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The Lawless Society

letsgetitdone's picture

The release of the Senate's torture report reminds us of the central fact of American society, today. Any semblance of equal justice under the law is now gone from what our leaders claim is the world's leading democracy.

Instead, of a constitutional democracy living under the law. We have a gangster government that fails to enforce the law, but instead prosecutes whistle blowers who make public, violations of it. Here is an off the top of the head list of our continuing and systematic failures to create justice.

-- Failure to prosecute, indict, and convict violators of US laws and international treaties prohibiting torture who then lie about it under oath, and when found out justify their illegal acts by claiming that they worked to make America safer, as if this excuses law breaking;

-- Failure to investigate, prosecute, indict, and convict government officials who engage in unconstitutional surveillance activities and then lie about it under oath;

-- Failure to investigate, prosecute, indict, and convict financial banksters and fraudsters for crimes resulting in the loss of many trillions of dollars of asset value owned by middle and working class Americans

-- Failure to indict, and convict some police murders, and to even investigate and prosecute most of them

-- Failure to investigate, prosecute, indict, and convict police for rapes

-- Failure to investigate, prosecute, indict, and convict police for unlawful seizure of private property

-- Failure to investigate, prosecute, indict, and convict police violations of constitutional rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and press

-- DHS collaboration in violations of First Amendment Rights by State and Local Governments

-- Failure to enforce tax laws prohibiting 501 (c)(4) tax exemption claims by organizations not exclusively engaged in social welfare activities

-- Failure to enforce immigration law.

This is a crime wave composed of wholesale obstruction of justice. If we can't end it, then democracy will be gone for good. And, if we take too long to end it, then “the beatings will continue” with much suffering among the vast majority of people.

On the other hand, ending the crime wave won't be easy, because as we see from my list it results as much from political decisions not to enforce the law, as it does from the violations of law themselves. But this brings us to the political system and its present state of dynamics, which only very rarely results in outcomes that represent the public interest. One of our major parties seems completely consumed by the need to serve financial, defense industry, civil suppression and war making, energy, health industry, and other elites, While the other seems to be a bit less consumed by the need, but also very afraid of acting in ways that are hostile to what they want.

In short, the political system seems captured by money and power, and incapable of turning toward the public interest barring effective disruption of the two party system supported by mass communications networks serving as propaganda arms of elite ideology with its quasi-fictional interpretations of the way the world is and works. So, change comes down to the answer to this question:

-- how can we disrupt the two party system, neuter the influence of mass communication elites, and render big money powerless in politics, so that voters can self-organize from the bottom-up in ever larger circles of widening consensus that transcend the bought political parties and produce emergent policy options that are likely to grapple with and solve our myriad problems?

I won't try to answer that critical question in this post. But I will say that if we don't arrive at an answer that will work and open up our political system again, then the result will be that the above crime wave will never end, but will eventually evolve into a feudal society where political power makes right and the only protection for individuals will be to join the political empire of one of the oligarchs who will be running the United States.

*Update: Tom Hickey provides a wonderful supplement to this post at Mike Norman Economics.

(Cross-posted from New Economic Perspectives.)

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letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I empathize with undocumented immigrants, and favor very aggressive action in getting them integrated into American society. However, the President's decision to cease enforcing the law on this issue is part of the pattern, the crime wave, I'm pointing to above. One can't object to all the other instances of failure to enforce the law while ignoring immigration. Immigration law is unjust and inhuman, and it needs to be changed by Congress immediately, but the President, regrettably, doesn't have the authority to fail to enforce it.

Submitted by lambert on

Personally, I'm toying with the idea of open borders -- heck, the immigrants bring their own markets with them, so the size of the pie grows -- but this crap of Presidents picking the laws they want to obey is nuts. Democrats can't yammer about "the rule of law" in some contexts and then say "We didn't mean that law" in others.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

Well if it's not America and it's not who we are, we really goofed up and gave a lot of people in the Philippines the wrong impression about us, along with the people of Vietnam half a century later. They were pretty sure we were not novices in applying the rough stuff on captives, and both countries had a long time to see us up close and in action, due to the length of our wars against them. Nevertheless, they were wrong and that's not who we are!

Between those false impressions and the very wrong first impressions we've been creating more recently at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram , we also aided, counseled and armed a bunch of "folks" in Central America during the 1980s and 90s, patronage of whom could likewise lead people to very mistaken impressions about who we really are. Many, if not most, of the worst warpers of our good name in that region were educated in their methods of violating people's etiquette and orifices at a US military school here in the state of Georgia, which I guess should have been named "School of NOT the Americas, And NOT AT ALL Who We Really Are!" But instead it was erroneously called the School Of The Americas. Another goofed up bureaucratic oversight, arising no doubt from politicians interfering in the affairs of Generals.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

I wish the Republicans would be true to who they usually are and would accordingly move to impeach Holder and Obama for their obstruction of justice. But then there's that word I just said, "justice," and Republicans are never down with that, even if they usually are for hot impeachment.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

If ONLY the underlying crime had been about something else, practically anything else, besides torturing Muslims and their rectums, I'm sure Republicans would be thrilled to go after Obama & co. for obstruction of justice. No way will the Republicans be seen getting between the CIA and their meat. The base would never forgive it.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

Anyway, if that wasn't us, then WHO THE FUCK WAS IT?

Somebody with a press badge needs to ask President Obama -tomorrow, or Monday at the latest- who it was, if not us. The American people have a right to know if we have like an Evil Twin or something out there committing atrocities in our name.

Who was it, Barry?

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

"By their actions they will be known". Luckily, as we have so little influence over policy (per a Princeton study), we can safely state that it was not us.

We may go to hell, but that is not what will send us there. Whew!

Unfortunately, that cannot be said of people like our illustrious leader.

Submitted by lambert on

Of course, we'd be stupid not to try for what the elite get away with. Lady Bracknell:

Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Very nice. Very nice, indeed!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

which laws to enforce."

If the Dems take a shellacking in 2016, this issue will be one of the primary reasons.

And I don't think that they even know it.

Here's a screenshot of a blurb I posted here last year on this topic [just one of many of the videos that I've posted that have gotten "killed." For sure, the One Percent watches out for its own.]

The video pretty much revealed the extent to which the Dem pushed immigration bill was a giveaway to Big Business.

As I said at the time, "it gave me a little pause."

And here's an excerpt from a CBO analysis about the effects of this bill:

In sum, relative to current law, enacting S. 744 would:

Increase the size of the labor force and employment,

Increase average wages in 2025 and later years (but decrease them before that),

Slightly raise the unemployment rate through 2020,

Boost the amount of capital investment,

Raise the productivity of labor and of capital, and

Result in higher interest rates.

A couple years ago, I posted what is now another "dead" video of an right-wing think tanker (AEI) and Economist, Stan Veuger, in a three-way hosted debate with Rocky Anderson and Barbara Ehrenreich.

I'll never forget how both Anderson and Ehrenreich sat there without batting an eye when the right-winger declared that as many as 35 million undocumented people had crossed the border since Reagan granted amnesty.

Now, we very much love the people and the culture--having lived and studied there. And, we can barely wait for Mr A to soon 'throw in the towel' and fully retire, so that we can expatriate.

However, to deny that there are any Americans adversely affected--on pocketbook issues, depressed wages, etc.--by mass immigration of low-skilled labor, is an absurdity.

It may be arguable that there are some agricultural jobs that many Americans won't take. But, IMO, it is a stretch, at least since the Economic Crash, to argue that it is advantageous for lower-skilled Americans to compete with a never-ending flow of unskilled labor coming from any country.

Of course, the same is sometimes true in reverse when Americans descend upon the more under developed Latin American economies--the cost of living is often driven upward by "Gringos" retiring to these countries--for both natives and transplants (expats).

[For years now, we've heard American workers in several trades--especially construction trades, and to a lesser degree, landscaping and lawn maintenance--vociferously complain about the effect on their wages, during the call-in portion of Washington Journal.]

Bottom line, a reasonable immigration policy needs to be adopted--not one that is a giveaway to Business, large or small.

Canada, which is somewhat more progressive than the US in many areas, doesn't have an open border policy.

Heck, if they did, they would long ago have been flooded by Americans, LOL! (and they know it)

The US needs a policy that will allow for a reasonable number of immigrants, since our own toxic policies have done much to destroy the Mexican economy. But also a policy that takes into consideration this nation's UE rate--giving at least a modicum of protection to the American worker.

Postscript: Almost forget, according to Bloomberg Reporter Robert Litan, the most recent Dem Party bill removes 'the cap' on 'PhD holders,' and provides for an Entrepreneur Visa, but is a 'mixed bag' on H1-B Visas.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Wow. Through 2020. Brazenly admitting the throwing of generations under the poverty serfdom bus. Guess this tidbit didn't really make the rounds in Facebook, Twitter, NPR, Maddow.

"We're on the road to Serf-dom, la la la la."

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

It's all part of Project Foaming the Runway.

Geithner foamed it for the banks; Obama is foaming it for the users of labor, ensuring that serfdom of the 99.9% for the benefit of the .01% will flourish and thrive for years to come.

Through 2020. Well, at least it's only "slightly" raise the unemployment rate. What a relief, no?

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

My favorite video of the week:

When these people finally figure it out, they won't hesitate to visit those Congressmen who enabled their serfdom, as I pointed out to my Congressmen. He may need loopholes in his mini-manse before long. The problem with Feudalism is that it requires castles, and not in the figurative sense.