Abuse: The Parade of Trauma and Misery

Abuse: The Parade of Trauma and Misery.

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USPS Perils Are No Accident

USPS Perils Are No Accident.

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New Blog!

We are still blowing the whistle on corporacracy here !! come on over and comment and share!

 

url: http://www.gmwalto.wordpress.com

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Prison Labor

I came across this particularly disturbing video today, which outlines the prison labor force in the United States. The prisoner workforce is touted as a cost effective alternative to outsourcing jobs to other countries, yet this ignores the fact that the whole issue with outsourcing jobs is taking away American jobs, which private prisons does not combat, as it simply forces (prisoner work is mandatory) certain groups of Americans to serve large corporations for extremely low pay. So these corporations essentially own this workforce that they get to rent out to other companies for a price. The most troubling part of this whole system is that these prison corporations spend millions of dollars a year on lobbying in order to ensure that these prisons are kept as full as possible. Americans are being put behind bars who would otherwise not be except for the increasingly harsh penalties which are paid for by these private prison corporations. This is no more than a nefarious plan to maintain a slave labor force.

I asked in a post the other day, “who is collecting the debt to society?”, and the answer is: these bloated, greedy corporations, who steal freedom to make profit. How can this system, which is blatantly broken, be persisting–and GROWING–in a country that claims to be concerned with human rights? The answer is a lack of awareness and misinformation pushed by these enormous corporations.

Spread the word! These private prison corporations put forth a wealth of misleading stats that suggest that they might do a better job than the government when it comes to rehabilitating our citizens, however, the raw facts suggest that the only thing that they are more effective at is making money for themselves at the expense of all others and infringing upon human rights.

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Mitch McConnell Flip Flop

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Not so long ago Senetor Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) agrued we need to embrace public disclosure of campaign contributions so that “voters can judge for themselves what is appropriate.” However, just last week McConnell turned his back on his 1987 statements supporting the idea that voters need to understand how and what influences our elected officials.

Instead, McConnell is leading the fight against the DISCLOSE act that would plug legal loopholes that allow campaigns to keep their donors anonymous. He now argues that disclosing the multi-million dollar donations from corporations and millionaires (and billionaires) to groups running political attack ads is somehow a violation of free speech rights. As Donald Cohen from the Cry Wolf Project puts it, this means, “informed democracy is, well, anti-democratic.”

Even forward thinking laws fail to anticipate the complex schemes of corporations and the wealthy that pump money into American politics. Tax exempt groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce are taking advantage of blind spots in the U.S. tax code. This allows these groups to run “issue based” attack ads without being subjected to the donor disclosure requirements by the Federal Elections Commission that candidates and independent political expenditure campaigns must follow.

While most of the donations are done in secret, some have been made public by investigative journalists, political watchdog groups and, in some case, voluntary disclosures. For example, Aetna Insurance gave more than $3 million last year to the American Action Network that spent millions attacking Obama’s health care bill. American Electric Power gave $1 million last November to the new Founding Fund, set up by former Koch Industries staffers whose lobbying firm represents Wal-Mart and the American Chemistry Council. The Chamber of Commerce has received millions from corporations including Prudential Financial, Merck and Dow Chemical to fund the Chamber’s $50 million political advertising budget this year.

Without enforced disclosure rules, these groups provide anonymity for America’s wealthiest and most well-known corporations as they spend millions on fighting reasonable clean air laws, consumer protection against predatory lending, and lots of other common sense safeguards for consumers, workers, and the environment.

Is it safe to assume they’re hiding something if they don’t want their donations to be disclosed? “Their real concern is that informed voters will reject the power grab of the already too powerful, just as consumers rejected unsafe and unhealthy food, dangerous toys and risky drugs once the ingredients and dangers were disclosed by earlier laws,” says Cohen.

Democracy is threatened when voters don’t know who’s behind multi-million dollar political attack ads. It restricts the ability to evaluate the content of the ads, understand the motivations of the ad buyers,  and slashes the insight on what they hope to gain .

Opinion polls show that Americans believe that government serves the interests of the wealthy and powerful over the needs of the many. Disclosing who is paying for these attack ads would make clear just how true that is and therefore just might influence how people vote. In the end, the secrecy campaign is a straightforward effort to preserve and protect corporate power and influence. It’s about winning in politics and success in the marketplace.

(Donald Cohen is the director of the Cry Wolf Project via Huffington Post)

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Sherrod Brown: Blowing the whistle on private tyrants

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D) is up for re-election, and the campaign against him is big. But the campaign is not comprised of private American citizens; it is comprised of Wall Street banks, major insurance companies, and drug manufacturers. These enormous special interests groups see Senator Brown as a threat to their businesses, and they are doing whatever it takes to keep him from continuing his crusade against them.

The most visible threat is posed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a front for corporations that many people seem to think is a part of the U.S. government. Well, it may as well be these days – so many of the Chamber’s donors support the campaigns of puppet politicians that it seems to be an official fundraiser. The link above shows some of the largest donors to the Chamber – Merck, Citigroup, and Microsoft.

Why is Senator Brown such a prime target for these entities? Mr. Brown is attempting to do exactly what the majority of Americans want – return jobs to the U.S., secure healthcare coverage for citizens, and reduce the stranglehold that major corporations have on the economy as a whole. The idea of losing power scares the hell out of these companies’ leaders, and for that Sherrod Brown is their enemy- which makes him a good friend of ours.

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Voter ID Laws: Minimizing Fraud or Maximizing Disenfranchisement?

Voter ID laws are the subject of much debate in the country right now. Supporters of the laws, which require voters to display identification when they vote to verify their identities, say that the laws will minimize the amount of fraud that can be committed by posing as others and voting multiple times. But those who oppose the laws insist that enforcing such a requirement will disenfranchise those people who cannot acquire valid identification in time to vote without enduring financial hardship (we all know how difficult it is to renew a driver’s license during the work week!).

But now new accusations are surfacing in Pennsylvania: State Senator Daylin Leach, a Democrat, summed up his view on Republican support for a proposed voter ID law: “If you have to stop people voting to win elections, your ideas suck.”

David Leach

The accusation against Republcans seems somewhat valid – these voter ID laws are only being introduced in states were Republicans typically have a tough fight on their hands – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and South Carolina. Then again, this could be a response to the trend of dead people voting for Democrats, and just an attempt to even the playing field.

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