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10 August 2007 @ 02:44 pm
My political platform for running as a candidate for President of the United States.  
Argue with me, tell me that I've missed something, comment, criticize, fine... but think about this. No cut; it's important enough to me to inflict it on your friends lists.

Education, first and foremost. The United States should be the world leader in education. A smart nation is a strong nation.

Non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations. We are not the police force of the world; we do not have the moral or ethical high ground to act unilaterally in changing regimes of nations who do not threaten us. Our system of government is a good system, but not a perfect system. It is not a system that can be successfully exported by threat of violence.

A strong, capable military. While we seek peace, we must be prepared to defend ourselves against any aggression. Put bluntly, we must have the capability to rapidly respond and destroy aggressors. Pre-emptive measures such as toppling a regime that "might" someday threaten us are out, but we will finish whatever anyone else cares to start. Ask Japan about that.

Improvement of the quality of life for our citizens, all citizens. We are still in the grips of a homeless epidemic. We still have millions of citizens who cannot afford needed medical care. We have children languishing in a foster care system so broken that the very term "foster home" has become synonymous with misery and failure. Education is one long-term solution, but in the short term, we need to embrace a plan for national health insurance. We need to restore the public works system to provide employment for those who want it and cannot get it; we need to restore the availability of psychiatric care for those who are indigent, homeless, by dint of psychological issues. We MUST get the children in foster care OUT of that system; nothing short of a total overhaul will resolve this issue. If we must for a time return to group home arrangements, so be it, but the current system is not merely broken, it is breaking wards of the state and forcing them to struggle to survive, which is the last thing we should be asking of children who are virtually alone in the world.

Civil unions for all. Two Democratic front-runners have stated to the LGBT population that they support civil unions rather than gay marriage out of personal beliefs. Personal beliefs have no place in performing the job of an elected representative or senator. Rational, reasonable answers to the social and legal needs of their constituents are the heart of the job, and it is time to remember that. We have seen the fundamental failure of "separate but equal" in the past, and yet they trot this very idea back out as though this time, it will make sense. As marriage is a religious status and as government is barred from making laws establishing support for one religion over any other, "marriage" should be abolished and replaced at all levels with partnership or union recognition for all.

A clean-up of Federal tax law. Replacement of the current system with a standard tax rate, supporting a graduated flat tax bracket system for citizens. Corporate taxation loopholes closed, replaced with a similar graduated flat tax system.

Commitment to a green future, starting now. Tax breaks for purchase and use of alternative energy solutions using renewable resources. Increased tax burden for purchase and use of consumable resource energy solutions. Renew the power of the EPA to defend and execute laws protecting the environment; harsh measures for companies violating environmental protection measures. The United States should strive to have the lowest greenhouse emissions of any industrialized nation. Of particular importance, the United States should pursue total independence from foreign oil and freedom from outside energy needs of any kind. This is as much a political concern as an environmental one.

Ending the power of paid lobbyists. The people already have representatives in government; it's called Congress. Lobbyists who attempt to or succeed at buying votes favoring their positions would be imprisoned, as would their backers. If a group of people want to organize and have their common needs represented by an organization and speakers, their power should be determined by the sensibility of their ideas, not the depth of their wallets.

Government support for scientific research in all fields. Civilization as a whole should benefit from advances in medicine, alternative energy sources, improved computer technology; the benefits of this should not be reaped by those who have the most resources.

The education of doctors to serve the people rather than doctors who only serve themselves. See the Cuban model.

Clear and total support for the separation of church and state. Government is for ALL the people. Government has no place in the temple, the synagogue, the church, or the circle. So long as your religious activities cause no harm to others, then they should be treated just like the sexual practices of consenting adults: left strictly alone from government intervention.

Abolishment of the "war on" culture in government. The War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, these are not struggles that can be won at the point of a gun. It is well past time to stop acting like we can. The drug problem in the United States is not a criminal issue but a medical issue. Terrorism is the reward we reap for years of supporting fanatics against our then-enemies; what future problems are we sowing with our current approach?

Restoration of the respect for America once held world-wide. Recent administrations have left us either a laughing stock or worse, targets of utter hatred and disgust in the international theater. The United States need not be loved, but it is past time that we earn the respect that previous administrations have squandered.
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bronxelf_ag001 on August 10th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'm (mostly) there with you on all points but one.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Which one?
bronxelf_ag001 on August 10th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
The education of doctors to serve the people rather than doctors who only serve themselves. See the Cuban model.

I don't believe you can force labor. All you will get out of this is a lot of overworked idealists (who become very bitter) and a shortage of medical professionals.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not talking about coercion so much as contractualization. Offer total scholarships, room, board, tuition, and books, to promising candidates for medical school. These doctors go through hospital residencies similar to how they do now. When they graduate and have passed their residencies, they repay the government by working as neighborhood doctors for a period of time; subject to economic review, call it five years just for the hypothetical. House calls, on-call, the whole deal.

After the term of service is up, they can go about private practice. If a person can pay his own way through medical school, then he's under no obligation to serve as a neighborhood doctor.

Check out this article on the Cuban health care system. The major difference here is that I'm not talking about banning private practice or clinics.
bronxelf_ag001 on August 10th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Its indentured servitude. I think the only way that works is if you give people a choice- do it the way you want, OR do it the way they do now, and incur the usual medical school debt. At least people then have the option.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
Like I said, if someone can pay their way through on their own, fine.

The "indentured servitude" angle already exists in any number of government-sponsored scholarships. One of my family members, for instance, had a requirement that she work in the state that helped pay for her college education. If she took a job in another state before that time, her debt would immediately come due.
bronxelf_ag001 on August 10th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
The implication I got from what you were saying though was that people could either afford it, up front, or then have to go the indentured servitude route. If I misunderstood, I apologize. I meant the same choice they have now (loans, etc.) vs. the scholarship.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
I apologize if I gave that impression. No, if people can afford or arrange payment for medical school themselves, then that's their lookout.

In the long run, offering these scholarships would increase the number of qualified candidates who go to medical school who cannot now manage to afford (through personal resources or private scholarships) the tuition. It would also mean that neighborhoods would have improved access to good medical care; under the national health insurance plan, treatment by these doctors would be completely covered.
ravenskye8: Hugravenskye8 on August 10th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear!

I'm assuming you'll be running under an independent ticket... Need a campaign manager?
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Hey, if you and/or other people want to set up a candidacy, I'll hit whatever public speaking events you set up.
docjeff on August 10th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Education, first and foremost.

Great start there. I'd like to hope it includes moving away from teaching people to pass standardized tests and actually teaching them what they need to know.

Improvement of the quality of life for our citizens, all citizens.

Well, you've got my vote just on this one alone.

Education is one long-term solution, but in the short term, we need to embrace a plan for national health insurance.

I like the idea of national health insurance but loathe the insurance industry as a general rule. I'd very much like to see it cleaned up.

Ending the power of paid lobbyists.

Thumbs up here, too. I'm sick of them.

I'd vote for a candidate who would agree to all of this.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
Standardized testing should be reduced to making sure that students are progressing in learning the concepts associated with their school level rather than measuring their ability to score highly on standardized tests. As it stands now, the tests are flawed indicators of ability for just the reason you mention. Local and state offices would need never see the results, so far as I am concerned. Funding would NOT be tied directly to test results; discretionary funding could be related to aggregate result tabulations, but not at the individual school or district level.

The insurance industry is the main reason I want to see nationalized health care, mainly so they would become redundant for the majority of citizens. The insurance companies would have to make a serious direction change, supporting or subsidizing the elective surgery or treatment angle or offering things like supplemental disability coverage, such as wage guarantees for times when you're out of work due to long-term medical problems. Even then, they'd bear fairly strict regulation to stop them from pulling the underhanded crap they pull now.
docjeff on August 10th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm with you. One other item - immigration. How do you feel about it or rather how it is now?
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Generally, I am very positive on legal immigration. In terms of illegal immigration, it's a problem, but not necessarily for the reasons most people think. Illegal immigration has a net positive effect for the wealthy and a net negative effect for lower economic class citizens. Illegal immigrants are a drain on resources in terms of health care and water, but they account for about 10% of overpayment into Social Security since they are not eligible for Social Security benefits. The majority of immigrants (especially illegals) are not competition for jobs for most US citizens as they tend to take jobs other citizens don't want. Heck, skilled immigrants face an uphill climb getting certified to use their skills in fields like the medical industry, so you have doctors from India driving cabs in NYC. Illegal immigration has been shown to have a negligible effect on crime rates; in some studies, crime rates in neighborhoods with high illegal populations has gone down, though that could be from an unwillingness to report crimes for fear of bringing official scrutiny to the neighborhood or from a distrust of police organizations stemming from mistreatment in the various countries of origin.

I'm not in favor of a border fence; it's an unrealistic physical response that offers no practical solution to the underlying problems. It's a publicity stunt garnered to get the votes of people who are either unwilling or unable to consider positive solutions. I'm not in favor of amnesty, either; there is a profound disrespect for the law and for those immigrants who went through the proper channels, who DID respect the law.

When it comes down to it, I need to talk to more experts on this subject. I need to hear more about the economic and environmental effects of illegal immigration to formulate a long-term policy. The guideline, though, has to be serving the best interests of the majority of legal citizens. Not the majority of the wealthy, but all citizens.
docjeff on August 10th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Okay, you've got my vote if you run. :)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
L Alouisadkins on August 10th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
So far, I have no arguments. IF you really do go for it, let me know?
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
(chuckle) If I actually were to run, you'd hear about it. Maybe on the Daily Show, but it'd get out there somehow.
(Deleted comment)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 10th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
The Bunnerflysylvidoptera on August 10th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
I would totally vote for you. Too bad no one that actually has ideas like that has the money to run. :(
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 11th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
Very true.
Ace Lightning: libertytorchacelightning on August 11th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
FUCK yeah, i'd vote for you!

something that strikes me as ironic but very sad is that the US seems to be globally hated, resented, and held up as the epitome of everything wrong with the modern world... but people from all over the planet continue to spend their life's savings, risk penalties ranging from imprisonment to execution, and endure horrible physical hardships, just to get here "illegally". and also in spite of our global unpopularity, people all over the world still recognize the power of the Goddess of Liberty, "Saint Freedom", the "mighty woman with a torch/ whose flame is the imprison'd lightning, and her name/ Mother of Exiles." i'd like to see not only America, but all of Planet Earth, steer by Her beacon.

education: even if you provide it, how do you intend to make children - especially the ones who need it the most - value it? oh, and i do hope that you include "meta-education", as in teaching children both critical thinking and how to learn.

none of these are insurmountable problems. i'd go so far as to volunteer to assist you, but i know i suck at anything resembling either politics or administrivia. but with the kind of health care and scientific research you posit, i could live to be 150 - and with the educational opportunities you describe, i might even be able to learn some of the skills i now lack ;-)


Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on August 11th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC)
In order, here are my comments.

Education: The federal government must provide neither funding for nor regulation of education at any level. The Constitution prohibits it (and as a libertarian, I oppose such involvement at all levels of government). There is nothing wrong, of course, with a president speaking about the importance of education and exhorting parents to educate their children effectively.

Non-intervention: I couldn't agree more. The USA should never have become an empire.

A strong, capable military: Again, agreed. And one solely for defense of the USA would not even have to be that large or expensive.

Quality of life for citizens: Disagree entirely. This is not a federal responsibility (your agenda here is unconstitutional), but an individual one. Voluntary community assistance is fine, but tax-funded social welfare spending must rise no higher than the level of state government (and I'd prefer if it didn't exist at all).

Civil unions for all: I agree that there should be no discriminating against any social bondings formed by consenting adults of arbitrary sex or number. However, I would prefer a complete separation of marriage and state (and in any event, this is another matter for the states and municipalities, and not the federal government).

Cleanup of federal tax law: Tax codes should definitely be simplified, but I don't like graduated tax systems (punishing people for being more successful), and corporate taxes are a terrible idea, since they're only passed along to consumers.

Commitment to a green future: Again, no constitutional authority for the federal government to do much of anything in this regard. I prefer market-based, not coercion-based, solutions to environmental issues. We know that private stewardship works far better than government "solutions."

Ending the power of paid lobbyists: Disagree entirely (and your prescriptions are unconstitutional). Who isn't influenced by money? The only thing that matters is whether or not people act to harm others. If they do, I don't care what their motivation was. Let people spend their own money however they wish. Let voters insist that their representatives disclose their dealings if they wish, and let them vote according to their conscience either way.

Government support for scientific research: Disagree entirely (and it is unconstitutional). All research should be privately funded.

The education of doctors: Disagree, as this falls under my disapproval of any federal involvement in education mentioned above. And I would not cite a regime which shoots citizens for the "crime" of trying to leave as a role model for anything.

Clear and total support for the separation of church and state: That's not what the non-establishment clause means, but I have no problem with the broad concept.

Abolishment of the "war on" culture of government: Agree entirely.

Restoration of the respect for America once held worldwide: This one is easy. We need only to stop interfering (including ending all foreign aid), dismantle our empire and withdraw all US troops from all overseas bases.