Joe Biden 's One Man Crime Band

Joe Biden, the "Band of One" needs watching. Last night I was reading a speech he gave on the Senate Floor in 1991, in which he claimed Pres. Bush wasn't tough enough on crime and his crime bill was tougher than Bush's. The cite is 137 Cong Rec S 8263.

Leopards don't lose their spots. If he gets elected we'll live in a police state. His major priority is throwing more money at police, DEA, Homeland Security and anyone else with a badge.

Here's some quotes from his speech pushing for his 1991 crime bill over then President Bush's bill. He thought Bush was soft on crime. [More...]

Alternating with him was Sen. Strom Thurmond, who was fighting for the President's bill over Biden's. The bills had three differences. First, everyone supported more death penalty eligible cases, and Biden bragged he had come up with 72 while Bush only had 50 something. Most were for drug-related offenses. The difference was the Republicans wanted the Racial Justice provision stripped from the bill, and the House refused to budge. Biden said he liked the provision, but could do without it, since it wouldn't pass anyway.

Next, Bush and Thurmon wanted to eviscerate habeas corpus appeals in state Cases. Biden's response was to suggest a one year limit, which is just what we got in 1996 with AEDPA.

Biden's biggest beef was that there was no money for cops, agents and prosecutors. He wanted to give out grant money for cop programs like it grows on trees.

Finally, after about 4 hours of this back and forth with Thurmon and others, the Republicans said fine, we'll give you the money , but we want an up or down vote on the President's bill. The President's bill eviscerated the 4th Amendment with its provision that cops should get a "good faith exeption for warrantless searches. Biden didn't like that, but he decided only 1% of cases get suppressed, so it's not that big a deal.

Before I get into the quotes, let me just say (as I've said before) Joe Biden has a single constituency -- law enforcement. In his eyes, they do G-ds work. He asks for billions more money for them. Our leaders should look out for all of us, not just their favorites. You can be sure that if he is President, anytime a bill comes up, he'll be asking for it to include more money for cops.

Some of his quotes. He complained that that Bush is unhappy his crime bill isn't getting passed and blames Congress. Biden says, it's not Congress, look what we've done:

But let us look at the facts: Since 1986, Congress has passed over 230 new or expanded penalties for drug and criminal offenses in these United States, 230 new penalties, and these penalties range from an automatic 5 years in jail for any person caught with a rock of crack cocaine...

...We changed the law so that if you are arrested and you are a drug dealer, under our forfeiture statues, the Government can take everything you own, everything from your car to your house to your bank account. Not merely what they confiscate in terms of the dollars from the transaction that you have just got caught engaging in, they can take everything. We have laws in the last several years where we do not allow judges discretion to sentence people. Flat-time sentencing. You get caught, you go to jail. Well, piece of crack cocaine as small as a quarter.

Well, all of these tools have been at the President’s disposal for the last 100 weeks and more. Now if America’s crime problem is worse than it ever was, it is not because the Congress has failed to give the President the tools-it has done its part-but rather because the administration has failed to use the power given to it by the Congress over the last 5 years, and in particular the last 100 weeks, to bring this epidemic under control.

Well, the facts are glaring how bad things are. Two hundred days ago, Congress enacted life in prison for major drug dealers. Yet in the past 3 years, the President has obtained this penalty for only, on average, four drug dealers in the entire country each year.

I find it, quite frankly, preposterous that this President stands up and says that this Congress is not tough on crime after we have given him all this power and, just to take two examples, he has only four times a year put someone in prison for life and only once gotten the death penalty.

If you wonder why I am so frustrated, Mr. President, I have been dealing with this issue of crime and have been either the sponsor or cosponsor of every major tough piece of legislation relating to dealing with the criminal element in this country in the last 10 years, as many others have. And I hear the President tell me I am not tough on crime. And he gets a death penalty once?

...Let me put it another way, Mr. President. In the past 1,000 days, Congress has given the power to the President to take away every penny a drug dealer makes, seize their houses, their cars, their boats, their jewelry, lock them up without parole or probation, and even execute them if need be....We have already done our part, and now it is time for the administration to do its part. The laws are there; the tools are there to make a dent in this horrible crime problem.

...The President’s bill calls for the death penalty on 46 offenses. The difference is negligible. Yet, I am a supporter of the death penalty. I am a supporter of the death penalty without the racial justice provision in it. I think it is better with it, but I am a supporter of it without it as well.

[Back to Habeas] So the issue here is how do we stop that? We do not want to take away the right of the Federal court to oversee whether a State court is applying the Constitution because we all know from our history sometimes they do not. But we do not want this repetitive thing to keep going. So I have a bill that says, look, you get to file one of these papers and it has to be filed within 1 year, and it has to be adjudicated, and that is it, unless-and then there are three exceptions. What we are going to argue about is whether there should be exceptions, not whether or not there should be a habeas corpus change.

Biden moves on to the exclusionary rule, and he says:

So to keep police from doing [bad things] -and police, by the way, 99.9 percent, do not do anything like this. And for the record, just in case you are wondering, every major police organization I am aware of has been a supporter of mine, endorses me, and I work with, so I am not an anticop guy. But there are some police who violate the law, the Constitution, just like there are some individuals who do it in any walk of life.

Here's how he thinks the exclusionary rule should be applied:

When they break the door down, they do not find television sets, coincidentially, but they find out there are stolen bicycles in there. They say, "Whoa, you are not the person we are looking for, but guess what? You did something wrong. Now we are arresting you, and we will admit those bicycles in evidence." I think if that happens with the police officer, he should be able to say, "Hey, look, Judge. I made a good faith mistake." So I should still be able to admit that evidence. I did not deliberately go to do that. It was a typo. I did not do anything wrong as a police officer."

Translation: He's just like Bush and Strom Thurmon on this issue.

He starts the next section with this sentence:

Now, I do not want to get into teaching a class, because I am not qualified on ethics or morals.

Shouldn't the President of the United States have both?

Here is how he describes the difference between him and Bush:

He wants the death penalty. I want it. He wants a change in habeas corpus. I do. He wants a change in the exclusionary rule. I want it, but not nearly what he wants. But that is it, by and large. He does not want more prosecutors. He does not want more prisons, and he does not want more police. He does not want more aid to local law enforcement. He does not want help to fight juvenile gangs in America. The list goes on.

He then describes his bill:

My bill contains almost a dozen more significant, important, and, yes, tough anticrime measures. Let me just name a few right now. Law enforcement. My bill provides an authorization for aid to enable local police agencies to boost their ranks by 10,000 new policemen, 10,000 new crime fighters, more police, more prosecutors and truly the front-line troops. So there is a total of 10,000 new combined, prosecutors and police officers. For Federal law enforcement, our bill also authorizes, 2,800 new Federal crime fighters,

>My bill provides for 400 new Drug Enforcement Agency agents, 350 more Federal prosecutors and, as I said, we already provided for new judges. We need these new men and women if we are going to enforce all the tough new penalties Congress already passes and is passing. All right. Also, I call for construction and the President opposes regional drug prisons. Our bill authorizes 10 new regional prisons, to hold 8,000 drug offenders.

Next he wants to jam up our federal courts with DUIs.

...My bill also provides drunk driving protection for children. Our bill-and not the President’s-provides a 1-year penalty, enhanced penalty beyond what you would ordinarily get, for drunk drivers charged in a Federal court who have a child in the car.

He again sums up his bill:

For the fact is simply this. Our crime bill-and not the President’s-includes more death offenses; bans killer assault guns; keeps criminals from buying guns; beefs up Federal and local crime fighters; launches an attack on gangs, on rural crime, and on drug areas; adds new prosecutors and new prisons. That is the thing in my humble opinion that is going to truly have an impact on crime. Along with the implementation and enforcement of the bills we have already passed.

He's bad. But as I always say, Republicans are always worse. Here's Gramm from Texas at the next hearing on the Bush or Biden bill: Cite: 139 Cong Rec S 14974

We need minimum mandatory sentencing. We need to grab these violent criminals by the throat and not let them go; we need to get a better grip. The way to do that is to build prisons and put people in them. That is what I think we need to do, and I urge my colleagues to allow us to take both approaches. We have the capacity to do it. The problem is big enough. Let us use the carrot of rehabilitation that our Democratic colleagues have offered, but let us use the stick of minimum mandatory sentencing and guaranteed incarceration for violent criminals and the death penalty, which is what we offer. I think a combination of the two will allow us to break the back of violent crime in America-and God knows we need to do that.

Did anyone not sound like a crackpot at this hearing? Sen. Harkin said he opposed the death penalty, but he said he'd probably vote for the bill anyway. There was one: Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio. This post is too long already so I'll add a new post with his comments, which are worth reading.

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  • Display: Sort:
    this is a roadmap (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 08:34:52 AM EST
    for how we got where we are.

    Yes, so we have O'Malley on one hand (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 05:34:55 PM EST
    The Black Lives Matter movement would eviscerate him. So I don't think he'll be a contender. But Biden is of the same page.  We now have more people incarcerated than any other first world country.  We destroy entire families with the punishments we hand out for often nonviolent crimes. And our police forces act like they are taking on some sort of insurgency everyday and every traffic stop and loose cigarette sale.

    You don't give people (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 05:49:13 PM EST
    paramilitary hardware expect them to act any other way.  It's the individuals fault of course, but it's how they are trained.

    I have been watching The Wire.   You don't really see police interactions being shown so matter of factly much these days.  At least without some intended commentary.   That show just shows you how police treat people of color.   And how it's completely accepted as normal by both sides.


    For What it's Worth... (none / 0) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 10:44:23 AM EST
    ...Biden has said he is still undecided.

    The Times reported that quiet meetings have been frequently helmed by Steve Ricchetti, Biden's chief of staff. The Times said Biden is still undecided on the matter, but will likely make a decision known by the end of summer or early September.

    The Iowa primary for D's is Feb 1st, which is 5 months from 'early September'.

    is it just me (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 11:45:11 AM EST
    or does this campaign season seem a lot slower/quieter?

    Maybe because Hillary is the presumptive nomininee and hasn't really seemed like she's in campaign mode.

    Sure there's a bunch of noise on the Republican side but that still feels like a side show.


    I think that's partially what all the (none / 0) (#4)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 11:54:31 AM EST
    Biden talk is about - making it more dramatic.

    But, then again, it's also August...we should probably enjoy it while we can, because it's for sure not going to last.


    I Don't Know... (none / 0) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 01:35:21 PM EST
    ...considering the election is in 462 days, and about a third of all news stories are related to it, seems pretty busy to me.  Considering the post is for 1460 days, we are spending a third of our lives discussing/arguing about who will be the next president.

    What I can't remember, is this normal, or like everything else, is it starting earlier every cycle so Corporate America can cash in.


    yea I don't mean to complain (none / 0) (#6)
    by CST on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 01:55:50 PM EST
    I'm just thinking about compared to 2008 really.  But I guess that was also just different in it's own way.

    You Remember 6 Months... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 02:18:48 PM EST
    ...before the primaries 8 years ago ?

    Obama didn't hit hard until he beat Hillary in Iowa.


    Are you suggesting (none / 0) (#8)
    by CST on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 03:04:29 PM EST
    I have selective memory?  Because I'm pretty sure that's only something that happens to my parents :)

    (you're probably right)


    Not at All... (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 03:58:10 PM EST
    ...in that for me I can remember very specific things as long as my brain can tie it to something.  I got nothing pre-Iowa for Obama.

    But in general, my brain has never had the capacity to remember 8 years ago unless their is something notable, like an upset in politics.  For me my earliest memories of Obama is post-Iowa.  And the primary debacle that followed, that I remember with clarity.   Thinking back, just hearing the term 'super-delegate' or 'kitchen sink' makes me cringe.


    Biden & COPS (none / 0) (#12)
    by NycNate on Wed Aug 05, 2015 at 06:39:54 AM EST
    I worked at COPS. It was widely considered Biden's baby in the agency. We developed the first stimulus app of Obama's to put 100K cops on the street.  I remember sitting in meetings thinking that a lot of minorities will end up in prison. Sure enough.

    Thank you for sharing this (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 05, 2015 at 09:01:09 AM EST
    Thank you thank you! I really want to understand how we got here. What roads did we take and where in order to wind up here.

    COPS (DOJ) and Biden (none / 0) (#14)
    by NycNate on Thu Aug 06, 2015 at 06:33:18 AM EST
    I don't think it is just Biden of Omalley either. Cities, mostly liberal, were the largest beneficiaries. They fought for the DOJ to fund the officers, THE EQUIPMENT, the training, uniforms, social security contributions, etc.  

    It's not just the republicans. In fact, I would say it was highly regarded as fulfilling Obama's policy of making cities safe. Remember, Obama wanted the stimulus money out in his first 100 days.  This money was shoveed to cities with little oversight.