Because titles are limited to 55 characters in the Assembly Tacoma system, and because the phrase “Social Meritocracy” is not defined in the wikipedia, I had to leave it out of the title of this article. But as I am committed to the concept of Social Meritocracy and a very strong believer in the concept of representative democracy it seems fitting to draw the very real similarities between what is called “Social Democracy”, “Welfare Capitalism”, and what I want “Social Meritocracy” to be.
I am of the opinion that the primary signifying link that binds all of these ideas is the degree of representation the people have in their government. So I have endeavoured to produce a table that illustrates the number of people sharing one vote in the law making body of each government. My position is that the smaller the number of people forced to share one vote, the more “socialized” the nation will be. The nations with the strongest “safety nets” or higher degree of what most would call “socialism” seem to be the nations in which the 99% have a very loud voice in their law making bodies.
Sovereignty,Population,Legislative Seats,People per Vote
India, 1.2B, 810, 1.5M
USA, 319M, 535, 596K
Japan, 127M, 722, 176K
Canada, 35M, 413, 84K
UK, 64M, 1430, 45K
Denmark, 5.5M, 179, 31K
Norway, 5.1M, 169, 30K
Sweden, 9.7M, 349, 28K
Finland, 5.2M, 200, 26K
Iceland, .3M, 63, 5K
(Numbers for the table above are from “The World Factbook – CIA”)
The people of the United States are not well represented in their government. There is much history to this, and several reasons why we have regressed to this degree of plutocracy. But I believe that the original representation of one representative for every 30K was adequate. I also believe that the major obstacle to increasing the number of seats in the legislature to more adequately represent the people has been the two major political parties. The Supreme Court continues to rule that the Constitution gives the prerogative of determining the number of seats in our House of Representatives to these political parties. To me that is no different than the plumbing companies or the electrical companies deciding the number of licensed plumbers or electricians there will be, or the taxicab companies deciding how many taxi cab permits will be issued. By limiting the number of seats, the parties and their members become more and more powerful and the people become peons hustled by the big money ad campaigns and the gerrymandering.
“These are _*MY*_ opinions and _*YOU*_ can’t have em. But I’ll rent em cheap.” — Bart Simpson
If you haven’t heard the news then let me be the local informer: Current consensus within the “in person” general assembly is that Occupy Tacoma will be bringing forth an On-Line General Assembly. The facility will provide equal access and equal opportunity for all breathing persons of 18 years of age and older to express themselves and to have their opinions tested in the caldron of democracy. This ideal of equality was the heart and soul of Occupy General Assembly.
Occupy General Assembly was put forth as a way to implement “direct democracy” and it failed because too much “control” was established by the “leaders” and because the isolated groups were, within themselves, much too small. In the On-Line version we do all we can possibly do to insure that this “control” does not happen and to expand the membership to levels that prevent “group-think”. The rules and the methods are well defined and enacted in the software itself (which is an open source “plugin” to WordPress). The software will brook no direct control by editors or administrators concerning content. All participants are treated equally; all posts, ideas, and comments are placed before the community, essentially in the order they are received, and given their shot at recognition and support by the community. As such, the system works very much like Face-Book with its “like” concept. The assembly concept adds the dimensions of “categories” for those who want it while not insisting on categorization. The number of categories is restricted and it is possible to use the facility (create, locate, and comment on articles) without stumbling through a maze of categories. We have found that typical “forums” are rejected because of this over categorization that temnds to bury people’s ideas. And the ability to express ones opinion or to join in various efforts is much improved. (much more than a yes/no or like/unlike).
The “community” is all breathing persons 18 years of age and older who will attest to the fact that they do not already have a “voting” account in the system. New voting accounts are offered by invitation codes only because that is the only way we have to assure all of the people participating in our on line assembly that they are interacting with real live PEOPLE. We MUST assure our members that they are not being overrun by a bunch of “sock puppets” stuffing the ballot box or by the manipulations of the administrators. We will add more and better ways to “join up” in the future or perhaps even before the facility opens. But our (the administrators) primary function is to assure that each “ballot” in our system represents one individual person and that each individual person controls only one “ballot”. We have no other function other than to maintain the integrity of the facility and to try to “present” other people’s ideas in a reasonably clean and pleasing and intelligent way (colors, fonts, page arrangement, etc.).
It is intended that the new facility will have a much closer relationship with our Face Book page and with other organizations who chose to participate in this open democratic process. As such, the facility _MAY_ become accessible directly as “AssemblyTacoma.org” as well as through OccupyTacoma.org. From the inception of On Line General Assembly forward into the future new accounts at AssemblyTacoma.org and perhaps OccupyTAcoma.org can only be gained by using an invitation code. We are hopeful that we will be able to authorize other organizations to act as “trusted agents” issuing “invitation codes” to people who they _KNOW_ are real live adults.
We _MAY_ make this facility a separate site under the AssemblyTacoma.org name. Other organizations can chose to issue invitation codes to their members to access the AssemblyTacoma.org facility without allying with or appearing to be allied with Occupy Tacoma. This decision has not yet been reached. “I” DO NOT wish OWNERSHIP or BRANDING of this facility. But “I” do want it to be realized in one way or another..
In no way will the software allow the current membership of Occupy Tacoma to control what is placed on any web site (or our own site for that matter) except by using invitation codes on our site for account creation and by insisting on SSL to protect passwords. In no way will the current “General Assembly” of Occupy Tacoma edit, censor, modify, or choose that which is to be posted in the on-line General Assembly(ies) except through the design of the plugin software. That software allows all members to choose what appears on the front page(s) of the web site. The software will be made available to all administrators of all WordPress sites who wish to examine it or use it in their own facilities. This “strategy” software is not controlled by Occupy Tacoma in that it is “Open Source”. e.g other organizations may want to develop a democratic system on their on by using our “strategy” plugin for wordpress as is or by modifying it.
There are two current instances of this software: One instance is located at “TacomaTest.org” and there is a “Demo” version located at “TacomaTest.org/v1”. The v1 instance can be used for a “test drive” by logging in as “demo” with password “demo” and using the single ballot located there. The other instance located at TacomaTest.org is a test bed using 6 or 7 real persons. It is currently intended that membership at this TacomaTest.org site will be seeded by current members of Occupy Tacoma represented on our OccupyTacoma sign up list. That list is the “driver” for initial membership. It was created by real live people showing up at in person General Assemblies. The current plan is to grant membership to these persons at TacomaTest.org and all of the data created in that site will then be used to seed an instance of On Line General Assembly at AssemblyTacoma.org. These plans are fluid and decisions will be guided by the limited On Line General Assembly at TacomaTest.org. But no matter what happens the plugin software will be available to all.
A new button will be added to the “Ballot” presentation to allow an individual member to “lock” and abandon his/her current account and thus opt out of the general assembly. In this way people can cut all ties to any past opinions they may have expressed. These individuals may then apply for new membership under a new login name. We evolve. The old name can never be used again for balloting but posts that were created under the old name will remain in the system. This is not an oversight. The author of the posts (the member deciding to opt out) can remove the posts prior to opting out or not. Some members may want to do this sort of thing in order to get a NEW login identity that is less indicative of their real name. e.g. they may want a greater degree of anonymity.
Login identities and user and screen names are NOT anonymous in this system. Every ballot is connected to a Login identity (the “name” used when you apply for an account). Each name has an associated “profile” in which the individual may or may not divulge information about the self. Our current policy is that if you wish to remain anonymous then we advise that you do not put personal information in your profile. All individuals are identified internally by an associated email address, but that address is not revealed to anyone other then the admin people. The email address is used to allow people to recover from forgetting their password or their login identity. It may also be used to send out email advisories but we do not currently do that very often. The membership will be polled about how often such emails are to be tolerated (my own vote is like quarterly at a maximum and if no big changes are being anticipated then we would send no mail at that time either). We all get more than enough crap in our mail boxes already. My own opinion is that we WILL NOT send emails about EVENTS. We will not allow our email list to be used to further the desires of various organizations and factions; even our own. It seems to me that other organizations might be the right place for that sort of thing. We are going to be very protective of our email list just as we have been in the past.
This article discusses the details concerning the wrongfully decided Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. And with that wrongful decision the Roberts court struck down the most important provisions of the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act”, also known as “McCain Feingold”. Our position is that the Roberts court abused previous common law to create a “right to free speech” for incorporated entities that did not actually exist. The Roberts court then abused this fabrication to assert a breach of the First Amendment.
(in depth notes on this subject can be found in Judicial interpretation and Statutory interpretation).
Continue reading Can a Non-Existent Right be Abridged?
After reading this article about economic growth in the Washington Post, my reaction was as follows:
You can’t just say “grow the economy” because that does not specify what you want to grow. If “grow” means “let’s all use more energy”, which is typically what it has meant for the last 100 years, then that is not such a good idea.
But if it means to work to:
- make new sustainable technologies,
- reduce our consumption creating more and more lifestyles that consume much less energy than what is typical for an American household today, and
- create a society of transparency so that these above behaviors will be maintained through social pressures
then we can grow that.
Until we make that kind of paradigm shift, “growing” will not do anything but exacerbate our situation. That is why when you see the economy go up too much right now, people start filling up the freeway, and then a few weeks later it again takes a nosedive. That is also why places like Switzerland are looking at paying people not to work, because if your job, in the net, causes you and the society to increase energy consumption, then the society may find it a better move to pay you to stay home, not work, and use less.
A SERIOUSLY NEGLECTED FORCE FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE
Addressing Today’s Grossly Unjust Distribution of Wealth
“THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION!” a great many of the wealthy and “Conservative” members of United States society like to declaim. Some of the most influential members of the Congress on “the right” also make that claim as they defend the taxation and spending policies they vigorously advocate. We often hear the same claim of implementing “Christian values” when we encounter almost worshipful attitudes toward the “free market” or the very negative views of the “welfare state.” Continue reading Neglected Resource for Economic Justice
NOTE!! This page has not been reviewed by the members of Occupy Tacoma or the smaller group of members that regularly attend the General Assemblies. The post does not necessarily reflect the views of Occupy Tacoma as a group. The ideas presented here are my own presentation of the realities with which we must deal in our quest for justice in regard to the 99%. I/We do not infer that the organization described in these articles actually exists or that it is intended to exist at the hand of “Occupy” or “Move To Amend” or any other know organization. — TruthMerchant
This is the second in a short series of articles to explore the possibilities of a People’s Constitutional Convention, which would be a national general assembly for the purpose or repairing our crippled and dysfunctional national government.
A Statement Of Purpose
The People’s Constitutional Convention exists to insure that the elected national government actually is representative of and operating on behalf of the people. This purpose is achieved by correcting decisions of the Supreme Court that tend to disenfranchise the people of the United States. Continue reading People’s Constitutional Convention II
That the judiciary is the arbiter of what is right and righteous, rather than the duly elected representatives of the people is a throw back to a concept of justice and jurisprudence predating Magna Carta . That the magistrates are instructed by the divinely appointed king and the priesthood so as to thence dispense law according to the “cosmic plan” is a concept obliterated in The Enlightenment. And a “republican form of government” precludes such a concept, just as it precludes monarchy and aristocracy. In a “republican form of government” the legislature, being the representative of the people, is morally superior to the judiciary. No ruling king and no ruling priesthood. Continue reading Moral Primacy In the United States
There has been and will remain much controversy over the decision of the supreme court entitled “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission“. This brief article looks at how this decision would be rendered if the judges were to adhere strictly to the “Cannons of Statutory Interpretation“. The article then opines as to the proper course of action in constitutional amendment. Continue reading Citizens United Interpretation Via Statutory Canons