Tag Archives: Justice

Democrats Are Profoundly Committed to Criminal Justice Reform — For Everyone But Their Enemies, by Glenn Greenwald

Justice is an elastic concept for Democrats, with one “justice” for themselves and another for their enemies. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

Principles of rehabilitative justice, reform of the carceral state, and liberalized criminal justice evaporate when Democrats demand harsh prison for their political adversaries.

Kyle Rittenhouse makes his way back to the stand to testify during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 10, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

The 2020 protest movement that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha became one of the most sustained and consequential in modern U.S. history. Though there seems to be a somewhat bizarre effort underway by its advocates to insist that this movement accomplished nothing — why are some claiming that radical cultural and political changes are happening? — it is demonstrably true that, as intended, the movement transformed discourse and policy around multiple issues from race, to policing, to gender identity, to the teaching of history, and fostered an ongoing effort for still-greater changes.

The issues raised by that movement were varied and often shifting: though it was catalyzed by the claim that the U.S. is swamped with racist police brutality as illustrated by the Floyd and Blake cases, it quickly metastasized into other areas far removed from those two cases. White Antifa members clashed with Black protesters over the attempt to steer or broaden the movement away from a narrow focus on racist police brutality into one devoted to generalized insurrectionary anarchy. One of the largest and most densely packed gatherings was a spontaneous march, at the height of the COVID pandemic, in Brooklyn, where ten thousand people paid homage to the importance of “black trans lives,” a cause whose relationship to the Floyd and Blake cases was tenuous at best. Institutional changes regarding gender identity were quickly adopted by the corporations and security state institutions that lent their support, however cynically, to this growing movement.

But one constant focus of this movement has been the need for sweeping criminal justice reform. Americans were introduced to the slogan “Defund the Police,” with some activists making clear they meant that literally, while leading progressives in Congress chanted along. Prison abolition and the evils of “the “carceral state” became mainstream progressive positions. Last May, The New Yorker heralded what it called “The Emerging Movement for Police and Prison Abolition,” noting that while some activists merely want incremental reform, for many these events “confirmed that the institution of policing should be abolished completely. In the past year or two, propositions to defund or abolish the police and prisons have travelled from incarcerated-activist networks and academic conferences and scholarship into mainstream conversations.”

Continue reading→

Pure Excrement (Part Two), by Robert Gore

ceos-indictment-jail-cell-slide1

Those on top don’t always stay on top.

Part One

Who can argue with prevailing business practices? If corporate-debt-supported stock options, wiping out competitors via regulation rather than honest competition, buying bureaucrats and politicians, endorsing the reigning ideology, and political pull are the road to riches, how can you fault the executives for taking it?

Matthew 16:26 comes to mind:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The King James Bible

The executives have sold their souls and have no interest in the hard road to redemption. They’re in varying degrees of alignment with the global governance cabal for which Covid and climate change are the Trojan horses. There are the marquee names—Gates, Bezos, Dimon, Zuckerberg, Soros, Schmidt, Thiel, Musk—paid up members of the Davos cabal and irretrievably evil. Then there are the vast majority of executives, mere go-along-to-get-along pawns. Any arguments to them have to be phrased in terms of their mushy philosophy—if you can call it that—unprincipled pragmatism.

The best pragmatic argument—because it appeals to fear, an emotion stronger than greed or power lust—is Jack Ma. The people who run governments are a fickle bunch, unmoored to any concept of honor. One day you’re one of the richest men (people with things hanging down between their legs) in China, the esteemed builder of multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba, and a Communist party stalwart. The next day you’ve been “disappeared” and your company has been pulled off its pedestal by jealous functionaries. You only reappear after long reeducation and quiet contemplation of the gospel according to a totalitarian collectivist (Xi Jinping, On the Party’s Propaganda and Ideological Work, Beijing: Institute of Party History and Documentation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, 2020, for those yearning to peruse classic communist claptrap).

If you’re a run-of-the-mill executive back in the USSA, the government in whose totalitarianism you are an accomplice may one day nationalize your company under some emergency power it’s granted itself. Don’t be surprised if your friends in government no longer take your calls. You may find yourself out of a job and stripped of your stock options. You may find yourself Jack Ma’ed for reeducation, or “disappeared” for good. Expect no sympathy or defense of your rights from your victims. Even if you’re a big-cheese member of the global cabal, bigger cheese can turn on you in an instant.

So too can financial markets and an economy built on a porous foundation of debt (ask the comrades at Evergrande). Those in-the-money stock options at Dow 35,000 will be worthless at Dow 5,000. The corporate debt that supported the stock price weighs so much heavier in a depression. Not every company can be too big to fail; not every debt-laden zombie can be saved; not every executive has enough friends in Washington.

The central bank and the Treasury swapping their fiat debt instruments—the modern version of currency debasement—isn’t an economic strategy. It’s holding a hand over your head on a cloudy day and hoping it will stop the coming rain. It won’t save the day.

Slogans aren’t a business strategy. Sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion, green, safety, build back better, and all the other approved words and phrases are no substitute for sales, revenues, and profits—dark words from the dark past. Speaking of dark, this winter millions of people are in danger of power outages when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, with the fossil fuel power plants that might have served as renewable energy backups decommissioned. By way of analogy, there’s no financial warmth for companies whose corporate PR drips green but whose bottom line drips red.

Continue reading

He Said That? 3/4/17

From Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Romanian-born Jewish writer, professor, political activist, and Nobel Laureate:

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

Saudi man gets 10 years, 2,000 lashes over atheist tweets, by Jim Quinn

From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

This is what our staunch ally does to people expressing their freedom of speech. Will Obama hold a press conference to condemn this treatment? Will anyone in the political establishment call Saudi Arabia out for their atrocious human rights violations?

The hypocrisy of Obama and his liberal minions is breathtaking to behold, as they pretend to support free speech, woman’s rights, and gay rights, while remaining completely silent regarding the Islamic leaders of Saudi Arabia torturing, brutalizing and killing anyone who supports free speech, woman’s rights, or gay rights. They reveal themselves to be cowards and liars.

Our politician leaders don’t say a peep as they purposefully destroy the US shale oil industry. Saudi Arabia is our enemy. I’d get 5,000 lashes for that statement if I lived in Saudi Arabia.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism in hundreds of Twitter posts.

Al-Watan online daily said Saturday that religious police in charge of monitoring social networks found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, ridiculing Quranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teachings fueled hostilities.

It says the 28-year-old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent, saying that what he wrote reflected his own beliefs and that he had the right to express them. The report did not name the man.

The court also fined him 20,000 riyals, about $5,300.

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/02/27/saudi-man-gets-10-years-2000-lashes-over-atheist-tweets/

Something the Patriot Community Can Support, by David DeGerolamo

The five-year sentences that Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, are now serving is grossly disproportionate to anything they did, even if one accepts the federal government’s interpretation of their “crimes.” A petition drive has been mounted for their immediate release with their sentence commuted to time served. From David DeGerolamo at ncrenegade.com:

UPDATE:

It appears that people are signing the petition but are not being shown on the count. I suppose we should not be surprised that our “votes” are not being counted. If you sign up and do not see your name after a few hours, please add to the comments here or send me an email: David@NCRenegade.com. Time for screenshots?

There has been much talk concerning how the Patriot Community will come together when the time is right.

Let’s see if we can get 100,000 people to sign this petition to free Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr. and Steven Dwight Hammond from prison. Click here or pick the image below and sign your name. Please share this information if you believe now is that time to come together.

David DeGerolamo

Immediately release Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr. and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond from prison for time served.

Since Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond already served their original sentence and were released from prison, we see no reason for them to have to serve an additional length of time.

The original judge in the trial (Judge Hogan) overruled the minimum terrorist sentence that is now being used as the justification for their reimprisonment. He wrote that if the full five years were required, it would be a violation of the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment).

Published Date: Jan 07, 2016
Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Human Rights

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/immediate-release-prison-dwight-lincoln-hammond-jr-and-his-son-steven-dwight-hammond-time-served

How Arbitration Clauses are Stripping American Citizens of Their “Right to Go to Court,” by Michael Krieger

Corporations are putting arbitration clauses in contracts, denying aggrieved customers access to courts and just as importantly, stopping class action suits that are one of the best remedies against corporate depredations. Michael Krieger highlights this under-the-radar phenomenon at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.

Thousands of cases brought by single plaintiffs over fraud, wrongful death and rape are now being decided behind closed doors. And the rules of arbitration largely favor companies, which can even steer cases to friendly arbitrators, interviews and records show.

The sharp shift away from the civil justice system has barely registered with Americans. F. Paul Bland Jr., the executive director of Public Justice, a national consumer advocacy group, attributed this to the tangle of bans placed inside clauses added to contracts that no one reads in the first place.

“Corporations are allowed to strip people of their constitutional right to go to court,” Mr. Bland said. “Imagine the reaction if you took away people’s Second Amendment right to own a gun.”

– From yesterday’s New York Times article: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice

I’ve followed the dangerous trend of the increased corporate use of arbitration clauses in contracts for several years now, and yesterday’s New York Times investigation into their civil liberties destroying nature, is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on the subject to date.

What’s so fascinating about this article, is it goes all the way back to the origins of the practice, during which lawyers representing big banks got together with Philadelphia attorney Alan S. Kaplinsky, to strategize on how best to write class-action bans into arbitration clauses. It also explains how current Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had been actively petitioning the high court to uphold such bans while he was a corporate lawyer, and then led the way to a 5-4 decision to solidify the bans after becoming Chief Justice.

In practice, what these bans essentially achieve is to allow companies to nickel and dime consumers and their employees while leaving very little recourse available. While the individual infractions are generally minor financial burdens, when aggregated across a large number of victims, it can amount to billions of dollars.

To continue reading: How Arbitration Clauses are Stripping American Citizens of Their “Right to Go to Court”

CIA Torture Program Whistleblower Speaks on – “The Sad Fate of America’s Whistleblowers,” by Michael Krieger

The only guy jaled for the CIA’s torture program was the guy who blew the whistle on it. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

I’ve mentioned John Kiriakou several times before on these pages. In case you forgot, he was the only person jailed for the CIA’s torture program. Unsurprisingly, he was the guy who blew the whistle on it.

Fortunately, John has served his time and, rather than riding off into the sunset, he continues to courageously speak out against the ever expanding injustices perpetrated on the American people by their own government. Here are some excerpts from his powerful piece at Truth Dig, The Sad Fate of America’s Whistleblowers:

What is it about whistleblowers that the powers that be can’t stand?

When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program, I was derided in many quarters as a traitor. My detractors in the government attacked me for violating my secrecy agreement, even as they ignored the oath we’d all taken to protect and defend the Constitution.
All of this happened despite the fact that the torture I helped expose is illegal in the United States. Torture also violates a number of international laws and treaties to which our country is signatory — some of which the United States itself was the driving force in drafting.

I was charged with three counts of espionage, all of which were eventually dropped when I took a plea to a lesser count. I had to choose between spending up to 30 months in prison and rolling the dice to risk a 45-year sentence. With five kids, and three of them under the age of 10, I took the plea.

Tom Drake — the NSA whistleblower who went through the agency’s chain of command to report its illegal program to spy on American citizens — was thanked for his honesty and hard work by being charged with 10 felonies, including five counts of espionage. The government eventually dropped the charges, but not before Drake had suffered terrible financial, professional, and personal distress.

This is an ongoing theme, especially in government.

Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison for her disclosure of State Department and military cable traffic showing American military crimes in Iraq and beyond. And Edward Snowden, who told Americans about the extent to which our government is spying on us, faces life in prison if he ever returns to the country.

The list goes on and on.

Across the board, whistleblowers are investigated, harassed, fired, and in some cases prosecuted.

That’s the conclusion of author Eyal Press, whose book Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times documents the struggles of whistleblowers throughout history. Press’s whistleblowers never recover financially or professionally from their actions. History seems to smile on them, but during their lifetimes they remain outcasts.

This is a tragedy. Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing should be the norm, not the exception.

Thank you John, not only for what you did, but for what you continue to do.

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/10/19/cia-torture-program-whistleblower-speaks-on-the-sad-fate-of-americas-whistleblowers/

No Justice, No Peace, by Justin Raimondo

Justice is supposed to be blind, but any American who thinks that is actually the case is blind. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The guilty are rewarded, while the innocent are in chains

These days I’m often reminded of this paragraph from what I think is Glenn Greenwald’s best book:

“Those with political and financial clout are routinely allowed to break the law with no legal repercussions whatsoever. Often they need not even exploit their access to superior lawyers because they don’t see the inside of a courtroom in the first place – not even when they get caught in the most egregious criminality. The criminal justice system is now reserved almost exclusively for ordinary Americans, who are routinely subjected to harsh punishments even for the pettiest of offenses.”

I couldn’t help but think of the above as I read the news that Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s former campaign manager and a top aide to Sen. Rand Paul, and John Tate, a former official of the Paul-affiliated Campaign for Liberty, have had bogus charges of bribery, “conspiracy,” falsifying campaign records, and other trumped up charges – all serious felonies – thrown out of court. In dismissing the charges, US District Judge John A. Garvery cited prosecutorial misconduct: the government was clearly out to get Benton and Tate any way they could – and, of course, smear the libertarian movement.

This was always clearly a political case, in which a dissident group with little political influence in the corridors of power was being targeted by the Big Boys, who were out to discredit them and shut them up. Although the investigation had been going on for quite some time, it’s no coincidence that the indictment was announced days before the first GOP presidential debate was to begin.

Undeterred by this judicial rebuke, the government is still pursuing the remaining charge of lying to investigators: once they have you in their clutches, there’s no way they’re letting go – that is, if you aren’t, say, former CIA chief David Petraeus.

Petraeus, you’ll recall, was charged with turning over highly classified information to his mistress, but was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to probation and a $100,000 fine. In a New York Times piece on another case involving mishandling of classified information, we learn that not even the head of the FBI could persuade the Powers That Be to take the Petraeus case seriously. Although a number of people have been charged with felonies for similar indiscretions, and jailed, Petraeus was let off with a gentle slap on the wrist. As the Times reports:

“That deal was so contentious that the FBI director, James B. Comey, personally appealed to the attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., and said that Mr. Petraeus’s crimes warranted felony charges, according to two government officials involved in the case. F.B.I. agents are still angry about that decision and say it set a standard that will make it harder to bring cases in the future.”

There’s one standard for you and I, and another standard for the power elite: that’s what life is like in the Oligarchic States of America.

To continue reading: No Justice, No Peace