Making America scared and stupid won’t make us safer


Sally YatesJim Watson/AFP

❝ In today’s polarized world, there aren’t many issues on which Democrats and Republicans agree. So when they do, we should seize the rare opportunity to move our country forward. One such issue is criminal-justice reform, and specifically the need for sentencing reform for drug offenses.

All across the political spectrum, in red states and blue states, from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and the Koch brothers to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the American Civil Liberties Union, there is broad consensus that the “lock them all up and throw away the key” approach embodied in mandatory minimum drug sentences is counterproductive, negatively affecting our ability to assure the safety of our communities.

❝ But last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back the clock to the 1980s, reinstating the harsh, indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum drug sentences imposed at the height of the crack epidemic. Sessions attempted to justify his directive in a Post op-ed last weekend, stoking fear by claiming that as a result of then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Smart on Crime policy, the United States is gripped by a rising epidemic of violent crime that can only be cured by putting more drug offenders in jail for more time.

❝ That argument just isn’t supported by the facts. Not only are violent crime rates still at historic lows — nearly half of what they were when I became a federal prosecutor in 1989 — but there is also no evidence that the increase in violent crime some cities have experienced is the result of drug offenders not serving enough time in prison. In fact, a recent study by the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission found that drug defendants with shorter sentences were actually slightly less likely to commit crimes when released than those sentenced under older, more severe penalties.

Contrary to Sessions’s assertions, Smart on Crime focused our limited federal resources on cases that had the greatest impact on our communities — the most dangerous defendants and most complex cases. As a result, prosecutors charged more defendants with murder, assault, gun crimes and robbery than ever before. And a greater percentage of drug prosecutions targeted kingpins and drug dealers with guns.

Not that the Confederacy, today’s Republican Party and power pimps like Trump care a whole boatload about evidence-based reason and decision-making.

RTFA for clarity, historic sense and analysis. You ain’t finding it in the White House.

5 thoughts on “Making America scared and stupid won’t make us safer

  1. nonsmokingladybug says:

    Sometimes, when I read posts like this one, I wish it would be written at a different place far, far away. This cannot possibly be happening here in the U.S.

    I am stuck in this nightmare since November and just can’t wake up.

  2. The sleeper must awaken says:

    “Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates slammed the Trump administration on Tuesday for ignoring legal and political norms, arguing that concerns about President Trump’s conduct should go much deeper than whether he committed an impeachable offense.
    “Surely [criminality is] not our bar. That’s not the standard of conduct that we’re looking for from our president or our administration,” she said in a sweeping panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “I mean, It shouldn’t just be whether you’ve committed a felony or not. It should also be whether or not you’re observing the kinds of norms that we’ve been talking about here today.”
    http://thehill.com/homenews/news/339663-sally-yates-trump-administration-behavior-should-be-alarming-to-us-as-a-country

  3. MAGA says:

    “Make America Afraid Again : Trump’s “slice and dice” rhetoric about brown-on-white violence has a single purpose.” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/07/trump_wants_to_make_white_people_afraid.html “…while the racial content of this kind of rhetoric has always been clear—the immigrants are always nonwhite, the victims are typically white—this was unusually explicit. Trump wasn’t just connecting immigrants with violent crime. He was using an outright racist trope: that of the violent, sadistic black or brown criminal, preying on innocent (usually white) women. Even considering his 1989 jeremiad against the Central Park Five—where he demanded the death penalty for the five black and Latino teenagers wrongly convicted of raping a white woman—the Youngstown rhetoric was sensational and excessive.
    What it wasn’t, however, was unique. Rhetorically, Trump’s Youngstown speech recalls the openly racist language found in the early 20th century among white reporters, pamphleteers, and politicians who expressed the prejudices of the era.”
    Illustration: A 1950 Senate campaign flier for Willis Smith. Jesse Helms was Smith’s publicity director. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Campaign_flyer_for_Willis_Smith_for_Senate_in_the_1950_US_Senate_race_in_North_Carolina.jpg Willis Smith (1887~1953) was a Democratic U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina between 1950 and 1953.

    • Boy says:

      “The dangerous myth of a singular, unified, white American South” https://qz.com/1041782/hbos-confederate-and-the-myth-of-a-unified-american-south/ “One-hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the thirst for an alternate version of Southern history in the US remains unquenchable. The Confederate flag endures as a symptom of the deeper cancer of racism, eating into the bone of the nation. And now a distinguished team of HBO showrunners, no doubt keen to appeal to the Trumpian electorate, is creating a show set in the alt-right South—in which the Confederacy’s secession was triumphant, and slavery is still legal. The planned show, “Confederate,” will purportedly depict the road to the “Third American Civil War.”

  4. Cassandra says:

    “Trump tells police not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/07/28/trump-tells-police-not-to-worry-about-injuring-suspects-during-arrests/
    “…But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Inner Party member O’Brien (George Orwell, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”)

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