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July 05, 2007


Collaborative Democracy is a political framework where electors and the elected actively collaborate to attain the best possible solution to any situation using collaborative enabling technologies to facilitate wide scale citizen participation in government.

Citizens collaborate in determining the political agenda and in the decision-making process itself. Collaborative Democracy also involves the selection and replacement of government officials at anytime. When the citizens form a large minority of 10% supporting a candidate an election is held and the candidate with the majority of votes becomes the new government official of the citizens being represented.

Collaborative Democracy is characterized by a decision making structure which involves and takes into account as broad a range of citizen input as possible. Citizens, whether elected or elector, openly debate and critique public policy in real time from conception to enforcement, employing collaborative methods and processes.

The foundation of Collaborative Democracy is based on the Ten Commandments of Civilization and participation of Good Citizens who wish to build a society that reflects their desires and values.

The Ten Commandments of Civilization give guidance to form governments based on collaborative democracy and to bring all people into the governing process to help civilization reach its full potential.

Ten Commandments of Civilization

1. Elected officials shall represent the citizenry's needs exclusively.
2. Elected officials shall make it their sworn duty to thoroughly understand all legislation put before them for a vote.
3. The government shall not go to war except when war is necessary to protect the national interests of the majority of the citizenry.
4. No official elected or appointed shall take or receive anything of value in exchange for any government action under the pain of death.
5. The government shall confine itself to keeping the citizenry safe and advancing civilization.
6. All citizens shall vote when requested to do so by the government or by petition.
7. The citizenry shall not request the government to favor one religion or the lack of religion over another.
8. Citizens shall endeavor to advance themselves in an honest and productive fashion.
9. All citizens shall be loyal to their government above all other affiliations.
10. No citizen shall exploit another citizen for personal gain.


Elected officials shall represent the citizenry's needs exclusively and shall only weigh how any government act or proposed legislation benefits the common good of the citizens or advances civilization. Influences outside of the nation shall not be considered other than to weigh the consequences of bringing economic disadvantage or war upon the nation and its citizens as a direct or indirect consequence of the actions of the government. All elected officials shall be treated as equals relative to their office in all government capacities. Length of service shall bestow no special privileges to elected officials, other than civilization's eternal gratitude, as granting special privileges to elected officials for length of service destroys the freedoms of the electors.

Elected officials shall make it their sworn duty to thoroughly understand the entire legislation put before them for a vote. They must seek the input of a wide variety of their electors both in private and in public forums to develop clarity of thought and a thorough understanding of the consequences of the proposed legislation for the officials, electors and civilization.

The elected official must endeavor to be the champion of his electors and no others, ignoring all outside voices that attempt to influence his thinking at the expense of the electors and civilization. In the event an elected official cannot develop clarity of thought or a thorough understanding of the consequences of the entire proposed legislation the elector shall publicly notify his electors prior to the vote and abstain from voting. As laws are maintained or passed they must be funded in their entirety from the working budget, inversely as laws are abolished the funding shall be returned to the budget.

The government shall not go to war except when all diplomatic means have been exhausted or the nation has been attacked. Then war becomes necessary to protect the national interests of the citizenry. Before agreeing to go to war or sending troops into harms way in any fashion, or supporting any other foreign nation or entity in doing the same, the government and its elected officials must assure the citizenry, by exhibiting absolute proof, that war is the only choice. All military actions must be in the best interests of the citizenry and civilization. The likelihood of victory must be greater than the possibility of stalemate or defeat. The elected officials who champion a war in any of its forms shall personally direct the war on the battlefield.

No official, elected or appointed shall take or receive anything of value in exchange for any government action under the pain of death. Political corruption in all forms is the source of much human suffering; it greatly damages civilization and should never be tolerated for any reason. If the local custom forbids the death penalty, for all crimes for all citizens, then the harshest punishment allowed by law should be applied in place of death. No distinction shall be drawn between the corrupted and the corruptor, as neither can exist without the other. It is also the official's duty to immediately publicly disclose to the electors and the government when any individual or group proposes the giving of anything of value to the official for any government act or proposed act. It is also every citizen's duty to immediately disclose to the public and the government when any official requests something of value in exchange for any government action. If found guilty by a jury of their peers that either an official, or any individual or group on the official's behalf, has accepted or requested anything of value; or an individual or group has offered or given anything of value in exchange for any government action, the penalty shall be, delivered within 30 calendar days after the final appeal. There shall be no more than 30 calendar days between each appeal.

The government shall confine itself to keeping the citizenry safe and advancing civilization to the very best of its ability. The government shall protect the citizenry from foreign and internal threats and from fellow citizen's who choose to break the laws set down and administered by the government on the citizens' behalf. The government shall also strive to find ways and means to help mankind progressively advance and develop more knowledge of the natural world. The government shall be administered in the most economic and efficient methods possible. The government's activities and finances shall be open, transparent and accessible; to both regular public auditing and any citizen at anytime. Government shall not squander its tax revenues, whether it is the purchase of goods and services or the direct employment of citizens. If a citizen discovers waste and presents a solution that ends the waste and it is instituted by the government, that citizen is entitled to 50% of the saving derived by the government for twelve months, businesses are prohibited from this activity.

All expenditures shall be measured as to how that expenditure helps the government attain the mandate of keeping the citizenry safe and advancing civilization to the very best of its ability. If the expenditure is found not to support these goals it is to be eliminated. The government shall make and maintain all matters put before it in the public domain in such a way that an average citizen can easily retrieve it and use it as they see fit. This includes all civil matters, inter-government records and all other communications, agreements and settlements of any kind, overseen by the Government. The only exclusion shall be matters of national security and ongoing criminal investigations that if publicly known would jeopardize the safety of the citizenry.

All citizens shall vote when requested to do so by the government or by petition. It is the citizen's primary public responsibility to vote and to obey the laws. Citizens who choose not to vote put all other citizens in danger by not protecting democracy with their direct participation. This creates two levels of citizenship, voters and non-voters. This breach is against the electors' and civilization's will, which is not desirable and fosters rebellion. An additional benefit for citizens who vote shall be a 50% reduction in all taxes; federal, state and local until the next vote is called whether by the government or petition. Non-participating citizens have chosen taxation without representation and shall make up whatever difference is needed, by the absolute and sole discretion of the government to whom the taxes are due and payable. In the event there is a cash short fall to fund the current budget the government shall reduce it's spending so as to match the current cash outflow with the current cash inflow. The government shall not raise taxes or borrow to make up for this shortfall without the electors voting their approval by a two-thirds majority.

In the event the overwhelming majority of citizens vote, every efficiency possible has been instituted, waste has been eliminated, and it becomes impractical to reduce taxes by 50% any longer, the citizens must accept that civilization has a cost and that the citizenry has built a modern, Collaborative Democracy that is run as efficiently as possible. The government, overseen by the citizens must in perpetuity be searching for more efficient and effective ways to run government.

The citizenry shall not request the government to favor one religion or the lack of religion over another. The citizenry shall not petition the government for any special treatment or privileges for any religion or the lack of religion. Neither shall any citizen derive or be denied any privileges or rights due to their affiliation or lack of affiliation to any religion.

Citizens shall endeavor to advance themselves in an honest and productive fashion. The citizen, who endeavors to advance oneself through life-long learning, is civilization's most fundamental asset. Mental acuity, combined with a common language, and a continuing and growing understanding of the natural world – free of superstition, is the cornerstone of civilization. Citizens with respectable reputations are good. Citizens with excellent character are essential to advancing civilization. Without the good citizen with excellent character there would be no civilization and all of the things that come with it.

All citizens shall be loyal to their government above all other affiliations. Never shall any affiliation; foreign country or power; religion; fraternal order; business; tribe, or any other, come before the citizen's loyalty to their government in public matters – to do otherwise is treason. In private matters, the citizen's first duty is equally to the family of origin and the family created through matrimony. This duty is best exercised by assisting other family members to advance themselves in an honest and productive fashion. A family divided is a family conquered just as a nation divided is a nation conquered. Honest and productive families create honest and productive citizens. Honest and productive citizens create a great nation and advances civilization.

No citizen shall exploit another citizen for personal gain. Citizens who exploit other citizens legally and illegally are a great cancer in civilization. Over the years many citizens have made their living by exploiting other citizens, law suits for profit; products that do not work as promised; selling based on the ignorance of the buyer; and appraisals based on no economic reality. A wide variety of products and services are designed to obscure their true nature, and a reasonable person would not purchase if they knew all of the facts.

Exploitation is not limited to commerce. Many citizens engage in the manipulation of facts, ideas, and public opinion and prey upon the weakness and fears of other citizens for profit.

The practitioners of these activities are to be shunned in all forms of commerce and public life by all citizens and the government. They are uncivilized people as they have not learned to fulfill their needs without violating the rights of others.

Citizen exploiters, once found to be such in a court of law by a jury of their peers are to be publicly identified and are to be barred from all forms of commerce, employment and political office for five years. Additionally, for the first offense they shall be liable for any and all economic damage they have caused. For the second offense they are to be barred from all forms of commerce, employment and political office for ten years and shall be liable for triple any and all economic damage they have caused. For the third offense they shall to be stripped of all of their assets and are to be imprisoned for no less than 20 years in a prison that is greater than 500 miles distance from their nearest victim.

Collaborative Democracy specifically aims to increase the public good as citizens engage in collaborative problem solving of civilization's challenges with the goal of improving the performance, accountability and transparency of government.

Any citizen can put forth a proposal to nominate any other citizen for elected office at anytime. Once a nominated citizen has gained the support of a large minority of ten percent of the citizens in their election district, a general election is held as soon as possible and practical but no later than the fifteenth day of the following month.

The Citizen Dashboard
The Citizen Dashboard organizes the citizen’s government and personal political interests in one location; it is a control panel for the democratic process using the Internet and a browser. Its design employs commonly available technology and allows for new technological advances to be applied through a flexible and open architecture that can be customized by citizens as they see fit. The large minority required to promote legislation and candidates is created using the Citizen Dashboard as is voting.

Citizens are presented with a user logon, similar to the password/user ids for online banking. The Dashboard works with mobile devices and desktop computers and is secure.

Once the citizen has successfully logged into the system, he is presented with a screen that contains all the information on the government of his town/city/municipality, county, state and federal government. He will see election schedules, sample ballots, and contact information for officials. Additionally, there will be discussion forums, instant message capability, tracking of legislative support by elected representatives and citizens. He is also enabled to propose new laws and modification to laws and policies as illustrated in the Collaborative Democracy Framework.

In order to collaborate with other citizens locally, regionally and nationally, the Dashboard allows communication with all political subdivisions down to a zip code level.

The Citizen Dashboard is completely customizable for each citizen’s interests. Citizens can mark as, ‘favorites,’ laws and bills under debate and candidates running for office making it easy to participate.

Citizens can attach to candidates, officials, bills and legislation to form large minorities with other citizens and contribute comments or feedback. In addition, the Collaborative Democracy Candidate Framework and Collaborative Democracy Framework are enabled through the Citizen Dashboard.

Citizens can keep track of meeting schedules, comments and feedback to elected representatives and candidates for office - with percentage of support and details on them and their agenda. Further personalization allows groups to be created, making communication with and by the group open and effortless (e.g. library committee, freeholders meeting, board of education). Meeting minutes, video recordings or Podcasts can be published and viewed by citizens through the Dashboard.

Information generated by the Emergency Broadcast System and Amber Alerts are incorporated in the default view of the Citizen Dashboard.

Additionally, the Citizen Dashboard accesses the general ledger and budget for the municipality, county, state and federal governments as the Transparent and Accountable Government Software Project is rolled out.

Voting Process
The voting process in Collaborative Democracy is a 6-Step process:
  1. Citizens assure themselves that the citizens in the district who are registered to vote are lawful residents of the district.
  2. The people who actually vote are who they say they are.
  3. Citizens assure that the voting mechanism is accurate and all votes are properly recorded and reported.
  4. Voting takes place.
  5. Public counting and recounting of the votes.
  6. Citizens assure that their votes are properly applied to the related elections.
All nominations for citizen candidates for elected office start on a local basis. Choosing citizens for elected office starts at the municipal level and in the case of cities, the precinct level. Once local support has been attained, the election process works its way progressively through all the upper political subdivisions.

For example, to be a viable candidate of the people for President a citizen candidate is first nominated by another citizen to become the nominee of their municipality for President.

Citizens are nominated by gaining the support of political subdivisions in succession culminating with an election held in the final political subdivision by the citizens.

Collaborative Democracy Candidate Framework

Step 1: Nominate
Nominate a Citizen for Elected Office
A. Nominate a citizen for an elected office with the nominator's name attached.
B. Describe with precision how the citizen nominee is uniquely qualified for the job so a common citizen can understand why they are the best choice to represent the citizens.
C. Describe the verifiable record of accomplishments and skills the citizen nominee possesses with details of how these skills will help advance civilization or protect it while representing the citizens


Step 2: Detail
Detail goals, weaknesses, and resources
A. Describe with precision what the candidate's goals are and include the details of how they plan on attaining their goals and why their plans will be successful.
B. Describe any weaknesses the candidate may have that could cause them not to accomplish their goals as an elected representative For example, lack of experience, weak financial skills or poor health.
C. Describe the resources that are required to make the candidate and their unique qualifications known to the electors


Step 3: Budget
How will this candidate's nomination be funded?
A. Assign dollar amounts to each line item in Step 2C.
B. Describe the sources of the funding with details of who the ultimate source of the funding is with a complete biography of these people.
C. Explain what the candidate has done to assure the electors that the candidate will represent the citizenry's needs exclusively.


Step 4: Feedback
Publish the information on your proposed candidate for comments and opinions.
A. Have the candidate clarify and answer any questions that are asked by the citizens.
B. Consider if you should abandon or go forward with the proposed candidate based on the feedback you have received.
C. Form a large minority of 10% of the eligible voters who support the proposed candidate to get them on the next ballot.


Step 5: Vote
Discover the will of the people.
A. The candidate is scheduled on the next ballot.
B. Make sure potential voters know when your candidate is up for vote and what they are all about.
C. Participate in a public counting and auditing of all of the votes.


Step 6: Elected Representative Supervision
Discover if the elected representative is the right person for the job.
A. Deploy the resources that are required to supervise the elected representative.
B. Measure the effectiveness of the elected representative and their rate of success in attaining their goals through regular auditing of their performance.
C. Report if the elected representative is performing up to voter expectations, if they are not go back to 1A and start the Nominate a Citizen for Elected Office process.


On the municipal level of voting the nominee(s) must garner a large minority of ten percent or more of municipal citizens to be on the ballot of the election. Then an election is held no later than the 15th of the following month. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President from that municipality.

For instance, if there are 6,000 citizens within a municipality the nominee must gain the support of 600 or more citizens. In the event that more than one citizen nominee garners a ten percent large minority of citizens, an election is held within the municipality. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President for the municipality.

On the county level of voting the nominee(s) must garner a large minority of ten percent or more of those municipalities to be on the ballot of the election. Then an election is held no later than the 15th of the following month. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President from the county.

For instance, if there are 40 municipalities within a county the nominee must gain the support of 4 or more municipalities. If more than one citizen nominee garners a ten percent large minority of municipalities, an election is called within the county. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President for the county.

On the state level of voting the nominee(s) must garner a large minority of ten percent or more of those counties to be on the ballot of the election. Then an election is held no later than the 15th of the following month. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President from the state.

For instance, if there are 27 counties within a state the nominee must gain the support of 3 or more counties. If more than one citizen nominee garners a ten percent large minority of counties, an election is held within the state. The winner of that election becomes the official nominee for President for the state.

On the national level of voting the nominee(s) must garner a large minority of ten percent or more of states to be on the ballot of the election. Then an election is held no later than the 15th of the following month. The nominee(s) of that election who wins the support of ten percent or more states become the official candidate for President from those states.

For instance, if there are 50 states within a country, the nominee must gain the support of 5 or more states. If one or more citizen nominee(s) garners a ten percent large minority of states, an election is held within the country. The winners of that election become the official candidates for President for the country.

The official candidates for President then run in a national election where the winner is chosen by the popular vote of citizens voting in all of the states.

For instance, if there are three official candidates for President and when the final votes are tabulated one official candidate gets 52 percent of the vote and the other two get 28 and 20 respectively, the candidate with 52 percent wins the election and becomes the next President.

This same process is applied to all elected positions; municipal, county, state and federal, with citizen nominations and voting within their political subdivisions. In the event of a vote for vote tie the election is held again with all the candidates who received ten percent or more of the votes.

If the citizen nominee is running for an elected office and other citizens also have a large minority of citizens who support them for that elected office, they all appear on the same ballot in the general election. If an incumbent already holds that elected office but is not able to gain the support of a large minority of ten percent of citizens they do not appear on the ballot. They no longer have the support and confidence of the citizens and are replaced by the citizen who gains the majority of votes in the election.

This same process is applied when citizens propose changing existing policy and legislation and when creating new policy and legislation, which is superior to any legislation and policy that elected officials may pass.

Any citizen, or group of citizens can create or modify an existing law or policy using the Collaborative Democracy Framework.

Collaborative Democracy Framework

Step 1: Description
Create or modify an existing law or policy
A. Write the proposed law, policy or modification in plain language so a common citizen can understand and follow it with no extraneous legislation attached. All authors must be credited.
B. Describe how the proposed law, policy or modification will control the behavior it is designed to control and why.
C. Describe how the proposed law, policy or modification will help advance civilization or protect it.


Step 2: Detail
What has to be done to make this proposed law, policy or modification operable?
A. How will this proposed law, policy or modification be legally monitored?
B. How will this proposed law, policy or modification be equally enforced?
C. Describe the resources that are required to legally monitor and enforce this proposed law, policy or modification?


Step 3: Budget
How will this proposed law, policy or modification be funded?
A. Assign dollar amounts to each line item in Step 2C.
B. Describe the sources of the funding. Available, new tax, general budget, licensing, duty, et cetera.
C. Is the funding permanent or temporary?


Step 4: Feedback
Publish your proposed law, policy or modification for comments and opinions.
A. Be available to clarify and answer any questions you might get.
B. Consider if you should re-think, modify, address any unintended consequences, abandon or go forward with the proposed law, policy or modification based on the feedback you have received.
C. Gain support of 10% of the eligible voters to form a large minority who support the proposed law, policy or modification to get it on the next ballot.


Step 5: Vote
Discover the will of the people.
A. The proposed law, policy or modification is scheduled on the next ballot.
B. Make sure potential voters know when your proposed law, policy or modification is up for vote and what it is all about.
C. Participate in a public counting all of the votes for and against your proposed law, policy or modification.


Step 6: New Law or Policy Compliance
Roll out the new law, policy or modification and monitor, measure, and modify as needed.
A. Deploy the resources that are required to monitor and enforce the new law, policy or modification.
B. Measure the effectiveness of the new law, policy or modification and the accuracy of the funding estimate through regular auditing
C. Report if new law, policy or modification is working as intended, if it is not, go back to 1A and start the law or policy modification process.


When an elected official proposes a new law, policy or modification the voting takes place within the elected officials official representative body.

Elected officials can put forth a proposal to nominate legislation within the scope of their elected office at anytime. Once the nominated legislation has gained the support of a large minority of ten percent of the elected officials in their governing body, a vote is held as soon as possible and practical but no later than the tenth day of the following month.

As legislation is proposed in elected bodies any citizen in the elected officials' district can oppose, support or comment any proposed legislation publicly and directly to their elected officials.

Collaborative Democracy protects minorities, the rule of law, separation of powers, and protection of the liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. Government transparency is required and mandated as is accountability and measurable results.

Citizens vote on major policy decisions when deemed necessary by either the electors or the elected. All elected officials are treated as equals relative to their office in all government capacities, as special privileges to elected officials destroys the freedoms of the electors. Collaborative Democracy uses to the Ten Commandments of Civilization, the US Constitution, and Magna Carta for guidance.

Transparent and Accountable Government Software Project
For civilization to advance, citizens must become aware of the internal workings of government on all levels in perpetuity. This is now possible with the rise of the Internet culture.

For a government to be transparent and accountable to it citizens it must be possible for the citizens at anytime to easily retrieve, supervise and audit the internal workings of their government. In addition, the citizens must be able to publicly comment and communicate with all other citizens on these workings without impediment (Transparent and Accountable Government Software Project).
 
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© 2007 Jack Martin. All Rights Reserved.