... Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are actually more likely to sell drugs:
Whites were about 45 percent more likely than blacks to sell drugs in 1980, according to an analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth by economist Robert Fairlie. This was consistent with a 1989 survey of youth in Boston. My own analysis of data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 6.6 percent of white adolescents and young adults (aged 12 to 25) sold drugs, compared to just 5.0 percent of blacks (a 32 percent difference).
This partly reflects racial differences in the drug markets in black and white communities. In poor black neighborhoods, drugs tend to be sold outdoors, in the open. In white neighborhoods, by contrast, drug transactions typically happen indoors, often between friends and acquaintances. If you sell drugs outside, you're much more likely to get caught.
... and always has been, according to a report at Vox. Shoot first, ask questions later, don't ask questions.
"Things haven't been fine in the past. I think that's very clear."
When Customs and Border Protection head Gil Kerlikowske said that to a room of reporters on September 18, it was a milestone for the agency. For the past several years, the US Border Patrol has had a problem with agents using excessive forceand getting away with it. Agents had killed at least 42 civilians since 2005 — and that was just based on cases that were known to the media. Admitting that the agency hadn't "been fine" was the closest that anyone in government had come to acknowledging the problem. ...Vox
In fact, as you read on about Border Patrol, it seems clear that this agency offers the perfect job for men with guns who are still morally in adolescence. It's an agency of John Waynes in an era of Tommy Lee Jones.
Border Patrol agents no longer were out on patrol alone all that often. But the "one riot, one agent" culture of the Border Patrol — which included the feeling that an agent had to protect himself and his country from people who could be out to get him — persisted. ...Vox
They haven't had much leadership lately, either. Why? Because Congress refused for years to confirm Obama's choice for agency director. Finally, the newly-confirmed chief is laying down some rules.
This spring, Kerlikowske arrived at Customs and Border Protection with a goal of restoring "transparency and accountability" to the agency. In mid-September, he announced several big steps toward that goal. For the first time ever, Border Patrol will actually keep records of when its agents use force — and will start investigating uses of force immediately after they occur. And CBP's internal affairs unit will now have the authority to do criminal investigations of agent misconduct. ...Vox
Kerlikowske has a lot to deal with. This is not an agency where honesty and respect for others -- much less the law -- have been valued. Violence and victimization were tolerated for the most part.
Not all of the complaints about excessive force or abuse were ignored. An officer who was accused of hitting an immigrant's head against a rock and causing a hematoma, for example, received counseling — the most common "action" the Border Patrol took in response to complaints, with six cases. Only one complaint resulted in a suspension.
Furthermore, of the 809 complaints that AIC analyzed, only 485 were closed at all — the others were still listed as "Pending Investigation." Those cases had been "pending" an average of 13 months (389 days) as of the end of the dataset. When the Border Patrol wanted to close a complaint, by contrast, it only took them an average of 5 months (144 days) to do it. ...Vox
Down here where Border Patrol operates, the view is that more may be needed than just a new boss to turn lawless agents into accountable public servants.
...Many Democratic donors would love to take down the Senate GOP leader, whom they view as the Senate’s obstructionist in chief. And they like playing offense. ...TheHill
Mitch McConnell is a symbol of bought-'n'-paid-for political nastiness found on the dirty side of democracy. He'd be hard to remove from the Senate. Still, Democrats are lined up to give it a try. They should be expending energy and money on just retaining the Senate. But this group wants McConnell out and I'm on their side.
Spending a fresh $1.4 million on a statewide TV ad bashing McConnell is a gamble for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which has six vulnerable incumbents and a long-held Democratic seat in Iowa to defend.
In Kentucky, Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Recent polls show that Grimes is trailing McConnell by an average of 5 points. Massively boosting party spending on her campaign when independent handicappers view her as a long shot could attract criticism — especially from sitting senators worried about their own races. Yet, a decision not to go after McConnell in October would be seen as ceding the race to the minority leader. ...TheHill
More than one issue makes us anxious to see McConnell defeated. Here's one that still angers most liberals: Obama had just been elected and was only months into his first term. The Bush financial crash was responsible for large numbers of Americans losing their jobs. But McConnell's focus was elsewhere.
McConnell said in the fall of 2010 that his top political priority was to limit Obama to one term in the Oval Office. ...TheHill
From the inauguration in 2009 onward, there was an unusually vicious determination on the part of the Republican political leadership to bring the President down by whatever means available. The effort was clearly personal -- perhaps mostly for southern Republicans. This was the "Great Recession," and McConnell led his party in their determination to block legislation that would help American families at greatest risk.
The resentment of most Democrats is not just about the insults to the President and the do-nothing determination of Congressional Republicans. There are other irritating issues that make some cross the street rather than share a sidewalk with McConnell. Take, for example, the Senate Minority Leader "'voting himself six pay raises' during his three-decade career in the Senate." Not surprising, but not the kind of action by a representative that charms colleagues and voters.
Just ask Oklahoma. They're proceeding with executions using the same drug and method as last time. Only now they'll quintuple the dose and -- get this! -- reduce the number of witnesses. So there will be fewer complaints, I guess.
The new guidelines allow the state to keep using midazolam, a sedative used in flawed executions earlier this year in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona, although it calls for increasing by five times the dose it gave Clayton Lockett in April. Other changes include more training requirements for prison staff and members of the execution teams, and having contingency plans in case of problems with execution equipment or an inmate's medical condition. The new protocols also reduce the number of media witnesses from 12 to five. ...AlJazeera
So okay. Here's the drill. Don't be black. Don't spend any time in Oklahoma. And for added security and comfort, don't pay any attention to media reports of executions.
Above all, don't have an opinion. The state knows what it's doing. Just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and sing the national anthem.
Brand new state! Brand new state, gonna treat you great! Gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters, Pasture fer the cattle, Spinach and Temayters! Flowers on the prarie where the June bugs zoom, Plen'y of air and plen'y of room, Plen'y of room to swing a rope! Plen'y of heart and plen'y of hope...
The double fenced and heavily armed kind intended to keep a corrupt military dictator safe?
... Simply adding more fences and armed-camp features—making the White House more of a disheartening militarized bubble—could be counterproductive. It would be harder for a child outside to imagine getting inside by way of an election, or by any normal political means. A dog that was, instead, kept on a leash could have stopped Gonzalez. The issue here is basic competency, not super-spy technology. The Postalso reported, in a story over the weekend, that, in 2011, Michelle Obama had to learn from an usher that someone had fired a semiautomatic rifle at the White House, and hit it. The Secret Service didn’t figure that one out for several days—agents had decided that the sounds of gunfire were just of a car backfiring, until someone on the staff came across broken glass. That time, Sasha was home. ...AmyDavidson/NewYorker
Over and over again we are substituting money and arms for that other thing: "basic competency." Ferguson. Afghanistan. 9/11. Etc.
Ohio has a pretty good early voting period already on the books, so its loss of extended voting times isn't a tragedy. But curtailing voting is the result of blatantly partisan policy, not practical or other reasoning. It simply makes it that much more difficult for the working stiff with family obligations and often two or three jobs to vote.
The poisoned icing on the cake came with the 5/4 Supreme Court decision against an extension of early voting in Ohio. And their decision suggests there may be more anti-voting issues in the future.
Election Law Blog’s Rick Hasen argues supporters of voting rights didn’t have the best case in Ohio, which still has a pretty robust early election program compared to other states. Hasen also fears the Ohio case could give SCOTUS a hook to issue a more sweeping repudiation of the claim that early voting is protected by constitution or statute. But the way the SCOTUS majority handled the case was, well, under-handed.
...The events in Ferguson should be a wake-up call to the federal and state governments to overcome those barriers and make a strong commitment to accountability.
State lawmakers should pass legislation requiring that investigations into deaths by police be automatically referred to an outside, neutral party, as Wisconsin has. They should also begin to systematically collect and disseminate data on the use of excessive force by law enforcement. States should update and intensify training for law enforcement personnel on community relations, biased policing, and de-escalation of violence techniques. (Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon [D] has announced the establishment of an agency to improve community relations, but its powers are limited to providing advice and it appears to have little ability to compel change.) ...AntonioGinatta,TheHill
Governor Nixon: What we're looking for here is not better public relations efforts on behalf of the police but serious reform of the police, their weapons, their policies, their character, and their methods.
U.S. intelligence agents have broad authority to spy on U.S. companies as long as they are “believed to have some relationship with foreign organizations or persons” — a description that could conceivably apply to any company with foreign shareholders, subsidiaries, or even employees—according to newly released government documents published this morning by the ACLU.
The trove, which includes documents from the NSA, Department of Justice, and Defense Intelligence Agency, confirms long-standing suspicions that the bulk of U.S. foreign surveillance operations are governed not by acts of Congress, but by a 33-year-old executive order issued unilaterally by President Ronald Reagan. ...TheIntercept
No input from Congress. No review by Congress or the people they represent. Just Ronnie. I'd call that "executive privilege" gone bananas.
America has a very, very poor record when it comes to Central America. Over the decades, we have supported the far right in that area and have done so in spite of the manifest brutality of a succession of regimes. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did nothing to better our relationship with those nations. Her policies, added to our awful history of our relations with the Middle East should make us sit up and ask -- seriously -- what we mean by "America's interests."
Read Mark Weisbrot's commentary on Clinton's policy towards Central America and it becomes clear that Hillary Clinton is part of America's problems, not a solution. Weisbrot, director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, writes in Al Jazeera that Clinton's own memoir opens a door on her (and successor John Kerry's) treatment of nascent democracy in Honduras. Hillary Clinton just didn't like the democratically-elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya. Her animosity seems to have been in large part personal. A clip from a news report five years ago:
On June 2, Obama administration officials got a firsthand look at the brewing political battle when Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clintontraveled to Honduras for an Organization of American States conference. Mrs. Clinton met with Mr. Zelaya, and he reportedly annoyed her when he summoned her to a private room late in the night after her arrival and had her shake hands with his extended family. ...NYT,6/09
Clinton writes about Honduras in her memoir, "Hard Choices."
The chapter on Latin America, particularly the section on Honduras, a major source of the child migrants currently pouring into the United States, has gone largely unnoticed. In letters to Clinton and her successor, John Kerry, more than 100 members of Congress have repeatedly warned about the deteriorating security situation in Honduras, especially since the 2009 military coup that ousted the country’s democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. As Honduran scholar Dana Frank points out in Foreign Affairs, the U.S.-backed post-coup government “rewarded coup loyalists with top ministries,” opening the door for further “violence and anarchy.”
The homicide rate in Honduras, already the highest in the world, increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2011; political repression, the murder of opposition political candidates, peasant organizers and LGBT activists increased and continue to this day. Femicides skyrocketed. The violence and insecurity were exacerbated by a generalized institutional collapse. Drug-related violence has worsened amid allegations of rampant corruption in Honduras’ police and government. While the gangs are responsible for much of the violence, Honduran security forces have engaged in a wave of killings and other human rights crimes with impunity.
Despite this, however, both under Clinton and Kerry, the State Department’s response to the violence and military and police impunity has largely been silence, along with continued U.S. aid to Honduran security forces. In “Hard Choices,” Clinton describes her role in the aftermath of the coup that brought about this dire situation. Her firsthand account is significant both for the confession of an important truth and for a crucial false testimony.
First, the confession: Clinton admits that she used the power of her office to make sure that Zelaya would not return to office. ...Weisbrot,AlJazeera
Well, that took care of Zelaya and that pesky, self-determining democracy. Back to cruel dictatorship, drugs, murder, and children forced into exile. Wait, you're still trying to find some good reason for Clinton to act as she has?
The question of Zelaya was anything but moot. Latin American leaders, the United Nations General Assembly and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office. Clinton’s defiant and anti-democratic stance spurred a downward slide in U.S. relations with several Latin American countries, which has continued. It eroded the warm welcome and benefit of the doubt that even the leftist governments in region offered to the newly installed Obama administration a few months earlier.
Clinton’s false testimony is even more revealing. She reports that Zelaya was arrested amid “fears that he was preparing to circumvent the constitution and extend his term in office.” This is simply not true. As Clinton must know, when Zelaya was kidnapped by the military and flown out of the country in his pajamas on June 28, 2009, he was trying to put a consultative, nonbinding poll on the ballot to ask voters whether they wanted to have a real referendum on reforming the constitution during the scheduled election in November. It is important to note that Zelaya was not eligible to run in that election. Even if he had gotten everything he wanted, it was impossible for Zelaya to extend his term in office. But this did not stop the extreme right in Honduras and the United States from using false charges of tampering with the constitution to justify the coup. ...Weisbrot,AlJazeera
You'd still vote for Hillary? Not me. But she has secured the support -- money and votes -- from the "right-wing Latin American lobby, including Floridian Cuban-Americans and their political fundraisers." Same old same old.
I'd like to know more about the shiv she stuck in the Obama White House when she turned on Zelaya -- even though the administration in which she served apparently had supported Zelaya and the democratic movement in Honduras.