We have big problems that are currently out of control and taking our nation careening towards a future that is dangerously out of control. We have, deeply ensconced within our power infrastructures, institutions, organizations and job categories where there are gross violations of the law, of the constitution, of the rights of citizens. These organizations and the people who operate freely as perpetrators of crimes and abuses of the constitution are protected by the power hierarchy that is supposed to supervise them and hold them accountable.
These rogue institutions are costing the USA trillions of dollars annually. But it goes beyond money.
The perpetrators behind these problems don't use guns. They use massive holes in the law and intentional ignoring of laws and crimes by people who should be enforcing them.
Let's take a look at some of the worse offenders. There's no new news here. But my hope is to frame this is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed by new responses -- responses which I'll discuss shortly.
My goal in this article is to start a conversation that needs to be raised to a much higher level. So here are a few examples of the abusing entities.
- Law enforcement agencies and officers, from the top down to cops on the street. The US is quickly moving towards becoming a militarized police state, as Radley Balko has exposed. Police cover each other and routinely violate the law without accountability. They work with homeland security and intelligence agencies to spy on innocent activist organizations and individuals. As Glenn Greenwald has said, they use terrorism as an excuse for almost anything. They use swat teams for actions that are totally inappropriate. Sometimes they lead to innocent people being, at worst, killed, at the least, mistreated with violations of rights. We need a set of laws and a system that enforces them so police, who are given the public trust, are held accountable when they abuse the powers they are entrusted with.
- Intelligence and surveillance agencies, like FBI, CIA, NSA engage in spying that is unconstitutional and illegal. Then, the heads of these agencies lie to congress, to the congressional committees that are supposed to supervise them. And then, congress lets them get away with it. People like hawk Democrat Dianne Feinstein propose legislation that retroactively protect the criminals who violate these laws. People like congressman Peter King would give the NSA a blank check to despoil American's rights.
- Military mystery spending. At this point, there is more than a trillion dollars of unaccounted for spending tied to Defense.
- Military murder. Just because Obama takes time to decide who to kill with drones each day does not make such murders okay. Just because a president appoints an attorney who will say that what he's doing is legal does not make it legal. Jeremy Scahill has documented this in articles and his book and movie, Dirty Wars.
- Wolves in sheep's clothing are running government regulatory and consumer and worker protection agencies. it has become common for presidents to appoint and for congress to authorize the appointment of people with massive corporate conflicts of interest -- moles who use their positions to remove regulatory impediments, create sham regulations that, worse than not working, actually enable further corporate malfeasance.
- Bankers and finance industry people have engaged in criminal actions that have hurt millions, yet the Department of Justice has failed chosen not to prosecute almost all of them. This is NOT a failure to act. It is intentional permission of criminal action. Attorney General Eric Holder has made it clear that he feels some people are exempt from prosecution. The problem is bi-partisan. Both parties are protecting the economic industries from robust regulations that would protect consumers.
- Psychopaths in the highest places. We know that one to two percent of the population are psychopaths -- predators who don't care -- who are without empathy and don't care about laws, about who they hurt. The smart ones skirt the laws, evading arrest. The less smart ones cost the US alone over half a trillion dollars a year in prison, prosecution and crime costs, yet the research budget to understand and prevent harm and damage caused by them is less than twenty million dollars a year. I would argue that if you include hurt and damage by uncaught, smarter psychopaths, the costs exceed a trillion dollars a year. How much damage can a psychopath CEO or member of congress, or a high level aide do? Massive amounts!!
We need to take a step back and see these symptoms as part of a much bigger problem.
The system is broken. There is no agency, no organization tasked with the job of going after the problems described above. We need to find a way to put all of these problems not only on the table but on the chopping block, so the crimes and abuses can be stopped and new ones prevented. The creation of a solution to this problem won't happen overnight. I don't have a solution to how to even get started. I don't trust politicians or the president to appoint people who are incorruptible.
Perhaps the first step might be to massively revise the way the nation treats whistleblowers. Maybe even appoint whistleblowers, people who have already put their lives on the line to reveal criminality, corruption and lies.
Imagine Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, Dan Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Jeff Wigand, Karen Kwiatkowski, Marsha Coleman Adebayo, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds, Joe Wilson, Robert J. McCarthy, Wendell Potter, (see a more complete list of whistleblowers at wikipedia,) overseeing a commission delegated to begin opening the vile can of worms I've described above. Yes, some would need to be pardoned. I say go further. Pardon them, hire them and pay them very well to take on a job that will be the cleaning ofwhat may be the worse cesspool in America, one desperately defended by people who should be helping but who are, instead hurting America.
When it comes to psychopaths, we need to start down the path towards creating a Manhattan or Apollo Moon Landing level project aimed at understanding psychopaths better, so we can understand the full impact, hurt and damage upon society, government, individuals and the planet caused by psychopaths, then how to identify them and prevent or decrease the harm and damage they cause. With costs that probably exceed a trillion dollars a year, we should be spending billions, not tens of millions each year.
The first step is having a conversation about this, seeing the bigger picture, identifying the systemic and administrative impediments to solving the problems. Once that starts, we can begin developing strong interventions that actually work to clean up this very dangerous situation.
Reprinted from Opednews.com