Profiteering From Prisons: The Cost of Reading

Posted on: Tue, 02/18/2020 - 11:05 By: Tom Swiss
prisoner reading

Incarceration is a racket. We've heard a lot the past few years about how awful privately owned prisons are, but an underexplored issue is the profiteering of vendors of inmate services. From telecommunication companies that charge outrageous fees to let inmates speak to their families (or lawyers!), to charging inmates by the minute to read books, it's a wealth transfer from the bottom to the top. Capitalism at its finest.

VA Dems Serve Their Corporate Masters

Posted on: Sun, 02/16/2020 - 21:30 By: Tom Swiss
Ralph Northham

Virginia was one of the first sates to enact a so-called "right to work" law, undermining unions by allowing workers to enjoy the benefits of unionized bargaining without paying their fair dues.

The General Assembly was considering a bill to repeal the "right-to-work" law, but it turns out the Democrat's bosses were not happy with that:

"Michael Bloomberg is the only Democratic contender who might actually be worse than Trump."

Posted on: Sat, 02/15/2020 - 10:51 By: Tom Swiss
photo of Michael Bloomberg

At Jacobin, Ross Barkan details the awfulness of Michael Bloomberg: authoritarian crack-downs on protestors (the 2004 Republican convention, Occupy Wall Street), racist stop-and-frisk and surveillance of Muslim communities, support for the criminal invasion of Iraq, apologetics for China and Saudi Arabia, and policies that increased inequality and economic injustice.

It is shameful that the Democrats are even considering this guy.

Nashville Courts Sued for Using Bail As Down Payments For Fines

Posted on: Sat, 02/15/2020 - 10:08 By: Tom Swiss
generic criminal justice image

The purpose of bail is to help ensure that a defendant shows up for trial. But in a bold new way to wring money out of poor defendants, Davidson County, Tennessee (the county corresponding to the city of Nashville), the courts are taking that money as a down payment on fines the defendant may owe if convicted. This means that if family or friends help someone make bail, they're not just putting their money on their relative or friend showing up for their day court, they are gambling against conviction.

Bloomberg's Muslim Surveillance

Posted on: Thu, 02/13/2020 - 16:08 By: Tom Swiss
Michael Bloomberg

A whole lot of Democrats seem to have forgotten -- or, hypocritically to their protests against Trump's "Muslim ban", not care -- that under Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg's administration, the New York Police Department sent undercover informants into Muslim communities, and engaged in video surveillance and recorded license plate numbers of mosque attendees, for no reason other than these these folks were Muslims.

MSNBC's Sandersphobia

Posted on: Thu, 02/13/2020 - 13:39 By: Tom Swiss
Bernie Sanders

That Sanders's surge is discomfiting the MSNBC crowd is a pleasant thing to contemplate, but in practical terms it may end up a significant obstacle.

Bernie Sanders Has an MSNBC Problem (The New Republic)

Sanders has framed himself as an outsider, taking on the political establishment as a democratic socialist. But as he has surged in the polls—he now leads Biden with all voters—he is increasingly running up against another establishment: the media, and particularly cable news.

School Called Cops On Down Syndrome Kindergartner For Finger Gun

Posted on: Thu, 02/13/2020 - 00:28 By: Tom Swiss
Margot Gaines and her parents

On the one hand we have "open carry" protestors who think it's cool to walk around with uncovered rifles on city streets as if they were on a battlefield; on their other we have hoplophobes so panicked by the dread image of The Gun that they will call the police on a kindergartner -- a kindergartner with Down Syndrome, yet. Laws aside, maybe -- just maybe -- we could find a sweet spot in between these extremes in our social attitude towards firearms.

Biden Was Always A Bad Candidate

Posted on: Wed, 02/12/2020 - 14:11 By: Tom Swiss
Joe Biden

I was honestly surprised to see Biden come in so weak in Iowa and New Hampshire. But maybe I shouldn't have been. As Jonathan Chait points out, in three Presidential runs Biden has never finished higher than fourth in any primary or caucus.

(It is a bit of schadenfreude to see people like Chait -- a pro-war, pro-charter school Democrat who supported Trump's nomination in 2016 on the "he'll be easy to beat" theory -- discomfited by Biden's crash and Sanders's rise.)

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