Politics (7)

In the wake of the United States Civil War (1861-1865) fought for the emancipation of enslaved Africans and the elimination of chattel slavery, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution were passed, with the latter—the 15th Amendment, passed in 1870—guaranteeing African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Despite this Amendment, enacted on the graves of over a half million soldiers, this guarantee of voting rights for African Americans had to be reemphasized, once again, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965, which sought to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The United States Department of Justice is a federal executive department, responsible for the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice. As such, its legal basis lies in Article II of the United States Constitution. To aid in these duties to enforce the law and administer justice, the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Justice, was established in 1930 — as the agencies web page states — to “provide more progressive and humane care for federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of federal prisons” (“About Us”, 2016).

With 20 US Penitentiaries, 65 Federal Correctional Institutions[1], 13 Private Correctional Institutions[2], seven Federal Prison Camps[3], 19 Administrative Facilities, and 15 Federal Correctional Complexes, and multiple state and local prisons, jails, and detention facilities, the United States currently detains over two million prisoners each and every day, the world’s largest prison population on earth. China, with 1.3 billion total population compared to the US population of 321 million, is second with 1,548,498 prisoners (United States vs. China, 2016; World Prison Populations, 2016).

While “an estimated 65 million people in the United States have criminal records,” Blacks and Latinos comprise 71.4% of the total US federal prison population (Prison Statistics, 2016; Hernández, et al., 2015). As of September 2016, there are a total of 192, 628 federally-confined inmates, almost an eight-fold increase since 1980, with 156,778 inmates confined in BOP-operated facilities, 21,834 in privately-managed facilities, and 14,016 in “other types of facilities” (Prison Statistics, 2016). Since less than two hundred thousand inmates reside in federally-operated facilities, this means that of the two million plus total US prison population, over 1,800,000 inmates are housed in state and local detention facilities.

Four general theories have historically been advanced as justification for sanctioning the punishment of criminal behavior: deterrence, just deserts, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. The impetus behind deterrence is to make crime too costly for criminals to engage in it. Just deserts introduce the notion of proportionality such that one’s punishment should be commensurable with the moral gravity of the crime committed. Incapacitation, i.e. incarceration, removes law breakers from society, either permanently or temporarily. If incarceration is temporary, then offenders are deemed to have “done their time” and “paid their debt to society” for the offense committed and may now, once again, enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship. As such, temporary incarceration suggests the possibility of rehabilitation (Muhlhausen, May 27, 2010). Societal chastisement, in the form of incarceration, is thus a penalty exacted from those who transgress the law, on the theory that humans are capable of learning from their errors.

While temporary incarceration and the theory of rehabilitation exist in the US criminal justice system, it is notable that ten US states permanently bar felons from ever voting once convicted, even after their sentences are completed. Twenty states restore inmate’s voting rights after they have served their time, parole, and probation; four states restore voting rights after inmates have served their time and parole; 14 states after incarceration is served; and in two states, viz. Maine and Vermont, felons may vote absentee while in prison (State Felon Voting Laws, 2016).

Recently, in the state of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) restored voting rights to more than 200,000 former felons in April of 2016 only to see that state’s supreme court, only three months later, in July of 2016, agree with Republican legislators who had filed a petition accusing the governor of exceeding his authority. As Horwitz and Portnoy state: “The Democratic governor’s decision particularly affects black residents of Virginia: 1 in 4 African Americans in the state has been permanently banned from voting because of laws restricting the rights of those with convictions” (Horwitz and Portnoy, April 22, 2016). Thus, what is the basis for the non-restoration of voting rights once a criminal has served her or his time? Is there any merit to this denial or is it simply another method of racial discrimination?

In Virginia, as with so many states, the U.S. criminal justice system operates largely on a racialized basis, not only to maintain the class divisions within the larger society, but, as well, to divide prison populations amongst themselves. Because a disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos are incarcerated in the United States and denied voting rights once their prison sentences are served, this effectively disenfranchises much of the working class in America, thus allowing the controllers of capital to rule with few checks to their aggrandizement of power and wealth. As such, the stigmatization of felons by permanently rescinding their voting rights in a number of states, constitutes a key indicator of how class rule is maintained in the United States.

 

 

 

[1] The five Federal Correctional Institutions in the State of West Virginia include prisons in Beckley, Gilmer, Hazelton, McDowell, and Morgantown. It is interesting to note that compared to West Virginia’s five federal correctional facilities, California has a total of six and New York has only two.

[2] These private FCIs are run by either Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation, or the GEO Group, Inc.—the latter which maintains facilities in North America, Australian, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

[3] West Virginia hosts one federal prison camp at Alderson, WV.

They Planned and He Plans


The American enlightenment has started. The dormancy of over three decades, and the miseries that the United States has put dozens of nations through, have begun to cease. The torment that the Vietnamese went through and the innocent lives that perished under US drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan are beginning to find their answers. But not on International tribunals or world system of justice. No. In people’s conscious, the great divide in the American population is the first sure sign of a change to come.

Ever since the unwelcome appearance of Donald Trump on the US governmental scene, the first president not to be placed in place by the deep state, the inquisition over what is going on has begun. Americans more than ever are perplexed about their future. Their past is vague and no matter how hard they peer into the rear view mirror, it doesn’t make sense.

9/11 doesn’t make sense.

The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t make sense.

The admittance to not finding any WMDs in Iraq and yet occupying it, doesn’t make sense.

To kill 500, 000 children and say it was worth the kill by the administrators doesn’t make sense.

The cover-up for 9/11 doesn’t make sense.

To start a global war on terror and not explain how 9/11 occurred, or how a third building collapsed nine hours later, doesn’t make sense.

Obama’s sudden appearance on the scene, doesn’t make sense.

The hundreds of books and articles that question the mechanism of the selection of Obama and never discussing them on the mainstream media, doesn’t make sense.

Obama placed in that position by the establishment, the deep state as they said, doesn’t make sense.

The blanked out middle-class of America, still pondering what happened, doesn’t make sense.

The fact that they lost their jobs beginning three decades ago, and having had to let go of their comfortable insured life working in an American factory, doesn’t make sense.

The abandoned factories and grand industries that once made America great, lying obsolete and deserted, doesn’t make sense.

Half of Detroit abandoned and deserted, doesn’t make sense.

The media cheering on its hallucinatory concussions all throughout these disasters, doesn’t make sense.

The PTSDed war veterans and the official suicide rates of US soldiers on and off duty, go undetected and barely seen in the rear view mirror of the media, never make sense.

All the common man sees today is one man attacked by the same mass media that pushed them into the illegal wars and illegitimate debts from zero to 20 trillion by some estimates ( between 1979-2017) . Zero in 1979 and almost 20 trillion in 2017.

But the “buck stops here” as President Eisenhower once famously said. The heavy train loaded with old rusted debris is coming to a screeching halt. Meanwhile the curious are looking wide-eyed. NATO doesn’t know where it really stands. The think tanks of Washington – the hub of all mesmerizing strategies – are vacant or their curtains half drawn. The neocons are contemplating plan B. The Israeli “firsters” are caught off guard. They are planning ahead of time desperately. But whose ears do they have this time?! A man who calls the weapons of the think tanks, the mainstream media, “liars “, “fake news”!?

Once the invisible sword, the likes of New York Times and CNN are today exposed and blunted. Who dared call CNN “liars”?! CNN engaged America meticulously into two “fake” wars and indebted the United states and never got any blame. It was almost scripted and storyboarded like a Hollywood movie. Now, it is still loose, with acrobatic skills evading all detection like a skilled serial killer breathing in our civilized world.

Now the eye- opening process has begun. Watch out for the six-packers and their evaporated illusions! You have finally awaken the slumbering slave of America, and awakened they are Alas! All empires go through these stages.  The awkward moments must be tolerated i.e. the president without a cabinet, the supporters with semi-automatic weapons guarding his speeches in Georgia and Florida. The anti-Semitic accusations that are being discussed in the morning regular sessions on CNN. The angry obliterated Alan Dershowitz who is nervously accusing CNN’s moderator Don Lemon, of giving the anti-Semites their fifteen- minute moment of fame. The fear that it will catch fire on the colleges and universities.

The masquerade however is over. The Paul Wolfowitzs, the Richard Perles, the Daniel Pipes have to face the masses. The not- so – innocent masses that succumbed to the beast’s demands also waits. The confrontation lingers silently. No one even knows these people as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times once famously said in his interviews with the Haaretz. 25 neocons have planned and executed what has happened in the past two and a half decades.

The wakeup call has rung, the moment of illusion has disappeared. The apparent, sudden sun is beginning to shine gloriously, one ray at a time. Wash your face and watch the sun unfolding.

Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…