AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:45 am

PART 6 OF 8

Fair Trade

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Fair Trade that Protects the Environment, Labor Rights and Consumer Needs

NAFTA and the WTO make commercial trade supreme over environmental, labor, and consumer standards and need to be replaced with open agreements that pull up rather than pull down these standards. These forms of secret autocratic governance and their detailed rules are corporate-managed trade that puts short-term corporate profits as the priority. While global trade is a fact of life, trade policies must be open, democratic, and not strip-mine environmental, social and labor standards. These latter standards should have their own international pull up treaties.

Federal Budget

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A Federal Budget that Puts Human Needs Before Corporate Greed and Militarism

The United States needs a redirected federal budget that adequately funds crucial priorities like infrastructure, transit and other public works, schools, clinics, libraries, forests, parks, sustainable energy and pollution controls. The budget should move away from the deeply documented and criticized (by the US General Accounting Office, retired Admirals and Generals and others) wasteful, redundant "military industrial complex" as President Eisenhower called it, as well as corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy that expand the divide between the luxuries of the rich and the necessities of the poor and middle class.

The Wasteful and Redundant Defense Department Budget Needs to Be Cut

Half of the operating costs of the U.S. federal budget is spent on the military. The federal budget should move away from the wasteful, redundant "military industrial complex." Wasteful spending on expensive military equipment and post World War II deployments that we do not need makes the U.S. less secure in many other neglected ways.

The Task Force on A Unified Security Budget for the United States, drawing on the knowledge of analysts with expertise in different dimensions of the security challenge, made recommendations in March 2004 that would cut defense spending by $51 billion. The Task Force was organized by the Center for Defense Information, Foreign Policy in Focus, and Security Policy Working Group. In addition, they recommend a unified approach to fighting terrorism and increasing security that includes increases in non-military expenditures, noting that in a 2002 speech President Bush identified development assistance as a security tool, linking the desperate resort to terrorism with the hopelessness of persistent poverty.

The Task Force report is excerpted for your information. Our views go beyond these positions.

Our military is still dominated by an obsolete conventional and nuclear structure, designed to counter the least likely threat: a large-scale conventional challenge. As a result, the United States is burdened with a very expensive but misdirected military prepared for large-scale warfare rather than the challenges and operations that American forces now face with increasing strain. The dangers we face today come less from a potential superpower rival and more from failing states that have the potential to destabilize entire regions and to become magnets for transnational terrorist groups.

Currently seven times as much is spent on military vs. non-military security spending. The Task Force brings this into greater balance reducing the ratio to 3:1. In order to achieve this better balance the Task Force notes that the nature of today's threats allows the U.S. to:

• Reduce the pace of investment in the next generation of weapons. The U.S. has a technological edge over all nations, including all of its adversaries. Nonetheless, the U.S. continues rushing expensive new generations of fighters, helicopters, ships, submarines, and tanks into production. Most of these weapons were designed to fight the now-collapsed Soviet Union.

New technologies and systems will be developed and tested as prototypes, but they need not be manufactured in quantity unless the threat warrants it. It is simply a waste of money and other resources to keep a huge military force on hair-trigger readiness for the conflicts of the last century.

In addition, a more restrictive policy of exporting advanced aircraft and other weapons to potentially unstable regions would also help us to safely slow down the pace of developing future weapon systems.

• Stop deployment of the national missile defense system until the technology is proven and the threat warrants, while maintaining a robust research program. This would save billions of dollars and insure that America does not close the door on any promising technology. So far, despite spending over $75 billion, we have not found any that is works, and we cannot plan our security around doing so. Nor can we risk antagonizing Russia and China and possibly driving them into a military alliance, or alienating our European allies, or sparking a new nuclear arms race in Asia.
• Reduce our expensive and largely redundant strategic nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads, as a first step to further cuts; take our nuclear forces off hair-trigger alert.
• Close unnecessary military bases. While force structures and manpower have been reduced by 37% since the end of the Cold War, bases overseas have been reduced by only 25% and bases in the U.S. by only 20%. There is probably room for even larger reductions since in 1988, before the end of the Cold War, an official estimate put excess base capacity at 40%. After the end of the Cold War and the reduction of potential threat, presumably the excess capacity is now even greater.
• Overhaul the Pentagon's financial management operations. In 2003, the Defense Department (DoD) failed its General Accounting Office audit for the seventh year in a row. The DoD Inspector General found that it had failed to account for more than a trillion dollars in financial transactions, not to mention planes, tanks, and missile launchers. The Pentagon has about 2,200 overlapping financial systems, which cost $18 billion a year to run.
• The Bush administration has laid out a Defense Transformation initiative that is supposed to fix these problems. The positive features of this initiative, the ones that actually create new accountability and controls, should be pursued. The initiative has, however, embedded within it, proposals that will actually weaken accountability by reducing Pentagon reporting requirements to Congress and the public, while also weakening labor and environmental protections. These proposals need to go.
• Realign forces to better prepare them for likely missions, including counterterrorism, peacekeeping, reconstruction, security, and stability operations.

At the same time, the Task Force recommends increases in spending on non-military security including:

• Reinvesting in diplomacy. We will refocus resources on diplomacy as preventive action to resolve conflicts before they become violent.
• Developing international security forces. The U.S. cannot meet every contingency by itself. The vain attempt to do so only stretches our resources and leaves us with inadequate forces. Nor can we simply recast outlaw states in our own image by threatening and using military force. This strategy breeds resentment, fosters countervailing coalitions, and overburdens our resources.
• Reinvigorating the nonproliferation regime. The first line of defense against the spread of WMD is the interlocking set of treaties and institutions that form the global nonproliferation regime. This must include:
o Expanding significantly the budget of the Nunn-Lugar program and other initiatives designed to help secure and dismantle the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union, since this may be the most likely place for terrorists to get their hands on WMD.
o Solidifying the norms against proliferation through multilateral regimes. The U.S. must strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by ratifying an IAEA Additional Protocol permitting more rigorous inspections, asking for assurances that all states implement full-scope IAEA safeguards agreements, and proposing increases in that agency's funding. And we must ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which will create a more powerful nonproliferation tool through its intrusive verification regime.
o Working for more effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, including an improved inspection system, and resume participation in meetings to develop a biological weapons protocol and strengthen verification and enforcement obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.
o Ratifying the Small Arms Control Pact, the Antipersonnel Landmine Treaty, and the Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.
o Strengthening existing export control authorities, focusing especially on regulating truly sensitive exports to hostile and unstable regimes.

The collapse of the cold war, changing trade relationships with China, Russia, and other countries, and the post-9/11 world require a rethinking of U.S. security spending. Continuing to build weapons for old threats results in waste that we cannot afford. The recommendations of the Task Force are a good beginning point for a re-evaluation of U.S. security strategies and spending.

The full report of the Task Force on A Unified Security Budget for the United States, March 2004 is available at:

http://www.cdi.org

Healthcare

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Health Care for All

The state of health care in the United States is a disgrace. For millions of Americans it is a struggle between life, health and money. The Nader Campaign supports a single-payer health care plan that replaces for-profit, investor-owned health care and removes the private health insurance industry (full Medicare for all). This approach is supported by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP); the American Nurses Association; the U.S. Labor Party; the California Nurses Association; the National Association of Social Workers; the Associations of Physicians Assistants; and the National Association of Midwives, among others.

The United States spends far more on health care than any other country in the world, but ranks only 37th in the overall quality of health care it provides, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not provide universal health care. More than 44.3 million Americans have no health insurance, and tens of millions more are underinsured. Private corporations pay less than 20% of health costs. Thus, even if you have insurance, you may not be able to afford the care you need, and some treatments may not be covered at all.

For a family living on the edge financially and facing the onset of a serious illness or disabling injury, a lack of health insurance can trigger bankruptcy or even homelessness. Homelessness only leads to more health care problems a world of inadequate hygiene, communicable diseases, exposure to the elements, violence, and emotional trauma. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine find that the homeless are far more likely to suffer from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.

The Nader campaign favors replacing our fragmented, market-based system with a single-payer health plan - where the government finances health care, but keeps the delivery of health care to private non-profits, and allows free choice of doctors and hospitals for patients.

The U.S. health care system has many grave faults that could be remedied by a system of universal coverage, including serious gaps in coverage for: prescription drugs and medical supplies; dental, vision, and hearing care; long-term care; mental health care; preventive care for children; and treatment for substance abuse. A recent study by National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 25- to 64-year-old Americans die every year as a result of lack of coverage. That is 18,000 human beings every year, not counting younger Americans.

Shrinking Choices for the Health Consumer

Health care should be provided by a national, single-payer health insurance program funded by the federal government and providing comprehensive benefits to all Americans throughout their lives. Under the current system, hundreds of billions of dollars a year are wasted by health-care sellers on billing, fraud and administrative expenses. Excess profits and high CEO (and other executive) salaries at large HMOs and other health-care companies add further costs. PNHP highlights the trend:

Our pluralistic health care system is giving way to a system run by corporate oligopolies. A single-payer reform provides the only realistic alternative.

A few giant firms own or control a growing share of medical practice. The winners in the new medical marketplace are determined by financial clout, not medical quality. The result: three or four hospital chains and managed care plans will soon corner the market, leaving physicians and patients with few options. Doctors who don't fit in with corporate needs will be shut out, regardless of patient needs.


Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School points out that "we are already spending enough to provide every American with superb medical care - $5,775 per person this year [2003]. That's 42% higher than in Switzerland, which has the world's second most expensive health care system, and 83% higher than in Canada." Indeed, 14.9 percent of our gross domestic product is spent on health care and the cost is growing rapidly. Japan spends 7.6% of its GDP, Australia 8.5%, Holland 8.6% and Canada 9.5%. By 2013, per capita health care spending in the U.S. is projected to increase to 18.4 percent of GDP.

A recent study by David U. Himmelstein, MD and Dr. Woolhandler found that our current system is wasteful and obstructively bureaucratic:

Over 24% of every health care dollar goes to paperwork, overhead2, CEO salaries, profits, and other non-clinical costs. Because the U.S. does not have a system that serves everyone and instead has over 1,500 different insurance plans, each with their own marketing, paperwork, enrollment, premiums, rules, and regulations, our insurance system is both extremely complex and fragmented. The Medicare program operates with just 3% overhead, compared to 15% to 25% overhead at a typical HMO.


Some research has found even higher levels of administrative cost in our current health care system. A December, 2002 report for the state of Massachusetts, designed to develop a statewide plan for "universal health care with consolidated financing," reported that 40 percent of every health care dollar spent in the state goes to administrative costs. Prepared by the pro-HMO consulting firm Law & Economics Consulting Group, the report studied three options; only the single-payer option met the developmental criteria.

Studies show that savings from a single-payer system would be more than enough to provide universal coverage for the same amount that we are now paying. In 2001, a federally funded study of single-payer universal health coverage, prepared for the Office of Vermont Health Access by the Lewin Group, found the state could save more than $118 million a year over current medical insurance costs-and still cover every Vermonter. "Our analysis indicates that the single payer model would cover all Vermont residents, including the estimated 51,390 uninsured persons in the state, while actually reducing total health spending in Vermont by about $118.1 million in 2001 (i.e., five percent). These savings are attributed primarily to the lower cost of administering coverage through a single government program with uniform coverage and payment rules."

The impact of overhead on private physicians is also significant.

Physicians in the U.S. face massive bureaucratic costs. The average office-based American doctor employs 1.5 clerical and managerial staff, spends 44% of gross income on overhead, and devotes 134 hours of his/her own time annually to billing. Canadian physicians employ 0.7 clerical/administrative staff, spend 34% of their gross income for overhead, and trivial amounts of time on billing (there's a single half page form for all patients, or a simple electronic system).


Fraudulent Billing

Typical government estimates put the figure for billing fraud and abuse at 10 percent of annual spending, amounting to over $150 billion annually. PNHP urges the banning of investor-ownership health care sellers in order to dramatically reduce fraudulent billing. Single-payer will reduce fraud because all of the medical information will be in one system - not multiple systems, i.e. multiple insurance companies, employer records, hospital records. Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University points out that about 90% of hospital bills have mistakes, with overcharges comprising two out of three of the errors, according to business surveys. Unlike the single-payer system in Canada&mdashwhere everybody has health insurance and no one sees a bill here in the U.S. complex and fragmented bills devour huge amounts of time and resources. Single-payer would reduce both bureaucracy and the opportunity for fraud and bring to light patterns regarding outcomes or other areas needing attention.

Waste in Health Care Practices

A recent study by researchers at Dartmouth Medical School suggests that care in the U.S. could be just as good, or better, and cost a lot less - perhaps as much as 30 percent less - if conservative practice patterns were adopted. In regions with nearly identical health care needs, the Dartmouth team found that the overall quantity of services performed could vary by as much as 60 percent. The differences were due to more frequent physician visits, greater use of specialists and minor tests, and more in-patient stays. More expensive care does not necessarily result in better chances of survival or greater levels of satisfaction with that care. Indeed, by some standards, such as quality of care, access to outpatient services, and preventive care-like flu shots and Pap tests-higher-intensity regions actually fared worse than conservative regions.6 Sometimes too much medical care does harm to a patient, such as unnecesary x-rays, and even operations, having adverse side effects. The single-payer system helps to minimize this problem-physicians ordering unnecessary tests or performing needless surgeries will be spotted. This can only contribute positively to every patient's ability to do real health planning.

The Seeds of Single Payer Sound Proposals & Reputable Endorsements

The Nader campaign finds persuasive a plan based on Physicians for a National Health Program's A National Health Program for the United States: A Physicians' Proposal, first published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1989, and A National Long-Term Care Program for the United States; A Caring Vision, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1991 (both available at http://www.pnhp.org). Founded by Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, PNHP has received endorsements for its plans from over 12,000 physicians and medical students, among them: former Surgeons General David Satcher and Julius Richmond; Marcia Angell, MD-Past Editor, New England Journal of Medicine; Quentin Young, MD-Past President, American Public Health Association; Joel Alpert, MD-Past President, American Academy of Pediatrics; Christine Cassell, MD-Past President, American College of Physicians; Elinor Christiansen, MD-Past President, American Medical Women's Association; and Gary Dennis, MD-Past President, National Medical Association (titles for affiliation only).

Under PNHP's proposed plans:

• Everyone would be included in a single, comprehensive public plan covering all medically necessary services, including acute, rehabilitative and long-term care, mental-health services, dental care, prescription drugs and medical supplies.
• Everyone would have access to personalized care with a local primary care physician, and free choice of doctors and hospitals at all times. In a publicly-financed, universal health care system medical decisions would be left to patients and doctors, not to insurance companies or the government.
• Health care sellers would stay private, and the health plan would provide for different payment schemes for health-care sellers, to minimize disruption to the existing system. The payment schemes would be designed to prevent profit motives from unduly influencing physicians, so there would be no structured incentives to recommend too much or too little care.
• A transition fund would be established for insurance-company employees whose jobs would be eliminated due to the simplicity of the single-payer system.

The Nader Campaign wishes particularly to applaud the soundness of PNHP's focus on prevention as a critical part of health care. Adequate provision of prevention services not only fosters healthier lives but also proves highly cost-effective in the long run. A commitment to prevention services will require the implementation of systems ensuring the reduction of environmental factors leading to chronic illness (i.e. reducing or eliminating lead in our water, mercury contamination in our food, and asthma-inducing air pollution), especially in our urban areas. Public health policies are needed to wean our culture away from fatty fast foods and encourage healthier life styles, via sound diets, exercise regiments, and reductions in smoking and drug use. As PNHP notes:

Quality requires prevention. Prevention means looking beyond medical treatment of sick individuals to community-based public health efforts to prevent disease, improve functioning and well-being, and reduce health disparities. These simple goals, articulated in {the National Center for Health Statistics'} Healthy People 2000, remain elusive. Nine preventable diseases are responsible for more than half of the deaths in the United States, yet less than 3% of health care spending is directed toward prevention.


A single-payer health plan that includes a prevention focus will be integral to mitigating behaviors and environmental conditions that increase health problems. Again, in the words of PNHP:

Health care financing should facilitate problem solving at the community level. Community-based approaches to health promotion rest on the premise that enduring changes result from community-wide changes in attitudes and behaviors as well as ensuring a healthy environment. Stores that refuse to sell tobacco to minors and promote low-fat foods, schools that teach avoidance of human immunodeficiency virus infection, and a (public) health department that can guarantee clean air and water have a more vital role in ensuring health than does private health insurance.


The views of nurses are also persuasive. As Deborah Burger, RN, President of the California Nurses Association notes:

• As caregivers responsible for protecting patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, registered nurses see clearly the failure of our current healthcare system and the crisis in access, availability, and quality of health care for everyone in this nation.
• The roots of the crisis lie in the growth of a healthcare industry concerned primarily with revenue, profits, and market share rather than quality healthcare.
• The California Nurses Association favors creation and implementation of a new system based on a single, universal standard of care for all that respects the humanity and the right of all our residents to quality healthcare. Key components should include:
o Single, universal standard of care applied to all patients
o Universal access for all; not to be tied to income, residency status or other exclusionary criteria
o Uniform benefits
o Mandated and enforced safe caregiver staffing ratios based on patient need
o Expansion of clinical and economic reporting requirements
o Giving priority to healthcare problems associated with race, gender or socio-economic status
o A shift away from private administration and financing to a model of public administration and financing
o Require hospitals provide all necessary and appropriate care to any patient needing emergency care
o Prohibit healthcare providers from seeking to limit care to only the most healthy, and thus least expensive, patients Computer-based technologies based on patient and caregiver safety standards and skill enhancement, rather than skill displacement
o Transition employment programs for workers displaced as a result of healthcare reforms

The U.S. Labor Party's Prescription for a Healthy America also makes a contribution to the cause of fundamental reform. The Labor Party Plan, called Just Health Care, calls for:

• Taking the profit out of health care noting that as much as 30 cents of every premium dollar is squandered on enormous CEO salaries, shareholder profits, advertising and administration.
• Providing comprehensive coverage of all appropriate care, including:
o Doctor visits
o Nursing home and long-term care
o Hospitalization
o Preventive & rehabilitative services
o Access to specialists
o Prescription drugs
o Mental health treatment
o Dental & vision services
o Occupational health services
o Medical supplies & equipment
o Guaranteeing access to health care (The Labor Party plan notes: "The number of Americans without health insurance continues to increase each year. Of the 44.3 million uninsured, nearly half aged 18-64 work full time. Just Health Care will extend coverage to every U.S. resident whether working full or part time, retired, laid off, in school or between jobs. By taking health care off the bargaining table, quality health care becomes a right, not a benefit.")
o Fair financing (The US Labor Party points out that the cost of health care is rapidly rising. The United States will spend $1.6 trillion on health care in 2004.)

Consumer Oversight

Any system, even one animated by service and our non-profit structures, requires oversight by the consumers-requiring inserts in communications (paper or electronic ) from health care vendors and the single-payer agency, inviting consumers to join and voluntarily contribute minimum membership dues. The Nader campaign proposes that a federally-chartered non-profit membership organization be created through a Congressional charter to serve as a national patient watchdog (with state chapters) to keep this large part of our economy on its toes. Patients would be able to sign up at their local doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. This organization -- call it the Consumer Health Vigilance Association -- would have full-time advocates overseeing relevant governmental agencies, Congress, and the private health sector. Empowered with all the rights that corporations wield-advocacy, lobbying, litigation, research, and alliance-development with other citizen groups-this modest organization would be chartered so as to ensure that public policies affecting the provision, quality, and cost of health services reflect fairly the needs and concerns of consumers and continue to be informed by their organized voices.

Financing

Although we can easily provide universal, single-payer health insurance for the same amount that we spend and waste on health care now, public funding will be required to replace the portion now paid for by employers and individuals. Consider PNHP's model:

A universal public system would be financed this way: The public financing already funneled to Medicare and Medicaid would be retained. The difference, or the gap between current public funding and what we would need for a universal health care system, would be financed by a payroll tax on employers (about 7%) and an income tax on individuals (about 2%). The payroll tax would replace all other employer expenses for employees' health care. The income tax would take the place of all current insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and any and all other out of pocket payments.

For the vast majority of people a 2% income tax is less than what they now pay for insurance premiums and in out-of-pocket payments such as co-pays and deductibles, particularly for anyone who has had a serious illness or has a family member with a serious illness. It is also a fair and sustainable contribution. Currently, over 44.3 million people have no insurance and thousands of people with insurance are bankrupted when they have an accident or illness. Employers who currently offer no health insurance would pay more, but they would receive health insurance for the same low rate as larger firms. Many small employers have to pay 25% or more of payroll now for health insurance - so they end up not having insurance at all.

For large employers, a payroll tax in the 7% range would mean they would pay less than they currently do (about 8.5%). No employer, moreover, would hold a competitive advantage over another because his cost of business did not include health care. And health insurance would disappear from the bargaining table between employers and employees.


However, before assessing any income tax, the Nader campaign would tax the corporations polluting the environment, industries manufacturing addictive products, and stock speculation -- in addition to closing corporate tax loopholes. These tax law changes will be more than sufficient to make an income tax surcharge on most individuals unnecessary.

Providing universal health care can only be accomplished through a single-payer system: no country ever achieved universal coverage with private health insurance. President Harry Truman proposed universal health care in 1948 but was rebuffed by Congress. The time to act is yesterday. Let us end our disastrous descent into the corporatization of medicine and its callous consequences.

Israel

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Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader continued his dialogue with Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. The dialogue, which began this summer when Foxman criticized Nader for questioning the militaristic approach of the Sharon government and the U.S. government's puppet-like support of Israel, has focused on whether criticizing Israel is akin to anti-semitism.

Nader favors a two-state solution and believes that the United States needs to highlight the broad and deep peace movement in Israel and its counterparts among Palestinians and among Americans of the Jewish faith. In this letter Nader urges Foxman to meet with these people so Foxman "can play a part in the historic effort to establish a broad and deep peace between the two Semitic peoples."

Criticizing the Israeli Government is not for Israelis Alone

October 12, 2004

Mr. Abraham H. Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League
823 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Foxman:

You started your last letter with the sentence: “We are not engaged in a dialogue about the issues you raised in your letter.” That is precisely the point, is it not, Mr. Foxman. For many years you have eschewed engaging in a dialogue with those in Israel and the United States who disagree with your views. Your mode of operation for years has been to make charges of racism or insinuation of racism designed to slander and evade. Because your pattern of making such charges, carefully calibrated for the occasion but of the same stigmatizing intent, has served to deter critical freedom of speech, you have become sloppy with your characterizations when it comes to attempts to hold you accountable. Of course citizen groups make charges all the time but their critics and corporate adversaries do review and rebut which keeps both sides more alert to accuracy especially when they desire press coverage. Few groups get the free ride that has been the case of the ADL when it ventures beyond its historic mission into covering the Israeli militaristic regime and its brutalization and slaughter of far more innocent Palestinians it occupies, than the reverse casualties inflicted on innocent Israelis.

Your insensitivity here is legion. You fail to understand that your studied refusal to reflect the condemnations of Israeli military action and mayhem against civilians, by the great Israeli human rights organization B’T selem and the major international human rights organizations, contributes to the stereotypic bigotry against Palestinian Arabs and the violent Gulag that imprisons them in the West Bank and Gaza. Yours is more than the “crime of silence” so deservedly condemned in other periods of modern history when despots reigned. You go out of your way to silence or chill others who are raising the same points that B’T selem and Rabbis for Justice and other U.S. and Israeli peace groups, such as Rabbi Lerner’s Tikkun initiative, do.

You are not above twisting words of those you take to task in order to be able to deploy the usual semantic vituperatives. My comments related to the Israeli government – with the fifth most powerful and second most modern military machine in the world – through its prime minister possessing the role of puppeteer to puppets in the White House and Congress. You distorted the comment into “Jews controlling the U.S. government.” Shame on you. You know better. If you do not see the difference between those two designations, you yourself are treading on racist grounds. Indeed, you are too willing to justify any violence against innocent Palestinian children, women and men in the mounting thousands on the grounds of inadvertence and security when such casualties are either direct or foreseeable results of planned military operations. Your refusal to condemn bigoted language, cartoons, articles and statements in Israel up to the highest government levels, can be called serious insensitivity to “the other anti-Semitism.” Both Jews and Arabs belong to the ancient Semitic tribes of the Middle East –either genealogically or metaphorically. There is, as you know so well, anti-Semitism against Jews in many places in the world. There is, as you always ignore, aggressive anti-Semitism against defenseless Arabs in many places in the world and in Israel whose military might and nuclear weapons could destroy the entire Middle East in a weekend.

Consider for example, one of many, many episodes of similar impact excerpted from a publication by Jules Rabin, “An Israeli Refusnik Visits Vermont, The Man Who Didn’t Walk By,” August 3, 2004:

The man who “didn’t walk by” is Yonatan Shapira, until recently pilot of a Blackhawk helicopter and captain in the elite Israeli Air Force. I met Yonatan not many days ago when he came to speak in my town, Montpelier, Vermont, about a major turning point in his life.

Yonatan is a lover of his country, a composer, and a handler of extraordinary machines. He was dismissed from Israel’s air force in 2003 because he refused to take part in aerial attacks in areas of the Occupied Territories of Palestine where there exist large concentrations of civilians liable to become a “collateral damage.” In Yonatan’s view, such attacks are both illegal and immoral because of the near-inevitability of their killing innocent civilians. In support of his position, Yonatan cites the authority of the Israeli army’s own code of ethical behavior, and the fact that, (by a recent reckoning) of 2,289 Palestinians killed by the Israeli Defense Forces in the current Intifada, less than a quarter (550) were bearing arms or were fighters.

At the same time, Yonatan has declared himself absolutely ready to fight in the defense of Israel proper.

Yonatan was shocked into his refusal to obey orders by two occurrences, among others.

One was the action of a fellow Israeli pilot who fired a 1-ton bomb from his F16 fighter jet, as ordered, at a house in Al-Deredg, where a suspected Palestinian terrorist was staying. Yonatan identifies Al-Deredg as one of the most crowded districts of Gaza, and indeed of the world. Besides the targeted Palestinian, 13 local people were killed in that attack: 2 men, 2 women, and 9 children, one of whom was 2 years old. 160 other people were wounded in the explosion. A 1-ton bomb, Yonatan calculates, has approximately 100 times the explosive power of the type of lethal belts worn by Palestinian suicide bombers. In proportion to the US population and the fatalities of the original 9/11 disaster, now an icon and classic measure of terrorist devastation, the fatalities of that single attack on tiny Gaza (population 1,200,000) were greater by 10% than the fatalities in America’s own 9/11.

Nor was the bombing of Al-Deredg unique in the scale of its impact on civilian life. Yonatan has cited the casualties resulting from 7 other targeted assassinations conducted in Palestine by the Israel Defense Forces, where, along with 7 other targeted individuals, 44 bystanders were killed. Taking Palestine’s overall population at 3,500,000 and that of the US at 290 million, those 44 bystander deaths would represent, in proportion to the US population, another one and a-third 9/11’s.

As a volunteer in Selah, a group that assists victims of Palestinian terror, Yonatan has first-hand knowledge of the appalling effects of the multiple 9/11-scale attacks that Israel has itself experienced, at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. He was nevertheless – or – consequently – appalled by the action in Al-Deredg of his fellow pilot. He considered the means used in the attack, a 1-ton bomb, and its goal, the assassination of one man, to be wildly disproportionate to the attack’s predictable collateral effects, and a violation of the rules of engagement concerning which all Israeli soldiers are instructed. Those rules, as Yonatan has understood them, include the obligation to refuse to obey orders that are clearly illegal and immoral.

The other occurrence Yonatan cited, that pushed him to become a refuser, came out of a disturbing exchange he had with the commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Dan Halutz, concerning his refusal to serve on a mission in the Occupied Territories. In Yonatan’s words:" In the discussion of my dismissal, I asked General Halutz if he would allow the firing of missiles from an Apache helicopter on a car carrying wanted men, if it were traveling in the streets of Tel Aviv, in the knowledge that that action would hurt innocent civilians who happened to be passing at the time. In answer, the general gave me his list of relative values of people, as he sees it, from the Jewish person who is superior down to the blood of an Arab which is inferior. As simple as that."

As simple as that.

Yonatan is convinced that actions like those of his fellow-pilot and attitudes like those of his commanding general are destroying Israel from within, whatever their effect on Palestine.

Superficially, Yonatan conforms to a stereotype of a career military officer, air force style. He’s tall and lithe, dresses trimly and wears his hair closely clipped.

He departs from the military stereotype in other respects. There’s nothing of the eagle in his bearing. He’s unassuming, and in conversation and argument, he’s almost humble in his appeal to his interlocutor’s reason and understanding. He listens and speaks with the innate respect and the close attention of a scholar pursuing an investigation, or a navigator studying a chart.


If you do not condemn such behavior as anti-Semitism against Arabs, by your international stature, you are not restraining the present Israeli government’s sense that it can conduct such operations with impunity, with a free pass from moral condemnation by a man so accustomed to moral condemnations.

Attached is a copy of my letter to you of August 5, 2004 in which I urged you once again to address. In addition, would you use the same words in your previous letter regarding my characterization of the puppeteer-puppets relationship to the writings of Tom Friedman, Rabbi Michael Lerner and many other Americans and Israelis of the Jewish faith? If not, why not? Is there a thinly veiled bias working here or would you have to use another one of your semantic sallies – portraying them as “self-hating” Jews?

In conclusion, Abraham Foxman has a problem. He is in a time warp and cannot adjust to the new age of total Israeli military domination of the Palestinian people. A majority of the Israeli and Palestinian people believe in a two state solution – an independent, viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel. This is the way to settle this conflict and live in peace for future generations. The ADL should be working toward this objective and not trying to suppress realistic discourse on the subject with epithets and innuendos. As former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak stated in Chicago last June, Israel needs to begin disengaging from the occupied territories and not wait for the right Palestinian Authority. The overwhelming preponderance of military force permits this to happen.

If you have not met frequently with the broad and deep Israeli peace movement, you might wish to change your routine so that you can play a part in the historic effort to establish a broad and deep peace between the two Semitic peoples. The exchanges should be videotaped and widely distributed to further the cause of peace and to witness Abraham Foxman dialoguing without his customary lines that evade the issues.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

Jobs

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Create More Jobs by Investing in America's Future

Since January 2001, 2.7 million jobs have been lost and more than 75% of those jobs have been high wage, high productivity manufacturing jobs. Overall 5.6% of Americans are unemployed while 10.5% of African Americans are unemployed. Unemployment among Latinos is nearly 30 per cent higher than January 20, 2001. By requiring equitable trade, investing in urgently needed local labor-intensive public works (infrastructure improvements), creating a new renewable energy efficiency policy; by fully funding education and redirecting large bureaucratic and fraudulent health expenditures toward preventive health care we can reverse this trend and create millions of new jobs.

Media Bias

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Opposition to Media Bias and Media Concentration

The mass media in the United States is extremely concentrated, and the messages that they send are too broadly uniform. Six global corporations control more than half of all mass media in our country: newspapers, magazines, books, radio and television. Our democracy is being swamped by the confluence of money, politics and concentrated media. We must reclaim our democracy from the accelerating grip of big-money politics and concentrated corporate media. This requires real campaign finance reform, which means public financing of public elections; some free access to ballot qualified candidates on television and radio; vigorous antitrust regulation and enforcement; ending broadcasters' free licensed use of the public airwaves; and the reversion of some organized time on our publicly owned airwaves to establish audience-controlled radio and TV networks to ensure the diversity of voices and solutions necessary for a really free press and a true civic democracy.

Middle East Peace

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Below is the complete letter Ralph Nader sent to the Washington Post in response to an editorial criticizing his comment that Israel is a puppeteer of the US government. When it published the letter on August 21st, the Post edited out the 4th to 6th paragraphs. These are important paragraphs illustrating that Nader's positions are consistent with those of many Israelis and American Jews. These paragraphs highlighted the views of the Refuseniks, members of the Israeli Defense Force who refuse to participate in the occupation of Palestinian territory; and the views of over 400 rabbis who criticize the demolition of homes of hundreds of Palestinians. They also highlighted Senator John Kerry's failure to face up to the human rights abuses of Israel.

Below that is another letter the Post refused to publish that highlights how charges of anti-semitism are used to stifle debate on Israel-Palestine in the United States.

Nader Continues to Urge Peace in Middle East

Dear Editor

Your editorial's (Aug. 14th) juxtaposition of my words, taken from my statement which was rooted in an advocacy for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, with a passage from a domestic group, rooted in prejudice, was shameful and unsavory, at the very least. Suffice it to say that your objection to my description of the need to replace the Washington puppet show with the Washington Peace Show serves to reinforce the censorious climate against open and free discussion this conflict in the U.S., as there has been among the Israeli people. When Israelis joke about the United States being "the second state of Israel," it sounds like they are describing a puppeteer-puppet relationship. Or, would The Post prefer using the descriptor "dominant-subordinate?"

The New York Times columnist and Middle Eastern Specialist, Tom Friedman, used stronger words than "puppet" when on February 9th, he wrote: "Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he's had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who's ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates . . . all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing."

When AIPAC works to obtain a recent 407-9 vote for a House of Representatives' resolution which supported the latest Sharon strategy and rejected any mention of an independent Palestinian state, how would you describe such a surrender of the privately held positions of many Representatives, favoring a two-state solution?

Half of the Israeli people and over two-thirds of Americans of the Jewish faith believe the conflict can only be settled by allowing an independent Palestinian state together with a secure Israel.

Four hundred American rabbis, including leaders of some of the largest congregations in the country, protested the Israeli government's house demolition policy. Hundreds of Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers signed a declaration refusing, in their words, "to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people." http://www.seruv.org.il

That these and many other Israeli and American peace advocates with impressive political, business, academic, military and intelligence experience, receive no hearing in official Washington is further indication of a serious bias inside both political parties. George W. Bush is a messianic militarist with a tin ear toward these courageous collaborators in peace. And what is John Kerry's problem? He told us he has "many friends" in the broad and deep Israeli peace movement. Yet, Mr. Kerry issues a pro-Sharon statement that in its obeisance goes to the right of Bush.

Given that your editorial did not have any problem with these views, why do you object to a description of AIPAC as an awesome lobby on Capitol Hill, labeling it "poisonous stuff?" AIPAC has worked hard over the years to enlist the support of both Christians and Jews. Its organizing skills are the envy of the NRA and other citizen groups. Muslim-Americans are trying to learn from its lobbying skills to produce a more balanced Congressional debate on Middle Eastern policies. How does acknowledging such an achievement "play on age-old stereotypes?" The bias may be in your own mind.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

Debating Israel

August 19, 2004

To the Editor:

It is difficult to find an acceptable language with which to criticize the hard-line policies of successive Israeli governments.

Ralph Nader is charged (Washington Post Editorial, August 14, 2004) with anti-Semitism for speaking of the Israeli government and the Israeli Jewish lobby as "puppeteers" and American politicians as the "puppets" by the same people who charge Arafat and the Palestinians of being the "puppeteers" who mastermind votes critical of Israel in the General Assembly and in the Security Council of the United Nations.

The danger of anti-Semitism is a red-herring in a country in which the two major parties and their presidential candidates – cheered on by Christian Zionists -- are competing for first prize in championing the cause of Sharon.

It is an open secret that the Israeli-Jewish lobby is among the most influential lobbies in Washington and beyond. Indeed, the leaders AIPAC and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations would be the first to make this claim. What is so distressing is that these leaders arrogate to themselves the right to be more Catholic than the Pope in their support of Israeli hard-liners but also far more hard-line than most American and Israeli Jews. Indeed, the likes of Ronald Lauder and Malcolm Hoenlein never accepted Oslo and the principle of "land for peace."

The American supporters of the Peace Now and affiliated peace organizations in Israel are frozen out of these Jewish-American organizations.

In any case, the accusation of anti-Semitism is a tried and effective tactic for silencing criticism or opposition to the policies of Israeli governments and of American administrations.

The Nader campaign is a natural home for American Jews committed to the peace process who are appalled at Kerry's efforts at out-Bushing Bush on the Israeli question and many others. It is neither Jewish nor Democratic to stifle debate with false charges of anti-Semitism.

Arno J. Mayer

Arno J. Mayer is professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and the author of "Why Did Not the Heavens Darken?: The 'Final Solution' in History."
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PART 7 OF 8

Poverty

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Seven Point Plan to End Poverty in the United States:

As the wealthiest country in the world, with high productivity per capita, a country that produces an abundance of capital, credit, technology and food, we can end poverty. Yet, according to the Bureau of the Census, poverty and hunger for children and adults is increasing rather than decreasing -- 34.6 million Americans lived in deep poverty, 12.1% of the U.S. population. Many millions of Americans live in what is called 'near poverty' by the Labor Department. We must make ending poverty a priority and weave that goal into a network of policies:

• Truly Progressive Taxation
• An End to huge Corporate Subsidies and Military Budget Waste
• Job Creation
• Equal Pay for Women
• Child-Care
• Living Wages for All Workers
• Restore the critical Social Safety Net

Shift the Power

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Shift the Power with these "Tools of Democracy"

The three documents below provide the "tools of democracy" that shift the power so people can regain control of their government, empower themselves as consumers, and strengthen themselves as workers. Without the facilities making it easy for Americans to band together to develop organizations with staff and budget to protect their interests workers, consumers, and voters have few ways to challenge those organized for other purposes for example corporations organized with contrary policies and demands. These "Shift the Power" organizations are voluntarily funded by citizens who choose to participate. The documents below deal with three issues: reclaiming our democracy, gaining some control over the public airwaves (owned by the people!), and giving consumers bargaining power over telephone, gas, electric and utility monopolies. These facilities for a stronger democracy provide models that could be applied to any aspect of our lives, so that corporations become more our servants than our masters.

The Audience Network Act

The Audience Network Act would take back just a small portion of the television and radio airwaves -- the precious resource our Government gives away, mostly to the benefit of wealthy corporations -- and put it in the hands of the American people.

Despite rapid changes in the communications field, television remains the most powerful medium -- and television licenses and franchises the most desired properties -- in communications today. At the same time, market consolidation, aided by the laissez-faire attitude of federal regulators, has led to increased concentration of possession of scarce broadcast licenses and cable franchises -- all of which the Government gives away for free. The limited broadcast spectrum, which is owned by the public, and valued cable monopolies, conferred by public authorities, are increasingly controlled by a handful of powerful media conglomerates.

Television today suffers not merely from a concentration of power but also from a shortage of quality, thought-provoking programming. There are some quality entertainment, educational and public affairs programs. The major broadcast and cable networks sometimes come through with intelligent entertainment and solid news reporting. C-SPAN has substantially expanded access to the raw material of democracy -- the proceedings of government, interest groups and elections. Public television stations have offered quality programming, particularly for children. The Independent Television Service (ITVS), created by Congress in 1988 to address the needs of unserved and under served audiences, has added an important voice.

But the vast bulk of what appears on television today is of low quality -- tabloid, sensationalist "news," both from local stations and national syndicators, ugly talk shows, mindless comedies, endless violence, half-hour toy advertisements disguised as children's shows, and, everywhere, droning commercials and "infomercials." The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS, and ITVS face yearly threats from Congress to eliminate or sharply reduce Government funding for public television efforts. Public broadcasters are thus turning increasingly to corporate sponsors and advertising and to commercial network cast-off programming, and coming more and more to resemble their commercial cousins. C-SPAN's funding and distribution is at the mercy of cable operators, many of whom have eliminated one or both C-SPAN channels to make room for commercial offerings. Public access channels, provided by many cable operators as a price of obtaining franchises from local governments, offer a forum but few resources -- resulting, for the most part, in no-budget vanity programming that is difficult to watch. Television's "vast wasteland" -- the famous description provided by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow in 1961 -- has become vaster and no less of a wasteland. As Bruce Springsteen has described it, what Americans are generally offered today is "57 channels and nothing on."

The television industry's lobbyists insist that the struggle for ratings and revenues is free-market democracy in action -- people vote with their eyeballs, and the most popular shows and channels are the winners. But that is simply not the case. Commercial programming choices are driven by appeal to the demographic group advertisers seek -- young adults. Older Americans and children receive short shrift. Moreover, the drive for ratings leads to lowest-common-denominator programming, often devoid of subtlety, creativity, or responsibility. The cable revolution, once seen as promising far greater diversity and appeal to a wider range of audience, has failed. There is just more of the same. As a society, we deserve better.

The Communications Act of 1934 and the regulatory framework established under it conferred public trusteeship status on broadcasters. Broadcasters, while succeeding in their effort to enrich themselves, have generally failed to meet the obligations of their trusteeship.

To return to the people just a small slice of the airwaves -- not just television but also the powerful medium of radio -- in order to improve the quality, diversity and responsiveness of programming, we propose the Audience Network Act. The Act would empower the television and radio audience -- the people of this country -- by providing the public with limited access to television and radio time and facilities. The Audience Network proposal was the subject of a 1991 hearing before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and finance, then chaired by Representative Edward Markey.

The Act would create Audience Network, a federally-chartered national non-profit membership organization. Anyone sixteen years or older who contributed $10 or more annually would be a member of Audience Network. The Act would grant Audience Network one hour of prime time television and one hour of drive time radio on every commercial station every day. Audience Network could then lease some of these desirable time slots to station owners in order to finance varieties of engrossing quality programming to be shown at other times. The control of these time slots would give Audience Network, and hence citizens concerned with diverse, high-quality broadcasting, strong bargaining power vis-a-vis broadcasters.

Audience Network would function as a separate FCC licensee. Its management would be chosen by direct election of the members. Audience Network would air programming shaped by member interests and needs. It would produce and acquire for presentation a range of quality public affairs and entertainment programs. Management would conduct quarterly membership surveys to ascertain the programming priorities of members. Boards comprised of Audience Network staff, members and contributing creative artists would select programming. Audience Network would provide national programming, while local Audience Network chapters would contribute additional local programs.

Audience Network public affairs and entertainment programming, aired without commercials, would address issues of interest to a broad range of viewers -- including, as a core concern, issues related to communications policy. Audience Network would provide a strong outlet for the discussion of social and political issues, elections and referenda at the national and local levels. It would also help turn the passive television medium into a vehicle for action by focusing on citizen participation, education and organization -- ways for people to become involved in social and political causes of concern to them. Audience Network would frequently provide viewers with names of groups to contact, events to attend, publications to read. An Audience Network site on the Internet would provide computer-capable viewers with additional, detailed information on matters addressed on television and radio. It would also provide computer users in this country and around the world with access to audio and video materials from Audience Network programming.

Non-profit organizations -- from community groups to the Girl Scouts to the Sierra Club to the American Cancer Society to the Junior Chamber of Commerce to labor unions -- would be offered opportunities to create and broadcast programming. Such groups have a wealth of important information to share with the public, yet rarely have an opportunity to communicate over the airwaves at any length.

Well-known entertainers and civic leaders would be recruited to participate, to lend their talents to the cause of more diverse and intelligent media and to educate audiences on issues of concern to them. Less well-known creative artists and citizen advocates would be given an opportunity to reach broader national and local audiences.

There is a precedent for the Audience Network approach, and it works. In the Netherlands, radio and television air time is apportioned to citizen groups, with the size of membership determining the extent of access to the airwaves.

Audience Network would also maintain a small staff of communications policy experts who would be charged with representing consumer interests before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the courts, and communicating with the public on communications issues, including not only traditional television and radio but the whole range of issues affecting our technological future, such as telephone, cellular, high-definition TV, direct-broadcast satellite, the Internet and other computer on-line services. When the FCC considered proposed hikes in cable television rates or rules for awarding scarce broadcast and cable frequencies, and the giant media corporations appeared with scores of lawyer-lobbyists, Audience Network's presence would help ensure that the consumer viewpoint was not lost in the crowd.

Audience Network, as conceived by the Act, is fully consistent with the First Amendment rights of broadcasters. Under the Communications Act, a broadcast license does not confer ownership, only temporary use of a designated frequency, with the First Amendment rights of viewers and listeners remaining paramount. The scarcity inherent in the broadcast spectrum, the Supreme Court and the FCC have long recognized, justifies government regulation in the public interest. The advent of cable television has not undermined that rationale: 40 percent of households have no cable service, and rising cable subscription prices, resulting from government deregulation, may increase that percentage, especially among lower-income families. The "must-carry" provisions enacted by Congress, and the entry of new cable channels owned by the broadcast networks are just some of the indications of the continued economic and political power of broadcasters. Moreover, even cable has not eliminated scarcity; there are more channels but even more programmers seeking access.

The Supreme Court has clearly left the door open for Congress to expand access to the airwaves. As the Court stated in CBS v. Democratic National Committee, 412 U.S. 94, 131 (1973), "Conceivably, at some future date Congress or the Commission -- or the broadcasters -- may devise some kind of right of access that is both practicable and desirable."

The Audience Network Act would not strip from broadcasters editorial control of their own broadcast time or otherwise implicate the free speech rights of broadcasters. Instead, it would in effect redefine the broadcast license to cover 23 hours, instead of 24, with the remaining hour becoming the property of Audience Network. In no respect would the content of the Audience Network's programming be imputed to the broadcast licensees sharing a particular piece of the spectrum. The Supreme Court, in its landmark decision in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 390-91 (1969), recognized that "[r]ather than confer frequency monopolies on a relatively small number of licensees, ... the Government could surely have decreed that each frequency should be shared among all or some of those who wish to use it, each being assigned a portion of the broadcast day or broadcast week." The only connection between the television and radio broadcasters and Audience Network would be that the national broadcast networks and local broadcasters would provide Audience Network with reasonable access to their transmission facilities, and Audience Network would reimburse the broadcasters for the actual costs.

The Audience Network Act says that we can free ourselves of the trap we have set: We have given away the people's airwaves and received very little in return that enhances the public interest. We need not be at the mercy of broadcasters and cable providers and simply hope that these enterprises will offer high-quality, public-spirited programming. We can reserve for the public just a small piece of the airwaves, and thereby enhance our culture and our democracy.

Citizen Utility Boards

CUB is a non-profit, consumer-controlled organization that represents residential utility ratepayers before regulatory agencies, courts, and legislatures on telephone, gas, electric, and water rates, as well as other safety and economic issues involving utility monopolies. It is designed to redress more closely the imbalance of consumers' power vis-a-vis the utility companies. The utilities spend millions of dollars of your ratepayer money hiring armies of lawyers, economists, and scientists to advocate th ecompanies' interests before state Public Service Commissions and legislatures. Although residential ratepayers have direct interest in proceedings, they lack the resources, expert advocates, or organization to respond to the utilities' arguments. The cost and complexity of a typical ratecase effectively prohibit regualr active consumer participation.

CUBs help rectify this imbalance by giving consumers a mechanism to pool their resources and hire their staff of professionals. At the heart of the idea is CUB's right by law to enclose notices inside monthly utility bills to communicate with the public and solicit memberships. This enclosure provides CUB with an efficient and effective way to reach and organize ratepayers: the insert is cheap to print, costs CUB no postage to deliver and reaches the residential ratepayer at the peak moment of interest (or outrage), upon opening the monthly bill.

Organizationally, CUBs have broad appeal, they do not cost the taxpayer a cent, are voluntary to the consumer to join and do not create another government agency. In states where CUBs operate, any residential consumer can join by contributing a minimum of $5 per year. Members are entitled to vote in the election of the CUB Board of Directors, which governs the organization, determinesits policies, and hires its staff. Because CUB depends on donations, it must work for public support if it does not perform, or if it is not accountable to its members, people will not contribute and CUb will shrink or go out of business.

The experience of Wisconsin CUB shows the impact that even a modestly-well financed, well-organized consumer group can have. Established by the state legislature in 1979, CUB has developed into the largest and most effective consumer group in Wisconsin, with about 110,000 members. CUB is credited with saving consumers more than $80 million in unneseccary rate increases, defeating measured billing for local telephone calls and securing a $23 million refund (about $15 per customer) from Wisconsin Bell.

The success of Wisconsin CUB has sparked interest in the model throughout the country. In late 1983, after a two-year campaign by consumers, the Illionois legislature approved a CUB bill. Illinoin CUB, in full operaiton for just 16 months, has 120,000 members and is involved in several major rate cases. the city of San Diego, California has a CUB which focuses on the local gas and electric utility. Last November, Oregon became the third state to set up a CUB when voterspassed a ballot measure despite a utility-backed anti-CUB campaign which outpsent CUB supporters 20 to one. CUB proposals are pending in almost a dozen other states, including Massachusetts, New York, and Rhose Island.

A key ingredient in the successful campaign to establish CUBs is the broad-based, grassroots support for the proposal. Consumer, environmental, church, labor, and senior citizen groups, recognizing the need for ratepayer input in the regulatory and legislative arenas, have led the legislative fight for CUB. Their task has not been an easy one the utilities are well financed and have considerable influence in the state legislatures. But as experiences in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oregon demonstrate, if consumers are organized on the grassroots level, they can counteract the utilities' clout and break thorugh with this important institution.

The CUB concept an indpendent group of full-time staffers funded by and working on behalf of consumers of a particular service has many applications. Tenants, insuranc epolicy holders, and banking customers can all band together in groups this way to protect their interests (the Audience Network is an extension of the idea to television and radio users). These groups have one jey feature in common: the right to enclose a solicitation in the billing envelope or other seller's communication of the service industry they wish to reform.

Democratic Revolution in an Age of Autocracy

By Ralph Nader originally published April 1993 in Boston Review

The Clinton Administration says it has big plans for "fundamental change" in the way our government and economy work. Change was certainly the mandate of the 1992 election, and the Clinton people have already set out some ambitious plans (keeping in mind, of course, that virtually any presidential leadership seems bold after four years of the Bush administration).

But is fundamental change achievable?

What neither Clinton, nor his Cabinet, nor most other Democratic Party proponents of change seem to realize is that significant, enduring change will require an institutionalized shift of power from corporations and government to ordinary Americans. While politicians have now made an art of populist symbolism, virtually none have a serious agenda to strengthen Americans in their key roles as voters, taxpayers, consumers, workers, and shareholders.

To deliver on his promise for change, President Clinton must adopt a more fundamental priority: the rejuvenation of the democratic culture of this nation through specific institutional reforms. It is, after all, the failure of our "civic infrastructure" not simple fate or isolated mistakes that is the root of many of our intractable national problems. If civic standards got the television airtime of Morris the Cat and associates, the savings and loan scandal would have never occurred: outraged citizens would have intervened long before it became a $500 billion scandal.

Thomas Jefferson said that "a little rebellion now and then" might be a good thing. He was right, and we need such a rebellion now: a democratic revolution that will reinvent and rediscover democracy. All sorts of latent energies are waiting to be tapped. But they will never be released by simple exhortations to "good citizenship," or by celebrating the values of civic engagement, praising a thousand points of light, and hosting quadrennial candidate forums.

Instead, reinventing democracy requires that we create new tools of empowerment: new mechanisms of civic communication, political organization, government assistance, and legal rights that can advance the distinct interests of citizens, taxpayers, consumers, workers and shareholders. These structural and procedural reforms will help to foster a new "fifth estate" of individual Americans, capable of acting independently from entrenched institutional that is, chiefly corporate and governmental power. Pursuing new forms of joint action, we can reclaim our government from the oligarchy that has made it a caricature of the Jeffersonian vision and overcome the sense of powerlessness, alienation, and fatalism that threaten to erode the commitment to democracy itself.

Here, then, is the North Star of a democratic revolution: reassert democratic principles by giving the ideal of self-government new and creative applications in everyday life. What follows are ten urgent, practical empowerment strategies that will help to advance the democratic promise by reclaiming democracy and checking corporate power.

Reclaiming Democracy

1. Facilitate voter initiatives. The 1992 campaigns dramatically illustrated the depth of voter disillusionment with politics as usual and the deep yearning of ordinary Americans to participate in the democratic process. Unfortunately, except for a few media-driven vehicles such as call-in talk shows and candidate forums (which, significantly, were convened by candidates, not by voters), citizens have few opportunities to take the initiative in bringing issues to public attention.

One of the best tools for breaking this logjam is the voter initiative the process by which citizens may enact or reject laws directly through the voting booth rather than through elected officials. The process is simple: citizens gather a specified number of signatures on petitions. An initiative then appears on the ballot, and is enacted or rejected by popular vote. Through this initiative process citizens can propose new laws, state constitutional amendments, or city or county charter amendments.

Citizen initiatives are an important democratic remedy for unresponsive state legislators or city officials. Without initiatives, self-government all too often means only giving voters a choice of electing the lesser of two evils. With the initiative process, voters can control specific policies of government, and even change its structure. Frequently, just filing an initiative petition inspires legislators to pay attention to a citizen or community campaign. Government becomes more responsive. Political power cannot be so easily monopolized by a few influential officials. New and often crucial items can be put on the political agenda. And citizens, reacting to direct democracy, are more likely to participate in civic life.

Any politician who is serious about rejuvenating our democratic traditions must promote the use of the initiative process. Where initiatives are not now permitted -- at the national level and in some states this means changing the rules that prevent them. Congress, by majority vote of both houses, could create a non-binding national initiative process or mandate national advisory referendums on any subject at any time. This act alone would send a powerful message to the American public: that democratic principles are indeed valued; that citizen-driven participation is important in our public life; and that legislators are willing to be directly responsive to the public will.

2. Reform our corrupt campaign finance system. It is now a well-accepted fact that our system for financing presidential and congressional campaigns is fundamentally corrupt and pernicious. The only way to ensure effective and honest representation by lawmakers is through decisive campaign finance reform, with public funding of campaigns. Ellen Miller's article on "Money, Politics, and Democracy" (in this issue of the Boston Review) presents one proposal for such reform.

An important first step in the campaign to limit the impact of money in politics was taken in February. A major coalition of 300 citizen organizations launched a massive "Clean Up Washington" campaign, announcing its own 800 number to marshal citizen support (800-847-6611). The object of the campaign is overall spending limits for congressional races, a reduction in the limits on P.A.C. and individual contributions, a ban on "soft money" contributions (which are channeled through political parties), and the elimination of special tax breaks for lobbying. By loosening the grip of entrenched interests, these reforms promise to unleash other new possibilities for the culture of citizenship.

3. Set term limits for Members of Congress. Few issues have so galvanized spontaneous citizen action as the idea of term limits. The chief value of such limits is their ability to liberate new energy for political elections. A fresh crop of candidates can emerge and win and more citizens can become excited recruits to electoral campaigns. Because incumbents typically have a hammerlock on re-election, ordinary citizens who used to participate actively in campaigns have largely given up. They reasonably say, "Why bother? How could I possibly make a difference? There's no chance that a challenger-candidate could possibly unseat a well-funded lifetime politician."

Limiting terms to twelve years changes this equation. Congressional elections matter again. New blood enters the democratic process. Diversity of representation is enhanced. Legislators can be elected who have energy and determination, who are not burnt out or bought off. Newcomers will generally be closer to their constituents than the career politicians of Washington. Their arrival can help end the reign of the ruling cliques, whose entrenched power is such a potent barrier to progressive change.

Opponents of term limitations warn that inexperienced citizen legislators will be at the mercy of special-interest lobbyists and that the voters will lose the experience and wisdom of career lawmakers. This argument is not convincing, given what the established "experience and wisdom" has accomplished in Washington. There were a lot of amateurs in Philadelphia 200 years ago; they didn't do too badly. Constitutional objections may be more formidable. Some experts argue that congressional term limits require a constitutional amendment, and not simply legislation in individual states. This was the method used to limit presidential terms in 1951. At the very least, however, it is clear that the states can limit the terms of state officials. Twenty-three states already limit the number of terms that their governors can serve.

Members of Congress are not likely to approve a constitutional amendment limiting their own terms. So attention must turn to ways to compel Congress to act. The 22 states with the initiative/referendum process where voters have direct access to the ballot box will have a head start in organizing term limit campaigns. These states account for nearly half of the House of Representatives, and 44 of the nation's 100 senators. A state-by-state blitz of term limitation initiatives will create tremendous national momentum to limit Congressional terms, even in the 28 non-initiative states. In those states, citizens must demand that their legislators vote for term limits, or that the question be placed on the ballot for the public to make their voice heard.

4. Expand citizen standing rights. What can be done when government itself becomes lawless, flouting the very Constitution and congressional laws that it is duty-bound to uphold? This is one of the most important yet neglected problems of self-governance of our time.

Historically, one important tool for citizens and taxpayers has been a broad right of legal standing a right to gain access to the courts to sue the government and challenge its arbitrary and capricious actions, its failure to enforce existing laws, and its illegal behavior. The Supreme Court recognized the importance of broad taxpayer and citizen standing in a series of decisions in the 1960s and early 1970s. They upheld, for example, the standing of taxpayers to challenge expenditures of tax revenues that were alleged to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and the standing of ordinary users of the environment to challenge the legality of environmentally harmful government regulations even though the interest of the particular plaintiffs was generalized and diffuse.

Unfortunately, since the mid-1970s the Supreme Court has reversed this tradition, and developed an increasingly restrictive law of standing. Narrowing citizen access, the Court has transformed the law of standing into a smokescreen that masks and sanctions many governmental misdeeds. The Court has refused, for example, to grant standing to taxpayers who were challenging government spending alleged to violate the Establishment Clause, or to taxpayers arguing that secret C.I.A. funding violated the Constitution's requirement of a public accounting of public expenditures. These changes in effect license government officials to violate the law whenever it is expedient for them to do so, because no one, except perhaps an attorney general, will ever be able to hold them accountable in court.

This is no way to promote official compliance with law or citizen confidence in the operation of government. If public confidence in the legitimacy of government is to be restored, Congress must immediately enact remedial legislation that gives taxpayers and citizens broad standing to sue government. Such a reform would be a virtually cost-free way to improve the quality and responsiveness of government operations. It would also send a strong message that our nation is indeed governed by law and not by the arbitrary caprice of political officials or government bureaucrats.

5. Regain control over "taxpayer assets." On behalf of the American people, the U.S. government owns and manages a wide variety of taxpayer assets: national forests, grazing lands, mineral deposits, power projects, information resources, research and development rights, broadcast frequencies, among others. The Reagan and Bush administrations boasted of their intention to run government "like a business" before proceeding to host a massive fire sale of taxpayer assets to assorted corporate interests. Here, too, citizens and taxpayers must be empowered to stop the widespread abuses of government stewardship of publicly owned assets.

The federal government has historically funded about half of all U.S. expenditures on research and development (R&D) some $74 billion in fiscal year 1992. Over the past twelve years, the allocation of property rights in these research projects has dramatically changed. Before Reagan/Bush, the government generally sought to have research products enter the public domain, or to patent its inventions or license them on a non-exclusive basis. Exclusive licenses were used, but only sparingly, and often for limited terms. After 1980, however, a series of statutes, rules, and policy memoranda sanctioned a broad use of exclusive licenses. In effect, taxpayers invest billions of dollars in R&D every year and then the returns on these investments are privatized.

One of the more egregious abuses of taxpayer assets involves azidothymidine (AZT), the A.I.D.S. treatment developed chiefly through government grants. Despite the government's development funding, Burroughs Wellcome later gained monopoly rights to the drug, initially charging $10,000 ($3,000 today) to A.I.D.S. patients, many of whom have no health insurance.

This same pattern is replicated in the government's stewardship of federal information resources, many of which are available through electronic means. The U.S. Government is the largest publisher of information in the world. Yet the government has raised prices sharply for these taxpayer-sponsored information resources; has given them away to private vendors who sell the identical materials at inflated prices; and has eliminated many publications altogether, effectively barring public access to government information and policy.

One partial solution that deserves immediate congressional action is pending legislation that would require the Government Printing Office to set up a one-stop-shopping program for on-line access to hundreds of federal databases. The service would be free to 1,400 federal depository libraries, and would be available to everyone else through subscriptions priced at the relatively low "incremental cost of dissemination."

Another way to help taxpayers defend public assets against waste and abuse is to create a taxpayer watchdog group, in the form of a set-aside program, as a requirement for all uses of taxpayer assets. This money say one or two percent of a given subsidy would finance ongoing citizen oversight of private use of taxpayer assets. Like other accountability mechanisms, this expenditure could be one of the most cost-effective ways for the government to prevent waste and abuse of public assets.

The government does seem newly receptive to such ideas. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt recently announced, for example, that the U.S. Government will no longer charge nominal fees for grazing rights, mineral rights and other private exploitation of federal lands. Instead, taxpayers will begin to receive market rates, and that will encourage private users to treat these resources more responsibly. Whether President Clinton will be able to overcome the cattle, farming and mining interests is, of course, another matter which is precisely why democratic reforms are so vital.

6. Reclaim the public airwaves. The privatization of the broadcast airwaves one of our most important taxpayer assets has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture. The basic problem is that private broadcasters control what the public owns. And in return for free licenses to use taxpayer property, broadcasters give us a steady stream of increasingly coarse, redundant, superficial programming and, of course, exclusively decide who says what on our public airwaves.

The result is that there is no place to hold a public discussion. Ordinary citizens can speak to their neighbors, but they cannot speak to millions of their fellow Americans without paying a giant toll and obtaining the permission of large corporations. The grotesque paradox is that a First Amendment originally intended to empower citizens for self-government is now being used to shield business entities, who control the major channels of communication and have little interest in using them as public fora. (See Cass Sunstein's article "Is Free Speech the Enemy of Democracy?" in this issue of the Boston Review).

To give the audience access to the airwaves that it already owns, Congress should create a new broadcast vehicle, the Audience Network. A national, nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, Audience Network would be granted one hour of prime-time television and one hour of drive-time radio on every commercial channel each day. It would function as a separate licensee, airing diverse programming shaped by the membership, which would be open to all citizens over age 16 for a nominal fee (say, $10 annually). In addition, Audience Network would represent consumer interests before the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.), Congress, and the courts. This would redress the long-standing disenfranchisement that millions of viewers and listeners have suffered under the current regulatory regime.

The Audience Network would be democratically controlled. The Network and its professional staff would be managed by persons accountable to the membership through a direct elective process. Besides membership fees, it could lease some airtime back to stations or networks. This would help assure the Network's financial security, and allow it to avoid paid advertisements. During its time slot, the Audience Network could air a variety of cultural, political, entertainment, scientific or other programs that it produced or obtained. Freed from the constraints of corporate advertisers, the Audience Network would air major abuses which are not publicized for years by the commercial media.

Over time, Audience Network would transform a powerless, voiceless audience, conditioned to a debased regime of programming, into an active audience with the ability to initiate innovative and consequential programming and reforms. Its open programming by diverse non-commercial groups would greatly invigorate the civic marketplace of ideas a signal challenge for our times.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:49 am

PART 8 OF 8

Checking Corporate Power

7. Create shareholder democracy. Corporate democracy has been an illusion for nearly 100 years which has not of course deterred business executives and the New York Stock Exchange from annually proclaiming its vitality. What is the scope of management power and what are the checks upon it? In nearly every large American business corporation, one person or a small coterie of executives have unquestioned operational control. In theory, this small group of managers serves as an agent of the board of directors; in reality, it is just the reverse. The chief executive or executive clique chooses the board, and, with its acquiescence, controls the corporation.

The legal basis for such a consolidation of power is the proxy election what British law professor L.C.B. Gower calls "this solemn farce." Given the nearly insuperable barriers faced by insurgents challenging management, it is no surprise that the board of directors has ceased to perform its statutory function of "managing the business and affairs of every corporation." Indeed, it is often hard to tell whether the boards of many corporations perform any independent function at all. "Directors," William O. Douglas complained as early as 1934, "do not direct." Management control has overwhelmed the rule of law.

Such autocratic corporate governance imposes serious economic and social costs -- in terms of self-dealing, inefficiency, and illegality. Even Business Week now concludes, "So much of this trouble for America's corporate titans [General Motors, IBM, Westinghouse, American Express] might have been avoided had the same parochial perspectives not clouded the judgment of many outside directors. They simply failed in their duties." Many institutional shareholders such as the California State Employees Pension Fund, newly aware of the long-term economic costs of unaccountable managements, have mounted campaigns to oust lackluster management teams. This is a step in the right direction, but the impulse needs to be taken much further.

What is needed is a Corporate Democracy Act to give all stakeholders in corporate decision-making a real voice in corporate governance. Redesigning the rights and obligations of shareholders, boards of directors, and executives can make giant companies both more efficient and law-abiding. Critical to this task is installation of full-time outside directors selected by beneficial owners in elections entirely funded by the company. To short-circuit wasteful competition among states to woo corporate investment by sanctioning unfair labor practices, pollution, and wasteful subsidies federal chartering of corporations with minimum national standards are essential. Moreover, victims of corporate malfeasance workers, consumers, local communities, shareholders, and small businessmen should be accorded greater access to the court system to redress their complaints (see point 9 below for more details).

Adding together all the social costs of our baroque, ineffectual sham of corporate governance, it becomes clear that corporate autocracy is not conducive to a prudent, productive economy nor to socially benign corporate behavior. But this will not change until corporations begin to abide by minimal national standards of business responsibility and shareholders are empowered to gain greater access to reliable corporate information, participate in fair elections for board seats, and exercise meaningful oversight of management.

8. Establish a new model of consumer representation. Mancur Olson, in his excellent book, The Logic of Collective Action, asks, "Why is it that throughout history large numbers of people are preyed upon by small numbers of people? What is it about the victim class that makes it incapable of asserting itself?"

One answer is that the "victim class" has great difficulty in bringing itself together, as a group. If only because of sheer numbers, it typically lacks organizational means for asserting its collective will or developing a common identity and culture. This dynamic is played out in dozens of milieus in our political economy. For example, sellers who are consummately capable of organizing themselves to protect their interests develop myriad means to exploit buyers who have preciously few means of organizing themselves. Public interest groups can help, but they often cannot provide a consistent presence that is technically competent, financially stable, and directly accountable to consumers.

The 1980s saw the emergence of a promising new solution to this classic problem. The Citizens' Utility Board, or C.U.B., is a model approach for bringing together large numbers of diffuse consumers into a voluntary organization, which can then pursue a common citizen/consumer agenda in banking, insurance, housing or dozens of other arenas. It is the "silicon chip" for the citizen movement because it is a low-cost, high versatility, powerfully effective device.

How does a C.U.B. work? Typically, residential consumers lack the organization, resources, or expertise to respond to utility arguments on such matters as ratesetting and safety. C.U.B. offers an ingenious way to provide effective citizen representation. By authority of state legislatures, a C.U.B. is given the right to enclose notices inside certain company and state mailings to invite the public to become voluntary members of the C.U.B. for a modest annual fee of $5 to $10. C.U.B. pays for this enclosure. This "piggybacking" on state mailings provides a convenient, effective way for the C.U.B. to organize a membership and to communicate with it, and a basis for self-sufficiency and financial accountability.

All members of the C.U.B. have the right to vote in the election of the C.U.B. Board of Directors. This process ensures that the leadership of C.U.B. reflects the interests of the ratepayers. The Directors serve without pay and hire full-time staff of accountants, attorneys, economists, organizers, and lobbyists. The staff can intervene, for example, in rate proceedings; advocate before the legislature; research issues of concern to consumers; survey public opinion on energy and telecommunications issues; analyze the way the utilities are handling complaints; and provide information and assistance to consumers interested in conserving energy.

Illinois C.U.B., for example, attracts tens of thousands of members and has blocked literally billions of dollars in gratuitous rate hikes. It would be easy to apply the C.U.B. idea to organizations like the Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. Big mailers (magazine publishers and the direct-mail industry) routinely use lobbyists and trade associations to advance their interests in postal commission rate hearings. Don't residential mailers deserve their own independent voice?

The beauty of the C.U.B. concept is that, as a voluntary group, it costs taxpayers virtually nothing. It is anti-bureaucratic, because no new government personnel or procedures are needed. It enhances civic participation, because the C.U.B. depends for its success on the energy and vision of its members. And it counters the massive inequities of power that afflicts consumers in their dealings with government and business.

9. Protect victims' rights. Another constituency of individuals that is increasingly impotent are the innocent victims of dangerous products, unsafe workplaces, toxic waste, and other hazards. In recent years, insurance companies, manufacturers, and other corporate interests have waged a massive campaign to roll back the legal rights of plaintiffs to obtain full compensation for their injuries. In one of the most unprincipled public relations scams in the history of American industry, this coalition has pursued a draconian package of changes that it calls "tort reform." Among others, the proposals seek to place arbitrary caps on "pain and suffering" awards; eliminate punitive damage awards (often the only effective deterrent against intentionally unsafe practices); impose mandatory limits on plaintiff lawyers' contingency fees (without setting any corresponding limits on fees for defense lawyers); eliminate strict liability (one of the most effective deterrents against unsafe products and workplaces); and restrict the role of both judge and jury.

The coalition's fundamental message is that the jury system is out of control because the common law and jury awards are so unpredictable. Claiming a ruinous "litigation explosion," insurance companies dislike the jury system because they cannot precisely budget damage awards as a cost of doing business. But this unpredictability is the very essence of deterrence a function of the civil justice system which is just as important as compensation and which, like the system's other social benefits, cannot be precisely quantified in dollars and cents.

A citizen empowerment agenda must deal with the structural problems of the insurance industry. Congress should repeal the industry's exemption from antitrust laws, federal regulation, and Federal Trade Commission scrutiny. A cycle of surge-and-decline of cash flow almost every decade has precipitated the bogus "insurance crisis." Congress should also establish a federal office of insurance to monitor the industry and establish standards for state regulators to follow. Voter Revolt, a California-based citizen group, broke important new ground by mobilizing broad-based support for Proposition 103 an initiative measure that reformed the property-casualty insurance industry in California and rolled back excessive insurance rates.

At the state level, insurance companies must be required to disclose routinely how much they take in on premiums and investment income, and how much they pay out in verdicts and settlements (plus reserves and other expenditures). State insurance departments need more authority and funding, and consumers need greater consumer representation before insurance regulatory bodies. Insurers should be required to engage in greater loss prevention efforts, and to disclose evidence of known defective products or hazardous conditions to appropriate law enforcement and regulatory authorities. And, C.U.B. style insurance-consumer organizations should be established to enable consumers to grapple with this powerful industry.

Eroding basic victims' rights will not stop premium-gouging and policy cancellations. Only effective insurance reforms will stop the cyclical insurance crisis which leads to the volcanic eruptions of premiums and contracted coverage.

10. Ensure an hospitable environment for whistle blowing. Alfred North Whitehead wrote, "Duty arises from our potential control over the course of events." Since the early 1970s, this insight has given rise to the ethics of whistle blowing -- the lone individual of conscience within a corporate or governmental organization who sees wrong and tries to right it, often at great personal risk.

Society has an acute interest in fostering a more muscular whistle blowing ethic. Corporate and government employees are among the first to know about fraud and corruption, industrial dumping of toxics into waterways, defectively designed automobiles, or undisclosed adverse effects of prescription drugs and pesticides. They are the first to understand how to prevent existing hazards. But they are very often the last to speak out.

There is a great need now to extend the reach of this ethic into such organizations as corporate and governmental bureaucracies. But the ethic will only flourish in these settings if employees have the right to due process within their organizations, and if rights now used to protect people from state power for example, the right to speak freely are expanded into protections from corporations and comparable bureaucratic powers. Large corporations should have a bill of rights for their employees and a system of internal appeals to guarantee these rights. Unions and professional societies should strengthen their ethical codes. The courts, professional and citizen groups, the media, the Congress, and other sectors of society must actively work to prevent the trammeling of a fortified conscience within their midst.

If carefully defined and protected by law, whistle blowing can become another of those adaptive, self-implementing mechanisms which distinguish a free society, which empowers people to govern themselves instead of being subordinated to autocratic controls.

Conclusion

The tools for democracy have fairly common characteristics. They are universally accessible; they provide instruments of self-funded voluntary community action; they can make government deliver, and have constructive effects on other areas of policy. Without a reconstruction of our democracy in order to ensure facilities for informed civic participation to all citizens, no ambitious program of political and economic change will succeed. Nor can worries about poverty, discrimination, joblessness, the troubled conditions of education, environment, street and suite crime, budget deficits, costly and inadequate health care, and energy boondoggles be addressed in a constructive and enduring way. These facilities are the magnets for the genuine exercise of rights, remedies, and responsibilities.

So it is time for a civic rebellion, Jefferson style.

Worker's Rights

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Expand Worker's Rights by Developing an Employee Bill of Rights

The rights of workers have been on the decline. It is time to reverse that trend and begin to give workers, the backbone of the US economy, the rights they deserve. Workers need a living wage not a minimum wage; access to health care and no unilateral reductions in medical benefits and pensions for current employees and retirees. Employers should not be able to avoid these benefits by hiring temporary workers or independent contractors. The privacy of employees needs to be vigorously protected. The notorious Taft-Hartley Act that makes it extremely difficult for employees to organize unions needs to be repealed. It has resulted in less than 10% of the private workforce being unionized, the lowest in 60 years and the lowest percentage in the western world. Non-union workers need upgraded rights against the likes of Wal-Mart.

Labor Day: A Call for Rights for Working People

Washington, DC: The Nader Campaign joins Paul Tobias of Workplace Fairness in calling for a civil rights movement for workers. Under current law, a worker's freedom is subordinated to employer property rights.

The general rule of law for employees is employment at will: an employee can be fired for any reason, no reason, or a bad reason, without recourse. Workers gained rights in the early twentieth century when the union movement developed, with workers joining together to bargain with employers. But that movement was stalled by laws that put up barriers to workers' joining together in a union. The civil rights movement for workers should seek a Bill of Rights for Workers, including the right to organize a union and the right to earn a living wage for all full-time workers.

America's working men and women have been abandoned by the corporate-dominated two-party system. The evidence is everywhere. The percentage of union members in the private economy has dropped below ten percent, the lowest in over sixty years. At the heart of this decline are labor laws which throw insurmountable barriers before organizing efforts. A professional class of public relations consultants and lawyers has evolved to counsel employers on ways to take full advantage of the Taft-Hartley Act in fendeng off organizing efforts. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employers plenty of ways to prevent workers from exercising their supposed right of freedom of association.

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 makes it extremely difficult for employees to organize unions and should be repealed. Among the key provisions of

Taft-Hartley

• Taft-Hartley authorizes states to enact so-called 'right-to-work' laws. These laws undermine workers' ability to build effective unions by creating a free-rider problem workers can enjoy the benefits of union membership in a workplace without actually joining the union or paying union dues. Right-to-work laws increase employer leverage in resisting unions by enabling them to benefit from free riders. Vastly decreased union membership follows, dramatically diminishing the unions' bargaining power.
• Taft-Hartley outlaws the closed shop, which required that persons join the union before being eligible for employment with the unionized employer (still permitted are provisions that require any member of a bargaining unit to pay a portion of dues to that union).
• Taft-Hartley defines employee for purposes such as excluding supervisors and independent contractors. This diminishes the pool of workers eligible to be unionized. The exclusion of supervisors from union organizing activity facilitates their use by management as a buffering front line in anti-organizing efforts.
• Taft-Hartley permits employers to petition for a union certification election, thus undermining the ability of workers and unions to control the timing of these elections during the sensitive organizing stage, invariably forcing an election before the union is ready to hold one.
• Taft-Hartley requires that election hearings on matters of dispute be held before a union recognition election, thus delaying the election. Delay generally benefits management, giving the employer time to coerce workers.
• Taft-Hartley establishes the "right" of management to campaign against a union organizing drive, thereby scuttling the principle of employer neutrality.
• Taft-Hartley prohibits secondary boycotts directed to encourage neutral employers to pressure the employer with which the union has a dispute. Secondary boycotts had been one of organized labor's most potent tools for organizing, negotiating, and dispute settlement.

The president needs to appoint federal judges who are supportive of the rights of workers, not those judges who summarily dismiss employee claims, who narrowly read the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or who do not allow punitive damages. Efforts to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, to create explicit employer neutrality, and even to make modest reforms such as card check voting have been abandoned by the two-party system, with few exceptions among legislators. This systemic failure to enforce labor rights allows for retaliatory firings of organizers and even those who vote to unionize in secret elections.

With the demise of union influence, almost every aspect of workers' rights is given short shrift. The minimum wage has been allowed to languish far behind inflation as executive pay skyrockets. The gap between the wages of now two-job (or more) working families and wealth of the privileged widens, even as worker productivity rises. The average worker takes home takes home $517 per week, while the average CEO of the largest companies takes home $155,769 per week. The gap between workers and large companies is now greater than 300-to-1. In 1982 the gap was 42-to-1. Over 45 million workers one in three do not make a living wage, namely under $10 per hour gross. This is insufficient for an individual to live on and certainly not enough for a family. The Nader campaign advocates immediately increasing the minimum wage to $8 per hour, from its current $5.25 per hour. Two years after that increase, we advocate a $10 per hour living wage.

The battle for a living family wage and battles to repair the workers compensation systems to secure the rights of injured workers to treatment and re-training are fought without the steadfast support of most unions or major political parties. Universal health care, available in nearly all democracies, languishes as a movement in this country for lack of power by organized labor within the American political system. Finally, the Enron scandal showed the need for employees to be allowed to diversify their stock holdings in 401(k) accounts and the need for employees to sue under ERISA for breach of fiduciary duty when employers deliberately deceive employees in matters that will affect anticipated benefits. Where employee rights are at the pleasure of management, management takes care of its own.

The marginalization of organized labor and its agenda for working people within our corporate-dominated political process is in sharp contrast to Western Europe. There unionization is industry -wide and not within a single company. The political support enjoyed by labor results in statutory rights available to union member and non union member alike. A month's paid vacation, longer sick, maternity and family leave and of course health care that is entirely portable are benefits taken for granted in other Western capitalist economic systems. Landmark legislation in 2000 prohibited companies within the European Union from discriminating against workers based on their age, disability, sexual orientation, religion in addition to racial and sex discrimination.

With every election, unions are pressed to donate and get out the vote to protect the political status quo. Yet the same candidates whom unions seek to reelect stand by passively (or actively support), trade agreements which allow vast outsourcing of skilled jobs to third world countries where labor laws are much less protective if they exist at all.

How then can working Americans transform the landscape?

One idea is to view labor rights as civil rights. Suppose workers enjoyed the same rights to form or join a union as they enjoy for other forms of discrimination? If workers seeking to unionize could sue under the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (instead of depending on existing unions to press for remedies before toothless federal agencies) they could secure:

• Compensatory damages, not just back pay, but damages for serious humiliation or grave emotional distress.
• Punitive damages, to send a message to outlaw employers that behave contemptuously, whether it is Microsoft or a big city sweatshop.
• Injunctive relief, including temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions so that employers can be in court defending themselves, or at least in depositions, within days or weeks of an unlawful firing.
• Legal fees, not only to give employers an incentive to settle but to empower individuals to bring their own law suits, even start their own organizing drive, and to enlist the private bar as a new army of organizers.

For the first time every citizen would be empowered to go out and push the cause of dignity and fair pay at work.

A Worker's Bill of Rights is needed because the rights of worker's have been on the decline. It is time to reverse that trend and begin to give workers the backbone of the US economy the rights they deserve. Among the items that should be included in a Worker's Bill of Rights are:

• Workers need to be given a living wage not a minimum wage.
• Access to health care and unilateral reductions in medical benefits should not be allowed.
• A pension plan should be included for employees and pensions for current employees and retirees should not be allowed to be reduced unilaterally.
• Employers should not be able to avoid these benefits by hiring temporary workers or independent contractors.
• The privacy of employees need to be protected, e.g. the monitoring of employee email.
• When downsizing of a company is necessary, employees need to be given adequate notice and sufficient severance pay.
• The pernicious dominant employment law of employment at will that allows for an employee to be fired for any reason, no reason or a bad reason needs to be replaced with an employee's bill of rights.

When it struck down Alabama's debt peonage law in Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219 (1911), the United States Supreme Court wrote that the purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment was not simply to eliminate slavery, but to make labor free by prohibiting that control by which the personal service of one man is disposed of or coerced for another's benefit without the rights to organize, strike, boycott, and picket. (at 241) Early labor law, notably, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, was grounded in this Constitutional imperative and the guarantees of speech and association flowing from the First Amendment. During the New Deal worker freedoms under the Thirteenth Amendment diminished when the U.S. Supreme Court made the Commerce Clause dominant. This interpretation even turned the pro-worker Wagner Act into a law that gave the government power to eliminate strikes. The Commerce Clause put the needs of business first asking whether labor organizing encumbers the free flow of business and led to the federal government having the power to intrude into union organizing, as well as in disputes between labor and business on the side of business to keep commerce moving. An entirely new initiative must be undertaken to ground freedoms of speech, association and an effective freedom of labor on firm constitutional grounds.

The restoration and expansion of the rights of workers are timeless principles about basic human rights, fairness and justice.

Restore Retirement Security

AN AGENDA TO RESTORE RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR MILLIONS OF OLDER AMERICANS

In recent years, hundreds of large companies have broken long-standing pension and health insurance promises to their loyal, longtime employees and retirees. These unfair practices are accelerating, rather than diminishing, and are undercutting the retirement security of millions of people. The Ad Hoc Coalition to Restore Retirement Security is asking candidates for elective office to pledge to work to:

STOP COMPANIES FROM BREAKING PENSION PROMISES TO OLDER EMPLOYEES BY UNFAIRLY CHANGING PLAN RULES:

AT&T's switch to a cash balance "pension plan" increased its operating earnings by millions of dollars, at the expense of long-service salaried employees who lost as much as half of their expected pensions. The AT&T employees are asking candidates to support legislation that would require companies to make good on their pension promises by giving employees the choice at retirement between receiving their promised pensions and those offered under any new rules.

STOP COMPANIES FROM BREAKING PENSION PROMISES TO OLDER EMPLOYEES BY THEIR SELLING DIVISIONS:

Halliburton's sale of its Dresser-Rand division seemed like a routine business deal, until employees learned that it would cost them the full early retirement pensions they had spent their careers working for. Although the employees continue to work in the same jobs for the new owner, a loophole in the law allowed Halliburton to shift the money put into their plan to pay their expected benefits into a plan for its own employees. The Dresser-Rand employees are asking candidates to support measures that would prevent companies from using the sale of a division as a pretext to short-change employees of their promised pensions.

STOP COMPANIES FROM BREAKING PENSION PROMISES TO OLDER EMPLOYEES BY RECLASSIFYING THEM:

Just as thousands of Allstate insurance agents were reaching eligibility for their promised early retirement pensions, Allstate changed their status to independent contractors, and told them they would get a small fraction of their anticipated benefits. The action increased Allstate's reported earnings and infuriated the agents, who filed a lawsuit claiming that the reclassification unlawfully deprived them of their pensions. The Allstate employees are asking candidates to support measures to restore their full benefits.

STOP COMPANIES FROM BREAKING PROMISES TO RETIREES THAT THEY WOULD PAY THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS:

Thousands of GM retirees accepted early retirement packages because they were promised generous pensions supplemented by lifetime health insurance coverage. Years into retirement their companies told them that fine print allowed the companies to cutback (and even cancel) health insurance payments. The GM retirees are asking candidates to support measures that would make it unlawful for companies to change the rules after people have retired.

STOP COMPANIES FROM BREAKING PROMISES TO EMPLOYEES ABOUT THE VALUE OF THEIR COMPANY'S STOCK:

MCI/WorldCom employees believed their company officials when the officials told them that WorldCom was a sound investment for the employees 401(k) money. In fact, the officials knew that the company was in financial trouble and were selling their WorldCom stock. After the company collapsed, the employees learned that gaps in the law could prevent them from being made whole. The WorldCom employees are asking candidates to support proposals that would ensure full remedies for misrepresentations by company officials.

These are but a few of the many ways that companies have failed to keep pension and health insurance promises to employees and retirees. While we recognize that there are other retirement policies that beg for urgent attention, we believe fulfilling these commitments would be a critically important first step toward restoring retirement security for older Americans.

And now you've got issues, too.

By the way, one of our favorite restaurants in D.C. is holding an online pre-election poll. Please vote now.

Onward

The Nader Team
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:20 am

GREEN CAMPAIGN 2000
The Association of State Green Parties
MEDIA ADVISORY
THE GREEN PARTY PLATFORM WEB SITE: www.gp.org
For immediate release
Thursday, July 20, 2000

Contacts:
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator
207-326-4576, nallen@acadia.net
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator
202-518-5624, scottmclarty@yahoo.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Organizers of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), which organized the Green Party National Nominating Convention in Denver, Colorado on June 24 and 25, have posted the platform adopted at the convention at gp.org.

(NOTE: gp.org is now the home domain of the Green Party. The 2000 Green Party Platform is available here: http://www.gp.org/platform2000.html)

This is the platform for which the state Green Parties voted at the convention, and is the sole platform on which Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke are running for President and Vice President, respectively.

The ASGP/convention platform should not be confused with the platform of the Greens/Green Party USA (GPUSA), which represents an activist contingent within the larger Green movement in the United States. Some state Green Parties hold affiliations with both ASGP and GPUSA, but the GPUSA platform has no formal connection with ASGP, the Denver convention, or the Nader campaign. The GPUSA platform was incorrectly associated with the Nader campaign and, by inference, with ASGP by a caller to National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" and in a recent column by Jonathan Chait in The New Republic (July 10 & 17, 2000).

The Green Party platform directly opposes major policies of the Democratic Party platform adopted on July 7, on which Al Gore has based his campaign and the Republican Party platform of George W. Bush.

Mr. Nader said in his speech to the NAACP last week, "The Green Party Platform hands down is the most thorough, justice-saturated platform of any political party platform of the day. Reminds me of some of the great platforms of many decades ago when parties -- at least one -- stood tall for the working people of this country."

The 2000 Democratic platform would gut the social safety net, especially New Deal and Great Society efforts over the past seven decades to improve the lives of working and poor Americans, in favor of debt reduction, and endorses the authority of international free trade cabals to override national and local labor, environmental, and human rights protections.

The Democratic platform converges with Republican policy in favoring aggressive military intervention and increased military spending, policies that Greens see as a betrayal of the promised post-Cold-War peace dividend, for the profit of defense contractors.

Greens have protested all such policies, and the Green platform demands national health insurance, livable wage and collective bargaining guarantees, increased environmental and human rights protections, massive cuts in defense spending, and the end of free trade cabals.


For More Information:

Green Party platform: http://www.gp.org
Nader 2000 Campaign: http://www.votenader.org
Association of State Green Parties: http://www.greenparties.org
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

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PART 1 OF 3

GREEN PARTY PLATFORM 2000

[as ratified at the Green Party National Convention, June 2000]

A Call To Action

Platform Preamble

GREEN PARTY PLATFORM 2000

Green Key Values

I. DEMOCRACY

A. Political Reform
B. Political Participation
C. Community
D. Foreign Policy

II. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

A. Education
B. Health Care
C. Economic Justice / Social Safety Net
D. Tax Justice / Fairness
E. Management-Labor Relations
F. Criminal Justice
G. Civil And Equal Rights
H. Free Speech
I. Native Americans
J. Immigration / Emigration
K. Housing
L. National Service

III. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

A. Energy Policy
B. Nuclear Issues
C. Waste Management
D. Fossil Fuels
E. Renewable Energy
F. Transportation Policy
G. Clean Air / Greenhouse Effect / Ozone Depletion
H. Land Use
I. Water
J. Agriculture
K. Biological Diversity

IV. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

A. Eco-Nomics
B. Re-asserting Local Citizen Control Over Corporations
C. Livable Income
D. Community Involvement
E. Small Business And Job Creation
F. Trade
G. Rural Development
H. Banking For People
I. Insurance Reform
J. Pension Reform
K. Anti-Trust Enforcement
L. Advanced Tech / Defense Conversion
M. The National Debt

A CALL TO ACTION

The GREEN PLATFORM is an evolving document, a living work-in-progress that expresses our commitment to creating meaningful and enduring change in the political process. Our Party’s first priority is to value-based politics, in contrast to a system extolling exploitation, consumption, and non-sustainable competition.

We believe in an alternative, independent politics and active, responsible government.

We believe in empowering citizens and communities.

We offer hope and a call to action.

In this platform we make our case to change the way our government operates – to change the quality of our everyday lives – to build a vision that brings new and lasting opportunities.

_________________________________________________


PLATFORM PREAMBLE

As the new century dawns, we look back with somber reflection at how we have been as a people and as a nation. Realizing our actions will be judged by future generations, we ask how with foresight and wisdom, we can renew the best of our past, calling forth a spirit of change and participation that speaks for a free and democratic society.

We submit a bold vision of our future, a PLATFORM on which we stand:

An ethic of KEY VALUES leading to a POLITICS OF ACTION.
A hopeful, challenging plan for A PROSPERING, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY.
A call to CREATE and CONSERVE a rich, DIVERSE environment characterized by a sense of COMMUNITY.

What we are proposing is a vision of our common good that goes beyond special interests and the business of politics.

What we are proposing is an INDEPENDENT POLITICS, a democratic vision that empowers and reaches beyond background and political loyalty to bring together our combined strengths as a people.

We, the GREEN PARTY, see our political and economic progress, and our individual lives, within the context of an evolving, challenging world.

As in nature, where adaptation and diversity provide key strategies of survival, a successful political strategy is one that is diverse, adaptable to changing needs, and strong and resilient in its core values:

DEMOCRACY, practiced most effectively at the grassroots level and in local communities.
SOCIAL JUSTICE and EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, emphasizing personal and social responsibility, accountability, and non-violence.
ENVIRONMENTAL and ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY, balancing the interests of market- and value-driven business, of the community and land, of living and future generations.

Looking to the future with hope and optimism, we believe we can truly change history – that together we can make a real difference in the quality of our lives and environment. Our common destiny brings us together across our nation and around the globe. It is for us to choose how we will be remembered. It is for us to choose the future we are creating today.

_________________________________________________

GREEN KEY VALUES

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY

Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM

Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.

We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

4. NON-VIOLENCE

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.

We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

5. DECENTRALIZATION

Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE

We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work.

Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.

7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.

We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.

9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY

We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY

Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.

QUALITY OF LIFE

Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that are truly worth living. We believe the quality of our individual lives is enriched by the quality of all of our lives. We encourage everyone to see the dignity and intrinsic worth in all of life, and to take the time to understand and appreciate themselves, their community and the magnificent beauty of this world.

_______________

I. DEMOCRACY

Democracy must empower all citizens to:

obtain timely, accurate information from their government;
communicate such information and their judgments to one another through modern technology;
band together in civic associations in pursuit of a prosperous, just and free society.
The separation of ownership of major societal assets from their control permits the concentration of power over such assets in the hands of the few who control rather than in the hand of the many who own. The owners of the public lands, pension funds, savings accounts, and the public airwaves are the American people, who have essentially little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.

A growing and grave imbalance between the often-converging power of Big Business, Big Government and the citizens of this country has seriously damaged our democracy.

Corporations have perfected socializing their losses while they capitalize on their profits.

It’s time to end “corporate welfare” as we know it. The power of “civic action” is an antidote to abuse. As we look at the dismantling of democracy by the corporatization of society, we need to rekindle the democratic flame. As voter citizens, taxpayers, workers, consumers and shareholders, we need to exercise our rights and, as Jefferson urged, counteract the “excesses of the monied interests.”

A. Political Reform

1. The Green Party, proposes a COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL REFORM AGENDA calling for real reform, accountability, and responsiveness in government.

2. Political debate, public policy, and legislation should be judged on its merits, not on the quid pro quo of political barter and money.

3. We propose comprehensive CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and state level, and/or full public financing of elections” to remove undue influence in political campaigns.

4. We will work to ban or greatly limit POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES and restrict SOFT MONEY contributions.

5. We support significant lobbying regulation, strict rules that disclose the extent of political lobbying via “gifts” and contributions. Broad-based reforms of government operations, with congressional reorganization and ETHICS LAWS, must be instituted. At every level of government, we support “Sunshine Laws” that open up the political system to access by ordinary citizens.

6. We recognize individual empowerment, full citizen participation, and PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION as the foundation of an effective and PLURALISTIC democracy."

7. We demand choices in our political system. This can be accomplished by proportional representation voting systems such as: 1) Choice Voting (which is candidate-based) 2) Mixed Member Voting (which combines with district representation) ; and/or 3) Party List (which is party based), and semi-proportional voting systems such as: 1) Limited Voting and 2) Cumulative Voting. All are used throughout the free world and by U.S. businesses, and community and non-profit groups to increase democratic representation. We call on local governments to lead the way toward more electoral choice and broader representation.

8. We believe in MAJORITY RULE. Accordingly, we call for the use of INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING in chief executive races (mayor, governor, president, etc.) where voters can rank their favorite candidates (1,2,3, etc.) to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters aren't relegated to choosing between the "lesser of two evils."

9. We believe in MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY (for partisan elections) as the best way to guarantee majority rule, since more people will have representation at the table where policy is enacted.

10. The Electoral College is an 18th century anachronism. We call for a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and providing for the direct election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. Until that time, we call for a proportional allocation of delegates in state primaries."

11. We encourage building alternative, grassroots institutions that support participatory and direct democracy at the local level. Political reform goes beyond elected politics, ultimately residing in choices each of us makes in our own lives.

12. Using our voice to help others find their voice, a national Green Party should spring from many sources: state and local Green Party electoral efforts, individual efforts, political involvement and direction at every level. As Greens, we look toward forming bioregional confederations to coordinate regional issues based on natural and ecosystem boundaries instead of traditional political ones.

B. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

1. Greens advocate direct democracy as a response to local needs and issues, where all concerned citizens can discuss and decide questions that immediately affect their lives, such as land use, parks, schools and community services. We would decentralize many state functions to the county and city level and seek expanded roles for neighborhood boards and associations.

2. We call for more flexibility by states and local decision-making.

3. We advocate maintaining and enhancing federal guarantees in the areas of civil rights protections, environmental safeguards, and social “safety net” entitlements.

4. We endorse and advocate citizen rights to INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM and RECALL. We believe that these tools of democracy should not be for sale to the wealthy who pay for signatures to buy their way onto the ballot. Therefore we call for a certain percentage of signatures gathered to come from volunteer collectors.

5. We call for citizen control of REDISTRICTING processes and moving the “backroom” apportionment process into the public light. Minority representation must be protected and secured in order to protect minority rights.

6. We will act to broaden voter participation and BALLOT ACCESS, urging UNIVERSAL VOTER REGISTRATION and an ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY.

7. We believe that a binding “None of the Above” option on the ballot should be considered.

8. We believe that providing free television and mail under reasonable conditions for every qualified statewide, congressional, presidential candidate and party can move the political process toward increased participation.

9. We support statehood for the District of Columbia. The residents of D.C. must have the same rights as all other U.S. citizens to govern themselves and to be represented in both houses of Congress.

10. Individual participation in the life of our local community – in community projects and through personal, meaningful, voluntary activity – is also political and vital to the health of community.

11. We support citizen involvement at all levels of the decision-making process and hold that DIRECT ACTION can be an effective tool where peaceful democratic activism is appropriate. We support the right to non-violent direct action that supports green values. We call for the implementation of Children's

Parliaments, whereby representatives elected by students to discuss, debate and make proposals to their city councils and school boards.

C. COMMUNITY

Community is the basic unit of green politics because it is personal, value-oriented and small enough for each member to have an impact. We look to community involvement as a foundation for public policy. Social diversity is the well-spring of community life, where old and young, rich and poor, people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to care for each other, to understand and cooperate. We emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand, cope with, and care about.

Within the Greens, as we look at community issues, it is a guiding principle to “think globally, act locally.” Community needs recognize a diversity of issues, and LOCAL CONTROL recognizes a variety of approaches to solving problems, one that tends to be “bottom up” not “top down.” Green politics does not place its faith in paternalistic “big government.” Instead, we believe face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens.

The Green vision includes building communities that nurture families, generate good jobs and housing, and provide public services; creating cities and towns that educate children, encourage recreation, and preserve natural and cultural resources; building local governments that protect people from environmental hazards and crime, and motivate citizens to participate in making decision.

The Green vision calls for a GLOBAL COMMUNITY of communities, recognizing our immense diversity, respecting our personal worth, and sharing a global perspective. We call for “A POLITICS OF 2000,” which acknowledges our endangered planet and habitat. Our politics responds to global crisis with a new way of seeing our shared INTERNATIONAL SECURITY.

We conceive of a new era of international cooperation and communication, a set of responses nurturing CULTURAL DIVERSITY, recognizing the interconnectedness between communities, and promoting opportunities for cultural exchange and assistance.

1. We call for increased PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, and convenient playgrounds and parks for all sections of cities and small towns, and funding to encourage diverse neighborhoods.

2. We support a rich milieu of art, culture, and significant (yet modestly funded) programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

3. We call for social policies to focus on protecting FAMILIES. The young – our citizens of tomorrow – are increasingly at risk. A “CHILDREN’S AGENDA” should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the future that is in our children.

4. Programs must be encouraged to ensure that children, the most vulnerable members of society, will receive basic nutritional, educational and medical necessities.

5. A universal, federally funded CHILDCARE program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed.

6. Family assistance such as the EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT, available to working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children, should be maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growing inequalities in American society.

7. We support successful PRE-NATAL programs and “HEAD START.”

8. It is our realization that “a living family wage” is vital to the social health of communities.

9. The actuarial protection of SOCIAL SECURITY is essential to the well-being of our seniors, and the maintenance of the system’s integrity is an essential part of a healthy community.

10. We support the leading-edge work of NON-PROFIT PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS, and those individuals breaking out of “careerism” to pursue NON-TRADITIONAL CAREERS in public service.

D. FOREIGN POLICY

As we look back at the wars and deprivations of the past, and set our minds to overcoming continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy, and of advancing THE CAUSE OF PEACE. With the end of the Cold War has come a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its NATIONAL SECURITY. Our present task is to rid ourselves of the residue of the geopolitical conflict of East versus West, with its bloated defense budgets, thousands of unneeded nuclear weapons and major troop deployments overseas. Greens support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reducing militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.

1. With half of all discretionary spending now going to the military, the president requesting spending even the Pentagon thinks is wasteful, and the Congress proposing even more than the president requests, Greens believe the more than $300 billion DEFENSE BUDGET MUST BE CUT. The Green Party calls for military spending to be cut by 50% over the next 10 years, with increases in spending for social programs. Preventive diplomacy, a strong economy and humane trade relations are our best defense. We must maintain a viable American military force, prudent foreign policy doctrines, and readiness strategies that take into account real, not hollow or imagined threats to our people, our democratic institutions and U.S. interests. Even so, Greens seek strength through peace.

2. The Green Party would press for the immediate start of the negotiation of a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons, and for the completion of those negotiations by the year 2002. We would cut off all funding for the development, testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons, and also cut off funding for nuclear weapons research. All nuclear weapons should be taken off alert and all warheads removed from their delivery vehicles.

3. We call for our foreign policy establishment to engage in a national debate on how we can convert to a PEACETIME ECONOMY. We believe our nation’s ultimate strength is in its people and a healthy economy. These will best protect our national security interests over the long-term.

4. We endorse a reordering of priorities as to how our nation can best achieve national security. The Green Party asserts that security and liberty prosper together. HUMAN RIGHTS are the foundation of EMERGING DEMOCRACIES and international relations. We argue that the support of democracy, human rights and respect for international law should be the cornerstone of American foreign policy.

5. We endorse ending support for repressive regimes. We believe the United States and all nations should abide by World Court decisions. We support the right of habeas corpus being available to any person anywhere whose imprisonment violates fundamental norms of international law.

6. It is our belief that the massive debt owed by the Third World is causing immense misery and environmental destruction. FOREIGN AID must be addressed in the context of retiring this debt and not forcing “structural adjustments” via the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) and WORLD BANK on the economies of the underdeveloped world.

7. We call for a more enlightened policy on the part of INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES and their financial arms which takes into account the impact of international debt management. The United States should rein in the IMF and World Bank, whose policies have wreaked havoc, and demand that loans be conditional on human rights and labor rights records, social and environmental impact statements, and the providing of basic health and education.

8. INTERNATIONAL LAW and INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS are inseparable. We do not support a world-view that relies on accommodation of tyranny or repressive regimes.

9. We encourage policies that work to assist the FORMER SOVIET UNION in its move toward a government based on rights and a more open political and economic system.

10. We support peace in the MIDDLE EAST based on respect for civil liberties and human rights.

11. We endorse human rights policies in regard to relations with CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA and other nations with a history of rights violations.

12. We support the end of the economic blockade of Cuba. Unjust economic coercion by one state against another constitutes a violation of human rights.

13. We demand, along with Green Parties around the world, that the United States support the international anti-personnel mine treaty.

14. As stated in the United Nation’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 25”, the U.S. Green Party, one of more than eighty Green Parties internationally, calls for the global adoption of basic human rights. “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves] and of [their] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [their] control.”

15. We believe in the core RIGHT of SELF-DETERMINATION; of the special character and needs of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES; of the essential importance of balancing economic development in the THIRD WORLD with a respect for the “old ways.”

16. We trust that NON-VIOLENCE provides a road to PEACE. We understand the right of self-defense, yet believe we must move beyond behavior that perpetuates violence. We oppose structural and direct violence of all kinds: assaults against individuals, families, nations and cultures, the environment and the biosphere.

17. We endorse an EXPANDED PEACE CORPS.

18. We encourage the important work of NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs), much in evidence at the United Nations “Earth Summit” in 1992 and in efforts to democratize the World Trade Organization in 2000.

19. Essential in any broad definition of SECURITY, whether defined in national, international or global terms, is that we must find ways to secure and preserve our common Earth, sustainer of all life. We must look to domestic and international regulation to protect the global ecology, utilizing the UNITED NATIONS and related agencies as well as regional associations to advance our mutual interests.

20. We must build on the “Earth Charter” that came out of the 1992 U.N. environmental Earth Summit. New definitions of what constitutes real security between nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.

II. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

A. EDUCATION

The failing report card of American education is troubling for most every American. Who fails to see the connection between our investment in education and our success as a people? Who believes there is no relation between personal achievement and a quality education – an education that teaches creative and critical thinking skills and a respect for lifelong learning? Where can we best make a difference in our future?

The Green Party maintains that access to quality education for all Americans is the difference that will lead to a strong and diverse community. The Green Party seeks fundamental change in our priorities at the national and local levels, within the public and private sectors, in the classroom and at home, to make education our first priority.

1. Greens support EDUCATIONAL DIVERSITY. We hold no dogma absolute, continually striving for truth in the realm of ideas. We open ourselves – consciously and intuitively – to truth and beauty in the world of nature. We view learning as a lifelong process to which all people have an equal right.

2. Education starts with CHOICE and within public education we believe in broad choices. “Magnet schools,” “Site-based Management,” “Schools within Schools,” alternative models and parental involvement are ways in which elementary education can be changed to make a real difference in the lives of our children. CURRICULUM should focus on SKILLS, both basic skills that serve as a solid foundation for higher learning, and exploratory approaches that expand horizons, such as distance learning, “interactive” education, computer proficiencies, perspectives that bring an enriched awareness of nature (“biological literacy”), intercultural experiences, and languages.

3. We advocate creative and noncompetitive education at every age level, and the inclusion of cultural diversity in all curricula. We encourage “hands on” approaches that encourage a multitude of individual learning styles.

4. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY should be encouraged by finding ways to help support parents in their efforts to help support their children as more families confront economic conditions demanding a greater deal of time be spent away from home. Parents should be as involved as possible in their children’s education; values do start with parents.

5. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY is also key to developing intrinsic capabilities. Greens hold strongly to empowerment of individuals; therefore, we support each student recognizing their own personal responsibility: to strive to achieve their fullest potential as an individual.

6. FEDERAL POLICY on education should act principally to ensure equal opportunity to a quality education.

7. Educational funding formulas at the STATE LEVEL need to be adjusted as needed to avoid gross inequalities between districts and schools. Educational grants should provide necessary balance to ensure equal educational access for minority, deprived, special needs and exceptional children. In higher education, federal college scholarship aid should be increased and aimed at excluding no qualified student.

8. Our teachers find they are underpaid, overworked and rarely supplied with the resources necessary to do the work most are sincerely trying to do to reach their students. It is time to stop disinvesting in education, and start putting education at the top of our social and economic agenda.

9. We call on all Greens to include education as a regular part of our meetings so we can be clear about what unites us as well as what divides us.

10. We call for equitable state and national funding of school education and the creation of schools controlled by parent-teacher governing bodies.

11. We support after-school programs for “latchkey” children.

12. We advocate state funding for DAY CARE that includes school children under the age of ten when after-school programs are not available.

13. Classroom teachers at the elementary and high school levels should be given PROFESSIONAL STATUS, and salaries comparable to related professions requiring advanced education, training and responsibility.

14. Principals are also essential components in effective educational institutions. We encourage state Departments of Education and school boards to deliver more programmatic support and decision-making to the true grassroots level – i.e., the classroom teacher and school principal.

15. Use of computers in the early grades should not supplant the development of basic interpersonal, perceptual and motor skills as a foundation for learning.

16. We call for the teaching of non-violent conflict resolution at all levels of education.

17. We recognize the viable alternative of HOME-BASED EDUCATION.

18. We support a host of innovative and critical educational efforts, such as BI-LINGUAL EDUCATION, CONTINUING EDUCATION, JOB RETRAINING, MENTORING AND APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.

19. Dispute resolution is an important part of resolving classroom or after-school disputes, and a life skill that all children should learn.

20. We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporations that promote a culture of consumption and waste. Schools should not expose children to commercial advertising. Schools must safeguard students’ privacy rights and not make available private student information upon corporate (or federal government) request.

21. Within higher education, we oppose military and corporate control over the priorities and topics of academic research.

22. We support tuition-free post secondary (collegiate and vocational) public education.

23. In an economy that demands higher skills and a democracy that depends on an informed, educated electorate, opportunities for universal higher education and life-long learning must be vastly expanded.

a.) Short of tuition-free schooling, student-loans should be available to all students attending college, and they should be repayable as a proportion of future earnings, rather than at a fixed rate.

b.) On the same terms, individualized training accounts should be made available to students who choose to pursue vocational and continuing education.

24. Freedom of artistic expression is a fundamental right and is a key element in empowering communities and moving us toward sustainability and respect for diversity. Artists can create in ways that foster healthy, non-alienating relationships between people and their daily environments, communities, and the Earth. This can include both artists whose themes advocate compassion, nurturance, or cooperation; and artists whose creations unmask the often-obscure connections between various forms of violence, domination, and oppression, or effectively criticize aspects of the very community that supports their artistic activity. The arts can only perform their social friction if they are completely free from outside control.

The Green Party supports:

a.) Alternative, community-based systems treating neither the artwork nor the artist as a commodity.

b.) Eliminating all laws which seek to restrict or censor artistic expression, including withholding of government funds for political or moral content.

c.) Increased funding for the arts appropriate to their essential social role at all levels of government: Local, State and Federal.

d.) Community-funded programs employing local artists to enrich their communities through public art programs. These could include, but would not be limited to, public performances, exhibitions, murals on public buildings, design or re-design of parks and public areas, storytelling and poetry reading, and publication of local writers.

e.) The establishment of non-profit public forums for local artists to display their talents and creations. Research, public dialogue, and trial experiments to develop alternative systems for the valuation and exchange of artworks and for the financial support of artists (e.g., community subscriber support groups, artwork rental busts, cooperative support systems among artists, legal or financial incentives to donate to the arts or to donate artworks to public museums).

f.) Responsible choices of non-toxic, renewable, or recyclable materials and choosing funding sources not connected with social injustice or environmental destruction.

g.) Education programs in the community that will energize the creativity of every community member from the youngest to the oldest, including neglected groups such as teenagers, senior citizens, prisoners, immigrants, and drug addicts. These programs would provide materials and access to interested, qualified arts educators to every member of the community who demonstrates an interest

h.) Incorporating arts education studies and activities into every school curriculum with appropriate funding and staffing. We also encourage local artists and the community to contribute time, experience, and resources to these efforts.

i.) Diversity in arts education in the schools, including age-specific hands-on activities and appreciative theoretical approaches, exposure to the arts of various cultures and stylistic traditions, and experience with a variety of media, techniques and contents.

j.) The integration of the arts and artistic teaching methods into other areas of the curriculum to promote a holistic perspective.

Greens view learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process to which all people should have access. We cannot state more forcefully our belief that in learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of our Platform.

B. HEALTH CARE

Fundamental reform of our nation’s health care system is necessary to provide affordable, quality and accessible health care for all Americans. Currently, we are the only industrialized country without a national health care system. Unfortunately, we have a private insurance system that insures only the healthiest people, systematically denying coverage to individuals with “pre-existing” conditions and routinely terminating coverage to those who become ill.

The Green Party considers health care a human right, and therefore supports a single-payer national insurance program for the United States. This program would be publicly financed at the national level, administered locally, and privately delivered, i.e., private physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers would remain private and competitive, and consumers given full choice of provider.

It would cover all standard medical procedures, treatment, diagnosis, etc. as well as drug treatment, dental care, medication, chronic and terminal illness, and abortion. The program must include equal coverage for treatment of mental illness. All Americans must be covered under this plan, regardless of employment, income, housing, age, or prior medical condition.

The Green Party believes, based on comparison with other nations that have enacted similar programs, that such a program would be more economical and would save money in many areas. In order to enact this program, we must dismantle the current managed care system.

The current system’s high costs and widely recognized failures demand that bold, not incremental steps, be taken.

1. Alongside the many Americans calling for action that makes health care a right, not a privilege, the Green Party states with a clear voice its strong support for UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.

2. We call for passage of legislation at the national and state level that guarantees comprehensive benefits for all Americans. A single-insurer system funded by the federal government and administered at the state and local levels remains viable and is an essential barometer of our national health and well-being.

3. We support maintaining private medical providers, including doctors, hospitals and clinics…

4. As we support cost savings by small business, we note it is estimated that businesses will save significantly compared to their current premiums – an estimated $900 billion – under a proposed SINGLE-PAYER “National Health Trust Fund” plan.

5. We endorse NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE and demand that Congress again propose and act to support the practical and moral imperative of Universal Health Care. Major features of this health care legislation should include:

a.) UNIVERSAL ACCESS without concern for work status or health history;

b.) FREEDOM OF HEALTH CARE CHOICE so patients can choose their own clinics, doctors or other health care professionals;

c.) substantial COST SAVINGS through annual, global budgets, national fee schedules, and streamlined administration which acts to eliminate the waste of the current system;

d.) COMPREHENSIVE BENEFITS, without insurance premiums, deductibles or co-payments, including hospital and physician care, prescription drugs, dental and vision care, reproductive and preventative care, and defined mental health benefits;

e.) a focus on RURAL HEALTH SERVICES;

f.) and continued support of MEDICAL RESEARCH into the quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of medical care.

6. MEDICARE provides health care for nearly 40 million Americans over the age of 65. Medicare: Part A is financed by the Medicare Trust Fund, which is replenished by payroll taxes. But as the major portion of the Fund’s financing moves from these dedicated payroll taxes and premiums to general funds, the Fund’s trustees predict insolvency looms, putting Medicare is at risk. In order to correct this, we would vigorously pursue savings and cuts from abundant waste and fraud, eliminate costly, unnecessary services that benefit providers more than patients, and rein in pharmaceutical industry rip-offs.

7. MEDICAID, which pays for basic medical assistance for the disabled, blind, pregnant women, and children in families who have no insurance, also must be protected and put on a firm financial footing.

8. The prices of all kinds of medication must be publicly supervised, with federal controls, and be set with respect to the needs of patients and consumers, instead of demands for commercial profit.

9. Successful reform of our health care system must start with WELLNESS education; that is, PREVENTATIVE health care. It is each of our responsibilities to tend to our own health through education, diet, nutrition and exercise.

10. The Surgeon General has stated that a large percentage of illness is diet related; therefore improving the quality of our nation’s FOOD SUPPLY and our personal eating habits will go a long way toward improving our health care system – by reducing the need for care.

11. We support a wide-range of health care services, not just traditional medicine that too often emphasizes “a medical arms race” relying upon high-tech intervention and surgical techniques.

12. We support the teaching of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healing approaches.

13. We oppose the arrest, harassment or prosecution of anyone involved in any aspect of the production, cultivation, transportation, distribution or consumption of medicinal marijuana. We also oppose the harassment, prosecution or revocation of license of any health-care provider who gives a recommendation or prescription for medicinal marijuana.

14. As a matter of appropriate professional responsibility, we support INFORMED CONSENT LAWS to educate consumers to potential health impacts.

15. PRIMARY CARE, through a renewed attention to family medicine as opposed to increased medical specialization, is appropriate and necessary.

16. Special attention must be given to WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES, including reproductive rights and family planning.

17. We believe the right of a woman to control her own body is inalienable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available.

18. Medical research must be increased, and alternative therapies actively sought, to combat breast cancer.

19. We call for adequate SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES being made available to those who have special needs: the mentally ill, the handicapped, those who are terminally ill.

20. We call for wider implementation of hospice care.

21. We believe an all out campaign must be waged against AIDS and HIV, and we will press for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on AIDS. We call for prevention awareness and access to condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. We condemn HIV-related discrimination; would make drug treatment and other programs available for all addicts who seek help; would expand clinical trials for treatments and vaccines; and speed up the FDA drug approval process.

22. In matters of international trade, the United States must respect the measures other nations take to ensure public health, and must not use medication, medical equipment, and other medical necessities -- and threats of withholding them -- as leverage for political reasons or as extortion for the sake of commercial profit. We oppose any embargo or economic sanction that would cause the suffering of innocent civilians.

C. Economic Justice/Social Safety Net

The passage of the 1996 WELFARE ACT by Congress, and its signing by the President, confronts us with hard choices. Democrats and Republicans seem to be saying we cannot afford to care for children and poor mothers. In ending over fifty years of federal policy guaranteeing cash assistance for poor children, Congress has set in motion a radical experiment that will have a profound impact on the lives of the weakest members of our society. How will the states, city and county governments, local communities, businesses, churches – all of us – respond?

We believe we have a special responsibility to the health and well-being of the young. Yet we see the federal safety net being removed and replaced with limited and potentially harsh state welfare programs. How will social services be adequately provided if local resources are stretched thin already?

We believe our community priorities must first protect the young and helpless. Yet how will state legislatures and agencies, under pressure from more powerful interests, react? We believe local decision-making is important, but we realize, as we learned during the civil rights era, that strict federal standards must guide state actions in providing basic protections. As the richest nation in history, we should not condemn millions of children to a life of poverty, while corporate welfare is increased to historic highs.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:28 am

PART 2 OF 3

Welfare: A Commitment to Ending Poverty

The health of the planet is inseparably bound to the health of our human communities. Greens understand that an unjust society is an unsustainable society. When communities are stressed by poverty, violence and despair, our ability to meet the challenges of the post-industrial age are critically impaired. A holistic, future-focused perspective on how we distribute resources in this country will consider the effects of such distribution not just on our present needs, but on the seventh generation to come.

The ones who suffer most from economic injustice are children - those who will inherit the social and environmental problems of the 20th century, and who will carry the responsibility of sustaining our society into the next millennium. Ensuring that children and their caregivers have access to an adequate, secure standard of living should form the cornerstone of our economic priorities.

It is time for a RADICAL PARADIGM SHIFT in our attitude toward support for families, children, the poor and the disabled. Such support must not be given grudgingly; it is the right of those in present need and AN INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE. We must take an uncompromising position that the care and nurture of children, elders and the disabled are essential to a healthy, peaceful and sustainable society. We should recognize that the work of their caregivers is of social and economic value, and reward it accordingly. Only then can we hope to build our future on a foundation of healthy, educated children who are raised in an atmosphere of love and security.

1. We believe that all people have a right to food, housing, medical care, a living wage job, education, and support in times of hardship.

2. We believe that work performed outside the monetary system has inherent social and economic value, and is essential to a healthy, sustainable economy and peaceful communities. Such work includes, but is not limited to: child and elder care; homemaking; voluntary community service; continuing education; participating in government; and the arts.

3. We call for restoration of a federally funded entitlement program to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled, with no time limit on benefits. This program should be funded through the existing welfare budget, reductions in military spending and corporate subsidies, and a fair progressive income tax.

4. We call for a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax, that would maintain all individual adult incomes above the poverty level, regardless of employment or marital status.

5. We advocate reinvesting a significant portion of the military budget in family support, living wage job development, and work training programs. Publicly funded work training and education programs should have a goal of increasing people’s employment options at living wage jobs.

6. We support public funding for the development of living wage jobs in community and environmental service, for example, environmental clean-up, recycling, sustainable agriculture and food production, sustainable forest management, repair and maintenance of public facilities, neighborhood-based public safety, aids in schools, libraries and childcare centers, and construction and renovation of energy-efficient housing. We oppose enterprise zone ‘give aways’ which benefit corporations more than inner city communities

7. The accumulation of individual wealth in the U.S. has reached grossly unbalanced proportions. It is clear that we cannot rely on the rich to regulate their profit-making excesses for the good of society through “trickle-down economics”. We must take aggressive steps to restore a FAIR DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME. We support tax incentives for businesses that apply fair employee wage distributions standards, and income tax policies that restrict the accumulation of excessive individual wealth.

8. Forcing welfare recipients to accept jobs that pay wages below a livable income (“a living wage”) drives wages down and exploits workers for private profit at public expense. We reject “workfare” as a form a slave labor.

9. Corporations receiving public subsidies must provide livable wage jobs, observe basic workers rights, and agree to affirmative action policies.of such distribution not just on our present needs, but on the seventh generation to come.

D. TAX JUSTICE / FAIRNESS

Middle-class and poor people are paying an ever greater proportion of federal taxes, and too often local and state taxes are unfair and regressive. The tax code is a labyrinth of deductions, loopholes, exemptions and write-offs, the result of insider- and industry-lobbying that has damaged our economy as it has served the interests of big business and financial institutions.

1. We call for SYSTEM-WIDE TAX REFORM that acts to simplify the tax system.

2. Subsidies, export incentives, tax loopholes and tax shelters that benefit large corporations now amount to hundreds of billions of dollars each year and must be cut to the bone.

The high price of corporate welfare corrupts the political process by encouraging the exchange of political favors for campaign donations. Corporate tax breaks are ultimately paid for by higher taxes on the middle class; they distort the rules of the marketplace and seldom serve a larger public purpose.

We call for a tax policy that moves to eliminate loopholes and other exemptions that favor powerful interests over TAX JUSTICE. Small business, in particular, should not be penalized by a tax system which benefits those who can “work” the legislative tax committees for breaks and subsidies.

3. We support substantive and wide-ranging reform of the tax system that helps create jobs, economic efficiencies and innovation within the small business community.

4. We believe fiscal and tax policies should confront and end destructive “corporate welfare” and subsidies. Smaller businesses are America’s great strength. Greens believe government should have a tax policy that encourages small- and socially responsible business.

5. Where corporations act with corporate citizenship, that is, with “fiduciary responsibility” that includes the interests of their community and employees as well as shareholders, we support appropriate tax incentives.

6. We call on new approaches to taxation, such as ENVIRONMENTAL TAXES as a partial substitute for income taxes. Taxing industrial pollution is an idea long overdue. Environmental taxes of this type, and “true-cost pricing,” will aid in transforming major industries from being non-sustainable in their use of natural resources to being sustainable in character.

7. We believe that we must take a closer look at the costs and benefits of consumption and VALUE-ADDED TAX approaches.

8. We do not support a FLAT TAX, but agree that the host of deductions and adjustments to income, dividends and miscellaneous revenue afforded under the current system to those at the top produces cynicism on the part of most Americans toward their tax system and government.

9. We would raise corporate taxes. The corporate share of taxes has fallen from 33% in the 1940s to 15% today, while the individual share has risen from 44% to 73%, according to the Alliance for Democracy.

10. Greens support progressivity in taxation as a matter of principle, believing that those who benefit most from the system have a responsibility to return more, their “fair share.”

11. We believe a central goal of tax policy should be “transparency” – that is, a system that is simple, understandable, and resistant to the machinations of special interests.

12. The Green Party opposes the “privatization” of Social Security. The Social Security trust fund, contrary to claims being made by Republican and Democrat candidates, is not about to “go broke” and does not need to be “fixed” by Wall Street. The alleged demise of Social Security benefits is based on what economist and former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich has called “the wildly pessimistic assumption” that the economy will grow only 1.8% annually over the next three decades. At a more realistic 2.4% a year, Reich points out (what the current White House budget predicts for the next five years), “the fund is flush for the next 75 years.”

Considering that the bottom 20% of American senior citizens get roughly 80% of their income from Social Security, and that without Social Security nearly 70% of black elderly and 60% of Latino elderly households would be in poverty, it is critical that the public protections of Social Security are not privatized and subjected to increased risk based on misleading projections of shortfalls.

E. MANAGEMENT-LABOR RELATIONS

1. In the PRIVATE SECTOR, we acknowledge the many challenges responsible SMALL BUSINESS must overcome to remain competitive with big business, and we support addressing these obstacles by creating cooperative relationships and effective communication in the workplace.

2. The concepts of ECONOMIC AND WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY must be expanded in management-labor negotiations because the decisions a company makes affects its employees, its consumers, and the surrounding communities. In order to protect the legitimate interests of these various constituencies, as well as the natural environment, people in each of these groups must be empowered to participate in economic decision-making.

3. There should be no compromise of basic WORKER RIGHTS.

4. We support a fair MINIMUM WAGE, which, adjusted for inflation, is still well below the purchasing power it had throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

5. We endorse federal legislation to address problems associated with large plant closings; WORKPLACE SAFETY and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reform; and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) reform.

6. We particularly support substantive reforms toward “workplace democracy” in large corporations, especially reform that impacts socially and environmentally irresponsible big business.

7. We endorse legal rights to organize and join unions with democratically elected leadership.

8. We encourage the use of mediation as a tool for resolving disputes in the workplace.

9. We support the right to strike without being “permanently replaced.”

10. We support employee stock ownership plans (ESOP’s) with functioning, democratic structures; and cooperative ownership and management.

11. In the PUBLIC SECTOR, Greens are concerned with an employee’s right to join a union, and with associated COLLECTIVE BARGAINING rights.

12. “Good” government demands effective and efficient management, that is, wisely spending the people’s hard-earned tax dollars. We support initiatives between management and labor that produce “better” government through performance, productivity and accountability.

13. We believe government is truly the “people’s business” and serious reform proposals should be given close attention.

F. CRIMINAL JUSTICE

1. A plan to revitalize our economy must be a central element of any overall plan to reduce crime. Fear of violent crime is growing and it is our belief that the breaking of the bonds of community, the economic and social root causes of crime, must be addressed in the same way politicians today propose putting more firepower on the streets; threatening criminals with harsher sentences (“three strikes and you’re out”); and building more prisons.

2. The advent of a “prison industrial complex” in the United States has become a national disgrace. The Green Party raises a united voice in opposition to the terrible inequities within the criminal justice system, the systemic injustice and prejudice, the lack of adequate legal representation for the poor and under privileged, the gross punishments mandated under punitive sentencing laws that fill the jails, prisons and penitentiaries with non-violent offenders.

3. The Green Party opposes privatizing of prisons.

4. Any attempt to combat crime must begin with restoration of community; positive approaches that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging.

5. Young men and women must have access to work that pays a family a living wage.

6. We would initiate social programs that are alternatives to gangs, such as “Gang Intervention Units.” Practical education with a real promise of a future is needed if we are to expect long-term success in this struggle, especially against street crime and hard drug trafficking.

7. We encourage our political leaders to remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With the costs of maintaining a prisoner far outstripping the costs of educating a child, or the costs of providing job training, or job creation incentives, or providing adequate social services and a “social net” to those in need, we believe it is only appropriate to focus on where our societal intervention can be most successful and effective.

8. At the same time, we must develop law enforcement approaches that are firm and directly address VIOLENT CRIME, street crime, and trafficking in hard drugs. Violence that creates a climate of further violence must be stopped.

9. While toughening penalties for violent crimes, it is inappropriate to have a de facto policy of leniency to “WHITE COLLAR CRIME.” We believe broad corporate crime legislation should be enacted and enforced. We support efforts that target the worst cases of corporate (and governmental and defense industry) illegality, and we support resultant sentencing (and fines) that acts “with teeth” as an effective deterrent.

10. We recommend establishing effective, independent CIVILIAN REVIEW of complaints of police misconduct.

11. We support the ‘Brady Bill’ and thoughtful, carefully considered GUN CONTROL.

12. We endorse PRISON EDUCATION and JOB TRAINING.

13. We support innovative approaches to rehabilitation, and transitioning of non-violent criminals back into their communities.

14. We do not support, as a matter of conscience, the DEATH PENALTY.

15. We support JUDICIAL REFORM that opens up the court system, makes it affordable and convenient to ordinary citizens, and provides for more efficient administration of justice.

16. We support tough DWI laws.

17. We call for consistent policy of protection against VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS.

18. We endorse federal funding for RAPE CRISIS CENTERS and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS. We call for rape and domestic violence prevention and education programs and stiffer sentences for people convicted of domestic violence.

19. VICTIMS’ RIGHTS must be guarded and protected. Victim-impact statements are appropriate vehicles for achieving full justice, and restitution should be considered in many cases to ensure victims will not be lost in the complexities of criminal justice.

20. We support decriminalization of “VICTIMLESS” CRIMES, for example, the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

21. We call for legalization of industrial hemp and all its many uses.

22. We oppose the illicit activities of the international drug trade and the illicit money laundering that often accompanies the drug cartels. We call for a revised view of the “drug problem” and an end to the “war on drugs,” recognizing that after over a decade of strident law-and-order posturing, the problems with hard drugs have only worsened.

23. We call for expanding drug counseling and treatment for those who need it.

24. We believe mandatory drug testing violates civil rights; therefore, we oppose mandatory testing.

25. We favor innovative sentencing and punishment options, including community service for first-time offenders and “Drug Court” diversion programs. We support alternative sentencing for non-violent crimes (i.e. community service) and guaranteed education within prison – G.E.D. courses and college courses as well as skill training and dispute resolution.

G. CIVIL AND EQUAL RIGHTS

The foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each member of society has equal rights. Respect for our constitutionally protected rights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power. We should treasure and celebrate our people’s differences and diversity.

We recognize an intimate connection between our RIGHTS as individuals and our RESPONSIBILITIES to our neighbors and the planet. The balance between rights and responsibilities is found as we provide for the maximum participation of everyone in the decisions affecting our well-being, our economic security, our social and international policies.

1. As Greens, we uphold the key value of respect for diversity. We recognize that the development of the United States has been marked by conflict over questions of race. Just as we acknowledge that our Nation was formed only after Native Americans were first displaced, we also acknowledge that the institution of slavery had as its underpinnings the ideology and practice of white supremacy, which we as Greens condemn. We know that, in slavery's aftermath, discrimination and racial violence against people of color continues to be a social problem of paramount significance, even today. We condemn discrimination and violence against anyone but also recognize that people of color have borne the brunt of racial violence and discrimination throughout the history of the United States.

a.) Therefore, we call for an end to official support for any remaining badges and indicia of slavery and specifically call for the immediate removal of the Confederate battle flag from any and all government buildings because we recognize that, to many, this remains a painful reminder of second-class status on the basis of race.

b.) In addition, we support efforts to overcome the aftereffects of over 200 years of discrimination and, hence, support affirmative action.

c.) Furthermore, we recognize that people of color have legitimate claims in this country to reparations in the form of monetary compensation for these centuries of discrimination. We also uphold the right of the descendants of the African slaves to self-determination, as we do for all indigenous peoples.

2. We, as Greens, are committed to establishing relationships that honor diversity; that support the self-definition and SELF-DETERMINATION of all people; and that consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia, class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture separates us from working together to define and solve our common problems.

3. We affirm the right to openly embrace SEXUAL ORIENTATION in the intimate choice of who we love.

4. We support the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in housing, jobs, civil marriage and benefits, child custody – and in all areas of life, the right to be treated equally with all other people.

5. We affirm the right to worship or not to worship as each one chooses.

6. We support affirmative action to remedy discrimination, to protect constitutional rights and to provide equal opportunity under the law.

7. The Green Party abhors punitive discrimination in any form, and thus condemns the practice of those law enforcement agencies in the country which are guilty of discriminatory “racial profiling,” stopping motorists, harassing individuals, or using unwarranted violence against suspects with no other justification than race or ethnic background.

8. We also favor strong measures to combat official racism in the forms of police brutality and racial profiling directed against people of color. We agree with groups such as Amnesty International, which has recently said that police brutality has reached epidemic levels in the United States and we call for effective monitoring of police agencies to eliminate police brutality and racial profiling.

9. We support effective enforcement of the “VOTING RIGHTS ACT,” including language access to voting.

10. We will resist discriminatory English-only pressure groups. We call for a national language policy that would encourage all citizens to be fluent in at least two languages.

11. We strongly support the vigorous enforcement of CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS, the aggressive prosecution of hate crimes, and the strengthening of legal services for the poor.

12. We support the full enforcement of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.

13. WOMEN’S RIGHTS must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman’s right to be a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.

14. We support the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT.

15. The EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION (EEOC) should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaints must not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law. We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rights as men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the work force to ensure women receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.

16. Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and state CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS. Health and safety is paramount and we oppose lax or inappropriate regulatory actions.

17. Consumers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and protect their interests beyond simply voting on election day. We support the creation of CONSUMER ADVOCACY AGENCIES (for example, along the model of the Illinois Citizen Utility Board) to protect the interests of consumers against the corporate lobbyists who have essentially (and too often successfully) argued against the rights of consumers before the regulatory agencies. We would require that legal monopolies and regulated industries (for example, electric, gas, water, and telephone utilities) set-up statewide CONSUMER ACTION GROUPS to act on behalf of and advocate for consumer interests.

18. We call for consumer legislation to outlaw the use of animals in cosmetics and household product testing; in tobacco and alcohol testing; and in weapons development or other military programs.

19. We call for reforms to better inform consumers about the products they are buying; and where and how they are made. We endorse “truth in advertising,” including the clear definition of words like “recycled” and “natural.”

20. We call for the restoration of consumers’ rights to file class actions suits against manufacturers of unsafe products and restrictions on secrecy agreements that act to prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.

21. We support “whistleblower rights” laws.

22. We support a citizen’s right of access to justice. Our system of justice must be made convenient to rich and poor alike, guarding it against big business attempts to regulate and, in effect, control our civil justice/civil jury system.

23. Recently proposed bills that encroach on civil liberties, such as the Crime Bill of ’96 and the Terrorist Bill of ’97, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which circumvents the 4th Amendment and opens the door for CIA to spy domestically on U.S. citizens, are of special concern to the Green Party. The Bill of Rights must remain a fundamental touchstone in defense of our civil rights.

H. FREE SPEECH

As we look to the foundation of our freedoms, it should be remembered that the Constitution of the United States is not only “the supreme law of the land” but is also the original source of other laws. In Article I, the Constitution spells out the “legislative powers” that are vested in Congress, which ultimately affect the personal and business lives of us all. In the Bill of Rights, the Constitution sets forth the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people, rights and freedoms that cannot be denied or abridged by Congress, or by any other branch or level of government.

An informed electorate is critical to good government. The scope of the First Amendment is extensive and prohibits any law which would abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, most clearly in reference to political matters. Our legal right to criticize government is essential to the effective working of democracy.

1. We support openness in government, not secrecy, and endorse the “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT” (FOIA) as a way of guaranteeing access to government decision-making.

2. We recognize that access to information has profound consequences to our democracy, and we have concerns regarding the concentration of information in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. The FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) must promulgate telecommunications policies that ensure the First Amendment rights of viewers and listeners. New and existing technologies must provide outlets for scientific and cultural expression and enhance the electoral process. The “affordable access” and “universal access” provisions of the “Telecommunications Act of 1996” should be interpreted by the FCC for what they are – a clear mandate for the telecommunications industry to make advanced communications systems affordable and equitably available to all American schools and libraries.

3. As Greens, we support those who urge the public to “reclaim the public airwaves.” The privatization of the broadcast airwaves – one of our most important taxpayer assets – has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture. The basic problem is that private broadcasters control what the public owns. And in return for free licenses to use taxpayer property, broadcasters give us a steady stream of increasingly coarse, redundant, superficial programming and, of course, exclusively decide who says what on our public airwaves.

4. The Green Party supports “community radio,” particularly those rulemaking petitions before the F.C.C., which allow for a new service of small, locally-owned FM stations.

5. The concentration of power that has characterized the telecommunications industry must be limited. A wide span of programming and information, genuine citizen access, diversity of views, respect for local community interests, news, public affairs and “QUALITY CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING” – the FCC should closely monitor applications for license renewals to the public airwaves to ensure that these public interest criteria are met.

6. Although we see regular assaults on the freedoms of speech enshrined in our nation’s founding documents, we oppose censorship in the arts, media (including the World Wide Web and Internet), and press. We encourage individual and social responsibility by artists, creative media, writers – and all citizens.

I. NATIVE AMERICANS

Native American culture is worthy of protection and special respect. As Greens we feel a special affinity to the respect for community and the Earth that many Native peoples have at their roots.

1. We recognize both the SOVEREIGNTY of Native American tribal governments and the government’s trust obligation to Native American people.

2. The federal government must renew its obligation to deal in good faith with Native Americans; to honor its treaty obligations; adequately fund programs for the betterment of tribal governments and their people; affirm the RELIGIOUS RIGHTS of Native Americans in ceremonies (“American Indian Religious Freedom Act”); provide funds for innovative economic development initiatives, EDUCATION and public HEALTH PROGRAMS; and respect land, water and mineral rights within the borders of reservations and traditional lands.

3. We support efforts to broadly reform the BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS (BIA) to make this vast agency more responsible, and responsive, to tribal governments.

4. We support the just settlement of the claims of the thousands of Native American URANIUM MINERS who have suffered and died from radiation exposure. We condemn the stance of secrecy taken by the Atomic Energy Commission during this era and its subsequent claim of “government immunity,” taken knowingly (and immorally) at the expense of Native peoples’ health and safety.

5. We support the complete clean-up of those mines and tailing piles that are a profoundly destructive legacy of the Cold War era.

6. We recognize that Native American land and treaty rights often stand at the front-line against government and multinational corporate attempts to plunder energy, mineral, timber, fish, and game resources, polluting water, air, and land in the service of the military, economic expansion, and the consumption of natural resources. Therefore, we support legal, political, and grassroots efforts by and on behalf of Native Americans to protect their traditions, rights, livelihoods, and their sacred spaces.

J. IMMIGRATION / EMIGRATION

Our nation was built with a rich tapestry of immigrants and we must continue to respect the potential contributions and RIGHTS of our new immigrants.

1. Preferential quotas based on race, class, and ideology should be abandoned for immigration policies that promote fairness, NON-DISCRIMINATION and family reunification.

2. We support policies that reflect our constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech, association and travel.

3. We find particular attention should be given those minorities who are political exiles and refugees, including Russian Jews, mid-East Kurds, Tibetans and Haitians.

4. Our relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico, needs to be given added attention. Our border relations and reciprocal economic opportunities should be a central concern of government that is looking to improved economic, environmental and social conditions for both peoples.

5. We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnic and racial hatreds, blaming immigrants for social and economic problems.

K. HOUSING

1. Decent, AFFORDABLE HOUSING for every American must be a component of a campaign at the federal, state and local level.

2. We hold that government should play an activist role in the availability of housing. A COORDINATED HOUSING PLAN that is broad and inclusive should devote resources to non-profit community housing projects, private sector investments and appropriate public housing initiatives that encourage individual ownership over time.

3. We encourage low-impact, site-specific designs that encourage human-scale development and environmentally sensitive planning.

4. Pension funds and community development banks can be targeted and can become important sources of new funding. Subsidies, trade-offs with developers, and the creative use of city and county zoning ordinances should be emphasized to increase the affordable housing stock available within local communities depending on need.

L. NATIONAL SERVICE

1. We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities. ALTERNATIVE SERVICE to the military should be encouraged.

2.We advocate the formation of a CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) with national leadership, and state and local affiliates, to spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills will challenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.

III. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

A. ENERGY POLICY

If we do not alter our energy use soon – and drastically – the ecological crisis may be exacerbated past a point where it can be resolved. A comprehensive energy policy must be a critical element of our environmental thinking. Investing in ENERGY EFFICIENCY and RENEWABLE ENERGY is key to sustainability.

Just as ecological materials management is governed by the concept of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” (in priority order), ecological energy management must be governed by the principle of Conservation, Efficiency, and Clean Renewables. Of highest importance is to use less, then to use wisely, and to have clean production of what is used.

1. Extensive conservation measures will bring huge resource savings for both the economy and the environment. Conservation, along with energy efficiency and renewables, is an essential part of an effective energy policy. The Greens call for pervasive efforts on the energy conservation front. We encourage the creation and design of human environments that are as energy-efficient as possible, recognizing that yet further conservation efforts are a significant means to meeting our future energy needs without further energy production. Similarly, we support the phasing out of the most ecologically harmful sources of energy.

2. We call for the development of STATE ENERGY POLICIES that include taxes and/or fines on energy “waste,” and the funding of energy research, including credits for alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass.

3. Greens also support enacting mandatory carbon reduction measures and setting the bar for carbon emissions at a percentage well below the best appropriate technology.

4. In order to aid in the rapid replacement of extremely polluting energy systems (nuclear and coal-fired power plants), natural gas power plants could help provide needed replacement power until conservation, efficiency and truly clean renewables are fully phased in. Natural gas power plants should not be used to feed an increase in energy demand.

5. Thanks to technological innovation prompted by regrettably limited federal support, photovoltaic cells now cost one-tenth what they did 20 years ago, and wind-generated power costs one-fifth what it did 10 years ago. It is now estimated that the total RENEWABLE ENERGY contribution to our nation’s energy use could realistically be 10% by the year 2010 and 20% by the year 2020 – but only if increased emphasis is placed on renewable energy. We urge that new construction be required to achieve substantial portions of its heating energy from the sun in the next few years. Incentives/disincentives should be put in place to move utilities toward establishing SOLAR POWER STATIONS to augment and eventually supplant fossil-fuel generated electricity.

6. “TRUE-COST PRICING,” which reflects the “realistic” cost of products including ecological damage and externalities caused during the manufacturing process, must be adopted to achieve accurate financial accounting. Only with a shift in the way we are seeing, can we accurately assess our energy choices and costs – and the long-term impacts of the energy decisions we are making.

B. NUCLEAR ISSUES

1. The Green Party recognizes that there is no such thing as nuclear waste “disposal.” All 6 of the “low-level” nuclear waste dumps in the United States have leaked. There are no technological quick fixes which can effectively isolate nuclear waste from the biosphere for the duration of its hazardous life. Therefore, it is essential that generation of additional nuclear wastes be stopped.

2. The Green Party calls for the early retirement of nuclear power reactors as soon as possible (in no more than 5 years) and for a phase-out of other technologies that use or produce nuclear waste. These technologies include non-commercial nuclear reactors, reprocessing facilities, nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators and all commercial and military uses of depleted uranium.

3. Current methods of underground storage are a danger to present and future generations. Any nuclear waste management strategies must be aboveground, continuously monitored, retrievable and repackageable, and must minimize transportation of wastes.

4. The Green Party strongly opposes any shipment of high-level nuclear waste across the United States to the proposed Nevada waste “repository” at Yucca Mountain or any other centralized facility. The Green Party believes that this proposal is part of a move to re-fire a fast-track, commercial nuclear industry, if they can get their unsafe waste product “safely disposed of.”

5. We call for cancellation of the WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT (WIPP), the nation’s first weapons complex nuclear dump, in southern New Mexico.

6. We call for independent, public-access radiation monitoring at all nuclear facilities.

7. We support applicable environmental impact statements (EIS) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis with citizen participation at all nuclear sites.

8. We support an immediate and intensive CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC about nuclear problems, including disposal, clean-up and long-term dangers.

C. WASTE MANAGEMENT

1. Legal requirements and standards for businesses applying for zoning permits should be formulated to require disclosure of toxics which may be used.

2. Past violations, illegal use and misuse of hazardous materials have to be remedied appropriately. Those responsible for toxic waste dumping, spills, and contamination on or off their sites should be responsible for costs of complete clean-up. In addition, we call for levying sizable fines on those found guilty of violating such standards.

3. We endorse a revisiting of “Superfund” legislation to make these clean up laws more effective.

4. Waste management is a critical challenge to the survival of the modern world. Real reductions in per capita consumption of materials, and significant increases in the efficiency with which materials are used, is a problem that must be faced sooner rather than later. We support RECYCLING at every level of the economy. We endorse SOURCE REDUCTION and municipal programs that particularly focus on household recycling.

5. We oppose INCINERATION of municipal solid waste, sewage, non- biological medical waste, and toxic waste. We support a moratorium on any new incinerators that burn such materials and a rapid shutdown of existing incinerators that do so.

6. We oppose shipping of toxic wastes across national borders, and the SHIPMENT OF TOXIC/HAZARDOUS OR RADIOACTIVE WASTES, without regulation, across any political borders.

7. We oppose the exportation, under any circumstances, of chemicals that are prohibited in the United States.

8. Environmental justice demands that poor communities, minority and under-represented communities not bear an unfair burden when it comes to disposal of toxic wastes.

9. The environmental problems associated with the personal computer and electronics industry are growing worse. The Green Party believes these environmental issues must be identified and addressed:

a.) Pollution. The manufacture of computer chips, computers and peripherals involves a host of chemicals that end up in our water, air, and landfills. Cleanup is a major cost, an "externality" that must be addressed. Health costs associated with the use of computers and electronic devices are not insignificant and range of work-related injuries and illnesses. At work, at home and on the road the digital era is ubiquitous. The shift mandated by the FCC from analog to digital communications systems (including HDTV), as just one example, will produce tens of millions of out-of-date televisions and monitors over the next decade. The chemicals in these devices are dangerous and should not be allowed to simply be deposited in land fills or disposed of in a way that will produce long-term health damaging and adverse environmental effects.

b.) Power. Energy bills associated with the electronics industry are rising and alternative sources of power are needed. Cleaner, cheaper ‘green’ energy has to become a universal goal.

c.) Paper consumption. The demand for printing paper puts pressure on dwindling forests. Clear cutting continues with all the attendant environmental damage. The pollution caused by mills is considerable, and the production of white paper is particularly damaging. Alternative paper stock, and recycled papers, should become the norm.

d.) Packaging.The excessive amounts of plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam many manufacturers use to package computers and software are an increasing problem. These non-biodegradable materials contribute layers to landfills. It’s time to have a complete makeover of the electronics packaging industry.

e.) Recycling. All the materials associated with the personal computer and electronics industry must be identified as recyclable and recycled wherever possible as part of a closed-loop system.

D. FOSSIL FUELS

1. We are aware of the environmental hazards that accompany the use of fossil fuels and of their non-sustainability and eventual depletion. We call for TRANSITION ENERGY STRATEGIES, including the use of relatively clean-burning natural gas, as a way to reorder our energy priorities and over-reliance on traditional fuels.

2. We call for a gradual phase-out of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Until gasoline driven cars can be replaced, we advocate FUEL EFFICIENCY standards, a “gas guzzler” tax on new low mileage vehicles, and a “gas sipper” rebate on high mileage vehicles.

3. We advocate fair “buybacks” of the most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove these vehicles from the road.

4. We oppose further development of our nation’s outer continental shelf for oil drilling or exploration.

5. We acknowledge the relative benefits that can be achieved in the production of and use of NATURAL GAS in current economic alternatives and transition strategies.

6. Public ownership and/or strong public regulation of UTILITIES should be encouraged to advance energy efficient policies. Appropriate tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to finance public ownership in utilities. Tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects.

E. RENEWABLE ENERGY

1. Overall, it is essential in the long-term that ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS be put in place that produce goods that are durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using both non-toxic materials and nonpolluting production methods.

2. We call on regulatory agencies to include “life-cycle” considerations in their standard-setting process for product approval. We promote citizen participation in this process.

3. Ultimately, environmentally destructive technologies, processes, and products should be replaced with alternatives that are environmentally benign. Producers/manufacturers must look to redesigning their products. Legislation that will assist this transition (including bans, taxation, recycled content standards and economic incentives/disincentives such as taxation, special fees, and/or deposits) will be required in a any concerted move toward system-wide sustainability.

F. TRANSPORTATION POLICY

1. We encourage providing a broad range of incentives for ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION, including natural gas vehicles, solar and electric vehicles, bicycles and bikeways, and MASS TRANSIT.

2. As a nation we must push for motor vehicle fuel efficiency, raising the standard to a minimum of 45 miles per gallon by 2005.

3. We must require that an increasing percentage of the Federal motor fleet is converted to natural gas and aims at being pollution free over the next decade.

4. We must expand our country’s network of rail lines, high speed regional passenger service, and urban light rail systems.

5. We support efforts to develop inexpensive, efficient solar cells, chips and panels via “industrial grade” silicon and other advanced materials.

6. We endorse converting our nation’s weapons complex and labs toward civilian RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. We are especially interested in public/private partnerships that work to create breakthrough battery technology which would enable electric cars (and all solar electric applications) to become energy efficient and market competitive.

G. CLEAN AIR / GREENHOUSE EFFECT / OZONE DEPLETION

Climate change presents very real economic and social opportunities for new and sustainable jobs from new energy technologies, including both energy efficiency and renewables. Yet, too often, the focus of debate has been only on the pain of adjustment to carbon reductions, this because of the influence of multinational business on government policies.

With only 4% of the earth’s people, the United States produces more than 20% of emissions. From 1990 to 1996, total U.S. emissions grew by an amount equal to what Brazil and Indonesia produce every year. Per capita, the United States emits 85% more than Germany, twice as much as England and Japan, and currently nearly 10 times as much as China.

The Green Party urges the U.S. Congress to act immediately to address the critical global warming and climate change issues. When the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 to oppose any global warming treaty that does not also bind developing countries to specific, if smaller, emissions reductions in the future, which many industrializing countries oppose, it put a roadblock in the way of progress by all nations.

Greens believe the following are possible, if we are to make a start on protecting our global climate. It is imperative that we strive for no less:

1. An early target must still be set to prevent emissions rising so far that future reductions become even more difficult. There must be commitments for 2005.

2. Avoiding loopholes is now even more important than an ambitious target. Unless a very ambitious target is set, which now seems unlikely, allowing sinks and trading within the protocol will create such loopholes that no real reductions will occur. Trading and sinks must be left until there is much more scientific precision about how they are measured.

3. Nuclear power is not an acceptable alternative to fossil energy. We should not accept country commitments that depend on increasing nuclear capability. We must join the solar age.

4. Targets are not enough without credible policies and measures to achieve them. We urge all governments to table a list of the policies and measures they intend to adopt to attain their target, for example eco-taxes and energy performance standards.

5. The Green party endorse the “Contraction and Convergence” model under discussion at international talks, which as proposed would eventually give every human being an equal right to the atmosphere, as the most practical way to achieve justice and participation for developing countries.

6. The strict, comprehensive protections of the “Clean Air Act” must be maintained and enhanced if we are to keep in place effective federal programs that deal with urban smog, toxic air pollution, acid rain and ozone depletion. State and local clean air initiatives should advance and improve national efforts. As an example, California has taken the lead in legislation moving forward stricter clean air and fuel efficiency standards, and vehicle and fleet conversions. These programs should serve as a model for other local, regional and state initiatives.

7. It is said that U.S. industries emit over 20% of greenhouse gases globally. As a nation, we must implement public and private initiatives at every level to support the “GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY” signed at the “Earth Summit” in 1992, committing industrial nations within a time framework to reducing emissions to 1990 levels.

8. The Earth’s atmosphere, according to informed scientific opinion, is in great danger due to man-made chemicals and hydrocarbon emissions. Chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochloro-fluorocarbons (HCFCs), and other related ozone-depleting substances should be banned as soon as is possible.

9. GREENHOUSE GASES and the threat of GLOBAL WARMING must be addressed by the international community in concert, through international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nations at the forefront of this vital effort.

H. LAND USE

Greens are advocates for the Earth. All the rivers, lakes, landscapes, forests, and wildlife. This is our birthright and our home - the green Earth.

When we see the first picture ever taken of our green oasis from space, photographed from the window of the Apollo flight, we marvel at the preciousness of life.

We remember John Muir's and Edward Abbey's call to protect what is critical to our spirit. Experiencing the wilderness calls us to preserve pristine nature. We are advocates for our home. Our advocacy is based on our love of nature and our recognition that it is beyond us.

Greens take a BIOREGIONAL VIEW of the ecosystem, acknowledging political boundaries while noting that the land, air and water, the interconnected biosphere, is a unique and precious "community", deserving careful consideration and protection. Greens support restructuring institutions to conform to bioregional realities. We feel that, just as the planetary ecology consists of nested systems at various scales, so must our programs and institutions of ecological stewardship be scaled appropriately.

Guided by our sense of stewardship, we feel that all land use polices, plans, and practices should be based on sustainable development and production, the reduce-reuse-recycle ethic, and the encouragement of balance between optimum and diverse use of land.

1. Land Ownership and Property Rights

We encourage the social ownership and use of land at the community, local, and regional level, for example in the form of community and conservation land trusts, under covenants of ecological responsibility.)

2. Communities and Urbanism

Greens find inspiration in building healthy, livable communities. Communities must be designed or redesigned so that they are built with energy efficiency in mind, on a human scale, with integrated land uses. Such integrated land uses should provide, for example, ready access between home and work, and to schools, a local supply of food, shopping, worship, medical care, recreation and natural areas. Integrated land use should also de-emphasize individual motorized transport and place more emphasis on ecologically responsible mass transit, bicycling, and the pedestrian.

We promote urban design and architecture that does not alienate, but fulfills, the spirit and that is compatible with human, social, artistic, and environmental values. Greens support the concepts advanced by the NEW URBANISM movement. As there is much to learn about human-scale development and neighborly social interaction from historical patterns of urbanism, we support historic preservation.

Recreational opportunities are the beginning of lifelong appreciation of our natural environment. We should all have opportunities to experience nature firsthand.

3. Land Use Planning

It is imperative that we as a nation find a means to CONTROL URBAN SPRAWL. The ecological, social, and fiscal crises engendered by sprawl are becoming ever-more apparent. Greens enthusiastically endorse the Metropolitics movement, which seeks to control sprawl by integrating such measures as urban growth boundaries, tax base sharing, fair housing, and metropolitan transportation. Urban areas can be revitalized through “brownfields” redevelopment although standards for the clean up of contaminated sites must not be lowered. Rural areas and farmland should be preserved, through such measures as purchase of development rights.

WATERSHED PLANNING should be undertaken to mitigate the impacts of urban development on our streams, rivers, and lakes. Storm water management, soil erosion and sedimentation control, the establishment of vegetative buffers, and performance standards for development are appropriate measures in this area. Special attention must be given to the restoration and protection of riparian areas, which are critical habitats in healthy ecosystems.

4. Natural Resource Management

Greens believe that effective land and resource management practices must be founded on stewardship, such as incorporated in a “land ethic” as articulated by Aldo Leopold.

a.) Stringent natural resource management should serve to prevent activities that adversely affect public and adjacent lands. We call for repeal of the “Mining Act of 1872.” We demand a halt to federal mineral, oil and gas, and resource giveaways, “royalty holidays,” and flagrant concessions to the mining, energy and timber industries; and an immediate crackdown on their evasions and fraudulent reporting.

b.) We call for strict CLEAN-UP ENFORCEMENT of industrial-scale natural resource extraction activities, for example, of tailings, pits and run-off from mining operations via agreement with companies that can include posting of site-restoration bonds prior to commencement of operations. The regional long-term environmental and social impacts of any resource extractions should be minimized, and the land restored to a healthy ecological state.

c.) We call for a halt to all current international funding policies that promote destruction of forest ecosystems and we call for an end to the trade in endangered hardwoods. We support laws that promote paper recycling and mandate SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY practices that promote biodiversity.

d.) We urge protection of “old growth” forests, a zero-cut policy banning industrial timber harvest on federal and state lands, a ban on all clear-cutting, and a reduction of road building on public lands.

e.) We advocate raising grazing fees on public land to approximate fair market value and significant grazing reforms. We support policies that favor small-scale ranchers over corporate operations (which are often used as tax write-offs, a practice which undermines family ranches).

f.) We must promote the preservation and extension of wildlife habitat and biological diversity by creating and preserving large continuous tracts of open space (complete ecosystems so as to permit healthy, self-managing wildlife populations to exist in a natural state. We oppose any selling off of our National Parks, the commercial "privatizing" of public lands; and/or cutbacks or exploitation in our national wilderness areas.

g.) Public involvement in decision making via active and well-funded RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS and COUNCILS will aid a long-term process on the use of federal and state trust lands which are currently controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forest Service, National Park Service, and State Land Offices.

h.) We support banning indiscriminate wildlife “damage control practices” and abolishing the ANIMAL DAMAGE CONTROL agency that has been renamed “Wildlife Services.”

i.) We urge comprehensive baseline mapping of our nation’s biodiversity resources.

I. WATER

Together we must look ahead and plan for future water uses, as well as today’s needs. Who can disagree that clean and sufficient water resources will determine what kind of future we have?

1. With the longer term in mind, we call for elimination of wasteful subsidies on the use of water in agriculture and for municipal water rates to be set high enough, or that other INCENTIVES/DISINCENTIVES be set in place, to discourage the wasteful use of water.

2. We support the federal “Clean Water Act” setting strict requirements for sewage discharges, wetland protection and water quality standards. Recent moves to rollback protections would in effect create a dirty water act. Our right to clean water is non-negotiable.

3. Given the profound importance of clean water, we support the establishment of federal, state, and local GROUNDWATER PROTECTION agencies with authority to establish standards for the use of water; to provide tough and timely enforcement of laws enacted; and to protect our aquifers from overuse, depletion and contamination.

4. We endorse alternative solutions to water treatment and clean-up, for example CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS and biological remediation.

5. We acknowledge Native American rights regarding water, and urge fair and equitable solutions with tribes on the part of the courts and State Water Engineers.
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:28 am

PART 3 OF 3

J. AGRICULTURE

The human species is at the top of the food chain and is, therefore, very vulnerable to the degrading of the environment and the loss of species. If for no other reason than our own preservation, we should work to protect our environment and the diversity of our region’s and planet’s rich life forms.

Factory farming (“industrial farming”) threatens to further erode the family farms and the general quality of life in our rural areas. Family farms are the basis of community-based economics and essential to rural development and a healthy, diverse economy.

The consequences of factory farming are devastating. Open pits of putrefying animal wastes are allowed to discharge into rivers and streams, degrading water and air quality, killing aquatic life and posing serious threats to human health and the environment.

Corporate industrial farming practices are inhumane and cause unnecessary suffering to animals. Industrial farming has changed the type of food we eat, and studies are now demonstrating that nutritional value has been decreased, with resultant immune system impacts.

The story of industrial farming needs to be told. The Green Party strongly opposes the rampant and damaging policies of corporate industrial farming and calls for a national shift away from these practices.

The Green Party opposes the “biodevastation” that Monsanto and related “biotech” companies are engaged in. The actions of Monsanto in trying to subvert labeling of RBGH need to be exposed. Monsanto and other biotech companies need to be brought into the light and their actions made public. For example, over half the soybean production in the United States (for example, “Roundup Ready soya”) is the result of genetically modified seeds. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the new stealth product of the U.S. transnational corporations.

The acquiescence of the U.S. government to biotech-friendly capitalism, despite the loud protests of governments and peoples around the world, is a scandal. It is unacceptable that consumers purchasing soy products, for example, do not know whether they are eating or drinking genetically modified organisms. If a fish gene has been transferred to a crop to make it more tolerant of cold, consumers should know that they’re ingesting a genetically modified food organism. If a gene has been added to seed stock to make that crop more capable of being heavily doused with pesticides like “RoundUp,” consumers should be warned.

Genetically modified “Terminator” seeds that are more about “intellectual property rights” and corporate profit than they are about sustainable agricultural practices, Third-world economic independence, and health, should be banned. Labeling should fully disclose where genetically engineered (and/or irradiated) food is being supplied. Consumer choice needs to be based on full and complete disclosure. Whether it is Bt corn, genetically modified maize, or GM oilseed that finds its way into a menu of other products, the consumer needs to know and choose.

Ralph Nader has called for consumer revolts. The time has come. The Green Parties and the Green Platforms around the world are united in opposition to genetically engineered “vat food” that is being shoved down our throats. The arrogance of U.S. biotech firms needs to be shown for what it is – food production for profit, not health. Food will be a key part of the next millenium’s struggle for democracy. The Green Party stands in opposition to a gen-food future as delivered by unaccountable mega-transnational corporations.

1. We call for the establishment of an ecologically based sustainable agricultural system that moves as rapidly as possible towards regional/bioregional self reliance.

2. An adequate FOOD SUPPLY is tied to many of our nation’s domestic, export, foreign aid, geopolitical and related overseas goals. We support anti-hunger and “Food Stamp” programs at home, and support assistance to foreign countries and their people that moves them toward SELF-SUFFICIENCY and sustainability in food production.

3. WORLD HUNGER can be best addressed by FOOD SUPPLY INDEPENDENCE. Population growth and accompanying deprivation, which has led to increased poverty and environmental destruction in the Third World, can be replaced by a decent standard of living, and sustainable populations and growth. Goals and policies that aim at sustainable production to end hunger while preserving the environment are crucial for success of these efforts. Food security is a base-line necessity.

4. We call for phasing out the use of man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and funding for research to find acceptable alternatives.

5. We support “Integrated Pest Management” techniques, as an alternative to current chemical-based agriculture.

6. We support the adoption of “organic certification standards” and support regional efforts to broaden this effort by reaching out to and identifying growers and buyers of organic produce.

7. We call for a reconsideration of the potentially far-reaching and unforeseen effects of seed and plant hybridization and especially of genetic engineering in agricultural systems. We are particularly concerned about loss of and increasing threat posed to plant diversity, which must be saved, maintained and enhanced if we are to have an authentic ALTERNATIVE GREEN REVOLUTION, based on diversity, sustainable agriculture and local self-empowerment.

8. We generally oppose the patenting of life forms, including gene-splicing techniques, and call for a moratorium on agricultural genetic engineering while an evaluation of its effects on ecological and social sustainability is carried out. The implications of a corporate takeover, and resulting monopolization of genetic “intellectual property” by the bioengineering industry, are immense. With the introduction of the world’s first genetically engineered (and duly patented) tomato, we need to re-examine our government’s oversight of this untested, unproven field.

9. We advocate REGIONALIZING our food system and decentralizing agricultural lands, production, and distribution.

10. We support research, within the public and private arenas, including educational institutions, for sustainable, organic, and ecologically balanced agriculture.

11. The Green Party supports the strongest “organic” standards. California has had the highest standards of any state for organic foods labeling. These standards were authored by those in the industry, growers, manufacturers and those in the business of livestock raising and feed production. Proposed USDA standards should be based on the highest standards.

Currently, organic food is priced such that it is beyond the means of low-income consumers. Rather than allow for a system whereby only the wealthier in society get to eat safer and healthier foods, there must be remedies in place to protect all consumers. First, the use of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as fertilizer, the use of food irradiation and the use of genetic engineering must be banned in ALL food production. Other aspects addressed in organic standards, such as the use of intensive animal confinement and the use of persistent, toxic pesticides must be phased out as well for all food production. Until these take place, there should be an end to government price supports, which aid in non-organic food production and government subsidies should be shifted such that the cost of organic food products is increasingly competitive with pesticide/non-organic crops.

K. BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature’s survival strategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity. Although many people may think first of tropical rainforests in reference to the richness of (and threat to) biological diversity, we believe diversity close to home is worthy of saving, as are the myriad species within the rainforest and its teeming canopy.

1. The Green Party supports a strong, enforceable “ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT” based on the principles of conservation biology.

2. We look to the “CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY,” first adopted at the “Earth Summit” in 1992, as a primary statement of purpose regarding how we can act to preserve and sustain our common genetic resources. Greens emphasize conservation of “natural” populations and ecosystems, and we seriously question the demands of the US to amend this unprecedented international agreement on behalf of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, with their insistence upon protection of their “intellectual property” and technology transfer rights. Within these demands are inconsistencies which can threaten the Convention’s overall goals.

3. We encourage support of and public access to seed banks and seed collections that emphasize “DEEP DIVERSITY,” particularly through traditional and heirloom seeds.

4. We call for wide-spread education on the critical importance of efforts being made (including “backyard biodiversity” gardening) to replant indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost.

5. Corporate agribusiness is founded on F-1 hybrid seeds, proprietary products that cannot be saved season-to-season and have to be bought from the company store at each new planting. We discourage monopolistic production of high-tech hybrid seeds, the basis of the evolving industry of “MONOCULTURE” agriculture – i.e., agribusiness which relies on NON-SUSTAINABLE METHODS (single crop varieties bred with industrial traits and grown with high energy, chemical and pesticide inputs).

6. We know that agriculture and food comprise the world’s largest economic market. We find it of great concern that the practices of corporate agribusiness are leading, as scientists are beginning to point out, to diminishing yields; increasing petrochemical fertilizer and pesticide costs; serious topsoil loss; non-point, runoff pollution of waterways and aquifers; and the return of resistant pests and blights requiring ever-larger doses of environmentally harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and/or miticides.

7. Monocultures have also led to a massive loss of biodiversity as they have displaced traditional varieties and seed stocks. We encourage the use of diverse natural varieties, those passed down over many generations, called “open-pollinates” because they can be grown out, the best plants’ seeds being saved season to season. In practice, we support this as the basis of an “Alternative Green Revolution,” sustainable agriculture that is closely connected to the environment, and not dependent on outside companies and their industrial monopolies.

8. We oppose in principle international trade agreements (NAFTA, GATT and the WTO in particular) which have precedent-setting provisions protecting transnational, corporate control of the “INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY” of genetic material, hybrid seeds and proprietary products.

9. Greens call for a move away from corporate control of agriculture (and the resultant extinction of traditional plant varieties) and instead envision a healthy and sustainable food system, based on crop diversity, community empowerment, self-sufficiency, cooperative marketing, recycling, seed saving, local (and fresh) production, and organic methods.

10. The struggle over the production and quality of our food supply is critical and has yet to be determined. The outcome of this struggle will have an intimate connection to our personal health and the future biological diversity of our environment. We believe strongly that we must work to bring this message every community throughout the world.

11. Cloning is a challenge to basic Green philosophy. Since the efforts to clone animals, and eventually, humans, has been undertaken by profit-making corporations, the purpose behind such projects is to manufacture commodities. To classify a human (or any part thereof, including human DNA or body organ) as a commodity) is to turn human beings into property.

12. Finally, as Greens, we must add that the mark of a humane and civilized society truly lies in how we treat the least protected among us. To extend rights to other sentient, living beings is our responsibility and a mark of our place among all of creation. We find cruelty to animals to be repugnant and criminal. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals.

IV. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

A. ECO-NOMICS

We can learn from indigenous people who believe that the earth and its natural systems are to be respected and cared for in accordance with ecological principles. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship, and social and ecological responsibility. We support environmental and social responsibility in all businesses, whether privately or publicly owned.

To create an enduring society, we must devise a system of production and commerce where every act is sustainable and restorative. We believe that all business has a social contract with society and the environment (in effect a “fiduciary responsibility”), and that “socially responsible business” and “shareholder democracy” can be models of prospering, successful business.

1. We call for an economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures, all of which put human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the communities in which they function.

2. Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both corporate capitalism and state socialism. It is very much in keeping with the Greens’ valuation of diversity and decentralization.

Recognition of limits is central to a Green economic orientation. The drive to accumulate power and wealth must become recognized for what it is, a pernicious characteristic of a civilization headed, ever more rapidly, in a pathological direction. Greens advocate that economic relations become more direct, more cooperative, and more egalitarian.

Humanizing economic relations is just one aspect of our broader objective: to consciously and deliberately (albeit gradually) shift toward a different way of life – characterized by sustainability, regionalization, a more harmonious balance between the natural ecosphere and the human-made technosphere, and a revival of community life.

Our communitarian perspective is antithetical to both Big Business and Big Government. It distinguishes the Greens and will enable us to make a unique contribution toward deriving political and economic solutions for the 21st century.

3. Greens support a major redesign of commerce. We endorse “true-cost pricing.” We support production that eliminates waste. In natural systems, everything is a meal for something else. Everything recycles, there is no “waste.” We need to mimic natural systems in the way we manufacture and produce things. “Consumables” need to be designed to be thrown into a compost heap and/or eaten, for example. “Durable goods” would be designed in closed-loop systems, ultimately to be disassembled and reassembled. “Toxics” would be safeguarded and could have “markers” identifying them as belonging, in perpetuity, to their makers.

4. We need to remake commerce to encourage diversity and variety, responding to the enormous complexity of global and local conditions. Big business is not about appropriateness and adaptability, but about power and market control. Greens support small business, responsible “stakeholder capitalism,” and broad and diverse forms of economic cooperation. We argue that economic diversity is more responsive than big business to the needs of diverse human populations. Sustaining our quality of life, eco-nomic prosperity, environmental health, and long-term survival demands that we adopt new ways of doing business.

5. Greens support a definition of sustainability where we openly examine the economy as a part of the ecosystem, not as an isolated subset in which nothing but “resources” come in and products and waste go out and never the economy and the real world shall meet.

B. RE-ASSERTING LOCAL CITIZEN CONTROL OVER CORPORATIONS

Currently, corporations possess more rights and freedoms than natural human persons. Through a series of judicial rulings, and by virtue of their ability to control governments and economies by virtue of wealth, corporations have judicially rewritten our Constitution and have emerged as unaccountable, unelected governments. The Greens, therefore, support all reforms that seek to supplant governmental regulation of corporations with communities that seek to define corporations. In the interim, Greens support measures that hold executives and officers of corporations directly liable for harm that results from their decisions.

When we look at the HISTORY OF our states, we learn that citizens intentionally defined CORPORATIONS through charters – the certificates of incorporation. In exchange for the charter, a corporation was obligated to obey all laws, to serve the common good, and to cause no harm. Early state legislators wrote charter laws to limit corporate authority, and to ensure that when a corporation caused harm, they could revoke its charter.

In the late 19th century, however, corporations claimed special protections under the Constitution. Large companies used legal power to assert legal authority over what to make and how to make it, to move money, influence elections, bend governments to their will. They insisted that once formed, corporations may operate forever, with the privilege of limited liability and freedom from community or worker interference in business judgments.

It is inappropriate for investment and production decisions that can shape our communities and lives to be made essentially from afar, in boardrooms, closed-door regulatory agencies, and prohibitively expensive courtrooms.

It is unacceptable to have the level of influence now being exerted by corporate interests over the public interest. We challenge the propriety and equity of “corporate welfare” in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, payments, grants, bailouts, giveaways, unenforced laws and regulations; and historic, continuing access to our vast public resources, including millions of acres of land, forests, mineral resources, intellectual property rights, and government-created research.

We call for revisiting what one Supreme Court Justice called, when referring to the history of constitutional law, “the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene.” We believe that corporations are neither inevitable nor always appropriate. Judicial and legislative decisions that have made it possible for big business to stay beyond the reach of democracy need to be re-examined.

Legal doctrines must be continually revised in recognition of the changing needs of an active, democratic citizenry. Huge multi-national corporations are artificial creations, not natural persons uniquely sheltered under constitutional protections. It is time to support local government and state government attempts to DEFINE CORPORATIONS and to prevent these entities from exercising democratic rights which are uniquely possessed by the citizens of the United States.

One point remains unequivocal: Because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of the planet, they must address and squarely face the social and environmental problems that afflict humankind.

C. LIVABLE INCOME

1. We affirm the importance of access to a livable income.

2. Job banks and other innovative training and employment programs which bring together the private and public sectors must become federal, state and local priorities. People who are unable to find decent work in the private sector should have options through publicly funded opportunities.

3. Workforce development programs must aim at moving people out of poverty – a “living wage” campaign and “living wage” standard will go a long way toward achieving this goal.

4. We urge that a national debate be held and broad public mandate be sought regarding (fiscal and monetary) economic strategies and policies as they impact wages. This debate is long overdue. The growing inequities in income and wealth between rich and poor; unprecedented discrepancies in salary and benefits between corporate top executives and line workers; loss of the “American dream” by the young and middle-class – each is a symptom of decisions made by policy-makers far removed from the concerns of ordinary workers trying to keep up.

5. A clear living wage standard should serve as a foundation for trade between nations, and a “floor” of wage protections and worker’s rights should be negotiated and set in place in future trade agreements. The United States should take the lead on this front – and not allow destructive, corporate predatory practices under the guise of “free” international trade.

D. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Reforms to allow communities to have influence in their ECONOMIC FUTURE should be implemented, including:

1. Locally owned small businesses, which are more accessible to community concerns.

2. Local production and consumption where possible.

3. Consumer co-ops, credit unions, incubators, microloan funds, local “currencies,” and other institutions that help communities develop economic projects.

4. Allowing municipalities to approve or disapprove large economic projects case-by-case based on environmental impacts, local ownership, community reinvestment, wage levels, and working conditions.

5. Allowing communities to set environmental, human rights, health and safety standards higher than federal or state minimums.

6. We support a national program of INVESTING IN THE COMMONS; to rebuild the infrastructure of communities; to repair and improve transportation lines between cities; and to protect and restore the environment. A federal capital budget should be put in place and applied in a process that assesses federal spending as capital investment.

7. We endorse DIRECT DEMOCRACY through TOWN MEETINGS, which express a community’s wishes on economic decision-making directly to local institutions and organizations.

E. SMALL BUSINESS AND JOB CREATION

1. Greens support an economic program that combats concentration and abuse of economic power. We support many different initiatives for forming successful, small enterprises that together can become an engine (and sustainable model) of job creation, prosperity and progress. Small business is where the jobs are. Over the past decade and a half, all new net job growth has come from the small business sector.

2. The Green economic model is about true prosperity – “Green means prosperity.” Our goal is to go beyond the dedicated good work being done by many companies (which is often referred to as “SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS” or “VALUE-DRIVEN BUSINESS”) and to present new ways of seeing how business can help create a sustainable world, all the while surviving in a competitive business climate.

3. We believe that conservation should be “profitable” and employment should be creative, meaningful and fairly compensated.

4. ACCESS TO CAPITAL is often an essential need in “growing” a business. There should be a comprehensive set of approaches to making loans available to small business at rates competitive to those offered big business. Financial institutions unfairly favor large corporations and the wealthy when determining how to “work” their loan portfolios. Government needs to reform current lending practices. We support “disclosure laws,” “anti-redlining laws” and a general openness on the part of the private sector as to what criteria are used in making lending decisions.

5. As lending institutions have obligations to the health of their local communities, we oppose arbitrary, or discriminatory practices which act to deny small business access to credit and expansion capital. We oppose “disinvestment” practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money deposited in local communities out of those same communities, in effect often damaging the best interests of their customers and community.

6. The present TAX SYSTEM acts to discourage small business, as it encourages waste, discourages conservation, and rewards consumption. Big business has used insider access to dominate the federal tax code. The tax system needs a major OVERHAUL, to get it up and running in a way that favors the legitimate and critical needs of the small business community. RETENTION OF CAPITAL, through retained earnings, efficiencies, and savings, is central to small business remaining competitive. Current tax policies often act to unfairly penalize small business.

7. Government should reduce wherever possible unnecessary restrictions, fees, and “red tape.” In particular, the “Paper Simplification Act” should be seen as a way to benefit small business and it should be improved in response to the needs of small businesses.

8. We support the full deductibility of health insurance premiums paid by the self-employed.

9. Overall we believe that Federal and State government must pay more attention to putting forward policies that work on behalf of small business, and break their cycle of excessive welfare for big business.

10. State and local government should encourage where appropriate businesses that especially benefit the community. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES should include citizen and community input. The type and size of businesses provided incentives (tax, loans, bonds, etc.) should be the result of local community participation.

11. Pension funds, the result of workers’ investments, should be examined as additional sources of capital for small business. Definitions of “fiscally prudent” need to be broadened within acceptable margins of safety to include investments beyond the current practices (and a credit rating system) almost exclusively benefiting large corporations. Investment managers need to be given discretionary powers to channel these monies, now in the trillions of dollars, into productive small and mid-sized businesses at the local level.

12. Insurance costs need to be brought down by means of active engagement with the insurance industry. Insurance pools, for example, of the kind offered businesses in the association, “Business for Social Responsibility,” need to be expanded.

13. “One-stop” offices should be set-up by government to assist individuals who want to change careers, or go into business for the first time.

14. HOME-BASED BUSINESSES and NEIGHBORHOOD-BASED BUSINESSES need to be assisted by forward-looking planning, not hurt by out-of-date zoning ordinances. “Telecommuting” and “home offices” should be aided, not hindered, by government.

F. TRADE

1. We reject trade agreements negotiated in secret and unduly influenced by corporate attorneys and representatives. In particular, we oppose the NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA), the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT), and its progeny, the WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO). They threaten the constitutional power of Congress and local sovereignty, and they effectively limit the participation of citizens in decisions. Instead, they create administrative bureaucracies which will be run by corporate interests unaccountable to public input or even legal challenge.

2. We demand that these agreements be updated to include more specific environmental, worker, health and safety standards in the text itself, not as “side agreements,” and full funding of existing environmental/health commitments (for example, the North American Development Bank and Border Environmental Cooperation Commission).

3. We reject any agreement which threatens the authority of states and local communities to establish more stringent health, safety and environmental standards.

4. We reject agreements that negotiate downward our basic environmental, health, safety and labor standards, including the right to bargain collectively, a reasonable minimum wage, prohibitions against child and forced labor, and which threaten and violate human rights generally. The historic role of the United States has been to raise living standards, not to be dragged down by the lowest common denominator abroad.

5. The Tobin tax, named for the economist who first proposed it, calls for a small sales tax on cross border currency transactions. The purpose is to suppress market volume and volatility and help restore national sovereignty over monetary policy. In view of the growing disparity between the rich and poor in the United States and the world, and in light of the negative impacts of monetary speculation in the “Asian crisis” of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Russia, as well as similar crises in Brazil, Mexico and many other countries in the late ’90s, the Green Party urges that state and international governments work together to impose an effective form of Tobin tax.

In the last ten years, international moneychanging has grown in volume from $200 billion to $1.8 trillion daily with dangerous consequences for countries caught in a speculative riptide. Even a small tax of .01% to .05% would cool the speculative fever and raise between $75 billion and $250 billion annually. While reining in grievous financial abuses, the Tobin tax receipts could be devoted to reducing world poverty, funding international peacekeeping, and attacking environmental problems.

G. RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Economic development in rural areas spans many agencies of government, but eventually comes back to prospering, healthy farms and ranch lands. Recreation, local business, schools and education, health care and energy availability – all are necessary to support diversified, successful rural economies.

1. RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY should begin with the local people. FAMILY FARMS are the backbone of a sustainable rural economy. They are more likely than corporate agribusiness to follow ecological practices that enrich the land; to use labor-intensive rather than energy-intensive farming methods; and to support agricultural biodiversity. Because of their smaller scale and production methods, they are more likely to produce food products that are healthier for consumers. Federal, state and local governments should provide financial assistance to small farmers to help them compete against agribusiness.

2. Price-fixing and anti-competitive actions of the corporate agricultural giants must be confronted aggressively.

3. Programs must be implemented by the federal and state government that add value to the production from family farms to help them remain competitive.

4. Government should encourage BANK POLICIES that spread their loan portfolios beyond corporate agriculture and ranching, and the big, subsidized grazing permit holders, in order to diversify local economies.

5. We support COOPERATIVE VENTURES to broaden markets of local producers.

6. We encourage state-assisted PRODUCT MARKETING EFFORTS and RURAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS.

H. BANKING FOR PEOPLE

1. We support a broad program of reform in the banking and savings and loan industry that acts to ensure that their “COMMONWEALTH” OBLIGATIONS to serve all communities are met. We understand that the present system is skewed to service first and foremost large businesses, transnational corporations and wealthy individuals. Since lending institutions are chartered by the state to serve the best interests of communities, the privileges that come with being given power at the center of commerce carry special responsibilities.

2. The government should take serious steps to ensure that low- and moderate-income persons and communities, as well as small business, have access to banking services, affordable loans and small-business supporting capital.

3. We support the extension of the “COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT” and its key performance data provisions to provide public and timely information on the extent of housing loans, small business loans, loans to minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projects and affordable housing.

4. We believe Congress should act to charter COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BANKS, which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meet the credit needs of local communities.

I. INSURANCE REFORM

1. We endorse wide ranging INSURANCE INDUSTRY REGULATION to reduce the cost of insurance by reducing its special-interest protections; collusion and over-pricing; and excessive industry-wide practices that too often injure the interests of the insured when they’re most vulnerable and in need.

2. We call for actions at the federal and state level to rein in “bad faith” insurance actions – including the standard practice of attempting legal avoidance of obligations, and the current widespread practice of price fixing.

3. We support federal law that acts to make policies “transportable” from job to job and seeks to prevent insurance companies’ rejection of applicants for “prior conditions.” This is a move in the right direction but in no way addresses the scope of the problem, whether in health insurance, life insurance, business, liability, auto or crop insurance.

4. We support initiatives in secondary insurance markets that work to expand credit – for economic development in inner cities; affordable housing and home ownership among the poor; “transitional” farming to sustainable agriculture; and for rural development maintaining family farms.

J. PENSION REFORM

1. Working people, who own over $3 trillion in pension monies (deferred wages in effect), should have financial options for where their money is invested apart from the current near-monopoly exerted by a handful of managers, banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. We do not believe the overuse of pension funds for corporate mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts is appropriate or productive.

Yet, the current system has allowed vast amounts of American workers’ hard-earned money to be squandered on job-ending, plant-moving, corporate downsizing. The irony of investing pension funds in corporate decisions that undercut workers rights, employment, and retirement while hugely rewarding non-productive speculation should no longer be ignored.

2. PENSION FUNDS are gigantic capital pools that can, with government support, be used to meet community needs and benefit workers and their families directly.

3. Corporate-sponsored pension funds (the biggest category of funds) should be jointly controlled by management and workers, not exclusively ruled by management.

4. Federal law must be changed so that pension funds need simply seek a reasonable rate of return, not the prevailing market rate, which greatly restricts where investments can be made.

5. A secondary pension market set up by the government to insure pension investments made in socially beneficial programs needs to be considered as one method that could greatly expand the impact of this capital market, as has been demonstrated in the case of federally insured/subsidized mortgage lending.

6. Prudent pension fund investing can and should be made on behalf of those whose best interests are served by having their money both make money and do good work. Creating jobs and supporting employment programs in public/private partnerships can become a priority as we seek to expand opportunities “where the jobs are” (toward small business, not transnational business). Why not look to targeting the under- and un-employed? We believe there are myriad opportunities for a profound shift to occur in how the capital of America’s workers is best put to use.

K. ANTI-TRUST ENFORCEMENT

1. We support strong and effectively enforced ANTI-TRUST REGULATION to counteract the concentration of economic power that carries a severe toll on the economy. The anti-trust division of the Justice Department has had its scope and powers reduced over the past decade. Media mergers concentrating power in the hands of media giants have been ineffectively challenged. An explosion of unregulated mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs and leveraged buy-outs has overwhelmed the federal government’s capacity to provide effective oversight. Financial and trading markets have become particularly vulnerable to “insider trading.” Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation of these markets has seriously fallen short. Overall, what we see in unchecked market power is corruption, self-serving abuse of the democratic, political process, price gouging, loss of productivity and jobs, reduced competitiveness, and an array of predatory market practices that history has documented in detail about monopolies at work.

2. Although the pressure on Congress from the trans- and multi-national corporations is fierce when it involves effective oversight and accountability, we call for the federal government to step up and enforce the existing anti-trust laws and regulations – and tighten the laws as necessary.

3. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must vigorously oversee mergers where the combined sales of the companyies exceed $1 billion.

4. The Justice Department must redefine its definition of “relevant market share” in assessing mergers.

5. The Congress must enact its calls for “competitiveness” by stopping illegal monopolistic practices.

6. We oppose the largesse of government in the form of massive corporate entitlements.

L. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND DEFENSE CONVERSION

The conversion of defense-related technologies to a peacetime technology-based economy is a major challenge. We must ask ourselves what we are to make of our nation’s defense-related industrial base in the face of the collapse of the Soviet threat to our vital interests and resultant need for a winding down of “national security” spending.

1. CONSOLIDATION of the nuclear weapons complex should move toward alternative civilian technologies and non-proliferation work, not toward a new generation of nuclear weapon design and production.

2. The Green Party, recognizing the need for de-escalating the arms race which continues unabated in spite of the end of the 'Cold War", strongly opposes putting nuclear weapons, lasers and other weapons in space in a new militarization policy that is in clear violation of international law.

3. We generally support defense TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER efforts, particularly new INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS and developments in the areas of advanced communications, alternative energy, and waste management.

4. Let us go forward with government and civilian space programs; RESEARCH INITIATIVES in transportation, advanced products and manufacturing; industrial applications, appropriate technologies and technology transfer; environmental sampling and monitoring; systems testing; laser communications; high speed computers; genetic mapping (with “Genome” project results in the public domain).

5. Let us devote a larger percentage of our nation’s research and development budget, both private and public, toward civilian use and away from military use. Let us become more competitive in developing consumer products and addressing our chronic trade imbalance in this fashion – not by increasing exports of military weapons and technologies.

6. Advanced telecommunications technologies (many of which came originally from defense applications) such as fiber optics, broadband infrastructure, the Internet and the World Wide Web hold great promise for education, decentralized economies, and local control of decision-making. We believe we must move toward decentralization in these efforts – carefully protecting our individual rights as we go forward.

Advanced and high definition TV, digital communications, and wireless communications hold promise and challenge. For example, the public airwaves that will accommodate the new generation of telecommunications technology should not be free giveaways to media giants. An auction and built in requirements that attach to these licenses to act “in the public interest” is needed. Technology provides a tool – we must use these tools appropriately and ethically.

Myriad opportunities for technical excellence and continued economic achievement, apart from strategic, tactical and defense-related weapons systems, are in front of us. We urge Congress, all of government, and a forward-looking private sector to take up this challenge.

7. We call for a federal Technology Assessment Office to examine how technology fits in with life on Earth, in our neighborhoods and the quality of our daily lives.

M. THE NATIONAL DEBT

For many years the federal government borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars. Money that should have been going into a better “safety net” for the poor, homes for the homeless, new business and jobs, research and development, roads and bridges, schools and the technologies of tomorrow, has been lost to servicing the national debt (currently over $5 trillion).

We now have surpluses and projected larger surpluses. However, we cannot ignore the consequences of our nation’s past deficits and the related costs of debt service.

Working people and the small business community are shouldering a disproportionate amount the debt burden. Yet the incurrence of the federal debt was, to a large degree, the end product of those who were on watch during the Cold War and military-defense industry buildup. Hundreds of billions were lost in the savings and loan bailout. The billions upon billions were lost on loopholes, tax breaks, and transnational/multinational corporate tax avoidance. Hundreds of billions were lost due to a failed tax code that has been, in effect, held prisoner to special interests and has produced historic gross inequities between corporate America and working Americans. During the 1980s, our national debt grew from approximately $1 trillion to over $5 trillion.

During that time, we refused to fund Social Security, food stamps, public housing, higher education, public transportation, etc., etc. In effect when you neglect the economic well-being of the society and refuse to protect the environment, the result can hardly be described as a surplus.

1. We must continue to move toward reduction in the national debt and we must make up for the neglect that the deficits caused.

2. We believe a comprehensive approach that forms a basis for a DEBT REDUCTION PLAN would include debt payback; increased revenues; and decreased expenditures in some areas.

3. We support increases in domestic and discretionary spending that is our nation’s essential “safety net,” protecting those most in need. We support increases in the portion of entitlement benefits (one-fifth) that go to the children, the lowest income, aged, blind and disabled. These include food stamps, family assistance, Medicaid, and supplementary security income.

4. We support increased funding for Social Security, public housing, higher education, public transportation, environmental protection, renewable energy and energy conservation.

5. To help make up for our nation’s neglect, we support tax increases on mega-corporate and wealthy interests; defense budget reductions (see FOREIGN POLICY); and entitlement reductions to those who can afford reductions most. Entitlement spending is over one-half of the federal budget. One way to reduce entitlement costs substantially would be by “means testing,” i.e. by scaling back payments to the six million citizens in families with incomes over $50,000 annually.

______________________________________________________

(KEYWORDS INDEX)

I. DEMOCRACY

A. Political Reform

Comprehensive Political Reform Agenda

Campaign Finance Reform

Political Action Committees

Lobbying Regulation

Congressional Reorganization

Term Limits

Ethics Laws

Proportional Representation

B. Political Participation

Grassroots Democracy

Initiative, Referendum and Recall

Redistricting

Ballot Access

Universal Voter Registration

Election Day Holiday

Direct Action

C. Community

Families

“A Children’s Agenda”

Childcare

Earned Income Tax Credit

Pre-Natal Programs

Head Start

Social Security

Local Control

Global Community

“A Politics of 2000” / International Security

Cultural Diversity

An Expanded Peace Corps

Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s)

Non-Profit Public Interest Groups

Non-Traditional Careers

D. Foreign Policy

The Cause of Peace

The End of the Cold War

National Security

Defense Budget

“A Peacetime Economy”

Human Rights/Emerging Democracies

Foreign Aid

International Monetary Fund (IMF) / World Bank

International Agencies

International Law/International Relations

The Former Soviet Union

The Mid-East / China / South Africa

“Right of Self-Determination” / Indigenous Peoples

The Third World

Nonviolence and Peace

Security / The United Nations and Related Agencies

II. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

A. Education

Educational Diversity (“Choice”)

Curriculum

Responsibility

Parental Responsibility

Student Responsibility

Federal / State Policy

Neighborhood Schools

Day Care

Professional Status

Private / Cooperative / Parochial Schools

Home-Based Education

Bilingual Education / Continuing Education / Job Retraining

Mentoring / Apprenticeship Programs

B. Health Care

Universal Health Care

Single-Payer / National Health Insurance

Universal Access / Freedom of Health Care Choice /

Cost Savings / Comprehensive Benefits

Rural Health Services

Medical Research

Medicare / Medicaid

Wellness / Preventative Health Care

Education / Diet/Nutrition/Exercise

Food Supply

Alternative Medicine

Informed Consent Laws

Primary Care

Women’s Health Issues

Social and Health Services

AIDS and HIV

C. Economic Justice / Social Safety Net

Welfare Act

A Radical Paradigm Shift

An Investment in the Future

A Fair Distribution of Income

D. Tax Justice / Fairness

System-Wide Tax Reform

Tax Justice

Environmental Taxes

Value-Added Tax/Flat Tax

E. Management-Labor Relations

Private Sector

Small Business

Economic and Workplace Democracy

Worker Rights

Minimum Wage

Workplace Safety

Public Sector

Collective Bargaining

Reinventing Government

F. Criminal Justice

The Law and Order Debate

Violent Crimes

“White Collar” Crime

Community / Neighborhood Policing Programs

Civilian Complaint Review Boards

Gun Control

Prison Education / Job Training

Death Penalty

Judicial Reform

Violence in Schools

Rape Crisis Centers / Domestic Violence Shelters

Victims’ Rights

Victimless Crimes

G. Civil And Equal Rights

Rights and Responsibilities

Self-Determination

Sexual Orientation

“Equal Rights Amendment”

“Voting Rights Act”

Civil Rights Laws

Women’s Rights

Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC)

Consumer Protection Laws

Consumer Advocacy Agencies/Consumer Action Groups

H. Free Speech

“Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Quality Children’s Programming

I. Native Americans

Sovereignty

Religious Rights

Education / Health Programs

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

Uranium Miners

J. Immigration / Emigration

Rights

Non-Discrimination

K. Housing

Affordable Housing

Coordinated Housing Plan

L. National Service

Alternative Service

Civilian Conservation Corps.



III. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

A. Energy Policy

Energy Efficiency / Renewable Energy

State Energy Policies

Solar Power Stations

“True-Cost Pricing”

B. Nuclear Issue

Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP)

Monitored Retrievable Storage (MRS)

Campaign to Educate the Public

C. Waste Management

Recycling

Source Reduction

Incineration

Shipment of Wastes

D. Fossil Fuels

Transition Energy Strategies

Fuel Efficiency

Natural Gas

Utilities

E. Renewable Energy

Alternative Energy Systems

F. Transportation Policy

Alternative Transportation

Mass Transit / Regional Rail System

Research and Development

G. Clean Air / Greenhouse Effect / Ozone Depletion

“Global Climate Treaty”

CFC’s/Greenhouse Gases/Global Warming

H. Land Use

Bioregional View

Land Trusts

Planning

Riparian Areas

Clean-up Enforcement

Sustainable Forestry

Grazing Reform

A “Land Ethic”

Resource Management Districts and Councils

Animal Damage Control (ADC)

I. Water

Incentives / Disincentives

Groundwater Protection

Constructed Wetlands

J. Agriculture

Food Supply / Self-Sufficiency

World Hunger / Food Supply Independence

1996 Farm Bill

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Alternative Green Revolution

Regionalizing

K. Biological Diversity

“Endangered Species Act”

“Convention on Biological Diversity”

Deep Diversity

“Monoculture” / Non-Sustainable Methods

GATT / NAFTA / WTO

“Intellectual Property”

IV. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

A. Eco-Nomics

B. Re-asserting Local Citizen Control Over Corporations

History of Corporations

Statutes / Precedents to Hold Corporations Accountable

C. Livable Income

A “Living Wage”

D. Community Involvement

Economic Future

Investing In the Commons

Direct Democracy

Town Meetings

E. Small Business And Job Creation

“Socially-Responsible Business” / “Value-Driven Business”

Access to Capital

Tax System Overhaul

Retention of Capital

Economic Development Initiatives

Home-Based Businesses / Neighborhood-Based Businesses

F. Trade

GATT / NAFTA / WTO

G. Rural Development

Rural Development Policy

Family Farms

Bank Policies

Cooperative Ventures

Product Marketing Efforts

Rural Development Banks

H. Banking For People

“Commonwealth” Obligations

Community Reinvestment Act

Community Development Banks

I. Insurance Reform

Insurance Industry Regulation

J. Pension Reform

Pension Funds

K. Anti-Trust Enforcement

Anti-Trust Regulation

L. Advanced Tech / Defense Conversion

Consolidation

Technology Transfer / Industrial Applications

Research Initiatives

M. The National Debt

Deficit Plan

Debt / Deficit Reduction
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:39 am

Nader for President 2004
BY SOURCEWATCH.ORG

Nader for President 2004 is the campaign for consumer activist Ralph Nader in the 2004 United States Presidential election campaign.

Nader 2000 vs 2004

In 2000, the Association of State Green Parties nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. They succeeded in being placed on the ballot in 44 states and received 2,882,897 votes, or 2.7% of all votes cast [1]. While the vote was less than early polling indicated was likely, it was sufficient to ensure the U.S. Green Party, would be on the ballot in 22 states and the District of Columbia in the 2004 election.

Late in 2003, Ralph Nader declared that he would not be the party's nominee for as Presidential candidate in 2004. However, in February, 2004, Nader announced his intention to run as an independent. A few months later, Nader stated that he would accept the "endorsement" rather than the "nomination" of the Green Party, as well as of other third parties.

The most notable opposition came from lawyer and activist David Cobb, who wanted to run a campaign focused on building the party. On June 26 the Green Party of the United States convention rejected the idea of an endorsement for Nader - who is not a member of the organisation - and chose Cobb as its presidential candidate. [2].

While Nader has won support from the Reform Party, which may get him on the ballot in seven states, his failure to gain support from the Green Party makes his task of just getting on to the ballot elsewhere a formidable task.

Nader is relaxed about support from the Reform Party despite some major differences on policies. "There's no quid pro quo here. They're very kind to let us use their ballot access, because the Democrats are using dirty tricks to try to deny millions of voters an opportunity to vote for the Nader-Peter Miguel Camejo ticket," Nader said on CNN's Crossfire program. Areas of agreement between the Reform Party platform and the Nader/Camejo platform include: denunciation of the Iraq military adventure and rapid withdrawal from Iraq, repeal of the Patriot Act, withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO, an end to the brutal traffic and exploitation of immigrant labor, an end to support for despotic regimes abroad, an end to irresponsibly deficit spending and pork-barrel corporate welfare, a crackdown on corporate unpatriotism, crime and fraud, and shifting the tax burden away from work. Nader's acceptance speech at the Reform Party Convention elaborated on these and other areas of strong agreement, as does the Reform Party website and his cover story interview with the 2000 Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan in American Conservative Magazine.[3] [4] [5]

Unlike his 2000 Presidential bid - which attracted widespread support - his 2004 campaign has struggled. Many who supported Nader's 2000 Presidential bid have refrained from supporting his current campaign.

Asked about Normon Solomon's opposition to his campaign, Nader argued that while they agreed on policies they disagreed on strategy: "... he believes in anybody but Bush, closes down his mind, and thinks that the Democrats own their votes, instead of having to earn them. For example, the Democrats, Kerry and Edwards voted for the war. They voted for the Patriot Act. They're all for corporate globalization. They are for the death penalty. And these are two parties that are corrupt with money. They're turning their back on the country. They've turned Washington, D.C. into corporate occupied territory," Nader said on CNN's Crossfire program.

Nader's campaign has also encountered organised opposition from the Democratic Party, which fears a repeat of the 2000 Presidential campaign where a very tight vote saw the Republican candidate George W. Bush win by the narrowest of margins.

However, exit polling from the Florida presidential election in 2000 shows that if Nader were not on the ballot, Bush would have defeated Gore 49% to 47%. [6][7] Recent polls have also shown that in Florida and in the nation as a whole, more Nader voters would choose Bush as a second choice over Kerry, if their first choice Nader is not on their state's ballot. That means even if Instant Runoff Voting were in place, Bush would get more Nader votes in the second-round count than Kerry would. [8].

In early July, Nader gave up trying to qualify for the ballot in Arizona after the Secretary of State estimated the campaign fell 550 signatures short of the threshold. Announcing his withdrawal, Nader blamed the lack of "safeguards against harassing challenges by opposing political forces … In this case the deep pocketed harassers were the Democrats and their three law firms." [9] Nader elaborated in a July 7 interview on Democracy Now: "They had filed suit on such things like one of our signature gatherers-- it takes 14,500 signatures to get on the Arizona ballot. One of the signature gatherers collected 550 signatures. He happened to be an ex-felon who paid his debt to society. He had been on juries. He was a registered voter. They found that he did not pay allegedly a $400 fine to the state, and they wanted to knock off 550 signatures. That would have cost us long days in litigation, and we had to drop our effort. We have limited funds under Federal Election Commission regulation. The democrats have unlimited funds outside of any regulation. That's what they're doing in Oregon and elsewhere. I told John Kerry to-- words to the wise. He may be presiding over a situation, whether he knows it or not, that can be a mini Watergate." [10]

As of mid-September the Nader campaign states that it is on the ballot in 35 states, 10 of those under court challenge, that it is suing to gain ballot access in 7 states that have blocked it, is awaiting petition validation in 2 states, and will conduct a write-in campaign in 6 states. [11]

The California Peace and Freedom Party opted to endorse jailed American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier instead of Nader. [12] The Missouri Secretary of State's office has ruled that the Nader campaign failed to get the requisite 10,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot there. [13]

In Michigan the Nader campaign stopped collecting signatures when he received the Reform Party nomination, only to have the Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land [14] deny him the Reform Party ballot status because of a complaint by a rival Michigan state Reform Party who lost a bid last year to become the state's affiliate of the national Reform Party. Land claimed she could not resolve the dispute between rival claimants to the Reform Party ballot line, even though the national Reform Party had resolved the dispute a year earlier by an official vote, and a Reagan-appointed federal judge upheld her decision [15].

The Nader campaign is appealing that decision, and had filed the few thousand signatures it had gathered for Independent status in case it had to argue in court for more time to gather signatures as a partial remedy for being denied its expected Reform Party ballot line. The Republican Party, meanwhile, collected enough signatures on its own to place Nader on the ballot as an Independent, and prevailed in the Michigan Appeals Court over the two Democrats on the four-member Michigan Board of Canvassers who voted to deny Nader Independent ballot status on the argument that the Republican-gathered signatures were illegitimate. The Reform Party was founded by Ross Perot, whose 19% of the vote in the 1992 Presidential election is widely considered to have helped Clinton defeat Bush that year. Nader has consistently described his campaign as a "second front against George W. Bush." [16][17][18] [19][20]

Democrat criticisms on accepting funds from Republican supporters

In early July 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that of the more than $1 million raised - mostly in small donations - by Nader for his campaign, $23,000 of $275,000 in contributions larger than $1,000 had originated from known Republican contributors. While the amount represented a small percentage of his campaign funding, it was seized up by the Democratic Party as evidence that the Republican Party were mustering support for Nader to run as a 'spoiler'.

The Nader campaign responded with data showing that only 4% of his funds were from Republicans, far less than the 25% of his 2000 votes that came from Republicans, and that the same Republican donors donated more to Democrats this year than to Nader. [21]

In a debate with former Democrat Presidential aspirant Howard Dean at the National Press Club in Washington, Nader rejected Democrat calls to return the contributions as a "smear". Pointing out that Kerry too had also received money from former Republican contributors, Nader asked Dean "So you'll urge John Kerry to return all the money?". [22]

"You're talking about a minuscule amount, 5 percent, from Republican donors, many of whom I have worked with, Gino Pelushi (ph) on these pollution in the Mesabi Iron Range. You know Bob Monks, the key person on corporate governance issues. We've worked with these people," Nader said on CNN's Crossfire program.

However, Nader's vice presidential candidate, Peter Camejo, rejected accepting Republican money. "If you oppose the war, if you're against the Patriot Act, your money is welcome. But if your purpose is because you think this is going to have an electoral effect, we don't want that money. I take no money from people who disagree with us," Camejo told the San Francisco Chronicle. [23] (Camejo is a member of the Green Party of the United States).

When Camejo's views were put to Nader he disagreed, seeing no basis on which to refuse contributions from individuals. "If the Republican National Committee comes up and say, hey, here's some money, we'll throw it back into their face. We don't want that kind of money. But if individuals, whether for civil liberties purposes, because they want more voices and choices on the ballot for the American people to choose from, want to give us funds, why not?," he said on CNN's Crossfire.

More troubling have been revelations that Republican activists have mobilised conservative supporters in an attempt to ensure he is listed on the ballot, in an attempt to split the liberal vote. But it is troubling for democracy, not for the Kerry campaign, which polls show stands to gain as much as it loses in the voting booth from Nader's campaign.

Equally troubling to the anti-democratic contortions being made by the Republican Secretary of State and the Citizens for a Sound Economy CSE in Michigan to force Nader to run Independent rather than Reform Party, are the even worse anti-democratic contortions by the Democrat Secretary of State Bill Bradbury in Oregon, who was castigated recently by a Democrat judge for biased application of existing laws and non-existent laws to invalidate already county-validated Nader petition signatures. [24] [25]

In Iowa there are reports that "As they left a Bush campaign rally in Cedar Rapids Tuesday, activists were greeted by volunteers seeking help with 'a project to help the president'. The volunteers were seeking signatures on petitions to get Nader's name on the ballot, carefully explaining that Nader's presence would be helpful to Bush because the former consumer activist would drain votes from Kerry." This site claims that the volunteers were Nader supporters [26]. While it is not clear who they were it would be a shocking revelation if true.

Polls showing Nader pulling more support from Bush prove that the Nader campaign, however, was correct in its assertion that all the Republicans would accomplish by pushing its supporters to help Nader's ballot access efforts is to risk losing them to Nader's cause. This is evidenced further by John McCain's recent support, in his role as chair of the Reform Institute, for Nader's ballot access in Florida, despite polls showing Nader pulling more votes from Bush than from Kerry in that pivotal swing state, just as exit polls show he did in 2000. [27] [28] [29]

And Republican mobilization to assist Nader has been scant and has had little impact other than in Michigan, where Republican state officials and a Reagan-appointed federal judge have thus far managed to block Nader's intended run as the Reform Party candidate. Thus it appears that both major parties are working to block Nader's ballot access wherever his campaign might mobilize voters to abandon Bush or Kerry over popular issues they both oppose and Nader advocates, like rapid withdrawal from Iraq, elimination of income tax on incomes under $100,000, repeal of the Patriot Act, withdrawal from NAFTA, FTAA and WTO and single-payer Medicare-For-All universal health coverage.

Citizens for a Sound Economy selectively backs Nader's 2004 ballot bid

A case in point is Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), which traditionally backs predictable conservative causes, in July 2004 it placed phone calls to supporters to attend an open nominating convention to place Nader on the presidential ballot in Oregon, claiming it would help Bush's re-election effort. By clumsily issuing statements to the press regarding its cynical motives, the CSE provoked a backlash, and few supporters carried out its directive. This contrasts with the CSE's effort in Michigan, where it gathered 45,000 signatures in a short period of time to push Nader onto the ballot as an Independent while Republican state officials and a Reagan-appointed federal judge blocked Nader from his expected and intended status as the Reform Party candidate.

Both the Bush and Kerry campaigns expect the result of the Presidential vote in Oregon to be close. In a close election, the seven electoral college votes the state carries could prove decisive. However, an anti-Nader website actually cites polls that show Nader's presence on the ballot in Oregon results in a net gain for Kerry over Bush. [30][31]

To be listed on the ballot in Oregon, a candidate must submit signatures of either 15,000 registered voters or gather 1000 signatures in a day. One Saturday June 26 the Nader campaign held a convention in Portland at which 1100 attended.

Democrat infiltrators, responding to an email directive sent out by Chair of the Multnomah County Democratic Party, flooded the hall, preventing legitimate Nader supporters from entering, so that when state officials closed and locked the doors, assured that well over 1000 were present, the Democrats sat without objection while a majority voice vote nominated Nader for President in Oregon, but then proceeded to refuse to fill out and hand in papers validating their status as registered voters. This refusal to verify their voter status caused the Secretary of State to deny Nader ballot access, despite the fact that 950 voters present did ultimately verify their status and there is little doubt that at least 50 of the 150 to 200 Democrat infiltrators present who refused to verity their voter status were in fact registered Oregon voters.

While the Nader campaign attempted to gather the necessary signatures at a convention in April, it fell well short of the target. While Nader pulled 77,000 votes in the state in his 2000 Presidential run, only 750 turned out to the convention. (Gore carried Oregon in 2000 by only 6,765). [32]

In late June the Oregonian reported that Lee Coleman, a member of the Oregon State Republican Central Committee, said that a message left on his answering machine urging his support for the Nader ballot bid left a return number for the Bush-Cheney campaign office in Oregon.

Spokesman for the Bush campaign, Steve Schmidt, told the Oregonian that no paid campaign staffers were making calls to help Nader but said that some volunteers may have made calls from the campaign's office. "The campaign certainly understands that when Republican volunteers see that there are Democrat volunteers trying to restrict the choice and keep Ralph Nader off the ballot, that they should work to expand choice," Schmidt said. [33]

On July 1 CNN reported that a Washington D.C. group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission about support by the Oregon branch of Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Oregon Family Council for the Nader 2004 campaign for President.[34] [35] The complaint argued that the use of phone banks to encourage conservatives to attend a Nader nominating convention was an illegal in-kind contribution to the Nader campaign. [36]

In a media release announcing its complaint CREW argued that while both CSE and OFC are non-profit groups, in law they are no different from corporations which are not allowed to contribute directly to political campaigns. "The costs of creating the scripts as well as the costs of the telephone calls constitute prohibited in-kind contributions. The Oregon Republican Party, which could not have legally made the telephone calls on its own, violated conspiracy laws by working with OFC on the phone bank. BC '04 improperly allowed so called "volunteers" to use BC '04 resources to assist Ralph Nader's campaign," CREW stated.

"Finally, if the Nader campaign knew about the scripts and the calls, then it violated FEC law by accepting those contributions. In any event Nader must reimburse the corporations for the costs of the phone banks," it argued. While CSE and OFC contributed its support as an 'in-kind' contribution rather than direct financial support, CREW argues that the distinction makes no difference.

The complaint was also directed at Bush's re-election campaign and the Oregon Republican Party, which CREW alleged were involved in the strategy of seeking to ensure that Nader appeared on the ballot in Oregon and thereby boosted Bush's prospects by splitting some liberal supporters support away from Kerry.

The day after the June 26 convention, CSE issued a media release to explain its support for Nader. "Oregon CSE members are working to get Ralph Nader on the November ballot! While this sounds completely backwards-- Ralph Nader opposes nearly every issue CSE fights for-- but there's sound logic behind Oregon CSE's actions. CSE does not advocate the election or defeat of political candidates, but Oregon CSE members feel that having Nader on the ballot helps illuminate the strong similarities between the uber-liberal Nader and John Kerry, CSE stated.

The phone script, in the name of Russ Walker the director of Citizens for a Sound Economy in Oregon explained to supporters that "we have to drive a wedge through the Liberal Left's base of support' by ensuring Nader obtained the requisite 1000 signatures. [37] [38]

The President of CSE, Matt Kibbe, told CNN sveral days later that "we called about 1,000 folks in the Portland area and said this would be an opportunity to show up to provide clarity in the presidential debate". Kibbe rejected suggestions that the calls were co-ordinated with either the Bush or Nader campaigns.

In a July 2 media statement CSE said "in Oregon last week, CSE organized a phone bank to about 1,000 members in the Portland area … and asked them to attend a weekend Nader event to qualify him for the ballot in Oregon". CSE described its activism as an "effort to broaden the debate-- and ballot access".

"CSE is undeterred by these attacks, and plans to continue the Nader issue strategy with its activists in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere," it stated. [39]

The Wisconsin state director of CSE, Cameron Sholty, told the New York Times that when Nader's petition drive starts in August they will help. "We'll definitely be spreading the word that we'd like to see Nader on the ballot ... We'll do phone trees and friends-of-friends, and those Nader events will be a great way to drive our membership to get out to sign petitions for Nader," Sholty said. [40]

Nader's campaign has had assistance from Republican supporters in other states too. In Nevada - where Nader's campaign submitted the names of 11,0000 voters in mid-July to qualify for the ballot - Republican political consultant Steve Wark provided assistance. Wark, Associated Press reported, is also consulting to the election campaigns of U.S. Senate Republican aspirant, Richard Ziser, and the re-election campaign of state Republican Senator Ray Rawson. [41]

Funds for the ballot bid, solicited via Republican networks, were to be sent to Wark's address. "Please join me in this gallant effort to give our President the best chance possible of winning in November," a fundraising appeal by Republican Stu Richardson stated.

"I raised money from friends of mine who are nonpartisan … It wasn't all Republicans, just folks I do business with," Wark told AP.

Asked on CNN's Crossfire program whether he renounced support from CSE, Nader was emphatic. "I do renounce it," he said.

However, Nader adeptly moved on to talk about the issues he wanted to discuss rather than CSE. "First of all, I haven't seen any results. And, second of all, the only thing about that organization, it's against congressional pay raises. And we -- Congress raises their salary, but they freeze the minimum wage. Congress gives themselves great health insurance, but they make sure that people don't have health insurance," he said.

Faced with the ongoing controversy, Nader/Camejo supporters have defended his right to run in the election in order to present an alternative to the overlap between the major parties. The problem, the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez wrote in the San Francisco Examiner, is "simply that their running cannot be accommodated within our two-party system".

"So the answer, for many, is that they shouldn't run. But why make the solution an undemocratic one? Why not insist that the system be changed?," he argued. However, Gonzalez did not address the concern that Nader's campaign is reliant on conservative groups support to just get on the ballot.

Writing on Alternet, Jeff Cohen, acknowledeged that while Nader's 2000 campaign had been an inspiring challenge to the status quo he sees the current campaign differently. "Today, the sad reality on the ground is that a vote for Nader in these swing states is a vote for Bush's money, his organization, his rightwing activists," he wrote. [42]

At the July 2004 Democrat Convention, the Seattle Times reported that Toby Moffet from the Washington D.C. PR and corporate law firm and lobby shop, The Livingston Group was lobbying key Democrats to help United Progressives for Victory (UPV), an anti-Nader attack group. According to a memo from Moffet circulated to Democrats UPV would undertake market research, community organizing, media outreach and Internet marketing to undermine support for Nader. [43]

According to Moffet, opinion polling of potential Nader supporters falls when told "he is in bed with Republicans". Support provided by conservative groups - such as Citizens for a Sound Economy - to help get Nader onto the ballot, may well prove to be the final undoing of his campaign. [44]


The Nader campaign has responded by pointing out that Republican gestures at helping Nader, if they were truly more than empty gestures actually aimed at crowding Nader's anti-Bush message out of the media and discrediting his campaign, would have easily won him ballot access in all 50 states by now, as they easily did in Michigan where it served Republican purposes to torpedo his Reform Party ballot line in favor of an Independent line. The Nader campaign has also pointed out that the only one in bed with corporate Republicans and foes of progressive causes is Toby Moffet himself, having been a Vice President for Monsanto Corporation, one of the world's leading multinational corporations in the promotion of genetically modified crops which has successfully sued organic farmers for patent violations when genetically modified crops invaded and cross-pollinated with the organic farmers' crops, and now holding a high position in a corporate law and lobby firm founded by former Republican Congressman Robert Livingston, who in 1999 was to succeed Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House when he abruptly resigned, admitting an extra-marital affair. The Livingston Group has represented major military-industrial mega-corporations Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, as well as foreign governments like the Cayman Islands. [45] [46][47]

Despite the corrupt political cynicism displayed by both major parties in their corporate-funded media and legal battles, Nader persists in his call on citizens to become active in politics and think upon politics with a positive attitude. At the Reform Party convention, Nader discussed the Populist Movement and how farmers got into the political arena and taught themselves the complexities of international economics and different proposals for how to reorganize the U.S. monetary system to make it fair to people and no longer rigged against the People by the big banks and railroads, how they risked everything to stand up for their rights and for democracy. He said his campaign would be victorious if it sparked a simiilar movement of ordinary citizens for political and economic reform against the big corporations in our time, and if young people are drawn into politics by his campaign because, he said: "If you're not into politics, then you should read a little history my friend, because politics will be into you in a big way. But politics should never be considered a dirty word, which reflects the state of our politics. Because in ancient Athens, politics was the word to counteract autocracy. Politics meant the people governing themselves against autocratic regimes." [48]
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:49 am

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Could Nader Win?

Furthermore, Nader's impact could be far greater than that of a potential spoiler for Kerry. The 2000 National Election Survey data show that only 9 percent of voters who preferred Nader actually voted for him. Fifty percent of Nader supporters didn't vote at all. Twenty-six percent of Nader supporters voted for Gore as the lesser evil to Bush. And 19 percent of Nader supporters voted for Bush as the lesser evil to Gore.

If all the voters who preferred Nader had voted for him in 2000, he would have won the election, receiving 54 million votes to Bush's 43 million and Gore's 38 million (if we add the Nader supporters who voted for their lesser evil to Nader's total and subtract them from Bush and Gore's totals). (These numbers are derived from Harvard political scientist Barry Burden's 2001 study of the National Election Survey data: "Minor Parties in the 2000 Presidential Election," see http://psweb.sbs.ohio-state.edulfaculty ... ce/burdosu. pdf.)

In 2004, with antiwar sentiment rising and Nader the only antiwar candidate, Nader could well rise into serious contention. It would be a tragedy if the Greens were on the sidelines in such a race supporting another candidate. But whether or not that scenario unfolds, the role of the Green Party should be mobilizing that latent majority who prefer Nader/Green policies, not running an unknown candidate because we fear spoiling the election for Kerry and the Democrats who oppose almost everything the Greens stand for. A strong vote for Nader will be a victory because it will help set the national political agenda just as Perot's 19 percent showing in 1992 compelled both major parties to rush to balance the federal budget.

David Cobb has run a good, energetic primary campaign, with visits to a majority of the states, a great Web site, and lots of local media coverage. He has listened to Greens and adapted his message accordingly, now emphasizing the party-building role his campaign could play over his original safe-states strategy, which itself has been nuanced to accommodate the needs of each state, for example, agreeing to run hard in the battleground state of Iowa because the Green ballot line there depends on the presidential election result.

-- Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate, by Howard Hawkins
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Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:14 am

DEMOCRAT

Gary Sellers, 71; Onetime Ally of Ralph Nader
By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 24, 2007

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Gary Sellers, 71, the first lawyer hired by Ralph Nader's organization in the 1960s who went on to form a group opposing Nader's run for the presidency in 2000, died March 13 in a single-car accident on Route 211 in Rappahannock County, near the Fauquier County line.

Mr. Sellers was returning to his home in Lake Barcroft from a cherry orchard he owned near Flint Hill, Va., when his sport-utility vehicle flipped over a guardrail and crashed down an embankment.

In 1968, he joined Nader's nascent movement, becoming one of the first of Nader's Raiders, an influential group of young idealists who sought governmental reform in consumer protection, labor laws and social justice. The two grew close in the five years they worked together, and Nader was Mr. Sellers's best man at his first wedding.

Mr. Sellers later spent 15 years on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide and played a major role in drafting the landmark Occupational Safety and Health Act and laws protecting coal miners. After retiring in the late 1980s, he volunteered with the American Civil Liberties Union on legislative issues.

In recent years, he was content to tend his cherry orchards, first in West Virginia and later in Rappahannock, until he was spurred back into political action by Nader's candidacy as the Green Party nominee in 2000.

Mr. Sellers saw that Nader could take enough votes from Democratic candidate Al Gore to tip the election in favor of George W. Bush. With several other former Nader proteges, Mr. Sellers organized Nader's Raiders for Gore and accused his former mentor of breaking a promise not to campaign in battleground states where he could affect the outcome of the national election.

"I love the man," Mr. Sellers said in October 2000. "He's a marvelous person. He was the best man at my wedding. But he is not keeping his pledges. . . . And we want him to drop out in those states where he'd make a difference."

In an open letter to Nader, Mr. Sellers and other members of his group wrote: "It is now clear that you might well give the White House to Bush. As a result, you would set back significantly the social progress to which you have devoted your entire, astonishing career. . . . It would be a cruel irony indeed if your major legacy were to erase the victory from the candidate who most embodies your philosophy, Al Gore."


Nader responded by saying: "All these good people who have succumbed to the lesser-of-two-evils syndrome are setting themselves up for another cycle of political betrayal."

Mr. Sellers made his case on network news programs and debated one of Nader's most vocal supporters, talk-show host Phil Donahue, on NBC's "Today" show.

"The consequences are really profound," Mr. Sellers said on "Today." "It will take 30 years to undo the harm that Ralph is going to do in the next 12 days."

Nader garnered about 3 percent of the national vote, including more than 97,000 votes in Florida. Bush won the disputed election when recounts determined that he carried Florida by 537 votes. Nader's presence on the ballot also appeared to secure narrow Bush victories in New Hampshire and Oregon.

After the election, Mr. Sellers said of Nader: "He has alienated his closest friends. And he's done it with a clear understanding of the consequences." He and Nader never spoke again.

Mr. Sellers was born in Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan and its law school. He came to Washington in 1965 to work in the Office of Management and Budget in the Johnson White House.

He joined Nader as his first general counsel in 1968, working with him for five years, when Nader's influence as a public watchdog was at its height. Mr. Sellers later worked for three Democratic U.S. representatives from the same California family -- Phillip Burton; his widow, Sala Burton; and his brother, John Lowell Burton -- and the Senate Appropriations Committee.


Inspired by boyhood memories of his grandparents' farm in Michigan, Mr. Sellers operated an orchard for several years in West Virginia before opening the Cherries on Top orchard near Flint Hill in the early 1990s. It became a popular mountaintop destination where people were invited to pick their own fruit.

Mr. Sellers was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington and had a second home in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

His marriage to Dorothy Sellers ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 18 years, Sara-Ann "Sally" Determan of Lake Barcroft; two stepsons, Dann Determan of Falls Church and David Determan of Spotsylvania County; a brother; and four grandchildren.
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