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In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis caused by the Wall Street criminal racketeering cartel, average American people lost over a quarter of their net worth.  According to WikiPedia, "[t]otal home equity in the United States, which was valued at $13 trillion at its peak in 2006, had dropped to $8.8 trillion by mid-2008 and was still falling in late 2008. Total retirement assets, Americans' second-largest household asset, dropped by 22 percent, from $10.3 trillion in 2006 to $8 trillion in mid-2008."

Aside from the ruination of millions of people's lives when it comes to their economic security, the result of what could be argued represents one of the biggest systematic looting and pillaging in world history, included a sharp rise in suicide rates.

According to a BMJ study, in 2009 there were approximately 5,000 excess suicides as a result of the 2008 financial crisis (in 54 countries studied).

The 2008 economic crisis has had a far reaching impact on countries around the world. Turmoil in the banking sector led to downturns in stock markets, bankruptcies, housing repossessions, and rises in unemployment. The International Labour Organization estimated that the number of jobless worldwide reached about 212 million in 2009, an increase of 34 million compared with 2007.1 The World Health Organization has raised concern over the crisis’ impact on global health and called for integrated multisectoral actions to closely monitor and protect health, in particular among poor and vulnerable people.2

[The emphasis is mine]

The devastation caused by this massive crime spree perpetrated by the ruling elite has reached historic proportions (a situation that continues), and yet not one single top banking executive has been charged with a crime, much less prosecuted.

Here's how Judge Rakoff, who sits on the Federal District Court in Manhattan, characterized the situation in a recent The New York Review of Books article titled "The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?"

Five years have passed since the onset of what is sometimes called the Great Recession. While the economy has slowly improved, there are still millions of Americans leading lives of quiet desperation: without jobs, without resources, without hope.

~Snip~

But if, by contrast, the Great Recession was in material part the product of intentional fraud, the failure to prosecute those responsible must be judged one of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system in many years. Indeed, it would stand in striking contrast to the increased success that federal prosecutors have had over the past fifty years or so in bringing to justice even the highest-level figures who orchestrated mammoth frauds. Thus, in the 1970s, in the aftermath of the “junk bond” bubble that, in many ways, was a precursor of the more recent bubble in mortgage-backed securities, the progenitors of the fraud were all successfully prosecuted, right up to Michael Milken.

Again, in the 1980s, the so-called savings-and-loan crisis, which again had some eerie parallels to more recent events, resulted in the successful criminal prosecution of more than eight hundred individuals, right up to Charles Keating. And again, the widespread accounting frauds of the 1990s, most vividly represented by Enron and WorldCom, led directly to the successful prosecution of such previously respected CEOs as Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers.

In striking contrast with these past prosecutions, not a single high-level executive has been successfully prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis, and given the fact that most of the relevant criminal provisions are governed by a five-year statute of limitations, it appears likely that none will be. It may not be too soon, therefore, to ask why.

[The emphasis is mine]

I think it is fair to say that at this point nobody questions the fact that in addition to "breaches in accountability and ethics," actual crimes were also committed.  Here's what the government's own Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded:
The Commission concluded that this crisis was avoidable. It found widespread failures in financial regulation; dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance; excessive borrowing and risk-taking by households and Wall Street; policy makers who were ill prepared for the crisis; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels...

[The emphasis is mine]

Why is the Justice Department refusing to criminally prosecute the perpetrators of the biggest financial fraud in history?  Here's how Mark Karlin, editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout sees it, as he discusses a recent Newsweek article by "Pulitzer Prize winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston":
Providing additional evidence that the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) is protecting "banks too big to fail," Pulitzer Prize winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston has revealed that the DOJ has refused to force JPMorgan Chase to comply with an ongoing investigation into the bank's possible knowledge of Bernard Madoff's fraud scheme of a few years ago.

The information obtained might reveal that the bank chose to financially benefit from criminal activity:

Bernard Madoff’s principal bank, JPMorgan Chase, has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about his gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.

The Justice Department refused in September to back up Treasury inspector general staff who wanted a  court order to enforce a subpoena, in effect shielding JPMorgan from law enforcement, the October 8 document shows.

The Justice Department told the Treasury Inspector General “that they were denying the request for enforcement of the subpoena,” which means officials “could not undertake further actions regarding this matter,” wrote Jason J. Metrick, the inspector general special-agent-in-charge.

[The emphasis is mine]
All of this begs the question(s): What is going on here?  What are the reasons behind this unprecedented level of failure to prosecute those who seem to have been involved in massive financial crimes?

In a January 22, 2013 FRONTLINE interview former attorney general for the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, had this to say when asked why he would be worried about "anything other than simply pursuing justice":

I think I am pursuing justice. And I think the whole entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice. But in any given case, I think I and prosecutors around the country, being responsible, should speak to regulators, should speak to experts, because if I bring a case against institution A, and as a result of bringing that case there’s some huge economic effect, it affects the economy so that employees who had nothing to do with the wrongdoing of the company

~Snip~

Well, first let’s talk about the employees. Employees may lose their jobs. Shareholders may or may not lose, and shareholders invested. But the employees perhaps did something different.

If it creates a ripple effect so that suddenly counterparties and other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly, it’s a factor we need to know and understand...

Obviously by now everybody knows that that answer, in addition to being total bullshit (when it comes to the role of an AG), it also signifies the existence of a two-tiered legal system.

Where is Lanny Breuer today?  In a March 28th, 2013 Washington Post article by Catherine Ho we learned the following:

Lanny Breuer, one of the longest-serving heads of the Justice Department’s criminal division, is returning to Covington & Burling, the law firm plans to announce today.

The firm’s partners voted Monday to approve Breuer’s return. He will step into the newly created position of vice chair, working with the firm’s senior leaders on long-term strategy and international growth, and will also practice in white collar defense and investigations.

Covington has represented corporations that were investigated by the criminal division during Breuer’s time as division chief. Breuer said he will not be representing any companies on any matters that went before the Justice Department during his tenure. Ethics rules bar him from appearing before the DOJ on a client’s behalf for two years. He can, however, counsel a client on a new matter before the department from behind the scenes.

About Attorney General Eric Holder?  What are his stated reasons for not prosecuting top-level Wall Street executives?  Here's his statement before Congress:
"It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute—if you do bring a criminal charge—it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Where has current Attorney General Eric Holder worked before assuming his current position? Law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

As a concerned citizen who cares about justice and the rule of law, and in the damaging effects of "moral hazard," the situation(s) I described above lead me to believe that a reasonable person may conclude that the reason this unprecedented failure to prosecute banksters may be due to conflict of interests of top Justice Department officials.

As an alert citizen, I'm also aware that I'm not the only person who harbors that suspicion, and that in fact millions and million of people around the country do so as well.

I therefore propose this course of action: I'd like to propose that a crowd-sourcing panel of concerned citizens come together to gather information, evidence, and testimony so as to determined whether top Justice Department officials have violated their oath of office by failing to prosecute businesses due to conflict of interests.

Namely, this citizens' panel could be tasked with determining whether the fact that these officials have gone through the revolving door of law firms, like Covington & Burling, had in any way influenced their actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to decisions to prosecute wrongdoing by executives at those firms--given the fact that this law firm is in the business of providing legal services to those same firms.

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.

And, if it is so found, I call on all citizens to demand a proper investigation, indictment, prosecution and lengthy prison sentences to those officials having been found guilty of wrongdoing, of abuses of power.

Once the preliminary investigation is concluded, a public indictment should be produced and made available to the general public...

Furthermore, I call on activists to start a 100-week protest campaign starting on Monday, January 27th in front of the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., and other Justice Department offices around the country, from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Nobody is above the law!

 



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Comment Preferences

  •  There needs to be new internet law (5+ / 0-)

    That states that anytime the idea of a 'Citizen's Grand Jury' comes up, the person that suggested it needs to go sit in a corner for 10 minutes to reflect on where exactly they went wrong.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:35:42 PM PST

    •  Yeah (11+ / 0-)

      We can' have too much democracy. It can be detrimental if that ever gets out of hand, because people might get the idea they can manage their own communities without, you know, elite authority in control.  Horrors! - (Shiver)

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:50:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because it's not 'more democracy' (0+ / 0-)

        in the context of our democratic system. A republic requires a certain amount of authority or rather a system of justice and authority. Doesn't necessarily have be the 'elites' running it, though that does seem to be the case more recently.

        If you want to do you own thing, and let the Citizen Grand Juries help run things, you're more than welcome to go somewhere else and try. I'm sure it will work out juuuuust fine. (After the first few purges, and the one-time-only-we-swear guillotine incident)

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:24:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow! (10+ / 0-)

          Whren you put it that way--"bend over and grease-up" sounds downright piss-elegant!

          "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

          by lyvwyr101 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:35:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The "context of our democratic system" (6+ / 0-)

          (speaking of which) is a distinct lack of democracy, due to the electoral system (as well as the judiciary which is appointed from within this system) being completely dominated by the wealthy class.

          And this isn't just "recently", in fact this has been the case since the founding of the republic. It was actually designed to restrain democracy, some of the founders having had the opinion that the common rubble (those not part of the wealthy, white, male upper class) wouldn't be capable of governing (in other words, they wouldn't respect the wealthy class and its place at the top of the class hierarchy).

          That is why, in the first Presidential election, only 6% of the population voted, the rest having been deemed incapable of being part of the process (in other words, not owners of property).

          That is the context.

          In such circumstances, I support people rejecting that exploitation, and exercising civil disobedience. People have a right to collectively govern their own lives. Your notion of "democracy" is to temper that with distance between those who govern, and the people they govern, by handing over to elites the power, leaving the people in a state of dominance and subservience to those with the wealth, the small minority.

          Graeber said this well:

          LP: You note that democracy was contested during America's founding. Who were the proponents of democracy and how did they manifest their views?

          DG: Actually, there were almost none. In the writings of the patriots and leaders of the revolution, word "democracy" was used almost interchangeably with "anarchy" or even "mob rule." Everyone opposed it. By democracy, they meant, either rule through popular assemblies like in ancient Greece -- which they saw a little during the big mobilizations they called out during the revolution -- or by extension, any system where ordinary people held the power of governance themselves. So it wasn't really contested among the political classes. They were uniformly opposed to it. You just have to read the opening remarks of the constitutional convention of 1789: it begins, 'we have a problem. There's far too much democracy in this country. State constitutions cannot contain it. We need to set up something stronger.'

          Still, it seems that ordinary people would use it sometimes, almost for shock value, the way some people in the 19th century started calling themselves anarchists, or in the 20th, queer. It's very hard to reconstruct the history. For me, the most revealing record we have is a letter by one Gouverneur Morris, whose family basically owned the Bronx, describing his reaction at witnessing a mass meeting he and the other pro-independence politicians had called out in New York in 1774 to discuss a tax boycott -- it ended up in a long debate over whether the new country should have a "democratic" constitution -- the ordinary tradesmen and mechanics who attended seem to have actually used the word, and seem to have argued for it using all the classic allusions the gentry were used to employing. "The mob," he wrote, "begin to think and reason!" He was horrified. We could try banning schoolteachers, he said, but that would never work. So he decided he wasn't for independence after all.

          There were a few radical writers like Tom Paine who did use the word "democracy" from early on, but the first official use was by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the "Democratic Republican" party -- which is clearly just some sort of PR trick, since Jefferson himself never uses the word "democracy" at all in his own writings. But the person who really transformed the language was Andrew Jackson. He ran as a "democrat" and it was so effective that over the course of the 1830s, everyone started calling themselves that. So basically the Republican system that was set up to contain democracy itself got renamed "Democracy."
          http://www.alternet.org/...

           

          Here's some quotes by our "democracy loving" founders, revealing their real intent in establishing the Republic:

          "Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths... A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." (James Madison, Federalist Papers, the McClean Edition, Federalist Paper #10, page 81, 1788)

          "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" Franklin, Benjamin

          “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” - Thomas Jefferson

          “Our real disease - which is democracy.” - Alexander Hamilton

          “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

          “Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.” - John Adams

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:10:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So, if we don't like how things are going here (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, ZhenRen, DeadHead

          in this nation, LEAVE?

          But if you stay, accept the fact that our corporate overlords will be in control to decide your fate?

          Okay, time for me to walk away from this very good diary now.

          We can't demand "too much justice" anymore and we shouldn't even try.

          -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 09:27:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree---totally. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen, poligirl, jacey, TracieLynn

        The people have had to manage their own communities a few times........................

        The child labor laws protests and marches during the 1800's---the civil rights marches---1960's----Viet Nam War---anti-war marches---calling for Nixon's resignation----same era..................

        So much for elite authority.

        Seems people managing their own communities did pretty well .........a few times.

        I'm not so hung up on the terminology---call it anything you like-----as long as something is done about it.

        I live in an area heavy with conservatives---and they own and play with terminology all the time.

        It's ludicrous---same as them.

        They refuse to address anything to do with Climate Change---because they do not believe in Climate Change.

        I like to respond, by asking them:

         "What they would like to call horrific weather patterns that endanger life and destroy standards of living?"

        I happily explain to them, that I would be happy to call it any God-damned thing they like---as long as they're willing to actually pitch-in and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

        Does it really matter what it's called?

        When you're watching a tornado---or a flood---take everyone and everything you love and hold dear----at this precise moment---does terminology matter?

        Citizens Grand Jury: big deal.

        The people in this country who caused this meltdown DO need to be held accountable--who gives a rat's ass what it's called.

        I get what Ray's saying---and I agree.

        "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

        by lyvwyr101 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:15:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Of the people, by the people, for the people" (11+ / 0-)

      Is the idea of a "Citizen's Grand Jury" not in keeping with those words?




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

      by DeadHead on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:12:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fuck that (4+ / 0-)

        Have you seen what the majority of people like and dislike? I am not putting my fate into the hands of the majority. The people have shown themselves to be stupid more than they are not stupid. Too risky.

        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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:24:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, No (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbou

          History tells us that a majority decision by people is an excellent way in which justice can be served -  Black men, 1930's Mississippi

          Look, I tried to be reasonable...

          by campionrules on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:36:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So calling on the people to take the lead... (8+ / 0-)

            in demanding accountability for the actions of these banksters and our government's failure to prosecute them for their misdeeds is analogous to what happened in Mississippi during the 1930's?




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

            by DeadHead on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:29:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's fine (4+ / 0-)

              but Ray is pushing for a revolt and a citizen grand jury. After the bankers go in front of the jury and are dealt with who's next? and how soon do we turn on each other with citizen indictments?

              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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:35:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poligirl, happymisanthropy, gerrilea

                If we're going to talk about revolution, the existing system would be replaced by another. Which direction that would go and what shape it should take is worth discussing, but... many just don't want to go there.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:44:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  because... (4+ / 0-)

                  many of us have read history and history tells us that wholesale changes in how societies are governed come with an ugly side. You know what they say about good intentions and I get that you all have good intentions but hell's pathway is paved with those good intentions.

                  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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:51:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Our own country was founded (6+ / 0-)

                    by revolution. A very violent revolution, waged by people willing to break the law, and be very disobedient to authority. They did far more than convene a citizens grand jury! And we live with the effects of that today.

                    Not all revolutions end up ugly. A democratic republic is (probably, depending on circumstances) better than a monarchy.

                    Sure, a lot of revolutions have ended up with authoritarians in control. Marxist-Leninism definitely had an authoritarian streak, and that was its undoing in many of the attempts.

                    One of the best revolutions, the Spanish Revolution of 1936, was a good one, and was successful, up until fascist, capitalist, and authoritarian communist forces crushed it. Many of the best attempts have been crushed by the wealthy classes, and by authoritarians.

                    For a start, read Homage to Catalonia for an understanding of the underhanded politics in that war.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:01:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  He is? (9+ / 0-)

                From the diary:

                [...]

                And, if it is so found, I call on all citizens to demand a proper investigation, indictment, prosecution and lengthy prison sentences to those officials having been found guilty of wrongdoing, of abuses of power.

                Once the preliminary investigation is concluded, a public indictment should be produced and made available to the general public...

                Furthermore, I call on activists to start a 100-week protest campaign starting on Monday, January 27th in front of the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., and other Justice Department offices around the country, from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

                I see calls demanding action be taken, and for a protest.

                "Revolt" and putting the banksters themselves in front of the citizen jury itself, for their "sentencing," which I assume to be what you're thinking Ray meant, not so much.

                Did I miss something elsewhere in the diary?  




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

                by DeadHead on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:17:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Those are mischaracterizations being repeated (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DeadHead, happymisanthropy, gerrilea

                  over and over to paint a certain picture...

                  •  It is? (3+ / 0-)
                    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.
                    •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                      There's no "revolt" and no demands for mob conviction/sentencing being called for.




                      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 03:44:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You would be wrong (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

                        This is what you said:

                        "Revolt" and putting the banksters themselves in front of the citizen jury itself, for their "sentencing," which I assume to be what you're thinking Ray meant, not so much.
                        No one claimed Ray was calling for a revolt. And he indeed hasn't. However, he has called for citizen grand juries to deliver indictments. Its clear as day in his diary.
                        •  No, the fact is that are the one that's wrong. n/t (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gerrilea, DeadHead
                          •  Facts are facts Ray (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hey338Too, erush1345

                            I'll quote the conclusion of your diary:

                            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.
                            Reign of Terror: The Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 – 28 July 1794),[1] also known simply as The Terror (French: la Terreur), was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution". The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine (2,639 in Paris),[2] and another 25,000 in summary executions across France.[3]

                            Through the Revolutionary Tribunal, the Terror's leaders exercised broad dictatorial powers and used them to instigate mass executions and political purges. The repression accelerated in June and July 1794, a period called la Grande Terreur (the Great Terror), and ended in the coup of 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), leading to the Thermidorian Reaction, in which several instigators of the Reign of Terror were executed, including Saint-Just and Robespierre.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                            Revolutionary Tribunals: It was composed of a jury, a public prosecutor, and two substitutes, all nominated by the Convention; and from its judgments there was no appeal. With M.J.A. Herman as president and Fouquier-Tinville as public prosecutor, the tribunal terrorized the royalists, the refractory priests and all the actors in the counter-revolution.
                            Soon, too, it came to be used for personal ends, particularly by Robespierre, who employed it for the condemnation of his adversaries. The excesses of the Revolutionary Tribunal increased with the growth of Robespierre's ascendancy in the Committee of Public Safety; and on June 10, 1794 was promulgated, at his instigation, the infamous Law of 22 Prairial, which forbade prisoners to employ counsel for their defence, suppressed the hearing of witnesses and made death the sole penalty. Before 22 Prairial the Revolutionary Tribunal had pronounced 1,220 death-sentences in thirteen months; during the forty-nine days between the passing of the law and the fall of Robespierre 1,376 persons were condemned (an average of 28 per day), including many innocent victims.
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...
                          •  I agree: Facts are facts and they are not on your (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea, DeadHead

                            side...

                            BTW, what is your opinion about the fact that in an unprecedented fashion when compared with previous periods of rampant criminality by Wall Street, no top executives have been to prison?

                            After all, that's the topic of this diary, not guillotines or the French Revolution.

                          •  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 ]

                          •  I did? (0+ / 0-)

                            Got any comments on Meteor Blades constructive feedback to Ray?

                          •  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 ]

                          •  As an aside, note that 50 is 10 more than 40 (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            6412093, serendipityisabitch

                            which is the number of tweet followers that "Ray" claims proves that his "Open Letter" diary was "well received by members of the movement."

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:26:33 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 ]

                        •  Actually, you are, indeed, the one who's wrong... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador

                          My words, blockquoted by you, came from a comment of mine made reply to this comment:

                          that's fine

                          but Ray is pushing for a revolt and a citizen grand jury. After the bankers go in front of the jury and are dealt with who's next? and how soon do we turn on each other with citizen indictments?

                          by jbou on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:35:52 PM PST

                          Consider reading the subthread more closely next time.




                          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 07:14:52 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                stellaluna, Hey338Too

                And this is exactly what happened in France in the 1790s. Girondins vs Jacobins, both proponents of the Revolution. But, one group wasn't far left enough and they were subjected to people's juries; the Reign of Terror. Over 16,000 sent to the guillotine.

              •  The fact that we have this on the table tells me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador

                our system is beyond repair.

                Either We The People do our duty or we lose what little we have left.

                The "citizen indictments" occur everyday.  I can sue you for whatever wrong I believe you did to me.

                You have no faith in your fellow Americans, I do.

                We could strip the sycophants that infiltrated our government of their "immunity". And then hold the DOJ accountable for failure to prosecute.

                You fail to do your job, be prosecuted, once convicted, pay us back any and all wages and benefits and never be allowed to work in government or for companies that's primary business is with said.

                Citizen Review Panels with the power to indict...sounds like change I could believe in.

                -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 08:47:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The people in this country- (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                  demanded child labor legislation---and got it----demanded civil rights legislation--and got it--shut down a war in Southeast Asia---and got it---forced a president to resign--and got it.....

                  We've forgotten how to accomplish social and political goals in this country.

                  And we do NOT accomplish by being violent---we do not accomplish by engaging in fistfights---we accomplish by doing--by pushing---by putting our collective shoulder to the wheel.

                  We have forgotten how to do this in this country.

                  "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

                  by lyvwyr101 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:35:45 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed, I just saw where the French took the (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lyvwyr101, Ray Pensador

                    Managers of Goodyear hostage...

                    http://www.businessweek.com/...

                    French unions have taken executives hostage in the past to force negotiations. In 2009, bosses at French units of Caterpillar Inc., 3M Co. and Sony Corp. were among executives held hostage by workers unhappy with job cuts and severance pay.
                    I wonder if this is why Bremer outlawed Unions in Iraq.

                    They fear the people everywhere but here!

                    -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 11:27:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  That wasn't majority rule (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador, poligirl

            That was the United States Republic, with minority rule that allowed this.

            In other words, that was allowed by the very system you support.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:43:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Disagree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

            Reign of Terror, 1790's, France

            Leftist Authoritarianism on steroids, over 30,000 people convicted by "people's juries", without trial or evidence.

        •  I guess... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbou, poligirl, happymisanthropy, gerrilea

          I can put you down as a 'No' then.

          :)




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

          by DeadHead on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:13:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So many flaws in this (6+ / 0-)

          We now have our fate in the hands of a minority of wealthy elites, who have become our masters.

          So, introducing more democracy would help to break up the oligarchy.

          In fact, the people who historically raised this issue of tyranny of the majority are wealthy people who wanted (and still want) to protect a rich minority from the poor majority, because they feared poor people would want a more economically fair and egalitarian social organization.

          So, people who raise this argument, if not rich themselves, are buying into the memes of the rich 1%.

          Not that tyranny of the majority isn't a concern. With participatory direct democracy, with a bottom up organization, decisions are put in the hands of the people they most effect, rather than in a central, insular authority that is distant to the people they govern. People thus get to decide what shape their own lives would have, rather than a central, remote, upper echelon of out-of-touch wealthy class.

          With direct democracy, on local levels, majority rule is much harder, since people can more easily revisit decisions and change them, and people will be in constant discussion about how to accomplish tasks, rather than have solutions written into immutable, rather permanent decrees. Local communities can make agreements, and if these agreements don't work, they can be changed, thus giving much more power to minorities to continue to debate and make their case.

          Any kind of democracy has to guard against tyranny of the majority, but the alternative, having no democracy, or very little democracy, with the inevitable rule by the wealthy class, isn't the way to prevent this. Direct, local participatory communities which federate is a far better answer.

          For a more complete discussion, see this page:

          http://www.infoshop.org/...

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:37:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fcvaguy

            Just from my interactions with people on a local level I don't have much faith in the majority coming up with viable rules and regulations to govern society. I mean we put things like school budget increases up against raising taxes to fund the budget on the ballot, and in town after town we see the majority shooting down small tax increases that would help improve education, and then these same idiots are on Facebook bitching about how stupid kids are today.

            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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:47:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's partly because... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador, gerrilea

              Members of society are shaped by the capitalistic manipulations of attitude.

              This gets into a complicated, deeper discussion of how systems shape the behavior of people.

              If people self-managed using small groups, where each group was deciding issues that directly affected them, experiencing a more immediate feedback of results they could visibly see for themselves, behavior would change, because success and failure would be at their own doorstep, rather than on some detached, distant "government".  

              Party politics exist in part due to the way it all becomes abstract to people who aren't directly involved, and also due to campaigning, campaign finance which promotes lying, and many other similar factors. Eliminate campaigns altogether (there is a way to do this and still have direct democracy) and the whole party abstraction falls apart. Put people directly in charge (by free association), and suddenly it becomes more about solving practical everyday problems rather than loyalty to party ideology.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:13:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  you can't do that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fcvaguy

                Our country was literally founded by the anti-tax crowd and you want to tell me that it's the capitalist system that creates these people that vote against educating kids? We can have a very very very long discussion about nature vs nurture and if people are just one way or the other and it doesn't matter if you get the "truth" out there some people are just going to think what they think.

                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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:56:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are you seriously trying to misrepresent the (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  reasons we went to war with the British monarchy?

                  Here's a refresher:

                  The Declaration of Independence

                  He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
                  He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
                  He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
                  He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
                  He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
                  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
                  He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
                  He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
                  He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
                  He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
                  He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
                  He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
                  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
                  For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
                  For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
                  For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
                  For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
                  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
                  For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
                  For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
                  For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
                  For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
                  He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
                  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
                  He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
                  He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
                  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
                  It clearly wasn't about taxes!!

                  What was the final straw???

                  When the British tried to disarm us!

                  -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 09:03:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The declaration of independence (0+ / 0-)

                    Is a sweet piece of propaganda but as we know the independence didn't apply to anyone but white guys who owned land and people.

                    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 09:32:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You could have fooled me. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador

                      Today, I'm wholly owned by our creation and the corporations that run it.

                      Conditioned from birth to grave to serve their needs and desires and be forever in perpetual poverty.

                      I'm brainwashed into becoming "the worker of tomorrow" so that I can pay more taxes than they do.  Deluded into believing I'm actually free. While millions of my fellow minorities are jailed and manipulated into being slave laborers for corporate Amerika.

                      The jails are still full, the cops are still racist, the courts are still an instrument of class rule, the wars are still endless. But Peoples Power is still decisive and we will celebrate every step forward. On to a New Year of struggle and resistance. Free ALL Political Prisoners!!

                      Message from Ralph & Lynne: Release of LYNNE STEWART!
                        (Jan 5, 2014 10:22 AM)

                      How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful with Glenn Greenwald (Conversations with History)
                      Greenwald traces his intellectual odyssey; analyzes the relationship between principle, power, and law; and describes the erosion of the rule of law in the United States. Highlighting the degree to which the legal system frees the powerful from accountability while harshly treating the powerless.
                      WE CAN DO BETTER.

                      And when someone actually makes a legitimate suggestion, as Ray has done here, you'd rather attack him and bring up ghosts from Christmas Past.

                      Citizen Grand Juries are one of many things we can do.

                      I've called for Citizen Panels to review and indict if necessary, the crimes of our Police.  They can no longer be trusted with "self-investigation".

                      Neither can our government be trusted with this authority any longer.

                      We've become their servants.

                      -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 10:28:07 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you're making my point (0+ / 0-)

                        The United States was founded by rich white guys and it is still being run, for the most part, by rich white guys. The revolution didn't matter to most people, because most of the people didn't matter and they still don't. We are all just numbers on sheet and somewhere there's a guy claiming he can make those numbers buy what he is selling be it an app, or a political issue.

                        Now do I have a deal for you...

                        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 10:41:43 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  So, do we actually take control in a constructive (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador

                          way as Ray has suggested or do we just wallow in self pity?

                          Our Democrats are no better than Republicans when it comes to many issues, such as holding the criminals accountable.

                          If they won't who will?

                          “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

                          ~Fredrick Douglass

                          -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 11:21:52 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  power fears violence (0+ / 0-)

                            the rest of the time power just rolls along like water over rocks. How'd humans bend water to their will? Through force. One example. The revolution that happened in Russia helped us here in the US more than it ever helped the people of Russia. Why? Because the fear the elites felt from what was happening in Russia helped the people in this country get things like Social Security.

                            Non violent revolution is a fairy tale. If you want a revolution you need the threat of violence.

                            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 11:39:40 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I really don't want revolution, violent or (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            otherwise.  

                            The restoration of the Constitution and true "rule of law" would do just fine for me.

                            -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 11:56:17 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  fine (0+ / 0-)

                            then back folks are now back to being 3/5's a person.

                            There is no true rule of law. laws have evolved over time and it's silly to think there's one true law or way of thinking about things.

                             Like I said how about we do one thing that makes a ding in the armor of Wall Street. Lets use our collective power and resources to get congress and the President to raise taxes on capital gains.

                            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 12:10:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And what stops the wealthy class (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                            from undoing this, even if it could be achieved? Consider what has happened to other attempts at regulation and reforms, and how we advance slightly forward, in one achievement, only to lose ground in another, all due to the grip the wealthy class have built into the electoral structure. Look at all forms of so-called representative democracy and you will see a gradual shift of power over time to the wealthy class.

                            Reforms like this just tie up energy, money, and time of the working class, which was the whole idea of the electoral process, to put a damper on democracy, to slow it down to a crawl, so as to conserve the status quo of the rich.

                            They make you think you're just about to win, only to take it all away from you in the next cycle. Its a charade. And success becomes measured by tiny achievements here, with a loss of progress there, distracting us and locking up our focus into a perpetual battle that never ends.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:13:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm a cynic... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            serendipityisabitch

                            so you're just feeding me my life blood with comments like this. There's no hope for change if we can't make the small steps stick. I love it. Feed me more.

                            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 01:30:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't care if you feed off this (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                            jbou, that's your choice. But you're not looking at the pattern.

                            There's no hope for change if we can't make the small steps stick.
                            The irony is that this statement you've made is correct, if you mean we can't make larger changes by working within a system designed to thwart the influence of the working class to the benefit of the small minority of wealthy owning class.

                            We need to stop defending this system which works against our own interests. Defending the status quo is much like the working class conservatives who support an ideology which enslaves them.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:35:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the devil I know is better than... (0+ / 0-)

                            the devil I don't. Problem with you is you think you can replace the devil with a collective group of Angels that all work together to achieve harmony.

                            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 01:39:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, that's a strawman (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            What I want to do is remove the opportunity for authority so that the minority of sociopathic power seekers, who inevitably arrange for themselves to be at the helm, simply can't get their paws on it. To do this the helm must become the province of the people. This system we have was designed to preserve that power structure, and thus it is hopelessly flawed in its present form. In our system, the person at the helm controls the authority that keeps him or her in the position of authority, thereby insuring the continuation of this horror. The constitutional provisions make it virtually impossible to change the basic exploitative mechanisms. What idiot designed this insane approach? No idiot at all, but rather a very clever owning class.

                            You're basically telling me you're afraid of change, that the unknown keeps you bound to a corrupt system.

                            I don't always answer people for their benefit, but rather because the discussion is revealing to other readers. I figure there are people who can learn from the debates of the community. While I can't keep answering forever, these answers are illustrative of the status quo supporting attitudes which are prevalent, and how these attitudes stand in the way of moving forward.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:48:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't even know what... (0+ / 0-)

                            most of that means and I don't say that to be dismissive. If you want to endorse wholesale change then you have to take into account what we know about humans but you dismiss what we know about humans because these humans have been in a system that has corrupted them. So now we have a chicken or the egg situation. Are humans greedy and tribal by nature or has society created the greed and tribalism?

                            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 02:08:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                            There are a lot of works one can read that delve into your question of human nature. The history is that certain right wing writers have distorted Darwin's research to make us into individuals who struggle in mutual competition, as if without the ability to sociably organize into reciprocal, mutually cooperative societies.  Kropotkin, who was a biologist and a geologist, wrote a book about the dispute over evolution, which is worth reading, called Mutual Aid.

                            But look at the logic: If we are a species that is out to self-destruct due to greed and selfishness, it is all the more imperative we learn a different way.

                            But there is a lot of evidence this isn't what we are. We have developed survival traits of working together to more efficiently use our energy to survive. Egalitarian tribes have been found to live together in reciprocal relationships based on equality. Many animals exhibit such traits. Humans have these traits as shown through countless voluntary associations that help humanity, such as aid organizations, and other similar groups. Humans constantly are coming together without coercion in a vast number of existing organization to help each other survive, or to accomplish some common interest of goal. This is obviously a human trait.

                            But capitalism teaches us to be economic adversaries, literally pitting neighbor against neighbor, employee against employee, business against business, father against son, mothers against daughters. The history goes back to monarchism, feudalism, and beyond, to slave/master relationships, and we have been replacing systems based on one form of unequal relationship with another, rather than move to a more socially just way of living. No one argues for those older forms, but is capitalism really so much of an improvement? We still have master/slave relationships, and feudal lords in the form of bosses, the owning class, the wealthy class which dominates our electoral system. Hillary is now worth some 50 million dollars. This is the nature of our system, and it doesn't embody all that is the evolution of the human species. Certainly we struggle as individuals, and as tribes, but we have an ability as well to mutually reciprocate and cooperate.

                            We're capable of more. But I'd urge you to read up on this, because it is beyond the scope of this blog site.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 02:49:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  this is like a religion for you (0+ / 0-)

                            Humans have been greedy, selfish and tribal before capitalism. Not everyone is going to agree with you no matter how hard you try and in your new society those folks are going to exist. How do you deal with them?

                            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 04:08:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not religion (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            Science... Do some reading.

                            Even Darwin doesn't support your view. Actually, the view that humans are exclusively greedy, or that greed is the predominate, primary trait, is the religion of Ayn Rand and the right wing. It is not supported by science. We are more complex animals than that, and have complex traits.

                            The whole premise of the left is that people can work together in mutual cooperation, leaning to various degrees in this direction, from mixed capitalism with some socialization, to more socialist forms of organization. It is Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, and capitalist theory that spread this religion you follow.

                            The only people I would expect to not prefer this egalitarian form of society (especially once they experienced it) are people who want to exploit others through acquisition of a monopoly over the means of production. In this form of society, wage slavery would not be allowed, since master/slave relationships would be abolished. But if people wanted to not participate, and wanted to work alone or with family, without renting other humans' labor, that would likely be permitted. But if they didn't want to contribute to the collectives, they would have to pay for services which would otherwise be free to others. They would also be free to go to another community that organized differently, according to their preference. But they would not have a right to force exploitation on others. That is seen, in anarchist thought, as a form of violence, and it would be defended against.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:35:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  science? (0+ / 0-)

                            what has science seen from humans that someone who looks back over time and sees greed for as far as the eye can't see?

                             Rome, Greece, Egypt, and all over Europe and Asia greed ruled the day no matter what year it was. We live in a society now that gets along for the most part, but that doesn't mean greed isn't a big issue. and I'm not saying that humans are just greedy, I understand they are complex and most folks have differing scales of the traits that make up being human, but the patterns do tend to make themselves known and greed is a pattern we have seen consistently throughout history.

                            And your new society is going to be easy pickings for sociopaths of the world. Better find a way to deal with bad people who will just stick a gun in your face and take what they want. I know, I know, in your new world there are no guns, but I don't know how there's going to be no guns. Or in your new world the sociopaths are going to see just how groovy it is and not want to ruin things?

                            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 04:48:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're perceiving history as written by elites (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            Even amidst the worst form of authoritarian control, there are countless everyday acts of reciprocity, empathy and kindness between neighbors, even strangers. History books don't record this, since they tend to string together events from dot to dot, leaving out everything in between. Thus, war and discord is much more discussed, the peaceful periods not leaving much to write about.  

                            As to guns, and weaponry, you're once again making assumptions and erecting strawman. Anarchists believe in self defense. Even Gandhi, heavily influenced by Tolstoy (an anarcho-pacifist) and Thoreau (an individualist anarchist) refused to condemn people who committed acts of violence for the sake of the revolt, even though he didn't support their acts.

                            Anarchists would have militias, and each community would likely have members of the militia, perhaps by rotation or some sort of way of regulating this. They would likely have an armory. It would not be a national military, but probably would be federated in a network involving each community, using a system of direct democracy and bottom up organization, directly answerable to each community, rather than under central control. Spain had a similar system, and they kicked ass against the fascists while the Republic sat on its hands without fighting back, in confusion and inaction, when their centrally controlled, undemocratic, top-down military command structure was taken over by General Franco, in the first days and weeks of the coup.

                            The anarchist federation of militias would not have a top-down central command structure. Sure, it would have delegates as "officers" but this would all be at the consent of the respective participatory communities, and all delegated officers in the militias would be subject to removal or recall immediately. Pretty hard for thugs to get control when you have an entire network of people who would not allow it to happen, since the army would be based on voluntary participation rather than coercion. And yes, this was proven to work in Spain, and also in other examples, such as with the anarchist Makhnovists in the Ukraine against the Bolsheviks who fought against them.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:35:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and where are we now? (0+ / 0-)

                            Capitalism has won and you're talking about nonsense that  lost to capitalism but you keep dreaming, the world needs dreamers.

                            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 05:57:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So, might makes right? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            Capitalism may have "won" but this isn't over, and the history of two hundred-plus years is just the blink of an eye. The feudal system was in place for 700 years, and various monarchs and empires go back many thousands of years. Most of these are now behind us. Capitalism will one day collapse, and will be a thing of the past.

                            That is, if we manage to survive capitalism.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:18:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the one thing we all are is doomed (0+ / 0-)

                            So fighting the small battles that can help make things easier for the majority of people offers the best value to a human with limited time and resources.

                            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 06:28:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think fighting the reformist battles (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            insures our demise. It co-ops our attention, time, and money, while capitalism rages on and rapes the earth and uses the atmosphere as a sewer. But I understand your view.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:36:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So, we've rescinded the 13th & 14th Amendments? (0+ / 0-)

                            And calling for constitutional law is now akin to racism?

                            Disgusting "debate" tactic you're using.

                            Don't like what others recommend, you attempt to twist what was said into something else.

                            -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 05:28:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the true rule of law... (0+ / 0-)

                            needed to be amended?

                            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 06:05:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Semantics. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador, Kasoru

                            Those amendments are part of "the true rule of law".

                            Our creation must follow those rules, not make ones of their own that abrogates them.

                            Since I never suggested anything else, it gets us no where constructive when you claim otherwise.

                            -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 06:49:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  My friend had an idea, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador, poligirl, TracieLynn

            I kinda find it an interesting one.
            Triple or more the size of the house of reps making politics more retail, and it passes constitutional muster.

            This space for lease

            by Drewid on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:48:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Fuck putting in the hands of our corrupted (10+ / 0-)

          politicians.  I'd rather have majority rule.  I have more faith in the people than the ruling class.

          "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

          by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:14:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Let's call a Grand Jury to indict Holder (6+ / 0-)

      or at least make him go sit in a corner to reflect on what his duties as AG are.

      For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan to Dover AF mortuary, "God bless the cause of "The Good War" for which they died" - As if any war can be called Good in its 13th year, America's longest war.

      by allenjo on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:33:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The "Citizens Grand Jury"? (13+ / 0-)

    In recent years, it's been used by fringe groups like the birthers and the white supremacists to attempt to enact their own vision of "justice" that, if it actually had any legal meaning, would result in the further oppression of already-oppressed groups.

    I'm sure you don't sanction those uses of the "citizens grand jury," but I'm forced to ask: Did you look into the history of that term before you decided to use it? And, given the history of the term, might it be advisable to change the term you use to something that smacks a little less of white supremacists and Tea Partiers?

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:17:21 PM PST

    •  Like this? (8+ / 0-)

      Obama and Biden Indicted by Grand Jury
       (Ocala, Florida, October 30, 2012). Larry Klayman, the founder and chairman of Freedom Watch today announced that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden have been criminally indicted for having willfully released classified national security information concerning the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, U.S. and Israeli war plans concerning Iran and their cyber-attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The release of this information, among other harm to U.S. national security, resulted in the killing of members of Seal Team Six by terrorists and the arrest and imprisonment of American covert agents by Pakistan, such as the doctor who aided the CIA with regard to the bin Laden assassination. U.S.-Israeli war plans with Iran have also been compromised.

      A true bill of indictment was issued by a Citizens' Grand Jury in Ocala, Florida, who reviewed evidence and voted unanimously to indict Obama and Biden at 6:02 pm on October 29, 2012.

      The authority for a Citizens' Grand Jury can be found at www.citizensgrandjury.com.

      The criminal defendants, Obama and Biden, will now be given notice of their indictment, arraigned and then tried for their alleged crimes.

      Mr. Klayman, the Citizens' Prosecutor, issued the following statement: "The Citizens' Grand Jury, after having deliberated, yesterday issued a true bill of indictment. See www.citizensgrandjury.com It did the work that the government should have done, but does not have the integrity to do; that is hold these public officials accountable under the law. For far too long, government prosecutors, who are put in place by politicians, have looked the other way as high public officials like Obama and Biden violate the law to further their political agendas. Now, as a result, the people must therefore exercise the rights given to them by the framers of the Constitution, and themselves take legitimate measures to restore the nation to some semblance of legality. This indictment (see www.citizensgrandjury.com) of Obama and Biden is just the first step in a legal revolution to reclaim the nation from establishment politicians, government officials and judges who have represented only their own political and other interests at the expense of 'We the People.' Obama and Biden will now be tried in a court of law and I am confident that they will be convicted of these alleged crimes."

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:30:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  let's not leave out 9/11 Truth (5+ / 0-)

        For instance (with some apparent transcription errors):

        We the People of the United: States, having considered the devastating consequences of the deliberate failure of all government jurisprudence and media oversight to establish truth and accountability for the crimes of September 11, 2001 and the official cover-up that followed; drawing on Common Law and the Fifth Amendment for precedent and authority, duly elected and convened a Citizens’ Grand Jury on October 23,2004 and August 27, 2005, at 4 Patriotic Hall in the City of Los Angeles, State of California, USA, reviewed evidence and rendered their findings....

        After consideration of the evidence presented and expert witness testimony, the Los Angeles Citizens’ Grand Jury, comprised of 25 responsible citizens, fully sworn in the Common Law tradition declare:

        1. Given that vast bodies of evidence were ignored or distorted (ie: that at least 6 of the alleged 19 hijackers are alive and there is no record that any of them got on the planes nor died on them) and the nature and complexity of the events were far beyond the ability of the 19 so-called hijackers to accomplish unaided (ie: a] the WTC 1, 2 and 7 came down from controlled demolitions - not fires from the planes - which takes weeks to prepare....

        I'm not at all associating Ray with that or any of these other efforts. But talk about unhappy precedents....

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

        by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:47:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Granted, you make a good point however,... (10+ / 0-)

      Just because crazy people have used a term or phrase or title doesn't mean they now own it.  That is what Frank Luntz is a genius at.  He takes words that sound good and twists them into new meanings and we let him.  Words like liberals and socialism and unions and community organizers and even democracy (we are a republic don't you know) have become taboo.  And what do progressives do?  "Oh, we shouldn't use that word anymore because people now think liberalism is bad" I say screw them and we will use the words we like.

      Ray said:

      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.
      I think that it is clear that he wasn't promoting racism or prejudice or calling for some kind of witch hunt here.  He called on experts and professionals to demand justice where our elected officials have turned a blind eye.  What else should we call it?  I think a citizen's grand jury is perfectly descriptive and to hell with the pricks who misused those words for hate in the past.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:32:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A six-grader can see that it is clear I'm not (9+ / 0-)

        advocating or promoting racism or prejudice, etc.  It must be painful to have to explain it.  But either way, thanks for the effort.

        •  Where in my post did you see any suggestion... (8+ / 0-)

          ...that you were "advocating or promoting racism or prejudice"?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:47:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's set aside the unimportant thing about (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lyvwyr101, DeadHead, gerrilea

            the "Citizens Grand Jury," which is a side issue...

            Did you read the diary?  What do you think about the central theme?  What is your take on what Judge Rakoff wrote, or the information from the links to articles and studies?

            Any substantive feedback, counter-argument?

            •  Huh? The peroration of your diary, your (4+ / 0-)

              concluding wrap up of all that has gone before, is a side issue?

              At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

              by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:00:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Wait -- if it is a side issue (7+ / 0-)

              why is it the first 3 words of your title?  This is classic Ray response.  As soon as something obviously wrong is pointed out in one of your posts, you first insult the commenter (the 6th grade education with a smirk on your face reply) and then you say -- let's not talk about that unimportant thing -- let's talk about the content of my diary which basically has to do with your unimportant thing in your title.

              I only read for amusement here so I will move along before your friends tell me to.

              " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

              by gchaucer2 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:01:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, so let's say that the words (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lyvwyr101, gerrilea

                "Citizens Grand Jury" are as important as you claim.  And points have been made here about why some find those words have such import.

                I think folks made their point... Now, do you have something to say about the topic of the diary, the theme?

                Do you have an opinion as to why no top-level Wall Street executives have been prosecuted?

                How do you feel about it?  Do you think things have been handled properly in that respect?

                •  Have they been directly charged (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  6412093

                  with an actual crime?  That would be the first step.  If they stole then under what statute could they be convicted?  What law/s would be applied?  

                  "You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do." Steve Martin

                  by Kristin in WA on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:23:51 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  FRAUD, criminal FRAUD. (0+ / 0-)

                    Why haven't their collaborators in that conspiracy, ie the "Credit Reporting Agencies" been prosecuted as well???

                    Their fraud has gone on to become Crimes Against Humanity!

                    How many millions, world-wide, are forevermore destitute and living in perpetual poverty because these bastards???

                    Steal 4.5 million homes, get invited to the White House, "steal an education" for your child and spend 5 yrs in jail!!!!!!!

                    -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 09:19:21 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  It's not "a side issue" at all. (4+ / 0-)

              If your purpose is to use this process to actually formulate a movement that is likely to succeed in its goals, then the choice of the term you use as its title is far from a "side issue." Anyone conversant with the literature about propaganda, persuasion, and rhetoric would be loathe to deny the power of words, associations, and descriptions.

              The words you use to describe what you're doing are going to color people's opinion of what you're trying to accomplish even before they actually see it, and even if they choose to look deeper into what you're doing, their initial reaction to the "headline" you've used to describe it will affect their responses. In this case, the title you've chosen is likely to have a strong negative association with the very same knowledgeable people you're trying to reach in order to make your movement a success.

              If the goal is to make your movement a success, that's a pretty big issue.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:01:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, you made your point about something you (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lyvwyr101, happymisanthropy

                find extremely important.  Now, and again, what do you have to say about the content of the diary?  Do you have an opinion about why no criminal charges have been filed against top Wall Street executives?

                •  do you concede his point? (7+ / 0-)

                  Ray, if you want to be considered a stand-up guy, every now and then you should stand up.

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

                  by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:08:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, it was a mistake to use the term (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    WB Reeves, lyvwyr101, ZhenRen, TheMomCat

                    "Citizens Grand Jury" in the title because of the reasons brought up by JamesGG.  I removed it from the title.

                    I now invite people to discuss the issue at hand.

                    •  So you are deleting this stuff too? (4+ / 0-)
                      I therefore propose this course of action: I'd like to propose that a crowd-sourcing panel of concerned citizens come together to gather information, evidence, and testimony so as to determined whether top Justice Department officials have violated their oath of office by failing to prosecute businesses due to conflict of interests.

                      Namely, this citizens' panel could be tasked with determining whether the fact that these officials have gone through the revolving door of law firms, like Covington & Burling, had in any way influenced their actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to decisions to prosecute wrongdoing by executives at those firms--given the fact that this law firm is in the business of providing legal services to those same firms.

                      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.

                      And, if it is so found, I call on all citizens to demand a proper investigation, indictment, prosecution and lengthy prison sentences to those officials having been found guilty of wrongdoing, of abuses of power.

                      Once the preliminary investigation is concluded, a public indictment should be produced and made available to the general public...

                      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                      by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:21:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, that's the central call to action of the diary (5+ / 0-)
                        •  So its central to the diary (5+ / 0-)

                          but everybody who disagrees with the idea of a citizen "grand jury" is deflecting from the central point of the whole diary.

                          A better example of you not understanding the difference between disagreement and derailment would be hard to find.

                          People think your "grand Juries" could go bad fast, and point to numerous examples.

                          How would you make sure your "grand juries" don't go bad, get hijacked by crazies, or simply legitimize crazies from starting their own "grand juries"?

                          And yes, the term, and the concept behind the term, is in the text I quoted, not just your title.

                          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                          by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:28:42 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Think of it as the Occupy Wall Street ethos. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TracieLynn

                            What I mean is that OWS propagated across the country pretty fast (in 2011) and their message was based on reality, on the actual central challenge we are facing: the exploitation of the 99% by the 1%.

                            I know you express concerns about this type of citizens' involvement, but I would argue that the current situation is far more dangerous and absurd than almost anything one could imagine...

                            We are talking about the wholesale takeover/capture of the levers of power by undemocratic forces (corporatist cartels) engaging in massive crimes, looting, that have resulted in untold misery, on the suffering of millions of people.

                            My safety valve for the process?  Here it is:

                            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.
                            But again, we are now force to improvise because our institutions have failed us.  We need to do something; we can't just complain.
                          •  It seems that your safety valve (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hey338Too, fcvaguy, 6412093

                            is exactly what it is you aim to destroy--the justice department that oversees the existing legal structures.  Not seeing how that can work.

                            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                            by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:55:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The Justice Department seems to be corrupt (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lostinamerica, TracieLynn

                            to the core, victim of a very damaging graft and conflict of interest culture.

                            At least that's the perception I (and many other people) have in the face of the unprecedented lack of criminal prosecutions of Wall Street executives, who appeared to have committed massive crimes.

                          •  And I agree (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hey338Too

                            my problem is your solution demands a safety valve, and the safety valve is the very thing that is the problem.

                            You see the problem?

                            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                            by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:02:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Here's where I'm coming from: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TracieLynn

                            I don't believe in the proposition that truth, morality, ethics, democracy, justice, and the rule of law are "in the eyes of the beholder."

                            I think that things are either just, or unjust, truth or false, ethical or unethical, moral or immoral.

                            And I think that people of good-will can join together and come to agreements on those issues.

                            I have confident that the Occupy Wall Street movement can do that.

                            That's my perspective, and it colors my opinions.

                            I fully understand you may have a different perspective.

                          •  I'm not sure I follow you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hey338Too

                            A "public indictment" produced by a self-declared citizen's grand jury has no apparent enforcement mechanism. Its influence depends on its credibility.

                            There have been "Citizen Juries" — on policy issues, nothing to do with shadow indictments — that were designed to be credible, although of course no one had to pay any attention to them.

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

                            by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:33:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  I support calls to action (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Hey338Too, serendipityisabitch

                          and Ray's suggested placarding is a good idea.

                          However I remember Ray's prior call for a day of action to begin last October.

                          When that day came and went, and Serendipity asked Ray what were the results, Ray and others sharply attacked Serendipity for even bringing it up.

                          I gave $5 to Daily Kos for my participation in Ray's October day of action, but I guess I was the only chump that honored that call for action.

                          “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 12:24:51 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Hell, how do you think (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Ray Pensador

                        the goddamed United States Government was formed? Did they get permission before they formed a "people's assembly"?

                        What is the difference? Why is it okay when some people do it, and not okay when others do it?

                        Basically, every established State and its supporters object to people gathering together outside the auspices of the state.

                        And once the revolt establishes a new order, that order does exactly the same.

                        LOL.

                        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                        by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:24:05 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Glad I could recommend this N/T (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lyvwyr101

                      Nothing human is alien to me.

                      by WB Reeves on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:22:55 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  progress! (4+ / 0-)

                      I don't think the strategy(?) of a citizen's grand jury works any better after being taken out of the title, but maybe it can be salvaged.

                      I'm not sure why you're citing Rakoff: I don't see any hint in the article that he thinks anyone at DOJ is guilty of corruption. He even says:

                      At the outset, however, let me say that I completely discount the argument sometimes made that no such prosecutions have been brought because the top prosecutors were often people who previously represented the financial institutions in question and/or were people who expected to be representing such institutions in the future: the so-called “revolving door.”
                      (And he elaborates.) If one can trust his stated judgment, going after DOJ for "conflict of interest" probably isn't the best way to go after the failure to prosecute. Of course you aren't bound to defer to Rakoff just because you quoted him, but I was stuck by the omission of context.

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

                      by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:35:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Is that what this post is about? (5+ / 0-)

                  Is this post simply about expressing outrage that the Justice Department hasn't filed criminal charges against Wall Street executives?

                  Or is this post about the constructive actions you would like to respond to that non-filing?

                  Because If it's just about expressing outrage, then I'm forced to ask how it's different from previous works by you and others denouncing the lack of criminal charges against Wall Street executives, and what compelling reason you believe someone would actually click through to see it, given that most people have likely already formulated their opinion on the matter.

                  If it's about the response you're calling for, I'm forced to wonder why you don't find feedback on one of the most important aspects of the constructive action you're calling for here—an aspect that has the potential to sink the whole enterprise—to be "extremely important." Is this about building a successful movement, or not?

                  "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                  by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:18:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Good question; very well-formulated. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lyvwyr101, serendipityisabitch

                    Yes, in my activism and in anything I write my only purpose is to contribute in whatever way I can to the success of the fast-spreading social justice movement.

                    Also (and I think people familiar with my writing know this) I never advocate for people not to stay fully engage in the current system as it is.  That means voting, campaigning, volunteering, manning phone banks, putting flyers and posters for preferred candidates, donating, etc.  I don't advocate retreating from the system in any way.

                    Regarding this call to action here one of the main purposes is to keep the issue in the forefront of debate.  Another purpose is to counteract the feeling many people have that those who have been engage in wrongdoing are going to get away with it and that there is nothing we can do... I totally reject that.  I think at the end justice will prevail, not matter how long it takes.

                    So by engaging in this type of campaign, which does has a symbolic aspect, I believe we help in both, motivating those within the movement, and also sending a message to the powers that be that we are paying attention.

                    Hopefully that answers your question, but if you need more clarification, I'd like to expand further.

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

              That I guess translates into a shorter diary.

              You know all those things I said we should do about all the injustices I noted about the Justice Department in my diary...nevermind, didn't really mean any of it.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:17:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  huh???? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too
              the "Citizens Grand Jury," which is a side issue...
              That was the be-all and end-all conclusion of your diary. Your diary actually read very well up until you came up with this whacky extra-judicial idea.

              Have you read much about the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror? What you're recommending is exactly like that - people's juries which resulted in 16,000 people sent to the guillotine.

      •  So is it about reclamation or effectiveness? (4+ / 0-)
        Just because crazy people have used a term or phrase or title doesn't mean they now own it.
        It's not just that they've "used" the term—it's that they're the only people to have used the term. White supremacists don't "own" the title of Citizens' Councils of America either, but given the history of organizations with that name, no sane person who did their research would ever consider that kind of name for their organization. At a certain point the association is so strong that "reclaiming" the title is kind of a lost cause.
        I think a citizen's grand jury is perfectly descriptive and to hell with the pricks who misused those words for hate in the past.
        Presumably, Mr. Pensador would like to have at least some people of color involved with this project, and they might be a little bothered by a group that has chosen a name that is primarily associated with Tea Partiers and white supremacists.

        But it's not just about that; it's also about legitimacy. "Citizens' Grand Jury" doesn't just say "birther" and "white supremacist," it also says "crackpot," since there is no legal system in the United States that grants even a shred of authority to such "grand juries."

        If one is trying to organize progressive change and trying to form a group that will be taken seriously, why would one choose a name whose primary association is with birthers and white supremacists, and which would almost immediately brand the movement as a fringe crackpot movement rather than as something worth actually taking seriously?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:45:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG, serendipityisabitch, 6412093

          It is unfair that only the far right wing gets to be a crackpot. We demand equal rights. 14th Amendment. All Amendments after the Bill of Rights are invalid!!!(Oh god, maybe it's catching)

          Look, I tried to be reasonable...

          by campionrules on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:48:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Couldn't you say the same thing about Socialists? (4+ / 0-)

          After all, Hitler formed the National Socialist German Workers'  and the Soviet Union was the United Soviet Socialist Republic (and it also had the word union in there).

          As I said, you made a good point but it is also important that we reclaim words that are useful to us without fear of what negative conotations the rightwing have applied to them.  There is no prescribed method in law to address these issues when so many of our politicians have been corrupted by financial interests that they all (at least a vast majority of them) are ignoring their responsibilities and are refusing to enforce the laws that are there to protect the citizens of this country.  There are no appropriate words for that except a revolt which I do not believe you would find any more tasteful.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:03:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This isn't the same thing at all. (3+ / 0-)

            It's not like "liberal" or "socialist," where a term that once had a positive connotation has been twisted into something negative. It's not like there was a proud tradition of the "Citizens Grand Jury" before the Birthers and white supremacists soiled them. This is the choice of a term whose only connotations have been Birtherism, white supremacism, and nutbaggery.

            And yes, if a socialist were talking about starting a group called the "National Socialist Party" and asked for my feedback, I'd tell them that the name would be a terrible idea, and that trying to "reclaim" that term would be a poor choice on their part.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:10:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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

      was gonna say exactly the same thing.  The history of this sort of thing is almost universally ugly.  

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:16:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For example see Revolution, French (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:19:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  See the American Revolution (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          All revolts start with some illegal gathering of people who want a change. The hypocrisy is those who support the current US Government, which was put in place by a violent illegal revolt, scream against anyone else who might be so bold to try the same thing.

          Change the name to rid the historical negative images, but people have been gathering in revolt for eons. Our own founders thought the practice to be quite fortitudinous .

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:28:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, the diarist claims that he doesn't want a (0+ / 0-)

            violent illegal revolt. If this is an attempt to start one, perhaps he should be more forthright about it.

            •  I'm just answering the illogic (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG, Ray Pensador, happymisanthropy

              Every revolution of government starts with people disobeying laws and defying authority. This doesn't even mean acts of violence, just defiance. In fact, it is the State which usually starts with the violence, not the people in revolt, who simply gather en mass somewhere and refuse to disperse.

              I'm speaking of the hypothetical revolt. People seem to think of that as an unspeakably terrible act, despite living in a republic which founded itself on revolt.

              This is simply a basic fact, and a matter of reason and logic.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:22:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  yup (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen

                Our country was founded on a revolution that was inspired by rich white guys tired of paying taxes to the king. THE war was fought by the underclass and mercenaries and the country that was established had slaves and women were thought of as property and even today we have the rich still screwing the poor. What would have been all that different if the British still controlled us?

                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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:32:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                  In the case of the US, some people think it might have been better if the British remained in control. The thought has crossed my mind.

                  But that doesn't mean there can't be revolts which end well.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:49:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I need some examples (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ZhenRen

                    Because the ones that happened have some flaws, big flaws, MASSIVE FLAWS.

                    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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:52:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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

                      If you find books on the collectives of the Spanish Revolution, it will become evident from them how amazing their accomplishments were, under the harshest of circumstances. Sadly, they were crushed, tortured, murdered and imprisoned after a three year run.

                      I personally find the story very impressive.

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:31:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  a three year run? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stellaluna, Hey338Too

                        that's not a good example of success.

                        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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:51:50 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                          The Francoist fascists lasted for several decades. Was that success, just due to the fact that they prevailed in that war? What is your criteria of success? Violently defeating all your more civilized opponents?

                          What was successful is that the system worked and improved the lives of millions. It didn't fail due to internal flaws but to the fascists getting help from Nazis and Mussolini, and a few others, as well.

                          I find your dismissal a bit too easy and self serving.

                          Chomsky, not exactly an unintelligent person, has this to say about Spain, and the importance of their achievements:

                          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:30:56 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm a numbers guy (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hey338Too

                            Show me your success is a pattern and I will gamble on it. Longshots and the unknown are scary and doing things hoping that humans will not be human and fall prey to greed and tribalism during unstable times is a bad bet. For all out faults our country is stable. I do want to go after Wall Street for doing what it has done. As a gambler I am mad as hell that they get the government to bail them out when their bets go bad. It irks me to no end that they get away with sending their representative as Treasury Secretary to the White House no matter who is President. What I don't need or care to mess with is a silly call for revolutions that are massive longshots to succeed. How about we get a small victory like raising the capital gains tax first.

                            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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:45:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, if you think this country is stable... (0+ / 0-)

                            And that stability is all that is important, I can see that we will not agree.

                            If you call this success, despite the history, then we are very different people.

                            Here's something I posted a while back when another Kossack and I were debating this. It's just a little review of US history. Stability is a matter of perspective depending on which group you belong to. If you are poor, or Black, or Indian, or Latino, or a woman, or one of the other counties we helped topple in favor of fascists regimes, the stability you speak of doesn't exist. Did Indians find us to be a stable government? Black slaves? Victims of drone bombings? Stability exists only for the wealthy class, not for the rest of us. Read Zinn's A People's History of the U.S. to get an idea of history from some other source than the elites.

                            Oh my... you really don't get it (0+ / 0-)

                            You want to thank those who gave minorities, the poor, women, the working class, every paltry benefit they have ever received from "US government"?

                            Then thank the people, the activists, the anarchists, the communists and socialists, the agitators and strikers, the labor protestors. Without them, and all they died for at the hands of government violence, we would not have the minimal, inadequate rights we have won from government.

                            It was government that made the pro-slavery laws to begin with.

                            It was government that stood in the way of equality for years. It was government that wrote the 3/5ths law into the US constitution, which, as a law, was very difficult to overturn.

                            It was government that took the lands of free people in the New World, and practiced genocide. It was government which took one third of Mexico for itself by force, and now during Obama's term deports more Mexicans from their own lands than any other administration, while liberals like you pat themselves on the back for government protection of minorities. My god.

                            It was government that refused women and minorities, and white men without property, the right to vote, so that in the first election of G. Washington, only 6% (the wealthier Americans) voted.

                            It was government that provided enforcement of property "rights" of the owning class over other men during the slavery years.

                            It was government which allowed and provided police to violently and murderously suppress worker's strikes to oppress the working class. It was government that tried to break up the unions, and has largely succeeded.

                            It was government which has lied the nation into countless illegal wars.

                            It was government that took us illegally into Iraq, and Vietnam, the Indian wars, the colonization of other lands.

                            It was government that supported fascists regimes, while undermining democratic, socialist states.

                            It is government that does nothing about climate change, the hegemony of the banking industry, the enabling of the disparities in wealth between the rich and the rest of us.

                            It is government that incarcerates more citizens in the US than any other industrialized country. It is government that sanctions legal murder in capital punishment.

                            It was government which has drug its feet for years on environmental protection and still does, bringing human kind to possible extinction in the next 100 years due to inaction.

                            And that same government which now ignores international agreements against various war crimes made by a federation of nations to which it is a signatory.

                            It isn't government that gave people their rights, it was the threat of revolt, of direct action, of losing support of the people, that forced a perpetually reluctant government to give in and respect rights.

                            People are not given rights, but rather have their natural inherent right to live taken away by governments, and when some of these rights are returned, we thank government for the "gift" as if we need government to grant to us what was already ours.

                            The only reason we got the "New Deal" is because Roosevelt and the existing plutocrats were worried about the unrest in the population during the great depression. The smarter ones like FDR realized a bone or two had to be given to the workers to keep the peace.

                            For fucks sake, women still do not get equal pay in the work place, thanks to government top-down intransigence and imperviousness and inaccessibility to common people. And Blacks are still by far the least employed.

                            Your deluded notion it is the central state which provides rights to the people ignores the years of struggle against government to repeal the horrible laws which have allowed all the atrocities to begin with.

                            All of these same social rights and benefits can be provided by the people to themselves by free association, with agreements, and bottom up federations participatory communities. It is the people, not some separate, top down, central authority, who demand and fight  for economic and political equality. If not for the enormous struggle, these rights would not exist, if left to the elites in control of government.

                            This was done in Spain during the anarchist revolution, and we are yet to provide all that the Spanish provided to their own communities during that period. In the '30s they built hundreds of free public schools, provided universal health care, pensions for all retirees, retirement at age 50, better safety in the workplace, healthier environments for food preparation, more respect for woman's rights, etc.

                            In short, they gave themselves egalitarian equality on a scale that the US government has yet to come anything close to recognizing.

                            It is never central government that does these things, but the people. When government gives respect to the people, it is only due to preserving the interests of its own existence that it does so.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:41:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

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

                            now start by getting the capital gains taxes raised and using that money to fund things we need. Don't start by calling for a revolt.

                            This doesn't need to be dramatic. We don't need all the nonsense buzzwords that end in cy. We need more Pope Francis type moralizing and less conspiracies about rich corpotacracy propaganda machines controlling us.

                            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 Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:55:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You want to reform the system (0+ / 0-)

                            Go for it, but count me out. We just tread water that way, as was the design's intended result. It makes us think we're winning, when we're just getting crumbs from the table, and arguing over how big the crumbs should be. Reforms make the crumbs slightly larger sometimes, but that is only temporary, lasting until the lords find another way to get around the system. And its been that way since the inception.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:47:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  We must never do anything (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, DeadHead

          because French Revolution.

          Isn't that argument 200 years past its pull date?

          Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

          by happymisanthropy on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 09:06:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, our own sanctioned grand juries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, happymisanthropy

      have been very authoritarian. Any body that convenes can do bad things. Just because one is sanctioned by the state, and another isn't doesn't mean the state-sanctioned body is all about truth and justice. Look at US history. Our government has decimated an entire people in the Indian Wars. How is it that the State, in your mind, magically moves toward justice? Our history is littered with the bodies to disprove your thesis. In fact, the 4/5s of a person law was part of our written constitution. Slavery was thus made legal by our own State.

      So... it isn't the body of people that is the problem, it is the principles which such bodies embrace by agreement.

      I don't know what Ray had in mind with the grand jury, but it all depends on which agreements are made by the people involved. If a body founds itself on egalitarian, non-coercive, non-hierarchical principle of self-management, then that would be far better than a body founded upon inequality. It is the people, and the agreements they make, which decides which direction they will go.

      Communities based on inequality, authoritarianism, and exploitation are certainly not preferable to communities based on egalitarianism. A citizens jury will reflect the principles of the community which forms it.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:14:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What choices do we have again??? (0+ / 0-)

      Continue to allow these bastards to steal everything under the sun and do so with the blessings and immunity of the sycophants they put into our government???

      The Grand Juror is the most powerful person in this nation, they can bring an indictment against anyone, including members of the Supreme Court, Congress and the POTUS.

      Then, a jury of our peers, can decide their fate.

      That IS what we call "due process" right?

      Or are we to willingly sit by and let this out of control government tell me "due process" doesn't necessarily mean "judicial"???

      The French got it right, in my opinion.  

      -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 09:13:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Holder, of course, was lying. (9+ / 0-)
    "It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute—if you do bring a criminal charge—it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
    At a later date, when asked what studies, reports or information Holder based his above statement on he conceded there were none.

    The nation's Attorney General was justifying shielding the largest financial criminals in history for 100% made up bullshit excuses fully undermined by all of the previous prosecutions in the previous decades.

    Holder, of course, works for Obama, and it is Obama who has decided to allow the statue of limitations to run out so these folks can be, effectively, pardoned.

  •  Let me see if I've got this straight: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, HudsonValleyMark, 6412093

    You want a "crowd sourced" group of people to produce an indictment of the current justice system, which would then be turned over to the current justice system to enforce?

    And it would stand a better chance of enforcement by that system which you are sure is broken, because... - I'm afraid I didn't follow that part of it very well. Actually, I didn't see anything in there on why the process you've outlined would have any more effect on actual legal consequences for your targets than the current system. Moral suasion is not, perhaps, going to work effectively on hardened criminals - if that is indeed what populate the current system

    You're obviously not calling for people to take the law, in terms of prosecution and imprisonment, into their own hands - only the part about deciding who should be prosecuted and imprisoned. Then, of course, they will wash their hands of the whole thing, and the proper authorities get to finish the job. If that does not happen, what then? Full vigilante justice? It seems to me your prescription stops short of figuring out what to do if the most optimistic conditions aren't met. That, if nothing else, makes it pie in the sky by and by. A real plan considers contingencies.

    Note: If the judicial system is not in fact corrupt, it must reject the results of this Citizen's Court you are proposing.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 02:53:37 PM PST

    •  I'm anticipating that the fast-growing peaceful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101, serendipityisabitch

      uprising engulfing the country right now will eventually reach a tipping point which will at the end force the corporatist cartels that have captured the levers of power to let go of their grip on the country...

      At that point there will be an opportunity to address the crime spree and corruption we're under right now.

      The other thing about "moral suasion" is accurate.  By engaging in what at this point is a symbolic gesture of drafting a very carefully written indictment and propagating it throughout the population in a kind of counter-propaganda campaign, the effort will keep the issue of rampant corruption and abuses of power at the forefront and have the effect of contributing to the social justice movement which will eventually defeat the corporate state.

      It's a full-spectrum participation approach.

      And of course, we stay fully engage in the current system as well, making sure we vote for the best corporate-approved candidates we can in 2014, and 2016, while at the same time continue pushing for more deep, structural changes in the proto-fascist oligarchy.

      •  Ray, at that point there will be opportunity, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too

        but no need to address the crime spree and corruption we're under right now. Because, given your words, it will no longer control the power it needs to survive.

        Are you saying that concerned citizens should go through this entire process with the understanding that it is not intended to have any except moral standing, or to produce any real results except for a continuing propaganda effort in support of your peaceful uprising?

        I think, perhaps, that there might be side effects to the process which might undermine the "peaceful" part of the definition. The difference between a mass assembly and a mob can be painfully small if great care is not taken, especially if you give them a target, rather than a positive goal.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:26:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't accept the fact that if those who are in (3+ / 0-)

          power have participated in the cover up of massive crimes by (what I call) the Wall Street racketeering criminal cartel, that somehow they will not be held to account.

          No matter what happens in the aftermath of the ongoing peaceful uprising, one of the first items in the agenda should be to make sure that the rule of law is fully restored, and that means subjecting those who have violated their oath of office, and those in the highest levels of business and industry, to account for their (alleged) crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

          •  Justice, or revenge? It's been pointed out in (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too, 6412093

            another comment that retroactive law is no law at all. I'll add another quote for you, in hopes that it will help that case:

            Use every man after his desert, and who should scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
            Hamlet; Act 2, Scene 2

            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

            by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:11:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The reason justice is important is because (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, lyvwyr101

              without it then your only option is revenge.

              •  There are always other options, if you are (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hey338Too, 6412093

                willing, and open minded enough, to conceive of them.

                Aside from that, though, changing the law to be able to retroactively confer "justice" is not justice.

                At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:31:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  maybe we can make a distinction (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

                  I don't think Ray has explicitly suggested changing any laws retroactively. The question is whether he needs to.

                  To the extent that statutes of limitations now preclude prosecutions of the execs (as suggested by Rakoff)... that's a problem.

                  I haven't seen an explicit legal theory for prosecuting anyone in DOJ. I doubt that a good one exists, although I can't rule it out a priori.

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

                  by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:18:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Let me ask you a couple of key questions: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lyvwyr101

                  If you knew beyond reasonable doubt (let's say recording, documents, leaks, testimony to the effect) that an Attorney General and his or her subordinates knowingly colluded to protect large business interests that happen to be clients of law firms said AG will be working for once leaving office, would you agree that they should be subjected to a proper investigation, indictment and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law?

                  Also, let me ask you a direct question: Do you consider yourself someone who protects the system, or are you an anti-establishment type of person?

                  If the "establishment" is corrupt to the core, where do you stand?

                  •  So all the choices I have are the options you (6+ / 0-)

                    lay out here? Sorry, I don't buy it. If, as you've said many times, the current corrupt establishment has already failed and is waiting for a mere breath of air to start falling, your questions do not hold.

                    I consider myself, and you, and the members of both the "establishment" and the rest of our population - human; and thus subject to all the potential virtues and vices, errors and potential fallacies and graces, that have accompanied human endeavor throughout the centuries.

                    Black and white works for zebras, and skunks, and words on paper (and trying to set up false dichotomies, sometimes). Shades of grey and all the colors of the rainbow work better for thinking about how to act as a human being.

                    Quite frankly, I do not know what you mean by "corrupt to the core". Especially since it seems to depend on the standards of purity which you have many times evoked, and never carefully defined. You are not the arbiter of my, or their, morality, if in fact the concept has any external reality outside a theological system.

                    None of which should serve to obscure the fact that your answer comes instead of a substantive reply to my comment.

                    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                    by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:07:56 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Those were a lot of words to inject the skunk (3+ / 0-)

                      ad-hominem... Is hard to keep track of all the colorful names you've called me or alluded to, including dishonest, narcissistic, paranoid, grifter, and skunk now?

                      Let me try it one more time: Do you think that those who engage in illegal behavior, in wrongdoing, regardless of their position, should be held to account?

                      I understand the thing about shades of grey, and all that.  I do agree that things are not always black and white.  But surely you would not use that argument to defend clear violations of the law, right?  Nor would you use it to defend a two-tiered justice system status quo, right?

                      I mean, I have to believe that you believe in the rule of law.  Would that be a fair assumption?

                      Regarding the system being corrupt to the core, you do remember I've referenced many respected people who pretty much agree with that characterization, right?

                      Either way, I'll be writing a diary quoting some material from Chris Hedges' latest Truthdig article: The Last Gasp of American Democracy.

                      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 goal of wholesale surveillance, as Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” And because Americans’ emails, phone conversations, Web searches and geographical movements are recorded and stored in perpetuity in government databases, there will be more than enough “evidence” to seize us should the state deem it necessary. This information waits like a deadly virus inside government vaults to be turned against us. It does not matter how trivial or innocent that information is. In totalitarian states, justice, like truth, is irrelevant.

                      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.

                      What is your opinion about this observation by Hedges?
                      •  So very much to respond to. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hey338Too, fcvaguy

                        Re: your first paragraph. Since you have once again referred to comments in other diaries, I refer anyone who wishes to actually check this out to my response here, and to the comments following it, and to your original comment here. I also add another 25 links to my previous comments in your diaries.
                        *
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...
                        http://www.dailykos.com/...

                        I will continue to do this at any time in the future that you accuse me of insults or ad hominems.

                        Second. Are you in favor of all illegal behavior being prosecuted, including all the various drug laws, stop and frisk, anti-sodomy statutes, etc., or do you pick and choose as to which ones you think should be strictly enforced as long as they are the law? Ask a general question like that, and I'll throw it back at you any time. Do you believe in the rule of law, or only when it's "moral" law?

                        2a) I missed this one, sorry.

                        I think that things are either just, or unjust, truth or false, ethical or unethical, moral or immoral
                        Sounds pretty black and white to me, no?

                        Third. So you have no precise characterization of "corrupt", either. That's a word that six people can use in six different ways on the same subject, and because you cite another person who uses it doesn't mean a whole lot.

                        Fourth. On the Chris Hedges point - congratulations, you've found another quotation that supports your ideas.

                        Fifth. Perhaps you should PM your second comment to Markos - I don't see what relevance it has to my comments. Are you happy you've got recs and shares and tweets? I'm happy you're happy. If I ever get into playing the "My recs determine my status in the community" game, I'll be sure to let you know.

                        If you don't have a good answer to a question I pose, why not just let it lie, rather than resorting to elaborate circumlocutions?

                        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:55:19 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  When it comes to the content of this diary, if (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gerrilea, lyvwyr101

                          it could be proven that high government functionaries had violated the law by engaging in a sort of a protection racket on behalf of powerful business cartels that happen to be clients of a law office associated with those gov't functionaries, would you agree that they should be held accountable?

                          Regarding the name-calling, I'll make some time to dig out maybe ten or so instances when you had either called me directly or alluded to me being dishonest, a grifter, paranoid, and a few other colorful names.

                          Regarding the huge number of shares on that diary, which BTW continues to grow as we speak, the reason I bring it up is because you have previously questioned my findings about the topic I covered in that diary.

                        •  Below are a handful of examples of namecalling (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gerrilea

                          ... Going over the diaries I noticed that you've peppered them with all

                          Grifter:

                          The business of adding well known names to a list in order to make your case, which they do not support, seem more plausible, is one of the oldest grifter's tricks in the book, and you should damn well be ashamed of yourself.

                          This one is interesting... In this diary the words "paranoia" or "paranoid" were used 30 times against me; you rec'd many of those comments: Stratfor Leaked Documents: Divide-And-Conquer Strategies Against Activists
                          Here you you actually make a direct allusion about me being paranoid: The Power of People Armed With The Truth - #Calle13Assange

                          Assange's "truths" are coming up against a more and more skeptical audience. If you wish to equate evidence of this skepticism with a personal attack on yourself - that's starting to look pretty paranoid.

                          Diary: Tipping Point

                          Thank you. Perhaps you should be listening to Nichols and McChesney more often, but whatever the point of change, this is the type of diary I've been hoping to see from you. There is a world of difference between "we can't fix this because people aren't perfect enough" and "we can fix damn near anything as long as we don't accept it as inevitable".

                          From time to time, I, too have fantasized about being able to wave some kind of magic wand that would rub a few faces into the dirt. It passes, because that kind of hating tends to be a waste of time when there are positive changes that can be made. Even corruption can be turned to advantage, if the leverage can be found, because its nature is that it will bow to the strongest influence.

                          [Note: There in an implication about violence and hating that mischaracterizes the diary]

                          More:
                          There is a pattern. I published the diary late at night; within 30 minutes or so, I unpublished it because I wanted to make some edits.  Soon after that I got the message from you one more time commenting on the unpublished diary, which I think is the third (at a minimum) time you do that.  You may remember that the time you posted a link to a cached copy of an unpublished diary I mentioned to you that it was kind of creepy.  Remember that?

                          I've asked you multiple times why you keep coming to my diaries trying to malign me, and at one point you answered that I "fascinate you."

                          Regarding the blocking, is not a matter of willingness on your part... It is up to me.

                          by Ray Pensador on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:39:21 AM PST

                          yes, and in that 30 minutes I had read the diary, recommended it, tipped it, and was writing the comment. When I tried to publish it, you'd deleted the diary, so I sent you the comment, noted that I hoped you'd be republishing, and asked whether you were okay with the comment.

                          I shouldn't have noticed your diary when it was up? I shouldn't have liked it? Huh? Something strange is going on, and not on my end.

                          by serendipityisabitch on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:48:45 AM PST

                          Diary: The Power of People Armed With The Truth - #Calle13Assange

                          What contents? You posted one paragraph, four sentences, of almost metaphysical content. That the comments haven't gone the way you wanted, whatever that was, is not only not surprising, it was almost inevitable.

                          Assange's "truths" are coming up against a more and more skeptical audience. If you wish to equate evidence of this skepticism with a personal attack on yourself - that's starting to look pretty paranoid.

                          by serendipityisabitch on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 05:46:51 PM PST

                          [Note: Lobbing the "paranoid" insult]

                          Diary: Open Letter to Sockpuppets And Trolls
                          Look, Ray is arguing his opinion, not a proven...

                          ...Look, this diary started off with a bad misquote of an incredibly well known Shakespearian line. Okay, so Ray doesn't read Shakespeare. But if that quote isn't cited properly, or in context (and it wasn't), then what does that say about the rest of Ray's cites? He would say, and has said in previous diaries, that those types of questions are tangential to the diary, and not relevant to the main point, so he's not going to bother to answer.

                          It's relevant, and it's crucial. It speaks to the integrity of the diarist. If he cannot, in an area which is common for his audience, be bothered to get his citations correct, or show their relevance correctly, what can we infer about those citations in areas which are not common knowledge?

                          [Note: Irrelevant side-track ultimately used to call my integrity and honesty into question.  I wasn't quoting Shakespeare]

                          These are just a few... There are many others.  They're easy to find by doing Google Searches.
                        •  Well... (3+ / 0-)

                          There is that little matter of which comments posted by others you choose to rec.

                          You've signed-on to a couple of gems, IIRC.

                          And I've noticed a few questionable recs on comments directed towards me, too, by the way.

                          Some people pay attention to that stuff, you know.

                          So while you may indeed not say these things outright, others have, and your username will likely be found amongst the list of recommenders on a couple of them.

                          At least one, off the top of my head. I even pointed it out to you, yet your uprate remains.




                          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 02:57:58 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Agree (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

                          I've never seen you resort to name-calling. You've been consistently above that. however, Ray is not shy about making up those types of accusations out of whole cloth and when he does accuse people of personally attacking him, he should prove it, otherwise its just malicious slander.

                    •  BTW, did you notice my other diary was trending (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gerrilea, lyvwyr101

                      on Facebook and BuzzFeed?  This one: An Open Letter to The Occupy Wall Street Movement: You Were Right All Along

                      It's a 4,500 Facebook shares, 273 tweets...

                      That was nice.  I hope it adds a little bit to the traffic stats.

  •  Holding Obama accountable is bad (7+ / 0-)

    because omigod Obama!

    Never mind the minority victims in this whole shenanigan:

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/...

    http://paa2012.princeton.edu/...

    "If we let the political class determine what's 'realistic,' the country is doomed." -- "Lambert Strether"

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:28:27 PM PST

  •  It seems that if you could get a majority of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch, bwren, Hey338Too

    people you could trust to take the place of the judicial system and bring and prosecute some sort of people's indictments you could just vote in prosecutors and judges who would enforce the law we have now anyway.  If you have that many people who are aware enough of the problem and who think like you do then all of the money that the plutocrats have still can't undo majority vote.  The ultimate problem with money in politics is that the money, through advertising and propaganda sways votes.  This diary seems to presuppose enough people see through the advertising, the propaganda and the manipulations to make a difference.  If we were at that point we could just elect officials who would do the will of the people.  There's really no reason to worry about "the establishment" when you have a groundswell of majority opinion on your side.  For all of the tremendous problems we face in our governance we still have the ability to vote and win by majority.

    The problem of course is that the majority of people don't care or don't understand the problem.  So the masses of people who would be a part of this "people's court" aren't going to be there.  If however you are talking about a small group of people circumventing existing laws in order to do what they think is right--despite what the majority want, you may have a problem.  Even if you think what you are doing is what people would want if they understood things better I'm not sure you are being very democratic.  So would you expect to have majority support for your extra-legal activities or would you expect to speak for the majority in some sort of representative capacity.  From where would you derive your authority to act outside of the normal legal process?

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

    by stellaluna on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:37:14 PM PST

    •  When it comes to putting real pressure on an (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead, lyvwyr101

      oppressive and corrupt system, like the one we have today in the USA, studies have found that if 3% to 5% of the population engages in a sustained resistance movement, that's all it would take to turn things around.

      While all that is happening a huge percentage of he population would have remained watching reality TV, while others who fall into poverty and homelessness would have been invisible to the system.

      •  "studies have shown" (3+ / 0-)

        Oh?

        "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 04:06:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But you aren't talking about a sustained (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

        resistance movement in this diary.  You are talking about a group of 3% - 5% of people taking the law into their own hands and administering justice according to their views of justice.  And while I might agree with your version of prosecuting bankers (and I actually do), that's still putting extra-judicial justice in the hands of a small minority.  It's pretty close to vigilantism.  Do we believe in a justice system where a small minority can determine the lives of others according to their own set of beliefs?  Aren't we exchanging one tyranny for another.  A benevolent dictator is still a dictator and non-democratic rule is still tyranny.

        If this is just supposed to be our own propaganda, more of a gesture to make our point then there are other issues.  Is this the best use of time and energy in trying to bring about real change?  Who are we trying to affect?  Educating the bankers or even the Justice Department isn't likely to bring about change.  So if this is supposed to have some effect you would really need to decide what the goal is and who the target audience is.  Protest just for the sake of protest is a waste of time.  Every hour spent standing outside of a bank or the Justice Department trying to influence bankers or the judiciary could be spent trying to defeat the people who appoint the judges or prosecutors who won't prosecute.  Or trying to elect ones who will.  The beauty of the criminal justice system is that you don't have to rely on the federal government or appointments.  Local (ie. state prosecutorial officials) can investigate and prosecute as well.  Maybe we should focus on electing better local/state prosecutors who would start their own investigations and prosecutions.  Why not focus on one city even.  Charlotte, NC is a big banking city in the south.  Why not run a candidate and raise money and support for one that will prosecute wrong-doing among bankers in Charlotte.  One county is all you would have to win.  A few million votes.  Of course you will have the entire banking industry supporting the other guy.  But that is always the case.  I just don't see how "protests" are going to achieve anything.  At least as described here in this diary.

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

        by stellaluna on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:04:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  dunno about the first part (3+ / 0-)
          ...in this diary.  You are talking about a group of 3% - 5% of people taking the law into their own hands and administering justice according to their views of justice.
          A narrow reading of the text seems to end up closer to what you say later:
          If this is just supposed to be our own propaganda, more of a gesture to make our point...
          But the diary doesn't clearly say one or the other (or anything else about how this is actually supposed to work). And the "BANSKSTERS YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES WE WILL NOT REST UNTIL YOU DO" does seem to mean that he won't settle for due process if it doesn't yield the result he demands.

          "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 05:34:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think that is my point. This is intended as a (3+ / 0-)

            meaningless gesture to make the people doing it feel good rather than one that is expected to have any effect.  The 3-5 percent comes from Ray's answer that he only needs 3-5% for his actions to be effective.  My question that he was answering was that if he has enough people on board who recognize the problem and agree with the prosecutions why doesn't he just address the problem through the electoral process.  Apparently he doesn't have enough people for that.  Only 3-5%.  So this is nothing but a protest action.  And a not very effective one at that.

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

            by stellaluna on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:51:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, that's what we deserve (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, DeadHead

      for electing Eric Holder.

      Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 09:10:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Kangarooo Court" indeed. (0+ / 0-)

    Ridiculous.

    kingfish fathoms bait / netted head rots in eddies / immature scold starves

    by yojimbo on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:37:06 AM PST

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