Maltreatment of imprisoned mothers 

Maltreatment of imprisoned mothers

On the front page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Arkansas page last week, we learned about the settlement of a lawsuit brought by women who were pregnant and incarcerated in the Pulaski County jail and were forced to deliver in the jail (with one delivering in the transport to the hospital). The amount of the settlement is not disclosed, but what is disclosed is the inhumane manner in which these women were treated, during their pregnancies and at the point of labor and birthing. The description says so much about the attitude of the guards and the medical staff. Their mocking and careless disregard of the safety of these women and their infants should enlighten all of us to the quality of those we assign to serve in our jails and prisons. I do not need any further evidence of the cruelty and demonization of the people who we incarcerate. Are their newborns not as valued as newborns in the free world? The devaluation is certainly evidenced in these cases. And in a jail setting, these women may be innocent for all we know but cannot make bail. I am truly sickened, and I want our community to speak up loudly and clearly that we intend for the treatment to be appropriate for all of the mothers during pregnancy and thereafter. Our society cannot survive when we allow such abuse.

Dee Ann Newell

Little Rock

Pro Bernie

Good news! Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. With this, Hillary's coronation by corporate media has hit a beautiful bump in the road. The reality is that like Republicans, Hillary and Obama are professional politicians with no real principles, who will take money from corrupting sources and say anything to obtain power.

Once in power, they cannot be trusted to do anything they said in their campaigns. That is not leadership! Bernie is a sincere leader with principled positions that may be uncomfortably true, but are the needed medicine.

As in previous elections, Hillary and "top tier" Republicans are the media-declared "serious" candidates because they raise millions from Wall Street and other ultra-wealthy interests. And of course, Wall Street does not donate for charity. They absolutely expect and are surely promised returns on their investments.

Please go to opensecrets.org to see the vast oceans of Wall Street cash in which these politicians bathe. Like Obama and Republicans, Hillary has taken many legal bribes from corporations like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, 21st Century Fox, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, among others. Bernie has not.

Although Bernie is wrong on the important issue of Israel, like 99 percent of our Congress, he is right about virtually every other important issue. The most important issue, deeper even than economics, is saving and improving our democracy in the face of complete oligarchy, or rule by the richest few. We cannot solve any problems economic, environmental or peace-wise without functional democracy. On this, Bernie is the most powerful elected advocate for democracy we have.

The logic becomes that if Bernie is elected and can help save and improve democracy, we could then elect leaders that are badass on every issue like Congressman Dennis Kucinich was. Currently, if you are like Kucinich, your opponent gets massive corporate funding for your defeat; ultimately he was gerrymandered out of office.

With galactic cajones, Bernie correctly stands up for the democratic socialism that has helped make Scandinavian countries wonderful.

Bernie has said he will release "very specific proposals" to raise taxes on the superrich and corporations, serious healthcare reform toward single-payer Medicare for all, and tuition-free college education. He has also consistently opposed all job and environment killing "free" trade agreements like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Obama and Hillary support, and he supports stringent regulations of Wall Street.

The core of his campaign is on economic inequality and corruption of democracy by the billionaire and millionaire class. Bernie asks: "Is it morally appropriate that 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent ... and the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent ... [while] our democracy [is] being destroyed when one family can spend $900 million to buy elections?"

The reality is that the Democratic and Republican parties have shifted to the right, especially since Reagan. The Republicans have become purely a party for the oligarchs, and most top Democrats have become right wing on core economic policies, much more so than Republican President Eisenhower. Hillary Clinton once said there is a "vast right wing conspiracy." Ironically, she and Obama are a part of this conspiracy.

Obama's TPP, Obamacare, illegal NSA surveillance and Wall Street bailouts are right-wing corporatism. Obama's corporatist anti-environmental policy is exemplified in his Cushing speech: "I've (opened) up millions of acres for gas and oil ... more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore ... quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high ... added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some."

Moreover, Bill Clinton's NAFTA, WTO, 1999 removal of Depression Era banking regulations, social welfare cuts, and the 1996 Telecommunications Act were also right-wing corporatism.

Hillary will be virtually identical to Obama and Bill. They are decent on some social policies that do not threaten the economic interests of their wealthy campaign financiers. However, on fundamental economic policies, they are barely different from Republicans. Hillary will give a little lip service to inequality and democracy, but once elected, like Obama, she will very weakly do anything for the people, and work much harder for her wealthy masters.

The only way to defeat Wall Street candidates is if poorer — people do something. I just donated at BernieSanders.com and urge everyone else to do likewise. Thanks to people like us, Bernie Raised $1.5 million on day one, more than any Republican, with the average donation under $50.

In the altered words of Bernie, "A political revolution is coming! Don't underestimate us!"

Abel Tomlinson




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