Friday, February 8, 2008

Quote from Ted Rall; and More -

This is a quote taken from Ted Rall's column in the Jan 23-29 issue of the Boise Weekly. In this column Rall was complaining about presidential candidates who advocate change without specifying what those changes would be. He then goes on to write the following:

"If I received a call tonight informing me that I needed to come to Washington because I had somehow been selected president , I would be ready to work tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. I already know whom I would choose as my secretaries of state, defense and other Cabinet appointees. Guantanamo would be shut down. The Department of Homeland Security would be abolished. We'd pull out of NAFTA and the WTO. Torture would be banned: habeas corpus restored. I have tax reform ready to go (soak corporations and the rich, and companies that outsource U.S. jobs and use offshore tax shelters would be barred from selling goods to U.S. consumers), a detailed education policy ( federal control would replace local control, and funding of public schools, colleges, and universities would be nationalized and made free), and a plan for health care (fully socialized). My foreign policy would go in effect at once: immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, an address to the United Nations apologizing for the wars and torture and offering reparations, normalizing diplomatic relations with Iran, North Korea, and Cuba and cutting off aid to oppressive dictatorships." Page 6

Thanks Ted, I appreciate those insights. I don't necessarily agree with everything Mr. Rall includes in his column. I might allow some local control over education, but I agree that public schools and colleges and unversities should be free to students. To that I would add that universal health care be funded by a single payer plan, and include psychiatric as well as physical illnesses and injuries. In addition I would include the following changes:

1. Immediate cuts in the pentagon's budget by 60%
2 Immediate closure of 70% of the hundreds of bases and US military sites around the globe.
3. Immediate reversal of all of Bush's taxation changes.
4. Energy plan that includes funding for clean sustainable energy, immediate ban on construction of additonal sources of energy that utilize fossil fuels. Plan to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the US by 70% by the year 2020, with a goal of 95% reduction by 2030. All new road construction funding transferred to funding for mass transit. No vehicles manufactured or imported that do not get at least 40 MPG unless they are heavy equipment used for construction, transportation, emergency vehicles, vehicles used for public transit, or used exclusively for car-pooling.
5. No more construction of nuclear weapons or their delivery systems.
6. Funding available for all veterans to provide care for any and all physical or psychological injuries or illnesses they may have even if it cannot be proved that they were service related.
7. A ban on laws that designate English as the official language since such laws are inherently racist.
8. Immediate passage at the federal level of the Healthy Workplaces Bill.
9. Union membership available at all employers with 15 or more employees.
10. Cancel the "No Child Left Behind" bill
11. Funding at the federal level for stem cell research with or without the use of embryos.
12. Immediate increase in minimum wage to an amount sufficient to support a family of four and regular increases in the minimum wage thereafter.
13. An annual 10 cent increase in the gasoline tax for 10 years to finance transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and from private auto use to mass transit.
14. Immediate arrest of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and transport them to the Hague to the international court to stand trial for war crimes.
15. Ban the "at will" employment status used in many states because it is unjust to working people and gives the employer excessive power to abuse and mistreat the employee.
16. Have available for those who join the Peace Corps or serve in development, peacemaking, justice, etc. even for non-federal organizations, the same benefits now provided for those in the military.
17. Ban importation of any products which come from a company that uses child labor or has environmental standards weaker than those used in the US.
18. Significantly strengthen environmental standards.
19. New laws strictly limiting the freedom of employers to supervise employees in the workplace; and also guaranteeing adequate breaks, a safe, clean, non-toxic working environment as well as payment for overtime and a minimum of 5 weeks paid vacation each year regardless of seniority, as well as a minimum of 10 paid holidays each year.
20. A minimum of nine months maternity and paternity leave with 75% of salary provided.

There could be more added to this list including bills addressing immigration, abortion, more on the environment, on preserving wilderness and endangered species, on the design of housing, cities, and suburbs to make them more people-friendly and environmentally sustainable. There should be laws that address the drug problem here at home where the problem is, rather than poisoning the farmlands and homelands of other peoples in places like Colombia. However I will leave the list incomplete for now.

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