The changes that these victorious state and local initiatives represent are less than 1% of what needs to be done regarding the so-called “criminal justice system.” But it represents a major turning of the tides. This is arguably the most important libertarian moment since the draft was ended in the Vietnam era.
By Lee Camp, Counterpunch
Something seismic happened in this election and it has nothing to do with Joe Biden winning. And yes, Joe Biden did indeed win. I’m sorry for those of you Trump fans who believe the election was rigged against him. It simply wasn’t.
Yes, millions of Americans were indeed purged from the voter rolls – but they were mostly people of color. So if MAGA Nation are waiting for those votes to be counted, then Trump will actually do even worse. And I honestly don’t care if you’re thinking, “But I saw a video on Tik-Tok of someone burning a ballot and then smothering it in hot sauce and eating it.” That doesn’t mean 50,000 votes were switched in Nevada. I saw a video on Twitter of a guy who could shoot laser beams out of his urethra—that doesn’t make it REAL! …And before you ask – Yes, he used his power to fight crime.
By Jason Lee Byas, Center for a Stateless Society
As the pain, suffering, and sheer cost incurred by the criminal justice system in America spirals further and further out of control, more and more people have come to push for reform. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once proudly declared to have never struggled with issues like the death penalty, has begun to advocate reducing the number of prisons.
However, what we need, now more than ever, is something much more radical than mere reform to the criminal justice system: we need abolition. We must abolish the institutions of criminal law and punishment, including the system of slavery we call “prisons,” replacing it all with a legal system based purely on defense and restitution.
The universal victory of anti-police state referendums was the most important thing to come out of the election, much more so than the presidential contest. But the big question is what will the state attack as it loses the drug war as a tool?
Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Kassandra Frederique, discusses a measure that makes Oregon the first state in the nation to decriminalize the possession and personal use of all drugs.
Trump has always reminded me of Silvio Berlusconi, who also ended up in prison after a term as the Italian Prime Minister.
As one who grew up in the America of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, this is something I never thought I would see.
By Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
Voters in red and blue states may be in accord on nothing else, but they passed measures to liberalize drug laws.
One of America’s greatest mistakes over the last century was the war on drugs, so it’s thrilling to see voters in red and blue states alike moving to unwind it.
The most important step is coming in Oregon, where voters easily passed a referendum that will decriminalize possession of even hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, while helping users get treatment for addiction. The idea is to address drug use as a public health crisis more than as a criminal justice issue.
In Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, voters decisively passed measures liberalizing marijuana laws. Marijuana will now be legal for medical use in about 35 states and for recreational use in 15 states.
A slowdown of the “war on drugs” is always a good thing. As Knapp points out, the casualties of the drug war have probably reached Holocaust levels by now. Although as the drug war recedes, look for the state to identify new targets, which could be anything from promoting sex trafficking hysteria (which is already happening) to anti-anti-vaxxer hysteria to guns, “hate,” crime generally, terrorism, gangs. Come to think of it, all of this is already happening as well.
By Thomas L. Knapp, Garrison Center
The conventional wisdom of the last hundred years or so: The US government can and should decide what we may eat, drink, smoke, inject, or otherwise ingest. It can and should kidnap and cage us if we disobey, and if its restrictions kill us with adulterated or unduly strong black market products, it’s our own fault for not doing as we’re told.
Common sense: Unless you’re a six-year-old listening to your mother’s stern “no broccoli, no dessert” lecture, what you choose to eat, drink, smoke, inject, or otherwise ingest is nobody’s business but yours.
November 3 was D-Day in common sense’s war to shatter the conventional wisdom.
“Of nine drug decriminalization or legalization measures on state ballots,” Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports at Reason, “not a single one failed. These were decisive victories, too, not close calls.”
Americans from coast to coast, north to south, in states red and blue, voted by huge margins to nullify federal laws on medical and/or recreational marijuana, psychedelics, even “hard” drugs.
The US government’s war on drugs is going to end sooner or later. Sooner is better for everyone, so let’s start talking about the terms of DC’s surrender.
Given the millions of arrests, imprisonments, overdoses and murders, etc. caused by the war on drugs — numbers exceeding the Armenian genocide beyond a shadow of doubt, and quite possibly competing for pride of place with Hitler’s atrocities — Americans could hardly be blamed for convening a Nuremberg-style tribunal and stretching some drug warrior necks. The longer this nonsense drags on, the more likely that outcome.
Here it comes. At present, it looks like Dementia Man may win with literally the minimum number of electoral votes allowed. Orange Man is not likely to go away quietly.
By Mark Sherman, Associated Press
By Jacob Sullum, Reason
Oregon voters today approved a ballot initiative that decriminalizes noncommercial possession of all drugs, something no jurisdiction in the United States has ever done. With 70 percent of precincts reporting, 59 percent of voters favored Measure 110.
The initiative’s supporters included the Oregon Democratic Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the NAACP of Portland, state medical groups, and musician John Legend. Opponents included former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), state legislators, two dozen district attorneys, and the Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, which argued that it did not provide enough resources for addiction treatment.
While marijuana is already legal in Oregon, Measure 110 eliminates criminal penalties for low-level possession of drugs that Oregon continues to ban, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin. The initiative, dubbed the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, reclassifies personal possession of controlled substances, currently a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,250, as a Class E violation punishable by a $100 fine. The initiative’s supporters estimate that it will reduce drug possession arrests by more than 90 percent.
By Celine Castronuovo, The Hill
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota on Friday announced that the FBI brought charges against a member of the far-right “Boogaloo Bois” group for organizing and participating in an effort to “incite a riot” outside a Minneapolis police precinct in May amid protests against the police killing of George Floyd.
According to the legal complaint filed Monday, Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Boerne, Texas, who claims to be a member of the Boogaloo Bois, communicated with fellow members in late May ahead of a planned trip to Minneapolis as police had already started clashing with protesters in the city.
The documents claim that federal agents obtained a video from the evening of May 28 showing an individual walking up to the door of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis and firing 13 rounds from “what appears to be an AK-47 style semiautomatic rifle.”
Federal officials said the shooter can be seen in the footage walking up to the camera and high-fiving other individuals before shouting “Justice for Floyd!”
By Daniel Villarreal, Time
On Friday, a federal district court judge allowed a lawsuit brought by 21 businesses against the city of Seattle to proceed, despite the city’s attempt to have it dismissed.
The lawsuit accuses the city of harming local business owners by allowing the existence of Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), a self-declared autonomous zone that was established and occupied by racial justice protestors from June 8 to July 1.
The occupied zone blocked all car traffic, reducing the businesses’ access to customers, vendors and revenue, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit further alleges that city police largely neglected the zone, allowing protesters and others to damage business property and threaten business owners without punishment.
Lastly, the lawsuit states that the city provided concrete barriers, medical supplies, washing and sanitation facilities, portable toilets, lighting and other material support, including the use of Cal Anderson Park to CHOP occupiers, and told police to adopt a “no response” policy wherein officers wouldn’t arrive unless a 9-1-1 caller reported “significant life safety issues.”
Of all the worthless crap to pick up a gun over…
By Justin Vallejo, Independent
Douglas Kuhn, 50, is being held without bail for allegedly firing a shotgun at Neal Houk and son Bradly Lang in Maryland on Saturday afternoon.
The judge hearing the case before Baltimore County District Court on Monday was furious that the current political climate had come to this.
More white folks trying to instruct black folks in the “proper” way to go about being black.
Kristian Williams, a left-wing anarchist hated by left-wing anarchists though not as much as yours truly, has a pretty interesting discussion of the ideas and influences of Clarence Thomas. The opening section of this is interesting:
Two flags decorated Clarence Thomas’s apartment at Yale Law School: The red, black, and green Pan-African flag, and the Stars and Bars of the Confederate battle flag.
Corey Robin mentions this detail in passing in The Enigma of Clarence Thomas—which was just released in a paperback edition—but it almost serves as a microcosm of his argument.
Robin—among the most astute, and certainly the most readable, of the left-liberal scholars of the right—is kind enough to offer us a thesis statement: “The central claim of this book,” he writes, is that “Thomas is a black nationalist whose conservative jurisprudence rotates around an axis of black interests and concerns.”
As one who wrote about the civil war in El Salvador, this sounds an awful lot like the extra-judicial death squad killings that would take place in that country.
The U.S. government collects detailed data on who’s dying in which jails around the country – but won’t let anyone see it. So, Reuters conducted its own tally of fatalities in America’s biggest jails, pinpointing where suicide, botched healthcare and bad jailkeeping are claiming lives in a system with scant oversight.
Harvey Hill wouldn’t leave John Finnegan’s front yard. He stood in the pouring rain, laughing at the sky, alarming his former boss’ wife. Finnegan dialed 911.
“He needs a mental evaluation,” the landscaper recalls telling the arriving officer. Instead, Hill was charged with trespassing and jailed on suspicion of a misdemeanor offense that could bring a $500 fine.
It was a death sentence.
Arguably, one of the worst things about both Biden and Trump is their running mates. Harris appears to be a total psychopath who would likely be acting president once Biden is put out to pasture. And Mike Pence is an empty suit and “yes man” who would be a reincarnation of George W. Bush, silly putty in the hands of the neocons.
How many people getting worked up about Amy Coney Barrett, pro or con, have ever given a second thought to where she stands on the Patriot Act, NDAA, torture, detention without trial, military commissions, surveillance, war powers, Fourth Amendment, kill lists, drone wars, executive orders, administrative law, or any other serious or substantive topics, as opposed to the usual laundry list of dumbass “social issues?
D.C. Bureau Chief of The Intercept, Ryan Grim, breaks down the first day of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The most interesting about a Biden administration regarding domestic policy will probably be the degree to which the Democrats move to create a one-party state.
Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti discuss Joe Biden’s reluctance to talk about court packing. They also react to his recent comments in Las Vegas, NV.
Today our own Communications Director Don Feder interviews Phillip Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group on Amy Coney Barrett filling the Supreme Court vacancy.
Leftists who think these laws can’t or won’t be used against them are fools. See the Smith Act.
A court verdict in Athens with ramifications for the far right across Europe has been met with jubilation in Greece and internationally after judges ruled the neo-fascist Golden Dawn was a criminal organisation in disguise.
Tens of thousands people who had converged near the heavily guarded court complex in Athens in anticipation of the judgment roared in excitement as the news emerged. Many broke into spontaneous applause and punched the air as it became clear that the three-member tribunal had found the far-right group guilty of operating a gang of hit squads bent on eliminating perceived enemies.
“It’s official. Golden Dawn is over. The conviction is overwhelming,” said Petros Constantinou, a leading anti-racism activist. “The mood here today is resonant of the celebrations we saw with the liberation of Athens from the Nazis. It’s a great day.”
Wrapping up a trial that began in April 2015, the presiding judge, Maria Lepenioti, said the court had concluded that seven of Golden Dawn’s 18 former MPs, including the party founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, had led the deadly organisation. The rest were found culpable of participating in the gang.
A great possibility exists that this person will be the acting President of the United States in a few months. I consider her to be more dangerous than either Trump or Biden because she gives the police state a “progressive” gloss, and she is also a complete toady for the Hillaryite/neocon alliance in the foreign policy realm.
By Elizabeth Nolan Brown
In the years since former California Attorney General Kamala Harris entered national public life—first as a U.S. senator, now as a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—one strain of criticism has surfaced again and again. It can be captured in just five words: Kamala Harris is a cop.
The phrase, which the candidate’s critics use frequently, is meant to conjure more than just Harris’ history as a hard-nosed San Francisco prosecutor. It’s colloquial. To label someone a cop in this way is never to invoke the best behavior one might expect from police officers. It implies the person is a bully, a bootlicker, a professional tattler—the sort of person who shuts down un-authorized lemonade stands run by kids. A cop, in this context, is someone who will always defer to authority and the status quo, someone who is unaccountable and not to be trusted. Calling someone a cop invokes the worst sorts of police overreach, a legalistic authoritarianism that exists for its own sake.