Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Political Views, 2008

With this year being an election year and the first open race since the 60’s, many friends and family are asking me where I stand on the current issues and who is my favorite candidate. I wanted to a take a few lines to outline my political stance here –

1) Foreign Policy – immediate and total military withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign sovereign nations unless specifically asked to be there. We would return to a state of neutrality, stop our “nation building”, and stop sticking our unwanted noses in other countries. I would abolish NATO, too. In other words, the only place I see we need US soldiers is in the US. I would cease giving any money to any country (especially Israel, China, etc). I would not sell military weapons or technology to anyone either. Attack global poverty as the root cause of terrorism and unrest.

2) Healthcare – Universal, single-player, not for profit system where everyone is covered, everyone gets treatment regardless of economic status, race, age, nationality or citizenship. Eliminate Medicare & Medicaid and insurance companies. The money saved from the reduction of the military should easily pay for this. I would also create incentives for healthy living by providing cheaper fresher foods to the poor, putting physical education back into our schools, etc. I might even give free gym memberships to every adult over 18. Cap frivolous lawsuits and malpractice. Planned Parenthood and Family Planning will get increased funds. I am not saying the government will fund abortions, just sex education, birth control. Abortion will remain legal. Cover yoga or other health classes, massage therapy and acupuncture with national insurance.

3) Economy – Abolish current income tax system and establish a single rate, consumer based sales tax, called a fair tax. Probably be about 25 cents to every dollar spent. This would be Federal and State. Revenue would be divided by population. Goods and services will get taxed but not food. I would break ties with NAFTA and the WTO, nationalized energy sources such as electricity and natural gas. I would bring our jobs back to the US by banning the production of US goods outside the US, eliminate all farm subsidies, give incentives to small businesses and farms, and fight to limit large corporations and break up monopolies. I would also re-establish the CCC or something similar to stimulate job creations and tackle some of the many public works projects this country needs – the repair and maintenance of National Parks, our interstate system and our power grid to name a few. The work week would be reduced to 35 hours a week and minimum paid vacation would be increased to 4 weeks a year. I would increase minimum wage to at least $9/hour.

4) Immigration - I would also put in place a system of fast tracking immigrants that are already in the US to citizenship but put that burden (and cost) onto the immigrant or their employer. I would then increase border patrol and give them increased technologies to fight but would never support a wall or fence.

5) Social Security – privatize it with governmental oversight.

6) Gay marriage – legalized and officially recognized.

7) Nuclear Energy – eliminate all nuclear warheads and nuclear factories by 2020.

8) Gun control – pistols and rifles only. All automatic and semi-automatic weapons are banned.

9) Democracy – eliminate the Electoral College altogether and make elections multi-party elections. Ballots will be paper and must be signed by the voter. Eliminate computer voter machines. Roll back many of the provisions of the Patriot Act and return to a society that has more civil liberties than it does restrictions. Eliminate campaign financing altogether. A public fund will be made available for those wishing to run but no private money will be taken by candidates or officials. Supreme Court justices will have a limited 8 year term, not a lifetime appointment. Limit Senators and Representatives to 3 terms of 3 years each. No lifetime appointments or unlimited re-elections for any position in the government. Move all the primaries and caucuses to a 3 week window in March.

10) Environment – set a cap on the # of gasoline automobiles created in and imported into the United States. Set a 60 mph fuel efficiency standard for all cars by 2015. Invest heavily in the creation of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Invest heavily in the development of energy efficient products. Start setting up solar panel fields in the deserts to feed our energy needs. All government vehicles will be biodiesel or electric. Make public transportation free. Stop the unnecessary subsidies to the airline companies. Promote telecommuting and working from home. Phase out coal and coal mining. Set goals of reducing US oil consumption by 75% in 30 years. Stop logging altogether on national forest land and find alternative building materials for housing and construction. Logging on private land is acceptable. Allow hemp to be the primary product for paper production. Create new wilderness and national park areas. Set a goal of 30% of all US territory to be protected and left in natural state. Un-dam every river in the US. Fines for heavy carbon production or environmental pollution. Increase power of EPA. Genetically modified foods will be banned. Heavy investment in sustainable technologies and small farms. Open spaces along the interstates and in some public areas will be dedicated to community gardens and feeding the homeless gardens where all food produced will got to shelters, orphanages, etc.

11) Education – all public education from pre-K to Bachelor’s degree will be free. There will be school uniforms. More after school programs and targeted programs for at-risk youth. Sex education and evolution will be mandatory curriculum by the 6th grade. Increase funding for Head Start. Eliminate No Child Left Behind. Bring back PE, Arts & Music into public education. Create more Charter schools and increase availability to alternative private schools such as Waldorf & Montessori. Eliminate vouchers or forced busing. You go to the school that’s closet to you, unless you want to pay for a private school. Pay teachers 25-33% more than they make currently.

12) Impeach George W. Bush & Dick Cheney and send him to the International Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity.

There is plenty I’m not talking about and I haven’t really even thought through all the details or consequences. This is just a 30 minute off the top of my head monologue.

The only candidate that really resonates with me currently is Denis Kucinich. Now unfortunately, he is not getting the media attention or traction that I hoped he would. Be that as it may, I will vote for him in the Oregon primaries (which are very late in the game and basically meaningless). There are aspects of others I like, such as Ron Paul wanting to withdraw from Iraq and abolish the IRS but when it comes to the November election, if it is between Hillary and Obama, I’m voting for Obama.

That’s it in a nutshell. I’m a progressive, populist, some would say socialist loon, definitely not in touch with reality and I’m positive you will find plenty to flaw in my thoughts. But that’s why I typically don’t talk politics with anyone anyway.


peacelover said...

I'm pretty much sure that we have been singing the same song all of your life... Whatever your vantage point, I'm seeing things thru the same portal. Your ability to convey your ideas and use the written word to accompany your amazing fotos is a major gift. Thanks for being you in the world..... whenever I think all is lost, I remember that you are out there "being" and I take in a breath of hope. You and your precious Leigh are loved and missed.... Bonnie

shadooks said...

Run for office! You've got the liberal outlook and the southern street cred.

Oh, and you should go Obama in the primary. This could be a delegate convention for the first time in our life, and every one could matter, late or not late.

sangport said...

You really are the family "Hippie." We all just played at it but you live it. I love that about you! But I'd like to think you got your "you do what's right because it IS the right thing to do" attitude from those of us who went before - - -
Remember your Grandpa's funeral - "To Thine Own Self Be True."