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View Diary: "Prosecutorial Gaps": The People Vs. The Justice Department (240 comments)

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  •  Seriously (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too

    You deny you've called for crowd-sourced citizen grand juries to indict people. Yet the words are there as plain as day:

    I call on legal experts (lawyers, judges, university professors), writers, researchers, students, and average citizens to form this crowd-sourced citizens' "Grand Jury" panel tasked with producing a "People's Indictment" if it is indeed found that these government functionaries violated both, the law, and their oath of office.
    When you can accept that you actually said that, I'd be willing to offer the opinion you requested. But, as of right now, we don't even have a basic foundation for discussing anything when you deny your own words.
    •  I've also indicated in this thread that I see that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, DeadHead

      exercise as symbolic, a sort of pressure tactic against those engaged in rampant corruption and criminality within the power structure. I stand by that call.

      What I haven't done is to allude to violence of any kind, nor to guillotines or the French Revolution. That is something injected into the discussion, that has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the diary.

      •  A few points (4+ / 0-)

        Your diary was excellent until you reached the central conclusion that you did - a call for crowd sourced citizen grand juries to deliver indictments. It was the central conclusion to your diary along with a call for protests. If you want to walk that back, fine.

        And I agree, you have NOT called for violence of any kind, or guillotines or a revolution.

        I was pointing out how your call for citizen grand juries was very much like what Robispierre implemented after the French Revolution with his tribunals. The parallels are striking.

      •  Do you think you can call for a revolution or a (7+ / 0-)

        "Peoples' Court" or any other type of mass movement without considering the consequences of your tactics?  There is no question that history shows that mob actions can result in more harm to the very people the action was intended to benefit.  So why do you consistently refuse to discuss your tactics and whether or not they will be effective and/or harmful?

        To forestall your constant refrain of, "What do you think about the point I'm making in the diary about rampant abuse and failure to prosecute bankers" lets put it to rest with a simple, "I agree with you about that".  As do probably every commenter here who is questioning your tactics.  Seriously, what is the point of the diary if not to come up with some way to fix the problem you are talking about.  And what is the problem with people pointing out that your "fix" has some real potential downside.  It would be a pretty simplistic and ineffective leader who didn't look at history and the prior actions of revolutionary groups to test his own hypothesis against.  Instead of pretending that there isn't a bad history associated with exactly the kind of people's tribunals you suggest why not defend your proposed action and tell us how you have reasoned that it will be different.  Why not show us you have thought about it deeply and studied this sort of action and explain to us why culturally and physically it could happen in a beneficial way?  Or maybe you are just throwing it out there because you don't really know what to do about the problem.  So you offer simplistic, not very well thought out solutions or tactics.  The problem Ray, is not that people don't know there is a problem.  That's why your writings can be popular within a certain group.  There are lots of people who like to be told they are right.  The real problem though is what to do about it.  That is why the problem can't be easily fixed.  If you want to be a real "leader" of this movement then start giving real, carefully thought out ways to fix it.  Otherwise accept that your target audience is people who already agree with you and who have no interest in really addressing the problem in a meaningful way.

        "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

        by stellaluna on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:47:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's been told before (4+ / 0-)
          * [new]  Perhaps the answer lies in the fact... (9+ / 0-)
          ...that people aren't just talking to you when they write a comment; they are talking to whoever is here: lurkers; new visitors; people who haven't visited your diaries before.

          It so happens that I don't disagree with everything in your diaries. In fact, I agree with a lot of what's in them. But I don't see much of anything new in those diaries. And other than a general call to activism—which large numbers of Kossacks are already engaged in across a broad range of issues—which you present in a know-it-all tone that often has an implicit undercurrent of I-can-see-it-why-can't-you-all, I don't see much in the way of specifics in that call.

          I don't know about your other raders, but I want something concrete, some substantial, something that says this (or that) should be the target of our actions. The list of possibilities is long, from police brutality to the cessation of fossil fuel extraction and burning, from populist economic restructuring to an end of imperial foreign policy. Which of those matter most in your view, and what kind of actions will most likely bear fruit?  

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 01:59:05 AM EST

          •  I am coming to the conclusion, that despite (4+ / 0-)

            protestations to the contrary, true progressives aren't the ones who have to write diaries about authoritarianism and be praised for being insightful.  True progressives are the ones out there trying to make a difference.  Just creating noise isn't making a difference--whether it's ineffectual protests or blog writing.

            "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

            by stellaluna on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:30:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Is that an appeal to authority? I think that we (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DeadHead

            all recognize MB's contribution to the site, but when it comes to the comment threads he's just another commenter, right?
             

            •  Evening (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hey338Too

              No.

            •  Actually, as a veteran of decades of radical (0+ / 0-)

              activism, including a stint as a member of the Weatherman faction of SDS, MB has a wealth of practical experience and knowledge that extends well beyond rhetorical posturing.

              He's a valuable resource for anyone who is seriously interested in avoiding the pitfalls that have derailed progressive and radical politics in the past.

              So no, he is not "just another commenter".

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:11:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  FTR, I was NEVER a member of the Weather faction.. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador, WB Reeves, fcvaguy

                ...I was a member of SDS from 1965-1969 and argued with the Weather faction. I was opposed to Weather's bombing campaign. Weather was one of the pitfalls, as at least one of its key leaders—Mark Rudd—has since made clear.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:28:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My apologies. This is an egregious error on my (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hey338Too, Meteor Blades, fcvaguy

                  part. Evidently, I either misunderstood or had a false recollection of a previous comment of yours that I read. I certainly didn't intend to suggest that you had any part in the violent actions later taken by the Weather Underground, as opposed to the earlier faction fights within SDS.

                  FTR, this misrepresentation is entirely my fault and my responsibility. If I could delete it I would. Perhaps it should be hidden.

                  Again, my profound apologies.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:02:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  My apologies. This is an egregious error on my (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy

                  part. Evidently I misunderstood or had faulty recall of a comment of yours on this topic that I had read previously. I certainly had no intention of suggesting that you had any part in the Weather Underground's violent actions, rather than the earlier faction fights in SDS.

                  If I could delete the comment I would. Perhaps it should be hidden.

                  Again, my profound apologies.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:10:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  What's your problem? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            Seriously.

            You just got done giving me shit for supposedly "bullying" and "harassing" you for posting like, two comments that mentioned Tortmaster's hide-rating abuse, and yet here you are, in this thread, doing something that looks a lot more like badgering and "bullying" than anything anyone's been doing to you.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

            by DeadHead on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:21:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting to see the repetition. Either (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea

          way...  Check this out:

          Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements by Bill Moyer

          Social movements involve a long-term struggle between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the population.  Before social movements begin, most people are either unaware that a problem exists or don't believe that they can do anything about it.  They believe the powerholder's societal myths and support the high-sounding official policies and practices, all of which seem to be consistent with the culture's deeply held held values and beliefs...

          ~snip~

          The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public.  First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists.  Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed.  And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.

          [The emphasis is mine]

          On resistance movement non-violent tactics:
          A great source of information about non-violent direct action is in the work of Gene Sharp.  Here's a biographical article about him published by The New York Times in 2011: "Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution"
          Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt.

          ~Snip~

          When the nonpartisan International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which trains democracy activists, slipped into Cairo several years ago to conduct a workshop, among the papers it distributed was Mr. Sharp’s “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a list of tactics that range from hunger strikes to “protest disrobing” to “disclosing identities of secret agents.”

          On why there is a need to rise up in protest:
          The Last Gasp of American Democracy by Chris Hedges

          This is our last gasp as a democracy. The state’s wholesale intrusion into our lives and obliteration of privacy are now facts. And the challenge to us—one of the final ones, I suspect—is to rise up in outrage and halt this seizure of our rights to liberty and free expression. If we do not do so we will see ourselves become a nation of captives.

          ~snip~

          The object of efficient totalitarian states, as George Orwell understood, is to create a climate in which people do not think of rebelling, a climate in which government killing and torture are used against only a handful of unmanageable renegades. The totalitarian state achieves this control, Arendt wrote, by systematically crushing human spontaneity, and by extension human freedom. It ceaselessly peddles fear to keep a population traumatized and immobilized. It turns the courts, along with legislative bodies, into mechanisms to legalize the crimes of state.

          On why it is going to happen (and it is happening), I'll leave you with this:

        •  nailed it (0+ / 0-)

          I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

          by jbou on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:43:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So, status quo arguments win the day. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          Ugh.

          Something needs to be done.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:52:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Regarding the 3 to 5 percent needed for a movement (0+ / 0-)
          "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict"
          For more than a century, from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals. By attracting impressive support from citizens, whose activism takes the form of protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent noncooperation, these efforts help separate regimes from their main sources of power and produce remarkable results, even in Iran, Burma, the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories.

          Combining statistical analysis with case studies of specific countries and territories, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan detail the factors enabling such campaigns to succeed and, sometimes, causing them to fail. They find that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement and commitment, and that higher levels of participation contribute to enhanced resilience, greater opportunities for tactical innovation and civic disruption (and therefore less incentive for a regime to maintain its status quo), and shifts in loyalty among opponents’ erstwhile supporters, including members of the military establishment.

          I do find it amazing that the things that actual studies and research show to be effective are the very things a handful of people here in this thread are trying to discourage the most (with several posts each).
          Indeed, Mark Lichbach, a professor of government and politics, has written in The Rebel’s Dilemma, that when more than 5 percent of the population engages in sustained, coordinated civil disobedience, few governments can remain in power whether they are a dictatorship or a democracy. The path to reaching this 5 percent begins when people who are already active in resistance build solidarity and draw more people to the movement. As more people see the movement growing and that there is a strategy to win, they will have the confidence to join it. Achieving the 5 percent tipping point with a diverse cross-section of society then becomes well within reach.
          •  ad hominem derail (3+ / 0-)
            Regarding the 3 to 5 percent needed for a movement...

            I do find it amazing that the things that actual studies and research show to be effective are the very things a handful of people here in this thread are trying to discourage the most (with several posts each).

            What, specifically, are those "things," and how is a handful of people trying to discourage them? You have described your discussion of the citizens' grand jury as the "central call to action" of the diary; are you now asserting that "actual studies and research" support that proposal? If so, how?

            Are you asserting that Chenoweth and Stepan support your point about 3-5%? If so, can you support that assertion?

            Can you support the assertion that Lichbach said what he here is purported to have said? Do you think that "X says that Y says that Z" is a strong argument for Z?

            The deflections from substance are hard to overlook.

            "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:35:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Final point... Would you not agree that there (0+ / 0-)

              seems to be a pattern where if I engage with a handful of users (I estimate 5 to 6 in each diary), that the debate seems to go into some sort of circular argument that goes on forever?

              Let's set aside the issue of who is to blame for that.  I'm not going to argue that it is the fault of the tiny group of users who post several dozens messages each in all my diaries consistently, or whether it is my fault.

              Let's just focus on the circular argument trend.

              So what I'm going to do, in order to avoid these endless circular argument debates is not to engage this tiny group of persistent users, ever (if I can help it, of course).

              That way I won't contribute to the derailment of the diaries.

              Anyways, this diary is old news by now.  On to the next one...

              •  failure to engage noted (4+ / 0-)

                If people ask questions, and you refuse to answer them, and people repeat the questions, and you still refuse to answer them, that isn't a "circular argument." It isn't even an argument. (A circular argument is one in which the conclusion simply restates a premise.)

                Certainly there is a pattern of your making unsupported allegations about, in this case, "a tiny group of users who post several dozens messages each in all my diaries consistently." We can add that to the pile of your unsupported assertions, except that it is more easily fact-checked. Arguably you "consistently" post several dozen messages each in all your diaries; arguably not. Nobody else does.

                I accept your concession of the points I've raised in this thread. I won't mind if you ignore my posts, since you rarely seem to have a substantive response anyway, and the non-substantive responses are getting pretty tedious.

                "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 11:11:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Ray, its more than a tiny group (3+ / 0-)

                For instance, in your September 2013 diary on the Rec Police, over 50 folks commented critically.  The common theme was they agreed with a lot of what you diaried, but the vitriol in your responses to comments was driving folks away.

                “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                by 6412093 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:14:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, let them know if they won't hold people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        accountable, WE CAN.

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:51:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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