Joe Biden’s War – Part 5 – Chicago

Click for Part 4

Over the weekend of April 19-20 last year, the city of Chicago was enjoying the springtime. Tourists filled Millennium Park and walked along Michigan Avenue. Music fans crowded the Lincoln Park Zoo for Earth Day concerts. The Cubs swept the Pirates at Wrigley Field. And local son Barack Obama was campaigning in Pennsylvania as a sense was growing that we were about to see history by the end of the year. But not all of Chicago was in a festive mood. Over that same weekend, there were 37 shooting incidents across the city. Police superintendent Jody Weis simply said “you have too many guns and too many guns and too much drugs on the street.”

It was in these neighborhoods in the mid-1980s that Barack Obama was an idealistic young man with an Ivy League degree determined to make a difference. It was also during that time that the death of Len Bias led to Joe Biden’s Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986. That legislation was meant to help out our inner cities by targeting the drug gangs. But as Obama has rocketed up the political landscape, he had a front row seat to the real and disastrous effects that those laws were having in the neighborhoods of Chicago.

Following in the city’s long history of corruption and organized crime, the ascendance of its African-American drug gangs was a new chapter. The world of these new criminal organizations has remained largely unknown outside of the neighborhoods where they’ve operated, symbolized to many only by accounts of shootings on the evening news. Only in recent years has this “other” America been put more into public focus.

Last year, sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an incredible book called Gang Leader For a Day, detailing his years spent hanging out with and studying a Chicago drug dealer by the name of JT, who quietly moved up the ladder in the Black Kings gang, commanding respect through both fear and smarts stemming from a business education background. The general image in suburban America of an inner city drug dealer like JT was of a cold-hearted or drug-crazed killer. In reality, many of those who run these drug operations are businessmen who are willing to tolerate jail as a potential risk to their profession. And the ones who succeed are the ones who know that in an industry where secrecy is paramount, violence and intimidation is often necessary. As the war against them intensified, this need for secrecy became more dire. Soon, the culture of these drug gangs began to dominate life in inner city America, just as the culture of the cartels in Mexico put a chill over life in northern Mexico and the culture of the druglords dominates Afghanistan.

As the crackdowns against the drug trade escalated in the 1980s, the racial aspect to the war was barely hidden. This has long been the pattern in how drug law enforcement in America has come about, from the days when “cocaine-crazed negroes” were allegedly committing heinous crimes in the 1920s to the “crack epidemic” of the 1980s. It hasn’t just been against African-Americans either. It was present when anti-Chinese sentiments led to crackdowns on opium smoking in the late 1800s. It was around when various new European immigrant communities with heavy traditions in beer and wine were an excuse to usher in prohibition, and when Harry J. Anslinger used anti-Mexican sentiment to emphasize the dangers of marijuana in the 1930s. In each case, we adopted a mindset that drug use was a greater danger to society if it was being done by minorities than if it was being done by “real” Americans.

This disparity came out most overtly in the legislation that provided for far harsher punishments for possessing crack-cocaine than for possessing powder cocaine. Crack-cocaine was nothing more than a cheaper version of the popular, but expensive, drug. It was made simply by mixing powder cocaine with baking soda. Yet the limits that Congress established for possessing it without facing a lengthy jail sentence were lower by a factor of 100. That meant that a person caught with just .15 ounces (the weight of about 5 paper clips) of crack would receive a five year mandatory minimum jail sentence, while another person caught with one pound of powder cocaine would not. To many who conceived the legislation, the idea was that the stricter sentences would be a necessary deterrent for what was believed to be a more dangerous version of the drug. What it did instead was to help usher in a massive disparity in America when it came to the kinds of people who were sent to jail for drug crimes.

The statistics are just stunning. Despite the fact that the percentages of whites and blacks who use and sell drugs in America are roughly equal, the amount of blacks who go to prison for drug crimes is significantly higher. In 2003, Illinois (along with Wisconsin and New Jersey) led the nation in that disparity, sending over 20 times as many blacks to prison for drug crimes than whites. The four most populous states, Texas, California, New York, and Florida, each had a ratio between 10:1 and 20:1. The end result is a prison system where by 2006, 12% of all black males in this country between the ages of 25-29 were behind bars. It’d be one thing if these were all violent offenders, but the majority of them were first sent away for non-violent offenses like possessing or selling illegal drugs, crimes that many young whites that age rarely worry about going to jail for.

While the disparity in cocaine and crack sentences was a contributor to this massive imbalance, it was far from the only one. Generally poorer, African-American neighborhoods have long been viewed as areas of greater criminality. As a result, voters have often demanded that police crack down in these areas, and intense drug law enforcement became an easy way for police to easily show results and declare victory. The fact that the same police could just as easily have gone into an overwhelmingly white area, or a college university town, and arrested just as many people for drug crimes was irrelevant. The fact that arresting a bunch of drug dealers and seizing a lot of drugs did nothing to lower the crime rates was just as irrelevant. Politics has always trumped pragmatism and parity in the drug war. And the cries of injustice from these communities never resonated the way they would have if they’d come from other areas.

Economics has also played an important role in this disparity. Someone with access to better legal counsel can often get drug charges reduced or even dismissed. And in a few special cases, the disparity between how whites and blacks are treated in the drug war has been outright criminal. One of the most extraordinary examples was in Tulia, Texas, where in 1999, a single task force officer working undercover managed to get nearly 15% of that town’s black population locked up before civil rights activists and attorneys were able to prove that the officer was making up evidence out of thin air.

But it’s not just in places like the Texas panhandle where African-Americans are being funneled into jail at record speed. Some of the states locking up the largest numbers of minorities are blue states like New York, California, and Illinois. According to the 2000 Census, 62.9% of Illinois’ prisoners are black, even though only 15.1% of the state’s residents are black.

Taking stock of the damage, it’s hard to imagine why any Democrat would have been behind this approach, even for purely political reasons. African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, have been disenfranchised through the legal system in droves across the country. In addition, census figures count incarcerated individuals as residents of the rural areas in which the prisons are located, often allowing for re-districting to greatly favor rural constituencies over urban ones. According to the 2000 Census, Illinois had 19 counties where over 60% of their black residents were prisoners.

The idea of sending someone to prison for rehabilitation has been completely obliterated by all of this. The opposite effect has become overwhelmingly more prevalent. Young men are sent to prison and become even more indoctrinated into gang life. And when they’re released, the obstacles that exist for those who have served time in jail are enormous, making it even more likely to end up back within the drug gang underworld. This cycle has cemented the control of most high-level drug trafficking within our inner cities.

Those critical of the drug war have often been prone to conspiracy theories to explain all of this, but the idea that the drug war’s racial disparity is really a conspiracy is misguided. A conspiracy implies an actual plan and coordination to reach a certain goal. The drug war, and the effect that it’s had on African American communities, wasn’t intended to be this way by many of the people who chose to wage it. It came about because of two false beliefs; that drug use and drug dealing were far more prevalent in minority communities, and that taking a military approach to reducing drug use would be effective at lowering drug use, and therefore crime. The result of this folly is the devastation we see today, where despite a drop in crime in America overall, crime in African-American communities remains high.

The amount of crime in a community tends to be affected by a number of factors, but the drug war has exacerbated so many of them that it’s hard not to point to it for being primarily responsible for much of the crime we see today. It’s broken up countless families by putting large numbers of people into jail for doing things that the fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, and even grandparents in more affluent areas have quietly gotten away with. It’s created a market for high powered guns. It’s cemented the need for a rigid code of secrecy within neighborhoods where the drug war is most heavily waged. And it’s created a fundamental mistrust of law enforcement and public institutions in areas where they’re most desperately needed.

During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama revealed that his favorite television show was “The Wire,” the cop drama set in Baltimore’s inner city neighborhoods and meant by its producers to be a strong indictment of the drug war. And for the years that the show’s creators David Simon (a journalist) and Ed Burns (an ex-cop and teacher) watched their city fall apart around them and accumulated story lines for the show, Senator Joe Biden commuted through it every weekday on his Amtrak train, isolated from the violence, the depravity, and the drug addiction problems that plagued it for years.

When former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke spoke out against the drug war in the late 1980s, he became the first big city mayor to question the wisdom of what Joe Biden and his fellow drug warriors were doing, but while his attack seemed unprecedented and radical at the time, it wasn’t. It mirrored the criticisms of alcohol prohibition put forth by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1920, who called it an unnecessary and costly war that mainly targeted poorer immigrant communities in America’s cities and fueled organized crime. Thankfully, America’s nutty experiment with alcohol prohibition lasted only a little more than a decade.

In the days since Schmoke’s criticisms, more and more mayors have begun to understand the effect the drug war is having on their cities. In 2007, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a scathing resolution calling the war on drugs and failure and encouraging legislation that treats drug addiction as a health problem rather than a criminal one. Cory Booker, the outspoken mayor of Newark, NJ, has said that the drug war is “causing crime” and “chewing up young black men.” Cities like Newark, which have larger minority populations and sit at the outskirts of major cities, have often borne the brunt of the damage done by our drug war, as large city police jurisdictions with more resources have sometimes been able to push the gang activity to neighboring localities where police are overwhelmed (see: Camden, NJ, East St. Louis, IL, Gary, IN).

If there’s anything that can be said in Joe Biden’s defense here, it’s that he was heavily involved in the recent push to fix the crack-powder sentencing disparity, and that he indicated support for ending the raids on medical marijuana patients and providers in the states where it’s legal. But it’s still not clear the extent to which he recognizes the failure of the drug war and the damage done by his drug war zealotry. While his new boss said in 2004 that the drug war was an “utter failure,” Obama’s criticisms were dialed back significantly during his run for President. To someone who has spent time in the neighborhoods of South Chicago, he’s seen the gang violence, the failed attempts to eradicate the drug trade, and the slow procession of thousands of young men to jail – for crimes that their suburban, white, college-bound counterparts usually get away with. All of this certainly makes the failure of the drug war unmistakable to someone like Barack Obama. But what is he willing and able to do?

Part 6 – Civil Liberties

Comments

  1. 2

    spews:

    Lee, since you made a statement about blacks go to prison, and white people gettin off, isn’t is fair or on-topic for someone to respond with some black crime statistics?

    Also, I would like to hear your thoughts to a question you posed. What do you think Obama is going to be willing or able to do? I tend to think that even if he wanted to do something, he has so many other issues to deal with, that this topic may not even be on his radar during the next four years.

  2. 3

    spews:

    @2
    Lee, since you made a statement about blacks go to prison, and white people gettin off, isn’t is fair or on-topic for someone to respond with some black crime statistics?

    It is, but if you also come in here calling people KLOWNS, your comment gets deleted.

  3. 4

    spews:

    @2
    As far as the content of his deleted post, it wasn’t even contradictory to my point here. High crime statistics in African-American areas are a big reason why what I’m saying in this post is correct.

  4. 5

    spews:

    I also wonder if there’s any connection between a lack of willingness to decriminalize marijuana and the influence of the alcohol lobby.

  5. 6

    SeattleJew spews:

    Lee,

    With all due respect, it seems to me that HA needs to have a consistent editorial policy. I obviously agree with you that egregious trolling needs control, but there is a real danger of censorship in your statement.

    Back to the topic, isn’t the issue how to move ahead? I wonder if there is not some way to get the Obama administration to review the scientific basis for this policy?

  6. 7

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Let me help you Lee—-
    I won’t even call you a KLOWN!

    November 20, 2007

    Race, Crime and Justice in America
    The Color of Crime
    New Century Foundation
    Oakton, VA 22124

    Second, Expanded Edition
    Major Findings
    • Police and the justice system are not biased against minorities.
    Crime Rates
    • Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder,
    and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
    • When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely
    than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.
    • Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and
    Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.
    • The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of
    the population that is black and Hispanic.
    Interracial Crime
    • Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving
    blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
    • Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Fortyfive
    percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are
    Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are
    black.
    • Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against
    a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

    • Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes
    against whites than vice versa.
    Gangs
    • Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.
    • Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs.
    Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.
    Incarceration
    • Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139
    to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39
    million.
    • Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. Hispanics are
    three times more likely.

  7. 8

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Now Lee–
    Let’s here you justify the race-based crime spree of Blacks vs. White. Is it because of guns being available??? Criminals will always have guns. Just think if potential victims were unarmed?? These stats would be worse?

    Are you trying to say it’s because drugs are not legal?? And that crack cocaine criminals are being somehow mistreated by the criminal justice system??
    Even with heavier penalties for Crack….
    LOOK AT THE STATS LEE!!!!!!!
    You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
    The Statistics would even be worse if you let these crackheads out sooner.

    Wake up and grow up Lee.

  8. 9

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Lee is kind of “thin-skinned” these days SJ.
    Lee is WORSE than what he claims to abhor.
    Guess the TRUTH kind of got under your skin, eh Lee. Let’s TODAY have a new policy banning the word KLOWN…but let’s allow Goatf*cker and other obscene references to anyone Lee disagrees with.
    Checkmate Lee…gotcha.

    Grow up and Wise up.

  9. 10

    spews:

    @7-9
    Every single statistic you’ve posted about proves my point about how the drug war has increased crime in African-American communities. Re-read my post.

  10. 11

    John spews:

    Lee

    Looks like you have taken down the entire web site. Good Job!

    You believe in free speech as long as all concerned agree with your views.

    I guess this is change we can believe in.

  11. 12

    slingshot spews:

    The privatization of the prison system has to have a significant effect on these racial incarceration numbers. Businesses need customers. Young black males are expendable.

    Most bogs on the net don’t allow the kind of mindless crap that is normal fair at HA. Lee’s request for intelligent conversation is completely above board though hopelessly naive given the obvious.

  12. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Maybe Chicago should have hired Bill Ayers as police commissioner back in the 60s to thin out the gangs.

  13. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 What makes you think Lee took down the web site, and not some rightwing hacker? Let’s consider motive. Why would Lee take it down? Wouldn’t motive point to a winger as the more likely suspect?

  14. 15

    John spews:

    Mr Rabbit

    Because he has already admitted that he is deleting comments he disagrees with. In fact he deleted my comment 4 times before giving up. Why would he not take the next step and delete entire posts of which he disagrees.

  15. 16

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    I always expect Lee to remove my comments but here goes. The entire series is bogus because its title is bogus. It was Nixon and the republicans who started the drug war. The GOP makes its living scaring people and creating false enemies for people to hate – so that nobody will notice their rape of our country and its true ideals.

    The drug war is a waste of time and money – but it’s not Biden’s fault – it’s the GOP’s fault.

    Okay Lee – do what you do – hit delete. Nobody cares.

  16. 17

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Lee-
    Black crime rates reflect a series of bad personal choices…especially the violent crimes against whites. Yes it is drug related. But do you really think that letting these druggy gangbangers out of prison..or not sentencing them for violating the law will somehow improve the appalling Black violent crime rate.

    Blacks need to listen to Bill Cosby…not the “Pimps of Poverty” like Jesse Jackson.
    Hopefully Obama will be more like Cosby and less like Jackson.

    It’s about personal responsibility and personal choices. Right now, the stats clearly say choices by many Blacks are bad.
    Add to that fathers deserting their kids…like Obama’s dad.
    Obama is a tremendous role-model for a kid that not only survived but thrived with a DEADBEAT daddy who deserted him.

    We need to hear more about this.

    We also need to hear more about the appalling, under-reported Black aginst White crime rates.
    This whole “Hate Crime” screen has essentially painted virtually any crime by a White against a Black as a Hate Crime…and Black against White…a tiny footnote.

    Lee, do you think a person who writes junk like you have here is somehow not a KLOWN??

  17. 18

    steve spews:

    Which came first, Cynical, your hatred for blacks or the statistics you use to justify that hate? Don’t bother answering. You’re a damned racist asshole with a big-time narcissistic personality disorder. You know, I know it.

    “under-reported Black aginst White crime rates”

    Oh shut up, you racist asswipe. Statistics show that you’re more likely to rape a child than any Democrat, more than any black. Report on that, you America-hating piece of shit.

  18. 19

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    18. steve spews:

    Which came first, Cynical, your hatred for blacks or the statistics you use to justify that hate? Don’t bother answering. You’re a damned racist asshole with a big-time narcissistic personality disorder. You know, I know it.

    “under-reported Black aginst White crime rates”

    Oh shut up, you racist asswipe. Statistics show that you’re more likely to rape a child than any Democrat, more than any black. Report on that, you America-hating piece of shit.

    FYI, I have both Black friends and Black relatives. No hatred. They are concerned & appalled thesbye FACTUAL TRENDS too.
    steve, you are nothing more than an excuse making Pimp of Poverty…making excuses for unacceptable conduct. Your approach has done absolutely nothing to improve things…if anything, it’s made things much, much worse.
    Pimps of Poverty reveal themselves clearly by screeching racism RACISM whenever these facts are revealed…and screaming HATE CRIME whenever a white attacks a black.
    It is wearing thin…and more importantly, it fails to solve the problem.

    Continue to live with your head in a dard, dank place steve. It’s safe there for ya, huh?!!

  19. 20

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    These Racial Crime statistics are so overwhelming, one has to wonder where Obama is on this???
    A new beginning my ass.
    More of the same…denial and PIMP OF POVERTY!

  20. 21

    steve spews:

    Your very existence is a hate crime. You and the bullshit statistics that you use to justify your hate can all go to hell, Cynical. Don’t like it? Crawl out from your fucking hole and try doing something about it. You won’t because you’re a damned coward.

  21. 22

    spews:

    @17
    Black crime rates reflect a series of bad personal choices…especially the violent crimes against whites.

    And the likelihood of people making those bad personal choices has been significantly augmented by the way the drug war has been fought and by the downstream effects in black communities.

    Again, thank you so much for helping to prove the points I’ve made in the post above. I appreciate it.

  22. 23

    spews:

    @15
    Because he has already admitted that he is deleting comments he disagrees with.

    Sorry, that’s a lie. I have never once deleted a comment at this site because I disagreed with it. I’ve deleted comments because they’ve been off-topic or intentionally obnoxious.

  23. 24

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    23. Lee spews:

    Because he has already admitted that he is deleting comments he disagrees with.

    Sorry, that’s a lie. I have never once deleted a comment at this site because I disagreed with it. I’ve deleted comments because they’ve been off-topic or intentionally obnoxious.

    Gee Lee…not like you to intentionally lie.

    3. Lee spews:

    It is, but if you also come in here calling people KLOWNS, your comment gets deleted.

    You have consistently allowed the goatf*cker and worse comments…see Steve’s @ N18 and 21.
    You are pathetic Lee….typical of leftists who cannot handle facts that contradict your phoney view of the world.
    Overwhelming Black against white crime rates is not in anyway justified by how the drug war is handled. Part of it is because ideologues like you are unwilling to face the facts and will do anything to keep people in poverty and a cesspool life so you can control their votes.
    Disgraceful Lee.
    Then you randomly state that my crime statistics somehow SUPPORT your argument????
    Get real.
    Bill Cosby is right. It’s waaaaaaaaaay past time for real black leaders to step forward, confront black youth and really make a difference. Whining and blamin’ whitey ain’t gonna do it. A strong sense of personal responsiblity will.

  24. 25

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    So Lee–when are you gonna start deleting steve’s comments??
    Seems like you are giving him a lot of rope.
    I guess you have….a double-standard!

  25. 26

    weep it & read spews:

    So, it turns out that after lecturing all of us about not needing to “keep our thermostats at 72 degrees etc”, Obama cranks up the thermostat in the Whitehouse to a point described as “you could grow orchids in there. He’s from Hawaii, okay?” Gee, after all those years in IL and he’s still on Hawaii calibration? So, don’t feel the need to heed these liberal phonies when they lecture you about your own house temperature, or the car you drive. etc (it’s amazing how many leftist politicians drive SUVs, btw). The shine’s comin’ off the apple faster than you thought, eh?

  26. 27

    steve spews:

    Lee can delete every one of my comments if he so wishes. Until then, I’ll continue to call you out for being the hate-filled, racist asshole that you are. What, you don’t like it, Cynical? Keep on whining to Lee about it, bitch.

  27. 28

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    So Lee–here is a comment you allowed on your 12/28 NFL thread:

    54. WeBentOverTheGOP spews:

    Time to remember why the American people bent the GOP over and fucked them in the ass.

    So that is ok, but the word KLOWN moves you to a knee-jerk. epelectic reaction.
    Are you ok Lee??

    Remember, smokin’ BC Bud with the heavy dosage of Prozac you take everyday leads to both Early Alzheimer’s and erratic behavior.
    One or the other Lee…not good together.

    PS–
    There are plenty of other horrid comments you have allowed. Just admit you over-reacted because of the CONTENT OF MY POST…facts about the racial make-up of crime in America.

  28. 29

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    27. steve spews:

    Lee can delete every one of my comments if he so wishes. Until then, I’ll continue to call you out for being the hate-filled, racist asshole that you are. What, you don’t like it, Cynical? Keep on whining to Lee about it, bitch.

    Sticks & stones steve.
    Your ongoing vulgar tirades are a reflection on you. I could care less. Keep up the bad work. I was pointing out to Lee that a reasonable person would conclude Lee had a new-found “Double-standard” based more on content he disagreed with than using the word KLOWN.
    Sheesh….Lee has no clothes…rather than admit he was wrong, like all fringie, he continues to dig a deeper hole.

    But hey steve, keep up the vulgarity if you must.

  29. 31

    steve spews:

    Vulgarity? Crawl out from your fucking hole, you hate-filled, fascist freak, and I’ll show you some real fucking vulgarity. But you’re a cowardly Republican, so I know you’re staying put, safe behind your keyboard.

  30. 32

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Lee–
    MELTDOWN! MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!MELTDOWN!

    Steve has melted down.
    Published facts about crime is now “hate”.
    Your ilk is in for a mighty short ride.
    Enjoy it while you can.

  31. 33

    steve spews:

    Project your meltdown on somebody else, moron. I see that your narcissistic personality disorder is on full display today, you pathetic coward. Oh, and take your bullshit statistics and shove them up your ass.

  32. 34

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    The pork-filled Obama/Democrat “stimulus package” is causing lots of damage. DOW down 226 today. Have any of you looked at what was stuck in there?? It’s atrocious. You should only hope the Republicans fight this thing.
    OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!OINK!

    Obama PROMISED that everything in it would create long-term prosperity. BULLSHIT!
    I told you Pelosi and her ilk would be Obama’s biggest problem. No true Conservative would ever go for this idiotic proposal.
    Fast-tracked hoping no one would read it.
    $4 Billion for non-profits like ACORN!
    Hell no!

  33. 35

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    poor steve…I cited my source for the stats.
    You, as usual, pull this BS response out of your behind with no alternative stats.
    Sign of a mighty lazy mind steve…or perhaps no mind?
    Based on your continuous vulgarity, I suppose it’s the latter.

    steve–Posterboy for the Atheist Progressive bowel movement. You are a real piece of work steve.

  34. 36

    steve spews:

    You lost the election, freak. Get used to living in the political backwaters of American society and stop your damned whining.

  35. 37

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Here are the 11 Democrats who voted NO on the highly flawed, pork-filled Stimulus Bill:
    Allen Boyd, D-Fla., Bobby Bright, D-Ala., Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., Parker Griffith, D-Ala., Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., Frank M. Kratovil, D-Md., Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, John E. Peterson, D-Penn., Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Gene Taylor, D-Miss.

    I see our Washington state lads all fell in lockstep behind his Highness.

  36. 38

    steve spews:

    Your source? Oh, you mean the racist New Century Foundation and their white nationalist bullshit? You hate blacks, Cynical. Be a man for once in your pathetic hate-filled life and say it out loud for all to hear.

  37. 39

    Arm & Hammer spews:

    Ho & hum. Same old left-wing spew we were hearing from Mike Siegel, 15 years ago, on KVI.

    – (signed) Off-Topic & Obnoxious

  38. 40

    rob spews:

    So Lee look at comment #11.

    You deleted that same comment 4 times prior to leaving it alone. It was the same comment all 4 times. What was the difference?
    It was on topic and was only pointing out your need to delete anything you don’t agree with.

    Looks like you proved my point.

  39. 41

    rob spews:

    Above in this post Steve Says:

    “You’re a damned racist asshole with a big-time narcissistic personality disorder”

    and then

    “I’ll continue to call you out for being the hate-filled, racist asshole that you are.”

    and then

    “Vulgarity? Crawl out from your fucking hole, you hate-filled, fascist freak, and I’ll show you some real fucking vulgarity.”

    and then

    “white nationalist bullshit? You hate blacks”

    And none of these comments were deleted.

    But Lee says

    “Just a reminder that off-topic or deliberately obnoxious comments will not be tolerated in this thread.”

    and

    “I’ve deleted comments because they’ve been off-topic or intentionally obnoxious.”

    Really Lee, none of these comments rise to the level of being “intentionally obnoxious”?

    Give me a break!

  40. 42

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    I’m glad that I caused that traitor Cyn to have to take the time to look up, research, copy and paste one of my brilliant comments. Proves I got under that ass-sucker’s skin. Fuck you Cyn. I hope you don’t like it. And again, I don’t care what Lee deletes or not – and unlike you, I am not a pussy running to the admin asking for help.

    Bitch.

  41. 43

    steve spews:

    @41 Have you considered that Lee might not give a flying monkey fuck what you might think? And why do you self-described “rugged individualist” types constantly whine to a liberal about what what gets posted on a liberal blog? I’ll clue you in, punk. It’s because there’s not a thing rugged or individualistic at all about you whining wing-nut wimps.

  42. 46

    spews:

    @40
    I’ve been at work today, bonehead. Almost every comment in this thread should probably have been deleted. I just gave up. The crazytown express won and we missed an opportunity to have a good discussion about an important subject.

    Sigh.

  43. 48

    Puddybud, Hey it's the New Year... spews:

    Cynical said eloquently:

    Black crime rates reflect a series of bad personal choices

    You betcha… Can you say drugs?

    I partially grew up in the inner city, the one Lee and Goldy call home. Some of my inner city grade school friends are incarcerated or dead. Why? Bad personal choices. I related to the HA Donkey about Mrs Anderson’s son and why he was killed. Search the HA archives. Bad personal choices.

    Unfortunately we don’t have black leaders who come into the inner city and preach education then sports, not sports then education.

    Unfortunately we don’t have black leaders who come into the inner city and preach keep that cock bound in your pants until you can afford the child.

    Unfortunately we don’t have black leaders who come into the inner city and preach black men need to stay with their women and raise their families as a unit.

    Yep, that’s why white people love Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and Al Sharpton. They say nuthin… All these three KLOWNS do is make hay for themselves. Whites hate Louis Farrakhan because he preaches black nuclear family and also other inflammatory statements.

    Well Farrakhan did call Obama the messiah – “When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.”

  44. 49

    spews:

    haven’t been reading HA all that long but this is the best read here thus far [the original post, not the comments]. i lived too much of a sheltered life, never making it out of the western US and canada until age 40… and i saw the ghettos of chicago and st louis, and east st louis… and the persistent segregation. and heard all sorts of white people talking about how their black neighbors were no-account, ciminally-inclined, lacking in civic pride or any ability to keep their families together… and had a hard time believing it was the 21st century.
    it’s unbelievable that we’re having these discussions. the conditions we’ve created are tragic.
    we ought to find all this completely unacceptable — but the polarizing rhetoric just clotheslines any ability to bring change. y’all lost a lot more than just an opportunity to have a sensible discussion.

  45. 50

    steve spews:

    @48 As a kid, life in the inner city would have been a step up for me. I’ve seen anything you’ve seen, perhaps more. The values we take through life are instilled at an early age. Lousy black leadership, and there’s plenty of that, plays little to no part in what values a black mother and father instill in their children. After all, who instilled the values in your own children, the values that lead them to value education and life? Someone other than you and your wife? I don’t think so. Of course, bad personal choices play a part, but to ignore the context in which those choices are made is to ignore the reality of the black condition in our nation’s ghettos, across the plains, and even in a sunset town like Seattle. Yes, Seattle. When my best friend died, there was no longer even a single black in my profession. In Seattle! This is not the fault of black leadership, poor parenting, liberalism nor conservatism. There’s just too much damned blame to go around to make this a partisan issue.

    Take a swig of Steve’s Stupid Solution Puddy, and maybe we’ll have a open conversation about race.

  46. 51

    Puddybud, Hey it's the New Year... spews:

    Sure Steve we can talk about race. I live it, you can talk about it.

  47. 52

    steve spews:

    When you’re a dirt poor white grade school kid locked up with a black kid whose only crime was a disintegrating family as I have, you’d know that a white kid can learn to live it too. When you hear a adult, a man licensed by the State of Washington, derisively call that kid Sambo and Buckwheat as I have, you’d know that a white kid can live it too. When you see a best friend discriminated against throughout his career as I have, you’d know that a white man can live it too. All blood is the same color. Our souls are neither black nor white. Yes, you’ve lived it and in my own way, I’ve lived with it. Yes, I know the difference, Puddy. It can be great. But I also know that sometimes the difference isn’t all that much. Geez Puddy, after all, you’re talking to the bass player of Soul Revolution, the house band at the African Hut, a long defunk black nightclub on Rainier Avenue. Cut me some slack.

  48. 53

    Puddybud, Hey it's the New Year... spews:

    Steve, okay I’ll cut you some slack. Let’s meet sometime soon and break bread over it.

    Maybe you can agree with me elected Donkey liberals have not made the inner city black man’s/woman’s life better.

    Maybe we can discuss how come blacks continue to suck Donkey dick when they know they’re getting crewed with the social Darwin treatment.

    I was the first to post Bill Cosby’s commentary over race in America. Go back into the HA archives and read the HA Donkey nay-sayers responses!

  49. 54

    steve spews:

    Hmm, I was just recalling all the times I was called by whites a “white nigger” for my running with blacks, playing in soul bands, sharing their culture – a culture I grew up very close to.

    Did you know that in electrical construction engineering firms in Seattle that there’s not a single black employee? Not since my best friend died. Not even clerical staff. Not even a fucking janitor. My friend was a brilliant man. Do you want to guess how many promotions he got in his career? None. Do you know how many footprints of white men he had on his back by the time he died? Too damned many to count. Puddy lives with being black. However, I just might know the people who hate him for his color better than he does, seeing as how the color of my skin gains me unwanted access to a rather exclusive club, the insides of which Puddy will likely never see. I’ll tell you what, Puddy, they get a kick out of that Magic Negro song.

  50. 55

    steve spews:

    @53 Agreed, agreed and, dammit, agreed. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that the Democratic party has done nothing but break my heart since the first week of June, 1968. If you haven’t caught that remark, then now you know.

  51. 56

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Puffybutt is an Oreo – what makes anyone think he can talk about race with any credibility?

  52. 58

    steve spews:

    An Oreo? I went to school with the likes of Frank Raines and TJ Vassar, administrator of Lakeside HS. Were they Oreos? I don’t like that term, Oreo. I’ll disagree with Puddy on just about everything under the sun but I do believe that he can speak of race and the black experience with some personal insights and credibility that you and I never could, no matter our own experiences. Not that I agree with him, mind you. You can see me beat on him whenever this Magic Negro song comes up in discussion. While I have called Puddy many unflattering, even insulting names, I would never, ever, call him an Oreo. I don’t cotton to that.

  53. 60

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Puddy–
    I’ll be in Seattle wednesday 2/11 and 2/12.
    Not sure about my schedule.
    Will you be in town??

    History will prove Bill Cosby absolutely right and an American hero. He had the absolute courage, just like JC Watts, to look Jackson, Sharpton and the other pimps of poverty right in the eye and call BS.

    You cannot solve a problem until to acknowledge the facts and admit where you are at….then take it upon yourself to change things.
    Government reliance is not the answer.
    Seems Obama is well down that path.

  54. 61

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    18. steve spews:
    Oh shut up, you racist asswipe. Statistics show that you’re more likely to rape a child than any Democrat, more than any black. Report on that, you America-hating piece of shit.

      
    Then why is NAMBLA closely associated with the democrats?
     
    Hell, you even have “daddylove” on this left wingnut blog. How many little boys have daddylove touched?
     
    And let’s talk about that wrasslin’ coach headless lucy. Wanna stick up for him or just admit he’s this blogs resident racist child abuser?

  55. 62

    Puddybud, Hey it's the New Year... spews:

    Cynical, Yes, I should be available for a lunch meeting…

  56. 63

    Puddybud, Hey it's the New Year... spews:

    Wow Steve@58-59:

    Thanks. I’m shocked and amazed. You lived the ghetto life. Most whites don’t understand or comprehend how a black can reject the “poverty pimps” and leave “the reservation”. It’s so easy.

    I don’t kow-tow to a group who uses my vote and never helps my cause. Unfortunately, the ‘poverty pimps” get just enough air time and largess from the liberal KKKers to make their little pool wet enough to jump in. Then they get their peeps to follow them as the pied pipers they are. No offense to Scott St. Clair. But try and have the “poverty pimps” expand that pool…

    Remember how Jesse was anti-voucher for WA DC parents who wanted desperately to get their kids into better schools? Nope can’t have that… To this day Al Sharpton has not apologized for Tawana Brawley. John Lewis – what has he done for his GA congressional constituents?

  57. 64

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Puddy–
    You tell it like it is….must make the Leftists around HA who scared of Black folks, just use them for their vote, with their head swimming.
    Hey, what do you think about Michael Steele being the new RNC head?
    I’ve always been impressed by the guy.
    Articulate, Conservative…terrific.
    Wait until the closet racist Libs around HA start name-calling Steele an Uncle Tom or worse. Bastards!
    At least Headlice is upfront about his racist beliefs.

    A week from Thursday might be the best day for lunch. I’m buyin’. Any particular place you prefer??? I will probably be North of Seattle. If some of the KLOWNS want to rain on our lunch, no problem…except they are buying their own lunch@! That ought to scare ‘em away!!

  58. 65

    spews:

    A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance
    when the need for illusion is deep.

    — Saul Bellow

    THE DEMONIZATION OF MARIHUANA

    PREJUDICE: MARIJUANA AND JIM CROW LAWS
    Since the abolition of slavery, racism and bigotry have generally had to manifest themselves in less blatant forms in America. The cannabis prohibition laws illustrate again this institutional intolerance of racial minorities and show how prejudice is concealed behind rhetoric and laws which seem to have an entirely different purpose.

    Thank You Miss Rosa

  59. 66

    spews:

    Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. … The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.
    — William F. Buckley,

    Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

    Race and Imprisonment in the Drug War

    Human Rights and the WoD

  60. 67

    nicky spews:

    This is an article, however at the end are statistics that are relevant here. Jeze, this really stinks Lee how you or the moderators stopped filtering out the idiots. If the point was to prove that moderation is necessary, you certainly did!

    Anyway, here some other stats – Obviously if you have a system that is biased, and systematically unfair to one group (i.e. denying proper council, systematic crack down on urban areas while ignoring suburban ones, all white juries, a system where money can buy freedom/a get out of jail card, etc) than you are going to have police department statistics that are going to show more arrests, and more convictions for the group that the system is biased against.

    It doesn’t say much to me, for example if Mr. Cynical etc. says “blacks commit more of X type of crimes…” Because obviously these statistics are influenced from a combination of those convicted for said crime, and those given sentences for said crime. The justice system has already proved that it treats non-white differently. So it should be obvious to anyone with a clue that these so called “factual statistics that supposedly prove that non-whites are more criminal than whites” only in fact shows that the justice system is more biased towards non-whites by specifically targeting, arrested and convicting people from these groups at higher rates.

    Case in point, more blacks are arrested for “drug crimes” than whites and more blacks receive convictions and sentences for “drug crimes” than whites, despite drug use being equal among the both groups. You also have an equal number of whites and blacks who carry, guns, knives, weapons etc. But more blacks being arrested for weapons/gun violations. You also have just as many white youths getting into fights/altercations as black youths, however more black youths are arrested, convicted and sentenced to the juvenile system than white kids. When the FBI stats says something like “blacks commit more X crimes than whites”, it shouldn’t be interpreted that blacks are more likely to commit certain crimes, but that blacks are being systematically targeted by police, racially profiled, arrested at higher rates, convicted at higher rates and sentenced at higher rates.

    For articles debunking racial myths surrounding crime, see here, here, here, here, here and here

    Of course there is plenty more information out there. But to me it seems obvious that some of the people here are only looking at the final statistics that police department/Dept Justice shows (i.e the number of people convicted and sentenced) without looking at the process along the way (i.e. the racial profiling, arrest rate disparities, the targeting of non-white communities, access to proper council, sentencing disparities, etc.)

    Lee please continue the moderation policy. It’s frustrating that there isn’t much intelligent conversation here, but rather a flame war between idiots and a contest for who can be the biggest right-wing asshole. I really like smart conversation about drug policy (including this series). So, thanks again for the article…and keep writing.