Emergency CPR: Democracy Needs an Intervention
Posted by Taryn Filha · November 01, 2022 4:30 PM
2022 Emergency Fund for Democracy
CPR: Critical Participation RecoveryWHY IT WORKS:
Why can't candidates get more than 5% of people who quit voting to participate in such close elections?
Because people who don't vote largely do not trust anyone who would run for office.Since National Intervention exists without a dependency on giant moneyed interests, our volunteers are trusted at the door, and that's how we're able to get more than 65% of all non-voters to vote when they see that just one "sober" candidate is on their ballot.
THE CHALLENGE:Today's national sense of urgency also means that we have thousands of potential volunteers to reach those who won't otherwise vote, and get them to the polls.
The problem is that we simply cannot possibly train or coordinate all the potential volunteers in so many high-stakes states without your help right now.In a system of addiction to power & money in politics, pre-purchased elections can leave over 100 million eligible voters too uninspired to participate.
But, instead of millions of constituents tuning-out of the election, we could be turning them out to vote in record numbers.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
By funding precinct-by-precinct volunteers committed to face-to-face conversations, we are able to deliver the only message in the country that undermines all the noise on every screen, billboard, mailer, and airwave from over $12 BILLION in campaign ad-spending alone.
(If you are considering partnering with us with a large independent contribution, please contact us here with the subject: "Partnerships").
Your support is how we have remained interdependent in our recovery work, no strings attached, and how we make history, close election after close election.
So, please do join Sobriety Sponsors nationwide and contribute whatever you can while we still have time to activate millions more.
These are not tax-deductible contributions. If you are interested in making a large, tax-deductible donation to a fiscal sponsor of our non-profit voter education work, instead, or in addition, please contact us here with subject: "Nonprofit" or call us at 202.596 VOTE (8683).
Our Volunteers in These 5 States Need Your Help
Posted by Taryn Filha · October 22, 2022 1:35 PM
Our members know the reasons we do not endorse candidates. They know the reasons why we are a face-to-face organization, not a screen-to-screen performance. There are, of course, some differences between the one million non-voters in the US who have already decided to vote when they meet a National Intervention volunteer in their neighborhood.
But, one thing almost all people who've quit voting report is this:
They don't trust anyone who would run for office.
And trust is the issue. People break-up with candidates, with our entire political system, because, in many ways, and in the experience of many in the US, it has simply been a toxic, co-dependent relationship. When someone uses and abuses the power you give them against you, you tend to sour on that relationship.
That's why even the most dedicated candidates with the best platforms and the most diligent ground games, the ones who knock every door and talk with every constituent, can only get 5% of those who don't vote to show up to the next election. Here's the thing: Our volunteers still activate over 65% of those who otherwise will not vote when just one candidate on their ballot is not too "under the influence" to be safely behind the wheel of democracy.
It's also why National Intervention doesn't want to appear "slick" online. We don't support a digital presence in place of an inter-personal community presence because we know that non-voters don't feel very trusting of the same old cookie-cutter look and feel of campaigns that look heavily-funded. Why? Because it begs the question, "Who exactly is behind all that funding?".
Not surprisingly, the near-total control over our elections of deep, dark money in politics has only served to solidify both our national mistrust and the erosion of our shared truth. And right now, there are electoral races all over the country between two kinds of candidates:
a) Those who have proven to us that they are not "under the influence" of corporate power and money in politics, and
b) Those who say they are free from that influence, but can't or won't prove it.
Perhaps the common ground, the shared truth, that does bring together almost all US constituents, is the profound desire to simply remove powerful moneyed influence from our government. And maybe that's why more candidates than ever have decided to pass our Sobriety Test, ignoring the long-standing demands of their party's commitment to the corporate masters who bankroll their campaigns.
Passing our test isn't what brings our democracy a true recovery from greed addiction.
What makes that happen is an intervention, and that means working together to draw strong boundaries together.
And that means volunteers knocking on doors to have real conversations with those who otherwise wouldn't know there was a candidate on their ballot worth their vote.
This is what undermines the power of nonstop ad spending. We only undermine what's on every screen, billboard, mailer, and airwave when we connect to one another and realize we share the common need for a system free from the addiction to power and money in politics. If you long for a way to neutralize the sheer volume of constant paid-ads around every corner from which non-voters have already tuned-out, and then get those folks to the polls, then this is our plea to you:
We need you to join our volunteers and/or support them with the resources they need to meet this massive bloc of citizens in this country who can (but otherwise won't) vote.
If you are physically in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, or Colorado over the next 17 days, sign-up to join those doing the work of recovery for our democracy. If you're unable to pick up a packet and learn how to effectively, safely connect with the more than 50% of those who don't vote in these states, then please do consider contributing to our Emergency Democracy Fund so that we can provide the basics to those who will brave any conditions to make sure 65% of non-voters can commit to participating in this election, and our recovery, instead.
A Senate Addicted to NRA Cartel Money and Power
Posted by Scott Silber · August 03, 2022 7:18 PM
In the addiction to corporate power and money in politics that we call "greed," NRA money is an abused substance.
Your representative may be hooked. Your senator may be a distributor for NRA cartel cash. Perhaps they're just enablers, trying to protect themselves like the rest of us. That's what it's like in a household run by an addict who uses Gross Domestic Violence to get access to the next fix at any cost. Even if that cost is our children, huddled in classrooms turned into crypts.
Even that cost.
Whatever the case, NRA pushers legally register as lobbyists and move their highly addictive product through the veins of your democracy. Go against the cartel and pay the price.
As if massacre after massacre wasn't sobering enough, it's clearly time to sober-up a congress under the control of an addiction so powerful that it will feed on our kids without a single law ever passed to stop it.
Addiction controls people. Whether suffering as addicts or enablers, people who will feed the disease of addiction --until they are a threat to themselves and to others-- need recovery. In this case, the healthy choice is to check them out of power and into rehab. And we've already made history across the US doing just that.
And with about 90% of voters agreeing on the simplest limits to the NRA's gun lobbyist pushers, we think now's the exact time for you to join us in breaking-up with those who know better, but just cannot seem to stop themselves. Why? Because whenever, wherever National Intervention's volunteers have drawn strong boundaries, it's worked very, very, very well.
Not unlike other recovery programs, our program works if you work it. That's partly because a lot of people who can vote, just don't. And we get it. It's been a toxic, abusive, co-dependent relationship with addicts who use and abuse our wealth and power against us. Why wouldn't people want to leave that relationship?
Nonetheless, things would be quite different if we all voted. It's just that most people who've quit voting just don't trust anyone who would run for office. Even the most stellar candidates, who knock every door and shake every hand (or bump every elbow), can only get about 5% of nonvoters to come back to the polls. But, when our volunteers show nonvoters that there is a "sober" candidate on their ballot, over 65% of them will vote in that election.
Instead of breaking-up with elected officials by boycotting their ballot, now people can break-up with elected officials by casting it.
But interventions only have a chance at building recovery when we do them together. Ours is a house ruled by this addiction. If you're looking for a way to fundamentally solve this, and so many other broken parts of our society, please join us, recovering enablers and once-codependent constituents, and learn what it means to draw strong boundaries with a disease that otherwise continues to live on the lives it takes.
The Consequences of Your Grief: Powering Past Late-Stage Capitalism's Violation of Our World - National Intervention
Posted by Scott Silber · January 03, 2022 3:59 PM
The Consequences of Your Grief
Powering Past Late-Stage Capitalism’s Violation of Our World
Photo: "Wildfire Sun-Bird's Eye View" Credit: Scott Silber
Let’s not only be forced to watch.
A different fate can still be sealed. Organize. Vote. Strike.
Yes, the preventable destruction of a life-sustaining planet is a thing to grieve…
…just before replacing a system of highly concentrated wealth and power that, at any cost, rewards the most abusive psychopathy with ruling class status.
No, this will never be the Earth we knew 40 years ago — when fossil fuels executives and their financiers willfully concealed the price of their profits. They locked away the early scientific proof that, decades later, this disruption of Earth’s capacity to host us would be their legacy. They envisioned the fire. They saw the droughts in obtuse contrast to the floods. They looked at the extreme weather event forecasts. They foresaw the substitution of air with poison gas, and they sang their lullaby’s refrain, “Don’t take it personally. It’s just business.” After all, it was their own business that first confirmed that they would be the harbingers of the 6th Great Mass Extinction. It would be all worth it in stock value.
Like corporate oracles, they saw the future they would bring, and they locked it away for their children’s children to find under ashes, and read in rusty sunlight, between breaths sucked from filters made for war. Remember, though, that the difference between a massacre and a war is that the massacred have no way to prevent the onslaught.
Never mind that you were not likely born to sleepwalk a billion more species to a thousand more mass graves lined with corpses of our grandchildren and the history of the world’s working poor. You are not to be among the massacred forced to feed your murderers.
No, instead, in this stunning twist of irony, you, as it turns out, are their power.
In fact, our votes, our labor, and our consumption are their entire diet. We have the means to starve armies of corporate lawyers and political puppets until they’re far too weak to maximize value for shareholders, until they’re too exhausted to legislate your captivity, until we’ve traded our fatigue and our deep slumber becomes theirs, so that they can finally sleep-off the disease of greed that has filled-up their brains, and heal. And so that we can lie down with our world and all finally get some rest, and heal.
So witness your sky aflame with burning mountaintops, remember the singed flavor of your planet in your nose and throat, and if you’re close enough, listen to that lapping sound of this man-made monster lashing at a ridge — as if the Sun had a whip and it’s time to pay up — and feel what it feels like to be confined, pillaged, and forced to watch.
Because this is more than enough.
This is more than enough to power a loving heart the size of a fist to choose the alternative to massacre.
Like all light, like all energy, like all mass, the power of this devastation can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred, taken, or distributed. It’s as if the wall between those that seem powerful and those that seem powerless is a dam that holds back a reservoir of our sorrow. Maybe that was the case for a generation who couldn’t imagine we’d all be under attack by the lies of 1980s Exxon executives. Yet, there’s only so much sadness that can generate all the power for a society that runs on consumption as self-medicating.
Instead, don’t forget your pain.
Don’t forget the feeling of the world’s worst oil catastrophe losing its champion title to the next even worse one.
Don’t forget the new records set, year after year for millions of acres of forest turned into the atmospheric carbon they were supposed to be absorbing.
Don’t forget that unthinkably high number of species you’ve learned are made extinct by greed everyday.
It’s important to remember the human blindness caused by the disease of wealth and power addiction. Why? Because, after you’ve caught every drop of grief you need to collect, the floodgates will bust open. Sometime later they’ll be found next to the rusted-out turbine that once churned out power from tears that finally broke a really old dam.
There was a future seen, from skyscraper windows in boardrooms where executive soothsayers thought they’d fooled the architects of the future into the dividends of ending it. A different fate can still be sealed. There’s not much time — and we’re nearly two score too late. So, grieve what’s lost. You’ve been robbed. Grief will transform you if you let it, if you do it right. Like the Earth, or those suffering the most in this deliberate, for-profit assault on the world, reckoning with what’s been taken will change you forever, too. And that’s a good thing. So, yes, grieve. Do it. Do it properly.
And, when you’ve had your fill: Organize. Vote. Strike.
There’s no way to prevent the premeditated violence that has already made these industries richer and more powerful than half the world’s nations combined. There’s no way to change the march toward our demise that began four decades ago. But we can mitigate the worst of that damage, heal some of it, and set a course reversing the warpath we’ve all been forced to feed with our labor, consumption, and votes. We can’t organize, vote, and strike in the past. But, we sure as hell-on-earth can now.
For those in power, for those who use and abuse your power against you, but can’t stop themselves — for those who know better, but still serve their master addiction — their disease, greed, can control and likely will continue to control them. That is just how an addiction like this ruthlessly pursues the next fix at any cost. Even the whole Earth. Even everyone on it, watching, breathing, swallowing the harm and the destruction. Like all fatal diseases, addiction to wealth and power absolutely will devour everything in its path. We can keep feeding it.
Or we can stop it.
Scott Silber is the co-creator of iStrike, a tool for workers building strike funds with staying power. He serves as director of National Intervention, the US campaign for recovery from addiction to corporate power and money in politics.
COVID-19 Stock Trade Investigation: FBI Searches and Seizes US Senator's Property
Posted by Marin Thompson · May 13, 2020 11:01 PM
MAY 13, 2020 - 10:01PM
WASHINGTON -- In a major escalation of the investigation into the sale of stocks just prior to the public's widespread understanding of COVID-19's potential impacts, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation served a warrant to search the residence of Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. The lawmaker turned over his cell phone device for search, while other property was seized for the investigation, according to an anonymous source in the LA Times article breaking the news earlier this evening.
Another source, from within the FBI, disclosed that in days prior, Sen. Burr's iCloud account was searched under warrant, and that the evidence found there was used when the FBI asked a judge to find reasonable cause to issue the subsequent search warrant for the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman's home and property.
As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr likely had access to privileged information that could have given him and other congresspeople insider trading details. The Senator made up to $1.72 million in stock trades the day after receiving briefings from public health experts, according to the ProPublica story that first reported on the Burr's potential criminal activity. The same day Burr dumped his stocks, the senator's brother-in-law made up to $280,000 in similar stock trades. Despite the red-flags shared with the committee, the senator then reassured the public that the coronavirus would be managed without cause for alarm.
- Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
- The committee received intelligence from public health officials on February 12, 2020.
- The following day both Sen. Burr and his brother-in-law dumped up to $2 million in stock believed to be at risk due to the coming COVID-19 pandemic.
- A judge must believe there is a reasonable chance that a criminal act took place in order to issue a search warrant.
- Apple was served a search warrant several days before the FBI searched Burr's residence and the FBI states that evidence found in his iCloud account was used in petitioning the judge for the warrant served today.
National Intervention treats corporate power and money in politics as addictive substances, using the Official Sobriety Test to see which elected officials are too under the influence to be safely behind the wheel of democracy. Learn more about the unique and effective work in electoral and economic interventions nationwide at NationalIntervention.org, and follow recovery from addiction to power & money in politics at:
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Since 9/11, Addiction to Healthcare Profits Has Killed as Many People as the War on Terror
Posted by Marin Thompson · February 16, 2020 4:20 PM
What did you get from the nearly $7 trillion demanded by no-bid war profiteers and other "Defense" Department handouts for the so-called War on Terror?
A million people killed, and a deadly for-profit corporate healthcare scam.
Now that more than 500,000 people have been killed in wars related to the post-9/11 corporate welfare bonanza, a new study shows that Americans could have saved over 500,000 other lives at home by investing in a single-payer universal healthcare system, like Medicare for All, instead.
According to the study released in the Lancet, one of the most prestigious and well-respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, Medicare for All would reduce US healthcare expenditures by $4.5 trillion in ten years.
For every one of the 500,000 lives lost as a result of the post-9/11 war policy (not including the millions of new refugees facing loss of life, globally), an equal number of people have been killed due to lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare. To be clear, the number of people killed by inaccessible for-profit US healthcare is how many lives would have been lost in the US if a 9/11 attack had been waged on US soil 167 more times, or the equivalent of one such attack almost every month since September 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, the corporate giveaway, an annual $667 billion War on American Taxpayers totaling nearly $7 trillion to-date, could have been spent instead on saving 500,000 lives in the United States with Medicare for All and costing the United States 13% less on healthcare costs. that would have saved half a million American lives. Share the new study on Medicare for All savings (of trillions of dollars and millions of lives), sign-up for our new series, 20 Years of Post-9/11 Poison Profiteering, and join National Intervention in supporting recovery from the addiction to wealth & power at any cost.
An Open Letter to the University of Illinois in a Time of Greed
Posted by Scott Silber · March 07, 2018 12:47 AM
Dear UIUC Provost and Vice Chancellor, Dr. Andreas Cangellaris:
I knew I would be in the State of Illinois at some point soon, but I had not imagined that I would join picket lines for weeks after I had arrived. At National Intervention, we treat corporate power and money in politics as addictive substances, and some Illinois candidates appear poised to pass our “Official Sobriety Test” before your upcoming primary election on March 20th. That means there’s a chance that the addiction we call “greed” may not have an inevitable grip on Illinois politics moving forward. That’s the good news.
The bad news, is that the blind pursuit of profit at any cost appears to have infected this state’s flagship university, and right now no one seems more in need of recovery from the addiction to corporate power and money in politics than you.
That's partly because some things should go without saying. Students are not products. Teachers are not tools. The university is not a factory. You know better than to behave otherwise; when we encounter people who know better, but just cannot stop themselves, it's a strong indication of denial about their service to a master addiction. In some cases it's more about their role as an enabler in a toxic, abusive, codependent relationship controlled by addiction. Either way, of all the lessons your striking graduate teachers have taught, the most important one for you may be found in their courage to know how to draw strong boundaries and walk away when the alternative is degrading.
Astoundingly, it has been more than 200 days without a contract for your graduate student workers. As evidenced by the nearly 700 classes cancelled in their absence to-date, clearly, the university truly does work because they do. Nonetheless, even under their previous contract, you were already underpaying them up to 25 percent less than a living wage, according to Champaign County’s wage figures. You know better than to operate on exploitation. Yet, somehow, you are now also threatening the very tuition waivers on which future graduate students would obviously depend? This is your "offer" for those who might join the ranks of hardworking graduate labor, and at their own public school, nonetheless? You already know that public education is not a privilege, but a right. You know all this. You know better.
So, why make such drastic proposals? Why have you forced this crisis? Why?
As a spokesperson for the University administration, you offered your simple explanation to the press, stating that this was all necessary because, well, this is just the "direction the world is going.”
True enough. It was just a blink ago that the corporate agenda in congress so transparently sought to tax graduate compensation packages to pay for the massive tax cuts for even more massive corporations. Graduate students organized and intervened and, soon, overdosing politicians and lobbyist pushers turned, instead, to the states, like Illinois, where they could get their hand in workers’ pockets some other way. The Koch brothers have even drooled, out in the open, over the many spoils coming their way, thanks to the payoff from their multi-billion dollar investments in congressional, statewide, and university buyouts. You are not incorrect; like our government, our society has been going in the direction of selling off and selling out our universities to the highest bidders. But, you know better.
Moreover, not unlike other addicts and enablers stuck in this addiction system, high-priced union-busting lawyers and PR firms often train clients like you to misdirect any discussion away from the use and abuse needed to feed the insatiable appetite of greed. So, perhaps it is not all that shocking to have heard your bold shrug from the predictable play books of corporate lawyers, ringing out across the land:
“This is just the direction the world is going!”
Still, one does not need to complete a dissertation to know that, when power corrupts this world, the public and the knowledge we create, are the last lines of defense, and this university is at the intersection of both. You know there are a lot of trends in the world that have needed to be reversed. Imagine if this were the prevailing leadership in charge of reversing the international slave trade created by Columbus when the world was going in that direction. Imagine if the “Cangellaris Doctrine” prevailed when women fought to be voters instead of property, or when working families fought to abolish child labor rather than expand it. Imagine if, during the struggles after the Great Depression, or the coal wars, or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, you emerged from the halls of public higher education and so unceremoniously blurted out, “Hey, this is just the direction the world is going.” While the battlefronts were being organized for the basic human dignity in social contracts during the New Deal Era or the Civil Rights Era, imagine the outcome if those workers subscribed to your ethos, put down their picket signs, and got swept-up in the direction the world was going. If you'd been around just a few generations earlier and just a few hours north when four workers were hanged in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, would you have turned to those demanding the 8-hour day and shouted, “This is just the direction the world is going!”?
Yes, Vice Chancellor Cangellaris, like every generation, we understand two things:
- The world is often going in a direction that must be reversed, and
- With or without you, we are the ones who will have to fight to reverse it.
Strikes are the interventions that draw the strong boundaries necessary when access to profits wins out over access for people. From time to time, those in this world can be too blinded by a system of greed to stop themselves from being a threat to themselves and to others. It was never fair of you to force your student workers to become the example for a nation needlessly famished just to feed corporate greed, more and more, for less and less. You know better. Yet, today’s lesson from the G.E.O., and those thousands here in solidarity with them, once again teaching all of us, everywhere, is loud and clear:
We all can overcome whatever fears keep us from choosing a better direction for the world.
In the first few days, you stated that this strike would go away soon. The end is near, you said. Now that this is the longest strike in your University's history, it is up to your administration to decide whether and when it will end. It’s never too late, for anyone to choose a healthier path, including provosts, chancellors, presidents, and trustees. It turns out a picket line is the perfect place to take your first step out of denial and into recovery. I hope you do. In the meantime, Dr. Cangellaris, it would seem the beginning is near, and thankfully, these students and workers have decided for themselves the direction in which their world will be going.
One day longer, one day stronger, one day at a time.
For a society and future worth inheriting,
Yours for true recovery,
Scott C. Silber
Scott Silber serves as Executive Director at National Intervention, which treats corporate power and money in politics as addictive substances. Previously he has also served as lead faculty at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development's Youth Organizing Institute, in dozens of labor, human rights, and environmental justice projects in the US and internationally, and as former director of Colorado's public workers union. Silber is also the author of the upcoming Twelve Step Guide to Recovery from Addiction to Money in Politics.
Capitalism, Socialism. Addiction, Intervention:
Posted by Scott Silber · October 21, 2015 12:00 PM
I happened to catch a podcast segment of Bernie Sanders on an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” last week. At the very start of the interview, Maher went immediately to the issue of Bernie’s brand of “socialism.” Maher’s take was that Bernie should talk more about the things people already like about US socialism. He said that, since most Americans “don’t already realize we are already socialist,” Bernie ought to be reminding voters that US socialism already exists and they already love it, in the form of medicare, social security, the military, and the VA. Bernie responded with a list of uniquely American failures from which no other “major country on earth” suffers: We lack free tuition, paid family leave, guaranteed single-payer healthcare, and a stronger tax on the top 1%, for starters. Bernie’s point was that, while we may have some socialist programs, we are not yet a democratic socialist country, and that the democratic socialist societies of Europe have also figured out as developed nations how to meet the basic thresholds he listed.
Love, the Radical: Recovery in the Heart of Revolution
Posted by Scott Silber · March 01, 2014 12:00 PM
Over a few days last week, in my professional capacity as director at National Intervention and in between my personal interest in his new project, Groceryships, I had the unexpected opportunity to meet with Sam Polk (despite a level of newfound celebrity that’s brought national and international media to his living room). I was unprepared for his affable demeanor, unrepressed warmth, and sincere insightfulness.