Professor of Political Science and Law, Bernard Harcourt explores the exponential increase in imprisonment in the US and the irony of our touting freedom and the free market when we have a higher rate of imprisonment than any other country — a full one percent of the adult population!
Professor Harcourt, chairman of the University of Chicago Department of Political Science and Julius Kreeger Professor of Law, discusses his new book, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard 2011) and examines the profound tragedy of needlessly long sentences and unnecessary prison violence and cruelty. He points out parallel populations in custody before the widespread deinstitutionalization of mental patients starting in the 50’s with similar numbers currently imprisoned for crime. He also demonstrates the racial discrimination that infuses the system.
Professor Harcourt sat down to discuss his book for the Manhattan Public Access Cable TV daily morning program, Truth For A Change. The discussion makes clear that the same people who demand freedom from government regulation for business of any kind and the freedom from having to pay any government ANY taxes, want government to over-regulate individual behavior, including but not limited to such things as; harmless drug use, alternative lifestyles, gay marriage, having a choice of energy providers, right to abortion, right to birth control methods, equal pay for women, freedom to travel internationally, nationalizing companies, freedom to sue companies, etc.
In the eyes of most Conservatives, government is bad and must be shrunk down to NOTHING, including police, parks, firefighters, schools, roads, bridges, electrical distribution system, railroads, and all other government functions, just to name a few…
At the same time, the paradoxical belief system of Conservatives (plus Democrats) is that the government controlled military (which is now a government/private for profit corporation partnership) is great, so this must be expanded and grown. So why is government ‘bad’ everywhere, except that the government inside the military industrial complex is ‘good’, so it must be grown and given more money, control and power, at the cost of sacrificing almost all other government programs, including ‘entitlements’?
At the same time, jails must be filled and more must be built, and the government justice system and prison system must be grown in order to punish supposed criminals, especially those who take drugs of ANY kind. Where did the ‘free market’ disappear to in this area? Could this have anything to do with the monopoly control of the for profit drug industry, which does not want any competition to high priced and VERY profitable pharmaceutical drugs?
Why is it that the government must be GROWN and we must do away with the Constitution in order to punish people who drink, smoke and take drugs? Prohibition did not work, and drug laws do not work either. Anti smoking laws would also not work.
Trying to enforce these Draconion laws plus fight the never ending terrorist wars, with a heavily armed permanent military/police state means we have do away with the Constitution, all of our freedoms and rights under the Bill of Rights, and that is exactly what is happening, one step at a time.
Why is it that Portugal and Denmark have no problems with ANY drug users and allow them to do what they want in a ‘free market’, but here in the USA, a free market is NOT ALLOWED and those who try to use or sell drugs are PUNISHED severely?
Another thing that has been ignored since around 1995, is the enforcement of corporate anti-trust laws, which were designed to foster competition, free market forces and to bust up monopolies (a monopoly is anti-free market).
How is it that these huge monopolistic behemoth global corporations keep concentrating power and monopolistic control, while diminishing democracy, free market dynamics and freedom, both in mass media, government, and the market place? When did the enforcement of anti trust laws disappear?
Because these global corporations control the mass media, they also control what gets on TV. So they can keep putting on news, discussions and ‘experts’ who claim and talk all about how government is bad, regulations are bad, especially when it comes to corporations. It is very rare or non existent to see anyone with a different opinion on mass media, corporate controlled TV saying anything different.
But when it comes to individual freedoms and rights, those are also ‘bad’ and more people must be punished, especially those who are poor, downtrodden and needing help. The same corporate controlled, mass media outlets air lots of ‘experts’ and news about how bad it is to give anyone any help, by labeling compassion as ‘entitlements’, which are demonized and viciously attacked at every opportunity.
But in the same breath, those same news journalists and TV shows will extol the benefits of giving taxpayer money to huge monopolies making record profits, while taking it away from the disabled, the poor, the elderly and the mentally ill. Saying that an oil company should not get subsidies while they are racking in billions in record profits, while paying ZERO taxes is met with the argument that taking away these subsidies would be like ‘raising taxes’.
Back in 1995, the FCC did not allow corporations to own more than 40 media outlets, but now ClearChannel owns over 1,500 media outlets. How did this change? Who allowed this? When did this anti-trust legislation get abolished?
When did citizens agree to this hostile takeover of public airwaves that are supposed to be held in trust for the benefit of future generations? When just a few corporations can control the media, government and information, the people can EASILY be manipulated and brainwashed with propoganda that poses as ‘news’ .
Nowadays, the public can be kept in the dark about what is REALLY going on, by being fed a steady stream of crime/violence/star minutia, a royalty focus and never ending faux reality and dance shows.
The public can be shown ads for a never ending stream of the latest, greatest things for sale, which are also sold by just a few large corporations, who control almost all of this supposedly ‘free’ market.
Did you know that 10 huge global corporations control and manipulate most of the global ‘free’ market? Does this sound like a ‘free market’ to you? Here are the ten corporations that control most of the world’s marketplace, while masquerading as hundreds of ‘brands’ that give the illusion of ‘choice’ and a ‘free market’. So who is behind this monopoly control of the global marketplace?
The next step is to pull back the curtain on the ‘owners’ of this small and secretive 1% that manipulate and pull the strings not only in and through the mass media, which they also own and control.
There are just a few people who run the world and issue edicts of how things will be in the future…They are called the 1%.
Would it surprise you to know that this small group of males who control most of the world’s wealth and power is called the Bilderberger Group? They make up the 1% of the 1%.
The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an annual, unofficial, invitation-only conference of approximately 120 to 140 guests from North America and Western Europe, most of whom are people of influence. About one-third are from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labour, education and communications. Meetings are closed to the public. Historically, attendee lists have been weighted towards bankers, politicians, and directors of large businesses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilderberg_Group
The question to ask is; if this group is truly representing the people’s interest, why is it secretive and not open to reporters? Why is the agenda secret and not disclosed? Why are representatives from non profits, environmental groups, environmental scientists, indigenous people’s representatives, women’s groups and community organizations not invited?
Transparency is not a thing to be feared and avoided if the people’s interest is truly served. If these people who attend this meeting really represented the 99%, they would not be meetings held in secret. Rather, these meetings would be broadcast LIVE on all TV channels, reported on in newspapers, and they would serve the NEEDS of the 99%, not the 1% representing the 1%..
Typically, secretive meetings held by the 1%, serve only the interests of the 1%, and hurt the interests of the 99%. The 1% can be recognized by the fact that they claim to represent the ‘free market’, but in reality, they actually represent the 1%, top down, male dominated, hierarchical, sociopathic and narcissistic upper class.
Universally, the 1% all claim to be the ‘solution’ and the ‘answer’, while pointing at all of the rest of the 1% who are doing all of the bad things that mess things up. None of them see their role in being the root of the problem.
The Illusion Of The ‘Free Market’ – Paradox Of State Punishing People For Drug Use; via A Green Road
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GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND THE 1%; THE ART AND SCIENCE OF DECEPTION