That figure was news to me. I’ve been winging it with ~650k American “Civil” War dead (don’t you just love that oxymoron?) for two decades of writings when I bring it up. Perhaps that’s what it takes to be the greatest president, in The Land of the Free. Kill lots of people that lots of other people don’t like. Simple equation. Little history lesson. Letter from President Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune, 1862.
As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free. [emphasis added]
Spoken like a master pragmatist.
Shorter Lincoln: ‘Don’t you fuckin’ get it, man? I’m a politician and as such, seek power over the lives of other people and the more, the better. We euphemistically call it a union; and the constitution and statutes it has enacted; I have sworn to uphold. and I will do so, no matter how many lives it costs.’
The “Civil War” was about secession of the southern states, tied to slavery economically, via unmechanized agriculture; but not about ending slavery in any sort of Enlightenment, moral ideal. Abolition of slavery had a long history, since The Enlightenment, and the first nation to enact laws abolishing slavery was Spain (Leyes Nuevas), in 1542, more than 300 years before the US “Civil War” to “end slavery in the ‘free’ world.” (The only thing that surpasses American hubris is American ignorance, to a degree that might make North Korea blush, some days.)
The root cause of slavery was agriculture. Logic flow:
- Agriculture creates many calories, relatively easily available and cheap vs. hunting and gathering.
- Relatively easy and cheap calories equals a boon to fecundity and survival of young.
- More people.
- Requiring more agriculture.
- Exponential growth.
- Eventually, people are no longer self sufficient.
- Protection racket, euphemistically called Politics.
- Non-industrail; so, let subjects starve, or arbitrarily create classes of slaves based on differences and natural antagonism?
- Slavery wins out. Gotta protect the political power of having the most influence over the most people.
It’s not morality or conscience that ended slavery. They just hitched a ride and have been milking it ever since. What ended slavery was the Industrial Revolution that got started in about 1760 and was in full swing…guess…20-40 years before our most civilized war. OK, so maybe Spain and a few others were acting on conscience in their Abolition. Don’t know, for sure.
America largely and officially, was not. It was not! America has no seat at the table over freeing slaves because it was morally abominable to hold slaves. And yet, Americans are like North Koreans on this point of history, and it has fucking irritated me for 2 decades.
I have plenty of hubris over a lot of things, but the American fantasy and hubris over being the shining light in terms of human slavery makes me blush.
…OK, shifting gears and connecting dots, suppose we forget all that and focus on the existing American enslavement of blacks and Latinos? They call it the War on Drugs. I call it the War on American Citizens, but it’s really just another “Civil War” that morally depraved Americans just seem to sadistically love—the most sadistic being the most religious; completely not ironic, if you understand their lust for people they don’t like being tortured in hell eternally. Let’s get started.
According to Sen. Robert Byrd, cosponsor of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the reason to attach five- and ten-year mandatory sentences to drug trafficking was to punish “the kingpins—the masterminds who are really running these operations”, and the mid-level dealers.
But, the logic of law enforcement is to always go with the least risk, least cost, and just plain easiest—all while showing off their fashion clothing. This is why if you’re paying attention, they are praying on peaceful citizens daily and shooting the family dog—probably a combination of wanting something low-risk to do, combined with a pussy complex…but I’m just guessing.
Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett:
Growing up in blue collar Circle Pines, Minnesota, in the 1950s, raised by parents from the “Greatest Generation,” I dreamed only of becoming a civil rights lawyer. My passion for justice was hard-wired into my DNA. Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand. While I’m extremely proud of my father’s service in World War II, I am greatly conflicted about my role in the “war on drugs.”
I’d ask why his government retirement is more important than those lives and his conscience, but it’s not the point. It’s going to happen anyway. I get that, so I’ll give him a pass so long as he maintains a voice of conscience. And it has a certain power: “why are you torturing my conscience like this, for the sake of your politics and irrational fears?”
So, You da Judge. Keep at it, sir.
Keeping with Da Judge, Let’s take a look at the facts, just in terms of federal law and conviction, keeping in mind that in total, the Land of the Free incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other nation on earth.
Crack defendants are almost always poor African-Americans. Meth defendants are generally lower-income whites. More than 80 percent of the 4,546 meth defendants sentenced in federal courts in 2010 received a mandatory minimum sentence. These small-time addicts are apprehended not through high-tech wiretaps or sophisticated undercover stings but by common traffic stops for things like nonfunctioning taillights. Or they’re caught in a search of the logs at a local Walmart to see who is buying unusually large amounts of nonprescription cold medicine. They are the low-hanging fruit of the drug war. Other than their crippling meth addiction, they are very much like the folks I grew up with. Virtually all are charged with federal drug trafficking conspiracies—which sounds ominous but is based on something as simple as two people agreeing to purchase pseudoephedrine and cook it into meth. They don’t even have to succeed.
I’d suggest considering a different view. That America is morally depraved and its people—you, voters—directly culpable. I know. you don’t care. God & Country, Law & Order. Damnation, Hell, and eternal torture. Turn your Bibles to Chapter X. It all reads the same.
I’ll limit this to Federal incarceration and it goes to the post title as to why, which I’ll get to shortly. Drug offenders in the Fed system:
- As of 2013, 99,426 were serving time for drug offenses, about 10% associated with violence. Call it 90K non violent. Interestingly, for all 50 states, “only” 55k are in for possession, while 167K are associated with violence. Since state law typically deals with the adjudication of violent acts, this makes sense. On the other hand, how much of the violence is associated with the presence of laws that make no rational sense to people? “Where there are laws, there will be crime.” – Solzhenitsyn
- As of 2013, 985,000 people were on probation for federal drug offenses.
- As of 2013, 280,000 people were on parole for federal drug offenses.
- As of 2013, approximately 500,000 people are in federal and state prison over drug offenses, violent and non-violent combined.
Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants unilateral executive power to the president to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
So, all that to get to this. President Barack “Choom Master” Obama gets to be the greatest president in our history by the stroke of a pen during his last few days in office. See, he’s pretty famous for pleading his duty to “uphold the law” when admonished by common citizen surfs in town-hall publicity stunts, who harangue him for not holding up the Black end of things.
OK, so just enforce the law to convict them, then pardon them all. By my rough calculation, he could free 1,355,000 slaves in prison, on probation, or parole with a single signature—a hugely disproportionate population-based percentage of them black and Hispanic.
Would that fucking rock the world, or what? It would literally gut the whole Drug War and get poor, peaceful folk back to their families—or remove dark specters of federal conviction hanging over their heads—for good. As a bonus, as Presidents love to apologize for the past sins of the nation they execute power over, how about a public apology for the American Disgrace, since Nixon started it? Barack: just say that you were inhaling, when Clinton was in office. That outta do it.
How many state governors would then find the “political will” (one of the funniest fraud-concepts ever) to follow suit and open their prison doors to non-violent offenders and release parolees and those on probation?
It would be so awesome. That’s why it would and will never happen. It’s complicated, but it turns on the secret handshake between those who hold office, and those who proudly wear lapel stickers every 2-4 years.
Barack Obama is a politician and the Democrat party is far more important than all those lives. So is the Republican party.
Now, voters, go out and wave your party flags, you proud people, you.