Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Amendment Movement

A number of political activist organizations are focused on the corruption making our government dysfunctional, in gridlock and unable to pass rationally designed laws and take competent action to try to help the country in solving its problems.  To battle the corruption, these organizations urge voting out the corrupt incumbents and are sharply focusing in 2012 on amending the First Amendment to ameliorate the corruption problem.

Organizations and websites joining in on the amendment movement include:
Get Money Out

Move To Amend

Time to Amend project

Soldiers for Peace Pledge To Amend Campaign

Amend 2012

Progressives United

Specific activities and developments include the following:

Resolutions Week June 11-15.  For

An  April 4, 2012 letter  submitted to Congress by eleven state attorneys general joining in support of a constitutional amendment

An October 10, 2010 letter submitted to Congress by a bipartisan group of former attorneys general and law professors calling on Congress to examine constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United

Friday, December 30, 2011

Andy Shugart

In 2008, Andy Shugart, a retired Gardendale contractor, wanted to run as an independent candidate in the 6th Congressional District. He filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Alabama law that required him to get 6,155 signatures of qualified voters before he could be on the ballot.  This August 7, 2008 article in The Birmingham News quotes Mr. Shugart as follows:

"As an independent you're penalized," Shugart, 62, said. "It's just wrong." 
                                      * * * *
"I am successful and I care very much for the state and public affairs, and I am not a politician," Shugart said.
Shugart said he believes both the Democrat and Republican parties makes it difficult for an independent candidate to get on the ballot.
"It's been very discouraging," Shugart said. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Party bosses not interested

[First you might want to read about Andy Shugart's experience in 2008 here.]

From: Mark Kennedy <>
Date: Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Main Contact Form] AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13
To: Robert Shattuck <>

Mr. Shattuck,

The Alabama Democratic Party would not be interested in assisting candidates for election as Independents.  If you have an interest in qualifying to run as a Democrat you can find qualifying information at  

J Kennedy,

From: Bradley Davidson <>
Date: Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: [Main Contact Form] AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13
To: Robert Shattuck <>

Mr. Shattuck,

No, the Democratic Party would not care to be involved with your attempt to gain ballot access in Alabama as an Independent.

Best of luck in all of your endeavors.

Bradley Davidson

On Dec 28, 2011, at 6:44 AM, Robert Shattuck wrote:
Dear Mr. Davidson,

Would the Democratic Party care to be involved with my attempt to get on the ballot  as an independent candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the 6th Congressional district?

Thank you.

Rob Shattuck

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shana Kluck <>
Date: Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM
Subject: Re: [Main Contact Form] AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13

Thank you for the information Mr. Shattuck, but I don't really understand why you're sending it to me. If you want to run on the Republican ballot, I can send you that information, but the Republican Party isn't involved with independent candidates.
Thank you,

Shana J. Kluck
Communications Director
Alabama Republican Party 

On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:08 AM, <> wrote:
Rob Shattuck snt a message using the contact form at

Dear Alabama Republican Party ,

I seek to get on the November 2012 ballot as an independent candidate for United States House of Representatives from the 6th Congressional district.  My platform is to end corruption and gridlock in Washington DC. To get on the ballot, I need 7000 signatures by January 13th.   For more information go to this link AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13. URL

A main plank in my platform is that Congress, when it returns in January, propose a constitutional amendment that provides that only natural persons have free speech rights under the First Amendment and that the amendment be immediately put out to the state legislatures for ratification.  See my National battle plan.  URL

Thank you.

Rob Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Birmingham, AL 35223
From: Robert Shattuck <>
Date: Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Subject: AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13

Dear Mr.Davidson ,

I seek to get on the November 2012 ballot as an independent candidate for United States House of Representatives from the 6th Congressional district.  My platform is to end corruption and gridlock in Washington DC. To get on the ballot, I need 7000 signatures by January 13th.   For more information go to this link AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Jan. 13.  

A main plank in my platform is that Congress, when it returns in January, propose a constitutional amendment that provides that only natural persons have free speech rights under the First Amendment and that the amendment be immediately put out to the state legislatures for ratification.  See my National battle plan.
Thank you.

Rob Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Birmingham, AL 35223

Monday, December 26, 2011

Join the First Amendment debate

To get started with debate whether the First Amendment should be amended, I recommend you take a look at this statement on the Get Money Out website that argues the case for amending the First Amendment and also the listing on this webpage of the various amendments that have been proposed. For those favoring an amendment, the basic choices seems to be (i) limiting First Amendment to human beings and allowing Congress to regulate speech by others, (ii) limiting the First Amendment to human beings and also prohibiting election related expenditures (speech) by others, and (iii) going to public financing and/or limiting human beings in their contributions. I favor the first choice.

For talking purposes, I set forth below H.J.Res.90 that provides as follows:

Section 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
Section 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
Section 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
Section 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
I am in the process of contacting and soliciting the views of a number Alabama persons and organizations and others.  These include or will include: the Alabama Republican Party, the Alabama Democratic Party, the Over The Mountain Democrats, the Rainy Day Patriots, the Conservative Party Alabama, the Alabama Libertarian Party, the Reform Party, Spencer Bachus, Richard Shelby, and Jeff Sessions.  I hope to report the reactions and views I receive in this entry or in links posted in this entry.

I have now solicited the views of the Alabama Democratic Party, the Alabama Republican Party, Representative Bachus, Senator Shelby, Senator Sessions and Alabama Senator Scott Beason.  You may find my solicitation and responses that I receive at these links respectively: Alabama Democratic PartyAlabama Republican PartyRepresentative BachusSenator ShelbySenator Sessions, and Senator Beason.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why corruption is bad (2012)

Corruption is good from the perspective of the politicians, special interests and lobbyists.

In this regard, it needs to be acknowledged that virtually every voter has a stake to some extent in one or more "special interests" and benefits to some extent from the "special interest" being successful in its little niche of the universe of governmental legislation and regulation. For example, voters are employees and they benefit to some extent if their company or industry is favored by laws that are enacted or regulations that are promulgated.

These benefits that voters get when their special interests get taken care of by the lawmakers and regulators need to be viewed in context of the great cost to us all when government penetrates and affects every nook and cranny of the economy and thousands of special interests expend huge sums and make huge campaign contributions and generally fight tooth and nail to do everything they can to be advantaged (or not disadvantaged) by the law and regulation applicable in their niche of the legislative and regulatory universe.

If the special interests pull out all the stops, so do the lawmakers. They are continuously pulling out all the stops to get the money from the special interests that is needed to get elected, which means getting the special interest what it wants in its small niche of concern. The special interest doesn't care what the lawmaker does for other special interests in the latter's respective niches of the legislative and regulatory domain. The lawmaker strives mightily to tack at least something on to legislation that can be pointed out to the special interest to show that the lawmaker is doing the best he or she can for the special interest. Frequently there are other lawmakers who are at the service of special interests in competition with the first lawmaker's special interest, and legislation grows like turvy as many lawmakers seek to get things tacked on that variously cancel out, increase social costs by giving multiple competing special interests the goodies they want, and make legislation so monstrously complex that lawmakers cannot even read and understand the legislation before they vote on it.

In pulling out all the stops to get the votes to get elected, lawmakers do not hesitate to exploit and exacerbate partisan differences and magnify and distort the differences so that matters of relatively small import are blown into life and death, one side against the other side, in order to arouse the support of the voters who supported the lawmaker. This results in the diversion of unjustified amounts of time, energy and passion by the country over such matters as the recent month long brouhaha over the extension of the payroll tax deduction.  In short,  corruption contributes to polarization and gridlock.

This is particularly troublesome when it carries over to the conduct of foreign policy. In legislation and regulation affecting domestic matters, different citizens will be affected differently and they will desire different things in the law and regulation. In matters of foreign policy, there is much greater unity of interest of the American people. Yet the politicians will strive to find differences in foreign policy approach that they can use to keep their group of voters aroused for them and against the politicians and voters on the other side. This being done with an eye on getting votes to keep in office is despicable and can be dangerous for the country.
In the domestic arena, rational and honest public debate is impaired by reason of the need to keep the electorate divided and polarized. Corruption can adversely affect decisions the government makes in the adoption and implementation of important public policies that significantly affect the lives of citizens.

The corruption wastes taxpayer monies. Legislation that is enacted frequently is not economically sensible, is highly inefficient, and much is put into the law to satisfy special interests that results in unnecessary spending. At a baser level, corruption can result in the government procuring or subsidizing inferior goods and services.

The corruption distracts lawmakers and causes them to spend too much time taking care of the interests of their special interests and not devoting enough time to legislative matters that are important for citizens generally.

The corruption grows itself, and grows the special interest and taxpayer money that gets fed into the corruption.  The more pervasive the corruption, the weaker are the forces for restraint.

The corruption makes government and the political process less transparent. The corruption entices the wrong people to seek public office with the wrong motives.

In summary, which do ordinary citizens want? Do they want to keep the corrupt system and get the benefits they get through the corrupt system, with the large social costs described above? Or are ordinary citizens willing to say, "I am willing to give up some or all of the benefits I get under the corrupt system if I can get the corrupt system materially fixed."?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How you can help

1. Complete, sign and mail to me the ballot access petition.

2, Email or pass out to friends and business acquaintances the Leaflet/ballot access petition.

3. Call in to radio talk shows and mention me.  Here is some information about talk shows:

WAPI100.5 FM & 1070 AM  -- call-in #s  944-1070 or 741-1005Three local talk show hosts on the FM side of the dial (100.5 FM)At 2:00, the AM programming (1070 AM) switches to Sean Hannity instead of the local, Richard Dixon (on 100.5 FM)  Matt Murphy:  6:00--10:00 a.m. ---Side-kick/producer is David Sears. Regulars are Kyle Whitmire, formerly of the Birmingham Weekly and now of Weld for Birmingham every Friday and Bham News columnist John Archibald on either Mondays or Wednesdays..  Regular legal/financial guest is Jay St. Clair. 
Leland Whaley:  10:00 a.m.--2:00 p.m.---- Whaley is a former news reporter, aide to Bob Riley, campaign strategist, and investment broker. Side-kick/producer is A.J.
Richard Dixon:  2:00--6:00 p.m.

WYDE, 101.1 FM, The Source: local talk show hosts (national includes Laura Ingraham, 9:00-11:00): Michael Hart: 6:00-9:00 a.m., Lee Davis: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., West: 7:00-9:00 p.m., 

4. I would like to get out in public places with a signboard and with Leaflet/Petitions to hand out.  The signboard could read simply

AL 6th

The oral greeting to passerby's might be "I am trying to get on the ballot in the 6th Congressional district as an Independent.  My platform is to end corruption and gridlock in Washington DC.  I need 7000 signatures by January 13th."  The best would be to get petitions signed on the spot.  Second best would be to get peitions filled out but not signed and giving a telephone number for making a follow up call to see if the person has made a decision to be willing to sign.  It's hard to know whether this campaign will progress to this step.  If it does, it would be nice to have helpers doing this in multiple public places.

5. I am doing a lot of emailing.  Having helpers who do emailing too would be great.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

List of precincts/polling places

Below is a list of precincts/polling places (from 2010) that you may refer to for filling in your ballot access petition.


Top Secret Corruption

There is a book that has come out called Top Secret America, written by two Washington Post writers.  The authors say at this link the following:
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation's other findings include:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
*In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation's most sensitive work.
Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department's most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.
"I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities," he said in an interview. "The complexity of this system defies description."The result, he added, is that it's impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities. "Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste," Vines said. "We consequently can't effectively assess whether it is making us more safe." 

The secrecy of Top Secret America is extremely troublesome in many ways.

For those who despise the culture of corruption in Washington DC, I say you should ratchet up that despisal thinking about the parasites having us over the barrel about national security as they steal left, right and center from the taxpayers and barricade us from finding out by saying "national security" and "top secret."

Reckless Endangerment

I want you to sign my ballot petition, and I don't mind appealing to your anger to get you to sign.  I don't know if you know who Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines are, but, in my view, they are two of the most disgusting exemplars going of the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C., and, in my view, they can be accused of playing a material role in causing the Great Financial Crisis.  I recommend you read Gretchen Morgenson's book Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. For a quick sense of the book, see this USA Today review and this Forbes book review

Commentary; resources

This entry provides links to resources and to other blog entries that contain commentary about the culture of corruption in Washington DC that is ultimately the target of my effort.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson

Top Secret Corruption

Book reviews of books on corruption, which I found through this link.

How Campaign Cash is Literally Killing Us (Lawrence Lessig)

So damn much money: the triumph of lobbying and the corrosion of American government

This Town, by Mark Leibovich

Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress and How To End It

Why as an independent?

I am not a political scientist or a political historian.  My understanding is that the United States has operated under a two party system almost exclusively.  Third parties and persons who seek political office outside the Republican and Democratic parties have had scant success during the past 150 years.  It is fair to say that the sounder advice for anyone seeking a political path would be to try to do so in either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Are the sands shifting?  There is reason to think, from the past three years in particular, that maybe they are.  No one knows, and only time will tell.

We know that sands will shift only if some people take steps to try to shift them.  All will play out in due course whether the sands will shift.

Suggested link:

The events of the past three years seem to me to be a sufficient basis for trying to shift some sand in the 6th Congressional district in Alabama.

Citizen responsibility

The citizens have a responsibility too.  They have a responsibility to face facts, deal with reality, not think that there are free lunches, and be reasonable and prudent in making decisions or accepting decisions that are made for them by their lawmakers (and fire lawmakers who are not reasonable and prudent in the decisions they make, all in order to get votes and stay in office).

Take Social Security and increased longevity.  Why is the country on the verge of Social Security bankruptcy crisis and why wasn't the Social Security retirement age increased fifteen or twenty five years ago to age 68 or 70?

Or take health care and rationing of health care.  Health care is also is about to bankrupt the country, and one way or the other health care is going to get rationed, and already is getting rationed.  Citizens need to be able to face those facts, and its lawmakers need to be able to talk about those facts to citizens who understand and accept that reality and who do not believe in free lunches.

National battle plan (2011)

[In my 2012 independent candidacy campaign, I had a Thesis and a Strategy , a "Strategy", and a "National Battle Plan." Those by and large carry over to 2014.  I am preserving the way I stated the same in 2012.  This entry is the way I stated the matter in 2012.]

Let's be clear.  If you agree with my campaign, progress towards its goal depends on exerting pressure from the bottom up.  It will not come from the top down.

Take a look at this page copied and pasted from the Obama 2008 campaign website.  See also this that was copied from the McCain 2008 campaign website.

Next, ask yourself, what progress has been made since 2008 in Obama's Plan to solve The Problem?

Go to the websites of the 2012 Republican Presidential contenders and see to what extent any of them talks about The Problem that Obama identified in 2008.

Has The Problem been solved?

Why are none of the Republican Presidential contenders talking about The Problem Obama identified in 2008?

Here is a national battle plan for 2012:

Congress is told in no uncertain terms that their chief order of business come January is to propose an amendment to the Constitution that the right of free speech under the First Amendment is limited to natural persons and that it be put out for ratification by the state legislatures.  Contemporaneously the Congress shall debate legislation that provides for a system of anonymous campaign contributions and a system that bans private communications between lawmakers and their constitituents.  This debate should receive intensive public attention and all candidates and contenders for Congress will have the opportunity to speak out.  The object is for Congress to enact something as early as possible, say by the end of February.  The longer it drags out without Congress taking action, the more exposed will be incumbents to being voted out of office in favor of new faces who give more assurances that they will act if elected.  If Congress passes an enactment that the voters find too weak, that also may lead to eviction from office.

That national battle plan depends on how unified all voters are in demanding that the campaign financing corruption be ended.

Unity can come only from a "we the citiizens against them the politicians" battle plan.

There is already a House and Senate bill proposing the aforesaid constitutional amendment.  Go to Join the First Amendment debate.

Other issues

The thrust of my campaign is that the country's primary political task is to evict the corrupted and failed incumbent Congress and to elect new Senators and Representatives who are dedicated as a first priority to fixing the broken, corrupted system, mainly by taking action with respect to fixing the campaign financing problem.

Ideally, after the foregoing is done, the country will then have a Congress that is reasonably functional and that can go about its job of governance, to wit, debating, and agreeing, and compromising on ways to try to solve the country's very large problems.  There will be differences of opinion, but the key is transparency about reasons and motivations and no hidden agendas and payoffs.

Campaign finance corruption (2012)

[This was written in 2012]

The heart of the corruption problem is money and campaign financing.  See The corrupt system and how to fix it and particularly "C. The significance of campaign finance laws"  in the foregoing link.  As stated there:

A prime indicator of how corrupt the system in the United States has become, and how far the special interest money has taken control of the political process, is the highly contentious animosity over campaign finance laws that Congress has not been able to settle through torturous rounds of legislative enactments and revisions during the past twenty years.

I contend that we cannot fix our broken government in Washington until we fix the campaign financing problem.  I would like to propose for debate four possible fixes for the campaign financing problem.

1.  A shift to greater public financing.

2.   A constitutional amendment limiting the right of free speech under the First Amendment to human beings.

3.  A system under which campaign contributions are required to be made on an anonymous basis, i.e., there is a legislatively created Campaign Contribution Remittance Agency whose sole function is to receive contributions from donors who specify which candidate they want to receive the contribution and to remit such contributions to the specified candidates without identification of the donor.

4. A system under which no private communications between lawmakers and their constituents are permitted, and all communications between lawmakers and their constituents are required to be memorialized (preferably  verbatim) in electronic form and posted on the Internet in searchable form.

There may be other possible fixes that can be suggested.

Debating the foregoing possible fixes to the campaign financing problem, and implementing a fix, will require a national undertaking.

A basic contention of my candidacy is that we cannot fix our broken government in Washington DC, extricate ourselves from the gridlock there, and have a satisfactorily functioning federal government until the campaign financing problem is fixed.  Accordingly, that must be a high, if not number one, priority of the American people.

My platform is to end corruption and gridlock in Washington DC, and I am making action by Congress on the campaign financing problem virtually the only legislative policy issue for voters to cast there votes about.

Some tweaking and ideas: 

If there is a constitutional amendment limiting free speech rights to human beings, Congress may otherwise allow or limit speech by corporations, unions, associations, and other entities as may be determined pursuant to the regular legislative process.  This should done in a way that fits with the free speech rights human beings have.

Tentatively, here is some more of my thinking:

Only human beings could make campaign contributions.  There would be no dollar amount limits on such campaign contributions.  There would no "bundling" allowed, and all contributions would be required to be made on the donor's credit card or by check mailed to the candidate.  Subject to provisions for allowing anonymous contributions (discussed below), names and addresses of donors, and amounts of contributions would be posted on the internet.  Corporations, associations and other non-human being entities could expend funds to advertise their positions on laws and other governmental mattes that affect their economic interests and to urge  employees, customers and others (who are natural persons) to make campaign contributions to specified candidates.  All such advertising and communications shall identify the corporation, etc., expending the funds, and there shall be filing of reports and posting on internet about such expenditure of funds and activities.  It would be a felony for a human being to receive compensation or payment from a corporation pursuant to an understanding that the employee or other natural person would make a campaign contribution to a candidate.

There needs to be debate about whether a human being should be able to make campaign contributions on an anonymous basis.  There can be legitimate concern about retaliation by other members of society who disagree with what the donor's objectives in making his or her contribution, and there can even be concern about retaliation by lawmakers and governmental regulators against donors by reason of their campaign contribution.  To address this concern, it should be considered whether there could be a governmental Campaign Contribution Remittance Agency, which would receive campaign contributions from human beings who would be identified in the confidential records of the agency and would pass along the contribution to the identified candidate accompanied by such statement of purpose of the contribution as the human being wished to make.  The amount of the contribution, the candidate it is for, and the statement in question would be posted on the internet.

The issue of public financing of campaigns

No dollar amount limit on campaign contributions by human beings does mean that there will not be equal free speech.  Human beings with more money can make larger campaign contributions and it can be expected that candidates will pay more attention to what those human beings are saying than to other human beings making small contributions.

Public financing of campaigns can be argued to make for equal free speech by all.  This needs to be debated.

More tweaking and ideas:

If the First Amendment right of free speech is limited to human beings, and Congress can regulate the speech of corporations and other entities, Congress could have a "Truth in Political Speech" law that says corporations, in their speech, shall not say anything that is false or misleading or fail to state a material fact that a voter or a lawmaker would consider relevant in making a voting decision based on or taking account of the statements that the corporation makes in its political speech.  This is a well known standard that is used in the securities laws that in the selling of stocks, bonds and other securities in order for investors not to be misled or deceived in making their decisions to buy the investments in question.  Much effort goes into making sure that information in offering documents is accurate and truthful.

In the securities law, there are "forward looking statements"  that are based on management’s expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions, and that the securities law requires to be made in ways that keep in front of the investor the uncertainties that attend expectations or projections about future events.  As a result, such statements are  accompanied by caveats saying that actual future results and trends may differ materially from what is forecast.

Candidates and other human beings would not be subject to this truthfulness standard concerning their political speech.  There could, however, result in significant improvement of the political speech of candidates and other human beings if corporations and other entities were making a lot of political speech that was subject to the truthfulness standard.  Candidates could then questioned about their statements by reference to the political speech that is subject to the truthfulness standard, i.e, "You candidate X say doing this (e.g., a $100 billion stimulus program will reduce unemployment by 1% point).  What support for your statement can you point to in the political speech of a corporation or other entity that is subject to the truthfulness standard that lines up with what you say.  If you can't, why should we voters believe what you say or even think that you yourself believe it?

Saturday, December 17, 2011


AL 6th Cong. Dist. (Bachus' district)

 Wanted: 7000 signatures by March 13th

To Alabama 6th Congressional District Voters:

I seek to be on the November 2012 ballot as an independent candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the 6th Congressional district (Spencer Bachus' district).  To be on the ballot, I need 7000 signatures by March 13th.  


My platform is to attack corruption and lessen gridlock in Washington DC so that Congress can do a better job for the American people.  The main plank in my platform is to amend the First Amendment to be applicable to human beings only.    For more information go to AL 6th Cong. Dist. - 7000 signatures by Mar. 13. ( URL )

If you are a voter in the 6th Congressional district and would like for me to be on the ballot, please print this email, complete and sign the ballot access petition part (below), and mail to me at the below address.  Signing the ballot access petition does not obligate you to vote for me in Novmeber, but gives me more time to present to the voters my platform and the solution of amending the First Amendment.  (An interactive map of the 6th district can be found at this electronic link.. Precinct/polling place information may be found at this electronic link.) (If the lines for information below don't look aligned on your computer screen, print this email anyway and see if they are ok on the printed sheet.)

Thank you.

Rob Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Birmingham, AL 35223
Twitter link  @retire_Bachus   (@retire_Bachus)


PAGE __________ OF ____________ (leave blank)

Pursuant to §17-9-3, Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, I/we, the undersigned, is a qualified elector in the County of ___________________, State of Alabama, and also in the Alabama 6th Congressional District, and as such hereby requests and petitions that the name of Robert Shattuck be certified as an Independent Candidate for the office of United States Representative from the Alabama 6th Congressional District and placed on the official printed ballot for said office in the General Election to be held on November 6, 2012.


_____________________________                                                    __________________________
Name                                                                                                              Date of birth

_____________________________                                                     _________________________
Street Address                                                                                                       City

_____________________________                                                     ___ _______________________
Precinct/voting place                                                                                             Signature

[after you complete and sign, mail to:
Robert Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Birmingham, AL 35223]

Form of ballot access petition

[Please copy and paste this into a blank Word document, print the Word document, complete and sign petition, and mail to address below.  Thank you.]


Pursuant to §17-9-3, Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, we, the undersigned, are qualified electors in the County of ___________________, State of Alabama, and also in the Alabama 6th Congressional District, and as such hereby request and petition that the name of Robert Shattuck be certified as an Independent Candidate for the office of United States Representative from the Alabama 6th Congressional District and placed on the official printed ballot for said office in the General Election to be held on November 6, 2012.


_____________________________                                                    __________________________
Name                                                                                                              Date of birth

_____________________________                                                     _________________________
Street Address                                                                                                       City

_____________________________                                                     ___ _______________________
Precinct/voting place                                                                                             Signature

[After you fill in and sign the above ballot access petition, please mail it to:
Robert Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Birmingham, AL 35223 ]

An American Lawmaker's Creed

I desire to be a lawmaker. This is my creed.

I understand that human beings are selfish. I understand that their selfishness leads them to do good things and to do bad things.

On the good side, their selfishness leads people to work hard to provide goods and services that other Americans desire and are willing to pay for, and to form companies that provide jobs for their fellow Americans who also are willing to work hard to provide the goods and services.

On the bad side, peoples's selfishness can cause them to lie, cheat, commit other malfeasance and be negligent in how they go about their business.

My job as a lawmaker is to make laws that do not impede the good things that people do growing out of their selfishness, and to make laws that seek to prevent or limit the bad things that people may do as a result of their selfishness.

In doing my job as a lawmaker, I understand that a law has great potential to favor some private parties and to disfavor other private parties, and those private parties know that very well and are highly motivated to try to influence me to vote for laws that favor them and disfavor others. I need to be on my guard about this and, if I vote for laws that favor some private parties and disfavor others, I have an obligation to be honest with my constituents about what I have done and why.

Further, I am cognizant that the bigger government is, and the more pervasively it affects people's businesses and economic livelihoods, the more pernicious is the corruption of the political process in order to gain advantage for private economic interest. This can lead to gridlock, polarization and broken government that impedes the government in solving the country's problems.

I believe, in the current political environment, my lawmaker's creed does not prevail in practice.  It does not prevail because, to get elected and stay elected, one must mainly not follow the creed. The reason that one must not follow the creed is because contributions that one needs to run a political campaign and get elected need to be obtained from private parties who require that they be favored and not disfavored under laws that are passed, one must accede to that as a lawmaker, and that accession must be hidden from the voters.

Change is not impossible. It is possible that my American lawmaker's creed could prevail in practice and that lawmakers could, in fact, follow it and be honest with their constitutents.

The best chance for my creed to prevail is for citizens to act in unison to demand that my creed be followed by their lawmakers. Part of my job is to tell the citizens they must act in unison.

To conclude, I must be vigilant and honest with my constituents about my own compliance with my American lawmaker's creed.

Voters' manifesto 2012

We American voters believe we have been exploited and abused for too long by self-serving, dishonest lawmakers. We think this is the chief reason why our federal government in Washington has come to its broken state of abject gridlock.

We think there is a 2012 election year issue that all voters can agree on, and that is the voters want genuine public servants who genuinely serve our country and its citizens, rather than ceaselessly dissembling and secretly pursuing private agendas of the lawmakers to serve their own interests and their special interest contributors.  If we don't get those, corruption and gridlock will go on and on.

We voters see evidence of this corruption in political scandals that come to light, criminal charges that are brought, the legislative earmarks lawmakers cannot stop making even though they say they will end it, the gerrymandering that goes on, the passing of halfway ethics reforms only because heat has gotten turned up, and the revolving door between government and lobbyists.

Moreover, we voters think that the corruption we see is only the tip of an iceberg.

We voters believe that our self-serving lawmakers manipulate and exacerbate legitimate partisan differences among voters in ways calculated to gain and keep elective office and to distract the voters from focusing on the real self-serving agenda of the lawmakers, which results in polarization, gridlock, and our broken government.

We voters believe the problem of corruption, polarization and gridlock has been growing for 20 years, Congress has failed to solve the problem, a tipping point has been reached, and the 2012 elections present an opportunity for us to unite and take action against our corrupt and broken government in Washington that has failed us.

To that end, we voters pledge that, in this election, we will make the culture of corruption in Washington DC, and gridlocked and broken government that has resulted, the most important issues for us. We will tell that to Obama, the Republican Presidential contenders, incumbent Senators and Representatives, and their challengers in every way we can. We will demand that incumbents confess to the voters about their own corrupt transgressions in the past, that, using their campaign resources for research and investigation, they will name names and give details about lawmakers who they believe have been transgressors, starting with the most egregious transgressors in their view. We will demand that Obama and the Republican contenders call upon Congressional candidates of their own party to do the same thing, that is for those candidates to confess about their own past transgressions and name names and give details about other transgressors. If information is not forthcoming to our demands, we will assume the incumbent lawmakers as a group are covering up and protecting one another, and need to be voted out of office. We will demand of those candidates who are challenging the incumbents make the same demands of the incumbents in very loud voices. We voters will closely observe all that happens in response to our demands that we make on the incumbents and their challengers. Based on that, we will decide which of the candidates we most believe, if they are elected, will be honest public servants and will reform the ethics laws and take other legislative actions to eradicate corruption in our lawmakers, and we voters will vote accordingly.

We voters believe that the root of the corruption and gridlock is the campaign financing system, and we will demand that bold action be taken to reform it immediately. We will demand that Congress forthwith propose a constitutional amendment that provides that the First Amendment right of free speech applies only to huma beings. In conjunction with the foregoing, we voters will demand that Congress shall debate, in full public view, legislative bills that provide for a system of anonymous campaign contributions and a system that bans private communications between lawmakers and their constituents. The object is for Congress to enact something as early as possible in 2012. The longer it drags out without Congress taking action, the more we voters will judge that the incumbents do not understand the adamantcy of our demands and the greater is the need for the incumbents to be voted out of office in favor of new faces who give more assurances that they will act if elected. If Congress passes an enactment that the voters find too weak, that also will lead to eviction from office.

We voters will make clear that we will do exactly the same thing in 2014 if it turns out we think we have been deceived by Obama, the Republican contenders and other candidates in 2012.

Read me first

[Addendum February 10, 2014.  On February 6, 2014  I filed papers and paid the filing fee to run in the Republican primary elction for the 6th Congressional district, which primary election is on June 3, 2014.  My election effort going forward is set out in the entry My 2014 election.  The remainder of this entry indicates my history going back 2-1/2 years, out of which my running in the 2014 primary grows.]

[Addenddum March 13, 2012: I live in Birmingham, AL. This activity started in December 2011 as an effort to get on the November 2012 ballot as an independent candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the Alabama 6th Congressional District (Spencer Bachus' district).  This entry was the first entry and outlined my platform for fighting corruption and failed government in Washington DC.  My main plank was that of amending the First Amendment.  I did not get the needed ballot access petitions by March 13, 2012, which ended my candidacy effort.  I changed the blog title from "SHATTUCK for Congress" to "Amend by November."  I believe Republicans, Democrats, minority political parties, and independents in the American hinterlands need to unite temporarily and take an adamant stand against corruption and failed government in Washington.  As Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig argues, satisfactory progress on the country's urgent economic problems is dependent on fixing the corruption problem.   See this review  of Lessig's book Republic, Lost.  If you agree with Professor Lessig and numerous other notable commentators about the primacy of the corruption problem and the need to strike at that root problem, it is imperative for citizens to unite temporarily on that issue and for a temporary period of time not to allow themselves to be divided by differences on other important issues and problems.  The 2012 elections, and the period of time until November 6th, is an opportune time for unified action.   This blog will be dedicated to advocating that, and strategy, tactics and a course of action for trying to achieve greatest effectiveness.   See A2. ThesisA3. StrategyA4. Voters' victory 2012 and A5. From now until Election Day].
[Addendum May 21, 2012: Blog title changed from "Amend by November" to "Voters' Victory in 2012".]
[Addendum Sept. 7, 2012:  Blog title changed to "Two Party Failure (@ retire Bachus".]
[Update 9/22/12.  I am shifting to focusing on trying to get similarly minded organizations to join their voices in lending support to the Rootstrikers campaign to get voters to petition their Congressional candidates to pledge, if elected, not to be a lobbyist after leaving office, and to get voters to petition their candidates.  See A6. Be a Roostriker.]
[Addendum November 9, 2013:  Spencer Bachus has been reported as deciding not to run again.  I have changed the name of the blog to "Be An Alabama Rootstriker".  My main objective is to get people to read Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress And How To End It and to figure out action to take regarding the 2014 elections.]
[Addendum February 8, 2014:.]

[The remainder of this entry is what I had posted prior to March 13, 2012 related to my effort to get on the 2012 ballot. ]

My platform starts with the "big" question of  "how good a job do you think Congress is doing in helping solve the country's problems?" If your answer is a "poor job", what is the explanation for this? 

Many people talk about polarization, gridlock and obstructionism as a source of the poor performance and the reason for the lowest Congressional approval rating in a long time. 

My response to this is that there are legitimate partisan differences that must be thrashed out, but there is something more.  To wit, there is an "iron triangle" in Washington D.C. of lawmakers (both Republicans and Democratics), lobbyists, and special interest organizations, that profits enormously from tens of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars sloshing around in Washington in a cesspool of, call it what you want, "influence peddling," "government for sale," or just plain corruption.

This "iron triangle" finds the political divisions, polarization and gridlock, in which every issue can be turned into a life and death, us against them, battle, as very advantageous for preserving their positions and riches.  Those distract the citizens from the rampant corruption going on in Washington and keep the voters from uniting to take action against the corrupt participants in the Washington cesspool.

The main contributing factor to the corruption is a broken campaign finance system that, as Stephen Colbert has made uproariously clear to the American people, is a joke.

There is a movement growing around the country that recognizes this, and that the broken campaign finance system will not be fixed by action at the top, but fixing must come from the grassroots pushing up.  This includes advocating that the First Amendment of the Constitution be amended.

I am part of this movement and believe a first priority for Congress is a serious national debate about the broken campaign finance system and what should be done about it, including whether the First Amendment needs to be amended.

To get on the ballot I need 7000 ballot access petitions by March 13th.*  If you live in the 6th Congressional district and would like to see me on the ballot in November, please print, complete, sign and mail to me this ballot access petition.  ( My mailing address is shown on the ballot access petition. You may find an interactive map of the 6th Congressional district here. Precinct/polling place information may be found here.)  (ADDENDUM MARCH 9:   Although I do not know yet whether it will be legally accepted by the Alabama Secretary of State, you should email your ballot access petition for me to the Secretary of State, with a copy to me, as specified here.   If you email the petition, an originally signed, physical copy of the document may be subsequently requested of you.  FURTHER ADDENDUM 3/12, 5:55 pm:  You should consider the deadline for sending an email to be 5 pm, Tuesday.

My campaign documents setting out my platform are this Voters' Manifesto and My American Lawmaker's Creed, plus my statements of Why corruption is bad and Campaign finance corruption and this more extended discussion:  The corrupt system and how to fix it.  As stated in the National battle plan,  I call for Congress, in January (next month), to propose a constitutional amendment that provides that the First Amendment right of free speech applies only to human beings, and simultaneously Congress propose one or more legislative bills for public debate as described in the National battle plan.  Actions that I have taken to advance such national battle plan are described in Occupy the CourtsNationwide letter writing; tracking City Council resolutionsFlorida primary, and WSJ comment.

You may follow my campaigning activities in a chronological way here.

I have been blogging and emailing about this subject for twenty years (since Ross Perot ran in 1992).  You may learn of these activities in this blog RP Redux: Take Back Our Country and this blog  That has basically been a lot of flailing, and I have finally decided to do this.

*According to this I originally thought I must submit by January 13, 2012 signatures equal to at least 3% of the votes for the office of governor in the last general election in the 6th Congressional district. This information seems not up to date, and it currently appears to me that I must submit the signatures by March 13, 2012.  See this.  According to this the number of votes cast for Representative in the 6th district in 2010 was 209,364.  I will endeavor to find out and post here the number of votes cast for governor in the 6th Congressional district.

The downloadable form of ballot access petition on the Alabama Secretary of State's website can be found here.  At the moment it is the form for 2010.  I have endeavored to create a form for 2012 for requesting that I be put on the ballot, which you can find by clicking here or on Label D1 to the right.  Needed precinct information can be found by clicking here  or on Label D3 to the right.  For ways to help me out, click here or on Label D4 to the right.