“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Forget Water Boarding. The US Government Will Get Americans Killed.

In a 15 State study, over two-thirds of released prisoners were rearrested within three years

Some bureaucrats on an innocuous commission have made a decision that is going to take property, safety and lives from US citizens. The results of this action are predictable and guaranteed. While the press and politicians are worried about water boarding a few American enemies, our rulers and masters are going to do a lot worse to the American people.

Cuts in prison time for crack approved
By Jerry Seper Washington Times
December 12, 2007

The U.S. Sentencing Commission yesterday unanimously voted to give retroactive status to an amendment in the federal sentencing guidelines that reduces penalties for crack-cocaine offenses.

Retroactivity of the amendment is effective March 3, but not every convicted crack-cocaine offender will be eligible for a lower sentence as a result of the decision. A federal sentencing judge will make the final determination whether a person qualifies and how much their sentence could or should be lowered.

Commission spokesman Michael Courlander said final determinations will be made only after the consideration of many factors, including the panel's direction to consider whether lowering the offender's sentence would pose a danger to public safety.
"Don't leave home without one"

The decision comes in the wake of a 7-2 ruling Monday by the Supreme Court, which said federal judges can issue shorter prison terms than federal guidelines recommend in cocaine cases — addressing a sentencing disparity for crack- and powder-cocaine convictions widely considered to be more punitive for blacks.

The seven-member commission voted to amend federal sentencing guidelines effective Nov. 1, after a six-month congressional review period. The amendment was intended as a step toward reducing some of the unwarranted disparity between federal crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine sentences.

The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 authorized the commission to provide for retroactive effect of amendments that result in lower penalties for classes of offenses or offenders, as this amendment could.

The decision could affect as many as 19,500 people, mostly blacks — including 3,800 who could become eligible for sentence reductions within the next 15 months.

Mr. Courlander said the panel made its decision on retroactivity after months of deliberation and years of examining cocaine-sentencing issues. He said it solicited public comment on the issue and received more than 33,000 letters or written comments, almost all of which were in favor of retroactivity.

Last month, the commission held a full-day hearing on the issue and heard from key stakeholders in the federal criminal justice community.

The overall effect of the amendment is anticipated to occur incrementally over 30 years, Mr. Courlander said, due to the limited nature of the amendment and because many crack-cocaine offenders will be required under federal law to serve mandatory five- or 10-year sentences because of the amount of crack involved in their offense.

Mr. Courlander said the commission considered a number of factors, including the purpose for lowering crack-cocaine sentences, the limit on any reduction allowed by the amendment, whether it would be difficult for the courts to apply the reduction, and whether making the amendment retroactive would raise public safety concerns or cause unwarranted sentencing disparity.

Ultimately, he said, the commission ruled that the statutory purpose of sentencings are best served by retroactive application of the amendment. Mindful of public safety and judicial resource concerns, he said, the commission issued direction to the courts on the limited nature of this and all other retroactive amendments and on the need to consider public safety in each case.

Over the past several months, the commission called on Congress to address the issue of the 100-to-1 statutory ratio that drove federal cocaine sentencing policy, noting that only Congress can provide a comprehensive solution to a fundamental unfairness in federal sentencing policy.

Mr. Courlander said the commission has "consistently expressed its readiness and willingness to work with Congress and others in the criminal justice community to address this very important issue."

In a press conference yesterday, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey voiced opposition to the plan of retroactively reviewing cases, saying it could result in the release of inmates to communities not prepared to deal with them.

The commission delayed the effective date on retroactivity to give the courts sufficient time to prepare for and process the cases.

The bipartisan commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch of the federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The sentencing guidelines help to ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.


  1. Should have posted this under the Huckabee thread, but--Huckabee Reluctant To Give Up His Sermons

    I for one would like to read the Gospel According to Huckabee. There is probably some misreading or better controversial reading in there he would find embarrassing on the national stage. What better way to get insight into a man or woman thatn through their sermons?

    Meanwhile, Hillary is watching out for us. Has one of her underfolk hint around that those nasty republicans will really really attack Obama on his drug use, if we are so foolish as to nominate him. The nasty republicans will ask, how many times, crack or powder, ever share, heroin, ever sell, ever take money, ever push? and on and on, no end to it. Those are the kind of questions the nasty republicans will ask, says the Hillary campaign. :)

  2. Is there any difference in the recidivism rate, depending on whether they are jailed for a longer or shorter period of time?

  3. Someone should ask Bacrackabama what his thoughts are on our little post.

  4. Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior

    While the prisons strain at the seams from overcrowding.

    On December 31, 2006 �

    � 2,258,983 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails -- an increase of 2.9% from yearend 2005, less than the average annual growth of 3.4% since yearend 1995.
    � there were an estimated 501 prison inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents -- up from 411 at yearend 1995.
    At yearend 2006 there were 3,042 black male sentenced prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,261 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 487 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.

    This link to the Dept of Justice graphs the crimes the miscreants committed.

    Drug crime imprisonment spikes upward in 1987. But the Headline tells the story

    Prisoners convicted of a violent offense make up over half of the prison population

    Criminalizing drug use, imprisoning folk for their personal habits has not dropped the overall crime rates nor has it equalized outcomes.

    The Federals failing to provide adequate "... sentencing guidelines help to ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences ..."

    If those folk should all stay in jail, let's extend the sentences of the white powder boys, put them in for the same penalties as the crackers.

    But then the sons, daughters and wives of the Law Makers would be effected.

    Mr McCain's wife a prime example of unequal Justice System outcomes for the elites to theft, fraud and drug use in the criminal justice system, as compared to a poor black kid on the corner.

    The hypocrisy also comes out when their friends and family get caught.

    Likely 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, R-Ariz., has advocated tougher drug laws, but in the early 1990s, his wife, Cindy, stole Percocet and Vicodin from a charity. She was not prosecuted. Percocet and Vicodin are Schedule II drugs, in the same legal category as opium. Each pill theft carries a penalty of one year in prison and a monetary fine. But Mrs. McCain entered a pretrial diversion program and escaped without a criminal record.

    John Stossel
    "Prison for You, but Not for Me"

    The son of Duke "Death Penalty for Drug Kingpins" Cunningham, R-Calif., was convicted for possession of 400 pounds of marijuana. Mother Jones reported that in court, the congressman cried and pleaded for mercy, explaining that his son "has a good heart. He works hard." The congressman -- who denounced "soft-on-crime liberal judges" and railed against "reduced mandatory-minimum sentences for drug trafficking" (and who himself is now in prison for taking bribes) -- won for his son the mercy he fought to deny others: half the federal "mandatory" minimum sentence.

    All too often, officials protect themselves and their families from the punishments they set up for the rest of us. Using drugs might be a crime for you, but it's a joke for someone named Bush or Clinton.

    Our rulers make laws to control and punish you and your family for doing the very acts they flaunted in their youth.

  5. "I have never broken a state law," he said. "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it and didn't inhale."

    There was a smirk on his face; it was clear drug use was no big deal to him. Remember when he played the sax on TV? What got him the biggest laugh that night was talking about smoking dope: "That's how I learned to inhale, by playing my saxophone," he said, grinning. "You blow out and then you have to inhale." Everyone applauded.

    What fun. His vice president, Al Gore, did drugs, too -- "as a student, a few times in the army" -- and so did other officials, like former Senator Bill Bradley and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Our current president simply admitted to "mistakes" in his youth, and his father, George H.W. Bush, when asked if he had ever smoked grass, replied, "No, but I'd hate to speak for my kids."

  6. 10% of the US population admits to past cocaine use, that's 30 million folk.

    Let's lock 'em all down for the Federal minimum -
    Five to Ten years.

  7. This is how the British Government sees it:

    The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 701 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (606), Belarus (554), Kazakhstan and the U.S. Virgin Islands (both 522), the Cayman Islands (501), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bermuda (447), Suriname (437), Dominica (420) and Ukraine (415).

    Findings are produced by the Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. For further
    copies contact:
    Communication Development Unit
    Room 264,
    Home Office,
    50 Queen Anne’s Gate,
    London SW1H 9AT.

  8. Seems the difference between the US statement of 501 per 100,000 and the Brits saying 701 per 100,000

    The Brits include "pre - t r i a l
    detainees (remand prisoners)" while the Dept of Justice figures only count those convicted and sentenced.

    There being 200 per 100,000 US citizens being held without being convicted.

  9. Desert Rat: 10% of the US population admits to past cocaine use, that's 30 million folk.

    The War on Drugs has already cost us half a trillion dollars since Nixon mobilized it, and we have been even less victorious there as we have in the half-trillion dollar War on Terror. Every time we interdict 0.7% of the drug trade with a major bust, they just raise the prices 0.7%.

  10. Rush Limbaugh, another ClassII drug user, that did not do a day behind bars.

    Less time than Ms Lohan, who was busted with the white powdered cocaine in her pants pocket.

    Mike Tyson, here in AZ, got off cocaine possession with a slap on the wrist, but he's famous.

    MESA, Arizona (AP) -- Mike Tyson was sentenced Monday to 24 hours in jail and three years' probation for cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

    The former heavyweight champion had pleaded guilty in September to a single felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor DUI count.

    "I take responsibility for my actions," Tyson told Superior Court Judge Helene Abrams in an almost inaudible voice before she handed down the sentence.

    Tyson, who will begin serving his jail time Tuesday morning, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

    Tyson had faced a possible maximum sentence of four years and three months in prison. Prosecutor Shane Krauser had recommended one year in prison Monday, saying that Tyson was a multiple offender who previously had been convicted of a violent crime and that only now has he sought treatment for his drug addiction.

    "Judge, by my calculations, this is his fourth or fifth chance," Krauser said.

    MIke Tyson was arrested in a traffic stop outside the Pussycat Lounge in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    The Pussycat Lounge is as the name would imply.

  11. Institutional Racism?
    An old complaint, for which no proof has ever been offered.

    The idea behind the protests and the politicians’ exploitation of them is that just as these five youths were overcharged, the hundreds of thousands of blacks in prison are also the victims of systemic abuse. But for institutional racism, the black prison population would be much smaller.

    This is an old complaint, for which no proof has ever been offered, Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible statement notwithstanding. The usual evidence in support of the charge that the criminal laws discriminate against blacks is the far stiffer sentences for selling and possessing crack cocaine compared with powdered cocaine. But that colorblind sentencing regimen, which dates from 1986, was a heartfelt effort to protect the overwhelmingly black victims of crack, not to penalize them. Black liberals such as Congressman Charles Rangel were loudest in sounding the alarm about the effects of crack in the black ghetto. Not even the most deluded racial apologists have ever explicitly suggested that racial bias motivated Congress’s efforts to combat a drug that results in much higher rates of violence among dealers and users, quicker and more onerous addiction, and more emergency room visits than its powdered cousin.

    The reason that the black incarceration rate is the highest in the country is that blacks have the highest crime rate—by a long shot. Don’t trust the police, prosecutors, or judges to give a fair picture of black crime? Then go where the bodies are. Los Angeles is representative. In the first seven months of 2007, blacks in Los Angeles were murdered at a rate ten times that of whites and Asians. Who’s killing them? It’s not whites and Asians. While a minor proportion of the assailants of blacks are Hispanic, the vast majority are black themselves.

    Nationally, blacks commit murder at about eight times the frequency of whites. In New York, any given violent crime is 13 times more likely to have been committed by a black person than by a white person, according to the reports of victims and witnesses. Though they are only 24 percent of the city’s population, blacks committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in New York last year. Whites, who make up 34.5 percent of New Yorkers, committed only 5.3 percent of violent crimes. These ratios are similar across the country. In Los Angeles, blacks committed 41 percent of all robberies in 2001, according to victims’ descriptions, though they constitute only 11 percent of the city’s population. Robbery victims identified whites, who make up 30 percent of the Los Angeles population, just 4 percent of the time.
    Charles Rangel's observations in New York are mirrored in Hawaii regarding the violence and devastation caused by Crack.
    This plague has destroyed tens of thousands of lives here, and is involved in a remarkably high percent of violent crime.
    It's effects are far more destructive and addictive than cocaine.

  12. "Is there any difference in the recidivism rate, depending on whether they are jailed for a longer or shorter period of time?"
    For the violent offenders, of which there are many, the goal of keeping them off the streets is of more interest and value to society than recidism rates.

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