French economist Frederick Bastiat once wrote:
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”The foregoing quote quite clearly defines what is happening in America today. Our society is in fact being plundered - morally and financially. In this effort they have created a legal system that enables and encourages this plunder through harsh criminal justice laws, sentences and little in the form of true rehabilitation and a moral code that does indeed glorify such plunder off freedom stolen from those they exploit.
None of this would have been possible in 1970 - not even in 1980...but with the election of Ronnie RayGun in 1980 all that changed...
Knowing a picture is worth more than a thousand words, I'm going to provide the reader with a visualization of what is factually going on in the U.S.
Just take a look at these charts and that tells the sordid story of where profiting off of incarceration began and leads us to where we are as a nation today with the third chart showing where we're projected to be by 2025.
We can easily determine that as incarceration increases, so does the costs of that incarceration and finally so does the profit off of imprisonment. One would be right to think that the US is plagued with a violent society who steal, rape, pillage, plunder and kill with great regularity. However that assumption would be wrong. Here is a chart showing the crime rates in the U.S. since 1990:
With the attention to "conservative" principals brought to the oval office in the form of Ronald Reagan came a partnership with the young American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Reagan wanted a war on drugs, increased criminal justice laws to lengthen sentences, provide mandatory minimum sentences for drug and gun crimes and reduced opportunities for parole and rehabilitation. ALEC was there from day one of Reagan's presidency, with their National Chairman chosen by Reagan to sit upon a Federal Task Force tasked with establishing policies and an agenda on incarceration and privatization of government services and facilities.
Today we're back to open discrimination and racism on the part of these conservatives and the cabal - going after African American's and Latinos to incarcerate, detain and profit off of. Think I'm being overly progressive with that claim? Take a look at this chart:
This cabal is taking all of us back 100 years or more with their initiatives and agenda - they want us back where government didn't adequately support minorities; women, Blacks, Hispanics or Asians...to a time when only a certain "class" of American had any real rights - white Caucasian males. They voted, ran companies and determined policies in their communities and through politics, the country.
The current partnership between ALEC and corporate money was a marriage of policies and beliefs that began the downward slide of our nation as a society and an upward climb of corporate profits and control. Today we are seeing the culmination of what Ronnie RayGun began so many years ago. Through ALEC and their cabal of institutes, foundations, "universities" and faux science and economics, we have all been led down a slippery slope leading to fascism. Yeah, I know nobody wants to hear or use that word - or ever consider that the vaunted U.S. would be accused of participating in anything so insidiously evil - yet here we are. Conservatives are actively trying to incarcerate more (in the face of less crime), return our society to a time of yesteryear where women had no rights - or voice in policy or legislation affecting them - and to a time when minorities were subjected to the will and "authority" of male Caucasians. These "new" policies are being proposed and passed by state lawmakers belonging to ALEC. The reports, scientific data and studies they use are provided by affiliates such as Heritage Foundation, Reason Foundation, CATO, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Pacific Legal Research Institute, Heartland Institute, Pacific Legal Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce...and an endless list of others associated with ALEC and funded by the likes of Charles and David Koch's family foundations, the Bradley Foundation, Scaife Foundation, Coor's Castle Rock Foundation, JM Olin Foundation and the FREE Foundation (trips and seminars for federal judges, state appellate and supreme court judges and evangelical religious leaders). To make matters worse, we're faced with the Federalist Society, American's for Prosperity, American's for Tax Reform and dozens of conservative publications and media outlets such as Fox News. Today the influences bought and paid for by this cabal reach through our Congress and right into the SCOTUS with no less than four Supreme Court Justices now compromised by the ideologies of ALEC and the Kochs. They have installed a huge internship network to recruit college students and begin indoctrinating them and placing them in key positions within the cabal - the revolving door is used to transfer these individuals between the private and public sectors, making influence work smoothly.
Fascism - tough term and gives us all a case of the shivers - but it is what it is. Today through decisions by SCOTUS we now have unlimited corporate money being poured into election campaigns as witnessed by the likes of an Adelson, Foster Friess, Charles Koch who are outright trying to buy their way to control over our government through weak Republican candidates. Why else would billionaires be dumping tens of millions of dollars into individual campaigns of the likes of Gingrich, Santorum and Romney? If one of these creatures successfully won the 2012 election - what would Koch, Adelson or Friess expect in return? How could "their" president refuse them anything after they spent millions to win them the oval office? Do any of us have doubts about the future of America if any one of the current Republican candidates win the upcoming election and take over the executive branch? What will happen to America if they have the SCOTUS in their pockets, 100+ ALEC Congressional alumni in their pockets, 22 Conservative Republican Governors and more than 2000 ALEC members serving in state legislatures?
When we understand that the likes of Koch and the corporations are behind all of this we're faced with today, the picture becomes clearer. Much is at risk and to continue their agenda and replace some of the tens of millions of dollars they are spending to buy America - they need a return on those expenditures. This is where prison and prison industries come in.
I'm sure everyone by now is aware of the latest prison privatization battles ongoing in FL., MI., OH. and elsewhere. Each of these policies are being pursued in red states with Republican majorities and with Republican Governors. It should be easy under those conditions to simply craft what they want and push it down the throats of the voters - but it isn't turning out to be quite that easy. Let's look at the latest from Florida. We know that Governor Rick Scott attempted to sneak a privatization bill through last year in the budget to privatize fully 1/3 of the state's prison system. That was held unconstitutional and he and Republican lawmakers vowed to again try this year. Since January they have been working on doing just that. The first thing they did was to suspend the rules and "fast track" the privatization legislation. This is a manipulation of our legislative rules all of you should be aware of and start researching - it is used to limit discussion on legislation and if a quorum is present once that discussion is concluded, the bill is voted on and passed or defeated based upon the members present at the time (this is how the Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act [AETA] was passed in Congress in 2005 with only 5 total house members present and voting).
Last week there was a convergence of supporters, opponents, lobbyists, union reps and activists filling Tallahassee - all in either support of or against privatizing 29 state prison facilities. After a contentious battle the legislation was put to a vote and ultimately defeated by a vote of 21-19. While this can be considered a victory for opponents of privatization - it is by no means the end of the battle there in Florida or elsewhere (right now MI. is in the midst of a similar battle both on issue and contentiousness). Now the FL. Senate President and Governor Scott have announced that the Governor has the authority to privatize prison institutions on a case by case basis and it appears Scott is considering doing just that. There is no doubt this issue is going to return to the House and Senate in Florida next year...and the year after until the corporations and lawmakers they own get their way.
Now that the immediate furor is over in Florida, reports are coming out about the battle that was had over this issue in the House and Senate - the brow beating, threats, arm twisting and ultimately the need for Republican lawmakers to provide security for one of the other lawmakers who refused to give in and vote for privatization. This member had suffered several heart attacks and was besotted by fellow party members to change her position. This continued until she had to be secreted away from supporting lawmakers and physically protected from further stress:
What are things in the Florida Legislature coming to when one senator needs protection to walk on the Senate floor? • The debate over privatizing much of Florida's prison system last week probably marks one of the few times a couple of senators provided an escort for one of their colleagues — from the opposing political party, no less. • It attracted little attention last week when Sens. Charles Dean, R-Inverness, and Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, walked onto the Senate floor before the debate on privatizing prisons with Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, between them. • Bullard, who has been seriously ill with a recurring heart condition, had been in tears after days of pressure from Senate leaders and lobbyists who wanted her to be the deciding vote in favor of a bill that would have privatized 27 South Florida prisons.I know the cabal is now after our public education (privatization), our local city and communities through Emergency Management legislation (MI. voiding the government elected by voters), our utilities (privatization) and our manufacturing and public sector jobs (prison industries). They are pursuing limiting the vote of minorities (again) in more than half of our states so the majorities they have in many states remain, and are redistricting once again to eliminate districts representing Democrats. They want to end legal abortion and regardless that it is a right protected and previously decided by the Supreme Court they choose to deny us that right - and are pushing cases forward through the courts to our SCOTUS to have Roe V Wade revisited by this SCOTUS...one that is heavily conservative with ties to the cabal through the federalist society (Alito, Scalia and Thomas are alumni and possibly Roberts) and more importantly five of the justices are bought and paid for with corporate money and at least two of them have made the pilgrimage to one or more of the Koch Secret meetings where they rubbed elbows with the corporate elite and wealthy Conservative donors of the Koch "Million Dollar" club. Again, I believe a picture is more descriptive than my words can ever be on this subject, so here's how I see it:
On the day of the final Senate vote, Rich and several other women senators accompanied Bullard back to her office after extricating her from a committee room where she had been lobbied by Thrasher and Alexander.
Summoned by Rich, Sens. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, stayed with Bullard for the remainder of the day to fend off colleagues determined to change her mind.
Gibson said supporters of the prison privatization bill were "dead-set to get it through at whatever cost."
"But we had the same vehemence to make sure she was able to be there and vote and not in the hospital,'' Gibson added. "Nobody should pounce on somebody's weakness. That's just not right.''
Gibson and Joyner got lunch for Bullard and watched as Dean came to visit and promised to protect her. Bullard said Dean, a gruff former sheriff who is also a veteran legislator, had tears in his eyes when he arrived at her office.
Dean said he told Bullard she would be safe "with the biggest guy in the world sitting next to you.''
Since few want to call all this fascism I've termed it a Corporatocracy...recently another more knowledgeable than I called it a kleptocracy (stealing our democracy, wealth, education, jobs and future of our children). No matter the terminology you use - what I've described above is factual and it is happening - and happening right now! We know of the cabal here at DK due to my writing and the numerous other diarists addressing all of this...the Occupy movement gets it and has begun protesting ALEC and have called for a national protest against ALEC and the corporations on February 29th (F-29). They are joining us in Charlotte in May and again in Salt Lake City at scheduled ALEC "conferences" where more despicable legislation will be formulated and dispensed back to every state.
I keep writing, presenting and speaking about this and have tried to convince Progressive groups, Unions and Labor groups, individuals and associations that unless and until we abolish ALEC - these bills will continue to be sent out from their HQ in DC year after year, session after session until they get what they want. We literally have to rip the head off the snake before we'll get any relief. Until then it is unproductive to attempt to reverse what they've done and continue to do with their agenda. The cabal has our money, our government representatives, our courts...but they damn sure do not have our votes or our voices. Both need to be put to good use in 2012 and beyond. The situation has reached critical mass and to end this shit we simply have to vote and vote smart. Visit ALEC exposed and check out the "Politicians" page of known ALEC members and see which legislators must be voted out of office. Visit ALEC's site under "Federal Relations" and read their list of current Congressional Alumni to see which Congressional members must be voted from office. Until the November election take an active part in the now nationwide pursuit of protesting and abolishing ALEC - and continue on with us after the election to build support for 2014 to remove more of them from our political landscape.
Got side tracked from the original content - prison industries and privatization. I'll briefly go back to it here...saying they're making one hell of a lot of money off of the sweat and freedoms of hundreds of thousands of us in their factories and billions in profits from running our prisons. Again it is morally just plain wrong and unAmerican. Please help us oppose privatization of prisons and prison industries in every state. As long as there is profit in incarceration, it will never be reformed. Once the profit stops and corporations are removed, our states will have the funds for public education programs, healthcare and many other things that are now taking a back seat to corporations.
Finally - let me leave you with another visual image of the cabal:
Sorry it is so large it won't entirely fit on this page so you can read all the names, organizations and groups. This is what we are protesting and trying to abolish altogether from our government and society.