Monday, August 18, 2014

Open letter to Professor Mark Lester

Dear Professor Lester,

This letter is prompted by your being selected to replace Avery Vise as the Democratic candidate in the Alabama 6th Congressional district general election.

I ran in the Republican primary earlier this year.

In the course of my campaign, I called Congress "dysfunctional," "failed," "kaput," "incapacitated" and "sucky."

I also gave a diagnosis for why I think Congress is failing to do its job properly for the American people.

I tried to get the other six candidates in the Republican primary to address Congress' failed condition, but they were unwilling to do so.

I am persuaded by the critique that Lawrence Lessig and others have made that money in politics has substantially impaired the functioning of our Congress and has resulted in a government in Washington DC that is not of, by and for the people.

MAYDAY.US (started by Lawrence Lessig) has embarked on a plan, which has a goal of obtaining a reform minded Congress in 2016, and, in 2014, MAYDAY is selecting eight Congressional races to focus on.

Five have been selected thus far. MAYDAY.US is supporting Republican Jim Rubens in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in New Hampshire, and Staci Appel in the Iowa 3rd Congressional district against the Republican David Young. Also, MAYDAY has  announced it is supporting Walter Jones (R, NC-3), Carol Shea-Porter (D, NH-1) and Ruben Gallego, Democratic candidate in Arizona’s seventh congressional district to replace retiring Congressman Ed Pastor.

I believe the matter MAYDAY.US is pushing is critically deserving of bipartisan attention. I believe that any Republican or Democrat, in Congress or running for Congress, who finds the status quo acceptable is ill serving (or will ill serve) his or her constituents, and the American people generally.

To my knowledge, Gary Palmer declines to say anything in response to the foregoing. To my knowledge, Gary Palmer declines to say, one way or the other, whether he thinks something is wrong (or not wrong) with the functioning (or non-functioning) of Congress and/or whether it is deserving (or not deserving) of special attention by the voters. If Gary Palmer thinks there is significant problem, he declines to offer any diagnosis of a cause or causes of the same, and Gary Palmer declines to say whether he has any of his own ideas, or agrees with any ideas of others, for trying to fix the problem.

I believe the voters of the Alabama 6th Congressional district deserve better about this matter than they received from the other six candidates (including Gary Palmer) in the Republican primary, and better than they are receiving from Gary Palmer currently.

I hope you have your own views about this matter and will discuss the same for the benefit of the voters in the Alabama 6th Congressional district.

I am posting this letter as an open letter on my campaign website.

Thank you very much for your attention to this letter.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck

Monday, August 4, 2014

To voters in Iowa 3rd Congressional district

Earlier this year I ran in the Republican primary in the Alabama 6th Congressional district.

I ran my campaign as virtually a single issue for reducing the influence of money in politics. 

I am persuaded by the critique that Lawrence Lessig and others have made about how money in politics has substantially impaired the functioning of our Congress and has resulted in a government in Washington DC that is not of, by and for the people.

The primary election in the Alabama 6th Congressional district was on June 3rd.  I was not successful in the election.

In the primary election campaign, none of the other candidates were willing to discuss my issue or take a position on it.

I have continued to press the issue, and I am now conducting a write in campaign. (See my campaign blog entry On Nov. 4, 2014, write in Rob Shattuck for Congress in AL06.) 

MAYDAY.US (started by Lawrence Lessig) has embarked on a plan with a goal of obtaining a reform minded Congress in 2016, and, in 2014, it is selecting five Congressional races to focus on. Two have been selected thus far, with MAYDAY.US supporting Republican Jim Rubens in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in New Hampshire, and Staci Appel in the Iowa 3rd Congressional district against the Republican David Young.

I believe the matter MAYDAY.US is pushing is deserving of bipartisan support. I believe that any Republican or Democrat who finds the status quo acceptable is ill serving his or her constituents, and the American people generally.

I urge the voters in the Iowa 3rd Congressional district to inform themselves about this issue, decide their own views, and vote accordingly on November 4th. I hope the voters in the Iowa 3rd Congressional district will conclude that the status quo is not acceptable and demand that there be reform.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck
Mountain Brook, AL


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Can Represent.Us publicize in Birmingham, AL?

Dear Represent.Us and its supporters,

From February to June, I ran in the Alabama 6th Congressional district Republican primary. (Birmingham proper is largely in the 7th Congressional district, and the 6th district is much of the surrounding geographical area. The 6th district is predominantly Republican, and the 7th is Democratic.)

I ran my campaign as virtually a single issue for reducing the influence of money in politics.

Since the June 3rd primary election in the 6th district, wherein I was not successful, I have continued my efforts.

As explained in this blog entry On Nov. 4, 2014, write in Rob Shattuck for Congress in AL06, I am now conducting a write in campaign in the Alabama 6th Congressional district.

I need all the help I can get to publicize my (and your) issue in Birmingham and the 6th Congressional district.

I solicit Represent.Us to hold a rally in Birmingham. I suggest as speakers Representative Terri Sewell of the 7th Congressional district, Gary Palmer (the Republican candidate in the 6th district), and Avery Vise (the Democratic candidate in the 6th district). I also would be most willing to speak.

I further solicit Represent.Us and its supporters to publicize the issue in Birmingham and the AL 6th Congressional district in such other ways as may be at their disposal.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

MAYDAY is "on": will Gary Palmer 'inoculate' himself?

MAYDAY.US is "on."

MAYDAY.US announced the first two (of the five) Congressional races it will focus on in 2014. In the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary, Mayday is supporting two-term State Senator Jim Rubens against former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. In the open Iowa 3rd congressional district, Mayday is supporting former Democratic State Senator Staci Appel against Republican David Young. MAYDAY's full announcement can be found here 

That announcement says:
Today, our announcement also serves as a warning shot to those on Capitol Hill and across the country that want to maintain the status quo. If a candidate for Congress wants to be inoculated from being on our target list, there is an easy way to do so: get on the right side of reform. Pledge to support one or more of the fundamental reforms listed at reform.to – for each of them would change the way campaigns are funded, by reducing the influence of special interests.
The announcement goes on to say:
We created this page for you to easily locate and call representatives in your area and urge them to inoculate themselves by supporting reform. Check reform.to to see where candidates near you stand on the issue. If your representatives haven’t supported any of the reforms, call them, email them, Tweet them, and show up at Townhall meetings and demand an answer. If you get them on the record, let us know
Deadline: Candidates have until 5 PM EST next Tuesday, August 5, to inoculate themselves. That means we have one week to urge candidates to do the right thing.

Is this a partisan matter? 

On the reform.to page, which lists reform legislation, the number of identified Democrats overwhelms the number of identified Republicans. Those who are listed as "supporters," which I believe includes candidates running for Congress who are not incumbents, do not have party affiliation specified.

Gary Palmer, in his list of issues on his campaign website, does not list reform as an issue. I do not see Gary listed as a supporter of any of the reform legislation.

Whether Gary will choose to "inoculate" himself on the issue of "reform," or whether Gary will expressly state any position to the voters about whether he thinks "reform" is needed or not and, if so, what "reform" he advocates, remains to be seen. It would seem that, if Gary does not list "reform" as an issue on his website, and that continues, a fair inference is that Gary does not believe any reform is of much importance, and Gary is largely satisfied with the status quo
.

Previously

See March with me under the MAYDAY.US banner

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.

Update 7/28

I got about 35 page views of this entry over the weekend, plus a few retweets of my tweet.

Whether anything concrete will come out of my solicitations of action remains to be seen.

I personally am not thinking about spending funds to advertise MAYDAY.US. That limits my possibilities to emailing, tweeting, Facebook, telephone calling, and sign carrying and rallies. To start, I am inclined towards emailing, tweeting and Facebook. In using those, the message needs to be pushed out. "Pushing the message out" is a tough slog, especially if one is doing it solo. Emailing, tweeting and Facebook are a lot better if others are doing the same thing.

Maybe you will think it is too much of a tough slog, for scant return, and you can't bring yourself to putting in time and effort.

I am interested in learning anything one is willing to put time and effort to do.

Update 7/29

MAYDAY.US announced the first two (of the five) Congressional races it will focus on in 2014. In the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary, Mayday is supporting two-term State Senator Jim Rubens against former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. In the open Iowa 3rd congressional district, Mayday is supporting former Democratic State Senator Staci Appel against Republican David Young. MAYDAY's full announcement can be found here.

MAYDAY supporters need to decide what, if anything, they will do individually in 2014 to advance MAYDAY's goals.

I believe that it is defensible and appropriate for MAYDAY supporters to tweet and email from outside the Congressional districts MAYDAY is targeting into those Congressional districts (or from outside a State into the State in the case of a US Senate race MAYDAY is targeting).

I am going to start tweeting into New Hampshire. I am going to start with the tweet message
 #nhpolitics Support MAYDAY.US. Vote for Jim Rubens in the NH Republican Senate primary on September 9th. https://mayday.us/

Update 8/9

This past week I tweeted a couple hundred tweets into the Iowa 3rd Congressional district. The tweets gave a link to this: To voters in Iowa 3rd Congressional district. I have gotten 92 page views of the link, plus some retweets and favorites from my tweets.

Update 8/10

Yesterday, I used #maydaypac to send about 120 tweets, with the message "I am looking for #maydaypac supporters who want to act in concert to increase effectiveness" and which included a link to this entry. This resulted in over 100 page views of this entry and some retweets and emails to me. Also, it seemed to result in scores of additional page views of To voters in Iowa 3rd Congressional district. This all seemed a very good return on effort.

Update 8/12

There have been 194 page views of this entry, plus a number of retweets, reply tweets and emails. MAYDAY.US has three more candidates and says that it is going to expand from five candidates to eight candidates in 2014. I have not read the response I have received to my tweets. I am going to finish off the #maydaypac list I was working on. Then, I will look at the responses I have received to my tweets and think about the possibilities for "concerted action," taking into account the responses sent to me by #maydaypac supporters

Update 8/14

In the responses I have received, there have been non-specific offers to help. I think the best I can do is to try to lead by example and see if others join in. I have created a second blog, which I have called The MAYDAY Supporters Blog. Let's see what happens.


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

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 .


Update: See 

For MAYDAY.US supporters

MAYDAY is "on": will Gary Palmer 'inoculate' himself?

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.