There is something new in all this. Those who govern have always been susceptible to bribery, graft, and corruption. What is new is the scope and intensity of the activity. In the US those who govern have, since at least the Clinton Administration, used executive powers purchased by special interests from the legislative branch to undermine both the public interest and the judicial branch. The power of those who run the executive branch has become essentially absolute and unbounded. They use that power, uncompromisingly, on behalf of the special interests that perpetuate their power. The US Code (as others have observed, bought and paid for) protects those who govern from actions that in any thinking society would be considered criminal and unethical.
Recently I had another in a long string of WTF? moments. When I upgraded to Windows 10, I was astonished find what I thought surely had to be clear violations of the earlier anti-trust settlement agreement. I took the time to dig it out and read it. Would to God I could get a deal like that,
"Now see here, Mr. Hargrove. We can't have you [readers can pick their preferred criminal act.] Under the terms of this settlement you agree to stop doing it. . .for the next five years, which we, the court, can extend for another two years if we deem that letting you [insert preferred criminal act] is not in the public interest. Now run along, and be a good boy, and we'll keep an eye on you."
Wink, wink; nod, nod, Bob's your uncle.
Specific to our shared interests in IT, This unholy alliance between those who govern and special interests is a significant factor in creating the "internet of things". The result is a global internetworked system riddled with component functions that are completely invisible to 99% of the ordinary users. Some of these perform essential user functions. But I submit that the largest numbers are there purely for the ultimate economic benefit of the vendors. These unwanted functions take resources from the user without their knowledge and permission--itself an illegal act under past interpretations of Common Law. More critically, each and every one of them is a potential vector for cyber attack and failure. Such an infrastructure ultimately cannot be sustained or protected.
On a personal level the situation is even more dire. If you are a manager of a large corporation under the present system you can expect to enjoy an obscene salary and the full protection of those who govern. If, on the other hand, you are a young black mother with a mental problems driving erratically through downtown Washington DC with an infant in the back seat, you can expect those who govern to use their imperial executive powers to bring you to bay and gun you down in the streets.
With absolute impunity. The proof of that this power is absolute? Even Al Sharpton--who, public persona not withstanding is a highly intelligent man--kept his mouth shut.
Never, ever, forget Miriam Carey.