Sunday, June 11, 2006

Direct Democracy Blogging In The Netroots

Electronic Direct Democracy© by Stephen Neitzke, 2006

Even a short time spent barging around in the blogosphere demonstrates that a DD/rep-govt blogging community is sorely needed here. We need cross-country organization to help clean up the unconstitutional and arbitrary control of local- and state-level I&R. Governments constantly perpetrate felony conspiracies against I&R rights and citizen-proposed law in the states. They get away with those felonies because they are not being watched anywhere near closely enough. We're just flat not organized enough to do the watching and reacting, let alone the proactive stuff that should have been done decades ago.

The blogosphere gives us -- the DD/rep-govt community -- the best set of organizing and action-item tools available anywhere in our society.

We could do all the needed organizing and consensus-finding in face-to-face meetings, Internet bulletin board communities, and email discussion lists. But we'd still be short, compared to what we can do in the blogosphere.

The half-again that we can gain in the blogosphere is in the built-in connections with the MSM (mainstream media) and the BAM (blogatomic media -- never did like "BSM", blogstream media, bullshit media). Those connections are becoming more populated, more complicated, and more sophisticated every month. The political, economic, environmental, alt-fuels, sustainability models, and anti-war facets of our society are plugging in more and more to the blogosphere -- for many different reasons. Google now provides a separate service for searching just the blogs. We need to pay attention.

We'll have more access to more Americans if we take care of business in the blogosphere.

The most-visible majority of reform-minded netroots junkies today are "progressives", rushing back to the Democratic Party, with little baby half-step thoughts of reform done from inside the system. They've lost track of those of us 1960s denizens of change who took our shiny new educations on top of military experience inside the machine and were ground up like hamburger. They've lost track -- again -- of money-power's corruption engine and its enormity. But forget you if you try to warn them off or want anything different than what they want. Most of their minds have clanged closed, emotions-triggering propaganda flies around and rules, and few are interested in examining the evidence.

Our DD/rep-govt talk of working outside the system, of breaking out of their hermetically-sealed box of corrupt-to-the-max pure rep govt, is little more than ignorant, unAmerican, alien sedition to most of them.

How dare we talk of changing the magnificinet, omnipotent founders' work? (As if that change hadn't already been made constitutional law in 34 states and thousands of "home-rule" jurisdictions over the past hundred-plus years.) How dare we suggest that we, the only nation to have democracy right, go over to the direct democracy that the magnificient founders loathed and hated -- and that history has proven can't work here? (Despite the fact that it's been working here very well, thank you, for over a hundred years -- despite corrupt state govt's unconstitutional and arbitrary delay, alteration, and/or rejection of any citizen-proposed law offensive to money-power.) How dare we waste their time?

Now, if it wasn't for that sticky business with Jefferson's founding principles in the Declaration Of Independence -- where all our DD/rep-govt components are clearly made the inviolable rights of all Americans for all time -- today's progressives would be right up there in the cat-bird's seat, along with super-slime mouthpieces like David Broder.

Today's "progressives" -- mere shadows of the Reform Era Progressives -- are the only positive-reform netroots in the blogosphere now. Their reform heart is good, but they are snarled in place, inside the pure rep govt box, making nice with the Democratic Party corruption monster, and going nowhere.

They will be valuable once the corruption engine cuts them off from a hundred different directions -- again -- and they realize that corruption-busting can only be done outside the box, out on the DD turf, as history amply proves. For now, it must be enough for us that they are pioneering Internet citizen organizing for political matters, and we should pay attention.

Anyone tuned to DD/rep-govt at the state and local levels knows that rep govt is made as good as it can be ONLY when DD has the traction to prevent rep govt's corrupt actions. We've seen a trend in small govt toward more refusal to acknowledge DD's constitutional authority, in more unconstitutional actions to arbitrarily control citizen-proposed law. Many citizens have been frustrated enough by such cross-pressuring to withdraw from politics.

Come back. We've got the power to clean up the unconstitutional, arbitrary, small-govt gauntlet. We just haven't been appyling the power to the right places. I've some pointed suggestions, and we can talk.

To save our state and national constitutions' worthy cores, and the rights and liberties they house, we need to think and work outside the corruption box, out on the DD turf. We've got to amplify our voices with cross-country organizations -- just as the Reform Era citizens did over a hundred years ago. More strength in numbers, for many reasons.

DD/rep-govt political junkies are needed in the blogosphere. Show up. Do what you can.

I started my blog to encourage re-tooling from consumers to citizens, as a platform for political philosophy topics, and to aid the crushing of Bush-Cheney. But I'm expanding on those themes.

DD blogs, it now seems to me, should also be voices for state- and local-level political issues. If the site's lead blogger is located in Montana, then his/her blog should cover Montana state and local issues. If the lead blogger is in Florida, ditto. If in South Dakota, ditto. So on and so on.

First, in the I&R states, we should spotlight the I&R campaigns in which petitions have already been filed. We should say which are good for the people, which are bad for the people, and why. We should say which are good for the corrupt elitist slime, and why.

The I&R Institute site still provides a good shortcut to basic info on the filed petitions in each state. You can still go to IRI, at http://www.iandrinstitute.org/ -- click on "Ballotwatch" in the horizontal nav-bar in the header, scroll way down to the US map, click on, say, California, and then, in the left column, click on "Elections Division". Now you're on a state govt page where the main mission is to baffle you with bullshit. The fewer of us who figure out how to access information, the fewer problems for them. You'll have to be pretty thorough in your exploration of this "Elections Division" page's links.

On the California page, the current ballot measures are found by clicking on the red button, "Vote 2006", sub-titled, "Voter Information Guide". (Easy stuff, once you've outlasted the blizzard-of-bullshit array of cute buttons with no clear clues as to what they link to.) Once on the "Voter Information Guide" page, the most complete info is accessed by clicking on "Ballot Measure Summary" in the left column.

Second, DD blogs in the I&R states should write about any issue that should be turned into a citizen-proposed law -- a citizen-formulated initiative -- a petition. This is a good gig for "guest authors". Watch the local newspapers and contact anyone who is passionate about an idea that should go into citizen lawmaking. Tell 'em you'll publish whatever they write on the issue, and to not be afraid, because you'll give them whatever editorial help they might need.

We should say whether the hot-button issue's petition can be a statute initiative or whether it must be a constitutional amendment initiative so that the people are protected from the meddling of corrupt politicians.

Until further notice, every citizen-proposed law should go straight into the state constitution, no matter how seemingly trite or trivial. Any citizen lawmaking in the statutes that is offensive to money-power will be immediately amended or repealed by the mega-corrupt legislature. Things will change for the better until we're on the other side of the 2nd NCC (national constitutional convention).

Third, DD blogs in the I&R states should write about any depraved law passed by the mega-corrupt, partisan bicameral. Such depraved laws deserve to be vetoed.

Of course, we should have reduced all of the bicamerals to nonpartisan unicamerals in about 1944, when the Nebraska nonpartisan unicameral had about 7 years of successful operation behind it -- and when the society's social justice of the FDR years was about to disappear into the corruption of corporate sleaze. 20/20 hindsight is aggravating The corporate sleaze now control EVERY state legislature. There is not a one of them that is anything less than mega-corrupt.

The citizens in I&R states are not doing anywhere near enough to veto the depraved law grinding out advantages for the superrich at the expense of ordinary people. The multi-branched and speedily growing abyss between rich and poor starts at the state level. The failure to veto is anchored, I think, in ignorance and indifference.

DD blogging, I think, has the potential to change that ignorance and indifference. The more "contributors" that each DD blog can pull together in its "team", for expert and/or passionate coverage of different topics, the better.

Vetos are also possible in non-I&R states. All the state legislatures, except Delaware, REFER constitutional amendments to the people to be voted up or down in a referendum. Many states allow referral of statute law to the people's referendum. Both referrals for the corrupt legislatures are almost always topped by something that the people want for themselves, but almost always underpinned by provisions that directly aid the superrich, the corporate sleaze, and the predator politicians at the expense of ordinary people.

This double-doping of referrals, getting the people to cut their own throats with inviolable constitutional law has become a vile legislative cliché. Blogs in the non-I&R states should unload on such dirty tricks and their corrupt authors.

Two more-general topics.

Fourth, the DD blogs should be emphasizing any and all corruption connected to the state's national, state, or local representatives. Corrupt individuals make the climate of corruption. They are treasonous felons against the nation and in violation of the public trust. The climate of corruption is mostly Republican -- and I personally want those rat-bastards so diselected that the Republican Party ceases to exist. But the climate of corruption spans both parties, and we shouldn't hesitate to slam Democrats.

Corruption kills rep govt, turning it into little more than despotism.

Fifth, the toughest one of all, is state govt expenses. This is not state expenditures. This is narrow-focus state govt expenses. What public funds are the rat-bastards spending on themselves and their buddies? How many govt salaries are paid to PR flacks? How many public university presidents are looking the other way while subordinate financial officers illegally pay bonuses to faculty, staff, and visiting lecturers? How many airplanes have the predator politicians given away to their corporate buddies? How many new carptets decorate their buds' corporate offices? Where have all the new computers gone? For that matter, where have all the old computers gone?

This is the toughest topic, because state govts have been hiding the detailed information for so many decades that it's something they've actually become good at.

Nonetheless, state govt expenses are a major chapter in state govt corruption. Find some "citizen expert group" or two who are looking at state govt expenditures and income. Such organizaitons can give us a starting place on what the state govt is doing to hide the information on its expenses, what it is doing to reject all requests for the information, and, ultimately, what it is that they're spending on themselves and their buddies.

Coverage of those five topics will connect the DD blogs with local politics. IMO, it's still the best political connection in the republic.

If I ever get to where my blog's team of contributors -- who? what? -- is covering my original intentions plus the five state & local DD/rep-govt topics for Oklahoma jurisdictions, I'll be a happy man.

2 Comments:

At 6/11/2006 7:04 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Stephen, anyone who makes an attempt to understand DD/rep gov’t will no doubt ask, “Where’s this process been all my life?”

Your passion for this extremely populist (and I mean that in the most positive of ways) paradigm is palpable. Reading your words, one can hear your voice. You are already there. That’s a good thing.

There are some obstacles that need to be overcome, however. The fact that you’re already there may be overwhelming to those who are looking at this for the first time. There’s a lot to understand about empowering the populous. I believe the thought is even frightening to some.

You’re spot on in moving to the blogosphere. Nonetheless, there are about 50 million blogs in existence and, although we want people to maintain the freedom to use blogs for whatever purpose they choose, there are a whole host of blogs concerned with very narrow subject matter. These are almost personal diaries which we shouldn’t marginalize. Marginalizing anything in cyberspace just gives the ever monopolizing communications corporations more ammo to continue their pursuit of taking strong control of the entire internet.

I read letters written to the editor of my local newspaper and I can still be amazed at the support The Regime receives. Ardent, unwavering ideologues make up a group that will see this as some sort of “left wing conspiracy” to take over America.

These ideologues fall into two groups.

One group actually belongs to the elite and sees DD as a way of “stealing” their money. I realize that you didn’t write about specific citizen initiated laws. Anyone who reads this well written explanation can see that you are addressing a process which, once in place, will bring forth what the people really want. It’s a process.

But out of the box scares people, especially people who have lots and lots of money.

The other group consists of ideologues who continue to vote election after election against their own self interest. The meaning of the word stability has morphed into “surrender one’s rights as needed to allow the government to keep us safe”.

I caught just a little of a radio talk show a day or two ago and, when I began listening, it seems that a caller and the host were whining over the ill treatment of Joe McCarthy. I didn’t hear much of that conversation, but I did hear the caller say something to the effect of, “and this is what they’re doing to President Bush” and the host broke in and said, and I paraphrase, “You’re right, you’re right and the only difference is that George W. Bush has done absolutely nothing to deserve the treatment he’s receiving.”

My point is, as much as I don’t understand it, people feel very safe if they let “the government” keep them safe no matter what kind of ill affect it may have on one’s rights as an American citizen.

Many have opened their eyes and are finally seeing through the Orwellian doublespeak used by The Regime while others, for example, stood right by The Regime’s side and segued with it, and not so smoothly, as it slithered through its reasons for invading Iraq.

People don’t normally advocate for change until they are affected by refusing to change. Obviously, some of The Regime’s supporters have the few good paying middle class jobs available.

Ideologues will be a big obstacle.

Finally, I will not only address I&R and DD as they pertain to initiatives in California on my blog, I’ll continue to write about a step I believe that needs to be taken before we can convince people that taking responsibility for making and changing law into their own hands will be how we get laws passed that “we the people” want passed.

There seems to be light years between local government and the Electoral College until one thinks of the EC as having a trickle down affect. Whenever Democrats and Republicans are contesting a political race, whether it’s local dog catcher or president of the country, people will see any other contender as a “third party” contender. As I write in my essay “Priority Number One” , belonging to a “third party” is much like having a third eye. It starts with the “red state, blue state” brainwashing as if those were the only two colors in the spectrum and ends with the MSM following the Democrat and/or Republican around while ignoring almost anyone else who may be in the race. The EC is an elitist, exclusionary system that will perpetuate the red and blue arrogance. Unfortunately, this ensures the make up of Congress and Congress is made up of Democrats and Republicans who won’t make the Constitutional change necessary to open the political process up to more choices. DD will not sit well with the powers that be and many Americans will feel too uncomfortable accepting a responsibility that’s not their job – although we know it is.

I could say more about the obstacles, but Direct Democracy/rep govt is the people’s democracy. There are obstacles and I mentioned a few here. The solution to the obstacles I mention isn’t easy. The solution is to get people to listen and to realize that what we call democracy is a very tightly controlled form of democracy, if that can really exist. It would be good if we could convince the “stay the coursers” that the philosophy which says, “If you want something done right, then you should do it yourself” is what DD/rep govt is advocating for the political arena.

I’ll just finish up with this. There is an election approaching. Between 2000 and 2002, 2002 and 2004 and between 2004 and now, there has virtually been no debate on flag burning or same sex marriage. Those debates resume as elections get closer. Those issues aren’t even talked about once elections are over. I know that there wasn’t one, not one debate in Congress over same sex marriage between 2004 and just recently. In this sense, The Regime has been extremely transparent. It may be the only way in which it’s been transparent. Yet, there are still supporters. How do we get people so brainwashed to step out of the box, to see that the only way we’re going to save what’s left of our democracy is by stepping out of the box. The people about whom I speak are virtually cemented in the box and happy to be there.

I hope to advance DD/rep gov't on my blog while dealing with other, broader issues when I feel the need to address them. Thanks for the “Ballotwatch” link.

To friendship,
Michael

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” - Thomas Jefferson


The Mind Of Michael

 
At 6/12/2006 9:50 AM, Blogger Stephen Neitzke said...

Michael --

Your many concerns are all well-reasoned and valid. Each individual who decides that DD/rep-govt is a likely solution to US political grief will likely deal with at least some of your concerns. Please understand that I've been at this for a dozen years. I settled all of the concerns you raise, and more, before stepping into this project.

I'm proud of the populists who went before me. In the 1870s and 1880s, they became the foundation on which the successful reforms of the later urban Progressive movement were built. And no matter that the urban reformers called themselves "Progressives", they were populists to the core.

I'm aware that I overwhelm many people on several levels. This isn't the first time you've mentioned it.

I've been actively examining evidence for a dozen years that relatively few others even know is there to be examined. I've been taking the people's POV, when most people have no POV but that which is forced onto them by govt -- seeing governance from the govt's POV.

I talk and write in odd ways -- way too intense for many. I demand critical thinking of myself, it shows, and others think that I demand it of them, too. (I don't.) But these are all things that are as they must be for me.

The only time I soft-pedal and dissemble is when I'm running a "socratic dialog" on someone -- to pull out the ignorance and unthinking impulses that the other has already demonstrated and flaunted as some sort of special wisdom -- or to genuinely establish the honest differences between my thinking and the other's.

At all other times, facts, their related truth statements, sound logic/reason arguments built on both, usually argued to the strongest possible conclusion, and my best intellectual honesty is all I have of myself -- and it's what everyone else gets. No apologies for what little I have.

My overwhelming others, Michael, sorry to say because it sounds cold, is their problem-set, not mine. When it happens, the reasons for it are frequently unattractive. I'm not a good leader to their follower in their perceptions. They despise my politics, no matter what. They are in an ego-overload, demanding that only their ideas are acceptable. They are in a religious-overload that hates my not being a Christian and, for that, automatically puts me in league with the Devil. They do not want to be found out to be the mentally lazy louts they are and foist their anti-intellectualism on anyone who uses polysyllabic words. Their ideological worldview's presumptions are ideologically twisted, distorting reality beyond recognition -- and their egos will never allow their presumptions to be honestly examined. There are many more unattractive reasons, of course.

To anyone who is overwhelmed by me, the only thing I can say is "don't be overwhelmed by me". And that doesn't do much good, does it?

People who more or less understand what I say, who are not overwhelmed, and who still don't like me are -- like me -- on their own. This is not a popularity contest, everybody is judged every day, and a few friends is all that any of us can hope for. Everybody else will disagree with and despise everybody else, if not to their face then behind their backs.

Sure hope you're OK with that. I definitely am. Reality is my balancing act.

Public support for Bushco is scary. Public support for the system that those thugs rode in on is even scarier.

The reality is that Bushco rode in on the unconstitutional and illegal twistings of that system. But the supportive public does not see that twisted, illegal reality. What they see is politics as usual, everything perfectly normal, everything still working as the 8th grade civics books say it should work. Their seeing criminal illegality as simply uncomfortable politics is way beyond scary.

What's scary about the system, untwisted and undistorted, is that we the sovereign people have no way to prevent or end the Bushco-like depravity. We're just powerless. That is not a good thing.

Forward, DD/rep-govt PROCESS.

I'll be discussing specific initiatives and referendums in the near future. However, the process is our strength and, right now, desperately needs cleaning up. The process will always be my main concern.

We've a long, hard way to go, but if we can get into a carefully protect 2nd NCC to do our re-write, melding an optimum, fully independent citizen lawmaking system to a more-regulated rep govt, many problems in the current political system will simply disappear.

And that includes the EC. Direct election of all national candidates -- starting with a system of direct primaries with state, regional, and national levels -- simply means no place for the EC.

It also includes political parties and red & blue states. Nonpartisan rep govt is one of the keys in the DD/rep-govt solution. Nonpartisan rep govt goes hand-in-glove with citizen lawmaking -- completely nonpartisan -- because citizen lawmaking's majorities are issue-driven, temporary majorities, dynamic majorities. Only in partisan rep govt do you get majorities that are ideology-driven, semi-permanent, rigid majorities.

With the people voting in issue-driven, dynamic majorities, they've little or no need for political parties, which fade away to shadows of their former selves. They remain societal focus points and lend their ideologies to politically powerful, single-issue social groups, but the parties' fangs and claws evaporate. The Swiss experience, since the national initiative of 1891, shows that toothless political parties are real easy to live with.

There are many other problems that just automatically disappear. The most heartening of those are the people obstacles to the DD/rep-govt process. When that process is what's "inside the box", when that process is the status quo, people just naturally boost it. The only Swiss who object to their DD/rep-govt system as the elitist slime who want obscenely excessive profits and power. There are not many of them. Some dramatically overwhelming percentage of Swiss want exactly what they have. I make it to be about 99.99 percent.

Doesn't seem odd to me at all that we can say about the same thing about Americans. However, in the case of the Swiss, it's reality-based and defensible. In the case of the Americans, its culturo-centric, reality-rejection, and indefensible. Sad to say, those bad things do not make it less real.

 

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