I'm losing track of just which dictatorial measure gets signed into law exactly when, but "it is being reported that" [my college classmate] the President used the occasion of his vacation in Hawaii and New Year's Eve to sign the massive Defense Authorization Act that authorizes indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, though he used a signing statement to quibble with restrictions on the executive's "flexibility."
As we enter this year of 2012, in which we will see at least three quadrennial events, to wit, a February 29th, a summer Olympic games (in London this year) and the USA Presidential election [for 2012, we get the special "Mayan prophesy of Apocalypse" for the winter solstice... but as I like to say, "not how you bet"... because, if for no other reason, no one will around to pay off on the "over"], let me just suggest that people of good will who, like me, once supported Barack Obama, take a look at this screed by Glenn Greenwald on why progressives should be paying attention to the Ron Paul candidacy. I'll make it easy here, by saying that I would, right now, without hesitation, support Ron Paul in the general election, were he to be the Republican nominee (which he will not... every force available to bear will be brought down to see that he isn't, even if were to win Iowa, New Hampshire, and every other primary or caucus... which he will not). Ron Paul, and Ron Paul alone, among candidates in either party, is actively discussing the real issues that are driving us into the ground: permanent, endless, immense wars (and concomitant defense spending), the drug wars, and a financial oligopoly deliberately mismanaging public finance to enslave the rest of us. Yes, he has other problems. A lot of other problems. But...
Barack Obama's presidency, despite the promise of his campaign, is indistinguishable, in policy, and in some key personnel choices, from a third George W. Bush term. And I didn't stop loathing the presidency of George W. Bush simply because the goofy faux-Texan himself is no longer in the Oval Office: it's the policies, stupid. And say what you will, but at least most of Dubya's most egregious totalitarian policies were one-off, ad hoc "executive decisions." Barack "Constitutional Scholar" Obama has seen fit to codify them into statute (with significant "bipartisan consensus.")
And there you are. My easiest 2012 prediction is for "more of same" in the area of "justice"... financial criminals (who, in terms of the human and systemic damage they cause, should rightly be classified as "terrorists") will continue to benefit from the "look forward not backward" and "see no evil when it's done by those in the financial sector likely to contribute to my campaign" policies... they will continue unabated. Jon Corzine already knew that his "Made Man" status would protect him, as do so many others... but meanwhile, the number of nobody schmucks picked up in various FBI stings and hyped up minor incidents which will be portrayed as terrrrrorism... will almost certainly increase, perhaps dramatically so as the election nears. A "Lehman Bros.-plus" financial meltdown also seems likely this year, though, since it should have already happened by now, it's hard to say "inevitable" on that one. Although, inflation and unemployment statistics will continue to be made-up in ways designed to make things look better than they are... as has been the case now for decades.
Thing is, for this year, at the end of it all, I'm actually optimistic that the degree of this outrageous injustice [mostly the criminal financiers getting away scot-free] will actually piss off enough people to matter in the great scheme of things. Despite all of their incoherence, I think this is a unifying theme of the "Occupy" protestors. Frankly, at the end of the day, it matters little or not at all which of the two "different" Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan/B of A /Citigroup backed major party candidates is elected President next, or even which of the two finance-sector-controlled political parties controls majorities of Congress... BUT... this could be the year that a critical mass of the populace finally realizes that the game, as now structured, is hopelessly rigged against them, and maybe the answer isn't trying to put more money in the slot machine, bang on it, scream, and hope for something different, but to take what's left the cup, put in the pocket, and just walk away. Our entire system is, at its core, "a faith-based initiative" after all. Could this be the year that enough people cease handing their blind faith to a system that is quite literally trying to enslave, if not imprison or outright murder them, while they are watching?
I'm hoping that is. The current system is utterly unsustainable, in just about every way. Blind faith in it will just make the inevitable crash that much worse. Will enough people just set about structuring their own lives in [self-reliant, community building] ways so that while the system collapses [and the laws of nature say it must, sooner or later, unless radically altered], a sensible "replacement" order based on human dignity, shared vaues, cooperation, self-reliance and community building (rather than Nanny State Dependence) are "the new order"? Strangely for me... I'm going to throw my lot in with the optimists on this one. At least, as I define optimism.
Alrightie then. Happy new year, everybody! Let's make this one count.