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The Technology Solution to the Democracy Crisis

The spectacular intrusion of special interests into the passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending bill on December 13, 2014 was breathtaking as bankers and lobbyists whipped the vote by calling Congressional representatives directly to demand a host of special interest provisions, including the following:

  • Repealing the Dodd-Frank prohibition on locating derivatives trading activities in the same bank subsidiary company as their depositories containing checking, savings, and other accounts insured by the FDIC.
  • Raising individual campaign contribution limits by roughly 10 times the present limit.
  • Allowing businesses to default by as much as 1/3 of their private pension obligations.
  • Preventing the EPA from introducing new climate protections. 

So it is now abundantly clear that what we have is government by minority rule in which special interests reign supreme. Clearly, this cannot continue. It is for this reason that we are sharing the post below describing the only solution to the democracy crisis of which we are aware that can be implemented in the near future. It is long and we do not expect many readers to get through it in one sitting, or even at all. But if it piques your interest, you can re-locate it here at a more opportune time. 

 

INTERACTIVE VOTER CHOICE SYSTEM

Introduction

Technical Features of the Interactive Voter Choice System (U.S. Patent No. 7,953,628)

Accelerating the Technological Evolution of Democracies

Group Forming Network

World's First Large Scale Consensus Building and Conflict Resolution Platform

A Closer Look at Complex Adaptive Systems (CASs)

Integrating IVCS-Enabled CASs into Electoral and Legislative Processes

Summary and Conclusion Read below the fold...

healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

[And if you have your own experiences to share, and especially screen dumps, please add them in comments or contact me. Either Federal Exchanges, or state exchanges. I'm especially interested in Covered California! Thank you! --lambert]

Nice timing.

john.smith@gmail.com from Maine had a registration #FAIL at step 3. Here's the screen dump:

Read below the fold...

test

test

Optionally specify an alternative URL by which this node can be accessed. For example, type "about" when writing an about page. Use a relative path and don't add a trailing slash or the URL alias won't work. Read below the fold...

Go shopping

For example, at the Mall of America:

Arthur needs to take his cat to the vet

Here. If you've got a little extra to spread XMas cheer, you could do worse than throw it Arthur's way. Read below the fold...

Confession time: I love my bellows!

This year I decided I was tired of coughing all winter from starting the fire in the wood stove by blowing on it, and getting all this horrible fine ash in my lungs. So I splurged on an excellent bellows: The Long John Bellows. It's made from wood, the bellows are suede, and the nozzle is copper, so I can direct the airflow right at the coals. There's no plastic. "Not a toy but a tool!"

So now my fire starts much quicker, I don't have to get down on my knees, and I don't have that horrible dry hacking cough so many Mainers have. Read below the fold...

Twitter founder: News, including the news on Twitter, is bad for your mental health

Business Insider, an interview with Twitter co-counter Evan Williams:

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Twitter is essentially a news service, and news is important for society, but personally I don't want to spend most of my reading time reading news. I get a lot more value out of other types of content and I think most people do as well. There's a natural urge to know what's going on. It's biological and it's social: What's new? What's everyone talking about? What's this shiny object? The vast majority of it isn't valuable to people and it may be even harmful, and that's well-reported, accurate news.

BUSINESS INSIDER: Harmful because it's misleading people or because it's taking up mindshare that could be used for better purposes? 

WILLIAMS: It's creating anxieties that have no outlet. It's psychologically harmful. TV news is the epitome of this. Its whole goal is the raise enough anxiety that you tune in. It's not to inform or make society smarter. That causes us to have irrational fears about things that are extremely unlikely and highlights those instead of normal things that are actually harmful, like what you eat or watching TV news.

True as far as it goes. Read below the fold...

Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies

The New Yorker. So awesome. This is my favorite:

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”

An excellent movie. The obviously unfit individuals are winnowed out through a series of entrepreneurial tests and, in the end, an enterprising young boy receives a factory. I believe more movies should be made about enterprising young boys who are given factories. —Three and a half stars.

But there are many others! Read below the fold...

Another controlled experiment that shows profit-centered health care gives a smaller bang for the buck

Cuba vs. the United States over 40+ years:

"Free at the point of care"

That was the theory behind the NHS, before the neo-liberals -- may their names be forever cursed -- got hold of it and started privatizing it. (The neo-liberals seem to have the concept that we're going to go wait in doctor's offices for fun, so they've got to charge us for it. Bizarre.)

Anyhow, since Monday -- this winter really seems to have become my season of minor ailments, probably my unconscious telling me something with all those photos of rot -- I've had this superweird ickiness going on my right -- my typing -- hand, and then up my arm, so after my friend in the coffee shop diagnosed whatever the heck it was as cellulitis, from which her husband nearly died because he wouldn't go for treatment, I went to the wonderful Helen Hunt Health Center in Old Town to check it out. Read below the fold...

PNHP responds to Shumlin's betrayal on universal health care

I got this press release in mail, but it doesn't seem to be anywhere on the web yet. So herewith:

Single payer in Vermont and the U.S.: Now IS the time

The following statement was released today by Dr. Andrew D. Coates, president of Physicians for a National Health Program:

Today, Vermont’s governor, after campaigning for single payer for years, announced that he would not work to pass single-payer legislation in Vermont this year.

Read below the fold...

Vermont's Health Care Is A Human Right responds to Shumlin's betrayal on universal health care

Vermont Worker's Center:

“The Healthcare Is a Human Right (HCHR) Campaign expresses its deep disappointment in the failure of Governor Shumlin to act on the will of the people of Vermont to ensure universal, publicly financed healthcare in our state. This inaction is a slap in the face of many thousands of Vermont residents who suffer from poor health and financial hardship in the private insurance market that sells healthcare as a commodity to those who can afford it. The HCHR Campaign reminds the Governor that healthcare is a human right, and that our government has an obligation to ensure that right. Our government also has a responsibility to enact state law, and Act 48, passed in 2011, clearly requires Vermont to take actions to provide healthcare as a public good to all residents by 2017.

We all currently pay for our hodgepodge healthcare system - we just don’t pay in a way that leads to giving people access to care. Moving to a different financing mechanism has nothing to do with raising new money. Vermont’s businesses currently pay 80% of all private insurance premiums. Most of these businesses are large employers; they pay the lion share of health insurance. Individuals who fall sick also pay a big chunk - through roughly $800 million in out-of-pocket costs. The Governor’s task at hand was to shift private payments to a more equitable, public financing mechanism. His task was not to find new money.

Great argument. Read below the fold...

How smart frackivists forced Cuomo to do the right thing

(NOTE: PA_lady posted a series on fracking in 2010; yes, Corrente was early!) The always excellent Albany Project has the triumph dance here:

t wasn't that long ago, say 2007 or so, when fracking was an issue that wasn't really on anyone's radar, though there was enough concern for the state to place a moratorium on the practice in 2008.

Read below the fold...

Cuomo bans fracking, based on Health Commissioner's advice

Online WSJ:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, in his state, officials announced Wednesday.

"I will be bound by what the experts say," Cuomo said at a press conference.

Read below the fold...

The "New York Health" single payer bill

PNHP's Elizabeth Rosenthal:

While adding 900,000 formerly uninsured New Yorkers to the insurance rolls is no small success, healthcare remains too expensive for the average family.

The costs of deductibles, copays and out-of-network charges remain major obstacles, and these bloated, unnecessary charges we pay to profit-driven health insurance corporations have not been brought under control by the Affordable Care Act.

Read below the fold...

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