44: ABORTION: While I personally
have not had one and am grateful I was never in a situation where I would have to make such a difficult choice. I staunchly defend a woman's right
to choose what happens to her body. People, who seek to prevent a woman from having an abortion if she makes that decision, have basically decided that
they have the right to force motherhood on her. That to me is akin to slavery. Having been pregnant I can attest to just how much it takes from a body,
and to force that on someone who is not ready for that commitment, let alone the commitment of raising the child, is cruel. To be pregnant is to give up
your body and your life to another person (your baby). If you are not ready, or not in a financial situation to handle this, etc, it can be a
devastating blow from which a woman and her family might never recover. The wonderful part of living in the modern world is that we have the ability to
plan when and if to have a family. Abortion is a tool of last resort in our ability to plan our families, but a necessary one. Planning is central to
financial health. No one has a right to interfere with the decisions that a woman makes on behalf of herself and her family.
See also Essays in My thoughts
Choice is Key
Legalization of Drugs
48: LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS
Legalization only if it includes regulation. Some drugs, like marijuana, should be regulated at the same level that nicotine and alcohol are. Other
currently illegal drugs should be legalized with stricter regulations, such as prescriptions etc. It is cheaper to regulate the to
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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”
Concerns as President
The following are answers to questions about my political interests should I be president (as taken from the American Candidate Questionaire). This was written in 2004
23. IF YOU COULD PASS ANY LAW AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
This is a tie: I would join the International Criminal Court and pass legislation that properly and fully funds our obligations to our veterans. G. Washington was very clear that there were only a few things we needed to do to be successful as a country. 3 of these items involved making good on our commitments to our men (and now women) in uniform.
24. IF YOU COULD REPEAL ANY LAW AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A repeal of the Patriot Act and all the niggly little bits of Patriot Act II that they have inserted into various other bills as of late.
25. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Clean Elections. The oligarchs have too much power over our electoral system. Public financing of elections seems to be an interesting proposal for bringing down the oversized budgets that have become a staple of our system.
26. WHAT, IF ANY, ORGANIZATIONS ARE YOU OPPOSED TO AND WHY?
Religious Fundamentalists of any ilk. The Coalition on Revival scares the crap out of me. I am opposed to any group who seeks to replace our democracy with theocracy. I am also opposed to groups that seek to denigrate our freedoms for political gain.
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.