Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Federal Election Commission will be without quorum effective December 31st

According to an article in today's Washington Post, the FEC (Federal Election Commission), the regulatory agency for congressional and presidential campaigns, will be without a voting quorum of four commissioners effective December 31st. This means that decisions will not be able to be made on campaign finance and other campaign issues as the primary election season begins. There is a deadlock in Congress over the choosing of new commissioners including the controversial Hans A. von Spakovsky.

Congress will need to begin anew the selection process for new FEC commissioners in mid-January, 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tell the federal government your thoughts on their regulations is the federal government's regulations website that encourages citizens' comments. Just use the site's search form to access any government agency's regulations, and personally give your input on them.

Yes, we, the people do have a say in federal government regulation. is an award-winning, interactive site that is built for citizens' input for its regulation decision-making.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Committee Caller makes it easy to contact a whole congressional committee

There is now an easier way to make a phone call to all of the members of a Congressional committee-- it's called Committee Caller. You enter your phone number and select your committee or subcommittee from either the U.S. House or Senate, and it will rotate you through to the individual committee members' offices. It even allows you to note their responses.

This tool is a time-saver for those of us that need to contact the whole committee on an issue or bill it is currently working on.

Nota bene: Most bills start in committee, or even before that, in sub-committee; they don't reach the floor for a debate and vote unless they pass their committees with positive vote.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Only voter-verifiable paper trail machines will do!

ZDNet's Zero Day blog reports that research on the voting machines of Ohio confirms our worst fears-- there are many security problems associated with them. This is not new news, as we have been hearing stories of voting machine breaches of security for several years, especially electronic ones.

This pattern of laxity and unaccountability among the voting machine manufacturers is an atrocity. Nothing is more important to a nation's viability than clean and fair elections, for all levels of government. We all have witnessed the chaos of the 2000 presidential election day, and the controversies of 2004's; this is only what we know happened.

We cannot allow another successive election season crater to voting machine problems. The only safe and accountable solution is voter-verifiable paper trail voting. We, the people, should never demand less from our electoral administrators.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A call to citizenship and responsibility

The Progress Report has an interesting commentary by Ben Tanosborn, on today's "consentership" of the American people to our government. It is a cry to shake off the deferment of all the great issues of the day to our unresponsive government. Democracy lies in the hands of we, the people; it is our responsibility as citizens of this great nation to see that our government is honest and accountable, a truly-qualified representation of you and I.

I hope that All Things Reform is a step in the right direction, that we, the people are the ultimate owners of this country, that we are upholding our responsibility as its only constitutional owners. It is truly up to us.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2007

CREW has released the "Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2007" list; it is in pdf file format and requires the free Adobe Reader software. Most of these stories you may remember, as they impact the quality of business in our nation's capital city.

Thanks go to all of our dedicated public interest groups, as shown in the left-hand column, for keeping these scandals at bay and to a limited number; it is always a struggle to keep ahead of breeches of rules and conduct, even at the highest levels of our government.

Senate passes new FOIA bill

The FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, has become up-to-date to service increased government transparency demands. FOIA is a term used by the general public to request information from any federal government agency, based on the terms of the Act. It is expected to be signed into law by President Bush; for details on the FOIA changes, please see this Associated Press article.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tell the FEC NO on this Friday's ruling about presidential public financing

Public Campaign has issued a letter to the FEC (Federal Election Commission) concerning the public financing of presidential elections. The FEC is considering a ruling that would prevent some small-dollar donations given through the web from triggering public matching funds for candidates who have opted into the system.

The FEC vote for this is scheduled for this Friday, December 14. Public Campaign urges us to turn down this new rule, so that small donors can keep a stake in the race for presidential campaign contributions. If you agree, please take action here to "sign" Public Campaign's letter to the FEC.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check who your Congressmen meet with

Sunlight Foundation provides assistance to government database projects. One of these, the Punch Clock Campaign, asks Congressmembers to post on the internet many of their meetings. To date, there are just eight representatives involved; you may find one of your's enlisted. Although several types of meetings are not qualified for this, you will find some information about what your representative does on a day-to-day basis and with whom.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The U.S. Constitution With the Declaration of Independence now on All Things Reform

I've added the U.S. Constitution With the Declaration of Independence, a pdf file from the U.S. GPO, to the left-hand column of this blog.

Located near the bottom of this page, this widget is self-contained and interactive, courtesy of .docstoc, a document storage and sharing service. I have found that you may need to "zoom in" on the document 10 times to make it comfortable reading on the eyes. It is printable. Although you can't keyword search it, there is an extensive index at the very end of the document itself.

A larger, more fully-featured version of this document's widget is on .docstoc's website here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

As internet reveals government increasingly, Bush administration is secret

I am continually amazed at the rush of government databases available to the citizen these days. If you look at my left-hand column, you will see an ever-growing list of mostly free-to-use campaign finance, government finance and document databases.

As the internet has been integral in empowering American citizens to see what their government is up to, the Bush administration has been stonewalling most attempts by Congress to review Executive branch documents. In fact, it was determined in spring of this year that at least 5 million emails were destroyed by the administration between 2003 and 2005; there is still a chance there is a backup of these on tape. Now, according to a press release from CREW, the number of lost emails is probably much more-- between 10 and 20 million messages!

What has the Bush administration to hide, for such a long period of time? All government officials are ultimately answerable to we, the people, the citizens of the United States. Just as the law to maintain all emails was passed after the 1970's Watergate scandal, we must see that transparency in government is still very important to an accountable government.

Tell your Congressmen YES to restoring presidential public financing

Public Citizen has launched a netroots campaign for public financing of elections. The "Presidential Funding Act of 2007" (HR 776 and S 436) brings the presidential public finance program, which started in the mid-1970's, up to date. Although it has worked for a few decades, it needs to be restored in its ability to support those candidates who wish to avoid the day-to-day big money fundraising that many of today's candidates go through. If you agree, please take action here or go directly to your Representative's and two Senators' websites through this service. Here's what Public Citizen says in its new drive:

White House: NOT for Sale!
The 2008 presidential candidates are engaged in never-ending race for campaign contributions – relying more than ever on bundlers and big donors, who attain special access and plum appointments as reward for their support. It was not always like this. For years, the presidential public funding system worked to level the playing field by setting limits on campaign spending and prevented candidates from becoming indebted to major contributors. Since the Bush/Gore race in 2000, it has failed as an alternative to big special interest money because it has not kept up with the costs of modern campaigns. Champions of fair elections in both houses of Congress have introduced the “Presidential Funding Act of 2007” to update the system. This legislation would make the funding system a viable alternative in today’s political environment. Please take a minute to add your own words to the letter below and tell your members of Congress to co-sponsor and help pass the fix for funding presidential elections.

Report reveals full history of Department of Homeland Security mismanagement

CREW (Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington) has released a report on the mismanagement of the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) during its first five years of operation. They also created a website devoted to the research project, called Homeland Security for Sale.

The DHS has lost billions of dollars already in its short existence; it can be argued, too, that our domestic security situation in America is not any better than when the department was first established. Hopefully, this report will inspire our Congress to take deep, serious steps to see that the DHS enjoys new, top management resources and practices during this age of illegal immigration and terrorism.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tell the FCC NO on fewer mass media owners

Common Cause is leading an email campaign on the issue of media consolidation. Recent news says that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has scheduled a vote on December 18th on whether to allow fewer mass media companies such as major news networks, radio stations and daily newspapers, than we have now.

Further relaxing media consolidation rules means fewer voices on the airwaves and less variety of viewpoints and information. We, the people, must enjoy free speech in all of its forms, including radio, tv, newspapers and more. We need a large variety of owners in our local and national news and entertainment media. If you agree, please take action here by contacting the FCC through the Common Cause website; the larger the number of letters sent in this campaign, the greater the chance for success.

Sign the Public Campaign petition against special interest deals

Public Campaign Action Fund has a petition to the U.S. Congress leadership, asking them to take control of the special interest bill requests from Bush donors. President Bush rode into the White House in the elections of 2000 and 2004 on a wave of large corporate campaign contributions, and now they are asking for preferential benefits in return. Our president, however, is for we, the people, not special interests. If you agree and would like to sign the petition, please go here. Here's more info from the petitioner, PCAF:

Stop Bush's Holiday Giveaways
The New York Times reported that lobbyists for big corporations were “racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.” The industries seeking these changes are big donors to Bush’s elections in 2000 and 2004. Congressional leaders ought to do everything in their power to stop these disastrous changes that hurt the environment, public health, workers, and consumer safety.

Election Assistance Commission withholds provisional balloting reform report from the public

VoteTrustUSA has an almost complete, leaked copy of a "provisional balloting reform" paper presented to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It appears the EAC has withheld the document from release to the general public. VoteTrustUSA has the downloadable report and a statement of the circumstances surrounding this withholding by the federal commission.

Sign the VotersUnite.Org petition for better voting machines

VotersUnite.Org, a non-partisan promoter of fair and accurate elections, has a petition we can send to Congress concerning many of our election machines. We have developed a lack of trustworthiness in many of the new polling machines that have been installed in recent years. If you agree, please take action here. Here's what VotersUnite.Org has to say:

Take Action. It's time to call for accountability in the machinery of our
electoral system. Please sign the petition in support of VoterAction's call for
Congressional investigations into blatant and destructive commercial fraud in
the electronic voting machine industry.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ask your Congressmen if they support a U.S. Constitution Article V Convention

Friends of the Article V Convention requests us to ask our Congressmen if they support an American citizen's right to an Article V Convention; then, leave those responses here. Here's an explanation by the Friends of how important this part of the U.S. Constitution is:

Article V of the Constitution of the United States provides that "on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments...". The Founding Fathers of our nation recognized the importance of providing this means by which the citizens of our country could initiate amendments to change and/or clarify the Constitution; the fundamental document which they intended to be not only the blueprint for our federal system but also "the supreme Law of the Land".
The Founding Fathers described . . . continued . . .

Sign the Citizens' Debate Commission petition for presidential debate reform

The Citizens' Debate Commission (CDC) is running an internet petition drive for presidential debate reform. They want to improve the debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is corporate-sponsored. Find out more about the CDC on their "The Issue" page. If you would like to sign the petition, please go here. The CDC's petition says this:

We, the undersigned, support Open Debates' campaign to reform the
presidential debate process. We believe that the presidential debates should
serve the American people first, not political parties. We support replacing the
bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates with the nonpartisan Citizens'
Debate Commission, so that inspiring formats can be employed, pressing national
issues can be addressed, and popular independent and third party candidates can
be included.