Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hey Americans: Want a Job? Just Go To Jail!

One of the great things about social media is connecting with intelligent people who you'd otherwise never get the chance to "meet". Facebook and Twitter have brought thousands of new friendly voices into my realm over the past few years and they are what I lovingly refer to as my "Mad Posters" - meaning, they/we love to share news and videos and education regarding not just the Drug War, but injustice in whatever form it happens to take throughout the world.

"Posting Links" is one of the best tools that social activism has, on any given day I am gifted with personalized judicial and ecological news from Canada, the States and beyond. With the click of a mouse a daily itinerary is before me and I appreciate those who take the time to "Pass It to the Left".

While much of what we share is from news outlets and other mainstream media, what I cherish the most are contributions from everyday people passionate about making a difference. On Saturday a "Note" was posted on Facebook and it was so informative that I asked the writer, Lydie Meunier, if she would let me post it here to share with all of you and she graciously accepted.

Lydia brilliantly opens our eyes to scheming corporations and the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex coveting much sought after jobs and profiting greatly from free and cheap inmate labour. It's also a shocking glimpse of what will happen here in Canada if the Conservatives are re-elected and allowed to proceed with their fear driven crime agenda and American style prison plans.

U.S. Unemployment Exacerbated by the Outsourcing of Jobs to Prisons
By Lydie Meunier


Call your Congress Members and Ask them to Put a Stop to this Infamy!!!

I know that many people don't want to look into prison labor and the impact it has on unemployment figures because this is a disturbing issue. And yet, Jobs are outsourced to prisons, and slavery is being reinstated because corporations are counting on, and taking advantage of folks' apathy and disdains for prisoners... Meanwhile jobs for law abiding citizens are taken away from them to be given to cheap prison labor.

Today, prisoners are being exploited by corporations, paid more or less 40 cts/hour, more often less than more, sometimes paid nothing at all (see current situation in Georgia prisons not covered by the media), in lieu of the minimum $7.25/hour that corporations would have to pay to law abiding citizens. The difference, quite clearly, contributes to major corporate profits, while law abiding citizens are still unemployed and continue to lose their jobs.

On the FREE National market (vs. the WALLED industrial complex market), only 9% of our GDP comes from manufacturing. You can not sustain a middle class lifestyle with a service economy. To turn that 9 % into a much higher number, we need to introduce a new Bill in Congress to stop the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to prisons (outsourcing to prisons is now called "insourcing").

When you consider the major corporations that employ prison labor (furniture factories, Microsoft, Boing, IBM, Starbuck, Victoria secret, BP, Sodexo, medical supplies, road signs, military supplies, etc.) you quickly realize that moving jobs back to law abiding citizens would surely help diminish unemployment figures!!!

The way these prison partnerships typically work is that a manufacturer wanting to increase profits moves their equipment, technology, materials and unfinished goods to a factory setting within a prison industry facility. Once up and running, the same products come off the assembly lines and are shipped as before. The difference is this, private sector employees of the company have been terminated or laid off. A handful of employees are usually kept on long enough to train inmates and prison supervisors in the manufacturing used to make the products. Once that is accomplished, they are also eliminated and their positions taken over by a prison industry supervisor.

This insourcing of labor creates quite a number of unemployed citizens. Burdens are placed on state and community social help programs, unemployment compensation, etc. So while the corporation saves lots of money in labor costs - no more unemployment insurance premiums, less expenses in lease of facilities (usually leased by the prison operators at $1.00 per year), and no more employee benefits such as medical insurance, vacations or paid time off - the communities they vacated are left to fund the unemployed left in their wake. In addition the local government loses taxes that were paid by the corporation, previous landlords of the facilities once leased to the corporations are left with vacant property and local shops and other businesses suffer a drop in sales due to the newly unemployed workers left behind.

Efforts to involve Union officials, management and labor leaders in rectifying this issue have been unsuccessful for some reason. Politicians and Union leaders are too busy arguing about outsourcing of our jobs overseas and seem to not have any interest in eliminating or addressing insourcing. The next time you or your neighbor loses your/their job; before looking toward China or India to see if you can see your job making its way there, look the other way and see if perhaps some criminal that stole your car has just as easily stolen your job and income as well.

Source: INSOURCING- A new concept about private sector job losses, by Bob Sloan, November 10, 2010

The prison industrial complex shows the fastest growth in profits, with politicians and judges and lawyers, and the top 2% investing in its stocks, which constitutes the most corrupt conflict of interests: for each incarceration, the private prison industry is not only paid big bulks by our tax money, it also disposes of the people as private property subcontracted to corporations. Meanwhile, we keep paying for the prison industrial complex to sustain itself with our tax money, oblivious to the fact that we are also paying with the loss of our jobs!!!!

Wake up folks!!! This is not only a national disgrace, it is a national scandal!!!

The United States has the highest incarceration rate!!!! Do you want to know why? Follow the money!!!

Here is a report for you to read to understand the mess this country is in regarding employment politics by regressing into slavery The prison industry in the United States: big business and a new form of slavery

Civilian Inmate Labor Camps designed to manufacture army supplies Jobs that used to be performed by law abiding citizens

Insourcing - Transfer of Private Industry Jobs to Prison Industry-Made in USA


Here are more links related to more recent news in Georgia where prisoners have been forced to work without pay for their labor, a violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude:

The Largest Prison Strike In American History Goes Ignored By US Media

Prisoner Strike Enters New Phase, Needs Our Support

Prison labor on the rise in US

Corporatocracy can best be described as: "A type of government in which huge corporations, through bribes, gifts, and the funding of ad campaigns that oppose candidates they don't like, become the driving force behind the executive, judicial and legislative branches". It explains why prison labor is ignored by politicians and main stream media!!!!!

Federal PIECP and Program Violations: Discussions on the use of prison labor in the U.S. and corporations that eliminate private sector jobs with inmate labor

While we are busy believing that prisoners need to pay their debt back to society, corporations are cheating society by "hiring" prison labor

Prisoner Advocate Elaine Brown on Georgia Prison Strike

Mass Incarceration in America

Private Prison Industry Helped Draft Arizona Immigration Law

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

Private Prison Lobby Behind Arizona's Immigration Law

Rachel Maddow: Exposing Private Prison Industry Role in Shaping Arizona's Anti-Immigration Law - August 14, 2010 - Corporate Con Game



Prison Labor: A Dynamic Sector - Covert Action Quarterly #54 - Fall 1995

Prison Labor - Policy Report 2002

BP Hires Prison Labor to Clean Up Spill While Coastal Residents Struggle - 2010

Prison labor cheats society - 2001

As Prison Labor Grows, So Does the Debate - Published on Sunday, March 19, 2000 in the New York Times

Prison Industry Funnels Donations To State Lawmakers Introducing SB1070-Like Bills Around The Country

The Prison Industrial Complex: Does It Create A New Form Of Slavery? How Much Labor Is Done In The Prison System?

"One might think an enterprise able to pay unskilled workers just 21 cents an hour would be able to manufacture goods it could sell at rock-bottom prices. Unfortunately, that is not so when the enterprise is Ohio's Penal Industries system." Penal Industries Costs Out of Line - February 3, 2011 - The Intelligencer

"ACLU 2010 report presents the results of a yearlong investigation into modern-day "debtors' prisons," and shows that poor defendants are being jailed at increasingly alarming rates for failing to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford." American Civil Liberties Unions - 2010 - See 2011 update

Last year, officials in McIntosh County, Okla., south of Tulsa, issued about 1,500 debt-related arrest warrants, up from about 800 a year before the crisis, according to a court clerk. More than 950 borrowers got similar warrants in Salt Lake City courts last year. Maricopa County, Ariz., officials issued 260 debt-related warrants in 2010 Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition

Other people's suffering makes such a lucrative opportunity for investment Private Prisons Have Future Growth All Locked Up - Oct 20, 2009

Prison Valley - A web documentary exploring the Prison Industry

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

The United States continues to have the largest incarcerated population and the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.
- Human Rights Watch, World Report, 2008

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Truth Ad Brought To You By...

Me! Okay, while I don't have a big advertising budget to create and air, not an "Attack Ad", (Those are just so.... UNCanadian, to me) but a Truth Ad, I thought I'd utilize the Power of The Internets to share a spot on video with my fellow Canadians highlighting the Conservative push to replicate the failed American War on Drugs*.

The following was originally created by the Drug Policy Alliance in the United States. Marc Emery paid for a Canadian version for the last Federal election as Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have been pushing their Stupid On Crime Agenda for many years now.

"INCARCEREX" - Do not mix with The Charter or Common Sense.

Chances are (If we're lucky!) there's an election coming this Spring** and Canadians have to decide just where our priorities lie. Ask yourself: "What do Canadians need more? Money for Education, Health, Child and Elder Care, Infrastructure, (Which will also create jobs, we all use roads and bridges, lets make them safe & smooth!) the Environment, etc? Or do you want to copy failed U.S. Drug War policy, and shovel BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of your hard earned tax dollars towards building and operating prisons, especially at a time when crime is at a 30 year low and we're SIXTY BILLION dollars in debt? (See the Canadian Debt Clock to your right--->)

~Pic from: Wall Photos by Jodie Joanna Emery

And FYI, for all the bleating the Conservatives put forth about being the only party who care about victims of crime, let us be reminded that in 2010 the Tories slashed Grants for the Victims of Crime Initiative by 43% & the Contributions to the Victims Of Crime Initiative by 34%. Please also read the Globe and Mail article: Canada warned not to follow U.S. tough-on-crime ‘mistakes’, although, I'm sure the Conservatives will stupidly continue to ignore the advice from our neighbours to the south. #FAIL


"What purpose does it serve the Conservatives to quash judicial discretion? To disregard evidence and research that clearly demonstrates that Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is ineffective, expensive and a fallacious approach regarding drug policy and criminal legislation? I ask my fellow Canadians, "Are YOU comfortable with the knowledge that your government blatantly ignores the findings of our very own Justice Department?" ~ Con Job! Tories Ignore Justice Department Reports


*the Conservatives are refusing to allow Canadian taxpayers to be privy to the estimated costs of Bill S-10 along with other crime bills citing "Cabinet Confidence", and the Opposition just may call the Tories out with a vote of non confidence.

**War on Drugs ~
AP: Billions Spent Had Meager Effect In 40-Year War On Drugs

An Associated Press analysis of America's 40-year war on drugs concludes that the country's costly effort has met virtually none of its goals. In 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, he declared drug abuse "public enemy No. 1 in the United States" and promised to wage an "all-out offensive." His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.

The AP tracked where that money went and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent: $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries, including $6 billion in Colombia; $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs; $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs; $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, and $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

News Flash - People Like Primo Bud

"If drug gangs in Mexico are successful enhancing the quality of their product, they can sell the improved marijuana for up to five times the normal price. The going rate for top quality U.S. marijuana is around $2,500 per pound, while Mexican types sell for under $500, U.S. law enforcement officials say."
~ Mexico marijuana growers learn new tricks from US

My response:

"They say its used for pain management, but drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels would have the same effect,"

Yes, but the difference is that the bottle of Jack Daniel's can kill you, while the Cannabis can't. That is, unless you can ingest approximately 1500 pounds of it within 15 minutes.

Like fine wine, people will pay good money for quality cannabis. The Mexican cartels have recognized this truth and are upping their game to compete in the black market opposite "Primo" California bud."

C'mon, we can't be surprised by this - we all know that Cannabis is worth more because it's illegal. The best solution to stop the drug war violence is re-legalization and regulation, a controlled production, quality tested, sales industry much like what already exists for the previously banned alcohol. The bonus will be tax revenue, legitimate jobs in an already booming, established market, and taxpayer savings through lower legal, court, incarceration and probation costs. Plus, Industrial Hemp is a plant mine eagerly waiting to prosper, so the environment also wins.

Why is this plant illegal again?