Eventually I found out the reason he had me fired was because the prison officials didn't like the attention that my web page brought, and they also though I was somehow accessing the Internet from the Unicor factory (they had terminals there, which I wasn't allowed to be near). My case started getting attention, media interviews, etc. At one point, I was told directly by the prison staff attorney to stop all the attention. I scaled it back enough to where they stopped harassing me. It's definitely a tradeoff - the more attention you get, the more they will fuck with you in there.
And since most people won't ever step foot inside one, we just pretend it's a non-issue because a) they must be bad people for being in there; and b) it's not our problem.
You know, until it is. But don't worry, if and when that happens, I'm sure we'll get the same sympathy for our plight as we have spared to those before us.
> Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Slavery, the death penalty, the largest incanceration rates in the world.
And some natives consider the country some kind of champion for "freedom"...
But if it's completely voluntary, and you won't face any direct nor indirect retaliation for refusing, then I have less of a problem with it (it still distorts the labor market when they take jobs from people not incarcerated, and the taxpayers are the ones subsidizing those jobs.)
More detailed account of prison labor in Nevada regarding casinos and construction.
The slave market:
You can even get slave labor to operate your call center:
>Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime; whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
It clearly does not abolish slavery nor involuntary servitude but instead limits it to being the punishment for a crime.
I see people everywhere saying slavery was abolished as if the entire latter 80% of Section 1 did not exist. I see government resources saying the same.
Let me make it clear.
Slavery was not abolished. The 13th amendment made slavery constitutional (within a defined scope).
Well, not by the 13th Amendment, at any rate. Arguably, it was abolished in theory by subsequent treaties to which the US is a party, though it clearly has not been abolished in fact in the United States.
> The 13th amendment made slavery constitutional (within a defined scope).
False. Slavery was expressly Constitutional (and, in fact, for a time protected against amendment) from day one, before any amendments were passed (See, Art. I, Sec. 9, Clause 1; Art. V.)
The 13th Amendment restricted the domain in which slavery and involuntary servitude were permitted under the Constitution, it is not accurate to claim that it made slavery constitutional (either in general, or even in any circumstances, as there were no circumstances in which slavery was Constitutional with the 13th Amendment but not without the 13th Amendment.)
Among other reasons, sovereign immunity.
You are in prison to be punished for what you did AND pay back your debt to society.
But even ignoring the large number of innocent people in prison; we have a lot of laws that are blatantly unjust. The biggest would be that about half of the prison population is there for minor drug offenses. A guy smoking a plant that makes him giddy and hungry is not worth locking up at substantial cost to taxpayers. Or you have the guy that spent six months in prison because he ordered a hentai comic book from Japan, and the postal inspector thought that the girl that looked 16 drawn in pencil was a real child being harmed. Or you have the elderly black woman who got put into what is essentially debtors prison because she couldn't pay her traffic tickets. Or the guy that got locked up for refusing to pay child support on a kid that turned out to not be his, but the judge didn't care about little things like facts. And on and on and on.
In fact, we have so many ridiculous laws that it's been said that the average American commits three felonies a day:
While innocent people do go to jail, most people in jail are not innocent. You only hear about the innocent ones cause it makes the news but, by far, most people are in jail cause they deserve to be there.
I'm more interested in prison for rehabilitation than I am as punishment. I'd rather we reduce the recidivism rate than bask in schadenfreude. I'm more interested in addressing why we have the highest per capita incarceration rate of any first world nation.
Whether you agree or not with how they got to prison has nothing to do with how a prison should operate. The point is prison's do what they do with people incarcerated and no one should consider it as a nice place to spend some time.
And yes, I'm all for taking the TVs out of prisons and not having it be a good time. I'm also against mandatory labor. They're prisoners, but they're still human beings.
Others here have said it's voluntary, so if that's true, that's at least better. I still think they should be paid fairly so as to not displace jobs from people not in prison, though.
It's clear though that I'm against this, and you're not, so there's really no point in continuing on. I'll just say that I hope you never have to experience working for pennies a day.
I've heard prices at the commissary are pretty ridiculous, so $200 vs. $5/mo seems like a pretty big deal.
edit for people who aren't up on the whole rights thing
This almost trivially makes sense since so many of our other rights are expressed these days through the internet.
For instance, in a lot of Africa mobile operators have filled in for the role of credit cards and things like that. People pay for everything via sms.
Clean drinking water was available from wells.
But if you google for pay by sms, you'll see there are A LOT of services for that.
Also here's an article with some statistics: http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/02/13/emerging-nations-embrace...
In Kenya, for instance, 68% of phone users make/receive payments on their phone. And 76% of them use their phones for social networking. At the same time, 82% of Kenyans have a mobile phone. But only 59% have access to clean water. -> http://water.org/country/kenya/
So that's .82*.76 = 62% of Kenyans with social networking vs. only 59% with clean water.
At the time, 93% of South Africans had access to clean water and mobile penetration was at over 100%.
For the whole of Africa, it was ~46% water to 50% phones.
But, as ever, definitions are important. If you have to spend half a day walking to a well for a bucket of water - that counts as access. Similarly, a family who shares a phone each has "access".
It's also a lot easier to build a mobile phone network than a water network. Stick up a tower, power it with a generator / solar power, and point it to a back-haul link. Hey presto, you've got wide area coverage.
I'm surprised it didn't catch on sooner. It's a genius idea for enabling online payments in places where credit cards, PayPal etc. aren't as commonplace as they could be.
You can't have a human right to something that someone else must provide. That would be a violation of their rights.
Reading your profile, it's clear that you claim to be able to correctly derive your stance against human rights from nothing but "sense perception of reality" combined with Objectivist logic. That being the case, you obviously aren't just trying to add some diversity to the conversation—you know you possess the final truth.
On the other hand, you are using sarcastic language and just "talking down" to me. Basically, light bullying. I'm referring to your last two comments.
> Reading your profile, it's clear that you claim to be able to correctly derive your stance against human rights from nothing but "sense perception of reality" combined with Objectivist logic.
How else would someone come up with any stance at all on rights (regardles of whether it agrees with mine)? I mean, you have to look at reality and you have to use logic. So I'm not sure what your point here is.
(Actually, I do know your point, it's to try to just find some way to put me down and make me look small.)
The superposter means, I think, that you cannot have a right that deprives someone else of their freedom. If nobody wanted to work at the water treatment plant, the government is hard pressed to compel anyone to work there within any sane persons logic. They would have to offer higher pay until someone did the job, but they couldn't point a gun at someone and make them do it. Unless they were a prisoner, or maybe a soldier.
That definition is much narrower than most people are willing to accept, because most people aren't willing to accept the libertarian terms of what society does or is for.
The OP therefore doesn't have a point since their argument relies on a false statement.
You can claim that the state will provide you things if you are without them, but that is more an offer on their part (albeit using coerced tax dollars) than violence upon others to force them to work for you without compensation, as the superposter implies.
He means you cannot be guaranteed something that means someone else is compelled to provide it. The state as a whole could be compelled to give you something by its own laws, but they can't force an individual by mandate to do work, outside the already outlined exception to slavery.
What puzzles me about this whole "a human right cannot be something that compels someone to do something" argument is how it breaks down not just on edge cases, but on common cases.
What do you think about the right to a fair trial? Or the right to a speedy trial?
Is the right to a fair trial not actually a human right, since the judicial system is (theoretically) compelled to be honest?
That's my problem with these libertarian-derived ideas about rights, they really only work out cleanly when you're talking about owning, trading, etc. For the very wide swath of human behavior that doesn't involve material possessions, what then?
Arguably, you can view this as a negative right in the sense that it is conditional (it only applies if you are subjected to a trial, so no one has to provide anything to provide it, they just have to refrain from unfair trials.)
Similarly, the right to a speedy trial again only applies when you are prosecuted -- so it can be met by refraining from prosecution when it cannot (or will not) be provided, rather than actively providing anything.
That's not to say that I agree with the "all human rights are negative rights" argument, just that it is quite simple to recognize fair/speedy trial rights as negative rights.
And, even with this one, it seems like such a strain to me to say "the right to a fair trial is a negative right because, even though you're compelling the government structures to act in a certain way, it only applies once you're in the justice system".
It seems tautological to say "it's a right that applies when it applies, therefore it's a negative right".
That same reasoning seems like it could apply to just about anything; access to drinking water is a human right, because once you are in a civilization that moderates your access to water, that civilization must refrain from tampering (as in with pollution, access controls, etc) with your access to it.
The right to participate in government can be viewed as the right to be free from government action without you being given the opportunity to participate. It can be met by government not acting, as well as by you having the opportunity to participate (directly or indirectly) in any decision it makes.
I think that those who hold to the pure negative view of human rights absolutely tend to view the right to participate this way (and frequently to prefer government non-action to action-with-participation.)
> And, even with this one, it seems like such a strain to me to say "the right to a fair trial is a negative right because, even though you're compelling the government structures to act in a certain way, it only applies once you're in the justice system".
What I think you miss is that being "in the justice system" isn't something that happens external to actions of the government. So it can be a purely a negative right, in that it requires government not to subject you to the justice system unless in so doing it also acts in a certain way.
If it was conditioned on something outside of the governments control, then it would not be a pure negative right. Particularly, if you view the right to a fair trial as applying not only to conditions when you are subject to the justice system, but to include a right to bring grievances against the government and other members of society and to have them fairly heard by an appropriate tribunal, then it becomes a positive right, because the situations in which it applies are no longer ones that result from government action. But, again, I think that many people, particularly those that view negative rights as the exclusive human rights, view the right to a fair trial in terms that are consistent with the purely negative view (and the right to a speedy trial is, as generally understood in the US, a right of that type, since it applies only to criminal trials, which occur only as the result of positive government action, so it is a right that is a pure restraint on government action.)
The right participate in one's governance is now "the right to participate in government that you can participate in, because without that right the government would be meddling in your stuff".
If people are happy jumping through those kinds of mental hoops to maintain the purity of a "negative rights are the only rights" worldview then ok, but let's be honest about how we're building these flimsy artifices on an idea that can't really support them.
No, its not. Its the right to be free of any imposition of government other than that which you are allowed to participate in.
Its not a contortion. Its exactly the whole thing that we get the idea of the right to participate from.
Yes, its possible to have different views of what the right to participate should mean, but they are newer and novel interpretations. That doesn't make them wrong, but they aren't the original understanding, and that original understanding isn't a "contortion".
There's absolutely compulsory behavior going on, even if it's the good kind of compulsory behavior (e.g. setting up structures of power that people have access to).
Unless you want to redefine "negative rights" down until it's "the ones we like, even though people are compelled to do stuff, like create machinery of democracy and not walk onto property claimed by others".
Which, again, ok, if it floats your boat, but it seems more like word games than meaningful discussion about human rights.
Those are limitations put on the use of power by government when dealing with justice, which not even close to being the same as thing as saying you a "human right" for that government to provide you with a service like internet access.
I just want to be clear that that's what you're saying.
I'm saying that you can't compare limits on government power as proof that there is a human right to get services from a government.
People have a human right to participate in their government, too. That certainly compels something to exist: a structure in which they can voice their desires in their governance.
It'd take a lot of contortions to work that right into being an ok-to-exist "negative right," and for my part just shows how "negative rights" breaks down really quickly once you get past the really easy stuff like speech.
>People have a human right to participate in their government, too.
Which is a limit on government's power. That is the essence of the entire Enlightenment philosophy that all this is based.
Start from nothing, and try to build up a system that at all resembles a democracy, and you're compelling people left and right. Throw in property rights, such as land ownership, and you're compelling people just about 24/7.
Just because you like being able to use the violence of the state to throw people off your lawn doesn't mean that it isn't compelling people to be in a certain place.
Does a child have the right to be cared for? Someone must provide this care.
Does a child have the right to be protected from prostitution? Someone must provide this protection and someone must provide for the needs that were driving the child into prostitution to begin with.
To me it seems you can easily have rights that force someone else to do something.
A human could live on an island.
In society, we trade for what we need from others, which is different from saying we require that others provide us with things.
In society, we require that restaurants that serve food also to also provide free water to anyone who asks because not everything should be commidified.
I have never not been able to get free water in a restaurant in the US. Usually they pour you some without even asking, if there is table service.
Only in Europe is there a perception that (a) businesspeople are raging assholes who (b) want to screw their customers even though doing so drives them away. So only in Europe are there actual laws forcing restaurants to give out water.
I'm not even kidding, here is a source:
You can easily find more sources if you just Google "Are US restaurants required to provide water."
So yeah, your point is completley incorrect.
Also, I am actually trying to intellectually engage with the issue, and it seems like you're just making a pithy comment, but maybe I'm just misreading your intention.
Well... looking at your own source one would have to be really naive not to think that businesspeople are raging assholes.
Water charges from five cents to a dollar for a glass of water with some restaurants charging even if you did not order water!
That's almost the definition of businesspeople being assholes and wanting to screw their customers!
Its a social standard not only because of the very low cost but also due to the horrible things that happen to dehydrated people and the frequency that it recurs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydration#Signs_and_symptoms
I suppose should have added the qualifier decent to society.
The original proponents of rights treated them as "individual rights." Later, people who wanted to violate "individual rights" made up the "human rights" idea as a contrast to "individual rights."
But for the sake of this conversation, I just went with "human right," accepting it as valid and not getting into all the mess I just talked about.
By the way, a Constitutional right, ideally, is just an individual right that has been written specifically into the Constitution.
That's a tendentious misrepresentation, bordering on incendiary, not at all suitable for this discussion forum. The human rights movement has roots in the Red Cross, the Geneva convention, and the post-war efforts to create international peace.
International conventions on human rights are not primarily used to "violate individual rights." Yes, they are used to make claims for the positive duties of states and societies to care for the suffering. When water is available, none should be excluded; when water is needed, that is a human rights issue, and measures should be taken.
(To make a counterpoint, the "individual" rights—of which you speak from a libertarian or Randian perspective—are not really all that individual. That's why the rhetoric of individual rights is so often used by those in favor of the rights of corporations. Randians equivocate the notions of the individual and the corporation for ideological reasons.)
Individual rights are not losing their credibility because some illegitimate market rigging is allowed by the State.
"Randians" is insulting (that is why mbrock is using it).
What kind of right do you believe internet use would fall under?
Some have argued that prohibiting Internet access to an otherwise free person (not a prisoner) is cruel and unusual punishment. In 1992 that was laughable. In 2015, it's much less laughable.
To say "the right to vote in a democracy is not a human right" is arguably not false, just going on narrow definitions of "vote" and "democracy," but the right to be involved in one's government? Oh yes.
Just because it is denied so many does not mean it is not still a human right.
I can't make out what your problem with my comment is.
That you only don't think all people should have the right to participate in all governments?
Stop strawmanning my words.
Edit: to be clearer - being able to get involved in your own government is a human right. Being able to vote in the French elections is a civil right, reserved to French citizens.
All cats are animals, but not all animals are cats.
I think we're saying the same thing, but somehow we got our signals mixed up.
Edit: it's also a bit weird to accuse someone of pedantry when the topic at hand is the subtlety of difference between terms ("what defines a human right as opposed to other rights").
It's also the most accepted definition.
Have a read of the section on economic and social rights: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic,_social_and_cultural...
Right - people should be protected from the government using force to lock them in a cage without communication to the outside world.
Hope to some day have some whiskey with you. We share a lot of the same footsteps, though I never did any hard time.
I would, however, like to point out that the same reasoning probably does not apply to Chelsea Manning. She has already attracted more media attention than any website or twitter feed could possibly achieve. The media will intensely follow any "newsworthy" occurrence with her for the remainder of her life, and her jailers know that. Furthermore, the fact that there have been credible accusations of intentional violations of her human rights during the first several months of her captivity (and that the news media are aware of this) must be something that her current jailers are aware of.
So it sounds like Manning doesn't have Twitter access but instead is probably giving whatever tweets she wants to send out to the Fitz Gibbon Media. Not much different from the old statements and letters from prison other than where it ends up.
PS: For anyone else who was confused like me since it's been a while: Chelsea Manning == Bradley Manning.
I think, with an eye toward's the arc of history, that some day I'll see Chelsea Manning's term commuted and Edward Snowden pardoned.
I hope, at least. It's a disturbing alternative to countenance. In this country the prisoner is always regarded as subhuman. And his suffering is effectively irrelevant.
If there were more prison twitter accounts it would do wonders towards expsosing how absurd our judicial / prison system is. More people should be live tweeting court cases / prison sentences. Could Adnan Syed have done companion tweets to the Serial podcast? This idea is so interesting.
An apparently was punished for it: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/weev-in-solitary-c...
Only in a very restricted form because of the possibility that convicts could instigate or control criminal activity via such communication with the outside world.
visitors, letters, and phone calls from prison are strictly rationed because of the resources required to monitor them. Even though mobile phones are strictly forbidden because they cannot be controlled, they are quite common in prisons.
Edit: Looks like CNN, RollingStone, and The Guardian are all reporting this.
Kind of a scandal: "US's largest leaker broadcasting from military prison".
I wonder how long the Twitter access will last.
This wasn't the right venue for me to bring that up though - things have improved a good bit under dang's tenure already.
As a reference for my outdated and inappropriate axe grinding see this 2013 thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5142851
You could always check the guidelines... https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
> Otherwise please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait.