Study Results, Part 2: Issues Press Release

posted by BobRoth on September 13, 2007 - 9:26am

Although we posted the results on Tuesday, we staggered the press releases over two days. One day covered the candidates and the other covered the issues. I just thought I'd include some of the quotes from yesterday's release here.

Read the full release.

View the results of the study.

When asked what qualities they seek in leaders, participants responded that they "did not want leaders who pander, rather those with the integrity and character to make tough decisions." Co-founder Jerry Rafshoon added, "The people answering this survey want to end the bickering and game-playing. They know the issues are tough and difficult, but figure that is what you have leaders for. They aren't getting leadership from either party and they know it."

The data is all the more impressive, said Bailey, because "these are average Americans, including friends and family members of our troops in Iraq. Washington simply does not have much of a clue as to how upset the people are. At Unity08, we predict they will vote in record numbers, they will demand change, and they are willing to think a little outside the box to get it."

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Douglas L. Bailey refers to the set of respondents who were sampled (out of a larger set that you earlier said went unsampled) as "average Americans."

Consult the Statistical Abstract of the United States, please, at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab . The respondents who were sampled are not average Americans.

61% of the respondents who were sampled were college graduates or had postgraduate degrees. Only 27.6 percent of adults in the United States are college graduates in the most recent year for which data is available from Statistical Abstracts, 2005. 2% of respondents who were sampled had not graduated from high school. 15% of adults in the United States have not graduated from high school.

A full 60% of Unity08 respondents who were sampled were at least 50 years old. Only 29.4% of the United States population in 2005 (the last year for which data is available via Statistical Abstracts) were aged 50 years or older. 19% of Unity08 respondents who were sampled were at least 65 years old. Only 12.4% of the United States population in 2005 was aged 65 years or older.

The "first vote," as Unity08 refers to the survey, asked respondents for household income. 64% of the Unity08 respondents who were sampled reported at least $50,000 in annual household income. In 2006, 48.6% of U.S. households reported at least $50,000 in annual household income ( see http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032007/hhinc/new04_001.htm ).

In regards to sex, 73% of Unity08 respondents who were sampled are men. In sum, Unity08 respondents are significantly older, significantly more educated, significantly higher in household income and much more male than the average American. No, not average at all.

Apart from the issue of averageness, it is not at all clear that the respondents are American. Well over a month ago, at http://unity08.com/node/1828#comment-28364 , Unity08 member em43ny asked, "How do you know people who desire to be delegates are US citizens qualified to vote?" Nobody from Unity08 has answered that question, although Unity08 staffers answered many questions before and after that question on the forum thread. Em43ny's question stands and, in the face of Douglas L. Bailey's contention that sampled "first voters" are "average Americans," deserves an answer.

It is a matter of fact that Unity08 asked a British citizen to participate in this "first vote." See http://irregulartimes.com//archives/2007/08/21/unity08-asks-british-citizens-to-take-place-in-its-first-vote/ for documentation.

Yes, I am a vocal critic of Unity08. But I am also an American citizen and a member and delegate of Unity08. Regardless of who I am, these are issues that I imagine even the most devoted Unity08 member and delegate would like to see addressed.

========
Jim Cook
Irregular Times
http://irregulartimes.com

Does it really matter anyway? I have submitted a candidate for the Dream team 14 times and they won't add him, yet they have stupid ones like celebrities and athletes and crap. This website and orginization are as unfair as the current system that is in place in Washington. 14 times i asked to have a candidate added... no action.

I am not sure you can even do that yet. What do the rules say about when you can actually nominate someone?

ex animo
davidfarrar

First off, the sampling of the first American Vote raises a number of troubling issues and questions (many of which have been discussed elsewhere but would not suffer from repetition and collation)

1. Sampling isn't even done in Florida in 2000, where there was at least the appearance of counting each vote, even if by hand.

2. The claims that data processing was too "server intensive" to bother with a full evaluation is absurd. If one is to believe that this organization can attract millions (the count stands at less that 1/10 of a single million now, and 1/7 of the number of physical signatures required for ballot access), then how will it process the real nomination data?

3. The claim that this process is "pushing the technical envelope" is equally absurd. As an architect of organizational development (psych testing) products for G100 businesses, I can tell you the entire technological infrastructure related to "asking questions and evaluating responses in an online forum" has been well thought out for at least a decade and a half.

4. At present, [email protected] (Bob Roth's email address) reports the following:

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at gustavo.bluegecko.net.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

:
[email protected] is over quota

This organization can't even handle its email.

5. I recently received an invitation to complete my delegate application.

fimukegen,

This is a reminder from Unity08: Select & Elect a Unity Ticket in the 2008 Presidential Race . You have registered for a user account but have not yet validated your email address. To fully activate your account at http://unity08.com/user login using the following username and password:

username: fimukegen
password: Hy82zFmqDK

The problem is, I didn't sign up as delegate "fimukegen" having already signed up as delegate jkacz. This fact alone calls into question the claims that there are 104,000 site members. There isn't anywhere close to that number of actual breathing members if things like phantom delegate signups can occur.

6. Looking back at Unity08's IRS filing for the first half of the year you find a few interesting facts:

a. 47% of the money spent went to 4 organizations / persons:

$70,000 to BeeHive Marketing - A company that specializes in press release marketing for the Chemical Process and Scientific Instrument markets (hardly a political specialization).

$43,000 Shane Kinkennon, a PR specialist and lobbyist

$57,000 to Daniel J. Radek for "financial services". DJ shares an executive suite with Anya Harris (www.smartpaper.com). Anya is the (perhaps former?) COO of Unity08.

$15,000 to Matt Kirpatrick for "consulting services" of an undefined nature

and the real kicker....

$3,567 for "office keys". These must be keys made of pure gold.

Why bring all this up? It demonstrates a pattern of mismanagement, misdirection and blatant misanthropy directed at the members of this organization; which members have ante'd up to the tune of $900,000 since January of 2007 in the (misplaced) hope that somehow a bunch of former Washington insiders had changed their ways and wanted to really take back America from liars and miscreants.

There seems to be a concern about the methodology of the survey, but frankly, I don't see it. I worked in survey research/polling and have a Master's that includes quantitative methodology. Here's my take:

Unity08 is not necessarily exactly representative of the entire US-- but neither are any of the other parties, and neither are they (GOP/Dems) attempting to allow the rank and file to determine their agenda. Had Unity08 employed some sort of weighting system to change the demographics of the survey to match the US voter population at large, you would've called foul because they changed the results. Unity08 published its sample-- if they were trying to cover this up, they wouldn't have done so, but they chose to disclose it.

The problem with online surveys in general is that a) they attract a different demographic than traditional surveys-- it tends to be more heavily male, skew older, and more affluent and educated. The voting population is different from the population at large as well. First, you have to eliminate everyone under, 18, then account for normal voting patterns. Young people vote less, older people vote more. Voters also tend to be more educated, and education and income (more specifically, socio-economic status) increase likelihood to vote.

Unity08 didn't employ a quota or a screen because this wasn't the goal-- they wanted to canvas everyone who wanted their voice heard and who wanted to respond to this kind of survey. It seems they would rather be inclusive than exclusive, so everyone (myself included) had an opportunity to respond to the survey.

Which means, technically, there is a self-selection bias. This is the main flaw of the methodology, but it is the flaw of every survey done online. An online survey cannot, by its nature, be truly representative, as it is neither a random sample nor does it involve the entire universe of voters (especially those without computers or who choose not to receive email from Unity08). Unity08 tried to overcome this by taking a rather large sample of the tens of thousands of completed surveys, chosen at random, to make up the results. This approaches and approximates randomness, but there is still self-selection. C'est la vie. AAPOR has done some amazing research on this, and basically their only guideline for what is considered ethical by pollsters and market researches is that they cannot say that their sample has a margin of error or is completely representative of the population at large.

Unity08 did neither-- Doug stated that average Americans who responded to the survey (and a large portion of the survey certainly fit within one standard deviation of median American) felt x,y,and z. He is correct. There is never a mention of margin of error, and the survey does not pretend to represent anything more than the opinions of Unity08 members who took the survey.

The linescale methodology, however, is quite ingenious. It forces people to rank, even when there is only a slight difference. In a traditional survey if you used a 5 or 7 point scale to rate these people, you get a clumping-- this would show that people felt about Giuliani about the same as they did Hillary Clinton, even when she was numerically much further away. A traditional "feeling thermometer" scale would be useful, but in a phone survey, you might forget what you had ranked a person previously. The linescale introduces a small bias, but in a good way-- it forces respondents to rank more carefully and choose between similar people and ideas.

Inasmuch as this "Speaks for the American people," I challenge you to watch all of the Sunday morning talk shows and listen to the talking heads babble on about what the people want-- not backed up by any data at all! I've heard Howard Dean talking about DNC polls that they did where they showed that "80% of people want national health care." Sure they do, Howard-- among a self-selected group of DNC donors who returned your fund raising cards with the survey filled out. At least Unity08's process was transparent.

Was the methodology a little off? Yes-- but only because an online sample is always wacky. But considering it would cost several hundred thousand dollars to get 2500 traditional survey responses (much less 20,000). . .there are more important things to do to spend such money on-- like improving the next survey.

Here's a real question: If you're designing the next Unity08 survey, what questions would you ask? How would you change the methodology? This is our movement, right? What would you ask?

I would first email all member/delegates informing them that Unity08 was now preparing the ground work for developing its political platform (DON'T ASK FOR DONATIONS, just their input). I would also inform them that this was their opportunity to be heard in this important process. I would inform them that the Forum/Shoutbox on the Unity08 web site would be the place to record their issues for consideration. The idea here is to be as inclusive as possible, not exclusive. Once you assign the process over to a single group, no matter how well-meaning, you discourage others from participating.

I would redesign the Shoutbox, of course, to handle the increased load effectively and force everyone to take a poll on the issues threads they open before they can leave the issue thread.

I would explain to them that this is an ongoing process established in order to get a true crucial issue profile created directly by Unity08 delegates in time for their final vote when the doors of the convention hall are opened in the Spring of 2008.

This ongoing process would allow every one's voice to be heard. People are much more likely to support an organization who hears their voice. This is the key to winning new membership.

I would fire anybody I needed to in order to purchase or rent bigger serves as well for this process. This is the key to Unity08's success. If you haven't got a fair and open process to allow every body's voice to be hear, you haven't got anything.

ex animo
davidfarrar

IN MY OPINION ..

We are living in a time and place where surveys and polls can be dangerously misleading, media hype every hour on the hour - changes situations and answers ..

Our understanding of Human Nature - "What Makes People Tick - Depending on Race, Religion, Creed, Sex & Color" - that's the only really reliable tool
for planning Agenda's ..

By and large in friend and foe alike - Fear is the single most powerful motivator ..

With most Americans, Rich, Poor or Middle Class, All Colors, Religions & Sexes - IT'S FEAR OF LOSING "Life, Liberty & The Right To Make & Keep Money & Property" ...

I contend another survey would be a waste of valuable time and money, just allow and officially endorse our Delegates Right To Build An Agenda THAT WILL CLEARLY AND PERMANENTLY ELIMINATE : Political Gridlock, Partisanship & Pandering To Special Interests .. HELP GET THAT AGENDA IN FRONT OF MILLIONS OF POTENTIAL VOTERS & ELECTABLE CANDIDATES ASAP .. You Will Have A Real Shot At Winning The White House, The House & The Senate - For The American People !!

I've stared the ball rolling with "Pete's Plan For Political Reform", I created a TOPIC "Building Our Agenda" - and provided a CHECK LIST OF SIGNIFICANT FACTORS .. a team of delegates who care deeply about this have been working hard to develop something they feel UNITY08 can use .. WE WANT AND NEED SOME SIGN FROM DC that if and when UNITY08 can officially associate itself with the path we are taking - THEY WILL DO SO ..

In my opinion Andy - if we all just use our owns life experiences and common sense understanding of human nature : THAT WILL PRODUCE AN AGENDA THAT - EFFECTIVELY MARKETED, WILL BLOW AWAY THE OPPOSITION and Enable UNITY08, It's Founders and Delegates - to fulfill our promise to the American People : To Take Back This Country and Make It Truly a Government of The People, By The People and For The People.

Last but by no means least, we have Millions of friends around the World who are deeply concerned about America's current Political crisis and the divisiveness its created, 14 Foreign Countries click on my blog regularly to read my assessments of situations and ideas for changing things for the better, the agenda I propose for UNITY08 has rung many bells - inside and outside America ..

So Andy, before UNITY08 commits to the time and money for a second survey, I urge Doug and the Founders Council to pay more attention to the AGENDA Team has done - and is proposing.

For what It's Worth ..

Pete (popo) Evans

OH, by the way - click on www.america-21stcentury,com, yesterday's article "I HAD A DREAM LAST NIGHT !!! etc etc

is that you keep saying "you will have an agenda", "you will have a candidate."

No-- WE will have a candidate, platform, etc. See below.

"Unity08 is not necessarily exactly representative of the entire US--but neither are any of the other parties, and neither are they (GOP/Dems) attempting to allow the rank and file to determine their agenda?

Have you ever actually been a member of either a GOP/Dem platform committee? Do you even know what their processes are? Is the process the same for each party? If not, how do they differ?

Why don't you briefly outline the process of one party, from their local county level to their National Platform Committee level. In this manner we can see who is allowing whom to determine their party's agenda in the most fair, honest and transparent way.

And, please, spare me the hype about being "online", allowing all party-members directly to participate. After your "random" sampling debacle, we now know that isn't true. Just focus on agenda-forming procedures as laid down in their by-laws so we all can compare the two processes. Perhaps this can be one of the first topics undertaken in Unity08's as-soon-to-be-opned Wiki?

ex animo
davidfarrar

I've never been on a national party platform committee, but I have done it at the state level. To qualify as a member of my local Democratic party platform committee, I had to show up at our mass meetings and be elected as a delegate to the state convention. Then I had to sign up to be a member of the platform committee. This ended up being about a dozen people, and we would meet and hash out what it was we were focusing on. Really, we mostly just tweaked last year's platform rather than building a new one out of whole cloth.

the platform was then presented at the very end of the state convention, and we took a simple yay or nay voice vote to adopt it. Since, by then, it was mostly only the people who worked on the platform that were still hanging around, it was quite peaceful.

I went with a friend to the other party's state convention (her father was the state chair) and it was a little more contentious: while the platform had been created in much the same way, there were activists who showed up to promote amendments to the platform, usually that threw the party much more to the extreme.

I see that Unity08 is different in that the process is more open and transparent-- just like in wikipedia, you get people with expertise in one section who add a great deal of content that everyone can benefit from, and casual users can add their two bits in where they want. Unlike in most projects, too many chefs don't spoil the soup in this case; in fact, more chefs make the project even better, adding their individual perspective and work.

More below....

You were first elected to your local county party executive committee at a general election. You were elected by your peers to the state convention, and at the state convention, people were elected to the national platform committee. At each and every turn people were duly "elected" to their position. Nobody simply decided to take a 10% sampling of the votes cast. By-laws designed to make the process inclusive, fair, honest, transparent, and even appealable should disputes break out were in place and followed.

You are right, Andy; Unity08 is different. Nobody polled the delegates to see what their issues were. Somebody at Unity08 simply decided they knew better than the delegate body and dictated what they thought the issues should be. If that stunt would have been pulled at your state convention they would have been tarred and feathered and thrown out on a rail.

When they asked for a floor vote on your state's platform committee's recommendation, did the simply take a 10% sampling?

Your last paragraph is completely confusing...Unity08 didn't include everybody in the process. It wasn't fair, open or transparent. If you don't believe me, find the 1,900,00 missing delegates Unity08 should have signed up by now and ask them what they know about Unity08 that you don't.

ex animo
davidfarrar

In staying with the spirit of what Andy has proposed, I have setup an area where delegates can propose their own questions for future surveys. Please limit one question per delegate. Be creative and be fair!

http://unity-usa.org/wiki/?title=Second_Survey_Delegate_Questions

-GP

Join the Unity08 Delegate wiki today! http://www.unity-usa.org

Unity08 contends that every voice and every vote should matter. Sampling data doesn't achieve that goal.

In Doug Bailey's most recent exposition from on high, he derides one major party for essentially ignoring a large percentage of primary voters ("How typical of Washington to ignore the people."). Sampling data is simply another form of "ignoring people".

In the end, the sampling method used is not really the issue, nor is the use of line-scaling as opposed to a less granular 1-7 scale. The issue is whether Unity08's words (every vote matters) match its actions (sampling data out out of a desire for expediency or as a result of poor technological planning).

Your contention that America's true voice isn't represented in Sunday morning talk shows is EXACTLY what Unity08 was intended to address. The argument that ensues ("at least Unity08's process was transparent") doesn't actually address that basic premise.

Mr. Cook points out that Unity08 is not truly representative of America as a whole and a weak sample of these unrepresentative respondents does nothing to bolster Unity08's general claim of representing all of America ("We are of all ages, backgrounds, colors and beliefs and from both parties").

The question really isn't "What should be done to improve the next survey?"

The question really is "What should be done to attract and retain a (significantly) larger and more diverse group of Americans to this cause?"

The point of the meeting between a few delegates and Unity08 leaders back in April was exactly this:

- Delegate demographic limitations are not compatible with Unity08's aims.

- Attraction and retention of the necessary number of delegates requires a broader and more definitive statement of belief.

- Technologically, Unity08 is unprepared for handling the number of delegates it claims to want and need.

- Operationally, Unity08 is unprepared to support the kind of efforts required for delegate attraction, retention, ballot access, delegate caucusing, etc.

We're now nearly 6 months past that meeting and nothing has changed. An organization that does not learn, dies. An organization that does not change, dies. Radical changes to philosophy and approach are required.

This latest incident of Unity08's rhetoric matching poorly against its actions indicates that Unity08 has neither the insight nor the horsepower (nor perhaps even the intention) to make the changes necessary to become a real force for change.

If we are going to become a serious centist organization, we have to be smart about the center, at least our own group.

Even though GP is one of my favorite posters on shoutbox, he's missing the boat with his "one question per delegate" suggestion.

To measure the center on any issue you need a "battery" of questions. For example on health care, the questions could be:

Does every American deserve health care? Agree/ strongly/ somewhat/ diagree.

Should every American pay for his/her own health care? Agree/strongly/somewhat/ Disagree.

Should employers pay for health care? A/S/S/D

Should state governments pay for Health care? A/S/S/D

Should the federal government pay for health care? A/S/S/D

Should unions pay for Health care? A/S/S/D

How many health insurance buyers do we need in the U.S.?
just one/ a dozen/ 50/ 100/ more than 100.

Okay, thats a loner example than you need, but the point is to find out really where are people's opinion you need to ask similar questions with varying shades of meaning.

If we had expertise on voters opinion, that was independent of the misleading language used by conservatives and liberals to divide up the people, we would be the smartest political group in the country because no one really knows where the center is.

Things can be better, but they need to be better based on all of our efforts, not just waiting for the gods to pass the fire down to us from Olympus. We need to each individually carry our own torch to our friends and family.

Did patriots 220 years ago wait for The Federalist Papers to be disseminated so they could parrot Madison's, Jay's and Hamilton's talking points? No, and it's not necessary now to be able to make one definitive statement: our partisan, two-party system politics is dead, and the only way to fix it is to elect a bi-partisan/non-partisan presidential ticket.

Everything else, from health care to homeland security, is dependent on you. If you think Unity08 needs more members, recruit them. If you think they need better servers and more manpower at headquarters, help raise some money to hire those people and buy the hardware. If you think there needs to be a declarative statement of values and positions, write it, and then get enough people to join Unity08 who agree with you to enact them.

I applaud everyone's hard work and ingenuity. That is what will make this successful. Change and learning from our mistakes is necessary, but negativism is not (although it is sometimes helpful to point out major problems before they occur). I believe this can work and i believe we are currently recruiting well to insure ballot access. The beginning of the space program is a good example: we have to overcome some initial inertia and setbacks to learn how to accomplish our overall goal (putting a man on the moon). Let us hope we can be as successful, because the consequences of failure(electing another hyper-partisan president)are terrible.

On a lighter note, go watch the Simpsons short from the Treehouse of Horror called Citizen Kang. That about sums it up. . . .

...this is a leadership problem, not a membership problem. Nobody can go out and recruit for a cause they don't have faith in. Bipartisan tickets have been tried before and simply didn't work. They were structurally weak and provided for too many opportunities for exploitation to be effective. Read your history.

And as far as your declarative statement of values and positions point is concerned -- Andy, that's just the point: Even if I went out and got enough people to join Unity08 who agree with me, there is absolutely no way to enact them under Unity08 rules. Because the delegates aren't the ones creating the agenda from which the delegates can vote upon. And even if it was, somebody at Unity08 headquarters will simply take a "sampling" of the results until they got the results they were looking for in the firs place.

And finally, Andy, the only thing that will make this work is for Unity08 to do what it promised its members it would do...be a peoples' party and allow every delegates' voice not only to be heard, but counted.

ex animo
davidfarrar

Nothing is going to be perfect. We're a growing organization with limited resources. Ever hear that adage that you can't please all the people all the time? That's just how it is. Even if we had unlimited resources, there would still be complaints. That's not new.

As to the survey, get some perspective :) It's just a survey. It didn't contain every survey submitted, but then again it's not like the results of that survey are being used to formulate some sort of edict. It's just a bloody survey!

Take a step back and look at things as a whole. Criticize, but offer a solution. Don't criticize for its own sake. Realize that there are paint chips on the the vehicle's surface. But that doesn't mean we should scrap the darn thing. And let me save you some time in your complaining: when all is said and done we'll have a lot more paint chips, and probably some good dents too.

We can't get from point A to point B if we spend all our effort looking at our vehicle with a magnifying glass. Time keeps moving, so if we are to do as well, we just have to get in the vehicle and drive. That's what the rest of us are trying to do.

-GP

Join the Unity08 Delegate wiki today! http://www.unity-usa.org

...have offered solutions, GP. I make it a point to offer solutions...But name me one instance, just one, where a solution was offered by any one of us and been accepted by the leadership of Unity08. I can't think of one.

This issue of a failing membership has been with us for far, far too long. We should be at 2,000,000 members strong by now and all we have is some "headquarters" volunteer telling us it's not a leadership problem, it's a membership problem. Now where do you suppose he got that from? I haven't the slightest doubt that's exactly what the leadership believes. Now where does that put Unity08's future?

ex animo
davidfarrar

Paint Chips. Paint Chips. Paint Chips.

-GP

Join the Unity08 Delegate wiki today! http://www.unity-usa.org

It's not a membership problem (and I don't think I really characterized it that way), it's an everyone problem. We all have things we can do, and that's all I'm emphasizing.

I'm sorry I can't solve all of these problem. I do believe we will be able to. And I believe the cause of Unity08 is more important than letting these bumps in the tracks derail us.

I won't argue about the merits of sampling with you: you believe everyone's survey should have been included. I can't speak to any of that, but i think Bob's explanations are pretty sufficient. But I do know that a random sample of 2,900 people is generally pretty representative. . . within a 95% confidence interval.

Let me explain it this way:in order to mimic a truly random sample, Unity08 sent out "Secure" invitation to 5,000 members (who they could verify their information) chosen at random and a non-secure version to everyone else. Because no one knew what version they were doing, it backs up the meta-randomness of the methodology: it's like giving some people a placebo in a medical study.

Now, I understand your problems in that you wanted aggregation of all the data: it implies data was cherry-picked rather than randomly selected (and therefore representative). But, you wouldn't expect a pharmaceutical company to publish the results from their placebo group nor would you say that a survey was invalid simply because you (or someone else) had not been asked to take it. Because of the random nature of sampling, as long as you technically had the opportunity to be randomly selected (and you don't know if you were or not), then the methodology is valid.

That being said, I think that in the future we can do more to aggregate all data. But remember this is a starting point to give us something to discuss (mission accomplished?)rather than the definitive statement of what Unity08 is going to become.

While there is ample room for confusion and misunderstanding in this medium, in your post: Miles to go before we sleep , I assumed you were referring to the membership of Unity08, as opposed to its leadership, when you said: "...if you think Unity08 needs more members, recruit them. If you think they need better servers and more manpower at headquarters, help raise some money to hire those people and buy the hardware. If you think there needs to be a declarative statement of values and positions, write it, and then get enough people to join Unity08 who agree with you to enact them."

In this paragraph you are trying to shift the blame for failing membership on to the membership itself and not the leadership. I particularly found this statement most astonishing of all: "If you think Unity08 needs more members, recruit them."

Andy, it must be clear to you by now that the membership isn't signing up people to join Unity08 in the numbers the leadership had anticipated. Sure, you can blame the membership, you can extol them to do better at every opportunity, but in the end, it is the leadership's responsibility to recognize the problem and find a solution. To date, I see absolutely no evidence that the leadership has even recognized there is a short fall, let alone take positive steps to change the situation. I can only assume that the leadership doesn't think there is a problem with failing membership, or there is no leadership.

So before we discuss the other issue concerning the survey and its uses, lets focus on the issue of failing membership so we can clear up one issue up at a time. In your own opinion, and speaking for yourself, I assume; do you believe Unity08 is ahead of it membership quota at the present time, about where it should be, or falling further and further behind?

ex animo
davidfarrar

My opinion is that we can and should do better. We need more members. We need them yesterday. I don't assign blame to anyone, especially not the general membership of Unity08. In the words of Boxer from Animal Farm, "I WILL WORK HARDER!!!!"

I am merely trying to harness our excitement to do something productive. The most effective numbers wise and cost-effective thing we can all do is to each find 5 friends and get them to sign up. I personally talked to four different friends tonight in person about Unity08, and then sent them links to the blog, and told them to sign up. I say this not to brag, but to say that I am trying to lead by example and that I do not ask anyone else to do anything I am not personally doing.

The funny thing is, one of the purposes of the survey results was to create media attention (or else, why bother with a press kit?). Earned/Free media is also a cost-effective way to recruit more members, which is a strategy the leadership is obviously trying to employ. The biggest membership jumps have been after major media events on O'Reilly, Colbert, Hardball, etc, so trying to attract more media attention through things like the survey would seem a good idea, flaws or not.

That being said, I want to hear your ideas for how to recruit more members. What would you suggest? If you feel uncomfortable posting them on the blog (we've veered a little off topic), or you want to put them in a format I can pass along, feel free to email them to me at [email protected]

~~Andy

What about your wife, her mother and father, your mother and father, your grand-parents, her grands-parent, Uncle Fred, are they members of Unity08? Have you even asked them? Unless your enthusiasm about Unity08 is that great, we aren't going anywhere.

Now, true, that type of enthusiasm will probably only come after the primaries when, thank God, we will have a lot of candidates and their supporters looking for other options. But unless we have substantial numbers contributing now, we won't have the means to take advantage of the surge, server-wise, manpower-wise.

But the real problem, as I see it, is not the lack of members, but the lack of leadership. This problem has been apparent to all for sometime now. Where is the leadership? Unless we have leaders, it really doesn't matter what ideas are passed up the line...they are not going to be heard. If they looked upon the survey as simply a media event, they probably don't realize the enormous political impact of using Unity08 to actually allow people's voices to be heard and counted, which wouldn't surprise me in the least. I have seen this mentality over and over again in Washington, nothing really matters to these people but the media.

But Andy, following a well thought out plan to hear people's voices through the creation and adoption of Unity08's political platform on its website, culminating in counting their actual vote, would bring people's grand-parents into Unity08 so their voices won't get left out as well and their vote counted.

So Andy, keep your eye on the Shoutbox. Until it reaches 28% participation rates, we are not making it because until Unity08's delegates believe their voices are being heard, they won't speak to anybody about joining Unity08.

ex animo
davidfarrar

Recruit them? Hire them? I can tell you that donating money doesn't work - I've done that. Also offering FREE help also doesn't work. I'm one of the world's top experts on Microsoft SQL Server (along with database performance, replication, high availability, disaster recovery, database architecture, and database system architecture) and have been for over a decade. I've written books, delivered over 100 sessions at conferences, taught dozens of classes, and done consulting all across the US and Europe crossing every industry sector from government to private industry. I can drop a resume on a desk and be hired on the spot into thousands of organizations world wide.

This is the response that I received back:
Dear Mike,

I think we're all set right now, but please pass along a resume for us to take a look at in case we need databasing help in the future.

Thanks so much for the offer,
Will Fogel
Unity08 Founder's Council

Here is a second one that I received:

Thanks for your offer of help. You have quite an impressive resume, and we'll be in touch if/when we need that kind of help.

Best,
Will Fogel
Unity08 Founders Council

I would submit they need that kind of help, because tweaking a banner image is simply slapping paint on top of an architecture that is woefully inadequate.

...with a good solid base in database system architecture who has understood there is less there with Unity08 than meets the eye. But I would suggest you hang around like the rest of us to pick up the pieces when these guys fall flat on their face and serious people with serious intentions on creating a real online Interent 3rd party move forward. Think of this as a bata test.

ex animo
davidfarrar

My take is a little different as I support
a) a forced rank voting to numerically prioritize the issues and then
b) to allow Unity08 members to suggest positions on the issues and have other Unity Members vote by supporting whatever they feel is the best position.

In this way, the Members have a voice and all members can give an opinion that won't be left out. I mean it may get just a few votes, but it will be there.

To join the U08 Delegate Council Online Community send an email to
[email protected]

Thank you, GEA for offering some leadership where none seems to exist.

I think Andy and I may have inadvertently found the problem at Unity08...a total lack of leadership.

Apparently, everybody at "headquarters" believes the reason Unity08 is -- has-been falling further and further behind in their membership quotas is because the membership simply isn't doing their job recruiting others to join -- it's a membership problem. This view has been going on for at least a year, maybe longer. So where is the leadership? Why hasn't the leadership addressed this problem in the last year? Why hasn't the leadership found answers as to why the membership isn't doing its assigned job?

We have a bunch of "consultants" who probably haven't lead anything in years. We have an angle investor for a CEO who simply bought his way into his present position. We have a "Vice-President of Operation who is probably a yes-man...where is the "leader" of Unity08? Where has the leader of Unity08 been on this issue for the last year?

We can talk about the issue of low membership until we are all blue in the face, but until we have a leader willing to lead, we aren't going anywhere.

ex animo
davidfarrar

We can't be bi-partisan...bi means two. Unity08 is a 3rd party.

Without policies to catch the attraction of members, there can be no recruiting.

My recommendations are...

Set an agenda for Unity 08 by listing what is generally accepted as the national agenda...at this time.

Iraq War.
Universal Health Insurance
Security of the Borders

Any other topics which our members would like the candidates to comment on.

Present the questionaire to candidates and potential candidates.

Obtain written responses from each one by first explaining that responses that are pap, generalities and irrational will be summarily discarded from the process.

The politics is that of expecting and searching for honesty from the surveyed candidates.

The progress can be maintained by declaring that a plank in the platform is what 60% of the members vote for.

Then progress can be made because people who agree will join Unity08

I would like to know specifically where Unity 08's leadership stands on key issues facing our nation. Trade? Term Limitations? Health Care? Education? Border Security? Immigration? Government Spending? Tax System? Free Speach and/or Hate Speach? Marriage? Iraq War? Fight on Terrorism? Air Travel and Security? Profiling? Abortion? Our biased news media? etc.,etc. We need COMMON SENSE leadership and restoration of many core values which made this great nation GREAT! Otherwise, we shall continue to watch it go down steadily in flames---although slow and steady.

JIMP,

I am referring you to the discussion thread for this question, http://unity08.com/node/1975.

Thank you for asking!

Bob Roth
VP Online Marketing, Unity08
[email protected]

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...Unity08 doesn't have an "official" agenda. What they want you to do is rush out and get state petitions signed first, and then they will manipulate the online convention process to insure only the issues Unity08's leaders want us delegates to vote on win. If for some reason the voting isn't going their way, they'll just take samplings on the delegate vote to insure their choices win. This honest, fair and transparent online convention will start sometime around the end of June 2008.

ex animo
davidfarrar

Of course, there are membership issues. I'm still questioning why I'm a member and I'm seriously questioning my donations. At every step of the way, I question just what in the heck does Unity '08 stand for. You can think up all kinds of slogans and jargon and to me, it is completely worthless. I've been listening to campaign slogans and non-answers from political candidates and political organizations for so many years, that I tune everyone out.

Now, to put this in perspective, I joined MoveOn.org when it first started. I donated to that cause at the very beginning of its life. I did so, not because I was a Democrat or liked Bill Clinton (I instantly hated him the very first time I heard him talk and Slick Willy would probably be the nicest thing I had to say about him.) I did so, because it was an absolute waste of time and tax payer money to go through an impeachment process that everyone knew didn't have a prayer of succeeding in doing anything other than finding yet another way to spend my and everyone else's hard earned money. (I got as far away from MoveOn.org when I found out they were nothing but a front for Democrats, which is long before they embarked on the track to being complete lunatics.)

I joined this organization after seeing a clip on The O'Reilly Factor, because not only am I sick and tired of every single, elected politician making a career out of being a politician instead of actually doing the job they were elected to do, but I also thought this was the first opportunity to send a message. It took 3 days of mulling it over, because when I got to the site, I didn't have the slightest clue what this organization stood for other than "We're different". So what? I can tell you exact why the membership is so low, not a single, solitary person coming out to this website has the slightest clue what this organization stands for. If you want to put it in terms of old fashioned political parties, what is Unity's PLATFORM? Please don't tell me - "We're different"

So, you want to solve the membership problem, take all of the suggestions littered all over this site, put them together and publish, in huge letters on the homepage of the site, the issues that WE think are important and EXACTLY what WE intend to do about them. (Failure to backup your words with actions means that we WILL toss you out of office on your butt and you WILL hear from every single one of us when you go back on your word.)

Here's a start:

We are for:
1. Forcing the federal government to conform to the same fiscal responsibilities that everyone else has - don't spend more money than you earn.
1a. Cap the allowed federal spending and bring it in line with inflation rates
1b. Ban 100% of earmarks, because they do absolutely nothing except inflate the federal budget with legalized corruption where members of Congress pay back lobbyists and cronies for campaign contributions.
2. Ban any elected official from every becoming a lobbyist
3. Ban anyone from putting a member of their immediate family on the campaign payroll. (This is just another form of corruption where someone can buy a candidate by sticking money directly in their pocket by way of a family member.)
4. Banning an immediate family member of a serving elected official from being a lobbyist. (Sure, the mother sitting in Congress isn't influenced by the son lobbying on behalf of some organization. Do they really think the American people are that stupid?)
5. Eliminate candidate PACs. Sure, we're really stupid enough to think that campaign finance laws are being obeyed when someone only contributes the max directly to a candidate, but then turns around and hands millions to the same candidates PAC.
6. Enforcing our nation's laws, particularly with respect to illegal immigration.
6a. Building a fence on the southen border is already approved, authorized, and funding is available. We will eliminate the refusal of the president to do what he is already authorized to do by using the funds already approved to build the fence, both physical and electronic.
6b. Require ALL states to ask about and report anyone here illegally who has been picked up in connection with a crime. Non-compliance means a loss of federal funding for state projects. (They are FEDERAL laws and if the states want the benefit of FEDERAL money, they had better quit ignoring FEDERAL laws.)
6c. Upon release from prison, immediately deport anyone here illegally and permanently bar them from entry into this country.
6d. Require proof that a person is legally in this country when applying for education aid from the federal government. Citizens of this country should expect that their tax dollars go to help fund the education of their citizens instead of having it wasted on those here illegally.
6e. Require proof that a person is here legally before allowing access to ANY federal program.
6f. Implement immigration control at ALL airports that have initernational flights for OUTBOUND passengers. Everyone leaving this country who is not a citizen should have to pass back through immigration so they can be logged as leaving. (This is not hard, I have to do this is EVERY single country I have ever visited.)
6g. Immediately contact anyone who has entered this country legally who has not exited within their legally allotted time and ensure they either a: legally extend their stay (I have to do this in every other country I visit) or b: immediately exit the country.
6g(1): Make it a crime to provide a false address upon your entry into this country. Anyone caught providing a false address will be immediately deported and banned from ever re-entering the country.
7. Fix social security and prevent the federal government from using the funds as a cookie jar
8. Fix medicare/medicaid/etc. by eliminating the fraud and abuse. Enforce the fraud and abuse of these social programs by putting people in jail and permanently banning them from ever using the program in the future.
9+ I'll let others fill in the blanks.

After you publish this list, you give the opportunity of each registered member to:
1. Vote on the issues, on a sliding scale of one form or another, important to them
2. Save their vote in their user profile (one vote per person only allowed)
3. Allow each member to go back in as many times as they choose and change their positions on issues - important when new issues get added after a vote is already submitted
4. Post this list, ranked in "realtime" - either truly realtime or aggregated once per hour/day, on the homepage as the "platform" of Unity '08 (probably top 20 or so)
5. Only those members whose identity can be verified are allowed to vote. This is not "hard" technology, eBay does this thousands of times per day when you want to sign up to be a seller
6. Take out a section on the website for the platform issues and let people add sub-issues to them which are coherent action items to accomplish the ultimate goal. Maybe at some point in this process the politicians will wake up and realize that the American people are not stupid and are fed up with politicians thinking we are too dumb to understand the "issues" or how to solve them
7. Have each one of the candidates respond with concrete answers, not campaign slogans, on what they would do to solve each issue

Thanks to mhotek for your constructive suggestion above.
I'd like to say that I've had similar misconceptions as those who have actively expressed theirs in this forum. I too have found it difficult to convince others of the importance of our mission. I also think that the problem being discussed for so long, (a lack of leadership), may not be the only problem we'll face. The point is why are all who come here still here. I like to think it is reflective of our combined commitment to this country of ours.

We need to reflect on that within ourselves. Hopefully, we will continue to be motivated by each other, as I have been today, by some of you contributors. We are or can become a vanguard for the country's future. No matter where we find ourselves at any given time, we need to listen to each other, and then get back to the job at hand.

Remember, this is not an effort to sell a consumer product. We're in this as an effort to save our country, by returning it to the principles which helped to make it great. We keep coming back, because we must succeed. This is for us, our families and all who would come after us.

I have a suggestion, which I shared with participants of a brainstorming session a month or so ago in New York City, concerning the problem of enrollment.

I believe most people would be moved to join an organization which actively made a difference, where an issue which threatened the nation was diverted by the combined efforts of the org. and the individual. I'm referring to the recent rejection of the infamous Amnesty Bill. In that instance, the org. was Grassfire. It could have been Unity08. If it had been Unity08, as least two things would have happened:1. people would immediately know what it stood for; and 2. All of those who used Grassfire to register their opposition to that bill would have become participants of Unity08. I believe they sent nearly 800,000 emails to members of the Senate, and enough telephone calls to cause the phone system to crash.

To use a "grassroots" approach, I suggest that Unity08, (or an org like it), be decentralized by state, with an organizing group within each state, that could communicate and work with all other states at a regional and/or national level. This would give our effort a face in every state and multiple opportunities to organize and act on issues now, as we go forward to the 2008 election. Activism, I think, will translate into greater membership. Responding to such issues as they come up will not only bring us more members, but will also provide a base for getting a condidate of the ballot in each state.

Again, this is just a suggestion.

God Bless America!

The problem is, there is nobody listening. Even while you are posting your excellent suggestion, and mhotek his, do we get a response? No. We get yet more hyperbole. This time it's about Alan Greenspan's book, The Age of Turbulence. It goes one to proclaim this is yet another "...testament to why we need to reunite the country through Unity08."

Do these people really think anybody but Washington consultants are really going to believe this stuff for long without substance? I mean, this stuff is getting pretty insulting. Their opinion of the political mentality of the average American voter must to pretty low for them to think this is playing well, that there are millions of us out there just waiting to gobble this stuff up and sign on.

This is exactly what I mean: the leadership of Unity08 have no clue on leadership. They are simple PR people. Beyond staging a media event like the coming Colbert/Sam Waterston event, which even now they are laying the groundwork, that is all they think will be required. They are following Joseph Goebbels' old adage: You can make people believe any lie as long as you tell it often enough.

ex animo
davidfarrar

But I would suggest you bring them to an unofficial Unity08 WIKI designed by a group of Unity08 delegates to start building Unity08's political platform.

ex animo
davidfarrar

A strong United Nations with a million man/woman police force to maintain peace in trouble areas on the planet such as Myanmar and Sudan (Darfur)Each country, including the United States will have to give up a bit of its sovereignty. People on this planet are way ahead of the politicians running our governments

As far as domestic policy is concerned, Congress has such a low approval rating because all the want is to be reelected.For example, let every child have health insurance. It can be done. Stop with the earmarks --they benefit only a few wealthy and influential people.

Hold town hall type meetings on all the issues raised.

As Ike said, this control of most of our resources for warmongering, is the basic insanity of our government. Until it is stopped dead in its tracks, dismantled and replaced with a defensive capacity only, the world is in a downward spiral with the USA leading the way. Think a moment about what those same resources would provide if used in a diplomatic manner for the whole planet? Kucinich offered to establish a Department of Peace in July 11, 2001, yes, exactly 2 months prior to the attacks. This news didn't even make the news, that's how bad our media is controlled by the warmongers of the world.
Take it from there.

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