Is a direct democracy website realistic?

Dear Mr. Wolffe and team, Thank you for your common sense efforts in sharing so much valuable information with us, such as comparing cooperatives to other businesses. It is a 'self evident truth' that dialogue and a democratic voice are cooperative strategies that apply the sharing of concerns, knowledge and insights that are fundamental in supporting a healthy and balanced family, business or community. Letting others manage our policies, money and voice has resulted in the mess that we now find ourselves in. The sharing of information and ideas reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's words that I believe are: 'Give the people the truth and the Republic is safe.' In this spirit, I am writing with a suggestion that hopefully provides a way for us to expediently promote more accountability, equity, greater democracy and a healthier, sustainable future for the individual and the greater good. I apologize in advance if the following idea has been identified in a prior program. I am confident that you would enjoy a lecture titled “The Manufacture of History” by historian Michael Parente. Mr. Parente offers many terrific observations from his study of the Roman empire around the time of Julius Caesar. The following are three of his insights as I recall them: 1) 'Secrecy is the enemy of Truth', 2) 'War is the enemy of democracy' and 3) 'In order for a few people to be extremely wealthy many people have to be poor'. Some of us are stuck in ways of looking at our world which do not support a social contract or the common good. For various reasons many people don't understand or believe what is taught in our houses of worship, nor do they believe our scientists, literature or history relative to comprehending how all things in our world are connected. Buckminister Fuller wrote a short book titled, “Spaceship Earth” in which he simply state that we are on a ship traveling through space and when we don't take good care of the entire ship and crew then the ship is in peril. Those who choose not to see the 'big picture' often reveal themselves by using terms like 'our', 'my', 'them' and 'they' excessively and these people find excuses for keeping their concentrated power. The reason many animals gather into social groups if for the mutual benefit provided... not for the aggrandizement of a king, empress or the wealthiest one percent. What can be done to make our situation better? I'm confident we can apply effective, existing strategies, systems for developing and maintaining a direct democracy. Instituting a Direct Democracy would encourage wide spread accountability and it should be instituted immediately rather than waiting for politicians to implement something. There needs to be built and maintained a very secure “Citizens Internet Town Hall Meeting Room” where everyone can go to access factual information and data on topics of concern as well as citizens leaving input. Citizens could and should be encouraged to contribute their perspective on all topic of concern. The site would gather feedback on things such as citizen developed questionnaires for; corporate entities, public servants, media outlets and the citizenry in general. Data and virtually all site information should be easily accessible, accurate, timely, understandable and clearly juxtaposed with what public, private and elected officials support via their words and actions. This would result in identifying those who are and are not supporting their constituents interests. This Citizens website should be developed and maintained by, of and for the citizenry with no input allowed from elected officials, political parties, businesses, outside money (100% citizen funding), etc. The site should be linked to blockchain data bases. All major media outlets should receive regular questionnaires generated by the citizens asking them about the amount of coverage they will be devoting to issues and concerns of the community. The monitoring of private, political, independent and public media and then comparing their coverage of events on our website page will encourage media outlets to display a respectful and balanced presentation of issues as scrutinized by a sustained, open, respectful public dialogue on issues of public concern. Biased coverage, propaganda, not providing coverage of an issue that merits attention may encourage some citizens to boycott the products advertized on a media network. Public officials might be asked to briefly respond to questions generated by constituents on a monthly basis at the federal, state and local level. Citizens must develop their Direct Democracy web site legally, cooperatively and with unrivaled transparency and security. By displaying high accountability standards in our institution, citizens will find that they have much more of a voice than through the periodic and weak traditional political vote. An effective, constructive change can be made in communities by competing with government narratives and corporate media coverage of... anything. Citizens will sponsor debates regularly on pressing issues and such a site will need to maintain a sophisticated, secure voting setup where any citizens who can legally vote will be encouraged to educated themselves on issues and then vote on the citizen developed directives at the web site. Though not legally binding, when a substantial portion of a population support a position, such as a $15.00 minimum wage then when representative John Doe or business CEO Mary Smith keeps voting or issuing false statements to knowledgeable constituents or patrons, I'm confident citizens will figure out where to direct their energy for the greatest good. I certain U.S. Law state that corporations get their license to do business in our communities approved by the US citizens, not the president or a king? Citizens may choose to rescind a corporations license when the corporations displays disrespectful behavior like 'officially' moving their business out of the country and thus not paying taxes like regular people. When a corporations license is rescinded, after a vote of the people, the irresponsible officers/employees of the offending corporation associated with acknowledged unethical, disrespectful or immoral actions would be removed and replaced with ethical, forward thinking managers. Eminent domain would be another tool for removing corrupt business practices. Media outlet, such as those institutions that ignored Mr. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential campaign season, should be in jeopardy of loosing their corporate license if the citizenry deem that the public air waves were not being used for the public good, even if the media outlets did not do anything wrong 'technically'. Citizens may decide to revisit the issue of giving the public air wave frequencies to commercial businesses to 'promote' growth (for who?). Instead of just giving the frequencies away or putting any fees collected into a general fund, citizens might decide to allocate all such frequencies to school districts who in turn lease them to other companies thereby creating a revenue stream for schools/students. Should politicians, judges or any public servant show a significant bias (as determined by the citizenry), then there needs to be mechanisms that thoughtfully and effectively removes such persons from office when they disrespect community interests. A direct democracy would be promoted through inclusiveness, openness and accountability. Any individual or group that challenges the right of citizens to promote a direct democratic action must be immediately accountable, respectful and open with all of their data before they can claim any right be listened to. Currently special interests in our society have excessive, undue influence which often dominates and disrespects the expressed interests of the citizenry. Of course those who currently wield significant power and influence will oppose such a change and violently where possible. What are the reason civilian police forces across the country are being armed like the military? Is there a plan to declare Marshall Law should those with significant current commercial influence see their power wane? History implies that trying to impose morality or economic programs via the police does not work. What would be best for the greater good as well as the individual good is a leaderless direct democracy. Undecipherable encryption and layered security is required to prevent everyone but carefully selected technicians and editors from manipulating the information and mechanics of such a site. A Citizens Forum/Website should be open to almost everyone including non citizens, for input and feedback as long as people identify themselves in a verifiable way. Issues that are of concern to the citizens will need to be studied and discussed for an established time period. After an agreed upon period of discussion the citizens can propose numerous solutions which will be voted on. Posted results of all votes are to show how citizens ranked their priorities as well as indicating how they expect resources are to be allocated. Quarterly or monthly reports on the progress of all related government and private projects are to be posted at the site to compare citizens express interests with the efforts and trends of public servants and CEO's. The current state of affairs we find ourselves in can be traced in large measure to the concentrating of power via the political parties who worked to avoid serious and ongoing dialog with the public as is evidenced in their collusion of the 'debates' for years, thereby avoiding many issues and fresh perspectives. The owned media is heavily complicit in this as well. They are driven primarily by short term monetary goals combined with what appears to be virtually no sense of responsibility to the public. Just whose airwaves they are using? Hasn't the U.S. Army Intelligence Department, for around 30 years, been sending yearly assessments to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, to congress and to the Presidents stating the the threat of Global Warming is a greater danger to the national security of the U.S.A. than all terrorist threats combined? Am I wrong or haven't the banksters gotten regulations changed so that when the next banking failure occurs (which it will if the same good old boys are left in charge), a bail-out to cover their designed to fail banking practices is no longer needed. I understand that politicians have passed regulations that now allows banksters to directly take our savings without our permission the next time they 'loose' massive amounts of money,... it's called a bail-in. (I'm not feeling very represented.) Has the media even acknowledge the existence of this bail-in or those who supported this scam. The owned media no longer talks about the Fukashima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan as though the crises is over. Aren't thousands of tons of sea water still being used for cooling and then this contaminated, radioactive water is being dumped into the ocean daily? Don't the ocean currents take this water to the west coast of the U.S.A.? I'm confident that a direct democracy data center web site would influence significant changes in information sharing, politics, finance, marketing, healthcare and local-ism, etc. A BIG QUESTION: Are laws, treaties and agreements that are made in the citizens name binding when politicians act and/or vote in a manner that is in conflict with what constituents have expressed as their desired interests? Virtually all agreements made by 'representative managers' that are not in line with expressed public interests should not be honored, especially when it is discovered that propaganda or the withholding of significant information is involved. If an investor or contract signatory chooses to be part of an agreement that a citizenry does not support then the term 'Buyer beware' should come to mind. A citizens evaluation credit ratings is needed for businesses, CEO's, financial institutions and public servants, etc. and could be derived from citizen feedback similar to the product reviews generated in the Consumers Report magazine. A direct democracy web site must be stable, interactive, accessible, accountable and extremely well protected, with multiple ways to stay available (if one site goes down for any reason a backup site blooms immediately). It may well be that 'old school' governments just are too flawed to attain stated responsibilities or goals in today's world. For example; the D.A.R.E. Program has been run by police departments throughout the country where police officers go into schools to talk about drugs to students. It has been known for a decade or so that instead of decreasing the use of drugs these efforts actually increase drug use by children. Sadly even though school administrators, police, psychologist and politicians know that the program actually promotes drugs they won't oppose it. This is more than just a giant waste of money, it is insane behavior and an indicator that large governmental institutions just aren't capable of effectively regulating or dealing with many things. Similarly the owned media does not run negative stories about the Walmart and others because of the impact it would likely have on advertizing revenues and this is an indicator that such a media outlet does not merit community support. It appears that things like elections, drug policy, foreign policy, financial policy, intelligence and judicial appointments should be removed from the governments list of responsibility and returned to the citizenry. I'm confident that we are up to the task. Concerning the absurd corporate business agreements or contracts that are continually thrown at us like NAFTA and the TPP nonsense. These crazy people feel that they should be guaranteed a profit for their effort while at the same time staunchly denying that employees should be guaranteed a living wage and basic benefits for their efforts. To address such an absurd business approach there needs to be a “Reciprocal Agreement” which accompanies all such contracts. The agreement should state that a citizen or any being residing in a territory under the influence of a business agreement must be provide guarantees similar to those sought by the corporation. This means that the products and services provided by ABC corporation are guaranteed to satisfy the needs and desires in economic terms, quality and timeliness, etc. for those in a contract community. For example; greed capitalists have been wanting to take over the U.S. Postal service for many years. They claim that they will be able to operate this service more efficiently. So if the baseline service that now exists requires employees to work 40 hours a week for so much money and benefits and the service delivers six days a week with the average parcel arriving within three days any where in the U.S.A., then it is to be expected that with privatization of the postal service: 1) benefits to employees will only improve and work loads will not increase, 2) the service will improve and expanded and 3) costs will go down. If this does not happen then at the end of one year those persons and stock holders who promoted the privatization of the U.S. Postal Service must be financially responsible for the reinstatement of the previously existing service in all respects with no right to claim bankruptcy. The investors, owners and financiers of such an acquisition must set aside adequate financial assets to cover the costs for such a reversal or they must acquire an AAA rated insurance policy through a long standing insurance company like Loyd's of London to indemnify a community should they not be satisfied with the promised services and savings. The citizens must be in complete control any legislative unit that legally assesses whether or not the private institution is satisfying the public interest. There are abundant examples of where large private interests take over some medical, political, educational, media institution which resulted in a measurably less efficient and more costly operation (Enron, airlines, colleges). Promoting local-ism relative to fundamental community functions like banking, sustainable energy production, food production and construction materials production where practical, would be encouraged. Local-ism would in turn encourage general stability, state pension funds would be healthier, debt levels could be lower, health and educational cost should be lower, energy and economic problems should diminish, (another one of those self-evident things). Local-ism through banking is promoted by loaning ninety five percent of its funds within the community. The lending habits of community banks should promote clients being out of debt. When we pay attention to Nature (you know the way God made things) we can discover many useful strategies for dealing with our most pressing issues and problem solving. If we trust the research done by our relatives, neighbors and friends we will find that organisms throughout nature are overwhelmingly cooperative... more than 99% of the time. Organisms consistently help one another, which results in creating complex and diverse communities, which in turn are far more stable than communities with less diversity. Nature, history, spiritual teachings, science and common sense show us that when there is a sustained concentration of influence or power within an institution or community then such an institution or community is measurably less stable than when influence is diverse and democratic. How does one make good decisions when one doesn't get truthful, relevant information regularly? Answer: They don't. In the 1970's, during the Carter Administration there was a joint USA/Soviet study (I think it lasted two years) formed to address the question of what was the most significant thing that could be done to reduce conflict across the world. The primary conclusion was that if governments and others significantly reducing weapons sales to to everyone, this action would do the greatest good in reducing violent conflict everywhere. Since that study the USA has been supplying about 45% or more of all weapons sold world wide... and now we are militarizing our police departments and thereby encouraging tension in communities with citizen in the face of research and common sense telling us that militarizing things does not promote stability. Just who are the real terrorist in this situation? War is a measurably bad option economically and socially when compared to cooperation, diplomacy or sanctions. Those companies that produce weapons would do more for their sustainable profits by transitioning to green technology... and they'd be good at it. It is obvious that governments can be and often are manipulated by a very few 'influential' individuals, which is in direct contrast to the mandate that public servants are obligated to serve the greater good over that of special interests. Who is really funding instability in the world the most? Who are the real Eco-terrorists? Whenever there is a sustained concentration of power it is a clear indicator that the greater good is getting neglected. A common sense and constructive option is to construct the framework and network for a direct democracy ourselves... or we can continue to allow special interests to manipulate and influence enough of 'our Public Representatives' to get what they want over the public good. The concentration of power and the inequity it promotes will continue to burden us until a direct democracy is established. We really don't need 'leaders' these days. Today we need managers to implement our directives. A while back the NSA announced that they had stopped 50 some terrorist attacks on the USA. It turned out that they only prevented one terrorist problem, which was someone transferring funds to a terrorist organization. When those taking our tax dollars give us misinformation, refuse to give us information such as an accounting of their expenditures and actions (like the Pentagon), then it is time to cut off the majority of the funds to such institutions until the problems are remedied. Since the NSA records everything it should have been no trouble to find the source of this intentionally misleading release of 'information'. Who planned, promoted and disseminated this propaganda? Who was held accountable? I wonder how we can acquire the report from the NSA on what happened to those responsible. Perhaps the citizens also need to take over the responsibility of designating enemy combatants and who is to be sent to Guantanamo. So how do we keep things like 'corporate person-hood' under control? The big issue is still the harmful concentration of power and influence. The appeal and value of a Direct Democracy is that when the citizens have access to education, accurate facts and data they can address lobbying and bribing efforts. When more eyes, ears and minds are addressing an issue the more likely the outcome will be balanced, effective and fruitful. A direct democracy would facilitate dialog among citizens, scientists, ministers, philosophers and economist, etc. on issues of concern. The citizens could then apply direct and indirect pressure on public servants and institutions that are conspicuously straying from the greater good and the expressed public directives. The move to a direct democracy will naturally spread in all directions no matter where it starts from. The natural goal of a direct democracy is to be inclusive and to judiciously disburse power and resources for the greater good and the individual good. A true democratic voice promotes respectful and stable communities and the health and well being of current and future generations. If you believe it is possible and valuable to promote/start a direct democracy web, media, data, town hall, voting site and believe such an effort would in-fact promote the transition to a more balanced, healthy and sustainable society/world then perhaps you can put these ideas in front of people who can get things moving. I sense that we are at a tipping point for such a transition... good for us. Respectfully, Ken A. Terry 412 West 10th Street Loveland, Colorado 80537 [email protected]

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  • Kenneth Terry
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-12-15 15:37:44 -0500