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truevote Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:09 PM
Original message
trueVote: a crowd-funded solution to common elections issues
Hello Democratic Undergound,

I'm here on behalf of a team of collaborating students that have been participating in Occupy movements across the country. Our team is developing and crowd-funding a project that aims to alleviate many of the common issues with elections in America.

Issues such as more open debates, campaign reform and transparency of financing. I thought it would be a good idea to post about our work here to show that liberals in the Occupy movement are collaborating to produce tangible results that will reshape American politics.

Our endeavor is trueVote: www.truevote.info

The current page is an informational outlet about what we're currently coding, developing and working out funding for.

I would be very much interested in your opinions on what we have so far.
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cyberpj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Initial thoughts - nice idea and it would be helpful but...
I feel that

1. most of the people who would care to search for info would already know how to search to find it

and

2. I'd rather have a TrueVote group that worked on stopping election fraud (in fact, I was hoping that was what TrueVote meant) because no matter how much info you get out to people it's useless unless peoples' votes are actually counted as they voted.

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truevote Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thank you
Thanks for your thoughts, cyberpj. I think this is going to be one of the big questions or initial thoughts we receive. I would like to primarily address your first thought, seeing as how our project does not cover your second one and we would rather a separate entity pursue those types of issues (one step at a time).

"most of the people who would care to search for info would already know how to search to find it"

Unfortunately most of that information comes from a broken news media. The problem that exists in our modern media infrastructure, in terms of the electoral process, is that debate gets centered around "broken news." Questions are posed that bare more relation to news media problems -- among them is sensationalism -- than to actual political, economic or ethical issues. Having an empirical, unbiased and streamlined system in place would, hopefully, confront this issue head on. Politics as math rather than mass media.

Candidate research can be a daunting process. It's a sad reality that many Americans simply don't have the time or social science background to play minesweeper with political fact and fiction. For some of us it's a full time job, whether it pays or not.

I'm sure your devotion to the democratic process is excellent. What I want to see is the same full breadth of knowledge you might have on the subject easily distilled to the elderly mid-west grandmother that has never read Chomsky, Marx, Hobbes or Machiavelli (just for example). More factors are involved than diligence and intelligence. Those factors might include cultural issues and time constraints.

Please take this as me expanding on our premise for the sake of clarity and not refuting your thoughts. They are valid and helpful.
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cyberpj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I understand. (And welcome to DU truevote!)
And after continuing to consider the matter following my initial thoughts I see where what you want to undertake would have value to those who want the ability to access issues based information on their chosen candidates in a relatively quick and easy manner. An important part of that information would be historical input as well as current items so that one could notice any changes over time.

Absolutely we are in the clutches of a broken news media, partially because of politically determined conglomerates, broken media monopoly laws and a rants-for-ratings attitude but also because of a shift to infotainment and our increasing tendency to gloss over a story instead of delving into it. All evening news channels are now active participants in that process. Having grown up in an age where the nightly news was practically a family gathering event and actually following a story over days or weeks or longer in daily newspapers was the norm, it's difficult to watch the type of segmented blurbs of the days events presented one after the other at 3 minutes apiece and all ending with a feelgood story for the day.

But I digress.

Yes, "Having an empirical, unbiased and streamlined system in place would, hopefully, confront the issue..." and I'm all for that. But I guess you can call me a pessimist because I find it really difficult to believe that such a system would be left alone as far as smear campaigns go. A party not wanting the actual news and information to be presented will always find a way to discredit the provider of such information with currently accepted labels that continue to divide us and pit us against each other. For example, 'oh, you shouldn't read what they say because they're just pushing their (insert word here) agenda.

That said, I would also hope I'm wrong and that the current atmosphere of the Occupy movement really will culminate in a new majority of Americans who want to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the candidates they are being asked to voted into office. Many political news shows now have fact-checking segments but the ability of opposition shows to out-and-out lie without penalty makes even those segments useless. The problem, as I see it, is obtaining and maintaining that reputation as an empirical, unbiased system that would be used by all voters regardless of party affiliation.

I hope you get more input for this and that people here actually check out the site; it deserves more discussion. Perhaps if this post languishes here you could re-post in the General section where most DUers are more than happy to make comments!
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cprise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 03:59 AM
Response to Original message
4. How will trueVote manage context and terms of debate?
This question makes me further wonder if its possible to be strictly empirical in the political realm since only certain issues revolve around science. The corporatist state will force you to ingest mountains of semantic putridity by the simple acts of writing bills and echoing them in the press. In that kind of environment, how can an impartial system track the "neoliberal" agenda when its having to record all of the garbage generated by an establishment that never tags itself other than "good" and "natural" and "freedom" and "PATRIOT"?

How will you prioritize data according to relevance?

Your goal almost seems to be the revival of midcentury journalism's impartial edifice. However, that didn't work out so well the first time IMHO. Years ago I decided that it was much better for news bureaus to be up front about their values and world view. That is what attracted me to papers like The Guardian as well as more radical outlets.

If your goals are less about journalism and more about reference, then you still face the problems of Wikipedia which had to close its ranks to a large degree in order to maintain integrity and coherence.

But I digress...

The biggest problem with the mass media today is ownership. We need to reinstate restrictions on how much of the 4th estate can be owned/operated by any single entity, and also WHO can own it (not military contractors, nor banks that invest in military contractors, for instance). It may also be necessary to prevent most corporations from owning stock in other corporations and/or abolishing corporate personhood. Undertake this media reform, and we will see all of the BS and crazy-making virtually disappear.


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