Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alternative Political Philosophies


WHAT IS YOUR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY?

Is there a political platform you know of that would be the right one? What system would really work best? Surely there must be a better program or blueprint for a political system than any of those that have been tried.

Give your political platform in the "comment" section below. (click "comments")

Or you can give a link to a website which has your political platform, or one you want to promote.


Here is the Best Political Platform so far proposed by anyone (the format will be improved later):


The following are the best* positions on most of the major political issues.


I. Criminal Justice

1. Sterilize convicted felons, as there is ample evidence of a genetic component to criminal behavior (as well as to most other behavior patterns).

2. Replace the current practice of incarcerating criminal convicts with a system of implanting computerized tracking devices/monitors onto the bodies of convicts which will record their movements and thus make it impossible for them to commit further crimes without being detected, because the system will provide a record of all their movements since the implantation, like a roadmap, showing their presence at the crime scene at the time when the crime took place.

Possibly have the tracking devices/monitors removed when the convict reaches the age of 40 (35?) or has worn it for a prescribed number of years or is judged to no longer be a threat.

3. Let the death penalty be used for those convicted violent felons who demonstrate by their repeated violent criminal behavior that the above tracking/monitoring system is not effective in deterring them from committing further violent felony crimes.

4. Let mentally retarded offenders be treated the same as other offenders.

Let it not be a social obligation to provide expensive "rehabilitation" programs and institutionalization of offenders or to hire expensive caretakers and specialists and assume responsibility for the health care costs of the offenders.

Rather, let it be society's obligation to do whatever is necessary to prevent further criminal behavior by offenders and to do this at minimum cost, so there is minimum burden on taxpayers and society can reserve its resources for improving the lives of all, rather than wasting it providing expensive warehousing for a few.

5. Have all arrests and criminal convictions and detentions by police, including detentions of suspected terrorists, be subject to grand jury review. Let all claims of police brutality be investigated by a grand jury, whether or not criminal charges are filed against the police.

6. Let the primary guiding principle for justice be prevention of crime at the lowest possible cost, not abstract notions about "retribution" or "paying one's debt to society" or making the "punishment fit the crime" and so on.

Where practical, let criminals pay restitution to their victims, though this is probably not possible in most cases. Also, where detention is necessary rather than "house arrest" with monitoring, have the prisoners do productive labor to help defray the cost of their detention, but being cautious to ensure that the work is necessary to produce some social benefit and is not a form of makework.

7. Let the jury system be reformed so that jurors are enabled to make more rational deliberation and not be dominated by the lawyers and judges.

Let jurors be entrusted with more information and be less restricted in what they may know about the facts of a case they are hearing.

Give the defendant in a criminal case the option of having the court proceeding done without the jury present, and instead let the jury convene after the court sessions are completed and hear the case by means of audio recordings done at the trial and by means of the trial transcript. Thus, allow the option of trial without the jury having visual contact of the defendant and witnesses, so that their deliberation will be based on an assessment of the facts of the case and not on their visual impressions of the defendant and witnesses.

Perhaps even restrict jury deliberation to the reading of the transcript, without audio recordings of the testimony, so that jurors will not be influenced by the sound of the voices of the witnesses, but only by the facts of the case, thus eliminating the element of melodrama and emotion and prejudice and instinctive reactions to the personalities of the witnesses.


II. Poverty

1. Begin research on producing a new kind of food which will contain in it an ingredient which will sterilize the one who eats it. Then mass-produce this food and make it available to anyone who wants it. Possibly distribute it worldwide, or at least to third-world countries, perhaps having other developed countries share in the cost of producing and distributing the food.

Have this food contain enough nutrients to be able to provide a well-balanced diet, so that one could survive and be healthy consuming this food without consuming anything else. Let its container be appropriately labeled so the one eating it knows that it contains the sterilizing ingredient.

2. Abolish all current welfare programs, or all programs intended to benefit a select victim group, such as "the poor" (which really means certain poor who succeed in getting themselves into the program, but not all poor), to the exclusion of others.

Instead provide opportunities extended to all. Have no programs based on pity toward select victim groups, and thus do away with the need to pay billions of dollars annually to the administrators, bureaucrats and social workers who select which victims are to receive the public pity and which ones are to be excluded from the programs.

Although all welfare programs based on pity toward select victim groups should ideally be abolished, nevertheless as long as any such programs continue to exist, e.g., food stamps, subsidized housing, etc., impose the requirement that recipients of such welfare be sterilized as a condition for remaining in the program and receiving the benefits beyond a designated time allowance.

3. Possibly expand the existing school lunch program and headstart program to include all children rather than being targeted only toward select poor communities to the exclusion of others.

Have the school lunch program changed so that only healthy foods are provided. Reduce or eliminate meat, and restrict the food mostly to raw fruits and vegetables. Eliminate high fat foods and most processed foods.

4. Abolish minimum wage laws, which do not benefit all poor people but only a select victim group at the expense of everyone else, even at the expense of other poor people who are not wage-earners or who are a part of the underground economy.

Let everyone be paid according to the value of their work or their production, not according to pity for them or their need for the money, which debases a job into a form of welfare in disguise.

Maximize the production of wealth by eliminating pity or charity as an entitlement and instead require that all income be earned, so no one gains income without earning it, i.e., producing equal value, and so the maximum amount of efficient work and production will take place.

5. As a practical matter permit private charities (organizations which give free benefits to select "needy" victims who succeed in persuading the providers that they are special), but let there be no government support to charity in any form. Abolish any kind of tax credit or deduction for charitable contributions or any other form of subsidy to charity.

Possibly support philanthropic activities which provide benefits to all of society and do not target their efforts toward select victims.

6. Let wealth be redistributed from the rich to the poor by means which create benefits available to all, including education opportunities and social infrastructure, which everyone can take advantage of and which ought to be sufficient for the most "needy" as a means to lift themselves up.


III. Social Security

1. Abolish Social Security in its present form. Possibly replace it with a system of private individual accounts, which would not necessarily mean investing the funds in the stock market.

Possibly repay some funds to those who have paid Social Security taxes, especially those approaching retirement. But do not try to fully compensate those who paid into the program, because realistically these payments were in effect taxes, similar to income tax, which were actually intended to fund government programs, despite the pretense that they were targeted to retirement benefits to the payers.

So finally admit the deception and repay some of it according to a realistic formula, and admit that the system has been largely a pyramid scheme to raise funds for government programs, and pledge to never again impose such a scheme onto the citizenry.

2. Let there be no taxpayer bailout or other entitlement for senior citizens who failed to save enough for retirement during their working years and who should suffer the consequences of this as an example to the younger generation.

Let senior citizens, most of whom are capable of working and supporting themselves, apply for employment to serve on a grand jury (see section XV of this platform), or let them earn their way performing other functions using the knowledge they have accumulated over so many years and which should not go to waste.

Let them live off their savings/investments, which they are entitled to because they earned it, but be done with the current prevalent notion that the old are entitled to leech off the younger generation or the taxpayers just because they are old.

Rather, transfer these resources to the very young, to children, who truly cannot earn their own way and are dependant upon adults and who are being robbed by today's selfish senior citizen lobby which doesn't care about the country's future but only about their own current instant gratification and is plundering scarce resources away from the younger generation and into paying their own extravagant six-digit medical bills.

3. Abolish Medicare.


IV. Welfare to the Rich

1. Abolish all corporate welfare.

End all forms of subsidies to companies to promote their products abroad or to promote exports in any manner or to pay their relocation costs.

Have all loans to other countries or loan guarantees or bailouts, including IMF schemes, be subject to grand jury review to insure that the U.S. taxpayers will realize a profit from the transaction, and let the grand jury nullify any such transaction which it finds not to be profitable to U.S. taxpayers. Let the burden be upon the proponents of such a transaction to prove that it will be profitable to taxpayers.

Abolish all taxpayer subsidies to professional sports teams, including subsidies for construction of sports stadiums. Let pro sports teams and all businesses be required to compete in the marketplace without special favor from the taxpayers.

2. If there is to be an income tax, let all income be subject to this tax without respect to the source of the income. Let capital gains and dividend income be subject to the same tax rates as all other income, and let inheritance income be subject to the same tax rates.

Let no category of income be exempt from the income tax. If need be, abolish the income tax entirely, but do not impose it on certain kinds of income while exempting others.


V. Taxes

1. Let fiscal policy be based on the principle that spending programs and revenues must be in balance, and there is never a justification to increase or decrease taxes unless it is to bring revenues to such a level as to match the spending which has been decided upon.

Let there be an end to all notions of "stimulating the economy" or of giving the economy a "shot in the arm" or a "jump-start", all of which are code phrases for giving an unearned benefit to certain select interest groups at the expense of others, and instead follow the fundamental principle that the revenues must be made to match the spending level in a given fiscal year.

Or let fiscal policy actually aim to produce a modest budgetary surplus each year, and let these surpluses accumulate to a certain level over time and be available for emergency purposes.

Let borrowing be made the exception. Abandon the false notion that there must be government deficits in order to "stimulate the economy" and "create jobs", all of which is only code language for welfare in disguise to certain special interests at someone else's expense.

Rather let the government spend what it must on its own necessary programs only, and let it raise revenue sufficient to pay for these programs, and then let the rest of the economy be determined by whatever buying and selling goes on in the marketplace, without arbitrary judgments that there needs to be more "growth" or more "consumer demand" or that there is "stagnation" or "sluggishness" or "overheating" and other perceived misbehavior by the players in the marketplace.

Stop making these unnecessary and unproven judgments and leave the marketplace alone to go wherever the buyers and sellers choose to take it.

2. Let the basic premise of tax assessment be the following: Those who rely more on government services shall pay higher taxes, those who rely less on government shall pay less.

Though it may be difficult, let it be calculated, and confirmed by grand jury review, what are the relative reliances on the government by different categories of taxpayers, such as income categories, and let individuals and businesses be taxed in proportion to their dependency upon the government.

Let the rich pay higher taxes based upon their calculated higher reliance upon the government, upon government services, upon government protection of their property and enforcement of their contracts, also upon the degree to which they are indebted to the government for the attainment of their wealth.

Let this be the basis for higher taxation of the rich, if it is not already, and calculate the appropriate tax burden according to this premise, and let it not be based upon abstract notions of their "moral obligation" to make a greater sacrifice and so on.

3. Possibly replace the income tax with a national sales tax, but if income tax is retained, let all income categories be taxed the same, without any exceptions for certain privileged categories such as capital gains income and inheritance income.

4. Let there be a graduated property (land) tax (by which is meant that a higher total value of property is taxed at a higher rate), which will create a disincentive to ever-increasing concentration of land ownership into the hands of fewer owners.

For purposes of taxing land, let the value of a property be based upon its real market value rather than the determination of a "tax assessor". In order to insure that property taxes are assessed correctly and not arbitrarily, and that the real market value is the basis for assessment, let the following system of valuation be adopted:

require that all land be put officially "up for sale" at all times;

let offers or bids for any property be registered and be accompanied by a nonrefundable deposit (nonrefundable if the owner elects to sell to the bidder, but refundable if the offer is rejected by the owner and then withdrawn by the bidder);

let the official value of the property be based upon the amount offered for it by the bidders, and let the owner make the choice whether to pay a higher tax or sell the property;

let it be required that there be more than one offer or bid for a property (perhaps 3 or 4 offers) before the owner is required to make the choice whether to sell or accede to the higher valuation of the property and thus pay the higher tax.

5. Let there be a tax on corporate stock sales, thus raising some revenue for the government while having virtually no downside as with most other taxes, because it will create a disincentive to speculators who repeatedly buy and sell but will not discourage those investors who buy stock and hold on to it for a long period. Also, reform the stock market so that dividends are made the primary source of profit for stock investors and not speculation on rising and falling stock prices.

6. Let there be a voluntary contract insurance tax on all contracts which involve a liability above a designated base figure, such as $5,000 (or $10,000, or $20,000). Let there be a tax or fee on any such contract and make this fee proportional to the amount stated in the contract, such as .5% of the amount, and let this be paid in order to make the contract legally binding. Without payment of this fee, let the contract be legally unenforceable beyond the designated base figure ($5,000, or $10,000, or $20,000). (This tax will in effect be a user fee paid by one or both parties to the contract.)

7. Charge fees for the use of some of the roads, freeways, and center city areas, where the population or traffic is unusually dense. Follow the example of the city of London, which issues permits to drivers who use the roads in the central downtown area. Likewise issue permits for use of freeways during the busier periods of the day.

Let there be other user fees for raising revenue to the government. And let some existing user fees be increased, if the benefit to the user is greater than the amount of the present fees, or if the benefit imposes some cost onto society which is greater than the fee being paid. E.g., possibly increase the fees paid by users of national or state parks who drive vehicles into the park or who fly in sightseeing planes over the park.


VI. The Environment

1. Strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency (also state environmental agencies) and have all its actions be subject to grand jury review to insure that they are achieving their intended goal of making the environment cleaner and are not violating the legitimate rights of property owners, also to insure the proper balance between local and federal jurisdiction, i.e., that the EPA does not unduly impose its authority over against the local agency.

2. Increase the gasoline tax to give an incentive to motorists to drive less or to seek less polluting forms of transportation, and also to give manufacturers an incentive to strive to ever higher levels of fuel efficiency.

Decrease reliance on fuel efficiency standards, which accomplish nothing which cannot be achieved more efficiently through higher gasoline taxes and which are arbitrary and offer no incentive to manufacturers to strive for higher fuel efficiency than that required in the mandated standards.

3. Construct bicycle roads in major metropolitan areas, at taxpayer expense, which are separate from motor traffic and are made attractive to bicyclists, as an incentive to motorists to substitute bicycle travel for some of their motor vehicle driving.

4. In one fashion or another, make polluters pay a sufficiently high price for their pollution to offset the damage they inflict.

Since some level of pollution is inevitable, let the polluters decide how much price they are willing to pay, and set the price/penalty high enough so that the gain in revenue to the public treasury is enough to compensate the rest of society for the inconvenience of each increment of damage caused by each polluter.

Let there be an ever higher price for ever higher levels of pollution, thus giving to polluters a constant incentive to reduce their pollution as much as possible, whereas arbitrary cutoff levels or emission standards give them an incentive only to meet that standard and not to strive to do even better.

Let the goal be to have polluters keep trying to reduce their emissions and never be satisfied with any level of pollution.

5. Let there be total recycling of all waste matter. Let there be recycling centers where workers (wearing protective clothing) sift through all the waste which cannot be separated by machine and separate out all the items into their different categories. If need be, have prisoners do this work in order to help pay the cost of their detention. Do everything possible to reprocess the material for new production.

6. Speed up the process of replacing telephone poles with underground cables. Set a time limit, such as five years, for the complete elimination of all telephone poles.


VII. Agriculture

1. Abolish all subsidies of any kind to agriculture, including price supports and government loans and protective trade barriers, all of which turn farmers into parasites who leech off consumers and taxpayers.

Stop promoting parasitic subsidies, price supports, protective tariffs, bailouts, and other welfare to farmers in the name of "preserving the family farm", which is an insult to true family farms which earn their own way honestly by serving consumers in the competitive marketplace.

Stop protection of sugar and peanut farmers (and other special interests), which causes artificially high prices to consumers and to those companies which require these ingredients in their production process.

2. Fund research into new farm technologies, such as genetic altering of crops, and have all such research and all such technologies be subject to grand jury investigation to insure that consumers are served.

Promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming technology and penalize hazardous practices such as overuse of dangerous pesticides.

3. Let the free market reign in agriculture, but also have all the food production process be subject to grand jury review, from the farming to the processing to the distributing, to insure a safe reliable food supply to consumers, which is the proper ultimate goal of farming.

Let the relevant government agencies, such as the FDA and the DA, play their appropriate roles, but have grand jury oversight also in order to insure that these agencies are not corrupted by special interests within the industries being regulated.

Let the Department of Agriculture be reduced to a research and information agency for farmers rather than a distributor to them of parasitic subsidies and loans, and possibly also give it some regulatory function in matters such as pesticide control.


VIII. Free Trade

1. Reduce all tariffs to zero unconditionally. Invite other countries to do the same.

Make imports subject to the same product standards for quality and safety which are imposed onto domestic products.

Reduce reliance on "trade agreements" and instead adopt free trade unilaterally. Do not insist that other countries "open their markets" to U.S. goods, and do not link trade to superfluous issues such as human rights or other domestic problems internal to those countries.

2. Pressure other countries, as needed, to respect copyrights and patents, because violation of copyrights/patents harms U.S. consumers indirectly, by discouraging producers who do creative work which otherwise wouldn't be done. Possibly threaten trade sanctions in extreme cases to bring a country into compliance with copyright and patent protections.

But also re-evaluate the benefits of patents/copyrights, recognizing that in some cases these do more harm than good through the monopoly power they grant to the recognized owners of the patents/copyrights, and also recognizing that intellectual property rights are becoming more and more difficult to enforce in the real world.

3. Abolish anti-dumping laws.

4. Abolish requirements upon other countries to use U.S. materials in their production as a condition to opening the U.S. market to the finished products. Open the U.S. market to all foreign imports, no matter where or how the production took place or where the materials were derived.

Impose no restrictions on foreign imports other than the same content, quality, and safety standards required of domestic products, and impose no tariffs or taxes on them other than the same taxes, such as sales taxes, paid on domestic products.

5. Trust other countries to do what is in their own interest with respect to environmental standards and labor standards and other internal domestic issues pertaining to production. Do not preach to them or presume to know better than they what is good for them. Do not pretend we are doing them a favor by closing our market to them because of some practice in their country which we claim is wrong.

Tell uncompetitive workers and companies in this country to stop seeking excuses why they shouldn't have to compete against foreign producers. Let them stop the whining and learn to compete in the marketplace.

6. Let the guiding principle be that the function of business is to serve consumers, not provide jobs for the uncompetitive; and that the function of trade policy is to make businesses serve consumers, not protect the uncompetitive or preserve their lifestyles at the expense of consumers.


IX. Immigration

1. End all welfare programs, social security, rent subsidies, and other parasitic free services provided at taxpayer expense, in order to discourage those immigrants which are the least desirable, i.e., the ones who come with the intention of taking advantage of these services and parasite programs.

Abolish all free medical services, to citizens or non-citizens, including free Emergency Room services at hospitals, and stop requiring hospitals to accept patients who cannot pay. At most, require the hospitals to provide a cot for the patient to lie on rather than "throwing him out onto the street". Stop requiring hospitals to serve as dumping grounds for human garbage.

Once the undesirable immigrants are screened out, allow the remaining migrants to come, or at least those coming in order to work, because they are a benefit rather than a problem to the U.S.

2. Reform the process of admitting immigrants legally. Abolish the current "waiting in line" requirement to be admitted, and instead allow new arrivals into the country immediately provided they meet the requirements.

Impose requirements of health, education level, ability to speak English, non-criminal background, etc., and possibly even make the requirements more strict for new citizens. But when applicants meet these requirements, let them be admitted and become citizens without further delay, without the need to "wait in line" so many years, because this only motivates them to disregard the legal process and to seek entry illegally.

Require payment of a fee by an immigrant to become a citizen or a legal resident or guest worker. Make this fee pay all the processing costs and somewhat more, in order to insure that there is no net cost imposed onto taxpayers.

Allow migrant workers into the country, because these are good for the U.S. economy. Either let them become citizens if they meet the requirements, or have a guest worker program which allows them to come and go legally and not "wait in line" as long as those applying for citizenship.

Whether the above reforms take place or not, at least allow immigration of any high-skilled workers desired by U.S. industry, even if they are used to replace higher-paid U.S. workers. Let competition and the free market and merit decide who gets hired, and thus let U.S. consumers benefit from the resulting cost efficiencies. Let service to U.S. consumers be the guiding principle rather than pity toward the uncompetitive U.S. workers who are replaced. Let foreign immigrants serve the role of making the U.S. economy as competitive and efficient as it can be, and let it be the obligation of native-born American workers/producers to be subject fully to this competition rather than being protected by parasitic birthright entitlements of any kind.


X. Worker Protection / Employer-Employee Relations

1. Let wage-earners assume responsibility for their own protection and health.

Do away with requirements that employers take responsibility for protection and health and safety of workers, except to provide them with adequate information about workplace hazards and risks to their health. Let workers make their own decisions about how much risk to assume, and let them pay the cost of installing safety equipment of their choosing.

Let workers join any insurance program of their choosing, but eliminate state-sponsored mandatory programs, such as unemployment insurance or workman's compensation, which impose undue burdens onto taxpayers and employers and consumers who must pay the extravagantly high costs of these programs.

Eliminate any state subsidy to workers' benefits, such as to health insurance or pension programs. Eliminate any tax breaks or deductions or write-offs to companies that provide these programs and require the employers or the workers to assume the full cost and risk rather than passing this off to the taxpayers. Let there be no taxpayer bailouts of any kind to any company or its employees for any reason.

Let the state have no involvement with pension programs other than to enforce the terms of any contract entered into by the employer and employees.

Let workers take full responsibility for their welfare and pay the cost out of their paychecks, so that the decision-making rests entirely in their hands rather than that of their employers or the taxpayers, who are less competent to make the decisions.

Phase out all pension/retirement programs for public employees and instead pay employees their total value in salaries, and let the employees take responsibility to arrange for their individual retirement.

2. Give employers the right to terminate any employee for any reason, provided there is no breach of contract. Let any dispute in a termination case be settled in court on the basis of whether the employer violated an agreed contract with the terminated employee, but not any other basis.

Let employers terminate an employee for engaging in unionizing activity, if they wish not to have such activity engaged in. Let the workers who want to unionize seek employment where such activity is allowed by the employer, and let them seek terms in their contract to allow this, so they may later seek enforcement of these terms in court, if a dispute takes place.


XI. Health Care

1. Reduce the role of government in health care to some basic providing of inexpensive preventive programs, such as public health programs, sanitation, immunization of children, etc., and also to inexpensive emergency treatment to accident victims.

2. Abolish Medicare and all other programs which have taxpayers pay outrageously high medical costs for extravagant expensive procedures and drugs. Let no one be entitled to charge taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for their medical procedures, many of which are unnecessary. Put a stop to these out-of-control costs imposed onto taxpayers.

E.g., stop paying the high cost of caring for comatose patients who are connected to hi-tech medical machines; stop paying for expensive transplant surgeries; stop paying for expensive treatment and intensive care of premature infants and crackbabies; and stop paying the high cost of warehousing the mentally deranged in institutions where expensive therapists and specialists and nursing care must be provided at exorbitant cost to taxpayers.

Let all these and other costly treatments be paid for privately, or let the patients forego the treatments. Let society not be obligated to pay these six-digit costs, despite the emotional demands made by the patients or their families or their providers.

3. Stop all subsidies of any form to the health insurance industry, such as tax credits or deductions for such insurance. Let all such insurance be paid entirely by the policy-holders, if they want such coverage.

Stop regulating the insurance industry by imposing mandates upon it which only drive up the cost of premiums. Rescind all such mandates and allow the companies and their customers to establish whatever terms they freely choose. Only enforce the terms of the insurance contract entered into by the company and the buyer of the policy.

4. Stop requiring hospitals to accept patients who cannot pay.

Instead, if something is needed for the poor, expand the "community health clinic" program and restrict it to inexpensive procedures only, such as basic emergency treatments. Have these clinics be subject to periodic grand jury review to insure they conform to standards of quality and cost control and do not become a costly burden on taxpayers.

If the clinics become the object of expensive malpractice lawsuits, then either close them entirely and provide no free medical services whatever to the poor, or adopt a disclaimer policy which exempts them entirely from malpractice suits, and place warning signs at the entrance advising anyone who enters that they are forfeiting any right to sue the clinic no matter what happens. And require the patients to sign a waiver.

Let the guiding principle be: Keep the cost down, whatever it takes.

Repudiate the cliché that the poor are entitled to the very best and latest hi-tech medical treatments that exist, no matter what the cost, or that they are entitled to the same level of medical services that the rich can afford. Tell them they are entitled to no such thing and that no national health care system in any country gives its citizens any such entitlement and anyone who promises this to them is a demagogue and a fraud.

5. Encourage the chronically-ill to be sterilized, as it has been determined that much illness is caused partly by a genetic component, and sterilizing those with a genetically-caused condition will prevent them from passing this trait on to future generations. Though this is politically incorrect and offensive to some who are hypersensitive, do it anyway because it is the right thing to do if we want to create a future society which is healthier, and a future healthier society is more important than political correctness.

6. Stop caving in to the popular clamor to pay people's costly medical bills for them, which gives some instant gratification but does little to make people healthier in the long run, and produces a miniscule benefit in comparison to the exorbitant cost that is paid.

Have grand jury investigations into the high cost of "health care" and into the claimed benefits of the costly treatments and drugs being demanded by patients. Have providers and scientists and researchers appear and present their evidence on the benefits of these procedures and drugs and have them show whether patients are cured or are only kept alive for an extra year or two.

Determine how many years, or weeks or days, of extended healthy life are produced, on average, for every thousand dollars spent on this or that procedure, and make them factor in all the harm done by the medical industry, all the mistakes, all the unnecessary procedures, all the diseases contracted by patients in hospitals, all the drug overdoses and misuses, and all cases where a treatment does no good at all or actually ends up being harmful and even killing the patient rather than making the patient better off.

Have them present all the facts and figures and evidence to prove that society's net benefit from this is worth the trillion or so dollars per year paid in health care costs, and have them explain why we should be eager to pay even much more to extend this "coverage" fully to everyone at taxpayers' expense.

Stop talking about "covering" more people and instead put the priority on reducing the cost to taxpayers, no matter what it takes, and do the best at providing some modest preventive health care services to people within the reduced budgets. Set the immediate goal of cutting the current tax-paid health care programs at least by half, and long-term by much more.


XII. Education

1. Make schools and teachers accountable through a rigorous testing system. Let teachers or schools be financially rewarded or penalized according to the performance of their respective students on standardized tests.

Let these tests be frequent -- let every student take at least two or three dozen standardized tests per year. To ensure that the tests are truly objective and that there is no cultural or other bias, let there be a procedure for scrutinizing the tests, in which parents or anyone who objects to a test question may present their complaint to a test review panel.

2. Abolish the current "special education" programs, in which certain students are selected out to receive more resources than others because of a perceived greater need.

Instead adopt the philosophy that all students are equally special, none more special than others, and that an equal amount of dollars is to be spent on each student.

Let individual schools or school districts deal with any special needs which might come to their attention and let them be required to meet all the needs as best they can within the budget limits, without requiring them to expend more resources on any designated category of students.

Cease from promulgating the fantasy that every child, no matter how retarded, can be given a normal education, with none "left behind", and admit that there are a few who probably will not "succeed", and spend the same amount on them as on all the others and do the best possible within that budget limit.

Let the education policy be based on a recognition of harsh reality, not on fantasy and wishful thinking or on guilt tripping and obsession with perceived victim groups and symbolic feel-goodism.

3. Let the goal be high performance at the least cost, whatever it takes, and subject everyone -- students, teachers, administrators, and parents -- to whatever discipline is necessary to achieve this goal.


XIII. Secrecy

1. Let there be limits placed on secrecy in government. Place a time limit, perhaps 2 or 3 years, on any government secret, after which period any secret, including military, will be declassified.

Let all planning be based on this premise of a time limit on secrecy, so that no policy or action is taken which is dependent upon long-term secrecy.

2. Let there be a special category of grand jury which is empowered to subpoena government officials or employees who have access to secret information, and have them be required to provide this information to the grand jury.

If need be, let there be special arrangements for these particular grand jury members to be sequestered as necessary so they are unable to divulge the secret information. But also let the grand jury choose officially to expose the information if they deem it in the national interest for the information to be made public.

3. Expand wire-tapping and surveillance capability for law enforcement agencies at all levels (state and local, not just federal). Have everyone be subject to wire-tapping and surveillance as a means to prevent crime and terrorism and threats to public safety.

Have all government officials, including elected officials, be subject to having their phones and other communications monitored, in order to deter them from criminal activities or corruption or abuse of their office. This includes all officials, up to the highest levels including Governors and the President and all his cabinet members, and also the directors of the Federal Reserve system and directors of corporations. Let no one be exempt from being secretly monitored, no matter how high their office or status.


XIV. Animal Protection

1. Strengthen laws to protect livestock animals. Prohibit the confinement of livestock animals to small spaces, and prohibit cruel practices and unnecessary pain to be inflicted onto animals when they are slaughtered, and require the most humane methods be used.

2. Prohibit cruel practices from being inflicted onto circus and rodeo animals, such as placing a tight strap around a rodeo animal carrying a rider and pressing against its genitals to cause pain and make it leap more violently.

3. Require all animal-holding facilities, including research facilities, livestock enclosures, and circus animal enclosures, to be open to public view, to anyone who wishes to observe the condition and treatment of the animals.

4. Prohibit research performed on primate animals which is not also performed on at least one human subject. If a research procedure is too cruel to be performed on a human subject, then let it be judged also too cruel to be done to any primate animal, or possibly even to any mammal, because the basic physiology of the pain is substantially the same to humans as it is to other mammals.

Since the purpose of animal research is almost always to produce a benefit to humans, usually a medical benefit, then require that at least one human subject also be used, because reason dictates that any findings relevant to medical purposes for humans are more valid if the subject used in the experiment is human.


XV. Grand Juries

1. Expand the grand jury system, both state and federal, to give grand juries the power to review and investigate all officials and all departments of government.

Require all elected and high appointed officials to appear before a grand jury at regular intervals to be questioned about their performance in office. Let this include the President and every Cabinet member (also state governors and their high appointees), every elected legislator, every member of the Federal Reserve Board, and every CEO of a major corporation.

2. Pay full-time members of grand juries whatever minimum compensation is necessary to recruit enough of them to serve, and make service on grand juries a career option offered to citizens.

3. Have grand juries review all legislation and all actions by the executive branch, and give them power, in some cases, to revoke or nullify an act of the legislature or the executive branch, or at least issue an order of postponement of the act, if the jury finds the act to be contrary to the people's interest and only a political payoff to special interest lobbyists.

Let it be required that any legislative act must be read completely by a grand jury before being voted on, so that all items in the measure may be exposed and nothing may be sneaked into a measure unawares at the last minute before passage.

Let there be the safeguard that the action of one grand jury might be cancelled out by an offsetting action of a different grand jury, so that there must be a certain level of unity among the grand juries in order for a grand jury finding or action to be official.

4. Let all criminal convictions be subject to grand jury review, and let the grand jury order a retrial in special cases. Let grand juries review past death penalty cases and make a determination if any of those executed were innocent.

Have police departments be subject to periodic review by a grand jury to determine if arrestees have been abused. Have all arrests and detentions be subject to grand jury review.

Have all gun control laws put to grand jury review to determine which of them are truly effective in reducing crime or keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and which ones are only symbolic and of no practical benefit to society.

Have grand jury review of all claims about global warming, to determine if global warming is really happening and if it is caused by human behavior and if it poses a potential threat to humans.

Have grand jury review of all conspiracy theories and alleged coverups, including claims about UFO encounters.

Have grand jury review of radio and TV commercials which make claims of miraculous or seeming miraculous benefits to be produced by the advertised products.

Have all whistle-blower complaints be investigated by grand juries, and all claims of corruption or scandal or criminal behavior by anyone in the government or in the corporate hierarchy.

5. Have all grants, especially grants for research, be subject to grand jury review before they can be approved, and require them to undergo continued review at periodic intervals as a condition to continue receiving taxpayer funds.

Let the federal budget (and state budgets too) be reviewed in detail by a grand jury. Let the budget for each year be reviewed by several grand juries, so that each item, one by one, is scrutinized by a grand jury, and let there be a procedure whereby under certain conditions an item may be postponed or revoked by grand jury action.

6. Let all U.S. military actions abroad and U.S. foreign policy be subject to grand jury review. Give the grand jury power to subpoena any official from the Executive Branch or from the Pentagon or any member of the armed forces in order to investigate any military actions undertaken by the U.S. Issue secrecy clearances to selected grand jury members, so they can receive classified information and the government is prevented from withholding the information for the purpose of deceiving the public under the pretext of national security.

Let any foreigner who has a complaint against the U.S. receive a hearing before a grand jury and have a finding issued concerning the complaint.

6. And generally give wide fact-finding power to grand juries to investigate all issues of vital interest to the public and to investigate everyone in society who holds power, and let them have subpoena power, when needed, to compel witnesses to appear, so the citizenry may have adequate information and exercise better control over those in power.


XVI. Miscellaneous Issues

ABORTION: Let the pregnant woman have the final choice, but let this be a state rather than a federal issue.

WAR ON DRUGS: Perhaps do some experimenting with legalization. Do not provide rehabilitation programs at taxpayer expense, unless perhaps the cost is paid for entirely out of higher taxes on the sale of the addictive substances.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: Let there be a new inspection regime by which any country may send its team of inspectors into any other country to search for weapons of mass destruction. Let all countries, including the United States and its allies, be subject to this inspection regime. Let the inspectors be allowed to appear, without warning, anywhere in the country without exception and be granted immediate access to the suspected site.

WAR POWER: Let the decision to initiate war be placed in the hands of more than one person such as the President. Let the President have power to initiate military action only in emergency cases when there is not ample time for other decision-makers to be consulted. Let the President's role be to conduct a military campaign which has been decided upon, but not to initiate hostilities entirely at his own discretion. Take away from the President the power to initiate massive death and destruction on a whim or out of mental derangement by forcing him to share this power with other decision-makers, similarly as he shares legislative power with the Congress.

RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE: Let public space be leased or rented to any private organizations that want to use the space for any purpose that is not illegal. If private parties or individuals want to have public religous displays, e.g., or any other public displays, let them pay an appropriate fee for use of the public space and be free to erect whatever displays they wish, such as crosses or nativity scenes or other cultural symbols they choose. If there is competition for certain desired public spaces, let those seeking the space offer bids and let the highest bidder have access to the space in question. Give no preference to any group, but let the selection of who gains access be determined totally by the bidding process and payment of fees for use of the public space.


If you think the above is not really the best political platform or you know of a better one, post your comment.


Comments from Kane:
wesleypowell@qmail.com

I really hate standardized tests, they focus too much on testing and not enough on teaching. But if you must have them in your platform, i suggest randomizing them. Principals and teachers would have a difficult time rigging the tests or any other kind of negative use of the testing process. They would prioritize teaching, since they couldn't prepare the students for a comprehensive test, which shouldn't be prepared for anyway, it's comprehensive, it should show what they have learned, not what they were prepared for.

-Kane

Response to Kane:

My vision of making the tests immune to cheating is to have there be thousands of questions (maybe 100,000 or so) to choose from for each test. These questions would be randomly distributed among the tests in a fashion such that no teacher would know ahead of time which of the 100,000 questions would be on the test s/he is to administer. The only way to "teach to the test" would be to study all 100,000 questions. And all the questions could be posted on the Internet. Maybe this is similar to your suggestion of randomizing the tests.

However it's done, the basic rule has to be that the system is arranged so that it is impossible for any cheating to take place.

>>I really hate standardized tests, they focus too much on testing and not enough on teaching.<<

But "teaching" means basically to prepare the students to do well on the tests. What does it mean if not this?

Another comment from Kane:

I have a question about the 'criminal justice' part of your platform. Why not have forced manual labor? Instead of the 'tracking device', just have the prisoners sent to special camps (not trying to be ironic) where they work hard physical labor for a certain amount of time. There are plenty of jobs that can be done using a workforce like this. Just a thought though.

-Kane

Response:

Yes, where the "house arrest" approach is not convenient and the convicts must be confined, forced manual labor makes sense. (I added some wording to the "criminal justice" section to include this point.) Actually, there is a certain amount of that already. I would not want it to become makework, however. It has to be real work that would produce social benefit. Burning calories for the sake of burning calories is wasteful.

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