“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”
If the above is the current “condition of political speech” in America, we suggest a different path. Have all political representatives publish their test results in a manner that sustains transparency and honesty.
Implicit Association Test
Would you take a test to discover the arrangement of biases you may maintain? In high school, I asked my father about race and why people protested for equal rights. A four-word response ended the conversation when he said, “They are not ready!” The interventions to produce readiness continue to this day. The actions necessary to break down thousands of layers of bias implied in his words remain continuous. Still, the effort to do so is a law leveled as us all in the U.S. Constitution. Because of this nation’s founding document, testing the attitudes and beliefs of people that are harmful to others reveals the actions necessary to reduce or eliminate that damage. However, the Constitution cannot stand alone in responding to the call for justice. New methods other than the law will be required. The following will explore strategies and techniques that can reveal the personal and interpersonal structures of bias, beginning with the individual and then to the millions of groups that form a diverse nation.
Scientists from the University of Washington introduced the scientific community to the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in 1998. With over 25 million tests and hundreds of peer review papers, it offers insight into how groups of people perceive the world. The IAT assesses the strength of mental associations stored in memory by measuring how quickly a person can categorize and associate specific stimuli. (here).
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) design reveals “the attitudes and beliefs people may be unwilling or unable to report.” One objective of the IAT is to assess whether one can learn and unlearn implicit attitudes. If that becomes a fact in science, then we are beyond doubt capable of examining the unconscious roots of thinking “right out loud” and our feelings “deep inside.” The website is old code, but numerous scholarly articles are available to sidestep personal experience.
Given this capacity to continuously learn, the next question becomes, how can that level of practice in self-awareness occur and recur in building a nation? Click the image below, explore the idea, and take the test. See how it works and comment on the experience.
The authors encourage participation in the test by saying, “The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.” In addition, the difference between not knowing and being unable to learn is crucial to ending a relapse. It is more so if the recurrence damages others. Proof of control over a process is the ability to produce repetition, but if the action occurs due to an unknown source and is detrimental, how is an intervention possible?
Today, selecting participation in a group has fewer resource implications that affect the individual or the group. One can be a nonmaterial participant with basic expressions of loyalty. Services in exchange for these expressions may range from subsistence aid to offers of great wealth. In other settings, participants may seek full-blown forms of self-actualization. These services are provided by social entities such as governments, university societies, and religious organizations.
These institutions can be a physical presence in a community or, more recently, in digital space isolation. The underlying implicit associations in these digital environments have a massive data stream capable of establishing proof. Data looks into the past. First, it reveals the facts about post-trauma damage and leads to questions such as, “how did we get this condition?” Then, “what are we doing to remove harmful impacts?” and “where can solutions be demonstrated?” After that, the queries on “who” and “why” lead to actions that produce the political resources needed to deliver tangible change.
In The People’s Constitution: 200 Years, 27 Amendments, and the Promise of a More Perfect Union(here) by John F. Kowaland Wilfred U. Codrington III, we read all the changes from the initial document produced over the last 230+ years. To sustain it as a living document capable of recognizing new challenges, the authors present all of the flaws and extraordinary power of the founders’ dream to create a system of governance that is incapable of accepting authoritarian concepts of power. It is a story of system change from Prohibition (18th Amendment, 1919) to its repeal (21st Amendment, 1933) that recognizes the limits of power to the ongoing rise of the Equal Rights Amendment (27th Amendment) ratified by 38 States but well after Congress’ deadline of June 30, 1982. In January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA leading to legal challenges. The authors eagerly criticize the idea of Constitutional originalism in recounting many accounts of the grand American experiment.
New methods are needed to reveal the implicit associations established in the desire to strive for controls that would inhibit the ambitions of kings and their makers. But, of course, the advancement of zealots, liars, and racists are free to exhibit and promote behaviors capable of destroying Democracy as ideologues. The American assumption is they remain at the outer boundaries of political discourse until the events leading up to the attack on the Capital provided proof that authoritarian power can be marshaled from the fringe into the action of a mob within weeks.
Consent of the Governed (as an “all of us”)
The ease with which the few govern appears surprising to those seeking change. The President, Vice-President, 435 Representatives, and 100 Senators are the few. Yet, they expect the public to absorb their attitudes, policies, and sentiments. Government work at all service levels in America represents about 15% of the labor force (20 million). We believe a new approach is needed if the electorate remains independent of the manners particular to these leaders and workers.
First, voting will become a mandatory box checked for every federal, state, and citywide election. This requirement can include abstention. See the discussion (here Brookings), (here ASH) (here IDEA), and (here Standford).
Second, use the Charlie Chaplin request (quoted above) if you worked through a couple of Implicit Attitude Tests. Not only can a person improve their “read” of character, but it can also be done with an improved “both sides” bias detector. Suddenly, a long list of choices becomes available to challenge or correct errors. Examples could be the presumed unchangeable structure of the Supreme Court, the antiquity and usefulness of the Electoral College, and the thousands of painful micro-failures and malfunctions possible during periods of rapid change. Exciting and interesting times indeed, but many curses to be cauterized nonetheless.
Third, you must pick one of these significant issues and work it out in every way you can imagine. Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas, actions, and choices. We would have never imagined thirty percent of them submitted to date. Wow. You are a clever bunch.
Adam said it best among the hundreds of writers like David Pepper working to discover a “fix” to our fear of a problem getting out of control.
We must, indeed, all hang together or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. AND You don’t make progress standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.
Benjamin Franklin and Shirley Chisholm
The glass shape on the five maps below is the rough outline of a Congressional District (CD9). Within it, the district numbers of the City Council, State Senate and Assembly, the Community Board, and School Districts within CD9. Using the links below encourages a broader discussion of representatives regarding their power. The local politics to the global concept is introduced (here). We will focus on one district for now to examine the possibilities of a broader application of engagement practices.
The 40th District is led by Rita Joseph replacing the term-limited M. Eugene. A city council member can provide small amounts of funding for nonprofit organizations in their districts. See the discussion in “connect” below.
Larger community development projects proposed by City Agencies such as EDC and HPD consistently defer to local reps, however, it is usually as a “take or leave” proposition. One such deferral on new housing is discussed (here).
New York State
The Empire State is rightly named as it has the same GDP as Canada (sourced here and discussed here). Over half of its population live in its major urban centers. Often debated corruption issues (here) have weakened public trust. The dollars involved are extraordinary.
The annual budget for NYS is $212 billion. In comparison, NYC’s budget is $98 billion. Both come under intense scrutiny from independent analysts. However, the primary interest of the ordinary resident is not in these mind-bending amounts, but in whether or not the representatives are presenting a clear picture to constituents regarding the quality of life in the places where they live and that their power to influence spending is is being used to focus on equity and fairness.
The Fourteenth Community Board and all of the city’s community districts are composed of people nominated by Borough Presidents and various combinations of city council members. While the participants are solely advisory, a good District Manager and small staff can provide important information. For example, a large development site at the Church/Bedford Avenues the process for leading up to investment in the property will be found (here). A review of issues (here). A brief look at the reasons community boards are often considered dysfunctional is (here).
“The purpose of this section is unified by one-word ‘extinction.’ It is a daily event all over the earth. It is a difficult word to absorb as a part of life. Like air, it is only noticeable as a threat during high winds and storms. It is the nature of creation to give and take environments settled by life quietly. I go to this section to see what people are up to. Mostly this section reminds me of Hattie Carthan and Joan Maynard. All Hattie wanted to do was save a Magnolia Grandiflora from a “tiny-extinction” on Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn. Today that tree is one of two living landmarks in New York City. All Joan wanted to do was to save three tiny woodframe buildings from an extinction of their meaning. I was honored to work for both of them and to inject a few community development block grants (CDBG) along with a lot of undergraduate design students and dedicated staff. Thousands of struggling community organizations like the Magnolia Tree Earth Center and the Weeksville Heritage Center conduct education programs for next-generation organizers. These are new institutions in NYC that took decades to build. They can be strengthened by the growing network of national groups listed below and our support. Please get to know them. They are likely to be the most important leaders to follow in this century, if they survive.”
Rex L. Curry
The following list is of sixty national organizations attempting to inform policy in all sectors of the national economy. Additions and corrections are appreciated. Build your local network partners that help serve their mission and share the link.
Works to inspire all Americans to explore, enjoy, and protect the Earth’s wild places, to practice and promote responsible use of the Earth’s ecosystems and resources, and to work to restore the quality of the natural environment that sustains us.
An organization founded by environmentalist David Brower that fosters the efforts of creative individuals by providing organizational support in developing projects for the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the global environment.
A federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations that use time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposes grassroots organizing, door-to-door canvassing, and litigation to raise awareness of environmental issues and promote sensible solutions.
Unites 12 of our country’s largest unions and environmental organizations and advocates for more and better quality jobs in the clean economy by expanding a broad range of industries, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, the substitution of safer, cleaner chemicals, modern transportation systems, and advanced vehicle technology, domestic manufacturing, high-speed Internet and a smart, efficient electrical grid, green schools and other public buildings, improving our nation’s water infrastructure, recycling, and sustainable agriculture.
Shows urban communities locally and all across the country how to develop more sustainably: showing that development that is good for the economy and the environment makes better use of existing resources and community assets and improves the health of natural systems and the wealth of people
An affiliate network of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government, private sector, and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
Facilitates and publicizes local and national climate actions that draw attention to the climate crisis and the strong measures needed to address it and organizes forums and events designed to broaden climate action constituency beyond the traditional environmental movement.
A national citizens’ organization working for clean, safe and affordable water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work.
A coalition of environmental, conservation, religious, scientific, humane, sporting, and business groups around the United States that serves as the guardian of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).
Works to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction, by means of science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.
Conducts both domestic (US) and international programs to halt toxic trade in toxic wastes, toxic products, and toxic technologies, that are exported from rich to poorer countries and to ensure national self-sufficiency in waste management through clean production and toxics use reductions.
Documents human rights and environmental abuses in countries where few other organizations can safely operate through campaigns, reports, and articles and litigate in U.S. courts on behalf of people around the world whose earth rights have been violated by governments and transnational corporations.
Encourages collaborative approaches and cross-cutting solutions to environmental challenges by acting as a catalyst, facilitator, and mediator in cooperation with individuals, industry, and government.
Contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change, measurement and assessment, and natural resources management.
Uses policy-oriented research to design, monitor, evaluate, and improve the social and environmental commitments of responsible tourism, as well as to promote sustainable practices and principles within the wider tourism industry.
Works to protect rivers and defend the rights of communities that depend on them by opposing destructive dams and the development model they advance and by encouraging better ways of meeting people’s needs for water, energy, and protection from destructive floods.
A research institute at Tufts University dedicated to promoting a better understanding of how societies can pursue their economic and community goals in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.
A project of the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, DC) and the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam) that works in partnership with citizens groups nationally and globally on the environment, human rights, and development issues with a particular focus on energy, climate change, environmental justice, gender equity, and economic issues, particularly as these play out in North/South relations.
Uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment, creating analyses, databases, and maps to help inform the general public as well as scientists and government officials.
Public policy research organization dedicated to informing policymakers and the public about emerging global problems and trends and the complex links between the world economy and its environmental support systems.
Through workshops, leadership development, and consulting, provides tools of systems thinking and organizational learning to clients and partners working on issues of sustainability, helping them to be more strategic, engage multiple stakeholders, and learn continuously. Formerly, the Sustainability Institute.
Dedicated to protecting all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities, particularly focusing on (1) the accelerating rate of extinction of species and biological diversity and (2) habitat alteration and destruction.
The Charter Revision of 1977 created community planning boards in NYC when the decentralization of authority was a popular idea. It aligned with social change forces seeking civil rights and social justice, equality, and human rights in the United States.
Concurrently, the mainly white upper-income population since the late 1950s found a small government easy to talk to in their newly built suburban enclaves. The population in New York City, on the other hand remained diverse and residents sought to build the resource of self-determination into the city’s community districts. This neighborhood government idea has become a gesture for expanding participation, it added transparency, but not to the power sought. Now is the time for improved strategies. Click the arrow, watch the slides.
RLC – OCCUPY
Community Board Members will serve no more than four consecutive two-year terms.
The Community Board (CB) staff is a skeleton.
It is barely able to support members and manage schedules.
Community Boards see themselves as part of the problem, and they like it.
“If all they will let is do is protest, then we will protest.’
Why is a hammer the only tool?
Why is the CB a shed for hammers? Many other skills are on offer.
The squeaky wheel powers of CBs can strongly influence some city agencies’ project development practices, but not in a good way.
Do not worry about these brief essays for editing. None of them have been.
The analysis of public response to the Great Recession of 2008 reveals similar errors compounded in the Pandemic of 2020. The failure to produce a system change from the private and public realms regarding these two instances is evident and a little frightening. Now is the time for writers to demand improvements in critical thinking from every mountaintop. It was not until political interference was exposed in the POTUS45 DOJ investigations that the possibility of a similar financial manipulation occurred.
Financial service companies, insurance agencies, and families went underwater on bad loans and poor judgment. Thousands of people have become sick and face financial disaster. A high percentage of the most vulnerable to infections have died. Fire, flood, drought, and a rising sea is encircling cities all over the world. Ending what is beginning to look like the tragic cycle of change requires a summary of the public response to correcting the “money” problem. Money, faith in trade, and its use for the oblivious accumulation of goods are the root cause of this trouble. The use of it dominates the argument and the conversation. It is accurate but a distraction to the purpose of consequence. More plainly, my super wealthy grandparents just said, you cannot take it with you, and we (all of us) should only get a leg-up on confidence with a dose of tenacity.
In 2008, the American business community won the case – use federal funds and reestablish aggregate demand, sustain liquidity for global trade, and keep employment up, but income marginal in a high percentage of households. Attack tax rates, government interference, and expose public incompetence. Continue to reduce and weaken mechanisms for public oversight of private financial practices. These are highly persuasive claims and strategic practices from the business community. They draw values such as individual freedom and independence that took over two centuries to establish a Republic built on a foundation of slavery.
The struggle for the freedom of all people remains unexamined. Civil rights, social justice, equity, and a basic “leg-up” is falsely claimed as a strain and a distraction. Despite the depth of the 2008 and 2020 global economic tragedies, several questions go unaddressed disproportionality. Why wasn’t it disproportionate when eight percent of the households in a Georgia county were slaves? That isn’t the issue today, but The Report has comparable questions.
Why does the world function as if the acquisition of equity is the only means of power? Where are their attempts to succeed with alternatives? The vote seems a possibility. Yet, the dividing lines tell us to separate the ability to meet human needs in the private marketplace from those found essential to the validity of a public realm.
Only one modern American hero has a national day of remembrance for the courage it took to lead his challenge in the public realm. His agony became ours, and his name was Martin Luther King. He was murdered in 1968 by something much bigger and more heinous than the racism of his era.
King’s anguish for justice held the U.S. Constitution to account first, but this did not extinguish his view on the economics of politics. He believed the solution was not in a “thesis of communism or an antithesis of capitalism.” His demand was for synthesis based on two facts. An economic system built on slavery and imprisonment will not change the rules. Change must, therefore, come from changing something else.
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income…” MLK
The economic crisis of 2008 and the health and financial crisis of 2020 has one word that tends to stop any discussion of change dead in its tracks. That word is “debt.” Less understood is the concept of equity as it is a thing larger than cash. An accountant will tell you that “equity” combines your assets and liabilities. One of the first pre-eminent sources of it in the United States is homeownership. With the help of government mortgage guarantees, it is the prime asset held by most Americans. Still, confidence and trust in each household is the one thing that makes the liability expressed by a mortgage possible. Thus, the question. If it is confidence, where are the approaches to building it anmog those to which it is denied.
Recently the idea of retaining that trust and confidence was expressed by none other than the American Enterprise Institute in a map of the United States they tweeted to the world. The map illustrated the relative GDP of individual American States with other countries globally so that people would be more confident – to trust the system. I would call your attention to Wisconsin before you read the next paragraph.
In response to the pandemic, Europe understands the “system exchange” relationship between public and private equity. I have one example of why Wisconsin should have no difficulty changing their health care system if they were like Denmark. The Denmark government stepped forward to continue paying wages even when they were not working. People kept their jobs with their employers. Denmark retained some business and family income and stopped the COVID-19 virus from spreading efficiently. The policy maintained the cultural status quo of the nation’s steady anticipation of ending the crisis. Denmark’s business activity restarted with as little cost and disruption.
I have a request in closing this bit of critical thinking about the need to produce a system change first with the idea that this would allow the rules to change. The first is to ask you to conduct a brief exercise, followed by taking the concept outlined above further in some way and sharing it with this blog – a link would do.
The habits of the mind that contribute to critical thinking involve the following types of thought. The first one should be on the word critical. In health, the word describes a “short-term” condition. Here is a quick exercise. Run through the following ten words in ten seconds, asking.
If you had a rapid response to each one of them, know three things 1) you have some or all the skills listed below, and 2) if it took even a bit longer than ten seconds, more work on “critical” thinking is essential and 3) they are just words — you can pick your own ten if you choose.
break the whole into parts to discover practical relationships
list the parts piece by piece
sort the things into things
judge using well-known rules
apply personal, professional, and social standards
compare and assess the means
recognize differences and similarities
rank things together or separate in groups
differentiate categories or decern status
basis of evidence
predicting if that then this
determine possible consequences
Pick Your Own
Critical thinking can be brief, momentary, temporary, short-lived, impermanent, cursory, fleeting, passing, fugitive, flying, and like lightning. It can also be transitory, transient, temporary, brief, fading, quick, and meteoric. Not being curious enough is a problem — inquisitiveness exercises human intuition. It helps a person run inference, seek integrity, and demand contextual change. Therefore, differentiating the language as becoming more demanding, or obscure, improves hearing.
Just after the election of POTUS45, one message kept getting repeated about the need to produce change at the local level that moved to the city, county, and state governments. Only then would a change have a chance for federal legislation or be recognized as a new cultural norm. The example given most often was the demand to make laws governing marriage far more inclusive. The changes began locally but rapidly across the United States. The rules change issues regarding women’s rights and voting rights. All are noted here because few of them go unchallenged, and all of them require leadership demanding a civil discourse and faith in the law. The following table or chart is one of the easy-to-read summaries of the process.
To solve problems adequately or ask more satisfying questions. The Report uses the following chart to create a change.
What are additional efforts needed to curb the American Super Power to make fools of ourselves? I came across Tech Against Terrorism that might be useful. It is an international organization that recognizes the one-world communication issue in which we now function. Americanizing Europe’s far-right problem is a mistake. The lesson here is to recognize the ease of manipulation a free society is willing to accept and take a deep, long breath before marching to anyone’s orders to do anything before taking a deep f’n exhale.
Another more serious and useful global super-power is revealed in the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. It has given two lessons. If a little bug can bring capitalism to its knees and put some cash in our pockets, that bug is telling you something about national confrontations. By “our pocket,” I mean small businesses, your local public hospital, and so on, you get my drift. I say, get prepared. This is the beginning. The second lesson comes in the form of a question. How does a belief in a conspiracy address any of the underlying problems in your life? That brings me to the following post.
Rethinking the Fairness Doctrine
I was among many people in a school bus to D.C., ready to encircle the Pentagon to expel its evil symbolism. Along with many others, I crowed up and sat on its steps, surrounded by the ordinary national guard guys for a long cold night. People tossed sandwiches into our vigil, I ducked a pack of Lucky Strikes, saw socks and cotton gloves tossed in for added warmth. Our guards smiled at our efforts and our chants to end an unjust war. We were one people in the right to protest. Eventually, we were swept up into the reality of our trespass, asked to accept our punishment in the name of so many others in the search for justice, and we left. The Pentagon did not elevate. I was not that surprised. My beautiful companion was deeply saddened.
Do you remember the FCC’s “fairness doctrine?” It demanded balance from the broadcast networks until it was scrapped under by Reagan in 1987 via veto that sought to codify the following ideas in law.
(1) that every licensee devotes a reasonable portion of broadcast time to the discussion and consideration of controversial issues of public importance; and
(2) that in doing so, [the broadcaster must be] fair – that is, [the broadcaster] must affirmatively endeavor to make … facilities available for the expression of contrasting viewpoints held by responsible elements concerning the controversial issues presented.
The personal attack rule stated that when personal attacks were made on individuals involved in public issues, the broadcaster had to, within one week of the broadcast, notify the person attacked, provide him with a copy of the broadcast (either script or tape), and allow him an opportunity to respond over the broadcaster’s facilities.
The political editorial rule required that when a broadcaster endorsed a particular political candidate, the broadcaster was required to provide the other qualified candidates for the same office (or their representatives) the opportunity to respond over the broadcaster’s facilities.
For the details on the origins of “fake news” see Snopes
When the FCC established the doctrine in 1949, the national frequencies available allowed ABC, NBC, and CBS to exist. By the time Clinton’s Presidency concluded, everything changed, as along with the expansion of the cable providers, a robust digital network exploded. The Fairness Doctrine is a reasonable attempt at balance. Still, as technology expanded, it cannot be applied constitutionally to cable or satellite service providers as well as it can broadcast networks. I still watch “antenna tv” because it is free and still interested in fairness, and if not that, then I still sense an attempt at balance.
When applied to the print media, the Supreme Court has recognized that regulations like the Fairness Doctrine are not constitutional as law. Regulations aimed at others may be subject to the same opinion when applied to Cable TV, satellite, and digital platforms. The remedy is only available on a post-trauma basis. In other words, people are free to disregard content-based restrictions on speech and yell fire! Doing that creates an imminent threat to people only if there is no fire in a crowded theater. The least restrictive remedy for misuse of free speech is to await prosecution from the hurt and offended people or institutions.
Preventing further restrictions requires a government to use the least restrictive means of achieving an interest, such as assuring public safety. The people labeled far-right insurrectionists are perfectly within their rights to act and be punished for their actions.
Buy now because these are the top twenty Black Owned Businesses to celebrate the 2020 victory. Time Magazine did a cool thing and made a list; I’m passing it along because they checked it twice. (Full article here) New York Magazine lists 180 in NYC (here). Anyway, you get the point on your dollar this year.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) gets into the impact of “dark money” on the Supreme Court. His introduction on 13 October is here or below, and important to see before you watch his 14 October follow-up here or below. Attention to the facts is why I am a Democrat.
13 October 2020
14 October 2020
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham scheduled a committee vote for 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, the morning of the last day of hearings.
Barrett’s nomination is expected to be brought up for a vote at that meeting and then delayed for a week, per committee rules to 22 October 2020.
In all of our worlds (social, political, economic, biometric) we search for things considered necessary. We see closed doors, glass ceilings, and tables with no invitations. The good news is we have a set of new rules that could make change more positive.
A way to develop answers to change rests with the combination of several very new organizations such as the World Wide Web Foundation and some old scientists such as Nikola Tesla pictured (left). Both are excellent examples of learning and unlearning everything to begin every day differently than the day before. Pioneering access to information has always been available at the speed of light thanks to your hippocampus, but now it is a many-brain experience. We need new skills.
The first rule of knowledge is that it expands through the experience of frequency. The second is you control what you make recur. The third rule is books do not hold truth or meaning. Meaning is in people, and the truth is just outside your front door. Take a long-looking walk every day.
These three rules draw a vital connection to the immensity of comparative change. Here is an example. It is a comparison of Nikola Tesla and Tim Berners-Lee. Here we find two people who looked just outside their door but managed to see the whole world. Just under a century ago, Nikola Tesla explored every aspect of energy he could imagine. Just a few decades ago (1989-1991) Tim Berners-Lee and others created the URL and HTML as a fast method for sharing and editing documents on a worldwide basis. There is a connection.
I came across an examination of Tesla’s writings and interviews on the subject of the future at The Smithsonian. In Tesla’s vision, leaning to control the energy of everything will establish the recurrence of all things good. A movement to elect scientists instead of lawyers to leadership positions in the legislative branches of government has begun. In a 1935 Liberty Magazine article, Tesla was among those who saw science as the parent of law and writes,
“Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum on education. The twenty-first century will reverse this order. It will be more glorious to fight against ignorance than to die on the field of battle. The discovery of new scientific truth will be more important than the squabbles of diplomats. Even the newspapers of our own day are beginning to treat scientific discoveries and the creation of fresh philosophical concepts as news. The newspapers of the twenty-first century will give a mere ” stick ” in the back pages to accounts of crime or political controversies but will headline on the front pages the proclamation of a new scientific hypothesis.
Something Is Wrong
A century later, for every $100 paid in U.S. federal income tax, well over half of it still goes to the military in the 21st century. Something is wrong.
Tesla saw the ability of science to improve people in the same way law sought to protect. Called eugenics at the time, these discredited and immoral practices present a view of the world based on the distorted views of privileged white males, and this has yet to change in a meaningful way. Nevertheless, the debate continues in a broad spectrum by manipulating DNA in thousands of lifeforms. CRISPR will continue to press for the inclusion of the human genome. The practioners must be watched. Something isn’t right, if they are not.
Tesla recognized the lack of control over the waste machines create as he was a builder of them. He envisioned a national agency with the mission to prevent pollution (waste nothing) and regulate the discarded materials of production for the specific purpose of protecting the land, air, and water. Unfortunately, the EPA did not form until 1970. President Nixon was in office. Something isn’t right, waste continues beyond reason, and it includes human beings.
Tesla’s outlook on the energy requirements of the human diet eschewed all stimulants except alcohol. Perhaps he was like Mark Twain, who said that “too much of anything is bad, but too much Scotch is rarely enough.” Still, he knew it was possible to provide “…enough wheat and wheat products to feed the entire world.” He criticized the industrialization of animals for protein. He was a contemporary of Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Tesla recognized energy drawn from the burning of fossil fuels as wasteful and dangerous. The identification of global warming gases began in the Nineteenth Century. He saw clean energy from sources such as water-power and the scientific preservation of natural resources would end the agonies of drought, forest fires, floods, and viral infestation. Instead, Federal Disaster Declarations have doubled and tripled since 1955. Something isn’t right.
Science proves Right
Tesla’s favorite work is in the invention of remotely controlled machines designed to automate production. He understood communication as wireless. In 1935, he said, “At this very moment, scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a thinking machine. In all of our worlds, for right or wrong, the only proof of communication is persuasion. Can a “thinking machine” isolate the wrong of a lie?
In 1994, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) formed an international community devoted to developing open web standards. Tim Berners-Lee is the Director of W3C (2017). The question is direct. How well can this resource advance the frequencies of useful change that Tesla envisioned? In 2009, Berners-Lee formed The World Wide Web Foundation and began operations as an independent, international organization fighting for digital equality. It envisions the continuing implementation of an open web as a public good and a basic right. Its mission is to help build a world where everyone can access the web and use it to improve their lives. The internet community produced the following revolutionary ideas.
The Rules are Under Attack
In August 2020, the United States, under the Trump Administration, began to attack the idea of internet sovereignty in favor of an authoritarian view that would redefine the idea of free expression. The following principles of an open and free internet are therefore under attack.
Decentralization: No permission from a central authority to post anything on the web, there is no central controlling node, so no single point of failure … and no “kill switch”! The implication: freedom from indiscriminate censorship and surveillance.
Non-discrimination: If I pay to connect to the internet with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can both communicate at the same level. This principle of equity is Net Neutrality.
Bubble-up design: Code is in full view of everyone (Ctrl/Shift/I) to encourage maximum participation and experimentation. All you have to do is right-click and select inspect.
Universality: For anyone to publish anything on the web, all the computers involved have to speak the same languages to each other, no matter what different hardware people are using, where they live, or what cultural and political beliefs they have. In this way, the web breaks down silos while allowing diversity to flourish.
Consensus: For universal standards to work, everyone had to agree to use them. The achievement of consensus occurs by giving everyone a say in creating the standards through a transparent, participatory process at W3C. The consensus to agree with everything, at least “somewhat” and a known degree.
Two immediate suppositions are evident when comparing Tesla’s ideas (turn of the 20th) about the world’s future with what the World Wide Web now offers (turn of the 21st). The first insight reveals a public education policy at risk, and the second is one big assumption. The risk is that a probable series of severe social, economic, and environmental events will increase and continue to occur as “chaos costs.” The assumption is the threat of these costs will lead to repression as if the cause/effect in this situation is a certainty. It is not.
A third observation is less reactionary—the documentation and implementation of two resilience strategies can serve as benchmarks. For example, putting a global price on GHGs and focusing on investments in new energy solutions are arguments for action in less than a decade. The reasonable deadline appears to be 2050 by most observers to achieve net-zero. It could be sooner.
If initial benchmarks establish firm roots, a path will become apparent on improving our global selves with the aid of super useful “thinking machines” focused on facts and knowledge instead of death and war. Envision a world where trust is about truth and not about machine ownership. Something is wrong. The internet is not a machine.
A responsive market approach can succeed. The value system accepts disruption in parts of the physical and emotional community, but not the spirit of people in the wake of that change. The infusion of world wide web values now offers decentralization, non-discrimination, a bottom-up design, super universality, and consensus. This is a compelling alternative to authoritarian rule. The rules are clear for building pathways to new physical realities. Implementing one hellish set of trusted, tried, and true algorithms remain along with the desire to go outside. Have a good, long look at the world. (Knowledge share link here).
On June 26, 2018, the residents of the Ninth Congressional District had an opportunity to test leadership in Congress on criteria established by voters. Clarke won by a slim margin. Challenged again in 2020 she won again big time. Adem Bunkedekko was the closest rival, capturing 17% of the vote among four other bird-dogging candidates – all democrats.
Political leadership has gone to hell. New York leaders are useful when they respond to an urgent condition on a single issue. There is no outright fear for democracy, because better than most, they know it is practically gone. None of that is occurring. The only live-die-repeat is incumbency and the dead ones are the challengers.
Have a good long look at the candidates and their “watchers.” (See examples: Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal Ball.) Ballotpedia’s fine details are here. Money equals victory. A national watch group, Open Secrets has the data to prove it, including the outliers that illustrate exceptions. The deep end of the data pool is with reports at the New York State Board of Elections.
Leaders with skills in critical thinking, creativity, responsiveness, and obedience will do well. Proof of unselfish giving is through service that includes a record of judgments publicly specified with grace and dignity. After reviewing the public expressions of our federal leaders, are challenges within the party positive and optimistic? Does the officeholder or the challenger have a bias toward getting results? Finally, good leaders know how the practice of listening to be heard gets their constituents to help themselves do the hard stuff.
Adem Bunkeddeko Lost in the first race by a slim margin, and he machine tanked him in the second
He got more votes the second time, yet adding votes from the three additional not really serious, probably “bird-dog” candidates, he would have still lost. The third time is the charm, I said. Off years are best. I hope he will write a review of the loss. Meantime, he now works as an Executive Director for CORO. He has been cultivating young leaders who seek to make a difference in our city and tackles the complex issues affecting New Yorkers. Please drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want to know more before you do that, visit Adem’s Website and Facebook and Twitter accounts. He also has Instagram and Snapchat if you must. If snail mail is your thing, you can write them to this mailing address: Friends of Adem, P.O. Box 130-427, Brooklyn, NY 11213.
Yvette Clarke Drop the candidate a line on the federal website. She has Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. To write via snail mail the local address, 222 Lenox Road, Suites 1 & 2 Brooklyn, NY 11226, and a D.C. address, 2351 Rayburn HOB, Washington D.C. 20515. I would be amazed if you get an answer beyond stat and pat. She is a guaranteed tow-the-line Democrat, so there is that, I suppose.
The national Campaign Finance Institute confirms the long-term success of this legislation in its testimony to the NYC Campaign Finance Board in 2017. (The Act). After thirty years, the NYC CFB has protected voters. Perhaps the best example is NYC representatives sustain the “F” rating from the NRA in their demand for stringent legislation regarding the use and purchase of weapons for war. That is where the feds (your representatives in Congres) come into the picture to confront and confirm national policy.
In NYC, the Campaign Finance Act has kept the local government on the side of working New Yorkers for the last three decades. A $6-to-$1 match of small donations turns a $100 donation into $700. The law has strict contribution limits and an outright ban on all corporate money, and an excellent enforcement record.
Political Action Committees
The Political Action Committees (PAC) come into the picture today as a permanent part of federal election campaigns. They represent almost 40 percent of an elected candidate’s campaign funding. A challenger is far less likely to be supported by a PAC. The PAC phenomenon began in the 1950s, but since then, their corrosive influences over Congressional Representatives reflect the concentration of wealth in the U.S. and the rule that corporations have a right to political speech as people and that money is speech.
Unlike people, wealthy corporations can live forever. Corporate outfits such as the NRA and the Koch brothers have a large bag of political tricks designed by well-paid political operatives to protect specific interests, not including the bot/troll issues that confuse voters further. It was a sign of real trouble when New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer asked his constituents to help fight against Koch Brother attack ads against a fellow Senator, Joe Donnelly (D) from Indiana with a help him Keep His Seat! Email blast.
Representative Government, Election Waves, and Money Three Republican Congressmembers (Faso, Tenney, Katco) in NYS may have “toss-up” elections in 2018. To keep things in perspective Faso’s 2016 spending was: $2,904,089, Tenney’s was $885,895, and Katco’s was $2,384,152. These races could contribute to a wave-election referendum on the chaos in the Executive Branch and the House of Representatives and shift as many as 25 seats to Democrats. (See NY Mag summary here). The 2018 mid-term election might have a single issue.
Peter King, a member of the Republican Party, is completing his 14th term in Congress, having served since 1993, and he quit. Clarke has been there twelve years and barely serves and runs on “good attendance” and perks from PACs.
Take a look at all of the “political clubs” in Brooklyn. Rarely are these outfits exposed as nonviable components of local leadership, and when they are it seems to matter little. Those who have a detailed understanding of the inner workings, tips, and tricks of a Board of Elections system needs to be understood by the ordinary person in much greater detail.
Congress Member for Life
There are nineteen political clubs in Brooklyn that attempt to decide what issues candidates can speak to with credibility. For the candidate, they will examine records of accomplishment of their opponent and coach on the hot buttons of the day (i.e., health care costs, immigration, DACA).
The political clubs and their candidates are the up-from-the-grassroots owners of a process that makes the top-down discussion of congress members, senators, and judges come alive as constitutional actors. It is in these settings where ordinary people determine who runs and how. The analysis continues by district and office from local to federal that allows participants to compare incumbents to a challenger. But why are incumbents 98% successful in defeating possible challengers. Why is AOC the outlier? The answer is made obvious below. Review with the knowledge that there are over 300,000 registered voters in this CD9! The focus of our analysis is on the one percent. Ironic.
Why did the founders make representatives every two years if we get them for life? I have a “legacy” representative in Congress with a “D” rating. So The Report supported an alternative candidate (Adem). His candidacy sought the office for two congressional election cycles. He almost won the first time, got the “club” attention, and got crushed the second time. Is an incumbent representative the best option of the clubs? Yes. Why then do primary elections become chock full of opposing candidates. Does it seem obvious that diluting the field with multiple unknowns is used to assure the status quo?
Why Does the Democratic Party Sustain Incumbency as a Priority? Is the System Broken? JUNE Primary 2018 and 2020 – In Brooklyn, a Primary Win is a Win in November.
Democratic Primary June 2018: Fundraising efforts increased to get out the vote after this close
Four Candidates Assures Incumbency
100.00% of precincts reporting (532?/?532) (source)
Once the choice of candidates for a political office or a judicial appointment is complete and aimed at the next election cycle, the value of local issues in the form of votes is exposed. An incumbency win is therefore easily recognized as a big money win on the issues and far less so on the issues affecting people’s lives. What do you think about 50% of every dollar you pay in federal taxes is paid to the military people, but the medical and science people have to fight for scraps in the battle for the other half? Are the big-money interests dangerous? Are they looking out for you?
A candidate does not have to be rich to be a leader, but improving the grassroots knowledge of the problems of wealth, power and government is a starting point of high value on every question related to the quality of public life. The cash from a PAC and other significant funding sources compare directly with vote capture and the percentage of contribution from ordinary citizens and public matching remains a token.
The capacity of civic engagement to get results is being pushed toward, well-known as well as unexpected breaking points. The big paying interests only have one interest in mind — to keep the government as a predictable entity, not an honest one, or fair or even one that cares. With this level of power, it is not possible to see a difference between the availability of cake and day-old bread. That is the terror of it.
Geopolitical challenges such as a pandemic or the multiple impacts of climate change instruct humanity’s genius to bring about systemic change and resist and reverse “them not us” policies and strategies. These are tests for leadership without national borders that rage against the intolerant behaviors most likely to kill or hurt anyone at any time. Again, anyone at any time.
Recognize human vulnerability as a powerful strength. It instructs societies on how to share a threat or resolve an issue. The logic that prevention comes at the cost of an ounce must also resist demands for buying pounds of warehouses to manage death. Science offers useful and lasting solutions to problems that often require decades of complex analysis. In the stirrings for a more robust form of global leadership, the nationalized political rush to cures and deficient reaction to climate change will cause death. In the process, it weakens the direction and leadership of science.
Finally, science belongs to us all. Darwin was a scientist without professional degrees; he was curious. That is all anyone needs. Significant global challenges, such as climate change and pandemics, are vast and complicated. What can one person or a small group of friends do? Here is a brief example.
Scientists will show you how inside of the big problems, there are hundreds of other smaller ones trying to get out. Those are the ones to work on, dig into, maybe even solve. The accelerated rate of species extinction puts all human life in peril. There are hundreds of ways it reversed by paying attention by the human hand at “wild urban interface.” The growth of citizen science through internet partnerships is the counterbalance. Sharing observations can connect our personal experiences with the reality of all Earth’s life forms. Think of something in nature that you enjoy, and it can be anything, a particular kind of tree, or bees and butterflies, ferns, and orchids. There are billions of life form interdependencies between you, your children’s future, and the community that is not understood and need ordinary people to discover, document, and recover the forgotten. To get started, have a look at these great ideas:
One argument often stuffed into questions on how to build common ground and a good society or even the capacity to sustain positive change in bad times is the proposition that logic with goodwill solves problems. Logic is science, goodwill, nothing but untrustworthy feelings that destroy the former.
American’s have simple-minded, or perhaps merely unexamined adolescent confidence about what and who we are among one another and in the world. The tension caused by this lack of examination may be psychological, political, or economic. The 19th century was said to be about Hope and the 20th c. of GreatExpectation. The paradox of this as a trend is how it tips the 21st century toward the claim of Despair.
We recognize in ourselves the hopeless questioning gaze in the distress of a suddenly wounded child. We also see that it is not a dishonest experience, but one capable of reversible insights regarding exuberant, competitive, playfulness of our growth into freedom. The principle that, it is only business or it is just politics, accepts harm without limits as mere spoils.
The day-to-day experience of our time has become distrustful, but not only of one another. We are becoming hostile toward human nature. We can see in ourselves and Nature a capacity for spreading acts of unrepairable self-affliction. Readily accepted public controls to reverse these conditions come with a moody resistance and the repression of irrational, empty of analysis, without one moment of reflection.
Because of that, “reflect” for a moment.
One cannot exhibit judgment if statistics dominate decisions. In this context, true judgment is lost. Organisms need energy, water, shelter, and reproduction to exist in one of two places. Some will travel thousands of miles across the earth to acquire resources. Others will glue themselves to rock to acquire needed resources. If an organism or a nation loses the mysticism and belief in a philosophy of hope and expectation in which each is born, the capacity to conduct strategy meaningfully evaporates into the dust of poor judgment.
Three factors have brought about the demand for global, multilateral change in national societies with varying impacts, and all of them are tragic. First, climate change is an umbrella disaster held over nasty little wars, floods, and firestorms followed by infectious diseases. Second, inevitability is well recognized as a fact for centuries leading to questions about when. The necessity to had context is important. For example, the entire universe will die in a few trillion years, give or take a few trillion. Third, the world’s leadership is beginning to understand that much of the horror on the path to the inevitable remains preventable in each new global cycle only for the lack of enforceable world-wide agreements.
Ironically, a fourth global factor is a conservative viewpoint expressed as the tragedy of the commons. The negative impact on a common pasture and the relationship among households raising grazing animals is real. The rules will change if the entire earth becomes that metaphorical pasture. Losing entire coastal cities worldwide to surging ocean tides and entire biomes (forest to coral reef) will become a lived experience. If millions of people could see billions of tons of waste that float and sink in the global ocean, would it feel like a shared resource? Would the “dead zone” of the Gulf of Mexico procure a voice? Instead, societies pay for these disruptions with children starving, the scream of a helpless parent, and the stunned dismay of families who falsely believe they are saved with compensatory access to wealth.
The global climate has been stable for only the last 2,000 to 3,000 years. There should be no expectation that it would remain constant. The global climate is in many ways barely stable as a system, and a single push of added gases, heat, would make change inevitable yet still feel inconsequential as a threat. The demand for alternative ways of living is unimaginable as the swell of cheap energy continues to make everything, including faith in a quick tech-fix, easy to expect. In this psychological climate, finding replacements is difficult. Forcing amelioration by changing the price with substitutes violates the status quo. When assessed in the “commons” framework, two new categorical thinking patterns emerge as environmental and emotional intelligence. Try to find the “commons” in “energy explained” (here).
Ostrom’s Answer is Occam’s Razor
A problem in the future has two elements, one to design a defense, the other is to alter the future to make that unnecessary. The leaders involved may have had the skills of the lawyer and personality for political leadership, but to produce solutions essential to create trust, the science professions will form a new commons. A scientist can tell you the future is already here, just not everywhere. To do that, the change in the mode of problem-solving begins with a process that Elinor Ostrom has already figured out in a Nobel prize-winning way.
Our ancient brains in various shelters for the night knew of beasts, enemies, and trouble. That sense of big trouble is real, but the community may never experience its pain because of that sense alone. From the cave to the laboratory, we have done what we have done to define problems we believe might be unlikely to occur, but we solve them anyway. The quality of thinking, in this instance, is an old tactic still in use by scientists today called Occam’s Razor. As Albert Einstein notes, a theory of a threat with the fewest variables requires problem-solving work where “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
The first of Elinor Ostrom’s core design principles began in Governing the Commons (1990). Regarding implementation, she is optimistic as an economist in her research for the World Bank. In 2009, her paper, A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change, considers a non-tragic global commons (pdf here). It is here that she gives her life-long partner Vincent Ostrom an attribution to a central observation. She quotes his definition of polycentric as “one where many elements are capable of making mutual adjustments for ordering their relationships with one another within a general system of rules where each element acts with an independence of other elements.” It is an excellent definition of the inner workings of catalytic cooperation and was written with Charles Tiebout and Robert Warren (Economic Base and Local Expenditure Theory).
Ostrom’s work with problems uses clearly defined boundaries because they are well understood. In economic terms. Boundaries are needed everywhere for everything but are difficult to implement without the consensus of the parties involved. On the other hand, this first rule is essential to working with big global problems such as thermonuclear war, climate change, and a pandemic threat. Defining a boundary categorically offers promise as the concept is simple and easily understood as a system condition altered from one state to another.
Because purely economic solutions are easy to argue and difficult to implement, start with a simple physical entity such as a city as that category. Cities are places with a fixed boundary and a legal process for expansion or contraction. Thus, the city is an excellent place to implement the remaining seven parts of Ostrom’s solution. It is a “back to the future” type of problem.
A city is an outstanding place to begin implementation. The city with a boundary offers proportional equivalence and a clear, constantly improving data stream to monitor processes beginning with measuring benefits and costs in every imaginable center capable of giving itself a boundary. It is ongoing but without mutual benefit consent. Proportionality within multiple geographies of a dense polycentric city of neighborhoods, cultural groups, ideologies, genders, and so on can become a transparent way to understand variables fully. In this way, it is possible to put the equality sign (or not) between two or more social and economic expressions.
The city also offers multiple platforms for “collective choice agreements.” The center of Ostrom’s argument recognizes the practical use of carefully implemented sanctions. The city’s boundary offers a set of measures from price restrictions to penalties, incentives, and subsidies designed to meet goals such as a good balance of affordable housing or lower per capita energy use. In New York City, neighborhood-level participation in governance is voluntary and advisory, but it expands the central government’s capacity to understand issues experienced locally. As these practices contribute to local autonomy, they are also capable of interpreting them globally. Coming to the resolution of problems begins with the kind of efficiency and quality of data feedback that empowers local autonomy through participatory governance.
The last piece of Ostrom’s change-the-world puzzle looks to resolve existential threats with the ability to grow a polycentric rulemaking authority so that global rules are instantly recognized because they are already well-organized and in use locally. The only element missing is the lack of political recognition of this as an urban fact. Ostrom’s groundbreaking approach is not built on how people think but on how they will eventually organize their thinking. Hopefully, this work will escape its decade of discussion where it floats in the partial oblivion and trappings of its academic Nobel Prize (2009). It needs to find a city to live in as a permanent place of proof. I recommend New York City, and you know why. If you can make it here, you can make it everywhere. Again, the city with a strong existing boundary has these systems in place. The only element is the lack of political recognition of this fact.
A conservative friend of mine argues that everyone’s property is no one’s property, and none value the wealth. Why? I said with a few examples brewing, but then she says, “Who would be fool enough to wait to use it when the next moment, it could be used by another?” I interrupted with “could be used.” Unphased, she said, “Would a tree for timber be left in the ground for another, would fish found in the morning sea be left for taking in the afternoon by others?” Then she pulled out her economics degree and said, “Every factor of production without assurance leaves all things for all people as things without value.”
Natural resources and common property are free goods for individuals but are recognized as scarce goods by the rule of “use or lose.” Value is obtained when the rules of property for value become subject to a unified directing power. To the conservative, this power is held as private. It is associated with the “free-rider problem,” freedom, and the capacity to be free. It is tied to individual and corporate rights as the fuel of competitive innovation, new technology, and wealth, without which new problems cannot be solved.
Neoliberal BS must be understood, here are two examples:
“…there is no such thing as society; only individuals and families.” “The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help .”
Margaret Thatcher 1987 & Ronald Reagan 1988
The progressive’s argument (that would be me) is if the property becomes public (government), it does so for specific purposes. Regulating development that reduces abuse or corruption can produce value not only by preventing damage or by litigating cause but also by encouraging a global culture that recognizes solutions to problems before they exist. Assign a value to that, and we leap into a future that capital alone refuses to provide. My brief crisis management analysis (here) sees self-interest as a useful compulsion, but if unregulated or tested, the practice drains shared resources.
Addiction can be repackaged as vapor when modified through price mechanism alone, and the resource drained are children’s lungs. The charge of negative impact continues in the population (endemic) in unregulated markets, followed by claiming the need to add wealth to fix or mitigate the cause of problems. The progressive’s complaint continues because doubling down on methods (risks) counter to a long-term interest, such as a child’s health (changing/eliminating flavors), are digressions that further discourage the mobilization of resistance.
The arguments of a conservative vs. progressive approach also have a long, tedious set of false premise conditions that deter effective challenges to the status quo. Whether corporate or within the public realm, several types of economic behaviors clearly threaten the stability of individual nations and global health in general. The theft of a treasury, election fixing, killing in all places, and many geographies reveal known horrors.
Geopolitical oil, rare earth minerals, even access to space force technology are considered sustainable practices due to irrational thinking and false arguments. Corporate identity interests also build on a variety of absurd claims. We know the tag lines: We are the best, the safest, most loved, recommended, and philanthropic business globally. All of this is protected by free-speech and self-regulation norms until a stated fact is proven false. All of this is useless until a “False Premise Agency” becomes an agency with power. There are a few reasons straightforward steps to logical thinking in a society. Examples are:
Change the mode of problem-solving with a new process.
Redefine problems in a categorically different fashion.
Eliminate the damage at the source or the cause, include failed prevention.
Substitute damages with relocation, replacements, and technical upgrades.
Legislation and litigation practices that pay for failure as an ongoing process.
The last three activities are classic fire brigade solutions. While reasonable, essential, and undoubtedly continuous, the first two actions require renewed focus if ending the cycle can be expected. Improving the modes of problem-solving processes is inherently demanded by the catastrophic resolution perspective in the position of operatives of the last three.
Thomas Hale of University-Oxford describes a similar but more hopeful choice, “catalytic cooperation” (here). Hale accepts the “resilience is all that is left” from the Club of Rome folks and rolls up his sleeves as a member of an extensive group of academic economists. He sees three features of climate mitigation that depart from the accepted model: joint goods, preference heterogeneity, and increasing returns. The presence of these characteristics reveals the chief barrier to global cooperation is not the threat of free riding but the lack of incentive to act in the first place.
Humans have been redefining problems in new ways, from deciding that a cave with a guarded entrance is a good idea to the billions of “falsifiability” exercises ongoing today. They are theoretical, mathematical in the laboratory and the field. All of it is refreshing, but much of it is like a solid slap in the face with someone screaming, wake up, wake up. In many ways, we are still in that Neolithic cave, redefining problems in categorically new ways.
More recently, the injection of scientists into the partisan “what can vs. should be done?” debate has begun to dance around the global commons’ problem. A list of over fifty non-United Nations multilateral, mega-regional agencies (a list here) represents a doubling of “brigades” in 25 years and a trend toward continuing expansion on an even longer list of issues. Pushing a top priority for greater capacity in the global “what should we do” debate became the jingoistic nightmare that turned government into the problem.
“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.”
Barack Obama (2006)
As the world’s economic growth slows due to realignments caused by climate change, combinations of regional populism, and global security interests, we are gripped by widening inequality as if it was only an issue of the unequal. The global human health condition is part of the climate change question that proves humanity is far more alike than unalike, with greater similarities with beautiful variations of great benefit to all.
A dip in growth caused by ongoing investment reductions in carbon-intensive industries also opens new processes that will break into a vast network of capital chains searching for alternatives. Short of an energy solution as dramatic as fusion, new forms of growth will from new stock symbol combinations associated with government-backed initiatives that reduce risk. The central question will be whether decision-makers will become sufficiently undistracted to plan effectively to implement a proposed change.
Public investment works with noted success in the traditional practices of the scientific method, concerning theory, predictability, and peer reviews of specific concerns such as a common cancer problem, AIDS, or SARS. However, if Science is needed to solve macro human system problems, on the one hand, the public investment appears helpless on the other. The failure to end the rise of life-degrading processes is all the more frightening because of how easily they are identified. Commercial food production, bacterial and viral contagion, energy use, poor transportation systems, and biome systems worldwide, to name a few.
If it is for the lack of “trust” that all may be lost, then public investment in the sciences of planning and engineering, art, and architecture are all practices that can produce the immediate feedback essential to discovering how to live in a categorically new way, especially if the way now is killing us slowly or with deadly precision. So, although it may only be a few at a time, in sadly separated multiple room huts, scattered across the American landscape of false independence or in the towers of despair we so eagerly and carelessly build, the task of getting on track is right now.
Getting on Track
Three global factors have brought about the demand for global, multilateral change in national societies that have experienced varying degrees of tragic impact. First, climate change is an umbrella disaster held over nasty little wars, floods, and firestorms followed by infectious diseases. Second, most of these effects have been recognized as inevitable for a century or more. Third, the world’s leadership is beginning to understand that for the lack of a global agreement, much of all of this was and remains preventable in each new cycle.
Ironically, a fourth global factor is a conservative viewpoint expressed as the tragedy of the commons. The negative impact on a common pasture and the relationship among households raising grazing animals is real. The rules should change if the entire earth becomes that metaphorical pasture. Losing entire portions of massive coastal cities worldwide to surging ocean tides and entire biomes (forest to coral reef) will become the lived experience of millions of people. It will be as if billions of tons of waste that floats and sinks in the shared resource of the global oceans and the “dead zone” of the Gulf of Mexico could be seen by all. Societies pay for these disruptions with the starvation of children, the screams of helpless parents, and the stunned dismay of families who falsely believe they are saved with compensatory access to wealth.
The global climate has been stable for only the last 2,000 to 3,000 years. There should be no expectation that it would remain constant. The global climate is in many ways barely stable as a system, and a single push of added gases, heat, humans, and nature would make change inevitable yet still feel inconsequential as a threat. The demand for alternative ways of living is unimaginable as the swell of cheap energy continues to make everything, including faith in a quick tech-fix, easy to expect. In this psychological climate, finding replacements is difficult, and forcing amelioration by changing the price with substitutes violates the status quo. When assessed in the “commons” framework, two new categorical thinking patterns emerge as environmental and emotional intelligence
Ostrom’s Answer is Occam’s Razor
A problem that exists in the future has two elements, one to design a defense, the other is to alter the future to make that unnecessary. The leaders involved may have had the lawyer’s skills and personality for political leadership, but to produce solutions essential to create trust, the science part of our minds and the science professions will form a new community. To do that, the change in the mode of problem-solving begins with a process that Elinor Ostrom has already figured out in a Nobel prize-winning way.
Our ancient brains in various shelters for the night knew of beasts, enemies, and trouble. That sense of big trouble is real, but the community may never experience its pain because of that sense alone. From the cave to the laboratory, what we have done is to define problems we believe might be unlikely to occur, but we solve them anyway. The quality of thinking in this instance is an old tactic still in use by scientists today called Occam’s Razor. As Albert Einstein notes, a theory of a threat with the fewest variables requires problem-solving work where “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
The first of Elinor Ostrom’s core design principles began in Governing the Commons (1990). It was as continuously optimistic as an economist can be in her research for the World Bank in 2009 (here). The paper, A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change, considers the possibility of a non-tragic global commons. It is here that she gives her life-long partner Vincent Ostrom an attribution to a central observation. She quotes his definition of polycentric as “one where many elements are capable of making mutual adjustments for ordering their relationships with one another within a general system of rules where each element acts with the independence of other elements.” It was written with Charles Tiebout and Robert Warren (Economic Base and Local Expenditure Theory).
Ostrom examined the power of working with problems using clearly defined boundaries that are already reasonably possessed and understood in the world. In strictly economic terms, such boundaries would be needed everywhere for everything and difficult to implement. On the other hand, this first rule is essential to working with big global problems such as thermonuclear war, climate change, and pandemic threats. Defining a boundary in a categorically new way offers promise as the concept is simple and easily understood.
Because purely economic solutions are easy to argue and difficult to implement, start with a simple physical entity such as a city as that category. Cities are places with a fixed boundary and a legal process for expansion or contraction. Thus, the city is an excellent place to implement the remaining seven of Ostrom’s solutions. It is a “back to the future” type of problem.
A city is an outstanding place to begin the implementation. The city with a boundary offers proportional equivalence and a clear, constantly improving data stream to monitor processes beginning with the measurement of benefits and costs in every imaginable or possible center capable of giving itself a boundary. It is ongoing but without mutual benefit consent. Proportionality within multiple geographies of a dense polycentric city of neighborhoods, cultural groups, ideologies, genders, and so on can become a transparent way to understand variables fully. In this way, it is possible to put the equality sign (or not) between two or more in the social and economic expressions.
The city also offers multiple platforms for “collective choice agreements.” The center of Ostrom’s argument recognizes the practical use of carefully implemented sanctions. The city’s boundary offers a set of measures from price restrictions to penalties, incentives, and subsidies designed to meet goals such as a good balance of affordable housing or lower per capita energy use. In New York City, neighborhood-level participation in governance is voluntary and advisory, but it expands central government capacity to understand issues as they are experienced locally. As these practices contribute to local autonomy, they are also capable of interpreting them globally. The resolution of problems begins with the kind of efficiency and quality of data feedback, which empowers local autonomy through participatory governance.
The last piece of Ostrom’s change-the-world puzzle looks to resolve existential threats with the ability to grow a polycentric rulemaking authority so that global rules are instantly recognized because they are already well-organized and in use locally. The only element missing is the lack of political recognition of this as an urban fact. Ostrom’s groundbreaking approach is not built on how people think but on eventually needing to organize their thinking. Hopefully, this work will escape its decade of discussion where it floats in the partial oblivion and trappings of its academic Nobel Prize (2009). It needs to find a city to live in as a permanent place of proof. I recommend New York City, and you know why. If you can make it here, you can make it everywhere. Again, the city with a strong existing boundary has these systems in place. The only element is the lack of political recognition of this fact.
The relationship between the city, the state, and the national government is complex. A close examination of issues that confront NY City Council Members include allocations that the state and federal government share. A focus on how well they apportion allocations from the ground up is on the eight members of the City Council within the Ninth Congressional District. Think of it as an experiment in the idea of common ground. The New York City Council has 51 members with limited terms. We will be focusing on the 40th, but we will happily accept offers to follow the other districts within the congressional envelop. All contributions are held in confidence. We are grateful, we are thankful, we are watchful.
Have a look at the financial data links and council links below. Other than bits of corruption among the former members, the most notable event was the rise to power of Brad Lander (39th District) to the Office of the Controller.
Do they share issues and an interest in common problem-solving? It is challenging to tell, but one fact is clear a large percentage of their constituents can be reached on issues.
The City Council’s Fiscal Year Budget provides a “show me the money” view for constituents. For example, it illustrates how and where discretionary funds are spent in City Council Districts. It averages over $1 million per councilperson, and the city council website lists millions in disbursements under the discretionary line that Councilmembers use to help local organizations have a look (here). The image below illustrates the process and that further analysis can be conducted via Excel.
Have a look here as well: (2017) (2018) (2019) (2020) You get the picture. It is all about the Benjamins. Usually, in June, the Council authorized NYC’s FY Budget. It involves investments in youth, education, support for immigrant communities, strengthening our City’s reserves, and so on. Two other resources can give citizens a way to explore the entire $80+ Billion used to operate this great city. Contribute your analysis or lead us to the work of others as it affects your City Councilmember.
An excellent source of information and analysis is the Independent Budget Office. If you are interested in diving into the deep end of the “Benjamin” pool, go to Data Download for Expense Budget Analysis and a Revenue Analysis (here).
The relationship of constituents to the State Government’s 63 members of the NY Senate can last a long time. They have two-year terms but there are no limits. This section seeks information that contributes to a better understanding of issues that confront our state representatives that share a portion of the Ninth Congressional District.
In 2016 Senate District 17 voted for Trump. Details are here.
Do they share issues and solve problems? It is difficult to tell.
For example, an analysis by participants in an effort to reform the Brooklyn political machine came up with this analysis by the New Kings Democrats. Is your Senator working for you or not?
NYS-151 Assembly Members You know where you live. Use the map and report your Assemblymember in the comment section below. Before selecting your Assemblymember within the Ninth Congressional District take a moment to review: Session Four “How to Sustain the Resistance Long Term” presented by New York Assemblyman and DNC Vice Chair, Michael Blake. Look for his talk at the Resistance School April 27, 2017 (HERE). Tweet @resist_school #resistanceschool#resist
Seven Community Districts share the geography, interests, needs, and concerns of the Ninth Congressional District. The map and links below seek participants.
Engaging residents in a relationship that links local development activities to investors’ money in community improvement (or not) dates to the 1950s with the formation of Community Planning Councils. The most recent change in this practice occurred in 1989 when the Charter Revision Commission changed the structure of NYC government and increased the role of residents by establishing Community Boards in the environmental (CEQA) and land-use review process (aka ULURP) that affects their communities. There are 59 Community Boards in NYC, and eighteen are in Brooklyn and a third of them are in Congressional District Nine.
There are three school districts that share a portion of the Ninth Congressional District. How will changes in Federal and therefore state and city policy affect schools in these districts? The objective would be to identify parents, the primary self-interest group. There are not links (yet) to these constituents. The start of developing this idea is here: Office of Family and Community Engagement remembering one key element. The parent constituency is brief and overlaps rapidly in roughtly two groups of parents – those with kids in PreK-8 or High Schools. Just finding those taking the time to lead is difficult.
District 17, 18 and 22 Parent Leadership Schools: Parent Associations/Parent Teacher Association and School Leadership Team Districtwide Presidents’ Council, District Leadership Team or Community Education Council. Citywide: Leadership in Citywide Education Councils, The Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council and the Panel for Education Policy Parent Leader Times The Chancellor’s quarterly newsletter for Parent Leaders
When confronted with an obvious untruth you need facts, that is of course if you haven’t been talking with one of Paul Krugman’s zombies, an excellent book by the way.
Every voter has elevated emotional triggers because voting has changed from a handshake into an algorithm of who you are and what you think. The science used to manipulate self-interest emotions used to be “smallish” – found in neighborhood meetings, the coffee klatch, and rallies, cold-calls, canvasing with mail and leaflets, in hand. The activities led by these organizations of data feel reasonable and responsible.
We are entering worlds built of “new systems” that are without this kind of personal dispatch. Concrete personal data drawn from media draws down the metadata of human behavior. This data range is vast from liking and disliking candidates on a scale that brings the likelihood of staying home. All of the old simple “spoils” go to the big guys now, and we knew who they were for a while, not so much anymore.
If parsed, the kicker will show your zip code, county, or state or whether there is a likelihood that you changed your hair color. The former is legal, and the latter, not so much without a warrant that has your name on it. Even though I recently sent $10.48 to Hillary Clinton’s PAC “Stronger Together” just before 23 November 2017, I suspect that the PAC was not the only agency made aware of this action. The transfer from me to AmEx to Hillary entered easily, but I left with a long list of portals with any number of windows attached that you or I am unaware of.
Efforts to achieve data results from the things we do build on formulas no ordinary person fully understands. The first warnings regarding the entrance of these activities into American life are evident. Beware of triggering an American version of Article 50 (Brexit). I have no idea of what that might look like in the USA. Still, I suggest starting research on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) activities regarding all of the metadata associated with you and everyone you know. Here is the next kick. If you “half-agree” with my premise, are you more likely or less likely to use one of the following resources and attempt to get answers?
I am interested in working for elected leaders by organizing election districts closest to polling places. I’ve moved the d-base driven map to a “view only” link. If you are interested in becoming a strategic partner, using a digital toy (graphic below) let me know. If any of you have political skills let me know and read about the idea below.
Doing more in connection to the political people that have power over billions of dollars for NYC and NYS means getting more people to pick their number ED polling place. If you would like full access to this data, get back to me. (Contact)
All you have to do is request a link to enlarge this map, locate where you live, identify the name and location of the polling sites near your home. Vote and get out the vote, because at this point we need real change.
Again: locate where you live, identify the name and location of all the polling sites near your home just in case you feel like organizing more people especially if you are interested in a little canvassing party near where you live or work.
Brooklyn voters are electing new representatives to the United States Congress – they will be fighters, free of corporate domination and responsive to our needs in housing, health, and community economic development. Vote in the 2020 primary, and we will have a chance and all of our networks will fold into the other. There will be strength and resilience.
Recommend a candidate for any office. (State Board of Elections Deadlines)
Comment below and I’ll ask you to help by sharing your thoughts, stake out some election districts and put a person in The United States Congress that can do more than ride high percentages of incumbency into office based on our complacency.
Volunteer Here for the Ninth Congressional District
Find Election Districts you can work and get your data.
Go to the City Data Map HERE if the one above is difficult to use.
Share that information using the form below and work the district for voters.
Build a canvassing plan with us. Your polling place, and key nearby locations
Find and motivate more people. The average in EDs is around 800 Dems.
Get voters out on Primary Day. That is the election.
Get voters to vote Tuesday, November 3, 2020 for the win back the Presidency!
Develop a schedule to convince voters to vote —
You can examine data from your census tract(s) (HERE)
Please drop us a line. Thanks to all who have already. I plan on working the Election Districts around the Erasmus H.S. and the transit stations (B & Q) from Church Avenue south through to the Cortelyou Station. Just waiting for someone to lead.
If you would like to see some AOC type energy for our part of New York – volunteer!!
Two rules embedded in the culture of politics as sport say people get nothing without a “win,” and second people must protect themselves and others from what they want. The inherent contradictions of these two rules in the context of this summary comes from tweets by the Social Policy People (SPP), the Tax Accountability People (TAP) and the Fact Checking People (FCP).
The Sport of Social Policy Politics
The strategic nature of sport includes “the fake,” or “jukes,” and other team behaviors that overwhelm or confuse opponents. The remaining components of leadership needed to achieve a political end require a series of projects, guided by priorities and measured by the policy. Each project (or play) requires a full understanding of the resource implications of each effort and an evaluation scheme useful for producing adjustments, new strategies, projects, priorities, and policies.
June began with the Urban Institute’s (UI) promotion of the Fiscal Summit. One of the preliminary papers was on a fiscal policy entitled what if “Congress does nothing” (here) that describes the exponential growth in the debt neatly packaged for a takeover by the “other party.” At the end of June, UI Tweets took a look at the cities that make homelessness a crime and the increase in the demand for affordable housing. The Urban Institute’s remaining concerns in June were many, such as the difficulty of lowering the cost of higher education.
The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) focuses on policies that hurt the most vulnerable. This month’s argument looks at changes in the Official Poverty Measure proposed U.S. Office of Management and Budget that would increase the number of children and families in poverty enact a new poverty calculation that would underestimate the number of children living in poverty. They have a laser on the needs of the nation’s children. So why is it such a difficult argument to win?
The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) focused on how the tax policies (2017) are not benefiting distressed neighborhoods as promoted using the tools offered in the Opportunity Zone program. Finally, June closed with the launch of a video (here) on a program in Detroit known as “The Promise Path from the What Works Media Project.
The Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) provides excellent summaries of research on structural inequality. It gives means for disrupting systems that produce disadvantages for low-income people of color. Central to this point is their focus on solving the concentration of poverty problem with instruments such as housing choice vouchers. The NYC-based Furman Center’s research on combining mobility with housing opportunities (2016) recognizes how making multiple choices within a whole community is a far more enriching set of means to escape disadvantage. June’s tweets point to a robust set of American blind spots for which answers are held easily with political will.
To get to the political will, the tweets of the Tax Accountability People may have the insight required to examine the “all for one and one for all” question that confronts America and the fact that the country’s public affairs no longer appear public. For this reason, the Citizens for Tax Justice and theInstitute on Taxation and Economic Policy do not support “free file programs” as it stands to entrench a corrupt system further. A second tweet points to an example. The manipulation of the tax code by just one company produced a $4.3 Billion tax “dodge.” They also join in the criticism of Opportunity Zones as corporate welfare without the means to prove even a hint of benefits for working people.
The solution to the offshore economy problem is “beneficial ownership” legislation by those who recognize the snake has started to eat its tail using the fangs of anonymous shell companies with poisons affecting national security by promoting tax evasion and evading compliance. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) defines the problem (here). It presents the details via an Atlantic Council in an excellent (first hour) webcast on how the offshore corrupts the onshore (here). In addition, the link with the Offshore Economy is available (here). Added discussion on the subject is (here) among all Think Tank People (here).
The Taxpayers for Common Sense like to point to the ongoing absurdities as appropriations go final. Examples are summer increase in ethanol fuel mixes, disaster aid drama, and ideas like only farmers who actually farm should get ag bucks, and a long string of gives in taking resources (gold, silver, copper) from federal land royalty-free. An observation attributed to Winston Churchill is popular among American politicians that we as a government will do the right thing, but only after examining all possible alternatives.
Journalism’s Heart Needs a Blue Check-mark
Throughout its history, the heart of journalism has been to double-check the facts. Therefore, the new services of the information age offer a detection system for the “fake facts.” Journalists and the ordinarily curious now have over one hundred outlets worldwide exposing misstatements, inaccuracies, and lies. It may only be a matter of time before one of them is compromised. Still, these entities are screwing it up. Here is how.
The cash flow is built on ad dollars, demanding our attention drawn to base instincts. It is what I and others call a path to the end of history. But, there is another way, it leads directly to leaders, and we need them to stop lying by ignoring those they lead yet pretending not to do so.
Aside from getting overextended at Snopes, the acquisition of the “On The Issues” website will yield the instrumental analysis that agents from afar can bring to local affairs. Until the end of Snopes’ legal troubles, ads will be oppressive if you can send them a couple of bucks. In contrast, Ballotpedia for candidate data and Open Secrets on the money trail yield ordinary decision-making help. An example is how corporate #pride support runs counter to the PACs they fund. Moreover, Ballotpedia’s API is a vast storehouse of political information. Organizations of voters are free to explore its usefulness (here) and decide if a purchase of API keys adds insight.
The observation of media bias is the niche set by Fact Check, focusing on misleading and false claims. The best feature is the left side panel. An example is a viral Facebook post claiming Congress gave itself exorbitant pay raises while cutting Social Security. The 2018 Players Guide reviews sources of TV ad cash, annotates transcripts of statements made by POTUS45, and searches Facebook to debunk false stories, among several other opportunities to get to specifics.
PolitiFact is famous for the “Pants on Fire” truth-o-meter, and Politifact NY pulls their banner to focus on the gaffs of local leaders such as the mayor and its senators to provide items of local interest. It is essential to check both, one of the more interesting is how what looked like an AOC screengrab was, in fact, a parody account AOC Press Release (parody). Her real account has a “blue checkmark” that Twitter uses to indicate account authenticity.
Truth or Fiction also attempts to be
instructive of the new media world. One element is to be wary of “text against
a colorful background” without citation can spread toward viral. Examples are
SCOTUS rulings, the killing of Christians by Muslims, or that HR1 provides for
“To remain an active, political actor with a moral compass and a backbone for change believe me when I say pick true leaders by becoming one yourself. Do it the best way you know-how and be intelligent about leading and following. We do live in exciting times, and be prepared to be so, knowing it to be the oath of 2016 to 2020.”
Rex L. Curry
That is June
The March 2019 summary (here) introduced all the organizations selected for the Tweet-O-Rama and the Random Tweet-O-Rama. The idea is to learn something from the wits from this vast new area of the blah blah world. The April summary (here) examined the Think-Tank People. In May (here), I looked at the organizations working to produce a good economy combined with voter rights organizations. With those thoughts in mind, it is logical to look at politics as a sport and as a practice that is now very different from the role of leadership that it implies. Please enjoy June, everyone should, and then July (here) for a look at the one thing of great importance – housing (here)
Long live Mother Jones. They know they cannot fix all of the new forms of corruption destroying American democracy, but they are going to give it a try. You already know this to be their honest work, so click here to make a tax-free donation to the Corruption Project. The goal is $500,000. Click (<a rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label="here (opens in a new tab)" href="http://<p class="has-small-font-size">A reasonable combination of the policymakers that appear to be conservative or progressive.
here) for an update on recent events.
Deciding to make a more significant difference, the Corruption Project will build a 1.2 million dollar investment to publish reports on the kinds of corruption that seem to define America today. They will examine the illegal and the legal kind (here). In the summer of 2020, it will be tuned to make an impact that year’s election. Perhaps the most important in the history of America.
The needs to be more sunshine on the
folks who pull strings behind the scenes. The Kaiser Family Foundation added “corruption” to the list of topics of great concern over health care and
the economy. Corruption is the rot beneath thousands of scandals, all seen as
perception or news cycle problems, ahead of the behavior of cancer that it
If a demagogue benefits from the corruption,
they will run on a platform against it as a step to take full advantage in
Financial systems that are consistently manipulated by those with money and power for personal gain.
In-depth, time-intensive reporting on the crisis of democracy requires an inward vs. outward look. First, the crisis must be recognized.
Where there is no clarity, transparency, and change, corruption is likely.
The incentive to bring forward a new media landscape requires more analysis of results. For example,
What are fines without admission of guilt other than the debasement of values?
Do hundreds of pleas of wrongdoing, and malfeasance cloud the senses?
Examples like these expose the substantial issue — attacking “systems” of corruption.
Started on a Cure
The thing about systems is they are best only understood in terms of larger and more complex systems. The earth and moon cannot be defined usefully without understanding the solar system and its place among a galaxy of galaxies. A single cancer cell is unknown without the organ in which it grows in the body of the person in which it becomes lethal.
Mother Jones has come up with a
strategy for putting the quality of life as a nation in the context of our
choice in 2020. Will it be a choice made in a system designed by those with enormous
economic power seeking to defend great wealth or a messy system formed in the
expression needs and concerns embedded in the great diversity of the United
Send Mother Jones a few of your hard earned bucks and pay close attention with your sense of inner-guidance to the body politic
Goodell is a journalist focused on energy systems and climate change. At the end of his talk, Jeff Goodell was asked what he would do with $200 billion. His answer was surprising. He said he would spend it all on finding ways to improve the quality of political change and its ability to adapt to solving big long-term problems. He said we have the intelligence and capacity to deal with the problem of a constantly rising sea. Still, first, it must be recognized as daily and inevitable by our leadership. He adds this is a problem that will last for several centuries, so we might as well get started. His full discussion of “The Water Will Come” is available at the Long Now Foundation. His five main points are below. Buy “The Water Will Come.”
Sea rise is like the existence of gravity. It is all around us; it is happening now every day. Like gravity, the increase in seawater is subtle, and it is a fixed part of the world because you cannot make water go away. All you can do is watch it get redistributed. In every locality, the hydrology of the rise will be unique. The conservation of matter remains the physical driving principal – added moisture in the atmosphere; the higher intensity in storm surges is part of a global system with a deep billion-year-old history. The need for action to deal with sea-level rise and adapting to it is not physical. It is the hyper-political “not on my watch” principal. They are incompatible. What we can do today is the value to instill in leadership.
2. Rate of Change
The geological record covering billions of years shows 25 to 60 feet of sea-level rise is part of the system, leaving the central question’s time and rate. Jeff refers to Richard Alley as the world’s top ice analyst (climate scientist) who finds the rise of 15 feet by 2100 “is not out of the question.” The geological record also suggests the sea rise occurs in pulses, but the historical average is 13 feet per century. Huge unknowns remain. How will trillions of tons of water change the sea due to the catastrophic collapse of Antarctica? How big and fast questions will last for a century and vary in probable impact in places worldwide. Definitive answers to these questions drive political policy toward resilience. For example, the effect of climate change in the form of “storm surge” on the value of the coastal property is top on the list. The political response, on the other hand, is little more than a finger in the dike.
Long before any individual city or region comes up with mitigation resources, the “troubles” will have spoken and measured in dollars. A part of the American culture is that it tends to leave the important things unsaid. For example, the coastal states are losing property value. People are selling (caveat emptor) and moving to get ahead of their sea rise fears following one experience: a sunny day flooding or a crushing surge in the ocean’s new normal. Others take advantage of generous publicly funded encouragements to sustain tax revenues with “move to the shore,” campaigns deemed essential to borrow long term financing for local “fixes” (higher roads, bigger dunes, pumps, and so on) and. In political words, what we have here is a capital mess with a Catch 22 attached.
4. Resilience is Now
There is no way to know what plan will work best or who will call for spending and take the win/lose leadership responsibility to protect against the impact of sea rise. Goodell has traveled the world and has seen brilliance and stupidity. Some jurisdictions pump the water from one place to another. Others raise buildings, but protecting a city is a very different problem. The who is in and outside a mitigation area screams substantial social justice issues on why protections planned for one locality are not in another. Resilience policies are in response to ongoing “chaos costs” because it is too late to achieve sustainable development for five main reasons outlined by Dennis Meadows over a decade ago.
Public discourse has difficulty with subtle, conditional messages.
Growth advocates change the justification for their paradigm rather than changing the paradigm itself.
The global system is now far above its carrying capacity.
We act as if technological change can substitute for social change.
The time horizon of our current system is too short.
5. Why “Catastrophic” Resolution?
The business models used to treat climate change as an economic opportunity is often disguised by waiting for catastrophe. Nevertheless, there are places far less driven by profit-making than the quality of life that may be getting it right and doing so in a timely way. Lagos is a floating place to live, others in the Netherlands and similar geographies find ways for the sea to take what it will. The re-building design for a flooding world is easily envisioned across the economic spectrum of engineering. Geo-engineering work will attempt to physically alter the atmosphere by buying time or opening Pandora’s box but will not stop the sea-level rise. The question “what now” will help regions know what to do, the skills exist, and get them. To get creativity from skill, it will be necessary to make climate change risks transparent to get the markets and governments to function.
North America’s coastlines are urban, dense, and represent 80% of the nation’s GDP. From the islands of New York City to Virginia’s shipyards to the North and South Carolina beaches’ soft links and from Savannah to Miami, the sea is rising. From hot and sunny New Orleans, Louisiana to San Diego, California, and way up north to the cold and wet of Seattle, Washington, the sea is rising. It took three centuries to build this coastline, and this investment continues.
To sustain these economic giants as viable will require a new force capable of combining political will, economic genius, design, and engineering brilliance and bringing it to the forefront of our thinking. They are all unique urban environments requiring solutions specific to each place’s geology and hydrology, but they are all equally threatened. There are no “need to know” problems, only the need to make an effort. The alternative to a successful push for democratic transparency on these problems will be an authoritarian process that will choose winners and losers the way despots have always chosen.
A modest step toward transparency began implementation in January 2019. Currently overseen by Seth Agata, Executive Director of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), lobbyists in New York must disclose all the public officials they target. The purpose of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is to eliminate conflicts of interest in lawmaking, campaign donations, and interrelated matters. The range of agencies involved in corruption and the creation of the JCOPE is described from a different angle in Corruption Compelled in which JCOPE is more of a foil and cop-out, sidestep, and skirt around the real cops.
JCOPE’s regulatory framework completed in 2011 but did not take effect until Jan. 1, 2019. There is a reason for this long road to implementation. The disclosure of names changes everything. They are of state lawmakers, agency employees and local unelected officials approached on questions of legislation, regulations, and billions of dollars related to most governmental matters. The new rules also allow those who watch the watchers get the names of lobbyists, their clients, and public officials and look for accountability. In the first required bi-monthly report Jan/Feb 2019, the Times Union reported the following lobbyists did not disclose adequately. Examples are:
Complying with JCOPE is less transparent and will remain so if JCOPE does not penalize lobbyists for rule-breaking and confront the issue in the courts. While the report from the New York State United Teachers NYSUT offered every detail, why the slow start among the big, multi-client players?
Why? A Catch 22? A Wrench in the Works?
David Grandeau filed a lawsuit against JCOPE claiming the regulations to be vague, illegal, and not based on a law passed by the state legislature. He also represents lobbyists about complying with state law. The suit has a SCRIBD Final, and under the terms of the settlement, Grandeau reached in December with the agency, if JCOPE seeks to penalize Grandeau’s clients for noncompliance with the regulations, JCOPE would have to rely on state law text and not rules. The settlement only applies to Grandeau’s clients. It’s not like people were unaware of this problem a Politico Story in 2015 highlighted Grandeau’s point (here). Twitter Feed (here).
A road map for lobbyist/client non-compliance is now available for all who seek to avoid disclosure. The collapse of the regulations for the lack of enabling legislation or statute requiring JCOPE to implement them is the game in play. If corruption is punished it could kill the law aimed at ending corruption a classic Catch 22. Just like the original. If you say you’ve been driven psychologically insane by war – the claim is a logical one and that makes you sane and you cannot be discharged.
Other reasons for NYS and JCOPE will do a poor job and develop a bad record is outlined carefully by the Center for Public Integrity. See their March 2015 article (NY State Gets a “D” for Ethics) for more information dating to 2012. A key criticism was any three members can kill an investigation among the fourteen assigned for service on the Ethics Board by the people they are intended to investigate. Catch 22 all over the place. There are others and the rules in 2019 are far more convoluted.
The first rule of power politics: If the public is upset — confuse them.
The route to a better state of New York looks directly at its annual commitment to $10-14 billion in capital budget spending and a large but tightening $180 billion expense budget. Corruption is not built into human nature — it is compelled. Participants in this process are needed to take on a role. One good idea is to volunteer with Represent NYC.
JCOPE Executive Director Seth Agata has said that the agency intends to enforce the regulations and that those who don’t follow them will be subject to punishment. A person to follow his activities, meetings, conferences, enforcement activities, and plea agreements is needed.
Walter McClure, Director of Communications and Public Information Officer.
Contact him regarding questions concerning the regulated community, lobbyists,
and clients of lobbyists regarding assurance of compliance with filing
requirements. (518) 486-7842 or by email at email@example.com.
Chris Bragg (Times Union 4/27.19) the political and investigative reporter for the Capitol Bureau and contributor to Capitol Confidential it is “unclear if the rule issued by JCOPE would hold up if challenged in court.” Contact him at (518) 454-5303, (518) 454-5619 https://twitter.com/ChrisBragg1cbragg@timesunion.com Follow him.
The Office of the City Clerk website contains the Lobbying Bureau’s online filing application system, the site through which lobbyists and clients file reports under the Lobbying Law. For members of the public, Lobbyist Search, the public information database is accessed with reasonable ease. This is a black hole of data and people become exhausted A good example is New York Shame now very still and quite.
Support for (or against) members of the New York City Congressional, State, and Local Delegation requires paying attention. Change occurs rapidly through term limits, the high cost of running for office, and in NYS, change becomes likely for many reasons.
The idea is uncomplicated. Working quietly as a team with the resources available.
At the federal level, representation demonstrates political power through participation in committee structures of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The material developed here focuses on an analysis of that power. What gets out takes the study of the professional watch organizations because it is not about naming a post office. It is about following the money.
At the city and state level of representation, added attention is required. The state of New York has the same Gross Domestic Product as Canada. Its budget is xxx billion, and nearly half of the revenue is produced by the state’s largest cities, of which NYC plays a considerable role.
I recently met some smart people from RepresentUS-NY who focus on the question of corruption in all its forms and seek to remove its occurrence with the aid of law enforcement and community activism. I want you to join them, get the emails and subscribe.
Related stories are: “My Represent Us Story,” which includes Unbreaking America video with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Silver. Nearly two million people saw it by February 2019.
A description of “Corruption Compelled” among New York State Legislators is very detailed and lists the main sources of enforcement. I have a piece on “Ranking Leadership” using a 21st-century innovation to improve our right to a useful vote.
Draft for Comment
The draft below is an attempt to examine the technologies of cooperation available to advance the work that needs to be done in the New York Metropolitan Region.
RepresentUs uses Nation Builder to provide a platform of protocols, specific “how-to” papers, and Discord as a resource to help build chapters and aid their membership in selecting useful strategies that discover or encourage the detection of corruption.
Political leaders and the administrators of government policies are being damaged and manipulated. As they old saying goes, “If you dance with a bear, you must dance until the bear wants to stop.” The members of Represent.us watch closely and find ways to cut-in.
Technologies that Support Cooperation.
Access to the statistical tools of digital platforms offers methods to measure the “connectedness” of readers and users to specific issues presented by RepresentUS-NY. An online interactive platform aims to aid in the development and support of volunteers, organization affiliates, and associates. This must be two-way communication. The Unbreak America video wants 11 million to see it, and when I visited in early May 2019 and it was approaching 1 million. That is is the kind of feedback people need, but there is a great deal more possible.
The terms are familiar: total clicks, views and time spent per page, post, or video, the use of search terms, and so on. Building trust in building large communities of strangers (and friends) requires reports to users. Building a reputation along dimensions that are appropriate to a specific context requires understanding specific interests and responding to them. To get at the technologies that foster cooperation I’ll use the following example.
The failure of the Citizens Review Board is its inability get accountability and improve civic authority. Reporting on the history of advocacy within this specific community can build relationships for common ground with RepresentUS-NY on police corruption, concealment and cover-ups.
Self-organizing web networks and community grids distribute the burden of corruption investigations through a defined population of issue-based participants. In this example, RepresentUS would establish a foundation for intelligence from people and devices on all categories of police or general authoritarian misconduct.
The term “grid” is used to recover resources from publicly distributed sources within a network of people and devices, who decide when and how to foster cooperation versus competition used to amplify specific reports organized by the community as peers.
Peer networks combine volunteer communities to accomplish a specific result. These networks are potentially unbounded communities. They create value by rapidly defining and solving problems that would be impossible for smaller workgroups.
example in this context would seek self-defining human rights participants such
as 1) Survivors subdivided as necessary, 2) Attorneys focused on civil
liberties and social justice, 3) Social workers and mental health professionals,
4) Activists and community organizers using standard methods as well as
innovations such as “playtivism”.
All offer a unique peer group process of social change actors to expose violence
by building ground for social change.
mobilitytechnologies allow large or small groups of people, known and unknown to one another to act
in a coherent and coordinated fashion in a set place and time. It is supported
by information accessed in current time and space. In this example, the
organization ImprovNow has developed a playful group of constituents.
How should Represent Us approach them for advice
on on questions of political corruption or human rights violations? TED’s
Senior Fellow on the subject, Yana Buhrer Tavanier describes it is a very good
thing to try. They use Meet
Up as a mobility tool. The knowledge of that
experience could be useful.
technologies assist self-organized subgroups within a
larger network. The possibilities for exponential growth of a network occurs by
shortening the social distance among members of the network on specific. In
this example, the work to produce greater accountability for holding police
offices accountable for serious crimes fits within the larger human rights
network and holds the possibility for sharing portions of their agenda.
Social software is known for informal cultural exchanges. It helps people to manage specific purposes like keeping in touch, sharing interests, or as a business for building a following and support participation in events like tastings, product sales or discounts, or get new product notifications. In this example, searching Twitter feeds, Facebook, Instagram, and other social software platforms are excellent searchable sources for readers interested in understanding how political corruption works.
Collective knowledge technologies help to use “all of the above” to manage a common resource. Securing this information and expanding its use for a wide range of uses and users builds consensus. For example, the work to produce a more Citizens Review Board with power goes right to one of the most serious forms of corruption in our society. A quasi-military police force with the right to use deadly force in the face of danger (real or supposed) is protected by prosecutorial immunity all the way from cops on a beat to state attorneys. A better path to the reconciliation of error on both sides of the law requires reform. A resource such as “a commission” to provides for the complete exposure of a human error is a far better route to pursue than a regime of punishment and the cover-up of misconduct. Wikipedia is a good example of a disciplined source under specific subject areas.
Imagine Yourself in an Animated TV Series
Here is an example of how to take the horror out of dealing with the apologists of brutal authority.
Writers Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh introduced us to Dr. Doofenshmirtz (pictured above) in the Phineas and Ferb series. The doctor engineers destructive machines and names them with the suffix “er” and “or.” Perry, a secret agent platypus, foils the doctor’s evil deeds. You can go only so far with a cartoon metaphor other than Perry is one of the only egg-laying mammals of the species of echidna and monotremes. The crossover of Dr. Doofenshmirtz into the cartoon series “Milo Murphy’s Law” brings in the power of Melissa, who is daring, loyal self-possessed, smart, and curious. This contrasts with how Candace (Phineas and Ferb), is gaslighted in every episode, not by the act of their brothers, but a kind of whimsical happenstance of her brother’s male privilege. It is up to us to pay attention.
Stay with the theme of play for one more moment. The suffix “er” and “or,” along with “ist,” make “agent nouns.” They also make words denoting action and identifies the entity of the action. “Driver” is an agent noun formed from the word, “drive.”
A lax and ineffective Civilian Complaint Review Board could be promoted as the operators of the Complaint Removinator under the orders of the Coverupinaters at 1 Police Plaza.
Is there a force capable of erasing all police wrongdoing in a single leap?
The “Where is Waldo Demonstration” is an excellent example of the fine art of truth-finding and enhanced awareness undertaken by a group of activists in Harrisburg, PA. Have a look. (here)
In the words of Senator Hirono of Hawaii, POTUS45 is a “liar and grifter who sits in the Oval Office” (source). (deep end @vox). Let’s say the facts outlined during that time sinks deeply into the American consciousness, and it becomes a key removal tipping point. Well, that did happen.
We are living with many of those tipping points now, so put them in rank order. The first most serious t-point occurred in mid-2019 and is known as parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that guarantees irreversible climate change. But, unfortunately, some tipping points don’t slap you in the face until it is too late. This will happen.
It is not POTUS45 or Putin that will cause the collapse of stable climate conditions or the American three-equal-branch system of government. The process that led us to these two t-point situations does not occur independently of what governments can control. The issue is corruption. Nothing else will matter as we find ourselves adapting to this changing world. You might pick one of these strategies, and you might as well laugh along the way and fight corruption from your American political breakfast table.
The Ninth Congressional data is very revealing and worthy of spending the time to understand it by size, shape, and its many places as defined by our representative to Congress.
CD9 & Stress
Exploring the following group of analysts will produce one of the more fascinating introductions to key indicators of economic stress. Have a good long look at the work of the EIG. It will give you an RTC. Put your zip code in the search box and for the Ninth Congressional District, insert NY-9 in the map below. In NYC, opportunities to become involved in innovation for economic recovery could be the Ninth Congressional District. Find people who have read Section Subchapter Z— Opportunity Zones in the Tax Reform Act. (pdf is HERE) Only 25% of CTs (defined as low-income can be nominated by the State. NYC has several of these ‘zones’ from previous designations. (EIG explanation). If anyone has any insight into this EIG outfit, please share.
A look at the last few years in NYS to go forward.
“The examination of people that get swept up in offering or receiving a corrupt benefit reminds me of the punchline in a joke describing a negotiating process. ‘You and I have already decided what you are; now we’re just haggling about the price.” The ‘what you are’ list that society would see eliminated with the threat of punishment and mitigation resources is compelling and long.” It has not helped.
Rex L. Curry
Embezzling, conspiracy, extortion, mail and wire fraud, bribe solicitation, tax evasion, intentionally soliciting illegal campaign contributions, and judicial extortion payments have all been committed by New York political leaders, include theft of honest services, bribes and kickbacks, felony, and a variety of misdemeanor charges. The results involve expelling leaders from office, hefty fines, and terms of imprisonment.
Most of those in the photo collage (above) did not commit a major crime. It is everyone since 2000. Of the forty-eight state political leaders arrested from 2000 to 2018, fourteen went to prison, less than one per year. It is statistically embarrassing. It is alarming due to the expected “high-bar” of public service but not out of line with bad human behavior in general. Over 18 years, troubles with the law affected fourteen Republicans and thirty-four Democrats, representing a third of NYS lawmakers (source listing the crimes).
Seriously, How Bad
I pulled arrest data by state from Table 69 from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Program (UCR) to make a comparison. I culled it down somewhat roughly to executive/professional collar crimes. Annually all arrests in New York State average in the area of 260,000, of which fraud and embezzlement make up about 7,000 arrests per year.
The idea that this is a “few bad apples” issue is wrong. Legislators (including staff) are hagglers in every aspect of their political lives. Those who get out of control and get caught end their careers in political life and much of their personal lives. None of us are saints, nor do we expect our political representatives to be candidates for divine recognition. What I (we, people) want is an aggressive public effort to discover wrongdoing whenever there is a hint of it.
The concerns of an
ordinary, reasonably thoughtful citizen are focused on the growing number of
new ways our leaders are corruptible in today’s political climate. The front of
the line has people (corporations) who want a part of the state’s $10-14 billion
in capital budget spending or a few more campaign bucks, but today that line extends
around the block and back ten years to Citizen’s United vs. FEC (SCOTUS pdf).
The New York State annual operating budget is approaching $180 billion, and it will make yearly capital investments between $11 to $14 billion (2020 Report pdf). New York City’s budget is approaching $100 billion. While it is a “creature of the state,” a discussion of corruption and money requires a separate review that connects the nation’s metropolitan regions to the political process embedded in public benefit corporations that cross state boundaries. NYC’s creation of the Independent Budget Office (IBO) has proven to be a highly effective provider of facts in this regard. The New York state legislature is considering a similar option.
Well-funded investigation divisions in the Attorney General’s local and state offices, the Election Commission, the Controller, and the FBI are institutions that citizens need to believe are doing their job well and with integrity. Unfortunately, they cannot confirm the political honesty of all the people who seek to lead. Still, they can “follow the money,” which is where a network of community-based and national advocacy groups plays an essential function if unbreaking our democracy is to get some local traction.
The Office of the Attorney General led by Letitia James (D) went from New York City’s Office of Public Advocate with a budget less than $4M budget to the AG’s $230M+ statewide operating budget. Drilling down into the role this office plays in preventing political corruption is on the public’s radar. A detailed look at AG’s responsibilities and resources is ongoing.
The New York State Comptroller is the State’s chief fiscal officer ensures that New York State and local governments use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently. It is the sole trustee of the $207.4 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund. An audit released March 31, 2018, revealed the fund as one of the world’s largest institutional investors. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued an audit to find out if Empire State Development had met its statutory reporting requirements and revealed that between April 2012 and September 2016, 17 programs didn’t undergo mandatory, independent evaluations, and public reports weren’t issued on 12 programs that received more than $500 million in total funding.
The New York State Board of Elections is responsible for administering all laws relating to elections in New York State and operates with a budget of about $12M. Another $41M is from legislation reauthorizing the BoE obligates expired budget authority through )reapportionment. The role of BoE will also be the subject of a detailed look at NYS through the lens offered by proposed legislative changes in voting practices and campaign financing at the city and state level.
The strategy of changing local laws to bring about national change begins at the local level. For example, in New York, the citizens have the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The question is, how well do the Laws of New York State legislature and the home rule work of NYC hold up against the demands for change by RepresentUs and the work of its NY Chapter. This link will lead to a report on JCOPE’s reports (here).
An argument for one other institutional analysis of political behavior (both APAs) or private, professional psychology or psychiatric team. As this review of NYS implies, it is not just the money. It is the power for the imbalance that money represents. See the post Control vs. Balance for a look at the control balance theory.
Examples Worthy of a Close Look
During policy and budget negotiations, the give-and-take practices of a healthy democracy are like fencing. Participants will thrust, and reprise, even produce the third intention. Another often-used metaphor is, if not achieved after three attempts, punt. Give the other side a try if you can get them in the game.
The most severe forms of corruption occur in the reverse of the authorized/allocated condition where funds are authorized in the sense that they will meet a need or support a project on which there is consensus. Still, the actors who seek the funds use a strategic means to secure the allocation. Understanding this fact is the best way to find the line in the sand that matters. It helps separate political banter and partisanship from what is factually determined by standing authorizations and measured allocations to which the actors can be held accountable.
Since 2010 concerns regarding the economic recovery of Western New York were agreed to politically and based in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and the surrounding counties. With “we have to do something” well established, a good analysis offered by the Citizen’s Budget Commission (CBC) finds the current NYS Budget in the areas of growth and reductions by program reasonable. It points out that steps to improve transparency and accountability continue to make outcomes obscure — see (10 Billion Reasons).
The following examples illustrate corruption as an agent of change at the state level. The dangers of attacking public institutional efforts to implement reforms are critical and should not be part of political dialogue unless it is an independent evaluation of excesses and errors. The Senate has offered solutions that would prevent the condition in which New Yorkers find themselves. Unfortunately, it is your busted, “post-trauma” and catastrophic resolution policy ending in the prosecution of criminal intent. That is not good enough.
When a Corporation
Controls a Market
The Cor Construction Company is a mid-sized, upstate development corporation that got greedy for a guarantee. Despite the bid-fixing controversy, Cor still boasts of 50 employees and many large development projects. Like a business remains interested in drawing on the NYS investment in their economic sector and sections of the state requiring more jobs and economic development. Just outside of Syracuse, Cor built an attractive building for $15 million in state funding. Unfortunately, the project also resulted in discovering significant crimes, bid fixing, and bribery by company executives involving a top aide in the governor’s office and many others.
As the dust of litigants continues to settle, the state gave the building to a nonprofit corporation created by Onondaga County for one dollar. With about $2M in additional seed funds, the project became the Greater Syracuse Soundstage (GSS). Not exactly Kaufman Studios, but it remains a capital investment that is not forgotten, it is in local hands, and the pressure to return on that investment continues. With more local control, it is likely to be successful but slow. Will the forgetful citizen of the state follow up on this public investment? Will the GSS succeed, create jobs, become an important new institution. Who wants to follow that one, if it is you leave a reply?
When a Corporation Walks
The $90 million used to build the factory for the Soraa LED lighting company resulted in them leaving the deal with no penalty even though its developer was implicated in the bid fixing, bribery, and wire fraud by the agent in charge of the project. Meanwhile, NYS added up to $15 million more, so NexGen Power Systems, a semiconductor company, would retrofit and lease the plant outside Syracuse. Lesson learned: in the new deal, NexGen will repay $2.5 million if the company failed to create ten jobs in 2018 – it did. Another $2.5 million will be due if it fails to employ 30 people by the end of 2019. Another $2 million will be due if it failed to have 58 employees in 2020. Known as “clawbacks,” the company agrees to 290 jobs by 2024 measured in annual increments increases requiring $2M payments each of the next four years. As in the case of criminal prosecution, the practice of assuring accountability or the lack of it stands with those who hold the clocks and triggers of fact. Will these targets are met, or penalties assigned? Who will follow that one if it is you leave a reply?
In these two examples, and the slow appeals process only leaves names to follow to learn if punishment is a real deterrent – these are Alain Kaloyeros, Stephen Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, (Cor) and Louis Ciminelli, (LPCiminielli) and Joseph Percoco. All of whom are appealing prison terms. Also, watch for Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a corporation created by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which oversaw the corruption-tainted projects regarding all the above. It may be the reforms proposed will not occur unless the law provides its proof as a deterrent. at
When a Corporation Gets
The Western part of NYS is economically depressed. Increased public spending demand falls on the shoulders of its local development agencies and the state. New York is the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and its ten regional economic development councils. The state’s human capital investment arm is the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) system. It also works with several community-based nonprofits partners who are asked to play a role or develop initiatives. The two examples above were obvious screw-ups that need follow-up. To sustain trust, the CEO of Empire State Development will point to the positives Howard Zemsky — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, (3,000 jobs) for $31 million in grants and tax incentives. He will also tell you private-sector jobs continue to grow in NYS, and he’ll give EDC credit. Should we? If you want to follow that one, leave a reply.
The ESD is a business. Of its $77M in annual operating budget (pdf) for 2020, just $9M is from NYS program-specific budget appropriations and some federal funding. The ESD runs on commercial receipts, its assets, fees, and bond financing. As the NYS Controller recently observed, it may be a small agency, but its reach and economic power are considerable. Corruption can occur honestly through stupid eagerness aimed at capturing fast-moving capital. If the Great Recession of 2008 or the ridiculous excess of Wells Fargo and others is not a signal to this, then the world is going blind.
What Will NYS Legislators Do?
Three bills (S6613B, S3354, S3984A) to address this question are supported (see descriptions below plus a snowball). They have passed the Senate, still await the Assembly, and are not codified (Article VII) as law. Briefly, they: 1) create a “database of deals” on economic development, 2) establishes a unified economic development budget, and 3) reforms procurement by restoring the State Comptroller’s oversight of contracts made by SUNY and CUNY, and the state’s Office of General Services to heighten the quality of monitoring.
A unified economic
development budget on the costs of all economic development programs is
essential; the use of metrics for comparability across all programs would
confirm benefits from private sector participation. All these steps can lead to
program design improvements and the efficiency of public tax and capital
The Senate is calling its passage of ethical reforms historic. The thing to pay attention to is that they do not carry the force of law yet, and there is a lot more left—voting reforms, an independent redistricting agency ready to go following the 2020 census, etc.
The number of those who have a strong interest in ethical reforms in the NYS legislature needs to grow. Their numbers are few. A strategy toward “exponential” participation is needed. The question is direct. When will you know if and how any of the following reasonable ideas become law and have access to the final content? Take one step, leave a reply to subscribe.
Sponsored by Senator Croci, it requires creating a searchable state subsidy and economic development benefits database that would benefit New Yorkers and policymakers by helping monitor the use of taxpayer money used to grow our state’s economy create jobs. The database would include the participant’s name and location, the period of received economic development benefits, the type of benefit received, and the total number of employees at all project sites. The number of jobs a participant is obligated to retain and create during the project is in the contract. The number of economic development benefits received for the current reporting year; and a statement of compliance indicating if any other state agency has reduced, canceled, or recaptured economic development benefits from a participant.
Sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), it prevents self-dealing in the government procurement process by enhancing the integrity, transparency, and accountability of the state’s procurement process. Historically, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has performed this essential oversight function. Still, in recent years OSC’s ability to do so has been eroded by executive and legislative action. The bill, called the New York State Procurement Integrity Act, would:
restore the state Comptroller’s independent oversight (eliminated
in 2011 and 2012) of SUNY, CUNY, and OGS centralized contracts;
expand the Comptroller’s oversight of the procurement process to
include contracts over $1 million awarded by the SUNY Research Foundation;
prohibit state contracting through state-affiliated
not-for-profit (NFP) entities unless explicitly authorized in law;
Making Economic Data Available
to Help Measure Effectiveness S3354
Sponsored Senator Liz Krueger (D, Manhattan), directs the state Division of the Budget (DOB) to prepare an annual Unified Economic Development budget that outlines the aggregate amounts of state investments in economic development projects statewide, the benefactors of these investments, and the number of jobs created or retained by businesses as a result of this development assistance. The legislation also standardizes the types of information that state entities and recipients of development assistance must report to the DOB.
Sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), it creates the New York State Independent Budget Office to provide objective, non-partisan analyses of state revenues, expenditures, and management practices to members of the Legislature for any legislation with fiscal impact or at the request of a leader or a committee. Accurate, up-to-date information is a key ingredient for prudent, timely budgetary and policy decisions. At least 23 other states, including California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut, and Vermont, have already established non-partisan budget offices to assist their legislatures.
Oddly interesting that the New York City Independent Budget Office is not mentioned in the Senate’s description. It is a precious independent tool concerning the city’s massive OMB.
Help to find out what it will take to get these measures passed and signed by the Governor. One more time — leave a reply.
“Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) improves democratic participation for three reasons. First, it feels ethical and principled; second; it reduces conflict through majority rule by supporting more choice. Third, RCV supports a politics of joy and civil argument. Finally, in a society that tends to leave the critical things unsaid, RCV is cheaper. It avoids the cost of close race run-offs and recounts. The second and third picks of voters remain choices and get used if none of the candidates get to the 50+% threshold. Democracies require consensus to function, and that means we can make choices on issues and for people to which we can agree to some extent. Ranking your options is a step in that direction.”
Rex L. Curry
Two party systems should become more sophisticated than a thumbs up or down decision with obvious limits in our ability to choose leaders. The ranking alternative not only expands the values inherent to voting; it encourages and builds new practices in leadership and encourages people who want to lead to find their way in politics. We should also never forget an idea in the United States Constitution that says we have to work for a perfect union. To this end, the popularity of RCV is significant. Given Maine’s experience presents one difficulty. The possibility of litigation and its cost. If there is pivot point to watch, that will be it.
Watching and reviewing the Maine experience will be useful in this regard as the practice is now settled law. With this precedent, it is the first state to use RCV, and the lessons here have been rewarding. I would refer you to three articles presented in chronological order to illustrate the path taken, the questions asked and the lawsuits filed to get it done. The first article examines the prospect and examines its impact, the second article reviews the litigation on this legislation over the next year or two, and third, the actual practice of voting in Maine today as described by the League of Women Voters. Praise the victories of suffrage.
Voting: What’s in it for you? August 2016 (here)
Voting Experiment Continues November 2018 (here)
Does Ranked Voting Work (Main LWV website) (here) also see (cool video)
Watching the New York Experience begins by testimony on May 2nd or by write to the Charter Revision Commission to tell them to put RCV before voters on the November ballot. Ranked choice voting will advance voting practices as if it was the 21st Century.
Imagining a similar process for the voters of New York City as a creature of New York State is a daunting one, but this is one of those “fix-it-even-if-it-isn’t broke” ideas worthy of your efforts, sweat and I don’t think I’m nuts, blood for the bank, if necessary. Lowering the cost is the sane approach that calls for “instant run-offs” that takes into account a voters second and third choices. A bill in the New York City Council does that is (here),
Common Cause took up the mantle on RCV (here) and defined the issues as follows: voting as “the lesser of two evils” is part of the political value system and needs to change. Accepting the value of the majority vote win on the other hand is vital, today that is no longer true and that needs to change. The NYC Public Advocate’s win with 33% of the vote is a still win, but politically it can be used as a criticism. Ranked choice solves that problem by confirming the existence of voter confidence. Lastly, the overall downward pressure on the validity of the vote with algorithms allows political power brokers to ignore whole sections of he population and reduces elections to battleground states or neighborhoods.
The opportunity to make this happen is this year because the 2019 Charter Revision Commission is considering the placement of Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot by voters in November. The opportunity to show support will be in Borough hearings- locations and dates are TBA . The Commission’s website was launched 3 April. It is a bit difficult to navigate, but covers the bases well with links from “lists” to sections with more content.
The articles make sense, much of the critical thinking is complete, and it is top on the list of the commission’s voting reform proposals. The Charter Commission offers a look at what this revision of NYC’s voting system would be like:
Let NY Vote that continues to enjoy many successful election reform campaigns At one time they included ranked-choice voting on its list of reforms and then the calendar item went 404 – files not found. (URL here). The priority of getting the vote in the hands of people from whom it has been taken is the current priority. Several political districts in upstate NY get to count the population of their prisons to determine the apportion public office, but this population is not allowed to vote. If advocating for a ranked choice system of voting in NYC is less of a priority than work that increases voter participation in the process, I recommend attending their events.
Represent Us is putting this idea on there national list of victories and the New York Chapter is calling out all of their recent success and making sure the city’s representatives understand a the power of a very strong movement in the grassroots of every election district. The message is simple if you are in politics — pay really attention.
The folks at Represent Us in local and state elections all over the United States present three major issues in Unbreaking America (above). Every once in a while people get their act so together that you know exactly why you have to do what you have to do. Watch it.
In 2018 When Indivisible established a network I did some homework on my political back yard. I conducted research and built some tools. I live in Brooklyn. I use the Ninth CD as a lens capture a view of local and state representatives. Take a look at it below. I am looking for some help for 2020, 2022, 2024.
What I Found
Represent Us is correct. Yvette D Clarke received 82% her of campaign contributions ($537,295) from outside her district. (Rank: 206 out of 421.) and she received 32% of campaign contributions ($211,772) from outside NYS. Source: the Center for Responsive Politics.
Who or what Clarke represents becomes a logical, honest question. RepresentUs asks this question of every single member of our city, state and federal legislature. Corruption can be removed only one way by the people.
Finding a new member of Congress. Clarke ranks 381st among the 435 in the House. She had estimated net worth of $115,502 in 2014. This is super important because the average net worth of a U.S. House of Representative is over $6 million (2014) despite the annual salary in the House is less than $200,000.
I took a look at every election district in the Ninth Congressional District (see NYC Election District Map here). I want you to use the location tool and share your ED with me if you live in the Ninth or know some one who does. In the 2018 primary I gave some friends and myself some instructions and tried to elect Adem as a replacement for only one reason. Change works. Clarke is still in office, but it was fun trying.
The proof came with AOC. New people with voter backing make a real difference because most incumbents have stopped paying attention to their districts and they tend toward complacency with a 98% re-election rate.
The table below describes registered voters by party in the Brooklyn’s Ninth Congressional District by status. The shock is in the number of voters it took to re-elect Clarke for yet another term in the tables that follow.
All Voters in the Ninth CD
New York City is a city of Democrats and Independents. It is the cities that make New York State blue. The Democratic Primary is the most important vote if a change is needed. When 10% of the people of the Ninth make that decision the Represent Us video above is frighteningly accurate.
If you are interested in “working the Ninth for 2020” let me know with the reply option below. All the rest of the effort can be seen (here) in various, largely unedited narratives about the Ninth. A more detailed volunteer form is here. The tool I use takes the Ninth CD and links that to local and state representatives using the two menus below. This is far as I’ve gotten. It is a big job. Thanks for reading.