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I was stuck by the diversity of causes and messages I've seen over the past week - in person and in photos and videos.  There have been some compelling messages - and many far too many that are seemingly unrelated to the cause at hand or outright incoherent.

The "99%" label used by the Occupy Wall Street movement is something that resonates - It is a good summary in some ways:  

The majority getting poorer as the minority gets richer.  

may be one way of looking at it but "What do the Protestors Want?" is a question I've heard from others.  I haven't seen a short coherent answer to that question, but I think I've found it.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Follow me after the fold

If I am held accountable for being unable to pay my mortgage.....

If I am held accountable for being unable to pay my bills - credit card, student loans, whatever.....

If I am held accountable if I do a bad job at work and am fired......

If I am held accountable when I break the law - be it running a stop sign or robbing a store.....

If I am held accountable for ANY crime I commit.....

Why isn't EVERYBODY held to the same standard?

Why was it OK for a mortgage broker to lie to me about the terms of my mortgage?

Why was it OK for a bank to foreclose on my mortgage when it didn't own the mortgage?  

Why was it OK for a Wall Street firm to package that mortgage into a security and lie about it's value and safety?  

Why was it OK for that same firm to place a 'bet' AGAINST that very same security with a Credit Default Swap that would pay off if that SECURITY defaulted?

Why was it OK for my bank to ask for - and GET - millions of dollars in 0% 'loans' from the government when it turns out that THEY couldn't pay THEIR bills?..... when THEY were far more in debt than me without any means to pay that debt?

Why was it OK for banks and brokerage firms to sell worthless - or near worthless - securities, 'assets' they could NOT sell elsewhere for ANY price, to the government or Federal Reserve for far more than they were worth?

Why are firms 'too big to fail'?  

If capitalism rewards those who make profits it also penalizes those who LOSE money.
But this hasn't happened.

I am held accountable if I make bad decisions (or even through simple 'bad luck') and go bankrupt.  Why aren't banks and Wall Street Firms?

Why are executives who headed companies that did so poorly left in their jobs?

Why are people that were paid huge salaries and bonuses based on fraudulent performance allowed to keep that money?

The '99%'  knows that they WILL be held accountable if they do something wrong.  
Hell, 700 people were arrested for not staying on the sidewalk Saturday.

Why aren't people arrested for stealing millions of dollars through outright fraud?

But people like Angelo Mozilla - former CEO of Countrywide Mortgage - walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars even though it is on record that he thought what his company was doing was wrong in writing mortgages it should not have been. He knew that the mortgages being written were based on fraudulent information.   He KNEW what his company was doing was wrong but he got to pay a (relatively) small fine and kept the majority of what he earned running that company.  Government did not hold him accountable.

Government did not hold firms that committed fraud accountable.

Government did not hold firms that were bankrupt accountable - it kept them from going broke with OUR tax money (does government really have any other sources of income?)  It did so WITHOUT asking our  - the people's - permission.

Government allows firms that manipulate markets, violate rules and regulations and otherwise 'cheat' to do so without accountability.

You have had massive manipulation in oil markets, metals markets, the regular stock market.  High frequency trading makes sure that you will pay the most possible when buying and get the least possible when selling.  Even when regulations ARE mandated by law their implementation is put off.  But no matter.  Existing laws and regulations are not enforced.

People and companies that violated the law, ignored regulations and created a financial mess that has affected the whole world have NOT been held accountable.

I suspect that 'the 99%' believe that EVERYONE (people, companies, everyone) should be held accountable for their actions.
.
.

This concept goes far beyond our current financial mess - and indeed perhaps goes farther back into American politics.  Pardoning a President for clear violations of law, never fully investigating and making public the extent of those violations has led to a mindset that some truly ARE above the law.

After all we pardoned people selling drugs to fund efforts that Congress specifically REFUSED to fund with Iran-Contra.

We have not even seen fit to investigate how this nation went to war in violation of International Law - based on fictional justifications.

We have refused to investigate how and why national leaders approved the use of torture, indefinite detention and other in clear violations of International Law - things we tried and CONVICTED and IMPRISONED others for after WWII.
.
.

The rule of law exists only when it applies to ALL equally.

ACCOUNTABILITY

It exists or it does not.
.
.

Engraved on the Department of Justice is :  

WHERE LAW ENDS TYRANNY BEGINS

If only 99% of the population are accountable for their actions, if laws only apply to 99% of the population, then there is no law.  There is only the pretense of law and all that exists in Anglo-Saxon law from the MagnaCarta through to the US Constitution has become moot.  

"Equality Under the Law" is a fundamental and inviolate part of our legal system.  

You have it or you do not.

I postulate that we do not and people know it.

Their government refuses to enforce the law and is complicit in its violation.  
The people simply want the government to do what it is supposed to do:

UPHOLD THE LAW - for everyone

The people want government to hold EVERYONE equally accountable under the law.

It's really a simple message.

Originally posted to xrepub on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight, Inherent Human Rights, and Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (137+ / 0-)
    •  I like it too! (15+ / 0-)

      Do unto others..

      "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

      by roseeriter on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:15:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  We just have to make sure it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SuWho, mithra

          doesn't get twisted to focus on the Obama admin for not prosecuting (which becomes more fuel for right wingers) but keep the focus on the financial criminals themselves.

          Through loud protests by the 99%, the government may be forced to hold the financial elite accountable.

          Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

          by Happy Days on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:58:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why? (22+ / 0-)

            If we exempt our favored political groups from the concept of accountability, we have no moral standing to demand it of others.  This is why OWS is fundamentally non-partisan, because both major parties are hugely culpable in the current lack of accountability and if you aren't willing to apply the principle of accountability fairly and universally, you have completely missed the point of demanding accountability.  The excuse that if we cannot demand accountability in an unbiased way because it will or might negatively influence the next election cycle is a bald repudiation of the entire concept of accountability.

            Either everyone is to be held equally accountable or the effort is meaningless, just more craven ad hoc rationalization.  Holding your own to a lower standard is contemptible and unprincipled.

            Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

            by Kurt Sperry on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:08:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You misunderstand the point I was trying to make (4+ / 0-)

              no doubt because I didn't communicate it effectively.

              I am not advocating a biased standard of accountability.  
              And in fact I agree that we should pressure to prosecute.  

              I'm just saying that the focus of the outrage should be aimed against the banksters and their crimes.

              I want to see an outpouring against the banksters who have bought the government.

              Outrage against the auctioning of our government to the powerful monied interests.

              The government is capable of reforming itself if there is sufficient public pressure and outrage at the corruption of the system by the financial elite.

              It should not be turned into an anti-government screed but should be focused on those who have corrupted our government.

              Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

              by Happy Days on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:54:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What if the government is also corrupt? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kurt Sperry, Happy Days, wasatch

                Sure...there are a few good politicians, but when the majority of them are bought and paid for by Wall Street then they are a part of the problem and deserve criticism.

                I understand your point, but the problem is CORRUPTION, not government itself.

                "Fundamentalism doesn't work in government any better than it does in religion. Both are gifts to tyrants" - Jonathan Odell

                by legendmn on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:38:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  How (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jimreyn, Happy Days, green917

                though does one plausibly compartmentalize the culpability of the bankers from those who protect them and seem to reliably do their bidding?  I see common purpose between the thieves and the system they have paid into to corrupt. Once the Goldman Sachs donations clear the bank, the distinction becomes essentially meaningless.  How morally bankrupt does one need be to claim the need to be pushed into upholding the law and one's oath of office?  

                Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

                by Kurt Sperry on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:42:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you keep the pressure on the culpability of (0+ / 0-)

                  Wall Street, that puts pressure on the politicians and gives them "cover" to clean up the system--to pass legislation that gets the money out of politics.

                  The good ones hate all the time they have to spend on fund raising and would love not to have to raise all that money--but under the system as it is now, any politician who doesn't pay attention to fund raising will not be in office for long if at all.

                  The problem starts with the money in the system corrupting the system, and it has to be reformed.

                  Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                  by Happy Days on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 05:22:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Happy Days are you hearing what you're saying? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kurt Sperry, Happy Days, green917
                focused on those who corrupted our government.
                So we focus on the people who corrupted our pristine politicians but not on the corrupt politicians? I don't see how you do one without the other.

                Loved this diary! Accountability, what a novel idea. Funny how just one word can say so much about the right way to fix this country.

                •  I agree--I love this diary, too. And in some (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wasatch

                  comments on YouTube I used "Accountability" frame to good effect in standing up for what OWS represents.

                  My point is just one of applying communication strategically. By keeping the focus on Wall Street and the corrupting influence of money, it creates a climate to clean up the system.

                  Now that the media is paying attention, Republicans want to spin OWS as a protest against the Obama administration.  

                  Newt Gingrich has already begun this spin, saying the demonstrations are against "Obama's failed leadership."

                  "I think they have a lot of good reasons to be unhappy and I think we ought to indicate that their unhappiness should be aimed at the government. Because its the government's that's failed them."  Gingrich
                  “The challenge to Republicans is simple,” Gingrich said. “We have to remind them that in America, you get to create a revolution every two years. It’s called an election”  Gingrich

                  Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                  by Happy Days on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 05:32:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  The other half of "accountability" is "consequence (8+ / 0-)

      s." The whole fucking problem is that the bastards who are stealing all the Real Wealth, building these cloud-cuckoo-castles for themselves, inflating one bubble after another, and looking far forward to when they are once again hereditary aristocracy and we are nothing but untenured serfs, have been able to render themselves free of any consequences that matter to them.

      For little kids, doing what they do to push the envelope of their freedom and running up against a parent who loves them but doesn't want to be known as the progenitor of a psychopath or sociopath, there are consequences.

      For teenagers, whose folks love them and hope to help them develop empathy and social responsibility and notions of citizenship and ethical behavior, there are consequences.

      For the fucking MBA or some math whiz from MIT who conjures up an incomprehensible "product," a derivative of a derivative of a derivative, or some fucking CEO who sends down the orders to squeeze more labor out of fewer workers for less pay, and gets his compensation committee to leverage a huge payday for himself for ZERO performance, there are no fucking consequences.

      Because at the scale where this stuff happens now, the catalytic effects of huge money on the condensing of power, the ability to write the law so that every kind of bad act is now "not illegal" any more. to manage the public perception and obscure the evil that these men (and women, of course) do, my bet is that even if tens of millions of us are in the streets, trying to bring Spring to the Winter of our Dispossession and Discontent, these agile, mobile, self-centered, gluttonous few will just take the markers of wealth that the rest of us still accept as payment for our work and our products and migrate to some blessed climate. Via private jet. With security force in tow.

      Because there are no consequences.

      I know that consequences ought to be implicit in the notion of accountability. But how many successful arguments that a Rich Person has "suffered enough by damage to reputation" and thus ought, even if convicted of one of the remaining crimes on the books not erased by regulatory-capture rub-outs, by fined a few bucks and given a "community service" sentence, does it take to establish that the Rule of Law is just another game of Three Card Monte, where us mopes on the street side of the table keep laying down our $20 bills and getting fleeced by the sharpies behind the table?

      (and for you fainting hearts who are all worried about the integrity of the progressive vision, THIS IS NOT A CALL FOR VIOLENCE. It's just another voice demanding that our "Justice Department" and the rest of the apparatus that is supposed to stabilize our society get off the Yoo-train and start dispensing that increasingly rare commodity.)

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:39:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very well stated - certainly doesn't read as (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jimreyn, jm214, wasatch

        a "call for violence".

        However, those who work so hard to escape both accountability and consequence would be fools to ignore history: certainly, plenty of truly vile people have made it through life on this plane without getting their richly-deserved comeuppance, but the fact remains that when all legal means of recourse are foreclosed to the wronged masses, then the guilty who DO eventually face consequences will tend to find that those consequences are FAR more unpleasant than the justice that would have been dispensed in a more equitable society.

        Which is all the more reason to make sure that both accountability and consequences are demanded equally regardless of ones wealth or station.

    •  I like the idea (5+ / 0-)

      of getting this down to a simple concept or a word with a singular focus that has the potential to bring together both sides of the political spectrum to stand shoulder to shoulder until changes are made.

      The fairness in the application of the rule of law is central to a Democracy. Anything less and we see moral and economic breakdown occurring as we see it now. Cheating, lying and stealing have become goals instead of descriptions of law breaking.

      If the OWS could take a moment and think about all the messaging failures of the past from the left it always comes down to a long list that is different from person to person and would take hours to describe only to be lost in memory or turned off in the first 10 seconds. The  end results discourage people from getting involved.

      Right now it seems , people are competing to describe what it is they want changed. To me, It's real simple; arrest and prosecute the people in those buildings and in govt who have enabled them.

      A single word can be used in a banner across the street from the DOJ and the FBI, in front of the FED and treasury to remind people that there are a cast of thousands who have deliberately turned their heads to allow crimes to be committed where they are /were responsible for stopping it.  

      It may also , at long last make some people wake up and take action against this seemingly invincible power they have faced, which have ruined careers and lives of those who have stood up to them because they see they are no longer alone.

      One power packed word or simple phrase with thousands of protestors all the way across the political aisle chanting it and demanding action will put the  people on notice who committed these crimes in the private and public sector that their time is coming.  If we have learned nothing else, politicians will only act if their future is at stake. Individuals may roll over to be first inline to turn state's evidence.

      OWS is making them slightly nervous. A laser beam like focus on justice for all will invade the space that they have occupied which makes them believe they can break the law to their advantage with impunity. This is what they are nervous about. Not the demonstrations as of today, but in the near future that it gets focused like a laser beam on them.

      It starts and stops with the banks and their enablers. Stop them with a word or a phrase and change the world. .

  •  You shouldn't be able to BUY 'justice' (27+ / 0-)

    You shouldn't be able to BUY the Law

    You shouldn't be able to BUY government

    Add those to the 'equality'  theme

  •  Well stated. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:34:13 AM PDT

  •  We have become subjects to a new aristocracy (16+ / 0-)

    We have been - the 99% - rendered a subject class to the 1% of wealth and power.  A class of money who own and operate a political class - and who use the latter to keep us subjects.

  •  Here's part of the problem: (9+ / 0-)

    Recently, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), usually regarded a right-leaning organization, released its 2011 list of the ten most corrupt members of Congress:

    Rep. Charles Bass R-NH
    Rep. Vern Buchanan R-FL
    Steve Ficher R-TN
    Michael Grimm R-NY
    Frank Guinta R-NH
    Gregory Meeks D-NY
    Nick Rahall D-WV
    Laura Richardson D-CA
    David Rivera R-FL
    Hal Rogers R-KY
    Jean Schidt R-OH
    David Vitter R-LA
    Joe Walsh R-IL
    Maxine Waters D-CA

    We need to throw these bums out, even the Dems.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:24:40 AM PDT

  •  Without Honor there is No System (25+ / 0-)

      I asked John Edwards in 2007, "would you support impeachment of Bush/Cheney for war crimes, profiteering, and torture?"
        He said, "Impeachment? We tried that before and all it did was stop all the other business on the Hill. Is that what you want?"
        I said, "How can anybody do any kind of business without a rule of law?"
        He said, "Next question!"

    So there you are, Democrats- that's how low the bar goes. Can we raise it please?

    •  Not sure about the irony there (3+ / 0-)

      But you were asking ...... John Edwards ......

      Can't think of many people less honorable than that.

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:53:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  which is part of my point. (11+ / 0-)

        at that time if you said he was cheating, people said shut up, and even when the Enquirer finally outed him people said we don't want to hear it and it's only the Enquirer. Denial runs deep even among Democrats.

        You should have heard the nasty snarly tone of voice he used when he said to me "Is that what you want?" As if the weight of the entire economy and people's fortune's rested momentarily upon my shoulders, and would fall unless I was willing to compromise with the Truth as apparently he was.

        He may think he can bully people and always get away with it, but in this case I could feel the audience cringe and quietly take my side, not because they agreed with me, although some of them did, but because his tactic was underhanded and wrong.

        I hope he does have to pay back the money for lying so hard and so long to so many.

        •  the 21st century US senator has no idea what (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ErikO, nuclear winter solstice

          "justice" really is...it's not only george bush I who has no idea what a quart of milk costs...these people, from both parties, are members of an exclusive club, a club that lives in a gilt-lined bubble of wealth and entitlement...john edwards? i liked some the words that came out of his mouth, but i could see he was a slimeball - that was an easy one

          Kick a "job creator" in the balls today!

          by memofromturner on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:27:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I can't help but notice the irony (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jm214, nuclear winter solstice

      that all business on the Hill was stopped anyway.  So much for that reason!  

      By the way, what prior occasion was he talking about?  It can't be Clinton, because he said "we."  

    •  oh dear, without dropping Iran/Contra (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nuclear winter solstice

      we might not have seen the returning of criminals to the scene of the crime that was Bush/Cheney.

      The abuses of power just get worse when the abusers are not held accountable.
      You thought Bush/Cheney crossed lines? Wait til you see what the next R administration will try. The bar just keeps getting lower each round, because there are never any consequences!
      Except to us, and people around the world.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

      by wasatch on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:24:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  like killing some germs but not the strongest ones (0+ / 0-)

        Iran/Contra was the incomplete antibiotic dose that produced the super-bugs in our system today.

        Meanwhile, I was talking to some college students recently who thought that Oliver North was just that nice old guy from the History Channel.

        But in the end, it's like the attorney for Arthur Anderson said, "there's not a shred of evidence..."

  •  Accountabilty is sometime not reality (0+ / 0-)

    Lots of these companies will face heavy civil fines  for thier past trangression, these protest will never have the influence of the legal system ,if the people incharge really want too  make these big bank accountable ,they have the power now to make them pay fines and  for  other past criminal activities

  •  Yup (6+ / 0-)
    We have refused to investigate how and why national leaders approved the use of torture, indefinite detention and other in clear violations of International Law - things we tried and CONVICTED and IMPRISONED others for after WWII.

    The American people have a responsibility, to stand up and say that they will not accept anything less than legal accountability for torture, from the top down.

    That is the way it will happen.

                  Standing for justice and accountability,
                                 For Dan,
                                 Heather

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:45:22 AM PDT

  •  The new DoJ seal (8+ / 0-)

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:53:40 AM PDT

  •  DING DING DING! (18+ / 0-)

    This is what I have been waiting for. A lot of the rhetoric comes across as very commie- protesting those who have more simply because they have more. That is not a problem to me. The problem was how. They obtained unequal wealth through fraud and were rewarded further for it instead of being forced to pay their debt to society.

    With investment, higher yield typically requires higher risk. These companies are risking more than their own money. They are risking damage to the nation's economy much the same way BP risked damaging tourism and fishing industries in the gulf. These financial companies have polluted our economy through fraud. Instead of being forced to clean it up, they are rewarded for it. It would be as if the government gave BP a bailout to clean up the oil spill.

  •  Accountability is a good word (13+ / 0-)

    There are others, but keeping it simple - I can live with this as a one-word meme.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:15:40 AM PDT

  •  Accountability is a good start (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt Sperry, SuWho, wasatch

    I think we want a little bit more than that though.

    I think we want to be free to act collectively for the collective good of the whole country, and we want government to take a role in this.

    I think we want the wealth of the nation to be more fairly distributed, and we want government to take a role in this.

    I think we want to put people to work, for the good of themselves, their communities, and the nation, and to the extent that the private sector can't or won't get it done, we want government to take a role in this.

    I think we want the predator class restrained, so they don't do so much damage to average folks who just want to work hard and play fair without getting trashed for being like that, and we think government should take a role in this.

    •  I disagree, for now. Keep it simple! (5+ / 0-)

      ALMOST ANYBODY, regardless of party affiliation, will agree with the concept of accountability the way this diary lays it out.  I want all the things you've enumerated, too (and then some!), but many Americans disagree.  The beauty of the "accountability" concept is that it isn't just simple, it's universal.  

      •  I understand your point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        There's a lot to be said for a simple, powerful moral argument that (almost) everyone can agree with no matter where they stand on the political spectrum.

        But I think retribution alone is not enough. Making the wrongdoers suffer consequences is not enough.

        I think we do need to make the connection between the wrongful acts of the "banksters" and the policies that enabled them; and between those policies and the wrong-headed ideology from which they derive.

        •  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jimreyn

          our goverment is bought.  Dems, repubs, indies, and I-don't-give-a-shits (a much larger group now BECAUSE our government is purchased) all know it.  

          Finding a way to harness all of that energy into a true change is the challenge.  It has been for decades.

          Can we outlaw iProducts and Hulu?  Just for a couple of years, until we get people focused, instead of distracted with stupid toys?

    •  Accountability for the 1% and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch

      (equal) opportunity for the 99%.

      That is the flip side IMO.  It is not just about punishing the wrongdoing, but also providing relief/restitution and opportunity to those wronged.

      I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

      by DamselleFly on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:59:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Accountability is what all of this is all about. (11+ / 0-)

    It's the biggest issue on the table.  When there is no accountability, there is no JUSTICE!  There is no justice in America anymore, and people know it.  When there is no justice, anything becomes possible.  I'm expecting trouble with a capital T.  Maybe it's already here.

  •  I agree 100% and I'm conservative. I don't mean (7+ / 0-)

    to complain about the Wall Street protestors, but when I learned a little bit about what they were doing, one of my first thoughts was if they "tightened" up their message to something along the lines of what you stated, they could have reached out to tea partiers and joined together.  Can you imagine...hippies, lots of young students, and.....tea partiers in their RVs and funny hats.  
    Unless we (libs, cons, dems, repubs) find some common ground and acknowledge that all sides are at fault and start to work together we are headed for even more chaos.

    •  I can (7+ / 0-)
      Can you imagine...hippies, lots of young students, and.....tea partiers in their RVs and funny hats.  
      imagine it. I agree 1000% that we need to frame our cause in such a way as to drag in as many independents and "Sane teabaggers" (If indeed such folk even exist outside of the world of imagination). We need to find any common ground we can in order to put their zeal on our side for a change. "Accountability" is the kind of buzzword we should be hearing from them.

      I like this a lot. Accountability is a one-word frame that covers many sins and wrongs, seizes the moral high ground, and conjures up visions what's really wrong with the system, with the added promise of true reform to come.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:43:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many conservatie Repubs and Independents (3+ / 0-)

      have been screaming for 'accountability.  Many who voted for Obama and Democrats in Congress are highly disappointed that they did NOT see anyone held accountable for all this.

      You had people going to PRISON after the Savings and Loan mess.

      Now.... you've got Madoff - whose Ponzi scheme fell apart - hard NOT to prosecute the blatantly obvious... an insider trading case (easier to prosecute a guy who's not 'American' - ethnic Indian, a 'foreigner'...) and a few other minor Insider trading cases....but anything really serious?  nah.....

      If we expected 'change' in terms of holding people accountable, we didn't get it.  We got more of the same in throwing money at failing companies and looking the other way when it came to legal action.

      Hell - the Obam Administration continued prosecution - and allowed imprisonment of the guy who bid on the oil and gas leases (rescineded by the Obama Admin) which Bush Never should have put up for auction.

  •  Justice = Politics, except for you and me n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smarty jones
  •  Dear kos: Frontpage this thing. That is all. nt (8+ / 0-)

    And if the Blue Sky Mining Company won't come to my rescue, if the sugar refining company won't save me, who's gonna save me?

    by Geenius at Wrok on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:40:26 AM PDT

  •  some animals are more equal than others (4+ / 0-)

    Our political and economic policymakers, in their misinformed ideology, decided that preserving certain financial institutions trumped everything, including democracy and the rule of law.  They have it exactly backwards.

    A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

    by eightlivesleft on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:41:31 AM PDT

  •  Sounds wonderful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, wasatch

    Sadly it'll happen when hell freezes over in this country...money has too much power.

    The only path I see to this happening anytime soon includes the following (or maybe this is just my masturbational fantasy of the America I'd want to live in):

    1.  Democrats (excluding blue dogs) and socialists take back the House and the Senate.  The filibuster is immediately destroyed, as well as all of the tricks that allow single senators to screw the system.

    2.  President Obama keeps the White House, and Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren succeeds him.  Alan Grayson would also be acceptable, or even Anthony Weiner as long as he's on a strictly no-sexting rule ;)

    3.  Obama fires Geithner and all other republicans and blue dogs in his administration.

    4.  Scalia and Thomas kick off or retire and are replaced with liberal (or at least impartial) justices.  Kennedy would help too, and I wouldn't cry a river if Roberts or Alito disappeared either.

    5.  Citizens United is categorically overturned and true campaign finance reform is enacted to get most or all moneyed special interests out of politics.  The electoral college is repealed and national fair rules on congressional district formation and campaign finance are created via a contitutional amendment.  Winner-take-all elections are replaced by ranked voting methods everywhere, and all electronic voting systems are required to have paper trails and open-source software.

    6.  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are ended, all troops brought home, and the military cut to half it's current size and a quarter of it's current budget.

    7.  State governorships and legislatures everywhere flip back to blue control, and campaign finance reform is applied there too.  California's super-majority requirement for tax changes is repealed.  Taxes in all states are changed from regressive to progressive.

    8.  Tax reform applies the social security tax to all income, including investment income, and the top tax rates are increased by 10% each.  All investment income is treated as income for tax purposes.  A financial transaction tax of 0.25% is applied worldwide, double that on "exotic" commodities and hedge funds.

    9.  Universal healthcare is instituted and for-profit insurance is relegated to niche markets such as plastic surgery and day-spa recovery centers.  Social security retirement age is reduced back to 65, and early retirement rules are relaxed for people with health conditions.

    10.  The Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, as well as several hundred more of their ilk are tossed in jail for crimes against humanity and the keys are thrown away.  Include Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, as well as almost the entire Bush administration in this count.

    Hrm - guess my comments turned into a bit of a diatribe...but I'm betting most of you agree with most of the above goals...

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:51:25 AM PDT

    •  We, us little 99%ers, hold more (0+ / 0-)

      power than many realize.  

      But, it will hurt a lot to truly change things.

      1.  Liquidate all 410(k)s and IRAs.  If you don't have the stomach for that, stop contributions completely.

      2.  Move all your money to a credit union or community bank.

      3.  Stop buying.  Completely.  Nothing outside of necessity.

      Take the one thing these monsters value above all else - money - and hoard it.

      •  I disagree with #1 and #3 (0+ / 0-)

        Without 401k's or IRAs there are no real alternative retirement investment vehicles for middle income people any more, since pensions are a thing of the past.  

        Granted they are abused and need to be better regulated so that they're not profit centers for wall street instead of for the workers.  Perhaps an alternative would be a government-sponsored retirement program (in addition to SocSec rather than replacement of it) with a guaranteed minimum return that people could choose to invest in.

        Re #3, it's great for a sustainable world but not particularly practical or palatable for most people.  It also would cause the world economy to crash or go into permanent recession.

        New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

        by sleipner on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:56:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I said it was going to hurt (0+ / 0-)

          for a while.  And, just so you know, we've put the equivalent of a 401(k) contribution into a savings account for the last 40 years.  We also have some stocks/bonds.  We lost nothing in 2008.  Not a penny.  And we do not have the time, inclination or education to play the stock market.  Too many think they do and get taken advantage of.  

          Wall Street just loves that neverending stream of money that comes in week after week after week.  Take it away.

          People in China lose jobs if we stop buying crap.  

        •  Answer to 401(k) (0+ / 0-)

          I'd suggest buying Treasury Notes.  As long as teh government is around, these are good.  Government goes away enough that your T-bill fails and you've got BIGGER problems than no retirement fund.

          It's basically betting that things will get better at some point.

          Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered." Member of the Liberal Gun Club

          by ErikO on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:19:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pretty good idea (0+ / 0-)

            but without the tax advantages of the IRA/Roth and the 401K you lose a lot of money up front.  Also most 401k's don't allow you to buy those.

            New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

            by sleipner on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:32:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  NO 401(k) (0+ / 0-)

              allow t-bill purchases.  They are private purchase.  If you have any method to divest your money from your 401(k), do it.

              Yes, you won't 'make' as much money, but after the last five years who has a 401(k) worth what is was six years ago?

              If we're trying to fight Wall Street, why give them money?

              When corps were offered the option of only paying a little bit into our retirements as opposed to 100% of it in the form of a pention, that is when things started going down hill.  

              The tax penalties for closing 401(k) accounts is a short-term pain that allows you much better freedom with your money.

              Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered." Member of the Liberal Gun Club

              by ErikO on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:37:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The gold and silver crowd may be right (0+ / 0-)

          While this has been a right wing thing - get over that and look closer.

          Like it or not the US dollar is losing value - MOST paper unbacked currencies are.  

          INFLATION is the POLICY of the Fed - they want a 'moderate' but continuous amount.  But even at their planned rates you're screwed and lose purchasing power.

          IF - and this is likely - they cannot control inflation and people lose faith in the $US, they will exchange it for ANYTHING else of TANGIBLE value.  You'll see the velocity of money go exponential - and inflation rates go into hyperdrive.  T-Bills are going to be  worthless if this happens.  Reality is that we CAN'T pay our national debt so what's going to happen?  Roll over to infinity - even at 1% interest you can't afford to do that.  

          right now you are seeing deflation in the cost of things you don't need - like new houses - and people are scared and not spending or have nothing TO spend.   BUT we've increased the money supply by an absurd amount - even though it's NOT currently circulating.  

          The gold and silver markets have been manipulated - DOWN - with the connivance of central banks trying to make paper money look stronger.  Too much to explain but many large banks are SHORT gold and silver as part of this effort.  You are seeing a lot of PAPER gold and silver traded in the form of ETF's and on markets like the COMEX but physical supplies are getting tighter and tighter.

          Yes, precious metals are worth only what others think they are worth - BUT others have thought they are worth something for thousands of years.  EVERY unbacked paper currency system the history of the world has eventually failed.  

          Putting some of your savings into gold and/or silver is a history proven way  of protecting our buying power.

          My opinion, do your own due diligence and buy wisely if you do.  Research before buying  - most firms that advertise are overpriced.  

          Would be really really ironic if the right wing conspiracy crowd turns out to be right on this one and emerged wealthier after a currency melt-down.

          The 'Buy Silver' crowd did some major damage to JPMorgan - massively short in silver - earlier in the year when they had to start covering shorts as the price headed up to new recent records.  The price of both gold and silver have been slammed down recently in PAPER markets - with massive naked short selling on commodities markets in off hours to accomplish this.  You also had some hedge funds selling their only profitable investments (gold and silver) to make 3rd quarter look better than the disaster it was.  

          But central banks are now buying gold - instead of selling.  Asis is loading up on both - fearing inflation.   China is converting paper $US into tangible assets - including metals - while no longer allowing the export of gold or silver.  They are  major refiner for both (dirty process) and are buying ore concentrate from all over - and keeping the refined metal now instead of re-exporting.

          Silver Eagle bullion coins have been setting sales records in the US.

          And by the way - that 90% silver quarter that LBJ said was no different than its replacement clad version is worth $5.50 in today's metal prices

          Gold and silver are value taken OUT of the financial system - and have NO 'counter-party' risk.  They are NOT a 'promise to pay from a government is creating more and more of these promises to pay.  Supply.  Demand.  More of something with the same demand - lower value.  

          Paper money USED to be a promise to pay GOLD or SILVER.
          Our Constitution FORBID paper money when written because the founding fathers saw the value of 'Continentals' plummet - with only speculators receiving any real value in the end.   They defined the value of the $US in gold and in silver.

          If you look at inflation rates they started going through the roof when Nixon abrogated Bretton Woods and made it possible to print dollars unbacked by anything.  FDR confiscated Gold because you could not print more money without having gold in the vaults to back it - even if only fractionally.   No FDIC and people were hoarding currency - no money to transact business.  You could not simply spend what did not exist and what you could not create.

          Now there are no limits at all on creating more $US.

          Do your own research but Silver has more upside potential.  Used up in industrial applications but less and less stockpiles around.  Price was kept down for years by industrial users who got the US to sell off its strategic stockpile cheap.  Mined as a BYPRODUCT of mining other metals - slowdown in the world economy, less copper, lead and zinc mined - less sliver coming out as well.

          •  Gold & silver are WAY overvalued (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            white blitz

            only reason they're so hot right now is the hysteria in the stock market and the lack of viable alternatives.  I personally believe both will crash hard when the markets stabilize in a year or three and/or interest rates on CD's go back up.

            If you bought either a year or two ago you're doing good, but now (imo) it would be stupid to buy either.

            New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

            by sleipner on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 05:06:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I beg to differ (0+ / 0-)

              Equities would be in the toilet if not for all the money thrown at the banks and Wall Street which got forwarded into the market to provide the illusion of improvement.... the plunge protection guys have been working overtime... I was at the Fed for the 87 crash and on Wall Street for a few years after.... it's a rigged game.  Equities will look good with inflation but then the Zimbabwe Stock Market was the best performing market in the world  if you simply looked at the numbers.....

              Bonds"  even if they are safe - if you really think the issuer will pay off when due, the interest paid is STILL way behind the real inflation rate NOW.  If inflation really shoots up - and sadly I think it's impossible for it not to.... your investment is worthless.

              Real Estate?  That bubble's debris has yet to be cleaned up.... eventually - when cheap enough, you swap assets and buy VALUE - good farmland, rental properties....   but not yet.

              HARD assets - necessary commodities - are one place to invest though expect wild swings.  

              But the appeal to precious metals is that you are OUT of the current financial system and there is no counterparty risk.  

              Metals got slammed in the last month and are relatively cheap at the moment - but demand for physical is high.  

              Heavy hitters are using gold to preserve wealth and silver for appreciation  -  they're more than happy to scare others out of their holdings.  

              You don't put all of your savings there - just a core 'safety', 'just-in-case' amount.

              Then you also invest in alcohol. long lasting food and ammo...... lol, just like the other survivalists.  I was told that garbage bags and hygiene products are also good.

  •  GREAT Diary! (6+ / 0-)

    I so like that one word demand - "Accountability" - for a couple of different reasons.

    First, what you're really talking about is being treated equally; that the 1% should be treated the same as the 99%.  But "equality" just sounds like milquetoast evenhandedness.  "Accountability" means we want to stop people from getting away with something.  There is, inherent in the word, an accusation -- just as there should be.

    Second, "accountability" is the word that the apologists for the 1% have been throwing around every time they decide to take another slice out of the poor and middleclass's backsides.  "You shouldn't have borrowed money for a house you can't afford."  "You should have done better in school."  "You shouldn't be so lazy as to accept unemployment benefits -- get a job!"  And on and on and on.

    Hell, yes! let's take that word back.  "Accountability" should belong to us, because it's the 1% bastards - and not us - who have not been held to account.

    Thank you for this.

    Politics is the neverending story we tell ourselves about who we are as a people.

    by swellsman on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:13:25 AM PDT

  •  Accountability + Support (0+ / 0-)

    Equal, 100% accountability alone can be kind of cold.  I think corporations need to be at least as accountable as people for their actions, for sure, but I also think there has to be room for people to get help when they have problems.  

  •  "ACCOUNTABILITY" is perfect. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, Jane Lew, highacidity

    the massive nature of the crimes against the People of the United States of America have created a crisis in our country that nears crime against humanity level.  begin with accountability and a few obvious points.  once this gets rolling, other obvious points will follow.  

    the press wants something simple to tag this story.  let's pick "ACCOUNYABILITY", before the press picks something stupid.

  •  Slightly off topic... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, smarty jones, white blitz

    But the thing I wanted most from President Obama was accountability for the previous administration's crimes.  I think if that had happened, not only would the world be a better place, but Obama would have been held in higher esteem by many people, not just those on the left.

    The Democratic Party: Keeping Their Powder Dry Since 1968.

    by punkdavid on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:07:50 PM PDT

  •  Accountability is important. I recc'd your (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, Fossil

    diary, but lack of accountability for the top 1% or those supported by the top 1% is really a symptom of a bigger disease: Why aren't they held accountable?  My guess is that the top 1% are not held accountable is because they own and control everything.  Gods do not have to be accountable to mortals.  While accountability is vey important, I think it is also about fairness, and basic human decency.  To me, this is a war against the robber barons.

  •  To hold yourself accountable, you must first feel (0+ / 0-)

    that you have done something wrong.  That's what is missing in the corporatosphere -- they are convinced that making money in and of itself is a Primary Good.  They can justify anything you or I might call "evil" just by the mere fact that it makes money.  Derivatives, credit default swaps, CDOs, and all the rest of the gambling that we would say has wrecked lives and our economy, they would say were completely legitimate.  Not only legitimate, but really a moral good because they made money, and very successfully too.  Provided liquidity, greased the machine and all that.  So in their minds, what is there to be held accountable for?  They would just shrug and say why are all these people screaming at me?  I don't agree with or defend the notion, but we have to realize the big disconnect here.

  •  Accountability is for us little people. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch

    Funny that when one makes the right connections, goes to the right school, one is never allowed to fail.  Well, not funny, but actually horrible when the purpose of those lauded Eastern Universities is not to educate, but to create a cadre of people who are trained to expect economic riches as an entitlement.

    A nice reminder about how insulated from failure the economic terrorist class is an article by the NY Times about rewarding C.E.O.s that fail..  It's like these people feel entitled to win the lottery because of an accident of birth.  The lack of accountability cheapens actual knowledge, skill, and experience, and teaches all of us that actual work and success in what one does is economically meaningless.

    We are a culture of celebrity without accountability.  And, everybody, Obama included, who has the authority but fails to act and make the powerful accountable for their actions, is part of the problem.

    If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . . Barry Ritholtz.

    by Fossil on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:19:08 PM PDT

  •  Scapegoats are 'accountable' (0+ / 0-)

    A personal experience.

    I know an attorney who came from poor roots.  Puerto Rican growing up in the Bronx.  Strict parents.   Got through college and then Law School.

    Private practice - had some clients from the neighborhood who'd made it in professional sports, was doing fairly well.  Had traveled all over with some of these clients, a good life for a kid from the Bronx.

    His kid had some health issues - expensive ones - which may account for what happened.

    He was arrested not too long ago for fraud, at the time of the meltdown.  He was supposedly part of a group  buying houses and flipping them for ever increasing prices - eventually defaulting on mortgages.

    He pled not guilty while others apparently cut deals.  HE went to prison.  Nobody at the top of the group did.6

    Now, knowing him I really doubt that he was part of a knowing fraud.  He'd come too far and had too much to lose.  

    I CAN see that he was offered a deal - 'We need an attorney for our real estate business - easy work on closings.

    The others involved were pretty well off, powerful and connected (not in the mob sense - in the political one).  I could see him trusting these people and maybe even being a little flattered that they'd throw business his way.  And wWith all that had happened with this kid, I could see some appeal to easy money.

    He was from a neighborhood where 'you don't snitch' is the rule.  If innocent he was sure not going to plead otherwise and he sure wasn't going to cut a deal ratting out others.

    But it seems that those running the scheme were all too willing to throw anyone else to the wolves.

    Ironically this same attorney had once told me: 'The rich can get away with anything.'  

    I do NOT think he put himself in that group - he was far from 'rich' though he'd come far.   I think he forgot WHY the rich CAN 'get away with anything' - they have others take the fall FOR them.

    I suspect this guy trusted people too much - didn't look close enough at what was going on and got caught in a crime he had nothing to do with.  He was one of the sacrificial lambs when the scheme blew up.

  •  I think it's even simpler than that (0+ / 0-)

    In my opinion it comes down to the concept of Fairness.

    People, particularly those who are successful always like to point out how life isn't fair. But the recognition of what's fair is one of the most basic emotional understandings we have.

    A 4 year old doesn't understand the concepts of work and commitment or even reward but they get fair. Take two toddlers and give one two cookies and the other one and the one who received one understands intrinsically that this isn't fair.

    The question of accountability comes down to fairness.

    It isn't fair that we are held accountable for our misfortune while the ruling class is not.

    It isn't fair that we should lose our jobs to maintain the pay of the people who's poor decisions resulted in our job loss.

    I've often said that I'm a liberal because of my inborn sense of fair play.

    The disparity in accountability bothers us not because of any complicated rationalization but because it's obviously unfair.

    It's unfair that a family should lose their home as a result of a loan they were given under fraudulent terms while the banker who gave the loan is protected from consequences.

    It's unfair that the banks get bailed out for making poor investment decisions and the bankers who made those decisions get fat bonuses while we face bankruptcy do to our own poor credit/investment decisions.

    It's unfair that we should pay a higher percentage of taxes on incomes we worked to earn than those an investor got from sitting on their asses.

    It ain't fair and it ain't right. Of course we've been indoctrinated in this idea that it's "OK" that life isn't fair primarily by the same people who ensure that it remains so.

    Those same people who claim the poor are poor because they are lazy.

    I think the time is finally coming when sufficient evidence of this lack of fairness has become obvious that peoples stomach for it is reaching an end.

    Or to reference a rather significant document from our history.

    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

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