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Is Lame Duck Obama Ready to Fight?

The Last Two Rounds

But is such discretion really unprecedented? Or is this actually a case of turning on its head a well-established American institution called selective enforcement of our laws. What’s unprecedented is the application of selective enforcement to the lowest of the low, poor immigrants. Giving the rich and powerful a break by not enforcing the laws against them is a grand tradition in America. Witness the expected grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown. Usually selective enforcement is not undertaken under such public scrutiny, which explains the prosecutor's incredibly choreographed grand jury arrangement. Most of the time, selective enforcement happens under the radar, as in cases like the Times has been reporting lately of NFL and Florida State football players being given special treatment by law enforcement in cases of violence and sexual assault. Or even the glaring case of Obama himself and his attorney general choosing not to prosecute bank executives of institutions "too big to fail" for cynically fleecing the public.

Deciding not to harass and criminalize poor immigrants fleeing the horrors of Central American and Mexico is not unprecedented; it's a novelty that makes the political right go ballistic. Let's not forget that the US is implicated in the rotten conditions people are fleeing from in Mexico thanks to our disastrous Drug War and embarrassing coups like the one in Honduras in 2009. Getting at the truth in this area depends on how far back one is willing to go on the cause-and-effect trail.

Bill O’Reilly has framed the immigration plan as a case of President Obama declaring “war” on the incoming Republican leadership. O’Reilly is a major fan of the grand jury scheme in Ferguson and has expressed outrage at people taking “grievances” to the street. Presumably they should rely on the criminal justice system exemplified by the Ferguson grand jury. Michelle Alexander makes a powerful argument out of this kind of historical selective enforcement in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The use of selective enforcement accounts for much of the mass incarceration of African American males in America. Maybe it takes being on the receiving end to see this; but it’s hard to make the case prosecutorial discretion is a new phenomenon.

                 Caught In a Vice Of His Own Making

Barack Obama feels to me like a man caught in a vice -- one he asked for. A very smart, highly educated and ambitious man, he figured out how to be elected the first black president of the United States of America. That naturally involved a certain degree of corruption, since no one chooses to get on the glide path to the presidency and then gets elected President of the United States by remaining clean and honest or by adhering to deep moral ideals. In a highly competitive, capitalist culture more and more ruled by the need to cheat to get ahead at all, becoming president is not for the faint of heart.

story | by Dr. Radut