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Erwin Mazariegos
Senior Engineer, Civitas Learning
Senior Engineer, Civitas Learning

Erwin Mazariegos's posts

A modest proposal to fix the US: Outlaw all political campaign advertising.

Premise: The political process is corrupted by the undue influence of money. Therefore, let us remove the need for money to get a person elected.

Money raised by a candidate is used as a barometer of a campaign's viability. That was fine when individuals voted with their wallets, and a candidate had to convince large numbers of people that they were the best choice to represent them, and then convince them to show their support with money from their pockets.

Now it seems the campaign advertising race has escalated to the point where the person with the people's best interest cannot be elected (and re-elected) without undue influence from forces that do not have the public's best interest at heart.

If money is corrupting the process to the point our country is intentionally put at risk by those who should be protecting our interest, we must, as a matter of national survival, remove the influence of money in the political process. Campaign financing reforms only shift the flow of money. Real reform means eliminating the need for it.

Why do candidates need money in the first place? To outspend their opponents on the campaign trail, and thus, to be heard. i.e., to pay for ads (yes, there are other expenses, but we'll get to that in a bit).

If election campaign advertising was prohibited, though, candidates would be forced to get their message out the old fashioned way: word of mouth. And with today's social networking infrastructure in place, this is a viable alternative.

Instead of simply booking airtime, campaigns would have to convince actual people to RT, Like, +1, forward, and re-post their messages. This means their visions must resonate better than the other candidate's. With this system, a campaign's viability would be measured by how many people publicly support their run for office. The "game" would turn from a dollar-fueled advertising race to a constituent-fueled rally of support.

And since social networks can be used to aggregate and focus human effort, many of a campaign's other traditional expenses can be taken care of by spreading the cost among a broad base of volunteers and contributors. For example, 100 printers could be asked to download a graphics file and print 100 flyers each, instead of paying one printer for 10,000 copies. For that matter, 1,000 people could print 10 copies each from their home printer. Office space? Virtual co-working, coffee shops, or supporter's homes or warehouses in each town they visit.

Repeat this approach for all expenses, and a candidate's need for money disappears. If we then outlaw the use of money to get elected, we can codify and embed the grass-roots principle into the political process (a positive side effect is that this would make it impossible for anyone to buy their way into office).

Lobbyists, and other would-be influencers of the political machine would have to offer elected officials not figurative briefcases full of money, but armies of real public support for their ideas. If the topic is too complex for the masses, then support by experts, as demonstrated by public postings, could be used. The role of the lobbyist then would be as a curator and aggregator of opinion that already exists.

When the lobbyist shows up to the legislator's door with 5 public posts supporting their agenda, it wouldn't be too hard for the politician's staff to find 10 opposing posts, if they exist. And the internet being what it is, if someone is wrong, they will be corrected post-haste.

There are problems with this suggestion, of course. Botnets could be set up to inflate RTs, for example. Money could still be used to pay people to RT and re-post. Experts could be paid to post certain viewpoints. But these problems can either be solved via filters and algorithms, or use a human layer and public and transparent information systems that makes it harder to game the process.

Will this proposal stop the influence of politicians by self-interested forces? No, of course not. But the influence will change from being based on money, to being based on the support of real people. I argue that this is a step in the right direction.

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Ceramic simulacra. Nice re-reaction to the ever-present ceramic "paper" coffee cup so popular in art museum gift shops.

/via +Minna Kao

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Wow, this doesn't even seem real, but it's a photograph.
The Fireplace in the Tower of Terror
Just a few days ago, I got into this place... I've always wanted to get "behind the velvet rope" and take proper photos of this area, and it finally happened!

This lobby was richly decorated to look like an old, classic Hollywood hotel that has been left alone to slowly deteriorate. Although this angle in particular does not show the decay, future ones will... Also, a future one will include the full story of how I got behind the velvet rope -- you won't believe it!

Thanks for the day go to +Keith Barrett +Robert Scoble +Thomas Smith and +Lou Mongello

To see more about Lou, see the full blog post at

Who wants to bet the G+ team is monitoring Chrome extension downloads to prioritize new features to G+? #corporatesynergy

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Unfollowing +Robert Scoble until G+ gives me option to not see comments to his posts. Want to see what Robert says, not always the mob the follows him.

Between personal, client, and my businesses, I have 5 different accounts using gmail and google apps. 3 of them co-existed in the same browser, I had to use another browser and my iPad to access the other 2. A real pain.

Today I enabled "Multiple Account Sign-ins" so I can access them all at once with the same browser. Alleluia !

You have to log out and into each account, and go here:

Then you have to link them together by signing back into one of them, and use the drop-down arrow at the top right to "switch account" and "sign into another account" for each of the others.

After that, you can have multiple tabs with email for each account in each.
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