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America’s Racist Drug Laws – by Stephen Lendman – 2-6-12

In Abuse of Power, advocacy, amendments to law needed, better laws, drug laws, drugs, racism on February 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Sentencing Project Executive Director Marc Mauer’s a leading expert on sentencing, race, and criminal justice.

For 25 years, it’s “work(ed) for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing law and practice, and alternatives to incarceration.”

Criminal injustice is pervasive, especially against people of color. Racial and ethnic minorities comprise over 60% of America’s prison population. “For black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day.”

America’s racist war on drugs disproportionately targets people of color and ethnic minorities. They comprise 75% of those in prison on drug related charges.

On March 17, 2011, Mauer testified before the US Sentencing Commission regarding proposed federal drug offense sentencing guideline amendments to the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act.

He said in 2009, drug offenses accounted for over half (51%) of the federal prison population. Those imprisoned represent a 20-fold increase since 1980. Their numbers exceed those incarcerated in 1980 for all offenses. They’re the most significant source of America’s 700% federal prison growth.

In recent years, state incarcerations stabilized. Federal ones keep rising. Drug related offenses are most responsible. Racial and ethnic minorities are grievously harmed. Reform is urgently needed.

Mandatory minimum sentences exacerbate the problem. So do other racist policies, including judicial unfairness, three strikes and you’re out, get tough on crime policies, and a guilty unless proved innocent mentality.

New York’s 1973 Rockefeller drug laws are most pernicious. Anyone convicted of selling two ounces or more of heroin, morphine, “raw or prepared opium,” cocaine, or cannabis, or possessing four ounces of the same substances receive mandatory 15-year minimum sentences up a maximum of 25 years to life.

In 1979, marijuana possession penalties were reduced from crimes to misdemeanors. However, aggressive pursuit of offenders continues, especially in New York City. More on that below.

Nationwide crack cocaine (vs. powder) and marijuana possession penalties are also pernicious. Until revised under the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, first time offenders convicted of possessing as little as five grams of crack (one ounce = 28 grams) automatically got five years in prison.

The new law reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. Henceforth, possessing 28 or more grams of crack subjects offenders to penalties up to five years. Mandatory simple possession sentencing ended. In addition, courts may reduce prior sentencing disparities.

Nonetheless, pot busts define America’s drug war. In 2006, Mauer said primary focus since 1990 shifted to marijuana offenses. As a result, they comprised 82% of the increase in drug arrests. Virtually all of them were for possessing small amounts. Enforcement costs are enormous – $4 billion or more annually for marijuana alone.

Under the 1970 federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s defined as having high potential for abuse. So far, redefinition attempts failed. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled against medical marijuana use in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative.

In Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the High Court ruled that Congress, under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis, even where states approve it for medicinal purposes. More on that below.

A Brief History of Legal Cannabis in America

In 1619, Jamestown colonial law required settlers to grow hemp. George Washington grew it as one of his main crops. Its use for rope and fabric was common throughout 18th and 19th century America.

Around 1860, cannabis regulations and restrictions were first instituted. After 1906, states began labeling it poisonous. In the 1920, prohibitions began. By the mid-1930s, all states enacted regulations, including 35 under the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. Violators were penalized but not imprisoned.

In the 1970s, communities began abolishing state laws and local regulations banning cannabis possession. Federal laws remain in place. In the 1990s, local sale for medical purposes began even though doing so conflicts with federal law.

Nonetheless, 16 states and the District of Columbia legalized medical marijuana, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Expect others to follow. Possession amounts and other legal provisions vary by state, but the message is clear. Medicinal marijuana works. As a result, criminalizing it harms those dependent for relief.

In addition, it’s a growing revenue source for budget-strapped states. It also produces jobs when they’re most needed. It’s a win-win, regardless of outdated, counterproductive and repressive federal policies.

Efficacious substances should be encouraged, not prohibited. In 1850s America, pharmacies carried medicinal cannabis. Around the same time, states began regulating pharmaceutical sales, including penalties for mislabeling and adulterated substances.

It became a slippery slope toward criminalizing cannabis. Today’s momentum suggests eventual legalization, starting with medicinal use.

Racially Biased New York City Marijuana Policies

In 2008, the New York ACLU published a report titled, “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City – 1997 – 2007.”

From 1977 – 1986, 33,000 possession arrests were made. Numbers declined to 30,000 from 1987 – 1996. However, from 1997 – 2006, they exploded to 353,000. Today, outside the report’s timeline, they number around 50,000 annually for simple possession of small amounts. More on that below.

US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said:

“As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

In New York City, Blacks and Hispanics are Exhibit A. They’ve been victimized by racist drug enforcement, notably for cannabis possession. From 1997 – 2006, Blacks comprised 52% of arrests, Hispanics another 31%. Whites accounted for 15%.

Those arrested and jailed affected 185,000 Blacks, 110,000 Hispanics, but only 53,000 Whites for minor possession offenses. Most were aged 26 or younger. About 91% were males.

Under Mayor Rudy Giuliani (January 1994 – December 2001), marijuana possession arrests exploded 10-fold. Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg (January 2002 – present), they’re higher than ever. At the same time, New York police provide little information. As a result, few New Yorkers know their city conducts “a historically unprecedented marijuana arrest crusade.”

Cops involved up to top commanders benefit. Marijuana busts are safe. Involved officers and supervisors accrue overtime pay, and produce numbers showing productivity. [[[ *** All a waste of energy compared to a singl legalize bill with price controls as well *** ]]]

In contrast, those arrested are harmed even if not prosecuted. Procedures include handcuffing, fingerprinting, photographing, and potentially obtaining DNA samples. Often people with no criminal records are affected. Henceforth they’ll have one and plenty of baggage.

Whether or not convicted, employment and educational opportunities, mortgages or other loans, public housing benefits, licenses, travel visas, and good credit standing are at risk.

Moreover, arrests and overnight custody alone are humiliating, degrading, alienating and unjust for possessing small amounts of controlled substances, especially marijuana that long ago should have been legalized.

Last September, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly responded to public pressure. As a result, he ordered commanders not to arrest people possessing small marijuana amounts unless they’re in public view.

In 1979, New York state decriminalized amounts of 25 grams or less. Henceforth, displaying it publicly became low-level misdemeanors, subject to ticketing, not arrests or jailing.

New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy drew widespread criticism. Mostly Black and Hispanic males are targeted. Police routinely confront them, demand their pockets be emptied, and if marijuana is displayed, they’re arrested for having it in public view. As a result, around 50,000 annually are criminalized unjustly.

At the time, critics called Kelly’s action important. Chief Legal Aid Society attorney Steven Banks said it would make a tremendous difference to wrongfully targeted young minorities.

Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann called the order a significant change in how police deal with minor marijuana possession cases. Hopefully, “gross racial disparity” would be curbed.

Kelly’s order in part read:

“Questions have been raised about the processing of certain marijuana arrests.” Henceforth, “(a) crime will not be charged to an individual who is requested or compelled to engage in the behavior that results in the public display of marijuana.” Displaying it must be “actively undertaken of the subject’s own volition.”

Queens College sociologist Harry G. Levine said public defenders and legal aid lawyers estimate up to three-fourths of those arrested displayed it on police orders. Those affected don’t know they’re illegal, but police are very intimidating.

Last year, Brooklyn Democratic assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Republican Senator Mark Grisanti sponsored legislation to downgrade small possession public displays from misdemeanors to a lessor violations. Bloomberg opposed them, claiming it would encourage greater use.

Despite Kelly’s order, marijuana arrests declined slightly but continue. So does NYPD’s racist crusade. Bloomberg supports it. So does Kelly tacitly. In 2010, one in every seven city arrests were for displaying marijuana in public view. Illegal police searches and false charges were mostly responsible.

Last year, New York’s illegal stop-and-frisk policy affected over 600,000 people, overwhelmingly young Black and Hispanic males. Despite Kelly’s order, illegal arrests continue. Institute for Juvenile Reform and Alternatives member Chino Hardin said “build(ing) a movement to stop” New York’s crusade is essential.

On December 8, the ACLU called “NYPD Pot Arrests Habit….Tough to Break,” saying:

Police Commissioner Kelly’s order lowered arrests slightly, but maintained New York’s distinction as “the marijuana arrest capital of the world. This just won’t do.”

City Hall policy is at fault. People of color are aggressively targeted for petty offenses like “graffiti, disorderly conduct, and – you guessed it – minor marijuana possession.”

Ingrained habits are hard to break. Kelly’s order lacked teeth, especially without City Hall’s endorsement.

As a result, New York Black and Hispanic youths face unrelenting persecution unless public pressure forces legislative relief. It’s long overdue nationwide with teeth.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

 

 

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

1) New York’s 1973 Rockefeller drug laws are most pernicious. Anyone convicted of selling two ounces or more of heroin, morphine, “raw or prepared opium,” cocaine, or cannabis, or possessing four ounces of the same substances receive mandatory 15-year minimum sentences up a maximum of 25 years to life.

Someone gets high for a day for using what he grew that Mother Nature provided, then all the taxpayers get to support his a$$ for life? Keep at it USA, this way we can be sure that USA will never be a viable super power, all the money is spent on prisons and all the population is in prison. Meanwhile the Senate or Congress or what not enjoys whatever psychedelics they like at parties, the double standards are unbelievable . . .

2) In addition, it’s a growing revenue source for budget-strapped states. It also produces jobs when they’re most needed. It’s a win-win, regardless of outdated, counterproductive and repressive federal policies.

Supporting a supposed ‘criminal’s’ (who decides what is criminal?) a$$ in prison is NOT A JOB that any self respecting person weant to do. It may pay well but only the most corruoted souls on the planet would want to do that sort of job. Even the homeless and beggars have more dignity and principles, get a REAL job so-called government employees, and the state should produce REAL jobs . . . enriching prison contractors is just institutionalized corruption . . . USA sucks, and the writer sucks for sayong jobs are produced when the economy is being destroyed and productivity is wasted, human rights abused . . .

3) In Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the High Court ruled that Congress, under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis, even where states approve it for medicinal purposes. More on that below.

Who are these ‘high court’ people? Who are their affiliates? What phenotypes are they of? Who are their business partners and friends, fellow colluders? Identify all these groups and the neo-feudalist, lack of neutrality/democracy faction of the USA is exposed. Voters must find this out and make sure that these people from above groups are NEVER voted into power or heck, even promoted into positions of power like ‘High Court’. These are plants that grow on their own, and have been placed there by ‘God’ if you believe in ‘God’, for humanity to use. No group of people have authority, least of all by threat of incarceration or arms to prevent any person from using these things. Barring the ‘psychic’ issue which doubtless can be worked around with secure usage facilities and perhaps specialty districts, there is no democratic or human rights basis for preventing people from using psychedelics AS per their desire and with informed consent

4) Despite Kelly’s order, marijuana arrests declined slightly but continue. So does NYPD’s racist crusade. Bloomberg supports it. So does Kelly tacitly. In 2010, one in every seven city arrests were for displaying marijuana in public view. Illegal police searches and false charges were mostly responsible. Last year, New York’s illegal stop-and-frisk policy affected over 600,000 people, overwhelmingly young Black and Hispanic males. Despite Kelly’s order, illegal arrests continue. Institute for Juvenile Reform and Alternatives member Chino Hardin said “build(ing) a movement to stop” New York’s crusade is essential.

Ok so 3 abusers have been fingered here. Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Youth Organizer and Campaign Coordinator for the Prison Moratorium Project Chino Hardin. Kick them out of office by not voting them where they cannot use the vast powers of government to harm ordinary people looking to enjoy a simple high. It’s just a high. In Chino’s case set up a parallel but opposing Institution At most offer, ‘Psychedelics use rooms’ where the users can isolate themselves and when sobered up can go out again to live a normal life. Itt is unconscionable to arrest then burden the taxpayers.

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What’s The Hottest Career Field? Health Care – by Tony Moton – 11 Aug 2011

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 at 6:24 am

Find out how you can prepare for a career in this in-demand field. (Yahoo Education) A noticeable pattern has developed in the health care industry. Workers keep getting hired. Health care providers added 24,000 new jobs in October 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, while averaging an increase of 20,000 jobs per month over the past year. Health care’s hot track record for hiring isn’t a recent occurrence. It’s actually part of a much more long-term trend, says John Canally, an economist and investment strategist at Boston-based LPL Financial. “Health care added 700,000 jobs from December 2007, when the recession started, to October 2010,” says Canally. “No other job sector did that.” Looking for a stable career with a variety of education options? Keep reading to see how you can prepare for a hot career in health care. Career #1: Medical Assistant Medical assistants with administrative expertise help keep doctor’s offices and clinics running smoothly. Those with clinical backgrounds do everything from taking vital signs to sterilizing medical instruments. Why it’s hot: Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. That means more patients and more opportunities for medical assistants. In fact, the profession is projected to add nearly 164,000 medical assisting jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS. How to prepare: You can earn a certificate or diploma in medical assisting in about one year. Another option is to earn a two-year associate’s degree in medical assisting. What it pays (on average): Medical assistants have an average salary of $29,450, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.*

[[[ *** Response *** ]]]

This is an administrative assistant’s post. And an administrative assistant does not necessary need an education higher than middle school to function in this capacity. Terming it as such only enriches the education/paper-qualifications cartel. Career #2: Dental Assistant Dental assisting is a profession tailor-made for friendly people with a knack for putting others at ease. During procedures, they work alongside dentists to handle equipment and assist with vital tasks. Why it’s hot: What’s not to smile about in this career? Job opportunities are flourishing, partly due to a greater emphasis on preventative dental care. Over 100,000 new dental assisting jobs are expected to be created through 2018, according to the BLS. How to prepare: Go after a one-year certificate or diploma in dental assisting or set your sights on a two-year associate’s degree in dental assisting. What it pays (on average): Dental assistant earnings average at about $34,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] : This is a Certificate in Dentistry. Tell it like it is. The person who has no money to pay the education cartel or does not want tio become beholden to the banking (financing department) cartel, remains an assistant. Government could acccredit 3 year Certholders working as assistants to upgrade to Diploma (under a apprentice/mentor scheme by the Dentist they work for), and 5 year Diploma workers to upgrade tofull Bachelors in Dentistry. This will ensure that education loan DEBT does not become a part of life, again to enrich the education/financing/paper-qualifications cartel. Don’t couch in terms and pretend to justify a monopoly by the above establishments. Career #3: Pharmacy Technician Pharmacy technicians provide a helping hand to licensed pharmacists by preparing medications, counting tablets, labeling bottles, and providing customer service. Why it’s hot: Over 93,000 new pharmacy techs are expected to receive jobs between 2008 and 2018. This growth is due in part to the fact that our elderly population – who may have more prescriptions – is increasing. How to prepare: You can earn a certificate in pharmacy technology in about six months or get an associate’s degree in pharmacy technology in about two years. What it pays (on average): The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician is $28,940, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] This does NOT require any formal education. A 5 year old child could label and count and prepare mixtures. Don’t insult intelligence. Again I suggest that Certification be given after number of years of work so that – once again, ad nauseum – society won’t be centred around enriching the education/financing/paper-qualifications cartel. Don’t couch a simpleton’s job in interesting terms and pretend to justify a monopoly while causing them education financing debt. Career #4: Medical Records Technician Technicians in the health care field assemble patient records, medical histories, and test results for service providers. Why it’s hot: As our population continues to expand, more medical technicians are needed to handle an ever-increasing amount of tests, treatments, and medical procedures. Medical records technician job opportunities are expected to grow by more than 35,000 during the 10-year period ending in 2018. How to prepare: Get an associate’s degree in medical records technology to put you in the running for entry-level work as a medical records technician. What it pays (on average): Medical records technicians have an average yearly salary of $33,880, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] An administrative assistant does not necessary need an education higher than middle school to function in this capacity . . . so that – once again, ad nauseum – society won’t be centered around enriching the education/financing/paper-qualifications cartel to enable quangocrats and other structures to exist while supposedly busy ‘making a living’. The wealth and lands of the world belong to all men, not the 1%, and not the State least of all. Career #5: Medical Transcriptionist When physicians and medical professionals need to communicate important information, they turn to medical transcriptionists who translate doctor’s notes into medical reports and other files. Why it’s hot: A large percentage of medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, but there will be an increased need for their work in editing transcripts taken by speech recognition systems. Close to 12,000 new medical transcriptionists are expected to get hired through 2018, according to the BLS. How to prepare: Want to pursue this career? Consider earning a medical transcription certificate or an associate’s degree in medical transcription. What it pays (on average): The average yearly salary in this field is $33,350, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] This is an administrative assistant’s post that requires a good grade in the language that the medical institution uses. And an administrative assistant does not necessary need an education higher than middle school with a good grade in language to function in this capacity. Terming it as such only enriches the education/paper-qualifications cartel. Career #6: Registered Nurse (RN) Even in a massive industry like health care, the impact that the nursing profession has on the job market is substantial. RNs held some 2.6 million jobs in 2008 – mostly in hospitals – and the opportunities for work continue to rise. Why it’s hot: Technological advancements in patient care and a growing interest in preventative health measures are accelerating the need for new nurses. Nearly 600,000 new nursing jobs are expected to open between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department of Labor. How to prepare: One of the best aspects of breaking into the nursing profession is the variety of education options available. Obtain a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in nursing to get your career going. What it pays (on average): RNs have an average annual salary of $66,530, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] This is a Certificate in Medicine and does not need to be segregated into Medicine and Nursing. Tell it like it is. The person who has no money remains a Nurse, though government could acccredit 3 year Certholders working as Nurses to upgrade to Diploma in Pharmacy (under a apprentice/mentor scheme by the Dentist they work for), and 5 year Diploma workers to upgrade to full Bachelors in Medicine/Surgery etc.. AGAIN – This will ensure that education loan DEBT does not become a part of life, again to enrich the education/financing/paper-qualifications cartel. Don’t couch in terms and pretend to justify a monopoly of the Education cartel. Career #7: Medical and Health Services Manager Health care providers rely on administrative managers to lead the complex business of running hospitals, clinics, and various patient facilities. Managers are involved in everything from developing reports and budgets to spearheading community outreach programs. Their job is crucial to the well-being of employees and patients alike. Why it’s hot: Management jobs in doctor’s offices and clinics are expanding as health care services broaden outside of hospitals. According to the Department of Labor, the number of new medical and health services managers will grow by more than 45,000 over the 10-year period ending in 2018. How to prepare: Get your foot in the door by earning a bachelor’s degree in health care administration. What it pays (on average): The average annual pay for a medical and health services manager is $90,970, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. *Average annual salaries as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.

[[[ *** Response *** ]]] This is a Certificate in Administration (developing reports) with a good grade in language (complex business of running hospitals), alongside 1 day seminars in accounting (developing budgets) and human resources (developing reports). AGAIN – This will ensure that **education loan DEBT** does not become a part of life, again to enrich the education/financing/paper-qualifications cartel. Don’t couch in terms and pretend to justify a monopoly of the Education cartel. Alternatively EDUCATION SHOULD BE MADE FREE so that the plutocracy hiding in directorship boards filled with plutocrats in abovementioned insitutions of various types cannot enslave the general citizenry. Along with neglecting promotion Capitalism with Socialist Asset Limits of 20 million, Yahoo, why do you do this to us citizens? Maybe Yahoo is a victim of the system as well, but look at the wealth of the people running iot to better be sure if Yahoo is indeed a victim. A noticeable pattern has developed in the health care industry. Workers spend too much money on education only to keep getting hired WHILE heavily in debt. Simpler yet, I suggest that people do not get ill at all by being well rested, getting lots of sunlight than being in stuffy buildings working, not being in debt (which causes stress that leads to ill health) and eating organic foods. Could you envision a population of education debt free nomadic citizens moving into the wilderness, or in urban areas with no choice – a shopping cart filled with soil for growing food, and with some livestock (take your pick, rats and pigeons cook well and can be found easily for free to breed and cull – pigeon blood is VERY nutritious barring the disease factor . . . ) or insects and grubs which can also be cultivated, in those same shopping carts? Who needs to pay an institution so they can work or apprentice as in the past? Find out how you can prepare for a DEBT FREE LIFE instead of contributing to an inflationary and exploitative structure that already gives salary raises way above to cause inflation in economies that ultimately indebt, enslave and make homeless the 99%. Boycott this system of ‘entry fees’ into society you 99%. It’s a closed system that needs to be broken either by systematic revolution at all fronts, or simple boycotts (I advocate the latter).