Empathy Surplus Project

A Caring Citizens' Congress Federation.

Summer Fellowship Deadline May 20, 2016

Are you looking for educational opportunities that can help you integrate your current field of study with building trust for better public governance? Perhaps you are part of the engaged millennial generation energized by the current presidential election.  

The Empathy Surplus Project Fellowship is new and provides undergraduates and post-graduate students a hands on opportunity to integrate their current field of study with hands on application of applying the latest insights of the brain to how to become an effective caring citizen. This is our first fellowship position and it has two components.

The first component is designed for someone already fluent in website design who can help us transition our current two websites to cheaper platforms. The second component involves participating with our current member organization, the Caring Citizens’ Congress of Wilmington, OH, as well as learn from our culture change strategist, Joe Brewer. The fellow can join us either physically because the fellow lives in Wilmington, or via Google hangout because the fellow lives somewhere else.

Provided with a modest honorarium of $30/week the fellowship is ideally suited for someone already working during their Summer break, and is looking for a way to make their personal caring citizenship more effective. Fellows are invited to participate in our community of practice and begin to think about how to align their particular field of study around ten principles of human rights, labor, environment, or anti-corruption AND apply that knowledge in their sphere of influence to make local government more effective in protecting the necessities we all need. 

This first fellowship is from June 1 through August 31, 2016, and is made possible by the generous contributions of Monthly Freedom Investors. 

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America Wants Caring Political Leaders

IMG_3094_-_Version_2.JPGThe following article by George Lakoff was originally titled "Why Trump." It is published with permission from the author and also appeared in Evonomics.

The author is sometime advisor to the Empathy Surplus Project, a startup federation of Caring Citizens' Congresses. A Caring Citizens' Congress is a neighborhood think-and-do-tank and community of practice. We are dedicated to being a place for members of the local GOP and Democratic Parties, who believe empathy and responsibility to self and others are core governing principles can cooperate. We want to get stronger in articulating the core American values of care and responsibility in our respective parties. We also believe we can cooperate as Americans expect us to on things like advancing healthcare human rights or building a caring economy. But first, together, we need to build trust in our personal spheres of influence for more effective government.

Consider the following new five caring ideas:

  • Stronger America - Isn't it time to drop the failed idea that a "stronger military" will solve the world's problems and consider strength could mean stronger individual Americans and stronger allies in addition to a strong defense.
  • Broader Prosperity - Isn't it time to drop the failed idea of a market free from any care or responsibility to anyone other than an unethical corporation's bottom line? 
  • Better Future - Isn't it time to drop the failed idea that America should only invest in unethical corporations versus its own citizens. Without public works for the public good, we can't have a better future.
  • Effective Government - Isn't it time to stop trying to "drown public government" in a bathtub by undermining it? Isn't it time we make public government effective?
  • Mutual Responsibility - Isn't it time we all agree that personal responsibility is a good thing AND without responsibility TO others in public government we're not exceptional, we're a fraud? We, the people, must protect and empower one another or we're not fit to be called a caring citizen, much less, an American.


If this resonates with you, consider being our guest. Readers who would like to visit us via Google Hangout during one of our peaceable assemblies should contact Chuck Watts at chuck.watts@empathysurplus.com. Twenty-nine percent of our membership is currently Republican; 14 percent unaffiliated; and the rest Democratic Party members. Can't visit, but want to support our efforts? Become a Monthly Freedom Investor.

Now, here is George Lakoff's latest blog piece on the popularity of Donald Trump.

Why Trump?

Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Progressives in both parties have little understanding of why he is winning — and winning handily, and even many Republicans don’t see him as a Republican and are trying to stop him, but don’t know how. There are various theories: People are angry and he speaks to their anger. People don’t think much of Congress and want a non-politician. Both may be true. But why? What are the details? And Why Trump?

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Ford Went Further. Thank you.

url.jpgFord Drops ALEC

I felt all warm and happy when I got the news this week that Ford Motor Company, fellow US Network Global Compact member, had dropped their membership in ALEC, which should stand for “Altered Legislatures Equals Corruption.” Thank you Ford Motor Company. Ford owners and dealers everywhere should be proud.

“As part of our annual budget review in 2015, we adjusted our participation in several groups. We will not be participating in ALEC in 2016,”

a spokesperson for the car company confirmed to the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch and Talking Points Memo. In its most recent Communication on Progress to the Global Compact, Ford wrote,

“We also work cooperatively with the public and private sectors to advance climate change solutions. We are taking a holistic approach to the issue, recognizing that it affects all parts of our business and is interconnected with other important issues, from water availability and energy security to human rights.”

Ford joins 108 other corporations that are cutting their ties to ALEC that should stand for Altered Legislatures Equals Corruption. Among other well-know companies that cut their ties are Google, McDonalds, and Proctor and Gamble. Calling its membership a “mistake,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt told NPR's Diane Rehm that ALEC climate deniers were

"making the world a much worse place… they're just literally lying.” 

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Thank You Monthly Freedom Investors

Joe-Brewer-2.jpgForty percent of recurring revenue to the Empathy Surplus Project goes to training. There is a training component to every weekly peaceable assembly our dues paying members of Caring Citizens’ Congresses and their guests attend to help us find simple ways to change our sphere of influence and build an empathy surplus. That culture change training is being upgraded beginning in February 2016, thanks to the increased revenue to one of our consultants, Joe Brewer, culture change strategist. Here's a short training video from Joe about New Year's Resolutions to introduce you to Joe.

So what changed so that Joe can spend an hour a month with us? Two things.


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This Is Why I Say Poverty Is Created


The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals do not question the role of human agendas and politics in the rise and spread of poverty

It has become a truism that the word “natural” should no longer be attached to disasters. We are living in the Anthropocene and these are human creations. This is the thought running through my head as I read George Monbiot’s riveting coverage of the fires in Indonesia. He clearly documents that this massive environmental calamity is the direct result of land use policies, fascist regimes and corporate exploitation of natural resources – all of which displace local peoples and create widespread human suffering.

The same is true for poverty.

We never hear how poverty is created.  There is a lot of talk about how itrises and falls, that people get trapped in it, that it is in need of eradication. But no one says who created it. We don’t hear anything about the role of human agendas and work guided by political institutions in the rise and spread of mass poverty throughout the modern era.


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Caring Economy Resolution

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Senator Rob Portman and Clean Water

images-1.jpgSen. Rob Portman should be applauded for his efforts to advance healthcare human rights and protect fresh bodies of water like Lake Erie (Victory for Ohio’s waterways, August 10, 2015). After all, clean water is a human right and a public health necessity.

If he’s truly concerned about protecting the water sources we all rely on, there’s another step he can take - work to defeat the Dirty Water Protection Act, now under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Privateer corporations and their accomplices in the Senate, of course, are not calling their act Dirty Water Protection, but that’s what it is. Their so-called Federal Water Quality Protection bill would actually block the EPA’s recent Clean Water Rule, gutting the Clean Water Act, designed to protect rain-dependent and seasonal streams from dumping by privateer corporations.

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Civil Society Consultation on the United States of America’s Second Universal Periodic Review U.S. State Department


Chuck Watts presented this testimony at the Town Hall Meeting, Monday, July 20, 2015, at the US State Department Marshall Building, Washington, DC, and is a member of the Health Working Group

Concerning healthcare human rights, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of chartering the UN in 1945, by 50 Rotarians in San Francisco. The Empathy Surplus Project is an emerging federation of neighborhood organizations modeled after Rotary International called Caring Citizens’ Congresses dedicated to expanding freedom and fairness for all. The Empathy Surplus Project has two policy directions: (1) Change the US legal metaphor of healthcare from a product to a human right; and (2) Change the US metaphor of our economy from competition to cooperation. To expand freedom and fairness for all, caring citizens must, in their ethical businesses, create a caring economy that maintains a caring society. Freedom expansion is a moral imperative and the strategic reason we need more empathy.

We strongly support, without reservation, Cuba’s human rights recommendation 5.314, which states: “Guarantee the right by all residents in the country to adequate housing, food, health and education, with the aim of decreasing poverty, which affects 48 millions of people in the country.” 

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The Morality of Debt

Prepared by Joe Brewer, Culture Designer

Focus of This Report - - Exploring the "Cycles of Debt"

At the heart of our critique of the current system is the observation that morality is used to make those who suffer from global inequality complicit in maintaining the status quo. We are taught that it is wrong to take from others without giving back something of equal or greater value in return.

This simple notion of situational ethics is the prison that keeps billions of people locked in cycles of debt—a self-induced oppression that each of us places ourselves in every time we accept the “common sense” of debt morality.

In this weekly report, I want to explore the morality of debt to inform how we approach the World Bank, IMF, international trade agreements, and the role of the nation state in setting up and maintaining exploitative systems of financial power. The approach we will take is to treat the sentiment that repaying debts is a moral good as a meme that has “won” in the battlefield of ideas.

The memetic strategy I propose we take is to (a) deconstruct the semantic frames around debt morality in order to (b) better understand how the psychology of self-critique keeps us locked into systems of oppression and then (c) discover ways to break the cycle of social norms that perpetuate this condition among oppressed people around the world.

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U.S. Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

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