Friday, November 28

Study: Web 2.0 no substitute for participatory democracy

Some quotes from a interesting blog post based on a Phd thesis:
"Doing the same old thing using new technology *will not* politically re-enfranchise people."

"political disengagement is growing because modern democracies do not support strong participatory or direct democracy"

"Based on Dunne's study it would appear that public disengagement is not something that web 2.0 tools can solve alone. Rather the political and social system in which these tools exist must change for people to reconnect with politics."

The most evolved project for a hybrid direct/representative democracy is led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. U.S. Registered voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the Legislatures wouldn't!

Until then you can beg the Obama admin to do the right thing at

Wednesday, November 26

"Doctor Bob" McFarland, MD passes at 79

Robert McFarland died Saturday at 78 of stomach cancer. Bob was the first Medical Director of the People's Clinic and the Founder of the Parenting Place, both in Boulder. He's on the left in the photo.

Bob was fearless in trying to wake people to truths he thought important. Here is my letter to the editor he co-signed, about the passing at 94 of a friend of ours, who's above the ".org" in the photo:

"The world has lost a true friend in Gilbert White, winner of the 2000 National Medal of Science, natural resource adviser to FDR, ecologist before the word existed, president of Haverford College, social scientist and much else he was too humble to mention.

"Gil was a fearless thinker who supported ideas that were before their time, such as the project at and ideas that many ridicule or fear, such as evidence that a few people in our government allowed or caused the 9/11 attacks. He's the eldest in the Oct. 21, 2004, Boulder Weekly photo with us, attending a 9/11 Truth event, although we weren't identified. At lunch afterward, he expressed surprise and frustration that the media simply refused to make this an issue in the coming presidential election.

"Gil was pretty sure that 9/11 was treason partly because, when he was working in the FDR White House, he witnessed the congratulatory atmosphere there the day of Pearl Harbor. He believed the government had invited the attack to get people's support to enter World War II, and that something similar happened to get Congress' (not the people's) support for the Bush wars.

"Gilbert could have been a member of almost any elite, but he preferred non-elitists. He believed in giving power to the people rather than keeping it in the hands of any elite. He hoped that when people learned that the government was complicit in 9/11 that they'd demand the kind of participatory government you can help realize at That's why we risk accusations of sullying the dead by writing this.

"Steven Jones, BYU Physics professor suspended for his work with, and Kevin Ryan, fired from Underwriters Laboratories for speaking out, will speak Oct. 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. in CU's Math 100, along with the founder of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, Kevin Barrett, Ph.D."


Bob's memorial service will be Dec. 5 at 3PM at St. John's Church in Boulder
Rest in Peace, Bob and Gil. We miss you.

Monday, November 24

Ever see clouds like this?

If you know what causes such clouds, please let me know!

These were taken in Mexico's wild Copper Canyon, where I've started Gates of Paradise Trips for hardy backpackers to 2 pristine hot springs. On top there's periodic snow, but the bottom is the closest subtropical place to the Rocky Mtn area. It's the world's largest maze, as empty as the Grand Canyon 120 years ago.

Thursday, November 20

Cold Duck

Uncle Sam's pot patent proves pot prohibition patently pathological

The United States of America "as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services" procured patent 6,630,507 on October 7, 2003 for "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" for such medicinal uses as "stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia."

This proves that classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance having “no current use for medical treatment in the United States" is a fraud. It also shows how hypocritical and sociopathic the Fed is in persecuting medical marijuana patients -even in the 13 States with LEGAL medical marijuana (9 of which got it via ballot initiative. Such persecution is another reason for NATIONAL ballot initiatives.)

They are patenting "nonpsychoactive cannabinoids" to make it clear that drugs are A-OK as long as you don't enjoy them! "Neuroprotectants" means marijuana is preventive medicine for your brain.

Brinna's Broadside seems to have scooped the blogs, not to mention the mainstream media. She has a good analysis with relevant links, so I won't steal her words like and other lazy asses. Thanks, Brinna. Somebody in California, buy Brinna a bud!

Tuesday, November 18

Click here now for Bailout Timeout!

A left-right coalition is developing in Congress to block further funds for the bailout. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are both calling for no more bailout funds for the Department of the Treasury. Thus far, Treasury has spent $290 of the initial $350 billion. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve do not inspire confidence. They have hidden key information from the taxpayer and Congress and change strategies while pigs and perps gather at The New Trough. (Naomi Klein's Rolling Stone article)

Stopping the bailout of Wall Street gives Congress time to decide whether the money should be sent, and if so, how? Another alternative has been put forward by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), an economic stimulus plan that costs about one-third of what is remaining on the initial bailout, $100 billion. It deals with unemployment insurance, disaster relief, infrastructure, aid to states, aid to the auto industry and other parts of the economy.

We urge you to send letters to your elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate. You can send a letter in a few seconds by clicking here. In addition, please pledge to Break the Bailout by visiting -- we need to show Congress that we will hold them accountable. And, forward this email to everyone you know. There is strength in numbers.

Saturday, November 15

Dan Rather: 2000 Florida voting SABOTAGED!

The old Datavote punch-card voting system worked fine since the '70s UNTIL they were PURPOSELY sabotaged in Florida. Dan Rather's documentary shows 7 printing plant employees saying that they were FORCED to use inferior paper they'd already rejected and FORCED to mis-register the perforations which became the "chad" problem:

This "failure" caused Congress to pass HAVA (Help America Vote Act) which resulted in $100s of millions for Republican-connected voting machine companies and all the havoc we've had since.

It's a crying shame that Dan Rather lost his network job before putting out this, his best expose ever. It's a shame that HDNet titled it "The Trouble with Touchscreens, Part 2" instead of "How our Elections and Treasure are Stolen, Part 1"

As a longtime voting reform activist, I think the only thing wrong with the old Datavote machines was that the software was proprietary instead of open-source (public), which could be easily remedied by legislation. If anyone knows if any of these machines are warehoused somewhere, let me know!

The Trouble with Touchscreens, Part 1 shows how inferior that method of voting is. But carefully filling a square with ink on fragile paper then fed into delicate optical scanners is a pathetic way to signal a computer! Punch cards are way faster and more robust, while leaving a paper trail for real hand recounts.

Friday, November 7

Oak with "the best compact digital": Panasonic LX3

Taxpayers to pay prosecution AND defense of Mortgage Execs?

Taxpayers may pay legal bills for mortgage execs: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
(thanks to Damian Kessler)

"Who'd have thought we might be on the hook for paying the defense costs when we're also paying the prosecution costs?" said Doug Heller, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based group that has been critical of the financial bailout packages. "To defend the economy from the havoc that's been created, we're going to defend the havoc creators?"

Just like taxpayers have been funding BOTH sides of most wars for many decades! We used to fund one side at a time: We armed the Taliban to fight the Russians in Afghanistan; now our soldiers fight the Taliban, still using the weapons we sent them. We now fund both sides at once: Obama: Our Oil 'Addiction' Funds 'Both Sides' of the War on Terror

Here's how both these multidegenerational changes are wrought: The worst and the wealthiest buy the most Congressional votes to increase militarization and to corrupt the rules of finance. This further strengthens the military-industrial complex and the financial tycoons, who buy up more Congressional votes to keep the vicious cycle going. Watch your country and planet flushed down the toilet!

The solution is still a potent check and balance on Congress: national ballot initiatives: Please vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the 13 Legislatures wouldn't.

"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government." --George Washington

Thursday, November 6

Government BY the People also saved in Arizona

Proposition 105, which would have required a majority of registered voters (not just participating voters) to pass ballot initiatives, was defeated in Arizona 2-1, thanks to work of The Voters of Arizona - No On Prop 105. Colorado voters also defeated a measure to make constitutional ballot initiatives far harder for people -but not the legislature or the wealthy.

Wednesday, November 5

Government BY the People saved in Colorado

First, congrats to all Obamas, from Hawaii to Kansas to Kenya to Indonesia, and the People, for overwhelming turnout, enough to overcome the various schemes to purge them from voter rolls, flip their votes, etc. Colorado is now DEEP blue, with a Dem governor, legislature, both Senators and 5 of 7 House members.

Colorado voters wisely defeated Referendum O, which would have made constitutional ballot initiatives much harder -except for the wealthy. It would have given each Congressional District an effective veto by requiring 8% of signatures from each. Having gathered some 20,000 sigs for initiatives I believed in over the years, I can tell you it's pretty hard in the Boulder/Denver metro area -and would be far harder in rural areas where people are sparser.

Referendum O, proposed by the Legislature, violated recommendations 4, 7 & 8 of the University of Denver Colorado Constitution Panel's report (pdf)

IF the Legislature REALLY wants to improve the ballot initiative process, most academics and activists agree on real reforms: Voters on initiatives need what legislators get: public hearings, expert testimony, amendments, reports, etc., but independent of the legislature, as all branches of government are independent. The best project for such deliberative process is the National Initiative for Democracy, led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. Also Healthy Democracy Oregon and Citizens Initiative Review.

In Switzerland, petitions are left at government offices and stores for people to read and sign at leisure, so there are less aggressive petitioners more informed signers, and less $ required. The Swiss vote on initiatives 3-7 times a year so there's never too many on one ballot. Because they have real power, the Swiss read more newspapers/capita than anyone else.

Legislators have never tried to improve the ballot initiative process, but often try to make it even harder. They'd rather have absolute power!

In Switzerland, representatives are humbler, after centuries of local and cantonal (state) ballot initiatives, and national initiatives since 1891. They call their system "co-determination." Works for couples, too!