Tuesday, August 02, 2005

13. But with the judges so out of control in America, aren't there rich people and political groups that have even more power than the judges?

Why is nobody powerful trying to stop the judges and lawyers from abusing people? It seems like there should be a group from amongst the USA billionaires - or the larger group of people with 100 million dollars or more - who should be able to create a great popular movement for judicial reform.

If the judges were not serving the billionaires well as a group, it is certain that the billionaires would mount a large media-driven 'judicial reform' movement. But one or a few billionaires who are wronged by the system, are not enough - they would be crushed and destroyed by the other billionaires, who can weaponise the power of the US government, the Justice Department and above all the federal judges.

Three of the richest people in the USA - each of whom has at times been the 'richest person in the world', not just the USA - Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and my own Harvard undergraduate classmate, Bill Gates - have all been 'hit' with various damaging actions by the USA governmental and judicial apparatus. At one point, Warren Buffett was menaced with an 'investigation' of aspects of his companies, touching on him personally. Bill Gates was menaced with an anti-trust break-up of Microsoft, ironic given that it was an anti-trust action against IBM that put into Gates' hands the computer operating system for the DOS-Windows computer family. And Jeff Bezos was recently squeezed into paying tens of billions to ex-wife in a divorce, making her the richest woman in the world.

All three of these billionaires came from politically-connected families. Buffett's father was a 1940s US Congressman associated with the establishment of the USA nuclear war command centre in his home state. Bill Gates' father was a deeply-politically-involved insider lawyer. Jeff Bezos' grandfather was a key figure for years in the USA nuclear and security apparatus.

Yet, each of these billionaires, appeared to submit to the judicial-government 'system' as the price of continuing to grow and expand their wealth. The actions against Buffett and Gates were both dropped, after which both seemed to become less critical of the establishment way of doing things. Jeff Bezos paid up the tens of billions to his ex-wife, unable to 'rig' the divorce court system as people of much lesser wealth seem to have been able to do.

Although it seems that a billionaire is a 'free man or woman', any of them can be taken down by a concerted set of government investigations and legal actions, if they rub against the billionaire consensus of what rich people are supposed to do. And sometimes they simply just must pay a 'tax', to be a role model for others. Jeff Bezos paid tens of billions to his ex-wife, and now every judge in the USA can say, 'Even Jeff Bezos had to pay billions to his ex-wife, so you must pay too!' And after Jeff Bezos paid, he was allowed to become even richer, making even more extra tens of billions than he lost in the divorce case.

If a billionaire really started to go after the gangster judges by funding a judicial reform movement, you can bet he would suddenly have lots of 'problems'. Accusations. Investigations. Lawsuits. Loss of favour for his businesses in internet search results. And on and on. He could even be killed if the other oligarchs thought that was the way to solve the problem.

Billionaires - richest in the world - have been made bankrupt by trying to fight the system, as happened to the Hunt brothers in their silver acquistions and trading of the 1970s-80s. The Hunts were warned, but refused to listen to the warning, and then were destroyed by 'sudden changes in the rules' affecting their loans and investments, and were eventually convicted of various offences, much of their great wealth turning into vapour once the system went after them.

In the USA and many other nations, there are said to be three 'branches' of government: The judiciary branch of judges; the executive branch of the President and state governors; and the legislative branch under congress and the various state legislatures. Two main political parties, Democrats and Republicans, control nearly everyone in government throughout the USA, with just a handful of exceptions, a few libertarians and the odd socialist and so on. But nearly all judges, the President and governors, and nearly all legislators, are members of these two big parties.

It is not well-known but the USA Constitution actually made Congress Supreme over all judges, even the Supreme Court. The Constitution says that if such judges do not have "good behaviour", they can be removed, via impeachment by the Congress House and trial by the USA Senate ordering their removal.

However, that power is almost never used, despite how the Chairman of the US Congress House Judiciary Committee - who would initiate impeachment proceedings against judges - should be much more powerful and significant than he is. In practice in the USA, the judges are the highest or supreme branch. The President has more raw power in his hands, but he still winds up under the courts in the way government practice has been structured, and we see federal judges continually 'order' a stop to something the President was doing. Weaker still are the legislators. The Congress passes laws, but is not as powerful as the President, or the courts, since the judges can nullify or re-interpret the laws.

Yet this weakest-in-practice branch of government, the bodies of individual legislators, is the one closest to the people. The President is more distant, and the most distant of all are the judges. So the in-practice highest powers, are the most distant from the public.

Founding Americans such as Thomas Jefferson warned and feared that its 1789 Constitution was too weak about controlling the judges, and that eventually the judges would have too much power on behalf of rich oligarchs, a judicial tyranny. And it seems he was right.

Rich people prefer to have things dominated by judges, because the judges and their lawyer friends are by nature close to the rich people who are paying expensive lawyers, and can fund discreet bribery via those lawyers. In Anglo countries especially, the 'law' is like a fake religion, with the black-robed judges the 'priests'. In many religions you are not supposed to question the religious authorities, and in this fake USA religion of 'supreme law courts', you are not supposed to question the judges.

This is rather different from other advanced countries, where the parliaments or legislators are more in charge, because they directly represent the people, and the power of the people who have a 'right' to go into the streets and make a revolution, like in 1789 France. With that Napoleonic law tradition embodying the idea of revolutionary sovereignty by people, in Europe the parliament is usually more powerful than the executive, more often a prime minister rather than the president, or the judges. But in the USA, to a degree like few other places, the judges are on top of the heap, not the parliament or congress.

Even though in the USA the judges hold the highest political power, judges are yet the government group that people are supposed to be afraid to criticise. People are allowed to talk politics about the President or Congress, but are fearful and timid of saying things about the judges, who are help up as a quasi-religious icon of 'the law'.

Yet behind those judges, are the real biggest power in America, collectively worth trillions of dollars,  the big corporations, and the very wealthiest billionaires and multi-millionaires, the big investors who own those corporations. These corporations are more powerful than any individual or any branch of the government, and if they wanted, they could as a group change the way the government works.

These big corporations, with the billionaires and multi-millionaire investors, have effective ownership and funding and control of the important institutions in the United States. They own almost all of the major news media, nearly all the television and radio and newspapers, the dominant internet search and information portals and many internet sites, which Americans read as sources of news and information.

Corporations and wealthy people provide most of the money for both political parties - both the Democrats and the Republicans - yes, they are the sources of most of the money used by both of these two parties in their billion dollars of election campaigns. Both political parties get their money from a group of oligarchs who are well-acquainted with each other, and who keep each other in line with the overall oligarch agenda. Although some of these people and corporations tilt more to one party or another due to their thematic inclinations, it is often just merely friendly rivalry under the oligarch umbrella, as to which party's current themes are better for managing and advancing oligarch class interests.

The big corporations and billionaires and multi-millionaires, also supply the money for most of the big 'non-profit organisations' and think tanks, the organisations you see that have good funding, paid employees, and money to spend on fancy internet sites, fundraising and advertising. Wherever you turn in America for established information, or to observe well-funded political activity, you are usually running into something ultimately funded by America's biggest corporations and wealthiest people.

The power of the corporations and billionaires and multi-millionaires, are the real force behind the judges, and the current environment of unlimited judicial power. This is explored further below.

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