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Video tease for upcoming CNBC special: "Billions Behind Bars | Inside America's Prison Industry" which will air on CNBC Tuesday, October 18th at 9 pm.

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I worked with the CNBC producers as they prepared this documentary earlier this year.  It will hopefully dispel the notion held by average American's that prison industry and privatization are not harmful to either their jobs or our economy as a nation.

Today state by state...job by job, American's are seeing their jobs disappear behind prison walls and fences.  Oh they're not leaving the job markets in bulk, just a few jobs here, another industry there, public jobs and private sector jobs in about equal numbers.  Those responsible for this erosion of U.S. jobs deflect criticism by claiming the products made are merely a small portion of our GDP.  2% of the call center market, another 3% of manufacturing, 5% of other markets.  They advise that involving inmates in such industry labor helps train them and instills a work ethic that can be used upon release to ensure employment and thus reduce recidivism.

Proponents also downplay the number of inmates involved in this work, officially claiming that under 100,000 inmates are being worked in any form of actual industry.  However, as Noah Zatz reports, that number is seriously under-reported.

"According to Noah Zatz at UCLA Law , "well over 600,000, and probably close to a million, inmates are working full time in jails and prisons throughout the United States. Perhaps some of them built your desk chair: office furniture, especially in state universities and the federal government, is a major prison labor product. Inmates also take hotel reservations at corporate call centers, make body armor for the U.S. military, and manufacture prison chic fashion accessories, in addition to the iconic
task of stamping license plates." We have a word for work without pay—slavery—and we know of a work of fiction that depicts a large powerful nation that used large pools of unpaid labor to produce things: The Gulag Archipelago. Think that's hyperbole? Perhaps you should consider visiting your local state prison.

"Of course, it is not in this writer's expertise nor interest to judge on the conditions of the New York State Correctional System and its comparison to other states' or federal facilities. However, as Noam Chomsky has said of intellectuals, this writer at times feels the same of some librarians: those librarians who do little in the public interest, are blind to social injustice, and adamantly pretend economic disparities do not exist or are 'natural' to society. This assessment utterly and of the utmost cannot be said of the dedicated, earnest and humanistic work done by New York Public correctional librarians
Nicholas Higgins and Luis Torres."

Recently we learned that in Wisconsin authorities have used the collective bargaining legislation just passed to replace union and public sector workers with prison labor:

In New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Connecticut, Oregon and Pennsylvania inmates are being substituted for civilian private and public sector workers.  Now over the past couple of months we also see where Alabama and Georgia initiated and passed harsh immigration laws similar to Arizona's SB 1070.  Immediately upon Governors of these two states signing the legislation into law, tens of thousands of immigrants left both states.  Immediately afterward farmers and growers in AL. and GA. realized the impact of that legislation upon their ability to employ farm workers - who are/were predominantly immigrants working as seasonal workers.  Crops started to rot in the fields and the solution to the lack of farm workers in GA. was for Governor Deal to use probationers to fill the need.  That solution was doomed from the start, as probationers could not be "forced" to accept those jobs and because field work is demanding and requires not only experience in that kind of work, but physical conditioning and the probationers lacked both.

Now that it Alabama is experiencing the same situation with their agribusiness, they are considering using incarcerated prisoners to replace the missing immigrants. Governor Deal has decided the same thing over in Georgia with prisoners who can be "assigned" to perform field work, regardless of experience, knowledge or physical ability. Obviously Georgia authorities have the ability to "force" prisoners into this work.

Another article informs that though many other states have cut back inmate work programs that benefit local communities due to budget cuts, Mississippi is/has not suffered the same fate.

"While the loss of free labor has caused counties and municipalities in other states to rework their budgets, the millions of hours in labor Mississippi communities don't have to pay for is here to stay.

"Documents provided by Booth total the number of inmate labor hours from July 2009 to June 2010 at slightly more than 3 million - which adds up to $21.9 million in labor costs - when multiplied by the minimum wage.

"Booth said state inmate work crews provide labor for cities, counties, state agencies and nonprofit organizations."

In addition Georgia is now planning to put prisoners to work as firefighters in that state.  Camden County in Georgia is considering tasking prisoners to take on one of the most dangerous jobs there is: fighting fires. Using prisoners as firefighters is a cost-cutting measure that’s expected to save the county a bundle:
"A select group of inmates may be exchanging their prison jumpsuits for firefighting gear in Camden County.

"The inmates-to-firefighters program is one of several money-saving options the Board of County Commissioners is looking into to stop residents’ fire insurance costs from more than doubling. [...] The inmate firefighter program would be the most cost-effective choice, saving the county more than $500,000 a year by some estimates. But that option is already controversial, drawing criticism from the firefighters who would have to work alongside – and supervise – the prisoners.

"The Camden program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses, and they would respond to all emergencies – including residential – alongside traditional firefighters. The inmates would have no guard, but would be monitored by a surveillance system and by the traditional firefighters, who would undergo training to guard the inmates."

"The inmates would not be paid for their work, but upon release they would be eligible to work as firefighters five years after their conviction dates instead of the normal 10."  Of important note at the beginning of the article is this statement:
"Forcing prison inmates to work as unpaid laborers is not a new practice, but GOP-controlled states are increasing taking the idea to extremes as they face budget shortfalls and refuse to raise taxes."

I think that statement tells us all we need to know about "why" these mostly southern Conservative Republican controlled states are resorting to slave labor - keep the tax rates on corporations and the rich as low as possible  Each of the states turning to this practice or even giving it consideration - are Republican controlled.  Now when we look at the Republican strategies of attacking Unions, private and public sector workers, abolishing minimum wage - or proposing not increasing it in the future - and not increasing taxes on the rich or closing loopholes allowing them subsidies and tax breaks, an obvious pattern emerges: they are seeking cheap or slave labor to replace hard working Americans.  

Prisoners work for "free" for the municipalities and for "free" for the state as laborers for the Departments Of Transportation as in this Florida agreement.  If you read this agreement, you'll see the DOT is paying the FDOC $10.45 per hour worked per inmate. The job descriptions include operation of heavy equipment, bridge building and repairs, road repairs and construction.  Where inmates used to work picking up trash and keeping the highways clean, today they are used to replace union and public sector workers in all phases and job descriptions in Florida and most other states.  In Florida this one year contract for 2011-2012 calls for the DOT to pay the FDOC over $19 million in labor costs at the $10.45 per hour rate.  The inmate workers get none of this pay.  ALL of it goes to the FDOC. When we multiply this single contract by the number of states with the same or similar programs, one begins to realize just how many good paying jobs have been lost to American workers through this type of DOC/DOT arrangement.

Anybody in Georgia, Alabama, Florida or Mississippi missing out on jobs due to these programs?  I know thousands of migrant workers - legal and illegal - are impacted, but I'm sure other-non-migrants - would be interested in being hired to perform public service jobs, but that won't happen as long as prisoners can be used for free. The DOT jobs are gone as well.  With prisoners taking the place of civilian workers along our state and federal highway systems, one has to question President Obama's Jobs Bill that includes infrastructure work to employ "millions" of Americans.   Oh, I'm not implying that the President is fully aware of the use of inmates in infrastructure work on our highways and is intentionally plotting to put more of them to work in place of civilians.  No, I'm saying that every time he comes up with something to put American's to work, government and corporate interests take advantage in such a way that prisoners are put to work and not the unemployed.  Take the "green" jobs the President announced would come from solar, wind and clean energy.  As soon as he announced it, the federal prison industries (UNICOR) announced they were beginning manufacturing of solar and wind equipment.
/ (Oregon company partnering with FPI to produce and install solar with inmate labor) (Expanding their factory production) (Pricing of UNICOR Solar products)

Looking at the foregoing we see that the federal prison industries were ready in 2009 to jump right on the President's call for "Green Energy" and were ready to provide just that with inmate labor.  Today we read about Solyndra failing and the "scandal" of our government loaning them over a half billion in loans.

Now how in the hell was this company supposed to compete on the open market against prison labor and cheap manufacturing being done by UNICOR?  They couldn't.  An interesting facet of this entire Solyndra case is shown by this quote from recent news:

"The Justice Department last month asked the court to wrest control from the company's management and appoint a trustee, an unusual move that signaled a lack of confidence in its leadership. Mr. Harrison and others had refused to answer questions about the company's finances, the department said at the time.

"Solyndra received government-guaranteed loans worth about $527 million but filed for bankruptcy protection last month amid financial troubles. The deal to provide the loans is the subject of investigations by several federal agencies and Congress."

 So the DOJ is going after Solyndra for squandering so much money, huh?  Has anyone thought about who is running UNICOR?  Who has total control over the Federal Bureau of Prisons?  How many are aware that UNICOR is a wholly owned U.S. Government "corporation"?  How many are aware that UNICOR has contracted with state and federal agencies to install "their" prison made "Green" energy equipment and components upon their buildings, grounds or properties (like the U.S. State Department)?

Think AG Holder and the DOJ have any interest in putting more of the inmates in their custody to work?  Read this memo issued last October by AG Holder.  Several things are immediately important: Holder refers to prosecutions and arrests as "Outstanding" and several "successful cases each year, resulting in continued growth of the federal prison population," and urges every U.S. department to buy as many products as possible from  UNICOR so they can put all those "successfully" prosecuted inmates to work in more factories.  Finally, notice where I found this the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA).  This is the "oversight" agency chosen by the DOJ to operate the federal Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP).  UNICOR holds a seat upon the NCIA's Board.

Here you'll see that at the NCIA "Buyer's Guide" page, under solar panels, the first listing is for UNICOR.  Check out the American Correctional Association's buyer's guide and see all the products and companies involved with them.  Of course UNICOR is listed.

Obviously Mr. Holder and his federal prison industries are making a killing off the manufacture, sales and installation of solar and wind energy equipment.  Between the DOJ and China manufacturing all this solar and other energy materials, a private U.S. company has little chance to succeed.  I don't care how much money is "loaned" to them through other government funding sources, the outcome is set and should have been foreseen.

Solyndra appears to be an expensive scapegoat offered up to demonstrate that the U.S. efforts toward Green Energy cannot compete with China and when we do attempt to compete, the government is bilked out of huge amounts of money like in the case of Solyndra.  This helps big oil and natural gas proponents stay in the lead energy position of providing energy through petroleum products.

Now I know some are surprised that inmate or slave labor would have anything whatsoever to do with the Solyndra scandal.  I hope I have shown how the two are connected in a similar manner to how slave labor is also connected to the immigration laws, prison industry competing against private industry and being used to replace American's jobs.  This shit is all interconnected, all has a connection to labor and wages in the U.S. and most of it has come about due to the pursuit of cheap labor being sought by corporations and that pursuit being facilitated by the likes of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), their corporate members, Legislative members and the legislation disseminated by them.  The harsh immigration legislation tracks back to ALEC, written by their corporate membership, spread by their Conservative state lawmakers, passed in Republican held state assemblies and passed into law by Republican Governors.  The legislation to abolish Unions and collective bargains comes from the same source, through the same procedures and enacted similarly.

So as I wrote above, the jobs once held by Americans are being slowly but surely taken from the job markets and transferred to prisoners.  Both public and private sectors are impacted.  Now with AL. and Ga. we can clearly see an immediate problem due to the immigration pushed by ALEC and their supporters loss of migrant workers in the fields - and the equally immediate "Solution" to that problem - prison labor.  Governor Walker started this in Wisconsin, Governor Christie followed in NJ and now we have numerous other states following suit.

If this continues without abatement, it truly will be the 99% of America's population who will be settling in to occupy statehouses, Wall Street and municipal locations.  They won't have anything else to do.  I have written for several years about this shift in labor to prison inmates.  The profits generated from slave labor, the jobs lost, the technology impacted and the wage reductions.  If we don't include this as one of the keys to taking back American jobs and wresting democracy back from the corporations and the top 1%, we leave these mechanisms in place that will continue to fund the Conservative led cabal.  This money stream has to be cut - and quick.  If we do this, manufacturing will immediately have to replace these inmates with civilian workers...public sector needs will again be filled with American non-inmate workers and we'll start to turn the page and create jobs.  As Noah Zatz reported in his research, there are between 600,000 and one million inmates working in manufacturing and other labor today.  Just think what those jobs would do for American labor if they were returned to our job markets.

We have already been hurt and if we look forward we can clearly see that once farm labor is turned over to prison labor, the median wage will be reduced to minimum wage or less.  All of the effort put into securing benefits and wage rates for migrant and farm workers will be set back decades by this.  Non-inmate workers wanting to take those jobs in the future will have to accept the wages paid to inmate workers or they won't be hired.  Similarly, manufacturing jobs that once paid so much to labor in the past, will be reset, wages will start at the bottom once inmates are removed from the equation.  Labor will have to start the long and arduous climb back to where we were pre 2008 after this shift to prison labor.

Our work is cut out for us.  I hope many will help us fight to regain our place in the world, our democracy and our to get our jobs back.  Before we take them back from China, Taiwan and India, we must begin here at home by taking the jobs back from the prisoners.

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project, In Support of Labor and Unions, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.


Should the replacement of civilian workers with inmate labor be halted?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hasn't anyone brought a 13th Amendment case yet? (4+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 03:20:42 PM PDT

  •  Fire the fucking inmates. And I sort of mean that (14+ / 0-)

    in a sort of nice way.

    But first my resume. I got my first job in a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility working in a factory owned and operated by Federal Prison Industries (brand name "UNICOR") in 1985. My job was clerking in the quality assurance department of a factory manufacturing faux wood office furniture, and I'm not sure I ever met anyone actually from FPI because all of the folks supervising us inmates graduated from being routine hacks (prison slang for "correctional officers") and had aspirations of moving up in their careers in the BOP. Our stuff was sold to GSA, and then routed on from their through orders placed from the GSA catalogue by entites eligible to access that source. (Funny story #1 - When a routine audit uncovered the shortage of an entire semi truck load of sheets of composite board, the loss was written off to "inmate pilferage".) (Funny story # 2 - The highets paid UNICOR worker then at FCI Texarkana was Dario, the little Colombian dude down in the basement in a special work area where he could apply his skills as a master wood carver and furniture craftsman. His solid hardwood, intricately carved gun cases were in high demand, and I heard of a few that went to other prison wardens, but they were mainly reserved for DOJ personnel on a level equal to the BOP Director, or higher. And the dudes handeling all of the business paperwork said they mever saw any invoices tied to any of those shipments.)

    Anyway, the rest of my resume (and excluding all of my remaining funny stories) runs through early 1993 and includes stints making tarps for militaty trucks, paint brushes (probably the last remaining hand made paint brushes in North America), electric cables and connectors for jet fighters, and work gloves of various styles and materials.

    So, anyway, let's fire the inmates and solve the problem. End the War on Drugs, legalize the whole lot of it, and cut loose all of the POW's. Right now all of our prisons are overcrowded with bodies who would remain idle (and who cost us a vast and ongoing fortune to keep there anyway) but for the use of them as slave labor. And fully two thirds of them could safely be released in any sanely constructed amnesty program!!!  

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 03:54:50 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for this insight from inside, (8+ / 0-)

      oldpotsmuggler.  I have written about this here for more than a year now and it's hard for some to grasp the truthfulness of claims that inmates make parts, components for aircraft, fighters and other highly technical work.

      Many followers now realize this is true due to the links and articles I've provided over the months.  Never hurts to have another source for information, though.

      I agree that the reason for the increase in prisoners is for labor.  This has been going on since 1979 in the states and since the late 30's at the federal level.  If we got rid of 18 USC 1761(c) and the corporations were no longer allowed to use prison labor, and prison made goods taken from the private sector markets, the prisoner population would drop rapidly.  As it is the taxpayers pay for incarceration, keep the inmates fed, clothed and medical provided - so the labor force for the prison industries are healthy and able bodied for work.  These companies and industries reap the benefits and leave the taxpayers with the bill and no return on their funding.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:37:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, as you've mentioned already, the Corps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        don't even reimburse for the added security costs incurred by their decision to avail themselves of this already cut rate source of labor.

        (By the way, I was down for 97 months, and landed, in one capacity or another, at the federal prisons in El Reno (I know, we all did), Talladega, Tallahassee, Memphis, Texarkana (the drinking water there is so polluted that it causes arthritis), Terminal Island, Lompoc, La Tuna, Englewood (I got the notorious Warden Anthony Belaski demoted), Phoenix/Black Canyon (so much arsenic in the water that wells in the surrounding area were barred from private culinary use), and Stafford (after it was no longer a camp, but while we were still slepping in Units undergoing asbestos remediation). I have a J.D. from the Univ. of Ut. College of Law, and earned a reputation in certain circles as a "jailhouse lawyer" when I still qualified for the "jailhouse" part.

        Anyway, I have stories that I would be happy to share if ever you wish to inquire.)

        There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

        by oldpotsmuggler on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:10:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am certainly interested in having a long (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          discussion about the issues in the federal prisons and camps.  I have a friend who was down over twice what you were who is now a blogger and activist in MI.  He worked in many of the prison industries and was moved around all over the country. He has certainly had some great info for research.

          Both of us can relate.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:30:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  POWs, indeed. Prisoners of a war that is being (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, ocular sinister

      waged just to generate more POWs.... sick cycle!

  •  One important point is that this will be on CNBC (7+ / 0-)

    The CNBC audience includes a lot of people who do Wall Street for their elite bread and bitter butter. They'll see that the state is unfairly competing AGAINST business. All this privatization bullshit is totally specious.

    When I saw the first ads, I figured it would be truthful as long as they consulted the venerable Bob Sloan. So now I know it'll be good. Setting up the DVR now.

    I'm interested to hear the reactions to this from the CNBC talking heads. I'll have to get more popcorn. I'm itching to watch and record.

    I hope the message gets through about the connections to ALEC. One thought I've had is that the clients are paying big money for lobbyists. ALEC lobbies tax free and semi-anonymous. So ALEC is stealing from the big lobbyists. So I want a battle to start between ALEC and the more ethical (if I can be allowed) lobby biggies.

    Maybe they'll help us to shut down ALEC.

    Do you think turning the lobbyists against ALEC is a brilliant strategy or what?

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:04:43 PM PDT

    •  LOL that would be wonderful - and spectacular to (5+ / 0-)

      watch develop.  I can imagine lobbyists being fought over by legislators and ALEC, the Kochies and their ilk.  One of the legislative initiatives we are trying to push is to bring lobbying and the revolving door under control.  this is going to be a key to stopping the conservative cabal.  Along with that we have to reverse or legislate citizens united off the books.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:41:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Black activists on dKos have told me... (13+ / 0-)

    .... that they feel we need a new word for this.

    "Slavery" in its original form included a few things that are orders of magnitude more evil than the present evil:

    a)  You were born into it and died in it.
    b)  Nothing you could do in your life, of your own free will, would change that.
    c)  Your children were the master's property to sell when and as he saw fit.
    d)  You could be "bred" like cattle or horses, forced against your will to produce more children for sale.
    e)  You could be subjected to whatever depraved forms of cruelty the master could concoct.  For all intents and purposes, and with the full blessing of the law, you were nothing more than a piece of farm machinery.      

    Today it's almost impossible to imagine living under those circumstances: for example to really imagine it vividly right down to the details such as your own child being ripped from your arms to be hustled down to the nearest stockade and sold off to someone else, never to be seen again.  Even the evils of life in North Korea (read up) don't begin to come close.

    So we need a new word.

    I'd suggest "neo-slavery" to go along with the other "evil neos" of our time: "neo-liberalism" that isn't liberal, "neo-conservatism" that isn't conservative: the "neos" that attempt to put velvet gloves over the iron fists of oppression in this new world of ours.  

    Neo-slavery is compulsory labor for another's profit, perpetrated out of sight, out of mind, and with fluffy corporate PR to rationalize it and make it seem less evil than what it is.  

    With neo-slavery they don't own your children as a matter of heredity.  They just set up the traps whereby your children are more likely to fall into the system at some time.  Something like 30% of black men in Washington DC, to cite one statistic, are in the criminal justice system at one point or another in their lives.  

    With neo-slavery they can claim you got there of your own free will, by committing whatever crime it was that put you there, even if the crime was stealing food to feed your family.   (And ALEC is pushing legislation to make three shoplifting offenses equal a felony, which also means you lose your voting rights in many states.)

    With neo-slavery they don't need to breed you like a horse, because they can create the conditions where there is always new "livestock" lined up at the entrance.  

    With neo-slavery, they can demonize you in front of the public, by saying "these people are just criminals who have done terrible things and been properly convicted."

    And with neo-slavery they have plausible deniability, and the protection of the loophole in the 13th Amendment, "except upon conviction of a crime."

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:11:43 PM PDT

    •  You know G2geek, I have to agree with you (6+ / 0-)

      about the differences and the terminology you apply.  I will now start using that term - with your permission - of Neo-Slavery in place of slave labor.  Slave labor has worked as it is labor provided by those under slave like conditions (in confinement without recourse, living in conditions where their time and their lives belong to "masters" represented by guards and staff.

      Neo-slavery adds in the politics aspect that are missing from my terminology.  Thanks for this and tell the folks over at CIK I said hey.  I stop by from time to time to read their diaries but usually don't comment - as I wind up in angry discussions with some of the long time members - over issues such as this terminology.  Hopefully neo-slavery will not be as likely to upset them.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:48:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on! Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ebby, Bob Sloan

        You don't need my permission, so let's spread this as the new term for this new incarnation of an old evil, and make it catch hold in the MSM as well.  

        Yes the aspects of compulsory labor in confinement and under the total control of others, are much the same as the "traditional" version of this particular evil.  

        But using the "neo-" term puts a sharp point on it, by which the similarities stand out as strongly as the differences.   And it also provides a link to the other "evil neos" of our time.  

        I don't know a-priori which diaries are CIK and which aren't, but if I see the tag, I'll drop in and tell 'em you say hey.  

        "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:54:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks. The CIK has their own group and used to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, ocular sinister

          post at 6:00 pm on Wednesday nights.  I run across them on the rec list and sometimes just go to their group and see what's interesting.

          I agree that the neo actually sharpens the issue and attention it should be getting.  Good idea.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:33:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Neo-Slavery. Perfect. (0+ / 0-)

        "They are the best among us." -- Hedges on #occupywallst

        by livjack on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:56:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bob, CIK no longer publishes at dKos (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ocular sinister

        The series left this site on 9/11/2011 and now publishes at other sites.

    •  The new transnationals at work, eh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Like Foxconn.

      btw, glad to see nr gone.

      •  Yep and agree with you BTW! n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shantysue, G2geek

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:03:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  heh, me too. in fact.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alizard, shantysue, ocular sinister

        .... last night I dreamed about logging in here and finding the little radio buttons back.  First time I can recall dreaming about life on dKos, but I've been having precognitive dreams since childhood, so this isn't too surprising.  (Precognition is one of those odd anomalies that has decent empirical evidence including experiments with physically random processes as targets, but doesn't have a good theoretical mechanism yet, for which reason the majority of mainstream science writes it off as nonsense.  Once a mechanism is found, it'll become entirely mundane, as it should be.)  

        "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:59:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah precognition (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Sloan

          Ever read Paul Robeson's claims of what was done to him? (I dare not say the word, but it's in his bio on wiki in the paragraph just before "His Later Years." This stuff is too scary to even diary about. Anyway, yes I have precog, too, and wonder about many "anomalies."

          •  nope, but a quick scan of his wiki page.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            .... shows that he was a brilliant man in many ways, and that he got screwed over in just as many ways.  

            During the MKULTRA period, it was reasonable for prominent dissidents to worry about whether they might be used as guinea pigs against their will.  

            I've known a few people whose psi research was supported by government (military) money.  The stuff they did was benign enough, for example a study of psychokinesis as a possible factor in human interface design in jet fighter aircraft.  

            One thing we can be reasonably glad about is that these phenomena are fickle enough to be unreliable as weapons.  Near as I can tell, the theories that are most likely to be correct, will not change that.  And for various reasons, such as impact on natural selection over time ("psychic cavemen were more likely to avoid getting eaten by bears") the underlying mechanisms may very well favor the "prey" compared to the "predators."  

            "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:59:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed re prey (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, ocular sinister

              Paul Robeson is my very favorite singer. I spent much of my week off (9/11-9/18) listening to him and reading Harriet Tubman's oral history. She has a lot to say about many things, much of which could be of immense help with the OWS peeps (i.e., coded language in song and such).

              I have saved my own skin on many occasions because of heightened senses.

              But I don't think what was done to Mr. Robeson did him much good. I also wonder what types of experiments, if any, go on in prisons and such. Just sayin'.

    •  It seems like their point would be stronger if (0+ / 0-)

      the terms "slavery" and "slave labor" were not different. And heaven forbid they ever undertake the monumental task of laundering all of the various, sundry, and widely disconnected derivations of the term "slave" from the modern lexicon.

      (By the way, I've been the only anglo in a jail unit with the other 19 bunks occupied by blacks. And got along without a hitch.

      Could you?

      And these D-Kos "black activists", could they sail completely smoothly through several weeks in Leon County, Florida jail and mix and match as seamlessly as I did?

      I rest my case!)

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:33:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The term and concepts of both evoke such (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ocular sinister

        feelings and emotions from all sides of the table that they are difficult to discuss calmly and amicably.

        I experience this from time to time when some complain that I don't have a right to use the term "Slave" to describe anything other than it's original meaning and concept.

        That's why I like the suggestion of Neo-Slavery to describe it - putting the emphasis on the political relationship with this kind of labor.  It is being done for political reasons and in reality once an individual is convicted he/she does in fact come under ownership of the state authorities.  They can be worked tirelessly, treated poorly, made to wear what they are told to wear, get up  and go to bed when they're told, are dependent upon the state for medical diagnosis and treatment and fed anything the authorities provide.  Even contact with their family and friends are now under threat with some states wanting to now "charge" for visitation.

        The "carpetbaggers" of today are the corporations and individuals capitalizing off of this "system".  They have worked politically to make all this acceptable by the public - many giving their permission for this out of fear - fear of becoming one of "them" or fear of "them" being released and terrorizing us in our communities.

        The 13th Amendment has got to be addressed, and right now the time is ripe to do this.  So many of us have been in prison or have loved ones who have.  We are awakened and consciously aware of these issues now.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 07:49:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's an old word for this (0+ / 0-)

      Convict leasing.

      Ask the homophobes against marriage equality this: "Would you rather see two gay men marry each other or one closet case marry your daughter?"

      by spacecadet1 on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 09:07:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i saw the 100,000 figure too earlier (4+ / 0-)

    and wondered if that was accurate. now it turns out the real number could be a million jobs.

    that's the number of jobs obama claims his proposal will create. yet, he never calls attention to this abhorrent practice.

    he doesn't even bother to mention this. if we aren't being outsourced, we are being insourced.

    what executive power could he exercice here? these prisons run according to government contracts. why isn't the labor department intervening?

    i'm sick and tired of workers being hung to dry.

    •  Actually there is much he could do at the (5+ / 0-)

      federal level with UNICOR.  UNICOR is run under the authority of the Federal Prison Industry Board.  It has 6 members (currently one vacancy).  Each member is appointed by the President and sits at "his pleasure".  On that board is one member representing labor, one member representing Industry, one representing the Dept. of Justice, one representing the Dept. of Defense, one representing Agriculture and one representing Retailers and Consumers.

      President Obama has not been able to appoint the vacant seat (DOD) as the Republicans are blocking all of his appointments and won't let them come up for confirmation.  Likewise his judicial appointments.  There are around 160 vacant federal judge slots open, but they won't confirm any of his appointments or nominations.

      I have written to the President, sent out petitions from to he and Holder, written Holder and to numerous Congressional members.  None have responded or will even acknowledge receipt or address this serious problem.  The inmates are sick and tired of being rounded up and run through the courts and given lengthy sentences and kept at their machines and equipment for years on end making vast amounts of profit for the likes of Microsoft, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, McDonald Douglas, HP, IBM and a couple of hundred more.  They would like to see civilians get their jobs back as much as we do...they simply have no voice or choice.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:01:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be sure to watch it, Bob (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, ocular sinister

    No single nightmare scares me more than this. I can't believe what you've managed to uncover.

    I'm off to research more about this subject.

    Thanks Bob.

    •  Thanks for coming by and joining the conversation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shantysue, ocular sinister

      as always, Sue.  I spend more than 8 hours a day on research on  these issues, digging, copying and finding the names of those involved.  It helps to have others performing the same searches.  Never can have too many looking over an issue.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tell me the Democrats will stop this. Please? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, oldpotsmuggler

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:29:48 PM PDT

  •  It goes like this (5+ / 0-)

    Lose your Job
    Lose your healthcare
    Lose Your home

    Because you are unemployed, homeless, possibly ill and desperate, you commit a crime, so you'll go to jail where you will have:

    A roof
    healthcare and
    A job!

    What a country! Soon, we'll ASPIRE to be arrested so we can become slave prison labor.

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