Friday, July 5, 2013

Different Laws for Different Folks

Few things exemplify America's transformation from a country governed by law to one governed by oligarchs than the starkly different treatment of ordinary citizens who break the law and the politically favored who do so.

Take for example the unrelenting drive to severely punish Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden for leaking classified information that the high and mighty leak with impunity whenever and wherever it is politically expedient for them to do so.  And what about the publication by The New York Times of the highly secret details of how our intelligence services used to be able to track terrorists' financial transactions?

Now we also have the case of a high mucky muck apologizing for having given what he now calls "erroneous information" to congress when he testified that the NSA was not intercepting and collecting information about communications of the nation's citizens.  When first exposed, he said his answer to the member of congress who was questioning him was "the least untruthful" response he could have given.  He lied . . . he lied to congress.

Wouldn't it have been wonderful for Scooter Libby or Martha Stewart to be able to get off by similarly apologizing for their misstatements to officialdom or characterizing them as "the least untruthful" statements that were possible for them?

Also keep in mind all the pooh-bahs in high offices despite having cheated on their taxes -- transgressions for which ordinary Americans suffer significant sanctions.

Being ruled by men rather than by law is especially dangerous today because the rulers have enacted so many laws and laws of such great complexity that few citizens are likely at all times to be in compliance with all of them, let alone all of the multitude of incomprehensible rules and regulations promulgated under those laws.  This is very convenient for members of the nation's political ruling class.  It enables them to successfully target -- and thus discredit, imprison, or otherwise silence -- almost any individual citizen they wish. 

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