Tag Archives: law

California The First State To Require Pet Stores To Sell Only Rescue Animals

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Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday cemented California’s status as the leading state on animal welfare by signing into law AB 485, a bill that makes California the first state to ban the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores, unless shelters or qualified rescue organizations supply the animals. Pet stores will have one year to transition to a more humane model by choosing to sell only pet supplies and small animals, or begin working with qualified nonprofits to place homeless animals into new homes. The HSUS and a large coalition of groups backed the bill, which was sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation.Under the new legislation, all dogs, cats, and rabbits sold in pet stores must come from animal shelters or non-profit rescue organizations by 2019.

Any pet store owner who does not comply will be fined $500 for each animal in violation of the law.

MDC calls this law AB 485 “BULLSHIT” ,  blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders, This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.”

Total BS. There are no restrictions on prospective pet owners going directly to breeders. They’ll probably spend the same amount of money at a breeder that they’d spend in a pet store, only they’re more likely to get a well-bred, healthy animal rather than a “product” from a mill. And anyone who wants a purebred can also contact breed rescues. I see nothing but win here – except for those who want to keep those awful animal mills operating.

The law will work to reduce the mass-breeding of pets in “puppy mills” and “kitten factories,” where they often face abuse and unhealthy living conditions, supporter said.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, who wrote the bill, said. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.

“I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill’s sponsor,” he said.

“This landmark law breaks the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices,” Bershadker said.

The bill had faced criticism from the American Kennel Club and California Retailers Association.

“AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders,” Sheila Goffe, vice president of government relations for the American Kennel Club, told the LA Times. “This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.”

FDA and Federal Law

U.S. health officials are conducting an analysis on whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law.

The DEA has asked the Food and Drug Administration to carry out a review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug, a FDA official revealed during a congressional hearing on Friday.

The FDA will evaluate whether marijuana still meets the Schedule I criteria, which considers cannabis to be highly dangerous with no medical use.

The classification is the harshest of the five DEA drug schedules and comes with the most restrictions. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and MDMA.

The FDA previously reviewed marijuana’s status in 2001 and 2006, both times concluding that it should remain in Schedule I.

However, with 23 states allowing marijuana for medical purposes, many feel it is time for federal restrictions around marijuana to be loosened.

In a post on its website on Friday, the agency noted:

“Although the FDA has not approved any drug product containing or derived from botanical marijuana, the FDA is aware that there is considerable interest in its use to attempt to treat a number of medical conditions, including, for example, glaucoma, AIDS wasting syndrome, neuropathic pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and certain seizure disorders.”

The FDA will consult with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Health and Human Services before presenting a final recommendation to the DEA.

The FDA has not yet given a timeline for its decision.

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ADA law in Battery Park City

The Manhattan U.S. attorney has filed a lawsuit accusing the developer of two luxury apartment buildings of violating federal law because they are inaccessible to persons with disabilities.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the inaccessible conditions at One Carnegie Hill, on E. 96th St. in Yorkville, and Tribeca Green on North End Ave. in Tribeca, demonstrate a “pattern and practice of discriminatory conduct” by the real estate developer Related Companies.
All 278 units at Tribeca Green and 477 at One Carnegie Hill are in violation of the U.S. Fair Housing Act, Bharara said. It could cost the developers millions to correct the violations and put the apartments in compliance with federal law.

GOOGLE

Bharara says the inaccessible conditions at Tribeca Green on North End Ave. in Tribeca demonstrate a ‘pattern and practice of discriminatory conduct.’

RELATED: UNEXPECTED SEX PARTY DESTROYS PRICY CHELSEA APARTMENT

The suit alleges conditions that include inaccessibly high thresholds and steps in common areas, kitchens and bathrooms that are not wide enough for maneuvering by people in wheelchairs, bathroom fixtures that prevent the installation of grab bars, and electrical outlets and mailboxes that are out of reach for the wheelchair-bound.
A spokeswoman for Related said the company had been working with the feds to try to reach a settlement.

NYC Bottemless Brunch

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You know those rules that are technically part of our legal code, but everyone kind of ignores?

Well, apparently, bottomless brunches fall under that category, as they’ve been illegal for quite some time now. And, the New York City Hospitality Alliance reports that bottomless-brunch drink deals are a big no-no, and they’re going to start cracking down.

The law states that establishments are prohibited “from selling, serving, delivering, or offering to patrons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.” You should know this doesn’t apply to events like weddings (thank goodness).

But seriously, brunch?

What does this mean? What are we supposed to do with our weekends now?

You can still avail of cheap booze at happy hours. But, boozy bottomless brunches and New York City are something of a package deal. We suppose establishments could simply charge a very small price for each of the mimosas and Bloody Marys we order, but the point here is that the brunch landscape is about to drastically change.

Can’t we just treat this the same way we handle things like jaywalking and simply ignore it?

Source: Eater)

NYC Pot For Sale

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At a press conference on Wednesday, New York Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and state Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) announced their intent to introduce legislation to legalize the possession, cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis.

Speaking at the press conference, the Assembly bill’s sponsor Rep. Gottfried said, “We really need to move beyond our totally broken prohibition model to a sensible tax and regulate model. I think it’s widely recognized that marijuana is at most nowhere near as potentially harmful as alcohol and our law is dishonest.”

Added Sen. Krueger, “I don’t believe a drug that is proven to be less dangerous, from a health perspective, than alcohol or tobacco should be under laws that actually criminalize and ruin lives when alcohol or tobacco are regulated and taxed.”

The proposed Assembly and Senate measures would allow adults over the age of 18 to possess up to 2 ounces of dried marijuana, 1/4 ounce of marijuana concentrates, and to cultivate up to 6 plants. The legislation would also establish regulations for state-licensed retail cannabis outlets throughout the state. Retail sales would be limited to adults over the age of 21.

New York City Comptroller John Liu estimates that taxing the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults would yield an estimated $400 million annually, just in the city alone.

According to a 2013 ACLU report, no state arrests more of its citizens for marijuana possession than New York.

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DOJ gets IT

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During a conference call with state governors last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the US Department of Justice would allow the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect.

Holder announced that the Department of Justice will take a “trust but verify approach” to the new marijuana laws, but did reserve the right to file a preemption lawsuit at a later date if necessary.

In a three page memo issued by Deputy Attorney General Cole, the DOJ clarified they will still retain the right to prosecute individuals who engage in the following circumstances:

-the distribution of marijuana to minors; -revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels; -the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states; -state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; -violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana -drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; -growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; -preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

“This is a historic step forward,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “Assuming the Department of Justice stays true to their word, these states and others will no doubt move forward with the state-licensed regulation of cannabis for adults. The public has evolved beyond the simplistic, failed policies of cannabis prohibition and are seeking pragmatic, regulatory alternatives. It is encouraging to see that the federal government no longer intends to stand in their way.”

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Don’t beat Animals

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MDC and The NYPD has a message for any creep who would hurt an animal: Beware of the cops.
Starting next year, cops will respond to all complaints of animal cruelty in a collaboration with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — a move that will put the society’s current humane law enforcement unit out of work. Previously, people would report animal cruelty or neglect to an ASPCA hotline, and the unit, composed of former cops, would investigate.

MDC says, just another example of diligent activism work stemming from a citizen being harassed and than beaten with his dog in his arms by the parks department . (Gonna get Ya)

Previously, people would report animal cruelty or neglect to an ASPCA hotline, and the unit, composed of former cops, would investigate. Humane law enforcement investigators predict the NYPD won’t be able to handle the extra cases.

But beginning next year, people will call 311 or 911. An NYPD cop will take the complaint and hand the case over to precinct detectives.

In turn, the ASPCA will treat the injured animals and conduct forensic evaluations, officials said.

Humane law enforcement investigators were told Wednesday that Dec. 31 would be their last day as animal cops — and they predicted the NYPD wouldn’t be able to handle the extra cases.

Pardon Chelsea Manning

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The following is a transcript of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

MDC shares truth out, From U.S. embassy cables leaked by Pvt. Bradley Manning, you can easily imagine how the propaganda game might have played out, how Americans could have been panicked into supporting another unnecessary war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. Except that Manning’s release of the documents spoiled the trick.

The gambit might have gone this way: One morning, a story would have led the front page of, say, the Washington Post citing how the widely respected International Atomic Energy Agency and its honest-broker Director-General Yukiya Amano had found startling “evidence” that Iran was nearing a nuclear bomb – despite a longstanding U.S. intelligence estimate to the contrary and despite Iranian denials.

Next, the neocon-dominated opinion pages would ridicule anyone who still doubted these “facts.” After all, these articles would say, “even” the IAEA, which had challenged President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq in 2002, and “even” Amano, who had initially believed Iran’s denials, were now convinced.

We wish you the best during the Bradley to Chelsea transition .

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Top 10 FBI Facts

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As Congress considers the nomination of James B. Comey to lead the FBI for the next ten years, lawmakers should examine measures to rein in a bureau that has undermined civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. This is a false trade off: we can be both safe and free.

The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11

1) USA Patriot Act Abuse

The recent revelation about the FBI using the Patriot Act’s “business records provision” to track all U.S. telephone calls is only the latest in a long line of abuse. Five Justice Department Inspector General audits documented widespread FBI misuse of Patriot Act authorities (1,2,3,4,5), and a federal district court recently struck down the National Security Letter (NSL) statute because of its unconstitutional gag orders. The IG also revealed the FBI’s unlawful use of “exigent letters” that claimed false emergencies to get private information without NSLs, but in 2009 the Justice Department secretly re-interpreted the law to allow the FBI to get this information without emergencies or legal process. Congress and the American public need to know the full scope of the FBI’s spying on Americans under the Patriot Act and all other surveillance authorities enacted since 9/11, like the FISA Amendments Act that underlies the PRISM program.

2) 2008 Amendments to the Attorney General’s Guidelines

Attorney General Michael Mukasey re-wrote the FBI’s rulebook in the final months of the Bush administration, giving FBI agents unfettered authority to investigate people without any factual basis for suspecting wrongdoing. The 2008 Attorney General’s Guidelines created a new kind of intrusive investigation called an “assessment,” which required no “factual predicate” before FBI agents could search through government or commercial databases, conduct overt or covert FBI interviews, and task informants to gather information about people or infiltrate lawful organizations. In a two-year period from 2009 to 2011, the FBI opened over 82,000 “assessments” of individuals or organizations, less than 3,500 of which discovered information justifying further investigation.

3) Racial and Ethnic Mapping

The 2008 Attorney General’s Guidelines also authorized “domain management assessments” which allow the FBI to map American communities by race and ethnicity based on crass stereotypes about the crimes they are likely to commit. FBI documents obtained by the ACLU show the FBI mapped entire Chinese and Russian communities in San Francisco on the theory that they might commit organized crime, all Latino communities in New Jersey and Alabama because a street gang has Latino members, African Americans in Georgia to find “Black separatists,” and Middle-Eastern communities in Detroit for terrorism investigations. The FBI’s racial and ethnic mapping program is simply racial and religious profiling of entire communities.

4) Unrestrained Data Collection and Data Mining

The FBI has claimed the authority to secretly sweep up voluminous amounts of private information from data aggregators for data mining purposes. In 2007 the FBI said it amassed databases containing 1.5 billion records, which were predicted to grow to 6 billion records by 2012, or equal to “20 separate ‘records’ for each man, woman and child in the United States.” When Congress sought information about one of these programs, the FBI refused to give the Government Accountability Office access. That program was temporarily defunded, but its successor, the FBI Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, currently has 360 staff members running 40 separate projects. Records show analysts are allowed to use data mining tools to establish “risk scores” for U.S. persons. A 2013 IG audit questioned the task force’s effectiveness, concluding it “did not always provide FBI field offices with timely and relevant information.”

5) Suppressing Internal Dissent: The FBI War on Whistleblowers

The FBI is exempt from the Whistleblower Protection Act. Though the law required it to establish internal mechanisms to protect whistleblowers, it has a long history of retaliating against them. As a result, a 2009 IG report found that 28 percent of non-supervisory FBI employees and 22 percent of FBI supervisors at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels “never” reported misconduct they have seen or heard about on the job. The FBI has also aggressively investigated whistleblowers from other agencies, leading to an unprecedented increase in Espionage Act prosecutions under the Obama administration, almost invariably targeting critics of government policies.

6) Targeting Journalists

The FBI’s overzealous pursuit of government whistleblowers has resulted in the inappropriate targeting of journalists for investigation, potentially chilling press freedoms. Recently, the FBI obtained records from 21 telephone lines used by over 100 Associated Press journalists, including the AP’s main number in the U.S. House of Representatives’ press gallery. And an FBI search warrant affidavit claimed Fox News reporter James Rosen aided, abetted, or co-conspired in criminal activity because of his news gathering activities, in an apparent attempt to circumvent legal restrictions designed to protect journalists. In 2010, the IG reported that the FBI unlawfully used an “exigent letter” to obtain the telephone records of seven New York Times and Washington Post reporters and researchers during a media leak investigation.

7) Thwarting Congressional Oversight

The FBI has thwarted congressional oversight by withholding information, limiting or delaying responses to members’ inquiries, or worse, by providing false or misleading information to Congress and the American public. Examples include false information regarding FBI investigations of domestic advocacy groups, misleading information about the FBI’s awareness of detainee abuse, and deceptive responses to questions about government surveillance authorities.

8) Targeting First Amendment Activity

Several ACLU Freedom of Information Act requests have uncovered significant evidence that the FBI has used its expanded authorities to target individuals and organizations because of their participation in First Amendment-protected activities. A 2010 IG report confirmed the FBI conducted inappropriate investigations of domestic advocacy groups engaged in environmental and anti-war activism, and falsified public responses to hide this fact. Other FBI documents showed FBI exploitation of community outreach programs to secretly collect information about law-abiding citizens, including a mosque outreach program specifically targeting American Muslims. Many of these abuses are likely a result of flawed FBI training materials and intelligence products that expressed anti-Muslim sentiments and falsely identified religious practices or other First Amendment activities as indicators of terrorism.

9) Proxy Detentions

The FBI increasingly operates outside the U.S., where its authorities are less clear and its activities much more difficult to monitor. Several troubling cases indicate that during the Bush administration the FBI requested, facilitated, and/or exploited the arrests and detention of U.S. citizens by foreign governments, often without charges, so they could be interrogated, sometimes tortured, then interviewed by FBI agents. The ACLU represents two victims of such activities. Amir Meshal was arrested at the Kenya border by a joint U.S., Kenyan, and Ethiopian task force in 2007, subjected to more than four months of detention, and transferred between three different East African countries without charge, access to counsel, or presentment before a judicial officer, all at the behest of the U.S. government. FBI agents interrogated Meshal more than thirty times during his detention. Similarly, Naji Hamdan, a Lebanese-American businessman, sat for interviews with the FBI several times before moving from Los Angeles to the United Arab Emirates in 2006. In 2008, he was arrested by U.A.E. security forces and held incommunicado for nearly three months, beaten, and tortured. At one point an American participated in his interrogation; Hamdan believed this person to be an FBI agent based on the interrogator’s knowledge of previous FBI interviews. Another case in 2010, involving an American teenager jailed in Kuwait, may indicate this activity has continued into the Obama administration.

10) Use of No Fly List to Pressure Americans Abroad to Become Informants

The number of U.S. persons on the No Fly List has more than doubled since 2009, and people mistakenly on the list are denied their due process rights to meaningfully challenge their inclusion. In many cases Americans only find out they are on the list while they are traveling abroad, which all but forces them to interact with the U.S. government from a position of extreme vulnerability, and often without easy access to counsel. Many of those prevented from flying home have been subjected to FBI interviews while they sought assistance from U.S. Embassies to return. In those interviews, FBI agents sometimes offer to take people off the No Fly List if they agree to become an FBI informant. In 2010 the ACLU and its affiliates filed a lawsuit on behalf of 10 American citizens and permanent residents, including several U.S. military veterans, seven of whom were prevented from returning home until the suit was filed. We argue that barring them from flying without due process was unconstitutional. There are now 13 plaintiffs; none have been charged with a crime, told why they are barred from flying, or given an opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the No Fly List.

Source: ACLU

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Prison Investment

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I’m sure that the American public will be thrilled to discover just how this industry is profiting off the rest of us. This is indeed a sweet deal for them. Not only does the prison industrial complex have their hand in most of the “tough on crime” legislation that is passed but now they are receiving huge tax breaks by using some slimy loophole.

I find it disturbing in a time when so much emphasis is put on how much the poor people of this country are bleeding it dry with their need for food and healthcare and all of the totally unnecessary stuff they need to survive, the government continues to support corporate welfare. Make no mistake this is corporate welfare. The private prison industry makes billions and billions of dollars annually they no more need a tax break than I need a hole in my head, yet they are getting one. It’s funny isn’t it? And by funny I mean completely and utterly confusing and frustrating and pretty sickening. Like I said, it’s the perfect love affair and the big, happy government mistress just got a shiny Maserati at your expense. How do you feel about that?

This post, Private Prisons Rebrand Themselves As Real Estate Investment Trusts To Avoid Taxes, by Shannon Argueta at AddictingInfo.org, makes clear the subpar conditions many now caged are subjected to, yet she seems to miss the point in how to rectify the situation. The practices Argueta rightly vilifies will continue whether done by GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, or another outfit, until the current top-down, coercive “criminal justice system” is no more.

It is the allowance of a double-standard that brings-about the massively distorted “justice” now “provided” by the so-claimed “authorities.” Today, “the State” claims to be the victim in situations where no victim exists. Today, purported “protectors” that harm others claim immunity. Today, a group of people claim that others must obey their dictates (legislation conflated to be law) or else.

Might things be better were we to transition to a reality where those things aren’t the norm?
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The prison industrial complex has the perfect love affair with the U.S. government. They are like the mistress that gets a diamond ring and the prisoners in their “care” are the spouse that is presented with a vacuum cleaner. This love affair is precisely what led to the United States claiming the title of the world’s number one jailer. The people, whose interests the government are supposed to have in mind, are bombarded with laws that are meant to incarcerate them so that the prison industry can profit. And profit they do.

The prison industry makes billions of dollars annually off the destruction of American lives. Not only has the American public been abused by the prison industry’s lobbying for tougher laws that in some cases take away their lives for many years for minor offenses, but now the industry has come up with a new way to avoid paying income taxes. One private prison company, GEO Group, is bragging about their success to their investors and promising that the beds will stay full.

GEO Group seeks investors to profit from the warehousing of humans.

GEO Group is one of the largest private prison corporations operating in the United States. It is also one of the most controversial corporations whose reputation is tarnished by poor living conditions, prisoner deaths, and inmate abuses. Despite its bad reputation and the plethora of problems it has, the corporation is boasting about a 56% spike in profits to its investors this year. How did it manage such a dramatic increase in profits? Oh, that’s easy, by getting the Internal Revenue Service on board with their effort to restyle themselves as not just a corporation, but a special trust that is typically exempt from paying taxes. The group successfully argued that they should be considered a real estate investment trust or REIT.

GEO along with Corrections Corporation of America claim that they should be eligible for the exemption because they are essentially renting out their property to prisoners that the government is paying for. What in the actual hell? Renters? Really? While this scheme is sure to piss off Americans it is sure to please investors; REITS are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income back to their investors. Corrections Corporation of America says that they expect to save as much as 70 million dollars in taxes this year under their new status. GEO Group reported that a revision to their taxes made them plummet from $8.5 million in the first quarter of 2012 to $881,000 in the first quarter of 2013.

In a call to investors the Vice President of GEO Group, John Hurley, also assured their investors that they are optimistic about future profits because the offender population continues to grow.

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Women are Second Class

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RED STATE WOMEN ACCEPT SECOND CLASS STATUS

There can be no other reason than the acceptance of the premise that in Red States, women are Second class citizens and are subjected to the beliefs of their Church and their Men in the American States controlled by Republican majorities.

Giving up say in the health care of themselves, especially in regard to birth and reproductive rights boggles the mind.

How long can this situation be perpetuated until the women of the red states leave en masse like the children who left with the Pied Piper. It can’t be too long. Probably less than a year before these states go broke without their women and without revenue when the exodus begins.

Let’s hope the Republicans who remain controlling these States figure out how to use a Swiss Army Knife, as that is what they may end up surviving upon.

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