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The Institutionalization of Tyranny

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Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts



Republicans and conservative Americans are still fighting Big Government in its welfare state form. Apparently, they have never heard of the militarized police state form of Big Government; or, if they have, they are comfortable with it and have no objection.

Republicans, including those in the House and Senate, are content for big government to initiate wars without a declaration of war or even Congress' assent, and to murder with drones citizens of countries with which Washington is not at war. Republicans do not mind that federal "security" agencies spy on American citizens without warrants and record every email, Internet site visited, Facebook posting, cell phone call, and credit card purchase. Republicans in Congress even voted to fund the massive structure in Utah in which this information is stored.

But heaven forbid that big government should do anything for a poor person.

Republicans have been fighting Social Security ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law in the 1930s, and they have been fighting Medicare ever since President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law in 1965 as part of the Great Society initiatives.

Conservatives accuse liberals of the "institutionalization of compassion." Writing in the February, 2013, issue of Chronicles, John C. Seiler, Jr., damns Johnson's Great Society as "a major force in turning a country that still enjoyed a modicum of republican liberty into the centralized, bureaucratized, degenerate, and bankrupt state we endure today."

It doesn't occur to conservatives that in Europe democracy, liberty, welfare, rich people, and national health services all coexist, but that somehow American liberty is so fragile that it is overturned by a limited health program only available to the elderly.

Neither does it occur to conservative Republicans that it is far better to institutionalize compassion than to institutionalize tyranny.

The institutionalization of tyranny is the achievement of the Bush/Obama regimes of the 21st century. This, and not the Great Society, is the decisive break from the American tradition. The Bush Republicans demolished almost all of the constitutional protections of liberty erected by the Founding Fathers. The Obama Democrats codified Bush's dismantling of the Constitution and removed the protection afforded to citizens from being murdered by the government without due process. One decade was time enough for two presidents to make Americans the least free people of any developed country; indeed, perhaps of any country. In what other country or countries does the chief executive officer have the right to murder citizens without due process?

It turns one's stomach to listen to conservatives bemoan the destruction of liberty by compassion while they institutionalize torture, indefinite detention in violation of habeas corpus, murder of citizens on suspicion and unproven accusation alone, complete and total violation of privacy, interference with the right to travel by unaccountable "no-fly" lists and highway check points, the brutalization of citizens and those exercising their right to protest by police, frame-ups of critics, and narrow the bounds of free speech.

In Amerika today only the executive branch of the federal government has any privacy. The privacy is institutional, not personal -- witness the fate of CIA director Petraeus. While the executive branch destroys the privacy of every one else, it insists on its own privilege of privacy. National security is invoked to shield the executive branch from its criminal actions. Federal prosecutors actually conduct trials in which the evidence against defendants is classified and withheld from defendants' attorneys. Attorneys such as Lynne Stewart have been imprisoned for not following orders from federal prosecutors to violate the attorney-client privilege.

Conservatives accept the monstrous police state that has been erected, because they think it makes them safe from "Muslim terrorism." They haven't the wits to see that they are now open to terrorism by the government.

Consider, for example, the case of Bradley Manning. He is accused of leaking confidential information that reveals US government war crimes, despite the fact that it is the responsibility of every soldier to reveal war crimes. Virtually every one of Manning's constitutional rights has been violated by the US government. He has been tortured. In an effort to coerce Manning into admitting trumped-up charges and implicating WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Manning had his right to a speedy trial violated by nearly three years of pre-trial custody and repeated trial delays by government prosecutors. And now the judge, Col. Denise Lind, who comes across as a member of the prosecution rather than an impartial judge, has ruled that Manning cannot use as evidence the government's own reports that the leaked information did not harm national security. Lind has also thrown out the legal principle of mens rea by ruling that Manning's motive for leaking information about US war crimes cannot be presented as evidence in his trial.   

Mens rea says that a crime requires criminal intent. By discarding this legal principle, Lind has prevented Manning from showing that his motive was to do his duty under the military code and reveal evidence of war crimes. This allows prosecutors to turn a dutiful act into the crime of aiding the enemy by revealing classified information.

Of course, nothing that Manning allegedly revealed helped the enemy in any way as the enemy, having suffered the war crimes, was already aware of them.

Obama Democrats are no more disturbed than conservative Republicans that a dutiful American soldier is being prosecuted because he has a moral conscience. In Manning's trial, the government's definition of victory has nothing whatsoever to do with justice prevailing. 

For Washington, victory means stamping out moral conscience and protecting a corrupt government from public exposure of its war crimes.

 

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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An excellent review of the dismantling of our Cons... by Robert Redwoodhippie Palmer on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 2:08:40 AM
Excellent comment. I agree... by Gary Brumback on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 9:04:01 AM
Find some inaccuracy. First about Manning: "A... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:37:24 PM
I continue:     The link quoted: ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:38:29 PM
If the judge acted according to the law but I beli... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:53:19 PM
I couldn't agree more! Some of us that it affected... by William Cormier on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:53:19 AM
I noted that my profile states I only have 6 artic... by William Cormier on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 10:04:23 AM
If we want better USA, we need better OEN.... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:23:03 PM
This is a "must read," "inspiring," and "newsworth... by Cliff Arnebeck on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:08:45 AM
An eloguent demand absolutely... by Gary Brumback on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 9:06:58 AM
Great article Mr. Roberts Your comment, "--- it i... by Gary Brumback on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:47:51 AM
The rulers of an empire are not bound by laws that... by Derryl Hermanutz on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:54:16 AM
Excellent observation and reporting of true histor... by Gary Brumback on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:58:53 AM
wing of global empire. 911 was used as the final c... by intotheabyss on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 9:28:55 AM
The lynchpin to unraveling the Criminal Mafia Cart... by Tom Madison on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:28:39 AM
... by intotheabyss on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:03:23 PM
My guess is when we are relived of the Lame stream... by Tom James on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:21:14 AM
This is exactly so. The comment doesn't negate the... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:22:22 PM
Yet once again, PCR hits the nail on the head....w... by 911TRUTH on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:02:19 AM
A government doing the bidding of corporate intere... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:50:49 AM
In fact the Government is under control of big Cor... by Klaudio Vinkerlić on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 12:30:25 PM
If only the lame stream media had reporters, then ... by Robert Larkin on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 1:40:37 PM
... is more important to most of them than the tru... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:28:26 PM
The corporate media controls the news. They decide... by Robert Larkin on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:49:19 PM
Way to tell it like it is, Dr. Roberts! Tyranny do... by Ernie Messerschmidt on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 1:52:52 PM
But what nightmare will ensue if the job ends up b... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:32:22 PM
The real slide began in earnest with the Bush viol... by Michael Collins on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 2:03:22 PM
It's also worth noting that PCR years ago forecast... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:37:36 PM
But, you know, even he has his day, now and then..... by Michael Collins on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 4:33:16 PM
In the event of tyranny, dissent such as that abov... by Môlsem Nanabedoko on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 2:05:34 PM
... the option to kidnap, torture and murder peopl... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:44:59 PM
It's only just begun... by Robert Larkin on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:49:56 PM
I sent a letter to our local Deseret News, which t... by Daniel Geery on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:03:12 PM
"Obama Democrats are no more disturbed than conser... by Jerry Wesner on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 3:33:26 PM
... to speak out. To organize. To resist, or at le... by Ron Brassfield on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 4:26:15 PM
You can join in supporting the American Anti-Corru... by Toby Seiler on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 6:09:55 AM
It began in the 1950s when deceptive, misleading r... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:52:44 PM
Too many well known commentators either hew to the... by Keith Brilhart on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 7:04:27 PM
Paul Craig Roberts does say a lot of things that a... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 7:22:39 PM
Roberts defended Milton Friedman, and by associati... by Richard Pietrasz on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 7:39:25 PM
Roberts was a co-founder of Reaganomics, so he is ... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:35:26 PM
Unless we have allowed things to go too far, those... by M.I. Lee on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 7:26:09 PM
Great and truthful article Mr.  Roberts. I... by Deborah Dills on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:15:40 PM
George W Bush - a chief of torture, commander... by Lance Ciepiela on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:57:55 PM
George W. Bush may very well go down in history as... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 1:00:19 PM
Reagan was adamant about prosecuting torture, b... by Lance Ciepiela on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 11:22:37 PM
You are so right. Tyranny is the norm throughout g... by Judy White on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 4:07:29 AM
... today's 18 to 30 year olds, the moment Bloombe... by Hooker Jay on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 6:13:20 PM
For several years, Paul Craig Roberts' work has be... by Gary Corseri on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 11:57:30 PM