The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Ferguson and the brokenness of America’s “Justice” System

There isn’t much to say that others haven’t, but let’s go through it anyway:

  • There was never any chance that Darren Wilson would be charged;
  • the prosecutor acted as defense attorney, not as prosecutor;
  • A grand jury, for all intents and purposes does what the prosecutor tells it to;
  • Doing the announcement at 8pm at night was intended to incite violence;
  • Police in America are completely out of control, and police have a license to kill;
  • this is bad for anyone, but it is terrible for African Americans and Muslims.

At this point, in America, calling the police for anything short of a murder is more likely to make your situation worse than better if you aren’t solidly middle upper class or better, and white.  If you are black or Muslim, you might not even want to call them for murder.

Police can beat your, rape you or kill you, and the odds are very high they will get away with it.  In far too many cases they are nothing but the strongest gang.

The police are so militarized that they amount to a domestic army, stationed in every city.  The civil forfeiture laws, RICO statutes and the cost of an effective defense, plus the removal of most judicial discretion and the fact that the vast majority of cases are plea bargained, not tried, means that for most accused of a crime there is no justice.

The police have huge incentives to charge people with crimes, because they can seize the assets of those charged (well, strictly speaking, they can seize your money without ever charging you, and do.)  For profit prisons and prison guard unions support prosecutors and judges who will imprison more people, not less.   The incentives in the system are almost all towards incarcerating more people and seizing more assets, because that’s how police and prosecutors improve their personal situation.

Prisons are rural support projects where poor whites are paid to lock up poor blacks.

The entire system stinks from one end to another.  The simple solution would be to repeal all drug ordinances, make civil forfeiture illegal, get rid of the RICO statutes, most of the anti-terrorism statutes and mandate that plea bargains are illegal and all criminals must have a trial.  The fact that the current system cannot run if a trial is necessary is the point, too many things are crimes which should not be.

If you really want to make the system work, make all private lawyers for criminal charges illegal, and use only public defenders, chosen by lot. I guarantee that the pay and competence of public defenders would soar and their case load would drop as soon as rich people realized that they could be the one being defended by an overworked and underpaid lawyer.


A word on Abenomics, QE and doing Stimulus right


In Light of Eric Garner


  1. tc

    Good points, but I would argue that civil forfeiture is not only illegal already, it has been unconstitutional from the get go. And since “property is nine tenths of the law”, the fact that CF is so prevalent just proves how little any part of the constitution matters any more.

  2. tc

    Also, regarding repeal of drug laws. It seems obvious, but unless/until the police and prison industries are curbed and their political influence curbed as well, they will just find some other “crime” to declare war on, and we could be even worse off as a society. If you somehow manage to prevent that next “war on ____” to be color blind, then it will definitely turn into a war against liberals and scary “leftists”. One big political dimension of the drug war is that a very large segment of the black population is prohibited from voting by law, and larger parts of the populations are effectively prevented from voting by association.

  3. maurice

    I agree with everything you wrote, but there needs to be alternatives to the response to the verdict that was handed down in Ferguson. I’m sure that some of the business owners of the businesses and other properties that were destroyed may have disagreed with the verdict also, but nonetheless lost their lifes work or livelihood in the riots. That also goes for the few employees of those small businesses had that lived in the neighborhood, that had just lost a job because of the unrest. What about the homeowners who will NEVER see their property values recover, because the stigma of violence that the town has now. Not to mention the insurance rates, school quality, no company will ever think of opening/moving anything there. The town has started on the path of becoming another Camden, Detroit, or an east St Louis. I fit the demographic that populates Ferguson for many years, but I realized in a community I have a certain responsibility to that community. I wish someone would have tried to talk to some of those young, frustrated, unemployed men and women, violence is bad for business and politics. Appearances matter. They don’t realize, that they may be playing into the very hands that have them frustrated, unemployed, and marginalized. Blind rage doesn’t think, what they’re up against requires THINKING!!! not burning everything down in sight.

  4. Spinoza

    This is only the tip of the iceberg. A friend of friend died under mysterious circumstances a few months ago in his rural North Carolina town. He was found hanging in a public place with bruises and marks to the head. Of course the police ruled it a suicide but there were plenty of other strange details….

    I fear for the lives of my friends and of myself.

  5. scruff

    there needs to be alternatives to the response to the verdict that was handed down in Ferguson.

    The best alternative would be for everyone who was rioting to descend en masse to the police, forcefully restrain those in the way, and then to find the accused and beat him to death. Meanwhile the entire armory of the police station should be appropriated and distributed among the citizenry.

    Of course this won’t happen, because the people want desperately to believe that they are not in a war. They are, only this war only has one side that knows it, which is why they consistently win so easily.

  6. MartyH

    I find a great deal of useful information in Peter Dale Scott’s writings. Chalmers Johnson is equally enlightening. It is, and has been for over a century, all about strengthening the government’s defenses against popular or foreign influence. There is a tipping point, as we are reminded by events such as Occupy and Ferguson.

  7. Gee

    I think a more sensible approach to the rioting would be for the group to head en masse to the nearest rich Republican township and loot and riot there. Instead, they shoot themselves in the face. I never could understand why anyone would riot in their own neighborhood. Unless self-destructiveness is more ingrained in people than I thought.

  8. maurice

    The moment those rioters would have breached the police station in Ferguson,and carried out street justice, every protest in America from then on would be met with violent repression from the police and other authorities. That action would have set back political liberal interests in this country DECADES!!! if it was not completely wiped out. I feel this unrest and how it is being reported is being STAGED!! for right wing political purposes. I feel the MSM has been bought off long ago and they are instilling fear in the american public who are independent voters. Democrats, can’t keep order, so vote for us. This incident has the makings of a false flag event, to keep the right wing in power. I feel now the only places that even tries to tell what’s going on in America and the world any more are websites like this. This country is at a VERY DANGEROUS CROSSROAD. The political class in the country are not responsive the the people. But the the youth of this country are going to have to quit taking the bait by staging violent protest. Think about it Ebola was all over the news until the midterms were over, now hardly any mention. That was because Ebola served it’s purpose, to consolidate tea party power. Look for more civil unrest BLOWN UP stories leading into the next presidential election

  9. alyosha

    @MartyH – thanks for the tip to Peter Dale Scott. Bookmarked.

    @Gee – from what I’ve read, that’s where the police were massed.

    I’m reminded of that famous quote (by Martin Niemoller). It’s a different pre-eminent out-group in our time – black people instead of socialists, who don’t really exist in America – but the progression is the same:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    What’s maybe different is that it’s one kind of justice for those who can afford it, and non-justice for everyone else. One set of rules for the elites and another set for everyone else.

  10. markfromireland

    Ian I agree with everything you wrote but you’re wasting your time. On this very site I’ve had the experience of liberal Americans getting snippy when I’ve pointed out that their suggestion of allowing juries to consider matters not introduced in evidence is to strike at the very heart of due process. When I pointed out further that I do not take kindly to suggestions that our legal systems should sink to the guttersnipe level of the American one I was met with squeals of “why don’t you want dialogue”.

    The American legal and law enforcement systems have been little better than organised barbarism for at least a generation if not more. This barbarism is systemic and it’s progressive to this mix you can add corruption. All of this would change only if those facts impacted the American ruling class.


  11. hvd


    There you go again misrepresenting the discussion you refused to engage in. I never defended a jury’s consideration of facts not in evidence. I did point out, however, that they do – and even in your ideal British judicial farce. The discussion I attempted to have with you was about the reasonableness of the British silencing of all public discussion of pending cases – so that of course only the government’s position informs the public perception. Pretty much the level that you now see us here in the U.S. reaching where the grand jury process is abused to control the flow of publicly available information that should be presented in a fairly contested public trial.

    Of course your criticism of the U.S. system is entirely valid. The pace of the corruption and its broad reach into every nook and cranny of the judicial system has simply accelerated. The criminal justice system has been lost, as you point out, for nearly a generation – 25 years ago there was still a glimmer of hope that it might be saved but no longer. The real battlefield these days is in the civil law, where long-standing concepts of justice are being discarded willy-nilly for the benefit of the rich and powerful.

  12. hvd

    Actually I mistakenly said “the real battlefield” as there really is no battle only the sweeping advance of the ruling class with virtually no opposition.

  13. Lisa FOS

    It is only going to get a lot worse. The police will become ever more militarised, brutal and will confiscate ever more money from ordinary people (you). Little more than a large gang, backed to the hilt by the judicial, national security and political systems.

    By and large the US elites are very happy with this outcome. They have spent a heck of a lot of (your) money achieving this, to keep the proles in terror and underfoot.

    Look at this little fact:

    “Killings by Utah police outpacing gang, drug, child-abuse homicides ”

    This is probably the case for many places in the US now and this trend will get ever greater. If not now, then soon, the single greatest threat to you of theft, death and violence will be from the police, everywhere.

    Your only option is (or soon will be) is to ally yourself with some other gang with some clout, to protect yourself for that gang called the police (and the rest of the judicial/national security state). You can’t ally yourself with the police, because their first priority (after looking after themselves) is to protect that system and the elite.

    And it is not to change except for the worse. There are no elite ‘champions’ for ordinary people.

    But it is hard to express sympathy for white middle class US people in all this. They have been quite happy about this outcome (and usually voted for it) as long as it was directed towards coloured people and the lower working class. Now it is becoming their turn and they are getting all whiny, bit late.

    As for ‘liberals’, well the professional ‘liberals’ have worked just as hard as the ‘conservatives’ to achieve all this (if anyone can tell the difference between the two nowadays).

  14. Until someone gets caught, not a great deal is going to be done.

  15. markfromireland

    @ hvd November 26, 2014

    Nope – you repeatedly said what you said giving as your qualifications jury service and some sort of quasi judicial experience in “certain civil matters”. You then offered to explain what you meant via email if Ian would pass on a mail you wrote to me. Both Ian and I said go ahead and you haven’t in fact ever done so. Don’t bother either because when I said eff off I meant it I’m not even remotely interested in dialogue with somebody who suggests weakening the rights of the accused yet further with the inevitable result that there’d be yet more catastrophic failures of justice. I’d give you an even rougher ride in private than I gave you in public. You have NEVER defended somebody, you have certainly NEVER done so in ANY European jurisdiction. Your comments displayed massive ignorance not only of the law of contempt which is one of the few effective weapons left to lawyers defending people araigned for criminal offenses but also massive ignorance of jury instruction procedures, evidentiary procedures, and the grounds for declaration of mistrial and miscarriage over here but also of those matters in the US. You and people like you bear massive responsibility for the deplorable condition both of American jurisprudence and law enforcement and you then had the sh*t faced effrontery to suggest that other jurisdictions follow suit. Well to hell with that. Things are bad enough over here without us voluntarily sinking to the state in which America finds itself at the behest of American so-called “liberals”. Here’s a really radical suggestion devote some effort to bringing the standard of American jurisprudence up rather than suggesting that everyone else sink to your level.


  16. markfromireland

    @ Lisa FOS
    November 26, 2014

    But it is hard to express sympathy for white middle class US people in all this. They have been quite happy about this outcome (and usually voted for it) as long as it was directed towards coloured people and the lower working class. Now it is becoming their turn and they are getting all whiny, bit late.

    As for ‘liberals’, well the professional ‘liberals’ have worked just as hard as the ‘conservatives’ to achieve all this (if anyone can tell the difference between the two nowadays).

    True enough. And yet, and yet, and yet, corruption hollows out any system. Hollows it out enough that it becomes weak, totters, and falls. There’s enough residual strength in the American system that it’ll be a while before it reaches that point but reach it it will. At that point ruling class interests also start to suffer and it’s entirely possible that elements of the American ruling class will try to force through reforms whether they’ll succeed is anyone’s guess see Russia (partially successful) and China (not at all successful).


    PS: I’ve just finished reading this:

    Counterterrorism in Areas of Political Unrest: The Case of Russia’s Northern Caucasus.
    (Ethan S. Burger, Serguei Cheloukhine – Springer 2012)

    Well worth your while.

    I’ve just started on this:

    Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America
    (Jeffrey Stout – Princeton University Press 2012)

    Not bad at all.


  17. @@@

    mfi: For all the frothing-at-the-mouth Coulterian wailing about “liberal treason” from the right, American liberals seem almost invariably to be first and foremost American exceptionalists.

    When some left-wing Canadians tried to find allies against NAFTA provisions on DKos, their concerns were roundly dismissed as smacking of paranoid Bircherism. The very reality of the ferocious American pressure on other Western governments is virtually taboo across the whole U.S. left blogosphere. And don’t try to ask whether American economic warfare is somehow responsible for the flood of migrants out of Mexico–they’ll say that the destruction of Mexico’s economy has thus greatly enriched America’s cultural diversity, and so to oppose it is racist. (Even Dr. Pangloss would run away screaming at that point, I think.)

  18. markfromireland

    @@@ November 26, 2014

    All too true alas. They’re living proof that the structural functionalists such as Parsons were largely correct which has to be one the most depressing thoughts I’ve ever had.

    American politics is indeed a left-right affair to the right we have the neo-Attilaites and to the left we have the Whiney Fig-leaf party. Jaysus.


  19. scruff

    The moment those rioters would have breached the police station in Ferguson,and carried out street justice, every protest in America from then on would be met with violent repression from the police and other authorities.

    Are you kidding? We already have that. OCW had it in spades and they were one of the most self-policing groups in recent protest history, ready to turn over any agitator and offer up their bellies to the wolves. You are already living in your proposed hypothetical situation.

  20. Rostale

    I personally think the most useful thing for someone to do would have been to get an armed group together and make a citizens’ arrest of some of the looters, and be sure to get photos and fingerprints -before- the police show up. I think some of the more violent rioters probably have some interesting associations if one was able to trace them far enough.

  21. maurice

    the violent repression that I’m referring to will not have the news media present. In fact that will be a big red flag, no media around to witness the event. They won’t be trying to arrest you.

  22. Lisa FOS

    Thanks MFI, I’ll chase them up. Russia is one of the few places that has faced a serious 4GW insurrection (foreign supported and funded too) and has managed to control it.

    Some things I have read was that serious military action basically, at best, was a draw. It wasn’t until some deft politics (and serious money pumped into the local economy and into ordinary people’s hands) came into play that it settled down.

    The US and, especially, the Saudi’s were right in there stirring things up and funding (surprise, surprise) insurgent groups.

    As the (in) famous Prince Badar said to Putin “we control them and can turn them on or off”…

  23. Anon

    Ian your naivete is astounding. The system isn’t broken, it works. The drug laws are the problem they are the solution to the old problem we had from the 50s to the 80s, urban crime. The Drug War isn’t about stopping drug use, it is about harsh sentencing for drug crimes which have a correlative relationship to other crime. All those dregs who are arrested would likely have committed other crimes. Instead they spend 30 years in prisons and come out broken old men who promptly die in their Projects flat. It is wiping out the problematic portion of the population. The best correlative relationship between the drop in US crime rates beginning in 1993 and any social policy is that of the drug war and mandatory sentencing. Nobody wants to go back to the old way because the old way didn’t work.

    50% of all murder victims in the US have a felony conviction and 90% have a violent arrest record. 80% of all murderers are prior felons and 95% have a violent arrest record. Murder in the US is concentrated in urban areas, with 75% of all murders occurring in 1% of the counties, all invariably urban counties with large minority populations, gun control laws, and democratic mayors and city councils.

    For a resident of the US living in a rural area or a city of less than 8,000 inhabitants, which is 72% of the entire population, the chances of getting murdered are equal to that of an average Western European living in a rural area. Those designated as white in the US racial classification system have the same murder rate as native born Western Europeans in their respective nations. And those designated non-Hispanic white account for 72% of the population. So for a white voter living in rural America what incentive is there to trade his low comparable murder rate and much lower crime victimization rate for a European system which has a lower murder rate for all but also a total crime victimization rate which is six times higher? It is not in his interest. Americans fundamentally do not care about urban criminals who are killed by other urban criminals.

    While liberal urbanites, blacks, and hispanics are dying with their sub replacement fertility self identified conservative whites have mantained a birthrate of 2.7 for 7 decades. Of course they want the want the Great Society, Drug War, and current DoJ policy to continue, it is in their interest. And it is only right and proper that they support it.

    And as for the economics. Well white americans have 6,000 USD more disposable income on average than whites in Western Europe even when excluding the top 10% of income earners. They have the highest adjusted mean disposable income in the world. That said for urbanites their disposable income is only about 3,000 greater than the nearest white competitors in Western Europe. While the rural whites have nearly 8,000 more disposable income than they do.

    Why would I was a rural white male have a single problem with this system? If anything it is leftists and bleeding hearts pandering to the dregs of society who are working against my interests.

    I welcome a ne0-feudal society were genetic nepotism causes capitalists and employees to invest in a company like a clan because they are permitted to openly discriminate again. Discrimination is the key feature of social organization.

  24. Ian Welsh

    Very carefully chosen statistics.

    Western Europeans, are, however, both happier and healthier. They live longer, and they are happier during those years. Recidivism rates in countries in Western Europe which do not harshly punish prisoners are substantially lower than those in America, as well.

    Disposable income is a bullshit stat, very hard to actually create and full of nasty assumptions, even more so than other statistics. Much of what Americans have to spend their disposable income on Europeans get for free, or get cheaper than Americans (because they pay for it with their taxes.) Furthermore, your disposable income link does not take out the top 10% in any case (ie. it doesn’t even say what you say it does.)

    As for crime victimization rates, your numbers appear dubious at best, see, for example:

    The “higher sentences produce lower crime rates argument” is contentious. A simple control is Canada, where until recently, sentences stayed low. While Canadian crime rates are not the same as America’s, the trend is the same. No massive change in sentencing pre-Harper, but they essentially parallel America’s. Correlation, in this case, in other words, may not imply causation.

  25. markfromireland

    @ Lisa FOS November 27, 2014

    Some more reading material with apologies to Ian for putting in so many links:

    Weapons of the Wealthy: Predatory Regimes and Elite-Led Protests in Central Asia Paperback – August 7, 2012 by Scott Radnitz (Author) — Required reading.

    The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus Paperback – September 1, 2009 by Christoph Zurcher (Author) — Comparative coverage of: Chechnya, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan. Strongly recommended.

    Ethno-Nationalism, Islam and the State in the Caucasus: Post-Soviet Disorder (Central Asian Studies) Paperback – December 13, 2007 by Moshe Gammer (Editor) — It’s a Routledge brief and edited by the late Moshe Gammer so I was expecting to be disappointed, in fact it’s really rather good.

    For Prophet and Tsar Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia Robert D. Crews
    Good historical background for those new to this topic. Provides a much needed counter-balance to the clash of civilisations shite so beloved of Americans.


    China, Xinjiang and Central Asia: History, Transition and Crossborder Interaction into the 21st Century (Routledge Contemporary China Series) Hardcover – June 5, 2009 by Colin Mackerras (Editor), Michael Clarke (Editor) — Another surprisingly good Routledge brief. Xinjiang is a flash point in more ways than one well worth keeping an eye on.

    China-Russia Relations in Central Asia: Energy Policy, Beijing’s New Assertiveness and 21st Century Geopolitics Paperback – August 31, 2013 by Thomas Stephan Eder (Author) — A Springer brief, so turn on your filters before reading but not bad at all.

    All these links are to All are well worth reading – if you don’t want to buy them and your library or university can’t get them/doesn’t have them Google books probably does.

  26. markfromireland

    @ Ian. “Western Europeans, are, however, both happier and healthier. They live longer, and they are happier during those years”

    They’re better educated too lots of Europeans go through apprenticeship schemes and their employers are required to continue to provide training throughout their employment period. To focus only on university and technical institute education in particular post-grad as so many American economists do is a really major error. I’d be prepared to wager that American economists’ neglect of apprenticeships and other trade/vocational training is directly related to the fact that America has largely stopped providing such training as it deindustrialises.

  27. markfromireland

    @ hvd November 26, 2014

    As a postscript you were the one making assertions and not providing even a shred of evidence to back your half-assed claptrap up other than your putative experience in a jury and some sort of administrative tribunal role. In response I quoted in detail:

    The relevant legislation.

    Precedent setting case law from the superior courts and what used to be called the House of Lords and is now called the Supreme Court. As you are plainly ignorant of even the basics of jursiprudential practice I’ll point out to you that the judgements of the superior and Supreme courts are the law of the land and that courts are required to follow the principles and practises laid down in those judgements. Such precedents can only be overturned by the Supreme court for “compelling reasons” and that in the event of them so doing that the Supreme court is required to explain in detail what those “compelling reasons” are.

    I also quoted in detail:

    Statutory instruments and the rules of both of procedure and of evidence in particular as they relate to jury instruction.

    So spare me please the mendacious snivelling about how I “refused to engage in” discussion I did engage in discussion and unfortunately for you I was able to quote both the law and the facts in support of the principle that defendants are entitled to a fair trial and may be convicted only on the basis of evidence.

    The fact that you and other American “liberals” at the very least consented to and all too frequently have actively connived at the whoring out of what used to be a reasonably good legal system to the point where American jurisprudence is grossly debased and corrupted does not mean that the rest of the world should follow suit. On the contrary.


  28. Hvd

    I wasn’t going to indulge you anymore but the fact is that everything you write in the post above is simply not true. You engaged in no such discussion then nor do you prove your point now.

    The question then as now is: do British laws restricting public discussion of pending cases protect the rights of the accused or do they leave the state as the arbiters of public opinion and ultimate influencers of the opinions of juries and jurists alike. I understand and understood that a rabid press could strongly influence public opinion and quite possibly jury verdicts. But when the public is silenced who is left in position to influence opinion.

    My point in the non discussion that took place previously is that the British policy would silence the rational words Ian wrote in that long ago thread while leaving in place the impressions created in the media by the state in the aftermath of that ghastly crime.

    Frankly I have never understood your vituperation. Or your consistent misstatements of my positions or assumptions about my credentials. By the way Ian accepted the role of middleman but from you there was only crickets.

  29. markfromireland

    @ Hvd permalink November 28, 2014

    I wasn’t going to indulge you anymore but the fact is that everything you write in the post above is simply not true. You engaged in no such discussion then nor do you prove your point now.

    Yes I did and during the course of it I pointed out that you were wrong both as to the law and as to facts. You have not even once provided any evidence to back up your ludicrous half-baked idiotic opinions. Not. even. once.

    The question then as now is: do British laws restricting public discussion of pending cases protect the rights of the accused or do they leave the state as the arbiters of public opinion and ultimate influencers of the opinions of juries and jurists alike. I understand and understood that a rabid press could strongly influence public opinion and quite possibly jury verdicts. But when the public is silenced who is left in position to influence opinion.

    What part of “the accused shall be found guilty on the basis of evidence entered into a court of law and only upon the basis of such evidence” are you too effing dense to understand? I don’t give a damn what opinion piece Ian or anybody else writes. IT’S NOT EVIDENCE. IT’S NOT EVIDENCE PRESENTED AS EVIDENCE DURING A TRIAL AND THEREFORE HAS NO PLACE IN THE JURY ROOM. None.

    You were and still are trying to pretend that the law of contempt one of the very very few effective legal remedies left to counsel for the defense is some weapon used by the state. Typical American liberal you don’t give a shit about the rights of the accused to a fair trial because as far as you and your ilk are concerned your right to bloviate outweighs the rights of the accused to be tried on the basis of the evidence and of the law. Of course the fact that defendants are overwhlemingly poor and often not white makes them far less important than some white middle-class American “liberal” writing ignorant claptrap about how great it would be to drag everyobdy else’s legal system down to the despicable level of the American one.


    My point in the non discussion that took place previously is that the British policy would silence the rational words Ian wrote in that long ago thread while leaving in place the impressions created in the media by the state in the aftermath of that ghastly crime.

    My point was that your point was completely and utterly wrong. As I pointed out at the time have repeated above and repeat yet again the law in question is a weapon used exclusively by counsel for the defense to protect the right of the defendant to a fair trial. There has NEVER been a case where it was used by the prosecution NEVER not even once. Nor would I want to be the idiotic counsel for prosecution who tried it on because word of the savaging that I and far more importantly the DPP received at trying on such a blatant attempt to abuse process would be horribly detrimental to my career. The DPP does not enjoy being hauled into court to explain the actions of counsel and the DPP can and does express that displeasure by removing counsel from the list of barristers qualified to appear for the prosecution.

    Frankly I have never understood your vituperation.

    Gee then I you’re even harder of comprehension today than you normally are. Your suggestion would be yet another step down into the gutter infested by your legal system. I see no reason why my legal systems should be so prostituted that they wind up like your one. I will continue to attack anyone who suggests it. That’s because I do actually care about the rule of law and I do actually care about the rights of the accused to a fair trial and the rights of the accused to be convicted on the basis of evidence tested in a court of law. As far as I’m concerned those rights are paramount. “Fiat justitia ruat caelum” to quote the legal maxim.

    I don’t a curse what you Americans do to one another I’ve long since given up. I do however care deeply when somebody like you tries to drag our legal institutions down to your level. I regard such attempts as profoundly hostile acts and respond accordingly.

    By the way Ian accepted the role of middleman but from you there was only crickets.

    I said both publicly and privately “go ahead” you did not do so – you are yet again deliberately misstating the facts.

    But I like to be fair even to “liberals” like you even when you’re trying to whore out the rights of the defendant to a fair trial. So I’ll publicly challenge you (again). Show me one case just one in either the English and Welsh legal system, the Scottish Legal System, the Ulster legal system, or the Irish legal system, where the law of contempt has been used as you put it “by the state” to silence public discussion. Stop snivelling, drop the mendacity, and get researching. Find me ONE case just one.

    We both know you can’t.


  30. that must be Royal we.

  31. markfromireland

    Nope Sterling I’m a republican in the Irish Republican sense of the word and in my more … testy … moments am of the opinion that Cromwell and the French revolutionaries both had the right approach to the condign disposal of monarchs.

    “We” in this context means hvd and myself. Hvd has never tried to refute me either using law or the facts because law, facts, and the principle that people are entitled to a fair trial and should only be convicted on the basis of evidence entered and tested during that trial.

    When you have the law on your side you yell about the law.
    When you have the facts on your side you yell about the facts.
    When you have both the law and the facts on your side you yell about both the law and the facts.

    I have the law, the facts, and the principle that even loathsome people accused of loathsome crimes are entitled to a fair trial and to be convicted on the basis of the evidence against them and on that basis alone on my side. Hvd has nothing except ignorance and I use that word in every sense of the term.

    I do not take kindly to American “liberals” who as a body either connived at the prostitution of the American legal and law enforcement systems or by their inaction consented to and condoned it suggesting that we whore out our legal systems to the degraded, inferior, and trashy level of the American one.

    There is not one case not even one in which the legislation in question has been used by the State to silence discussion of a case. Not even one , not even one in any of the jurisdictions I listed. That’s because the enactments in question were written with the intent of helping counsel for defense defend their client. A fact which would be screamingly blatantly apparent to anyone who read the legislation or the judgements I cited.

    I do not take kindly to some effing foreign buffoon whose sole experience of jurisprudence has been adjudicating the picayune disputes that arise between dog catchers (or whatever the fuck “certain civil matters” means) attacking the basis upon which a civilised country offers legal protection to those who are most desperately in need of such protection.

    I find it quite extraordinary that somebody who claims to have served on an American jury should ignore jury instruction procedures and the fact that a failure in such jury instruction procedures is cause for re-trial on appeal at the very least.

    It’s difficult enough defending in the teeth of a sustained onslaught against civil rights and liberties without having some pig-ignorant American “liberal” chiming in on the side of those who would make the job even more difficult.

    The fact that you American “liberals” have as a body either actively connived at or stood by and done nothing in the face of the systematic degradation and brutalisation of your legal system by the extremists now running them does not mean that we should follow suit. Your legal and law enforcement systems are a byword for incompetence, brutality, and corruption, while your incarceration systems are so barbaric that words fail me. And then some soi-disant American “liberal” makes suggestions that would undermine the entire basis of the legal protections against arbitary conviction and tyranny by allowing non-evidentiary material into the process and worse pretends that those suggestions are made in the interests of civil liberties and discourse. Well fuck that for a pack of lies.

    I do not write for Americans and am not particularly interested in dialogue with them my audience is over here and I reach my audience. I’ve given up on Americans because in my opinion you’re spiralling downwards so far and so fast that you’re not salvagable. I and European conservatives like me reach our audience which when I look at the state of your politics, law, health, education, and economic systems is more than can be said for you American liberals. Instead of making idiotic suggestions about other peoples’ legal systems perhaps hvd and others of that ilk should devote a little effort to mitigating the disastrous effects upon the most vulnerable in America of their complete, utter, abject, and miserable failures. But then that would involve them actually having principles and standing up for them which in a lifetime of dealing with American “liberals” is something I have yet to see. The structural function of the American “liberal” such as hvd is, as I’ve remarked above, to serve as a fig leaf for the American right- and in hvd’s case it would seem as a kite flyer also.

    Things are bad enough over here as it is and defending counsel already have an apallingly difficult task. I will attack vigorously any suggestion that would help bring our society and our legal protections down to your level. I will attack vigorously anybody who makes suggestions that we engage in any course of action which would bring our society and our jurisprudence down to your level.


  32. Anon is a typical proud neoreactionary. Willing to admit that he would condemn his fellow human being to a life of misery for a mere $8000 per annum more in hypothetical wealth, while letting the richer members of his “clan” squirrel away astronomically more. (Of course, most people do this, but at least they have the decency not to shout from the rooftops about how proud they are of it.)

    However, the purpose of this pride in being a living Milgram experiment is revealed at the end: a crude revenge fantasy based on overbreeding the targets of the misdirected ressentiment. That the end result of this is misery for everyone doesn’t really matter. Anon will get satisfaction in his grave when his descendants have overrun the Earth, now only making the equivalent of $2 more than distant descendants the targets of Anon’s anger, but hey, an extra bushel of nettles is better than nothing…

  33. V. Arnold (Formerly C-233)

    @ MFI Above

    As an American I wish, with all fervor, I could refute your invective’s ; but I cannot.
    I just wish with all fervor, the American people could see through my/our eyes: But they cannot!

    My point is simply this; some of us understand and have acted accordingly.
    But most have not, will not. I do not understand this.
    So, carry on and thanks for your input/opinion.

  34. DMC

    Hell, I have a hard enough time explaining to otherwise intelligent and educated people why “tort reform” is about the worst idea since slavery. The degradation of the rights of the accused are wholly beyond most (white liberal) Americans experience. Remember the “shield of minority”? Yeah, you won’t be seeing him around no more. Not when prisons are about the only growth industry left.

  35. Formerly T-Bear

    @ MarkfromIreland

    A reluctant two pence worth of opinion. It would probably be more astutely approached in the manner one manages a person with post initial stages of dementia, one who is aware of there being problems in their ability to cope but not cognizant of the source of their duress and absolutely assured that the world is going off kilter and it is they who remain stable. You are witnessing the early term dementia of a nation, given to a mythology of exceptionalism, profoundly deceived in a self-serving belief of a holy righteousness, answering some imagined call to duty of what can only be one of the lesser gods not having the stature to accommodate others that do not agree with themselves.

    I would remind that once this was not the case but as a result of a war entered into upon ideological perceptions (referring to domino theory) in SE Asia, unintended consequences changed the course of history for that nation in that deception and self-deception became the coin of the realm which paid all social fees. You are witness to those results. Unfortunately, complex organizations do not do well under such circumstance, particularly those of extreme mass and inertia as the one your protagonist as an endowed member is demonstrating. Better returns would be had with an approach using greater subtleness than what would be used in otherwise normal human commerce. Great care is necessary to forfend any appearance of either domination or aggression which may trigger anything from obstinacy to obstreperous reaction and subsequent loss of facilities even those of ability to communicate; civility becoming the first victim along this path. Of course, YMMV.

  36. Hvd


    I have been trying without luck to locate the original thread in which my comment unleashed your long streak of invective. I believe my original comment was made in response to a British newspaper shutting down its comments section not in response to threats of prosecution because it was violating a statute meant to protect the rights of defendants but because they feared prosecution for offens to the state. In that context I believe my comments were appropriate and correct. If the newspaper was relying on a law meant to protect defendants I think that proves my point with respect to that law. If I am wrong about the context I readily and happily apologize to you and every one here for wasting your time.

    I have spent the last 40 years working to protect the rights of defendants in criminal actions and civil litigants against the tragic and ongoing assault against our american rules of procedure and our substantive rules of law being waged by the neoliberals in our country with little or no response from our “liberal” judiciary. If you cannot show me that I am wrong about the original context of my comments I should think that an apology is in order for your grotesque mischaracterization of me and my beliefs and lifetimes work.

  37. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Hvd #65882 30 November 2014

    I semi-recall that conversation took place early summer – May or June. I don’t recall Ian’s original post, the commentary took its usual tangency from that subject. I do recall you took the position that your right to express an opinion over-rode British laws suppressing, albeit temporarily, such expression IN THE MEDIA, until the trial of the accused was completed. MFI tried to reason with your argument but to no avail. Hence the diatribe above. As an observer, you both were talking AT each other and neither were listening to what the other had to say; so typical of the current level of discourse available these days.

    MFI’s contempt for American hubris is well earned, most of the world is on a path that follows such esteem for the hegemon. I would suggest that MFI’s contempt for ‘liberals’ is confounded with a contempt for ‘neoliberal agenda’, shooting at a natural ally because the opponent, the reactionary conservative has outfitted itself with pseudo-liberal camouflage to access power in order to subvert the majority’s will. [See: Corey Robin “The Reactionary Mind, Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin”, ISBN 978-0-19-995911-2 from OUP]. MFI should know by this stage that conservatives do not self correct, that is genetically forbidden that political species, they must rely upon those of liberal minds to undo the mischief they have caused and the conservative is rarely happy about it.

    I am trying to recall any organization outside ACLU, SPLC and the Public Defenders which regularly supported defendants in the U.S. Out of the full population, such defenders are rare on the ground and subject to great political scorn. No offense was intended on that score by any remark I made; if offense was taken, you have my sincere apology, it is sometimes hard to separate friend from foe concerning what jurisprudence in that country has become.

  38. Romancing the Loan

    Very nice except for the public defender comment at the end, which is naive. We already don’t routinely arrest rich white guys for anything other than child porn/sex abuse since we stopped prosecuting financial crimes. (Honestly private crim def is starting to get downright monotonous because of this.) In the rare exceptions it’s usually cases that the best lawyer in the world with a zillion dollars to spend couldn’t help you with. It’s the tiny crimes that essentially criminalize being poor that are most likely to be b.s. and desperately need investigative $$ and time spent preparing for trial, and we just don’t arrest rich people for those. Outlawing private criminal work would do nothing to raise the standard of pd work, and raising the standard of pd work won’t help if the police are corrupt in any case. There’s only so much you can do when they lie on their reports and destroy evidence – you have to prove it and they’re certainly not going to help you with that. By the time your pd sees your case, it’s often true that there’s very little left that can be done. Betting that your jury will trust you over the cop is still usually a bad bet, though events like these make me hopeful that might get a bit more balanced.

    You don’t even need to outlaw plea bargains though – a very effective form of mass resistance would just have everyone demanding a trial (which is your right!) Most courts in places like Ferguson are already understaffed and subject to long delays, and thanks to speedy trial, if you’re ready for trial and the state is not for a year, you go free. (I have simplified this explanation a little so don’t jump on me.) Essentially, without plea bargains, most lower level criminal court systems literally could not function and huge numbers of defendants would go free.

    Raising pay or attaching loan forgiveness to service would help a lot though, if you wanted to do something nice for us public defenders.

  39. Romancing the Loan

    tl/dr version: if you outlaw private defenders, the rich will not fund public defenders. They will simply pay off the prosecutor not to bring charges.

  40. Hvd

    Thank you ftb. I have been in total full bore despair over the state of american “justice” for the last 15 or so years not that it was great before then but at least one had the sense that the basis for a genuine system of justice was in place and that there were a number of honest thoughtful people engaged in making it work despite the fact that like most of western justice it has long been corrupted by its relationship to money and the handmaiden of money western politics. The “entrepeneurializing” of the American bar (and bench in its need for “efficiency”) has virtually eliminated those practitioners and members of the bench who simply supported the principles underlying the system. To the extent they existed the culture no longer tolerates them.

    I have never understood mfi’s diatribes because we are natural allies as you point out. If I misunderstood the British publication’s reasons for disallowing comments it was because it appeared to me that they had done so out of fear of the retributions of a vengeful state intent on silencing critics of its favored storyline with respect to certain defendants, not out of fear of wrongfully accusing or subjecting a defendant to calumny. How mfi thought that I thought otherwise I still do not understand.

  41. Hvd

    Romancing the loan,

    The problem as you make clear is that the criminal justice system, from the laws penned by legislatures, to the “justice” meted out by storm trooper police to prosecutors so anxious to make career points to judges so inherently biased that they make mfi’s ideal of a trial based on the facts in evidence simply laughable. Sadly public defenders have little opportunity to actually defend. For the most part you guys are just part of the sausage factory making sure that the underclass stays in their place.

    Sadly too I am beginning to feel that all of us who are connected in some way to the American system of justice and who may have believed in its potential to do good, should be starting to feel much the same as those who had once worked in the German justice system must have felt in the 30’s. That whatever role you play and however good your intentions we are all just bit players in a horrendous tragedy and simply serve to keep that tragedy moving forward to its inevitable unholy end.

  42. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Hvd #65899 2 December 2014

    The capture of the judicial bench by the Heritage Foundation supplied acolytes and ideological genderless strumpets have robed most of the federal judiciary with whores, prostituting the administration of law with their private agendas. This agenda of Heritage as given access through the politics and policies of Nixon’s ‘Law and Order’ stance to gain power for himself. The country is living the consequences of those deceptions.

    Has any consideration ever been given to the fact that as long as a single state in the federation refuses to inflict the death penalty, it should automatically make it impossible in all other states since the standard of equal treatment under law is equal for all citizens. Continuing the death penalty elsewhere does not meet the standard of equality under the law.

    Both you and MFI are looking in different mirrors, one framed in (Imperial) mahogany the other framed in cherrywood (possibly from that mythical tree (allegedly) chopped by George the Founder). The framing uses the same language but having differing paths of development, meaning and usage. Unfortunately the American experience is that of the isolated and provincial whereas the British have maintained the mainline or historically central position for most of the development of their laws. It is from this understanding that MFI addressed his issues with you; I saw nothing personal but presented with strong emotional attachment to his understandings. The American mirror reflects the distortions of its developmental history, one that is certainly not reflected in the British mirror. Without understanding or having sufficient horizons for perspective, such encounters will erupt. Maybe this will become an experience that supports further learning (after the wounds cease bleeding).

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