More Insight

Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 Policies We Can All* Agree On

YES we can


ECONOMY

  • Repair and rebuild neglected bridges, railroads, schools, and other infrastructure, designing for climate change & a post-petroleum world.
  • Extend unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Provide tax relief to middle- and low-income families, and reinstate fair taxes on high-wealth individuals and corporate profits.
  • Adopt the Employee Free Choice Act to increase opportunities to unionize.

*
67% Favor public works projects to create jobs.

55% Favor expanding unemployment benefits.

73% Say corporations don’t pay a fair share of taxes.

76% Support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.

71% Say unions help their members;

53% Say unions help the economy in general.


[sources]


FAMILIES



  • Make the minimum wage a “living wage” adequate to keep working families out of poverty.
  • Provide everyone vacation and family leave.
  • Provide gay and lesbian couples with the legal protections afforded to straight couples.
  • Make bankruptcy and foreclosure laws protect families first, not predatory lenders.
*
80% Support increasing the federal minimum wage.

59% Favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.

75% Want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.

64% Are not confident that life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.

65% Believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions.


[sources]


CONSTITUTION

  • Fully restore habeas corpus for all people in U.S. custody.
  • Protect our right to privacy and freedom from warrantless search and seizure.
  • Keep the internet free of corporate and government censorship and obstruction. Protect “net neutrality.”
  • Restore the balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

*
70% Support restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo.

58% Believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.

59% Would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.

68% Believe the president should not act alone to fight terrorism without the checks and balances of the courts or Congress.



[sources]



ENERGY & CLIMATE


*
79% Favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.

76% Believe that oil is running out and a major effort is needed to replace it.

90% Favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.

75% Favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.

72% Support more funding for mass transit.



[sources]



HEALTH CARE



  • Offer all Americans the option of joining a single-payer national health insurance program, paid for with tax dollars.
  • Break the drug companies’ monopoly and lower drug prices by allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs abroad.

*
73% Believe our health care system is in crisis or has “major problems.”

64% Believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.

55% Favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.

69% Believe the government should make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries.



[sources]


FOREIGN RELATIONS

  • Lead a global effort to abolish nuclear weapons.
  • Rule out unilateral attacks, deploying weapons in space, and torture.
  • Phase out U.S. role as global police, and instead work through the U.N. and other international agencies to develop and enforce international law.
  • Work with other countries to improve global health and environment.


81% Oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.

76% Say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.

79% Say the U.N. should be strengthened.

73% Favor abolishing nuclear weapons, with verification. 80% favor banning weapons in space.

85% Say that the U.S. should not initiate military action without support from allies.



[sources]



IRAQ & IRAN


*
63% Want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.

47% Favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.

57% Say going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision.

67% Believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.



[sources]


ELECTIONS

  • Provide public financing for elections campaigns.
  • Bring back the Fairness Doctrine and get broadcasters to open the people’s airwaves to free campaign information.
  • Require voter-verified paper ballots that are audited and can be recounted.
  • End partisan districting and voter-roll purges.
  • Fully implement the Voting Rights Act and enforce existing laws against vote suppression.
  • Restore voting rights to ex-felons who have served their sentences.

*
86% Say big companies have too much power.

74% Favor voluntary public financing of campaigns.

66% Believe intentional acts are likely to cause significant voting machines errors.

80% Say ex-felons should have their voting rights restored.



[sources]



CRIMINAL JUSTICE


*
65% Believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.

87% Support rehabilitation rather than a “punishment-only” system.

81% Say job training is “very important” for reintegrating people leaving prison. 79% say drug treatment is very important.



[sources]



IMMIGRATION


*
56% Believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.

64% Believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country.

80% Favor allowing undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.



[sources]

I.O.U.S.A

Byte Size






[One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt]

Monday, October 27, 2008

The "S" Word

From "S"mirking Chimp:

Whenever I hear the old joke, "He was born on third base but thinks he hit a triple," I cringe a little, because I immediately think of the inverse -- of the millions of people who are born with two strikes against them.

"In America, if you have the brains and the talent and are willing to work as hard as it takes, you can make it to the top."

Well, yes; the operative word in that oft-repeated maxim is "can." But you can have a top-class brain and a top-class talent and work yourself to the bone and still go to the grave with nothing in this country... if you happen to have been born with two strikes against you.

See, brains and talent and hard work don't mean a thing when you aren't to the manour born in America; not unless you step into at least a tiny little bit of luck to go with it. And that shouldn't have to be the American Way.

A level playing field, indeed. Imagine an America in which everyone begins life on home base, with no balls and no strikes. Or, to use a clearer analogy -- on a level field, rather than some on a mountaintop and some in a ditch. Simple, really: Healthcare for all, food and shelter, education and basic employment -- all basic necessities guaranteed for all. For every other element one might wish, one would simply have to... work hard. To compete in a truly free market, unemcumbered by hunger, by the disabilities of race, family circumstances, "who you know." One's merits would truly be the yardstick by which accomplishments, achievements and advancements would be measured. THAT... is socialism.

Now, WHO could feel threatened by THAT?

I'll tell you who: The TRUE elitists in this VERY unlevel playing field on which we all stumble and on which we've been playing, blindfolded, listening to propaganda over their corporate-funded loudspeakers for generations. Propaganda that's told us that "Socialism equals Communism equals Russia equals Stalin equals BAD!

And lately, we have several decades' worth of examples of wildly successful Socialist nations to refute arguments against Socialist philosophy and economics. Not hideous beasts of governments run amokl rather, governments providing basic necessities and services with fabulous efficiency, NOT meddling in their citizens' private lives... and then getting out of the way. And the citizens' approval ratings of their governments? Through the roof. Their Happiness index? Quality of life? Life expectancy? Through the roof. And ours? Let's just say we're competing with the likes of Bolivia.

So... Maybe Americans are getting... less stupid. Because for one thing, they're not buying the "Barack is a Socialist" garbage. And for another, they seem to recognise Socialism when they see it (See: $700 billion bailout for the financial system and using taxpayer money to do it)... and they seem, by all known polling systems, to think it would be a REALLY good idea to start doing some MORE of it -- where it counts: say, healthcare, education, green infrastructure...

SO WAKE THE FUCK UP, Washington and Corporate Elites. The Sleeping Giant is stirring.







Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Way Presidential Debate




[VoteNader.org]

Now is the Time to Resist Wall Street's Shock Doctrine

By Naomi Klein - September 22nd, 2008


I wrote The Shock Doctrine in the hopes that it would make us all better prepared for the next big shock. Well, that shock has certainly arrived, along with gloves-off attempts to use it to push through radical pro-corporate policies (which of course will further enrich the very players who created the market crisis in the first place...).

The best summary of how the right plans to use the economic crisis to push through their policy wish list comes from Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. On Sunday, Gingrich laid out 18 policy prescriptions for Congress to take in order to "return to a Reagan-Thatcher policy of economic growth through fundamental reforms." In the midst of this economic crisis, he is actually demanding the repeal of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which would lead to further deregulation of the financial industry. Gingrich is also calling for reforming the education system to allow "competition" (a.k.a. vouchers), strengthening border enforcement, cutting corporate taxes and his signature move: allowing offshore drilling.

It would be a grave mistake to underestimate the right's ability to use this crisis -- created by deregulation and privatization -- to demand more of the same. Don't forget that Newt Gingrich's 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, is still riding the wave of success from its offshore drilling campaign, "Drill Here, Drill Now!" Just four months ago, offshore drilling was not even on the political radar and now the U.S. House of Representatives has passed supportive legislation. Gingrich is holding an event this Saturday, September 27 that will be broadcast on satellite television to shore up public support for these controversial policies.

What Gingrich's wish list tells us is that the dumping of private debt into the public coffers is only stage one of the current shock. The second comes when the debt crisis currently being created by this bailout becomes the excuse to privatize social security, lower corporate taxes and cut spending on the poor. A President McCain would embrace these policies willingly. A President Obama would come under huge pressure from the think tanks and the corporate media to abandon his campaign promises and embrace austerity and "free-market stimulus."

We have seen this many times before, in this country and around the world. But here's the thing: these opportunistic tactics can only work if we let them. They work when we respond to crisis by regressing, wanting to believe in "strong leaders" - even if they are the same strong leaders who used the September 11 attacks to push through the Patriot Act and launch the illegal war in Iraq.

So let's be absolutely clear: there are no saviors who are going to look out for us in this crisis. Certainly not Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the companies that will benefit most from his proposed bailout (which is actually a stick up). The only hope of preventing another dose of shock politics is loud, organized grassroots pressure on all political parties: they have to know right now that after seven years of Bush, Americans are becoming shock resistant.




[The Huffington Post]

Protecting the public interest in any economic "bailout"




Dear Friends,

The U.S. government has been turned into an engine that accelerates the wealth upwards into the hands of a few. The Wall Street bailout, the Iraq War, military spending, tax cuts to the rich, and a for-profit health care system are all about the acceleration of wealth upwards. And now, the American people are about to pay the price of the collapse of the $513 trillion Ponzi scheme of derivatives. Yes, that’s half a quadrillion dollars. Our first trillion dollar compression bandage will hardly stem the hemorrhaging of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme built on debt "de-leverages."

Does anyone seriously think that our public and private debts of some $45 trillion will be paid? That the administration's growth of the federal debt from $5.6 trillion to $9.8 trillion while borrowing another trillion dollars from Social Security has nothing to do with this? Does anyone not see that when we spend nearly $16,000 for every family of four in our society for the military each year that we are heading over the cliff?

This is a debt crisis, not a credit crisis. Just as FDR had to save capitalism after Wall Street excesses, we have to re-invigorate our economy with real - not imaginary - growth. It does not address the never-ending war on the middle class.

The same corporate interests that profited from the closing of U.S. factories, the movement of millions of jobs out of America, the off-shoring of profits, the out-sourcing of workers, the crushing of pension funds, the knocking down of wages, the cancellation of health care benefits, the sub-prime lending are now rushing to Washington to get money to protect themselves.

The double standard is stunning: their profits are their profits, but their losses are our losses.

This bailout will not bring real jobs back to America. It will not bring back jobs that make things. It does not rebuild our schools, streets, neighborhoods, parks or bridges. The major product of this financial economy is now debt. Industrial capitalism has been destroyed.
In the next few days I will push for a plan that includes equity for every American in any taxpayer investment in this so-called bail-out plan. Since the bailout will cost each and every American about $2,300, I have proposed the creation of a United States Mutual Trust Fund, which will take control of $700 billion in stock assets, convert those assets to shares, and distribute $2,300 worth of shares to new individual savings accounts in the name of each and every American.
I will also insist that all of the following issues be considered in whatever Congress passes:
Reinstatement of the provisions of Glass-Steagall, which forbade speculation
Re-regulation of the finance, insurance, and real estate industries
Accountability on the part of those who took the companies down:
a) resignations of management
b) givebacks of executive compensation packages
c) limitations on executive compensation
d) admission by CEO's of what went wrong and how, prior to any government bailout
Demands for transparencey
a) with respect to analyzing the transactions which took the companies down
b) with respect to Treasury's dealings with the companies pre and post-bailout
An equity position for the taxpayers
a) some form of ownership of assets
Some credible formula for evaluating the price of the assets that the government is buying.
A sunset clause on the legislation
Full public disclosure by members of Congress of assets held, with possible conflicts put in blind trust.
A ban on political campaign contributions from officers of corporations receiving bailouts
A requirement that 2008 cycle candidates return political contributions to officers and representatives of corporations receiving bailouts

And, most importantly, some mechanism for direct assistance to homeowners saddled with unreasonable or unmanageable mortgages, as well as protection for renters who have lived up to their obligation but fall victim to financial tragedy when the property they live in undergoes foreclosure.

These are just some thoughts on the run. You will hear more from me tomorrow.


Dennis J Kucinich
www.Kucinich.us
216-252-9000 877-933-6647




[Take the Power Back]