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Sender: Joan Blades
Subject: Re: More thoughts re clarity first
Date: Fri, Aug 22, 2014
Msg: 101140

Hi John;

Yes, leading or participating in a an effort to create awareness that there is an issue the vast majority of Americans agree needs to be addressed (when they know about it) and then passing FAIR as a first step.

Sarah Stillman -- wrote this great piece for the New Yorker on police/prosecutorial misconduct and civil forfeiture last year. A recent Daily Show segment about the issue generally:

This shared, most people I talk to don't have this issue on their radar.

Thanks for asking!


On Aug 21, 2014, at 8:27 AM, John Backman wrote:

Joan, are you thinking about the members of this listserv leading the coordination and facilitation of a dialogue/deliberation effort around FAIR? You're right; that COULD be fun. John Backman Board member, NCDD (join us at the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation October 17-19 in metro DC) Author, Why Can't We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart (published by and available from SkyLight Paths Publishing) From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of Joan Blades Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:11 AM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: Re: [TRANSPARTISAN] More thoughts re clarity first It has occurred to me that the transpartisan community might be able to have a strong tangible impact in the near term around the Redeem, Smarter Sentencing and Fair acts. These are federal bills that are already introduced. I'm quite sure well over 90% of citizens would approve of the FAIR act, yet I'm being told that it is likely to languish due to political dysfunction. This could be an incredibly opportunity to prove the value of collaboration by individuals and organizations with different views. Last month Rand Paul's dropped-

1. REDEEM act -Criminal Justice Reform bill with Cory Booker 2. FAIR act- Forfeiture reform bill without a co-sponsor I've seen some good progressive engagement on the left around the Redeem Act, not so much around the Fair Act. In fact I see much more conservative engagement than progressive engagement around Fair. A call with Emma Anderson a the ACLU revealed that the ACLU- is likely to endorse the Redeem Act. Fair is not as far along in the endorsement process. This said she believes that the ACLU would want to be at the table if we get together a collection of folks to pass FAIR. (Might partisanship be slowing organizations and legislators from endorsing? Can we make it easier for them?) If No Labels, Grover Norquist and ATR, MoveOn and others could step forward to pass this legislation it could be a powerful proof point for the value of engaging in collaborative work on issues where we have near consensus. We could then try to use this early success for further engagement, relationship building and ultimately a phase shift in what citizens expect of their elected leaders. I'd love to try this. Doesn't it sound like fun?! Joan On Aug 19, 2014, at 8:07 AM, Rick Raddatz wrote: If we are seeking a focused issue to unite transpartisans and inspire us/them to action, perhaps it would be better if we stick to what we know best -- the need for better dialog and deliberation at all levels of government. Such a focus would, I believe, connect to all of our pet projects and to whatever pet projects the people we want to reach out to might be focused on. Climate change and carbon taxes, I believe, are simply out of our reach. In other words, I second Mark Gerzon's call to action -- though I would want to suggest that some of Mark's proposed local D&D sessions be focused on capping and prioritizing local budgets. - Rick

On Aug 19, 2014, at 6:48 AM, Steven H Johnson wrote:

I want to sound three cautionary notes. First, our political culture suffers on both sides from a lack of substantive rigor. We test ideas for whether they're fashionable but not for whether they're founded on genuine substance. I saw this up close when I dug into the Social Security issue in the late Clinton years, when it was up for discussion. What I discovered was depressing. Conservatives were substantively wrong about the promise of Independent Retirement Accounts. Cato's most ambitious projections would have created a hypothetical pool of capital so large that the entire U.S. stock market would have been swallowed five or ten times over. Liberals were substantively wrong about Social Security's general good health. Social Security's actuaries use a sophisticated tool called actuarial balance that gives everyone the feeling that it's a reliable solvency yardstick. In fact, it's an asset depletion yardstick, not an asset preservation yardstick, and none of the arguments based on its use could have led Social Security to genuine solvency. This isn't an isolated instance; fashionable thinking is a much stronger norm than substantive investigation. For both the Left and the Right. But it would be a mistake to do Transpartisan dialogue without first making a commitment to substantive reasoning, and following it wherever it leads, however unfashionable its discoveries might turn out to be. Second, I think there needs to be a shared commitment, going in, to a spirit of shared responsibility for America's long run best interests. My way of encapsulating that is to say that all of us, as members of the citizenry, share three broad responsibilities - for the vitality of America's commerce, for the health of America's enduring assets, and for the wisdom of America's laws. Tax options touch on all three. I think any dialogue will work better if all three responsibilities are used as a shared touchstone. Third, with respect to the carbon tax idea in particular, I sense that some on this listserv imagine that carbon taxes, if adopted, could last forever. And, since they'd be expected to go on forever, one could properly view them as a plausible alternative for payroll taxes, say, or for corporate taxes. This is a view that has to be tested for its substantive validity before it becomes a guiding principle of such a dialogue. Here's the substantive logic that the threat of dangerous climate change imposes on us. If climate change and ocean acidification are to be halted, the atmospheric stock of carbon dioxide has to be capped at the lowest feasible level. And for total CO2 to be capped, the consumption of fossil fuels will have to come to an end. For the consumption of fossil fuels to end, the world will have to replace all its technologies that burn fossil fuel with new energy technologies that don't. As Elon Musk likes to point out, humanity will end up making that shift someday, no matter what, since fossil fuels are finite. Make that shift now, rather than two hundred years from now, and we'll have a much more tractable climate and much healthier oceans. Given all that, the wise view of carbon taxes is that they can be valuable but that the revenues they generate are to be temporary, not permanent. Were carbon revenues to be viewed as permanent, we'd end up locking ourselves into the consumption of fossil fuels just when we should be getting rid of them. Bottom line - investigating options is a good exercise, if done in a context of shared responsibility and with a commitment to substantive validity. Otherwise we face the risk of a too-hasty solution and a transpartisan failure. Steve Johnson Steven Howard Johnson - Civic Futurist 410-562-0361 Book in Progress: Thoughtful Patriotism

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