"It is the death of humanity to know the price of everything but the value of nothing." ~Unknown

Friday, October 28, 2011

 -But- Dirty, Corrupt, Obstructionist Mitch McConnell denies that The Republicans are sabotaging the economy to ensure that Obama is a 'One Term President'....just sayin...

Congress Responsible for 370,000 Job Cuts

by Adele Stan, Oct 28, 2011

Cuts instituted by Congress for the 2011 fiscal year eliminate some 370,000 jobs, while endangering the public and delaying necessary repairs and infrastructure work that will only be more expensive to complete in the future, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP).
In “Creating Unemployment: How Congressional Budget Decisions Are Putting Americans out of Work and Increasing the Risk of a Second Recession,” CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly writes that the loss of these jobs will have ripple effects throughout the economy.
The jobs losses that are a direct result of those actions will have a secondary impact on a wide array of businesses ranging from automobile producers to local restaurants and dry cleaning establishments, causing the disappearance of a significant number of additional jobs.
Already, the cuts to local law enforcement programs—which were cut by $2.5 billion compared to the previous year—are having a negative effect, Lilly reports. As an example, he turns to one California city:
Despite concessions by police officers in San Jose, California to accept a 10 percent pay cut, 66 police officers were forced to turn in their badges in June because of city budget problems. The cuts came in the midst of a recent upsurge in homicides and other serious crimes in the city
Further, with an average 19 percent unemployment rate for construction workers, Congress cut much-needed building repair projects.
Congress could choose to put Americans back to work in ways that will ensure the safety of taxpayers in their communities. Or it could continue down the path toward greater unemployment and imperiling the lives and health of the people who elected them.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at this month’s Take Back the American Dream conference, right-wing politicians are intent on “ginning up this season’s version of ‘divide and conquer’ — set taxpayers against public employees.” If current trends prevail, taxpayers may soon have a taste of what life with too few public employees means for the country at large.
On Nov. 17, the union movement and our allies are rallying around a day of national action to demand “Jobs, Not Cuts.”
To download the ”Creating Unemployment: How Congressional Budget Decisions Are Putting Americans out of Work and Increasing the Risk of a Second Recession” in a PDF file, click here.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Feds Order You Tube To Remove Video For Containing “Government Criticism”

"...How Governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet, as authorities simultaneously try to advance draconian cybersecurity measures that would hand them complete control over the world wide web....."

Featured Stories,News In Focus,Paul Watson Articles,Tile 

US Authorities Hit Google With 70% Rise In Takedown Orders
Paul Joseph Watson

The number of takedown orders received by Google from authorities based in the United States rose dramatically over the past year, with demands to remove information, including videos containing “government criticism,” increasing by 70 per cent.
Feds Order You Tube To Remove Video For Containing Government Criticism youtubezensur
“In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year,” reports technology website [1].
“US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.”

The figures are revealed in Google’s newly released transparency report [2], which also details how the number of “user data requests” by US authorities increased by 29 per cent compared to the last reporting period.

The reason listed [3] for the removal of a You Tube video in one instance is “government criticism”. The exact identity or content of the video is not divulged. The report states that the removal requests pertaining to “police brutality” were done on the grounds of “defamation” and are included in that separate category, meaning the takedown order on the grounds of “government criticism” was made by the “executive,” ie the federal government.
The report does not indicate whether or not You Tube complied with the removal request, but it did comply with 63 per cent of the total requests made.

The number of “Items requested to be removed” by US authorities was almost seven-fold the number requested to be removed by Chinese authorities, a country much maligned for its Internet censorship policies.

As we have previously documented [4], Google-owned You Tube has complied with thousands of requests worldwide to remove political protest videos that are clearly not in violation of any copyright or national security interests and do not constitute defamation.
One such example was You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.

When viewers in the UK attempted to watch videos of the protest, they were met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”
Indeed, the latest figures show that takedown requests on behalf of British authorities have also skyrocketed by 71 per cent, including 44 removal orders in the first half of this year which came directly from the UK government, one of which was the Birkenhead protest footage.

In Britain, a total of 135 videos were removed from You Tube on the grounds of “national security” and 43 web search results were also blacklisted by government decree.

These figures illustrate how governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet, as authorities simultaneously try to advance draconian cybersecurity measures that would hand them complete control over the world wide web.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison [5]. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.

Article printed from Prison
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[1] reports technology website
[2] Google’s newly released transparency report:
[3] The reason listed:
[4] As we have previously documented:
[5] Prison

Monday, October 24, 2011

Message To Humanity: The Time is Now - The Revolution Is Coming!

The Class War Has Begun

New York Magazine

And the very classlessness of our society makes the conflict more volatile, not less.

The Bonus Army veterans stage a mass vigil on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in 1932.
During the death throes of Herbert Hoover’s presidency in June 1932, desperate bands of men traveled to Washington and set up camp within view of the Capitol. The first contingent journeyed all the way from Portland, Oregon, but others soon converged from all over—alone, in groups, with families—until their main Hooverville on the Anacostia River’s fetid mudflats swelled to a population as high as 20,000. The men, World War I veterans who could not find jobs, became known as the Bonus Army—for the modest government bonus they were owed for their service. Under a law passed in 1924, they had been awarded roughly $1,000 each, to be collected in 1945 or at death, whichever came first. But they didn’t want to wait any longer for their pre–New Deal entitlement—especially given that Congress had bailed out big business with the creation of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation earlier in its session. Father Charles Coughlin, the populist “Radio Priest” who became a phenomenon for railing against “greedy bankers and financiers,” framed Washington’s double standard this way: “If the government can pay $2 billion to the bankers and the railroads, why cannot it pay the $2 billion to the soldiers?”
The echoes of our own Great Recession do not end there. Both parties were alarmed by this motley assemblage and its political rallies; the Secret Service infiltrated its ranks to root out radicals. But a good Communist was hard to find. The men were mostly middle-class, patriotic Americans. They kept their improvised hovels clean and maintained small gardens. Even so, good behavior by the Bonus Army did not prevent the U.S. Army’s hotheaded chief of staff, General Douglas MacArthur, from summoning an overwhelming force to evict it from Pennsylvania Avenue late that July. After assaulting the veterans and thousands of onlookers with tear gas, ­MacArthur’s troops crossed the bridge and burned down the encampment. The general had acted against Hoover’s wishes, but the president expressed satisfaction afterward that the government had dispatched “a mob”—albeit at the cost of killing two of the demonstrators. The public had another take. When graphic newsreels of the riotous mêlée fanned out to the nation’s movie theaters, audiences booed MacArthur and his troops, not the men down on their luck. Even the mining heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean, the owner of the Hope diamond and wife of the proprietor of the Washington Post, professed solidarity with the “mob” that had occupied the nation’s capital.
The Great Depression was then nearly three years old, with FDR still in the wings and some of the worst deprivation and unrest yet to come. Three years after our own crash, we do not have the benefit of historical omniscience to know where 2011 is on the time line of America’s deepest bout of economic distress since that era. (The White House, you may recall, rolled out “recovery summer” sixteen months ago.) We don’t know if our current president will end up being viewed more like Hoover or FDR. We don’t know whether Occupy Wall Street and its proliferating satellites will spiral into larger and more violent confrontations, disperse in cold weather, prove a footnote to our narrative, or be the seeds of something big.
What’s as intriguing as Occupy Wall Street itself is that once again our Establishment, left, right, and center, did not see the wave coming or understand what it meant as it broke. Maybe it’s just human nature and the power of denial, or maybe it’s a stubborn strain of all-­American optimism, but at each aftershock since the fall of Lehman Brothers, those at the top have preferred not to see what they didn’t want to see. And so for the first three weeks, the protests were alternately ignored, patronized, dismissed, and insulted by politicians and the mainstream news media as a neo-Woodstock for wannabe collegiate rebels without a cause—and not just in Fox-land. CNN’s new prime-time hopeful, Erin Burnett, ridiculed the protesters as bongo-playing know-nothings; a dispatch in The New Republic called them “an unfocused rabble of ragtag discontents.” Those who did express sympathy for Occupy Wall Street tended to pat it on the head before going on to fault it for being leaderless, disorganized, and inchoate in its agenda.
Despite such dismissals, the movement, abetted by made-for-YouTube confrontations with police, started to connect with the mass public much as the Bonus Army did with a newsreel audience. The week after a Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that “no one seems to care very much” about the “collection of ne’er-do-wells” congregating in Zuccotti Park, the paper released its own poll, in collaboration with NBC News, finding that 37 percent of Americans supported the protesters, 25 percent had no opinion, and just 18 percent opposed them. The approval numbers for Occupy Wall Street published in Time and Reuters were even higher—hitting 54 percent in Time. Apparently some of those dopey kids, staggering under student loans and bereft of job prospects, have lots of parents and friends of all ages who understand exactly what they’re talking about.
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators asleep in Zuccotti Park.
Coverage increased and politicians ran for cover. Mayor Bloomberg, who had initially (and preposterously) portrayed the occupiers as a threat to the financial industry’s lower-income service workers, gingerly observed that some unspecified “people” are “very frustrated.” Though the Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, replied with a flat “no” when asked if he had any sympathy for Occupy Wall Street, Barack Obama publicly acknowledged the demonstrators’ “broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” (If Bloomberg and Obama are both using “frustration,” you can be certain it is a focus-group-tested trope chosen not to frighten the presumed sensibilities of independents.) Mitt Romney, who had first called the protests “dangerous,” executed another of his patented flip-flops to assert that he, too, identifies with America’s 99 percent, not the top one percent where he’s always dwelled. “Boy, I understand how these people feel,” he said. (Boy, do “these people” not believe him.) Even Eric Cantor, who’d described the protesters as “mobs,” started talking about—what else?—“frustration.”
These efforts to domesticate and contain the protests are unlikely to succeed. It is not frustration that’s roiling America but anger, the anger of a full-fledged class war. Try as polite company keeps trying to ignore it, that war has been building in this country and abroad for much of this decade and has been waged in earnest in America since the fall of 2008. But the crisp agenda demanded of Occupy Wall Street will not be forthcoming. The inchoateness of our particular class war is central to its meaning. America is not Tahrir Square or the riot-scarred precincts of North London, where everyone knows at birth who is in which class and why. We pride ourselves on being a “classless” democracy. We abhor ideology. When Americans left and right, young and old, express anger at an overclass, they don’t necessarily agree about who’s on which side of that class divide. The often confusing fluidity of class definitions, especially in an America as polarized as ours is now, may make our home­grown class war more volatile, not less.
The tea-party right finds the hippie-scented movement in lower Manhattan repellent, but it and Occupy Wall Street are two sides of the same coin. “Take Back America,” the initial tea-party battle cry, would work for those in Zuccotti Park as well. The disagreement is about which America needs to be taken back, and from whom.

Provoked by Obama’s ascent, the right was ahead of the class-war curve, with Sarah Palin sounding the charge when she stuck up for “the real America” against the elites during the 2008 campaign. The real America, as she defined it, was in small towns—“those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food.” In other words: It is the middle class (or at least its white precincts) that fell behind while the rich got richer. The Über-class she and her angry followers would take to the guillotine, however, is not defined by its super-wealth. It is first and foremost exemplified by potentates in the federal government, especially the Ivy League cohort of Obama—closely followed by the usual right-wing populist bogeymen, the pointy-headed experts in fancy universities and the mainstream-­media royalty with their “gotcha” questions.
Palin may now have abdicated her position on the barricades, not least because she succumbed to the financial blandishments of the unreal America, but the zeal of her constituency has not faded a bit. The right’s angry class warriors constitute the vast majority of the GOP—that roughly three-­quarters of the party that seems determined to resist Romney no matter what. A Harvard-educated former Massachusetts governor, especially one who embraced the social engineering of health-care reform, inspires class anger from his own party to the same degree that his private-sector record as a leveraged-buyout tycoon provokes class anger from Democrats.
But while Romney is a class enemy liberals and conservatives can unite against, perhaps nothing has revealed how much the class warriors of the right and left of our time have in common than the national outpouring after Steve Jobs’s death. Indeed, the near-universal over-the-top emotional response—more commensurate with a saintly religious or civic leader, not a sometimes bullying captain of industry—brought Americans of all stripes together as few events have in recent memory.
Some on the right were baffled that the ostensible Marxists demonstrating in lower Manhattan would observe a moment of silence and assemble makeshift shrines for a top one-percenter like Jobs, whose expensive products were engineered for near-­instant obsolescence and produced by Chinese laborers in factories with substandard health-and-safety records. For heaven’s sake, the guy didn’t even join Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in their Giving Pledge. “There is perhaps no greater image of irony,” wrote the conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, “than that of anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-materialist extremists of the Occupy Wall Street movement paying tribute to Steve Jobs.”
Yet those demonstrators who celebrated Jobs were not necessarily hypocrites at all—and no more anti-capitalist than the Bonus Army of 1932. If you love your Mac and iPod, you can still despise CDOs and credit-default swaps. Jobs’s genius—in the words of Regis McKenna, a Silicon Valley marketing executive who worked with him early on—was his ability “to strip away the excess layers of business, design, and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.” The supposed genius of modern Wall Street is the exact reverse, piling on excess layers of business and innovation on ever thinner and more exotic creations until simple reality is distorted and obscured. Those in Palin’s “real America” may not be agitated about the economic 99-vs.-one percent inequality brought about by the rise of the financial sector in the past three decades, but, like class warriors of the left, they know that “financial instruments” wreaked havoc on their 401(k)s, homes, and jobs. The bottom line remains that Wall Street’s opaque inventions led directly to TARP, the taxpayers’ bank bailout that achieved the seemingly impossible feat of unifying the left and right in rage against government—much as Jobs’s death achieved the equally surprising coup of unifying left and right in mourning a corporate god.
That bipartisan grief was arguably as much for the passing of a capitalist culture as for the man himself. Finance long ago supplanted visionary entrepreneurial careers like Jobs’s as the most desired calling among America’s top-tier university students, just as hedge-fund tycoons like John Paulson and Steve Cohen passed Jobs on the Forbes 400 list. Americans sense that something incalculable has been lost in this transformation that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

There’s no handier way to track just how much American capitalism has changed since Apple’s divine, mid-­seventies birth in a garage than by following the corporate afterlife of the American icon most frequently invoked as Jobs’s antecedent in his obituaries, Thomas Alva Edison. Like Jobs, Edison wasn’t just a brilliant fount of technological breakthroughs but a businessman as well (albeit a less savvy one). He was the official founder of General Electric—known as Edison General Electric at its inception in 1890, before Edison was strong-armed into an early merger. G.E. was created to maximize the profits of his many inventions and businesses, Apple style. And like Apple, the company flourished as an exemplar of American capitalism at its most creative and productive, even in a downtime. During the Great Depression, it produced an astonishing array of Jobs-worthy ­innovations—the first commercial fluorescent lamp, the first waste “Disposall,” the first night baseball game, and the first television network. This was the job-­creating, profit-making, America-­empowering corporate behemoth, spewing out refrigerators and jet engines, that would ultimately recruit Ronald Reagan as its television pitchman in the fifties.
But the G.E. born out of Edison’s genius and synergistic with Reagan’s brand of postwar jingoism is far from the G.E. of our time. Its once minor financial-services subsidiary, G.E. Capital, metastasized over the past 30 years in sync with the growth of the new Wall Street. In 1990, G.E. Capital accounted for just a quarter of G.E.’s overall profits, but by 2007, on the eve of the crash, it had gobbled up 55 percent of the bottom line. Its sophisticated gambling strategies, like those of the big banks it emulated, amounted to an ingenious get-rich-quick scheme for high-rollers until the bottom fell out, taking shareholders and employees, not to mention the country, down with it. G.E. Capital’s dependence on short-term credit was so grave that it forced G.E. to cut back its dividend for the first time since the thirties and to turn to Buffett for a $3 billion emergency cash infusion in the dark days of October 2008.
The cheerleader for ratcheting up that risk at G.E. was the CEO, Jeffrey Immelt. These days he heads the president’s ineffectual Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, despite his own corporation’s record of job-shedding in America and the revelation that G.E. paid no American taxes in 2010 (on more than $14 billion in profits, including $5.1 billion in the U.S.). Immelt is a Republican, but that didn’t prevent Palin this fall from calling G.E. “the poster child of corporate welfare and crony capitalism.” (Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich joined this class-warfare chorus.) On this point, once again, there is no air between the right and Occupy Wall Street. And as both camps condemn Immelt, so they are also united in the conviction that the godfather of Obama’s economic team, Robert Rubin, is likewise a poster child for corporate welfare and crony capitalism. Rubin, whose useful cronies included his former protégés Geithner and Lawrence Summers, encouraged reckless greed and risk at Citigroup during the bubble much as Immelt did at G.E. Capital, ultimately requiring the taxpayers’ rescue of TARP.
Politicians in either party, of course, never use the term “class warfare” to describe what’s going on in America, unless it’s Republican leaders accusing Obama of waging it every time he even mildly asserts timeless liberal bromides about taxing the rich. Nor do most politicians want to talk about the depth of the crisis in present-day capitalism, since to acknowledge its scale would only dramatize how little they intend to do about it.
The whole system is screwed up, and it’s not all Wall Street’s fault—or remotely in the financial sector’s power alone to solve. As middle-class Americans have lost their jobs or watched their wages stagnate or decline while corporations pile up record profits, they’ve also seen CEOs far removed from Wall Street (at Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo most recently) walk away with rich settlements even after they’ve laid off workers en masse, mismanaged their companies, or wrecked them. But at least politicians pay lip service to the woes of the middle class. That America’s poverty rate has risen to its highest level since 1993 goes all but unmentioned by leaders in both parties. The poor, after all, don’t make campaign contributions and are unlikely to vote. And they have even less clout than usual now that Republican legislators and governors, fanning bogus fears of “voter fraud,” have mandated new, Jim Crow–style restrictions to scare away poor, elderly, and minority voters in fourteen states. In the Beltway bubble, even the local poor are out of sight and out of mind; with a 6.1 percent unemployment rate and a median income of $84,523 (versus $50,046 nationally), Washington is now the wealthiest metro area in the country and, according to Gallup, departs from all 50 states in believing by a majority that the economy is getting better.
Back in 1931, even Hoover worried that “timid people, black with despair” had “lost faith in the American system” and might be susceptible to the kind of revolutions that had become a spreading peril abroad. When Roosevelt took office, he had the confidence that his leadership could overcome that level of despair and head off radicals on the left or right. In 2011, the despair is again black, and faith in the system is shaky, but it would be hard to describe the atmosphere at Zuccotti Park or a tea-party rally as prerevolutionary. The anger of the class war across the spectrum seems fatalistic more than incendiary. No wonder. Everyone just assumes the fix is in for the highest bidder, no matter what. Take—please!—the latest bipartisan Beltway panacea: the congressional supercommittee charged by the president and GOP leaders to hammer out the deficit-reduction compromise they couldn’t do on their own. The Washington Post recently discovered that nearly 100 of the registered lobbyists no doubt charged with besieging the committee to protect the interests of the financial, defense, and health-care industries are former employees of its dozen members. Indeed, six of those members (three from each party) currently have former lobbyists on their staffs.
Elections are supposed to resolve conflicts in a great democracy, but our next one will not.
Just in time for election season, Obama has recovered his populist rhetoric (if not populism itself) and will say the right things about Wall Street, about that “frustration” out there, about the modest reforms of Dodd-Frank, and about millionaires who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. It’s not clear if anyone believes it, including him. Having been a bystander to history when the tea party harvested populist rage during the summer of 2009, he may have a tough time co-opting Occupy Wall Street now to plug the so-called enthusiasm gap in his base. There’s a serious danger that the anger could co-opt him instead. To pander to the swing state of North Carolina, the Democrats in their wisdom chose to hold their convention in a city best known as the headquarters of Bank of America, whose recent financial innovations include illegal robo-foreclosures and the $5 monthly fee on debit cards. Occupy Charlotte could be a far more telegenic show than the one happening inside the hall.
Despite all the chatter to the contrary, Obama is so far outdrawing all the GOP candidates combined in Wall Street contributions. His best hope is that that fact is blurred by either Romney, the plutocrat from central casting, or Rick Perry, a creature of lobbyists and pay-for-play government in Texas. Herman Cain’s as yet little-known corporate history would also prove problematic to Republicans: He’s not only an unabashed Alan Greenspan fan who was chairman of the Kansas City Fed but also served on the board of Aquila, an energy company that ended up paying a $10.5 million settlement for Enron-esque shenanigans. (Cain’s campaign manager hails from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ political front.) Whatever else is to be said about Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, and Ron Paul, they actually spent most of their pre-political careers in the aggrieved middle class. But they are all history in the presidential race, and perhaps were destined to be, given how big money plays its hand. You don’t have to like their views to find their earnest but misplaced faith in the free-market efficiency of the political system a bit poignant.
Elections are supposed to resolve conflicts in a great democracy, but our next one will not. The elites will face off against the elites to a standoff, and the issues animating the class war in both parties won’t even be on the table. The structural crises in our economy, our government, and our culture defy any of the glib solutions proposed by current Democrats or Republicans; the quixotic third-party movements being hatched by well-heeled do-gooders are vanity productions. The two powerful forces that extricated America from the Great Depression—the courageous leadership and reformist zeal of Roosevelt, the mobilization for World War II—are not on offer this time. Our class war will rage on without winners indefinitely, with all sides stewing in their own juices, until—when? No one knows. The reckoning with capitalism’s failures over the past three decades, both in America and the globe beyond, may well be on hold until the top one percent becomes persuaded that its own economic fate is tied to the other 99 percent’s. Which is to say things may have to get worse before they get better.
Over the short term, meanwhile, the Democratic Establishment is no doubt wishing that Occupy Wall Street will melt away with the winter snows, much as its Republican counterpart hopes that the leaderless tea party will wither if Romney nails down the nomination. But even in the unlikely event that these wishes come true, it is not likely to be the end of the story. Though the Bonus Army was driven out of Washington in the similarly fraught election year of 1932, the newsreels they left behind turned out to be previews of coming attractions for the long decade still to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Can Republican get elected without fraud & treason?

Since Dwight Eisenhower left the presidency in 1961 - 5 different Republicans have been President of the United States. And every single one of them - from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush - have been illegitimate - ascending to the highest office in the land NOT through small-D democratic elections - but instead through fraud and treason. Don't believe me? Watch!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Dirty, Corrupt Supreme Court of The United States

Supreme Court Says Judges Can Ignore the Law | Fellowship of the Minds

Supreme Court Says Judges Can Ignore the Law

On January 18, 2011, the United States Supreme Court did something most curious. By refusing to grant certiorari, that is, to review petitions about corruption by lower court judges, SCOTUS effectively ruled that judges can ignore the law.

As reported by PRNewswire and USNewswire from Atlanta, before the Court were three petitions (Docket No. 10-632, 10-633, and 10-690) asking “Whether federal courts must be stopped from operating corruptly and ignoring all laws, rules, and facts.” The petitions were about the conduct of lower court judges, and stated that:

“There is no legal or factual basis whatsoever for the decisions of the lower courts in this matter. These rulings were issued for corrupt reasons. Many of the judges in the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit are corrupt and violate laws and rules, as they have done in this case. The Supreme Court must recognize this Petition as one of the most serious matters ever presented to this Court.”

The petitions to SCOTUS were filed by William M. Windsor, who has been involved in legal action in the federal courts in Atlanta since 2006. Windsor was named a defendant in a civil lawsuit (1:06-CV-0714-ODE) brought against him by Christopher Glynn of Maid of the Mist (MOM) boat ride in Niagara Falls. Glynn swore under oath that Windsor did a variety of things including the crimes of theft and bribery. Windsor, in turn, stated under oath that Glynn lied about everything. Windsor then obtained deposition testimony from Glynn and the other managers of the MOM, in which they admitted, under oath, that their charges against Windsor were not true.

Despite their admission, 32-year federal Judge Orinda D. Evans declared that Windsor should not have fought the lawsuit and must pay the legal fees of his lying accusers. Windsor then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, but federal judges Dubina, Hull, and Fay rubber-stamped Judge Evans’ ruling.

Windsor then took his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, with new evidence of fraud and obstruction of justice. Windsor’s petition to SCOTUS detailed how Judges Evans and William S. Duffey committed a variety of crimes and violations of Windsor’s constitutional rights, as did the judges of the Eleventh Circuit. 

But the Supreme Court ruled that Windsor’s appeal was not worthy of their consideration, with at least six of the justices voting to deny the petitions, without explaining their decision.

By denying the petitions, SCOTUS effectively has chosen to sanction corruption by federal judges and to allow federal judges to void sections of the Constitution at will. Windsor says:

“I have discovered that the federal judges in Atlanta, Georgia, Washington, DC, and the justices of the United States Supreme Court function like common criminals intentionally making bogus rulings against honest people while covering up the crimes of their fellow judges. I have been contacted by people from all over the country and around the world with their stories of judicial corruption with judges all over the U.S.

My charges have been totally ignored by the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and Congress. I do not believe there is a shred of decency, honesty, or Constitutional rights in our federal courts. In my opinion, we now live in a police state. Judges are free to do absolutely anything they want. Our laws are meaningless. Your life savings can be stolen by a federal judge, and they have no risk in violating every law in the books.

In my opinion, this is the most serious issue that our country has ever faced. Our rights have been stolen. And the mainstream media refuses to cover this story because they are afraid of the judges. Heaven help us.”

For more information, see

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Republican State Rep. Robert Mecklenborg: Arrested For DUI, with Viagra in his system. YouTube Blacks Out Videos


Link to original post:

As Modern pointed out earlier this evening, we discovered today that Republican State Representative Robert Mecklenborg was arrested half drunk, with Viagra in his system, back in April.

According to the arrest records, Mecklenborg was pulled over near the Burger King at the corner of Lorey Lane and US 50 in Lawrenceburg Indiana. Records indicate that a woman named Tiona Roberts was in the car when he was pulled over.

According to Google Maps, there are only two points of interest – besides the Burger King, of course – on Route 50 in this area. One is the Hollywood casino and the other is the Concepts Show Girls strip club, which is less than a two minute drive from where Mecklenborg was pulled over.

I haven’t been there, but Yelp’s trusted reviewers tell me that Concepts is THE place to stop if you “need a quick bit of action before or after” visiting the casino. “You won’t be disapppointed (sic).”
We did a little research and discovered that Ms. Roberts has personal connections with Concepts Show Girls. In our opinion, it’s likely works there too.

It’s certainly possible that Mecklenborg, 59, and Roberts, 26, are just old friends. Or maybe they met at the local Burger King after bonding over the new Viagra shake. Or maybe he was just giving her a ride to work after her car broke down on Route 50.

I fully admit, I don’t know WHY Ms. Roberts was riding around with a drunk and Viagra-filled Mecklenborg. But I can make some guesses, and I’m sure you can too.

All I know for sure is this: a very attractive 26 year old woman who has connections to a strip club in Lawrenceburg, Indiana was in the car with 59 year old Republican State Representative Robert Mechlenborg at 12:08AM when he was pulled over by the Indiana State Police and subsequently tested positive for alcohol and Viagra.

I’m taking bets that Mechlenborg resigns before the end of the day on Friday. I’m going to go out on a limb as say… exactly 4:58PM on the dot.
Any takers?
Mecklenborg arrest information

Sunday, July 3, 2011

America's Descent from: Land of The Free -to- Police State

The Corrupt Corporate Incarceration Complex | Truthout
The Corrupt Corporate Incarceration Complex
Friday 1 July 2011
by: William Fisher, Truthout | Report

Seventeen-year-old Hillary Transue did what lots of 17-year-olds do: Got into mischief. Hillary's mischief was composing a MySpace page poking fun at the assistant principal of the high school she attended in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hillary was an honor student who'd never had any trouble with the law before. And her MySpace page stated clearly that the page was a joke. But despite all that, Hilary found herself charged with harassment. She stood before a judge and heard him sentence her to three months in a juvenile detention facility.

What she expected was perhaps a stern lecture. What she got was a perp walk - being led away in handcuffs as her stunned parents stood by helplessly. Hillary told The New York Times, "I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare. All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing."

It wasn't until two years later that she found out why. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, two judges pleaded guilty to operating a kickback scheme involving juvenile offenders. The judges, Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan, took more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private prison company to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers. Since 2003, Ciaverella had sentenced an estimated 5,000 juveniles. Conahan was accused of setting up the contracts. Many of the youngsters shipped off to the detention centers were first-time offenders.

PA Child Care is a juvenile detention center in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania. It was opened in February 2003. It has a sister company, Western PA Child Care, in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Treatment at both facilities is provided by Mid Atlantic Youth Services. Gregory Zappala took sole ownership of the company when he purchased co-owner Robert Powell's share in June 2008.

In July 2009, Powell pled guilty to failing to report a felony and being an accessory to tax evasion conspiracy in connection with $770,000 in kickbacks he paid to Ciavarella and Conahan in exchange for facilitating the development of his facilities.

The childcare facilities have also been criticized for their costs, which ranged as high as $315 per child per day. Butler County paid Western PA Child Care about $800,000 in payments between 2005 and 2008. Butler County did not renew Western PA Child Care's contract after an extension of the contract ran out at the end of 2008.

The juvenile detention center Hillary was sent to was a private, for-profit facility run by one of the more than 50 companies operating in the five billion dollar private prison industry.

These companies have names you've probably never heard of - like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO.

Ironically, it's the federal and state criminal justice systems that produce the private prisons phenomenon and create the opportunity for private operators to capitalize. What they are capitalizing on is America's obsession with handing out long prison sentences out of all proportion to the crimes committed.

Today, the United States has locked up more prisoners than any other country in the world - 2.3 million-plus people locked up in state and federal prisons and county jails. This has predictably resulted in a shortage of publicly owned prison beds - a shortage increasingly being filled by companies that charge so many dollars for each convict sent their way.

Detainees include immigrants who have applied for asylum in the US and others awaiting hearings before being deported. The number of people detained has soared to more than 400,000 a year. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the average detention is about one month, although some detainees are kept for years. The cost of detention is estimated to be $1.7 billion annually.

In the past five years, the nation's largest private prison company has partnered with the federal government to detain close to a million undocumented people waiting to be deported or to appear before an immigration judge. In the process, CCA has made record profits. Critics suggest that CCA cuts corners on its detention contracts in order to increase its revenue at the expense of humane conditions. Thanks to political connections and lobbying, it dominates the immigrant detention industry. CCA now has close to 10,000 new beds under development in anticipation of continued demand.

Judith Greene, a policy analyst with Justice Strategies, a nonprofit sentencing-reform advocacy group in New York, says, "Profits by no means created the machinery of mass incarceration, no more than defense contracts invented war, but the huge profits to be made by incarcerating an ever-growing segment of our population serves the system very well."

"Profits oil the machinery, keep it humming and speed its growth," she adds.

For-profit prison companies claim to be able to provide prison and detention services to cities, counties, states and the federal government for less money - an idea that cash-strapped communities apparently find irresistible.

Yet, studies throughout the country show that private prisons are only marginally less expensive than public prisons and are often substantially more expensive. The second issue is a medical care regimen that, until recently, allowed the government such wide discretion that it could deny urgent care, including biopsies for suspected cancers and treatment of heart conditions.

Moreover, a panoply of hidden subsidies is rarely calculated into the private prison industry's cost claims. According to a study by Paul Wright, the founder and editor of "Prison Legal News," a prisoners' rights advocacy newsletter, at least 44, or 73 percent, of the 60 facilities (studied) had received a development subsidy from local, state and/or federal government sources. Subsidies were found in 17 of the 19 states in which the 60 facilities are located.

Facilities operated by the two largest private prison companies, CCA and GEO, were frequently subsidized. Among the facilities in this study, 78 percent of CCA's and 69 percent of GEO's prisons were subsidized, suggesting that these companies had been aggressive in seeking development subsidies.

According to the not-for-profit Private Corrections Institute, "the private prison industry relies on a number of allies and research studies to justify its claims of cost savings and proficiency; however, most of these sources have industry connections or vested financial interests."

For example, it claims, the Reason Foundation, a strong proponent of prison privatization, has received funding from private prison firms. The American Correctional Association (ACA) receives sponsorship money from CCA, GEO, and other private prison companies for its biannual conferences.

Former University of Florida Prof. Charles Thomas conducted supposedly impartial research on the private prison industry until it was learned that he owned private prison stock, had been paid $3 million for consulting for a private prison firm and served on the board of Prison Realty Trust (a CCA spin-off). Thomas was fined $20,000 by the Florida Commission on Ethics and stepped down from his university position.

Private prisons are paid according to filled beds. So, they are constantly pushing for more inmates - while officials of publicly owned prisons are trying to shed prisoners to relieve overcrowding and reduce expenses.

Private prisons seek to save money by hiring less experienced staff. The result of that policy can be seen in the disproportionate numbers of poorly controlled prison riots, by unsanitary health conditions, by substandard record-keeping, by high employee turnover and by the number of deaths in detention.

A June 2004 study by academics Curtis R. Blakely and Vic W. Bumphus found that private prison turnover among correctional officers was 43 percent, while turnover in public sector prisons were only 15 percent. Turnover in for-profit prisons was linked to lower staff pay and less training. Moreover, the study found, "Pay, training, and turnover may all contribute to the higher levels of violence seen in the private sector."

One big area where for-profit prison firms skimp is on labor costs, according to Wright. "While employees at state-run prisons get union-scale salaries, private-prison guards typically earn $7 to $10 per hour," he says, adding, "They have low wages and high turnover and very little in the way of benefits or training."

Wright, 43, was once a prisoner himself, serving 17 years of a 25-year term for killing a cocaine dealer he was trying to rob. Today, he is an advocate for prisoner rights and, over the years, has filed numerous legal challenges against the industry and won.

"The private-prison industry is marked by corruption," he says. "Their premise is they can run prisons cheaper than the government, but taxpayers don't realize any of those savings. Any savings the private-prison industry obtains is basically profits for their shareholders."

For-profit prisons are private corporations and, thus, not subject to external oversight. They are not obligated to produce their internal records for public scrutiny and are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act at the federal level because that law applies only to documents in the government's possession.

Political pressure from interests in US border states has forced President Obama to exceed the record of former President George W. Bush in deporting illegal aliens. That surge has resulted in a windfall for the private prison industry. Today, a substantial slice of its current growth can be attributed to its activities in the immigration detention field.

Private prisons have become a major influence in shaping critical legislation related to illegal immigration. The industry's lobbyists have played a leading role in drafting a number of recent anti-immigrant laws, for example, Arizona's SB-1070, and similar laws in Georgia, Alabama, and other states.

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Under the Alabama measure, police must detain someone they suspect of being in the country illegally if the person cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason. It also will be a crime to knowingly transport or harbor someone who is in the country illegally. The law imposes penalties on businesses that knowingly employ someone without legal resident status. A company's business license could be suspended or revoked. And the law requires Alabama businesses to use a database called E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of new employees.

Lee Fang reports in ThinkProgress that, in December 2009, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - a powerful front group that helps corporate representatives craft template legislation for state lawmakers, funded partially by the private prison industry - hosted Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce (R) and began debate on legislation that would provide broad powers to local police to arrest anyone who might look like an immigrant. The ALEC then distributed the template legislation to its members. The January/February 2010 edition of ALEC's magazine highlights the draft version of SB1070 - the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" - as model legislation.

It was Pearce who introduced ALEC's "template" as the infamous SB1070 law. Notably, the ALEC task force, which helped Pearce devise his racial profiling law, included Laurie Shanblum, a CCA lobbyist. CCA previously played an important role in privatizing many of Texas' prisons.

An investigation by Arizona's KPHO-TV found more ties between SB1070 and the private prison industry: Paul Senseman, Arizona's Gov. Janet Brewer's deputy chief of staff, was a former lobbyist for CCA (his wife is still a lobbyist for CCA), and Chuck Coughlin, Brewer's campaign chairman, runs the lobbying firm in Arizona that represents CCA.

CCA was set to receive well over $74 million in tax dollars in fiscal year 2010 for running immigration detention centers. In a recent presentation, Pershing Square Capital, a hedge fund with a large financial stake in CCA, suggested that CCA's profitability depends on increasing numbers of immigrants sent to prison. Many of the legislators helping to earn CCA more profits with radical anti-immigrant bills mirroring SB1070 have been recipients of private prison industry cash or have worked closely with the CCA-funded ALEC organization.

"When detentions increased following the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon," author Mark Dow writes in "American Gulag: Inside US Immigration Prisons," "private prison profiteers saw another opportunity. The [then] Chairman of the Houston-based Cornell Companies spoke candidly in a conference call with other investors: 'It can only be good ... with the focus on people that are illegal and also from Middle Eastern descent ... In the US there are over 900,000 undocumented individuals from Middle Eastern descent ... That's half of our entire [US] prison population ... The Federal business is the best business for us ... and the events of September 11 [are] increasing that level of business ...'"

Efforts to reach the CEOs of the two leading private prison companies, CCA and GEO, to invite comment on this article were unsuccessful. However, their web sites present a comprehensive picture of the companies' vision of their operations. Both are doing extremely well. GEO's revenues for 2010 rose 11 percent to $1.27.billion. CCA's revenues in 2009 rose to $1.670 billion. The companies' annual reports and 10-K filings present a robust picture of these operations and strike an optimistic note for the future.

Beau Hodai, considered an authority on the private prison industry, noted in Prison Legal News last year that private prison leaders had substantially increased their spending on lobbying.

For example, he writes, "From January 2008 to April 2010, CCA spent $4.4 million lobbying the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee, the Office of Budget Management, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and both houses of Congress. Of the 43 lobbying disclosure reports filed by CCA during this period, only five do not expressly state intent to monitor or influence immigration reform policy or gain Homeland Security or ICE appropriations."

The private prison industry's operation of immigration detention centers has been less than stellar - a lot less.

For example:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and El Paso co-counsel Mike Torres and Leon Schydlower filed a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors of Jesus Manuel Galindo. Named as defendants were the federal government and the GEO Group, the administrator of the West Texas for-profit prison where Galindo, 32, died on December 12, 2008, after suffering a seizure in solitary confinement where he had been placed for complaining about the facility's failure to provide him medication to control his epileptic seizures.

At least nine immigrant prisoners have died in the Reeves County Detention Center in the last five years. The GEO Group has had at least six facilities in Texas shuttered or contracts canceled. The state of Idaho pulled its inmates from the Dickens County Correctional Center in the spring of 2007 in the wake of the suicide of inmate Scot Noble Payne and a subsequent investigation into "squalid" conditions at the lockup. Idaho also cut its contract with the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas, after the 2008 suicide of Randy McCullough. In October 2007, the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center was shuttered by the Texas Youth Commission after a damning investigation into conditions at the youth detention center.

Despite that record - ironically, on the very day the lawsuit was filed - the company was awarded a contract by ICE to operate a new 600-bed "civil" detention center in Karnes County, Texas. Texas has more for-profit prisons than any other state.

In another case, a former immigration detention guard was convicted of sexually abusing female detainees in the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, near Austin, Texas, which is managed by CCA. The resident supervisor, Donald Dunn, 30, was charged with three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The ACLU said CCA officials were violating policy by allowing female immigration detainees to be isolated with male staff members. After an ACLU investigation into sexual abuse at the Hutto facility, Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said the charges show additional need for reform.

Then there is the issue of death in detention. Nina Bernstein, writing in The New York Times, alleged that ICE officials, fearful of media scrutiny, conspired to conceal the details surrounding the deaths of a number of detained immigrants who died in privately run detention centers. Bernstein wrote, " ... it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry."

The documents were obtained by The Times and the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act. They relate to most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by ICE October 2003, when the agency was created within the DHS. The documents also revealed ten deaths in detention that had never been disclosed by the government. The ACLU says the number of deaths has increased since then.

The article details a litany of abuses. For example:

"As one man lay dying of head injuries suffered in a New Jersey immigration jail in 2007, for example, a spokesman for the federal agency told The Times that he could learn nothing about the case from government authorities. In fact, the records show, the spokesman had alerted those officials to the reporter's inquiry, and they conferred at length about sending the man back to Africa to avoid embarrassing publicity."

"In another case that year, investigators from the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that unbearable, untreated pain had been a significant factor in the suicide of a 22-year-old detainee at the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey, and that the medical unit was so poorly run that other detainees were at risk."

"The investigation found that jail medical personnel had falsified a medication log to show that the detainee, a Salvadoran named Nery Romero, had been given Motrin. The fake entry was easy to detect: When the drug was supposedly administered, Mr. Romero was already dead."

"Yet those findings were never disclosed to the public or to Mr. Romero's relatives on Long Island, who had accused the jail of abruptly depriving him of his prescription painkiller for a broken leg. And an agency supervisor wrote that because other jails were 'finicky' about accepting detainees with known medical problems like Mr. Romero's, such people would continue to be placed at the Bergen jail as 'a last resort.'"

Another case concerns Yusif Osman, who was a US legal resident from Ghana and had been living in Los Angeles for five years. After a companion carrying false ID landed him in an immigration detention center run by CCA, Osman was facing deportation on smuggling charges, an allegation he denied. While at the immigration detention center outside San Diego, he died suddenly. His story highlights the poor care some immigrants have received in the scores of immigration facilities across the United States.

Near midnight on a California spring night, armed guards escorted Yusif Osman into an immigration prison ringed by concertina wire at the end of a winding, isolated road. During the intake screening, a part-time nurse began a computerized medical file on Osman, a routine procedure for any person entering the vast prison network the government has built for foreign detainees across the country. But the nurse pushed a button and mistakenly closed file #077-987-986 and marked it "completed" - even though it had no medical information in it.

Three months later, at 2:00 in the morning on June 27, 2006, the native of Ghana collapsed in Cell 206 at the Otay Mesa immigrant detention center outside San Diego. His cellmate hit the intercom button, yelling to guards that Osman was on the floor suffering from chest pains. A guard peered through the window into the dim cell and saw the detainee on the ground, but did not go in. Instead, he called a clinic nurse to find out whether Osman had any medical problems.

When the nurse opened the file and found it blank, she decided there was no emergency and said Osman needed to fill out a sick call request. The guard went on a lunch break.

The cellmate yelled again. Another guard came by, looked in and called the nurse. This time she wanted Osman brought to the clinic. Forty minutes passed before guards brought a wheelchair to his cell. By then, it was too late: Osman was barely alive when paramedics reached him. He soon died.

His body, clothed only in dark pants and socks, was left on a breezeway for two hours, an airway tube sticking out of his mouth. Osman was 34.

The next day, an autopsy determined that he had died because his heart had suddenly stopped, confidential medical records show. Two physicians who reviewed his case for The Washington Post said he might have lived had he received timely treatment, perhaps as basic as an aspirin.

Privately, Otay Mesa's medical staff also knew his care was deficient. On page 3 of an internal review of his death is this question:

Did patient receive appropriate and adequate health care consistent with community standards during his/her detention ...?

Otay Mesa's medical director, Esther Hui, checked "No."

The ACLU records: "One man was brought in with such high blood pressure that if he was not in custody, he would have been sent to an emergency room immediately. He was denied treatment and shortly thereafter he suffered a massive heart attack and died."

The ACLU said he was denied treatment because the treatment he needed - a coronary artery bypass - was not considered an 'emergency' procedure, the only condition under which care could be provided.

Another detainee had for over a year been denied a biopsy to detect a possible cancer. He died soon afterward.

The medical neglect they endure is part of the hidden human cost of increasingly strict policies adopted following the 9/11 attacks. A Washington Post investigation found that detainees have less access to lawyers than convicted murderers in maximum-security prisons and some have fewer comforts than al-Qaeda terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Post investigation, carried out by Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein, found that the most vulnerable detainees, the physically sick and the mentally ill, are sometimes denied the proper treatment to which they are entitled by law and regulation. They are locked in a world of slow care, poor care and no care, with panic and cover-ups among employees watching it happen.

The investigation found a hidden world of flawed medical judgments, faulty administrative practices, neglectful guards, ill-trained technicians, sloppy record-keeping, lost medical files and dangerous staff shortages. It is also a world increasingly run by high-priced private contractors. There is evidence that infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and chicken pox, are spreading inside the centers.

Nurses who work on the front lines see the problems up close. "Dogs get better care in the dog pound," said Catherine Rouse, a contract nurse at an Arizona detention center who quit after two months last year because she saw what she regarded as "scary medicine" in the prison: patients taken off medications they needed and nurses doing tasks they were not qualified to do. "You don't treat people like that. There has to be some kind of moral fiber," Rouse said.

Bob Libal, senior organizer for Grassroots Leadership in Austin, Texas - considered by many to be the "guru" of private prison opposition - summed up the situation as he sees it. He told Truthout, "A litany of human rights abuses, scandals, and lawsuits have plagued private prisons corporations, particularly in Texas, where there are more private prisons, detention centers, and jails than in any other state," he said, adding:

"Unfortunately, the private prison industry has fought even the most limited oversight and transparency measures. Furthermore, the largest private prison corporations - CCA and GEO - spend millions of dollars each year on lobbying and campaign contributions that ensure that their interests - an ever increasing flow of prisoners and detainees into private beds - are met."

ACLU attorney David Shapiro told Truthout that two issues play a major role in creating an environment in which death and deprivation in detention become inevitable. The first issue is the absence of any enforceable standards for the maze of 400 federal, municipal, county and private jails used by ICE to house immigrants.

The second issue is a medical care regimen that, until recently, allowed the government such wide discretion that it could deny urgent care, including biopsies for suspected cancers, and treatment of heart conditions. As a result of an ACLU lawsuit, there is now a new document that defines the medical care to which detainees are entitled. But lack of independent oversight casts doubt on the extent to which the new regimen is being followed.

The Obama administration has declined to produce system-wide enforceable standards for the prisons it uses to house immigrants. Shapiro declined to speculate on the administration's rationale, but others have said that it is based on the wide differences among the various types of facilities used by the government. It has also failed to produce a medical care program that is binding on ICE personnel and its contractors. A number of the reported deaths in detention have been caused by ICE's failure to provide timely medical interventions in emergency situations. Some observers believe that the rationale for deciding against providing "long term" medical care - for example, biopsies - is that ICE detention is largely short term.

Yet, ICE and its DHS parent department have acknowledged that many immigrants are held in custody for years. ICE has also admitted many of the deficiencies in its detention system and has vowed to initiate reforms. But Shapiro contends that the most recent documents obtained by the ACLU show that ICE's culture of secrecy has not changed.

Bernstein's New York Times article says that the documents show how officials - some still in key positions - used their role as overseers to "cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse."

As of today, there are no legally enforceable rules governing immigration detention, despite an order by a federal judge to create such rules. The Obama administration refused the judge's order, which followed a petition filed in court by former detainees. Instead, ICE chose to follow an inspection system instituted during the administration of George W. Bush. That system relies in part on private contractors. Judge Denny Chin ruled that the agency's failure to respond to the plaintiffs' petition for two and a half years was unreasonable.

DHS contended that rule making would be "laborious, time-consuming and less flexible" than the review process now in place. It said its current inspection system would "provide adequately for both quality control and accountability."

According to Paromita Shah of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, one of the plaintiffs, the government's decision "disregards the plight of the hundreds of thousands of immigration detainees." She claims that the absence of enforceable rules is the major cause of problems of mistreatment and medical neglect. "The department has demonstrated a disturbing commitment to policies that have cost dozens of lives," she says.

In the view of numerous observers, ICE is itself a highly dysfunctional unit. Thus far, the promises of significant operational changes have not come to fruition. The agency remains opaque.

But it is precisely this condition that presents private prison contractors with growing opportunities to pitch their services. Increasing numbers of alleged illegals are being detained by ICE and its various programs, such as 287(g), which enlists local police forces to suss out people in this country who they say shouldn't be.

As to the future of the private prison industry, its reach is vast - from the teenager in Pennsylvania to the undocumented worker in Arizona. The ACLU's Shapiro told Truthout, "The main thing the government should do is stop using private prisons. They are a failed experiment and have contributed to mass incarceration, horrid conditions, and escalating costs. At minimum, greater oversight and transparency are critical."

But President Obama continues to use detention and deportation as a political tool to curry favor with the hard right. In the process, myriad injustices are being committed. And with the 2012 election looming, it seems unlikely that Washington has the appetite to actually fix any of the headaches caused by ICE and its for-profit prisons.

In a chapter from a forthcoming book, Alex Friedmann, associate editor of Prison Legal News, writes, "The most harmful effect of private prison companies is that they have made imprisonment-for-profit politically and socially acceptable, thereby creating an insidious industry that benefits from incarceration while instilling the notion that justice literally is for sale and crime does in fact pay."

He adds, "Hopefully, at some point in the future we will look back on the time when private prisons were considered sensible and wonder how such a destructive concept was allowed to exist. For now, though, we must deal with the harsh reality of the private prison industry, including its many flaws and harmful effects on prisoners, our justice system and society as a whole."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier

Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier | Truthout
NOTE: Follow Link To Watch:  Prisons For Profit:
Friday 24 June 2011
by: Victoria Law, Truthout | News Analysis

In 1954, an 18-year-old black woman named Eleanor Rush was incarcerated at the state women's prison. She was placed in solitary confinement for six days.

On the seventh day, Rush was not fed for over 16 hours. After 16 hours, she began yelling that she was hungry and wanted food. In response, the guards bound and gagged her, dislocating her neck in the process.

Half an hour later, Rush was dead.

The next morning, when the other women in the prison gathered in the yard, another woman in the solitary confinement unit yelled the news about Rush's death from her window. The women in the yard surrounded the staff members supervising their activities and demanded answers about Rush's death. When they didn't get them, the women - both the black and the white women - rioted.

The riot lasted three and a half hours, not stopping until Raleigh, North Carolina, police and guards from the men's Central Prison arrived.

The women's riot brought outside attention to Rush's death. As a result:

The State Bureau of Investigation ordered a probe into Rush's death rather than believing the prison's explanation that Rush had dislocated her own neck and committed suicide.

Until that point, nothing in the prison rules explicitly prohibited the use of improvised gags. After the riot and probe, the State Prisons director explicitly banned the use of gags and iron claws (metal handcuffs that can squeeze tightly).

The prison administration was required to pay $3,000 to Rush's mother. At that time, $3,000 was more than half the yearly salary of the prison warden.

The prison warden, who had allowed Rush to be bound and gagged, was replaced by Elizabeth McCubbin, the executive director of the Family and Children's Service Agency. Her hiring indicated a shift from a punitive model toward a more social service/social work orientation.

The women themselves testified that they had rioted to ensure that Rush's death was not dismissed and that the circumstances would not be repeated.

Fifty-five years after Rush was killed in solitary confinement, Marcia Powell, a mentally ill 48-year-old woman incarcerated at the Perryville Unit in Arizona, died. The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has more than 600 of these outdoor cages where prisoners are placed to confine or restrict their movement or to hold them while awaiting medical appointments, work, education, or treatment programs. On May 20, 2009, the temperature was 107 degrees. Powell was placed in an unshaded cage in the prison yard. Although prison policy states that "water shall be continuously available" to caged prisoners and that they should be in the cage for "no more than two consecutive hours," guards continually denied her water and kept her in the cage for four hours. Powell collapsed of heat stroke, was sent to West Valley Hospital where ADC Director Charles Ryan took her off life support hours later.

The ensuing media attention over Powell's death caused the ADC to temporarily suspend using these cages. Once the media attention faded, the ADC lifted the suspension.(1)

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Abuses at Perryville have continued. The ADC has sent its prisoners to work for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years.(2) The farm pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm. Women on the Perryville Unit are assigned to Martori Farms, an Arizona farm corporation that supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to vendors across the United States (Martori is the exclusive supplier to Wal-Mart's 2,470 Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores).(3) According to one woman who worked on the farm crews:

They wake us up between 2:30 and three AM and KICK US OUT of our housing unit by 3:30AM. We get fed at four AM. Our work supervisors show up between 5AM and 8AM. Then it's an hour to a one and a half hour drive to the job site. Then we work eight hours regardless of conditions .... We work in the fields hoeing weeds and thinning plants ... Currently we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don't check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break we get a MAJOR ticket which takes away our "good time"!!!

We are told we get "two" 15 min breaks and a half hour lunch like a normal job but it's more like 10 minutes and 20 minutes. They constantly yell at us we are too slow and to speed up because we are costing $150 an acre in labor and that's not acceptable.

The place is infested with spiders of all types, scorpions, snakes and blood suckers. And bees because they harvest them. On my crew alone, there are four women with bee allergies, but they don't care!! There are NO epinephrine pens on site to SAVE them if stung.

There's no anti venom available for snake bites and they want us to use Windex (yes glass cleaner) for scorpion stings!! INSANITY!!! They are denying us medical care here.(4)

Although Martori Farms contracts with the local fire departments to provide medical attention for injuries on the farm, farm supervisors do not always allow women to stop work when they need medical care. When "N" complained of chest pains, the farm representative refused to allow her to stop working. The next day, an hour after returning to work, she began experiencing chest pains. The farm representative told her, "Come on, the big bosses are here. You'll be in trouble if you stop. It's not break time. Work, work, work." "N" complied, working while in pain, until the break. She resumed working for another half hour before she experienced even more severe pains: "I have a steady deep dull pain with sharp stabbing pains periodically ... Then all of a sudden, I can't even lift the hoe in the air. My arms are no longer strong enough. By now, the chest pains are so bad it's knocking the wind out of me. I'm straight seeing stars. I tell our substitute boss officer Sanders I can't do it no more. I'm having really bad chest pains. I can't even lift the hoe anymore." The man accused her of faking these pains, but allowed her to stop working. While the woman was receiving medical attention, another farm representative stated, "Oh, so now they're gonna start faking fucking heart attacks to not work. Great."(5)

In addition, the prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions. "N" was sent to West Valley Hospital where an emergency room doctor ordered that she be exempt from the farm work crew and any other physical exertion for three to four days. However, when "N" was returned to the prison, the nurse told her that they could not honor the doctor's order and ordered her back to work.

Another woman concurs. "There was one woman that is on oxygen, in a wheelchair, has an IV line and cancer that they sent to the gate to work on the farm ... The captain asked if she could stand. She said yes. His reply was if you can stand, you can farm. She told him no and was issued a disciplinary ticket."(6)

The women have not accepted these abuses quietly. They have launched complaints to prison administrators:

"Women have made their complaints on inmate letters and verbally to the lieutenant, sergeant, captains, deputy warden, counselors, supervisors and the major. Their solution was to give us an extra sack lunch and agree to feed us breakfast Saturday mornings. UGH!! Really ... food is not what we were asking for. Though being fed on Saturdays is nice. Yah! They were not feeding us Saturdays because that's a day Kitchen opens late because they give brunch on weekends. No lunch, so we were getting screwed! But as of this past Saturday they said they would feed us before work! Let's see how long it lasts."

Women have also stood up to unfair demands from the bosses at the farm. One woman recounted:

On Wednesday I go to work ... it's the second day in a row we are doing weeds. [I'm] up to my chest trying to weed to save a minimal amount of watermelon plants. Needless to say, the work was excessively hard - to put it mildly. So I must confess the day before I was "on one," so to speak. My haunted mind was lost in the past and so I was just trucking through the weeds, plowing them down, not even connecting with my physical exertion and pain. So the next day I was completely exhausted and physically broke down!! I was in so much pain because the day before I did like double the work everyone else did. So anyways, the M Farm representative was pushing me so hard trying to get me to produce the same results as the day before ... [He] has everyone at minimum teamed up helping each other plow through these weeds. Well everyone but me that is. I repeatedly asked him to give me a partner. I kept telling him that I was in pain. I also went as far as to tell him that I don't think I can do this anymore, to PLEASE give me a partner also. His response was "No. You're strong. You can do it by yourself." I told him not true; I over-exerted myself yesterday because I was going through some things. Now I'm hurt and need help.... He thought my pleas were funny. I hated to degrade myself and plea so I stopped and continued.

After "N" had finished her assigned row, the farm representative demanded that she finish weeding two other rows that had been abandoned. When she again requested a weeding partner, stating that she was in pain, the representative replied, "When you get to the end, I'll think about it."

By this time, all the girls are finishing their rows because they're all teamed up with 2 or three girls per row. Except me. So there are only two whole rows left on the field by now and he already placed six girls per row. That's twelve women on two rows. And I can't even get one helper. That's RIDICULOUS ... I tell him "Mariano all joking aside, all the others are finishing. Can I please get a helper?" He tells me "Seriously, no joking. When you get to the end, I'll think about it." At that point I'm pretty upset and broke down. I looked at him and said "Is that right?" I paused staring at him waiting for him to stop his male chauvinist domination games or whatever he's playing. When he didn't say anything, but just stared. I told him, "Fine Mariano I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm hurt and struggling through this. After what happened to me before I would think you would provide me help when I need it. Since you won't look out for my health and well-being, I will. Someone has to. I'm done for today. I'm going to sit on the bus."

The supervisor demanded that she return to work, threatening to call the prison to have disciplinary tickets written up. She refused.

At this point I'm so angry that this jerk would make me lose everything because I'm not submissive and I don't obey him like the women back in Mexico do that I admit I blew up and acted unprofessional. I told him "Mariano, Fuck you and your tickets. Go write them if you want. In fact I'll write them for you to make sure you get the facts straight."...

At this point the two women who were on the bus got all riled up and were yelling, "That's not fair. She's your best worker and you're going to punish her with tickets!!!" "She's hurt I heard her asking for help all day!" "We've been sitting on the bus for over an hour and we're not getting tickets, why is she the only one getting a ticket?"(7)

Not only did "N" stand up for herself, but the other women defended her actions at the risk of being ticketed as well. Their combined efforts ensured that "N" was not issued a ticket in retaliation for standing up for herself.

Women have also alerted outside advocates and activists about these inhumane conditions, again at great risk to themselves. If not for their courage in speaking out, the outside world would remain unaware of the exploitation and abuse on the farm.

While the women both endure and challenge these abuses, those outside prison gates remain largely unaware of their struggles. Those involved in social justice organizing need to recognize that prisons and prison injustices are exacerbations of the same social issues in the outside world and recognize that these struggles intersect. Safe from the retaliation of prison authorities, outside organizers and activists can and should raise their voices and take action to help the women inside challenge and ultimately stop these abuses.


1. As of April 15, 2010, these cages (or "temporary holding enclosures") remain in use. Arizona Department of Corrections, Department Order Manual, Department Order 704: Inmate Regulations.

2. Nicole Hill, "With Fewer Migrant Workers, Farmers Turn to Prison Labor," Christian Science Monitor, August 22, 2007. Reprinted here.

3. Press release, "16-Year Relationship Between Wal-Mart and Arizona Business Grows, Thrives," September 7, 2007. The 2470 figure is as of August 1, 2007.

4. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011.

5. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011

6. Letter from "H," dated May 22, 2011.

7. Letter from "N," dated May 7, 2011.