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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Our political culture has now explicitly renounced the concept of equality of law
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our political culture has now explicitly renounced the concept of equality of law

glenn's new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, is now on the stands, and it promises to be every bit as powerful as his regular columns... here's hoping it has the impact it so richly deserves...

from glenn's post today in salon...

The past decade has witnessed the most severe crimes imaginable by political and financial elites: the construction of a worldwide torture regime, domestic spying perpetrated jointly by the government and the telecom industry without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive war waged on another country that killed hundreds of thousands of people, massive financial fraud that came close to collapsing the world economy and which destroyed the economic security of tens of millions, and systematic foreclosure fraud that, by design, bombarded courts with fraudulent documents in order to seize homes without legal entitlement. These are not bad policies or mere immoral acts. They are plainly criminal, and yet – due to the precepts of elite immunity which were first explicitly embraced during Ford’s pardon of Nixon — none of those crimes has produced legal punishments.

By very stark contrast, ordinary Americans are imprisoned more easily, for longer periods of time, and in greater numbers than any nation on earth. New legal classes of non-persons with no rights have been created over the last decade as well. Thus, over the same four decades that elite immunity has taken hold, the nation — namely,the same elite class that has aggressively vested itself with the right to act with impunity — has resorted to ever more merciless punishment schemes for ordinary Americans and others who are marginalized who, for multiple reasons, have very few defenses when the state targets them for punishment. While being rich and powerful has always been an advantage in the judicial system (and in all other aspects of American life), our political culture has now explicitly renounced the concept of equality of law, and it is thus now unabashedly clear that who you are is far more important than what you do.

the dynamic glenn describes is a cornerstone of what is behind the global awakening... our super-rich elites have doggedly and deliberately rigged the system in their favor and they have done so in multiple ways but none so pernicious and malign as the consequences to ordinary people by their manipulation of accountability and the rule of law...

glenn explicitly points this out...

This development isn’t just central to most of what I write. It is, I believe, driving the growing (and accurate) perception that our political institutions are wholly illegitimate. It is, as I wrote this morning at Tom Dispatch, this sense that outcome inequalities are now wholly illegitimate – as a result of this fundamental perversion of the rule of law – that is fueling the citizen anger inspirationally on display at the Occupy protests around the nation.

more from glenn's tomdispatch post...

It is now clearly understood that, rather than apply the law equally to all, Wall Street tycoons have engaged in egregious criminality -- acts which destroyed the economic security of millions of people around the world -- without experiencing the slightest legal repercussions. Giant financial institutions were caught red-handed engaging in massive, systematic fraud to foreclose on people’s homes and the reaction of the political class, led by the Obama administration, was to shield them from meaningful consequences. Rather than submit on an equal basis to the rules, through an oligarchical, democracy-subverting control of the political process, they now control the process of writing those rules and how they are applied.

Today, it is glaringly obvious to a wide range of Americans that the wealth of the top 1% is the byproduct not of risk-taking entrepreneurship, but of corrupted control of our legal and political systems. Thanks to this control, they can write laws that have no purpose than to abolish the few limits that still constrain them, as happened during the Wall Street deregulation orgy of the 1990s. They can retroactively immunize themselves for crimes they deliberately committed for profit, as happened when the 2008 Congress shielded the nation’s telecom giants for their role in Bush’s domestic warrantless eavesdropping program.

i can't imagine a more opportune time for a book like this to appear and no one better than glenn to have written it...

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