184 of 189 people found the following review helpful
A Scathing Indictment,
This review is from: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful (Hardcover)In With Liberty and Justice for Some, Glenn Greenwald, a former civil rights litigator has produced a troubling indictment of the American justice system. His basic argument is that the system really has two tiers--one for the elite, who can often escape prosecution for serious crimes and another for the rest of us. The law, he argues, no longer creates a level playing field the way the founders of our constitution intended it to. During the last several decades in particular, the powerful have used the law as a weapon against the poor and the weak.
In a tightly written narrative, Greenwald covers how the law has been used to favor what he calls political and financial elites since the 1970s. He begins with President Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon despite his egregious crimes against the constitution and carries forward to the present day. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are spared. He is critical of the worldwide torture and doemstic spying that occurred during the administration of George W. Bush. But he also criticizes Obama for failing to prosecute both former members of the Bush administration and the financial elite on Wall Street.
The book is divided into five sections. The first covers the origin of elite immunity and talks about how the problem of inequality first developed in the public sector. The second covers the spread of elite immunity to the private sector including Wall Street. The third section entitled Too Big to Jail deals with how many on Wall Street and in the banks have escaped prosecution. The fourth entitled Immunity by Presidential Decree deals with presidential pardons; and the final section on the American justice system's second tier deals with how the system works for non-elites.
Greenwald's book is a passionately written one. The pages seethe with the author's moral outrage at the inequalities that exist within the American justice system. And the book will not fail to provoke the same sense of anger in the reader. Some of the problems that Greenwald points to really are inexcusable in a prosperous and democratic society and the author rightly argues that we need to find a way to address them.
I have given this book a high rating because it definitely forced me to rethink some of my fundamental assumptions about the American justice system. At the same time, I did not agree with Greenwald on all of his points. I sometimes found him to be a little bit TOO critical of the government. After September 11, in particular, I believe that the government was faced with unique and shocking circumstances. American officials believed that they had an urgent obligation to find new ways of protecting national security. Although the war on terror led to some acts that were not justifiable, to me these are different in a different category from the government's failure to prosecute Wall Street criminals. In the case of the latter the rich are more or less escaping justice for no good reason. On the whole, however, this book is an important one that raises fundamental questions about how justice is dispensed in America.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 27, 2011 7:24:05 AM PDT
S. Myers says:
Although I plan to read the book, I believe Tiger CK has presented a thorough synopsis of a blatant present day inequality. You only have to look at what is happening all over the world with the people becoming fed up with the status-quot, then taking to the streets to achieve an overthrow of their governments. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are the beginnings of the American people taking back their country.
Posted on Oct 27, 2011 12:06:45 PM PDT
W. Blair says:
"I sometimes found him to be a little bit TOO critical of the government. After September 11, in particular, I believe that the government was faced with unique and shocking circumstances."
Yes, the shock that it's $500+ billion/yr military combined with a $30+ billion/yr intelligence complex had failed to stop 11 clowns from doing what they did even though everything needed to stop the horrible event was known to individual agencies who didn't share that information with each other. All we needed to stop 9/11 was already in place on 9/11. Instead, the government claimed there wasn't enough as it always does when it fails, and proceeded to pass draconian, liberty stealing legislation without even reading it while providing a blank check to fund the machinations of a total police state. That's Glenn's beef as well as mine and should be that of any truly informed American capable of critical thought.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 12:31:18 PM PDT
Mark bennett says:
"Instead, the government claimed there wasn't enough as it always does when it fails, and proceeded to pass draconian, liberty stealing legislation without even reading it while providing a blank check to fund the machinations of a total police state. That's Glenn's beef as well as mine and should be that of any truly informed American capable of critical thought."
After the event, the government still went beyond what the new law allowed. Its difficult to say what real difference those laws made because they did whatever they wanted beyond the law anyway. Our problems are not just with the laws that congress passes. The problem is a growing culture of selective law enforcement and congressional immunity given after-the-fact by both parties. Its worth remembering that the vote to immunize telecom companies from lawsuits over illegal wiretaps passed the senate 69-28 in 2008.
There is more than a little bitter irony in that the only issues that draw broad consensus across party lines in congress anymore are those concerning the protection of those who broke the law in the war on terror.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 2:35:04 PM PDT
Tiger CK says:
Let me just clarify my point here a little bit. I do not condone the violations of civil liberties that occurred after September 11 or support the legislation that made it possible. But I do think that some of the fears that fueled this legislation were genuine even if deeply misguided. Some genuinely believed it was necessary to protect the country at the time. They may have been wrong and they did overstep their constitutional authority but, in some cases, this was their belief. There is no such rationale that could be made for the government's failure to prosecute the criminals on Wall Street who have defrauded the American taxpayers of billions of dollars. What Greenwald points to on this end is simply incomprehensible.
Posted on Oct 28, 2011 8:23:44 AM PDT
Mark bennett says:
"The third Section entitled Too Big to Jail deals with some high profile individuals who have escaped prosecution."
Not quite. He opens the section talking about a hedge fund manager who wasn't charged with a felony over a hit-and-run case in colorado. But the section mostly talks in general terms about wall street and the financial crisis. Few high-profile individuals are mentioned at all. He spends more time talking about the influence of wall street in washington than naming specific invididuals who escaped prosecution. He mentions the settlement in the Mozilo/countrywide case and he talks about how the wife of the chairman of Goldman-Sachs made a fool of herself at a fundraiser, but you get to the end of the section and the most telling thing is the LACK of names of individuals who have escaped prosecution. Even the obvious ones like Ken Lewis at Bank of America don't rate a mention. You captured what the section should have been about or what the intention seemed to be for it.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 12:01:45 AM PST
I believe our government did not want to stop the attack, and possibly even orchestrated its occurrence in order to get the American people to back the war that the government wanted to start for the reason that war is a money maker for big corporations which ultimately run our freaking country and fund the politicians that we actually think we had a hand in electing! Sad truth. And right now the government is having trouble finding reasons to keep the war going as 9/11 emotions have faded over time; beware, for the government is about to "create" another reason to go to war, a reason strong enough and drastic enough to capture the backing of the American people.
Posted on Nov 21, 2011 2:46:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2011 2:54:57 PM PST
It has long been a "pet peeve" of mine that the so-called "system of justice" in this country delivers NO SUCH THING. In the US, we have to PAY THROUGH THE NOSE for OUR justice! And if you can't pay, you receive VERY little justice. If you CAN, then justice has very little to do with it. We are NOT equal under the law, no matter what anyone tells us. If a big corporation has a problem with me, they CAN put a MILLION DOLLARS into suing me. How can any ordinary person EVER match that? And if we do (raise the money), the legal expense destroys us! If I have a problem with them, I can afford... let's see, maybe $25.00. How much justice can that buy me? If legal justice is not equal across the board, i.e. available and affordable to everyone EQUALLY, THERE IS NO JUSTICE, period. And there is NO JUSTICE in the US. I haven't read it yet, but I will, and soon.
Posted on May 3, 2012 10:08:34 AM PDT
Please do look into 9/11 with new eyes. Please watch on YouTube "Rockefeller Reveals 9/11 FRAUD To Aaron Russo." Also, please read WHERE DID THE TOWERS GO? by Dr. Judy Wood.
I haven't read Greenwald's book, but I doubt he's too critical of the government.
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