Protest prison privitization

Privitizing prisons  is a bad idea.  That makes the prison a business.  What do businesses typically do?  Increase profits, layoff workers, and look for ways to cut corners while increasing the customer base.  What does this mean if a prison is a business?  If companies make money from running prisons, obviously they will want more and more prisoners, and will lobby for more laws and stronger punishments.  America already has the largest prison population in the entire world.  The idea of executives plotting to increase prison populations, and hence their bankroll, should make us all queasy.

Prison should not be a place to cut corners.  Instead of locking people up and forgetting about them, we should be looking at ways to make inmates productive members of society so they can assimilate after release, instead of being career criminals. Programs that allow prisoners to train dogs have been very successful, and enjoy public support thanks to portrayal on TV.  Will those programs continue in a commercial prison, whose goal to make money?  Not likely.

Safety is also a concern.  If commercial prisons cut staff, that means both employees and inmates are less safe.  A report on NOW (http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/419/video.html) shows that privitized prisons have more security problems, including riots.

 

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Hillary for VP

While I think Joe BIden has done a fine job as Vice-President, he needs to realize, for the good of the Democratic Party, that he is not the best person for the ticket.  First of all, the VP should be someone who can get voters fired up to re-elect Obama this year.  Second, the VP should be electable as President, to run once the current President’s terms have expired.  Biden, though popular and likable, has a very slim chance of becoming President in 2016.  Nor is he.  Instead, he should step aside and recommend Hillary Clinton become VP for Obama in this election.  Not only would it boost enthusiasm for Obama’s campaign, it would put Hillary in place for a near-certain Presidential win in 2016.  Many Democrats I know are disillusioned and disappointed with Obama’s performance so far.  Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has approval ratings above 60%.  I could list for pages all her accomplishments as Secretary of State.  Adding her to the ticket would generate enthusiasm and confidence in the Obama administration.  After the election, perhaps Obama would even solicit and listen to her advice on matters.  She has proven herself a master diplomat on all levels, while Obama still struggles to be effective.

Say NO to Indefinite Detention and Endless Worldwide War

According to several human rights-watch organizations, the U.S. Senate has passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act NDAA that includes a dangerous provision authorizing the U.S. military to pick up and imprison civilians — including Americans — without charge or trial, anywhere in the world. The provisions were negotiated by a few senators — in secret — and without proper Congressional review. The House of Representatives earlier passed its own version of the NDAA that authorizes worldwide war, and worldwide indefinite detention, even within America itself.  And now, the House and Senate are meeting in secret to write a final version and find a way to rush this outrageous affront to our constitutional rights to President Obama’s desk.

Author Dave Eggers has written about a man in New Orleans who was detained after Hurricane Katrina on suspicion of “looting.”   Zeitoun was held without charge, without a phone call, without a lawyer, without arraignment.  He was not even allowed to let his wife know what had happened….he had simply disappeared.  She tried but could not confirm that he was in jail.  He was denied medical care.  He was called a terrorist.

This sort of police state is unthinkable in America.  I was disgusted that it happened during such a crisis.  We should not make it a norm.

Against the death penalty

Dear Governor Scott:

Stop executing prisoners.  The death penalty is contributing to the “blood lust” in Florida, where people wanted to see Casey Anthony executed, even though she was found innocent.  The “blood lust” mentality was also seen at a Republican gathering when people cheered about a man dying for lack of health insurance.
We should be more civilized than that.
Here are some more reasons to eliminate the death penalty:
1) Death penalty states are seen as barbaric by visitors.  We lose out on tourist dollars from people boycotting Florida due to its death penalty policy.
2) The program is expensive.
3)  There is no 100% absolute certainty that the person is guilty.
4) Many prisoners have repented. Many of their victims have forgiven them.  Why play God and determine who deserves to die?
5)  No current methods of execution are free of pain or suffering.  It is torture and murder.
6)  Jesus would not have endorsed executing people.
7) Buddha would not have endorsed killing people.
8) Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have advocated killing people.
Please stop it.

 

About Working America

Not able to join a union at your workplace?  You can join Working America….

Working America, community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is a powerful force for working people. We combine the strength of 10 million union men and women and millions of workers without the benefit of a workplace union who share common challenges and goals to fight in communities, states and nationally for what really matters–good jobs, affordable health care, world-class education, secure retirements, real homeland security and more. We work against wrong-headed priorities favoring the rich and corporate special interests over America’s well-being. Working America uses professional research, communication, education, canvassing, lobbying and community organizing to demand that politicians address the priorities that matter most to working people–not just wealthy special interests. Make a difference for your community, for America and for your working family. Click here to learn about the benefits of Working America membership. Help build a better future for working families by joining today. Click here to join.

via About Working America.

wealth and ethics

Kamran Mofid of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative says that physical wealth must go hand in hand with spiritual, moral and ethical wealth.  I think this concept is one of the tenets of the Occupy Wall Street movement…

via Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative.

Gazelle Lab Tampa Bay

 

Gazelle Lab.

Startup businesses in Tampa Bay spotlighted at the upcoming November 17th  Gazelle Lab event.   It’s great to see business incubators launch promising ventures!

Who needs political parties?

What if you had the power to choose a president? Americans Elect is creating the first nonpartisan presidential nomination in U.S. history.

http://www.americanselect.org/

Occupy Tampa goals

I attended the Occupy Tampa demonstration this week.  It was a wonderful event, with hundreds of people carrying signs and meeting in small groups to discuss what can be done to change the plutocracy we now have in this country back to a democracy.  People I talk to, and the media covering the events, keeps asking :  “what do you want?  Why don’t you have a clear goal?”  Everyone wants to dismiss this movement because it can’t be pigeon-holed, but events that can be pigeon-holed get dismissed as being “marginal.”  So, I think it’s important that the rallies reflect the many different issues that are on people’s minds.  Yes, I believe this is a movement, and not just an event.  There is momentum here, and it is going to increasingly gain traction because so many people are disgusted with our politicians right now.

What do “we want” in the Occupy demonstrations?   It’s not simple to define.   We all have different conceptions of what exactly the problem is, or  how to fix the problems.  All we can say is that the political system is broken, and it seems largely to do with corporate greed.   Corporations seem to have more rights than people.  Corporations have purchased Congress and the Supreme Court.  Corporations have polluted our land and water, kicked people out of their homes, killed people by denying them health care, and often pay little or no federal taxes.  Now, since we can’t outlaw greed in this country, we can’t easily foment a cohesive approach to remedy the situation.  We are going to have to be creative, and that takes discussion.  It takes getting people’s interest and attention.  That is the purpose of these rallies.

When our elected officials are calling peaceful demonstrations a “mob” it is obvious that they aren’t listening to the people.  THAT is the essence of the problem.  Congress should be listening to the voters, not lobbyists.

Bank of America–shining example of corporate greed

The Bank of America announcement that it will start charging customers a fee to use the ATM is just the latest appalling example of its corporate greed.

Bank of America received over $20 BILLION dollars in the bailout.

Yet, it is laying off 30-40 thousand workers, while CEO Ken Lewis earned $25 million last year.

And get this:  they pay little or no federal taxes!

According to publicintelligence.net:

Bank of America posted a pre-tax loss of $5.4 billion in the U.S. in 2010.

Bank of America claims to have 311 overseas subsidiaries.  115 of these are listed in districts that qualify as tax havens.

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