The Weekly Watch

Prisoners in a Corrupt System

The US is a prison state...5% of the world's population and 25% of the incarcerated people on the planet. About a quarter of prisoners are serving time for non-violent drug offenses. Even outside of prison, people are imprisoned within a system blind to their needs because of the sole quest for ever more profit. American citizens can be swept up and sent to black site prisons in another country if they are accused of being a terrorist (including eco-terrorist). Police kill with impunity especially people of color. Hell you can stalk a black kid, shoot them, and claim stand your ground immunity in America...poor Trevon, guilty of being black. Our young people are imprisoned under a mountain of debt they accumulated in obtaining a mediocre education we told them they must have in order to be successful. It is time to escape this prison...

I am not a number, I am a free man!
(1 min)
You can become a prisoner of the entire series “The Prisoner

My focus this week on imprisonment was a result of my visit to the Legacy Museum. (2.7 min)
The museum sits between the old slave market and the river dock where so many Africans were imported.

Bryan Stevenson is the director of the Equal Justice Institute and is the lead developer of the museum and a new peace and justice memorial (which I hope to visit tomorrow). (7 min)

The evolution of slavery in America (6 min)

More on how slavery moved to the prisons, the (1.3 hour) Netflix documentary 13th ,
about the 13th amendment

To better understand US prisons today watch this documentary - The Prison in Twelve Landscapes. In the Legacy museum they have a faux visitors center where you pick up a phone and visit with a inmate (actor?). The story I heard was from a female inmate who was raped in the first week of her sentence. She became pregnant. She never saw her baby that was taken from her. This film has similar stories from twelve locations across the US. (2 min trailer)
official site -

Ben Norton speaks with Nino Brown, of the Jericho Movement and ANSWER Coalition about prisons and political prisoners.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, for-profit companies were responsible for approximately 7 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal prisoners in 2015 (the most recent numbers currently available). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that in 2016, private prisons held nearly three-quarters of federal immigration detainees. Private prisons also hold an unknown percentage of people held in local jails in Texas, Louisiana, and a handful of other states. While supporters of private prisons tout the idea that governments can save money through privatization, the evidence is mixed at best—in fact, private prisons may in some instances cost more than governmental ones. These private prisons have also been linked to numerous cases of violence and atrocious conditions.

Julian Assange is a prisoner for telling the truth...we can't have that! Ecuador is caving to US pressure.
At least there are calls in Australia to free Julian


While Julian is imprisoned in the embassy for telling us the truth, we are imprisoned in a web of deceit by the corporate media in order to insure ever more profit. Wrapping the loss of net neutrality with mass mergers insures an ever stronger wall between people and relevant information. Jeff Cohen of and FAIR explains ...
(2 parts in video or text)
Jimmy, Ron, and Stef explain the loss of net neutrality... (12 min)

Consider for a moment the Awan story. Here's a Pakistani spy ring in congress hired by the democrats, and not a word from the corporate media. Don't you find that curious? Here's one of the few reporters covering the story, Luke Rosiak. He suggests it is about politics, I smell something more nefarious - like CIA and other agencies. (40 min)

Americans might want to learn how to take Chomsky’s challenge—imagine ourselves in others’ situation—before it’s too late to imagine anything at all.


We are imprisoned by a corporitized education system, designed to train citizens to be submissive, obedient, propagandized, and in debt. Lawmakers continue the trend...

Our SoE Betsy DeVos is dedicated to destroying public schools...

A new law about to pass in North Carolina would direct even more taxpayer money into funding charter schools that by design, if not by intent, lead to more racial segregation of school children.

The curriculum is slanted to make America seem great...and you better not question it!
Teachers are protesting the historical changes (5 min from SLC Utah)

Eliot Wigginton, originator of Foxfire, fell from grace and went to jail...

Through his experience as an inmate, Wigginton has discovered parallels between prisons and schools. "I really empathize with the frustration that lots of inmates feel,'' he says, "and I feel I can really begin to have some understanding of why the recidivism rates are so high. For one thing, you are basically turned into a dependent individual through this experience. You are exited at some point, and you have all these immediate things you are hit with--where to live, how to make a living. They tend to overwhelm you because you're in a situation where you make no decisions at all, and you turn to the only group of people who are nonjudgmental, and that's former inmates and the people who got you in trouble in the first place.
Eliot's school and prison comparison...

what choice.jpg

We are also imprisoned by a for-profit health insurance system...
Jimmy, Ron, and Stef tell the story... (7.5 min)

People are responding to their imprisonment with overdoses and suicide...


The corporations imprison us by controlling our elected officials and our laws. Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant says that as long as corporate Democrats run government, we should expect them to buckle under Amazon’s and Starbucks’ pressure
Jimmy, Ron, and Stef weigh in too (10 min)

We are imprisoned by rigged and unfair and abroad...

Ohio has a long history of election fraud. Greg Palast explains...

In Venezuela...Abby Martin explains the situation to Lee Camp (29 min)

In Columbia the election is upcoming
In Bogotá, Abby Martin interviews Congressman Edward Rodriguez, a leading member of the far-right Democratic Center Party founded by former President Uribe. She challenges him on his party’s ties to death squads, drug cartels and potential to reignite the war. (18 min)

Mexico's election is controlled by the elite and a populous presidential candidate is leading. Ahead of the July presidential election, at least 114 Mexican politicians have been killed and 300 more have suffered some form of aggression since September. (2 min)

In Brazil, they imprison Lula, the populous candidate and past president, on false charges, but he's still leading in the polls


It is not surprising that the US would withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council...we don't recognize human rights... (video or text)

We are imprisoned in poverty in the richest country the world knows. Here's the damning UN report on US poverty... (20 quickly read pages)
Interview with Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty. He will be presenting his report next week in Geneva. (video or text)


We are imprisoned in a world of endless war...

Chris Hedges explains our actions in the middle east...

Paul Jay also suggests Iran is our goal (video or text)

Caity's take on the US peace deal

We continue to support the White Helmets in Syria (3 min)
They are provocateurs...

How do they sell this to us...A common technique is to blame the victims.

Can We Escape? The Oligarchs seem to hold all the cards...
an oligarch.jpg
Is it checkmate?

Maybe we can find a corner of the planet where we can live a more fulfilling life. Consider this young French community as an example... (11 min)

..or perhaps this Greek community (3 min)

How about this example in Spain (13 min)

There are alternatives to the prison in which we find ourselves. However no matter how pleasant our communities, we share a common atmosphere. So in conclusion this week we have to consider the prison of our planet becoming uninhabitable...


It is a prison of death we institute on our fellow species...consider our role in the death of birds.

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.

NOAA scientists project that this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or ‘dead zone’ – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill marine life – will be about the size of Connecticut. (video and text)

So perhaps our ultimate prison is our addiction to fossil fuels and the consumer culture which it promotes...

corporate prison.jpg

There are many more examples of the ways in which we are imprisoned in this capitalist culture. I think we know that capitalism is the root cause. Education, health care, environmental preservation, public infrastructure...these are things that can't be designed for profit but should exist for the public good...the general welfare. I hope you all find an escape to a peaceful and fulfilling existence in your corner of the world today and everyday. As always I look forward to your ideas, stories, and comments.

people peace.jpg
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yup, locked into one of our own making and we can't seem to find the damn key! We'll all get out someday, though.
Feet first.

Stop These Fucking Wars


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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . . still waiting. . .

If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied in 1930’s Germany,
Now you know. . .
sign at protest march

Lookout's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly the prison graveyard?

They are so humane in TX...yeah right.

In a state known for being tough on criminals, where officials recently eliminated last-meal requests on death row, the Byrd cemetery has been a little-known counterpoint to the mythology of the Texas penal system. One mile from the Walls Unit, which houses the state’s execution chamber, about 100 inmates are buried each year in ceremonies for which the state spends considerable time and money. Each burial costs Texas about $2,000. Often, as in Mr. Davis’s case, none of the deceased’s relatives attend, and the only people present are prison officials and the inmate workers.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

detroitmechworks's picture

I've lost track of the number of times I've seen the new media message that we must "Trust The Experts" because of the fact they have put in so much time and effort to the system, clearly they are the only ones who can fix it.

Of course, that entire argument smacks of hubris. Dead knowledge is dead. Don't tell me what you know, use it to build. Don't point to a certificate as your proof of knowledge, point to they people you've helped, the students you've inspired and the problems you've solved.

Your papers are not proof of competence.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Lookout's picture


...the most egregious of our problems. Let generals solve the problem of war, and politicians the issues like election fraud, and the judges can deal with prisons...oh yeah and the fox can clean the hen house.

I continue to think the path is to walk away from the system and build whatever best community we can with our friends. The system only excels in exploitation.

Hope all is going well and your house is filled with music!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

detroitmechworks's picture

@Lookout Daughter has her Cello on loan for school for the summer, and we picked up a cord for the guitar at Guitar Center. (Sharks, but the only ones who seem to have them in the area)

Kids are loving the guitar, and my daughter keeps trying to steal it from her brother to practice. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Lookout's picture


...fought over the one guitar they shared as kids. They will both learn faster having each other. Glad it is going well.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

Assembly, one of the worst, if not the king of American's for Prosperity's efforts, since 2010.

From the elementary school to new Institutes at NC Universities, the repugs have turned a once thriving State education system into garbage, yes garbage, no other word fits their machinations, segregation for sure and religious schools galore with taxpayer funds.

Unfortunately, their legislative hold is so tied up and seemingly secure that even in 2020, there's little hope of seeing a change--gerrymandering and voter suppression of unmovable proportions will most likely continue their reign.

A very sad state of affairs particularly for those of us fortunate to have been educated in a very progressive time of building the universities and new schools all over the state. Not to mention our poor children being brainwashed by jesus riding dinosaurs.

As you know, Bishop Barber leads a charge here, but so far it's not enough to penetrate the power--should note that layouffs galore in news departments in the state's leading papers began 10-14 years ago, only a handful of watchdogs writing in the entire state and mostly on social media sites; throw in consolidation of TV and radio, we residents of NC don't even know the depths of deception going apace behind those shiny doors.

And a note: you are the second friend to mention a trip to the Legacy Museum, a ski buddy who travels for 3M visited there a couple of weeks ago and he shared his impressions of the experience with me by phone.

Remember, we've a date to visit Mabel someday, come on up and escape the heat!

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Lookout's picture


Unfortunately, their legislative hold is so tied up and seemingly secure that even in 2020, there's little hope of seeing a change--gerrymandering and voter suppression of unmovable proportions will most likely continue their reign.

That is very much the case here in Alabama too. At one time NC had one of the best public ed systems in the SE. The most nationally certified teachers too. I just don't see a political solution...there are solutions but the pols are purchased on both sides of the aisle. As Rev. Barber says - it's not about turning red to blue, it's about changing wrong to right.

Let me eat my words a little -
There are some inspiring young folks running for office...
check out her two min ad below

And how about this young woman recently elected to Clarke Co GA

The young give me some hope.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

Barber ate asshats for breakfast on Saturday morning's, Joy, interviewed him a few years ago as he took time out from a busy schedule to do so; and as we say in the South, he is a favorite son. I do worry as his health ain't the greatest and he charges forward in scheduling all over.

It is as c99 and you often remind us, the laborious change will come by individuals striking out on good paths or as the case may be once the multitude reaches a breaking point, and with Trumptian racist policies that may come sooner than we expect. Either way, bring it on!

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Lookout's picture


for the PPC rally at the Capital. It's a long haul 3.5 hours each way. I'm still debating about the DC rally this weekend.

They call it a struggle for a reason. All the best!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

snoopydawg's picture

great round up of bad news as usual. The news does seem to be getting worse each week though.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

Lookout's picture


...but after my museum visit I felt the need to look at our ugly side. There are some positive items like the European cooperative communities.

It is a struggle to keep a good attitude and to be aware of the things your own country does to people and the planet. Should we look behind the curtain? I think there's a donkey there too...well maybe it's an ass.

don't look behind the curtain.jpg

Thanks for reading!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

That is the last link in your article today. Well done article.

Makes the point, once again, that is captured in the subtitle of Naomi Klein's book, This Changes Everything. The subtitle is: "capitalism vs. the climate"

in the mean time the population has to be controlled

a couple of control systems are wars and prisons

cruelty is rampant

no easy way to go forward with a land

without a common ground, or common grounds for various groups

and a new relation with the non human world

so we have migration as an indicator of a crisis and a reaction to it used for right wing governments to continue their power

blame the migrants. Jail migrants.

the political system and economic system are built on exploiting the earth
and a return to the earth, care for the earth, will be necessary to build various commons

care for the earth, care for earthbounds (humans)

"People without a land looking for land" (this is immigration) "for land deprived humans"

say what? dog deprived of humans can understand. garden deprived of humans also makes sense. But land deprived of humans seems strange until reading further in this short article you realize that what is meant is care for the land. The land, the earth, is deprived from human care.

short article by Bruno Latour

[trans.] Bruno Latour, 'People without a land looking for land deprived of people' Le Monde 6th June

This is posted on an academic website which provides free downloads. I use it often. You will have to click and then download a WORD document.

I had downloaded it before and done various things with it, but to get a link I did a search and found that this title, this phrase goes to heart of Zionism.

From wikipedia

A land without a people for a people without a land
"A land without a people for a people without a land" is a widely cited phrase associated with the movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maybe this is why is is so hard to understand the point of return to the earth because it has been used by a movement that is as far from where I am as possible. Homeland Security - right out of Nazi language. Return to the earth ...

This approach which is often tied to conservative positions, is crucial to a return to the earth. The right wing is trying to protect borders and hide under a nation state, but that return no longer works as does their return to a land that does not exist.

The article above begins with May 68, the 50 th anniversary of the 1968 revolution, but now there is no longer a globe of globalization that can be the place of the future. Hence, the celebration of the revolution was muted because the term revolution can no longer be used as it was back then.

What happened, between then and now, is that the meaning of revolution changed. What was driving students and workers fifty years ago, propelling them towards the future, also drives those who, around the world today, imagine they can return to an ethnically identified nation state. There is a revolutionary spirit, yes indeed, but it is conservative revolution on an unprecedented scale, without limits. The insolence of yesteryear is now on the extreme right!

Journalists and commentators talk of ‘populism’ in order to describe this mad scramble back to the protection of the Nation State. We see it happening in one election after another: in Italy, Germany, even in France, and most notably in Britain and the United States. The more a nation has profited from globalization, the more it breaks violently from it—England and America leading the rest of the world in this massive historical about-face. Of course, the word ‘people’ is in ‘populism’. As much as it might come as a surprise to those who still want to celebrate the ‘spirit of May’, today’s problem is one of coming to terms with these two toxic words, too often associated with reactionary thought: ‘people’ and ‘land’.

Progressives accuse populists of wanting to go back to land conceived of as an identity that protects and comforts. Yet the great paradox is that the progressives have as little ground to walk on as the populists. There are all literally without earth. What’s worse is that they are dimly aware of this, and that makes them even more irate.

Yea! return to the British Empire! Return to the Roman Empire! Return to what the US used to be! The nation state will protect us. Except politics, economics, law and culture are not dealing with the earth.

Europe is under attack. Attack by immigration. But the EU is not Europe. What about a European identity to unify peoples around the land. Use land as a signal to return to the earth.

a second short article by Bruno Latour

I’m also talking about a place that is threatened on all sides. You may not feel attached to this European homeland, but then I have to ask you what you feel when you look around at the threats from the Putins, the Erdogans and the other Trumps, not to mention the unexpected departure of the English—deep down still European—and the looming shadow of China weighing on the continent that you occupy the other end of?

Don’t you have a slight urge to defend this place where you live when attacks are raining down on it? Of course, no one would die for the EU, but isn’t the European homeland something worthwhile defending? Unless you think yourself strong enough to defend yourself all alone, or even worse, if you have given up on the whole idea of defending yourself.

reverse colonization! people taking over Europe I added the italics. Not only weakness, but superweakness!

But are we really going to go back to defending ‘European civilisation’, the
Europe superpower? No but rather the Europe superweakness. It’s already
happened. At the moment it is the migrant issue that is threatening to destroy the
deliberate plan that was put in place after the two world wars. So, that is the issue
we have to address directly. While Europe thought it could once occupy the
world, today the world thinks it can occupy Europe. Is this the ‘white man’s
burden’ all over again? At least you must surely see that this is the same problem
twice over, the same demand put on ‘European civilisation’, but this time the other
way around. It is no longer a matter of working out how we can divide up the
world, but how we can be capable of welcoming the world into our home. What
remains is the link between the history of the world and the history of Europe. If
the Old Continent is becoming historically relevant again, it is because other peoples aspire to settle there. As far as I know, no one is risking their life to seek
refuge in China or Russia. Be proud of the destiny that obliges you to
wholeheartedly take on the key question of migration.

strange to see US as weak and getting weaker with no end in site. Same for Europe

In a couple of tweets, Bruno says that liberals think that conservative wave will pass and they can regain power. Wrong. A new commons has to be built, not just swing back.

At least the battle against the populists has the virtue of clarity. When
speaking of people and land, you can actually compare dreamed-up identities
with real attachments. You think such a battle can’t be won? Wait, we haven’t
started yet! No-one is talking about a material and lived Europe, a ‘motherland’
Europe. Try carrying out an experiment. Ask any of those currently gagging on
the idea of ‘Brussels’ to describe the concrete environment that allows them to
live, the ins and outs of their sustenance and nourishment, and I bet you that you
will be taken on a trip, not only across much of Europe, but also a large part of the
world in which it is embedded (and that a large part of this EU you detest so much
will be included in it, this time positively). Now is the moment to ask the
question: what do you want to defend? If you answer, ‘my interests come first’, I
will reply, ‘fine, but you can no doubt see that these interests are in no way tied to
the national identity in which you imagine you are enclosed.’ If we are incapable
of describing our world, how can we possibly defend our interests in it?

Should we defend Europe or defend the EU?1 Bruno Latour

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Lookout's picture



Thanks for your thoughtful comment and the Bruno Latour links.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I will be reading. Thank you again.

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Lookout's picture


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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”