Devyani Khobragade is a hypocrite

December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Good afternoon:

I intended to write about Devyani Khobragade, the Indian consular official who complained bitterly about the way she was treated when she was booked into jail, but I have been so busy that I did not get it done until today.

Devyani Khobragade is a hypocrite.

Yes, she was subjected to invasive and degrading body cavity searches, but so is every woman who gets booked into jail.

She should have complained about any woman having to endure such unnecessary and degrading treatment. Instead, she complained that, because of her status as a diplomat and well educated member of a higher caste in India, she should not have been subjected to the standard operating procedure to which criminals and common female riff-raff are subjected.

Jesus of Nazareth had something relevant to say about this subject. Here’s Matthew 25:31-46 (New American Bible)*

f “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
h For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’
l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Ms. Khobragade has been accused of lying on an immigration visa application for her Indian housekeeper, Sangeeta Richard. She averred that she was paying her maid $4,500 per month when, in fact, she was paying her about $3 per hour, which is well below minimum wage.

The New York Daily News reports:

In India, Devyani Khobragade advocated for women’s rights. But in New York, she was a slave driver, says the family of Khobragade’s housekeeper.

Consular official Khobragade worked domestic servant Sangeeta ­Richard from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, “tantamount to keeping a person in slavery-like conditions or keeping a person in bondage,” Richard’s husband, Philip, said in court papers filed in Delhi, ­India.

“Even though the contract stipulated that Sunday would be an off day, she worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., minus two hours for church . . . She worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, as well,” Philip ­Richard said.

And the housekeeper’s daughter, Jennifer Richard, wrote to US officials last summer that her mom “used to sound unhappy whenever she talked to us on the phone. She asked Devyani to send her back to India, but Devyani refused her request.”

I have no sympathy for Devyani Khobragade because she is a hypocrite.

India’s caste system is an abomination and should be abolished.

If the truth be told, Khobragade is not the only foreign diplomat who engages in this activity and I suspect our diplomats do the same thing when they serve in foreign countries.

This is the embarrassing truth that the Indian and United States governments do not want to publicly admit.

Shame on them and all governments and people who enslave others for any reason.

*The New American Bible (NAB) was first published in 1970. The New American Bible is one of three Catholic Bibles approved for use in the liturgy, and is the official translation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This is our 815th post.

Privatizing prisons to exploit inmates for profit is slavery and must be abolished

November 30, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Good morning:

Crazy 1946 inspired me to write this article with his comment yesterday in response to Crane’s post, The Woman Who Moved During Count. He said,

I’m sitting here in utter confusion (ok, that’s not unusual, but…) and wondering why we call it a “Justice System”? Is treating a person like an animal in an effort to break their spirit considered “justice”? What possible benefit to the rest of society could come from creating a person that develops a hatred for those that enforce the rules of society because of the way they are treated after they make a mistake? I can’t help but be angered when we hear of our fellow humans being treated worse than our laws permit live stock to be treated…. and to think, we do this while calling our selves civilized…

When I took criminal law in law school, I was taught that the legitimate goals of imprisonment were punishment, rehabilitation and deterring others from committing crimes. The emphasis was on locking up violent offenders for long periods of time. Nonviolent offenders usually were not sentenced to prison unless they had prior convictions. Therefore, the majority of prison inmates had been convicted of violent crimes.

The idea to rehabilitate prisoners by working through their addiction problems, teaching them skills to make an honest living, and helping them reintegrate into the community after serving their sentences was a wonderful idea. Getting their addictions under control and setting them up with a job that paid a living wage, a place to stay, and a support group led by a competent counselor was a great way to prepare them to support themselves and accomplish something positive in their lives. Rehabilitation was based on the Golden Rule. Treat a person with respect and they are more likely to respect themselves and treat others with respect. Train and set them up with a skilled job that paid a living wage and a support group to help each other through rough spots seemed as perfect a solution as is humanly possible to turn convicted felons into well adjusted and productive citizens.

Unfortunately, the programs, training, jobs paying a living wage, places to stay and community support required lots of money to have any chance of success and the federal government was more interested in using the War on Drugs to lock people up, specifically black males, for most of their potentially productive years. Rehabilitation was mocked and dismissed as a costly and impractical liberal solution to solving crime. Convicted offenders were demonized and legislatures cranked out statutes increasing sentences. Programs in the prisons were eliminated and inmates were released into their respective communities after serving their sentences without any assistance. The situation they faced was literally sink or swim. No surprise then that recidivism rates increased as institutionalized prisoners could not survive in a hostile environment without job opportunities and no way to support themselves financially without committing crimes.

It doesn’t take a weather man to tell which way the wind blows.

The dire situation got much worse when corporate America realized there was a lot of money to be made reinstating slavery by replacing state run prisons and operating them on a for-profit basis exploiting the prisoners as slave labor. Aided and abetted by politicians eager to reduce, if not eliminate federal and state governments by privatizing their activities and selling off their assets to reduce debt, corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) began contracting with various states to house their prison inmates. Amazingly, the corporations insisted on and many states agreed to so-called lock-up quotas requiring states to pay penalties if they failed to send enough people to prison to keep the prisons full.

We need to get our priorities straight. The grotesque return to the exploitation economy that created and sustained the antebellum South is extremely alarming. Greed is not good. Greed is evil. Slavery by any other name is still slavery. Exploiting human beings for any reason is morally and ethically unacceptable. If you think about it, people who profit from exploiting others actually represent a greater threat to humanity than all of the serial killers put together. Two words: Human trafficking.

Exploiting prison inmates for slave labor is not far behind.

Corruption in the form of financial kickbacks to judges for keeping prisons full of inmates, whether they deserve to be in prison or not, has already happened.

A couple of years ago, for example, two juvenile court judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of accepting kickbacks from the developer of a privately owned juvenile detention center for sentencing over 3,000 children to draconian prison terms.

Kids for Cash is a documentary about the case produced by Robert May. It recently premiered at the DOC NYC Festival and will be released early next year. Here’s Robert May answering questions after the premiere.

Fred says, “Check it out.”

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