Among the infinite number of progressive and Soros funded foundations and think tanks, one active effort you may not be familiar with is hard at work, coming up with ways to "reinvent" your world in every aspect. The Reinventors Network, founded and operated by Peter Leyden, hosts roundtable discussions on every subject for reinvention under the sun, from immigration to civil rights to journalism to the Constitution to food control, bringing in some of the biggest progressive activists around. It is not shocking or new that a group on any side of the political spectrum would be brainstorming ideas. What is of concern with this group are the people involved and the actual enacting of these ideas that is already taking place. They plan to rock your world.

Among the many recognizable names who have contributed to this effort, you will find participants that include Janet Murguia (La Raza), Ali Noorani (National Immigration Forum), Garlin Gilchrist II (MoveOn), Anna Galland (MoveOn), Joan Blades (MoveOn), Valerie Plame (ex-CIA), Craig Newmark (craigslist), Joe Trippi, Jose Antonio Vargas (Define American), Lawrence Lessig, Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos), Sophie Roseman (U.S. Treasury Dept.), NASA and many more. You will find some of the same participants had been "network members" at Peter Leyden's former effort, the New Politics Institute, another progressive think tank.

Founder and CEO, Peter Leyden, has had a hand in many major progressive efforts.  From his own online bio:


Peter Leyden is an expert in new technologies and future trends who frequently gives keynote talks and works for innovative organizations out to reinvent fields. Leyden was managing editor at the original Wired Magazine, and worked at Global Business Network, the pioneering think tank on the future. He was founding director of the New Politics Institute helping reinvent politics on the Internet.

To say he is an Obama supporter would be quite an understatement. As he wrote in his piece, "   

Obama's Second Inaugural: Our Moment for Reinvention ":

Obama's Second Inaugural speech was everything I could have asked for, personally, and as the founder of Reinventors and the host of the Reinvent America web series. The last four years was mostly about pulling the country out of a financial and economic crater, and extricating the country from two wars. Obama accomplished a lot beyond that in the first term, but he wasn't able to fully shape his own agenda. He also made mistakes and learned a lot in those four years too.

Now Obama is heading into the next four years with a big, bold, potentially transformative vision. He's ready to roll – and we at Reinventors are ready to roll with him. Let the reinvention begin!

One example of his associations would be his appearance as a featured speaker at the Tides Foundation "Momentum" conference in 2008, where he spoke on new technologies to transform politics. Wade Rathke of ACORN fame commented later on his appearance:

Peter Leyden of Next Agenda underlined from the first day that the Obama internet fundraising model has now tilted the nature of public candidacies away from the rich and corporations to individuals.  I'm not sure this is 100% true, but it certainly is true enough to spend a lot of time thinking about how to duplicate.

Although his NextAgenda website seems to have been abandoned as his efforts continue to take on fresh names, you can still find one of his glowing essays on Obama here, in which he describes the "Obama Moment" in history ushering in the transformation of America. His piece concludes:

I want to be part of that transformation by helping figure out the next agenda, or the next agendas, in the coming year and the years ahead. I feel strongly enough about this to leave my position as director of the New Politics Institute. Three years ago I left the private sector to help start that organization and take on the most pressing challenge of that time: to reverse the overwhelming success of the conservative movement and get progressives winning through use of powerful new tools, new media and new constituencies. I think the most difficult parts of that problem have been solved and just need to be more thoroughly applied. It is time to transition NPI to new leadership that can carry that phase out.

I now want to turn to the next set of challenges on how we can consistently move big ideas and transformative agendas into politics. I have some initial ideas about how new technologies, new media, and some new distributed processes could be brought together to create an intellectual infrastructure that could help open up and enhance a new Obama Washington. I think there are ways to meld the best elements of the old think tank world with the new capabilities of the tech world to help transform the ideas business in DC. I am engaged with others who are applying themselves in this space. Something is bound to come of it. Stay connected and we'll all figure it out. Bring on the Obama Moment.

Although his previous efforts like the New Politics Institute and NextAgenda appear inactive, his dedication to reinventing the world beginning with San Francisco is apparently alive and well. This February, he will be appearing at San Fran's Commonwealth Club to speak on the reinvention in a talk titled "Bay Area: Ground Zero for the Reinvention of America." Judging from the number of reinventors found on his site, it looks like he has a lot of powerful company.

Although their "reinventor" language might seem very innovative and contemporary, it seems that Al Gore has been actively working towards reinvention for decades. In the 90's, reinventing government was the focus of his National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR), even using the same "roundtable" language as Leyden.

The Eagle Forum posted a piece giving an example of Al Gore's reinvention ideas. This particular idea fast tracked aliens through the INS to create new voters. Sound familiar?

The claim that Al Gore invented the internet has been a favorite target of political jokes, but Al Gore's role in "reinventing" the INS is no laughing matter. He was a driving force behind the perversion of Immigration and Naturalization Service procedures in order to "invent" a million votes for Clinton-Gore in November 1996.

Al Gore was the Administration's point man in charge of the plan developed in early 1996 to put a million aliens on the fast track to citizenship even if they didn't qualify and even if they had criminal records. Gore was responsible for keeping the pressure on INS to make sure the aliens were naturalized by September 1, the last day to register for the presidential election.

Coincidentally, Al Gore has the same emphasis on the use of digital tools/technology in making this nonviolent revolution happen, which is just the message we are hearing from Peter Leyden. They both have the same close association with Joel Hyatt (CFR member, politician, former board member at Brookings Institute among other things), who founded Current (TV) Media with Gore and co-authored a book with Leyden. Seems they do have everyone on the same page.

Don't discount this as just another think tank. In Part Two, we will illustrate how some of their roundtable ideas are already in action and what they have in store for you.

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