Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Two-Tiered Justice System

Glenn Greenwald has a book out called With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful that looks at the dual justice system we have in the United States - one for the elite and one for everybody else.

Here is how the book is described:

From "the most important voice to have entered the political discourse in years" (Bill Moyers), a scathing critique of the two-tiered system of justice that has emerged in America

From the nation's beginnings, the law was to be the great equalizer in American life, the guarantor of a common set of rules for all. But over the past four decades, the principle of equality before the law has been effectively abolished. Instead, a two-tiered system of justice ensures that the country's political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, licensed to act without restraint, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world.

Starting with Watergate, continuing on through the Iran-Contra scandal, and culminating with Obama's shielding of Bush-era officials from prosecution, Glenn Greenwald lays bare the mechanisms that have come to shield the elite from accountability. He shows how the media, both political parties, and the courts have abetted a process that has produced torture, war crimes, domestic spying, and financial fraud.

Cogent, sharp, and urgent, this is a no-holds-barred indictment of a profoundly un-American system that sanctions immunity at the top and mercilessness for everyone else.

I couldn't help but think about Glenn's book as I watched the merciless treatment of teacher Christine Rubino by the system.

For those of you who don't know the case, Assailed Teacher has an excellent round-up here.

Rubino made inappropriate remark about her students on her Facebook page.

This remark came out of the day-to-day frustration she felt as a teacher.

She took that remark down soon after she posted it and expressed remorse for having made it.

Sometimes this kind of thing happens - people say things they don't mean out of frustration, then express remorse for them.

And yet, the justice system put in place to handle circumstances like this treated her mercilessly.

At first she was fired.

She appealed and was instead given a two-year suspension without pay.

As this process played out for Rubino, I couldn't help but think about Mayor Mike and the EEOC case that was brought against his company Bloomberg LP as well as several other sexual discrimination cases that had been brought against his company in the past.

It seems Mayor Mike has a track record of saying inappropriate things to female employees even as his company has engaged in harassment and discrimination against women that come awfully close to looking systematic.

In one instance, Bloomberg told a female employee of Bloomberg LP who was pregnant that she should "kill" the baby if she expected to remain with the company, adding "Great! Number 16!", a statement that referenced the number of employees out on maternity leave at the company.

According to court documents brought during a lawsuit, Bloomberg denied making the statement "Kill it!" to the employee but was heard to acknowledge in a voice mail that he had upset this employee with something he had said to her and he never meant anything by it.

Here we have Mayor Mike, our intrepid leader in NYC, the man who wanted Christine Rubino fired for posting an inappropriate remark on her Facebook page, making a venomous statement to a pregnant female employee that comes pretty close to being an actual threat ("Abort the fetus or be fired!"), then refusing to admit he had made the statement even as he acknowledged that he had upset the woman.

Of course Bloomberg never apologized.

Michael Bloomberg NEVER apologizes.

Bloomberg LP eventually settled the case without admitting any wrongdoing and put a non-disclosure clause in it so that the former Bloomberg LP employee could not talk about the case.

The EEOC case brought against Bloomberg LP for systematic sexual discrimination was dismissed by a judge.

This seems like a clear example of the double standards we see in America today, the two-tiered justice system that allows the rich and powerful like Mayor Mike to skirt accountability and the mercilessness with which the rest of us our treated.

If you are rich and powerful, you can say whatever you like and pay off the people you hurt and hire enough high powered lawyers to get a federal case against you dismissed.

And if you're a working class teacher, you can scrape together the money you need to appeal an unfair and unjust decision from a NYCDOE kangaroo court and see your job dismissal "lightened" to a two year suspension without pay.

Welcome to 21st century America where the police fire rubber bullets against Occupy protesters armed with chalk even as the bankers who fixed LIBOR walk away relatively unscathed, with non-prosecution agreements in their pockets.

All the bank had to do was a pay a fine that comes from money they stole anyway.

America - Land of the Not-So-Free, Home of an Unaccountable Elite.

NOTE: You can help Christine Rubino out here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time out of your hectic try and support me.