Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The purpose of government has to be the starting point of any discussion on democracy. Is government  a banding together of people for mutual physical protection, economic cooperation, agreed upon mutual help, pooled labor for work that benefits everyone, and other cooperative assistance from pooled resources?  Probably some of that. Probably government just started out with family members and relatives intent on help,ing  each other.

But then some members started putting in less time and energy than ohers. They were 'cheats'. So the idea of  'law' came into exisence, I guess. And it's gone down hill ever since.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Objective is to change the world through responsibility

We are responsible for our own government. Just ask them, they'll tell you we are. More Representatives say we have the government we chose than we say it.

The point is, we haven't chosen the government. The laws defining how we must act and how we must spend or money are the guide for the Exeutive. The Legislature is the Government. And we do't make any laws and certainly don't vote on any laws. Jefferson frequently complained that each generation was burdened by the laws and attitudes of the previous generation. The only way the laws can be kept abreast of the advances of the society is if the people vote for those laws and do not vote for Representatives to continue to make our laws for us. The only way we will be responsible for our own government is when we are our own government, our own legislature.

All the complaints, all the sit-downs and occupyings; all the great causes that we are espousing: equal financial opportunities, equal protection before the law, security from information seizure and freedom to speak the truth - the embarrassing truth - about the corruption, ignorance, and indifference with which the governments treats the people; all of this is fruitless.  It is fruitless because we have no real plan and no real intent to change our Representtive Government, our elected Aristocracy.  We are simply whining to them, thretening to replace them with lesss repressive Representatives. We haven't faced fully seen or accepted the truth: it is our responsibility to be make the laws, to NOT be represented, but to on the responsibility ourselves, for ourselves - and all the future citizens.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Russell on Philosopher Kings

From Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, p 106:

      Two general questions arise in confronting Plato with modern ideas. The first is: Is there such a thing as "wisdom" ? The second is : Granted that there is such a thing, can any constitution be devised that will give it political power?
     "Wisdom," in the sense supposed, would not be any kind of specialized skill, such as is possessed by the shoemaker or the physician or the military tactician. It must be something more generalized than this, since its possession is supposed to make a man  capable of governing wisely. I think Plato would have said that it consists in knowledge of the good, and would have supplemented this definition with the Socratic doctrine that no man sins wittingly, from which it follows that whoever knows what is good does what is right. To us, such a view seems remote from reality. We should more naturally say that there are divergent interests, and that the statesman should arrive at the best possible compromise.The members of a class or a nation may have a common interest, but it will usually conflict with the interests of other classes or nations. There are, no doubt, some interests of mankind as a whole, but they do not suffice to determine political action. Perhaps they will do so at some future date, but certainly not so long as there are many sovereign States. And even then the most difficult part of the pursuit of the general interest would consist in arriving at compromises among mutually hostile special interests.
    But even if we suppose that there is such a thing as "wisdom," is there any form of constitution which will give the government to the wise? It is clear that majorities, like general councils, may err, and in fact have erred. Aristocracies are not always wise; kings are often foolish; Popes, in spite of infallibility, have committed grievous errors. Would anyone advocate entrusting the government to university graduates, or even doctors of divinity? Or to men who, having been born poor, have made great fortunes? It is clear that no legally definable selection of citizens is likely to be wiser, in practice, than the whole body.
    It might be suggested that men could be given political wisdom by a suitable training. But the question would arise: what is a suitable training? And this would turn out to be a party question.
   The problem of finding a collection of the "wise" men and leaving the government to them is thus an insoluble one. That is the ultimate reason for democracy.

   So the Representatives are not superior governors than any other set of citizens would be.  We could, and should, all 200 million voting age citizens, do at least as good a job as any set of lawmakers would. And, that is the ultimate reason for Actual Democracy: we vote on the laws. Our power as citizens remains "our power as citizens". Nothing complicated. No way to get crossed up. Just responsible people doing their civic duty and carrying out their legislative responsibilities.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Attitude Change for America

The country needs an "Attitude Change", that's what they told us when were kids, we needed an "Attitude Change".  The whole Country needs one now.

First off we need to change our attitude about who is responsible for the condition of the country.  The law makers, our Representatives, are not responsible for this mess. They have cause it. But we're responsible. We are the Government.  And by this mess I mean America the violator of its Constitution, of it's basic moral philosophy, of the current economic and political inequalities, our educational inequalities, and the lack of equal employment opportunities, etc. etc. etc..

We are responsible for the mess we've become, for violating the trust the previous generations put in our hands.  And we have violated them.  Ms. Maddow lists many in her book: 'Drift'. For example, five wars that the U.S. fought without Congress declaring war, as the Constitution requires. Torture.  the army published documents proving, or admitting, we have tortured many people at Gitmo - Guantanamo Bay.  And remember, the Constitution explicitly, in the Bill of rights, says no man can be compelled to testify against himself ( 5th Amendment); and there is to be no cruel and unusual punishment (8th Amendment).  Torture is simply not a debatable issue: it is legally, morally, and humanly bankrupt. It is outlawed by the United Nations and they have found us guilty of  having committed it. As a nation, we are out of control: the Constitution doesn't matter to our representatives: they don't even debate their completely ignoring it anymore: "it's old news". It's not Patriotic to want to be Free from Government intrusion! We're living in 1984 30 years later than Orwell predicted. Nixon had a 40 person enemies list; Obama has put us all on it.

The population is as disgruntled as its ever been. A change is being called for but no one is offering a viable change. "Occupy WallStreet" is fine, but futile. Chomsky has advised them to pull things together with many of the other 'activist groups' in the nation, like the labor activists did in the early 1900s: many small unions pulled together to form the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations [sic]), and the A.F. of  L: American Federation of Labor.  But the Labor groups knew what they were fighting for: bargaining rights for the group, equal representation of the men, and equal footing for them at the bargaining table with the owners.

Nobody has offered a solution to the lack of respect for the Constitution, lack of respect for the people, for no equality of opportunity an no access to the powerful. Everyone is trying to coerce the representatives to go back to believing in freedom, equality, and justice before the law.  The representatives have no incentive to do so. They have taken over making laws completely disregarding their constituents and they have been taken over by money religion, party, ideology, self-aggrandizement,  as their prime objectives.  And they have no need to change, no incentive to.

What needs to change is our attitude toward them. We simply must go beyond them. It's not just that the political parties have corrupted themselves with the power grabs they've boldly taken and implemented, its that we have settled for impotence. We scream and holler and know it is useless and ineffective. We engage in accurate criticism and take no action, believing there is none to take. We have accepted impotence as a political fact.   It isn't!   

We simply have to be responsible again: responsible for our own laws, without depending on elected officials. We are the Government. We have failed. Not the representatives. We have failed to take control of our own fate because its simply been easy to let them rule us - while they did it with some belief in the principles of inalienable rights and equality things weren't too bad. But now, now we can vote directly on the laws. No representative are needed. Technology enables it. It is easy. But it takes the courage to give up the dependence we have accepted for all these years: the dependence that follows the belief that we need to be represented.  We Don't.  

If we change our attitude we'll change our future and finally accept our full responsibilities as citizens in an Actual Democracy: make and vote for the laws ourselves. How are they going to bribe, scare, hoodwink, manipulate and coerce 200,000,000 million voting lawmakers?  Doesn't look easy to me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being Punished by the Republicans

Just thinking about the Republican actions and reactions of the last 5 years. Recently, it seems obvious, that the Republican Party is simply so angry about loosing the Presidency to 'a half breed black man' , over their wealthy WASP candidates, that they have decided to "punish" the people of the United States for having 'done this to them'. And they are doing it.

The natural reaction is for the people to 'backlash' against them and vote others into office. 

But that is just futility: our Representatives are Aristocrats with term limits.

The real reaction to 'our punishment' is not to put someone else into their office but to simply do away with the office altogether.

We must change the Constitution so the people vote for the laws, and not for people who make the laws.  (See Jefferson's letter to Taylor, posted earlier today, and the excerpt from Tomas Paine's "Common Sense", also posted today).

Retribution is not a god reason  to act on anything, but when it comes along with doing the right thing,  it makes the right thing sightly sweeter.  "Human Nature ha it's bad side, too"

Thomas Paine on initial Government

“In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labour out of the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.
        “Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right, will have a seat.

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act, were they present. If the colony continues increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their
“fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED.

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right.”

Excerpt From: Paine, Thomas. “Common Sense.

Jeffefrson to Taylor Letter

Dear Sir, -- On my return from a long journey and considerable absence from home, I found here the copy of your " Enquiry into the principles of our government," which you had been so kind as to send me ; and for which I pray you to accept my thanks. The difficulties of getting new works in our situation, inland and without a single bookstore, are such as had prevented my obtaining a copy before ; and letters which had accumulated during my absence, and were calling for answers, have not yet permitted me to give to the whole a thorough reading ; yet certain that you and I could not think differently on the fundamentals of rightful government, I was impatient, and availed  myself of the the intervals of repose from the writing table, to obtain a cursory idea of the body of the work.
       I see much matter for profound reflection; much which should confirm our adhesion, in practice, to the good principles of our constitution, and fix our attention on what is yet to be made good. The sixth section on the good moral principles of our government, I found so interesting and replete with sound principles, as to postpone my letter-writing to its thorough perusal and consideration. Besides much other good matter, it settles unanswerably the right of instructing representatives, and their duty to obey. The system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. Funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemption of the debt within the lives of a majority of the generation contracting it ; every generation coming equally, by the laws of the Creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were but tenants for life. You have success fully and completely pulverized Mr. Adams' system of orders, and his opening the mantle of republicanism to every government of laws, whether consistent or not with natural right. Indeed, it must be acknowledged, that the term republic is of very vague application in every language. Witness the self-styled republics of Holland, Switzerland, Genoa, Venice, Poland. Were I to as sign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say, purely and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, act ing directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority ; and that every other government is more or less re publican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the the extent of a New England township. The first shade from this pure element, which, like that of pure vital air, cannot sustain life of itself, would be where the powers of the government, being divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen either pro hac vice, or for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents. This I should consider as the nearest approach to a pure republic, which is practicable on a large scale of country or population. And we have examples of it in some of our State constitutions, which, if not poisoned by priest-craft, would prove its excellence over all mixtures with other elements ; and, with only equal doses of poison, would still be the best. Other shades of republicanism may be found in other forms of government, where the executive, judiciary and legislative functions, and the different branches of the latter, are chosen by the people more 01 less directly, for longer terms of years, or for life, or made hereditary ; or where there are mixtures of authorities, some dependent on, and others independent of the people. The further the departure from direct and constant control by the citizens, the less has the government of the ingredient of republicanism ; evidently none where the authorities are hereditary, as in France, Venice, &c., or self-chosen, as in Holland ; and little, where for life, in proportion as the life continues in being after the act of election. The purest republican feature in the government of our own State, is the House of Representatives. The Senate is equally so the first year, less the second, and so on. The Executive still less, because not chosen by the people directly. The Judiciary seriously anti-republican, because for life ; and the national arm wielded, as you observe, by military leaders, irresponsible but to themselves. Add to this the vicious constitution of our county courts (to whom the justice, the executive administration, the taxation, police, the military appointments of the county, and nearly all our daily concerns are confided), self- appointed, self-continued, holding their authorities for life, and with an impossibility of breaking in on the perpetual succession of any faction once possessed of the bench. They are in truth,counties, and the sum of the counties makes the State. And add, also, that one half of our brethren who fight and pay taxes, are excluded, like Helots, from the rights of representation, as if society were instituted for the soil, and not for the men inhabiting it ; or one half of these could dispose of the rights and the will of the other half, without their consent.
  "What constitutes a State ? Not high-raised battlements, or labor'd mound,
Thick wall, or moated gate ;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown'd ;
No : men, high minded men ;
Men, who their duties know ;
But know their rights ; and knowing, dare maintain.
These constitute a State.
In the General Government, the House of Representatives is mainly republican ; the Senate scarcely so at all, as not elected by the people directly, and so long secured even against those who do elect them ; the Executive more republican than the Senate, from its shorter term, its election by the people, in practice, (for they vote for A only on an assurance that he will vote for B,) and because, in practice also, a principle of rotation seems to be in a course of establishment ; the judiciary independent of the nation, their coercion by impeachment being found nugatory. If, then, the control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of its republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected ; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require. And this I ascribe, not to any want of republican dispositions in those who formed these constitutions, but to a submission of true principle to European authorities, to speculators on government, whose fears of the people have been inspired by the populace of their own great cities, and were unjustly entertained against theUnited States. Much I apprehend that the golden moment is past for reforming these heresies. The functionaries of public power rarely strengthen in their dispositions to abridge it, and an unorganized call for timely amendment is not likely to prevail against an organized opposition to it. We are always told that things are are going on well ; why change them ? " Chi sta bene, non simuove." said the Italian, " let him who stands well, stand still." This is true ; and I verily believe they would go on well with us under an absolute monarch, while our present character remains, of order, industry and love of peace, and restrained, as he would be, by the proper spirit of the people. But it is while it remains such, we should provide against the consequences of its deterioration. And let us rest in the hope that it will yet be done, and spare ourselves the pain of evils which may never happen. On this view of the import of the term republic, instead of saying, as has been said, " that it may mean anything or nothing," we may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican, as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition ; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient. And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
I salute you with constant friendship and respect.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tried to leave a comment in ROAR's Intellectual area.  Got turned down. No freedom of speech there, I guess.  How is that? People don't tolerate ideas that conflict with or add to their positions? Hard for me, a new guy on the internet, to understand how to break into the conversations.  Maybe I'm too serious about making a change. Everyone seems pleased to talk. One the few things Marx said that I agree with is that the Philosophers have interpreted life; the real task is to change it.

These other 'groups' of advocates for democratic change miss the whole point: if we keep representative government, where the representatives make the laws, we are simply not free or functional in a democracy.
Thomas Paine, in Common Sense, said direct voting is the only real democracy. Jefferson, in his letter to Taylor, says the same thing.  And to repeat it again, Rousseau called elected representative government an elected aristocracy.

The theory goes: the rule of law replaced the rule of man. But if we live under a rule of law doesn't it follow that whoever makes the laws rules? So we elect our rulers.  Then we complain about them, hate them, watch them violate the constitution (Presidents declare war, Presidents look into our private communications, Presidents torture people -- with the consent and often under the direction of the Congress and unfettered by the Courts.)

The simple, logical, most compelling next step is for the people to vote for their laws, for actual democracy.  It will come. It should come. We will work hard to make it come.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It is our responsibility, privilege, and right to vote directly for the laws under which we live: to live in an ACTUAL DEMOCRACY.
Today's technology now makes this possible. For example, American Idol, X-Factor,The Voice, and America Has Talent have the public cast votes for the best entertainer. If we can vote for the best entertainer we can vote for the best law, or vote against a bad one.
Since it our right to live in an ACTUAL DEMOCRACY and it is possible to do so, This Association is  committed to making our nation an ACTUAL DEMOCRACY.
The association seeks political equality and personal freedom for all. Therefore, a Constitutional Amendment along these tentative lines is required:
1. The legislative function of the United States shall be performed by the people according to legislation that the people enact.
2. The right of the citizens to directly vote for the laws under which they will live shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State.
The very idea that the people are to have the power and freedom to directly vote on their own laws will be opposed by the existing power structure with all the time, money, and energy they can muster.
Those of us who believe in freedom and justice, who understand and are willing to work for ACTUAL DEMOCRACY may well not succeed in the effort to make it a reality unless we pool our individual power, talent, and money to succeed in electing representatives who will vote to put themselves out of work and make us the legislature --- directly, without representatives.
If you are of a mind to be free and equal in an ACTUAL DEMOCRACY join us now as a member, volunteer, contributor,  and even as a critic.

Failed Representative Government

The opinion that we need Representatives to give us laws , that government means Representative government is wrong. Government means laws. Laws mean voting.  We vote all the time, but not for laws. That is just wrong. We vote for lawmakers, not laws.

In an Actual Democracy the people vote directly for the laws under which they live.

It is our responsibility, privilege, and right to vote directly for the laws under which we live: to live in an Actual Democracy.

Your belief that you cannot do your job and have enough time and energy to understand the laws being proposed - or proposing laws yourself - and then voting on them, is wrong.

We spend time and energy listening to 15 second sound bites, 30 second political commercials, reading 140 character messages, telling each other how nice, smart, interesting, and interested we are.

We spend time on CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Comedy Central, etc. On Face-book, blogging, tweeting, but very little on thinking and listening, and speaking to each other. We don't spend enough time on governing but we spend plenty of time n being governed.  And we complain on how bad, or inefficient, or indifferent to us the government is. And we don't act to change it.  Well we try and get together and complain in groups: Occupy Wall-Street, Direct Democracy, ROAR, and other sincere but ineffective complaint groups. And they make no difference. They quickly become irrelevant. The power structure, the Representatives and their supporters, dismiss the honest efforts to hold them rediculous by assigning them  to the 'lunatic-fringe'.

Disgruntled citizens groups rarely get anywhere.  But some do. The ones that grab the hearts and minds: Slavery hit us, hurt us, in our moral gut. After many organizations and the underground railroad came the civil war. Six hundred thousand Americans died to free the slaves and put 3 Amendments on the Constitution -13, 14, and 15.

Woman's suffrage, the right to vote for women, took 50 or 60 years to get done. It got done and resulted in a Constitutional Amendment, number 19. So ideas espoused by a few grew to be supported by the many and changed the nation, made the nation "a more perfect union". It can happen again, it should happen again, and it will happen again. The people will accept their inherent responsibility to make and vote on the laws that direct their lives, that constitutes their very freedom, and secures them their political equality with each other. Technology now makes it possible, we must make it actual.

This nation collected 2.9 trillion dollars, 2.9 x 10 to the 12th power dollars, and spent 3.8 trillion dollars. Our 538 representatives decided how it should be spent. Of all the unreasonable things in life this has to be high on the list.
Outside of how to spend the tax dollars - and how many to collect - Congress spends very little time and effort. You've heard the expression: "It's all about the money". Our Congress is "all about the money". Of course how it is spent influences the course to the nation. And the philosophy behind the spending of the money influences the direction and status of the nation, internally and internationally, militarily, economically, trade wise, etc. And we all know these things. But we don't really think, thoroughly, about 500 people spending nearly 4 trillion of our dollars, and how crazy that is.  And they make the other laws. Banking laws, so that the old usury laws are gone and banks and credit card companies change 30% interest on many, many, of their cards. Congress permits it, makes a virtue of it, it's for "the good of the people".

If the people are the government - and I'm certain that they are - then why aren't we governing? Because of history and logistics and because we haven't spent time thinking about it.  You have to think about it now!

Five hundred and thirty eight representatives decide how to spend 1/3 of your earnings every year. And they have failure after failure after failure to show for it. Schools are failing, or have failed. Our bridges, roads, tunnels, railroads, post offices, airports are all falling apart.

The major banks and financial institutions, manufacturing, energy, farming, pharmaceutical,  and military-industrial complex all have laws passed for their benefit and as mentioned we pay 30% interest rates.
The last five wars have been fought without congress declaring war: unconstitutional.
We are not secure in our persons or our personal effects - our personal communications: unconstitutional - see the 4th Amendment.
We torture people in violation of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments: unconstitutional.
Our representatives don't even try to follow, let alone honor, our founding documents.
Our prisons house 2 million of us and more every day. More than all the other nations combined. Why?

Congress is intent on framing and making public opinion, not on listening to it.
The Representative's personal aggrandizement, power base, television exposure time, is more important to them than us, their constituents -- And its always been this way!
We know the problems.  This rant just now is 200 years old. If we don't change it, now that we can, 200 years from now it will be the same rant for the same reasons -- if our representative governments haven't destroyed the planet - or at least all of life - by then.

Our entertainment time is spent on sex, sports, and man's inhumanities to man - called drama. We can't take two hours a week from this trained pablum to decide what or who we should be, now and in the future.

Do you want your children and grandchildren represented - just as you are??
The beginning of a more perfect union will be when we unite to govern ourselves - literally and actually.