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Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
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Lessis @TED, We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

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Lessig uses several really cool fonts, which we had to substitute for universal, less cool ones for the PowerPoint file. Check out corruptionismyissue.org for a list of these fonts. …

Lessig uses several really cool fonts, which we had to substitute for universal, less cool ones for the PowerPoint file. Check out corruptionismyissue.org for a list of these fonts.

Note: We transcribed the talk in full in this file. Each slide contains the portion of the actual speech that accompanied that visual.

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  • So
  • once upon a time, there was a place called Image of Cinderella Castle at Night: copyrighted alt: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-4535885901
  • Lesterland. Chris didn’t tell you because this is a secret, so I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anybody about this, but my first name is actually Lester, so I’m allowed to make fun of Lesters. So here it is:
  • Lesterland. Now Lesterland looks a lot like the United States. Like the US, Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • it has about 311 million people, and of that 311 million people, Image of Lester Simpsons avatar @ make your own Simpsons avatar: http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • it turns out 144,000 are called Lester. (Matt’s in the audience -- I just borrowed that [Simpson’s character], I’ll return it in a second.) So 144,000 are called Lester, which means avatar @ make your own Simpsons avatar: http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • about .05% are named Lester. Now Lesters
  • in Lesterland have this extraordinary power. There are two elections every election cycle in Lesterland. One is called the general election. The other is called the Lester election. And in the general election, it’s the citizens who get to vote, but in the Lester election it’s the Lesters who get to vote. And here’s the trick, in order to run in the general election, you must do extremely well in the Lester election. You don’t necessarily have to win, but you must do extremely well. Now, what can we say about democracy in Lesterland? Image of Lester Simpsons avatar @ make your own Simpsons avatar: http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • What we can say:
  • 1) As the Supreme Court said in Citizens United, the people have the ultimate influence over elected officials. Because after all, http://www.docstoc.com/docs/23497308/Supreme-Court-Decision-on-Corporate-Campaign-Spending---Citizens-United-vs-FEC
  • there is a general election. But only after the Lesters have had their way with the candidates who wish to run in the general election. And Image of Lester Simpsons avatar @ make your own Simpsons avatar: http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • 2)
  • Obviously,
  • this dependence upon the Lesters is going to produce a
  • subtle, understated, we could say camouflaged
  • bending
  • to keep the Lesters happy.
  • Okay, so: we have
  • a democracy, no doubt, but
  • it’s dependent upon the Lesters
  • and
  • dependent upon the people. It has
  • competing dependencies, we could say,
  • conflicting dependencies
  • depending upon
  • who the Lesters are. Okay,
  • that’s Lesterland. Now there are
  • three things I want you to see now that I’ve described Lesterland.
  • 1)
  • The United States is Lesterland.
  • The United States also looks like this. Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • It also has two elections: one we call the general election, the second we should call the money election. In the general election, it’s the citizens who get to vote if you’re over 18 and in some states if you have an ID. In the money election, it’s the funders who get to vote. And just like in Lesterland, the trick is to run in the general election, you must do extremely well in the Lester election. You don’t necessarily have to win, there is Jerry Brown, but you must do extremely well. And here’s Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • the key: Image of an old key: copyrighted alt: http://openclipart.org/detail/61171/old-key-by-j_alves
  • There are just as few
  • relevant funders in USA-land,
  • as there are
  • Lesters in Lesterland. Now you say
  • really?
  • .05 percent? Stat: Recalculate using http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/donordemographics.php
  • Well here are the numbers from 2010:
  • .26% of America gave $200 or more to any federal candidate, Stat: Recalculate using http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/donordemographics.php
  • .05% gave the maximum amount to any federal candidate, Stat: Recalculate using http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/donordemographics.php
  • .01%, the 1% of the 1%, gave $10,000 or more to federal candidates. Stat: Recalculate using http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/donordemographics.php
  • And in this election cycle, my favorite statistic is:
  • .000042%, and for those of you doing the numbers, you know that is 132 Americans, gave 60% of the Super PAC money spent in the cycle we have just seen ended. http://www.demos.org/publication/election-spending-2012-post-election-analysis-federal-election-commission-data  
  • So I’m just a lawyer, I look at this range of numbers,
  • and I think it is fair of me to say it is .05% who are our relevant “funders” in America,
  • In this sense, our funders are our “Lesters”.
  • Now, what can we say about this democracy in USA-land?
  • Well, as the Supreme Court said in Citizen’s United , we can say that, of course! The people have the ultimate influence over the elected officials! http://www.docstoc.com/docs/23497308/Supreme-Court-Decision-on-Corporate-Campaign-Spending---Citizens-United-vs-FEC
  • We have a general election, but only after the funders have had their way with the candidates that wish to run in the general election. Image of AVHRR View of the USA: http:// www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/usa.htm
  • obvious effect of this dependency And number 2)
  • (obviously)
  • this dependence upon the funders produces
  • a subtle, understated, camouflaged
  • bending
  • to keep the funders happy. Candidates for congress and members of congress
  • spend between 30 and 70% of their time raising money to get back to Congress to get their party back into power, and the question we need to ask is: Lessig, Lawrence. Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2011. *Updated stat on time spent fundraising: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/call-time-congressional-fundraising_n_2427291.html
  • “ What does it do to them?” These humans, as they
  • spend their time behind the telephone calling people they have never met, but calling the tiniest slice of the 1%. As anyone would, as they do this,
  • they develop a “sixth sense”, a constant awareness about how what they do might affect their ability to raise money. They become in the words of the X-Files,
  • “ shape-shifters” as they constantly adjust their views in light of what they know will help them to raise money, not on issues 1 to 10, but in issues 11 to 1000.
  • Leslie Byrne, a democrat for Virginia describes that when she went to Congress, she was told by a colleague, (quote), “always lean to the green”. Then to clarify, she went on: Image of Leslie L Byrne: not found Alt: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leslie_L_Byrne_at_podium_DD-SC-07-29431.JPEG http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-lessig/neoprogressives_b_704715.html
  • “ he was not an environmentalist”. "He was not an environmentalist." Schram, Martin. Speaking Freely. Center for Responsive Politics, 1995.
  • So here too we have
  • a “democracy”
  • dependent upon the Funders
  • and
  • dependent upon the people,
  • competing dependencies,
  • possibly conflicting dependencies
  • depending upon
  • who the Funders are.
  • Okay, the United States is Lesterland, point number 1.
  • Here is 2)
  • The United States is worse than Lesterland, because you can imagine in
  • Lesterland, if we Lesters’ got a letter from the government that said, “Hey! You get to pick! Who gets to run in the general election?” We would think, maybe, of a kind of
  • aristocracy of Lester’s. You know, there are Lester’s in every part of social society. There are rich Lester’s, poor Lester’s, black Lester’s, white Lester’s, not many women Lester’s (but put that aside for a second). We have Lester’s from everywhere you can think! What could we do Image of Lester Simpsons avatar @ make your own Simpsons avatar: http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html
  • to make Lesterland better? It’s at least possible that Lesters would act for the good of Lesterland.
  • But in our land,
  • this land,
  • in USA-land,
  • there are certainly some sweet Lesters out there, many of them in this room here today, but the
  • vast majority of the Lesters
  • act for the Lesters.
  • Because the shifting coalitions that are comprising the .05% are not comprising it for
  • the public interest, it’s for
  • their private interest
  • And in this sense, the US is worse than Lesterland.
  • And finally, 3)
  • Whatever one wants to say about
  • Lester-land against the background of its history, its traditions
  • in our land,
  • in USA-land,
  • Lesterland is a
  • corruption. Now by corruption, I don’t mean
  • brown paper-bag cash secreted among members of Congress, © licensed through istockphoto
  • I don’t mean Rod Blagojevich sense of corruption. I don’t mean any criminal act. The corruption I am talking about is perfectly legal. Image of Rod Blagojevich: http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2008/12/illinois_govern.html
  • It’s a corruption relative to Framers’ baseline for this Republic.
  • The Framers’ gave us what they called a republic. But by a republic, they meant a representative democracy. And by a representative democracy, they meant Image of Constitution mural: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_mural_constitution_b.html#
  • a government as Madison put it in Federalist 52, Image of Federalist Paper: http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=682843
  • that would have a branch that is “dependent on the people alone”. So here is the model of government: Image of United States Capitol Building: not found Alt: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-17778833-the-united-states-capitol-building-washington-dc.php
  • they have the people, they have the government (I do my own slides, it’s cool how they bounce like that, okay), the people, the government with its exclusive dependency. But the problem here is that Image of capitol dome: http://dir.coolclips.com/History/United_States/Landmarks_and_Monuments/Capitols/Capitol_building_arch
  • Congress has evolved a different dependence.
  • The longer the dependence on the people alone, increasingly a dependence upon the funders. Image of capitol dome: http://dir.coolclips.com/History/United_States/Landmarks_and_Monuments/Capitols/Capitol_building_arch
  • Now, this is a dependence too.
  • But it is different and conflicting from
  • dependence on the people alone
  • so long as
  • the funders are not the people. This is a
  • corruption.
  • Now there is good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it is
  • bi-partisan, equal opportunity corruption.
  • It blocks the Left on a whole range of issues
  • that we on the Left
  • really
  • care
  • about.
  • It blocks the Right too as it makes principled arguments of the Right increasingly impossible.
  • So, the Right wants smaller government.
  • When Al Gore was vice president, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported the response back to me, the response was, “Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?” Image of Al Gore: http://www.flickr.com/photos/majikthise/1442923515/ All rights reserved by Lindsay Beyerstein Alternative(s): http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Al_Gore,_Vic e_President_of_the_United_States,_official_portrai t_1994.jpg
  • This is a system that is designed to save the status quo, including the status quo of big and invasive government. It works
  • against the Left and the Right.
  • And that, you might say, is good news.
  • But here is the bad news:
  • it’s a pathological, democracy-destroying corruption, because in any system,
  • where the members are dependent upon a tiny fraction of us for their election,
  • that means
  • the tiniest number of us,
  • can block reform (I know that should have been a rock or something, I can only find cheese, I’m sorry, so there it is), because there is an economy here. Image of cheese: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-33631246/stock-photo-block-cheese-on-a-white-background.html
  • An economy with lobbyists at the center
  • which feeds on polarization.
  • It feeds on dysfunction.
  • The worse that it is
  • for us,
  • the better that it is
  • for fundraising.
  • Henry David Thoreau, Image of Henry David Thoreau: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henry_David_Thoreau.jpg
  • “ There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil,
  • to one who is striking at the root.”
  • This is the root.
  • Okay, now,
  • Every single one of you knows this. You couldn’t be here if you know this.
  • But you ignore it.
  • This is an impossible problem.
  • You focus on the possible problems,
  • like eradicating polio from the world, Image of the Last Days of Polio: http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Topics/Health/Global-Polio-Eradication-Initiative-A-Partnership-that-is-Getting-Results
  • or taking every single image on the street from across the globe, Image of Google Maps and Eiffel Tower: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Pont+d'I%C3%A9na,+75007+Paris,+%C3%8Ele-de-France,+France&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sll=37.269174,-119.306607&sspn=8.879495,17.006836&geocode=FTeK6QId__kiAA&hnear=Pont+d'I%C3%A9na,+75007+Paris,+%C3%8Ele-de-France,+France&t=m&z=14
  • or building the first real universal translator, Image of Universal Translator: http://roxannebarbour.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/u-is-for-universal-translator/ Image of TechFest: http://screens.sysblog.info/en/9/03/2012/the-latest-microsoft-research-techfe st-2012-projects
  • or building a fusion factory in your garage. Image of Fusion Factory: http://tomclynes.com/the-boy-who-played-with-fusion/
  • These are the manageable problems,
  • so you ignore,
  • so you ignore this corruption.
  • We cannot ignore this corruption anymore. (applause)
  • We need a government that works.
  • Look, I love the gov’, but it was a punch in the gut to have this former governor from the state of Michigan stand up and try to kickstart a national energy policy from TEDsters! I felt, “is this a third-world nation? Are you serious?!” Image of Jennifer Granholm: http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/26/how-about-creating-a-national-energy-policy-jennifer-granholm-at-ted2013/
  • We need a government that works!
  • And not one that works for the Left or the Right,
  • but one that works for the Left and the Right, the citizens of the Left and the Right,
  • because there is no sensible reform possible
  • until we
  • end this corruption.
  • So I want you to take hold, to grab the issue you care most about— climate change is mine- but it might be financial reform or a simpler tax system, or inequality. Grab that issue and sit it down in front of you, look straight in its eyes and tell it: “ There is no Christmas this year, there will never be a Christmas, we will never get your issue solved until we fix this issue first”. So it’s not that mine is the
  • most important issue, it’s not. Yours is the most important issue.
  • But my issue is the first issue we have to solve before we get to fix the issues you care about.
  • No sensible reform,
  • and we cannot afford a world, a future,
  • with no sensible reform.
  • Okay, so how do we do it?
  • Turns out the analytics here are easy, simple.
  • If the problem is members spending an extraordinary amount of time fundraising from the tiniest slice of America,
  • the solution is to have them spend less time fundraising, but fundraise from a wider slice of America.
  • To spread it out.
  • To spread “Funder influence” so that we restore the idea of
  • dependence upon the people alone. Federalist 52
  • and to do this does not require a
  • constitutional amendment, changing the First Amendment. Image of Article V: public domain
  • To do this would require a single statute. A statute establishing what we think of
  • small-dollar funded elections. A statute of
  • citizen-funded campaigns, and there are any number of proposals out there.
  • Fair Elections NOW Act, Image of Fair Elections NOW: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nqzg1TEQEv0/Tc3RZ3dBFHI/AAAAAAAABU0/x_gkbvRbFcE/s1600/fair-elections-now-nav.png
  • the American Anti-Corruption Act, Image of AACA: http://anticorruptionact.org/
  • an idea in my book that I call the Grant and Franklin Project that give vouchers to people who fund elections, Image of Franklin: public domain Image of Grant: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-13592355-u-s-fifty-dollar-bill-ulysses-s-grant.php Image of Republic, Lost: http://cdn.tripwiremagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/us-capitol-building-dollar-bil ls.jpg
  • an idea of John Sarbanes calls Grassroots Democracy Act, Image of Grassroots Democracy Act logo: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdjrrdQTfL1qdlgq 4o2_400.jpg Image of Joh Sarbanes: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Sarban es,_official_110th_Congress_photo_portrait_2.jpg
  • each of these would fix this corruption
  • by spreading out [see: http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/19188135593/the-economist-weighs-in] ,
  • the influence of funders to all of us.
  • All the analytics are easy here.
  • It is the politics that are hard. Indeed,
  • impossibly hard, because
  • reform would shrink K Street. ## By Glyn Lowe Photoworks
  • And Capitol Hill, Image of Capitol Hill: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capitol_Building_Full_View.jpg
  • as Congressman Jim Cooper, a democrat from Tennessee put it, has become a “Farm league for K Street.” Image of Jim Cooper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jim_Cooper.jpg
  • Members, staffers, and bureaucrats have
  • an increasingly common business model in their head. A business model
  • focused on
  • their life after government,
  • their life as lobbyists.
  • A study done by Public Citizen, an advocacy group, found that half the senators and 42 percent of House members who left Congress between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. 50% of the Senate between 1998 and 2004 left to become lobbyists [see: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/make-it-rain-revolving-door/]
  • A study done by Public Citizen, an advocacy group, found that half the senators and 42 percent of House members who left Congress between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. 42% of the House. Those numbers have only gone up. And as United Republic calculated last April, the average increase in salary for those who they tracked was [see: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/make-it-rain-revolving-door/]
  • A study done by Public Citizen, an advocacy group, found that half the senators and 42 percent of House members who left Congress between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. 1,452%. So it is fair to ask, [see: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/make-it-rain-revolving-door/]
  • how is it possible for them to change this? Image of Capitol Hill: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capitol_Building_Full_View.jpg
  • Now, I get this skepticism, this cynicism, this sense of impossibility,
  • but I don’t buy it.
  • This is a solvable issue.
  • If you think about the issues our parents tried to solve in the 20th century, issues like Image of 20th Century Fox: http://cinegeek.com/?p=7003
  • racism, or sexism, Image of Rosa Parks: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4973548
  • or the issue that we have been fighting in this century: Image of Protestors: http://artsfwd.org/can-we-break-the-glass-ceiling-of-arts-leadership/
  • homophobia, Image of Flag: http://www.shutterstock.com/similar-118700848/stock-photo-rainbow-flag.html#id=115334461&src=BF5E8A6C-98AF-11E2-B041-87C171D9A14D-1-1
  • those are hard issues. You don’t wake up one day no longer a racist. It takes generations to tear that intuition, that DNA out of the soul of a people,
  • But this is a problem of just incentives. Change the incentives and the behavior changes.
  • And the states that have adopted small-dollar funded systems have seen overnight, a change in the practice. When Connecticut adopted this system, in the very first year, 78% of the elected representatives gave up large contributions and took small contributions only. such as Arizona [see: http://www.cleanelections101.com /], or Maine [see: http://www.mainelegislature.org / legis/statutes/21-A/title21-As ec1125.html ], or Connecticut [see: http://se arch.cga.state.ct.us/sur s/sur/htm/chap157.htm]
  • It’s solvable.
  • Not by being Democrat, Image of Democrat logo: http://vicentemanera.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/republican_democrat_logos1.jpg
  • Not by being a Republican, Image of Republican logo: http://vicentemanera.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/republican_democrat_logos1.jpg
  • It’s solvable by being citizens. By being
  • TEDizens. Because if you want to kickstart reform, look, Image of TED logo: http://www.ted.com/talks
  • I could kickstart reform at half the price of fixing energy policy. I could give you back Image of half price logo: http://www.photos.com/royalty-free-images/half-price-sale-stamp-most-popular-sign-in-london-uk/159144438
  • a Republic.
  • okay, but even if you are not yet with me,
  • even if you believe this is impossible, what the five years since I spoke at TED has taught me, as I have spoken about this issue again and again, is even if you think it is impossible, that is
  • irrelevant.
  • I spoke at Dartmouth once, and a woman stood up after I spoke (I’ll write in my book), and she said to me: “Professor, you have convinced me. This is hopeless. There is nothing we can do.”
  • And when she said that, I scrambled, I tried to think “how do I respond to that hopelessness. What is that sense of hopelessness?” And what hit me was an image of my 6 year-old son. And I imagine a doctor coming to me and saying “Your son has terminal brain cancer and there is nothing you can do.” So, what do I do, nothing? Do I just sit there, accept it? Okay, nothing I can do? I’m going off to build google glass. Of course not! I would do everything I could because this is what love means - And then I saw the obvious link. Because even we liberals live this country. And so when the pundits and politicians say this change is impossible, what this love of country says back is that’s just irrelevant.
  • That the odds are irrelevant and that you do whatever the hell you can, the odds be damned. And then I saw the obvious link because even we liberals love this country. And so when the pundits and the politicians say that change is impossible, what this love of country says back is, “that’s just irrelevant.” We lose something dear, something everyone in this room loves and cherishes, if we lose this republic. And so we act with everything we can to prove these pundits wrong. So here is my question,
  • Do you have that love?
  • Because if you do, then what the hell are you? What the hell are we doing?
  • benjamin-franklin-0708-lg-23110915.jpg franklin When Ben Franklin was carried from the Constitutional Convention in September of 1787, he was stopped in the street by a woman who said, “Mr. Franklin, what have you wrought?” Franklin said, “A Republic, madame, if you can keep it.” Image of Franklin: http://ak3.picdn.net/shutterstock/vide os/1358605/preview/stock-footage-mo ve-into-extreme-close-up-of-an-americ an-one-hundred-dollar-bill.jpg
  • A republic.
  • A representative democracy.
  • A government dependent upon the people alone. We have
  • lost that republic.
  • All of us have to act
  • to get it back.
  • Thank you very much.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Citizens.
    • 2. <1>
    • 3. Once upon a tim!..
    • 4. Lester -land
    • 5. Lesterland
    • 6. Lesterland311m
    • 7. Lesterland144k
    • 8. Lesterland.05%
    • 9. must doto run in Lester election well in General election Like the US, Lesters Citizens vote votepower
    • 10. Democracy inLesterland:
    • 11. 1.
    • 12. Lester election General election Lesters Citizens vote votepower
    • 13. 2.
    • 14. (obviously)
    • 15. dependence upon the Lesters
    • 16. subtleunderstatedcamouflaged
    • 17. bending
    • 18. to keep“the Lesters” happy
    • 19. So:
    • 20. a“democracy”
    • 21. dependent upon the Lesters
    • 22. &
    • 23. dependent upon the People
    • 24. competingdependencies
    • 25. conflictingdependencies
    • 26. depending upon
    • 27. who“The Lesters” r.
    • 28. Lester -land
    • 29. 3
    • 30. (1)
    • 31. USA =Lesterland
    • 32. USA twoelections
    • 33. must doto run in $$$$ election well in General election “Funders” Citizens vote vote
    • 34. there r just as few
    • 35. (relevant)“Funders”(in USA-land)
    • 36. asthere r
    • 37. “Lesters” (in Lesterland)(or in USA-land)
    • 38. really ?
    • 39. “.05”?
    • 40. (2010)
    • 41. .26%
    • 42. .05%
    • 43. .01%
    • 44. (2012)
    • 45. 132 Americans .000042%60% of SuperPAC $
    • 46. .26%/.05%/.01%
    • 47. .26%/.05%/.01% (relevant)“Funders”
    • 48. “The Funders” are our “Lesters”
    • 49. Democracy inUSA-land:
    • 50. 1.
    • 51. $$$ election General election“Funders” Citizens vote vote
    • 52. 2.
    • 53. (obviously)
    • 54. dependence upon the“the funders”
    • 55. subtleunderstatedcamouflaged
    • 56. bending
    • 57. to keep“the funders” happy
    • 58. 30-70%
    • 59. what does it doto them ?
    • 60. “sixth sense”
    • 61. “shape - shifters”
    • 62. “always lean to the green”
    • 63. “he was not anenvironmentalist”
    • 64. So
    • 65. a“democracy”
    • 66. dependent upon the Funders
    • 67. &
    • 68. dependent upon the People
    • 69. competingdependencies
    • 70. conflictingdependencies
    • 71. depending upon
    • 72. whothe Funders r.
    • 73. USA =Lesterland
    • 74. (2)
    • 75. USAworse thanLesterland
    • 76. Lesterland
    • 77. Aristocracy of s
    • 78. (possible)the Lesters act 4the good of Lesterland
    • 79. ourland
    • 80. thisland
    • 81. USA-land
    • 82. (some sweet Lesters)
    • 83. vastmajority
    • 84. the Lesters act 4the Lesters
    • 85. shiftingcoalitions
    • 86. ~public interest
    • 87. private interest
    • 88. USAworse thanLesterland
    • 89. (3)
    • 90. whateverone says about
    • 91. Lester-land. .
    • 92. Lester(In Our) land
    • 93. USA(Our) land
    • 94. Lesterland is a
    • 95. corruption
    • 96. corruption relative toFramers’ baseline
    • 97. A RepublicRepresentative Democracy
    • 98. ThePeople m: b l ep r o
    • 99. CongressRepublic,has evolved a differentdependence
    • 100. The The Funder$People
    • 101. a“dependence” too
    • 102. different &conflicting
    • 103. solong as
    • 104. “The Funders”“The Funders” are not are not are not“The People”“The People”
    • 105. corruption
    • 106. bi-partisan,equal opportunity corruption
    • 107. blocks the Left
    • 108. climate change
    • 109. sensible health care
    • 110. food safety
    • 111. financial reform
    • 112. blocks theRight
    • 113. e.g.,small gov’t
    • 114. “Hellno!” “If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money
    • 115. a systemto save thestatus quo
    • 116. againstLeft & Right
    • 117. pathological,democracy- destroyingcorruption
    • 118. Relevant “Funders” 0.05%the People 99.95%
    • 119. mea
    • 120. tiniest #
    • 121. e fo rm tiniest #r
    • 122. LobbyistseconomyMembers Lesters
    • 123. feeds onpolarization
    • 124. feeds ondysfunction
    • 125. theworse it
    • 126. 4us
    • 127. thebetter it
    • 128. 4fundraising
    • 129. </1>
    • 130. <2>
    • 131. youknow this
    • 132. youignore it
    • 133. impossi
    • 134. possible
    • 135. @streetview
    • 136. manage
    • 137. so youignore
    • 138. corruption
    • 139. WE CAN’T IGNOREANYMORE
    • 140. weneed agov’tthat
    • 141. weneed agov’tthat
    • 142. 4the / Left or Right
    • 143. 4theLeft or & Right
    • 144. nosensible reform
    • 145. until we
    • 146. end thiscorruption
    • 147. most / important issue
    • 148. first issue
    • 149. nosensible reform
    • 150. cann ot
    • 151. nosensible reform
    • 152. sohow?
    • 153. analyticsare easy
    • 154. proble tons of time m tiny slice of america
    • 155. solutio less time fundraisin n wider slice of america
    • 156. spread out
    • 157. “Funder”influence
    • 158. 2dothis
    • 159. /
    • 160. asinglestatute
    • 161. small dollarfunded
    • 162. citizen- fundedcampaigns
    • 163. eachwld fix
    • 164. per capita contributioncorruption0-20% 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-95% 95-99% top 1%
    • 165. 0-20% 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-95% 95-99% top 1%
    • 166. analyticsare easy
    • 167. politics hard
    • 168. politicsimpossibly hard
    • 169. reform
    • 170. “Farm league for K
    • 171. Members StaffersBureaucrat
    • 172. commonbusiness model
    • 173. focused
    • 174. lifeaftergov’t
    • 175. life aslobbyists
    • 176. 50%
    • 177. 42%
    • 178. 1,452 %
    • 179. howpossible: them change this?
    • 180. igetthis
    • 181. idon’tbuy it
    • 182. solvable
    • 183. 20th Cchallenges:
    • 184. @brown
    • 185. hard
    • 186. justincentives
    • 187. 78%
    • 188. solvable
    • 189. Citizens.
    • 190. izens
    • 191. Reform
    • 192. Republi c.
    • 193. buteven
    • 194. impossi
    • 195. irrelevan
    • 196. love
    • 197. doyouhavethat
    • 198. doyouhavethat
    • 199. doyouhavethat
    • 200. doyouhavethat
    • 201. doyouhavethat
    • 202. Rep -ublic, ifyoucankee
    • 203. A Republic
    • 204. Representativ e Democracy
    • 205. lost
    • 206. act
    • 207. get itback
    • 208. </2>
    • 209. <end>
    • 210. Flickr Photos - credits Capitol - cow toolsK St - Glyn Lowe Photoworks
    • 211. THIS WORKLICENSED:
    • 212. Citizens.Republic, Lost 27 Feb 2013

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