Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Glenn Greenwald on Political Class Hierarchy

From Bill Moyers Journal, December 12, 2008:
GLENN GREENWALD: You have. Let's just quickly describe in the most dispassionate terms, as few of euphemisms, as possible, where we are and what has happened over the last eight years. We have a law in place that says it is a felony offense punishable by five years in prison or a $10,000 fine to eavesdrop on American citizens without warrants. We have laws in place that say that it is a felony punishable by decades in prison to subject detainees in our custody to treatment that violates the Geneva Conventions or that is inhumane or coercive.

We know that the president and his top aides have violated these laws. The facts are indisputable that they've done so. And yet as a country, as a political class, we're deciding basically in unison that the president and our highest political officials are free to break the most serious laws that we have, that our citizens have enacted, with complete impunity, without consequences, without being held accountable under the law.

And when you juxtapose that with the fact that we are a country that has probably the most merciless criminal justice system on the planet when it comes to ordinary Americans. We imprison more of our population than any country in the world. We have less than five percent of the world's population. And yet 25 percent almost of prisoners worldwide are inside the United States.

What you have is a two-tiered system of justice where ordinary Americans are subjected to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world. They break the law. The full weight of the criminal justice system comes crashing down upon them. But our political class, the same elites who have imposed that incredibly harsh framework on ordinary Americans, have essentially exempted themselves and the leaders of that political class from the law.

They have license to break the law. That's what we're deciding now as we say George Bush and his top advisors shouldn't be investigated let alone prosecuted for the laws that we know that they've broken. And I can't think of anything more damaging to our country because the rule of law is the lynchpin of everything we have.


Get that? Two tiers. The haves and the have-nots. Owners and the owned. Master and slave.

The law is to control you and me, not them. Capitalism is the rhetorical excuse for how they take money away from us. If they should lose at the free market, they get bailed out. Corporations can even go bankrupt and cease to exist. You as an individual are increasingly hampered in your ability to clean the slate clean - there are debts that cannot be settled through bankruptcy and other hurdles that discourage certain types of bankruptcy. The bad debt owned by the elites is a matter for government intervention, if you default on your mortgage you are on your own.

At the top there is no law. Capitalism is actually socialism for the wealthy elite.

Didn't you know?