How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it
By Sara Burrows
Posted June 24, 2017
If you buy products or services from any of the 50 companies listed below (and you likely do), you are supporting modern American slavery. American slavery was technically abolished in 1865, but a loophole in the 13th Amendment has allowed it to continue “as a punishment for crimes” well into the 21st century. Not surprisingly, corporations have lobbied for a broader and broader definition of “crime” in the last 150 years. As a result, there are more (mostly dark-skinned) people performing mandatory, essentially unpaid, hard labor in America today than there were in 1830.
With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, the United States has the largest incarcerated population in the world. No other society in history has imprisoned more of its own citizens. There are half a million more prisoners in the U.S. than in China, which has five times our population. Approximately 1 in 100 adults in America were incarcerated in 2014. Out of an adult population of 245 million that year, there were 2.4 million people in prison, jail or some form of detention center. The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related. More…
Brushes with the Mainstream
By Charles Eisenstein
Posted June 24, 2017
What kind of looking-glass world have we entered, where the liberal sites are scolding people for not trusting the same ‘intelligence community’ they decried for the Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction hoax and where the conservative sites are cheering Julian Assange, whose extra-judicial murder they were calling for a few years ago?” Normal is falling apart.
The real problem is the entire money system and the deep mythologies that underpin it. The false problem is greed – which is actually a symptom of the real problem, not its cause. Greed is a response to scarcity, and we live in an economic system and ideological system that generates endless scarcity. To go to war against the symptoms, I portrayed as a near-universal tendency of our civilization, citing some of the same examples of crime, terrorism, racism, weeds, etc. as I did on the Tavis Smiley show. More…
DAPL protesters were targeted by surveillance and military tactics
by Antonia Juhasz
Posted June 23, 2017
As people nationwide rallied last year to support the Standing Rock Sioux’s attempts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, a private security firm TigerSwan, with experience fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan launched an intrusive military-style surveillance and counterintelligence campaign against the activists and their allies, according to internal company documents.
A private security company probably doesn’t face the same prohibitions, legal scholars say, but the close collaboration between TigerSwan and local, state, and federal authorities detailed in the firm’s internal reports raised red flags with them. Several legal experts described the contractor’s tactics as highly disturbing and perhaps unprecedented. Jeff Haas from the lawyers Guild said “If the government can’t do it, why should a private corporation working for another private corporation be able to?” More…
This should be sending red flags to everyone. If the government is not allowed to do certain things, bypassing the constitution by having private corporations do the dirty work is the start of a very dangerous precedent.
The Worst of Donald Trump’s Toxic Agenda Is Lying in Wait – A Major U.S. Crisis Will Unleash It
by Naomi Klein
Posted June 22, 2017
During the presidential campaign, some imagined that the more overtly racist elements of Donald Trump’s platform were just talk designed to rile up the base, not anything he seriously intended to act on. But in his first week in office, when he imposed a travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, that comforting illusion disappeared fast. Fortunately, the response was immediate: the marches and rallies at airports, the impromptu taxi strikes, the lawyers and local politicians intervening, the judges ruling the bans illegal.
Large-scale shocks are frequently harnessed to ram through despised pro-corporate and anti-democratic policies that would never have been feasible in normal times. It’s a phenomenon I have previously called the “Shock Doctrine,” and we have seen it happen again and again over the decades, from Chile in the aftermath of Augusto Pinochet’s coup to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. More…
How 1989’s Invasion of Panama Set the Stage for 25 Years of Endless War
by Ryan McMaken
Posted June 22, 2017
By 1989, it had become apparent to all — everyone except the CIA, of course — that the Soviet economy, and thus the Soviet state was in very deep trouble.
In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down in the face of Soviet impotence. And, with the Cold-War corpse not even cold yet, the US used the newly apparent Soviet weakness as an opportunity to begin invading a variety of foreign countries. These included Iraq, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavia.
But first on the list was Panama in December 1989. At the time, the Panamanian state was an authoritarian regime that stayed in power largely due to US support, and functioned as an American puppet state in Central America where Communists were often successful in overthrowing right-wing dictatorships. More…
Supreme Court Turns Its Back on First Amendment
by Justice Online
Posted June 21, 2017
Yesterday, the Supreme Court turned its back on the First Amendment and denied the petition for certiorari in Garcia v. Bloomberg, the constitutional rights case challenging the mass false arrest of 700 peaceful people on the Brooklyn Bridge in 2011 – the largest mass arrest in New York’s history and a turning point in the Occupy movement.
In refusing to consider the arrestees’ appeal, the Court let stand a Second Circuit ruling that poses a clear and present danger to democracy, free speech and a free press. That ruling threatens all those who would join a peaceful police-escorted demonstration, or report on it, that even if they comply with all police directives they can nonetheless be arrested with no warning and be subject to years of prosecution and possibly years of imprisonment.
The obvious constitutional infirmity of this position, which has been rejected by every other circuit that has considered it, makes it likely that this matter will come up through the courts again. More…
To anyone who entertained the illusion that our judiciary is independent and not corrupted by big money, this ruling should dispel any doubts that it serves the interests of the bankers and the oligarchs even if it means overriding constitutional protections. The Occupy Movement represented a threat to these bankers and the courts have protected their interests.
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