Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

"Oh gosh, actually it isn't lawlessness any more, now is it?"

I've been hatching a lament for several days now, on the sorry state of what passes for justice anymore in the nation that used to be America. Naomi Wolf posted recently at Huffington Post on a topic that was pretty much where I was going anyway. Long story short, that handbasket that America's future is riding in is not just nipping down to the store for a quart of milk. The erosion of anything resembling justice is pretty much complete.
As the Australian reported earlier this week, New South Wales Justice of the Peace Mamdouh Habib is suing the Australian federal government -- which under the Howard administration had colluded with the US in committing various abuses against detainees and due process -- for having allowed him to be arrested wrongly in Pakistan in 2001, kidnapped and sent illegally to Egypt. There this Justice of the Peace was illegally imprisoned and tortured for six months. After that the United States held him for FOUR YEARS in Guantanamo.
Get that? A justice of the peace in a developed-world democracy. Had you heard of that?

Me neither.
They rendered an Australian justice of the peace -- and that rendition did not even make the US news. So how can we be sure there is something so sacred about an American justice of the peace or even a judge? Say, an American judge who ruled against the Military Commissions?
I could quote much more of this article, but it's better if you just read the whole thing yourself. You might be angry, but you won't be disappointed.

My lament was going to mention things like the well-documented Don Siegelman kangaroo court in Alabama. Ms. Wolf touched on that. I was also going to mention the Supreme Court's recent decision to not even consider the ACLU's petition on illegal warrantless wiretapping. This is a replay of another decision they made last April regarding the odious Military Commissions Act. I blogged about that then, my opinions haven't changed, you can read about it HERE. There are other signs that the entire court system has gone over to the dark side, all the way over. There's THIS STORY about the Supremes' outrageous behavior in an appeal by Exxon over the still unpaid judgement almost twenty years later over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
What bothered the chief justice was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion -- roughly three weeks' worth of profits -- for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline in the largest oil spill in American history.

"So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?" Roberts asked in court.
There's not even any pretense that this case is going to be decided in an unbiased manner on its merits, or with reference to the Constitution and legal precedent. The will of the Corporatist government of Pricktator Extraordinaire George W. Bush is all that matters. The Constitution, after all, is just a Goddamn Piece of Paper. And there are more stories from just this week indicating how far the rule of law has diverged from the idea of 'a nation of laws, not men.'

How about this one?
Mukasey Rebuffs Contempt Referrals, House to Head to Court
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey refused yesterday to refer two new House contempt citations to a federal grand jury, saying the White House aides involved in the case cannot be prosecuted because they were following legal advice from the Justice Department.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Mukasey said the refusal by White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet E. Miers to comply with congressional subpoenas "did not constitute a crime."
Or how about the sham that has attended the fight over the renewal of the Protect America Act, which is about anything but protecting America? Over 80% of the riders in the aforementioned proverbial handbasket can catch a distinct whiff of sulfur, but you'd never know it from watching FOX "news" or CNN.

Ms. Wolf's post touches on a number of the Ten Points To Close Down an Open Society from her book, The End of America, notably #10; Suspend the Rule of Law. But you can't ignore #2; Create A Gulag, #4; Set Up an Internal Surveillance System, #6 Engage in Arbitrary Detention and Release or #8; Control The Press. The suspension of normal legal procedures is what enables all but #8 anyway. And reflexively, it is #8 that enables all the others. As Ms. Wolf observes, "They rendered an Australian justice of the peace -- and that rendition did not even make the US news."

If you carefully consider Ms. Wolf's analysis of any potential resistance to the worst case scenario of martial law, (and I think you should consider it very carefully indeed) where do you put your hopes when "NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THE RAMPARTS ARE?" After all, "THEY HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN and we have not. They aren't surprised or shocked; we are. They have a plan; we don't."

When it happens, and I increasingly fear that if it can happen it probably will, it won't be a Taxi to the Dark Side, it will be a humongous fleet of windowless prison buses. Speaking of Taxi to the Dark Side,
[It] won't be seen by most Americans. This is because the Discovery Channel bought it hoping to air it -- but then backed out. (Its affiliates have close ties to the military-industrial complex.) Will the Oscar win get it on the airwaves? Doubtful.
Call me paranoid, but I can't help thinking that perhaps the Discovery Channel bought this documentary not hoping to air it, but to ensure that no-one else could air it. At any rate there are numerous signs and portents that bode ill for the near future of America. One is reminded of the ominous opening of Act IV, scene 1 of Hamlet,
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes

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