There are two very large and influential prison companies in the United States who are manipulating the system to make sure they have plenty of business: The GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In the first part of this two-part series, I will explore The GEO Group’s influence peddling; next week, I will look at CCA.
If you have any doubt in your mind that improving society and lowering the number of prisoners in our country (normally considered a worthy social goal) is a threat to the prison industry business, all you need to do is to read about that concern in The GEO Group’s 2011 annual report:
In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services and BI’s [a prison industry company Geo acquired in 2011] services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us.
This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish. In order to keep the prison beds filled, The GEO Group and others have paid out millions of dollars to lobbyists, federal and state legislators, and governors to allow our immigration problem to go unsolved, to make sure that no drugs are decriminalized and that an ineffective War on Drugs continues, and to make certain that long term prison sentences, like California’s three-strikes-and-you’re-imprisoned-for-life laws, keep a steady flow of revenue and profits flowing to their shareholders. They are also hoping that our national drop in crime is just a temporary trend.
In May, the 99 percent will open up new avenues of resistance as activists around the world gear up for the intensification of popular protest and direct action.
And we’re back! After months of relative quiet, interspersed with a handful of mass protests and radical events — like the general strike in Spain and the re-occupation of Wall Street — our movement is on course to escalate into a massive social orgasm of non-violent popular resistance against the diktat of finance capital and the military-industrial complex.
Long left for ‘dead‘ by the mainstream media and political institutions, we once again finds ourselves in the luxury position of the underdog — capable once more of harnessing the element of surprise to grab the system by its proverbial balls when it least expects it; twisting, twirling and turning right where it hurts.
Who knows what this spring will bring! Perhaps May 2012 will forever be remembered as the month in which the worldwide resistance against a defunct global capitalist system spiraled out into orbit? In its latest tactical briefing, Adbustersalluded to that legendary spring 44 years ago, urging us to be inspired by the revolutionary legacy of May ’68, while avoiding the failures and pitfalls that beset the social movements of the past.
“Once upon a time, American presidents didn’t consider micro-managing a permanent war state as a central part of their job description, nor did they focus so unrelentingly on the U.S. military and the doings of the national security state. Today, the president’s word is death just about anywhere on the planet and he exercises that power with remarkable frequency. He appears in front of “the troops” increasingly often and his wife has made their wellbeing part of her job description. He has at his command expanded “covert” powers, including his own private armies: a more militarized CIA and growing hordes of special operations forces, 60,000 of them, who essentially make up a “covert” military inside the U.S. military.”—
Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch, calling a spade a spade. Very important and relevant points made. For instance:
Almost unnoted in the U.S., for instance, American drones recently carried out a strike in the Philippines killing 15 and the Air Force has since announced a plan to boost its drones there by 30%. At the same time, in Yemen, as previously in the Pakistani borderlands, the president has just given the CIA and the U.S. Joint Operations Command the authority to launch drone strikes not just against identified “high-value” al-Qaeda “targets,” but against general “patterns of suspicious behavior.” So expect an escalating drone war there not against known individuals, but against groups of suspected evildoers (and as in all such cases, innocent civilians as well).
At home, on issues of domestic importance, Obama is a hamstrung, hogtied president, strikingly checked and balanced. Since the passage of his embattled healthcare bill, he has, in a sense, been in chains, able to accomplish next to nothing of his domestic program. Even when trying to exercise the unilateral powers that have increasingly been invested in presidents, what he can do on his own has proven exceedingly limited, a series of tiny gestures aimed at the largest of problems. And were Mitt Romney to be elected, given congressional realities, this would be unlikely to change in the next four years.
[T]he power of the president as commander-in-chief has never been greater. If Obama is the president of next to nothing on the domestic policy front (but fundraising for his second term), he has the powers previously associated with the gods when it comes to war-making abroad. There, he is the purveyor of life and death. At home, he is a hamstrung weakling, at war he is — to use a term that has largely disappeared since the 1970s — an imperial president.
I wonder if the American public realizes the havoc President Obama is wreaking in the Middle East and South Asia. Amazing how the majority of the US media filters reality to keep one nation completely unaware of what its regime is carrying out in other countries. That, or people just don’t care.
The media is disgustingly censored in the US, so many people are unaware of the scope of what is happening in the world. The government as is desires ignorance, disinformation, and inaction. That way they can keep their game running. It doesn’t matter what they get around to doing for anyone, as long as they hold on to, and grant themselves, as much power as they can.
…they need to go. All of them, and the whole system they’ve created. We can do better.
Big Business and Big Government don’t want a free internet. The reason they don’t want a free internet is because people are waking up to the raping and looting of the world being carried on by the global banking elite. It is truly an information war and they don’t want ‘us’, the people, to have…
Not only did CISPA get pushed through early, but NOW they edited it to make the 4th Amendment not even apply to the Internet! On top of that, as long as someone is in danger of bodily harm or children are threatened, they can do WHATEVER THEY WANT with your data—no oversight, no limit to government power—no nothing.
#2 A 13-year-old student at a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was recently arrested by police for burping in class.
#3 Another student down in Albuquerque was forced to strip down to his underwear while five adults watched because he had $200 in his pocket. The student was never formally charged with doing anything wrong.
#4 A security guard at one school in California broke the arm of a 16-year-old girl because she left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning up some cake that she had spilled.
#5 One teenage couple down in Houston poured milk on each other during a squabble while they were breaking up. Instead of being sent to see the principal,they were arrested and sent to court.
#6 In early 2010, a 12-year-old girl at a school in Forest Hills, New York was arrested by police and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly scribbled on her desk.
#9 A 17-year-old honor student in North Carolina named Ashley Smithwick accidentally took her father’s lunch with her to school. It contained a small paring knife which he would use to slice up apples. So what happened to this standout student when the school discovered this? The school suspended her for the rest of the year and the police charged her with a misdemeanor.
#10 In Allentown, Pennsylvania a 14-year-old girl was tasered in the groin area by a school security officer even though she had put up her hands in the air to surrender.
#11 Down in Florida, an 11-year-old student was arrested, thrown in jail and charged with a third-degree felony for bringing a plastic butter knife to school.
#13 A police officer in San Mateo, California blasted a 7-year-old special education student in the face with pepper spray because he would not quit climbing on the furniture.
#14 In America today, even 5-year-old children are treated brutally by police. The following is from a recent article that described what happened to one very young student in Stockton, California a while back….
“Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old.”
#15 At one school in Connecticut, a 17-year-old boy was thrown to the floor andtasered five times because he was yelling at a cafeteria worker.
#16 A teenager in suburban Dallas was forced to take on a part-time jobafter being ticketed for using foul language in one high school classroom. The original ticket was for $340, but additional fees have raised the total bill to $637.
#17 A few months ago, police were called out when a little girl kissed a little boy during a physical education class at an elementary school down in Florida.
#18 A 6-year-old boy was recently charged with sexual battery for some “inappropriate touching” during a game of tag at one elementary school in the San Francisco area.
#19 In Massachusetts, police were recently sent out to collect an overdue library book from a 5-year-old girl.
“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.”—Arundhati Roy (via theyoungradical)
“As soon as I reached the OR, the staff began prepping me for surgery. I stated that I did NOT want a c-section. I demanded to see my husband and stated that IF I was to receive a c-section my DH & I would make that decision together. I was told that my husband was on his way. I was also told that my baby needed more oxygen & I was told to breathe deeply in a new mask because it had a better seal on my face (the oxygen I was breathing before was thru a smaller mask). The new mask wasn’t oxygen, I was gassed against my will. I am unaware of what was done to me from the time I was gassed up until I awoke in recovery. I am assuming that I only had a c-section. Any further details have not been shared with me.”—
“If everyone is a product of this society, who will say the things that need to be said, and do the things that need to be done, without compromise? Truth will never start out popular in a world more concerned with marketability than righteousness. It will initially suffer ridicule and even violence- yet ultimately it is undeniable. All of humanity is living in a dream world, but suffering real consequences.”—Lauryn Hill (via theyoungradical)
Well, a couple of weeks ago, the Defence Department announced that the F-35 programme’s procurement costs had increased by $17 billion. This is partly because the developer has been unable to finalise the jet on time, leading to expensive slowdowns. The actual production cost per plane of the cheapest version, according to Defence talking points, is $83.4m. So if the programme had a fixed budget and the higher costs led to lower purchases, that might mean buying about 210 fewer F-35s, ie 2,233 rather than 2,443. But fortunately, by slashing food stamps for millions of poor Americans during the most stressful economic hardship since the 1930s, we can avoid such painful decisions.
“Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality.”—Michael Ellner (via remorphabeing)
We’ve spent the year examining the theme of “Health, Wellness, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Thanks to a variety of interesting and provocative lectures, films, readings, and classroom discussions, our understanding of happiness has increased greatly, although we’ll probably never fully know what makes us happy. One thing is for sure, though: austerity is not a pathway to bliss.
The Greek suicide rate in 2010 rose by 18 percent. In Athens last year it rose by 25 percent. Before austerity, Greece had the lowest suicide rate in the EU. In February a woman threatened to leap from her office window when the latest round of public job cuts included her and her husband. In the end she didn’t go through jump.
Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, and he’s bringing some back-to-the-earth philosophy to the country. Bolivia is set to pass The Law of Mother Earth, a sweeping piece of legislation that, as Vice-President Alvaro García Linera…
Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes.
The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.
Instead, they’re calling for more public hearings on April 12, in the apparent hope that they can run out the clock until the legislative session ends in early May.
What happened to the formerly staunch legislative champions of Vermont’s “right to know” bill? They lost their nerve and abandoned their principles after Monsanto representative recently threatened a public official that the biotech giant would sue Vermont if they dared to pass the bill.
“The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and moneyed incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling… I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country. I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”—Thomas Jefferson (via losangeleno)
A new bill up for vote in the state of Arizona would ban abortions for some expectant mothers, but that’s only the start of what lawmakers have in store. If the legislation passes, the state will consider a child to exist even before conception.
The above article is an update. Her mother went to appeal to keep her out of the psychiatric ward and lost. She will be institutionalized because of her expression of her gender. She will be held until she conforms to male gender and then released to foster care, not her mother who was supporting her.
Please, if you haven’t signed the petition, sign it, reblog it, ask your friends to sign it. We’ve managed to get 40K signatures for a pageant model, we’ve only gotten 11K for a little girl about to have her life ruined. Lets get on the ball and spread the word.
against the aggression of the rich and their politicians: self-defense
Protests and demonstrations across Spain began in the early hours of Thursday, March 29th, in the first general strike since 2010. In almost all major cities pickets were held ahead of demos (an estimated 111…