Just So We’re Clear: so there is no misunderstanding about what I believe or where on stand on this issue or that policy, I’ve created this page.
Quite frankly, I think everyone should do this. You might have ideas, thoughts and opinions, but to actually spell them, make them concrete, will surprise you when you have to articulate them.
First off, let me start with my basic philosophy, born out my Catholic school upbringing. It is this, from the Bible, Luke 6:31 LV: “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Simple, huh? You want repect, sympathy, empathy, trust, etc? It’s a two way street, buddy, so to quote the New Radicals, you only get what you give. With that in mind…
I believe in equal rights for all, unequivocally. Creed, color, sex, whatever. That means the gays, too. Marriage, all of it. I don’t care what your choice of religion says – you follow those rules, not me. Nobody’s making you marry someone of the same sex, and quite frankly, if you’re pissed about the gays ruining marriage, look in the heterosexual mirror – you’ve been debasing it for decades. No, that doesn’t mean I’m for plural marriage, or man on dog marriage like that sick bastard Rick Santorum, it means two consenting adults, which is more than I can say for certain parts of the U.S. (hint – the South).
I believe that those who work hardest do not always get ahead, that circumstances, environment, up-bringing, bad luck and wrong place/wrong time happen. Because of that, I support social programs, not as a means of permanent subsistence, but to help people who need help. Unemployment benefits, SSI, etc. are not only necessary, but work. How do I know that? Because as someone who spent several months on unemployment, I’m living proof. Maybe you’ve had a life of zero negativity, congrats. But that’s not the norm, and attacking the weakest members of society makes you nothing more than ignorant bully.
I believe that those who do succeed rarely do so without benefiting from the hard work of those who came before them. Start-up a company that ships stuff across the country? Guess what, you didn’t build those roads or highways. Nor do you enforce them with a private security force that ensures your products are hi-jacked. Nor did you start your own school that ensures you have educated and literate employees to work for you. Nor did you set up a legal system that allows you to protect your business and yourself, any patents you may create, your copyright, trademarks, etc. I could go on, but really what I’m getting at is – corporations should pay taxes. What they should not have is personhood, a disgusting concept that essentially exempts human beings from the responsibility of doing things like collapsing the financial system or polluting the air, water and ground, and hiding behind a myriad of limited liability and off-shore shell accounts.
Speaking of taxes, I believe in a progressive income taxation system. Like I just mentioned with companies, I believe the wealthier you become, the great investment you have in protecting that wealth. If you own a lot of stuff, you have more to protect. Also, there is direct correlation between income inequality and quality of life. In other words, if the rich don’t want to pay a few percentage points in higher in taxes, which cause social programs to be reduced or eliminated, there is a greater likelihood that those negatively impacted by the lack of those social programs will then turn to criminal activity and violence to survive. Wanna take a guess who those crimes would be committed against? However, those who have actually lived through such situations, even when they become wealthy, tend to support a progressive taxation system because they understand the benefits, as opposed to people like Grover Nordquist, who were born rich and are selfish assholes. So, basically, if you inherited your wealth, shut up.
I believe that local, state and federal elections should be publicly funded. The influence of corporate money erodes democracy by turning possibly decent, well-intentioned public servants into cash-grubbing whores. Elected officials should spend their time doing what they were elected to do – represent the interests of the people who elected them, not locked in a room cold-calling CEO’s for donations. In addition, electioneering should restricted to a six month period before any election. Nobody needs a Presidential television ad 18-months before the election. Other countries do it, and guess what, democracy survives outside the U.S.
In addition, I believe all elections at all levels should utilize Instant-runoff voting. If you don’t know that that is, read about it. You want real choices to the same two parties? You want real third-parties? This is the only way to make it work, and guess what, it already is working, both around world and on the local level in the U.S.
I believe that every man, woman and child deserves equal access to health care, regardless of their economic situation. Despite whatever irrational fears or messed up philosophy you may have, 99.9% of people are going to a doctor at some point in their life. Those who do not have health insurance cause those who do to have to pay more. Somehow, the rest of the civilized industrial nations on this planet figured out basic healthcare systems for their citizens. If the U.S. can’t do the same, then the U.S. is a failed state and should annexed back to the Brits.
I believe the United States should immediately and unconditionally withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, as there is currently no war in Europe, Japan, etc., and hasn’t been for some time, there is no need for troops to be stationed there. In fact, there is no reason, other than global military intimidation, for U.S. troops to be stationed during peacetime anywhere other than on U.S. soil. We’re not taking steamers across the Atlantic anymore, if we need to get troops somewhere fast, we have the technology to do that. Along those lines, the U.S. military, thanks to the military industrial complex as Eisenhower put it, has enjoyed a blank check from the American taxpayers for far too long. The defense budget should be cut, severely. Like by half to start. The U.S. spends more than the next fifteen countries COMBINED. Yes, I understand it’s necessary to the biggest, baddest and most expensive shit on the block, but if you genuinely believe in fiscal conservatism, this is where it starts.
I believe in the legalization of marijuana. I don’t smoke it, never have, never will. I have no interest, just like I have no interest in drinking vodka. But that doesn’t mean others should be denied the right. And guess what, you can tax it and make a shitload of money. However, I have not made up my mind on harder drugs, like heroin, cocaine, etc. I need to ruminate on those some more. That doesn’t mean I want to continue the so-called “war on drugs” on those other drugs. It should end, immediately. After Viet Nam, it’s the greatest debacle this country has ever been involved in, although Iraq is gaining. The “war” exists merely to create a permanent prison population, run of course by private companies for profit, and well-financed but failed government entities with escalating budgets and salaries to go along with them. The war on drugs is a gigantic failure by any measure. The citizens of this country who want to use recreational drugs, a very large group by the way, made their choice. Drugs won.
Along those lines, I believe the other leftover puritanical remnants, like outlawing gambling and prostitution, should be legalized and taxed. First, it’s not up to the government to impose a moral code, it is up to the individual to seek that out. Second, both can be regulated and taxed.
Just an aside, but hey, look at that. By legalizing some drugs, gambling, prostitution, ending the war on drugs and reducing the military budget, I’ve pretty much paid for a national healthcare system, probably with change left to spare to fix the crumbling infrastructure. You’re welcome, America.
I believe government agencies and departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Education, etc. are vital to countering the destructive, anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-intellectual and, when you get right down to it, anti-human elements of free market capitalism. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think capitalism is all bad. I have friends who run small business, I co-owned a rather unsuccessful independent label. But make no mistake, there is a far greater risk in not regulating something than over-regulating it. Don’t believe me? Try this. Next time you are at the zoo, go to where there is a giant, predatory animal, like a lion or shark. Now, ask yourself, do you like that there is a glass or giant wall in between you and the animal killing machine on the other side? If your answer is yes, you now understand the need to regulate “the market.” The more unregulated the market, the greater the slide into corruption, monopoly, pollution, etc.
I am against the death penalty and pro-choice, and these two concepts do not conflict. First, the death penalty has proven to be much more costly than life-imprisonment, never mind the fact that the legal system is riddled with examples of innocent defendants being convicted and later acquitted of capital crimes. Simply put, we cannot rely on judges and jurors to be the arbiters of justice in a flawed system. Second, and let me make this really clear – I DON’T WANT ABORTIONS TO HAPPEN. In fact, I’m pretty sure nobody does, but the idea that a small grouping of cells constitutes a person is ridiculous, and is scientifically false. Should there be limits, sure, but rather than attacking the solution that abortion provides, the real focus should be on the cause – unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Moving towards making birth control free under every healthcare plan is a start, and the Clinton administration had it right when they said “Safe, Legal and Rare.” Making abortion illegal will not make it go away, it will just mean more illegal abortions will happen. And let’s be real for second, the attack on women re: abortion extends to contraceptives as well, because nothing pisses off a social, religious conservative more than a woman exercising rights over her own body. Like I wrote earlier, I don’t give a shit what your choice of religions is, have fun, but your rules don’t apply to me.
I, like 98% of the world’s accredited climatologist, believe “climate change” is happening. Sorry deniers, I said “climate change,” not “global warming.” It’s here, it’s happening, deal with it.
That’s all for now.
Can we please stop with this nonsense that cutting taxes for business and rich people will somehow spur economic growth and create jobs. As I type, some of the largest companies who are trimming payrolls have massive cash reserves. Why? Because you can always instill fear in your workforce during an economic downturn by chopping a few heads and then distributing the work to those already working at maximum capacity. And nothing gives a corporate board, and in turn, stockholders, a bigger boner than trimming the workforce. This is very simple, so even a conservative can understand – if you want to create jobs, you have to A) cut taxes on everyone who is not rich (i.e. 95% of the country) and B) raise the minimum wage. Why? Because People that have very little or a moderate amount of money who then receive more money are far more likely to spend it than someone who already has so much money it would be statistically insignificant for them to notice the tax cut. Now, there are much smarter progressive economic experts who can figure out the exact percentages, I’m just working with big picture stuff. However, and I cannot stress this enough, it is not logical that businesses will hire more employees if there is no demand for it. The demand has to be there first, and the only way to drive demand is to put money in the hands of those who drive the economy.