Mike's Blog

A Grand Bargain

 Until quite recently I did not believe that the “grand bargain” of President Lee Myung-bak was a viable negotiating option to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize. Perhaps I was biased by the excess of his many grand gestures, particularly when upon ascendency to office President Lee abruptly terminated the 10-year Sunshine policy toward the people of North Korea.

Personal Democracy Forum

I had a great time at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City.  Here's an interview they did with me at the Huffington Post.

A Childish Foreign Policy

President Obama's touted policy shift toward Cuba is truly a disgrace and the details had to have been written by childish bureaucrats. Americans can make gifts to Cubans only if they are not communists. Be careful, you'd better check everyone’s registration before you send any gifts of  food or whatever.

Cold War déjà-vu,

In his speech in Prague, President Obama's rhetoric was essentially no different than that of George Bush. He promised, because of our "moral responsibility," to rid the world of nuclear weapons. He then averred that the US would not lower its defenses while others are pursuing a nuclear threat.

Off to S Korea

This Saturday I depart for Seoul to begin a speaking tour of universities in hopes of generating interest in the Korean National Initiative and jump starting a campaign to get it enacted by the people of S Korea. I am giving myself two months to test whether their is sufficient political will with the Korean people to empower themselves to make laws.

If their is sufficient response I will stay in Korea until an election is held. Success here will establish a new governance model to be emulated around the world including the United States.

The Korean National Initiative

THE KOREAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE 

 

THE AMENDMENT

Chapter X Amendments to the Constitution

Article 131 [Citizens Assembly]

  1. The referendum herein sanctions the Korean National Initiative process that introduces an Amendment to the Korean People enabling them to amend their Constitution and thereby create a Citizens Assembly.

  2. Citizens of Korea compose the Citizens Assembly vested with legislative powers to introduce and enact constitutional amendments and laws.

  3. A Citizens Trust is herein created to administer the legislative procedures for the Citizens Assembly. A Board of nineteen Trustees and a Director shall govern the Citizens Trust.

  4. The legislative procedures and the terms of office of the Trustees and the Director are prescribed by a law herein enacted as companion legislation.

  5. Only natural persons who are citizens may introduce legislation; contribute funds, services or property in support or in opposition to legislative initiatives. 

     

 

Legislative Procedures Act

 

Be It Enacted By the Citizens of Korea:

Section 1. TITLE

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Legislative Procedures Act. (hereinafter “Act”)

Section 2. PREAMBLE

We, the People of Korea, inherently possess the sovereign authority and power to govern ourselves. We assert this power in Article 1 (2) of our Constitution. We, Citizens, choose now to participate as lawmakers at all levels of government. We, Citizens, herein sanction the ratification and enactment of this Korean National Initiative Referendum whereby we introduce the Referendum to the Korean electorate for their decision in an election conducted on our behalf by the Central Election Management Committee. We, Citizens, choose to create a Citizens Assembly to exercise our legislative powers by initiative and concurrently with the legislative powers we delegate to our legislative representatives in all government jurisdictions.

THEREFORE, We, Citizens of Korea, enact this Legislative Procedures Act, establishing procedures to be administered by the Citizens Trust on behalf of the CITIZENS OF THE Citizens Assembly.

Section 3. PROCEDURES

The Citizen Trust shall qualify initiatives chronologically. The Citizens Trust shall take advantage of contemporary technology in implementing these procedures. The essential elements of the initiative process include, but are not limited to, the following:

A. Sponsor

Only citizens of Korea who are registered to vote may sponsor an initiative. The Sponsor shall be identified on the initiative, on any petition, and on any qualifying poll.

B. Form

An initiative shall comprise a Title, a Summary, a Preamble that states the reasons for, and explains why, the initiative is proposed, and the complete text of the initiative.

C. Content

An initiative shall pertain to a matter of public policy relevant to the government jurisdiction to which it is applicable. The Sponsor shall determine the wording of the initiative. The Title and Summary shall be subject to the approval of the Citizens Trust.

D. Subject

An initiative shall address one subject only, but may include related or mutually dependent parts.

E. Word Limit

An initiative shall contain no more than five thousand words, exclusive of the Title, Preamble, Summary, References, Definitions, and language that quote existing law.

F. Qualification

Following approval of the Title and Summary by the Citizens Trust, an initiative may qualify for election in the relevant government jurisdiction by any one of the following methods:

1) Citizen Petition

An initiative shall qualify for election if it is the subject of a petition signed manually or electronically by a number of registered voters, to be specified by the Citizens Trust, within the relevant government jurisdiction. The time period allotted to gather qualifying petition signatures shall be not more than one year, beginning on the date the first signature is collected.

2) Public Opinion Poll of Citizens

An initiative shall qualify for election if the subject matter described in the title and summary is approved in a public opinion poll by a sufficient number of persons wishing to vote on the measure. To qualify by this method, the affirmative percentage, the polling plan, including the number of respondents, the methodology and the entity that will conduct the poll, shall be approved by the Citizens Trust.

3) Legislative Resolution

An initiative shall qualify for election if a resolution, the wording of which is identical to the initiative as submitted by its sponsor, is passed by simple majority in the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction.

G. Withdrawal

The Sponsor of an initiative may withdraw an initiative from further consideration and processing at any time prior to a deadline established by the Citizens Trust.

H. Public Hearing

After an initiative qualifies for election, the Citizens Trust shall appoint a Hearing Officer to conduct a public hearing on the initiative. Representatives of the Sponsor and representatives of the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction shall participate in the hearing in accordance with policies and procedures established by the Citizens Trust. Testimony on the initiative by citizens, proponents, opponents, and experts shall be solicited and their testimony shall be published as the Hearing Record.

I. Deliberative Committee

After a public hearing on each initiative, the Citizens Trust shall convene a Deliberative Committee to review the initiative. The Deliberative Committee shall consist of citizens selected at random from the voter rolls of the relevant jurisdiction maintained by the Citizens Trust. Members of the Deliberative Committee shall be fairly compensated for time spent and expenses incurred in performance of Committee duties. The Citizens Trust shall provide technical support and such additional resources as are necessary for the effective discharge of the Committee’s duties. The Deliberative Committee shall review the Hearing Record, secure expert advice, deliberate the merits of the initiative, and prepare a written report of its deliberations and recommendations. By two-thirds vote, the Committee may alter the Title, Summary, Preamble or text of the initiative, provided that the changes are consistent with the stated purpose of the initiative.

J. Legislative Advisory Vote

Each initiative, together with its Hearing Record and report of the Deliberative Committee, shall be transmitted to the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction. The legislative body shall conduct a public vote of its members, recording the yeas and nays on the initiative, within 90 days after receipt thereof. The vote of the legislative body is non-binding, serving only as an advisory to the citizens. Upon the completion of the Legislative Advisory Vote, or 90 days after the initiative has been delivered to the legislative body of relevant jurisdiction, whichever occurs first, the Citizens Trust shall coordinate a schedule for the election of the initiative with the Central Election Management Committee.

K. Election

The Central Election Management Committee shall conduct all initiative elections and employ the most advanced technology, like the Internet, and need not be bound to confining an election to a single day. The Committee may expand an election to twenty four hours a day for a week. The Committee shall be motivated to make voting for initiatives as conveniently as possible for Korean Citizens.

L. Enactment

An initiative that creates or modifies the Constitution, a provincial or municipal charter assumes the force of law when it is approved by more than half the voters in the relevant jurisdiction in each of two successive elections. If such initiative is approved in the first election, the second election shall occur no earlier than six months and no later than a year after, the first election. An initiative that enacts, modifies or repeals statute law assumes the force of law in the relevant jurisdiction when approved by more than half the registered voters participating in an election.

M. Effective Date

The effective date of an initiative, if not otherwise specified in the initiative, shall be forty-five days after certification of its enactment.

N. Judicial Review

No court shall have the power to enjoin any initiative election except on grounds of fraud. After an initiative has been enacted into statute law, courts, when requested, may determine the constitutionality of the law. Courts have no power to adjudicate initiatives that amend the Korean Constitution.

O. Promotional Communications

Any communication, regardless of the medium through which conveyed, that promotes or opposes an initiative shall conspicuously identify the person(s) responsible for that communication, in a manner specified by the Citizens Trust.

P. Campaign Financing

Only Korea citizens may contribute funds, services or property in support of or in opposition to an initiative. Contributions from corporations including, but not limited to, such incorporated entities as industry groups, labor unions, political parties, political action committees, organized religions and associations, are specifically prohibited. Such entities are also prohibited from coercing or inducing employees, clients, customers, members, or any other associated persons to support or oppose an initiative. Violation of these prohibitions is a felony punishable by not more than one year in prison, or a fine not to exceed One Hundred Thirty Million Won, or both, per instance, applied to each person found guilty of the violation.

Q. Financial Disclosure

The Citizens Trust shall establish financial reporting requirements applicable to initiative sponsors, proponents and opponents, with monetary thresholds appropriate to the affected government jurisdiction. The Citizens Trust shall make all financial reports available to the public immediately upon its receipt thereof. Failure of sponsors, proponents or opponents to comply with these reporting requirements shall be a felony punishable by not more than one year in prison or a fine not to exceed One Hundred Thirty Million Won, or both, per instance, applied to each person found guilty of the violation.

Section 4. CITIZENS TRUST

The Citizens Trust shall administer the Legislative Procedures Act. The Citizens Trust shall be governed by a Board of Trustees and a Director. The Citizens Trust shall take advantage of contemporary technology in carrying out its mission. The activities of the Citizens Trust shall be transparent to the public.

A. Mission

The Citizens Trust shall impartially administer the Act so as to facilitate the exercise of the citizens’ legislative power. The Citizens Trust shall ensure that citizens may file, qualify and vote on initiatives relevant to any government jurisdiction at any time and from any location. The Citizens Trust shall neither influence the outcome of any initiative, nor alter the substance of any initiative, except as specified in Section 3.I, “Deliberative Committee”.

B. Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees shall establish policy for and perform oversight of the Citizens Trust.

1) Membership

The Board of Trustees shall include 19 members: one member selected by the legislative body of each of the 8 provinces, one member selected by the legislative body of each of the 8 largest municipalities, one member selected by the National Assembly, one member selected by the President, and one member selected by the Supreme Court. All members selected must be non-partisan and demonstrate a commitment to the citizen's right to make laws and the success of the Citizens Assembly.

2) Term of Office

Members of the Board of Trustees shall serve a single term of four years.

3) Removal of Trustees

Any member of the Board of Trustees shall be removed from office upon a three-fourths vote of the full membership of the Board of Trustees. A vacancy on the Board of Trustees shall be filled by same original selection process.

4) Meetings

The Board of Trustees shall meet at least annually and at such other times and in such places as it deems appropriate to conduct its business. All meetings of the Board shall be publicized in advance and open to the public, except as required by law. The Citizens Trust shall publish the minutes and video recordings of all meetings of the Board, except as required by law.

C. Director

The Director of the Citizens Trust is the Chief Executive Officer of the Citizens Trust and is responsible for its day-to-day management and operations, consistent with the policies established by the Board of Trustees.

1) Term of Office

The Director is appointed for a six year term and is limited to one additional six year term. The first director is appointed by the Board of Directors of the non-profit Korean National Initiative Corporation. Subsequent Directors shall be elected by majority of the Board of Trustees.

2) Removal of Director

The Director shall be removed from office upon a vote of two thirds of the membership of the Board of Trustees, or by a majority of the voters participating in a national recall election.

3) Vacancy

A vacancy in the position of Director shall be filled by majority vote of the full membership of the Board of Trustees.

D. Oath or Affirmation of Office

Each Member of the Board of Trustees, the Director and each employee of the Citizens Trust shall execute the following oath or affirmation of office as a condition of his or her service: “I, (name), (swear or affirm) that I will, to the best of my ability, defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Korea and the sovereign authority of its Citizens to exercise their legislative power.”

E. Organization and Responsibilities

The Citizens Trust shall staff and organize itself to fulfill its mission and shall develop policies, procedures and regulations to register citizens upon their becoming eligible to vote, to assist sponsors in preparing initiatives for qualification, and to process initiatives, to coordinate all elections with the Central Election Management Committee. The Citizens Trust may select and contract for facilities and services, and prescribe staff duties and compensation. The Citizens Trust may also apply for and receive funds, and incur debt when necessary, and shall act in a responsible manner as a fiduciary agency of the Citizens Assembly.

1) Existing Law

In fulfilling its responsibilities and performing its duties, the Citizens Trust shall comply with applicable laws and regulations of every government jurisdiction of the Republic of Korea in which it operates that do not conflict with its mission defined in Section 4A, “Mission”. Where laws are in conflict, this Act shall supersede.

2) Research and Drafting Service

The Citizens Trust shall establish and operate a legislative research and drafting service to assist citizens in preparing initiatives.

3) Communication

The Citizens Trust shall establish the means, procedures and regulations to facilitate the communication of timely, comprehensive, balanced, and pertinent information on the subject matter of each initiative, which information shall be conveyed to the citizens of the relevant jurisdiction by various media, including radio, television, print, and the Internet and/or other electronic media. The Citizens Trust shall establish and maintain a web site for each qualified initiative that will contain, at a minimum, a summary of the Hearing Record, the report of the Deliberative Committee, the result of the Legislative Advisory Vote, statements prepared by the Sponsor, other proponents and opponents, and a balanced analysis prepared by the Citizens Trust of the pros and cons of the initiative, its societal, environmental, and economic implications, costs and benefits.

4) Hearings and Deliberative Committees

The Citizens Trust shall organize a Hearing to receive testimony and shall convene a Deliberative Committee to deliberate on each qualified initiative. The Citizens Trust shall provide or arrange for professional Hearing Officers and Deliberation Facilitators, technical consultants and support staff and facilities as needed for the effective conduct of Hearings and Committee activities.

5) Elections

The Citizens Trust shall coordinate with the Central Election Management Committee to devise and administer policies and procedures for the proper conduct of initiative elections. In doing so, it shall take advantage of contemporary technology in agreeing to procedures for voting and validating votes. All such policies and procedures shall be neutral with respect to the content of initiatives, their administration and the outcomes of elections.

6) Regulations

The Citizens Trust may promulgate regulations to more fully meet its responsibilities under this Act.

F. Budgets

Budgets covering all elements of the Citizens Trust’s operations and activities shall be prepared and published consistent with government practices and the public nature of the Citizens Trust’s responsibilities.

Section 5. APPROPRIATIONS

Citizens hereby authorize the appropriation of funds from the Treasury of the Republic of Korea, pursuant to existing law to enable the Citizens Trust to organize itself, repay debts herein described, and begin the performance of its duties. Debts to be repaid under this Section are those incurred by the Korean National Initiative Corporation, the proceeds of which were used to pay the costs of preparing educational and promotional materials about the Citizens Assembly, which costs shall include, but shall not be limited to, the production cost of printing, mail, print and electronic communications, including the Internet, and related costs such as legal and accounting, all of which shall have been audited and certified as bona fide by the Citizens Trust prior to repayment. Hereafter, appropriations shall be made annually to the Citizens Trust as an independent agency of the Korea Government.

Section 6. SEVERABILITY

In the event that any one or more of the provisions of this Act shall for any reason be held to be invalid as a result of judicial action, the remaining provisions of this Act shall be unimpaired.

Section 7. ENACTMENT BY CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

The Korean National Initiative presents to the citizens of the Republic of Korea for their legislative decision in an election conducted by Central Election Management Committee this measure on the enactment of Article 131 [Citizens Assembly] of Chapter X Amendments to the Constitution and the companion Legislative Procedures Act. The Amendment shall have been ratified and the Act enacted when a majority of voters voting in the election vote affirmatively.

Section 8. DEFINITIONS

Administer

Plan, manage and execute the operations of an organization in accordance with governing organizational regulations and pertinent constitutional and statute law.

Appropriation

A legislative act of the National Assembly transferring public funds from the Korean Treasury, in accordance with the Constitution.

Authorize (an appropriation)

A legislative act to empower or give necessary authority to make an appropriation of public funds from the Korean Treasury.

Ballot

A document listing alternatives to be voted on or questions to be answered, along with other pertinent information. In this context, the ballot requests a simple “Yes” or “No” vote on the enactment of the Korean National Initiative.

Budget

An itemized summary of anticipated income and intended expenditures for a specified period of time.

Campaign

An operation or related set of operations pursued to accomplish a political purpose. In this context it refers to the activities conducted by the Korean National Initiative Organization to bring about its enactment.

Citizens Assembly

The legislative body of Korean Citizens empowered to enact laws and amend their constitution. It is a lawmaking body similar to the National Assembly that in effect brings the Korean Citizens into the operations of government as lawmakers in partnership with their elected officials.

Charter

A document that has been ratified by Citizens to establish and define the fundamental powers and privileges of a governing body for a province or municipality.

Chief Executive Officer

The executive with responsibility and authority to plan, manage and conduct the operations of an organization; including the appointment of subordinate managers, hiring of employees, contracting for services, and undertaking or overseeing all other activities necessary to fulfill the mission of the organization subject to policies and guidelines established by the governing board of the organization or other superior authority.

Citizen

A person entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation; in particular, one entitled to vote and to enjoy other privileges.

Coerce

To force to act in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation.

Deliberation Facilitator

A professional in group processes and the effective conduct of meetings who is made available by the Citizens Trust to assist the citizen members of a Deliberative Committee in the conduct of their deliberations.

Election

In this context, the entire process, and the infrastructure supporting that process, by which votes are cast and tabulated to determine whether or not an initiative has been approved or rejected by the voters.

File (an initiative)

An initiative is filed when the sponsor submits the initiative to the Citizens Trust for approval of its Title and Summary.

Government

A body that is defined by and draws its authority from a constitution or charter to govern a geographic area (local, provincial or national).

Induce

In this context, to cause to move, to bring about a course of action, by promise of reward or consideration.

Initiative Process

A legislative process where sovereign citizens in a constituency use their inherent legislative power to introduce and enact or modify governmental policy, law, charter, or constitution by majoritarian vote.

Korean National Initiative

The Korean National Initiative is a legislative proposal, authored by former US Senator Mike Gravel, that amends the Republic of Korea Constitution and enacts a Legislative Procedures Act. The Korean National Initiative proposal is a unique, one-time legislative occurrence that creates for the first and last time a Citizens Assembly, which henceforth empowers Korean citizens to legislate by initiative using procedures established specifically for the Citizens Assembly and implemeneted on behalf of citizens by a Citizens Trust..

Korean National Initiative Organization

The Korean National Initiative Organization, a group of Korean civic leaders is the sponsor of the Korean National Initiative, a legislative proposal to bring about a direct democracy in South Korea by creating a Citizens Assembly similar to the National Assembly, composed of all Korean citizens representing themselves.

Lawmaker/Legislator

One who makes or enacts laws. In this context, either a member of an elected legislative body such as the National assembly or a 19 year old Korean citizen as a member of the Citizens Assembly.

Legislation

A proposed Law or constitutional amendment introduced in any legislature including the Citizens Assembly.

Legislative Advisory Vote

A non-binding vote required under the Legislative Procedures Act to be taken by the elected legislative body of the government jurisdiction affected by an initiative, in which the elected members publicly vote yea or nay on the initiative measure. The vote of elected representatives serves as an advisory or cue to help citizens form their own opinions prior to their vote in the Citizens Assembly.

Legislature

An elected group of individuals having the power to create amend and repeal laws together with the policies, procedures and infrastructure established by and under a governing constitution.

Opponent or proponent (of an initiative)

Any person who attempts by any action, including but not limited to the contribution of funds, services, or other resources to be used for the creation or dissemination of information, to advocate or oppose a qualified initiative in an election.

Petition

A document in which registered voters indicate that they wish an initiative to be qualified for election. Petitions may be hard copy or electronic documents, and may be signed manually or electronically.

Poll

A validated sampling of registered voters in which the respondents indicate whether or not they wish an initiative to be qualified for an election so citizens can vote on the measure.

Polling Plan

A document that describes the number and source of respondents; the method by which the respondents for a poll will be drawn; how the data will be collected, tabulated and presented; and how the question(s) on the poll will be worded. The Citizens Trust may require a polling plan to include such additional information as will permit it to carry out its responsibility to determine if the planned poll will accurately reflect the views of the citizens in the government jurisdiction affected by the initiative addressed by the proposed poll.

Qualify (an initiative)

To qualify for election an initiative must meet criteria established by the Act, thereby enabling the Citizens Trust to begin processing the initiative that leads to an election for its enactment or defeat.

Ratify

An act of approval of a constitutional amendment by a sovereign citizens.

Sovereign

When used as a noun: one who, singly or in company with others, possesses supreme authority in a nation or other governmental unit. When used as an adjective: self-governing; independent; possessing highest authority and jurisdiction.

Sponsor

A person or a group of individually identified people, responsible for the submission of an initiative to the Citizens Trust for qualification and processing.

Transparency, Transparent

In general usage: free from guile; candid, open and easily understood. In this context, the term “transparent” refers to the fact that the workings and products of the Citizens Trust are to be continuously public; that is, open to inspection and review by the citizens except as may be required by law.

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Analysis and Reasoning Behind The Korean National Initiative

Introduction

A human being is sovereign by birth. However, in a society of many human beings individuals must cede some measure of sovereignty to the constituency of the whole governing the polity. The exercise of sovereign constituent power must of necessity be by majoritarian rule. The alternative is anarchy, monarchical, autocratic or minority rule.

Mike Gravel draws crowd in Grenoble, France

Mike Gravel speaks to packed out lecture hall at the Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble, France, 8 Oct 2008.  Watch the entire talk on video here:

Declaration of Independence 2008

(YouTube speech here)

When in the course of human events, unattended grievances make it necessary for citizens to reexamine the structure of their government and bring about change.

We were once a great nation, created by immigrants from foreign lands who populated a bountiful continent.

We now witness our nation’s prestige and our domestic liberties considerably diminished.

Cluster Munitions

111 nations signed on to a draft treaty this last month in Dublin, Ireland to outlaw the use of cluster munitions by their military forces. The United States boycotted this conference to produce a humane treaty. Cluster munitions contain dozens to  hundreds of bomblets designed to explode above ground, inflicting maiming and lethal wounds. All battlefield weapons are cruel, but clusters rank up there with land mines––not only for their impact in battle, but more importantly because of their extensive residual damage long after the battlefield is quiet and overgrown.

Senator Gravel Qualifies for Debate!

I have just received word from Skyler McKinley, one of our senior staffers, that Senator Gravel has gotten the required number of delegate tokens to particpate in tonight's C-Span Libertarian debate. The debate will be broadcasted on C-Span 1, beginning at 9-11 p.m. ET.

Senator Gravel will debate the following LP competitors: Bob Barr, Mary Ruwart, George Phillies, Steve Kubby, Michael Jingozian, and Wayne Allyn Root.

Give 'em hell Gravel!

Gravel impresses Libertarian audience

Senator Gravel is making a splash this weekend at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention. Just as in the earlier Democratic debates, Senator Gravel is getting great reaction to his comments.

The following is a report taken off of the Independent Political Report (www.indpoliticalreport.com):

"Consider Liberty"

by Mike A. Bozarth

While public attention has been focused on the Obama-Clinton marathon run in the Democratic primaries, another storm has been brewing in the background.

The Libertarian Party's national presidential nominating convention opens in Denver today and lasts through Memorial Day.

Video of Fox Business Libertarian Debate

Today, Senator Gravel and Wayne Allyn Root, two of the leading Libertarian presidential candidates, debated on Fox Business Channel.  Alexis Glick moderated on her "Money for Breakfast" program.  Below is the video of the debate.

Part 1

Gravel wins West Virginia straw poll

On Monday, May 12, 2008, The Libertarian party of West Virginia hosted its annual Libertarian State Convention, a gathering of fellow Libertarians in West Virginia. Following the event, a straw poll was held of the Libertarians in the crowd. Senator Gravel narrowly won the vote, beating out Dr. Mary Ruwart. Below are the results: