Chris Hedges: We're Losing the Last Shreds of Legal Rights to Prote...

A ruling elite that accrues for itself total power, history has shown, eventually uses it.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power — one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed — a poll by showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating — is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty. [emphasis mine]

Remember how the Nazi party took over the German government? Perhaps not. Well, a refresher course on the mobilization of Fascism will soon be available. Since all legal challenges have been cast aside for the US military to arrest US citizens on US soil , for indefinite imprisonment without legal recourse, it's just a matter of time. When absolute power is available to a chief executive, it will be used. The government can now  permanently put away anyone who criticizes it, merely by making an unfounded accusation.

For amusement, I watch Continuum, a sci-fi story about a future ruled by Corporate Congress, where it's illegal to own books. Who knows, the name might actually be adopted after the pretense of Democracy is flung aside as inconvenient. In one scene, factory workers are implanted with mind control chips to render them essentially robots. It's more profitable, you see.

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We have not had constitutional government since, take your pick, the income tax, the first drug prohibition, or Social Security and the subsequent explosion of the welfare state.  Obamacare is only the latest violation of the Constitution.  

Scottish historian and jurist Lord Wodehouselee (Alexander Tytler) noted in the 18th century that a democracy lasts about 200 years, until the moment when people decide that they can help themselves and their cronies to the public treasury.  That's the beginning of the end.  

Doesn't matter what label they give it - progressivism, New Deal, Great Society.  They always try to dress it up as some grand crusade.  

So I would say we've been post-constitutional for a long time.

My answer to the duopoly is libertarianism and the Libertarian Party, i.e., the restoration of constitutional government. 

Alan, I briefly registered as a Libertarian to get the party a place on the California ballot and joked with people that any Party that opposes vice squads can't be all bad.

However, during 12 years in Catholic schools I heard a lot of dogmatic certainty and I've heard a lot of that kind of certainty from Libertarians. I don't trust people who are so certain in their views and don't want to loan them any serious political power. 

Some 25 years ago I asked a Libertarian friend how he felt about the major parties, which I agree are corrupt, stealing Libertarian ideas. He gave me a big smile and he said he likes having the party's ideas stolen. 

I won't trust any party until America has a Constitutional initiative and referendum provision, which many Western state constitutions have. The Arizona constitution has one because the people who worked to make the territory a state looked at the corruption in Eastern states and wanted to prevent it.

You want constitutional government restored but didn't say which of America's many constitutions you want to restore: the 1787 model, the pre-Civil War model, the post-Civil War model, the pre-prohibition model, the pre-suffrage model, et cetera, et cetera and et cetera.

We have a corrupted duopoly. What will make a "triopoly" less corrupt?


Tom, Yeah I've heard the "angry, dogmatic" knock my whole libertarian life.  Great libertarian communicators like the late Harry Browne and Michael Cloud work hard to show libertarians how to be more positive and persuasive.  I agree with whoever said that if you can't sell freedom, then you're doing a shitty sales job.

I'll go with the latest version of the Constitution (minus the income tax).  Anything is better than the runaway govt. we have now. 

Alan, about people being unable to sell freedom.

They might be doing an excellent job, but trying to sell it to people who are unable to accept the responsibilities that freedom requires, or who fear those responsibilities. Authoritarian religions -- such as Catholicism and fundamentalist Christianity -- put a lot of effort into producing such people.

I'm now reading the Cato Institute book The Conscience of the Constitution by Timothy Sandefur. I like its saying the Declaration's emphasis on liberty is more important than democracy to interpreting the Constitution.

Majorities often show no respect for the rights of either minorities or individuals, and politicians show no respect anyone's rights but their own.

Those are why I want a national initiative and referendum in the Constitution. I was born too soon; few Americans want that much responsibility.

Can you bring yourself to blame the American people for runaway government?

Et tu, Ruth?

Tom, I have said for many years that liberty may be too advanced a concept for Homo a-Sapiens.  It is for adults, people with responsibility and restraint.  

Most of us have to be dragged into adulthood; many never make it.  

As you note, religion is a powerful force, infantilizing you at every turn.  A local church sign - I'm going to get this verbatim and write about it - asserts that people will always disappoint you, but Jesus never will.  

Yes, I blame the American people AND the politicians AND the religious leaders, who make sure that the children remain obedient and dependent. 

The sad thing is that the church sign has it exactly right.  Something that doesn't exist can't disappoint you, especially if you believe or are indoctrinated into such as stance, while people that DO exist may or may not perform to you expectations.




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