MayDay PAC

Today, July 4th, the anniversary of the day in which our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, is also the final day of a crowdfunding campaign to raise $12mm for a Super PAC to fund campaign finance reform.

This campaign is called MayDay and the person behind it is Larry Lessig.

The idea is to use the $12mm to make campaign finance reform the fundamental issue in five high profile congressional races and win them.

If that works, then May Day PAC will crowdfund a much larger amount in 2016 and do this again in a lot more races.

Larry’s assertion is that the vast majority of americans want big money out of government, but the small number of people with the big money don’t want that to happen and they are calling the shots now.

He believes that the best way to fix that is for everyone with small amounts of money to come together and put together some big money and go toe to toe with them.

I think it is an interesting idea and when Larry raised the first $1mm from the crowd, the Gotham Gal and I participated in the small group that matched the first $1mm. We can and do write big checks to politicians because that’s the way our corrupt system of government works right now. We are happy to write big checks to change that system and make it right.

The second part of the crowdfunding campaign is seeking to raise $5mm and then get that matched in the same way the first $1mm was matched.

With one day to go, the campaign is short by about $1.5mm. It would be amazing if the american public celebrated July 4th by coming up with the final $1.5mm.

If you are so inclined, you can help do that here.

#hacking government

Comments (Archived):

  1. John Revay

    Hi Fred,Happy 4th to you and the Wilson Clan!Thanks for making me aware of this PAC, I was not aware of it and I will make a contribution today – we need lots of people w/ small money and small voices to help counter (I would have used Fight..but did not like the way that sounded), the few with big money and big voices that go along w/ it.Two quick asides re Larry:1. I always enjoy watching him on the Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert’s shows.2. He is on the Board w/ Albert at

  2. jason wright

    is $12mm a particular technical threshold in American political campaign fundraising?is it a number that triggers an action within the system?were there no founding mothers?

    1. JimHirshfield

      Behind every founding father.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      Not a special threshold that I’m aware of. Usually you calculate your budget by figuring out what outreach efforts you want to engage in and then do the math on how much they cost and that’s your fundraising goal.

  3. Duncan Logan

    Happy 4th.Fred, thanks for bringing this campaign to my attention. I will donate today.Although I am not an American, I am hugely grateful to build a business in the USA. I have been saddened to watch the inward destruction and corruption of US politics over recent years. Is lobbying not simply called bribery in other countries?”Bribery, the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.”

    1. sigmaalgebra

      No, there is a meaning of ‘lobbying’ that’s fine and good, that is, a citizens’s right to get to an elected representative and tell them what the citizen thinks. E.g., I’m starting a business, and if at some point something from the government hurts my business in some way that I believe is unfair and absurd, then I can ‘lobby’ for help and changes. There need be no money involved.Once I did get a favor from my Congressman: My wife and I had a little consulting business and filed our tax returns. Foolish us, we filed as a ‘partnership’, which is way too complicated. But we did the work, got all the details straight, and filed.Then we started getting letters back from the IRS that we didn’t file. But we had filed. I had made and had five Xerox copies of exactly what we had filed, and from some of their communications it was clear that they had gotten our stack. They kept sending letters saying we hadn’t filed, and we kept sending letters and making phone calls that we had filed. Some of their letters were threatening. Bummer.So, finally I got my Congressman, and, presto, the whole situation cleaned up quickly!What had happened? I had sent both our personal Form 1040 return and our partnership return in the same envelope. Yup, eyes-only, double secret, triple encrypto IRS rule #998,139,380,111 — only one return per envelope! Gee, how’d I miss knowing that rule?So, what’d the Congressman do? A staffer called the IRS office, broke a 2 x 8 over their head to see if they were just asleep or really dead, once they were awake got them actually to look at my envelope so that they then saw that, yup, I had filed both returns. Done. I heard no more from the IRS. So, I ‘lobbied’ my Congressman. No money changed hands.The Congressman I have now looks terrific. I have no doubt that if I have another Big Gumment FUBAR SNAFU I can get it cleaned up.I doubt that there is much bribery in any very simple terms: The rules are so severe and the lights so bright that the influence of money is more subtle and indirect. But, for big money, there can be some significant influence, maybe at times.Likely Fred and Lessig are correct that the citizens should push back against the big money. That Kickstarter can work for this is nice.Of course, one of the best ways to clean up politics is brighter lights. Here the Internet should help, indeed, no doubt as in this thread.Here’s another example of ‘money in politics’: Last night I found at a PBS Web site the video of the old one hour PBS show on the Van Cliburn piano competition. Of course, the competition has been held in Fort Worth, Texas. So, apparently part of the ‘norm’ of such a competition is that the contestants are treated very well, that is, very nicely hosted from the moment they step off the airplane until they step back on — literally.E.g., one contestant, a woman with some quite passionate piano playing, was from Russia and apparently could use some gowns for her performances. So, sure, her hosts took her to Neiman Marcus for a ‘little’ shopping trip — you know, girls like to go shopping! Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘little’ shopping trip to Neiman Marcus. Right: The gown was, and apparently she got more than one, a black one and a red one, $2000+. Ah, just a little favor from some good hosting! Have Fort Worth make the contestants feel welcome!Near the end, one contestant just before the competition had received a notice from his draft board to show up for induction into the US Army in 30 days, that is, just after the competition. Then one of the Fort Worth hostesses heard about that and said, “We’ll see about that!”. So, she called her really good friend Texas Governor John Connally who called the contestant’s draft board which granted a ‘deferment’. Done! Nice hosting! Some people in Fort Worth really like music! How does that work? Congress in its wisdom made the draft boards local which means in particular that, for each Board, likely the local business and social elite run it. So, when a Member of the Board gets a call from their really good friend the Governor who got a call from his really good friend in Fort Worth, then there can be action. That’s an example of ‘US politics’. Essentially impossible to stop all that stuff! Besides, he was a really good piano player! Besides, the US got some benefit from Cliburn when he played at the White House for Gorby.

      1. Mayson

        The problem with your anecdote about your Congressman fixing your IRS problem: the incentives are wrong. Your Congressman has no incentive to get the IRS straightened out: fixing these snafus, and with Social Security, and with the VA, etc etc all make constituents grateful, and a grateful constituent is a constituent who’s likely to vote for you and maybe even influence friends and family to vote for you. The most heartening political poll statistic that I’ve heard lately (and the fact that it is the most heartening is depressing :-)) is that 36% of the electorate are dissatisfied, not with Congress as a whole (that’s about 90%), but with their own Congressman.

  4. William Mougayar

    Fight fire with fire, or as Shakespeare said it:Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;Threaten the threatener and outface the browOf bragging horror

  5. Guest

    Happy 4th Fred. On this day more than any other the idea of crowdfunding a revolution is apropos. In a recent study that went viral out of Princeton… they concluded based on policy implementation that the United States was no longer a democracy but an oligarchy. Let’s hope the crowd wakes up and funds specific issues like this one. The crowd funds issues now of course from pro-life to the WWF. But this issue is targeted well and can impact the dynamic of how money works in our system.Happy 4th everyone.

  6. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I watched a superb intro yesterday to Plato’s Rebublic 1 + 2 from Yale just yesterday.From the first sentence Rebubilc is about the difference between might and reason bit of praise where due.Congrats from a Brit !

    1. ShanaC

      Ironically might becomes a direction the Republic likes….

  7. sigmaalgebra


  8. Tom Labus

    Once new people are elected how do we keep them from being bought?

    1. Salt Shaker

      Term limits

    2. JLM

      .They are not bought AFTER the election, they are RENTED well BEFORE the election.JLM.

  9. pointsnfigures

    Happy 4th. I don’t like the corporations being in lockstep with government, but I am less scared of them than the bureaucracy of government. Usually, I am free to choose not to use the corporate products-not so with regulation. The cycle doesn’t get broken on the corporate side. It gets broken by reducing the size and scope of government regulation and returning individual liberty to individual people. is committed to decreasing the size and scope of government.We need to elect more people like Dave Brat in Virginia; and hopefully in Illinois we will elect Bruce Rauner to be our governor.

  10. Martin

    This smells, no this stincts. We need a reawakening, not more morphine. (Just the fact that FRED donated 1mm is proof). I’m not sure what the analogy is, but somehow I don’t see MLK, GHANDI seeing this as a solution.

  11. JLM

    .Make no mistake, this is a liberal effort to attempt to wrest control of the House of Representatives from the hands of the Republicans using a modestly goofy notion that by getting the money out of elections more liberal policies will be adopted. The vehicle is the election of more liberals to the Congress.This effort might as well be orchestrated by the Obama White House as it serves the objective of enacting liberal legislation which cannot otherwise stand the test of public debate.This effort is a head fake attempting to camouflage an otherwise laudatory notion with a spritz of perfume to disguise its real objective — electing Democrats.I agree completely with the idea of reducing the impact of money in elections — of course, I am looking to defang the unions who take their members money without regard to the wishes of their membership and give it wholesale to the Democrats. Bit of mutual disarmament would be useful.Call me when the unions — who have no real business in politics anyway and no right to disregard the wishes of their members as to party affiliation — are in the cross hairs.Until then, let’s call a spade a spade.This is just an attempt by left leaning liberal forces to elect more Democrats.While getting excessive influence of money in elections is a good idea — it is really policy which is more important. Look at Texas and ask yourself why is Texas thriving?Sound energy policies. No income tax. Less regulation. These are policy initiatives.If you take Texas jobs out of the national statistics the entire balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS since Obama became President. Policy matters.It also requires a bit of leadership. The President is coming to Texas next week for THREE fundraisers but does not have time to visit the border where his policies are creating havoc.We have reintroduced LEPROSY into the US because of his wholesale disregard of the law. Immigration is a disaster. These are the type of liberal policies you will get when you fund liberal causes.JLM.

    1. Salt Shaker

      Aren’t Republican legislators equally prone to lobbyists and other influence peddlers? Not sure this really is a Dem/Repub issue. It’s an attempt to strip some money out of the system and level the playing field. Certainly a worthy initiative, no? I’m gen not a big believer in using fire to fight fire (Super PACs), and you’d hope saner minds would prevail without it, but if this initiative helps with campaign finance reform, then WTF.I personally think a lack of term limits is part of the prob too, but that’s a convo for another day.Happy 4th, btw.

      1. JLM

        .The stated objective of this effort is to change the makeup of the House of Representatives which is currently controlled by the Republicans.One asks — if the House is controlled by the Republicans and you “hope” to effect “change” what are you going to do?Elect Democrats?It is ALL about electing Democrats and uses the notion of stripping money from politics as the driving force.If you want to effect campaign finance reform, then advance legislation to that effect. The Republicans want the unions to be controlled. The Democrats want who to be controlled?This is a head fake. Luckily it has NO chance of ever working. As far as super PACs go, this is a thimble full in an ocean of money. It has NO chance of ever working. The sponsors know next to nothing about elections.I support term limits and public funding of elections.JLM.

        1. Salt Shaker

          “The stated objective of this effort is to change the makeup of the House of Representatives.” Not sure that’s stated anywhere in this initiative. With respect, I think you’re politicizing this initiative to an unnecessary extreme.I personally could give two shits about party affiliation. I want elected officials who are objective and stand up for what they (and their constituents) believe in, not some unconditional party line. House votes are ridiculously lopsided, on issues that clearly are not that black and white, and that’s on both sides of the aisle.

          1. JLM

            .Of course, it is not stated explicitlyThat’s why I said it was a “head fake”.But if you have a Republican majority and you’re not happy with the outcomes are you going to elect more Republicans or inject some Democrats? Sheesh!House votes are what they are because of the preponderance of Republicans and the governing philosophy differences between the two parties.This is no different that when the Democrats controlled the Senate, House and WH and passed Obamacare on a straight party line vote.That’s worked out pretty good so far, right?The checks and balances enacted by the Founding Fathers have worked out pretty good thus far.JLM.

        2. Hershberg

          Actually, the “Republican-led” House of Representatives is controlled by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Comcast, ExxonMobil, and BP — just as the “Democrat-led” Senate and President are. They may use different language when they speak, but the idea that there’s any real difference between Democrats and Republicans is laughable. I’d say it’s the people who haven’t come to that realization that are truly distracted.

          1. JLM

            .OK, bit of an oversimplification but you will get no basic disagreement from me.So what?JLM.

          2. Hershberg

            Just seems a little odd that you basically agree with the idea that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans and that all three branches of government are basically wholy-owned corporate subsidiaries, while immediately dismissing a movement whose aim is to correct that as being “ALL about electing Democrats” and using “the notion of stripping money from politics as the driving force.”

          3. JLM

            .I don’t think it’s going to work. Right problem — the basis of OUR agreement as to the problem — wrong solution.Throwing more money at a problem of too much money in politics is fighting fire with gasoline.This amount of money in the grander scheme of things is like a fart in a hurricane.The notion that a targeted $12MM is going to turn five seats — seats that one will have to get at through the primaries and a general election — is naive.JLM.

          4. Hershberg

            That’s a fair argument — but also very different from the one you initially made (i.e. Mayday is a bad idea because the money is going to be used to elect Democrats). Any debate that devolves into Republicans vs Democrats only serves to distract people from the issues that really matter and will ensure that nothing ever changes.I have no idea whether Mayday will work — it’s very much a long shot — but I do know that if we aren’t willing to support people like Lessig and their efforts at reform, there’s no way we have a chance.

          5. MikeSchinkel

            @Hershberg:disqus – Very well said.

        3. MikeSchinkel

          “The stated objective of this effort is to change the makeup of the House of Representatives which is currently controlled by the Republicans.”You are obviously not paying attention. This PAC has clearly stated the will attack those who not support campaign finance reform and support those who do no matter what party the candidate is part of. When I gave my contribution today it asked if I wanted to 1.) Back on Democrats, 2.) Back only Republicans, or 3.) Back anyone who supports campaign finance reform.You are letting your ingrained biases drive your opinion of this and not an objective evaluation of the facts.”It has NO chance of ever working.”You may be right. But will you agree to admit in advance if you are proven wrong?

          1. JLM

            .Who does not “support” campaign finance reform? Who?Campaign finance reform is the mother’s milk of politics. Everyone mouths platitudes. We even had some bi-partisan law which was overturned.McCain Finegold comes to mind.Thirty years of experience in politics tells me you will have a very tough time culling the herd if your objective is to drive elections by deciding who is more likely to support campaign finance reform.Particularly if your plan is to spend money to eliminate the influence of money. Particularly when it is only $12MM, not even the rounding error on the postage meter for a lot of the big boys.If you take a look at any of the polls on the “big issues” for 2014 they are the economy and unemployment. Campaign finance reform does not poll in any meaningful way as it relates to inspiring voters to act.It is not a winning issue in discriminating or choosing between candidates.It also implies you are going to take out incumbents, a very tough job. This year the incumbents — primarily Democrats — are going to be taken to the chopping block over Obamacare, the economy and not much more.The next election will be a referendum on Obama and Obamacare. Good luck, Democrats.JLM.

          2. MikeSchinkel

            “Who does not “support” campaign finance reform? Who?’Stop attacking the strawmen. You can’t make a video or written pitch that enough people will watch/read for an effective campaign if you bog it does with too much information. Their’s plan page goes into detail about what it means, you just have to read it:“Thirty years of experience in politics tells me…It is not a winning issue in discriminating or choosing between candidates.”If you are so sure this won’t work, why are you wasting so much (virtual) breath on it? Time is a finite resource and my 30 years business experience has taught me there’s no need to fight winning battles; focus your time (to comment) on areas where you might be needed to make a difference. Or do you just enjoy reading your own written opinion?

          3. JLM

            .Mike, Mike — what I desperately need is advice from you on focusing my commenting? Not really so much, but thanks.JLM.

          4. MikeSchinkel

            @JLM, Wasn’t offering advice, just asking a rhetorical question. I can lead you to water but can’t make you drink.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Republicans have their Trojan Horses too. There is a big fight right now in the Republican party between “classical liberals”-small government activists that want less interference in our lives and want to end constant budget deficits and return individual liberty to people—-and establishment Republicans that are aligned with corporate pocketbooks. As a Republican, I appreciate the fight and hope the classical liberal wing can win. Dave Brat winning in VA was great. He is the small govt wing of the party. We need more Dave Brat’s.On the flip side, Democrats are tied to big government and to unions. I would like to see classical liberals try and shake up their party too.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          Decisions are made by those that show up. If “classical” liberals showed up to political meetings, fundraisers, canvasses, etc. they’d have as big of a voice as the unions.

          1. pointsnfigures

            They show up. The Tea Party was an initial part of showing up. But, like a lot of political movements, the Tea Party was co-opted. Cutting off spending is the first step. But people have to be comfortable with receiving their freedom to choose, and comfortable with the risk/reward that comes with it. For example, if I want to drink raw milk, shouldn’t I be able to buy it? If I want to have my own health insurance, shouldn’t I be able to arrange for it?

          2. Matt Zagaja

            I haven’t seen them at my meetings and in my orbit those are the only ones that count.

    2. Dave W Baldwin

      The way to go is time table ad spending where you can allow ads & bill boards starting October 15 for the Big election and 2 weeks out from local &/or Primary.

    3. LE

      Look at Texas and ask yourself why is Texas thriving? Sound energy policies. No income tax. Less regulation. These are policy initiatives. If you take Texas jobs out of the national statistics the entire balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS since Obama became President. Policy matters.Serious question here. What did the politicians in Texas (and for that matter Arizona) fuck up to create a situation where they appear to be so powerless and behind the 8 ball with all these illegals that are streaming in and have streamed in? What game didn’t they play right? Shit like this would never fly in the NY Metro area and maybe not even in Philly (assumes a scale equal to the small town in TX not the same raw numbers nobody would care about 100 people in NYC obviously..)

      1. JLM

        .Under Federal law, the international border is a Federal deal. The State of Texas CANNOT take effective action. Left to Texas, the fence would be built, the National Guard would be deployed and the criminal aliens would be shipped back immediately.The border is a disaster. A disaster.JLM.

        1. LE

          No I don’t mean that Texas state should take action (I know the border is a Federal deal) I mean why Texas politicians appear to be helpless to make the Feds take action. In other words what “scratch the back” isn’t being played out and why? [1] (Politics being the art of trading favors and influence etc.)Is this some kind of “you don’t play our game so we aren’t rushing to help you” or some kind of partisan payback (ala Nixon/Watergate vs. Clinton affair etc.)[1] Having just bent over and greased up to the idiot property manager (and board) at a complex I own at I fully understand the suck up needed in certain situations. This is obviously of a different league of complexity but I was wondering if there was something behind the scenes I mean there must be, right?

          1. JLM

            .The initial issue with the border was the sense that Democrats could milk this into a voting block. Now it has gotten completely out of control.We’re talking leprosy and smallpox here.JLM.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            There’s a recent claim that there is a Federal law from about 2002 that says that children from countries “non-contiguous” with the US are to be treated as refuges or some such and that, thus, the current collection of children from Central America but not Mexico are taking advantage of this law. Then there’s a chance that the children will be ‘reunited’ with their ‘families’ here in the US and then a suspicion that they will just remain in the US as another contribution to the ‘illegals’ and Democrat voters.

    4. fredwilson

      will you change your mind when half of this money is used to defeat democrats?

      1. Adam Sharp

        I don’t care if it’s GOP or Dems he defeats. It doesn’t matter. Mainstream neoliberals and neoconservatives agree on 95% of key issues. I wanna know if he supports big govt or small govt, interventionist candidates, or peaceful ones. Do they support a Fed audit?

      2. JLM

        .Fred, a good bet is in order.Me, you and a couple of AVCers to dinner at a nice joint in NYC if a single Democrat is removed from office by a “decisive stroke” delivered by the funding of this Super PAC.Alternatively, push a peanut across Union Square with one’s nose “nekkid” for the loser.JLM.

    5. MikeSchinkel

      “This is just an attempt by left leaning liberal forces to elect more Democrats.”So, you are saying that when the 0.001% no longer finance elections then Republicans won’t be able to get elected as easily? Hmm, I’d agree with that.But you ignore the effects described by game theory. Once elections can no longer be bought by narrow special interests then Republicans will start serving the population again, and the Republican/Democrat balance will re-emerge.”Call me when the unions are in the cross hairs.”Why do you not allow yourself to recognize that if the unions are gaining favor by funding elections that they will loose just as much control as the (extremely few) Sheldon Adelson’s of the world?”If you take Texas jobs out of the national statistics the entire balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS since Obama became President. Policy matters.”Liars. damn liars and statisticians. If you took New York out of the statistics for the past year the results would be the same:…It’s easy to cherry-pick data when you have an agenda to promote.”Look at Texas and ask yourself why is Texas thriving?”Simple: Oil. If the other states had the same amount of oil they’d be thriving too.”We have reintroduced LEPROSY into the US because of his wholesale disregard of the law.”Disregard for the law, you mean like GW Bush’s disregard for the law?…Anyway, what laws do you assert Obama has wholesale disregarded? Educate me oh enlightened one.”These are the type of liberal policies you will get when you fund liberal causes.”You mean like the two+ centuries of liberal policies that shaped the nation of the USA to be what it is today, like the ones that gave women the right to vote, freed the slaves, or these?http://www.addictinginfo.or…P.S. If I remember correctly you poo-pooed Lessig when he announced his $1M goal and stated he had not chance to succeed. And now he’s just achieved his $5M goal with $1.5M being in the last 24 hours. Sure he has a long road to go for ultimate success, but so far it’s looking pretty good. Maybe you are denouncing him merely for fear he will succeed?

      1. JLM

        .Mike, too much to wade through. Let me deal with a couple of the easy things.Bush BAD. Obama GOOD. OKThe economy in Texas does have oil but it is what Texas has done with that resource that matters. Texas has drilled for it, allowed secondary recovery and administered (speedy granting of permits) it well.The economy in Texas is way more than oil. Millions of folks who have nothing to do with the Oil Patch are coming here for the superior tax scheme, lower cost of living, availability of jobs and the streamlined regulatory environment.One cannot swing a cat on a 10 foot rope without hitting a Californian.JLM.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          “Bush BAD. Obama GOOD. OK”No, “Bush BAD”; full stop.Why do we need to repeat that? Because those who ignore/forget/are ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat it.”The economy in Texas is way more than oil.”Someone once told me that it’s easier to make a small fortune if you start with a large one. The same dynamics are at play because of oil in Texas.

  12. ShanaC

    Happy 4th of July.I actually think a bigger problem is that I have no idea how to affect politics on a local level. While I want to reform Congress, most of the members started out in local politics. So what do I do to get involved with local?

    1. pointsnfigures

      Vote, and run for office, or make sure the people you support align with your views. Milton Friedman was for a small Federal govt and for pushing a lot of the function of govt to local govts. They are more accountable.

      1. ShanaC

        I kind of want barbell shaped government – I want much larger local, mostly non-existent state, and large federal.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Would be better to have a funnel. Small end on the Federal side

          1. ShanaC

            Why. I’m not sure what the purpose of state governments are.

          2. pointsnfigures

            The states are another of our great experiments. It’s beautiful. California and Colorado have legalized pot, others haven’t. Let’s see how it works. Some have gay marriage, some don’t. Let’s see how it works. It also allows for markets to form and niches to form. New York is different than Illinois, and has different challenges. Approaching problems with the same exact answer isn’t optimal. Network beats hierarchy.

        2. Adam Sharp

          The farther away (geographically) the planners are, the worse planning is, generally.

  13. Robert Heiblim

    This is an important topic for sure. Our politicians spend more time getting money for reelection than anything else. I’m in.

  14. pointsnfigures

    I was on a PAC. I am not anymore. The PAC still exists. We used to make small donations to various candidates (50/50) that were on committees that regulated us. I never saw a politician from either side of the aisle get “bought” by our small donation. I did see doors open and our people allowed to educate and plead their case. It made a huge difference several times.At the same time, I did see politicians with a propensity to believe in what you were saying before you got through the door. And some that didn’t. Ed Markey was never going to be persuaded to see things our way no matter if we financed his entire campaign or not, and neither was John Dingell.

  15. JLM

    .This is what I like to call a “weapon of mass distraction” whereby sponsors say one thing while meaning something completely different.This PAC seeks to displace the impact of money in elections by, well. uhh………………………………………………………injecting more (their) money into elections.Money talks and this PAC wants to muffle the others and get a megaphone for theirs.Goofy and naive.JLM.

    1. LE

      Goofy and naive.I want to agree with you (because the idea simply doesn’t click with me at all) but I don’t think it’s any goofier or more naive than a large percentage of the startups that are out there. Which are definitely goofy and naive. But some of those naive ideas end up working and I think this has more of a chance of working than an average startup idea.So I don’t think it’s a non-starter like gambling at a casino. Along those line this is really entertainment and “get involved” theater whereby supporters can go for the low hanging fruit and try to think they are going to make change the easy way. God knows I’d rather buy my aunt a gift card than spend a half a day shopping for a gift or god forbid have to take her out to lunch or spend the day with her at a Museum.[1] Not referring to a heavy hitter like Fred and his “friends” but those who kick a buck into it on a small scale. Because it makes them feel as if they are “doing something” and then they can go out and continue gardening or something important like that.

      1. JLM

        .I personally have done so many goofy and naive things in my life as to not be shocked as to the next such thing.The idea that a law school prof is going to raise $12MM and change the world is silly.He is going to spot five races that guys like Plouffe and Axelrod and Rove miss?And he’s going to put them in play with $12MM?And then win them?This idea never occurred to the Koch’s and the Soros’ of the world? Or Rove?Really? A passionate law school prof is going to teach the cow how to eat cabbage?Not in this life time. Remember the big Internet play to draft good primary candidates? Yeah, that worked out well.Politics, in the Congress, is a local business and no outsiders are going to parachute in and change the course of things.JLM.

        1. LE

          The idea that a law school prof is going toHe has absolutely stunning academic credentials and has done quite well with that halo for sure. I’m just in awe of the amount of mass quantities of written material (remember coneheads?) that someone like that is able to consume and spit back when tested.Looks like the demarcation point of the brain change came at Cambridge I’m always fascinated by things like this:Lessig has emphasized in interviews that his philosophy experience at Cambridge radically changed his values and career path. Previously, he had held strong conservative or libertarian political views, desired a career in business, was a highly active member of Teenage Republicans, served as the Youth Governor for Pennsylvania through the YMCA Youth and Government program in 1978, and almost pursued a Republican political career.What was intended to be a year abroad at Cambridge, convinced him instead to stay another two years to complete a graduate degree in philosophy and develop his changed political values. During this time, he also traveled in the Eastern Bloc, where he acquired a lifelong interest in Eastern European law and politics.The brain gets all screwed up when it tries to question things to much. (Many “highly intelligent” academic types have mental issues anecdotally if I was an academic I could probably cherry pick some backup). In this case the circuit flopped to the other side and nobody reset the circuit breaker.I didn’t know this (and why would I?):In May 2005, it was revealed that Lessig had experienced sexual abuse by the director at the American Boychoir School which he had attended as an adolescent.

          1. JLM

            .There is a reason why brilliant econ profs live is shitty houses — the academic – real world membrane is a tough one to crack.The world is filled with brilliant idiots.You are not going to steal elections from the big boys with $12MM in five races.He did not invent sex or elections.JLM.

          2. LE

            (Take a look at the attached screen grabs – might take a minute to show up in disqus screening).From my “Journal of I can cherry pick data to backup any point I want to make” take a look at the value of the house of two three Princeton Econ profs that I picked somewhat randomly (err actually – 1st two names on the page here and someone I’ve heard of): [1]…That money will only buy a closet in NYC of course but Princeton is a pretty nice place housing wise and a good community for sure. They are living well off that econ prof salary (plus all your can eat consulting etc).In your parts, 1.5m buys a nice house, right?Edit: To see the data you have to click each image about midway disqus strung them together but they can be viewed.[1] I also included Alan S. Blinder he was on Clinton’s council of economic advisors.

        2. fredwilson

          i mostly make money on goofy and naive. i almost never make money on smart and sophisticated.

  16. shareme

    Fred DI was not signed until fall, only final word of doc was agreed to on July history 101

  17. LE

    From: a matching system, such as John Sarbanes’ (D-MD) Government By The People Act, small dollar contributions are matched by the government, at the extreme with a 9 to 1 match. Thus, a $100 contribution is worth $1,000 to a candidate who funds her campaign with small contributions only. A voucher system gives small dollar vouchers to all registered voters. Voters can use those vouchers to contribute to candidates for Congress who restrict their funding to vouchers only, as well as small contributions beyond vouchers. [1]It probably pays to step back and take a look at how this will not change how money influences things it will just shift the influence from one group to another. But that influence will not necessarily be any better and for many people it will be much worse.What does all this money buy in the end anyway? Why do they need money? They need it becuase it buys (to use a phrase that is really overused at this point) the elephant in the room which is advertising in print, on air and online to name just three things that are obvious. So in the end the media ends up winning big and I don’t hear anyone ever calling for an outright ban or certain types of advertising as was done with, say, cigarettes or alcohol to children. I mean the newspapers aren’t going to support that nor are the networks either. They make a metric shitload of money from that (loved that yesterday from a comment to my comment).The elephant, and the root of all this evil, really is where this money goes to, not just the fact that money buys elections. Consequently, the unintended consequence of this is that we will have a problem of a different type and a different master. New boss same as the old boss stuff.[1] Noting Sarbanes contributors:

  18. LE

    the Gotham Gal and I participated in the small group that matched the first $1mm.For purely education purposes I have to point out that this well worded sentence is kind of like a Rorschach which can mean whatever you want it to mean.We don’t know which members of the group contributed what (and who they are) and we don’t even know what “small” means either (see article the other day re: “small” business in the WSJ). And we don’t know if Fred contributed $2000 or $200,000 or $800,000.We can and do write big checks to politicians because that’s the way our corrupt system of government works right now. Can only be as honest as your competition so I wouldn’t change the budget line item on that for the foreseeable future.

    1. fredwilson


      1. LE

        Because I think about wording so much I would have been curious to know how others interpreted that sentence (which is why I raised the point in the first place).Not that you are trying for the publicity impact (I know you don’t care about that) but I think a lead of “I contributed $100,000” is more motivational than “I was in a small group that matched the first $1,000,000”. The larger the number, to more that someone else might think “my $25 doesn’t really matter”. And someone who might give $10,000 thinks “I’m a piker”.I guess the thing that is really difficult about giving large amounts to any cause (meaning not $500 here and $200 there) is that you have to really carefully consider how it will alter money you give to another cause.

  19. christopolis

    treating symptoms never works. Life liberty(right to donate and free speech) and the pursuit of happiness. Using force to get what you want and desire is wrong.

  20. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, I watched Lessig’s video.Net: Doesn’t look good for his goals.Big Problem: He didn’t make a meaningful case for anything.A problem: He says that “Members of Congress waste 30 to 70% of their time raising money from the tiniest fraction of the 1%.” without any evidence or references.A problem: He mentions “fundamental reform”, and for me that needs details and generally looks not good. Here he sounds like standard cliche ‘campaign speak’ as in the movie ‘Power’: So he is assuming that I have in mind the “fundamental reform” I want and will assume that what he has in mind is the same? Maybe he’s also about to sell me a great deal on that bridge over the East River and a lifetime subscription to gifts from the Easter Bunny.A problem: He mentions $100 billion in “corporate welfare” (with a note, “Cato Institute 2013”). Okay, but after the crash of 2008, we had a seriously hurt banking system, and as we learned to our sorrow in the 1930s we actually need a working banking system and, thus, needed a solution. We had Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, and others working on the solution, and I’m slow to attribute bad motives of favoritism to “Wall Street” to any of them.A problem: He shows some winds from a storm and what might be destruction from a hurricane and claims that the big money has “the power to block climate change legislation”. Tilt! As I’ve suspected: With pictures of polar bears and ice bergs and each hurricane, tornado, flood, drought, blizzard, in some area with some especially hot/cold day or season, some shoreline change, etc. will come dire claims of “climate change” that needs “legislation”, right, to throttle ‘sinful, evil, greedy, irresponsible humans’ (it’s a very old axiom that humans are sinful) from using “fossil fuels” to add filthy CO2 to the atmosphere that is the “cause” of “climate change” — back to the Mayan charlatans claiming the need to pour blood on a rock to keep the sun moving across the sky, indeed, from page 76 ofSusan Milbrath, ‘Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars (The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)’, ISBN-13 978-0292752269, University of Texas Press,”Indeed, blood sacrifice is required for the sun to move, according to Aztec cosmology (Durian 1971:179; Sahaguin 1950 – 1982, 7:8).”Big Problem: It looks like Lessig’s video is a patched together list of emotional grabbers, code words, scare topics, etc. and nothing like a rational approach to anything.With his “fundamental reform”, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw an Abrams tank.Net, if that is even half a shot at the best case that can be made, then there is good news: There is not much wrong with our current campaign funding system and much less wrong than I had been assuming.Thank you, Larry: What you did your best at was showing me that there isn’t much wrong with our “system” of money in politics. I’d been assuming much worse; thanks for correcting my assumptions; I can relax now!

    1. LE

      Big Problem: It looks like Lessig’s video is a patched together list of emotional grabbers, code words, scare topics, etc. and nothing like a rational approach to anything.I didn’t watch it but I can only imagine.Obviously it’s targeted toward people who aren’t willing to really give any critical thought to his arguments (which is not the same as saying he couldn’t be correct by the way I haven’t studied the subject I just know I don’t believe most things w/o diving in because they are always biased). Six sides to a story. And of course you can make any argument you want and find something to support it.Some author in 2010 said something so it must be true:As RobertKaiser details in his book, So Damn Much Money (2010), that fact interferes withthe legislative agenda of the Right as much as of the Left.The devil is always in the details. [2]Notice that on this page: is no attribution for this [1]:As a recent study from Princeton concludes,“economic elites and organized groups representing business interests havesubstantial independent impacts on U.S. governmental policy, while averagecitizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”What study would that be?Or this:We have therefore established this superPAC with the objective of electing aCongress committed to fundamental reform of the way campaigns are funded.Based on the analysis by one of America’s most prominent political firms, we believe we can achieve this objective by 2016.So exactly why is their no mention of who the “America’s most prominent political firm” is? Who is the firm?[1] So hard it is to footnote things extensively?[2] The reason a trial takes so long. Details and nuance matter. If they didn’t we wouldn’t need courts, judges, juries and discovery. Or lawyers.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > Obviously it’s targeted toward people who aren’t willing to really give any critical thought to his argumentsYes, preach to the choir. Some people will respond to that. Maybe in practice in the short term that is part of the best way to raise some money. But, to me the technique is insulting — he seems to assume I am eager to ‘trust’ him and that because he seems to believe that nearly everyone believes, for what reasons I can’t guess, knows that he is so trustworthy. No thanks.”Trust but verify”? Not this time. Instead, verify a lot and, then, maybe trust a little. Measure twice, saw once. Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see and are still believing twice too much.And Lessig is, what, did you say, a what, a ‘lawyer’? And that’s supposed to make me confident of what goodness? Time for a lawyer joke?Really old stuff: And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s In deepest consequence. -William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act I, Scene iiiTo borrow from some Mark Twain, ‘Innocents Abroad’, if he has some solid stuff, then he should trot it out. Else we should move on.Meanwhile, I’ll keep my two kitty cats indoors until, from one of my less prudent neighbors, the 4th quits going “boom” and listen to my old CD of Cliburn playing the MacDowell 2nd Concerto, an unabashedly, unapologetically, unrestrainededly, overwhelmingly passionately romantic fantasy, and, for the 4th, American, escape from ugly nonsense such as politicians of questionable veracity and integrity speaking with meager rationality. Then back to the many pretty girls in my DVD of the Australian Ballet Company’s ‘Coppélia’! There really are some good things in life! And can write some software!

        1. LE

          I’ll tell you something funny. The first business that I started, right out of college, I knew nothing about. Zilch. Just started out one day doing it. First day I go out cold calling and didn’t even own any equipment yet. And had no employees either. I walk around and get my first job from a small business at the time [1] and the guy says to me “here you’re the expert”. Just like that. And I pulled off the job and kept them as a customer for many years. But of course I wasn’t an expert. I actually didn’t even know anything. And then it happened over and over again. Nobody ever questioned what I knew or asked for any references. And it wasn’t like I was telling them I knew anything at all. I was definitely not lying that’s for sure. I really didn’t know what I was doing (in my mind). I just showed up and sounded, I guess, like I did. [2]Then, it happened again in the 2nd business that I started. Just one day started to advertise and sell and the orders came in. Just like this.The phrase I came up with for this was “assumption of legitimacy”.(I’ll probably repeat this story again…)[1] Which rode the wave in the 80’s of tshirts and is now a business that is quite large.[2] This actually happened in high school and college now that I’m thinking about it with photography and other side things I did I just printed up business cards that said “commercial, legal, industrial” and got jobs doing that type of work.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            I started in high school mowing grass. In a simple case, I did okay. And, thus, I got some jobs that asked more and did those. Then I got some jobs where really I needed to know more than I did. I needed some mentoring, didn’t know it, and didn’t get it.At one of the best jobs I had, in computing, I didn’t know nearly enough, but the job let me learn on the job and eventually I did know enough. Later at FedEx, using mostly what I’d learned, I took on the task of writing software to schedule the fleet and knew just enough to do it and not so much I could have gotten into trouble from doing too much, which for that problem is easy to do. In the end, FedEx and the COB/CEO liked my first cut fine and was not very interested in a high end approach which would have been challenging but might have saved him 15% of direct operating costs, that is, a big bundle. After grad school, I was good enough with the high end approach, but that was later.It went on that way: Sometimes I knew enough, and sometimes I didn’t.The good news is that customers tended to like simple approaches, sometimes so simple that an expert, critical review would say were too simple.An extreme example was the time I evaluated the survivability of the US SSBN fleet under a special scenario of global nuclear war but limited to sea. So, all the fighting would be at sea, and the big issue was, how long could the SSBNs hold out and, thus, remain a deterrent?Well, back in WWII, as part of searching for enemy submarines, B. Koopman wrote a report OEG-56 that said that the encounters between a submarine and a searcher, say, ship, submarine, airplane, or blimp, was a Poisson process, that is, the generic arrival process with ‘stationary, independent increments’ (for the ‘axiomatic’ derivation — see E. Cinlar’s ‘Introduction’). He got the arrival rate of this process from the detection radii, the speeds, and the area of the ocean.So, cute; Give me all the Reds and Blues, e,g,, ships, planes, submarines, blimps, and for each the detection radii to each type of the other color and speed. Turn them all loose on an ‘ocean’ of some area. Then the next ‘encounter’ is a Poisson process arrival (the sum of independent Poisson processes is another Poisson process). Then for that encounter, none, one, the other, or both die, and assume we have a human given table that gives the probabilities. The amount of detail and likely highly relevant strategy in naval warfare being ignored is astronomically large! These assumptions are absurdly, laughably, too simple.Presto: If buy those assumptions, then I’ve got you all the way to an answer! It’s a continuous time, finite state space Markov process ‘subordinated’ to a Poisson process. There is a closed form solution in terms of a matrix exponential that is too difficult to calculate, but a Monte Carlo to run off, say, 500 sample paths and average is easy to write, So, I did.My solution passed technical review by famous probabilist J. Keilson as in ‘Green’s Function Methods in Probability Theory’. His first reaction was that my Monte Carlo could not hope to “fathom” the full complexity of the enormous state space, but then I reminded him of the law of large numbers and he agreed and concluded with me that, intuitively, Monte Carlo puts most of the effort where the ‘action’ is. He was happy. I was nearly laughing at how simple this solution was.And the US Navy got their answer to this question in the time they wanted, two weeks. And my wife also got her vacation to Shenandoah the next day as planned. My work was later sold to another part of the US government — I could tell you which one but then I’d have to …!To me, the assumptions, even Koopman’s, were so simple to be nearly a joke. But, possibly surprisingly, the output from the software looked quite realistic right from the start.Lesson: It can be surprising how good something really simple can be at least in some respects.There is common advice that one of the bigger parts of success is just to show up. Lots of times I did show up, and ready to work, without a lot of success, but not showing up certainly results in failure.Sometimes in academics people are too fast to criticize. E.g., once I was working for a Ph.D. guy, had some ideas I wanted to try out on some company internal customers, and went to meet with them. The guy I was working for insisted on going along. His first concern was, would the target customers believe I had enough expertise? I had to assure him that with our backgrounds and positions, they would have no doubt; he was surprised and didn’t really believe. But, next, at the meeting he was nasty and, really, ruined the contact. The guy was a loser. All he had to do was just not come with me or just keep his mouth shut, and we could have had a good project, one that would have looked good, innovative, and productive high in the company.

      2. MikeSchinkel

        “What study would that be?”So he forget to include a footnote; you’ve never produced an imperfect document? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”:BTW, googling it not that hard: “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” –

        1. LE

          You’re comparing me to him? He is a Harvard Law Professor and acclaimed academic. And is trying to make a point to get people to donate money for a cause that is important to him. If he left something out there is a reason for that. This is not a casual blog post or comment it is a well thought out (supposedly) plan of action.BTW, googling it not that hard:If you put the onus on people to google it becomes less likely for them to question you. That’s friction. Similar to hiding terms and conditions in the fine print.

          1. MikeSchinkel

            “You’re comparing me to him? He is a Harvard Law Professor and acclaimed academic. And is trying to make a point to get people to donate money for a cause that is important to him.”You assume that he built the website himself, without any staff posting any content and/or without a web developer.”If he left something out there is a reason for that.”You also assume. And you conveniently discount that he has been working at a whirlwind pace as of late, and haste often results in less than perfection.”This is not a casual blog post or comment it is a well thought out (supposedly) plan of action.”That’s an assumption stated as fact, which for the record is one of my biggest pet peeves. Tell me it’s your opinion and I’m okay with that. State it as fact and I compulsively get highly annoyed.Ok, since I provided the link to the study for you, read it and tell me what parts he didn’t want people to see to provide motive for your assumption?”If you put the onus on people to google it becomes less likely for them to question you. That’s friction. Similar to hiding terms and conditions in the fine print.”Omission does not prove malice; it could have simply been carelessly overlooked. But I gave you the link, make your case as you would need to in a court of law.P.S. I’ve followed Lessig’s activities since 2003, read one of his books, and I have yet to recognize a single iota of bad intentions on his part. That and that fact that I really want to see MAYDAY PAC succeed is why I vigorously defend him. The US Congress is filled with politicians, but few if any statesmen, Lessig is a statesman. We need fewer politicians lobbying and making deals and more statesmen inspiring the public to action.

    2. MikeSchinkel

      “Big Problem: He didn’t make a meaningful case for anything.”That’s a matter of opinion. Obviously enough people disagreed with you that he’s reached his $5M goal already.”A problem: He says that “Members of Congress waste 30 to 70% of their time raising money from the tiniest fraction of the 1%.” without any evidence or references.”To provide evidence and references would be to create a video that would be so long that few would watch it.If you’ve followed his tireless work on this and prior issues you’d know that he has provided that evidence and those references in the past using more appropriate mediums.”Here he sounds like standard cliche ‘campaign speak’ as in the movie ‘Power’: So he is assuming that I have in mind the “fundamental reform” I want and will assume that what he has in mind is the same?”Well, you **could** have actually read made the effort to read the Plan and the FAQ:-“Big Problem: It looks like Lessig’s video is a patched together list of emotional grabbers, code words, scare topics, etc. and nothing like a rational approach to anything.”Have you seen any video whose goal is to get people to take political action in recent years that is any different? They do it because it’s effective; does not effect the validity of the goal.”I’d been assuming much worse; thanks for correcting my assumptions; I can relax now!”It’s a shame then that you are so easily made to accept the status quo.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > That’s a matter of opinion. Obviously enough people disagreed with you that he’s reached his $5M goal already.Well, he raised the money. People can have given him money for whatever reasons, maybe just that he is a Harvard prof and famous; that they gave him money doesn’t mean that they found that he “made a meaningful case”. Indeed, as you explain later in your post, people can agree with him and give him money even if they disagree with his sales pitch.Indeed, you seem to say that making “a meaningful case” in the video would be irrelevant to his goal of fund raising. Okay. But making a meaningful case would be important to me, if only to me, such is my skeptical, measure twice, saw once, etc. view of such things.See my post here at…where I show that Lessig’s main claim of a Wall Street “bailout” is significantly wrong. Actually Secretary Paulson ripped off Wells Fargo for $2.5 billion, a “big bank” doing a ‘bailout’ of the US Treasury.Sorry I didn’t follow the two links you gave; I just watched the video and formed my opinions based on that. It was his video; it was fair for me to watch it and pay attention to it.Maybe Lessig will do some good. I hope so. But my view, just my view, and to me his pitch in his video is not good. Clearly, still, many others will give him money.For what Lessig has done in the past, my impression is not good, e.g., from his role in the Microsoft case.For the role of money in politics, independent of anything Lessig has done, I am no expert but may be in, say, the 80th percentile; so I can have some opinions. I remember lots of old news stories of dirty money in politics, e.g., some guy with a bundle hidden in his freezer — he got caught. And I remember the fight about SOPA and PIPA where these two went down in flames due to essentially ‘grass roots’ efforts, including some at Green money has a limitation: It can’t actually pull a lever in a voting booth.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          “that they gave him money doesn’t mean that they found that he “made a meaningful case”.”It in fact does, by objective definition. He set a goal, made a case and reached the goal. Beyond reaching the goal, how else can you objectively decide if he made his case or not? You can debate all day that the winning team didn’t play as good as the loosing team, but the winning team still won and that’s the most significant thing that gets recorded in the history books.”But my view, just my view, and to me his pitch in his video is not good.”That’s fair and I respect that.OTOH I am highly sensitive to opinions stated as facts vs. opinions stated as opinions. Even if I disagree with the latter I will always respect your right to an opinion. But I don’t respect anyone’s right to state their opinion as fact; that’s too often been the tactic of propagandists throughout history for me to not call it out when I really care about an issue.

  21. Aaron Klein

    Nothing like using big money to pretend to drive big money out of politics. 😉 I’m going to ignore the fact that this is just a partisan scheme to raise money for candidates of one particular persuasion.But let’s get real about the issue of campaign finance reform. We keep passing more “reform” laws. The money keeps finding ways to be spent on politics. We would be FAR better off if we dumped 90% of our campaign finance laws and went to full and unmitigated disclosure of all campaign donations on the Internet within 24 hours.If you disagree with me about the need for more laws, I will refer you to this most excellent post written a few days ago by a very smart venture capitalist named Fred Wilson:

    1. Mayson

      Make you a bet right now that in 2016 they’re going to be targetting both R’s and D’s. Pols in both parties are currently corrupt, possibly in different ways and to different extents, but both parties stink to Heaven.

    2. fredwilson

      wrong. half of this money will be used to defeat democrats and half will be used to defeat republicans. both parties are in the pocket of big money. this is an equal opportunity effort.

      1. Aaron Klein

        Color me skeptical, but be that as it may, we have passed gobs of campaign finance legislation, none of which has worked. Electing different congressional reps doesn’t change that. A 21st century campaign finance disclosure policy might.Want to take money out of politics? Force 24 hour disclosure of it all. The Twitter doxxing alone will drive 90% of the bad money out of the system.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          We already have a fairly strong disclosure regime and it did not make a difference. Making things get disclosed faster won’t make a difference. The average person isn’t checking twitter for this information. They are not interested in the details of a campaign’s finances.

          1. Aaron Klein

            Untrue. We put huge limits on candidate contributions and thus force all of the big money into secret, unlimited political action groups.We should have a simple approach: give as much as you want to politics. Every dime given and spent is disclosed.The Twittersphere will persecute 90% of the big money out of the system.

          2. Matt Zagaja

            I’ll concede your first point, I was thinking of only candidate and party committees but I’m not convinced the twitter sphere will be a solution. I know from the numbers (follower counts, click throughs, etc.) that less than 1% of CT voters are getting election information from twitter. The most popular CT gubernatorial candidate on twitter, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton ( consistently polled at the bottom when Quinnipiac asked registered voters if they knew who candidates were.

    3. MikeSchinkel

      “I’m going to ignore the fact that this is just a partisan scheme to raise money for candidates of one particular persuasion.”What facts do you have to support that assertion? (DId you donate? I assume not. So I assume you didn’t see that it let you choose which party your donations could support? How does that evidence support your assertion?)

      1. Aaron Klein

        The backgrounds of the people behind this group. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.That being said, you didn’t address the bigger problem in my comment: the law of unintended consequences and the history of campaign finance reform efforts.Let’s get real and actually DO something about this.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          “The backgrounds of the people behind this group. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.”It’s not actually a “fact” then is it?I’m fine with opinions, just don’t like it when opinions are stated as facts.”Let’s get real and actually DO something about this.”What’s your proposal then? Not just ideas, but ideas that have an execution plan?BTW, seems to me, rightly or wrongly, Lessig has a plan. And as per his stated goals, he seems to be executing quite nicely to this point.

          1. Aaron Klein

            Fact: The closest thing they have to a Republican on their board is McKinnon, who refused to work for McCain against Obama. So no, it’s not just an opinion. They may be trying to run it down the middle, but as I stated, I’m skeptical.I’ve stated a very workable proposal here twice, but I’ll summarize it again.1. Eliminate the thicket of campaign finance laws and replace it with a simple framework. Donate what you want to candidates.2. Every dime given or spent to support a candidate or cause must be fully disclosed on the Internet within 24 hours.3. As we’ve seen with the persecution of Brendan Eich, Twitter doxxing has the potential of driving 90% of the bad money out of politics. Read the piece on Politico Magazine about Karl Rove’s groups — they couldn’t raise a dime until it was secret.Twitter, combined with full public disclosure, could end up being the greatest campaign finance reform tool ever invented.

          2. MikeSchinkel

            “Fact: The closest thing they have to a Republican on their board is McKinnon, who refused to work for McCain against Obama. So no, it’s not just an opinion.”You are confusing “that this is just a partisan scheme to raise money for candidates of one particular persuasion” with “has people who are liberal on their board.” The latter does not make the former a “fact.” Yes, it’s fair to be skeptical and it’s fair to state the latter but its not fair to imply the former is true just because the latter.BTW, are you aware that Lessig has been trying to bridge the left and right for years? For example from 2011:…Just because someone would prefer things go one direction doesn’t mean they can’t be pragmatic and try to unite with those he disagrees with on something he hopefully can get agreement on. As he says at ~1:20 in the video: “If the left and the right can identify that[1] as the root cause and not give up their differences but unite around the idea that we need a fair platform to fight out those differences I think we can make real progress.”That’s consistent with the messages I’ve heard from him many other times and I’ve been following his work since 2003. The video above doesn’t sound like a man who is trying to be subversive as you imply.Regarding your 1-3, those are ideals, but ideals without implementation is wishful fantasy. What is the realistic plan to see those ideals be achieved? And if you don’t have a realistic plan then I say that the enemy of good is perfection.[1] “that”=money equals influence in Washington

        2. MikeSchinkel

          i think my reply got lost, so typing it again (have I ever mentioned how much I despise Disqus? But I digress…)”The backgrounds of the people behind this group. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.”Then don’t state your opinion as fact as you did initially; that’s propagandic. State as your opinion and although we might not agree with you your intention is clear. FWIW, opinion stated as fact on topics of significant impact is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves, hence why I comment about it.”That being said, you didn’t address the bigger problem in my comment: “the law of unintended consequences…”Agreed, that is a risk. But using that as a barometer then all efforts for change should be stifled, no? How then do we make *any* positive change without risking unintended consequences?Me, I’d rather risk it than live with the current status quo.”and the history of campaign finance reform efforts.”All previous campaign finance reform efforts (that I am aware of) have been driven from the inside. This one is driven from the outside. Who watches the Watchmen? I’d rather it be us and not them.”Let’s get real and actually DO something about this.”Okay, so what is your actual proposal to see it become a reality? And I’m not asking for abstract ideas like “require full and unmitigated disclosure of all campaign donations on the Internet within 24 hours” but instead what’s your execution plan to see that requirement become codified into law and/or amend the constitution to enable it.And it doesn’t have to be *your* plan, but a plan from someone who is executing that we can alternately support. Nominations?As we all know, ideas for startups are copious but successful execution is extremely rare. The same goes for changing the political landscape. What I see in Lessig is that he is executing (thus far) and thus my dollars are following him. Ideas spouted on blog comments with no plans for implementation, not so much.

  22. Adam Sharp

    My concern is that he supports Hillary, and thinks she’ll change.”In 2008 I was a big critic of Hillary Clinton because she didn’t take up this issue, she kind of poo-pooed this issue, and both Barack Obama and John Edwards obviously really nailed her on that. Afterward, it might have been that Hillary Clinton was just right.It might have been she was just saying there’s no way a president can take up this issue and do anything about it. To take up this issue is to take on Congress, and to take on Congress is to basically guarantee you’re taking on your own party. If you take on your own party, you’re guaranteed not to get anything passed.And if you don’t get anything passed, you’re not going to get re-elected. And if you don’t get re-elected, you’re going to be a failed president. So the idea of making this the central issue of a presidential campaign is just crazy.”It gets worse from there. Says Hillary could have her “LBJ moment”.LBJ was a horrible president who extended the Vietnam war significantly, reversing JFK’s abandonment strategy.

  23. sigmaalgebra

    Update: In this thread, I’ve been far too accepting of what Lessig said in his video. Checking some of my old notes, I see that the real situation was very different; in particular, the claim of “bailout” for “Wall Street” is significantly wrong.It appears that “Wall Street bailout” has been a story that some on the media have created mostly just by repetition — repeat it often enough and eventually people will come to accept it.We can make some progress by paying attention to an edition of the PBS program ‘Frontline’,”Money, Power & Wall Street: FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the global financial crisis.” April 24 & May 1, 2012, as at…The program did a lot of interviews, and one of them was with Richard Kovacevich, Chair, Wells Fargo (2001-09), and that interview is at…Due to some really grim Web page HTML, getting the full text is not so easy to do: The way I did it was to write a little TCP/IP software to grab the HTML and then did a little work with my programmable editor to extract the actual text.So the main, first “Wall Street Bailout” was the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) led by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. Yes, there was a TARP II, but that is another subject.In the Frontline interview, Kovacevich claimed that Wells Fargo did not need or want the Paulson TARP money:> so we were told to take — just think about this — $25 billion that we never wanted and never used, paid it back within a year at a cost of $2.5 billion in interest and warrants out of our capital base.But Paulson forced him to take $25 billion:> who said: “Your regulator is sitting right next to me. And if you don’t take this money, on Monday morning you’ll be declared capital-deficient.”So, really, Paulson didn’t “bailout” Well Fargo and, instead, Paulson ripped off Well Fargo for $2.5 billion.At least for Wells Fargo, the claim of “Wall Street Bailout” is just media hype, i,e., the reality forced to conform the their Procrustean bed of a morality play of ‘evil business’ being ‘saved’ by virtuous government. Apparently this nonsense sells newspapers.The details, down to the day and last dollar, on the TARP money, for both TARP I under Paulson and TARP II authorized by Dodd-Frank, are near page 250 of> SIGTARP — Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Quarterly Report to Congress, April 25, one time at…There can see that a lot of the TARP money, maybe all of it, was paid back with interest and, thus, was not a ‘bailout’.There is a lot more that is good in the Kovacevich interview.So, Lessig claimed ‘bailout’ of Wall Street with no details.

  24. Frank W. Miller

    What a waste of time. The SCOTUS is making it clear that money is part of the political landscape. You’re not going to be able to reduce it so why waste your time and money?

    1. MikeSchinkel

      “The SCOTUS is making it clear that money is part of the political landscape … why waste your time and money”SCOTUS interprets the Constitution. The ultimate goal of MAYDAY PAC is to amend the Constitution. That’s why.

      1. Frank W. Miller

        Oh. Wow that’s pretty ambitious. Best of luck with that, you’ll need it

        1. MikeSchinkel

          Those who never try will always fail. But it’s not my ambition (not mine alone, at least): See step 4: Stage 4: Securing Reform through a Constitutional Amendment –

  25. Dan Munro

    Happy 4th! … and thrilled to see your open support for Larry Lessig and campaign MayDay.For those who haven’t seen it – I encourage everyone to watch Larry’s 18min TED talk here:…It’s shorter than his book – and frames the challenge really well. It also has a great single quote – that I use often in my own travels.”Campaign finance reform isn’t the biggest problem facing the country – but it’s the first.”We don’t have real leadership in D.C. tackling serious infrastructure problems (like healthcare – my passion), because leadership isn’t on the ballot. Larry’s TED talk explains why.

  26. DJL

    Nice idea. BUT I am very leary of broad terms like “campaign finance reform” and “comprehensive immigration reform”. You have to understand exactly what is proposed, as these terms are often bastardized by idealogy. (Just like Obama is now blaming the influx of immigrant children on Republican’s “failure to pass comprehansive immigration reform.”) This is a political trick of words – who can argue against “comprehensive reform?”In my opinion, the only way to really separate the politicians from the money is term limits. That also removes the incentive. Why do politicians spend millions of dollars getting elected to jobs that pay $100K/year? Imagine if they had to recoup their investment in 6 years instead of 20?Just a brief data point: If a few doners supply all of the money – how was Obama able to raise over $600 million in 2008 from supposedly thousands of small doners? The fundraising process was apparently democracized by the social web 6 years ago.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      ” I am very leary of broad terms like “campaign finance reform” … You have to understand exactly what is proposed, as these terms are often bastardized by idealogy.”

  27. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    @wmoug:disqus @fredwilson:disqus – I know you dont like censorship – but sometimes the barman has to act – Just saying

  28. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    @wmoug:disqus Just flagging

  29. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Yup – Dont like bullies

  30. William Mougayar

    Took care of it. thanks.

  31. ShanaC

    Deleting usually makes the person worse.

  32. William Mougayar

    this person was a repeat offender with multiple comments today of the same nature. they were deleted and the person was banned. it is an extreme case, but it happens.

  33. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    @ShanaC:disqus – Yes but I had a look at profile and all comments were just revolting profanity and offensiveness. I imagine just attention seeking really (which blocking mitigates to some tiny extent by undoing effort) . I am sure this is a problem that @danielha et al face continually – I am not envious 😉

  34. fredwilson

    What did the commenter say? Are you sure it was so bad that it needed to be deleted?

  35. ShanaC

    he said everyone looked like a pedophile. and just was being a dick. But the best way to respond is to be forthright, not delete and banned (in particular because he claimed he was banned previously

  36. William Mougayar

    I’ll email you.

  37. William Mougayar

    Just look at that person’s profile and you’ll see that’s all they do on other blogs too. This is an extreme case. I would go as far as banning them from Disqus. Comments are deliberately offensive and have no linkage to the community or topic.

  38. Guest

    Love that on the 4th of July Wm. the Conqueror is unilaterally setting rules. Only wish I had seen the first shitty comment.