrations" during the mass protest of Gov. Walker in Wisconsin last winter. All this corporate-media whoopla, and we were treated, literally, to 12 aging white people getting off a bus with crazily misspelled signs. Get it together, people.

    They can pull the strings and do the media buys, but I do suspect the ground-game is ours. Which is why we need to stay informed, and diaries like this are critical.


    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:26:00 PM PDT

    •  Um they are a legislative council (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, karmsy, elwior

      meaning they write laws, then get the right people to vote for them. They don't need the ground game, they just buy the politicians to pass want they want. Very efficient really.

      •  That was the way it was until last April... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, elwior

        now many of their members are denying they belong, calling themselves "affiliates" or "Subscribers" and not members of ALEC.  They aren't a "legislative Council" they're a private non-profit that takes the laws written by corporations and put them in the hands of Conservative state legislators and instruct them to introduce them at the state level.  True, the politicians that do their bidding and those that are convinced to vote yes on the proposed legislation are bought and paid for...that is why they need to first be exposed and then voted out of office.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:47:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Boots on the ground" is where we now have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, elwior, tardis10

      the advantage.  It was the same in Cincy in April when we held the demonstration against ALEC.  There were a couple of obvious Tea Baggers and a few ALEC legislative members that showed up and tried to offset our Rally, but they totaled no more than a small handful while there were a few hundred of us.  Hopefully in New Orleans next month we will outnumber them by 100 to one.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:43:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now all they need to do is make being unemployed (5+ / 0-)

    Then they can round up all the people fired by the state and make them work for free.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. - Poor Richard's Almanac 1755
    The government exists to protect us from the thugs who got rich ripping off our ancestors. - Mungley 2011

    by mungley on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:44:27 PM PDT

  •  Saw prisoners working today at the Capitol (7+ / 0-)

    Washing lighting globes outside the building. Have seen them inside lately doing cleaning too.
    It's another way to bust unions, in the long run. It's not like people who aren't incarcerated aren't looking for work.

    Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

    by plankbob on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:46:26 PM PDT

    •  Good point and observation. As long as there (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plankbob, elwior, RockyMtnLib

      are prisoners working for free, where is the incentive for government agencies and departments to hire civilians?  That's soon going to be a thing of the past if they get away with this in all the "Red" states.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:49:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can you confirm that this is new? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't spend enough time around the capitol to know whether this use of prisoners to clean it is a new thing.  It's not as if prison labor had never been used in Wisconsin in the past.  (Our office furniture in our university of Wisconsin  building is required to be bought from a prison-labor shop and it's been that way for years).

      Can you confirm that this is a new practice that just started?  If so it's a bad sign.

      •  It is just now beginning as far as I can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        determine from the articles written about it today.  Others there in WI. that I talk to on other issues say it's the first they've heard of that being done.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 08:46:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Watch how you drive in Wisconsin (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior, forester

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:49:53 PM PDT

    •  This us a better representation of the issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, elwior

      using the same song:

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:55:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I was going to put him in but then I saw (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the Supremes.

        Sam Cooke is the olden days.

        I'm thinking, mother of 2, driving 5 mph over, spends the next 6 months, serving lunch in the Senate dining room.  Modern day chain gang.

        . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

        by 88kathy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:48:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL scary thought that the scenario you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, elwior

          present is more likely than any of us want to believe!

          Legislators are above prosecution and the law (in their minds at least) here in Indy when they passed the "no smoking in public buildings" law a couple of years back, they also made it a law that there was no smoking anywhere on the grounds of the statehouse.  Govt. workers had to leave the building, cross the busy street and smoke on the other side of the street.  What most Hoosiers were unaware of was that due to the law, the lawmakers designated a conference room in the Capitol as a "designate Legislator's smoke room", so they didn't have to leave the building when they want to smoke.  It's still in use and they defend it's use as a necessity, as they have to be in the building to perform their work on the Public's behalf and leaving the building to smoke would jeopardize the efficiency of their work.  Go figure...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:00:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not Just Slave Labor (5+ / 0-)

    Is this trend, been happening for years, more rapid in the past decade plus, replacing long time workers, especially those coming onto retirement and pensions that can't collect those pensions because they've been dumped!

    This practice will end up costing more for the public sectors as it has for the private in the trading of long experience for the non experienced and in the case of jail inmates they're not going to be concerned with doing a good job only with doing whatever told to and taking longer to complete tasks.

    The capitalist economy has become the practice of replacing a body, experienced, with just another body and not caring the outcome of product, service or trade work etc., just the bottom line for the execs and if invested in those investors who only care about return and not quality nor nor innovations or customers.

    Been watching this for the past some forty years as we've lost trades and downgraded the rest who were still working in, like myself!

    CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

    by jimstaro on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:02:37 PM PDT

    •  Should have added (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not only will this cost more but it's already been doing so, big time, what with product or production accidents, product recall numbers going higher, and on and on, that ends up costing us all!!

      CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

      by jimstaro on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:06:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't this what we are always bitching about (4+ / 0-)

    to China?

    What the hell is it going to take to get american citizens up and out?

    A chat with you and somehow death loses its sting ~ Black Adder

    by trinityfly on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:05:11 PM PDT

  •  Slavery and serfdom is the core Republican (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, k9disc, forester, Russgirl, Ohiodem1

    agenda. Not necessarily the lower-class dupes, but the various leaderships, whether Dominionist, Golden Calfists, Ayn Randians, or just plain scum.

    I've said this for a long time, and it was never hyperbole.

    Here, you see it.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:04:18 PM PDT

    •  Yepper and the Ayn Randians are alive and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, peptabysmal

      well in the form of some of those elected and serving right now there in Wisconsin - Paul Ryan.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 05:59:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The War on Terror will come here sooner or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Later and it will be prosecuted on Americans.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:24:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Went to a ballgame recently. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Waiting for friends, beautiful day, I'm there early. Outside the Stadium, speakers, with a volume/clarity reaching everywhere, "blah blah blah security ... blah blah security.. blah ... dangerous ... security ..."

        All the rules and procedures you'll have to submit too. "Explosives... pets... children's softdrink containers over x size...'

        Without pause. Well, maybe 30 seconds before the loop starts up again. So you can't stand outside of a ballpark, enjoying a beautiful day meeting people you dig, anticipating enjoyment of the game, for one whole minute. And isn't it churlish to resent a public service being done?

        Man, there was a swat team as you approached the place. Maybe not swat, but helmets, armour, machine guns, guns, grenades... To keep us safe at the ballgame somehow. And to be seen by everyone approaching.

        People don't dwell on it, but people feel it, people get a tone.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:03:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can relate because of the security here at the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, elwior

          Colt's, Pacers and Indian's games here in INDY.  I don't go to any of them anymore since all the security has been put in place.  Concession owners use the "heightened" security as an excuse to outlaw bringing in any coolers, food, drinks etc, so they increase sales - and have raised prices.

          Sigh...most of this crap is all about money today.  No longer is it about just doing the right thing, because it's right or expected by the customer or consumer.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:11:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I voted 'No' because there was no (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plankbob, elwior, tardis10, peptabysmal

    'HELL No' option.

  •  Jeeze that's two birds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with one stone. Scabs who are prisoners. so they get to make double the profit off both the workers they don't have to pay a decent wage to and the prisons for profit get more profit on top of just incarcerating these people. why is this legal and why does the national party not speak out for the workers and the prisoners. I guess workers and prisoners are less then human and nothing but a profit loss.

    Might as well solve the problem of workers and get the vast  prison population to make the owners of the place some more profit. thanks I guess what is going on with our country? How are these pols regardless of party affiliation getting away with this shit? We need to take back our party and our country and we need to realize that solidarity with the people they pit against  other is where all our freedom lies. We all are entitled to human rights, laws that are not  punitive to  the poor and governance that does not see it's people as either a profit loss or cheap labor with no right's to organize or bargain for a decent liveable wage or conditions that are humane.    

    •  Since I called out for a protest against ALEC and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, peptabysmal, elwior

      their corporate and legislative members in April - lost of things have been happening.  More and more citizens have begun to realize just how dangerous all of this is and have begun to speak out, write, protest and call out their legislative members who belong to the "Cabal" that is ALEC and funded by the Koch's who are behind all this crap in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

      Slowly changes are being made, mostly by college students - God bless 'em - and in August we're hoping to succeed in bringing a stop to this.  If interested you should read up on the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program run by the DOJ.  It is a terrible program and once discovered by the private corporations, has been used to transfer civilian jobs to inmate prison workers.  Here is a link to a "recruiting" video put out by them and the NCIA to encourage more businesses to put their manufacturing operations into prisons: and AG Holder issued a Memo to all federal department procurement agents in October 2010 telling them that the continued "satisfactory growth of the Bureau of Prisons" meant they needed more factories to put the inmates to work in and urged them to buy as many products as possible from the federal prison industries to generate more money to build more prison factories.  So it isn't just the Conservatives behind much of this - there is also a segment of our current administration who are responsible.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:12:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and your writing on this important issue. It's such a basic essentail part of a democracy and it does get buried in the political madness we are going though. WE can as citizens stop this inhumane system for profit. It does seem to be by-partisan and a lot of this privatization of public entities that need to stay public has been done by Democrats as well as Republicans. thanks for the link I will read it.  

        •  No problem. I have been working as a Prison (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, shaharazade

          Industry Investigative Consultant for nearly 9 years and have a book about to be released on the subject.  I've seen, read and experienced all of this over that time.

          Anymore I keep saying nothing will surprise me...and then I'm slapped up side the noggin by something else, and realize there is no bottom to the depth of the depravity some will go to in search of profits - or life they would spare for a dollar.

          I write frequently on these issues here on DK.  Come back and be a part of the discussion and solution to the problems we face from these folks.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:26:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  How? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, shaharazade

      We let them. We let them give into the overblown fears. We let them get fat off failed drug war money. We let them smash the economy to bits. We let them say torture is okay.

      Thats how. Now what are you gonna do about it?

      Maybe I'm smarter because I know cats can be bats can be rats can be hats can be gnats can be thats can be thises. And that doors can be boars can be snores can be floors can be roars can be spores can be yours can be mine.

      by kamrom on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:59:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is what Plutocracy looks like! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior

    this is what plutocracy looks like!

  •  One of the saddest things about Prison Industries (4+ / 0-)

    is they take jobs from people with disabilities.  I work for the AbilityOne program, which provides jobs by awarding government procurement contracts (hey, they have to buy stuff anyway) to non-profits employing people with significant disabilities.  My division, for example, makes most of the uniforms for the military. But we can work for months (or years) setting everything up for a contract, and Federal Prison Industries can just take it way from us!  Yep, FPI has priority in the Federal Acquisition Register over people with disabilities - including wounded vets.

    "I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it." Terry Pratchett

    by kiwiheart on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:27:31 PM PDT

    •  I'm aware of the FAR requirement of the fed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      agencies, departments, and contractors.  It is a damn shame, but just recently I saw proposed legislation to change that and open up the contracting on apparels to private manufacturers.  Hopefully that will pass and give you some respite.

      If there's anyone that deserves consideration over prison labor, it's disabled vets and others with disabilities.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:54:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is so upsetting i can barely read it n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    compassion for things i'll never know ~ david byrne

    by little lion on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 07:47:26 PM PDT

    •  So dont read it. Read this. (0+ / 0-)

      The ultra wealthy want more wealth. And they will gladly steal, murder, and enslave to get it. Everything you think is likely true. So lets stop reading about it, and start doing something about it.

      I wish I could help. Unfortunately my life is governed by sheer unending terror and panic. I have no solutions to offer. Because all I can do is hide and hope tomorrow's better.

      Maybe I'm smarter because I know cats can be bats can be rats can be hats can be gnats can be thats can be thises. And that doors can be boars can be snores can be floors can be roars can be spores can be yours can be mine.

      by kamrom on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 07:02:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Felons will be fellons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And sooner or later a fellon will do something 'socially inappropriate', like rape a child or call a God fearing woman 'a cunt'.  I'm sure the righties will say 'that's ok, it doesn't cost us anything except our dignity'.

    •  Yes, and here's a warning (0+ / 0-)

      A few years ago, I needed to look at a couple of older doctoral dissertations on file in the library of the Oklahoma State University, so I drove Stillwater. I had the address, but couldn't find the library, so I stopped at a convenience store for directions knowing I was within a few blocks of my destination. It was a little busy in the store, but assuming that most any local could direct me, I approached a young man wearing a shirt the color of the store's logo and wiping up a spill at the coffee machine. When I got a blank stare, I turned and approached another young man wearing the same uniform shirt. About that time, I head a booming voice: DON'T TOUCH HER. I looked to my side to see a fully armed man in a law enforcement uniform. Then, I realized I was not talking to store employees, but a prison road gang. Apparently they'd stopped in to get coffee and use the facilities.

      So, here's my warning: matching shirts does not necessarily denote store employee uniforms!

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 07:11:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More proof of de-evolution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, elwior

    "New Traditionalists" -

    New Traditionalists is the fourth studio album by the New Wave rock band Devo, released in 1981. It features the minor hits "Through Being Cool" and "Beautiful World." The sound continued in the vein of the previous album Freedom of Choice, with synthesizers moved to the forefront and guitars more subdued. Some of the tracks feature drum machines for the first time on a Devo record. In addition, the lyrics are frequently dark and vitriolic.


    Most of the songs on the album are very dark with the lyrics lacking the irony and wit that Devo was known for. The exception to this is "Beautiful World." At first listen, the song seems very upbeat and happy, until the line "It's not for me," which reveals the more cynical side of the song. This is made much clearer by the song's video (see below). On "Enough Said," Devo becomes political, making fun of world leaders and the political process: "Take all the leaders from around the world / Put them together in a great big ring / Televise it as the lowest show on Earth / And let them fight like hell to see who's king."

    It takes a well-financed right wing movement to make Devos' satirical look at the future into an irony-free ideology

  •  And of course, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RockyMtnLib, elwior

    if prison labor stages a strike, it's called insubordination.  So thats another big plus for employers buying prison labor.  Labor disputes automatically will look like prison riots and be treated accordingly.

    •  Just happened in Georgia last December, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      lasted about 5 days and the end result was several inmates beaten, moved around and hidden from their families and claims that the authorities were in the process of "considering" the inmate's complaints and requests.

      Haven't heard from any of the inmate protesters since...wonder why.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:52:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ALEC should be regarded as an (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, Bob Sloan, elwior, Ohiodem1

    organized crime syndicate, then the RICO statutes should be used against them.

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

    by RockyMtnLib on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:02:25 PM PDT

    •  I've been saying this for more than a year (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Russgirl

      now...'cause that's exactly what they are and what they do.  If any privately run company or organization not affiliated with state lawmakers did what they're doing, they'd be called criminal fascists and put away forever.

      Too often we forget the lessons of the past.  Not enough people still living who actually remember the 1920's and 30's and fascism in Italy and Germany and the Spanish Civil War.  Our concept of world history is covered by a thick layer of dust and while it lay there without notice or attention, these bastards dust it off, try to re-write it and change it to suit their agenda and needs.  Just like they've been doing for a decade in Texas and N. Carolina with our scholastic U.S. History books - trying to write slavery out as a cause for the Civil War, and changing the writings and teachings of Thomas Jefferson (the basis for ALEC's "Jeffersonian" Principles).  Since the DOJ now controls 85% of all prison labor in the U.S. through the PIE Certification Program, you can't get any of the bastards even investigated.  I've tried and the FBI say the lost the files - twice.  My Congressman gets nowhere asking questions about the program and how it's being used...and just 8 months ago AG Holder issued this memo.  Check out his language and proud attitude about the "Continued growth of the Bureau of Prisons".

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:29:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed! (0+ / 0-)

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:03:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might want to consider posting this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    again after August 2nd. Seems that the wreck list is a bit tied up right now with meta.

    Wolverines and Badgers and Buckeyes - Oh My! Be Afraid Kochroaches. Be very afraid.

    by mrsgoo on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:12:48 PM PDT

  •  OK, this is a great diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now please tell me how you are going to get the word out to the other 98% of the american population? I mean,you are preaching to the choir here...I've known this about the repugs since Reagan was floisted on us! We. progressives, HAVE to find a megaphone.

    •  We got the word out to many in April at the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Anti-ALEC Protest and Rally and in August there will be a huge crowd demonstrating and coming together as individuals and groups to do the same thing.

      In January, my book should be published and the Editor expects it to be a big seller - so doing my part and many readers  doing theirs also....and stay tuned for an upcoming expose involving ALEC and prison industry and privatization by The Nation magazine later this month.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 10:35:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        nice to know and thank you. Keep up the good work...but must say you HAVE to get MSM to cover the rally or your book.  Maybe youu could get FOX to help? (snark)

      •  Great diary, as always Bob! (0+ / 0-)

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks elwior! glad to see you continuing in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Ohiodem1

          these discussions and not distracted by some of those leaving these weird comments - HR'ing etc.  Sometimes wonder why they waste their time trolling and disrupting threads.

          Must be some Fox folks out tonight!

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 11:39:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's because we are getting to them, Bob. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Sloan

            Your poll has about 500 votes of No or Absolutely Not, and 50 yes votes, so they are sending trolls here in large numbers because ExposingALEC has become a bee up their nose, and they don't like playing defense.

            Add your voice to the many voices waking up all over America to the destructive to our democracy ALEC activities that are getting more and more scrutiny on a now several times a day basis, all over the country, and you are making a very publicity averse organization squirm, play defense, and they don't like it.

            And to a well-funded right wing organization, it is no problem for them to subscribe to lists, and to send in the trolls to freep their critics, hopefully as a means to shut them up, but that won't work here because, well, we won't STFU or be intimidated by rabble rousers.

            No one seems to be afraid of ALEC any more, especially not Bob Sloan.  ALEC can't stand the light.  We intend to shine the light even brighter.

            Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

            by Ohiodem1 on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 08:13:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The Rude Pundit is right about Walker. (0+ / 0-)

    Eew. In that photo above, he does have sexual predator eyes. :(

    Proud owner of an unincorporated uterus. :)

    by boofdah on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 03:50:06 AM PDT

  •  sidebar: one of ten (0+ / 0-)

    10 Scary Radical Agenda Governors

    The Supply Sider's Debt

    Do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country. ~ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    by anyname on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 04:57:01 AM PDT

  •  Commit a crime, get a job !!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Who said crime doesn't pay !!!

    "Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical criminal" -- Logical Song -- Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson

    by Over50Lib on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 05:44:27 AM PDT

    •  It does pay - just not to those incarcerated, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      their family or loved ones.  It doesn't even reimburse the state for such incarceration or court fees.  A century and a half ago, companies at least had to reimburse the court for the fine and costs of prosecution, so the taxpayer was reimbursed.  Not saying that was right, just an observation.

      Today corporations operating private prisons or using inmate labor are not required to compensate the state or taxpayer in any way...they just reap the profits and keep all of it.  In Florida PRIDE has run the state's prison industries for 30 years and though the law provides that PRIDE is to share any profits with the state, it has never done so.  Last year alone their gross sales were in excess of $70 million, with a net of $3.6 million - and not a penny made it's way into the state's general revenue fund or to the FDOC to offset taxpayer costs of incarceration.

      It's just legalized greed pure and simple.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:32:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  excellent diary Bob (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, Ohiodem1

    And just fyi for people--when Walker came to NY recently, we showed up.

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Visit Working Life.

    by Tasini on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:03:47 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for your solidarity, Tasini. That (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      corrupt man should have no place where he can rest or go and not be hounded!  Hopefully he makes his way to New Orleans next month to be with his Alma-Mater and we can show him the same "courtesy" New York did!

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:37:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish We Were Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    This trend had been increasing. I hope people just didnt want to see it, not that htey didnt know it was happening.

    My therapist used to tell me that I had a problem not getting upset over the things that happen in other places. Ive been told in no uncertain terms that a bit of dissonance about this stuff is what makes people happy.

    Im not even sure what happy feels like anymore. the constant bombardment of obvious injustices and my epinephrine flooded brain will not let me ignore these things. It becomes burned into me, every time. Its how im able to chain huge events from memory..

    I didnt want to believe any of that. But I knew it was true. I knew it was true when Prison Rape became the subject of jokes. When the bleeding ulcer that is the drug war only increased. Victimless crimes are of staggering scope.

    Every month at least once I say the following: It would do less harm to society to immediatly shut down all prisons across the country, than it would to keep them open. At first, this idea was a bit cynical. At first.

    Every time I say it, it gets more true. The system fails because its designed to. The system is designed to make innocents into criminals. And it lets the mega criminals go free.

    Every politician is too afrid of being "weak on crime" to suggest anything but increases. And they just keep going.

    Ill say it again: Closing every prison in the US will do less harm than leaving them open. Those of us who manage to avoid prison will become too terrified to act. Those who speak against it...How long til you too are a criminal?

    We cant pretend what is obvious isnt happening. It is. And frankly, im at a loss. I was already disgusted with this world, and it only gets worse.

    When asked my goal in life, ive had the same response for 15 years: A transdimensional portal to get out of here. Silly? yes. Unlikely? Yes.

    Shame its the best option i can find. Because I am tired of living near monsters, monster who have power, because those who i would support normally have let them.

    Shame. Shame on everyone who refused to see this trend. Shame on those who fail to stop it when abuse occurs. Shame on me for having panic disorder so severe as to be paralyzing.

    Thats my excuse..Whats yours? Ill be back when my current panic attack subsides. I terrify myself into this state and have no way out. And I am disgusted with myself for it.

    I hope someone out there is doing more than I can.

    Maybe I'm smarter because I know cats can be bats can be rats can be hats can be gnats can be thats can be thises. And that doors can be boars can be snores can be floors can be roars can be spores can be yours can be mine.

    by kamrom on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 06:57:42 AM PDT

    •  Get better so you can join the fight. Until then, (0+ / 0-)

      I and others will do your part in your name to attempt to stop this and give all of us some relief from the constant attacks they launch upon our society and minds.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 07:13:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately Slave Labor Has Been Around For A (0+ / 0-)

    long time in this country - especially in the South. Ever seen the movie "Cool Hand Luke" from the 1960"s? Paul Newman is one of the prisoners on the chain gang. It's also no surprise that slave labor has a long history in the most non-unionized area of the country, the South. The bigger problem is that now the right wing is trying to privatize slave labor for profiteering purposes, expand it to other areas of the country, AND use it to get rid of public sector union workers in menial labor type jobs - for example, trash pickup. Right here in liberal Massachusetts, we have prison inmates (convicted of non-violent crimes) doing trash clean up along the highways. I would rather have those jobs go to public sector workers, but I know it ain't gonna happen.

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