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Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It (Anglais) Relié – 5 octobre 2011

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4,5 étoiles sur 5 179 commentaires provenant des USA

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Revue de presse


As an academic, Lessig has the research chops to find the anecdotes that best fit the narrative case he's making, and to lay them out in wonderful detail. But his real gift is in the art of stringing them together into a story. That means that this book is as persuasive as it is enjoyable to read.―Alesh Houdek, The Atlantic

REPUBLIC, LOST is a powerful reminder that this problem goes deeper than poor legislative tactics or bad character. As progressives contemplate how best to pick up the pieces after recent setbacks, a robust agenda to change how business gets done in the capital needs to be part of the picture. This time, we'd better mean it.―Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect

Praise for Lawrence Lessig

"Lawrence Lessig gets things changed not for the benefit of corporations but to unleash the creative potential of ordinary people in a digital age."
The Guardian

"Lessig is one of those rare legal scholars with both a clear narrative voice and a fine eye for historical irony."
The Washington Post

"A bright and spark-filed polemic... combining legal sophistication with a storyteller's knack."
Wall Street Journal, on Free Culture

"A powerfully argued and important analysis... it is also surprisingly entertaining."
The New York Times Book Review, on Free Culture

"Once dubbed a 'philosopher king of Internet law,' he writes with a unique mix of legal expertise, historic facts and cultural curiosity, citing everything from turn-of-the-century Congressional testimony to Wikipedia to contemporary best-sellers like Chris Anderson's The Long Tail. The result is a wealth of interesting examples and theories on how and why digital technology and copyright law can promote professional and amateur art."
M.J. Stephey, Time Magazine

"More than anything, Lessig understands and often wrestles with a rather understated theory: common sense."
Derek Bores, PopMatters

"As an initial matter, Lessigian thought is deeply critical in nature... Perhaps it is the luxury of academia, or his nature generally, but Lessig is not afraid to say (loudly) at times: This doesn't work! We need to change. He says it often, and people are listening."
Russ Taylor, Federal Communications Law Journal

"No one is more skilled at making arcane legal and technological questions terrifyingly relevant to everyday life than Lessig."

Sonia Katyal, Texas Law Review

Without a doubt, the Lessig plan . . . would be a vast improvement over the current system."―Washington Monthly

"Mr. Lessig's analysis of the distorting effects of money is . . . dead on."
New York Times

Présentation de l'éditeur

In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature.

With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple labels and reductive logic-and instead using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left-Lessig seeks out the root causes of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted-but redeemable-representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness.

While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In REPUBLIC, LOST, he not only makes this need palpable and clear-he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Worried About Our Country? Read This Book. 2 novembre 2011
Par goddess18 - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Lawrence Lessig has written a timely book for anyone who is concerned with the state of Our Union. There is no way around it, the subject matter is depressing. Our Country is in a bad way and most regular Americans are not really sure what to do about it. This book is a good place to start. Not only do you get a clear understanding of the major problems with excellent historical context, you get suggestions on how to effect change. This book which clearly articulates a problem and then offers solutions resolves the depressing aspect. There are things all Citizens can do, starting today. The book offers suggestions on how to begin with many resources and links. Whatever level your time, energy and resources allow, You will be able to do something to help. Do not be put off by the enormity of the problem. At this point our only choices are to accept our broken, corporate controlled government or as American Citizens have done at critical times in our history stand up and remind others that our Republic is responsible to "The People" alone. This is not a Liberal or Conservative issue. This is not even the 99% vs the 1%, although the 99% are suffering more from the current state of Our Union. I found this book to be an easy and enjoyable read despite the serious subject matter. I strongly encourage everyone to read this important book. As one of the 99% we have to do something. This is a great place to start.
107 internautes sur 113 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A bleak, but ultimately hopeful, vision for restoring democracy 22 octobre 2011
Par Olin Sibert - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Lessig explores the concept of a government responsible to the PEOPLE, as the Constitution calls for, and how the current system of campaign finance has warped it so much toward being a government responsible to the CONTRIBUTORS that even the Supreme Court used those words (in the infamous Citizens United corporation-as-a-person decision). The picture he draws of moneyed influence is truly appalling--all the more so as the influence is almost never overt bribery, but often just hints and signals (as in "if you aren't able to vote for X, I'll have to contribute $1,000,000 to your opponent").

Can it be cured? Lessig offers several possible prescriptions, the most serious of which is calling for a Constitutional Convention, and at least while I'm reading the book, I can believe that maybe there's some hope for our republic. There are many good ideas here, and the arguments are rich and comprehensive.

Read this book if you want to understand what's really wrong with government, why nothing gets done, why the posturing and pandering grows and grows, and why life is getting steadily worse for the 99% of the population who aren't rich. And--especially--read it if you want to know what you can do to make things better.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 On page 107 he points out how Congress and their staff have come to look at political service like being on a sport farm team 13 juillet 2016
Par John B. Walters - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Republic Lost
By; Lawrence Lessig

This book was originally published in 2011. This revised 2015 edition added the “Citizen’s United” issue which has dramatically increased the funds pouring into political campaigns which has distorted the process so dramatically that the idea of a government of, by and for the people no longer exists. The money from the few means that Congress ignores the will of the people and provides
benefits for the few. This money process goes both ways, sometimes from the lobbyists to Congress and other times a demand from Congress. Both should be illegal, in my thinking and punishable by fines and jail time. I added that last sentence. It of course is off the table.
On page 102 he states the following, “The lobbying industry has exploded over the past 25 years. In 1971… there were just 175 firms with registered lobbyists. Eleven years later, there were almost 2,500. In 2009, there were 13,700 registered lobbyists. They spent more than $3.5 billion-twice the amount spent in 2002.
On page 107 he points out how Congress and their staff have come to look at political service like being on a sport farm team, being willing to work for less money while aiming for the payoff on K Street after leaving office. They can expect to receive exorbitant incomes for the influence they can have on current members and staff. Between 1998 and 2004, more than 50 percent of Senators and 42 percent of House members made that career transition. As of June 2011, 195 former members of Congress were registered lobbyists.
Chapter 9, I found of particular interest. It concerns the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. He came in with his party in the majority of the House and Senate. People were ecstatic about the changes he promised i.e., health care for all, global warming, attack Wall Street and take on corruption. While it is true the Republicans were opposed to nearly everything he proposed, it is equally true that for the first two years he did not need their support. The author was a colleague of Obama at the University of Chicago and supported him in his political journey. Obama said all the right things. He convinced me (Jack Walters) to vote for him. After his election I actually wrote to him a number of times with my thoughts on how he could accomplish his goals. I soon realized that my effort was in vain. Rather than attack the system, he bought into it by striking bargains with the most powerful lobbyists as a way to get a bill through Congress. The author said he could not believe it. As he sees it even with majorities he still had to curry favor with the lobbyists to have any chance to achieve the goals he had promised which confirms that our government is broken with little chance for recovery. On health care the ‘public option” had been his promise. In actual fact it was never considered. He promised to curtail the influence of the drug companies. Instead right off the bat he struck a deal with them continuing to forbid Medicare from using its size to negotiate drug cost which means Americans continue to pay the highest cost of most other nations. For those of you who continue to be supporters of Obama, you will be pleased to note that the author, as he concludes this chapter gives Obama high praise for accomplishments.
After lengthy writing about the money problem which I will not discuss, as you should know as well as I, his final Chapters address Constitutional Conventions as the only real hope our country can have to resolve and return to being the government of the people. He reviews the history from the beginning pointing out that it could be done without jeopardizing the basic Constitution we now have. He believes it will never start in Congress, that only three quarters of the States (38) need to request and the Congress must authorize. It can be limited in scope. I will not try to describe the process, I only hope to put this thought in your mind and perhaps mention to others. In my opinion, it is almost too late but I do like to have a sliver of hope for continuing this great country.

Jack B. Walters
July 12, 2016
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Culture of Corruption 25 décembre 2016
Par gimpyinlincoln - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is an excellent analysis of the broken and corrupt political system in the US. As other scholarly works have shown the fundamental problem is the disproportionate influence of big money, which results in inequality of representation. A culture of corruption is the norm in Washington (read Zephyr Teachout "Corruption in America for a definition). Lessig demonstrated how the corruption that money feeds is not easily exposed and traced; it is not quid pro quo and is not illegal, but it is wrong. The subtleties and complexities of the political system and legislative process combine to make it almost impossible to prove the influence of big money on any vote using statistical analysis. Lessig demonstrates the many opportunities to influence legislation early in the process. Essentially votes on the passage of a bill are 'laundered' early on in the process. The weakness of this book is Lessig's faith in the people to act to purge the system of the undue influence of big money. Our political system (as are our social and economic systems) is dominated by power and wealth. These values are so pervasive now and through history that the best one can hope is for a few people to keep fighting to shed the light of day on the congenital corruption. It is a never ending battle.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stunningly Well Researched, Accurate, By-Partisan, Readable 5 avril 2013
Par John of Maine - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress ⎯ and a Plan to Stop It, © 2011 by Lawrence Lessig, 326 pages, Twelve Hachette Book Group, 237 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017.

What single issue has any chance of uniting most of the ideological spectrum of American voters? ⎯ Our corrupt Congress. Our votes do not matter. But note the comma in the title of this book. We are not gone, just lost. We do not get the government we deserve, contrary to what Rep. Barney Frank (D- Mass.; 1981- ) implied when he blamed the voters for putting people in office who are obstructionists or somehow are the cause of the strident polarized condition of Congress today. Instead, Lessig argues convincingly that no one is to blame - it's the system. Finally! Someone understands the sociology.

But is this structural cause of a corrupt Congress serious enough to warrant a constitutional convention? What are the chances of it succeeding? Lessig says yes because "corruption is the gateway problem" (p. 175) and he estimates that there is about a 10 percent chance of success for a constitutional solution. He carefully walks us through the complex and elusive cause of our corrupt Congress (and its effects: why we don't have free and efficient markets, successful schools, more entrepreneurs, a safe financial system, etc.). He does so with clear, interdisciplinary, well organized, and thoroughly researched logic. The book tells the story of our government losing its way. However, it also offers hope, albeit small, that we can restore our democracy the old fashioned way ⎯ with grass-roots action of "peaceful" political terrorizing and subversion leading to a constitutional convention. Yes indeed, he debunks the common reasoning against constitutional amendments to solve the problem. Accordingly, his stated purpose is to launch Rootstrikers , which is an online organization devoted to gradually getting ordinary citizens to strike at the root of the problem that, no one caused.

Lessig's background is well suited for this monumental task of bringing together an ideologically neutral use of political science, sociology, constitutional law, history, economics, and even one citation from evolutionary biology and one from Christian scripture. He has an early history of Republican activism but he now calls himself a liberal and a personal friend of Obama. As a lawyer from Yale, he clerked for supreme court Justice Scalia and did the leg-work on the Microsoft monopoly case for conservative Judge Posner. He has a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and is considered an expert in cyber copyright law issues because of his work while teaching at Stanford. He credits his Stanford experience with the legislative process involved in cyber policy for his inspiration to shift his research to the corruption of Congress. He currently teaches law at Harvard and directs Harvard’s Center for Ethics, where he was able to assemble "an army" of researchers to help him publish this remarkably well documented book.

The book is not just an expose' about money in politics. Its strength is in the specifics about just what behaviors make the money flow and for its recommendations for public action. Of course the amount of money in our politics and the testimonials about how it is acquired are shocking even to me, a politically aware sociologist specializing in business ethics, organization theory, and organizational behavior. Seven billion in lobby money spent in just the first two years of the Obama Presidency, 6 billion in the two years before that, and for the policy consequences, he quotes the conservative CATO institute's figure of $90 billion spent in 2009 for what they call "corporate welfare" (p. 269). Much more important however is the active solicitation for that money by our politicians and the methods they use! They spent/spend 30 to 70 percent of their time on it; not much left for the public's business, according to Lessig's research. The money goes primarily to campaigns of course. ⎯ But elections, and even final votes on bills are not the places where lobby money does the damage! Instead, it happens much more seriously and insidiously with politicians stealthily changing the substance of bills and changing their own agenda. And, our candidates for office are not chosen by their parties for their competency to govern but for their fund-raising ability. All of this done in order to cater to lobby money, i.e. Congress is a "gift economy of influence", as Lessig calls it.

He organizes this story of what he calls "dependence corruption" by analogously using Boris Yeltsin's alcohol dependency and how alcohol had so much power over him that it destroyed any good that the former Russian President did (or may have been able to do). Power, as we say in organizational behavior, has at its base, dependency. In this case according to Lessig, the Congress's dependence upon lobbyists instead of "the people alone" has destroyed what our founders intended and there is no one to blame. Yes, liberals critical of Obama will get plenty of ammunition in Chapter 11, "How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Left". Likewise conservatives will see in Chapter 12, "How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Right", that Republican legislators of all ideological stripes have ignored their voter's wish for smaller government, simple taxes, and efficient markets. But both the politician and the lobbyist are victims (and perpetrators) of "dependence corruption" and it is not the fault of anyone ⎯ the fault lies with our constitution.

Lessig is also careful to point out, with superb logic and science, that even if the absurdity of only the appearance or perception of corruption were the reality, that appearance and perception cannot be changed! Perception, whether accurate or not, is the reality because of our funding structure. It therefore does enormous damage to our democracy.

"The belief that money is buying results produces the result that fewer and fewer of us engage. Why would one rationally waste one's time?" (p. 169).
"Americans are ignorant . . . Less than a third of us know that House members serve for two years, or that Senators serve for six.24 Six years after Newt Gingrich became the Speaker, only 55 percent of us knew the Republicans were the majority party in the house, a rate just slightly better than the result if monkeys had chosen randomly.26
So, ignorant we are. But we are not stupid. . . . remaining ignorant about politics and our government is a perfectly rational response to the government we have." (pp. 301 & 302, bold emphasis mine).

This fearless embrace (and respectful debunking) of the most conservative and skeptical interpretation of current reality, the science, and the constitution itself is seen throughout the book. It makes his case even more convincing. For another example, he is of course horrified at the Citizen's United decision and rightfully condemns Justice Kennedy's liberties beyond the law, but he also understands why the court ruled that way:

". . . upon what authority did the justice make this claim? On what factual basis did the Court rest this factual judgment?
The answer is none. The Court had no evidence for its assertion. It didn't even purport to cite any."(244)
"The Court reached its conclusion not because it held (in this case at least) that corporations were 'persons' . . . The First Amendment says that Congress 'shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.' It doesn't say '. . . The freedom of speech of persons.' " (p. 239)

So we have an expensive "dance". He shows us how lobbyists do not really try to "flip" (i.e., change) any given legislator's position. Instead, the legislators themselves, knowing where the money is, gradually and sometimes imperceptibly, "shape-shift" their positions (often unconsciously) to better their solicitation appeal. Consequently, this behavior appears to the naive political scientist and some in the public that the lobby money has no influence. They say that lobbyists are effectively representing nothing more than the varying and competing views of the American public and therefore our vote really does matter. Of course Lessig shows us the truth. The American public is indeed left out of the dance. Moreover, the key to understanding this dance between legislator and lobbyist is not just shape-shifting. It is also how legislator and lobbyist craft bills long before they come to a final vote and how the agenda of the individual legislator is a product of an effort to please the lobbyist. These two distortions, "substantive distortion" and "agenda distortion" are often beyond the reach of the political science survey methodology. Lessig understands that too often political science correlations are incorrectly used as causation, regression analysis is misused, and the wrong variables are measured. Throughout the book he cites a mountain of survey research, qualitative field work verifying or invalidating the surveys, testimonials from both Republican and Democratic legislators now out of office, and many very sad, albeit colorful at times, anecdotes. Effectively, he does an interdisciplinary meta-analysis of the research using plain understandable language.

Dependence corruption of Congress produces shape-shifting, substantive distortion, agenda distortion, and an enormous amount of time devoted to soliciting ⎯ all resulting in an almost total disregard for voter wishes (short of the few major issues most in the limelight). Simultaneously and consequentially, these have even resulted in the near destruction of market capitalism itself, e.g., competitive advantage given to large banks, agriculture, and energy. Add to the list of corrupt practices the fact that both Republicans and Democrats are so heavily dependent on lobby money that they use just the threat of regulation (and the promise to remove it) as their most valuable tool to "extort" even more money from lobbyists! Here is a summary of this condition, first with the Clinton Gore years, then the Reagan administration (the crew that was elected to shrink government), and finally Newt Gingrich:

" . . . Al Gore [wanted] to deregulate the internet [by putting] both kinds of Internet access under the same regulatory title, Title VII, . . . Not no regulation, but much less . . . Gore's team took the idea to Capitol Hill. One aid to Gore summarized to me the reaction they got. 'Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise any money from them?' . . .

Reagan often spoke as if it were the bureaucrats who were pushing to increase the size of government. These bureaucrats, like roaches, would push and push and push until they regulated absolutely everything they could.
What Reagan didn't think about is how members of Congress ⎯ even Reagan Republicans ⎯ might themselves become the roaches. How they both, Republicans and Democrats alike, have an interest in extending the reach of regulation, because increasing the range of interests regulated increases the number who have an interest in trying to influence federal regulation. And how is that influence exercised? Through the gift economy enabled by Santa, the lobbyist." . . .
. . .of course no one would say that Congress regulates simply for the purpose of creating fund-raising targets . . . But souls on the Right ⎯ especially those enamored of incentive theories of human behavior ⎯ should recognize that it is more likely Congress's thinking about targets of fund-raising that affects the scope of government power rather than bureaucrats . . ." (pp. 196 - 198)
". . . in the minds of business leaders. . . . 'fear . . . drives most business leaders to contribute to campaigns. It's also why most say donors get more than their money's worth back for their political investments.'11 . . ."Even the reformers reportedly practice this extortion. . . . one 'PAC officer reported that though John Kerry (D- Mass.; 1985- ) makes a public issue of not accepting PAC contributions, his staff had nonetheless called the corporation to say that Kerry expected $5,000 in personal contributions from the company's executives.'15

'. . . [it's a] protection-money racket . . . 16 [when] 'Donors coerce politicians," . . . "and politicians coerce donors.'17 . . . Newt Gingrich 'believed that the more committees and subcommittees a person can be on, the more attractions they can acquire to present to contributors'18 . . . 'lawmakers freely acknowledged that they and their colleagues often sought assignments to certain 'cash cow' committees because members of those committees are able to raise large amounts of campaign money with little effort.'19 Here is the purest example of regulating to raise money, . . . " (p. 199)

The results of this dependence corruption are the familiar stories (in Part II of the book and beyond) of how public policy does little of what the majority of voters want: too little or too much taxation, too little or too much regulation, no single payer option in health care bill deliberations, subsidy to industry be it agriculture, banking, or energy, at the expense of the public, and a disregard for our constitution. These are issues near and dear to both Republicans and Democrats as the following quotes remind us:

"In the spring of 2011 the United states faced many public policy problems. We were in the middle of two wars. The economy was still in the tank: thirteen million Americans were unemployed, almost 15 percent were on food stamps, and 20 percent of kids were living in poverty. There was an ongoing battle about health care, and the public debt. There was a continuing fight over taxes. Likewise over immigration policy. Many wanted tort reform. Legislation to address global warming had still not been passed. Nor had an appropriations bill, or a budget. And a fight between Tea Party Republicans and the rest of Congress was bringing America to the brink of a government shutdown.
So within that mix, what issue would you say was 'the most consuming issue in Washington ⎯ according to members of Congress, Hill staffers, lobbyists and Treasury officials ⎯ '129. . .?"
A bill to limit the amount banks could charge for the use of debit cards: so-called "swipe fees.'
This bill . . . . was the leading issue for lobbyists. . . .
"a full 118 ex-government officials and aides [were] registered to lobby on behalf of banks . . . [A]t least 124 revolving-door lobbyists" were lobbying on behalf of retailers. The issue dominated Congress's calendar." (p. 164)

Again, the point that he is making here is that no sooner do candidates get elected than their agenda shifts to things that cater to lobbyist at the expense of the agenda of the voters. But not all lobbyists are the same. He points out that it is the corporate lobby that does not represent voters - corporate lobbyists are not in it to deliver votes. Instead, they are in it to invest money in legislators on an ongoing basis throughout their terms. Lessig even provides return-on-investment figures for this corporate business activity.

Congress knows that they are addicted to their "protection racket" and they know that they can do nothing about it, if they want to keep their jobs anyway. So it's a vicious "dance". Politicians are in a chronic fight to secure lobby money and the business interests are in a chronic fight to secure political favor. Most importantly, it is NOT the fault of the politicians, it is NOT the fault of the lobbyists, and it NOT the fault of the voters. Lessig correctly suggests that demonizing any of these gets us nowhere. He also points out that this dance is very different than lobbyists who are at least devoted to the agenda of real voters such as Unions and The Tea Party, although their money should not be welcome either. Real voters or not, Lessig calls for publically financed elections and other constitutional fixes. The final part of his book is devoted to just how to do it.

He explains why just the legislative fixes of transparency and anonymity of donors in campaign finance won't work and then presents potential solutions and four strategies for action. He shows why he thinks the constitutional fix is the best of the four and puts to rest the related legal, practical, and political objections to a constitutional convention. For example:

"But even though no convention has been called, the calls for a convention have had an important reformatory effect, most famously in the context of the Seventeenth Amendment (making the Senate elected), when the states came within one vote of calling for a convention, the Congress quickly proposed the amendment the convention would have proposed.8
. . . a constitutional convention is the one final plausible strategy for forcing fundamental reform onto our Congress.9 It is also the most viable grass-roots strategy for forcing reform onto the system. It's going to be easier to organize movements within the states to demand fundamental reform than it will be to organize Congress to vote for any particular amendment. . ." (pp. 292 & 293)

Or anything else that threatens those in the gift economy, as Lessig has carefully shown us.

He has a discussion about the role of "Rich People" and an appendix titled "What You Can Do, Now". There are stories of very wealthy people such as Arnold Hiatt, the former chairman of Stride Rite Shoes, one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party, and one who understands that his money-power is destructive, (and because of his awareness was publically "humiliated" by Bill Clinton). Lessig explains that enlightened rich people like Hiatt:

" . . . recognize that in a democracy their power is wrong. Not their wealth. . . .
. . . the idea that in a democracy you should be able to trade your wealth into more influence over what the government does is just wrong. It denies the basic principle of 'one person, one vote.' .
. . . The egalitarianism that democracy demands is not that there be no influential people. It is that influence be tied to something relevant to the democracy. " (pp. 312 & 313).

He proposes solutions and gives us four things that we can do right now (in part with the aid of his online organization Rootstrikers ) to engage in "politics without politicians". But more importantly, he explains why this effort can be, (is, and must be) across the ideological spectrum. His hope is that responsible people (non politicians) will join Rootstrikers and start small, with peaceful insurgent terrorizing of politicians (to paraphrase) and by organizing "mock" constitutional conventions as pilots. These pilots are "deliberative polls" to discover just what citizens want out of constitutional changes.

My personal addition is that both liberal and conservative Obama critics will read this book and unite. ⎯ Then join in, when they realize that they have had the wrong target, i.e., this book teaches us that politicians, lobbyists, and corporate sponsors cannot "just say no". The problem is structural not personal, as Rep. Frank would like us to believe. As Lessig (pp. 147, 148, 186, 188, & 189) and others remind us, one need only look at the impotence of the so-called Dodd-Frank banking "reform" legislation to get that structural message!
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