Occupy Protests Continue To Grow - But Are They Targeting Right Places?

Occupy Protests Continue To Grow - But Are They Targeting Right Places?

Whether you agree with the Occupy Movement or not, the fact is it is spreading and continues to grow. And I suspect it isn’t the flash in the pan some think it is. Of course there are those detractors who claim the protests aren’t really targeting the real culprit in all this and that Big Business is just an engine of opportunity for all. But, whatever your viewpoint is – there can be no denying that there is a general mood of discontent out there. There is also no denying that whether that discontent is steeped completely in truths, half-truths or perceptions – the anger among the masses is very real.

I, for one, don’t place the blame entirely on Wall Street. Anyone who has read my commentary on a regular basis knows that I have a particular disdain for a political system that takes its marching orders from the hordes of lobbyists and special interests. It is that coziness which has led to our economic decline and the proliferation of greed.

Whether the actual number of “victims” stand at 99% or 51% is immaterial so far as I can see. The fact is there are a hell of a lot more business interests making money off the backs of taxpayers than not, but not all. One commenter to my earlier post made a well reasoned argument about misplaced blame and how a free market society operates on the premise of opportunity. Well, I can’t find fault in anyone making a profit or becoming wealthy off the sweat of their labor or investment savvy. Besides, it is that investment risk that usually creates jobs, right?

But here is the real problem  – the jobs aren’t being created and neither is government doing their duty to ensure that the business / financial sectors are playing on a level playing field. And when government passes legislation that takes away the penalties and/or to let business and financial sectors operate with impunity – well what do you think you get in the long haul? Seems to me that you get exactly what we have right now – economic instability.

As I said before, had it not been for the economic collapse which have put people out of work and in many cases out of their homes – we wouldn’t be having these protests. Hey, protests during bleak economic times isn’t anything new folks. Matter of fact, there were several movements during the Economic Upheavals of the 1890’s and the Great Depression of the 1930’s. So the Occupy Movement is not some sort of new precedent okay?

As for the lack of a leadership structure within the Occupy movement, well, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for some sort of National Leadership Structure. At least then, the people would have a greater voice than the lobbyists and special interests who protect the so-called other side. Maybe then the political powers that be would take their constituents more seriously than those slipping them the envelopes in return for their vote. But more importantly – people within the movement need to sit down and ascertain that what they want to change is actually where it needs to be changed! I mean, isn’t it more about Government and its half-ass policies that have allowed the business / financial sector to do what it has done in the first place?

So, it seems to me that we should Occupy the Statehouses and Capitol First?

Then again – just thinking.

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  • While channel surfing on 20.3 for about 5 seconds, I saw that Russia Today was covering them. So, they are getting their press. Then I moved on to 20.1, 11.4, 11.3. Now you can see why my remotes wear out.

    Apparently someone in charge of one Occupy movement tried to excommunicate the Occupy Oakland movement for their continued violence.

    We can't occupy the Illinois Statehouse, because all the public employees chanting "Hey Hey, Ho, Ho, Quinn is a ho" have the lobby packed.

    Finally, do I get props for correctly analyzing the Cellini case, even though I said that I wasn't predicting the jury's verdict?

  • In reply to jack:

    They are getting their press that's for sure and yes I understand the remote issue - I do the same thing; except thus far it has just been draining of batteries, lol.

    Excommunication was a good choice of words. But I do get the sense that there are two distinct camps showing up at these protests; one the one side you do have the "peaceniks" and then you have the anarchists looking to start violence - and that is a serious problem for any movement. If you recall, the Tea Party experienced the same of sort of thing when the GOP swooped in and hijacked that movement. I guess that is why I always try and take a wait and see attitude to movements.

    No doubt though that there are competing agendas.

    I like your statehouse comment Jack and oh yes - you get props.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    On the two camps, if that's the case, it would be a replay of 1968 without (I suppose) any of the people now involved being around then.

    At least then there were clear causes of get out of Vietnam and civil rights, except for whatever the Chicago Seven and Weather Underground were up to. And, if one wants to go (where I usually do) into the realm of unintended consequences, the result was Nixon being elected.

  • In reply to jack:

    I would think that the Occupy Movement is similar to 68. For instance the non-violent protesters or peaceniks are angry over the disparity between the middle class / upper class. I don't know but isn't that an example of a clear cause for today's protesters for the sake of argument? As we extrapolate that - the anarchists that have infiltrated the protests in Oakland and other places are really no different than the Chicago 7, Weather Underground, FALN and/or the Students For A Democratic Society (SDS). So I can see a parallel there. As for the unintended consequences of Nixon being elected - sure since that was the net effect of the Anti-War protests; LBJ' Presidency collapsed under the weight of the Anti-War protests and the fact that RFK challenged him and the Party's Status Quo. So you are definitely spot on there.

    You know for all this talk in the mainstream media that the Occupy Movement doesn't have a central issue couldn't be further from the truth. Even the leaderless comments may not be entirely correct as I just read that the self-described leaders of the Chicago Movement met with organizers in Washington on how they got around being tossed from public parks and that are trying to enlist lawmakers for support of the cause.

    I don't know but my logic tells me that something is trying to be evolved within the movement in some manner right? Now, If you recall I had said it would be prudent to sit back and see what actually shakes out, if anything. But I do think it is still too way too early to call these protests a complete bust or nonsensical.

    So long as there is anger out there - anything is possible?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Anger out there, anything is possible, including the unintended consequences.

    There may be a point that Wall Street got us into the current economic mess, but there is also Dodd-Frank, and Madoff in the clink. There is also economic inequality, but I haven't heard from either Occupy or the Chicago Muckrakers what proposals they have to solve it--in the sense of getting people jobs.

    In the meantime, since the status quo they are protesting is Obama, unless they have some means to defeat the Republicans in Congress (such as exercised by the Illinois General Assembly and Joe Walsh), an analogue to the Nixon alternative seems the only one on the horizon.

    In that one of the announced tactics of some Occupy group was to close down the early caucuses, I guess they don't really believe in democracy.

  • In reply to jack:

    1st Things 1st Jack - I think we agree philosophically. But here is the point I was trying to make - you can't lump everyone into the same ball. There appears to be two camps (or maybe more) under the Occupy umbrella. But let's stick with two for sake of the argument.

    On the one side you have a group who wants to protest in a non-violent manner and want their voices heard and I don't think they fall into the group you suspect as not believing in democracy. I believe there is the second group who have joined in at the protests; i.e. the peacenik protesters in Oakland were quite miffed and disturbed by a splinter group who showed up and started the violence from what I have read. This sort of crap happens at many of these protests, but since there is no cohesive leadership structure to steer the message - everyone gets lumped into the one group. But I don't think that is the case at all and there has been enough coverage to support that view.

    As for targeting banks / financial institutions well that is fine and dandy but without protesting the politicians it is mute. The mess begins on Capitol Hill - then Wall Street, et al. The institutions will take what they can get by way of legislation and while people are mad about it, most of the shenanigans isn't illegal (immoral maybe), but not illegal if protected by lawmakers.

    Again I caution all to be more observant as to what the makeup of these protest groups are because there is a hodge-podge of opposing agendas showing up. And as I pointed out there does seem to be some movement within to unify and even get support from lawmakers opposed to the influence of special interests. This is just too early in the evolution - but they will have to get a handle on it because the perception is that all who show up are protesting the same thing - they are not. Again observe what shakes out in the next few months. It either self destructs or a move made to unify as a legitimate movement with a legitimate platform. And my thoughts on that are that they must drive the government reform angle as a means to an end. Can't rein in the excesses of Wall Street without it.

    Then again I read in today's paper that Abramoff said ridding the Capitol of special interests is impossible. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/jack-abramoff-new-book-corruption-in-washington_n_1064602.html?ref=mostpopular

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    By saying "some Occupy group," I am acknowledging a certain lack of organization or cohesion.*

    As far as Abramoff, the link indicates that Stu Levine would say the same thing if he were coherent enough to write a book. Cf. the news stories that it was suddenly revealed that Exelon gave a lot of campaign contributions before the Illinois smart grid vote.

    So long as the First Amendment has been equated with money, and the vast majority of politicians are corrupt, it is not going to change. Maybe the difference is that any Occupy has nothing to offer the politicians, and, from what mikeinchgo, below, indicates, not enough to sway enough voters to make any difference.

    *If SPOX is the crawl term of spokesman, apparently even Somali pirates have a SPOX, according to the FNC crawl.

  • In reply to jack:


  • Michael - you said;

    "Whether you agree with the Occupy Movement or not, the fact is it is spreading and continues to grow. And I suspect it isn't the flash in the pan some think it is."

    When Colbert, who happens to be liberal, is making a comedy spoof about this movement, I think there's not much else left to say.


  • In reply to mikeinchgo:

    Hey Colbert and the rest spoofed the Tea Party too. Look - I am just pointing out that this movement (if it can sustain itself) is still in its infancy. And too, until some sort of leadership develops the kooks who show up with another agenda will just continue. I am just trying to look at the bigger picture Mike - people are mad and that can't be denied. How it plays out, well that is another thing. I am not rushing out to support anything one way or the other - I am just saying pay attention to see if the movement gains a legitimate voice without the riff-raff that shows up along side it. There are a lot of extraneous dynamics going on right now from what I see. I will just sit back and observe where it goes if anywhere. The USA Today published a map on how many of these Occupy Movements are springing up all over the country - so hey don't shoot the messenger okay?

    I will say this though, if the economy turns around sooner than later, much of this discontent goes away too. I liken it to a Bob Marley comment which I;ll paraphrase - "when dem bellies are empty people rise up - but keep em full and they be satisfied."

  • http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1011/An_Occupy_Wall_StreetTea_Party_Venn_diagram.html

    The Tea Party was accused of being an astroturf movement (which parts of it certainly were before it organized itself a bit more), but the real grassroots parts of it took 2009 and early 2010 to get organized. The Occupy movements are in their infancy, and certainly could organize themselves well over the next few months into a powerful force.

    As the Venn diagram I linked to above states, essentially the OWS movement is coming at the government/favored interests combine from the side of attacking the favored interests, in this case the financial sector.

    Essentially, the OWS argument is that financial interests set up extremely risky deals than sunk the economy (some of which were illegal, but were missed by the SEC and proper authorities because of incompetence, unwillingness to do ones job, and buddy-buddy relationships), then were bailed out by the government even though the capitalist system is supposedly all about risk and the fact that if you take it and get screwed then you're screwed! Instead, the financiers got a pass go and collect $200 card from community chest while everyone else got stuck footing the bill for the financial sector's awful performance.

    On top of all of that, the financiers seem to have an incredible arrogance about them as if they did not do anything wrong.

    And even though you didn't really make the argument that OWS has no focus Mike I think this cartoon is an apt representation of what Occupy is made at (http://precinctpolitics.net/2011/11/05/what-is-the-focus-of-occupy-wall-street/).

  • In reply to thelowedown:

    Great comment and something I have been trying to get across. Unfortunately when movements are in their infancy they also tend to attract all sorts (as we have seen). I still think it prudent to wait and see how it shakes out. There is after all, a genuine anger out there and that to me is the bigger point. Thanks.

    p.s. your comment wound up in a moderation "hold" waiting for my approval. Why? Don't know - never set my page up to do that. Accept my apologies.

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    In reply to thelowedown:

    The "Occupy Movement" will never be able to get "themselves organized" like the "Tea Party" did. The main reason is that for every 100 "occupiers" there are 100 divergent opinions as to just WHY THEY'RE THERE! More recently, as a result of serious crimes (beyond the sheer NUISANCE factor), cities around the country are finally beginning to crack down on the lawlessness and evict the camps and the occupants of them. They should have started weeks ago if for no other reason that the pure FILTH that they have created in the parks and surrounding areas. Businesses nearby those "camps" are also being negatively impacted and the owners are now starting to get very vocal. I predict that the outlook for these mobs to continue are very dim!

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    As to filth, there was a report last night that some doctor volunteering his services said that the park in NYC was going to be overwhelmed by viruses, on the scale of like everyone on a cruise ship getting sick.

    So, if the cold doesn't itself get them, something probably will.

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    Probably right Dick, but sometimes "disorganized organizers" spawn something else along the way. I do strongly agree that we can do without the lawlessness and the filth, but I am hesitant in diminishing a basic right to assemble. Once that is taken away from the people than we have the potential for something that runs counter to democracy as we know it.

    Let's hope some good comes out of the protests and that a real message and platform develops? All in all though, the Occupy Movement needs a change in tactic - a better plan perhaps would even discourage the 100 divergent opinions too.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I might have hit on this point when saying that they are using the First Amendment to spin the issues out of control, but I think some analyst yesterday put it better, to the effect of:

    "They lose if the issue is transformed from income equality to protecting their turf, and it is now becoming protecting their turf."

  • Maybe more relevant to the original post is that I saw that today was "take your money out of a bank and put it in a credit union day." While personally not motivated enough to do it, that seems to have been the proper course, instead of occupying.

    Others have of course indicated that instead of Buffett, Moore, and Rose complaining about the 1% not paying enough, they could all write checks to the IRS donations department, and, of course, not deduct the donation. It hasn't been reported that any of them has.

  • In reply to jack:

    I actually kind of like the Credit Union idea since that money generally stays in the community where the CU is established. Good Point Jack.

    As for that IRS donation thing...........when pigs fly on their own?

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    In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Michael, why is it that those denizens of the Left are so quick to tell EVERYONE ELSE that they're not paying enough? It's nothing more than the old double standard, "do as I say, not as I do" is the message coming from the Buffets, Moores, and even Obama, hell, maybe ESPECIALLY Obama?

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    Can't argue with you on that Dick - but I suppose the reason is because it is much easier to take from the people than to actually govern with true conviction. Seems to me that our leaders (and I use that term loosely) do not have the ability or desire to forgo their Country Club Membership. I mean that is why they run for office right?

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    The whitehouse, justice dept., and the supreme court should be the target for all fanatics and people who love our country.

  • In reply to John Johnson:

    I can go along with that.

  • In reply to John Johnson:

    Any particular reason?

    How about Congress?

    And especially, how about Springfield (I guess the one with the Cellini portrait, since Capital City is the Capital of whatever state where Mayor Quimby's Springfield is located). Or the state capitol located at Clark and Randolph?

  • In reply to jack:

    No particular reason except that I have said all along government, et al have gotten in bed with the special interests from big business / banking. They are all responsible then aren't they? So whether it be Congress or Pennsylvania Avenue - Americans should voice their displeasure wherever that collusion exists.

    BTW - John Johnson mentioned the Justice Department and the Supreme Court and I see his point. Eric Holder has been less than forthcoming on a wide array of issues and continues to evade giving straight answers on everything from non-prosecution of those responsible for the financial meltdown to giving answers on how our guns wound up in Mexico that killed a Federal Agent and Mexican civilians. As for the the Supreme Court; well their decision to allow corporations to give as much as they want in political donations also intensifies the collusion between government and special interests.

    So you see Jack, you and Johnson are both correct when it comes to where anger should be directed. In the end we get shafted from many directions.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    However, picketing the Supreme Court never does any good. Constitutionally, they are there for life, and they are supposed to decide based on the argument and authorities before them, not to say that they supposedly got the message when Roosevelt proposed court packing. However, you know darn well that Scalia and Thomas are not going to listen to the crowd.

    On the other hand, the 2010 elections proved that Congress had a reason to.

  • In reply to jack:

    Very true my friend. Still, it doesn't prevent people from exercising their constitutional right either and if that is what floats their boat, I have no problem with it even if it falls on deaf ears.

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    In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Michael, you're a master of understatement with your observation that "Holder has been less than forthcoming" :)) I believe that the "Fast & Furious" fiasco came directly from Obama. It involved way too many government agencies and taxpayer dollars to have been authorized by ANY unelected hand puppet like Holder. Obama will protect him until it starts to look like the "wolves" are getting too close to HIS door.....then he'll toss him under the bus as the designated scapegoat! You know, just like it's done in Chicago!

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    I guess there is always a choice to be made Dick; people who want to work in government either select ethical service or be a mouthpiece for an administration (and thus a potential for being made a scapegoat). Eric Holder is the epitome of the latter. But yes you are right the fiasco comes from on high.

  • Back to the main story. WLS Radio had that Occupy Oakland, after breaking the windows at Wells Fargo Bank, deposited their money there, because "they needed to post bail money for their participants, and it took too long to open an account at a credit union." Apparently the original source is here.

    Irony or lack of principle?

    At least I had the guts to tell WFB that, based on their "customer service," if they robocalled me again, I would report them to the FTC, even though I was on their customer list. At least I meant it.

    On another subject, when I was at the fitness center this afternoon, one of the people behind the desk said "you know that woman who was involved with the president or whomever comes here, but hasn't in the past week." I asked, "you mean with Herman Cain," and she said yes. Apparently Bialek makes a lot of appearances in the Chicago area.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hmm - sounds like lack of principle to me.
    Good for you on the robocall, and I have to tell you - that annoys me to no ends too and don't hesitate to file complaints.
    Only thing is - they never do anything so far as I can tell. Oh well, at least we get the satisfaction of knowing that we have acted on our principles, huh?

    I was going to post a piece on this Bialek thing - but am holding off as more shakes out - but something doesn't jibe in my mind.
    I certainly don't like the idea of sexual harassment or unwanted advances, but it almost seems as if this woman puts herself into situations.
    Not that I think Cain isn't guilty of flaunting his power - but you know there are women who play the game too.
    Even the second accuser at the Treasury Department has some skeletons coming out now.
    I don't know? Are Cain and those women all predators, one way or the other?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Heck if I know one way or the other. However, given the local stories, including that Amy Jacobson saw the two hug at a Tea Party rally, and Bialek later admitted that she whispered something to him, I tend to disbelieve Cain's story that he didn't know her and her story that she was aggrieved.

    I also take into account Bill Kristol's comment on Fox News Sunday that the two women who had previously been mentioned had made contemporaneous complaints and received settlements, unlike Anita Hill who came out of nowhere about a decade later. Regardless of whether Bialek falls into that category, I found Cain's statement at the press conference that "he didn't settle with anyone; they were severance agreements with the Natl. Restaurant Assoc." disingenuous. If it was sexual harassment, instead of assault, the only claim is against the employer for the actions of its supervisors, so, of course, the settlement wouldn't have been with Cain. Companies don't just "give out" instant $35,000 or $45,000 severance packages unless (a) it is in settlement of an employment discrimination claim, or (b) the company has to get rid of someone in consideration of a release. I know of no evidence of (b) in this case.

  • In reply to jack:

    As always very well said Jack. Certainly I agree too that Cain has not been above board and not qualified to lead the free world.

    Amy Jacobson's observation said a lot to me; I have found her reporting to be credible in spite of what happened out this way with her getting to close to her source, still she seems to tell it like it is.

    Bialek's story then that she didn't know Cain was a featured speaker is riddled - Jacobson said she "absolutely had to get backstage" now if that was to serve as a reminder or as a shakedown - who knows? But I am particularly disturbed she didn't file charges if an assault took place. Sitting on it for 14 years? Who would have thought she would have thunk it he would be running for higher office some day? So again - who knows what is behind this. Heck I heard Axlerod has something to do with this?

    The other woman "K" has also had some strange things written about demands she had for promotion at Immigration - so again - what is the motive for her except 15 minutes of fame and maybe some compensation at this time?

    Again - I do not doubt that Cain is guilty as sin but boy I would hate to post something until more info comes out. I have a gut feel that there is something more here beyond what we have heard thus far.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    "Copping a feel" (which seems all that was alleged) may technically be assault, but the police are not going to accept the case. On the other hand, sexual harassment is easier to prove, but you have to take it to the EEOC, which she didn't.

    There was a report that Bialek lived in Axelrod's building.

    Rather than investigating the accusers, I only note the inconsistencies in the story, but the only unfitness was if he was not telling the truth at the press conference, since innumerable politicians have copped a feel or more. Basically, I thought that perjury at a deposition was the only thing they had on Clinton, and apparently he settled that charge on the last day in office.

  • In reply to jack:

    I understand the copping the feel explanation, however according to Politico which had in their partial transcript:
    "he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked."

    The part where she said "He Grabbed My Head and Brought It Towards..." - would that not constitute assault?

    I thought I heard something on one of the PBS news shows that that was how they interpreted it - so as you can see that is why I am confused. Natch you know more about the legal stuff than I and if that is not the case under the law then I would agree with your comment.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I forgot the "pushed her head" which would be more forceful.

    One then has to go to the definitions of assault* and battery.** This may come within the "insulting or provoking" contact, but, again, I don't think that the police would do anything in the absence of bodily harm. Especially since it was "he said, she said," and the police would try to calm both sides down.

    If you want to go to the Criminal Code part on Bodily harm, you'll see that the legislature added all sorts of complications to the simple definitions, indicating what it thought was important.

    BTW, if the perp doesn't get enough "sexual penetration" it doesn't constitute indecent assault in Illinois, which was the origin of my "copping a feel" comment. As I mentioned in Milkin It, daddy has to get his finger at least into where it doesn't belong.
    *Illinois has the conventional definition "A person commits an assault when, without lawful authority, he or she knowingly engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. "

    **A person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.

  • In reply to jack:

    I knew you could explain the legal end of it. Thanks.
    Interesting on Illinois Law, though. I would imagine that different jurisdictions use different thresholds when it comes to what constitutes the same crime right? I mean the incident involving Cain occurred in DC (or is that VA or MD?). I believe that Va has some peculiar definitions as to what a particular crime is or isn't.

    And of course we now have Penn State - wacky week. Oddly, I have had any ambition to write about anything, perhaps it is this overload of moral decay in a decaying nation.

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    In reply to Michael Ciric:

    You guys seem to be missing a large piece of the "occupy" puzzle. The question should be: WHERE or from WHOM did the "Oakland Occupy" group GET the $20K that they deposited in Wells Fargo???

    Can you say George SOROS?.....through one of his many tentacles of many different names of course!....Oh yeah, I left out the LABOR UNIONS...sorry!

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    $20 K doesn't hit me as that much to be able to pin it on someone. Also, probably not enough to bail too many out (or probably even to avoid bank charges).

    Now, if it were one check for $200K, that might be a bit more interesting.

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    In reply to jack:

    Jack, I fail to see what the actual AMOUNT has to do with it? remember, it only referred to one deposit. Still, $20K isn't chicken feed and I know darn well it didn't come from passersby feeling an overwhelming urge to DONATE! This is a political agenda with people not wanting to be associated with these loons publicly doing the "string pulling" and financing.

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    The reason I mentioned the actual amount is that if it were Soros, that would be to a billionaire like him like my losing a couple of coins in the laundry, and hence not of much meaning one way or the other, and certainly not enough to prove that he did it.

    Heck, Occupy could have collected $40 from 500 people. Small contributions are supposedly how the Obama campaign collected billions.

    Instead, unless "campaign finance law" is extended to require disclosing who gave to Occupy, $20,000 seems too small to pin it on a particular person, absent other evidence. I could as easily said Michael Moore or Rosie. However, based on today's news reports that Jay Z was selling Occupy t-shirts without contributing the profits, I guess not him.

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    It wouldn't surprise me Dick. Thanks.

  • Definitely different jurisdictions have different laws, but not that much different.

    Illinois is based on the original Model Penal Code, but that would be reflected only in the section numbers that are integral. I noted all the slop (in a codification sense) that has been since added.

    Massachusetts criminal law indicates that it hasn't been recodified since the Puritans.

  • In reply to jack:

    I thought there would be some differences. Thanks for the insight on the Penal Code. Especially that fact about Massachusetts going back to the Puritans - that is so cool from a historical perspective.

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