Saturday, January 01, 2011

Whatever Happened to "Law?"

Florida man found stuck
in his car wearing nothing
but an inside-out shirt.

Whatever happened to that strange old-fashioned concept we used to know as “law?” Somehow in the last few years, particularly during the Bush/Cheney fiasco (administration, that is), the concept of law seems to have slowly withered away, both U.S. law and International law. The most glaring example of this (I think) strange development has to do with Bush/Cheney themselves (and others of their administration). Torture is, as far as I know, clearly against the law, both in the U.S. and Internationally. Waterboarding has been and still is legally torture. Bush/Cheney have both admitted to waterboarding. Thus the laws against such torture have simply been ignored. This is only one example of their lawbreaking, there are many others such as lying us into an unnecessary “war,” war profiteering, “outing” a CIA agent, and etc. They even managed somehow (I still can’t believe this) to do away with habeas corpus, the backbone of Western/European law for hundreds of years. Bush’s attitude seems to have been summed up clearly when he is reported to have said, “The constitution is nothing but a godamn piece of paper.” One of his domesticated lawyers, John Yoo, also assured him that some of the laws about “war” and such things were “quaint.” Although others have severely criticized his legal interpretations, and he has been subject to some investigation, he, too, has gone unpunished. And don’t forget the case of “Scooter” Libby, actually convicted but them pardoned by Bush. So much for law

Now we see that Dick the Slimy, who was to be charged with criminal acts in Nigeria, has had the charges dropped because Halliburton offered the Nigerian government 250 million dollars to drop them. At least one important Nigerian lawyer has protested this as completely illegal, others, however, have defended it on the grounds that this is what happens in the U.S. and the U.K. (I think they have plea bargaining in mind). How’s that for cultural transmission?

It is apparently well-known that some members of Wall Street and the Financial Industry have broken laws having to do with trading, fraud, sexual discrimination, and in some cases even money laundering, and banks have been carrying out illegal foreclosures right and left. None of these criminals are being held accountable, or brought to justice, and, indeed, some are even the recipients of government largesse. Those who are known to have been responsible for bringing on our recession have gone completely unpunished. We might contrast this with Russia where Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the richest man in Russia, was recently sentenced to 14 years in jail for various acts of corruption. I guess the Russians are not impressed with the way things are done in the U.S. Putin put it nicely, “thieves should go to jail.” Oh, were it so here at home!

There is, of course, the classic and perennial case of Israel, a country that has violated International laws and rules for years now, far in excess of anything any other country has ever done (as far as I know), and goes unpunished year after year while at the same time receiving billions in aid from the U.S. (that is, in fact, aiding and abetting Israel’s criminal acts). So much for laws.

Of course there are historical cases that reveal an appalling lack of interest in law or justice for a very long time here in the U.S. For example, there is the recent case of the two sisters, each given a life sentence, for a robbery in which $11 was stolen and no one was hurt. Governor Haley Barbour has given them a temporary release so one can donate a kidney to the other, but he did not pardon them. You don’t have to be very smart in cases like this, where there was an obvious, even blatant, miscarriage of justice, but you do have to wonder why no one seemed to care. I guess they must be Black, and like Black crack users, get greater punishment under the “law” than whites (this is hardly a recent or unknown fact). It would be impossible to even attempt to list the laws that have been bent, ignored, or even eliminated by our government and Congresspersons in the past few years, and it appears the trend will continue as Obama and Holder, along with so many others, seem relatively unconcerned. I would like to hope that 2011 might begin to bring us to our senses about this exceedingly dangerous trend, but I doubt it will.

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Frank Zappa

The kosovorotka, a traditional Russian shirt, also became known as a tolstovka because Tolstoy began wearing them during his later years.

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