Support AJR 22, Get Corporate Money Out of Elections #CallingCA #CallingCongress

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Tell the California Legislature to Get Corporate Money Out of Elections

California Assembly Joint Resolution 22 (2012)

AJR 22, as introduced, Wieckowski. Campaign finance reform.
This measure would memorialize the Legislature’s disagreement with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and would call upon the United States Congress to propose and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and to restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people. campaign finance reform is an absolutely vital step in restoring the people’s power to our governments, at all levels.

Full text:

I just want to share that Senator Wolk’s support for Assembly Joint Resolution 22 is quite frankly one of the requirements for my vote in November. AJR 22 calls for Congress to propose a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.

Radical campaign finance reform is an absolutely vital step in restoring the people’s power to our governments…at all levels. Our elections were bought and paid for long before Citizens United, and more work must be done beyond just overturning it, but a Constitutional Amendment would send the right message and garner appropriate support for this issue. So please support AJR 22 and any attempts to clean up elections within California as well.

Occupy Sacramento Addresses City Council

Some Of The First Occupiers To Address A Governing Body

On October 11th, at 6pm, Occupy Sacramento officially made it’s presence known to the City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting. First rallying outside, occupation supporters flooded the meeting, and many gave testimony to share their perspectives on the record. But even after opening this dialogue with our elected officials, we continue to be arrested for staying in the park after the extended hours (11pm on weekdays, midnight on weekends).

While our occupation continued to grow, organize, and evolve over the next week, Occupy Sacramento continues to have the extra daily tasks of setting up and breaking down our entire infrastructure, and taking turns spending nights in the jail three blocks away from Cesar Chavez Park. Activist hero Cindy Sheehan, of nearby Vacaville, has also joined Occupy Sacramento and was arrested alongside fellow occupiers last Saturday night (Oct 15-16, night 10).

Occupier Testimonies:

You can watch entire city council meetings, as published by the city, via their web site:

October 18th, 6pm: With around 250 Occupy Sacramento participants present for the meeting, 40 citizen speakers shared their perspective with the Sacramento City Council. Here are just a few minutes worth of highlights:
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And in the spirit of our new experiments in direct democracy, here are highlights from every single occupier who gave testimony on the 18th:
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Responses By Elected Officials:

Here is the uncut, unsatisfactory response given by our elected representatives. These representatives may face tough re-elections should they continue on the wrong side of history, and continue to arrest us during our nonviolent assemblies in OUR public park.
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Oct 18th Arrests After Second City Council Meeting
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On October 18th, Occupy Sacramento spent it’s second Tuesday night in another very disappointing Sacramento City Council meeting. During this meeting dozens of occupiers thoughtfully presented our shared positions, but this seemed to fall on largely deaf ears. Mayor Kevin Johnson did offer to expand our level of discussion, and possibly work with us on a resolution he could take to Washington DC in November.

Representatives Steve Cohn and Angelique Ashby came closest to supporting us, maybe leaning towards a compromise allowing us to keep only our primary infrastructure tents and key volunteers overnight. While this pledge for enhanced collaboration could be positive, no one on the council defended our right to fully occupy Cesar Chavez Park and camp there 24/7. Citizens who remain at the park past its hours will continue to be arrested for being at a place of riot.

This limit and persecution on our right to assembly during this time of potential revolution is completely unacceptable…so we the people will continue to be peacefully arrested in OUR park.

In our current corporatocracy, you too, are likely part of the 99%. Please join us in this experiment in 21st century democracy!

Corbett Report Interview 393 – Morgan Lesko

My alternative media hero, James Corbett, interviews me!..

Corbett Report: “Morgan Lesko of WikiWorldOrder joins us to discuss his attendance at Occupy Sacramento and the significance of the greater Occupy movement.”

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Occupy Sacramento, Days 2-5: Participating In The First Weekend And My Arrest
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On October 3rd, when I first heard about the plans to Occupy Sacramento, I had also been thinking about going from Davis to San Francisco to participate in the Occupy The FED to focus on ending (or nationalizing) the privately-owned Federal Reserve. I knew I wanted to participate heavily in one of these two local occupations, and decided to go with Sacramento so I could spend more time there and simultaneously focus on local and other issues.

The first day, Thursday, October 6th, I mostly just participated in marches, enjoyed the self-chosen speakers, had some individual discussions, and did my best to record the event as a citizen journalist. But this weekend, I took less video footage and got more involved.

I didn’t get to Cesar Chavez Park until around 7pm after I finishing my day’s work, but it sounds like it was another great day, with a bit less attendence than Thursday. Our standard formula continued, with regular general assemblies to decide the nature of our occupation, open forums where anyone can share their views over a bullhorn, workshops, and periodic mid-town marches.

Friday night, when the park closed at midnight, many people began to occupy the public park after hours but most left after the first warning to disperse. This left one brave soul, Patrick Riordan, to hold down the occupation for the night. He was arrested alone that night, and although he is fine, he faced a rougher night in jail than any of the rest of us have had. Thank you so much Patrick, we love you!

On Saturday morning, I asked one of our amazing Resource coordinators, Laura, how I could help. And so I began the creation of an official information booth for Occupy Sacramento, so the Media team could focus their energy on all their publication and online presence. This was a great deal of fun and aside from the general information and daily schedules we post there to inform attendees, we had a tarp — and now a real table — for informative materials free for the taking.

About half of the table is dedicated to more “official” materials generated by the group like the Occupy Sacramento Newsletter, flyers, and the first official statement from Occupy Wall Street. The other half of the table is reserved for ANYONE to leave ANY materials they wish to share. I like to call it, “Need some info? Take some info. Have some info? Leave some info.” And¬†given our big tent of 99%, you can find anything from Tea Party magazines, to socialist flyers.

Throughout the day, Occupy Sacramento continued to hold general assemblies, open forums, workshops, art and music sessions, and marches. At midnight, around 30 of us sat down just inside one corner of Cesar Chavez park to remain after it closed. We performed this civil disobedience in defense of our rights to freely assemble in this public park and freely speek with one another. After some private discussion and planning by the handful of Sacramento police officers already on the scene, a couple dozen police vehicles all rolled in together. Soon after arriving, the lead officer on the scene ordered us to disperse, and the occupiers who did not want to risk arrest crossed the invisible line of the park’s borders to join the rest of our observers on the sidewalk.

This left 14 citizens sitting with signs and most of our hands clearly visible, continuing to chant things including “Police are the 99%.” After one or two more warnings by the police for us to disperse, a few dozen police officers surrounded the sit-in. They wore helmets and held clubs and at least one pepper spray paintball gun which I remember seeing. But my 13 brothers and sisters and I all successfully remained completely non-violent and our respect to the police was once again reciprocated. None of us were harmed during our arrests and the hardest part tended to just be the discomfort, fatigue, and bordem of sitting in jail all night.
{* Videos of LIVE video stream during Saturday night’s arrests: ¬†*}

Arrest document with charges, and police Polaroid taken during initial processing

Although some of us were released from jail earlier, I was released around noon the next day after almost 12 hours in police custody, but safe and sound. I was charged with two misdemeanors:

  • PC 409 – Remaining at place of riot post order to [disperse]
  • SCC 12.72.090 – Loitering in parks during certain hours

The media team and citizen journalists who are actively participating in this citizen occupation have been doing an amazing job of getting the words, images, and videos out to all of our brothers and sisters across the world online. As far as local mainstream media goes, Natalie Sentz of Sacramento’s local ABC, channel 10, has been doing a relatively great job of reporting on Occupy Sacramento:

And Derek Shore of CBS Sacramento, channel 13, has also been doing a better job than most (including an interview of me):

On Sunday and Monday nights, all occupiers staying past the park’s curfew voluntarily removed themselves from the park upon the first order to disperse by the police, then marched around the perimeter of the park for a while. My understanding of this action is that after making our point very clearly the past three nights, we wanted to help save city resources while still making our continued presence known. With each day that passes, our general assemblies and open discussions are making Occupy Sacramento more organized, connected, and ever closer to concrete lists of grievances and demands.

As the Occupy Together movement continues to extend and expand the principles and actions of Occupy Wall Street, we grow ever closer to reclaiming our world. Just in case these really are the beginning seeds of a true American revolution, the rest of the 99% needs to join us and help direct it in the ways we can all agree upon. Let us communicate and collaboratively organize in discussions where our elected representatives fail. This is as much about education as anything else, as we continue to learn and teach one another through open forums and unlimited face-to-face human interaction.

This is the most exciting time to be alive in centuries, so please stay off the couch and join us. Let’s keep it peaceful, positive, equal, and open-minded to create something remarkable during this once in a lifetime opportunity.¬†I love you all!¬†We are the 99%!


Raw footage from arrest nights largely taken by Occupy Sacramento Media team Ustream account “dummey”

Occupy Sacramento Day 1 Videos: Marches, Signs, Voices, and even Arrests by Polite Police

Yesterday I participated and documented the first day of Occupy Sacramento and had a blast. Last night I compiled two videos from the first day…

Occupy Sacramento Day 1 Video Mixtape: Marches, Signs and Voices
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Day 1 of Occupy Sacramento, starting around 10am on October 6th, 2011. Compilation of video taken throughout the first day of the Sacramento iteration of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Sacramento Night 1 UStream Clips: Demonstrations & Arrests by Polite Police
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Night 1 of Occupy Sacramento, just after midnight in the first hour of October 7th. Compilation of remarkably LIVE UStream Clips captured from home while editing footage from the first day of Occupy Sacramento.

I had to get some work done today, and couldn’t be in jail last night. But I will be camping there this weekend and will likely spend a night or two in jail, it’s a relatively excellent group of people out there. We have been treating the police with respect and 20 of my new friends, who were arrested last night (now already out), were treated with respect in return.

I’m not very worried, but wish me luck, and let me know if there are any messages you want me to share or highlight. Much love!

Occupy Everything.

Episode 7 – Clean Elections Fight Corporate Erections

single entendre: Clean Elections Fight Corporate Selections

Campaign Finance Reform For The Sake Of ALL Causes
Research Bibliography While Watching Video:

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Full Transcript/Essay

Welcome friends, to the Wiki World Order Report: peacefully replacing the corporate-industrial complex. This is episode seven, Clean Elections Fight Corporate Erections. Listener supported video and audio downloads, as well as transcripts with detailed documentation and Research-Along Theaters can be found for FREE online at And please check out for more frequent links to potent news, documents, and alternative media in between episodes. I’m your host, Morgan Lesko.

A lot of people feel their like votes are not worth anything anymore, and opt out of participating in that part of democracy. We can use non-participation in trinket capitalism could help defund the corporate-industrial complex, or really send a message via mass strikes. And I do think we need to out-grow our kleptocracy to replace it with a new decentralized system.

But I also strongly believe that while we plan for our future, we must simultaneously steer the present. I think we must maximize our participation in the community and political process in hopes of reclaiming it. It is the only way to change how our government spends its big money funding the status quo, while supposedly working on our behalf. If and when we out-grow our current government, whatever system we replace it with will hopefully embody the principles we establish and fight for right now within the current governing paradigm.

Reclaiming democratic freedom is far from included in your taxes…it takes real effort and real people power. It means…

  • Informing yourself on important issues from many perspectives
  • Voting in every election you can, and unelecting legislators who don’t represent you
  • Frequently lobbying your elected representatives
  • And even organizing groups in your community

No matter what system of human relationships rules your land, is it not your duty to help ensure it hears each of our voices?

There is a concept largely associated with the military-industrial complex known as the iron triangle. It describes the trading of economic and human resources between interest groups and the government to perpetuate and continually expand the industry. This technique is not just used by the military, but is replicated by many different industries. I argue that one of the primary starting points for these endless cycles is the electoral support in the form of campaign contributions. So if we target this part of the formula, perhaps we will finally be able to make progress in pushing some of these industries back.

I’ve learned from 20 years of experience as an activist that the U.S. House and Senate, and therefore our country, move extremely slow on most issues. The biggest corporate interests sponsor candidates on both sides of the aisle, with some industries supporting red a bit more than blue, but both sides of the duopoly are generally corrupt and co-opted. There are a few brilliant exceptions of course, but they are vastly outnumbered.

Many citizens have fought for DECADES trying to fix issues which are NO-BRAINERS when faced with the facts, so we don’t even get to the point of discussing the underlying problems of the crony capitalism running our system. I want to emphasize that we might have a chance at accomplishing the obvious steps, and then the even more difficult steps, by first cutting our legislative bodies free from their addiction to corporate purse strings. In addition to greatly helping all activist efforts, this could also to improve Congressional oversight over the top secret parts of our government…thereby improving OUR oversight over those private parts.

The US Senate and the House of Representatives are designed to most directly represent we the people. But members of Congress spend a great deal of their time trying to raise money for future or current campaigns, which could be spent legislating. These bodies have been perversely corrupted by trends like the over 12,000 registered lobbyists who spent over $3.5 Billion in 2010. We see bills defeated and passed by politicians who are loyal to their purse strings over their values and sense of equality and justice…usually more concerned about doing what is right for their careers instead of their constituents.

In late 2009, a Public Citizen report explained how

Between November 2008…and Sept. 30, 2009, the financial industry…has given $48.3 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress and their leadership political action committees…
…The 94 members of the two finance committees have received $16.9 million overall. The top 10 committee recipients include the Democratic chairmen: Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.); and the ranking Republicans on the committees: Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.).

Also, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (, Wall Street made up five of the top twenty contributors to Barack Obama‘s 2008 presidential campaign, and three of the top ten.

(* animation with added corporate logos of just a few familiar Wall Street donors to the signing ceremony for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Stats for other politicians in attendance can be found below *)

Now here we are in 2011 and we have still not seen real fundamental reforms of the financial sector to fix the root causes of the financial crisis…which was predicted by many. And after breaking the economy toward the end of the Bush administration, nobody from Wall Street has gone to jail. Instead, Wall Street has now just broken it’s all-time compensation record paying its employees a total of $135 billion in 2010, as unemployment stats remain consistently high despite being manipulated.

These systemic problems also dramatically worsened on January 21st, 2010 with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission. The 5-4 decision held that “corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment.” This has opened the floodgates even more for corporate millions to affect the outcomes of elections. The Sunlight Foundation calculated that this case already enabled an extra $186 million to be spent in the 2010 election, or 40 percent of the total spent by outside groups.

In Justice Stevens’ dissent he wrote: “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.Some propose a constitutional amendment to counteract this decision, which may in fact be worth all the effort it will require. Even if such an effort were unsuccessful, it may help rally the grassroots support needed to pressure for national reform through other legislative routes. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, “80 percent of Americans likewise oppose the ruling, including 65 percent who ‘strongly’ oppose it, an unusually high intensity of sentiment.”

Even without the Citizens United case, the standard behavior inside the beltway disgusts me. Like corporations, too many politicians follow their bottom-lines, which generally translate to the needs of their biggest corporate sponsors. It is one thing to make compromises while bills are being crafted and written, but the way politicians trade votes on various unrelated legislation seems backwards to me.

Why wouldn’t our representatives vote on a bill-by-bill basis, based on whether a bill is wise and just?
Why would we want our representatives to vote for bills any differently than their actual positions on the given issue?

The political capital that trumps all in my book, is voting and leading from the heart, backed by the facts. That is perhaps the best we can ask of any politician.

What Do Clean Elections Look Like?

One of the secrets in all aspects of life is to envision the swish, before making the shot. There are many different types of reforms promoted, so I’ll do my best to provide a quick road map of the more popular paths towards various levels of reform.

While I focus here on the national level, most of these issues are applicable at each state’s level. Even though most state legislative bodies are also filled with corporate money, fighting for campaign finance reform in individual states is also required to make the whole country more representative of its citizens.

Improvement Set #1: Adding Sunlight (Transparency)

Improvement Set #2: Shifting Voice Volumes

Reform Model #1: Matching Funds

Reform Model #2: Voting with Dollars

Reform Model #3: Clean Elections/Clean Money

While I am not personally positive what model will work the best if implemented, I do think we desperately need some serious, systemic reform of campaign financing and I do like the Clean Elections/Clean Money model. If enacted, voters could also essentially boycott candidates who do not use public financing.

Since this is such an important issue, there are many groups working on it which you can check out. A few include:

  1. Sunlight Foundation –
  2. Common Cause –
  3. Public Campaign –
  4. Public Citizen with their Clean Up Washington campaign –
  5. Democracy 21 –

So please sign up for national and local groups which focus on this issue to stay informed and take action when needed.

Billionaires and mega-corporations larger than most countries often donate a fraction of their profits to charities to improve their image for public relations. But very rarely does that generosity counter-balance the vast damage and inequity caused by their profit-maximizing over the years, decades, or centuries. Similarly, I feel we’ve reached a point where the vast majority of signed legislation benefits the Corporate-Industrial Complex, and the average citizen only gets a tiny charitable kick-back in benefits…for political public relations.

Strengthening the citizen representation in Congress and state legislatures with fundamental campaign finance reform could be the most vital step in bringing back our beautiful republic to replace our current plutocracy. So please use your voice to its maximum potential, in whatever way you are most creative, and consider making clean elections one of the big issues in the 2012 elections.

Thank YOU for listening, and participating in the Wiki World Order!

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Signing Ceremony

Appendix A: Signing Ceremony Participants’ Campaign Contributors

Further documentation on other politicians in attendance (in video) for corporate sponsor animation. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics,

Big Finance Donations to Obama and Legislators

Top three for each politician listed here:

  • Robin Fox, lady in white, is the communications chair for the Floyd County (Georgia) Democratic Party and a seventh grade science teacher
  • Next to her was Andrew Giordano, a victim hurt by a couple of the policies being fixed by this bill
  • Then Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) got totals of $67,475 from Bank of America (including their purchase of MBNA Corp), and $29,650 from Barclays, and $16,125 from AIG, with a grand total of $159,575 from all highlighted contributors, from 2003-2008
  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) got totals of $45,500 from JP Morgan Chase, $35,800 from Credit Suisse, and $19,000 from H&R Block, with a grand total of $115,900 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010
  • Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) only got totals of $38,000 from CME Group, $24,000 from the American Bankers Association, and $20,330 from Wells Fargo, with a grand total of $96,330 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Timothy Geithner was PRE$IDENT of the FEDERAL RESERVE Bank of New York from 2003-2008
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) got totals of $37,350 from JP Morgan Chase, $34,900 from Goldman Sachs, $29,399 from Bank of America, with a grand total of $326,699 from all highlighted contributors , from 2005-2010
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) got totals of $50,000 from CME Group, $30,000 from UBS, and $30,000 from Wells Fargo, with a grand total of $246,100 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) got totals of $47,600 from NYSE Group, $35,050 from Bank of New York Mellon, and $34,250 from CME Group, with a grand total of $474,000 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) got totals of $66,850 from JP Morgan Chase, $50,300 from Goldman Sachs, $45,600 from Fidelity Investments, with a grand total of $221,250 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010
  • Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) got totals of $33,250 from Bank of America, $26,500 from the American Bankers Association, and $20,500 from American Express, with a grand total of $214,972 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) only got totals of $8,500 from Fannie Mae, $3,000 from the American Bankers Association, and $3,000 from Morgan Stanley, with a grand total of only $19,900 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) got totals of $111,100 from Citigroup, $93,100 from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and $87,700 from AIG, with a grand total of $885,400! from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) got totals of $44,950 from Bank of America, $44,650 from Citigroup, $35,400 from American Express, with a grand total of $392,850 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) got totals of $105,050 from Fidelity Investments, $49,000 from CME Group, and $47,000 from Bank of America, with a grand total of $581,800! from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) got totals of $25,119 from QC Holdings, $25,000 from the American Bankers Association, and $24,000 from Bank of America, with a grand total of $297,819 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) only got totals of $26,000 from CME Group, $15,700 from QC Holdings, and $14,500 from Citigroup, with a grand total of $82,200 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) got totals of $65,800 from JP Morgan Chase, $31,000 from UBS, and $30,000 from the American Bankers Association, with a grand total of $279,150 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010 (05-06, 07-08, 09-10)
  • Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) got totals of $67,095 from JP Morgan Chase, $31,500 from H&R Block, and $27,000 from Capital One, with a grand total of $341,295 from all highlighted contributors, from 2005-2010

Appendix B: Issues I Care About Which Might Benefit From Clean Elections

I think if we had serious campaign finance reform, we’d have a much better shot at progress in issues I care about like…

  • Ending ALL of the illegitimate wars around the world, for the sake of all the victims of these wars, and deconstructing the majority of the military-industrial complex
  • Ending the Patriot Act, rendition, torture, and similar Constitution shredding policies
  • Ending the Federal Reserve System, fractional reserve banking, derivatives and other legal financial Ponzi schemes
  • Ending the War On Drugs which among other things, imprisons far too many citizens and keeps minorities disproportionally disenfranchised and oppressed, a modern incarnation of the old Jim Crow laws
  • Curbing large-scale pollution and using alternative energies and overunity energies to end our dependence on oil and coal…using solutions that DO NOT try to solve the problem by creating new legal Ponzi schemes to keep the profit-maximizers happy
  • Creating a true public option to provide all citizens with universal health care, and supporting not-for-profit private health care options (see episode 4 on social businesses)
  • Protecting farmers from the Monsanto food paradigm
  • Basic animal rights to prohibit various forms of large-scale and legal torture
  • Attaining full and equal legal rights for all citizens of all sexual orientations and identities

Appendix C: Episode Music – Clean Elections Fight Corporate Erections

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July 30, 2011 mix of Get A Move On, Mr. Scruff’s Fila Brazilia Mix, some bassy beats lifted from Deadmau5, with quotes by Dennis Kucinich, Bill Moyers, David House, and Anthony Weiner.

Thank You

To Trish for animating the Iron Triangle!

Even Further Beyond Left and Right

A Thought Experiment Ending with Transparency and Social Businesses

We can see Americans increasingly rebelling against both the establishment left and the right. Even the mainstream media has had to cover this aspect of the transitions which both political parties are going through during this decade of endless predictable crises.

Acknowledgment of the corruption found on both sides of the political aisle is one of the core concepts which amazing outlets like We Are Change, Infowars and the Corbett Report attempt to spread. I have always found the current two-party system completely inadequate for aggregating the will of the people, and have long adored the idea of either more parties or no parties. So I am very excited to see this reach an ever more conscious level of the national dialogue, but I want to tease the ball a few steps further to help expand the range of potential solutions we consider for upcoming debates.

Below is a more relaxed, long-brewing brainstorm on a couple of paradigms I think might also contribute to paralyzing, if not controlling or co-opting, our best courses of action. These could hypothetically be highlighted to help divide and conquer the masses.

In some cases, the polarizing effect of having primarily two extreme camps to choose from on sub-issues may be hurting more than helping. We also sometimes see the negative effects of such polarization skyrocket when single ideologies are be forced on all scenarios, instead of a more flexible case by case basis. Fortunately the movement has loud voices warning people not to follow any one ideology.

So this is a humble request for the movement to keep pushing past the confines separating us to keep finding increasingly targeted solutions to counter-offer those provided from the top-down system. The better we can hone our arguments and improve our messaging to newcomers to alternative analysis and deep politics.

More VS Less Government? Quality NOT Quantity.

This is a simpler example, and relates to many of my good patriot friends who stand firmly with slogans for “Less Government.” To my eyes or ears, such statements feel a bit counterproductive to our shared goals for a few reasons, but maybe it only irks me.

“Less Government” is vague enough to be co-opted by almost any harmful solution provided. It is also not a rule/ideology you can always follow, unless you’re an anarchist…but then your sign should probably read, “No Government.” This formula should not be endlessly applied, and our libertarian friends sometimes take this mantra too far too blindly.

But more importantly, it implies that the size of government has a causal relationship with its level of corruption or negative impact. In my book, this feels quite unfair.

Larger organizations of any type may have more room for bad apples to hide and prosper. But our society’s policies, manufactured culture and promoted incentives have a far greater influence the positive or negative nature of the impact of organizations (governmental or not).

In a similarly apathetic political climate, a given corporation might have even less trouble buying out a smaller government than our current monstrosity. At the same time, there is a real threat of “Big Government” when corporations can entrench departments and pro-actively using government to directly enact corporate agenda, find ways to increase their budgets to keep expanding their government cloaked work, as we saw more publicly during George W Bush’s military-industrial reign. In the same administration we saw other corporate owned departments strip themselves down as much as possible, completely disassembling any form of meaningful regulation over themselves.

Our current [predictable] economic bubble burst could have been avoided/postponed if trillions of dollars in profit incentives not been allowed to manifest in the first place as derivatives, sub-prime mortgages and other legal Ponzi schemes. That scale of money is not just a motive with a universal adapter on it, but also notably contributes to increasing the vast wealth disparity.

Along these lines, and somewhat ironically, many of those using the “Less Government” slogan might also likely be in favor improving/returning real banking regulations to once against prevent these abuses which the world people and economies are suffering. I assume that a ban on toxic financial products (or any other way to regulate them) would generally be interpreted as “More Government” on this scale.

But if the incentives of our culture were shifted enough, and procedures were made ~100% transparent to the public, we might be able to find some government G spot where the government reflects the public’s interest. This might be theoretical, but it should be nearly attainable, not even requiring a revolution but incremental changes in the correct direction for a change. And seems to be what we should be striving for…ever more pure realization of those ideals inspiring us as youth learning about our republic/democracy (sorry, still insufficient understanding of that paradigms).

The causality implied in this association between more government and bad government also does not seem theoretically sound. With a truly responsible government, an increase in its size could simultaneously increase citizen freedoms. In conclusion, I argue we need to focus on uprooting the incentives for corruption in government, perhaps via campaign finance reform and revolving door protections, instead of just saying we want to change the size. A wise woman once told me it is not really the size of your government that matters, it’s all about how you use it.

The Capitalism VS Socialism Paradigm

This is a case with much graver polarization, and it might be totally unnecessary. One of my dad’s core mantras is all about looking for the right questions to ask. Despite Chomsky’s blind spots or self-censoring on select topics, he is of course brilliant, inspiring and an early influence of mine. So I really like his approach on this here (click here for video).

Suppose you’re in the 18th century. Should you be asking, ‘Which is the best kind of feudalism?’ I mean that’s all it was. So which is the best kind of feudalism, and slavery, and monarchy and so on and so forth. It just wasn’t the right question. I mean the right question is, ‘Is there something better?’ Like say, parliamentary democracy. Even though there were no examples of it. There were seeds of it, but no functioning examples. I mean seeds of had it been developed and usually crushed, as in England, but these were legitimate struggles. And you know, they succeeded. I mean by now you have parliamentary democracies, which aren’t fantastic but are better than feudalism.” – The World: The Noam Chomsky Sessions

Suppose you’re in the 21st century, what is the best kind of capitalism? The best socialism? Is capitalism better than socialism? What blend of the two would be best? Why are we limited to these questions?

Capitalism or socialism often represent the two main options offered to us in response to most problems, but we don’t even consider trying to come up with any new forms of national economic or governmental organization. Case by case, those rooting for capitalism might tend to dismiss socialist solutions, and vice versa, mostly to stay loyal to their dominant ideology. But as humans we sometimes get trapped into acting like these ideologies are the mythical unified theory of everything in physics, applying it to every aspect of society.

An occasionally mentioned aspect to the discussion is how many ‘socialized’/nationalized services and industries, most people have long approved of like THE MILITARY, Highway System, Federal Waterways, FBI, Bureau of Prisons, Census Bureau, National Park Service, Social Security and all the other free services provided by the executive and legislative branches. So it seems we could have been considered a part-capitalist, part-socialist country for decades. Even better are the number of recent cases we see where the profits privatized while the risks a nationalized, like the painful bank bailouts and Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The point of terms like ‘crony capitalism,’ is to point out just how far we are from the pure idealized form touted by talking heads. In fact, it seems the bigger mutant capitalist corporations have become so efficient at their business that they went ahead and took over our government, saving us the trouble of regulating them. But if we reign the beast in soon, we may yet have a chance to replace weapons research budgets by incentivizing less harmful technologies across the board.

Unfortunately these ‘ism’s may be false options on yet another level, given another alternate analysis arguing that our country has been best defined as fascist for decades now. This is rooted in the comprehensive corporate influence on most important functions of government, controlling both candidates in a single-party state. A plutocracy (or corpocracy, corporatocracy) has emerged very clearly, along side some of the largest and most offensive wealth inequities in modern history.

It is also bizarre that there is such passion for either of these economic systems, as we have seen examples of both producing failed states when inappropriately implemented…bringing us back my focus on quality over quantity. Our capitalist experiment has been going for just a few hundred years, and this current incarnation of crazed crony-capitalism has clearly dominated at least the past century. It seems clear the technological advances provided by our capitalism incentivized by wealth has potential for enormous net benefits for our species in the long run…but the judge is still out, between our food mono-cultures, biodiversity, GMOs, nuclear and biological weapons.

Another large unmentioned issue when debating socialist versus capitalist solutions is the source of the taxes. An interesting thought experiment is to first ask some one if they would favor socializing some service, perhaps health care. Then ask them if they would still be opposed to it if typical citizens once again did not pay any income tax, while the Fortune 500 moves out of the Cayman Islands to start correcting the record wealth disparities. The nature of who or where the finances come from to run all nationalized services should be a critically important factor in what people think is worth paying for.

The final problem I have with these false options is that they don’t seem to be completely mutually exclusive. As Chomsky says later in the video above, there is no reason businesses cannot be managed democratically controlled by their workers and community, and compete with other businesses managed the same way and others. But there are other ways to improve the capitalism formula without giving up the typical management hierarchy of today.

Capitalism doesn’t say businesses must compete by maximizing-profits, which is very selfish and short-sighted, that’s just how we’ve been playing. If more large-scale businesses stop going public to make them legally bound to maximize profits for shareholders, they will be free to be the best business they can be across all dimensions which humans care about.

If customers and investors take more initiative to carefully vote daily with their dollars for social-benefit-maximizing businesses, which show enough conscience to mitigate their externalities while provide the world beneficial products and services. Dollar votes are currently the most powerful form of voting we have, far better than the false choice A or B every 4 years. More resources for the information required to educate these daily decisions are likely to emerge, like The Better World Handbook. But this social-benefit-maximizing business model is a marvelous idea champions by Muhammad Yunus, the Social Business. I strongly recommend you explore this concept and this man more, here is an except to wet your appetite:

Muhammad Yunus – The Social Business Model

This general concept of a social business is also finally catch hold in America. This is possibly a side-effect of the long-awaited liberal pendulum swing, and the tough economic times of our decade. Yunus was just last year awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

His microcredit banks have brought millions out of poverty in Bangladesh over the past four decades  — side-note: this should theoretically be a plus for eugenicists because population naturally stabilizes as a country develops, and this may be the most natural, positive and creative method being successfully tried. A few test-runs of similar microcredit banks are finally being started up in America.

According to the web site of B Corporation, a leading certification firm to certify businesses adhering to enough of these kinds of social business principles, over 300 companies have become certified with a branded B Corporation status since 2006, including Seventh Generation. The 300 represent $1.1 billion in revenues, 54 industries, and $750k in annual savings.

There is a parallel movement around the country to grant legal tax status to B Corporations which one assumes will offer various benefits back to these businesses. My home state of Maryland signed the nation’s first Benefit Corporation legislation on April 13th and Vermont passed it on May 19th, 2010. Whether or not their state is ready for it yet, businesses can start taking a confidential survey NOW to learn what areas they need improvement on, to work towards a longer-term goal of becoming fully certified.

Full disclosure: my very cool 9-5 work, Rescue Social Change Group, based in San Diego, is already looking into this process and looks forward to becoming certified without having to alter our existing small social business model infused from the beginning. What can I say other than, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Conclusions: Transparency and Social Businesses

Alone, neither left nor right, neither more nor less government, neither capitalism nor socialism can save us. So let us please not choose our preferred solutions solely because they fit into one ideology or another. Rationally look at the situation and find the longest-term good we can muster no matter what ‘ism’ it implies.

In place of protesting for less (or more) government, I would protest for transparent government. Any sized government can work for its people if they have information and access. What jerks in Congress can forever avoid voting for bills if they are specifically honed only on increasing transparency? As a general note, shorter bills in Congress may generally help both these issues and finding more worth-while common ground. Campaign finance reform is quite possibly the other most serious roadblock to real control over our own government.

‘Do you lean towards Capitalism or Socialism?’ – Maybe I’m into Social Businism!

Either ideology, taken to the extreme, becomes quite a scary beast, so please don’t use them as the primary basis for every decision. It’s just like being tempted to just vote down your party-line…what does that party stand for, exactly…and as related to a specific modern-day issue?

In this next economy transition, we could try to replace a portion of the 100% worthless trinket capitalism products and services with social businesses to compete on a few fronts with the corporate-industrial complex, targeting first the industries vital to human life an well-being. With the proper public education, product labeling and accessibility, we can gradually shift to only pay for products made with our long-term interest in mind, instead of someone else’s short-term bottom-line.

And it should turn out that plenty of industries and niche markets do not need to ditch their profit-maximizing models. Hopefully many key industries will end up dominated by social businesses and see a rebirth to provide options healthier for us, our neighbors and our planet. There will also always be room for profit-maximizing businesses to coexist even after this, but that decision would be in the hands of those markets.

So if enough people like this, it is one possible direction we could try to steer towards while we’re fighting the smaller battles: the widespread conversions and start-ups of real Social Businesses, followed up by communities supporting them simply with our patronage.

Why wait for Washington when we can make these moves ourselves?