Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thousands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 17:12
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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Who's opposed to mass incarceration and the prison state, and who is faking the funk? Our president and attorney general, who talk on one side of the issue and act on the other side? Our traditional civil rights outfits like the NAACP-LDF who won't speak against the nation's chief jailers as long as they have black faces?

Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thousands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 "...it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the law the president signed and the attorney general praised..."

Are establishment black “civil rights organizations” like the NAACP, the National Action Network and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund really opposed to mass incarceration and the prison state?

I got an email yesterday from the NAACP LDF, the outfit founded by none other than Thurgood Marshall, who litigated Brown V Board of Education back in the 1950s. The email said that the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals had just ruled that the so-called Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reducing the racist laws fixing the penalties for crack cocaine at 100 times those for powder cocaine to a somewhat less unfair ratio of 18 to 1 would not be applied retroactively to the thousands of people still serving obscenely long prison sentences from the quarter century those laws were enforced.

The press release went on to say that they are heartened that 7 judges did favor the release of the prisoners suffering these unfair sentences, and that “...Their powerful dissents encourage us to remain steadfast in our effort to win the release of those held under draconian and discriminatory sentences.”

The NAACP LDF which represented the families of prisoners serving these unjust sentences knows very well that this is a political issue and a political struggle.

So why did the NAACP LDF fail to mention that their legal opponents in this case were President Barack Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department, which opposed in court the application of the very law which the president signed and the attorney general lauded.

Let me say that again... First, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the law the president signed and the attorney general praised Secondly, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which went to court to keep those people in prison. They lost when the trial judge ruled they should be released. And third, the same Justice Department run by the same first black attorney general under the first black president appealed the order to reduce those sentences, instead seeking and obtaining yesterday's ruling by the 6th circuit court of appeals.

"their first priority is boosting the political fortunes and careers of their peers in the black political elite"

But you wouldn't know any of this from the NAACP-LDF's press release. Or NAN's or any of the rest of the corporate-funded black “civil rights' establishment. You could have read it in Black Agenda Report

On mass incarceration in general and the reduction of these unfair, unjust sentences, our first black president and attorney general are howling hypocrites, saying one thing and doing another. Their hypocrisy is enabled by traditional black civil rights organizations like the NAACP-LDF, who refuse to make a political issue out of Obama's and Holder's hypocrisy. The “civil rights” establishment is in a bind. They claim to oppose mass incarceration and the prison state, although they've only just learned the phrase “mass incarceration” and cannot fix their lips to say “prison state.”

But since their first priority is boosting the political fortunes and careers of their peers in the black political elite, who we affectionately call our black misleadership class, they are unable to call the devil in charge of mass incarceration by his name, if that devil has a black face.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

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21 comments

If Obama commits racist acts, then it isn't racism? Why?

Submitted by katm on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 18:20.

The most important question at this point is- if the racist ruling elite can get away with using black politicians to do their racist dirty work for them, why is it not called racism?

Clearly, Obama is a willing tool for the racist ruling elite. Shame on the NAACP!!

What happened to American people that we could so easily be made to forget Martin Luther King Jr's dream was to judge by content of character and not by superficial appearance? How is it possible that so many of us Americans would end up too cowardly to point out the painful fact that Obama's content of character is pure shit!

On a Slightly Different Topic_DeBlasio Names Bratton NYPD Chief:

Submitted by Nixakliel on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 20:24.

Bill De Blasio is already beginning to look like a white version of Obama. He was elected largely by attacking Bloomberg's hated 'Stop & Frisk' policies, but now he picks Giuliani's ex-NYPD chief Bratton who helped to make 'Stop & Frisk' NYPD policy. Bratton also did the same as LAPD chief.

Also note-worthy is that De Blasio- who made a point during his campaign for NYC mayor, that he's married to a Black woman & has 2 [or perhaps 3] bi-racial kids as he featured his half Black teenage son in his campaign ads criticizing Bloomberg's [& NYPD Chief 'Stop & Frisk' Kelly's] 'Stop & Frisk' policy- picked the white guy Bratton over 2 qualified Black & Hispanic candidates. 

So expect 'Stop & Frisk' under the De Blasio / Bratton regime to be tweaked around the edges, but NOT substantially changed &/or cut-back [especially w the judge's ruling RE 'Stop & Frisk' now on hold & her removal from the case], let alone phased out. 

If this is how De Blasio is going to carry it- He would be yet another example why progressives need to ditch most / nearly all lame-stream Dims.

Obomber and DeBlasio are peas

Submitted by beverly on Mon, 12/09/2013 - 20:52.

Obomber and DeBlasio are peas in a pod.  I read a piece on DeBlasio in NY Magazine (another press agent for the Democratic party).  The Clintons are big fans.  Nuff said.  His biracial family will mute the sheeple while he continues Bloomberg's agenda.

Great comment!!

Submitted by KE Nero on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 11:41.

Thanks for posting that! I recently blogged a bit on that very issue (http://goo.gl/4jOKLN) as many of my liberal friends on Facebook were championing De Blasio while I reserved judgement until I saw his actions. Establishment De B is just the same old, played (out) song pushing the same old tired agenda. 

I just found BAR and am very happy I did, thank you folks! Each one teach one!!

Obama and Holder are

Submitted by Sabido Robles on Fri, 12/06/2013 - 12:57.

Obama and Holder are criminals themselves. They need to build thousands of private prisons so they can lock up millions more niggers for the huge amount of crimes they commit!

Who Let the Racist(s) or Self-Hating Negro(s) Comment Here???

Submitted by Nixakliel on Fri, 12/06/2013 - 22:41.

How did such a racist or self-hating negro find BAR to make such a comment??? This is the BAR site NOT the FOX Noise 'good ole white-boy' KKK site!!!

Don't feed the trolls...

Submitted by Susan Lee on Sun, 12/08/2013 - 08:09.

they get so fat from attention that they get harder and harder to shift from the website they're feeding from. Unless you want a 500 lb moron infesting the comments section, ignore him. He really is as stupid as he sounds.

True.   When Obama wanted to

Submitted by Chuck Rogers on Sun, 12/29/2013 - 22:46.

True.   When Obama wanted to release the inmates at Gitmo to their homes countries for trial, or to the American court system for a final disposition of their cases, the Right Wing opposed it, but I believe they were also drooling at the prospect of even one released Gitmate entering free society only to commit some crime of terrorism (so called).  Like it or not, politics is important and it is a game played with rules that are not created by Milton-Bradley, but rather by the loudest and squeakiest wheels, the ones who get the grease and also the wheels that the White Republican establishment has been able to fully implement in the persona of people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and the entire propagandist institution called FOX News (Noise). These are the people who have the cash and would not hesitate to follow each and every inmate released form custody on the racist crack cocaine laws and do whatever they needed to do to trip as many of these people up into doing something illegal.  I would also invite those who can read between the lines to ask themselves what kind of enduring piocture would be painted of this Black President and Black Att. General who did not file an appeal to keep these prisoners on lock if such things were to occur.  I would ask you also to realize that Obama has been going through the records and commuting the sentences of a few of those inmates.  That it must be a case by case process is understandable.  It is a tumor surrounded by viable brain tissue, no one can just take a scalpel and just start cutting.  There are too many lives at stake, including the lives and dignity of Black youths who have never even touched cocaine in ANY form.

These Two Guys are not Unique in This Kind of Behavior!

Submitted by akechlo on Fri, 12/06/2013 - 17:53.

It seems to be a character trait plaguing the black leaders/elites, particularly, while they are in realms of  power where they can effect changes. For some unexplained reasons, they instead relish inflicting the worst kinds of pain on their own people. Read this article and make you own decision.

http://links.org.au/node/3620

Those who were bold  enough to speak out like MLK and Malcolm X  had their lives cut short! The focus needs to be why the episodes like these are being repeated time and time again! Something is happening behind the seen. The question is, "where is the pressure on these elites to engage in  activities against their own coming from and why are they so mute to let the rest of us know about it?" Or are they merely  the kinds of individuals who are so ambitious that they are willing to do just about anything to put their names in the history books?

"It seems to be a character

Submitted by beverly on Sat, 12/07/2013 - 23:43.

"It seems to be a character trait plaguing the black leaders/elites, particularly, while they are in realms of power where they can effect changes."

It's maddening.  Local, state, or national level - they don't push for even the smallest things that would improve the lot of the black masses.  What good does it do the black masses to elect them when said masses' lot worsens with these Trojan horses in power?  Until the masses make demands and back demands up with consequences (stop re-electing, stop consuming, etc) the Obombers, Monsantos, Walmarts, Holders, etc of the world will screw us over until there is nothing left.

On another note:  Happy Holidays Enlightened Cynic.  I hope you are well and are still reading BAR.  Please come back soon; we miss your insightful comments and perspective.  Same for Sanda the Artist; haven't seen a comment from you in a while.  I hope you are well.

Obama & Holder Win Court Case

Submitted by Jeremy Grimm on Sat, 12/07/2013 - 16:05.

[I'm white, arriving here from a cross-posting from Naked Capitalism] – viewing Obama and even politics through a color lens misses the point. What's race got to do with it? Race is just a convenient marker for dividing us up; one of many ways to divide 'the 99' and set us at each other's throats.

I voted for change, but Obama and his administration, whether female, other, black, white, whatever color prove that for our '1%' the only color that matters is green, and the capability it gives our '0.001%' to control and direct the ongoing liquidation and their appropriation of what little remains of our country's economic, social, and shared, common, assets.

Your rhetoric is typical of

Submitted by axe on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 01:30.

Your rhetoric is typical of White American "progressives" and ignores the reality that race and class issues go hand-in-glove. It's not a question of choosing one form of oppression over another. That's simplistic either-or thinking. It's race AND class--not race vs. class.

And to be blunt, White progressives often play the "Class Card" to minimize issues of racism and White supremacy, which have been *fundamental* to the American Empire and its capitalist system since the Founding Fraudsters...er... Fathers were spawned.

Hell, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison were all SLAVEOWNERS and plantation capitalists. Yet, most people--including White progressive leftists--still worship these founding fraudsters with misty-eyed nationalism, despite all the crimes they were guilty of.

More relevant today was the so-called Occupy Wall Street movement, which despite its boasts about "representing the 99% against the 1%," in practice represented the grievances of certain privileged sections of the (White) American middle class, who were enraged at losing their sense of economic  entitlement with the Wall Street meltdown, foreclosure crisis, IT bubble, etc.

In other words, they were angry at getting a small taste of what people of color have dealt with throughout the entire history of America--long before Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, or any of the other "populist" movements that have sprouted recently.

Finally, all this sweet talk about how "we" are all basically the same and should "unite together" often is disingenous political code for keeping quiet, accepting continued White political domination, and subordinating the specificity of our struggles and interests behind some "universal" White political agenda.

That type of unity is a unity based upon inequality, and it's just more of the same old same old.

More on these issues:

Call Out to People of Color http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/06/call-out-to-people-of-color-occupywallstreet/

OCCUPY WALL STREET: The Game of Colonialism and further nationalism to be decolonized from the “Left” http://www.racialicious.com/2011/09/30/occupy-wall-street-the-game-of-colonialism-and-further-nationalism-to-be-decolonized-from-the-left

Among the 99%   http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/04/among-the-99

 

 

"Your rhetoric is typical of"

Submitted by Chuck Rogers on Sun, 12/29/2013 - 22:53.

Tasteless and uncalled for attack on a person merely because they are White.  This country belongs to all of us and all of us approach truth from our own perspectives.  You need to reread Malcolm and Mandela and MLK to learn how to get along with your allies of another skin color.  You need to respect the blood that was shed by White civil rights leaders, not because they were born with a target on their bodies, but because they chose to do so.  Look around.  Your high horse has your knees dragging the ground.  Now go on, hate me too!

I couldn't believe it...

Submitted by Susan Lee on Sun, 12/08/2013 - 07:49.

...when I read his speech. These are graduating students for God's sake. Here they are, graciously sitting through a speech with unbelievable patience all the while being attacked intellectually, culturally, and socially. I'm an old fart but I remember the 60's like it was yesterday, and in that time frame he would have been dragged from the stage and thrown out into the street, president or no president.

A++ to all those students for behaving far better than the president even in the face of severe provocation. Their parents should be so proud of them and I am sure they are, even if our president isn't.

 

At Cripes

Submitted by Jeremy Grimm on Sat, 12/07/2013 - 19:45.

Um, Cripes, the point is that Obama talks the talk -- but he don't walk the walk. He's all that you say dealing with his black audience, AND he's no different with his white, Asian, American Indian, Latino, Female, whatever audience -- just uses different verbiage. Obama is an exceptional speaker -- especially compared to the last president.

It wasn't just black folks that put Obama in office. Color matters -- don't get me wrong. I don't have to be black to see, and I admit that I probably miss a great -- but I can see enough to know that being black is no advantage, to understate the situation. However, look at the root cause of what's going down. It's not about color. It's about the people with $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ keeping the rest of us down, and continuing their pillaging. If you get tied up in issues of color, you've let issue politics blind you to your economic interests. Issue politics, not just color based, is used to divide us. Our interests are aligned and we need to work together toward somehow putting things right.

Not one word about mass incarceration ever...

Submitted by Susan Lee on Sun, 12/08/2013 - 08:41.

from Obama. Not one. Nothing about the moral bankruptcy a nation is wallowing in which allows private prisons to be fed a steady stream of racial miniorities to make a profit from. Nothing from either Black or White misleaders about unfair and unjust practices that keep their constiuents in prisons long after they should have been released or never should have been there in the first place.

The US hypocritically points its long, bony finger at other regimes throughout the world for perceived social injustices, even threatens them with war, yet completely neglects the plight of its own citizens.

We have huge battles ahead of us, far greater than the civil rights battles waged before. US citizens are going to have to take the lead because our so called leaders are nothing more than very willing pawns in the elites' desire to wring every ounce of wealth out of everyone else.

rhetoric

Submitted by rose on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 19:59.

I remember when the president was first campaigning. (I was a Kucinich gal.) My initial reaction was that he was deliberately using verbiage to gloss over the social inequities in the U.S. Then after Kucinich tanked, I felt litttle enthusiasm for any candidate; however, many dems seemed to like him, so I joined.

Anyone who feels betrayed was not paying attention. The paradoxes & contradictions have been there from the beginning. The man seems to me to be neo-liberalism incarnate.

 

 

New Rules.......

Submitted by sandrawilliams on Thu, 12/19/2013 - 02:32.

As we all know different countries have got different rules and regualtion and there are strict rules and regulation and it is essential that we should be more careful about the different laws regarding the different sections of the organizations. There are different rules and regualation which are being highly utilized such as in United States. In a recent case it was seen that the prisoners those who were kept under unfair means were relaeased and new rules and reglation were being made out on the basis of new areas.

 

 

Friday 12/20 Democracy Now!

Submitted by chris-g on Sun, 12/22/2013 - 16:39.

 

On Democracy Now this Friday Jennifer Turner from the ACLU says Obama has granted clemency to 8 individuals sentenced under unfair crack laws to "signal that something needs to be done about the nearly 9000 people still serving excessive minimum mandatory sentences under the old sentencing laws of the 80's." No mention of the battle with Holder & Obama is made during the segment whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skin-deep African-Americanism

Submitted by Henry McRandall on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 13:10.

The first time I saw Barack Obama speak - when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention - my immediate impression was that he was not speaking to African-Americans or to anyone else in the Other99%. He was simply trying to ingratiate himself with the almost-totally-white Top1%. Financially, Obama's already part of the Top1% just from his book sales before becoming the Top1%'s "boy in the White House," and after he leaves the White House his future books and speaking fees will make him very much more a part of the almost-totally-white Top1%. And given the absolute, total control the Top1% now holds over the entire electoral system, it wouldn't matter what color the man in the White House was, he'd stilll be nothing more than the Top1%'s "boy in the White House." The only time I've ever heard Obama talk to African-Americans was to scold them for the supposed weakness of their parenting skills.

And that scolding betrayed the reality that Obama has absolutely no understanding or empathy for the pathetic conditions and circumstances under which far too many African-American parents are forced to do their parenting. If Obama had cared at all about ordinary African-Americans, instead of attacking their parenting skills he would have attacked the horrific, monumentally-immoral corporate-capitalist agenda that has created and perpetuated the horrific conditions and circumstances that far too many African-American parents have to cope with on a daily basis.

Sadly for Obama, no matter how hard he tries to win the love of the Top1%, the Teabaggers, the GOP, the bankster gangsters and the rest of the corporate-capitalist elite, the color of his skin will always prevent him from being anything more than a waiter at the banquet-table of the lily-white, immorally-wealthy, insanely-undertaxed clique that really runs Amerikkka.

Barack Obama may indeed have a very deep tan, but his African-Americanism is merely skin-deep. As for Holder, I really don't know enough about him to understand why he also has turned his back on his African-American brothers and sisters. Whatever the reason, Holder is also a despicable spectacle. www.WRISEUP.COM

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