Press Releases



National Ballot Initiative Newsletter 

National Initiative for Democracy Newsletter

This month brings plenty of exciting news.

I am excited to report that has won a generous grant from the National Science Foundation to document how Oregon voters see, trust, and use the information provided by the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR). The similarity between CIR and NI4D's deliberative committee is sure help people understand deliberative democracy.

I am excited to introduce Daniela Bozhinova, a Fulbright scholar from Bulgaria who is working with The Democracy Foundation to learn about direct democracy and introduce the idea in Bulgaria. If you are affiliated with a college or university then there is an occasional lecturer fund to assist in inviting Fulbright scholars to visit and speak. Daniela has expressed interest in exchanging ideas with American college students. Please avail this rare opportunity.

I am excited to report that Myron Stagman has stepped forward to develop a new pamphlet to ignite grassroots support for national initiative. His proposal is currently being refined on the NI4D google discussion group. One urgent need is for an artist (or artists) to volunteer to provide attractive illustrations to complement his words and bring them to life. If you are interested in helping, just reply to this email and we will be in touch.

I am excited to report that Evan Ravitz was interviewed by Scott Paris at blogtalkradio. Blogtalkradio seems like a marvelous medium for exchanging experiences that lead to our interest in national initiative. I encourage everybody to contact Scott Paris (or start your own channel) and tell your own personal story of how you found out about NI4D and why you support deliberative direct democracy.

I would also like to call your appreciation to a great rebuttal written by Stephen Verbeek to an article recently published in a student newspaper.

Four authors have submitted articles for the journalism contest. We just need one more submission and voting will commence.

Some fascinating articles have been published since last month. Be sure to subscribe to our news aggregator at

Joshua Pritikin
Democracy Foundation Volunteer


SEIA - Sanders/Cohen Bill Would Cover America’s Roofs with Solar

National rebate program would deploy photovoltaic and solar hot water, create tens of thousands of jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today applauded Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) for introducing the 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010. This bill, modeled on California’s Million Solar Roofs initiative, would deploy photovoltaic solar panels on 10 million rooftops nationwide and increase the capacity of solar hot water by 10 million gallons over the course of the next 10 years.
“Senator Sanders and Congressman Cohen have shown true leadership by setting a bold vision for solar installations that will help the U.S. reclaim global leadership in this fast growing industry,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Passing this bill would create the world’s largest market for solar energy here in the U.S. and bring with it tens of thousands of manufacturing and installation jobs in all 50 states. This bill will help lift the U.S. economy at a time when we need it most.  The solar industry is ready now to step up to meet the challenge Senator Sanders and Congressman Cohen have laid out for our country.”
“This bill will help make America energy independent while creating many thousands of good paying jobs in the U.S. It will also help bring long term relief to American homeowners, who otherwise face mounting energy bills. This bill represents a rare legislative opportunity for a win-win-win, and we salute Senator Sanders and Representative Cohen for introducing it,” said Jeff Wolfe, co-founder and CEO of Vermont-based solar distributor, installer, and integrator groSolar and Chairman of SEIA’s Photovoltaic (PV) Division.
“Sharp commends Senator Saunders and Representative Cohen for sponsoring this new legislation which will foster the growth of the U.S. residential solar market,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar. “We are pleased to see Congressman Cohen and the State of Tennessee, where we manufacture our solar modules, lead this effort. Legislation such as this will help make our nation’s energy portfolio more sustainable, create green jobs and help combat climate change, while helping secure energy independence.”
The 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Hot Water Act would provide rebates to residential and commercial property owners to install photovoltaic and solar hot water heating systems. These rebates would help overcome initial cost barriers that have slowed widespread solar adoption, despite 92 percent of the American public agreeing that it is important for the nation to develop and use solar energy.
Background Resources:
SEIA Solar Job Profiles -
National Poll Shows More Than Nine Out of 10 Americans Want Solar Now -
About SEIA:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of solar energy industry. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. 
SEIA Online:
Learn more –
Follow SEIA President & CEO Rhone Resch on Twitter -  

Read the Solar Bill of Rights -


OFA-NH Director Tim Arsenault on Republicans Turning to Wall Street to Fund Campaigns 

Concord, NH – Tim Arsenault, Organizing for America (OFA)-NH State Director, issued the following statement in response to today’s Wall Street Journal article reporting that Republicans are turning to Wall Street to help fund 2010 campaigns: 

 “The news today that Republicans are training their sights on Wall Street is both troubling—and motivating. While all Americans should be concerned by elected leaders looking to Wall Street banks to help fund their campaigns, OFA supporters in particular should see this strategy as yet another reason to continue our work in support of financial reform. 

 “During his first year in office, President Obama—with the support of Organizing for America volunteers across the country—has already taken action on a number of fronts to rein in the excesses of Wall Street—and we’re ramping up to do even more this year. Already, President Obama has made significant moves to curb the unnecessary risk-taking that brought our economy to edge of collapse in the first place, including: working to cap executive compensation and excessive bonuses and imposing fees on the biggest banks to ensure financial institutions who can afford to pay out major CEO bonuses also afford to make taxpayers whole again.

 “It’s time for America to focus on rebuilding Main Street and work to strengthen the middle class by building a foundation for a more prosperous future.  Organizing for America–NH stands ready to do our part in support of President Obama—and we remain more committed than ever to bringing about the change that voters called for in the 2008 elections.”



ALG Condemns House for Raising National Debt by $1.9 Trillion

"No family could sustain itself in such a manner, nor can any nation

which robs from future generations to purchase temporary, illusory prosperity.

It is both immoral and profoundly foolish."—ALG President Bill Wilson

February 4th, 2010—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to increase the national debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion, saying "the American people are under absolutely no obligation to borrow yet more money to pay for Congress' unsustainable level of spending that threatens the nation with true default."

"The obscenity of this vote is nearly limitless," Wilson said, adding, "This is the equivalent of requesting a credit limit increase on a son or daughter's MasterCard to help pay interest — not even pay down the principal — on the family Visa card that is maxed out."

"No family could sustain itself in such a manner, nor can any nation which robs from future generations to purchase temporary, illusory prosperity," Wilson explained.  "It is both immoral and profoundly foolish."

The final vote in favor of the debt increase was 217 to 212. 

"The House has once again voted to kick the can down the road instead of bringing the nation's finances into proper order," Wilson said, adding, "The House has now voted to permanently shackle the American people to a mountain of debt that cannot be paid back, further pushing the nation along the road to financial Armageddon."

Moody's has warned that the United States' Triple-A debt rating could be in jeopardy "if the current upward trend in government debt were to continue and become irreversible."

Barack Obama's proposed 10-year budget will add $10.6 trillion to the national debt, totaling in $25.77 trillion in total debt come 2020.  That averages $1.06 trillion every year added to the nation's debt.

As a result, the nation's Triple-A debt rating "could come under downward pressure," according to Steven A. Hess, senior credit officer at Moody's.

This legislation, H.J. Res. 45, will increase the national debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion to $14.294 trillion when signed by Barack Obama.  House Democrats have said that a failure to pass the debt increase would result in "default."

Wilson earlier today said that was "inaccurate."

"If this bill had failed, the U.S. would not have failed to pay interest on its debt obligations nor to make debt payments," Wilson explained.  "Therefore, the nation was not going to default, unless House Democrats are stipulating that the U.S. actually needs to borrow more money simply to make national debt payments.

"What would have happened if the vote failed is the U.S. would not have been able to borrow any more money for so-called 'mandatory' spending," Wilson added. 

Wilson said that the U.S. was at "considerable risk of default," not from any failure to increase the debt ceiling, but from Congressional "refusal to restrain current exorbitant spending."

"Default will only result because we have increased borrowing to unsustainable levels, which is what increasing the debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion represents," Wilson said, noting that in Barack Obama's proposed 2011 budget, interest paid on the national debt is $251 billion, or 9.7 percent of total projected revenue.

"By 2020," Wilson said, "interest owed on the national debt will more than triple to an unprecedented, unsustainable $840 billion annual cost, or 17.8 percent of total revenue."

"After that, it gets even worse," Wilson warned, predicting that eventually, "simply paying interest on the debt owed will overtake the national budget, to say nothing of ever being able to pay down the principal owed."

The previous national debt limit was currently $12.394 trillion, and that limit was set to be reached by the end of February. 

Wilson noted that the debt increase was tied to so-called "Pay-Go" rules, requiring either tax increases or spending cuts to pay for any increases in spending.  "Since approximately 56.4 percent, or $2.165 trillion, of the 2011 proposed budget is so-called 'mandatory spending,' and 'mandatory spending' will increase by $1.219 trillion to $3.384 trillion in 2020 under Obama's plan, House Democrats have precluded the possibility of ever cutting entitlement spending."

Wilson explained, "Meaning, the House has just voted to increase taxes by at least $1.219 trillion over the next ten years to pay for the unsustainable increases in entitlement spending that will occur every year."

Wilson earlier said there was an alternative: "The only solution to the nation's financial Apocalypse, where Moody's is preparing to downgrade our Triple-A debt rating, is to reduce spending, not to borrow more money."

"Instead," Wilson concluded, "the House chose to bankrupt the nation."



Shea-Porter Announces Nearly $1 Million for New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program at UNH 

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today announced that the New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program at the University of New Hampshire will receive a $977,000 grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.  The New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program leads research projects on water quality, coastal ecosystems, fisheries, and aquaculture projects.