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Archive for the ‘Rule of Law’ Category

Abusive debt collection: your war, too

Posted by Charles II on March 4, 2012

I wrote up my experience with people trying to collect a non-existent debt:

Fraudulent collection is often not directed against genuine debtors–they don’t have any money! Fraudulent collection is being deployed against people who do have money, and therefore don’t have any debt. Yes, they are coming for you, comfortable, secure Mr. “Government IS The Problem.” Thanks to decades of assault against consumer protection, the federal response has been weak. Most states are even worse. There have been a few crackdowns on companies that threaten to break your legs. But the industry continues to become more and more the province of outright criminals.

Now Matt Stoller has given us the dimensions of who is being subjected to debt collection, fraudulent or not:

…the number of people subject to third party collections has doubled since 2000, from a little less than 7% to a little over 14% of consumers. Ten years ago, one in fourteen American consumers were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven.

One of the characteristics of the new social contract ushered in by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama is the increasing power of creditors to govern outright, from tax farming by banks to the use of credit checks to access employment opportunities.

There are now thousands of people legally jailed because they aren’t paying their bills, ie. debtor’s prisons have returned.

Combine that with the fact that fraudulent debt collection is widespread, the fact that fraudulent debt collectors can sue without notifying you and thereby gain a judgment to which you haven’t been able to respond, this means that it is possible for criminals to jail you without any real due process to extort from you money you never owed.

So far, this is only a possibility. As far as I know, these outrages haven’t gotten that far yet. But it’s your problem whether you know it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you raise it with your elected officials or not.

Posted in abuse of power, crimes, Rule of Law | 5 Comments »

From here to impunity: Greenwald on the connection between Nixon and the current crisis

Posted by Charles II on October 26, 2011

(The image above from Drug Policy Alliance. Since Nixon also started the drug war or, at least, escalated a low intensity conflict into a full fledged war, it’s particularly apt)

Glenn Greenwald has a book out, With Liberty and Justice for Some which explains the evolution of impunity in the US. While I think that it’s self-evident that the US has always had a two-tiered legal system (for almost 200 years, there was explicitly or implicitly one legal system for whites and one for everyone else), it’s true that official lawbreaking was not so readily tolerated. Overlooking the stray Wilbur Mills/Argentine Firecracker incident and Teapot Dome scandal, the Roosevelt cousins ushered in an expectation that the law would apply to rich and poor alike.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

As multiple episodes demonstrate, a belief that elite immunity is both necessary and justified became the prevailing ethos in the nation’s most influential circles. In countless instances over recent years, prominent political and media figures have insisted that serious crimes by the most powerful should be overlooked— either in the name of the common good, or in the name of a warped conception of fairness according to which those with the greatest power are the most entitled to deference and understanding.

This is what makes the contemporary form of American lawlessness new and unprecedented. It is now perfectly common, and perfectly acceptable, to openly advocate elite immunity. And this advocacy has had its intended effect: the United States has become a nation that does not apply the rule of law to its elite class, which is another way of saying that the United States does not apply the rule of law. . . .

If the threat of real punishment for criminality is removed, for many rational people there will be little incentive to abide by the law and much incentive to break it. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 15, explained why.

It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation.

For the nation’s most powerful elites, the law has indeed been whittled down to “nothing more than advice or recommendation.” Although there have been episodes of unpunished elite malfeasance throughout American history, the explicit, systematic embrace of the notion that such malfeasance should be shielded from legal consequences begins with the Watergate scandal— one of the clearest cases of widespread, deliberate criminality at the highest level of the U.S. government.

By the scandal’s conclusion, few contested that not only Nixon’s top aides but Nixon himself had committed serious felonies— either in authorizing the break-in and related illegalities, or in obstructing the ensuing investigation. Nonetheless, Nixon was ultimately shielded from all legal consequences thanks to the pardon granted by his handpicked vice president, Gerald Ford— who, it was widely believed, secured his appointment by agreeing to protect Nixon from prosecution.

The crisis on Wall Street did indeed begin with Richard Nixon, was amplified by the pass that Congress gave Reagan on Iran-Contra, was amplified again (paradoxically) by the persecution of Bill Clinton, where the law was used as a weapon against a public official, and was been decisively implanted into the American system of law with Election 2000, unprosecuted wiretapping and torture, and the failure of Obama to prosecute criminals from the Bush Administration and from Wall Street.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, election theft, impunity, President Obama, Republicans as cancer, Rule of Law | 8 Comments »

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 29, 2009

Watch as Spencer Ackerman spanks Pat Buchanan on live national TV over the botched terror attempt on a Detroit-bound airplane earlier this week:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Posted in Rule of Law, terrorism | Comments Off on For Your Viewing Pleasure

What CIA Rank-And-Filers Think Of Obama’s Releasing The Torture Memos

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 21, 2009

As Emptywheel points out, they certainly don’t seem as demoralized as the torture apologists of the mainstream GOP/Media Complex would have us believe.

In fact, as she goes on to point out by citing Scott Horton, there is ample evidence that CIA as well as FBI professionals (as opposed to the political appointees at the top) opposed the Bush Junta’s reliance on torture.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, CIA, FBI, GOP/Media Complex, Iraq war, President Obama, Rule of Law, terrorism, torture | 2 Comments »

I Can Haz Rule Of Law?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 22, 2009

Just Us

Per LHP at FDL, signs point to “yes”:

David Iglesias, one of the US Attorneys who were fired for actually trying to do their jobs in a fair, non partisan manner, has just been tapped by the Obama administration to prosecute Gitmo detainees. This is an inspired choice. Not just for the “up yours” message it sends to the loyal Bushies — though that adds some fun to the mix — but because his unique skill set positions him to handle all the permutations of prosecutions to come in these cases.

Go read the rest of Looseheadprop’s story. Rule of Law: It’s the new black! (And black is the new president.)

Posted in Barack Obama, Constitution, doing the right thing, DoJ, dope slaps for Dubya, Good Things, habeas corpus, Justice Department, Obama Administration, political prisoners, political purges, President Obama, rights, Rule of Law, US attorney firings, US Attorney scandal | Comments Off on I Can Haz Rule Of Law?

The Past Twenty-Four Hours

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 21, 2009

Alex Ross' take on Obama (click on pic to order T-Shirt)

Alex Ross' take on Obama (click on pic to order T-Shirt)

A by-no-means-complete list of what President Obama has been doing since being sworn in:

— working on closing down Guantanamo

stopping the show trials going on at Gitmo

giving unjustly-fired USA David Iglesias the job he deserves

—  halting implementation of last-minute BushCo edicts.

—  engaging Middle Eastern leaders WRT Gaza.

Does this man ever sleep, or what?

[01/22/09 UPDATE: Thanks to Elayne Riggs and Stormcrow for correcting me on the artist’s name — it’s Alex Ross, not “Alex Jones”.]

Posted in Barack Obama, Constitution, Guantanamo, President Obama, priorities, Rule of Law, terrorism | 9 Comments »

Credit Where It’s Due

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 21, 2008

Charles reminds us how Boumediene’s court victories came about:

Not Boumediene, but the Center for Constitutional Rights. The initial counsel for Boumediene was Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. This was joined to Al Odah vs. United States, for which the initial counsel was CCR and Shearman & Sterling, among others. But the granddaddy of them all was Rasul v. Bush. At that time, early 2002, CCR was very much alone.

CCR, as well as the National Lawyers Guild, do some of the the most important work in safeguarding civil liberties. Let people know!

Let the word go forth!

Posted in abuse of power, Afghanistan, Good Things, Iraq war, judicial rulings, Rule of Law, terrorism | 1 Comment »

Monday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 10, 2008


The charmingly rabid dorkwads at Human Events are foursquare behind Sarah Palin in 2012. Assuming, that is, that she’s not in the Federal pen by then. (Though that might not matter to these folks.)

— Dear conservatives: Stop lying about Roosevelt’s record.

Joe Scarborough, complaining about Rahm Emanuel’s potty mouth, lets an F-Bomb fly on morning TV. (Funnily enough, I don’t recall him freaking out about Dick Cheney’s telling Pat Leahy, on the Senate floor, to “go f**k yourself”.)

— Saving the best news for last:

1) Obama told us months ago that he’d have his people review and prepare to undo Bush’s vilest Executive Orders. He’s keeping his promise.

2) Obama told us months ago that he plans to shut down Guantanamo’s prisons and give its inmates fair trials on US soil, in US courtrooms. He’s keeping his promise.

3) The Pentagon’s own Defense Business Board says that the Pentagon needs to go on a cash diet: “A senior Pentagon advisory group, in a series of bluntly worded briefings, is warning President-elect Barack Obama that the Defense Department’s current budget is ‘not sustainable,’ and he must scale back or eliminate some of the military’s most prized weapons programs.”

Posted in 2008, abuse of power, Barack Obama, budget, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Constitution, Constitutional crisis, Good Things, Iraq war, Pentagon, President Obama, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Rule of Law | Comments Off on Monday Morning News Roundup

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