U.S. Supreme Court backs Government Spying of Citizens

AP | FEBRUARY 26, 2013

A sharply-divided Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out an attempt by U.S. citizens to challenge the expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects.

With a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations can’t sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because they can’t prove that the government will monitor their conversations along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets.

The outcome was the first in the current Supreme Court term to divide along ideological lines, with the conservative justices prevailing.

Justices “have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court’s majority.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, was enacted in 1978. It allows the government to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects abroad for intelligence purposes. The 2008 FISA amendments allow the government to obtain from a secret court broad, yearlong intercept orders, raising the prospect that phone calls and emails between those foreign targets and innocent Americans in this country would be swept under the umbrella of surveillance.

Without proof that the law would directly affect them, Americans can’t sue, Alito said in the ruling.

Despite their documented fears and the expense of activities that some Americans have taken to be sure they don’t get caught up in government monitoring, they “have set forth no specific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted,” he added.

Alito also said the FISA expansion merely authorizes, but does not mandate or direct, the government monitoring. Because of that, he said, “respondents’ allegations are necessarily conjectural. Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the attorney general and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.”

Alito was joined in his decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing in dissent, said that he would have allowed the lawsuit to move forward because he thinks “the government has a strong motive to listen to conversations of the kind described.”

“We need only assume that the government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are party,” Breyer said. “The majority is wrong when it describes the harm threatened plaintiffs as “speculative,” Breyer said.

He was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Jonathan Hafetz, an expert on national security and privacy issues who teaches at Seton Hall University’s law school, said, “The decision effectively insulates the government’s increasingly broad surveillance powers from meaningful court review, threatening constitutional liberties in the name of secrecy and security.” Hafetz used to work for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

A federal judge originally threw out the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit. The Supreme Court was not considering the constitutionality of the expansion, only whether lawyers could file a lawsuit to challenge it in federal court.

Alito re-emphasized that point, saying the decision did not insulate the FISA expansion from judicial review, and he suggested a couple of ways a challenge could be brought to court, including a scenario in which an American lawyer actually did get swept up in FISA monitoring.

“It is possible that the monitoring of the target’s conversations with his or her attorney would provide grounds for a claim of standing on the part of the attorney,” Alito said. “Such an attorney would certainly have a stronger evidentiary basis for establishing standing than do respondents in the present case.”

 

India’s Supreme Court to study violations in licensing and trials for Cervarix and Gardasil

Many of these young women had been coerced into accepting the vaccine

By CHRISTINA ENGLAND | VACTRUTH | JANUARY 9, 2013

On January 7, 2013, Ms. Leslie Carol Botha, Women’s Health Educator and long-time advocate for HPV vaccine safety awareness [1], released an urgent article entitled: India Women Activists Historic Writ of Petition Accepted by Supreme Court over Unethical Trialing of HPV Vaccines, Gardasil® and Cervarix®.

Based on the press release issued by Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot and V. Rukmini Rao, representing Gramya Resource Centre for Women from Andhra Pradesh, titled, “India Supreme Court Accepts Writ of Petition on Gardasil & Cervarix Licensing & Trial Violations” implicating the Drug Controller of India, PATH, ICMR and others, ordering the government of India to immediately respond. [2]

Botha outlined the course of history that led to this groundbreaking hearing, as well as the violations that occurred during the clinical trials and the undisclosed international agenda among the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to unduly influence the Indian government to adopt the vaccines for introduction in the public sector. Botha also detailed the Petitioners’ requests and reliefs as stated in the Writ of Petition, filed on October 29, 2012.

TAKING ACTION

On October 29, 2012, activists Kalpana Mehta and Nalini Bhanot, along with Dr. Rukmini Rao, President of the Gramya Resource Centre for Women in India, filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of The Constitution of India for Women. The petition was filed against:

  • Drug Controller General of India
  • Indian Council of Medical Research

  • State of Andhra Pradesh

  • State of Gujarat
  • PATH International

  • GlaxoSmithKline Asia Private Limited

  • MSD Pharmaceuticals Private Limited

(A writ petition is a document filed to the court that includes an introduction to the issue and an explanation why a petition is needed as a means of preventing irreparable harm. The explanation is supported with allegations by the Petitioner and a memorandum of the issues raised.) [3]

The petition outlines a series of serious allegations regarding the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix. Petitioners Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot and Dr. Rukmini Rao reported that the two HPV vaccines were illegally brought into the states of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and subsequently administered to thousands of young, vulnerable Indian children before the vaccines were known to be safe.

The three Petitioners told the court that even though the Indian government and the above organizations knew the HPV vaccines were of dubious value and of speculative benefits, they continued to allow a trial using both the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines without regard to the potential endangerment of the lives of adolescent girls.

The petition outlined how the above organizations vaccinated tens of thousands of vulnerable girls aged between 10-14 years and then abandoned them without providing any information on potential adverse reactions, scheduling follow-up examinations, or 0ffering post-vaccine treatment.

THE UNETHICAL EXPERIMENT

The vaccines were introduced to the public sector by carrying out a trial vaccinating 16,000 adolescent girls (10-14 years) in Andhra Pradesh and an equal number in Gujarat. The petitioners believed that by vaccinating children with HPV vaccines while being fully aware of the potential dangers, the organizations involved knowingly put the lives of tens of thousands of children at risk from potentially serious vaccine-related adverse reactions and death.

The Petitioners stated that the unlicensed HPV vaccines only became licensed midway through the project:

“These vaccines had not been assessed with respect to safety and efficacy for the Indian population where adolescent girls are overwhelmingly anemic and malnourished. No steps were taken to ensure the health and safety of the girls. They were not screened adequately for contraindications. On the contrary, they were told that the vaccine had no adverse effects, not even those that were acknowledged by the manufacturers. Referral and treatment of serious adverse effects was not planned and as a result, private doctors and government hospitals were not aware that the girls coming to them in serious condition were subjects of vaccine trials. No monitoring of the program was done. No course correction was made. After vaccination, the girls were dumped with no follow up.”

To further support their claims, the Petitioners shared a statement, which had been published on the WHO website:

“The short (2-3 years) post marketing surveillance periods of these vaccines do not permit final assessments of possible rare or long-term adverse effects.”  [4]

All girls were vaccinated by the U.S.-based NGO (Non Government Organization) and PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health).

DEATH AND DECEPTION

As stated in the petition, the project was discontinued only after several women’s organizations reported:

  • deaths among the participants
  • the use of vulnerable population
  • lack of informed consent

The Petitioners accused project leaders of falsification of the records and stated that the project had been carried out with severe lack of monitoring, stating that PATH and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as well as state authorities covered up the adverse effects and deaths that have been described in the petition:

Some of the girls died. Some suffered serious adverse effects. Some of the girls developed autoimmune diseases that would require lifelong care. The manufacturers themselves acknowledged adverse events such as anaphylactic shock, seizures and paralysis, motor neuron disease, blood clots, eye, ear and vascular problems and even death, and problems affecting the nervous system, the immune system, the musculoskeletal system, the blood and lymphatic system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system and the vascular system. In the PATH project, these adverse events were grossly under reported and hidden. Records were falsified. Deaths that took place were stated as having nothing to do with the administering of the vaccines and were described as deaths due to suicides, insecticide poisoning and snake bites.” 

In an interview, Kalpana Mehta told me there had been gross anomalies in the death-related documentation, indicating a cover-up and that even the age of the girl who died failed to match the projects records. She said:

“The dates of postmortems were poorly documented and inaccurate and instead of being written on hospital stationary many had been written on plain paper without signatures.”

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The citizens of India have every right to be concerned. It appears that their government officials have fallen prey to collusion of international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH and WHO. They have allowed tens of thousands of young, vulnerable, rural Indian children to be involved in the HPV vaccine experiment, with no benefit.

Ms. Mehta says:

“Even a government appointed inquiry committee found gross irregularity with the consent process. Indian law provides for compensation for violation of the informed consent procedure in addition to the compensation for death and injury suffered by trial subjects. However even after two years the government has failed to act on its own inquiry.

This inquiry committee also noted that by taking vaccines free of cost from the manufacturers, the project was mired in conflict of interest. It also took strong exception to PATH ensuring itself for the project but leaving the girls uninsured.”

INFERTILITY CONCERNS

By this time, a massive 24,000 girls had already been vaccinated and, according to the petitioners, many of these young women had been coerced into accepting the vaccine. Parents were reassured, without scientific basis, that the vaccines would not impact their children’s future fertility.

Concerned about this information, the Petitioners stated:

“As of now there is alarming news of menopause setting in a 16 year-old girl from Australia, where the doctor has found Gardasil to be the only probable cause of this rarest of rare mishap.” [5]

Since the petition was submitted, yet more information on the similar plight of girls in Australia has come to light. The Sunday Telegraph has published a story, first reported in the British Medical Journal, of a previously healthy 16 year-old girl whose premature menopause may be linked to the Gardasil vaccination. [6]

According to The Telegraph, Dr. Ward told reporters that women’s fertility must be protected at all costs. Ms. Botha has been echoing Dr. Ward’s words for years. She has stressed on many occasions that vaccinating girls at menarche – the onset of menstruation, which is the most fragile reproductive time of a woman’s life – is dangerous:

“As the female hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease during the premenstrual phase, the female body begins the process of releasing the uterine lining in the act of menstruation. The decrease in hormones actually affects a woman’s energy levels and her emotions. The immune system becomes more compromised, and that translates to a lowered defense system to fight off invading, foreign toxins.” [7]

CONCLUSION

There has been no evidence to suggest that any of the above crucial issues were ever considered by any of the organizations involved in these vaccination trials.

Time and again, according to the petition, PATH has denied that it carried out a trial in India. It insists that what it was doing was merely a post-licensure study. This explanation was unacceptable to the Indian government’s inquiry. It concluded that by whatever name PATH chooses to call its exercise, under the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act, it was indeed a clinical trial and all safeguards should have been observed. Yet PATH and WHO have hailed the trial a resounding success in order to carry on vaccinating other vulnerable communities in the third world with dangerous, potentially life-threatening vaccines.

Undeterred by the government’s silence and WHO pronouncements, the Petitioners have strongly recommended that the court cancel the product licenses for Gardasil and Cervarix and withdraw both vaccinations from the market until their safety and efficacy is proven, as per Indian regulation. Their stance on licensing resonates with democracy as the Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare has indeed determined that the drug regulations currently favor pharmaceutical companies unduly, leaving consumers at the mercy of untried, irrational formulations.

Acknowledgements

The author offers her sincerest gratitude to Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot and V. Rukmini Rao for their tireless efforts to restore justice and health to vulnerable populations everywhere, especially in India at this time, and for their willingness to share their petition to the court with VacTruth.

References

1. http://holyhormones.com/womens-health/cancer-womens-health/cervical-cancer…

2.  http://holyhormones.com/womens-health/cancer-womens-health/cervical-cancer/india-supreme-court-accepts-writ-of-petition-on-gardasil-cervarix-licensing-trial-violations/

3.  http://www.ehow.com/facts_6739641_meaning-writ-petition_.html

4.  http://www.who.int/immunization/HPV_ Grad_Adol_girls.pdf

5.  http://pop.org/content/teenage-girl-becomes-infertile-after-gardasilvaccination

6.  http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/hpv-vaccine-link-to-infertility-needs-to-be-tested-says-miranda-devine/story-e6freuy9-1226528052334

7.  http://vactruth.com/2010/01/13/website-documents-over-300-gardasil-horror-stories/


Did Obama just threaten to overturn a Supreme Court Decision?

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 3, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama publicly challenged the Supreme Court Justices on Monday, reminding them that they are not elected officials. This action comes in light of what could be a declaration by the Supreme Court of the United States, that Obamacare is indeed unconstitutional. Last week, during the hearing sessions, defenders of the government controlled health care program were continuously grilled by conservative and liberal Justices, who defied Obama administration spokespeople to explain why should the government have the power to obligate individuals to buy a product they did not want or did not need.

On Monday, Obama said the Justices had to be very careful with their decision, and that if they declared the law unconstitutional, such decision would impact the government’s capacity to provide healthcare to a portion of the population. “The president challenged the “unelected” Supreme Court not to take the “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” step of overturning his landmark health reform law,” reports the news agency AFP. Will the “unelected” adjective be Barack Obama’s next move to save his healthcare bill which for now seems to have strong opposition among the Supreme Court Justices? Will he claim that due to the unelected nature of the Justices’ position their decision can be overturned by the president? This is not a far fetched scenario for a man who has said that he does not need Congress’ approval to send US troops to war because he has a mandate from the United Nations to carry out military strikes anywhere in the world.

“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” said Obama. The U.S. president added that even Republicans rejected Supreme Court decisions that according to them were made based on activism as supposed to on objective interpretation of the laws. Obama intends to shield his healthcare law against a Court decision that may have a tight vote. Instead of focusing on whether there is a constitutional power for the president or the central federal government to mandate that citizens buy insurance, or broccoli, for that matter, Obama is trying to distract the public with his assertion that if Obamacare is thrown out, such a decision might be invalid because the Supreme Court Justices are not directly appointed by the people of the United States.Mr. Obama forgets that it is the president who decides who to recommend for a seat at the Supreme Court and that all presidents have done so in the past.

“I am pretty confident that this court will recognize its duty and not take that step,” Obama said while speaking in the Rose Garden.Mr. Obama’s comments outside the White House are seen as a warning to the Supreme Court, one of the three branches of government that Barack Obama has forcefully tried to turn into one during his first term in the highest office. Besides the fact that the Justices are not directly elected by the people, Obama also argued that there is a “human element” to his law and that this is one of the strongest reasons for the Justices to vote Yes on Obamacare. In the past, Obama has questioned and dismissed Congress’ powers and independence to carry out the people’s business and has said that he will make decisions unilaterally should Congress refuse to pass any legislation that he deems necessary. This is a surprising statement if it is taken into account that this Congress has approved laws such as the National Defense Authorization Act, that allows the president to kidnap, torture and kill any individual, American or otherwise, within the United States territory or elsewhere, if he or she is considered a suspect of aiding terrorists groups.

Many Republicans and independents who oppose Obamacare argue that the passage of this law provides the government with powers that go beyond the real conceded by the U.S. Constitution. Forcing individuals to buy a product, in this case healthcare, is an unprecedented action; perhaps even more than the Supreme Court ruling Obamacare unconstitutional or even what Obama called “judicial activism”. “It’s not that common for presidents to get into direct verbal confrontations with the Supreme Court,” said Georgetown University law professor Louis Michael Seidman to Reuters. “But it’s also not that common for the Supreme Court to threaten to override one of the president’s central legislative accomplishments.” In the meantime, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney said through his spokesperson Andrea Saul, that “What was ‘unprecedented’ was the partisan process President Obama used to shove this unconstitutional bill through.” Ms. Saul added that Mitt Romney plans to repeal Obamacare if he is elected the next president of the United States.

The most challenged aspect of Obamacare is the individual mandate, which obligates people to buy healthcare from the Federal government, even if they don’t want it or don’t need it. A decision by the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare but to throw out the individual mandate, wouldn’t be good news for Obama either. It is through the mandatory payment made by all citizens that the government will collect money to pay for the socialist leaning healthcare package. “I think the justices should understand that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care,” Obama said. What Obama meant is that without forcing people to pay their share, Obamacare would not have the necessary funding to give free healthcare to everyone Obama promised to give it to during his political campaign. Of course, Obamacare has nothing to do with bringing healthcare to more people. It has everything to do with having an all mighty government that tells people what they can and can’t do, or what they must and mustn’t do. It is not necessary to force anyone to buy healthcare from the government in order to allow people with pre-existing conditions, for example to have care, as Obama wants everyone to believe. All he has to do is send a law to Congress that mandates that insurance corporations allow coverage for those people with pre-existing conditions. But is not going to happen, because it was precisely the insurance industry the one that wrote Obamacare.

As many critics of Obamacare have mentioned, this is another tool for wealth redistribution born inside an administration that believes that the government is responsible for taking care of everyone and everything and that has been aided by the insurance industry to give more power to themselves.

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Obamacare: I’ve seen rabbits being pulled out of a Hat

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 28, 2012

As the Supreme Court of the United States reviews the legality of the so called Obamacare socialist healthcare legislation, the first accounts of the justices opinions about it seem to be negative to say the least. Meanwhile, Obama supporters like James Carville are trying to win the battle already for the Democrat side. Carville has said that a loss in the Supreme Court will help democrats.

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin said that Obamacare is a train wreck and that expectations are low for the legislation to survive the justices’ review. As the hours go by, some opinions from their analysis have been leaked into the media, with Justice Kennedy saying that Obamacare fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and their government. Justice John Roberts has compared the mandate too make anyone and everyone buy government sponsored healthcare to having that same government mandating that people buy a cellphone. “Can government make you buy a cell phone?” asked Roberts. Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Scalia questioned the individual mandate by asking pro Obamacare folks why was the definition of “market” so broadly represented in the text of the legislation. “Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli,” Scalia said. Does government make people buy broccoli?

Given this scenario, you would think that defenders of Obamacare would be absolutely sharp when speaking in favor of the legislation. But it wasn’t the case for Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who stumbled when trying to make the case for a legalized socialist healthcare system. Mr. Verrilli continuously coughed and stuttered while trying to speak about the wonders of Obamacare and justifying the government controlled healthcare scheme. But is this a doomsday sentence for Obamacare? It is also being reported that even Justice Sotomayor has expressed some doubts about some aspects of Obamacare. According to Reuters “the four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all indicated that they believed the mandate valid under the U.S. Constitution. Two conservatives, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, were vocal in their skepticism about the requirement.”

I’ve seen rabbits being pulled out of hats before, so I would not hold my breath for a decision against Obamacare just yet. “Obamacare is in big trouble,” says Jeffrey Toobin, who has been in attendance during the review process. But just as Carville manage to paint a defeat as a victory, the main stream liberal media has orchestrated a campaign to prepare their audience for a possible loss, while at the same time lowering expectations in the minds of the rest of the public in order to take some pressure off a potential decision that upholds Obamacare as it stands. It is the typical “playing possum game”. They’ve done it before with the so-called kinetic action in Libya, the war in Iraq and a possible attack against Iran and Syria.

What are the chances that Obamacare will not pass, that it could be upheld? According to Mr. Toobin, there are 5 very solid votes to throw out this healthcare legislation out the window. But the idea that people should participate in this socialized way of delivering healthcare also has four very strong votes that support it in the four liberal Supreme Court justices. Mr. Toobin says the fifth vote, a conservative one, could decide whether or not Americans are indeed obligated — even if such obligation is unconstitutional — to purchase government healthcare. That vote comes from Justice John Roberts, who although has expressed reservations about Obamacare, has not shown a clear cut opinion about the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the law. “I think it just looks bad for this law,” says Toobin.

A popular talking point that has been circulating is that those who do not enter the government mandated healthcare system will make it that much more difficult for those who do pay for the services provided under such a system. This is a way to sort of hijack public opinion and to misguided the public to support and accept Obamacare because it is good for the ‘commonwealth’. It is the typical collectivist view that people must do what is better for the mass, as supposed to taking care of themselves first, to then help others.  Those who do not support Obamacare, as we have seen since the law was brought up and discussed in mainstream American, will be ostracized and called names for not complying.

If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare as it is now, it would establish a dangerous precedent that the government can tell anyone to buy any product as supposed to people being able to choose whatever they think it’s better for them. Here is where the government telling people to buy broccoli comes in handy. What will be next? Government telling people what car to buy? What airline to fly or what supermarkets to go to purchase groceries? How about how much electricity, gas or water people should use? As explained by Mr. Toobin, who acts as a legal expert for CNN, Obamacare forces people to buy a product they may not want or that they may not need. The same is true for tax collection, for example. Although the Constitution is very clear about the ways in which government must operate, people are obligated to pay income tax. If Obamacare is thrown out due to its unconstitutional nature, couldn’t citizens also make a case for not paying income tax because of the unconstitutional way in which government forces people to pay it? How about challenges against the constitutional amendment and the way it was passed to allow the government to tax people’s income?

What happens if the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional, but the rest of the law is not? Because Obamacare is directly dependent on the government’s ability to force citizens to buy insurance in order to finance Obamacare, it is hard to see how the rest of the program would be able to stand on its own feet. Government would have to kill Obamacare as a whole, restructure it in order to make it available without the monies collected from individuals who decide not to join the program, or raise taxes in order to finance it. It is now well-known that the actual cost of Obamacare goes way beyond the total provided by the Federal Government and that it would take more than a national consensus for everyone to join in order to keep it alive for as long as the government wants.

According to recent polls, at least 30 percent of the interviewed Americans do support a decision to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. As the system stands now, the healthcare system is 20,000 doctors short to help the number of patients who use Medicare and Medicaid. What will happen if Obamacare is upheld and many more millions of people decide to make an appointment to see their doctor? What good does it make to have free healthcare if there isn’t a doctor to visit?

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The Psychopathic Criminal Enterprise Called America

The Government uses the Law to Harm People and Shield the Establishment
By Prof. John Kozy
District of Criminals, for criminals and by criminals

District of Criminals, for criminals and by criminals.

Most Americans know that politicians make promises they never fulfill; few know that politicians make promises they lack the means to fulfill, as President Obama’s political posturing on the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes perfectly clear.

Obama has made the following statements:

He told his “independent commission” investigating the Gulf oil spill to “thoroughly examine the disaster and its causes to ensure that the nation never faces such a catastrophe again.” Aside from the fact that presidential commissions have a history of providing dubious reports and ineffective recommendations, does anyone really believe that a way can be found to prevent industrial accidents from happening ever again? Even if the commissions findings and recommendations succeed in reducing the likelihood of such accidents, doesn’t this disaster prove that it only takes one? And unlikely events happen every day.

The president has said, “if laws are insufficient, they’ll be changed.” But no president has this ability, only Congress has, and the president must surely know how difficult getting the Congress to effectively change anything is. He also said that “if government oversight wasn’t tough enough, that will change, too.” Will it? Even if he replaces every person in an oversight position, he can’t guarantee it. The people who receive regulatory positions always have ties to the industries they oversee and can look forward to lucrative jobs in those industries when they leave governmental service. As long as corporate money is allowed to influence governmental action, neither the Congress nor regulators can be expected to change the laws or regulatory practices in ways that make them effective, and there is nothing any president can do about it. Even the Congress’ attempt to raise the corporate liability limit for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion has already hit a snag.

The President has said that “if laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice” and that BP would be held accountable for the “horrific disaster.” He said BP will be paying the bill, and BP has said it takes responsibility for the clean-up and will pay compensation for “legitimate and objectively verifiable” claims for property damage, personal injury, and commercial losses. But “justice” is rendered in American courts, not by the executive branch. Any attempts to hold BP responsible will be adjudicated in the courts at the same snail’s pace that the responsibility for the Exxon-Mobile Alaska oil spill was adjudicated and likely will have the same results.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. In Baker v. Exxon, an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages, but after nineteen years of appellate jurisprudence, the Supreme Court on June 25, 2008 issued a ruling reducing the punitive damages to $507.5 million, roughly a tenth of the original jury’s award. Furthermore, even that amount was reduced further by nineteen years of inflation. By that time, many of the people who would have been compensated by these funds had died.

The establishment calls this justice. Do you? Do those of you who reside in the coastal states that will ultimately be affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster really believe that the President can make good on this promise of holding BP responsible? By the time all the lawsuits filed in response to this disaster wend their ways through the legal system, Mr. Obama will be grayed, wizened, and ensconced in a plush chair in an Obama Presidential Library, completely out of the picture and devoid of all responsibility.

Politicians who engage in this duplicitous posturing know that they can’t fulfill their promises. They know they are lying; yet they do it pathologically. Aesop writes, “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” Perhaps that’s why politicians never do.

Government in America consists of law. Legislators write it, executives apply it, and courts adjudicate it. But the law is a lie. We are told to respect the law and that it protects us. But it doesn’t. Think about it people! The law and law enforcement only come into play secundum vitium (after the crime). The police don’t show up before you’re assaulted, robbed, or murdered; they come after. So how does that protect you? Yes, if a relationship of trust is violated, you can sue if you can afford it, and even that’s not a sure thing. (Remember the victims of the Exxon-Valdez disaster!) Even if the person who violated the relationship gets sanctioned, will you be “made whole”? Most likely not! Relying on the law is a fool’s errand. It’s enacted, enforced, and adjudicated by liars.

The law is a great crime, far greater than the activities it outlaws, and there’s no way you can protect yourself from it. The establishment protects itself. The law does not protect people. It is merely an instrument of retribution. It can only be used, often ineffectively, to get back at the malefactor. It never un-dos the crime. Executing the murderer doesn’t bring back the dead. Putting Ponzi schemers in jail doesn’t get your money back. And holding BP responsible won’t restore the Louisiana marshes, won’t bring back the dead marine and other wildlife, and won’t compensate the victims for their losses. Carefully watch what happens over the next twenty years as the government uses the law to shield BP, Transocean, and Halliburton while the claims of those affected by the spill disappear into the quicksand of the American legal system.

Jim Kouri, citing FBI studies, writes that “some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena.;” they share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?

Some may say that this is an extreme, audacious claim. I, too, was surprised when I read Kouri’s piece. But anecdotal evidence to support it is easily cited. John McCain said “bomb, bomb, bomb” during the last presidential campaign in response to a question about Iran. No one in government has expressed the slightest qualms about the killing of tens of thousands of people in both Iraq and Afghanistan who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened on nine/eleven or the deliberate targeting of women and children by unmanned drones in Pakistan. What if anything distinguishes serial killers from these governmental officials? Only that they don’t do the killing themselves but have others do it for them. But that’s exactly what most of the godfathers of the cosa nostra did.

So, there are questions that need to be posed: Has the government of the United States of America become a criminal enterprise? Is the nation ruled by psychopaths? Well, how can the impoverishment of the people, the promotion of the military-industrial complex and endless wars and their genocidal killing, the degradation of the environment, the neglect of the collapsing infrastructure, and the support of corrupt and authoritarian governments (often called democracies) abroad be explained? Worse, why are corporations allowed to profiteer during wars while the people are called upon to sacrifice? Why hasn’t the government ever tried to prohibit such profiteering? It’s not that it can’t be done.

In the vernacular, harming people is considered a crime. It is just as much a crime when done by governments, legal systems, or corporations. The government uses the law to harm people or shield the establishment from the consequences of harming people all the time. Watch as no one from the Massey Energy Co. is ever prosecuted for the disaster at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. When corporations are accused of wrongdoing, they often reply that what they did was legal, but legal is not a synonym for right. When criminals gain control, they legalize criminality.

Unless the government of the United States changes its behavior, this nation is doomed. No one in government seems to realize that dissimulation breeds distrust, distrust breeds suspicion, and suspicion eventually arouses censure. Isn’t that failure of recognition by the establishment a sign of criminal psychopathology?
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who blogs on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.