Category Archives: Geopolitics

My Fellow Americans. . .

We have heard and are going to hear a lot about money in elections. The Citizens United decision declared that a corporation has the same free speech rights as an individual, a really rich individual. So be it. Money has flooded the political system for a long time. But all the proposals to restrain the influence of wealth on government come from an old view of the world. In the past, a candidate needed money to gain support. Campaign staff had to be paid. Air time had to be bought. Ballots for stuffing boxes had be purchased, and some people had to be bribed.

But no more. These days, anyone who can afford an Internet connection or who is near a public library can be an informed voter, and any candidate with the same access can be effective. The names of candidates can be written on ballots at the day of the election. The campaign can be done entirely on-line.

It’s time for voters to take control of their democracy. With that in mind, I propose a new party, provisionally to be named the Union Party with the motto, E Pluribus Unam. I’ll entertain better names, though.

The guiding principle of this party will be liberty in the small and cooperation in the large. With that in mind, let’s go through the typical list of political matters in this country today, as given by OnTheIssues.org:

Abortion:

Abortions in the first two trimesters will be solely the choice of the pregnant woman without irrelevant tests or burdens. During the third trimester, abortions will only be allowed if the health of the woman is in jeopardy. That determination will be made between her and her doctor. The government health program (see below) will pay for abortions. Other plans may choose to do so or not at their discretion.

Budget and the Economy:

1. Debt is dangerous. Getting out of debt must be a goal of every administration until the debt is gone.

2. Tax rates will be 30% on the highest bracket, 20% on the upper middle, 10% on the lower middle, and 0% on the poor, income levels to be added later as needed. Some variation will be permitted in the upper brackets to achieve debt reduction or other goals.

3. The tax code must be written in English, not Ligature Rouge. Deductions must be eliminated.

Civil Rights:

1. Race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other such categories are part of a person’s nature and are not legitimate for consideration in hiring, in acceptance into schools, in legal matters, or in other similar areas of public concern. That goes both ways, of course.

2. Marriage is a matter for religious institutions to decide. Governments should issue civil unions only that will cover taxes, insurance, finances, and similar.

3. Voting districts should be based on geography and population, not on race or political party affiliation.

Corporations:

1. Corporations will be free to operate, provided that they are honest about the products that they sell and that they can show that their effect on the environment is acceptable.

2. Unions have the right to organize if the workers agree to join and to bargain with employers.

3. Any corporation that gets a bailout from the government will be required to operate according to the best interests of the workers and the community.

Crime and Drugs:

1. Usage of drugs will be legalized, and dealers will be required to label their products honestly.

2. Financial criminals will have to spend their sentences paying back their victims, rather than enjoying a state-funded vacation.

3. Violent criminals will be put away for a long time.

Education:

See my previous articles on this subject. To summarize, class sizes will be reduced, total school size will as well. Add to that a rational funding system–in other words, not property taxes. In addition, children will be required to attend only half a day in public schools. They will be taught civics, mathematics, reading, and critical thinking. Their parents may then choose to educate them for the rest of the day at home, at private schools, or in public schools.

State colleges and universities will provide quality education at a price that everyone can afford. Private schools and for-profit schools may do as they wish, so long as all terms are made clear from the beginning.

This will require funding. That’s life.

Energy and the Environment:

America has large reserves of natural gas, and we grow a lot of corn that can be made into fuel. Those two will be temporary sources until wind, solar, and other types of clean energy are in place. Getting from the former to the latter will be a constant goal and action.

Foreign Policy and Free Trade:

1. Europe must learn to defend itself. America will maintain only such bases as are needed to conduct surveillance of the region.

2. There must be a solution to the Israel-Palestine question–likely a three-state solution. If any party in this dispute is unwilling to negotiate, the United States will withdraw support.

3. Iran and China are primary threats to our security for various reasons. Our policy will be one of containment and reduction.

4. North Korea is a pissant little adolescent state. Anything that they throw at us will be paid for twentyfold. No more aid will go to them unless they promise total obedience.

5. Worker rights and the enviroment will be a part of all trade deals, but free trade is the ultimate goal.

Gun Control:

I’ve also written about this, but in principle, in small arms, it’s not the device that matters; it’s the action. The only restrictions will be on those deemed a danger to others after due process of the courts. Cities may also require that weapons remain concealed within their borders and may restrict discharges to self defense shootings. Property owners may do as they wish on their own land, but businesses are public accomodations, as are colleges. Children may use firearms under the supervision of an adult.

Healthcare:

The government will create a national system for anyone who wants to participate–call it Medicare, since we already have that in place. Medicare will be able to negotiate payments the way that any other health company can. Fees will be determined on the basis of a person’s income. Private companies may continue to operate, and people may choose them as desired.

Immigration:

Anyone who wishes to become an American and who will adopt our values of responsibility and freedom is welcome.

Social Security:

Social Security taxes will be assessed on all income, not capped as they currently are.

Technology:

One valid use of public funds is to promote the development of new technologies. This applies particularly to energy and to space. We must have active programs of research, development, and exploration. Corporations, schools, and private individuals may also do their own work, since competition is healthy in this field.

Welfare:

The goal of welfare must be to make the recipient self sufficent. Programs that create dependency will be eliminated. We must be willing to help, but we must also require growth on the part of those who are helped.

That’s the list, more or less. I’ll gladly consider any other items that my readers wish to offer. Of course, one elected official alone won’t be able to accomplish all of this, but much can be done even so. A president, for example, could get cooperation from Democrats for some of this and Republicans for other parts. A president could speak to the people regularly, creating a lot of pressure on Congress. So can anyone else elected on this platform.

With all of this in mind, if nominated, I will run. If elected, I will serve. I will continue to write in any case. Who’s with me?

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

The events of this year across the Arab world have been thrilling to those of us who love liberty. First Tunisia, then Egypt. Bahrain is teetering. Algeria and Saudi Arabia are rumbling. But the country de jour is Libya. Gaddafi insists that he won’t go quietly, although I predict that he’ll sneak out like the snivelling cur that he is. Or at least he’ll try.

That being said, there are a few points that we at a distance ought to note:

1. Gaddafi is a parasite on his country, but he’d fit right in on American television. He belongs to a type that includes such illustrious figures as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez–fun from a distance, but terrible bores when dealing with them as leaders. According to a news report, when he visited Italy, he gave a speech in which he claimed that the word “democracy” comes from the Arabic word for chair, and thus, the world will only be democratic when everyone sits down.

Yup, that man needs his own talk show.

2. The thugs that have been hired to staff the Libyan army are referred to as elite units in American news reports. This is damnably wrong. There is nothing elite about strafing unarmed protestors. The hired goons may be trained in the arts of criminality, but let’s call them by their right names. Of course, speaking correctly about them often requires words that cannot be spoken on our airwaves, but this may be a time to allow an exemption to the rules.

3. But the main point here is that there’s little that we can do, beyond cheering on the Libyan people and giving them our friendship once they win. The Security Council of the United Nations condemned Gaddafi’s actions yesterday (22 February 2011), but did not enact a no-fly zone over Libya to keep his airforce from attacking the protestors.

Of course, if the United Nations were anything other than a stage for tinhorn dictators to thunder and whine, we’d likely have to overthrow it. Intervention is expensive and difficult, requiring a level of dedication that we usually lack, and many times it achieves little, especially since getting other permanent members of the Council to agree with us takes far too long. The Libyans are finally doing their human duty, and I hope that this wave will spread across the globe. As with any great wave, we can’t stop it and we can’t shape it. All we can do is work with the world as it is after the flow subsides.

Subcontinental Subversion

Today (8 November 2010), President Obama proposed that India get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.  Part of me wants to get worked up about this, but I can’t.

The current permanent members are the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and Russia.  Does anyone else see the problem here?  Each one of the five have veto power over substantive resolutions.  Is there any subject of significance on which all five of those countries can agree?

The United Nations is divided into two parts, one a clumsy and bureaucratic humanitarian aid agency and the other a political talk shop.  Occasionally, the aid part of the operation does some good, but on the whole, the United Nations reminds me of the label, GNDN, that was to be found on some of the pipes in the Enterprise sets from the original Star Trek series.  The joke among the set designers was that the letters meant, “Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing.”  Of course, the United Nations goes many places, but the effect is the same, minus a good deal of waste.

That being the case, give India a seat.  I doubt that the proposal could get past the objections of China, but imagine that it does.  Pakistan will then want a seat of its own.  Then Iran will want one.  Then Brazil.  And on and on and on.  The result of this will be that nothing will ever get agreed, and the world can dispose of this waste of time and resources.