Prisoners in paper(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)Last week I wrote about the private prison company The GEO Group and how allowing private businesses to operate prisons can affect our justice system, our laws and the fate of our prison population. This week, I will tackle the largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and its unprecedented proposal to buy prisons from money-strapped states, as well as how CCA has gamed the system with trips through the revolving door, self-dealing and influence peddling. Just to set the stage as to how large the prison population is in the United States: our prison population is the highest in the world; one out of 100 US residents are in prison. This number has grown dramatically since 1990, due to tighter crime laws and longer sentences. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), "Between 1970 and 2005, the number of people incarcerated in the United States grew by 700 percent. Today, the United States incarcerates approximately 2.3 million people."
Marijuana plant(Photo: Bob Doran) Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rights experts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy. There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past. However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:
In this issue, our team gives its anticipations regarding the future of the United States for the 2012-2016 period. We recall that since 2006 and the first GEAB issues, LEAP/E2020 described the global systemic crisis as a phenomenon characterizing the end of the world as we know it since 1945, marking the collapse of the American pillar on which this world order has rested for nearly seven decades. Since 2006, we had identified the period 2011-2013 as that during which the “Dollar Wall” on which the power of the United States sits would fall apart. Summer 2011, with the cut in the United States’ credit rating by S & P, marked an historic turning point and confirmed that the “impossible” (1) was indeed in the process of coming true. Therefore today, it seems essential to provide our subscribers with a clear anticipatory vision of what awaits the “pillar” of the world before the crisis at the point when the crisis moved into “top gear” in summer 2011 (2). The future of the USA - 2012-2016 (Part 3) - The breakdown of the US socio-political fabric
A recently published study in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity confirms that the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster reached Europe (Lithuania), and included plutonium, the most deadly manmade element (nanogram for nanogram) in existence. According to the study's authors the radionuclide concentrations measured indicate there was "long-range air mass transport from Japan across the Pacific, the North America and the Atlantic Ocean to Central Europe as indicated by modelling." What this means is that every region under the jet stream -- which includes half of the planet north of its equator -- could have been exposed to some degree of plutonium fallout.
How Does America Compare to China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Other Repressive Regimes? Top constitutional law expert Jon Turley notes in a must-read Washington Post article called “We are no longer the land of the free” (I have edited slightly to remove parentheses in several places): Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
WELCOME TO the delusional world of the super-rich--where too much is never enough, and enough is more wealth than any individual in the history of the world has ever possessed. According to the mantra of political leaders in both parties, lower taxes on the super-rich are good for all of us. The assumption is that the rich create jobs for the rest of us, they bravely bear the risks of investing in these fragile economic times, and their oh-so-generous philanthropy helps the less privileged. Of course, the truth is that the 1 percenters have trillions stashed away in offshore tax havens that do nothing to create jobs, that governments bailouts insulate the super-rich from the bearing the brunt of the Great Recession, and that statistics show working people contribute a larger portion of their incomes to charity.
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