Pat for Commisar! (2008)
This is an attempt to build a platform based on my present values that would resemble a party platform or a candidate's platform for a presidential election. It is in some ways more moderate than my politics, representing the beginnings of a transition towards socialism rather than something closer to a reached goal.
It was written in a short period of time following 4 July 2008, and is structured after an earlier document. Issues are largely in alphabetical order.
- Take power away from states, shrink state government
- Promote university counsel in government
- Preserve and protect society from harm
Abortion and Birth Control
Abortion and Birth Control are naturally contentious issues that are theoretically orthoganal to most other political issues (only political Christianity, with its being a faction of the Republican party of the USA, binds a storng position to each party in American politics). My position on it derives from an idea that sentience is the basis on which societal obligations are created, and thus the development of sentience as definitional for what it means for a life to be morally significant. I am comfortable with the simplification that the beginning of the third trimester, based on development of the brain, is considered a dividing line for whether an embryo has moral weight.
- Abortion is legal and government-funded for the first and second trimesters
- Abortion is banned for the third trimester except in cases where the mother's health is seriously endangered
- Free pregnancy tests and abortion at other times
- Free birth control to all citizens
- Sex ed taught nationwide
Excessive "each man is an island"-type thinking is wasteful to the economy, and corporations enjoy too favourable a legal environment. Responsible management of the economy can both increase efficiency of resource usage and limit predatory action by corporations.
- Communal areas in cities should not be rare, and non-structured social activities (gatherings for music, tables for chess/tea/etc) should be one of the goals in designing such spaces.
- Legal mechanisms for community property should be established, and neighbourhood collective property should be promoted
- Reliable mass-transit systems must be developed on a scale that not owning a car is not a significant detriment to most people. These systems must be entirely supported through general taxes (meaning no fares for riders), run 24 hours in all major cities, cover the city well enough that people do not need to walk an unreasonable distance to reach a board point, and run frequently and with enough capacity that people do not need to wait long to either board the system or reach their destinations
- Cities should recieve incentives to ban cars
- Cities need an "eminent domain"-like ability to absorb nearby counties/townships/etc that act as tax shelters
- Tax law should strongly favour small businesses over larger ones, and cities/towns should have the ability to discriminate against corporate chains and deny them the ability to buy property in their bounds
- A flexible range of taxes should be assigned to corporations based on how well they are scored on some set of flexible criteria for societal friendliness
- Military spending should be cut, with forces reduced
- Recreate estate tax, agressively tax to end family dynasties
- Legalise marriage between any two people of consenting age and competency that desire it
- Affirmative action should be preserved on a limited basis in industries and areas that need it - this serves to combat "Good Ol Boys" networks. Ending Affirmative Action is a long term goal, not a short-term one.
- All state ties to religion (e.g. Congressional Chaplain, Military Chaplains, faith-based programmes) are unacceptable and shall be abolished.
- Reasonable effort should be made to accomodate non-English languages in areas where other languages are spoken. A focus on Spanish in particular is important in the American South, and the Spanish language should be a mandatory school subject for several years in any area with a sufficiently large Spanish-speaking population, as in those areas bilingualism is a fact of life.
- Racial profiling may statistically make sense, but its negative social cost is too great. It is less harmful to society to live with reduced efficiency in policing than to have what amounts to racial discrimination (even if statistically justifiably) by the state.
- Amerindians must choose, on a per-tribe basis, between citizenship for its members and subnational status. Those that choose citizenship retain no tribal privileges after transition, putting an end to any treaty-provisions. Those that choose subnation status have their tribe granted nearly full autonomy with their tribal lands treated as an effectively separate nation in most areas, but their members lose their American citizenship.
- No race, sex, or people may have special legal privilege, corporations may not discriminate based on these or many other matters, and nonincorporated entities, especially depending on their funding, have some limits as well placed on discrimination. The concept of "freedom of association" is overly applied and needs its application narrowed
- The US Military needs to be restructured to bring it in line with modern norms of discrimination, treatment, and values in culture.
The birth of corporations introduced to the world entities less limited by human concerns and bound to seek profit at all costs out of duty to their shareholders. This needs to change. Corporations were initially created to serve the public good, and they must be held tightly to that purpose.
- More review must be given before corporations are approved
- Corporations must not take part in politics, nor hire lobbyists
- The public should have the right to attend shareholder meetings of all corporations that are based in the United States. Corporations based elsewhere should pay a significant tax and still be open to public input or shall not operate in the United States
- Accountability to public morals shall be enforced on corporations both through threat of disincorporation and through differential tax rates based on behaviour. A class of tax laws, driven directly by the public (not representatives) and renewed every four years, shall be created for this purpose.
- Ties between the state and corporations must be more visible to the general public
- Corporations must be stripped of protections they have gained through traditions of corporate personhood, including free speech, free association, etc. Cities/Towns have the explicit ability to as a group boycott a corporaton and prevent it from owning land or operating within their borders
- Basing production in regions with inadequate labour and environmental provisions is not permitted
- Limit executive-employee pay disparity
- End use of eminent domain for corporate purposes
- Size and lifetime limits should exist for corporations
Handling of crime should focus more strongly on the "guilty mind", and post-apprehension more of a focus should be paid to rehabilitation
- Minimal sentences for crimes of necessity
- Moratorium on death penalty until racial and other prejudice issues are addressed
- Incorporate public service into sentencing when no flight risk and productive. This may at most reduce sentences to half of their normal length
- Prisons need to be restructured to prevent growth of "prison culture" as well as end atmosphere of bribery. Smuggling of items in/out of prisons must be prevented
- No private prisons
- Prostitution should not be crimes, and a number of currently proscribed drugs should be legalised, on a basis of public health and respect for individual autonomy.
Our educational system is failing in many areas and cities. This is unacceptable. The alternatives to public schools serve to exacerbate the problem.
- Public schooling is mandatory up to 12th grade level, and no alternatives are acceptable. Home and religious schooling may at most serve as a supplement to attendance at public schools. Private schools shall be incorporated into the public school system or disbanded.
- Public schools are secular in nature, with no prayer, chaplains, or religious personnel in employ of the system
- Theology is covered as a descriptive, not a prescriptive topic, covering many faiths. For this topic alone, if a school chooses it may permit members of various faiths present their views as a small part of the curriculum. If it permits this, it should do it broadly.
- Education is run and funded federally, equal funds across the entire nation
- Pay for teachers, funding for schools increased
- Secular, accredited Universities may apply to manage content for nearby public schools
- Teach values in civics class
- Bring school days up to European standards
- Encourage exchange of teachers with those from other parts of world
- Ban corporate involvement in schools (from TV programmes to advertisers)
- Junk food in schools is not permitted (including soda machines)
- Fund 1-year foreign exchange programmes
- Problem students are sent to funded boarding schools
Energy and Oil
Much of our petrol problem is caused by inefficient use of these resources as well as stifling IP laws.
- Mandatory licensing or nullification of patents that block energy efficiency
- Construct and maintain effective public transit across the nation
- Complete ban on SUVs
- High gas taxes
- Encourage cities to ban/limit cars
- Strengthen the EPA
- End commercial logging in national forests
- Use Eminent Domain to acquire ecologically sensitive sites from those that threaten them
- Market values are not social values - do not trust corporations to protect the environment
- Protect whistleblowers
- Revoke corporate charters over flagrant environment abuse
- Enter appropriate international environmental treaties
America's foreign policy has long been unprincipled, aiming more to enrich itself than for universal principles. This should change.
- Support and work within the framework of the United Nations when possible
- Normalise relations with Cuba, North Korea, Iran
- Recognise Taiwan as nation, maneuver China to recognise it as such
- Involvement in foreign wars must not profit American business interests. Similarly, American business interests should not be considered the same as American foreign policy interests
- Theocracy is a trend to fight passively in the world - where it exists solidly, accept and work with it but permit no new theocracies to be established
- Permit state referendums (66% supermajority required to win) for Hawai'i and Alaska on independence, once every ten years given a petition with 5% of voting-eligible persons
- Close the School of the Americas
Free trade is as much of a problem for humanity as corporations are, and for many of the same reasons
- End NAFTA, GATT
- Economy must balance human values, treaties and administration must reflect that
- State government should be very limited, move most power to city and federal level
- Remove corporations from government influence and apparatus
- Government sets the stage for markets, it does not play the market or use it for its other ends
- Election day is national "holiday" to make it easier for people to vote
- Reform electoral system, legislative system from a multitier winner-takes-all system into a flat coalition system
- All laws must be public, must not incorporate private material by reference, and must be freely downloadable over the internet
- I have no opinion on this issue
The lack of a national health care system in the United States harms its citizens. Private health care systems bilk their users out of concern for profit, and as a consequence Americans have poor medical care on average.
- Nationalise health care, using tax revenues to pay for most medical costs for Americans
- This care should include preventative care/advice
- Government-funded anti-obesity and anti-smoking campaigns - prohibiting these things is not acceptable due to our respect for autonomy, but their cost to society should not be ignored
- Strengthen "living will" observance
- Grant bounties for effective drugs and treatments, not patents
- Sabotage/attacks in America stems primarily from intervention in other countries affairs, often for economic reasons. A more principled foreign policy would make the issue less pressing
- Focus on special ops and agents
- Filter potential immigrants for religious fundamentalism
- Immigration must be part of "rule of law" - illegal immigration is not acceptable
- Limited citizenship (no voting) comes through naturalization
- Full citizenship comes from being born in the United States
- Aim for agreement on permanent residency privilege exchanges with Europe
- Eventually aim for agreement on permanent residency privilege exchanges with Central and South America when and as political and economic situations make prudent
- End intellectual property, withdraw from WIPO
- R&D tax credit
- Internet access is a utility, basic (DSL and/or wireless) package should be subsidised by taxes and free or nearly so
- Strengthen rules against media consolidation
- End FCC list of dirty words
- Implement standard cellphone technologies, coordinate with Europe
- Government IT and technical must promote open technical standards
- Promote through tax structure other forms of legal economic entities to strengthen society, e.g. a commune
- Tax non-monetary job perks
- Unemployment needs to move from being a handout to a path towards employment
- Community bulletin-boards should be established across the nation both as a forum for local activity and jobseeking
Principles and Values
- Economic health is not the only measure of health of a nation
- People share too little, in doing so wasting resources and avoiding personal interaction
- Free markets corrupt far more efficiently than government
- Religion has no place in government
- Honour existing commitments
- Scale back future commitments if needed
- Do not privatise
- Restore estate tax
- End child credits
- Introduce increasingly heavy child penalty past three children
- Simplify tax code by eliminating loopholes and special cases, even when they make sense considered individually - complexity-cost
- Prevent dynasties of wealth
- Tax wealth as well as income
Welfare and Poverty
- Rearrange legal structures to discourage landlords and encourage land ownership
- Fund social work, especially job training and placement
- Hire the unemployed to build infrastructure
- For those willing to and able to work, guarantee personal tube apartments (as in Japan's tube hotels) and three meals
- Nationwide ban on pandhandling
- Do not provide any government funding to religious charities