My Five Most
Important Campaign Promises (from the American Candidate questionaire (2004))
60: PLEASE LIST YOUR FIVE MOST IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN
(i) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO: Uphold the wall of separation between church and state, which is essential to maintain our freedom of
religion or belief.
(ii) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Engage America in the global community and regain our position as a leader in
creating a peaceful and just society.
(iii) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Send important treaties to the senate for ratification. For far too
long we have signed international treaties and not encouraged our congress to ratify them. Some of these are important and by not ratifying these
treaties, we loose our ability to influence global politics. My first priority will be the ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of
(iv) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Find a solution to the health care crisis Americans are facing. We need to figure out how to
fulfill the promise of Health Care as a Human Right will maintaining the innovation that comes from health care being a commodity. This is one of the
most important issues facing our country and so far, we have not been able to come up with an effective solution.
(v) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE
Re-instate environmental protections that this administration took away and fully fund the EPA enforcement of existing regulations and give
them back their autonomy they need in order to properly protect Americans from environmental hazards.
Nothing is certain but
death and taxes. Theoretically, there is an optimal level of taxes that maximizes revenues, and minimizes the negative effects that taxes have, by
creating a disincentive to creating wealth. The conservative argument is that taxes are too high, thus creating a disincentive and therefore should be
cut. I believe that taxes are currently too low and need to be raised slightly. We had a progressive tax system but are in the process of reverting to a
regressive system. Our society can easily tolerate increased taxes on the wealthiest members of society (and prominent individuals in this tax group
have indicated that they don't mind paying more). Having myself been in several different tax brackets, I can honestly say that I don't mind
paying the higher taxes as my income level rises. It has been much easier for me to pay higher taxes and still have better quality of life as my income
level has risen. It is when I was poorest that I could not afford to pay taxes. I am thrilled to pay my taxes and to be in a higher bracket. Some of our
most prominent individuals in the highest tax bracket have said that we should not cut their taxes as they can easily afford to pay, and that a tax
break to them does not provide an additional incentive to spend more to move the economy, since they are already spending their capacity to consume.
The Middle East
58: THE MIDDLE EAST:
There is a very interesting essay available on the UN website that does a great job of describing the history of the conflict going all the way back to
pre-WWI. This accurate background information is essential for anyone thinking about creating a workable solution. Unfortunately our policy towards the
Middle East has been based on misinformation, and a complete unwillingness to understand the valid concerns of the Palestinians. I am in favor of a
single state solution. This state would have the accepted international boundaries set up by the British protectorate. It would be a secular state, with
secular courts. A 2-state solution, and or any solution that does not involve making a secular state will not be able to end the violence. The problem
is that any non-Jew in Israel as a Jewish state is by definition a second-class citizen. Same with any non-Muslim in a Muslim Palestinian state. It is
impossible to have a just society when people are discriminated against, and a state that practices discrimination of any kind (including religious)
should expect violence for the people being discriminated against. And, it is this religious discrimination on the part of the Zionists that is the root
cause of this problem.
Continue reading “The Middle East”
57: WELFARE: Necessary to prevent food
riots. Food riots are bad for the economy. A reading of Das Kapital makes it clear that the main flaw with unrestrained Capitalism is that in downturns,
the suffering of the proletariat is immense. By having a mixed economy (Capitalism with socialist elements), we have been able to improve our quality of
live and simultaneously reduce suffering. The big question for me is not which is better, but what is the proper mix.
War in Iraq
56: WAR IN IRAQ: It was clear
from the get go that the Bush administration was lying about their reasons to go to war. It was equally clear that the opposition to the war was
disingenuous. I was squarely on the fence on this one. I didn't like being lied to, but I don't approve of a philosophy that said. "We
don't need to go to IRAQ because we are not in immediate danger." In the meantime, the people of IRAQ were living under an incredibly brutal
regime, the likes of which had not been seen since Hitler. The massive environmental damage that was caused by the draining of the swamp alone was
worthy of international intervention, let alone the cultural loss of a 10,000 year-old civilization that was still living in the swamps. I think that
there are good strategic reasons why we went in to IRAQ, and it upsets me that we lost the public relations battle because this administration is so
fond of lying that they lied when they didn't have to.
See essay to understand Jen's plan to deal with the current situation in Iraq
(ie: the quagmire):
War on Terror
55: WAR ON TERRORISM: This
is unfortunately very necessary. The problem however, is not a physical war, but a war of the mind. Religious Fundamentalism of any kind (Muslim,
Jewish, Hindu, Christian, etc) is dangerous. We need to teach people to think critically about religious claims so that they are less susceptible to the
lies told by fundies about the nature of their religion, what god wants, etc. Since terrorism is a criminal act, it should be dealt with as a criminal
matter. Our world institutions are not currently sufficient to deal with this type of criminal activity effectively. We can deal with it, internally in
our own country, but inter-country terrorism must be dealt with by a global police force. The UN is inadequate to the task because the laws are only
enforced by majority vote of the Security Council, and that makes enforcement subjective instead of objective. And, whenever that happens, justice is
impossible. This is exactly why the US action against IRAQ was controversial. Certain countries had financial interests that got in the way of them
voting to enforce their own laws.
54: SOCIAL SECURITY: Since bread riots are bad for the economy, it is important and necessary to a properly
functioning capitalist system to have a safety net so that people do not get so desperate that they riot. And, since we the people have a vested
interest in not letting people suffer on the scale that they would suffer without a social safety net, it is an appropriate role for the government to
pool our funds and administer this program for the good of all.
53: EDUCATION: A proper education
is necessary for a democracy to function smoothly. People must have enough training to understand issues and to have some ability to discern between
competing claims. Additionally, children have a right to an education as the International Convention on the Rights of the Child requires, and so, it is
an appropriate role for government to pool the public resources and provide a free education to all the children of America. This education must be
secular in nature, and religious education should be kept as a private matter. We have enough experience to know that when government does not provide a
public education, religion will. Religious educations are by nature divisive to a society. The worst example of this is Pakistan. Turkey on the other
hand is a shining example of how a society can become peaceful just by instituting mandatory secular education. This is not a matter of not allowing
religious instruction. On the contrary, people must be free to practice their religion and that includes religious instruction. It is just that people
in society need to be taught and encouraged to see themselves as connected and as part of a greater whole if they are to transcend their differences.
The only venue for such instruction is a secular school since religious schools have a different agenda entirely, which is fine, we just need to make
sure that people are taught a shared larger society picture as well.
52: THE ECONOMY: Read Das
Kapital: from Marx and "The Road to Serfdom" by FA Hayuk, add "The Mystery of Capital" by Desoto, and you will know exactly how I
think an economy should be run. Additionally, I believe that the markets and business environment in this country react to tone set by the
CEO/President. If the president is optimistic, the market is. If the president is pessimistic (as W is), the markets are
See book in progress – dialectic between Marx and Hayek
For a preview – see essay:
51: THE ENVIRONMENT: A
healthy environment is necessary to human health. We cannot be separated from the ecosystem that supports us, and like all organisms, by living, we make
our habitat uninhabitable. However, because we are humans and have the capacity and the unique ability to alter our environment and if we put our mind
to it, we will be able to beat the system so to speak. This will only be accomplished if the majority of the humans agree that it is necessary for our
survival and therefore an economic necessity. Belief systems that deny evolution, and think that god favors humans above other species (ie: human
superiority), are the main problem in moving forward with true environmental reform.