Monday, August 21, 2006

It's not incompetence, it's intention.

When all things are considered, all evidence examined and the history is written, I believe that we will reach this conclusion:

It's not incompetence, it's intention.

They're not apologizing for mistakes, they're celebrating their success.

Nobody reaches the top levels of this government if they are completely incapable of following a plan. Which means to me that Iraq, Katrina, Kyoto, 911, etc. were not the result of mistakes, they were the results of intentional policies.

George Bush and the Republican Party leadership didn't make the mistake of not planning for louting and the insurgency, they intentionally planned to create the social and political enviornment where these things happen. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership didn't make the mistake of being unaware of the Hurricane bearing down on New Orleans. They were fully aware, and had made plans to take advantage of the devastation. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership are not unaware of climate change and the results of carbon emissions, they are making plans to make sure that nothing slows global warming because they see it as a good thing. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership were not unaware that our enemies were making plans to strike inside the United States. They were fully aware, and fully capable of stopping it. They didn't even try. They didn't want to try.

It's up to the American People to decide what we want from our government. Do we want a Congress and Administration that intentionally plans to allow people to be hurt or killed, whether those people are within our country or in other countries. Or do we want a Congress and Administration that does everything it can to prevent such things?

The United States has enemies. Of course we do. Where's the debate in that? The question is why, and what we're doing to change that. There are two ways to stop someone from hurting you. You hurt them first and remove their capability, or you change their mind so that they no longer want to. There are two ways to change someone's mind. You can either make them unwilling to take the risk due to the potential costs to themselves and their families, or you can change things so that they don't want to hurt a friend. There will always be people who disagree with you. And there will always be people who will not listen to reason and will try to hurt us, and some will succeed in hurting us no matter what we do. Those people are criminals, and they need to be found, brought to trial, and potentially locked away from society. If they are killed while we try to bring them to justice, at least we tried. But to go after people with the intention of killing them is against our core values as a nation. Or at least it should be.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Participatory Politics

I'd been working haphazardly on Wikia, trying to figure out what to do with the system. Wikipedia has become an invaluable tool, and I put together a set of articles on the upcoming elections in Washington State that I'm rather proud of. But it wasn't big enough, and I couldn't put my finger on what was missing.

The concept is participatory politics.

Wiki systems had been around for a few years before Mr. Wales started Wikipedia as an add-on to a similar but more closed project that he had been working on in 2000-2001. According to his description, they got more content posted in the first 2 weeks that Wikipedia was online than they had in the previous two years of the project. So he scrapped the original project, moved everything into Wikipedia, and let it roll. With 1.3 Million articles just in the English version, there's no stopping it now. As far as I can tell, this is the most comprehensive summary of human knowledge ever created. And the participation is amazing. As of today, nearly 2 million people have registered for an account, and you don't technically need an account to make edits. Hit Recent Changes, and you'll see that most of the people are logged in, but IP addresses are there as well. Wikipedia is a global community project to collect information about our culture. That's participation.

So, how do we translate that into the realm of politics? Pete Ashdown, the Democratic candidate for US Senate against Orin Hatch launched his wiki site on September 1st, 2005, and I launched in to help as soon as I found it in December.

Then I saw the Open Letter to the Blogosphere by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and Wikia. July 4th, 2006. That's a date that will live in memory for a while. Again, I launched in, and there's no escaping now.

Campaigns Wikia is the beginning of something new. It's still small, but we're building a solid foundation. We want to pick up where Wikipedia leaves off when it comes to the discussion of issues and political candidates, and we want to focus our attention on finding a way to get people involved. Not just in campaigns, not just with candidates, but with the global community that exists already but isn't self-aware. It's that self-awareness that we're striving for.

Create an account, check out the Voter Guide and the Electoral Calendar. Do some research on something you see missing, and post it. dKosopedia is another place you can help. Issuepedia is along the same lines, but focused on Issues. More Perfect invites us to edit legislation, post ideas and even suggest changes to the US Constitution. MediaWiki, the software engine that drives these sites, is only one of many.

The blogosphere is up and running. What's next? The wikisphere.

Let's roll!