"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Democracy Spring & Democracy Awakening Movement Against Undue Influence in US Politics Leads to ca. 1000 People Being Arrested for Acts of Civil Disobedience to Call Attention to Needed Reforms

What is Democracy Spring? or Democracy Awakening?
or #DoYourJob, as in a placard found there:
"WE DO OUR JOBS! Senate, #DoYourJob".

USA TODAY writes:

"Democracy Spring protests at the US Capitol

[See photographs at USA TODAY.]

[caption to Image 1] Supporters of the activist group 'Democracy Spring', which has been staging protests for a week at the U.S. Capitol to 'end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections', stage a sit-in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 2016. Several dozen of them were subsequently arrested.

[caption to Image 2] Actress Rosario Dawson takes part in a demonstration on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 15, 2016. The demonstration, called Democracy Spring, is advocating a set of reforms the organizers have dubbed the 'democracy movement' demanding Congress amend campaign finance laws and restore the Voting Rights Act, among other actions".

We reproduce the Common Cause press release below because one of our Stanford classmates, Helen Baumann, née Brennan (J.D. 1971), has, according to Facebook postings at her site, probably been arrested for taking part in the Democracy Spring demonstration in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill: "Aunt Helen Baumann was on Fox News (Waters World on the Bill O'Reilly) a few nights ago. She wasn't interviewed but you can see her marching."

We ourselves are political centrists. Out of pragmatic reality, we are not partial to such demonstrations, but we respect the courage of people who are willing to demonstrate peacefully about causes in which they believe strongly. After all, Helen is an attorney, a mother, and not a political radical.

Stanford people are often found at the forefront of new developments, be these what they may, so that one should take notice of these commitments, because such demonstrations can be only the small tip of a much larger political iceberg.

Anyone who has been following the course of GOP and Democratic Party primaries in the USA can not escape the feeling that something has gone badly askew in America, when even simple primary election processes appear to be greatly under the influence of small groups or caucuses of political elites, big money, hidden underground donors, and undemocratic ways of doing things. Worse, voters' wishes appear to be openly disregarded by "good old boy" political party vested interests, and even disregarded by Presidential candidates. That is not the "democracy in America" that the founding Fathers envisioned and that the nation wants to hold up as a model for the world. NOT.

One can thus fully understand the demonstrators, who are also demonstrating against U.S. Supreme Court decisions that seem to have badly misjudged discrimination and inequality in the nation and have clearly harmed civil rights improvements that had taken place over the course of past decades.

We write that as someone whose "law & order" views are stricter than those of most observers and who favors no special privileges for anyone, at any time, and that includes artificial "legal persons" such as corporations and religious institutions. LAW and its enforcement should be fair and impartial. The people's right to vote should be paramount under the "one person, one vote" principle. Civil rights should adhere only to PEOPLE and not to institutions or religions.

The rise and popularity of more-or-less "non-establishment" Presidential candidates on both sides of the political fence indicates that there is a broad sector of the electorate that is not amused by the shenanigans that they see being enacted daily by establishment political figures on the political stage, especially in the U.S. Congress, which has become more a circus sideshow than a legislature wisely enacting laws for the good of the nation. The problem is a simple one: there are far too many people in political positions who spend their time "playing being important" rather than "doing something important".

We are, by the way, not against wealthy people contributing to political causes, but they should not be able to do so anonymously or under the guise of some institution or company, because democratic governments should not be elected or run clandestinely by hidden powers. Who is to say what amounts of money from foreign political or corporate anti-democratic sources are being funneled into political channels in that way to influence domestic U.S. elections?

Here is the Common Cause press release:

For Immediate Release, April 17, 2016
Contact: Scott Swenson 202-423-8130, sswenson@commoncause.org

Common Cause: Democracy Awakening Proves the People Will Prevail
Facing Challenges, Finding Optimism: Together We Are Building a 21st Century Democracy that Works for Everyone

Washington, DC --- Thousands of Americans gathered on the National Mall calling attention to the citizen-driven grassroots movement steadily gaining momentum and scoring impressive early wins in the six years since the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United. After allowing more secret unaccountable money to tip the scales more toward wealthy special interests, the court dealt democracy another blow when it made voting harder for many people in Shelby, dismantling parts of the Voting Rights Act. But as thousands gathered to fight the twin threats to democracy, the mood is decidedly optimistic.

In music, artistic performances, speeches from elected officials and movement leaders, the crowd stood as a representation of millions of Americans across the country who are part of more than 100 endorsing organizations. This movement, built town-by-town, state-by-state, started to emerge on the national scene during the 2016 election by framing the Fighting Big Money, Empower People: An Agenda for a 21st Century Democracy. Through a series of events during the past two weeks, the Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, more than 1000 people have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience to call attention to the need for the reforms as captured in the Fighting Big Money Agenda and the issues endorsed by these actions.

This growing political force is demanding a debate in 2016 about the future of democracy, money's influence, our right to vote, and the people's desire for government that works for all of us.

Common Cause is the largest and longest-serving citizen-advocacy organization with 35 offices in states working on the frontline of democracy reform. A recent growth spurt in membership, now at 475,000 and climbing, suggests the issues of how our democracy works are as relevant to the New American Majority as they were to the generation that founded Common Cause. In 46 years Common Cause citizen-lobbyists held power accountable, no matter which party was in power, and passed the nation's first open government and transparency laws; fought back against money's influence starting with Watergate; elevated ethics in legislative bodies; expanded the vote to 18 year-olds. Today Common Cause is helping pass the first Automatic and Online Voter Registration laws; leading model reforms to reduce money's influence, such as Connecticut's Citizen Election Program, which shifted the balance of power away from lobbyists and back to the people. In addition, Common Cause is working to pass impartial redistricting commissions to fight polarization and end gerrymandering; working against the concentration of media and for net neutrality, and the full range of issues election related issues to reform, modernize, and create a democracy that works fore everyone in the 21st Century.

Statement from the prepared remarks of Miles Rapoport, Common Cause president, Democracy Awakening, April 17, 2016, Washington, DC.
"As the challenges we face threaten the survival of democracy itself, we have reason to be extremely optimistic."
"We have come to this moment of Democracy Awakening -- because people are realizing the system is rigged against most of us, for the benefit of a few wealthy special interests."
"The issues of racial equality and economic justice, and a democracy that works for everyone are now at the top of the agenda in this election. You made that happen -- you stood on street corners protesting the Citizens United decision; you fought to expand access to the ballot in the face of the Shelby decision. Because you fought back against big money, every candidate for president, congress, and on down ballot will have to answer one question -- "what will you do to reduce money's influence so that everyone's voice and vote are equal and we preserve democracy of, by, and for the people?"
"By working together, town by town, state by state, we will win this our generation’s fight for democracy just as people before us won the rights for us to be here today. We will not be the generation that gives up on democracy, and the next generation, the New American Majority, they will be the generation that finally and forevermore secures a democracy reflecting and worthy of the rich diversity of ideas, experiences, and people that will define 21st Century America."
"You have changed the national conversation, and when everyday American's change their conversations about what is important, the policies and decisions will change soon after. The politicians always catch up sooner or later."

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

View of the web: http://www.commoncause.org/press/press-releases/common-cause-democracy.html

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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