Yves here. This post lays bare the depth of corruption in the US. We addressed the problem of what Joe Firestone calls “the lawless society” and presented some initial thoughts about the necessity of pressuring political parties rather than working within them in our Skunk Party Manifesto. A key section:
Corruption is the biggest single problem. Until we tackle that, frontally, it will be impossible to get any good solutions or even viable interim measures to the long and growing list of problems we face. Conduct that would have been seen as reprehensible 40 years ago, like foreclosing on people who were current on their mortgages, or selling drugs even when the company knows they increase heart heart attack and stroke risk enough to be fatal for a meaningful percentage of patients, barely stirs a raised eyebrow today.
As Frederick Douglass said:
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
It has become fashionable to talk of outrage fatigue, but political and economic abusers have used that to press for more advantage. And events of recent weeks suggest that even a downtrodden and disenfranchised public is capable of rousing itself and acting when they have finally been pushed too far. Escalating violence by police and the utter indifference of local authorities to it has produced not just a backlash, but sustained protests. Similarly, while the publication of the CIA torture reports is unlikely to lead to real reform of the CIA, it has embarrassed our foreign collaborators and has confirmed the worst of what US critics and skeptics overseas believe. Even if the report produces little change in the US, it has ended any pretense that the US has moral authority in the world at large.
By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at Corrente, Firedoglake and Daily Kos as letsgetitdone. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives
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 this lawless society, 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.
*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.