NOTE: This discussion was originally classified as "hosted" but has now been moved to the "member initiated" category.  In the view of the OC Stewards, what is taking place here is a debate rather than dialogue.  In a "hosted" discussion here at OC.org, we request that balanced participation be encouraged and that regular summaries occur recognizing all the views being presented.  

While we have no objections to people using the OC forum to engage in debates, as long as they don't cross the line into personal attacks, such discussion is not what we are seeking in the "hosted" category.  

Ben Roberts
12/31/11

We are delighted to have Occupy Cafe member Mark E. Smith offer this hosted discussion on the provocative idea of an "election boycott."  

As "host," Mark will strive to keep the conversation orderly, offer regular summaries of the perspectives being presented and encourage balanced participation among all those who are engaged.  Here's Mark's initial summary:

An election boycott is the only known way to nonviolently delegitimize a government. It doesn't overthrow the government, it simply denies it the consent of the governed so that the government can no longer claim to have the people's consent. Among the many forms of noncompliance, such as removing money from big banks, boycotting corporate brands, withdrawing from the system and creating alternative systems, learning to live on less so as not to have to pay taxes, etc., refusing to vote can be one of the most crucial and effective tactics.

Thank you, Mark, for volunteering your services as "host!"

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First of all when Mark E Smith says--"... most of what was posted on BradBlog was name-calling. "--that's just not true. Anyone who cares to check it out feel free. Bradblog--Occupy Electoral Politics by Ernest Canning--comments.

The only real ad hominem attacks were by commenter Mark S Tucker(comment #25) towards me with such gems as "...onanistic troll jackball chowderhead like Lasagna, whose excretions..". I admit they were pretty entertaining.

People did get frustrated with Mark over there but there was always plenty of substance to their frustration. No one was calling him names as a substitute for reason and evidence. He drove people crazy because he operates by his own non-sensical and tyrannical rules of debate.

When someone calls you delusional, Mark, that is not necessarily ad hominem. Delusional means something. If it can be demonstrated soberly with evidence, reason, and quoting your own words that you seem to be playing on the delusional side of things, then it's possible, JUST POSSIBLE, that you are. You seem incapable of considering this possibility. As you seem unequipped to deal seriously with any cogent criticism. You invariably respond to all criticism with an endless series of ad hominem nonsense and non sequiturs.

But now I'm thinking maybe Mark E Smith is not 71. Maybe he's 17. A very bright 17 year old. And that was just a little dyslexic typo. That would help make sense of all this nonsense.

But whatever he is he has been so consistently not forthcoming with anything resembling coherent answers to specific questions I don't trust him. I think his game is something he hasn't cared to share with us. Maybe cuz he doesn't know himself? I dunno.

His name is Mark -- let's at least try to respectfully remember that while we seek to forget how much time we've wasted "debating" him, if that's what you call this. I don't. But I hope our comments have helped other people who might stray into the strange swamps of his thinking. 

I agree that Tucker's insults toward you were colorful and creative, but overall he had to be the most insipid poster I've encountered in a long time. As if masturbatory word-play were more important than truth. Ah, the humanity.

See ya round, Lasagna! 

I have no idea who Mike E. Smith is, if he exists, but my name happens to be Mark E. Smith, the same name as some British singer, but also a very common name. Last time I renewed my library card here in San Diego there were 17 Mark Smiths and three Mark E. Smiths.

I think it is pathetic that you would accuse some dyslexic 17-year-old of being me and I hope his parents sue you.

I have been using my own legal name online for over 30 years. Sometimes I use "user names" when websites ask for one, but they all connect back to my real name.

I don't question if your name is David Lasagna or is actually Tony Bologna--that's none of my business. If you have any rational arguments regarding the issues, I'd be happy to respond to them, but since you don't, you are just being disruptive and disrespectful.

I came over here to pose a question to Mark E Smith and anyone else who might be interested. In the last week I've been one of several participants(including Mark E Smith) in a comment thread at Bradblog about voting/not voting. I try to read carefully when I engage with another commenter. I strive to be precise and coherent. I'm interested in dialogue and differing views.

So here's the thing--in comment #54 of the comment thread to a piece entitled--Occupy Electoral Politics-(guest blogged by Ernest Canning 12/7/11)--Mark says he's 71 years old. When I read that days ago it helped create an image of this guy who was writing so much, so adamantly, and to my mind rather strangely about not voting. Then I happened over here last night and saw an actual picture of Mark. These pictures here are small but Mark E Smith looks so very much NOT like a seventy-one year old. So I was wondering what's up with that?

Also, at the beginning of that comment #54 Mark thanks commenter Eli @49 for a Pete Seegar reference. This is a little odd cuz Eli @49 never said anything about Pete Seegar. He did mention a book by Peter Singer. Mistakes happen, but it really seemed like Mark wasn't paying particular attention to what was being written to him, and as I'd had that experience myself repeatedly with him, and then there was this claim of his being 71, I began to wonder who Mark is and what he was about.

Right after claiming to be 71 years old Mark wrote that he's spent a lot of time living in places like Mexico, Honduras, and Afghanistan. Maybe he has. But after the unusual interaction with him at Bradblog and then seeing his picture over here it's hard not to wonder if he's not just making random stuff up.

Anyhoo, I wanted to drop in and mention this stuff cuz it seemed odd, as did trying to have a meaningful dialogue with him. So, Mark, who are you? You look like you could be in your twenties, thirties, or possibly a young forty. As I said the picture is little. You sure don't look 71. How old are you? Are you really 71? If you're 71 why this very young picture? If this picture is current why are you saying you're 71? Did you really live in all those places? Who are you? What's going on, dude?

David, I'm sorry if I made a typo over at BradBlog. I am not perfect and sometimes I do make typos, particularly when I'm being attacked by a mob.

As for questioning who I am, what difference does it make what my age, skin color, sex, or any other personal attribute is? Is that how you judge people?

My name, age, and the countries I've lived in are all on record with the State Department, but I don't have to show you my passport just because you fancy yourself a little fascist.

Ray Lutz is part of Occupy San Diego. He hates my guts and thinks that not voting is an idiotic idea. Here's his wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Lutz and here's his website http://www.copswiki.org/ with his mailing address, phone number, and email address at the bottom. He knows me, can vouch for my approximate age, and if you wish I'll be happy to show him my birth certificate and passport so he can verify those also. But he has no way of verifying that I do not own a camera and that my avatar picture is the only one I was able to get a friend to upload for me years ago. It is more than 40 years old, but it's the only picture of me that I have on my computer to use for a profile avatar. If you ask the San Diego Police Department or the FBI, I'm sure they have more recent photos of me that you can use to direct whatever hitmen you wish to send out.

I have nothing to hide, I don't attack people, and the reason that you are attacking me is because I've been exercising my freedom of speech and you don't like what I say. Since you can't refute my arguments, you're attacking me as a person, questioning my age and my personal history. That's disrespectful in and of itself and there's no justification for you disrupting this topic with a comment that is solely a personal attack on me, is totally devoid of any discussion of the issues, and contributes nothing to this discussion.

But then you didn't come here to discuss the issues, you came here to attack me personally.

Victoria did also, but at least made some pretense of discussing the issues, although it is difficult to ascertain when hidden behind so many personal attacks and unfounded allegations.

No you DO attack people, Mark, and constantly, and falsely, and just saying you don't doesn't make it so, though it might mislead some people who don't follow your threads closely. You essentially accuse everyone who doesn't agree with your mob-rule chaos system of being a brown shirt, even those of us who spend our entire lives fighting for a better world. And you are CONSTANTLY and CLEARLY refuted by everyone and YOU have no way to argue because your system simply doesn't work in reality.

Please answer my final question to you up above, where I asked what happens in your utopian "direct democracy consensus only" system when you open it beyond the Occupy enclaves and the wealthy corporatists, closet fascists, back-assward racists, religious zealots, congenital idiots and always present loony toons refuse to come to consensus because they have a fundamentally different worldview or they just like to make trouble. Then what happens?

Thanks.

I did answer your question, Victoria. I gave an example from San Diego that indicated that when the people, including all those you don't think are worthy, have power, what happens is the potholes will get fixed. 

Mark--the reason I asked about your age is for the obvious reason that the picture here dramatically doesn't jive with how old you say you are. You're not making any sense so I went looking for something that might help explain all the nonsense.

Typical nonsense from you-- you say disingenuously that people have been calling you names, that you don't call people names, and then you call me "a little fascist."

But this is a funny line that you wrote--"I think it is pathetic that you would accuse some dyslexic 17-year-old of being me and I hope his parents sue you."

My guess is that Mark E Smith is either really, really crazy OR, and I think this more likely, is a youngster jerking us all around for his own amusement. And I wonder if Mark S Tucker, with whose nonsense Mark E Smith agreed over at Bradblog, is another teenage buddy playing a similar game. They have similar grandiose styles of verbosity, arrogance, and tortured use of sense and language.

You took it upon yourself to question my identify. Who but a fascist would question another citizen's identity? Or perhaps you'd like to question my citizenship? 

But the reason you asked about my age isn't because I'm using an old picture, the reason you asked about my age is because you came here to attack me. You were responding to Jeannie's request that people come here to attack me and you had no other purpose in coming here.

Here's the response I just posted over at BradBlog:

"David Lasagna" did post some disruptive comments at Occupy Cafe, totally off-topic, devoid of content, and consisting of nothing more than personal attacks on me.

But then that's been the level of discussion consistently here.

Unable to refute my arguments, "David Lasagna" is now questioning my name, my age, and my personal history. Obviously he doesn't judge arguments on their own merits, but by the name, age, past history, and perhaps skin color and sexual orientation of the person making such arguments.

Is that how all you self-styled "liberals" and "progressives" judge things?

It is obvious from the few on-topic responses that have been made either here or on Occupy Cafe by BradBloggers, that you are unanimously opposed to direct democracy and prefer "representative" government. You are entitled to your preferences, but I am also entitled to mine and I happen to prefer direct democracy to plutocracy, oligarchy, and corporate rule.

I am working to bring about change, but those who prefer the current system are opposed to change. Eventually, either they will prevail and the Occupy Movement will fail, or the Occupy Movement will recognize them for the agents of the status quo that they are and they'll lose all credibility within the Occupy Movement.

The real problem is that representative government, as I enumerated above, is responsible for every single item in the OWS List of Grievances, and left in power will destroy even its adherents and supporters.

My basic argument is that voters, those who consent to be governed by a destructive system that will eventually destroy them and our entire planet for profit, are complicit in that destruction--even complicit in their own destruction. They may wish for a few reforms or a few more benevolent tyrants, but they are not opposed to the present system--a tyranny which doesn't even pretend to be representing the interests of the 99%, which has wrecked many economies including our own, destroyed millions of innocent lives, and has led to the current global uprisings called the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Notice how whenever I am subjected to personal attacks, I always find a way to bring the topic back to the issues. So all you are accomplishing by making personal attacks on me is providing me with more opportunities to discuss the issues, something that, since you don't wish to discuss the issues, is apparently not your intent. Verbal aikido, perhaps--using an attacker's force against them. It can't be used unless one is attacked, because it is a form of self-defense, not a form of aggression. But it works very well when given the proper circumstances.

And thank you for comparing my writing style to that of Mark S. Tucker. I could never aspire to his virtuosity and mastery of the English language, but appreciate the unintended compliment.

Cuckoo, Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

I don't call people names, you fascist, says Mark E Smith, Mr. Arbiter of All That Is Truth and Goodness.

I repeat, he's either really crazy or a youngster jerking us all around. Maybe both?

For what it's worth it occurs to me that Mark S Tucker, so admired by Mark E Smith here, also went ballistic when I started questioning him. What ostensibly triggered his stream of invective was being asked where he got the word "enfraudations" and making a little fun of him because I'd thought he made it up. He went off chart as Mark Smith has done here. No idea if that's a significant coincidence or not . Do these guys represent random or deliberate chaos? Not sure how to determine that.

It's time to stop caring. Step away from the chaos, sir. Let's do something constructive, hey?

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