The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons | Global Research

The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons | Global Research

Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems. A March article by journalist and financial researcher Justin Rohrlich of World in Review is worth a closer look at the full implications of this ominous development. (minyanville.com)

The expanding use of prison industries, which pay slave wages, as a way to increase profits for giant military corporations, is a frontal attack on the rights of all workers.

Prison labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.

Labor in federal prisons is contracted out by UNICOR, previously known as Federal Prison Industries, a quasi-public, for-profit corporation run by the Bureau of Prisons. In 14 prison factories, more than 3,000 prisoners manufacture electronic equipment for land, sea and airborne communication. UNICOR is now the U.S. government’s 39th largest contractor, with 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries.

Read the entire article here- The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons | Global Research.

Advertisements

IRS delays issuing tax refunds; fiscal cliff to blame? – latimes.com

IRS delays issuing tax refunds; fiscal cliff to blame? – latimes.com.

by Walter Hamilton
February 8, 20136:00 a.m.

Don’t worry if you haven’t received your expected IRS tax refund. Most people haven’t — and the fiscal cliff is to blame.

The Internal Revenue Service is far behind its normal pace in processing federal tax returns and mailing billions of dollars in refunds, according to a new report.

Through Feb. 3, the agency sent out only about $4.3 billion in refunds, according to the analysis by Nicolas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group in new York.

That’s far behind the $26.9 billion in refunds issued at this point in 2012. That’s a difference of $22.6 billion.

And 2012 itself was a slow year because the IRS was grappling with security issues, according to Colas. Going back to 2005, the IRS normally has mailed $30 billion to $40 billion in refunds by this point.

This year’s delay is an unwelcome byproduct of Congress’ acrimonious standoff over the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of last year, according to Colas. The IRS had to wait for the year-end jockeying to conclude before it could determine exact tax policy and print the appropriate forms.

The agency only began accepting returns from individual taxpayers on Jan. 30. And those with more complicated returns — such as small businesses claiming depreciation credits and families with educational write-offs — won’t even be able to file for several more weeks because the applicable forms aren’t ready yet.

Aside from the annoyance for people awaiting a return of their money, the delay could weigh on the economy in the early part of 2013.

About 80 million filers, or 58% of the total, get money back each year, Colas wrote. The average refund is $2,927, or an entire month of take-home pay for a family earning the median annual income of $50,054 (assuming a 20% tax hit).

As Colas points out, $22.6 billion equates to 900,000 new cars at $25,000 each or 113,000 new homes at $200,000 each.

“This is real money to most American households,” Colas wrote.

 

Members of Congress Introduce Historic Bills to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol at the Federal Level | Common Dreams

                            

Members of Congress Introduce Historic Bills to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol at the Federal Level.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2013
4:17 PM

CONTACT: Marijuana Policy Project

Morgan Fox
Communications Manager
Marijuana Policy Project
Office: (202) 905-2031
mfox@mpp.org

Members of Congress Introduce Historic Bills to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol at the Federal Level

WASHINGTON – February 5 – Members of Congress introduced bills Tuesday to end marijuana prohibition and start regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the federal level.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, which would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol at the federal level. It would also remove marijuana from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and place it in the jurisdiction of a renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms, and Explosives.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Marijuana Tax Equity Act, which would create a federal excise tax on the sale of marijuana similar to that imposed on the sale of alcohol. It would also require occupational taxes for those engaged in the industry.

“Marijuana prohibition has proven to be just as ineffective, wasteful, and problematic as alcohol prohibition,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol will take marijuana sales away from cartels and the criminal market and put them in the hands of legitimate, tax-paying businesses.”

“Voters and elected officials nationwide are fed up with laws that criminalize adults simply for using a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” Fox said.

In November, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and directing state regulatory bodies to create regulations for businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults. Bills to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol have been introduced this year in the Hawaii and New Hampshire state legislatures, and lawmakers in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont are expected to bring forward similar legislation.

A record high 58% of Americans think marijuana should be made legal, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 of last year. A USA Today/Gallup poll released in December found that 63% of Americans believe the federal government should not interfere in the implementation of state marijuana laws such as those approved in Washington and Colorado.

In light of the growing momentum behind efforts to regulate marijuana like alcohol at the state and federal levels, the nation’s largest marijuana-policy-reform organization, the Marijuana Policy Project, has changed the name of its federal political action committee from the “MPP Medical Marijuana PAC” to the “Marijuana Policy Project PAC.”

“The re-naming of our PAC reflects the new reality in Washington, D.C.,” Fox said. “Following the passage of the initiatives to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in Colorado and Washington last November, there is finally significant momentum in Congress behind ending marijuana prohibition across the board at the federal level.”

“The introduction of the two new bills this week is evidence of this philosophical shift,” Fox said. “While we are obviously still committed to protecting medical marijuana patients and providers, our PAC’s new name reflects our broader mission in Congress. The end of marijuana prohibition is coming, and we plan to support elected officials and candidates who favor the repeal of this unfair, irrational, and wasteful policy.”

###

With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Post Office Shows Why America Is Doomed – Business Insider

Post Office Shows Why America Is Doomed – Business Insider.

The Post Office Fiasco Shows Why America Is Doomed

THE United States Postal Service has made a perfectly sensible decision. In light of the move by most Americans to electronic mail and online bill pay, it will no longer deliver the post on Saturdays. The volume of mail has plummeted over the past five years, and the service is deep in the red. Taking Saturdays off will save it about $2 billion a year. It’s a smart move. But the way it came about is a portent of doom.

The Postal Service has been asking to move to five-day delivery for some time. They’ve been supported in this effort by a large majority of Americans. One need only look at the examples of Canada, Sweden, Australia or Germany (where Saturday delivery is charged extra) to see the non-disastrous effects of such a policy. Few reforms to major institutions are so popular and obvious.

Unfortunately for the Postal Service, this is but a baby step in the right direction. The whole concept behind the service is broken. Over three-quarters of America’s post offices do not turn a profit. The requirement to deliver anywhere and everywhere in America, at a set price, is a noose around its neck. Congress, meanwhile, is pulling on its feet, requiring the service to pre-pay health-care obligations for retirees well into the future. But this is not why we are doomed.

We are doomed because last year the House and Senate considered separate measures aimed at reforming the Postal Service. Neither of them made it out of Congress. The farther-reaching House bill never came to a vote. The Senate bill passed, but was not taken up by the House. And, really, it wasn’t a reform bill at all. Rather, it delayed the reforms sought by the service, and put off a decision on Saturday delivery for two years. Even with the American people pushing at their backs, the senators could not take that baby step. The service had to use some dubious legal reasoning to finally pull off the move.

Consider that for a moment. Most people don’t rate mail delivery as one of their top concerns. It isn’t the third rail of American politics. Yet Congress could not even pass a reform supported by seven in ten Americans. Now consider America’s attitude towards Social Security,Medicare and Medicaid. Those programs, primarily the health-related ones, will bankrupt the country if they’re not changed or taxes aren’t raised. No workable solution has anywhere near the backing of 70% of Americans. And the debate over what to do about them is highly charged. Does anyone truly believe Congress is up to the challenge?

(Photo credit: AFP)

%d bloggers like this: