Monthly Archives: July 2011

Does Democracy Have a Chance?

Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute does some fine work. For several years he’s been compiling a list of resources for democracy and participation.  In a recent newsletter, he provided some recent additions to the list. Here is what he said.-t.h.g. 

Here is what we’ve found so far.  Please spread the word and share with us any other sites that describe multiple resources on these subjects.

1. Participedia – http://participedia.com/wiki/Welcome_to_Participedia

2. ParticipateDB – http://participatedb.com/

3. The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation’s Resource pages – http://ncdd.org/rc/, especially http://ncdd.org/rc/item/category/participatory-practices

4. Orton Family Fund’s “Community Matters” – http://www.communitymatters.org/cm-network

5. Craigslist Foundation’s LikeMinded – http://craigslistfoundation.org/blog/we-are-likeminded/

6. WiserEarth – e.g., http://www.wiserearth.org/all/search?phrase=democracy and http://www.wiserearth.org/all/search?phrase=participation and others

7.  Wikipedia.org – e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Collective_intelligence and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Government and others

8. A Pattern Language for Group Process – http://grouppatternlanguage.org/wagn/Pattern_hearts_and_pics_by_name

9. People and Participation.net – http://www.peopleandparticipation.net

10. Deliberative Democracy Helpline – http://www.deliberative-democracy.net/helpline/

11. Co-intelligence Institute lists:

a. Community Resources from the Co-Intelligence Institute – http://co-intelligence.org/CommunityResourcesCII.html (includes extensive materials on multi-process programs)

b. http://co-intelligence.org/CI_compilations.html (which features https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/03/toolbox/ )

12.  Involve:  e.g., http://www.involve.org.uk/tag/tools/ (they used to have a great glossary wiki with methods and ideas http://groups.involving.org/dashboard.action but it seems to have disappeared…)

13. E-Democracy – http://E-Democracy.org

14. Tom Atlee’s list of participatory budgeting resources – http://tom-atlee.posterous.com/participatory-budgeting-practices-places-game

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The Haircut

I don’t know who authored this. A friend sent it to me. If you like it, pass it on–t.h.g.

The Haircut

One day a florist went to a barber for a hair cut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.” The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you , I’m doing community service this week.” The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.” The Congressman was very happy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

Mark Twain said that “BOTH POLITICIANS AND DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME REASON!”

Who’s responsible?

This article by Charley Reese spotlights the contradictions between what our political leaders say and what they do. It’s very satisfying, but remember another sage observation: “people get the kind of government they deserve.”–t.h.g.

545 People vs 300 Million People – By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is (just exactly) WHAT they WANT to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Korea and Germany and Bosnia, etc).
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
(If they are EXEMPT from every law they pass which is imposed on the rest of us, it’s because they want it that way.)

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who (REALLY) are their bosses.

This article was first published by the Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper

Police Intelligence Analyst Tony Farrel: 7/7 Was an Inside Job

This video interview tells a fascinating story of one intelligent and courageous professional who came to see another “inconvenient truth.”

An Principal Intelligence Analyst for South Yorkshire Police has spoken out about the July 7th ’05 London Bombings. Tony Farrell who has served for the police since 1998 is convinced as he can be that the bombings were a false flag attack carried out by intelligence agencies. In July 2010 he was asked to compile a threat assessment report for South Yorkshire Police. His own research lead him to believe the major threat in the UK today is from an “internal tyranny” which the public are slowly finding out about. He believes the public’s reaction to these facts may present a threat of public unrest. He was dismissed from his post last year because his views were considered untenable, but the police officers who sacked him did not disagree with his views! In fact they seemed to encourage him to appeal the decision. He is now awaiting a tribunal for unfair dismissal taking place in September 2011.

You can watch it in three parts here, but this site is a bit easier to navigate.

This case could be of major political importance, not only for the UK, but for America, as well.–t.h.g.