Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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Happy Veterans Day 2021

Photo by Jason Dam on Pexels.com

Happy Veterans Day to all those who fight for our individual rights and freedom. Even though I may not always agree with the political agenda that drives the military, in America and abroad, I do honor the men and women who risk their lives fighting to protect the lives of others.

My hope is that President Joe Biden will lead the nation on a peaceful mission but will stand strong when faced with challenges by those who wish to harm others with their political or religious agenda.

Since I am an advocate of prison and criminal justice reform, my hope is that President Joe Biden, will work towards ending mass incarceration, by changing practices and policies that will help free thousands of Americans incarcerated for non-violent crimes and minor drug-related offenses, and any others who received unjust sentences for acts that did not infringe on the rights or safety of others.

One of President Joe Biden’s campaign promises concerned changing private prison policies, something that former President Barrack Obama focused on during his term of presidency, which President Donald Trump reversed immediately and caused private prison stocks to soar.

Maybe there is a happy medium, but to me, allowing companies and investors to profit from high incarceration numbers and financially-driven policies that help to put and keep men and women in jails and prisons does not seem morally-correct.

I wrote a blog to try to find that happy medium, Prison Privatization and Recidivism. Private prison companies have shifted some of its focus into Residential Reentry Centers that help returning citizens reintegrate into society.

And, yes, incarceration-related issues do relate to Veterans Day, in my opinion, because thousands of former soldiers are in American prisons and other countries. Some of whom end up going to prison for events that may be the result of the military experience. Teach a man or woman to kill for their survival and in the name of justice, and then it becomes natural, right or wrong.

Many of the veterans who went to or are still in prison, went for drug-related crimes; wars often create addicts and alcoholics because of the stress and psychological trauma associated with acts that occurred during their tenure in the military.

For all of the above reasons, I do wish ALL veterans a Happy Veterans Day.

Political Censorship

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Pexels.com

Politically Incorrect I may be, but I have a right in America to be however I choose, regardless of what public opinion may dictate as proper or improper, offensive to a particular group or party, providing I do not physically harm someone; or what supports their agenda and makes me a dedicated supporter, worthy of praise.

To be clear, at one time in my life, I may have wanted to burn down the White House, but not anymore. I prefer to live in peace and to treat others the way I want to be treated, no matter who they are or what their occupation is in life. We are all in this together.

I do not support and was saddened to see what happened at the White House on January 6, 2021; nor the events that led to the attack, which, in my opinion, may be legally attributed to outgoing President Donald Trump, based upon what he said to the crowd gathered near the White House before the attack began. (I will not go into all of that because only a caveman wouldn’t know what I am referring to and cavemen can’t read anyway.)

Censorship

As someone who has been censored, I am censor-sensitive and feel a lot like Patrick Henry, whom I have written about in previous blogs, but I am not willing to die to defend your right (or President Trump’s) right to say anything. That is just asking a little bit much: I will speak out, though, and fight to prevent our words from being silenced by censors.

On one level, nothing going on in the political arena matters to me, but I do feel obligated to express my opinion and view of what I see happening.

What I don’t feel is right is all the politically driven censorship by Facebook and Twitter, which I am sure was influenced by the recent Congressional actions against Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other technology companies dominating the market.

More recently, Facebook removed ads for guns and weapons because of more political interference. Click Here

The new controlling party doesn’t like guns, so how strange that Facebook suddenly makes a decision to stop advertising the sale of items frowned upon by the Democrats in particular.

At what point does the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protect Freedom of Speech? With today’s political environment, it doesn’t in most circumstances, as can be shown by Facebook and Twitter shutting down President Trump’s accounts.

Though private companies and not really protected under the provisions of the First Amendment, I see the situation as the beginning of the disappearance of another of the Writings on the Wall. To understand that statement, read Animal Farm by George Orwell (buy from this link and I earn a commission).

Most people in modern society fall within the Sheep category written about in Animal Farm, who supported and could not accept that the controlling party (Pigs) were removing the Writings on the Wall; illustrative of the disappearance of what was voted on during the revolution (animals taking over the farm and running off the farmers who killed and used animals and their parts). Also reflective of what would be the Constitution or controlling documents agreed upon by the Animals/People.

FACEBOOK

On Facebook, I posted a link to an article written on April 2, 2005, Patrick Henry’s take on American values and wrote the following:

Would Patrick Henry have defended President Trump’s right to say all of the controversial statements and claims? As a writer and one who has written many words that some found offensive and decided to not follow my blog because I supported issues different from their beliefs, I think of who will be the one to decide what you may read?

The power of the media was shown when its false allegations of the Spanish attacking one of the American ships started the Spanish-American war (see below for link to History).

If Freedom of Speech does not matter, go to China and Russia where the governments exhibit total control and have a history of making people disappear who speak out against the establishments.

Freedom of the Press

Is the news media responsible for what happened at the White House, because the news outlets provided the platform for the inciteful speeches made by President Trump? No.

Some politicians are wanting to hold Facebook, Twitter, and other private companies responsible for hateful content that leads to violence, so what it the difference? There isn’t.

Starting with control over the private sector is only the start for the erosion of America’s Freedom of Speech protections.

Next in line of attack will be the news media outlets or reporters who report on issues that result in violence or political upheaval.

Real Fake News helped start the Spanish American War in 1898 by falsely reporting the Spanish attacked the USS Maine in Cuba. A lie that fed the mass frenzy to attack the Spanish and to defend the Nation!

More Fake News led to the attack on the Capitol when the Commander in Chief encouraged his followers to take a stand, promising to be there with them when they did. He lied.

Oh, Sheep, where does it end?

(For more evidence of the political pressure involved in censorship that threatens the information technology of today, read Capitol Hill Attack Could End Section 230 As We Know It by Daniel Howley·Technology Editor, Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

The problem arises when a particular group of people (controlling party) will determine the information available for people to read or not read, much as what goes on in communist countries.)

RECIDIVISM IN AMERICA by Wayne T. Dowdy

revolving-door(“Like” this blog and sign on at straightfromthepen.wordpress.com to receive future postings. Reprint rights granted.)

January 11, 2017: Three men sat at a corner table in the prison “Chow Hall”; each with a hamburger, a few strands of lettuce leafs, a thin slice of tomato, and “Smiley Faces” (fried, round pieces of oil-saturated, potatoes, with cut out smiley faces, capable of making men frown if not properly fried).

I was one of the three men who sat at the table. My last complete day spent in society was August 17, 1988. (Read “No Sympathy” by Wayne T. Dowdy for details of my arrest and conviction in federal court, by a jury unlike my peers.) I eagerly await the day I leave prison for a halfway house.

Johnny P. sat across from me, his last day free was also over twenty-years ago. He is a good man who made bad decisions in his youth. A youngster sat to his right at the table.

RECIDIVISM: The youngest at the table was released from here three months ago to go to a halfway house. He returned for violating the terms of his supervised release (similar to parole or probation where a man or woman must meet specified conditions to remain free). See below subtitle, “RECIDIVISM DEFINED” for definition.

Johnny grilled the youngster about his return.

The youngster said, “Because I was under Public Law, I could only get a four-hour pass each month. I got tired of seeing everybody else go on passes for the weekend, and me not being able to, so I left a couple weeks later and didn’t go back. They caught me after three weeks. I’ve been locked up ever since.”

Johnny turned his head and locked eyes with the youngster. “I have six life sentences. Do you know how bad I wish I could go home to be with my family for four hours a month?”

Johnny’s words ingrained an image in my mind that influenced me to write this blog.

The youngster acknowledged his mistake, but then rationalized that serving the additional 18-months would kill the remainder of his supervised release.

SUPERVISED RELEASE: Depending on when a person was sentenced, determines whether a sentence for a violation disposes of the remainder of supervised release, or restarts the supervised release term upon release from prison for the violation. I have three terms of supervised release (one for two years, another for three, consecutive to the two, and a concurrent five-year term), each of which is only good for one violation that I do not plan to utilize.

ANTI-CRIME BILLS: The United States Congress has passed several anti-crime bills, with various provisions for controlling offenders captured in the mass incarceration frenzy–created by politicians for the sake of a vote–that ruins lives and costs American citizens billions of dollars each year in taxes.

SENTENCING REFORM ACT OF 1984 (SRA): One such bill was the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. As part of the SRA, effective November 1, 1987, Congress created the United States Sentencing Commission (“The Commission”) as “an independent agency in the judicial branch of the government.”

More than 1.5 million people have been sentenced under the SRA. The alleged purpose of the SRA was to deter, incapacitate or rehabilitate criminals, and to protect society from future crimes by offenders.

The SRA abolished federal parole and requires federal prisoners to serve 85% of their sentences. Eligible prisoners may earn “up to 54 days” per year under Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 3624(b)(1), Release of Prisoners. The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (B.O.P.) refuses to give any of their Cash Cows more than 47-days.

The B.O.P. began 2017 with 189,333 prisoners, which is substantially less than the 219,298 reported in 2013.

21,140 of those prisoners are contracted out to private prison companies. The reduction came from legal and legislative changes, not from B.O.P. initiatives. Lobbyists from private prison companies provide hefty campaign contributions to politicians to maintain mass incarceration policies. Read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” by Wayne T. Dowdy for more on the topic.

THE COMMISSION: The Commission’s primary purpose was to establish policies, practices, and guidelines for federal judges to use in sentencing federal offenders.

RECIDIVISM DEFINED: Between 2005 and 2013, 25,431 federal offenders were included in a study on Recidivism (“refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention for a previous crime.”)

“The Commission studied offenders who was either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005.”

STUDY NUMBERS: Offense Types and recidivism rates were as follows: Drug Trafficking (41.7%), Fraud (13.6%), Firearms (12.8%), Robbery (4.3%), Larceny (3.9%), Immigration (3.5%), and ALL Other (20.3%).

DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RECIDIVISM STUDY: The first numbers represent those in the study, whereas the second number represents offenders sentenced in 2014, after the eight-year study period ended: 81.7% – 81.2% were Male offenders. White offenders led at 43.7% – 38.1%, followed by Blacks at 33.9% – 32.7%, Hispanics at 17.8% – 23.4%, and other races at 4.6% – 5.8%.

EDUCATE TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM: Post-Secondary Education Reduces Recidivism! In the study, 34.3% did not graduate high school, compared to 36.6% who did; 21.4% had some college, and only 7.5% were college graduates.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Maybe President Trump will find a way to reduce prison populations and save billions of dollars by reducing recidivism rates. To help willing ex-offenders become productive members of society, who can help pay back their cost of incarceration by paying taxes, will help to make America great again, instead of shamefully being the Incarceration Capital of the World.

OTHER RESULTS OF RECIDIVISM STUDIES: 49.3 percent of those released were rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of supervised release (e.g., failing to pass a urine analysis, failure to report to the supervised release officer; leaving without permission from a halfway house, perimeter of home confinement area or the state; violating state or federal laws, etc.). “Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview,” United States Sentencing Commission, March 2016.

Another study showed recidivism rates for state prisoners were higher than federal counterparts: 76.6% of state prisoners were rearrested within five years. “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010” (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rprts05p0510.pdf).

In adjusting the federal study for a five-year comparison, the examiners removed federal offenders sentenced to probation or fines, which lowered the federal rearrest rate from 49.3% to 44.9%, compared to the 76.6% for state offenders. Comparing recidivism reconviction rates (convictions for new criminal charges), state offenders led at 55.4%, compared to 26.0% for federal offenders.

The difference in rearrest rates were possibly due to higher education levels for federal offenders and more available programs created to reduce recidivism. Locking people up inside overcrowded institutions, without providing opportunities that allow the imprisoned to learn how to improve their circumstances that led to prison, only feeds a system that robs men and women of dignity, integrity, and self-respect.

ANOTHER CHANCE: Providing I see the end of this 35-year sentence of imprisonment, which I anticipate doing, I will have another chance to succeed in society. I plan to be a productive member upon release by sharing my experience, strength and hope to help others learn from my mistakes and success.

I plan to use StraightFromthePen.org to provide a platform to (1) influence legal changes to absurd laws; (2) promote prison and sentencing reform; and (3), to help improve prison systems through legislation that forces prison authorities to provide inmates with resources to help them change their lives. To do so, I will communicate, directly or indirectly, with state and federal legislatures for those I will leave behind.

Of course, an old saying is that if you want to hear God laugh to tell Him your plans, so maybe He is laughing now. Maybe His plan for me entails something other than that, but since I am essentially an expert in the field of corrections by being inside most of my life, I figure my experience can benefit others inside who are heading down the path that led me “here.”

My hope is to help effect a change to allow Johnny and thousands of others who are serving absurd prison sentences, to one day have an opportunity to get out of prison, even if only for a furlough.

MASS INCARCERATION: All of us released from prison and then returned for a new sentence are equally responsible for mass incarceration.

As prisoners, we complain about our conditions and what we deal with as part of the prison experience, and yet, for those fortunate enough to get out, we return to make the Prison Machine grow bigger and stronger by feeding it with our lives. By returning to prison, we make sentencing reform initiatives more difficult to pass.

Many men and women released from prison are forced to return to the same area from which they came, without the benefit of going to halfway houses to prepare for successful reentry. Some revert to crime to survive, rather than seeking help from available social programs; the reason is most likely a lack of knowledge about available programs.

DRUG OFFENDERS: The majority of American prison populations are drug offenders, who are the worst to complain about having unjust sentences for “victimless crimes.” But if addicts die from drugs or commit crimes to buy them, are addicts and those victimized by the addicts to get the drugs, victims?

The same legislatures who passed laws to punish people who rob banks, or kill people, are the same ones who passed drug laws. Whether I agree or not, it is the law and if I don’t want to go to or stay in prison, I do not need to violate the law.

Plans to commit and get away with crimes ultimately fail, as proven by booming prison populations.

I do agree that many prisoners have unjust prison sentences, but not just for drug crimes. Those serving life without parole in cases that did not involve murders or other forms or violence are real unjust.

Life without parole may be spelled with letters or numbers (50, 75, 100 years imprisonment).

Numerous prosecutors and law enforcement officials plot with “cooperating codefendants” of the accused to exaggerate drug quantities or other facts needed to trigger more severe sentencing ranges. Codefendants fabricate drug quantities to receive a lesser sentence for providing “substantial assistance.”

Several foreign countries do not have large prison populations because they execute those who violate laws, including drug laws.

At the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, foreign nationals toured the prison. A psychologist told me a prisoner complained to a lady about the severe prison sentence he was serving for a drug offense. She replied, “Sir, why do you complain? In my country, they would execute you.”

Help make America great again by reducing recidivism through proven programs. Imprisoning citizens does not make America great; especially, when slowly executing them by laws that lead to decades or the rest of their lives in prison.

________________________
Wayne T. Dowdy writes at StraightFromthePen.com. Purchase UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($10.95) and ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95), plus S & H charges, at Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616. Buy online at CreateSpace.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other eStores. Visit his Author’s page at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy to purchase eBooks, or from most available eBook distributors, including the Apple iBookstore. At Smashwords, download your copy in the format that works best for you, including Html or pdf to read on your PC or Smartphone.

POLITICS & PRISONS

election-day

by Wayne T. Dowdy

The United States Presidential election will be over by the time this blog gets posted. Half of the cellblocks at this institution cannot watch television coverage of the elections because some prisoners had the nerve to violate the rules by having contraband in their cells. Imagine that, prisoners who break the rules!

PRISONS: most prison administrators use an “old” military technique of punishing groups of men (and women now), because of the actions of one or a few.

I was never in the military: my criminal record kept me out. I wanted to join the Air Force to become a jet fighter pilot, instead, I become a fighter in prison.

I learned to fly high without leaving the ground and that landed me in prison. In prison, I fight for rights (read my blog, “Fighting for Rights to Write,” originally published by PrisonEducation.com).

NO BLANKET PARTY: Based on what an ex-military, staff member told me, the ideology behind mass-disciplinary techniques was derived from military tactics: if a soldier failed to make up his bed or left his area un-kept during inspection, the whole barrack was punished. As an unofficial sanction, the offender’s fellow soldiers gave him a blanket party by throwing a blanket over his head and beating the stuffing out of him to teach him a lesson.

In prison, violence is prohibited, so prisoners cannot give blanket parties or punish those who cause everyone else to be punished for their actions, which defeats any common-sense-application of mass-disciplinary techniques. Most prisoners that I have known would not give a peer a blanket party or sanction them for violating a rule, even if allowed: Some will report offenders who violate rules and would help the guards arrest and shackle them if allowed.

Federal Institutions now have a Crime Stopper Hotline, which I find amusing. Time has changed things. Maybe for better, maybe not. If the changes reduce recidivism and help to improve the lives of others, then it is all good.

MORE ON BLANKET PARTIES: If certain prisoners were given a blanket party or “sanctioned” by their peers for failure to comply with rules or regulations, it may lead to extreme violence; therefore, the ideological control mechanism for military men and women does not work on prisoners, or otherwise has adverse effects; that is, unless the prison administrators really want prisoners to clash. Many administrators do have ulterior motives.

DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION: Perhaps what drives mass-disciplinary techniques is a stroke of the executioners’ ego, more so than to produce the desired or intended effect. Then again, maybe such techniques are utilized just as a display of power to show who is in control of the masses? The politics of prison are all about dominance and submission.

Break out the whips and chains and sweat boxes to teach the scoundrels a lesson! Maybe the cat-o-nine tails to go along with the whips to really get the point across, their backs that is.

People do not go to prison for being nice men and women. Most who do go to prison come out worse than when they arrive, damaged and scarred by the prison experience.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: My view on politics is that the Democrats represent the lawyers trying to sue the big businesses represented by the Republicans. Politicians deceive voters when they run on a platform and promise to vote a certain way on an issue, but then vote otherwise when elected because of their party line agenda.

Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump: I would vote for Mrs. Clinton for the simple reason that she has Bill Clinton’s experience behind her.

I cannot believe that Americans want to vote for Donald Trump to run the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world, after he deceived the investors in his business adventures by convincing them to trust him, only to file bankruptcy, not once, four times! Trump is a recidivist.

I wanted Bernie Sanders to win but he wanted to uproot the good-ole-boy regimes and didn’t have a chance. So much for American politics, straight from the pen. Later. waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com.