Please help The Democracy Foundation tell America about direct democracy

(Yup.  THE Mike Gravel.  Check it out. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

This is Mike Gravel, the chairman of The Democracy Foundation.  On November 10th, we are going to be organizing a money bomb to try and raise money à la Ron Paul.  We’re not deluding ourselves that we’re raising the millions, but we need to raise enough money to pay some videographers to be able to do a documentary on the National Initiative and how it will empower the American people to be able to vote on the policy issues that affect their lives, once it’s in place.

The National Initiative is very different from the initiative process that we have in the twenty four states around the country.  Those states – you just qualify, everybody throws money at it, and the people vote.  That is not a good way to make law.  Law requires a deliberative process where you have hearings, markups, proper communications, and the like.  And in that way, the people can make laws and properly deliberate the policy issues that affect their lives.  And that’s what the National Initiative will be – it’s a meta-tool which we put in the hands of the people, so they will be able to then have an affect on how they are governed.  It will be the first time that people will have a government “by the people,” because the people will become lawmakers.

The definition of freedom is the participation in power.  Power in representative government is lawmaking.  If you don’t make the laws, all you can do is obey the law or go to jail.  And so if you really want to have freedom, what we have to do is to make ourselves lawmakers.  And the only tool available to do that is the National Initiative.  And this is a tool that will not be enacted by representative government, because it dilutes their power and they’re not about to empower the people.  

And that’s the reason why we have been struggling with an organization called The National Initiative for Democracy, sponsored by The Democracy Foundation.  And so that’s the reason why we’re making an appeal now for your help, to donate whatever you can afford so that we can pay for this documentary and then use this documentary as a device to inform people so that they’ll be aware of the potential of the National Initiative as a tool to empower them to have a more meaningful role in the governing of their lives.  

I hope that you will be generous and give whatever you can.  Thank you – thank you very, very much.

I will be taking questions and replying to comments for a few minutes later tonight.  Please post anything you’d like me to answer, although I might not be able to answer every comment.


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  1. ek hornbeck here, one of the Admins of this blog.

    We’re real friendly types here for the most part and willing to believe you, but I have to ask-

    THE Pentagon Papers Mike Gravel?

    If so, welcome aboard, and if not let’s see about getting you a better handle so people are not confused.

    I expect people to treat Mike with the respect a hero deserves.

  2. I very much appreciate you posting here.

    Looks like a great project too!

    • Edger on November 9, 2009 at 22:58

    a very receptive and friendly place, Mike, even if people  come up with 1 or 2 hard questions. 😉 Most tend to be thinkers here.  Nice to see you post here. An honor, definitely.

    • TMC on November 9, 2009 at 23:00

    for posting this here. It is truly an honor, sir. I have always admired your courage.

    • dkmich on November 9, 2009 at 23:03

    the way they are now.  What coalitions do you have in mmind?    

  3. The National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D) is a proposed Constitutional amendment which recognizes the Peoples’ right to make laws and a federal law which spells out orderly procedures for the People to develop and vote on laws.

    The Democracy Amendment, a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, will:

    1. recognize the legislative power of the people to make laws
    2. permit the people to amend a constitution by holding two successive elections, more than six months but less than one year apart
    3. sanction the election for The National Initiative permitting the enactment of the Democracy Amendment and the Democracy Act (*),
    4. create the Electoral Trust to administer the procedures established by the Democracy Amendment and Act,
    5. outlaw the use of funds from non-natural persons (for example corporate funds) in initiative elections under this article, and
    6. outlaw non-natural persons (for example corporations) from sponsoring initiatives under this article.

    The Democracy Act, a proposed federal law, will:

    1. set out deliberative procedures to be used by citizens to create laws by initiative,
    2. describe the key responsibilities of the Electoral Trust which shall administer the initiative process on behalf of the people,
    3. appropriate funds for the Electoral Trust from the United States Treasury, and
    4. specify the threshold of affirmative votes needed to enact this legislation (*).

    The National Initiative does not change or eliminate Congress, the President, or the judicial system. Laws created by initiative must still stand up in the courts just like laws created by Congress. The National Initiative adds an additional check — the People — to our system of checks and balances, while setting up a working partnership between the People and their elected representatives.

    Voting “yes” means that you are for the Democracy Amendment and Democracy Act

    Voting “no” means that you are against the Democracy Amendment and Democracy Act

    (*) This legislation will be considered enacted when the number of affirmative votes exceeds half the total number of government-validated votes cast in the presidential election occurring immediately prior to this election’s certification.  A total of 131,131,981 people voted in the 2008 presidential election, therefore at this time 65,565,991 “yes” votes for the National Initiative are required.

  4. to how proud I feel to have you join us here today.

    I find myself in a time of great conflict with myself in regards to our current state of Democracy. Frankly, I have lost hope in thhe fact that our system is anything but a Corporatist Demcoracy by lobbyists proxy fro the special interests.

    So, my question is, what change CAN we push for as progressive activists, because I don’t see it happening in the Democratic party anymore, and I think the sad state of health care reform and Bush/Cheney accountability are proof enough of why.

  5. If we can only get to the point where we can hold elections by lot (as explained in Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke) and the national ballot initiative, we’ll be on our way!


  6. An honor and a pleasure!

    We the People, definitely need some kind of “tool” to combat corporatocracy and achieve even some bit of democracy — not really sure we ever actually had one to begin with, although the “foundation” had been laid.  But, certainly, this country today is a far cry from any semblance of democracy.

    It’s clear that We the People’s voices are IGNORED, even if heard.  Corporations run the country, “grease” the palms of our legislative representatives, who “grease” the palms of corporations, in return, (except for those few with REAL concern for Americans and the country).  The disparity in income between the rich and the poor is at the greatest ever in history — squeezed out!

    My question would be how can we enforce a return to the rule of law?  As stated above, the fact that we have not yet held war criminals accountable for their crimes is a huge statement in terms of the legal and moral deterioration as continues rapidly and defines us as a nation.

    • Heather on November 10, 2009 at 01:14

    I trust you and would love to donate to anything you’re involved in.

    • Edger on November 10, 2009 at 02:17

    Alan Grayson has been trying, but I’m curious… what are your thoughts on making the Fed accountable and transparent? Is there a way it can be done in the current political environment?

  7. And I’ve been thinking about direct dem for a while–I like it generally.  

    What I’ve come up across, though, is that as long as we allow the current capitalist model to exist; we’ll be screwed no matter what.  Look at CA ‘propositions’– they’re dominated by monied interests, maybe more, maybe less than the crap we now call ‘representative democracy’.

    I think that the uninformed American public can easily be moved any direction by the players in advertising and the media– see 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq and more.  Look at how many are convinced health care reform is on the way, when actually, their lives just got even fucking worse.

    And it doesn’t matter what the method of is: government is always the same, where weak minds/uninformed people are concerned.

    We need: education. Real education, not America’s school system. And, ALL the money has to come out of the political system–be it  representative, direct, or totally anarchic.  As long as the monied can buy more time on the stage; we’re fucked.

  8. during the primary. Thank you for you long service as a real democratic supporter, your one of my political heroes. I am no longer donating to the Democratic Party. My meager contributions go to causes like this. We need something like this as were seriously screwed and at this point have no representation at all. I’ll check it out and will donate when I can.

    Thanks for coming to DD. I like it here, people here are not threatened by politicians or writers who threaten the status quo and actually stand up and speak the truth. I wish there were more like you in our government houses. I also wish that there more like you in the Democratic Party.        

    • rossl on November 10, 2009 at 03:38

    That here, a community one hundredth the size of Daily Kos, this got about four times the response as it did at DKos.

  9. I think this is somewhat apropos here!

    Leonard Cohen, Democracy!

    (Note:  Embedding has been disabled!)  

  10. Come back anytime!

  11. that typically calls themselves a libertarian in America. But I heard you supported a single payer in the past, and that is something I can get behind – but recently I have been getting more and more frustrated that public money is going into private hands rather than staying to pay public employees and publicly controlled organizations. Anyways, I am not sure if we can have real direct democracy when certain externalities such as mass corporate media exists to shape our beliefs as well as a huge infrastructure of churches that collude with them.

    What would the democracy amendment do to change this situation and how would this increase the power of the community outside of existing institutions that threaten to take it over such as the corporation, or organized religion? Two institutions that tend not to be very democratic?

  12. How about repealing laws we do have!  That would keep us busy for a few years!

    • banger on November 10, 2009 at 20:41

    .. I like the idea — I’ve always liked the idea. We need some process that brings the inherent insanity of the current system into relief. It could be just the thing to get people involved in thinking about the structure of public life. Even if the corporate/media/state dominates the propaganda organs there is at least a theoretical chance for change to happen or at least bring out the issues.

    The good thing is that people will start asking questions and then who knows what might happen.

  13. The Democracy Foundation is a United States nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation (EIN 54-2054763) headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The foundation was founded by Senator Mike Gravel on October 2nd, 2001.

    The Democracy Foundation develops and undertakes educational programs to inform citizens about democratic processes and principles, and of their inherent powers within a democracy.

    The Democracy Foundation is the official sponsor of The National Initiative for Democracy.

    DO all the educating you want, but i’d say most people got the fundamentals down past the “School House Rock” explanation and after that it’s basically some belief that voting and people power can bring about change through the Democratic process.  

    Dunno if the problem is necessarily that the masses aren’t educated about the process, if they’re truly educated, they understand that their vote is basically for which corporate spokesman is gonna sell the corporate policies to us riff-raff.

    How about funding reforms in education with an emphasis on computer education along with education on Open Source where we can fund developers to make programs like Dragon Speech-To-Text in Open Source so that all with disabilities can access teh interwebs?

    Promote internet based learning and teaching along with reforming and/or abolishing the laws that make the not-for-profit distribution of educational books and reference materials illegal so as to allow access to these materials to all children despite their income?

    I think that would bring about more change then funding for Power Points on “How A Bill Becomes A Law”, and more interesting for those rascally teenagers with their skateboards and damn nintendo that makes them all not wanna care about stuff…my two cents on that.

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