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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prison Labor Re-Education Camps For Welfare Recipients?

Absolutely if this guy gets his way. Republican candidate for N.Y. governor Carl Paladino has said that he would like to send welfare recipients to go live in vacant prison cells and do work for the state. While he says the program would be voluntary, the public support for re-education labor camps, especially among Tea-Party activists is nothing short of disturbing. Has history taught us nothing?

"Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said.

Re-education camps for the victims of failed leadership and economic policy. People are not poor because they don't know how to brush their teeth or fill out a job application. If we are really that bad off then perhaps he should invest instead in the public school system rather than this hare-brained idea.

The truth of the matter is that most folks on welfare are your average everyday working class Americans who do not fit the stereotype that seems to be filling the heads of an ignorant and privileged section of society. According to the state, food-stamp eligibility has doubled since the recession began. This means that a huge section of working-class Americans just suddenly drowned in poverty. And this guy's solution is to send them to re-education camps? These are not lazy people, these are not people unwilling to work, these are not people without education and skills. These are people who were working and suddenly found themselves no longer able to get by after being laid off, forced into a lower paying job, or simply no longer able to afford food on the pay they were earning all along as the purchasing power of the dollar is falling through the floor. Saying that he wants to “teach people how to earn their check” is nothing short of an insult to the intelligence of every registered voter. These people don't need to be taught how to work, they need jobs so that they can work. They need jobs that pay enough to keep up with the high cost of living in NY. Even if some folks might actually benefit from new job skills, it hardly does anyone any good if there is no job at which to apply those new skills.

Where does Paladino get off assuming that someone who is poor comes from a dysfunctional home? Or that a dysfunctional home creates poverty for that matter. There are plenty of dysfunctional homes in America these days that are getting by just fine financially, but maybe if there were jobs available that paid enough to keep food on the dinner table and the lights turned on, other families wouldn't be so dysfunctional. Not to mention the fact that there are many complete families, with values and morals, who have been shoved into poverty through no fault of their own and who need public assistance for the basic necessities of life. But what is this man's answer to their plight? To break up the family and send people to the far corners of the state to go live in a prison cell.

Here are a few videos on poverty, and what causes poverty:

Poverty USA

Money as Debt

Paladino then goes on to describe how beautiful prisons are saying, "These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities."

Wow, now that is impressive. Toilets and basketball courts. Don't find many of those in a city. Should be enough to lure any young person away from their friends and family. There were pretty flowers along the fence line at Auschwitz too. Yes, that was sarcasm friends. What he is really setting out to do here is remove the most energetic and resourceful segment of a rightfully pissed off down-trodden inner-city society, and ship them off to secure facilities in the countryside where they will be exploited as a menial labor force for the state. Or, more alarmingly, “for military service” as he stated, along with park service and public works service. If he was really interested in helping under-privileged inner-city youth he could invest in programs that are already established, like Job Corps, instead of putting them in the hands of prison guards who will be trained to double as “counselors.” Most prison guards don't even have a college education, yet he expects to qualify them as sociologists? One could hardly imagine the two lines of work being at all compatible, or that a prison guard would even have the aptitude for sociology. Kind of like telling an combat infantryman to run a daycare center.

Clearly this is not about what is in the interests of the people who need the most help. It is clear that Paladino wants a slave labor force for the state. Not really slavery you say? Because they are being paid with welfare benefits for food, and are given a prison cell painted over as a “dorm?” Well this may come as a surprise to some folks, but even slave owners in the old South actually fed, clothed, and housed their slaves as well. Okay, aside from that though, maybe calling it slavery is a bit of an exaggeration. What we can call it though, is a textbook example of Communism. A 6x9 concrete room with a steel bunk and some generic chemically-fortified food-like substances provided by the state, in exchange for daily menial labor and/or military service to the state. A stripped-down bare-bones version of Communism at that.

com·mu·nism
a system of social organization in which economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a self-perpetuating political party.


Of course we have not one, but the appearance of two dominant political parties here in the U.S. Democrats and Republicans. But when you see things like a supposedly liberal President implement a far-right corporatist-fascist mandatory health-plan, and this so-called conservative candidate for NY governor aggressively endorsing Communism, it should make you stop and think for a second, rather than listening to the garbage the media hands us. Stop and wonder for a moment why we don't have any independent or alternative party politicians, and why a Libertarian like Ron Paul was blackballed by the media in his bid for the Presidency. Because it is a self-perpetuating system that transcends any one political party or another. The media is on it, the banks are driving it, and the corporations are funding it. The two-party system is a sham, and millionaire candidate Carl Paladino is just another cog in the wheel of this agenda to undermine the working class. It is in his interest as a wealthy man, to protect that wealth, and to further the agenda of elitists that would have us all in concentration camps doing forced labor for table scraps. How else could one explain a Tea Party conservative taking people away from their families to taxpayer-funded facilities for re-education like a page out Red Dawn?

Speaking of funding, he didn't say where the money would come from, but suggested that prisons could be consolidated to make room for welfare recipients. For years politicians have been telling us that the prisons are far too overcrowded. That we need to build more prisons. That violent predators are loosed on society before they have served their full terms because there is no space to hold them in prison. The United States already has more if its own people living in prison than any other country in the world, including Communist China. And they have about four times the general population that we have. The US has a full 25% of the world's total prison population. So where exactly are all these empty prison cells Mr. Paladino?

Uh-oh. Maybe the conspiracy-theorists weren't so crazy after all when they were talking about mysterious vacant prison camps springing up all over the country. About 800 of them by some accounts. Here are a few random links from a quick Google search on the topic:

PrisonPlanet - New Legislation Authorizes FEMA Camps In U.S.

American Concentration Camps

FEMA Concentration Camps: Locations and Executive Orders

Google Video: Fema Camp

PDF File - Army Regulation 210–35 (Installations) Civilian Inmate Labor Program

The powers that be don't like to move to fast or make things too obvious though. So they creep along, reaching small goals incrementally, in true boiled-frog-syndrome fashion. Similar to the way the Nazis did it. They didn't come right out and say “hey, we're gonna round up all the Jews and exterminate them in death camps.” First the Jews were squeezed into smaller and smaller urban ghettos, until finally the time was ripe to put them on trains and ship them to labor camps out in the countryside. And from there, many went on to actual extermination camps. There aren't any death squads about to start marching after the next election, and it is doubtful that Paladino's idea would really get very far very fast even he were elected governor, but what is truly scary at this point is the public reaction to his idea. That so many people in a country like America would actually support something like this. Today, the powers that be are using Paladino to sort of test the waters if you will, to measure the political viability of labor camps, and to gauge public reaction. But you can bet your bottom dollar that we are being nudged in that direction. In a matter of years this sort of thing will be implemented, as the poor are more aggressively vilified by folks who are too scared to admit that they too could wind up losing everything. You better just hope that you haven't taken the tumble and wound up on the welfare rolls by then, as the purchasing power of the dollar continues to plummet, as more and more jobs dry up, as more and more people lose their homes, as more and more motels are converted to homeless shelters. Despite what some media sources try to tell us, there is no economic recovery in the horizon. This is it folks, get used to it.

Here are a few links to articles that reported on Paladino's plan to implement re-education forced labor camps:

Poughkeepsie Journal

Yahoo News

ThinkProgress


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