• http://afinerworld.blogspot.com/ B.Dewhirst

    I’m reasonably sure the Right don’t believe what you’re implying they believe, but bravo for giving them the benefit of the doubt, I guess.

    Best of luck as this goes forward.

  • Middle American

    I was with you until you started about the global warming. Not exactly the best issue for drumming up support for or confidence in the project, eh?

  • http://overbreadth.com Cameron F.

    @ Middle American: Why isn’t Global Warming a good example? Seems like a perfect example to me.

  • Vanderleun

    Well, off you go.

    Pack a lunch and take a sweater.

    In case it turns chilly.

  • vanderleun

    A study between 1993 and 2003…… ah, you want to ramp that study out for the next few years and see if 0% still holds?

    Perhaps your impression is a product of a lot of junk analysis.

    But hey, knock yourself out.

  • http://www.ibiblio.org/studioforrecording Tom Poe

    Your ideas are a good start. Problem: When I attempt to use the change-congress.org site to contact elected representatives in my state, I follow the link to a page that only permits a communication to the representative for my zip code. This is totally unacceptable. Please correct.

    Suggestion: Technology exists, today, that enables every community to create a local broadband infrastructure. As you know, if a candidate was able to step in front of every constituent in their district on a daily basis, they would be able to get their message out. A local broadband infrastructure provides all residents in a community free local phone, tv and radio access to both view, listen, and at the same time to create and produce and distribute their works.

    The cost is but $50 per household. From the moment the community launches their local broadband infrastructure, the ability to interact directly with every constituent on a daily basis is possible. We are spending $50 per household to make sure everyone can watch digital tv. Maybe we should be spending that same $50 to provide every American the opportunity to interact with their candidates on a daily basis, for free, for generations to come.

    Please explain why change-congress.org does not want to acknowledge the existence of local broadband infrastructure as a goal to change congress.

  • http://www.gocollege.com Giovanna

    Good stuff – I’m just surprised this didn’t make the digg homepage.

  • ghettoimp

    I wonder if you could get some publicity by going on Colbert. Seems that getting to national attention is a prerequisite to having this work.

  • Stephen Allison

    Congratulations. I certainly hope this CC movement is as successful as your last, and I’ll certainly do what I can to spread the word.

  • http://px.ns1.net/ rob friedman

    I really dig the Change Congress badges!

  • http://fauxpress.blogspot.com Jan / The Faux Press

    Pledged $200.

    Such important work, this.

    If Creative Commons was THE idea of the 20th century – and I think it was – THIS is the idea for the 21st.

    You’re my hero.

    Go for it.

    A patriot, you.

    And just when I thought patriotism was dead.

    I’m getting the word out via email and blogs, Professor Lessig, and wishing you the very best in this endeavor.

    Link the crap out of this, folks; it’s got a chance to succeed for it gets to the heart of the matter.

    We need the capacity to follow candidates elected under these pledges and track adherence to their vows. Only then will the supporters be able to hold their feet to the fire.

    The fundamentalists know how to hold politicians’ feet to the fire.

  • http://www.TalentSpring.com Bryan Starbuck

    Please post your slides.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I’ll just make my point obliquely. As I’ve said:

    Nothing to fear, except those who have something to sell

    ” If you really want to do anything significant about corruption besides being sucked into the machinery of converting public disaffection into private profit, stay away from the bubble of privilege where everyone is backscratching everyone else in the service of business deals.”

  • Less Middle American

    Middle American’s comments are a perfect example why change hasn’t happened already. And why this will be a long, hard battle. And why you can count me in.

  • http://www.vintagetooncast.com Vintage ToonCast

    Look, I’m on board with this Change Congress movement, but you’re going to have to take a vacation from the ivory tower if you want any sort of help from us proles. In your video you make a statement that nobody cares about Micky Mouse — well they do. Maybe they didn’t care before since they had to pay for a public domain VHS just as they would have to pay for a Disney VHS, but in 2007 there were 5 million downloads from Vintage ToonCast on blip.tv alone. People are constantly emailing to thank me and to ask for specific old cartoons. They don’t understand that I’m only posting the ones that are in the public domain. They probably don’t know what the public domain is or that there should be more cartoons in the public domain. But it wouldn’t take much to educate them. They rose to the challenge and called their representatives regarding Net Neutrality. They’ve tolerated my ProBama videos. They’d probably be excited and interested to learn about how Vintage ToonCast is possible, but I myself need to better understand the nuances of copyright and trademark. That’s where you could come in. Or you could continue to sit safely in your office and ignore the reasonable requests of people who have the vehicle and the will to see your visions through to reality. It’s your call.

  • neuron

    Nice presentation. I think it should be prominently linked from the home page of change-congress.org to facilitate understanding of the site… I checked it out a couple of days ago but didn’t fully appreciate the aims until watching the presentation. Now I am much more interested. :)

  • http://www.davidbrin.com David Brin

    Terrific program, Larry. I will spread the word as best I can and urge others to do the same. Please let me know how I can help.

    There are a few unusual “suggestions” that you might consider adding. e.g. restoration of the Congressional independent scientific and technological advisory apparatus, that the GOP deliberately dismantled, in 1995, in order not to hear unbiased expertise. You could couch this in nonpartisan terms, fine. But it is vital.

    Another trust-builder… a simple, one page bill that would remove all of the government’s inspectors general out of the direct chain of command of the agencies they inspect, placing them instead under an Inspector General of the United States (IGUS). Yes, this is more the sort of thing you envision downstream, after Congress is cleansed of dependence. But is is so rapid, simple and do-able — and its effects would be so immediate — and it is so blatantly non-partisan — that it seems plausible to push, up-front.

    (For details, see http://www.davidbrin.com/suggestions.html)

    Above all, I like the spotlight of attention upon the legislative branch, in a year focused on the presidency. One could hope also for some attention paid to the Civil Service – the “fourth branch” – which has suffered horrible abuse in recent years. But you have your plate full.

    Of course, eventually Change Congress will have to take on a much harder task that mere campaign finance reform. Gerrymandering is a crime committed against the people in a conspiracy of collusion between the parties that transcends their superficial differences of policy. Unless one party is totally trounced out of numerous statehouses, so that gerrymandering gores one and overall-favors another, you will never see one party agitate for a nationwide solution (the only kind that could possibly work.)
    (see: http://www.davidbrin.com/gerrymandering1.html)

    But you have your priorities right. Rebuild trust and independence. Yeah, that comes first. With you.

    David Brin

  • http://www.ashleycasey.com Ashley Casey

    As the Independent Candidate for in the special election for Louisiana’s 6th District (Baton Rouge), I was SO proud to take the pledge today. Your message is my message! I signed on to everything but public financing — I am educating myself more on that issue because I am concerned about the structure of such a proposal — but I am VERY open minded to the possibility.

    My election day is May 3 — I am a 36 year old Columbia graduate, new media consultant, mother of 2 elementary school age kids and the wife of a successful entrepreneur. (www.ashleycasey.com) . I will face a Democrat opponent who is a term-limited state legislator and depending on the outcome of the primaries, a 28 year member of the state legislature or a registered lobbyist. I have launched a competitive campaign that was acknowledged this week by the Cook Political Report (after which point I started being contacted by PACs! ) As I go door to door with my team, I have not encountered ONE household that was not excited about the idea that we could elect an Independent and send the nation a message that the Louisiana has truly changed and Congress needs to also.

    By the way, we are having a special election because our Congressman resigned to take a Million-Dollar-a-Year job lobbying for the hedge fund industry. I believe that you should add a pledge that candidates will not become lobbyists when they leave Congress.

  • MJC

    I get the feeling this is a left-wing organization that is pretending to be bipartisan. If you go into this with the premise that all Rebublicans are evil and all Democrats are good, then you are going to fail. However, if you believe that no party or person is sacred, then you’ll have a chance. The problem is not just with Republicans, it’s with all of them. And don’t give me “But Democrats are better than Republicans.” No, they’re not.

  • MJC

    Oops, should have written nonpartisan rather than bipartisan.

  • http://www.democraseed.org John Naylor

    We have to start somewhere and this is a good first step. But there will be many other ideas to incorporate to see this through. I have posted mine at democraseed.org but we must find a way to work together, not against one another. We cannot fall back into the Republican-Democrat mindset. Two sizes do not fit all. There are many other opinions out there, and we need to hear them all.

    This battle is worth fighting and I applaud those who have begun the fight.

  • http://www.vintagetooncast.com Vintage ToonCast

    I want to give you control of Vintage ToonCast, a podcast with over 16,000 subscribers and over 40,000 regular viewers. Several eppisodes, including one on net neutrality, have gone viral. Please carefully read below:

    I’m saying explicitly that I have the means to help you raise awareness about this Change Congress movement, and that it is in fact ironic that we might use the public domain to do so. I’m saying I need your help in bringing this message to the people subscribed to Vintage ToonCast. I’m saying that you shouldn’t ignore emails asking for help to achieve the same goals you have. You remind me of other professors I’ve had who ignore emails they don’t want to deal with. In this response it seems as though you’ve not read what I wrote. This is where the “step out of the ivory tower” comment comes in. I’m well aware that you’ve spoke on numerous occasions to private
    audiences regarding the public domain issues. I’m saying we need to take this out of the academic and bring it to the masses. The smart ones will get it if we explain it well enough. I was one of the key
    podcasters who helped to raise awareness about net neutrality. This is possible.

  • http://allisonweiss.com onehundredwishes

    I would be very interested to see how you might tie your work into that of John Taylor Gatto. His outstanding critique of the American Education system lays bare many of the same elitist agendas that you have begun unraveling in the context of politics. Worth your time (and I don’t say that about many things). It’s free and online. http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

  • CR

    Oy. (I can say that b/c I am Jewish). I don’t understand why people post comments on here pissed off that Prof. Lessig isn’t riding in like the Messiah to join them in fixing whatever issue it is that is important to them (see Vintage ToonCast.,though I have seen other similar posts in other responses to other issues). If you want to talk to Prof. Lessig about an issue, call him or email him. He’s just a professor (as a former student I know he’s a good one, but still).
    I also find it irritating that people seem to find it acceptable to be rude online in a way they would not be in a face to face conversation (see vanderleun). (though possibly I have just committed the same error, see above paragraph)
    Anyway, as to the substantive issue- if anyone wants a better understanding of how money crept it’s way into congressional elections, I would suggest reading volume 2 of Robert Caro’s excellent 3 volume (soon to be 4) biography of Lyndon Johnson , The Path to Power. It illuminates how Johnson used money to get elected to the Senate in a way that had never been used before, and how he gained polictical power with his colleagues by raising money for other congressional candidates at a critical time in FDR’s presidency.
    Not sure I agree with the transparency point– there’s a saying that law making is like making sauages– you really don’t want to see how it’s done, and I think there’s some truth to that. And I’m not sure how your idea to raise money for candidates who agree with the CC position doesn’t make CC a new PAC with a focus on reform. Also, it is important I think to acknowledge the disconnect that has always existed between support for Congress v. support for a Congressman. It has been true for many years now that when a person is asked how they feel about Congress, they say (roughly) “they stink.” Yet that same person, when asked how he feels about his particular Congressman, will say “I love him/her.” And that factors into how much peopletruly want reform.
    Also could have done with the metaphor at the end about alcoholism, as it seemed unnecessary, but that’s just me.
    In any event, given my own ennui/laziness about enjoying the comfort of my own little world too much to do much about changing the world around me, I always applaud anyone who actually tries to achieve whatever change can be achieved.

  • http://izihost.eu rdebakker

    interesting.
    coming from Europe I’m still wondering why this Government hasn’t been taking down yet, imprisoned Bush and his axis of evil friends, and installed a proper government which controls the money instead of the FRB.

    boy how long must we wait before you effen wake up.

  • metamars

    1) I’m very happy the last woman to ask a question related her experience and her suggested emphasis on having an accessible database of Change-Congress supporters. She had a definite view as to what would motivate a candidate the most! I would add, though, that it’s desirable to track Change-Congress-aware voters (who have not made any pledges). Since they are likely to be less motivated to be engaged in democracy, any kind of keeping track of them that relies on them being proactive is problematic. So, to this end, besides sending households postcards (which may be tossed, so this measure of awareness is problematic), another thing to try is to get non-committed voters to agree to receive a phone call, say 1-3 weeks before an election, telling them what the status is of their local candidates according to Change-Congress anti-corruption criteria. The phone call will only take a few minutes, so it’s not asking too much on the part of the recipient. The harder parts are forming phone bank volunteers who will make these informative calls, and also getting voters to hand over their phone numbers for this purpose. (With the promise that they won’t be harassed. They will get exactly 1 phone call per election cycle, and if the call goes into voicemail, no matter.) These non-pledging, but Change-Congress-aware voters could easily constitute a bigger voting bloc than Change-Congress pledgers. Can’t ignore them.

    So, when individuals are approached for the first time, who have no previous exposure to Change-Congress, as a minimum they could be asked for their phone numbers to get the once-per-election informative phone call, but additionally they will be asked to go to the web site and pledge, and to consider getting organizations they belong to involved.

    2) We need to track referring organizations with each voter who pledges, if he/she cares to volunteer that information. (I hope you don’t mind if I use the term “we”. I’m really into this.) The reason is, the way to make this go viral, in terms of boots on the ground, is to leverage civic-minded organizations. And, as motivation for them, some friendly competition in terms of how many fellow voters they enlist is never a bad thing. But you can’t have a competition without a means of keeping score, so the database needs a table of Referer’s, with unique id’s, of course.

    I personally have no problem with rewarding organizations financially, though I’m afraid this may be unseemly. (After all, the corruption of government has it’s roots in financial interests.) However, if the Change-Congress brain trust decides this is OK, this could play out as in the following example. Boy Scout troops can each be assigned a referer id. Each month, the troop which signs up the most citizen-pledgers, divided by the number of members of the troop, wins. What they win depends on the budget of Change-Congress. But, initially, we could offer something modest like $500 for just the single, winning troop, nation-wide. The awards could be increased to $500 for the top X troops in each state, if the budget allows. If cash rewards are too unseemly, just some certificates would still provide positive reinforcement. (In general, I don’t think giving cash rewards to civic minded groups consisting of minors will raise many eyebrows. I’m sure most people will recognize that especially poorer communities need money for all kinds of positive activities. E.g., a few months ago I met a grown man with his son, who couldn’t have been more than 7 years old, soliciting contributions for his son’s basketball uniform. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been doing that if he could have simply written a check without sweating it.)

    3) When a program for enlisting civic-minded groups, such as Boy Scout troops, is worked out, it be nice to have a downloadable .pdf which people like me could print out. I could then present this to whomever I’m talking with, and/or mail it out before a face-to-face meeting.

    4) Talk show hosts should be asked to push both individuals to pledge, as well as appealing for groups to get involved. There are a lot of frustrated voters out there, throughout the political spectrum. While I doubt that shameless smear-merchants like Rush Limbaugh would welcome something like Change-Congress, I can’t believe that conservative voters, in the main, like corruption any more than non-conservative ones. Hence, a general appeal to talk show hosts is recommended.

  • Peter Maleitzke

    The gentleman featured in this lecture is to be admired for his commitment and knowledge of the causes that he explores. Bravo for taking time to make a stand.

    I am curious that he is not critical of the main branch of government that implements and oversees policies he sites as problems. Not only has the administration of the last 7 years not followed the laws and “policies” he is critical of, but in the name of capitalism, they have nearly obliterated any potential for oversight.

    I might add on a personal note, that as an educated citizen who agrees with the general views of the speaker, ( The lack of education is the main problem in the day to day operation of our democracy.) I find the delivery of the speaker to be pompous and condescending and not likely to win over anyone who disagrees with him.

  • http://www.jmaproperties.com Milan in Portland

    At a very basic level the first issue discussed, that of copyright reform, is critical to keeping control of “culture” in the hands of the public who in the larger sense are the ultimate creators and rightfully should have freedom to use and express it freely. It would seem the only way that this is going to happen is through the reform of congress.