Chris Hedges wrote an update about his case Hedges v Obama, which challenged the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). The law allows the government to detain anyone (including US citizens) for indefinite periods of time as long as the government believes that they are terrorists. Of course, “terrorist” is meant in the Patriot Act sense where the government knows a terrorist when it sees one because a terrorist is someone the government wants to detain indefinitely.
If this sounds like circular reasoning, it shouldn’t be surprising. After a lower court found this part of the law unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned it. Of course, they didn’t do it on its merits. That would be too much like an actual legal system. It said that Hedges had no standing because he did not know that the government was targeting him. Of course, he can’t know because that information is classified. And so we get into the usual catch-22 where the government can’t be forced to reveal its unconstitutional surveillance because the people can’t prove the the government is in engaged in unconstitutional surveillance.
Last September, Hedges asked the Supreme Court to force the lower court to reevaluate the case, given that the Snowden revelations showed that Hedges did in fact have standing. And a week ago the Supreme Court came back and said no. And interestingly, all it said was no. According to SCOTUSblog, “The Court made no comment as it denied review of Hedges v Obama.” I find it interesting that people like Scalia and Alito who were so concerned about government overreach in the matter of Obamacare leading to forced broccoli consumption don’t seem to be the least bit concerned about the government effectively making US citizens disappear.
For his part, Hedges sounds more desperate than I’ve ever heard him—and that’s saying a lot. He seems to think that nothing short of a popular uprising will save the country and the constitution that supposedly supports it. He explains what the ruling (such as it is) means:
He’s threading a needle here. His point is that the problem is not the government. That’s an important distinction because people like Hedges are not like the supposed “constitutional conservatives” who seem only to want to overthrow the government so they can stop paying taxes and set up a theocracy. The problem is that we really don’t live in a democracy anymore. The government does the bidding of the oligarchs and not much more.
But when I look out on this country of ours, I don’t see people ready to demand their power back. In fact, I don’t even see many people who will bother to vote to keep things from getting much worse. And at this point, voting is of limited power even if we could get politicians who would support the people. The judicial system has been thoroughly corrupted. Just today, Cecily McMillan was found guilty of assaulting a police officer while she was being arrested during an Occupy protest. She faces up to seven years in jail for allegedly elbowing the officer. (I find it amusing how cops claim to be so tough and whine about how hard their jobs are, but when a young woman elbows one, they run to the authorities.) And the judge wouldn’t even let her free for the two weeks until her sentencing.
The power elites own everything and everyone who matters. The rest of us are too busy scraping by to do anything about it. I don’t see much hope.
 Let me be clear. The candidates we get are bad. But if all the people showed up at the polls, all the time, we would get much better candidates. But instead, we get a government that is far more conservative on economic issues than the people. And one of the long-term results of this is that we have a ridiculously conservative judicial system where what was once considered conservative is now labeled “liberal.”