Friday, February 29, 2008
In response to a post on BarackObama.com
Wikipolitics is not new, actually. We have been out here waiting and building for years. Not me, specifically, since I've only been around since 2003, but the concepts have been there. And the infrastructure has been in development.
Let me recommend a few more books to read.
"The Revolution will not be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the overthrow of Everything" - by Joe Trippi.
"The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations" - by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom
"The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to create a world that works for all" - by Tom Atlee
"50 Ways to Love your Country" - by MoveOn.org
In July of 2006, I got an email from Jimmy Wales. Or maybe it was a blog post. I can't remember. Here is what it said:
I jumped in as the lead volunteer admin of Campaigns.Wikia, and have been pushing Wikipolitics ever since. I'm an admin on dKosopedia, and I keep finding more and more sites out there waiting to be discovered, used and built.
But it's not just about wiki software or Web 2.0. The town meeting where people have a chance to listen to the experts on an issue and voice their own opinions is the same core concept. Party and campaign meetings where people share their experiences and work together towards common goals, it's the same thing. Read Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and you can see the same thing.
I break it down in very simple terms. People are reaching for two possible goals. Either you want peace, or you want power. The path to peace is cooperation. The path to power is control. The Barack Obama campaign represents for me the ultimate collaborative effort to take back our country through the means of cooperation in the pursuit of peace. John McCain represents for me the candidate of control, supported by a political party that wants control of the country's politics in the pursuit of power. Power over what we see, what we hear, what we buy, how we live. They don't want to cooperate with others, they want to control others. We won't let them. Not anymore.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
On Sunday, February 24th, Ralph Nader jumped into the race for President. I've heard a lot of radio hosts claim or at least imply that he might be a spoiler in the 2008 election. So I did some research.
The table on this Wikia page lists the counties in the 2004 election where the difference between the Democratic Vote and Republican Vote was less than the number of votes for other candidates. I might need to break out how many of those votes were actually for Mr. Nader, since it is a sum of all "other" candidates on the ballot, but let's go with what I have for now.
Please take a look, and let's break down these numbers. There are 63 counties on this list. 33 of these were won by John Kerry, and 30 were won by George Bush. The total number of counties that I have information about is 3113. So, 30/3113 is .009637. Less than 1% of counties were affected by the "spoiler effect" in 2004. The total number of votes that "helped" John Kerry is 21,722. The number of votes that "helped" George Bush is 17,444. So John Kerry was helped more by the "spoiler effect" overall than Bush was.
Still think Nader's candidacy is going to be a problem? I don't.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Iraq's unemployment rate is something like 70%. It's even worse in Afghanistan. It was much worse after we threw a billion dollars to them in the 1980's to defeat the Soviet invasion, then left them to starve in the 1990's. Do you know who trained Osama bin Laden and the Taliban fighters? We did. Then we left them without roads, without schools, without water and without a future. So they're trying to take away our future. What's the best way to change that? To my mind it is to make sure that the young children growing up in those societies have something better to do than march in the street because their schools are shut down. It's to give them roads so they can work on farms and get products to the market. It's to give their families water, electrical power, and the other necessities of a hopeful life. If kids are in school and looking forward to their future, they don't shoot other kids in the parking lot of Northgate Mall, like what happened on Friday night. They don't get recruited as suicide bombers. And they don't hate. The best way to eliminate an enemy is not to let people grow up hating us. We have 2 or 3 generations of people in the middle east and around the world who have grown up hating the Western powers because WE HAVE IGNORED THEM and thrown them to the religious leaders who want nothing but power for themselves. What was the best way for the European church leaders to prevent the uprising that was coming? Send the fighters to Israel so they don't storm the church looking for the money and food that had been stolen from the people to feed the Kings and Cardinals.
I wasn't talking about Muslims growing up. I was talking about US growing out of our quest for power and wealth. Wealth we are proving by our actions that we DO NOT DESERVE.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Here is the letter that I wrote:
I started this cycle as an Edwards supporter, focused on his platform priorities of poverty and giving the power back to the people. It's the same message from Howard Dean that got me involved in the party in 2003 and 2004. I was extremely disappointed that his campaign did not survive the contest, but to be honest I knew last summer that he wouldn't make it. He was focused on Iowa and New Hampshire, to the exclusion of the other states. Washington's campaign didn't even get started until November. I knew he was done, but I stayed focused on his message, built the Washington for Edwards website and worked to effectively use the vote file within his campaign.
I am now a delegate for Obama from the Precinct level to the LD level. I'll probably run for CD level delegate so I can help decide who goes to the National Convention. I am completely thrilled with the amount of grassroots support that Obama is getting from people and groups that have never before been engaged in the political process. I hear from many of them that they will only stay engaged if Obama wins. And I believe them.
Either of our candidates is capable of being a great President. But looking at the situation from the perspective of a party organizer, I honestly believe that the future of the Democratic Party depends on choosing the candidate who will bring new people into the process, not the one who will drive people away. I think Hillary is a great Senator, and I honor her years of work. But I believe that only Barack Obama has the ability to bring our country together in November and win the White House. Not for the Democratic Party alone, but for the people of this country.
Please support Barack Obama with your superdelegate votes at the National Convention.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I read with horror the letters to the editor published by the Seattle Times on February 13th. Letter after letter claiming purposeful disenfranchisement of people by the political parties, that the superdelegates have already cast their vote, that the parties are acting in an antithetical way to the American ideals, that the caucus system is designed to help insiders keep a strangle-hold on the primary system, and that there is still confusion about why the primary was held.
The first letter claims that both parties designed the system to limit participation. That is false. The selection of a Saturday afternoon was to maximize the ability of people to participate in the caucus. Caucuses have been held in this state since 1892, our first opportunity to participate fully in the selection of a US President after Washington State was officially incorporated in 1889. Washington's first electoral votes were cast for Benjamin Harrison (R). I find it amazing that people seem to purposefully ignore history in discussions. Washington has been a caucus state since the very beginning, but only now, after 8 years of President Bush, do people realize that there is a political world that needs our attention. Why do we need to fall so far before picking ourselves up?
I know that I can't begin to correct all of the misconceptions and misinformation in a single letter, but I do want to address, in the strongest possible terms that can still be published in a newspaper, the false conclusion that the political parties are the problem, either within this presidential primary cycle or in general.
I got involved in politics after fighting cancer in 2003. I walked into my first local political party meeting knowing nothing. Over the past four years, I have learned a great deal about how the system works. It's frustrating sometimes, but there are reasons for every decision at every step of the process. If you complain about the results without trying to get an understanding of where those results came from, you are letting the process work without you. If you want your voice heard, please get involved. If you don't understand the process, please ask. Hear the call to service, and join in the effort, join in the struggle. I won't say join one party or another, they both need your help.
Get onto the field and help us play the game. Here's a helmet. Here are the rules. Learn by doing, and lead by example. Get engaged, get educated, and feel empowered. Nothing will change in a direction that you can appreciate until your feet hit the ground. Trust me, I know.
King County Rep from the 46th District Democrats
Chair, Washington State Progressive Caucus
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I support our troops, and I know you do as well. That's why I am asking you to co-sponsor H.R.2702, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007.
Eight million veterans got their education thanks to the World War II GI Bill, which covered tuition, fees, and books, and gave veterans a living stipend while they were in school. A 1988 Congressional study proved that every dollar spent on educational benefits under the original GI Bill added seven dollars to the national economy in terms of productivity, consumer spending and tax revenue.
Unfortunately, the current educational benefits offered to veterans are far lower than the original GI Bill. In fact, they cover only 60-70% of the average cost of four years at a public college or university, or less than two years at a typical private college. Our veterans deserve better.
Please co-sponsor H.R. 2702. Let's give our veterans the support and foundation they need.
More information: http://www.iava.org/demandaction
Monday, February 11, 2008
While I appreciate the fact that both Bush and Congress are in a state of panic about the Republican Great Depression that is coming, I do not appreciate the fact that this Congress continues to refuse to stand up to poor budget decisions. On the one hand, your email report sent today talks about how bad the Bush Budget is for our country, because of the way that it continues to degrade the infrastructure of our country. That infrastructure, which our government is tasked to maintain, includes physical, social, economic and legal aspects. Our financial/economic infrastructure is the responsibility of our Government.
I wrote an email a few weeks ago asking that you include a measure to raise taxes on the highest income earners in order to prevent this stimulus package from putting our country even further in debt. The debt that we carry as a nation, over $9 Trillion now, is the cause of much if not most of our trouble. It is the hole underneath our physical, social and legal foundation that will cause everything that we hold dear to collapse.
I am disappointed that you were unable to push for balancing the budget as part of this stimulus package. I believe that creating a balanced budget will do more to help our economy than $150 Billion dollars could ever hope to do.
Thank you for your service to our state and our country.
Friday, February 08, 2008
The electoral math is amazing. Hillary got most of the states that will go blue anyway. Barack got states, with blowout turnout, that we haven't seen blue in years or decades.
So here's what it comes down to for me. All politics is local, and all activism is personal. I'm going to sign in for my candidate, John Edwards. Then I'm going to lead my precinct through a discussion, and give people a chance to talk and inspire others. I'm going to base my decision tomorrow morning on the people in my neighborhood who show up. Because that's what this is all about, showing up.
Make it a great day!