Jeff Sessions. Photo-Facebook
Last week, America’s racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a move meant to rescind criminal justice reforms President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder instituted, gave federal prosecutors a new directive: to vigorously prosecute all drug charges saying it is a core principal that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense. It’s no coincidence that the stock prices of private prison companies have gone up by more than 100% since the Trump-Sessions regime came in.
What about prosecuting readily provable offenses of police murder, like cold-blooded killer-cop Jason Van Dykes’ street execution of Laquan McDonald in Chicago? What about imposing a stiff sentence on Michael Slager who murdered Walter Scott in South Carolina shooting him multiple times in the back?
Sessions has shown zero interest in prosecuting and punishing police who brutalize and murder Black Americans. Yet, here he is endorsing a policy that for decades has forced Blacks in the criminal justice system and its mass incarceration prison-plantation pipeline. This directive will be used to escalate the war on Black America. Sessions knows well that the “war on drugs” was a failure except in terms of mass incarceration of Black people for low-level offenses.
Consider how obnoxious Sessions’ war on Black is. White people are dying in record numbers from drug abuse consumption. Yet the national remedy for them is drug treatment and Congress has appropriated millions of dollars. On the other hand, Sessions wants to scapegoat African Americans.
In the directive to prosecutors, Sessions opined his policy “affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just and produces consistency. This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us.” Sessions also pretended that there would only be limited instances where prosecutors should not seek to impose the most serious charges on offenders.
“There will be circumstances in which good judgement would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted,” Sessions said. “In that case, prosecutors should carefully consider whether an exception may be justified…Any decision to vary from the policy must be approved by a United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General.”
Sessions’ backward approach on drugs led him to once say he thought the Klan was alright until he found out they smoked pot. In recent times, some Republicans were showing rare signs of bipartisanship in agreeing that the issue of mass incarceration, and mandatory minimums, had to be reduced. However, Sessions was the major Republican fighting against a Senate bill that attempted to address these issues which have a disparate deleterious effect on Black Americans. Sessions’ directive to the Justice Department has been met with derision by some in Congress.
“The Attorney General’s new sentencing policy is an ideologically motivated attempt to resurrect the failed policies of the War on Drugs,” Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said. “This will not make us safer—quite the opposite, it will strip critical public safety resources away from targeting truly violent criminals in order to house nonviolent drug offenders. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am surprised. In recent years, when he was a senator, the Attorney General was the most vocal opponent of bipartisan efforts to restore sanity to our nation’s counterproductive and hugely expensive sentencing policies.”
“Our society has had many years to assess the impact of mandatory minimums and harsh sentencing, and the verdict is in. Harsh sentencing have not made not made our society safer nor sentencing safer,” said Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. “The only people who benefit from these laws are those who have a financial stake in imprisonment: the private prison industry and vendors to the public system.”
“This policy shift flies in the face of the growing bipartisan consensus that we need to reduce—not increase—the length of prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders,” said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. “Jeff Sessions wants to turn back the clock on the progress we’ve made on sentencing reform—and we must speak out against it,” said California Senator Kamala Harris. And California Congresswoman Barbara Lee warned that “as President Trump distracts with outlandish threats, AG Sessions quietly brings back the harshest sentences of the failed War on Drugs.”
Even some Republicans are criticizing Sessions’ drug policy. “Let’s pass criminal justice reform to put an end to the unjust, ineffective and costly policy,” said Michigan Congressman Justin Amash. And California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher—who pointed out that he uses cannabis for pain and arthritis—said “Marijuana laws in this country have violated every basic principle this country stands for over the last 75 years. It’s time to stop. And if we have to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, we will win this.”
And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said what many Republicans, and even many Democrats, are afraid to say: this type of policy will lead to the disproportionate incarceration of minorities—primarily, Black Americans. “Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long,” Paul said. “We should treat out nation’s drug epidemic as a health crisis and less as a ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ problem.”
Indeed the use of drugs, including pharmaceutical ones, are symptomatic of a depressed, mad America where the “American Dream” has become a desperate nightmare reality of income inequality and ever shrinking economic opportunity. Drugs are one of the only things keeping Americans, somewhat, sane.
Pharmaceutical drug-pushers peddle more poison, and capitalize on the misery of Americans, more than anyone selling drugs on a street corner. Pharmaceutical companies hide behind a veneer of “legal” legitimacy, created by their incestuous relationship with politicians. Why don’t Republicans talk about dangerous pharmaceutical drugs?
Conservatives also like to lecture about “states’ rights.” So will Republicans back Sessions’ attempt to use the federal government to interfere in the drug laws of progressive states? Will they speak out if the Justice Department is used to go into Colorado and California to prosecute people for pot?
Republicans, like Sessions, are nothing more that ideological dictators. These folks are always giving jive lip-service about the dangers of “big government.” They talk about America being a nation of “freedom.” But these very same are always legislating laws dictating what people do with their bodies—especially Black bodies. What gives anybody the right to criminalize anyone because of what they put into their bodies?
When the state is deciding what people can consume in their bodies does one need a better example of “big government?” If Republicans were really against “big government” they would be the ones leading the crusade against criminalizing people for drug use. And they would be against America’s mass incarceration machine.
Some will say Sessions is just trying to enforce the “rule of law.” Let’s keep this in mind: this is the same man who said a judge on “an island in the Pacific” shouldn’t be able to overrule Trump’s bigoted Muslim travel ban. Someone should remind Sessions that “island in the Pacific” is an American state. What does the “rule of law” mean when this attorney general attacks a judge in this racist way? This is also the same pretender running interference for Trump, in the wide-ranging, ongoing Russia scandal.
Jeff Sessions’ is a racist relic whose new drug initiative is really meant to punish Black America, especially after eight years of having President Barack Obama in the White House. Let’s be clear: Sessions and the criminal White House thief in chief intend to inflict damage on us. This is why they see no evil, hear no evil, when it comes to police violence and murder against Blacks. Sessions’ directive is a new declaration of war against Black people.
We must all stand against it.