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On July 13, President Barack Obama followed up his March 2015 pardons of 22 federal prisoners by commuting the sentences of 46 federal prisoners who had served time for what has been described by the Washington Post as overly harsh sentencing. On Thursday, July 16, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and prisoners at El Reno, the first time a sitting president has visited a federal prison.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created five years ago by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to be a “cop on the beat” to protect consumers in their dealings with banks, credit card companies and other financial firms. The CFPB clearly takes its job seriously. Some members of Congress who take their marching orders from Wall Street have been trying to weaken CFPB ever since it was created, but happily they haven’t succeeded.
Recently, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece focuses on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence and criminalization of the homeless.
This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim, who has been swallowed up in the New York penal system for 37 years, 1977-2014. My child has been held captive in the belly of New York state prisons without any regard for his constitutional human rights. Consequently, as a political prisoner, he has become a forgotten, disenfranchised citizen of the United States of America.
In the 23 years since Nelson Mandela walked from his notorious Robben Island prison cell, leaving behind the rotting corpse of South Africa’s system of racial and economic oppression known as apartheid, a new generation has grown into adulthood there, literally unaware of the cruel exploitation and indignities the tiny White minority population inflicted on the masses of that country’s people.
For the past two years we’ve heard the state claim it’s reforming its long term segregation policies and practices by implementing a Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP). Officials claim the program is a significant move towards a more behavior-based system, yet they remain extraordinarily vague about the “ultimate conclusion.” What exactly is “gang activity”?
Among many startling findings by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, former director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Project here in the Bay Area, is this: There are more African Americans under correctional control today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
Here in the frigid capital of Denmark, we continue our long and difficult work to achieve REPARATIONS NOW! for Afrikan and Indigenous nations and ascendants, women and girls, and everyone in our sacred earth.