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Comment at American Grand Jury

Folks over at the American Grand Jury seem to take themselves very seriously. They are soliciting volunteers, from which 25 “jurors” will be selected. Deliberations will be done on a password-protected web site.

I left them the following comment, which is awaiting moderation:

What’s the difference between a jury and a lynch mob?

Juries are randomly selected; lynch mobs volunteer.

I also left a comment (actually a bunch of them) over at Rant/Rave in response to a very loud and ignorant commenter named xinunus. You see that I treat my visitors better than I do folks elsewhere:

xinunus continues his uninformed rant thusly:



xiunus shouts so loudly that he seems deaf to the facts which I document for him one last time:

He has it backwards. The Annenberg Foundation is the main organization that funds the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania (which in turn funds, but is not involved with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge).

Here’s how it works, right from the Annenberg web site:

There are nine organizations listed there (other initiatives are on other pages on the site totaling $1.2 billion in grants and support):

* Annenberg Media

* The Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California

* The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at the Eisenhower Medical Center

* Annenberg Challenge (Chicago Annenberg Challenge is one of the eighteen (18) sites funded by the Annenberg Challenge)

* Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands

* Annenberg Institute for School Reform

* The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania (which funds projects including

* The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania

* The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California

Now I hope that clears up the Annenberg organizational structure. President Obama was chairman of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, one of eighteen sites of the Annenberg Challenge which was Funded by the Annenberg Foundation which also funded the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania which funds, among other things,

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21 Responses to Comment at American Grand Jury

  1. avatar
    Kevin Bellas April 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    Not that there much truth on that site. One thing that stood out to me was that this grand jury will accept hearsay evidence. Hearsay evidence is generally not allowed in U.S. courts.

  2. avatar
    Mary Brown April 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    In other words a show trial. And these people are the defenders of the constitution?

  3. avatar
    brygenon April 21, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I join Dr. Conspiracy in laughing at how seriously these folk take their “grand jury” frolic, but I think we take them too seriously if we compare them to lynch mobs. Lynch mobs have been horribly real. These grand juries are make-believe.

    The enterprise at issue here is not criminal, merely childish. They are free to call themselves “grand juries”, act out judicial proceedings and return pretend indictments. Are they legally grand juries referenced in the Fifth Amendment? Of course not. Is their game protected by the First Amendment? Absolutely.

    I myself have played court, years ago, with other children.

  4. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 21, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    The problem is that many of them don’t seem to realize that their “grand jury” is pretend.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 21, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    According to the American Bar Association, the normal rules of evidence do not apply to grand juries:

    Normal rules of evidence do not apply to a grand jury investigation, and a judge is generally needed only to rule on privilege issues or issues relating to contempt.

    See for the above citation and other frequently asked questions about grand juries including:

    Unlike potential jurors in regular trials, grand jurors are not screened for biases or other improper factors.

  6. avatar
    brygenon April 21, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    When the myth that Obama was on “the board of Annenberg” comes up, I like to point out who actually did run the Annenberg Foundation. Walter and Leonore Annenberg were dedicated long-term Republicans, and huge supporters of Republican candidates. They were also major supporters of racial equality, and some other causes typically classed as liberal.

    Walter passed away in 2002 at the age of 94, but Leonore was Chairman and President of the Annenberg Foundation through the 2008 presidential election, in which she endorsed John S. McCain. She was an active trustee emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, of which the Annenberg School For Communications is part, of which the Annenberg Public Policy Center is part, of which Annenberg Political Fact-Check is part. She died just last month (12 Mar 2009), at the age of 91; liberals and conservatives joined in celebrating her life and morning her loss, same as for Walter.

    There is zero truth to the allegation that Obama has any control over There is also zero truth, as the late Annenbergs so clearly demonstrated, to the idea of a red-state/blue-state liberal/conservative war in this country. at the University of Pennsylvania has an excellent reputation for perusing and finding the truth, and for amending, updating, and/or correcting their reporting when new data arrives. It’s not a right-wing vs left-wing thing. They’ve called Obama, just like any other prominent figure, on a bunch of statements that were more false than true.

  7. avatar
    Bob April 21, 2009 at 1:38 am #

    The enterprise at issue here is not criminal, merely childish.

    Sending out a document purporting to be (or resembling) a judicial process is a crime in some jurisdictions.

    As described more fully in the Anti-Government Movement Guidebook, these indictments could be seen as a form of “paper terrorism.”

  8. avatar
    brygenon April 21, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    Expelliarmus said:
    “The problem is that many of them don’t seem to realize that their “grand jury” is pretend.”

    Yes, I mostly agree: that’s the problem, or at least *a* problem. Many of them won’t accept reality.

    We’re not going to solve all the world’s problems. In particular, we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high on solving this one. We cannot possibly bring all the kooks and haters to reason. Exposing them as such may seem a hollow victory, but I’m content with it, at least until shown the better path and convinced of its reality.

    Back to the point: they don’t see themselves as playing make-believe. Fine. They live in a world in their heads. They see themselves as the loyal patriots standing up to a world of cowards and traitors. Their fantasies are not our responsibilities. Why should we accept the nonsensical premises? Our move is to treat them as the bad examples and cautionary tales that they are.

  9. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 21, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    Because there are a small cohort that are advocating violence & using the “grand jury” as part of their rationalization — they are stockpiling weapons, talking about secession and militias — and I think there are some nut cases that will decide at some point that their grand jury “indictment” gives people the power to make “citizens arrests”… or worse.

    Is it our problem to fix? No. Is it a serious problem for law enforcement to be alert to: yes. (And obviously they are).

    It’s not new – it is the same right-wing militia movement that has been going on for years. But they are using this as a propaganda and recruitment tool among people gullible and stupid enough to believe the whole citizens grand jury thing.

  10. avatar
    kimba April 21, 2009 at 8:42 am #

    I think Campbell and Swensson know it’s make-believe, but their followers don’t. It’s like I said the other day, they throw out “hope bait” that these proceedings will actually go somewhere, but I thought listening to Swensson on a radio show last week that he knows this is just for pretend. I find it interesting that everything is “seekie seekie” , secret, can’t reveal too much but we’re making progress, and we found the right person, sleep well, all will be fine. I get the snake oil salesman vibe from everyone pushing this eligibility cr@p.

  11. avatar
    Mary Brown April 21, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    My problem with these folks is that they prodcuce a lone wolf or a wolf pack that will attempt to act on these proceedings. I am concerned about Obama’s safety but more about ordinary people in their near environment who disagree with them. After all, how did the KKK start? How many people African Americans did they terrorize and kill? How many whites were to frightened too oppose them once they were started? Do I think it will go that far? No. But I do see the potential for violence.

  12. avatar
    Bob April 21, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Apuzzo has lost it.

  13. avatar
    Chris April 21, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I love this line of thinking. What Apuzzo and the rest of the wingnuttery fail to realize is that the Bush Administration authorized the DHS report, and that a similar threat assessment was made in regards to left-wing extremists as well.

  14. avatar
    kimba April 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    They know. This kind of talk is just a way to rev up the faithful. “What? You’re watching us? You were photoging us at Tea Parties? The outrage! We’re REAL Americans!” This will antagonize and encourage the fringe elements to have more tea parties. Mom and Pop with the tea bags hanging from their hats will stay home next time.

  15. avatar
    Bob April 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    Very much a case of Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

  16. avatar
    DH April 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Hilariously, these Grand Juries are actually online:

  17. avatar
    brygenon April 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    Incidentally, the birthers are not the first conspiracy theorists to play this particular brand of make-believe. Here’s a video from 2006 where 9/11 kooks talk about their “grand jury”.

    The video itself is kind of dull, except people here might be amused to see who is sitting to the speaker’s left.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 23, 2009 at 4:07 am #

    Yes, Phil is a 9/11 truther too.

  19. avatar
    Bob April 23, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    The Steady Drip is a cheerleading blog for these “grand juries.”

    For someone who thinks that he’s really smart, it is amazing how poor his reasoning is.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 23, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    A thoughtful response appeared over at the Steady Drip:

    Certainly citizens can form grand juries, and those grand juries have a right to petition the government.

    However, a group who labels itself a “grand jury” does not gain any legal power beyond another group of people who labels itself a “book club”.

  21. avatar
    thebabbster December 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Sort of like the militia groups who levy “fines” and try to use false paperwork against local officials. Pretty funny stuff.