[EM] language/framing quibble

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Tue Jan 6 06:06:15 PST 2009

Good Morning, Kristofer

Thank you very much for the link to the Mother Jones article describing 
efforts to curtail the utter domination corporations exert over our 
existence.  Perhaps, in time, reason will triumph.

re: "Practical Democracy really then has two parts - the
      selection phase and the continuation phase."

That was the thought behind the Sefton petition.  Although it does not 
eliminate campaigning, the petition seeks to give the people of Sefton a 
means of choosing their own governmental representatives rather than 
letting self-interested partisans dictate the candidates.  It is not a 
complete solution but it is a major step in the direction of returning 
government of the people to the people.

re: "It might be possible to improve one of the phases without
      having to improve the other, thus making the reform more
      continual ..."

Absolutely.  Your reference to "Keeping record of the pyramid structure 
for later message passing ..." describes a phase that offers broad 
possibilities.  It can be designed to be, as I would prefer, a means by 
which elected officials can seek the guidance of their constituents or, 
as others have suggested, a means by which the people can control the 
acts of their representatives.  It seems likely different jurisdictions 
will implement this phase in different ways and the optimum may not 
appear for some time.

re: "Yet other parts may be applicable to all types of
      representative democracy; for instance, staggered
      elections ... or the term limit ... or ... diminishing
      lobbying ..."

Again, absolutely!  And we should note that the potential for 
implementing such features will improve dramatically when we are able to 
select representatives whose interest in good government exceeds their 
interest in partisan issues.

re: "Public officials gain some knowledge of the direction of
      politics by interacting with the world, so even if it were
      permissible, we couldn't just stick them all in the council
      building until their term is up. How do we keep the
      officials free while still limiting the influence of
      lobbyists, when this influence is outside of the system?"

Interacting with the world is more commonly effected by communications 
devices than by personal contact.  My attitude on this topic is, no 
doubt, idiosyncratic.  It flows from the time I spent in the U. S. Air 
Force.  Even so, I will express it.

Our elected representatives are in service for the length of their term 
... just like members of our armed forces ... and like members of our 
armed forces, they should be maintained at a government installation. 
The facilities at the installation can be as palatial as need be, with 
golf courses, marinas, and all forms of educational and entertainment 
facilities, but access to the facility should be restricted.  Those 
wishing to affect pending legislation should present their arguments, 
publicly, in hearing rooms provided for the purpose ... and that should 
be the absolute limit of their personal contact with our elected 

Do we have the stomach for such a solution?  We sequester juries in 
important cases.  Should the conduct of our government be deemed less 
worthy of objectivity?

re: "... what we really need is radical transparency ..."

In this section, you note the shortcomings of this approach.  In 
addition to those you mentioned, there is the problem that, with the 
proper incentive, one may justify taking almost any position.  It's 
called obfuscation and the most corrupt people are the most adept at the 
practice.  Demanding transparency from a partisan politician is like 
holding back the tide with a pencil.


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