On today's BradCast, voter head to the polls in the New York Presidential Primary and encounter yet another electoral mess, while down in Mississippi, the decades-long false 'promises' of the Prison Industrial Complex come back to bite local jurisdictions in the ass.
First up, it's like clockwork, and just as we predicted on yesterday's BradCast. As voting began today in NYC, reports of problems began immediately rolling in. Some of them, concerning vote-flipping, are complete hoaxes (which I won't link to, but I explain on the show), while others --- concerning tens of thousands of voters purged from the rolls in Brooklyn, optical-scan computer tabulators breaking down around the city, and polling places that failed to open on time --- are quite real and, once again, it is voters who are paying the price.
We'll have much more on those problems in the days ahead, I suspect, as reports have continued to emerge upstate and elsewhere, as predicted, since putting today's show to bed.
Then, we're joined by Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim on the newly emerging failures of the "conservative" budget scam concerning private prisons and reliance on the Prison Industrial Complex. With Republican unwillingness to raise taxes to increase revenue to pay for services, coupled with a decreasing prison population, some county and local budgets in Mississippi are now suddenly "devastated" thanks to broken promises from state officials.
"In the late 90s," Grim tells me, "the state was facing massive over-crowding issues as the era of mass incarceration was really hitting its peak and starting to plateau. The state reached out to the counties and said, we would love to help you build regional facilities, and we will then send you state prisoners. That's gravy for you. You got empty beds, we're going fill 'em, and every time we fill them you get money."
Those payments, however, didn't last. Grim has been reporting on how small towns and counties which fell for that scam and promises of high prison capacities are now unable to meet budget requirements, sometimes even for the most basic of services, as private for-profit prison companies continue to make money from tax-payers.
"Local officials are also talking quite openly about how this exposes the state and federal government's conservatism as bankrupt, and not true conservatism," Grim explains. That's also a problem which more and more states are discovering (hello, Kansas!) on a number of fronts as tax cuts and an unwillingness to raise taxes when necessary to meet budget shortfalls is now hurting many smaller jurisdictions around the country.
Speaking of folks who "fell for it", we finish up today with a bunch of Republican voters in a bunch of counties in one state who are now calling for seceding from the Union! Sounds good to me!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)