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Monday, November 21, 2011

Meet the 100 day President: "Revolution is our right!"

There was a time when the term “Revolution” was not just a buzzword used by everybody from Presidential candidates to Advertisers selling the latest “As seen on TV” nick-knacks. We've gotten so comfortable in our daily lives, that it seems the true essence of the word “Revolution” is lost on us. Some 235 years ago men fought and died in honor of the word, today we use it to sell shaving razors. We often forget that the greatest civilization to ever occupy this planet was rendered out of the word “Revolution”.
      As our nation faces the most difficult economic problems in nearly 100 years the true meaning of the word “Revolution” seems to have come out of retirement. We face issues that seem insurmountable with no clear solution on the horizon. An out of control debt problem, rampant political corruption, an extremely out of date infrastructure, unemployment at almost unprecedented levels and a Government that seems so adversarial that it's incapable of getting anything done. Those are just a few of the seemingly endless number of problems eroding the foundations of American Democracy. The question begs to be asked: Is it time for a change?
     Last week I had an opportunity to interview a gentleman who has a solution. His name is Jeff Block and he's one of 277 candidates that are running for President in 2012. While most of the “main stage” candidates are bombarding our collective conscience with the same old issues, Mr. Block's vision for the future of Government is quite different. In fact, it is a “Voted Revolution”, complete with a new and improved Constitution. He calls for heavy restructuring of Government offices, including the closure of the House of Representatives. He also calls for citizen participation in his new Government, that's right, ordinary citizens will actually serve as “Citizen Senators” for a term of 4 years. Imagine that, a government that is truly“of the people, by the people, for the people”, what a novel idea.
     I'll be honest, this is not an easy concept to wrap your mind around. At first glance, his new system seems to present more questions than it does answers. As I read and re-read, though, I found myself captivated by the concept. It is undoubtedly, a work in progress which Mr. Block fully acknowledges but that only seems to strengthen the concept. Mr. Block asserts that only will his idea fully mature when he has a small army of “re-founders”, as he calls them, to round out the details. The concept is designed to conform to the will of the people. I know what you're thinking, it sounds too good to be true. No system of Government could be that closely on top of the pulse of it's citizenry. Well, this idea is not unprecedented, in fact, the citizens of Iceland recently wrote their new Constitution. It seems to be effective in controlling or in some cases, even eliminating the root causes of many problems our nation is currently facing. I suspect much of what is going on in Iceland, will be the basis for portions of Mr. Block's platform. The further I look into all of this, the more convinced I become of it's viability. That's not to say it will be easy or that it will cure all that ails us but it seems like it's worth a look. Afterall, we did it once before with incredible results. What's to say that if we do it again the results wouldn't be as remarkable or better. Besides, it seems like it couldn't possibly be any worse than our current system of Government.

Interview with 2012 Presidential Candidate Jeff Block

TBA: How did you decide to get involved in politics and have you had any prior
experience in it?

Jeff Block: My interest started with the 2008 Presidential primaries. Never before had I taken much interest, but now we had an African-American man and a woman as front-runners for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee as a hopeful for the Republicans. My interest in Mike Huckabee was as a "one issue voter", my support of the FairTax of which Huckabee openly and whole-heartedly supports.
My "get involved" started shortly before the general election when I saw a John
Stossel video entitled: 20/20 - Politically Incorrect Guide To Politics where he concludes that it seems like we're looking for a President who can do "magic", solve ALL our problems. So I began thinking "why DON'T we elect a "benevolent dictator" and started musing on the design of our federal government, asking myself WHY is it broken and dysfunctional. 
     Also on the video Stossel points out that EVERY President since Nixon has promised independence from foreign oil, but it has never happened, in fact we are more dependent on foreign oil today than ever before. So, have all these Presidents just openly lied to us? Or is oil independence just a campaign promise like so many others?  I'm generous saying it is NOT the people, that all these Presidents really did/do want energy independence, so why has it never happened? This is an easy and clear example of our broken system of government. First, the job description of a President does NOT give them the power to create their own energy policy. Candidates can, and do, promise all sorts of things they can't deliver. Then second, an energy policy requires the cooperation of Congress and the special interests who buy Congress, the oil industry, has made sure we have never had a comprehensive energy policy. It's been forty years since President Nixon first promised "energy independence...", a seemingly great thing for "We the People" yet because of a broken system of government, it has never happened.

     So on July 4th, 2009, sitting on a beach at Hilton Head Island, I started writing to answer two basic questions:
1) What would a government system look like if it was designed today, for the 21st century, with the objective of "efficient and effective government FOR "We the People"?
2) And since Congress would never look at a citizen designed system and say "hey, that looks good...let's do it!", then what would a revolution look like in the USA today, and no, an answer is NOT "a million men with muskets marching on Washington D.C."

     I am the true "outsider" which gives me the advantage of a perspective of the bigger picture.  I have no personal agenda, no grudge with our government.  My personal and business life has never been better.  I see myself as a "conduit" for the American people to have a voted-revolution and my role is solely to be the "torch passer" from the old way to the new way.

TBA: What is your party alignment, if any?  Do you subscribe to any of the principles of the Democratic or Republican parties or both?  If neither, why?

Jeff Block: Independent, and it's actually difficult for me to understand the "principles" of either party.  As people we're all so similar, yet the two major political parties seem so polarized.  My overview is everybody should be FOR a smaller federal government, and I don't even think it's a matter of choice anymore - the federal government has to shrink. This does not necessarily mean "total" government gets smaller, as the shift in money, power and responsibility goes back to the State, County, and local communities.  This would seem to satisfy the Republicans who, at least in principle call for less government, but also satisfy the Democrats who want more social services and more safety nets, but I think should be willing to admit this happens much more effectively on a local level than at a federal government level. Just what is the "big picture" objective of ALL of us, stripped of our labels?  Is it not a good standard of living for EVERY citizen?  Good education, healthcare, housing, transportation, employment, and entertainment?  We're obviously at a point in history where there are a lot of people who are not happy with the economic conditions in the USA, and it's quite obvious "our best thinking got us here".  We have to start thinking differently, to quote Einstein: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."  It's so obvious to me that we need a new system.  I'm apolitical which is a paradox for someone who is FEC registered as a Presidential candidate. If I was forced to label myself, it would be "neocon" which I understand is "conservative on business and political issues, yet liberal or at least willing to bend on social issues"

TBA: In your opinion, what are the most important issues we face as a nation? 

Jeff Block: DEBT.  Picture our government and economy today, but instead of $15 trillion in debt we had zero debt, even a $1 trillion surplus and were balancing the budget every year.  I wouldn't be typing this to you today.  Every one of 300 million citizens today owes $50,000.  Every baby born today in the USA comes into the world owing $50,000.  My children (3 & 1 in-law), granddaughters (5), and as yet to be conceived great-grandchildren will be paying back the debt borrowed by MY generation.  "The buck stops here" is a bull**** saying many Presidents say.  The buck stops with the person who has to pay the buck.  We have an adversarial form of government that is broken and dysfunctional and can barely react to yesterday's issues.  We are leaving our children long-term problems but not leaving them long-term solutions.  We need a form of government that can look forward 10, 20, and 50 years. 

     The most urgent issues of the future will be water, health, food, energy, and education, not necessarily in that order.  Other countries are way ahead of us on those issues, and I'm not saying their governments are perfect, but at least they are forward-looking governments.

TBA: How do you feel personally about the OWS protests, can you identify with the movement?

Jeff Block: I, as so many others, can identify with "take $$$ out of politics/government" and/or "end the corporate/government duopoly".  This seems to be the core message coming from OWS and it's not a message invented by OWS.  But I feel frustrated for OWS and many others because "protest", or "...our voices must be heard..." are not a viable mechanism in this case.  Our government is broken, not deaf.  Our voices ARE heard and there's even a fair amount of people in government who want the same thing as the protesters.  This is not a protest for Congress or the corporate world to change something "external", such as ending a war (government) or to stop polluting our rivers (corporate).  This is a protest to attempt to change the way people do business, to change the way people behave, and that just doesn't happen by people shouting at people.

TBA: Getting into the nuts and bolts of your campaign, what was the inspiration for your platform? Is it entirely of your own design or are you pulling ideas and influences from other sources? If so could you identify those sources?

Jeff Block: At this moment, it is mostly of my design and I state that my design is just an example. I can explain how each and every part goes to the objective of "take $$$ out of government" and "efficient and effective government FOR "We the People"". But I do not claim by any means that my design is "the" design. The basic inspiration goes back to us voters seemingly wanting a "benevolent dictator" so I've created an "Office of the Presidents" with MORE power than today's President, yet as a triumvirate of three Presidents anything requiring signature would require 2 of 3, and so there is your checks-and-balances and the "Office of the Presidents" becomes another "chamber". Since the cry across the nation is, we are NOT being "represented", the House will be closed and added to the Senate. There will be 50 elected Senators and 151 citizen Senators who are called upon. Like jury duty, they would serve as full Senators for 4 years. SO, the 2nd "chamber" preserving a bi-cameral government design, is the Senate with 301 Senators and the citizen Senators. They could "yay" or "nay" any legislation if they wished to act unanimously together. Everyone gets longer fixed terms with NO re-elections whatsoever.
     And backpedaling to the beginning of the process, there must be total election reform so elections are FREE and open to any citizen who wishes to run for office. Just getting on a ballot today is an expensive proposition.
     My concept is for an "open-source" revolution, but will seek 25 to 50 "refounders" who will be writing and designing the platform: some Constitutional scholars, organizational behaviorists, game theorists, philosophers, psychologists, economists, teachers, etc. (I'm sure I left out some categories, with my apology). The citizens of Iceland this year wrote their Constitution - first "nominated" about 600 citizens who were NOT members of any political party, and then "elected" 25 for their Constitutional Council - truly a remarkable work, linked at my website.

TBA: Why does your platform call for such drastic changes and amendments to our current system of Government? Also, how will it effect the average American throughout the transitional process from start to finish?

Jeff Block: First, I don't necessarily see the changes as drastic. If I had to create a political party I might call it the "blank slaters". What would our system of government look like today if we started with a blank slate? What I've designed is still a bi-cameral government, still with elected politicians. In a sense, the average American will not be effected as the transition will be seamless and the changes of outcomes from the new system will only start to happen gradually over time - good policy, and good long-term policy that is FOR "We the People" is not instant gratification. I believe there would be an upsurge in average American belief and support of OUR government and we will finally feel like our voices are heard.
     You will laugh - I believe a fair number of those in government positions today will welcome the change. We're not looking to make things worse for them, we're looking to make their jobs more effective and more efficient, and to some extent, easier. Like the guards reaction when Dorothy kills the wicked Witch and then is scared the guards are going to kill her, there will be some outbreak by government officials of "ding dong the witch is dead..." Look at the quotes on this page: .
These people are frustrated with our broken and dysfunctional government and would welcome the opportunity to work within a system that is not broken and dysfunctional.

TBA: You state on your website that you will only be President for 100 days while the systems of Government are in transition. What measures would you take to ensure that current issues are being dealt with efficiently while government offices are being moved, shifted or in some cases, eliminated entirely? Also, do you have a contingency plan to deal with problems that may arise in the logistics of such a transition?

Jeff Block: Well, personally I think one of the best things that could happen to our government is to give 100 days vacation for everybody, but I know we can't do that. The day after election next year, as President-elect, I will request a meeting with the Supreme Court to ask them to extend President Obama's administration by 100 days, so we continue with a working government. This is not a "secret" revolution and the Supreme Court will know we are coming. There will be so much to do in 100 days, and the number of days need not be rigid. New elections will be needed either for a President or Presidents (if my triumvirate design survives) and some Senators. right now is doing a direct via internet, insertion on the ballot for a Presidential candidate. I see no reason on day 60 we can't hold new elections, giving the winners 30 days to get ready to occupy the new government system on day 101. Same with the 151 citizen Senators - the Library of Congress will be tasked with running that program and there's a lot of work to do just to set it up. Again, I see this voted-revolution as being welcomed by a large part of the current government and believe we will have lots of cooperation for the transition.

TBA: The term "Revolution" seems to be used so frequently these days by OWS protesters and Presidential candidates alike. You state on your website that ONLY with your election, would a "true Revolution" occur. The term "Revolution" often frightens people, can you explain the dynamics of YOUR revolution and why it's something people should embrace?

Jeff Block: It truly is a word that brings a knee-jerk reaction. I define "reform" as change from within, and that's just not going to happen - that's like asking a patient to take out a scalpel and operate on himself. Now let's look at "revolution", or change from without. A "typical" revolution has two parts. First, there's the messy part, the fighting and killing. Then second, assuming the revolutionaries win, there's the formation of a new government and either the writing of a new Constitution or the modification of the old Constitution. SO my proposition is "why don't we just skip the "messy" part and go directly to the second part?". Since this will be a voted-revolution, say at least 65,000,000 voting "yes" to the platform, how can the current government then ignore "the will of the people"? And again, our objective is to bring GOOD government to Washington D.C., so if the voters want it, why not?
     I am very aware that this is and will be a threat to many very powerful and wealthy people, people who have a vested interest in the current government, obtaining their power, stature, and wealth from the status quo. Since my proposal includes closing the House, I can't imagine most Representatives would welcome us as their personal jobs would be at stake. My retort would be "put your country before your job!". Same goes for anyone who makes their living off our complicated tax code, our "tax industry". The FairTax will be part of the platform and this will negate the need for citizens to pay other citizens just to figure out and file their taxes.

TBA: On your site you state, " Our system of government was designed in the 18th century and to say it's inadequate for the 21st century is an understatement. " What makes your platform more time appropriate?
Jeff Block: First, something I haven't written about much as of yet, our campaign/voting/counting system will be 21st century, and if not entirely internet based then at least internet enabled. Our current system of government was designed in the 18th century when political information traveled on paper by horseback messenger. Truly the word "representative" had to be part of our original design. Our founders never could have envisioned radio, television and the internet. There are so many ways we are, and can be, more involved or at least at minimum more aware of the workings of our government today.
     Rather than compare 18th century to 21st century it might be more accurate to describe "the realities of the 21st century". George Washington governed 4 million people in 13 somewhat autonomous loosely knit States. There are 9 mayors today who govern cities of more than 1 million people. There are 26 Governors who govern States with more than 4 million people. In George Washington's day, 4 years in the White House probably seemed like a long time to accomplish what needed to be accomplished. Today, 4 years goes by in a flash, same with 6 years for a Senator and for a Representative? Well our 2 year terms for Representative is barely enough time to find the bathrooms in the Capitol, never mind getting anything accomplished. Then factor in elections and re-elections which have become so time consuming and expensive. So, for example, longer fixed terms for everyone, with no-relections isn't necessarily a "21st century" thing as much as it is recognizing the realities of the 21st century.

TBA: If elected, can you guarantee real, positive change that will help our nation in regaining and securing it's leading status in the world?
Jeff Block: I can guarantee positive change, unlocking gridlock, taking $$$ out of politics, giving our leaders the tools, power and systems to create effective and efficient government that is FOR "We the People". To the reader reading this, you too have your suggestions of "here's what should be done...". Imagine if we put YOUR suggestion, along with many others, into the new system? No system is perfect and nothing we can design will yield perfect results every time. When I discuss forward-looking government, 10, 25, 50 and 100 years in the future, it's with an understanding (or at least my understanding) that we have no choice but to start looking at one-world solutions and figuring out our place in the world. I'm not even sure a "lead" is necessary. Maybe the USA should be like AVIS and adopt the slogan "We Try Harder"? But I believe the first step is to increase the health and welfare of the citizens of our country, for example, be #1 in the measure of happiness of our citizens, regardless of our GDP rank in the world.
     Another way to answer this question - I've read (but not verified) that the USA is the OLDEST continuous form of government/Constitution in the world today! At first, that sounds like something to boast about, until you realize 200 or so governments around the world have been formed, or reformed, after ours, that have NOT copied our form of government! Going back to my design, and my invitation to 25 to 50 "re-founders", it's our chance to design a system of government that is the newest and BEST in the whole world, to be the envy of the whole world!

To read more about Jeff Block's campaign go to his official website here:

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Meet the 100 day President: "Revolution is our right!" by Keller J. Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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