“We are not for names nor men, nor titles of Government, nor are we for this party nor against the other… but we are for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness, righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with God, and with one another, that these things may abound.” Quaker Edward Burrough
I recently watched the documentary film “13th” on Netflix, I enjoyed it so much that I watched it again. After my emotions settled, I decided to do my own research on the subject of mass incarceration. America accounts for five percent of the world’s population. Yet it also houses twenty five percent of the world’s prison population. Sixty percent of the prison population is black and hispanic putting a burden on taxpayers averaging $31,286 per prisoner. The majority of inmates are imprisoned for nonviolent offenses under the mandatory minimum sentencing drug laws. The experts in the film concluded that the 13th amendment is responsible for mass incarceration. Through my own analysis, I found something more disturbing and deceptive. All of the drug laws and mandatory minimum sentences were written under U.S.C. Title 21.
This is the same federal department that monitors the farmers and the food manufacturers as well as restaurants and pharmaceutical companies. This wasn’t the only disturbing finding that I discovered. Every single drug law was written, passed, sponsored and voted for by Democrats. Even the 1994 Crime Bill had a greater majority of Democratic support than it did Republican support. The Crime Bill expanded and grew the private prison industry, resulting in more black and hispanic males being imprisoned. The documentary continually draws focus away from Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill to concentrate on Republican President Elect Donald J. Trump’s law and order methodology.
The 13th Amendment abolished indentured servitude and slavery on April 8th 1864. But on the other hand, the amendment still allows for prison slave labor. Experts in the film compare this portion of the amendment to the “Black Codes”, which prevented black people from owning real estate, businesses, buying or leasing land and moving freely through public spaces. Black people who failed to comply with these rules were sentenced to slave labor or convict leasing. Southern Democrats and segregationists relied heavily on convict leasing to exploit cheap labor and keep the southern economy plentiful. One could argue that the documentary’s comparisons to convict leasing and mandatory minimum laws are true and factual. But ironically, statistics and facts show otherwise. Convict leasing under the Black Codes went as far as to punish black men who did not work or pay the tax required by state law. Mandatory minimums do not fall under these racial policies. Democrats who wrote the drug laws did something even more sinister, they hid all mandatory minimum drug laws in a government agency that had zero to do with crime, the Food and Drug Administration.
All mandatory minimum drug laws were written into U.S.C. Title 21 or food and drugs. In 1970, president Richard Nixon asked his Democratically controlled congress to come up with a law to combat the country’s drug problem. H.R. 18583 (The Comprehensive Drug Act: Controlled Substances Act) was written by Democrat Harley O. Staggers and was passed by the Senate and the House with the majority of 187 Democrats voting yea, 6 voted no and 49 did not vote at all. 154 Republicans voted yes, 0 voted no and 33 did not vote on the measure. Ronald Reagan’s “Say No To Drugs” campaign took a hardline approach on drug crimes. The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act or H.R.5484 was written by Democrat James C. Wright, Jr. and was sponsored by New York senator Dan Rangel. 222 Democrats voted yea, 15 voted no and 14 did not vote at all. 170 Republicans voted yea, 1 voted no and 9 did not vote. Now this may seem like boring politics but please bear with me, we are getting to the good part. The 1994 crime bill written by Joe Biden and sponsored by Democrat Jack Brooks, 188 Democrats voted yea with 1 yea from independent Bernie Sanders, 46 voted no. 64 Republicans voted yea, 131 voted no. In the 1970 Democrats controlled both houses, in 1986 Democrats had the house majority while Republicans controlled the senate majority and in 1994 Democrats controlled both the house and the senate. The propaganda behind the film focuses on Republicans as being the racist bigots who perpetrated these laws. Yet, one has to ask why Democratic Congressmen Harley O. Staggers, James C. Wright, Joe Biden and Jack Brooks exclusively added drug laws to the FDA law book instead of U.S.C. 18 for Crimes and Criminal Procedures?!
The FDA’s fines and penalties carry harsher sentences than the fines and penalties under Crimes and Criminal Procedure. One example; in September of 2009 the FDA fined Pfizer $2.3 billion. There are additional cases that I could cite where a drug company pays hefty fines to the federal government but, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this topic. A small time drug dealer is selling drugs on his street corner, fines and bail can be set as high as $500,000 and 5 year prison sentence and as low as $100,000 with a 1 year prison sentence for a first offense. This all depends on the type of drugs the individual is selling and how prior offenses they committed. The big time drug dealer selling Heroin, Crack, LSD, Meth and or PCP, can see fines and bail as high as $50,000,000 and as low as $5,000,000 with sentences varying from 20 years to life in prison. Arguably the interpretation of the law has been flawed and deceptively hidden in a federal agency that benefits big government as well as its special interests groups like the private prison industry and Washington D.C. lobbyists. This has nothing to do with the 13th amendment or the “Black Codes”. Though it does use convict leasing, it is not nearly enough to sustain an entire economy as it did in the segregated south. Liberals found a loophole to exploit people whom are poorly represented and poorly educated. Studies show that illegal drugs are more consumed by wealth class individuals than what the crooked media chooses to propagate. The hunters found their prey and if you’re a poor class citizen, you will be treated more harshly if you do not make smart choices. Moreover, the government cannot be trusted to come up with laws, policies and solutions, that are unequal and unbiased to solve the country’s drug problem. Crimes under U.S.C. 18 are less harsh for example, if a criminal gets caught illegally with a gun, states like New York have mandatory minimums for gun charges but on average criminals will do about a year or maybe two. Shifting drug laws to U.S.C. code 18, could create more opportunity for rehabilitation, education and psychological therapy. Instead of looking at both parties as being responsible for mass incarceration, the film uses scare tactics to keep people from voting for Republican candidate Donald J. Trump. Meanwhile the films experts seem to forgive Bill Clinton for the 1994 crime bill and to forget about Hillary’s racist Super Predator comment. In my opinion, these left wing, one sided arguments of this film only concentrate on emotion and political propaganda. In conclusion, none of their research regarding mass incarceration overwhelmingly supports the notion that the 13th amendment is the loophole or reason why so many people are locked up for nonviolent drug crimes. Regrettably, liberals fail to acknowledge their responsibility in creating these deceptive laws and concealing them in a federal department that is responsible for regulating what we eat and what our physicians prescribe to us.