Posted by: quiscus | December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011

1. “The Execrable Ancestor of the National Defense Authorization Act

The execrable ancestor of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) is the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Frederick Douglass protested, “Under this [Fugitive Slave] law the oaths of any two villains (the capturer and the claimant) are sufficient to confine a free man to slavery for life.” Under the NDAA, the suspicion of the president is sufficient to confine an American citizen to military detention for life without accusation or trial. The twin laws make for an alarming tale.

The Fugitive Slave Act passed with overwhelming congressional support. Only four members of Congress voted against it. The South clamored for its enactment even though very few slaves ever escaped from their owners.

The act vandalized due process. A claimant was authorized to obtain possession of an alleged fugitive slave by presenting an affidavit asserting ownership to a commissioner appointed by the judicial branch. The alleged slave was prohibited from testifying to discredit the claimant’s enslavement affidavit, which is the equivalent of proscribing a criminal defendant from asserting his innocence. The commissioner received a $10 fee for sustaining an enslavement claim, but only $5 for upholding freedom. During the life of the act, slave claimants prevailed in 322 cases and freedom triumphed in 11.

The NDAA, like the Fugitive Slave Act, is tyranny for the sake of tyranny.”

2. “The Rights of the “Human” over the “Non-Human”: The Undeclared World War of Human Rights versus Corporate Rights.”

3. “Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

As I’ve written about before, America’s election season degrades mainstream political discourse even beyond its usual lowly state. The worst attributes of our political culture — obsession with trivialities, the dominance of horserace “reporting,” and mindless partisan loyalties — become more pronounced than ever. Meanwhile, the actually consequential acts of the U.S. Government and the permanent power factions that control it — covert endless wars, consolidation of unchecked power, the rapid growth of the Surveillance State and the secrecy regime, massive inequalities in the legal system, continuous transfers of wealth from the disappearing middle class to large corporate conglomerates — drone on with even less attention paid than usual.

Because most of those policies are fully bipartisan in nature, the election season — in which only issues that bestow partisan advantage receive attention — places them even further outside the realm of mainstream debate and scrutiny. For that reason, America’s elections ironically serve to obsfuscate political reality even more than it usually is.”


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