Saturday, July 26, 2014

For MAYDAY.US supporters

In the two weeks following the MAYDAY.US question and answer session, I left numerous comments on the webpage for the session (which is here), with a view to communicating with other MAYDAY.US supporters, and eliciting discussion. My comments did not produce any results, so I am sending tweets to #maydaypac tweeters, with a link to this blog entry.

I know we are all anxiously awaiting to see what five Congressional races MAYDAY.US is going to focus on in 2014.

Whatever those five races are, and however MAYDAY.US spends its money to publicize its plan in 2014, I think it is extremely important for MAYDAY.US supporters to exert as much effort as they can to publicize MAYDAY.US, in whatever way they can throughout the country in 2014.

I wish to connect with other MAYDAY.US supporters who think similarly and who want to try to coordinate to increase their effectiveness.

If you are interested in connecting, please leave a comment on this blog entry, or send an email to me at rdshattuck@gmail.com.

Thanks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

March with me under the MAYDAY.US banner

The goal of MAYDAY.US is to reduce the influence of money in politics.

In my write in campaign in the AL 6th Congressional district, I am marching under the banner of MAYDAY.US.

Please go to the website of MAYDAY.US  to learn more.

And then please make a decision to march with me this Fall under the banner of MAYDAY.US .

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What will Gary Palmer do about Johns Hopkins Hospital?

Should Johns Hopkins Hospital be required to pay $190 million to thousands of women who were secretly filmed by a doctor during gynecological exams? (See Reuters, July 21, 2014 article  "Johns Hopkins Hospital settles lawsuit with women filmed by doctor".)

If you have been paying close attention to my campaign and you understand my diagnosis of what is wrong with Congress, you may know that the foregoing question has a strong connection to my campaign.

As discussed in my entry last Friday BhamBizJournal: "Congressional Inaction Could Derail Recovery",  in my diagnosis of what is wrong with Congress, I evolved an analytic of lawmakers being frequently confronted with a matter in which there are general societal interests on two or more sides of the matter, and a special, one sided interest of a small group, and I put forth the idea that the American people and American business would be better off if lawmakers made their decisions based on balancing the general societal interests and ignoring a special, one sided interest of a small group.

This analytic is further discussed in a speech I prepared for the May 12th "Birmingham's Future for Young Professionals" candidate forum, sponsored by Rotaract Club of Birmingham and the Birmingham Business Journal. In the speech, I particularly applied the analytic to several examples, including that of plaintiffs' lawyers. Said prepared speech can be read at Birmingham's Future For Young Professionals. See also The GM faulty ignition recall and My American Lawmaker's Creed.

If you have strong reactions, one way or the other, to plaintiffs' lawyers and their class action lawsuits and the liabilities and settlements that arise from them  (such as Johns Hopkins Hospital having to pay $190 million to thousands of women who were secretly filmed by a doctor during gynecological exams), you ought to be interested in what Gary Palmer thinks about what I have been saying in my campaign and what I say above, and what he would do as a Congressman related to the same.


Friday, July 18, 2014

BhamBizJournal: "Congressional Inaction Could Derail Recovery"

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Subject: Congressional Inaction Could Derail Recovery
To: birmingham@bizjournals.com
Cc: Gary Palmer <gary@palmerforcongress.com>, Alison Howell <ahowell@birminghambusinessalliance.com>, Nathan Lindsay <nathanl@bcatoday.org>, "Powers, Wade" <wpowers@uschamber.com>, "jon@palmerforalabama.com" <jon@palmerforalabama.com>

Birmingham Business Journal
2140 11th Avenue S., Suite 205
Birmingham, AL 35205

Dear Sir,

In the above titled editorial [Congressional Inaction Could Derail Recovery] on the "Viewpoint" page in the Business Journal's June 20, 2014 issue (page 19), you say, among other things:
Even the ongoing recovery is threatened by the fierce political divide that has taken hold in our nation....
As has often been the case lately, the primary culprit is Congress . . ..
The petty disputes in Washington must stop. Business leaders need to take an active role by supporting candidates who won't fall into the red vs. blue and Democrat vs. Republican debates.
In my campaign in the AL 6th Congressional district, I complained vociferously that the message of the other six candidates to the voters was, "your enemy is Obama and the Democrats."

Further, I had a diagnosis of factors causing or being a main cause of the "fierce political divide" you refer to.

As part of my diagnosis, I evolved an analytic of lawmakers being frequently confronted with a matter in which there are general societal interests on two or more sides of the matter, and a special, one sided interest of a small group, and I put forth the idea that the American people and American business would be better off if lawmakers made their decisions based on balancing the general societal interests and ignoring a special, one sided interest of a small group.

I also had an idea about "open" Congressional offices, which seemed to have a potential for improving Congressional performance.

Knowing the business community has concerns about Congress failing in its job for the country, I sent emails to the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Business Council of Alabama, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I append those emails below.

I hope those three chambers of commerce have considered my emails, and the chambers view the emails as constructive.

I hope the Birmingham Business Journal also finds the appended emails to be constructive.

I believe Gary Palmer or his campaign team are informed of my emails to the chambers of commerce. I do not know whether Gary thinks my emails say anything that is of interest to him politically.

I am continuing to purvey my campaign messages to the voters and others in the AL 6th Congressional district. I hope the Business Journal thinks this is constructive on my part.

I am copying Gary and the three chambers on this email. I will also post this email on my campaign website.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM
Subject: Tonight's run off debate in AL 6th Cong'l district
To: Alison Howell <ahowell@birminghambusinessalliance.com>, Nathan Lindsay <nathanl@bcatoday.org>, "Powers, Wade" <wpowers@uschamber.com>

To: U.S. Chamber of Commerce (c/o Wade Powers)
      Business Council of Alabama (c/o Nathan Lindsay)
      Birmingham Business Alliance (c/o Alison Howell)

I am continuing to press issues which I raised in my Congressional campaign leading up to the June 3rd primary election. 

Before June 3rd, I responded to your Chambers' questionnaires and, in addition, I wrote the two below emails to the Chambers.

My main contentions have been that there is not government of the people, by the people and for the people in Washington DC, and that the causes of that are also causes of Congress being kaput and not working for the American people.

In my two below emails to the Chambers, I inquired about two ideas or concepts which I believed were worthy of consideration for purposes of improving the governance of the country by Washington DC and improving Congressional performance.

In my campaign I was unable to get any of the other six candidates to discuss my main contentions, and, as part of that failing, I was barely able to make mention to the voters of the two ideas or concepts I wrote to the Chambers about.

I am sure all three Chambers have their particular concerns about the condition of the country's governance in Washington DC and about Congressional performance. 

I think just about everyone is very dissatisfied about these matters.

I think the other candidates in the AL 6th Congressional district primary election offered the voters little or nothing relative to this dissatisfaction of the voters. I doubt that Paul DeMarco and Gary Palmer will offer anything new to the voters in the course of the run off election.

The political commentator community in the 6th Congressional district has also failed the voters.

I don't know whether any of the three Chambers can or will do anything to fill this void.

The occasion of there being a first run off debate tonight affords me an opportunity to remind the Chambers of the two emails I sent about the concepts of "open" Congressional offices and of a lawmaker's principle of balancing general societal interests on more than one side of an issue and disregarding "one sided special interests."

The three Chambers have much experience and understanding about what is right and what is wrong for the American people about the way Washington works and about how well Congress does for the American people.

I hope there is a way for the three Chambers (or any of them) to provide voters in the 6th Congressional district with the benefit of information and understanding that the Chambers have about these matters, as will aid the voters in asking questions of the run off candidates and ultimately making their voting decisions.

Thank you very much for your attention to this letter.

Following my practice of trying to provide as much as possible to voters via my campaign blog/website, I will post this as an "open letter" on my campaign blog/website.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Subject: AL06-- Candidate request for further Chamber feedback re American Lawmaker's Creed
To: Alison Howell <ahowell@birminghambusinessalliance.com>, Nathan Lindsay <nathanl@bcatoday.org>, wpowers@uschamber.com
Cc:  [omitted]

Dear Alison, Nathan, and Wade,

I wish to expand the request for Chamber feedback that I sent you yesterday (yesterday's email is "forwarded" hereby).

As I think Alison and Nathan know, my campaign charges that there is something fundamentally wrong with Congress that critically needs addressing by the American people and Congress.

I have a diagnosis of what is wrong, and am putting forth ideas for fixing, or trying to fix, Congress. 

One of my ideas is the "open" Congressional offices idea that was the subject of yesterday's email.

A related idea grows out of my analytic of lawmakers being frequently confronted with a matter in which there are general societal interests on two or more sides of the matter, and a special, one sided interest of a small group.

I discussed this analytic in a speech I prepared for the May 12th "Birmingham's Future for Young Professionals" candidate forum, sponsored by Rotaract Club of Birmingham and the Birmingham Business Journal. Said prepared speech can be read at Birmingham's Future For Young Professionals. See also The GM faulty ignition recall and My American Lawmaker's Creed.

I think the American people and American business would be better off if lawmakers made their decisions based on balancing the general societal interests and largely ignoring a special, one sided interest of a small group.

Currently, there is a roadblock to this happening. The roadblock derives from the large costs of election campaigns, the continuous fundraising which must go on, and the need for campaign contributions from special, one sided interests (whose interests are limited to their respective small niches in the the domain of Federal law and Federal government actions).

Whether or not this roadblock can be overcome, my question to the Chambers is this: Do you think the American people and American business would be better off if it was possible to inculcate in lawmakers a widespread or universal practice that they make their decisions based on balancing the general societal interests and ignoring special, one sided interests of small groups?

My "open" Congressional offices idea is intended to provide support for such a practice becoming widespread.

I appreciate that the Chambers probably probably will not be able to provide any reaction or feedback before the June 3rd primary election day. Writing the Chambers, however, is a basis for helping me get these ideas in front of the voters in their consideration of the candidates, and, in that vein, I am taking the liberty of copying the other candidates and my local media and forum list on this email.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck
Candidate, AL 6th Congressional district

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Subject: AL06- Candidate request for "down and dirty" Chamber feedback re "open" Cong'l offices
To: Alison Howell <ahowell@birminghambusinessalliance.com>, Nathan Lindsay <nathanl@bcatoday.org>, wpowers@uschamber.com


Dear Alison, Nathan, and Wade,

You are the contact persons from whom I, as one of the seven candidates in the Alabama 6th Congressional district race, have received the candidate questionnaires of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Business Council of Alabama, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I have previously replied on the BBA and the BCA questionnaires, and the due time for the U.S. Chamber questionnaire, which I received yesterday, is next Wednesday.

I wish to make, if possible, a "down and dirty" inquiry of the Chambers about an idea I have put forth in my campaign. 

The idea is that of using data capture technology to create "open" Congressional offices, so that there are basically no private communications between a Congressional office and the outside world.

The extent of my written description of the idea is this campaign blog entry: Dear Anthony: re slow Friday afternoon.

Your Chambers have a lot of knowledge and experience of working with Congressional offices. 

My basic question is, could the Chambers live with this concept of "open" Congressional offices?

I think all I am looking for at the moment is a choice of "down and dirty" reactions, such as, "there is no way this idea of "open" Congressional offices could ever be workable and acceptable," or "it is an idea worth exploring," or "that idea has really good potential."

I know you may not be able to give me any quick "down and dirty" reaction at all, but it seemed at least worth asking.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why Gary Palmer will be ineffective

As Dale Jackson said to me over and over, "Congress is broke, and everyone agrees Congress is broke."

Dale didn't exactly define "broke."

In my campaign, I assiduously tried to get at the "brokeness" of Congress.

I asked Senators Shelby and Sessions and Representative Bachus to help the 6th Congressional district candidates and voters about whether Congress was "broke" or not (my own terminology the past five months has been variously Congress is "dysfunctional," "failed," "kaput," "incapacitated" and "sucky"). See Open letter to Alabama delegation in Washington. Senators Shelby and Sessions and Representative Bachus were either non-repsonsive, or they ignored me.

At the Channel 13 televised debate in March, I tried to get the panelists and the audience merely to look back over the past 20 years of Congressional performance, with a view of their trying to reach their own evaluation of that performance.

I literally tried to put questions in the mouths of the panelists (see Questions panelists should ask). In my closing statement at the debate, I asked the audience to go home and take out a pencil and paper and put on one side instances in the past 20 years when they thought Congress did properly do its job for the American people, and, on the other side, instances of failure (including inaction) to do its job for the American people, and to reach an overall conclusion.

Throughout the campaign all of the other candidates steadfastly refused to state what their evaluation was, one way or the other, about whether Congress was "broke."

Further I gave my diagnosis of why Congress was kaput and unable to do its job for the American people.

Given the avoidance of this matter by the other candidates, and their not saying one way or the other about the "brokeness" of Congress, none of them said anything about my diagnosis, or offered their diagnosis, of why we have a failed Congress (assuming they agreed with me that we have a failed Congress).

If Congress has been a failed institution in recent years, what on Earth makes anyone think it is going to be other than a failed institution for the next two years or next four years?

[Edit 7/16/14. In my entry Framing the question, I refer to the possibility of the Republicans winning the Senate in the 2014 elections. I believe a significant part of our kaput Congress is "obstructionism" on the part of a current "weaker" side, which is met with extreme tactics of the other side to overcome the "obstructionism" (e.g., The Affordable Care Act, with Republican "obstructionism" being overcome by the Democrats by resort to use of "reconciliation" to get passage). If Republicans win the Senate, Democratic "obstructionism" will likely be shifted to use of the Presidential veto. If Gary Palmer can be gotten to talk about the subject, what would he say? Would he say, "failed Congress now, failed Congress will continue if Republicans don't win Senate, failed Congress will stop being failed if Republicans win Senate?" I don't think you can get Gary Palmer to say anything about this subject, further showing why Gary Palmer will be ineffective.]

If Congress continues as a failed institution, all in Congress are part of that failure, and all should be considered ineffective.

Gary Palmer refused throughout to talk to the voters about this. See Would Gary Palmer please comment?

If Gary Palmer cannot talk to the voters about Congress being a failed institution, it is pretty certain he is just going to be a contributor to its continued failure for the American people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Where is Avery Vise on this?

Avery Vise is the Democratic candidate for Congress in the AL 6th Congressional district. His campaign website is here: http://viseforcongress.com/. I do not know where Avery stands on the issues I am raising. Yesterday I sent Avery this email:

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 5:22 AM
Subject: MAYDAY.US
To: info@viseforcongress.com
Dear Avery,I looked at your website and noted the attention it pays to the "gerrymandered" situation in theBirmingham metropolitan area.
I believe you are adequately aware of the advocacy I made in my 6th district candidacy leading up to the June 3rd election.
I am extending my efforts to a write in campaign for the November election, as I explain here.
I think everyone who wants to advance the MAYDAY.US goals would agree that the more attention that gets paid to the issue anywhere, the better.
I have no idea about your own interest in the MAYDAY.US goals. I hope you want to advance them and you will endeavor to advance them in your campaign.
I would be pleased to discuss the subject with you if you wish to do that at anytime.
Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck

Friday, July 11, 2014

On Nov. 4, 2014, write in Rob Shattuck for Congress in AL06

The trigger for this entry is last night's MAYDAY.US Q&A session with Lawrence Lessig and Ben Wikler.

The session started at 9 pm Eastern time, and lasted a little over an hour. A podcast of the session can be viewed here. (Note: when I watched it this morning, the audio did not seem to kick in until a minute into the podcast.)

If you are interested in my efforts, you should find an hour to watch the above podcast. The podcast will let you know about the national effort that is being attempted.

This is a national effort, and regardless of the level of interest in the AL 6th Congressional district to try to fix that which is fundamentally wrong with Congress and our governance in Washington DC, there are and will be candidates and people working on this around the country. If you decide it is hopeless in the Alabama 6th Congressional district, you can find ways to contribute to this national effort in other Congressional districts and states.

In this movement, everything potentially helps to advance the cause.

I put in a great deal of effort to publicize this matter in my run from February to June in the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional district. I had no campaign funding, and, by June 3rd, there was only very limited awareness of my candidacy and campaign. I got only 500 to 600 votes.

The test of all this is whether the voters care about the issue. The national effort will depend on this. Right now I would say it is very unknown how much voters care or could come to care about the issue.

For them to care, the voters need to be made aware of the issue, and to find out whether they care, there needs to be a way for voters to register that they care.

Given that everything can potentially help the national effort, and given the soapbox I have constructed about this issue in the Alabama 6th Congressional district, there seems no reason not to extend my efforts to a write in campaign for the November election. Such is an opportunity to do more purveying of my message to the voters, and, to the extent more voters learn about and react favorably to that message, they can register that they care by writing me in on the ballot in November.

If voters in the 6th district don't care about the issue and don't write me in on the ballot in November, that is a fact of life that the national effort will need to take into account.

To the extent voters show that they care about the issue and write me in to demonstrate the same, that will help the national effort.

All in all, it seems a very easy decision for me to extend my efforts to carrying out a write in campaign for the November election, and I am doing so.