Wrong Every Time
The biggest news, of course, is that a grand jury in New York found that the police officer who choked a man to death did not commit a crime. This, in spite of a widely seen video of the man, Eric Garner, pleading "I can't breathe." The head of the police union defended the decision, offering the wisdom "If you can speak you can breathe."
Democracy Now reported that a study of Drone attacks found that for every "target" killed there are 28 unidentified people who are also killed.
Completing the triangle, a story in Salon reports that the "U.S." effort to expand NATO to the "Russian" border and destroy its economy is now fully exposed. I suspected as much from the very beginning of this silliness. For a more detailed analysis, read here.
What do these stories have in common? Representative democracy. Otherwise known as republican form of government. In representative democracy the people do not rule except indirectly by electing a small number of people to represent them, who in turn appoint various other people to perform the tasks of governing. They also appoint members of the judiciary, though in some cases the judiciary is elected.
Over the span of many years the institutions of representative democracy become established and insular, entities unto themselves, authoritarian, secretive, with their own self-perpetuating practices, procedures, and, perhaps most important, impunity. The larger the society, the more established are the institutions. When something relatively small like the "911" attacks happen, even more rigid institutions are created, and the existing ones become more intrusive. When you add in the factor of unlimited funding of elections, those with the most money secure control of who gets elected. The Koch brothers are but one example. Wall Street is another.
Police have for many decades been killing with impunity. It has reached the point where they now feel free to arrest and indict people who record their deadly actions.
With indiscriminate drone attacks impunity is slightly different, but the attitude is the same. "We, the overseers of Planet Earth, do what we want." (metaphorical quote) Or, in official euphemistic jargon, "We do not target civilians."
In the most dangerous form of hubris, the attempted expansion of NATO to include "Ukraine" and destabilization of "Russia" is likely to restart the "Cold War." Lest we forget, the first Cold War almost resulted in World War III and a thermonuclear holocaust. More than once.
Restarting the Cold War serves more than institutional interests. There are also huge economic interests at stake. Marxist economists Paul Sweezy and Paul Baran observed decades ago that the "Defense" budget has to increase annually in order for the weapons manufacturers to stay in business.
Our national security overstructure can be seen similarly to how police departments behave. They are about themselves, and advancement of their personal and bureaucratic interests. All else can be understood within this context. In the wider context of global climate change and the unsustainability of our infinite-growth economic system, our established institutions are guaranteed to do the wrong thing every time. Their interests being themselves, all else is subservient.
For an update of the Eric Garner protests click here.
Here's an appropriate song.