Video Captures the Energy, Message of “Gov 2.0” LA

Wow. Totally amazing weekend. Thank you to all of the Sponsors of Gov20LA. Thank you to all the amazing speakers and panelists and citizens. You made this event so special. Thank you to all the people around the United States, England, Canada, Israel, France, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries who participated in the camp through the live videostream.

One of the key themes in this past weekend’s event was “Video is the New Text. ” Another is that the jargon and Language used in Government 2.0 “Gov 2.0” is holding us back. A third was the focus needs to be on People. Not Technology. Not Platforms. Not Data. But real (IRL) ūüôā People. The ones who agree, and the ones who disagree.

There was a lot of energy, and many comments to me were made about how smart everyone in the room was. Another take away was that most people came up to me and told me they were meeting people in the Government 2.0 “Gov 2.0” space who they had never met before.

Brevity is key.

Alan W. Silberberg, Founder, Gov20LA and Founder, CEO of Silberberg Innovations

Some other linkouts to great posts about the camp, other content associated with it:

Keynote by Cory Ondrejka

Huffington Post



Personal Democracy Forum

Flickr Stream

RockCreek SM

Re-Think Consulting


Digiphile (History)

Digiphile Photos

Digiphile Videos

Adriel Hampton

Alan Webber

So With that, Luke Fretwell is one of the planning committee members of Gov20LA; a “Gov 2.0” Innovator, leader and Founder, CEO of GovFresh: He made this video:


Re-posting of You2Gov CEO Alan W. Silberberg’s blog

Political Power to Real People

Political Power to Real People

Reposted in entirety from:


If the $800 Billion + Bailout was not enough, now we learn about the outrageous behavior of the just bailed out AIG executives. Let us all hope that the rest of the bailout money (our money) is not spent so extragavantly or so obviously “in your face”. The “Bailout Bush and Buddies Bill” of 2008 is in future years going to be seen as a total sham. The structural problems in the economy are all too real. But if the “bailout” money is going to secure multi-million dollar executive salaries rather than pension funds, unemployment funds, or re-training funds — then lots of questions need to be asked and they need to be asked now. While the current Congress is in action, we all need to continue to assert our rights as citizens and taxpayers for demanding the truth (truth in lending). We need to show the leaders that the outpouring of anger, angst and the almost meltdown of congressional phone and email servers was not a one time flash, but rather a hot fire on their collective behinds. These people just voted on all this money to “stabilize the financial system” but how many Members of Congress, Republican or Democrat can tell any of us what a derivative swap is, or a fractional loan value, or for that matter the difference between a mortgage backed security and a partially mortgage backed financial instrument? Do they know what they voted on besides fear? How many of them can actually tell us what would have happened if this bailout was not rushed but rather put through the Committee System, be subject to debate and critique from the media, from academia and from other Government agencies?

You2Gov designed tools to make all of us more informed, more powerful. If we have learned anything from these times filled with fear, both literal and imagined – it is that the only thing that matters now is oversight. Not the kind you hear bandied about by this and that Congress person or Senator. No, I mean the kind of oversight a manager effects on his staff, or the kind of oversight that a principal has with the teachers, or even better the kind of oversight the military practises on itself through the chain of command. In this case the chain of command ends with you and me. We are the owners of the United States, the people. There are little read documents, some people don’t even know what they are. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, If you have not read them lately or never have, now is a good time to catch up. One of the important things you will come away with is how seriously the Founding Fathers took the concept of “Power from the People, to the People.”

We all need to be that serious about this serious situation.

Startup Beat Highlights You2Gov

Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Startup Beat highlights You2Gov in it’s most recent blog posting which can be found here:

Thanks Brian. Everyone at You2Gov really appreciates this.

Also – You2Gov is undergoing changes related to our growth. So if you see something looking different or not where it used to be, it is due to ongoing enhancements to the site. Additionally, You2Gov will be announcing new features and tools in the next few days, so stay tuned for some very exciting news out of You2Gov.

You2Gov Founders Write Article for Huffington Post

Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Below is the text of the original Huffington Post article written by the Founders of You2Gov as it appears today on the Huffington Post. Please go to the original URL below to comment directly on this article. Thanks Arianna and David.

Bloggers Lead Media to Report McCain/Palin’s Campaign “Lies”

Can you imagine our buttoned-up mainstream media calling McCain and Palin “liars” had bloggers not exploded with that epithet over the past month, and proved it, lie by lie? With blogs leading the way, the MSM’s customary restraint fell away like scales from their eyes because gentlemanly “balanced” prose couldn’t adequately convey the truth, and because the stakes are so high.

The MSM knows their failure to call this spade a spade enabled GW Bush to bootstrap two lying campaigns into a profoundly dishonest administration that has disgraced and weakened our great nation. They don’t want to be patsies all over again. This time, it needs to be done right, and everyone recognizes just how high the stakes actually are.

This is yet another case of the Internet transforming our political processes. It has enabled citizen journalists to find wide audiences, unblocked by traditional media “gatekeepers. It has diluted the political influence of monied interests by raising overwhelming sums from millions of citizen contributors. It mobilized armies of partisans for political organizing and campaigning.

And it has significantly advanced the cause of finding the truth. While traditional media have disparaged blogs as being unreliable, that chaotic, unmediated world known as “the blogosphere” has led the way in ferreting truth from falsehood.

We think politically-oriented social networking is the next step towards democratizing our Republic. Micro-niche social networks are the wave of the future that is already casting its water upon our shores. By providing forums for citizens to test and compare their views, networking tools to enable like-minded people to cooperate in groups to effect change, extensive information resources for research and education, and communications tools to facilitate dialog with elected officials, networks like You2Gov will help break the stranglehold our traditional media and political parties have exerted on our great public discussions, reinvigorating our democracy.

Users of You2Gov actively utilize our tools to contact members of the House and Senate directly from the Internet during the financial crisis that is gripping the United States. There is extensive one to one dialogue and one-to-many dialogue occurring each day on multiple websites and social media like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs and podcasts not to mention email and telephone. What is starting to develop is a cohesive currency of information, tested and verified, that is flattening our ability to achieve power plurality with our leaders. As time goes on, these tools will make each citizen a recognizable base of local power, much like companies and trade groups now enjoy.


Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Ralph J. Shapira, the Chairman of You2Gov posted this on the You2Gov home page blog today, September 29, 2008.

The Bush Administration’s bail-out plan to be voted on this week by Congress has been amended in response to many valid concerns raised by critics.¬† But the amendments are¬†drafted so vaguely that we must take on faith that the concerns will be appropriately addressed.¬†¬†The law merely sets out broad purposes and goals; the Secretary of the Treasury will issue guidelines and policies to accomplish them.¬† There are no specifics as to how effectively any of the purposes of the amendments will be accomplished.

Here are some examples:
Criticism:¬† the original plan did nothing to help financially ailing homeowners avoid foreclosure.¬† “Solution”:¬† the Treasury Secretary will develop a plan to¬†lessen foreclosures and to encourage loan servicers to modify loan terms to assist homeowners [Section 110].¬†¬†The law has no specifics about how many homeowners will be helped or in what way.¬† The people must take on faith that¬†the plan will actually do something¬†meaningful to help homeowners.
Criticism:¬† the original plan didn’t require the government to take ownership interests in the companies it helps.¬† Such ownership interests would allow the taxpayers to earn something back,¬†lowering the cost of the bailout, if the companies prosper after the bailout.¬† “Solution”:¬† ¬†the government will¬†get warrants to buy stock in any publicly traded financial institution it helps.¬† However, the law has no specifics about how much stock the warrants will cover or what price the government will have to pay to buy the stock.¬† The people must take on faith that the government will drive a reasonable bargain for stock.
Criticism:¬† the original plan didn’t limit the obscenely high compensation often paid to executives of the companies getting the bailout money, or their receipt of golden parachutes.¬† “Solution”:¬† the government will set “appropriate standards” for compensation of the top five executives of companies it buys securities from [Section 111].¬†¬†There are no specific limits on compensation, and whatever limits the government does eventually decide on¬†will apply only while the government holds stock or debt in the company.¬† There are no limits at all on how much the companies can pay to anyone other than the top five executives.¬† The companies will not be allowed to grant or pay golden parachutes, but again only during the time that the government holds an interest in the company.¬† The people must take on faith that much of the taxpayer money given to the companies will not be paid out in huge bonuses to company executives other than the top five, or even to the top five after the government sells the stock or debt it owns in the company.
Criticism:¬† the original plan didn’t assure that the government would pay the lowest prices when it buys securities from troubled financial companies.¬† Solution:¬† the Secretary will buy the securities “at the lowest price that the Secretary determines to be consistent with the purposes of this Act” [Section 113].¬† However, the purposes of the Act include “providing financial assistance to financial institutions” and¬†“restor[ing] the financial institutions to at least an adequately capitalized level” [Section 103(6)].¬†¬†Furthering those purposes will permit — or even require — the government to overpay for securities in order to financially assist the sellers and restore their capital.¬† Here, the people should have no faith that the government will drive the best deal on its purchases, because paying the lowest prices would not help restore the troubled financial institutions’ capital.
Most economists and leading businessmen, including the revered Warren Buffett, are warning that the bailout or something like it must be passed to avoid an imminent¬†complete collapse of our economy. ¬†It’s difficult to oppose the bailout bill under those circumstances.¬† The bill has been much improved from the original plan.¬† However, there are no guarantees in the bill that a number of the valid concerns raised by the plan’s critics will be sufficiently addressed in the actual administration of the program.¬† An enormous amount of responsibility and trust, not to mention $700 billion, will be given to the Secretary of the Treasury.¬† And while most agree that Hank Paulson is a capable man, no one knows who the Treasury Secretary will be in the next administration.

Fear and Loathing in Washington

Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Sometimes it is tough to see the forest through the trees.

Here we go again. It is six weeks before a presidential election. Last time it was fear of terrorism. It was fear stoked by emergency alert after emergency alert from Homeland Security and stoked by breathless mentions in the media about this and that terrorist found and killed.

Just make the battlefield Wall Street and substitute the various players around and you have the same kind of fear mentality driving the public government machine to push the citizens to the point of being so scared –¬† that tomorrow the floor will fall out, your ATM card won’t work and that’s the last car you ever will drive. Now the breathless mentions in the media are of companies collapsing, markets cringing and people running scared.

The United States of America, it’s governmental leadership, and the citizens must all take a collective breath, and slow this down. It is time to think long and hard about the consequences of each decision, and to ensure that the money will be spent in ways that we will benefit. We cannot allow this decision to be taken lightly or without rigourous consent and counsel from us and the rest of the Government. We must demand that we all become owners of these companies, and that the Government’s investment is one that will show a return, not bring us into an even larger hole.

There is a model believe it or not. When Mexico had a currency crisis about 12 years ago, the United States stepped in with several central bank stabilization programs. We not only got paid back quickly, the US Government made a several billion dollar profit off the transaction(s). If we do it right this time, each of us should become partial owners through stock or bonds issued to all of us of any company being bailed out. The formula could be one simply of number of companies being bailed out x amount of money / number of citizens in country.  But this way all of us could benefit when these companies that are temporarily in the down cycle go the other way and turn back into the up cycle.

Alan W. Silberberg

September 24, 2008

You2Gov Chairman Comments- Great Wall Street Bailout of 08


Political Power for Real People

September 23, 2008

This is commentary and links to blog postings from the Chairman of You2Gov, Ralph J. Shapira. He is a partner at O’Melveny and Meyers Law Firm and has handled complex business litigation for decades.


I’m writing about the Great Wall Street Bailout of 2008.¬† Here‚Äôs a blog I just posted on, a website I started 4 months¬†ago:


“That astounding¬†fact, tucked in today’s Wall Street Journal near the end of a long piece on the bailout, speaks volumes about how unfair¬†the bailout would be.¬†¬†The principals of the Wall Street firms to whom Paulson demands we give $700 billion in taxpayer funds have reaped colossal riches in the past decades when business was good.¬†¬†Are they offering to kick in anything to help their firms through the current hard times?¬†¬†Of course not —¬†¬†they plan to keep all their ungodly wealth while financially struggling Joe Taxpayer¬†is asked to bail out the firms that have done little to help him in the past.¬†¬†To the contrary — hefty parts of their wealth have come from financing the buying and¬†“downsizing” of U.S. corporations and shipping U.S. jobs overseas, squeezing millions of JT’s out of the modest houses they’ve scrimped a lifetime to buy.

“Paulson’s wealth is not untypical for his crowd.¬† Indeed, there are scores of hedge fund and private equity magnates whose fortunes make Paulson’s look like chump change.¬† A few thousand of these financial titans could pool their resources and do this rescue themselves.¬† Only they really, really don’t want to,¬†because it’s such a lousy deal they wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole or fly near it on their golden parachutes.

“Let’s not dupe the U.S. taxpayers and their¬†children, who will be taxed for generations¬†to pay¬†the National Debt¬†this plan would so substantially augment, into giving their financial lifeblood to “save” these financial companies.¬† If the taxpayers say a resounding “no,” these guys will find a way to save the system that has been so overwhelmingly good to them, and will be back to earning their hundreds of millions again —¬†much of it taxed at lower rates than we pay —¬†in no time flat.”¬†$500-MILLION.html

My more measured views are in 2 earlier blogs, and

The proposed bailout¬†is one of the most expensive, extraordinary¬†and far-reaching government initiatives of our lifetimes.¬† Whether you agree with my views or not, I’m urging everyone I know to call or write their Senators and House Representative as soon as possible to let them know how you feel:¬† this thing or some variant could be enacted within days, and we’ll be living with its consequences, foreseen and unforeseen,¬†for decades.¬†¬†Constituent communications can be very influential on our Congressional representatives.

One of the purposes of You2Gov, a¬†non-partisan politically-oriented social networking site,¬†is to facilitate citizen communications with elected officials.¬† The site has free tools to make writing or calling your Congressional Reps¬†easy, by providing the website each official¬†uses to receive constituent emails¬†and the Representatives’ telephone and fax numbers.¬†¬†Just click the menu item “Take Action” and then “Write Your Rep” and “Write Your Senator”.¬† Your letters¬†can be as simple as “Dear ____: As your constituent, I urge you to vote [“no” or “yes”]¬†on the Paulson Wall Street bailout;” or¬†it can be as lengthy and explanatory as you have time to write.

You have to register to use You2Gov’s communications tools (but not to read its extensive content), but registration takes less than a minute, is free, does not require invasive personal information, will not subject you to unwanted emails, spam or commercial appeals, and your information will never be sold to 3rd parties.  And perhaps you may find yourself visiting again:  the site was recently named by PC Magazine one of the 20 Best Political Sites on the Web, the only social networking site so honored.

If you send me copies of any emails or letters you send or fax to Congress, I will post them on the site (without your identifying information) as exemplars for others’¬†use.

Two final notes. First, please consider forwarding this email to any or all of your friends who might wish to express their views before the train leaves the station. Second, I would love to hear your views on the issue if you’re willing to share them, either directly with me or on You2Gov’s discussion forum.

I hope this finds you well.  Please accept my best regards and my appreciation for allowing me to impose this very long email on you.


Ralph J. Shapira