Recent comments

  • Should our government have a “kill switch” to turn off cell phone communication?   21 hours 30 min ago

    This government has been violating our constitutional "rights" for decades now so what's so different about yet another violation of our "rights"?f

  • "Rape Culture Claims Another Victim: Teen Ends Life After Photo Of Her Alleged Gang Rape Goes Viral"   21 hours 31 min ago

    ZZ, of course by ommission I did not repeat the point about women being "disbelieved" as part of partriarchal suppression when I dealt with "alleged." The latter is common journalistic practice to avoid lawsuits and should be read that way, not as serious doubt in cases such as this.

    I also think I have been more than clear about who is responsible for rape where I do not allow any man to blame a naked woman for "asking for it." Prudence in dealing with men is another matter, but blame resides only on the perp.

    Dex is mad at me for describing his crap correctly. OOOOhhhhh.

  • The banned   21 hours 40 min ago

    Commercial trolls:


  • "Rape Culture Claims Another Victim: Teen Ends Life After Photo Of Her Alleged Gang Rape Goes Viral"   21 hours 43 min ago
    Quote Lodyzhenshy:

    There are many ways of achieving what one wants. One is discussion and mutual understanding with respect for both sides of an arguement and the other is abusive tantrums. I know which way works.

    A fine, reasoned post, Lodyzhenshy. Thank you for it. I urge others to take the time to read, perhaps reread, all of your post (no. 257).

  • Should Hillary Have Been The Democratic Candidate in 08? She Won More Votes   21 hours 46 min ago
    Quote Legend:

    Should Al Gore have won the 2000 Presidential Election?,_2000#F...

    Yes, we know what happened in 2000... though most constitutional apologists refuse to blame the Constitution and instead blame Nader or the USSC.

    But isn't that the similar to the problem the Dems had in their primaries? Hillary Clinton got more votes than Obama in the primaries, yet the because of they way they were distributed, Obama got more pledged delegates?

  • Should Hillary Have Been The Democratic Candidate in 08? She Won More Votes   21 hours 56 min ago

    Should Al Gore have won the 2000 Presidential Election?,_2000#F...

  • Should Obama strike in Syria without Congressional approval?   22 hours 13 min ago

    Like it or not, Obama needs to follow the law. Congress, on the other hand, needs to put on its big boy (or girl) underwear---hopefully they don't get the two confused--- and start acting like adults.

  • downloading podcasts on two devices   22 hours 16 min ago

    They are just files. You can copy them to whatever you want. Why not save them to a memory stick and then use it where ever you want. Or an MP3 player.

  • "Rape Culture Claims Another Victim: Teen Ends Life After Photo Of Her Alleged Gang Rape Goes Viral"   23 hours 23 min ago
    Quote drc2:

    This is close to banning in its personal attack and lack of linguistic skill.

    Pot calling kettle???

  • Not Just Ferguson: Parasitical Police Profiteering Is Nationwide   1 day 53 min ago

    Taking issue with Parasitical and Kanasa.

    Conspiring to regularly commit aggressive shake-downs - especially when organizing and providing training on how to carry it out - easily meets the RICO criteria.

    You can probably expect to hear from the Anti-defamation League who will undoubtedly be taking up a case on behalf of parasites. As experts on parasitical behavior they will demand an apology on behalf of all parasites who would never behave in such an egregious manner in the body of the host.

    Also your attempt to drag Islamophobia into this by combining Kansas with madrassa is an all too thin veil on an ugly drag queen bride.

    Luckily we don't have a problem in America with a police force grown so impotent that they are only capable of preying on weak citizens instead of dangerous criminals.

  • "Meet The 25 Billionaires Who Control Everything"   1 day 1 hour ago

    MERCY, Douglass your post is too funny. I'll be laughing all morning long and my wife will wondering why I'm wearing such a crazy grin all morning and maybe through the afternoon. When I show her this post, it'll be her turn next. Not quite there yet, but this is a real ROFL post. Great work!

  • When Men Murder Women   1 day 1 hour ago

    You refer to 'American Indian'. Do you mean 'Native Alericans' ? Indians live in India.

  • history notes; pre- and post- WW2, events and ideology   1 day 1 hour ago

    That's a lot of interesting cutting and pasting; but to what effect? Understanding history so we won't repeat it? Well, okay if you're in or close enough to influence the the inner circle of a nation's leaders who have actual legal authority to pull all the levers to make things happen or don't. And fine, if you want to share something for your kids in h.s. or college something that'll help them understand what happened close to the end of the war to end all wars that the Germans never planned to end; just put on hold for a while.

  • IRAQ: What Should We Do About ISIS?   1 day 1 hour ago

    ISIL and indeed, Lybia and the Ukraine are object lessons to the USA and UK to stop meddling in the affairs of other sovereign countries they little understand.

    I do not believe the humanistic motives claimed by USA/NATO and the EU. It is about power, geo-politics and above all resources. Ask the Biden family who are assett grabbing in the Ukraine right now.

    Overthrow Assad and ISIL will envelope the Middle East. Whatever happens now, the West will reap the 'rewards' of interference for a very long time to come and well deserved it is too.

    Bomb and more innocents will also die and more radicals will be born.

    Real change comes from within a sovereign country and any interference will always make things a great deal worse.

    I think it probable that the aim of the West is just desabilization of those who do not bow down to the hegemony of the West. The USA does not care a fig for those in Gaza, Iraq, Syria Lybia and Ukraine. It is just about money.

  • "Rape Culture Claims Another Victim: Teen Ends Life After Photo Of Her Alleged Gang Rape Goes Viral"   1 day 1 hour ago

    I have just returned from South East India and have read the ongoing thread.

    1 I was accused of taking 'cheap shots' on other threads against the USA and therefore responded to the statement on this one.

    2. I abhor generalized statements which say 'MEN think or do this'

    This is constantly used by some here. I fail to understand how one can stereotype ALL men or women into categories.

    SOME men do practice domestic violence and SOME men rape. By implying that ALL men do such things or see the world in a certain way is absurd and does nothing but irritate normal men and thus lose support for the cause of equal rights.

    Aggressive and abusive stances against 50% of the population is not a clever methodology to effect real change.

    3. When I make a statement that SOME women take huge risks dressing in the way they do in public, it is because SOME men cannot control themselves.

    4. Attacks on religion is not a way to gain support either. Religions are a product of prevailing cultures and often 'religious laws' are invoked which have nothing to do with the core religion. Usually it is simply because males can overpower women physically which then can lead to discrimination in religion. Islam as a core religion gave equal rights to women by the way. In my religion, Hinduism,, we do worship female deities, Laxmi being the senior one.

    Attack religion which is widely practiced and usually ranks are closed against women. Some of my colleagues also read this thread and reacted thus:

    'If that is what equal rights brings we must NOT change'.

    This referred to bad language and aggressive behaviour etc.

    Those of us who do work for change, work within the framework of reality and look to evolution rather than revolution know that revolution never works in the way one wishes it.

    I had the privilage to be brought up in two cultures. The Soviet Union and India. In the CCCP, now the Russian Federation, there are genuine equal rights while India still has a very long way to travel. I had a female member of my family who shot down Germans for a living at a time when the West would not allow women in combat at all let alone fight in an aircraft.

    Rape and abuse still goes on in the R.F. but I think less so than in the West. Certainly penalties are great for any such things. Sadly all I can see to do is to continue to increase penalties and remove such individuals from society, hopefully on a permanent basis. Such people have no place in any society. Let us not forget that some such crimes are committed by females too, although a small percentage.

    India is a mess in so many ways, partly, thanks to the British. The Hindu religion is a very complicated fusion of so many religions and it is impossible to fully understand it all.

    What is often cited as 'Hindu belief' is nothing more than the expression of prevailing social mores and the dreadful caste system. It is the prevailing religion in India and the ruling party is the Hindu Party.

    To be accused of 'patriarchal behaviour or Misogyny' is unfair. I am a man who tries to change things within the constraints of the exisiting society, which is the only way of doing things and I make no apologies for it whatsoever.

    I now have the privilage of training for priesthood, for the first time, an intake of six women. There is yet again the issue of WHO should be trained as the caste system also raises its ugly head.

    As India and the Russian Federation grow closer, many changes will and must happen but nothing is quick. Hinduism has been going for at least 4000 years!

    I notice comments about men baring their upper torsos. Even this has different connotations according to culture. In Temple, I bare myself above the waist as a sign of humility! It is NOT about being 'Meat'.

    I have been very happily married to the same women for 30 years. She also works in the human rights field, BTW. She is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church and we have no conflicts over our respective religions.

    There are many ways of achieving what one wants. One is discussion and mutual understanding with respect for both sides of an arguement and the other is abusive tantrums. I know which way works.

  • Malaysian Airlines MH17: An Internationally Sanctioned Cover-Up Orchestrated by the US and Britain   1 day 2 hours ago

    Western propaganda is the best in the World. Russia is on trial by facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

    While the White House showed a photo of a BUK 1 system on the road lifted from public media, an advertizing sign behind clearly gives the location deep inside Ukraine.

    It is a civil war in Ukraine between Russian Ethnics (30% of population) and Western Ukrainians, Polish and Lithuanians aided and abetted by USA/EU/NATO.

    It is significant that the Malaysian Government is now beginning its own investigation with the help of the Russian Federation.

    Even the black boxes finished up at the 'Area 51' of the UK: Brize Norton.

    Lavrov has urged a truly independent investigation from the start of all of this and urges full disclosure.

    In civilized societies the guilty are innocent until proven guilty. This concept escapes those in the West.

  • Consumer Union Feedback   1 day 2 hours ago

    drc2, I am not seeking a revolution, and neither is Thomas Piketty. Piketty is just revisiting some of the conclusion and obvious outcomes of State Capitalism that Marx pointed out in his critique of Capitalism. Picketty is not advocating for communism or socialism; he just pointing out the economic inequality and possible solutions from within the system. Now, this might seem like a contradiction but I’m wanting a fundamental change within society to combat State Capitalism. This could lead to a revolution, but that’s only a consideration after the fact.

    All aspect of American domestic and foreign policy is governed by financial considerations. Almost every bill introduced into congress is written by corporate lawyers. Trillions of dollars are spent by corporations, government institutions and countries every year to manufacture consent in some form or another. The primary concern of advertising is consumer consent and market control. PR firms deal a little bit differently with the public but the aims are general the same. They want to manufacture consent to get people to go along with their economic agendas.

    The pentagon operates as a funnel to high tech industry. Transistors, computers, software, aerospace, microchips, satellites, lasers, the internet and countless other industries come right out the of the pentagon system. They use cover, public relations, like Reagan’s Star War missile defense to funnel money into the economy. The public finances all the R&D; taxpayers taking all the risk, and when something becomes marketable then it’s pick up by private enterprise to be sold back to the public. This entire system is corporate socialism, and people like Noam Chomsky have been shouting this out for years.

    PR firms work for defense contractors all the time. When a country like Indonesia gets caught massacring people on video this becomes a problems. The problem isn’t just for Indonesia: the problems is for the State Department too; the State Department (defense contractors state office) sells Indonesia weapons to carry out these massacres; these weapons are bought with foreign aid or direct military aid, which both come out of taxpayers’ pockets. The PR firms start from inside the established system and work to soften the image, so financial support can be reestablished, so massacres can continue as scheduled.

    Advertising is a massive system of undermining consumer consent. There has to be an underlying reason why companies invest so much of their earnings into marketing. The simple reason is because it works. People by endless amount of things they do not need because their trained to be mindless consumers. The system could not survive rational consumption and the people on Madison Avenue understand this far better than anybody else. That’s why the constant wave of manufacture a sense of want into western society is a necessity in a Capitalist System with insane doctrine of unlimited growth.

    The public cannot hope to penetrate these systems politically because of obvious reason that I’m sure you understand, along with most people that read these forums. My contention is that society has to change through education to help fight indoctrination into the consumer system. This education could be provided by a Consumer Union, Citizen Union or whatever label is needed to get people under the banner of resisting the powerful institutionalized system of manufacturing consent.

    State Capitalism in my opinion cannot be justified as an economic system, so I believe consumer consent is the best possible way to fundamentally change the system by asking people to limit the amount of capital they put into the system. A CU could also provide markets to worker based companies, green energy and countless other more human based enterprises, just by directing their capital toward those markets to create consumer options and competition.

    There is a lot to be consider that’s beyond my limited abilities to articulate in a meaningful way. I don’t see a political solution, and I don’t know of a better way to organize people on a common cause like controlling the consumption of goods and services. It’s not exciting revolutionary protesting in the streets ideology; it’s a very practical way to organize people across all political spectrums to counter State Capitalism by strategically controlling consumption to put pressure on markets and undermine the established system of socialization of public funds for the benefit of the Corporate State. Nothing is more dangerous to the established systems of power than rational consumption in my humble opinion or not so humble.

  • Malaysian Airlines MH17: An Internationally Sanctioned Cover-Up Orchestrated by the US and Britain   1 day 2 hours ago

    Maybe you should read this copy of the official Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense from the Joints Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. The subject is: Justification for US Military Intervention in is also known as the Operation Northwoods Memorandum.

  • Consumer Union Feedback   1 day 2 hours ago

    nimblecivet, In my blog I’ve made the point that the idea of consumer union is based on Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy. The difference I find in my reading about Nader and from Nader himself is that he’s never advocated something like what I’m talking about. He never makes the next logical step, in my opinion, and asked people to organize like labor unions into consumer unions. I might be wrong about this but I’ve read a decent amount about and from Nader, and never read or heard anything on lines of something like a Consumer Unions as active institutions of economic participation through collective control of consumption.

    I would also advise staying away from political associations. I believe the CU could advocate for policy (legislation, court decision, trade agreements….) but do not directly participate or have political parties represent the CU. If you would like I would address my reason why but I wanted to generally address your post. I can be long winded.

    Nothing I write is set in stone and the above outline is a very loose consideration.

    I believe all major social movement in the US has come from external pressure affecting the political atmosphere. The New Deal was a consequence of outside pressure, socialist, labor, communist…, forcing the political system to react to the demands of society. The labor movement in the US has also been on the outside of the public system with external pressure forcing the system to create labor protections. The 60’s civil rights movement again happen outside the political system put pressure on politicians to change the horrible conditions of the black populations of the south.

    The most important thing all these major movements, that did created real change in society, have in common; they did not fundamentally change the system, and as a result, all the progress these struggles achieved have been systematically dismantled by still intact institutions of power. The nature of politics in my opinion is create division in society then exploit those divisions.

    I have not had a chance to check out some of your suggestion yet. But I will sometime this week.

  • Elizabeth Warren: Jamie Dimon Gets $8.5 Million ​Raise for Illegal Conduct at JPMorgan   1 day 2 hours ago

    I didn't read the whole thing.

    Did she remember to mention that Israel got $3.399 Billion (that's 400 times more) for their illegal conduct this year?

    I thought she was supposed to be good with figures?

  • Malaysian Airlines MH17: An Internationally Sanctioned Cover-Up Orchestrated by the US and Britain   1 day 2 hours ago

    Here's a remote controlled missile that was born in 1945 and in the 50's...

    Quote The Snark could carry a nuclear payload of up to 20 megatons, and could approach its target from any direction at any height within its operational limits. The missile could also take evasive action without losing guidance accuracy.

    But perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Snark was its ability to fly missions of up to 11 hours and return for a landing. Since the Snark was only destroyed if its warhead needed to impact a target, the missile itself could be flown again and again as conditions warranted.

    ....Alternately referred to as a pilotless bomber, the Snark cruise missile, designated SM-62A, had a large fuselage which could carry 26,000 pounds of liquid fuel

    Quote company Raytheon flies and lands a Federal Express 727 passenger jet six times on a military base in New Mexico, entirely by remote control and without a pilot on board. This is done to test equipment intended to make hijackings difficult, by allowing ground controllers to take over the flying of a hijacked plane.
    Several Raytheon employees with possible ties to this remote control technology and/or Raytheon’s Global Hawk program will be reported to have been on the hijacked 9/11 flights (see September 25, 2001). Earlier in the year, a specially designed Global Hawk plane flew from the US to Australia without pilots or passengers. [ITN, 4/24/2001]

    Quote :In the mid-seventies America faced a new and escalating crisis, with US commercial jets being hijacked for geopolitical reasons.

    Determined to gain the upper hand in this new form of aerial warfare, two American multinationals collaborated with the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) on a project designed to facilitate the remote recovery of hijacked American aircraft.

    Brilliant both in concept and operation, “Home Run” [not its real code name] allowed specialist ground controllers to listen in to cockpit conversations on the target aircraft, then take absolute control of its computerized flight control system by remote means. From that point onwards, regardless of the wishes of the hijackers or flight deck crew, the hijacked aircraft could be recovered and landed automatically at an airport of choice, with no more difficulty than flying a radio-controlled model plane.

  • Buying a new car without financing (ie: with cash)   1 day 3 hours ago

    Another thing that I've heard that the new car dealers are now doing is partnering with SiriusXm and Blue Link to put those in new cars with 3 months of free trials. But the catch is that if you are not interested in those things you can't just let them have to call them up to cancel before the 3 months have expired...and probably 14 days prior to that. Oh, and they hound you to death with phone calls to get you to subscribe. They automatically renew and they send you the bills if you don't cancel. This is pretty sneaky!! SiriusXm will cost about $163 a year (more like $200 if you want the all-inclusive package where you can listen on your computer or tablet) and that's not really very bad unless you really don't listen to SiriusXM. And Blue Link will cost you $99 per year per package...and they have 3 packages. I think most people can find that they don't need to start their car from the house and either heat or warm their cars from the house...that's part of one package..another is being able to contact the Blue Link center in case of emergencies...but it looks like you have to have it connected to your won't work with anything has to be an Iphone. That's kind of like Father Sarducci's Mr. Tea...put your cup in Mr. Tea...put in a tea bag in the upper chamber...then poor boiling water in the top...the tea comes out into the cup below. (that's an old Saturday live skit). And the third package has something to do with being able to remotely lock and unlock the is unclear if they mean that the little remote dongles don't work anymore, or the proximity dongles (same as the remote dongles) don't let you lock the car by pressing on the door handle button. You can't start the car without the proximity dongles being in the car with you because they don't use keys's push a button to start the car. if you don't pay $99 a might mean that you can't lock and unlock your car from a cell phone but the remote dongles may still work...hard to tell just what they mean. Marketing BS!!! But my friend told me that even without being connected to an iphone...they know exactly how many miles he has driven on a certain date because they sent him an email with the number of miles he had just driven. I'm sure they have lots of other data as exactly where and when he went there. Very spooky!!

  • Not Just Ferguson: Parasitical Police Profiteering Is Nationwide   1 day 4 hours ago

    The monetarization of the U.S. justice system is increasing in scope and intensity. Neoliberalism has the uncanny ability for monetarising every aspect of human interaction and then generating a market to reinforce extracting revenue from potential profit centers of activity. Secondary market business enterprises come into existence to sell consulting services to streamline and increase revenue collection. Washington Post journalists Michael Sallah, Robert O’Harrow Jr., and Steven Rich investigated this new financial after market industry to teach police officers how to extract assets from hapless drivers in the article, “ Stop and seize .” They quote one law enforcement officer of Kane County, Ill., Deputy, Ron Hain saying, “All of our home towns are sitting on a tax-liberating gold mine.” Once law enforcement organizations and supporting corporate entities become wealth extracting enterprises, it is nearly impossible to reverse the trend as these same organizations become powerful lobbying interest groups spending millions of dollars to maintain their market position. Policing for profit results in corrupting law enforcement and changing its social mission.

    The Washington post article looks at a few private corporations that teach police departments how to game citizens into giving up assets, usually cash, carried by automobile drivers fitting a pre-formulated personality profile. Desert Snow Inc. is a privately owned company started in 1989 by a California highway patrolman, Joe David. Officer Hain, previously quoted, is also a marketing specialist for Desert Snow based in Gutherie, Oklahoma that trains police in interdiction techniques and use of resource accessories like the Black Asphalt intelligence system for sharing information on potential suspects. Officer Hain founded Black Asphalt, an unofficial police network used to make highway seizures, which has 25,000 member officers involving 1,654 departments. These same companies receive federal grants from government security services and have trained more than 50,000 police officers in the last decade. Desert Snow Inc. has received in addition to these grants $2.5 million in training contracts from the DEA, Border Protection, and Immigration Enforcement departments according to the Washington Post article. There are other interdiction training companies such as 4:20 Group, Caltraps, Hits, Diamondback Training, and Global Counter-Smuggling Training Consultants. States that have used these officer-training services are Kanasa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Florida.

    The Washington Post found the following information about these search and seizure training companies, and government organizations:

    • There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.
    • Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.
    • Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.
    • Agencies with police known to be participating in the Black Asphalt intelligence network have seen a 32 percent jump in seizures beginning in 2005, three times the rate of other police departments. Desert Snow-trained officers reported more than $427 million in cash seizures during highway stops in just one five-year period, according to company officials. More than 25,000 police have belonged to Black Asphalt, company officials said.
    • State law enforcement officials in Iowa and Kansas prohibited the use of the Black Asphalt network because of concerns that it might not be a legal law enforcement tool. A federal prosecutor in Nebraska warned that Black Asphalt reports could violate laws governing civil liberties, the handling of sensitive law enforcement information and the disclosure of pretrial information to defendants. But officials at Justice and Homeland Security continued to use it.

Many innocent persons are caught in highway interdiction traffic stops resulting in civil seizures of property including carried cash that have no connection to illegal activity. State forfeiture laws allow police to seize cash that police believe is gained from selling drugs based on nothing, but mere suspicion. Small business owners carrying operating money and ministers transporting church funds have had their cash seized by police with no more evidence than the fact drivers had simple possession of the currency. Suspects in roadside stops are subject to interrogation, threat of arrest, vehicle impoundment, stranding on the roadside, and psychological intimidation. Drivers are told suing police to get seized funds returned will only result in expensive court cost exceeding the value of the funds seized. The roadside traffic stops become a de facto plea bargain by which the defendant signs an agreement not to sue the police for the seized property with the promise of releasing the driver. Many drivers simple sign the agreement.

The majority of seizure stops involve African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority drivers. According to the federal Equitable Sharing Program which takes a percentage of seized assets, there have been 212,000 seizures since 1996. The Washington Post’s research also estimates that since September 11th, 2001 asset seizures for roadside stops alone --excluding those at businesses and not involving warrants—account for 61,998 seizure cases. State forfeiture laws make a legal distinction between a person and their seized assets so that when any person does in fact challenge a civil seizure for $25,000 for example, the court documents titles the case as “United States of American, Plaintiff, vs. $25,000 in United States Currency, Defendant.” The defendant has to prove his innocence that the currency was legally obtained, rather than the prosecutor proving the defendant’s guilt.

During the last 50 years police have become militarized and more aggressive at the same time its primary motivations have been shifted to income maximization. New laws have been introduced, and old laws changed that make it easier to seize a citizen’s property without having them incur expensive court costs to have it returned. These changes have occurred slowly and without public involvement or scrutiny—much like the way stun guns were introduced for use in law enforcement. Privatized government functions based on Neoliberal ideology and combined with market principles have resulted in a huge change in the character of law enforcement, the courts, and prisons that extract wealth from communities and create an oppressed underclass of debt peons fearful of being arrested for unpaid fines, fees, and compounded interest penalties. Americans must become conscious, involved, persistent, and demanding that the American judicial system stop oppressive profiteering that degrade the lives of innocent citizens and which inflict unlimited compounding punishment upon those guilty of crime.


  • Not Just Ferguson: Parasitical Police Profiteering Is Nationwide   1 day 4 hours ago

    Unfortunately, Ferguson is not an isolated example of judicial profiteering, but represents a national trend in American courtrooms. Many Americans are unaware--until they have the misfortune of being arrested-- that the traditional American criminal courts have morphed into a Neoliberal tollbooth justice system supporting prison for profit financial models. Important court procedures are now itemized concessions the defendant must purchase to obtain a public defender, to have a jury trail, to complete a prison sentence, complete probation, or undergo court monitoring. A judicial system that was intended to regulate social behavior and achieve an internally stable and safe society now “externalizes” administrative costs to the very same internal citizenry. Imposing on an impoverished population reoccurring fines, fees, and penalties that charge interest that theoretically can compound ad infinitum creates a permanent underclass which in the long run makes society unstable and unsafe. Law enforcement is meant to protect the social welfare and not meant to externalize its organizational costs in pursuit of maximized profits which, by the way, is itself asocial behavior.

    NPR journalist Joseph Shapiro has researched exactly how widespread courts have adopted this toll booth model for funding administrative costs and its impact on low income people in the article, “As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price.” Surprisingly, most court systems in the United States have already shifted to charging defendants fees for legal defense, incarceration, parole, and court monitoring:

    • In at least 43 states and the District of Columbia, defendants can be billed for a public defender.
    • In at least 41 states, inmates can be charged room and board for jail and prison stays.
    • In at least 44 states, offenders can get billed for their own probation and parole supervision.
    • And in all states except Hawaii, and the District of Columbia, there's a fee for the electronic monitoring devices defendants and offenders are ordered to wear.
  • Shapiro found that Washington state charges a fee for a jury trial! A 12 person jury costs only $250, but a six person jury is discounted to half for the bargain hunting defendant. In Benton County, Washington, a guilty defendant can elect to do community service in place of paying fines, but even a community service assignment costs $5 a day. In the same state there is a 12% percent interest cost for all felony case fines, and fees until they are fully paid. And of course if any of these are not paid, or if there is any violation of probationary agreements, additional compounding penalty fees accrue. Benton County collected about $13 million in 2012 even though it failed to collect most that is owed by indebted defendants.

    Other states have accumulated large unpaid debts from Americans. Shapiro reports for example that the state of Philadelphia in 2011 found unpaid debts going back to the 1970s involving 320,000 people, or about 1 in 5 residents carrying a medium debt of $4,500. Shapiro also found that 1.2 million people in New York City have outstanding warrants that include unpaid court costs and fines.

    Sharpiro quotes a statistic from sociologist Alexes Harris at the University of Washington estimating that 80% to 85% of prison inmates released owe some prison costs. NPR’s historical research of U.S. prisons found that Michigan passed the first law in 1984 that charged prisoners for the cost of incarceration. Texas reported in 1990 that these prisoners’ fees have grown to represent half of the state’s probationary budget. Also, from 1970 to 1980 the U.S. prisoner population increased by 700 percent. Accordingly, the cost for running these prisons increased from $6 billion for all states to more than $67 billion in 2010. Notice that during this time period the Nixonian War on Crime and the Reagan War on Drugs were declared as national priorities for law enforcement that increased arrests and incarceration.

    Post continues below…

  • IRAQ: What Should We Do About ISIS?   1 day 6 hours ago
    Quote drc2:

    No trivialization of the victims or the "beheading," but the moral high ground of our criticism is not there. Bombing and droning is not "targeted" or "surgical." Occupation armies become brutal and wanton because the relationship with the pissed off occupied gets testy and people get killed.

    I don't trivialize what it meant for naive Americans to be sent to "serve" only to find themselves puking at the job they had to do or blowing away some Iraqis for causing them to be there. War is profane and corrupting even when it is about real defense of country, which not a whit of this shit is.

    Maybe they will go on to droppin nuns from airplanes into the sea. After raping them. Like our paid thugs did.

    Death is death whether by beheading, bullets, or shrapnel. France still used a guillotine until 1966. TX and UT still hanged until recently. Our 'friends' the Saudis still behead and amputate and stone based on accusations. They do give the condemned a blood coagulating agent so his/her blood doesn't spray the audience, when they hack their heads off. The stoned condemned get buried up to their waste so they can't curl into fetal protection.

    Our guys slaughtered priests along with the nuns. The clergy were for the people, our guys were for the corporations.

    Amy Goodman is interviewing an ex-IDF explaining why innocent Gazans were being mowed down with snipers. IDF claimed it was revenge for the 4 that Israel had found a week before but held to incite the emotions in Israelis that then burned alive Palestinian teens. Israel is our 'friend' too. Our cops shoot innocent people, Israelis burn alive innocent people, Arabs behead, our thugs tied innocent people in to a rope chain to dump into the sea like sausage links, but our guys were looking out for shareholders, so it was good.

    Dr Econ, you're no asshole, fox is, and anyone that defends them is.

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    Get. Money. Out.

    Last week, the United States Senate actually considered a constitutional amendment on campaign finance. Last Monday, the Senate advanced Tom Udall's proposed amendment, which would allow Congress to regulate money in politics. Seventy-nine senators voted to allow debate on the measure.