Christiane Brown of Reno is host of The Solution Zone on the Progressive Radio Network out of New York ( and podcasts her program on iTunes.

As American citizens rise up and place our bodies on the gears of power and the avenues of commerce, rightly protesting against the nation’s war mongers, corporate thieves, health insurance gluttons and mass polluters, the most important action must be our call for accountability and justice.

This action, above all others, is absolutely crucial in opening the floodgates of change and restoring the United States to a nation of laws and not men.

Until the stamp of felon is irrevocably emblazoned on the foreheads of our nation’s criminal elite, their perfect storm of unrestrained power and hubris will continue to rage. Only through the process of indictment, prosecution and incarceration will we be able to set in motion the systematic collapse of this lawless regime and remove the cloak of legitimacy that empowers it.

With more than a thousand citizens arrested in New York City, 1,252 Canadian pipeline demonstrators jailed last month, and hundreds of peaceful dissenters added daily, it is clear the trend of incarcerating those who stand up to power will continue.

Isn’t it time for us to demand that the right people are put behind bars?

Had President Obama possessed the political courage to go after the Wall Street robber barons, Big Pharma death profiteers and Bush Administration war criminals on day one of his presidency, the succeeding prosecutions would have swept the obstructionists from his path.

Instead, reaching across the aisle, he appeased the billionaire-backed congressional lap dogs and squandered any hope we had of defunding multiple wars, passing genuine heath-care reform or seriously addressing the climate crisis.

It is now vital that we, the 99 percent, shine a legal spotlight upon the stream of contaminated money flowing to and from the bulging bank accounts of both of the left and the right, who crashed the world economy, looted our treasury, and continue to wage multiple wars, torture prisoners, spy on American citizens, contaminate our food and water supply and dismantle our struggling population’s remaining safety nets.

With reams of evidence brought forward to convict them, the days of known criminals waltzing carelessly across the corporate media stage will come to end. Imagine the gap in programming when our nation’s most wanted no longer dominate the public airwaves shamelessly hocking their books and weighing in on the multiple crises they manufacture.

How many TV interviews will George Bush, Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice give once convicted of war crimes and torture? How many profits will Wall Street felons rake in with handcuffed wrists?

With the heads of Goldman Sachs using prison-issued aluminum toilets instead of golden ones, Karl Rove e-mailing his column to the Wall Street Journal from a jail cell, the Koch brothers and Eric Prince busily hammering out license plates, and the CEOs of BP and Massey Energy stoking the prison furnaces, their shrill cries for unfettered capitalism and union busting will be effectively drowned out by the clinking of ankle bracelets and the slamming of electronic cell doors.

In the days to come, as we fill the streets, it will be our unwavering cry for accountability that at last succeeds in ousting the “too big to jail” 1 percent from our halls of power and reopens the doors of this democracy.

When crime and punishment again carry equal weight in the land of the free, the fog of deception lingering over our sleeping nation will finally lift, and we will awaken to a restored age, where a long missing American precedent once again reigns:

Those who break the laws of this land, no matter what rank they hold, no matter what office suite they inhabit, will be held accountable.

Our voices are powerful, our time is now, and their 15 minutes are up.

We will see them in court.