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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,253

Journal Archives

Mother Jones: A Brief History of America's Private Prison Industry

A very revealing history of the private prison 'industry', riddled with abuse, rapes, killings, etc. and including a
link to extensive testimony of a Mother Jones writer (Shane Bauer) who worked as a prison guard for 4 months.
Link to Mr. Bauer's article: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/cca-private-prisons-corrections-corporation-inmates-investigation-bauer

A Brief History of America's Private Prison Industry
"You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers."
by Madison Pauly * July/August 2016 Issue * Mother Jones

In the early 1980s, the Corrections Corporation of America pioneered the idea of running prisons for a profit. "You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers," one of its founders told Inc. magazine. Today, corporate-run prisons hold eight percent of America's inmates. Here's how the private prison industry took off:

1983 - Thomas Beasley, Doctor R. Crants, and T. Don Hutto start Corrections Corporation of America, the world's first private prison company.

1984 - CCA begins operating a county jail and a juvenile detention center in Tennessee. It also opens its first privately owned facility in Houston, a motel hastily remodeled to hold immigration detainees.

1985 - A federal judge orders Tennessee to stop admitting inmates to its overcrowded prisons. CCA offers, unsuccessfully, to pay $250 million for a 99-year lease on the state's entire prison system.

1986 - CCA goes public, saying its facility design and use of electronic surveillance mean it can operate larger prisons "with less staff than the public sector would have needed."

1987 - Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, later known as the GEO Group, gets its first contract to run a federal immigration detention center.

Mid-'90s - CCA co-chairs the criminal justice task force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Among the "model" bills to emerge are truth-in-sentencing and three-strikes legislation that help fuel the '90s prison boom.

1997 - Arguing that it's in the property business, CCA becomes a real estate investment trust for tax purposes. A new affiliate, Prison Realty Trust, raises $447 million for a prison-buying spree.

2004 - A Justice Department report finds a "disturbing degree" of physical abuse by staff and underreporting of violence among inmates at a Baltimore juvenile facility run by the private prison operator Correctional Services Corporation. CSC is later acquired by GEO.

MUCH More: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/history-of-americas-private-prison-industry-timeline

GOP Convention Clusterfuckery afoot: Open carry with Neo-Nazis doing "security"

Petition for open carry at GOP Convention

With neo-Nazis planning to go to Cleveland to confront anti-Trump protesters, the scene has been set for a potentially chaotic Republican National Convention next month. Police departments are already raising red flags about security at this year’s RNC, and one Republican delegate has told Politico that she fears for her personal safety.

What could possibly go wrong?

Email from Keith Ellison re: the TPP and the Democratic Platform Committee.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about where Keith Ellison stands re the
Platform Committee's work of late. i.e. it's not all hearts and flowers.

Dear 99th Monkey,

On Friday and Saturday, I had the honor of participating in the DNC's Platform Drafting Committee at the request of Bernie Sanders. I have good news and bad news to share with you coming out of this incredibly important meeting:

The good news is that the resulting draft platform is, by and large, the most progressive statement I have seen come out of the Democratic Party in years.

It is clear that the party is responding favorably to the energy and passion brought to the forefront during this amazing presidential primary, and they've adopted stronger positions than they did in previous years on everything from expanding Social Security to tackling criminal justice reform.

Now, for the bad news: During the meeting, I put forward an amendment asking the DNC to take a strong stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but several committee members managed to block it from becoming a part of the party platform.

It's disappointing that we weren't able to get this critical anti-TPP provision added this past weekend, but we aren't out of luck yet. On July 8-9, the full platform committee will be meeting to give their take on the draft platform we created -- and they'll have the opportunity to make amendments as well.

Will you sign my petition to the DNC's Platform Committee and join me and DFA in asking them to adopt an anti-TPP amendment when the full committee meets in Orlando on July 8-9?
SIGN UP HERE: http://act.democracyforamerica.com/sign/TPP_platform_amendment/?t=2&refcode=g-tppplatform0629.d-20160629.m-8083.s-22895&akid=8083.1294488.HXbmZn

The committee members who voted against my amendment claimed that they were leaving the door open to the TPP for the sake of "party unity." But opposition to the job-killing TPP should not be controversial within the Democratic Party: Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigned against the TPP during this year's presidential primary.

I'm happy that both of our strongest candidates for president this year made fighting for fairer trade deals a major part of their platforms. But it's not enough for Democrats to give lip service to opposing bad trade deals while on the campaign trail. We need to show permanent solidarity with working families by taking a stand against the TPP as a party.

The full DNC Platform Committee meets next week -- and we need your help now. Can you sign my petition with DFA demanding a strong anti-TPP provision in the Democratic Party platform?

Thanks for doing everything you can to help defeat the TPP -- and to make the Democratic Party more progressive.

- Keith

Rep. Keith Ellison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Nation: "The Democratic Party’s Draft Platform Doesn’t Oppose TPP—That’s Bad Policy and Bad Politics

The Democratic Party’s Draft Platform Doesn’t Oppose the TPP—That’s Bad Policy and Bad Politics
Working-class Americans have had enough of trade policies that accelerate the race to the bottom.
By Larry Cohen * June 26, 2016 * The Nation

In a Friday night showdown at the Democratic Party platform-drafting committee, the Clinton majority outvoted the Sanders delegates 10-5, rejecting any language specifically opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Instead, the majority substituted generic language that trade deals should protect workers’ rights and the environment, and a misleading sentence that claimed that Democrats are divided on trade. A year ago, 85 percent of House Democrats voted against a fast track on the TPP.

Both Presidents Clinton and Obama have maintained that their deals, from NAFTA to the TPP, had better language on the environment and workers’ rights than any previous trade agreement. The issue, of course, is that not a single agreement has provided anything meaningful for workers or preventing climate change or protecting consumers. The language may be better, but it is virtually unenforceable, especially compared to the reparations multinational corporations receive through their right to sue in private tribunals known as investor-state dispute settlement.

Last fall, as Bernie Sanders made opposition to the TPP one of the major issues in the campaign, Hillary Clinton switched her position to opposing the TPP. When Clinton was secretary of state, she and her staff played a major role in outlining an agreement and picking new trade partners—Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. Foreign-policy arguments, then and now, were at the center of the pro-TPP argument. Both Obama and Clinton argued that a trade deal would move those four nations closer to the United States and away from China.

Most importantly, once adopted, the TPP can never be reversed or amended without the agreement of all 12 nations.

President Obama continues to lead with this foreign-policy argument as he prepares to send the TPP to Congress for a lame-duck vote after the election. Amazingly, despite opposition from virtually every environmental, consumer, immigrant-rights, and labor organization, the president has made it clear that he will do everything possible to pass the TPP, with the support of Republicans in Congress. Now, Clinton Democrats are preparing to make passing the TPP even easier, despite the net loss of jobs and the permanent harm to the environment that will almost certainly result from it. Most importantly, once adopted, the TPP can never be reversed or amended without the agreement of all 12 nations.


Rachel building strong case for a Clinton/Warren

Warren, the "consolidating VP to compensate for Bernie".

As I posted earlier today, I see some wisdom in "handcuffing Warren to Clinton"


Rick Perlstein: "What Democrats Need to Know About Violence at Trump Rallies"

I do not necessarily agree with this assessment, that protesting Trump is good for
Trump's campaign; but I think --given the gravity of the stakes-- it is a worthwhile
discussion for Democrats to be having, and apparently this buy Rick Perlstein is near
the center of the storm. Please use this string as you will, to discuss this, as the
future of our country is at stake in this race.


What Democrats Need to Know About Violence at Trump Rallies
Does rioting make Trump stronger?
By Rick Perlstein * Alternet/Washington Spectator * June 26, 2016

This spring, Donald Trump added a new phrase to the stock of improvised riffs he throws out at his rallies: “I love my protesters.” And if my Twitter mentions are any indication, there are a lot of people who think they know why: disruptions inside or outside Trump’s events just might help elect him president.

Wrote one, a conservative: #Dems need to read @rickperlstein’s #Nixonland (#Liberalism gone amok led to riots, causing #conservative backlash.)” Liberals agree. “Rioting only makes Trump stronger,” wrote Esquire’s Charlie Pierce, linking to a clip of police responding to window-smashing and poster-burning at a Trump event in Albuquerque.

The syllogism is simple: first in 1966 with Ronald Reagan, then in 1968 and 1972 with Richard Nixon, Republicans ascended to higher office by pinning on the Democrats responsibility for riots and disruptive protests carried out on the left, successfully framing themselves (as I detailed in my 2008 book Nixonland) as the preservers of order and decorum in a society that seemed to be falling into chaos.

“Things are going to hell.”

“We need an ass-kicker in the White House.”

And presto, a generation of Republican presidents. Just read Rick Perlstein!

Well, I love my readers, conservative and liberal both. But the people using my historical work to make this particular argument need to read it less selectively and more attentively.


Is there a reliable website tracking the business of the Dem Platform Committee?

I keep hearing radically divergent --if not 100% contradictory-- claims being made
about these proceedings ... so I'd love to be able to carefully track these happenings
on a regular basis... hour by hour even.

Thanks in advance to whoever might have such a link.

Commentary: Jolly good, Britain! Well done us.

A brilliant satire, in British Borowitzian.


Jolly good, Britain! Well done us.
by Garret Cummings, founder of Lore Communication *cnbc * 6/23/16

Today is the first glorious day of liberation from the terrible tyranny of bossy Brussels. We're free!

Free to eat wonky bananas and oddly-shaped cucumbers. (We never appreciated Brussels' obsession with the shape of our fruit.) Free of the vile yoke that oppressed our people for so long, forcing us into having the right to live anywhere we pleased anywhere in Europe. Free of the horrendous oppression that forced our benevolent employers to give us paid holidays, maternity and paternity leave and workplace rights.

Oh, jolly good. Well done us.

Now we no longer have to worry about having the monstrous evil of socialized medical care when we're travelling in Europe. We can pay for private health insurance! Now we no longer have to face the horror of our sons and daughters spending time abroad on ridiculous Erasmus schemes which allow us to study anywhere on this benighted, awful continent and meet, get to know and even fall in love with dreadful foreigners who don't "share our values."

Instead we can be free! We can finally cut ourselves off from this dreadful corrupt, sclerotic sh*thole that produced the Enlightenment, Mozart, Michelangelo, Cervantes, Kafka, the Nobel Prize, Voltaire and the Eurovision Song Contest.


The NRA/GOP are openly serving the interests of terrorists & mass murderers.

Thank you Dems for shining a bright light on this travesty with your historic sit-in on
the floor of the People's House of Representatives.

Aging, Sick and Incarcerated: The Need for Compassionate Release

We seriously need to significantly empty out prisons & jails, of many of the 1.5 Million
people incarcerated in the USA. Wrongful convictions, for bogus petty non-violent
offenses, esp including those related to marijuna and other substances.

Having more peeps behind bars than any other nation is disgraceful.

Aging, Sick and Incarcerated: The Need for Compassionate Release
Saturday, 18 June 2016 * By Victoria Law * Truthout | Report

Mary Ziman already had debilitating fibromyalgia and, unable to work, was on permanent disability. Then she was arrested and sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine, charges she says stemmed from fabrications by a woman with mental illness caught with drugs and a gun. That was 17 years ago.

2016 0616rr l 1
Mary Ziman. (Photo: Courtesy of CAN-Do Clemency)
Now 67 years old, Ziman has three cancerous spots on her left lung, requires the use of three inhalers and has only 51 percent lung capacity. She is also blind in one eye and has a cataract in the other. In March 2016, after repeatedly complaining to medical staff at the federal prison in Victorville, California, she was hospitalized for a kidney infection stemming from an untreated urinary tract infection. She spent 10 days in the hospital where tests found that she suffered from anemia, arthritis, a hernia and problematic potassium levels affecting her heart. Additionally, Ziman now requires hip and knee surgery.

In April, not long after her release from the hospital, Ziman suffered another devastating blow. The Office of the Pardon Attorney denied her request for clemency, or a commutation lessening the length of her sentence and allowing her to return home early. (Clemency can also take the form of a pardon, which expunges the conviction altogether.) There is no appeal for such a denial. Instead, Ziman must wait an entire year before she can submit another request for clemency.

However, Ziman does have some hope for another route forward: She has filed a petition for compassionate release, which, if granted, would allow her to return home to her nine children, 28 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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