Programs and Policies
The programs outlined here are intended as much as possible to be inclusive and civilized. What passes for politics today tends to be positions from vested self-interested perspectives. Rather than working for the common good, our current type of competitive politics necessitates winners and losers.
It is my belief that one only needs to show that a model is problematic to call for its demise. One doesn’t necessarily need to offer alternatives. That is the direction I take in discussing both foreign policy and agriculture. I do though offer solutions and mention some others who also offer alternatives.
It will be noted that on economics I push for employment through works projects rather than cutting taxes, and, that my programs would include universal health care and social security built into a safety net.
I am of the opinion that universal service would both instill in people a sense of ownership for the country, and, reintroduce that most important melting pot.
For the last 55-60 years, the United States has been following two courses of action – one nationally (petro-chemical/industrial agriculture), and one internationally (military interventionist foreign policy), with disastrous results.
Internationally, our interventionist military foreign policy, often carried out covertly by the CIA/NSA, has poisoned the attitude of much of the world toward the U.S. Employing dirty tricks, bribery, intimidation, assassination, and invasion by CIA armies or CIA-controlled armies, this foreign policy has created the conditions which have necessitated our military’s last five major conflicts. These wars have been against militaries or countries formally our allies: Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Nam, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Noriega’s Panama, and Afghanistan are all former CIA covert operations.
Other countries which have suffered from our military interventionist foreign policy include, but are not limited to: Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.
We can choose. We can accept the status quo and spend the next 20 odd years fighting this “new” (but same old) War on Terrorism, or we can choose to change the conditions which exist in our government so that this country can peacefully coexist with the rest of the world. To achieve that end I would:
1. Dissolve the CIA and the NSA.
2. Bring our military back to the U.S. and cut their budget in half (we would still have the strongest military in the world and we would restore them to their primary mission of protecting this country’s borders).
3. End the “Drug War.”
I do not advocate isolating ourselves from the world, but I advocate that we should engage the world:
1. Through our State Department conducting diplomacy.
2. By fully funding the United Nations and its programs.
3. Through American businesses that other countries actually want.
4. A unilateral international program I would continue would be buying up nuclear warheads and stockpiles.
Humans have been engaged in agriculture for approximately 11,000 years. But, in the last 55-60 years, we have been literally poisoning ourselves by following a petro-chemical, and more recently, an industrial model of agriculture. By using massive amounts of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers in growing crops, and by using confinement systems and large feedlots, with the untreated fecal waste those confinements and feedlots generate, we have poisoned our water, land and ourselves.
1. Our farmers have become industrial machine operators and chemical applicators.
2. Natural creeks and streams are all but gone.
3. Our ponds and lakes are polluted.
4. Our aquifers and wells are contaminated.
5. Our rivers are drainage ditches for chemicals, raw animal waste and eroded soils.
6. Due to the toxic soup coming down our rivers, our coastal waters are dying.
7. Our soils, once abundant with life, are now a sterile medium for mixing seeds and chemicals (chemical-based agriculture).
8. Inherently poisonous confinement buildings and large feedlots are sewers with untreated toxic waste constantly generating the poison gases hydrogen-sulfide and ammonia which cause health problems in and sometimes death to workers, animals and neighbors.
9. Because of the millions of pounds of antibiotics used each year in petro-chemical/industrial agriculture, antibiotic-resistant diseases have become a major problem.
10. Because confinement and feed lot waste is neither treated nor composted, it remains a dangerous toxic substance.
We can choose to continue to subsidize this poisonous export-oriented (40%) agriculture, or we can choose to subsidize an organism-based, clean agriculture oriented towards feeding our own population on a local/regional basis. That clean agriculture would:
1. Utilize pastures and grasslands and the grazers which have gone with them including buffalo, elk and deer.
2. Include cover crops such as hay and alfalfa.
3. Reintroduce historically proven cover crops which have agricultural, manufacturing and energy production uses such as industrial hemp and switch grass.
4. Stimulate value-added manufacturing and energy industries which would flourish locally because of these local/regional resources.
5. Maintain sufficient production of corn, beans and oats which have been raised for thousands of years prior to petro-chemicals.
6. Permit production of large numbers of hogs or poultry on farms through the development of deep-bed systems, currently being used in hoop house structures (these low-tech, safe systems have composted usable manure as their only waste stream).
There are many people and institutions that have the knowledge of methods and technologies that exist for adopting a clean model of agriculture, and who can write the appropriate legislation in the areas of subsidies and local/regional market structures to transition to and maintain a clean agriculture (see list below). My vision for the future of this country, and my challenge to this society, and especially to the college-age generation of today, is to transform ourselves into the world’s first society based 99.99% on renewable energy sources. We can choose politically to continue fighting wars for oil or move to:
5. Hydrogen fuel cells.
and eliminate our need for oil. Instead of war, our gift to the world would be the know-how and technologies to exist as a society based on renewable energy. The technologies and timetables for a smooth transition already exist. See the list below for people and institutions which have expertise in these areas.
I would have three National Security programs:
1. Federal public/private program to weatherize all buildings and homes that need it.
2. Rebuild our railroad system using modern technologies on a local/regional basis to facilitate local/regional markets.
3. Increase the CAFE standards.
To help facilitate these transitions and for the general well-being of this society my Legislative programs would include:
1. I would introduce legislation to pull out of all trade agreements, because globalization is simply another term for colonization, and because the best help we can give to developing countries is to allow them to develop their own food production and manufacturing systems without competition from abroad.
2. Introduce legislation to end funding for the World Bank and the IMF.
3. To create and protect good jobs and markets here at home, I would introduce legislation to erect equality tariffs on all imports. These tariffs would be based on production techniques, human rights and standard of living.
4. Implement a 200% export tax on all military hardware and materiel sold outside the U.S.
5. To safeguard the future and funding of Social Security, I would move Social Security to the General Fund and means test recipients on the back end.
6. Move to a One Payer health system.
7. For true campaign finance reform, I would introduce a constitutional amendment stating “money is not free speech”.
8. Introduce legislation extending liability to corporate officers, boards of directors and shareholders, and including enabling legislation to allow investors to make appropriate choices in all cases.
9. To offset corporate abuses, I would return to the original U.S. laws allowing State Attorneys General to dissolve any corporation chartered in their state for any reason at any time.
10. I would introduce a constitutional amendment to end Capital Punishment and institute an automatic review of all felony and capital cases that result in conviction.
11. I would end the “Drug War” abroad, and legalize, regulate and tax the drug market at home. I would also release all non-violent drug offenders from incarceration and clear those records.
12. I would introduce legislation to nationalize our electric transmission system. This would allow all people access to sell electricity to the grid.
13. I would introduce legislation to create universal service for all citizens.
Some of the people and organizations with expertise needed to achieve these transitions and legislative goals include:
Frances Moore Lappe
Land Institute – KansasLand
Stewardship Project – Minnesota
Center for Rural Affairs – Nebraska
Leopold Center – Iowa
Rocky Mountain Institute – Colorado
Practical Farmers – Iowa.
The U.S. Senate was intended to be the body that debated important national policy, and to decide major directions this country will pursue. I believe the Senate should be restored to its original status as the deliberative body of the policy making branch of government. I believe that today the Senate does little more than argue over details of a course of action seemingly taken as a given from the executive branch. The executive was intended to be the administrative branch of government, not the policy maker. This abdication of responsibility is no more evident than in the fact that our last five wars have been undeclared.