Comprehensive Progressive Agenda & Wishlist Report
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius
In New York City’s Financial District, hundreds of activists joined on Lower Manhattan in September 2011, challenging as a feature of a blossoming “Occupy Wall Street” development. The demonstrations, which later spread throughout the country, were to a great extent rallies against the impact of corporate cash in governmental issues, however members additionally were disturbed in regards to what they see as corporate greed, and, monetary and social disparity.
The Occupy Wall Street of 2011 in Zuccotti Park in New York and the rest of the country and the 15M campaigns in Spain, however, failed to turn public mobilizations into mechanisms in delivering concrete changes partly because the protesters became spectators of their own protests that led into failing to build a hybrid between a social movement and a political party that does not have leaders, but has spokespeople and an organizational structure that lasts more than few years.
In spite of the fact that the Occupy Wall Street developed in the fall of 2011, it had more profound roots in the amassing protests against the monstrous inequities of wealth and influence generated by neoliberal capitalism. Occurring along side of a worldwide context of against dictatorships in the Arab Spring and and anti-austerity in the Spanish Summer, the Occupy characterized its motivation as standing up to the 1% that had benefited from 40 years of income and riches disparities helped by the ruling class. Understood in the Occupy’s critique of the role of cash in governmental issues was a more profound disquiet with the disappointments of representative democracy and a swing to efforts of making direct popular government, for example, the individuals’ assemblies.
The strategies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warner are plainly educated by an interpretation of the more radical edge of Occupy politics into populist arrangements. Such incorporate calls for breaking up big banks, a free public college tuition in light of trillion dollar student debt, calls for overturning Citizens United, and their refusal to take corporate donations are echoes of the Occupy movement demands.
Now, the candidacies and policies of real progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (Maryland) and Mayor Bill de Blasio and the 72 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus would give the best hope to build long-lasting political structures that establish the foundations of a progressive state
My wishlist then includes: Such state would, inter alia,
1. Enact Term limits for all elected politicians. It’s unfortunate that this issue divides people more than any other on this list. Should people value more integrity, fresh ideas or expertise and stability? Along with publicly funded campaigns, term limits could help clean up politics of corruption and prevent life-time office holding, such as the cases of Congressman John Dingle, Sen Robert Byrd, Sen Strom Thurmond, Sen Ted Kennedy, Sen Jesse Helms, Jr. and many others.
This issue can cut both ways and that is the reason why it’s generally controversial. It could impact institutional memory that builds expertise and stability. This may be undermined by some lobbyists and staff members by gaining so as to profit from it more influence or power from a higher turnover of elected politicians, whether executive or legislators. Lobbyists and numerous staff members are in many regards indistinguishable in that a considerable lot of them are plants serving special interests or, fundamentally, that in numerous congressional and different agencies, the majority of the staff are controlled from outside. The surest thing term limits could do is to prevent life-long careers like those listed above, and additionally some way or another upset staff-lobbyist long-term relations. A substantially more viable solution for all that institutional corruption and infiltration is a public and local campaign financing combined with some term limits.
2.Overturn Citizens United v. FEC that stripped out government rules constraining free political campaign financing by non-profit groups. The decision is in view of a fantasy – that enormous gifts won’t impact or degenerate the candidates and authorities who benefit from them. Under this light, it gave non-profits and unions, now called SuperPacs, the green light to spend limitless amounts on political promotions and other political instruments, promoting or thrashing of individual candidates.
Conservative tycoons, hedge funds and Wall Street titans, are spending incredible measures of dark cash to purchase races. The Koch Brothers (David and Charles) alone have arrangements to burn through $889 million on 2016 election cycle. Enormous cash in legislative issues is the most concerning issue we confront as a nation.
Corporations in the U.S. exercise an unreasonable measure of impact over the administration. The measure of corporate cash in decisions makes it for all intents and purposes unthinkable for individuals need to serve the general population’s interests to be suitable competitors. Bringing down the voter’s maximum gift to $100 guarantees that the rich won’t just purchase elections.
For starters, implement the Disclose Act proposal of 2010 ( H.R. 5175 (S.3628-Senate), bill introduced in the U.S. House by Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and in the U.S. Senate by Charles Schumer (D-New York)). At a minimum, it would have enforced a mandatory disclosure of the sources of campaign spending. Also, progressive candidates for Democratic nomination should pledge to their voters to appoint Supreme Court justices who oppose Citizens United. “If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United.I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be”, said Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate Justice of the Supreme Court in September 28, 2014.
Empowering developments are mounting because of the defilement of our political system. As such, 70 previous individuals from Congress have met up to frame the bipartisan ReFormers Caucus press for campaign finance reform. Also, another group, 99Rise, has pushed for a battle to reveal and dispose of secret cash from Washington’s campaign system.
3. Implement publicly and locally financed political campaigns.Public funding of election — that is, depending on taxes more than private gifts to fund campaigns. Public financing is regularly thought to free candidates from the immense burden of raising money and decrease the impact of wealthy contributors and special interests. In this way, the principle aims are this funding diminishes the money related point of interest of power holders and lessens the officeholders’ edge of triumph, which renders elections much more competitive.Public finance reduces corruption by limiting conflict of interests and opens elected public service to the qualified from all walks of life.
An especially inventive and possibly powerful arrangement originates from the Brennan Center of New York: Small gifts are coordinated and increased by voters, making money-related motivations for candidate to speak to every one of their constituents and urging normal residents to take part in the political procedure. Under the Brennan Center model, a $50 gift would be coordinated and after that duplicated by, say, five — making it worth $250 to the applicant. The Brennan study concluded that “Big money in politics is a system that is excellent at perpetuating, replicating and building on itself. The task of reformers is to stop this vicious cycle at its source, by upending the campaign financing system”.
For starters, adopt the Fair Elections Now Act, (S.2023 – 113th Congress (2013-2014) introduced in Congress in April 2011.
In Sept 9, 2015, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan if elected for comprehensive campaign finance reform, including seeking a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizen United, that led to the rise of super PACs, appoint Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections, advocate for the SEC to issue a rule requiring all publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending, including currently secret outside spending, to their shareholders, issue an executive order requiring all government contractors to reveal their campaign contributions, ending secret, unaccountable dark money, and establish a small donor matching system for presidential and congressional candidates.
In addition, in Jan 21, 2015, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) presented the Protect Democracy from Criminal Corporations Act (H.R.450-114th Congress (2015-2016)) to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit criminal corporations from making distributions of funds regarding a campaign for election for Federal, State, or local office. This bill would counteract corporations that have committed crimes or settled for more than $1 million over felony offences from offering cash to any political candidates or SuperPACs.
The No Child Left Behind act, the current U.S. public education law was passed during the administration of President George W Bush (and whose arrangements were to a great extent expanded by President Obama) significantly expanded the government part in K-12 training as a prerequisite for accepting federal dollars. States were required to make new, expansive based school responsibility arrangements centered around testing of all students in evaluations three through eight grades.
4. Over-haul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy to require either full high school or technical school graduation. In school year 2012–13, although in the range of 3.1 million high school pupils, or 81 percent, graduated on time with a standard certificate, it still leaves behind 19% drop out rate, comprising of 1.2 million students who drop out of secondary schools.
The policy thinking behind NCLB has been that of “a law that not only ensures students are prepared for college, careers and life, but also delivers on the promise of equity and real opportunity for every child.” The currently amended version should “include a increased targeting of high-quality preschool, boosting resources for K-12 schools and a reduction of duplicative tests at the state and local levels”. John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, which leads a campaign to reach a national 90 percent graduation rate by 2020, indicated increases in the last decade have led to nearly 2 million additional students earning high school diplomas.
5. Implement Universal Pre-Kindergarten.
Universal Pre-K is a development inside of the American instruction system to make access to preschool training accessible to all families, like the way kindergarten is accessible to each of the 5-and 6-year-olds. Like kindergarten, the Pre-K thought is to give deliberate education projects that incorporate self-teaching and alternative instruction.
The term universal Pre-K implies that these programs are accessible for any youngster in any state, paying little respect to the child’s capacities and family income, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Additionally, there is a growing consensus that early-education opportunities hold the key to help closing the achievement gaps between students of different backgrounds.
Earned income tax credit
6. Expand Earned income tax credit for the working poor WITH qualifying children. The amount of EITC benefit depends on a recipient’s income and number of children. The Congress intended to lessen the burden of paying Social Security taxes and provide incentives to both work and to raise children in married family arrangements.
The earned income tax credit (EITC) sponsors low-pay working families. The credit rises to a settled rate of credit from the first dollar of income until the credit achieves its greatest; both the rate and the most extreme credit rely on upon the number of kids in the household. The credit then stays flat at that greatest as earning keep on rising, yet in the long run income achieve an phaseout range. Starting from that level the credit falls for each extra dollar of salary until it vanishes altogether.
<b>Climate change challenges</b>
<b>What to Do to Mitigate Looming Climate Change: 10 Specific Policies</b>
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Pollution Include:
Major CO2 global emitters
Greenhouse gasses in Earth’s environment have surpassed 400 parts per million around a great part of the planet—crossing a typical threshold that researchers say will have foreboding ramifications for environmental change. As indicated by a World Meteorological Organization report in Nov 9, 2015, the concentrations of all of three closely watched heat-trapping gasses— carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—showed strong growth this year, and are up 36 percent since 1990.“We are moving into uncharted territory at a frightening speed,” said WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud of the discoveries.
Independently, a World Bank report released in Nov 8, 2015, cautioned that if nations neglect to maintain measures to decrease the rise of an Earth-wide temperature rise, an extra 100 million individuals could be driven into poverty by 2030. The report contends that addressing to climate change will be key to ending worldwide destitution as needy individuals are hit the hardest by crop failures, extreme climate, spikes in food costs, and waterborne diseases.
“Poor people and poor countries are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks—natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods; waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods, or droughts; crop failure from reduced rainfall; and spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events,” it reads. “Climate-related shocks also affect those who are not poor but remain vulnerable and can drag them into poverty—for example, when a flood destroys a micro-enterprise, a drought decimates a herd, or contaminated water makes a child sick.”
No Breathable Air Unless Carbon Is Cut
As representatives from 195 countries meet in Paris to pound out a worldwide agreement to cut greenhouse gas discharges, another study finds that the inability to cut carbon could leave the world without breathable air. Marine plants, for example, phytoplankton are estimated to deliver more than a large portion of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen, as indicated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the study, Sergei Petrovskii, an applied mathematics professor at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, calculated how unmitigated climate change influence phytoplankton and along these lines the oceans’s capacity to create breathable air. He ran PC models that took a look at what might happen to phytoplankton’s capacity to photosynthesize at different temperatures. In the event that the world’s seas warmed by 6 degrees Celsius — a practical probability if worldwide emissions proceed unabated—the little plants would stop oxygen creation, as indicated by the study, which was distributed in December 2015 in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology.
They warn: “Our results indicate that the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale (which, if it happens, obviously can kill most of the life on Earth) is another possible catastrophic consequence of global warming, a global ecological disaster that has been overlooked.”
In the run-up to United Nations Climate Change Conference that opens in Paris on November 30, yearly worldwide release of Carbon dioxide (CO2) will be around 32 billion metric tons. At the rate we’re going, the world’s air is set to rise 4 degrees Celsius before the century’s over, twofold what researchers say is a “acceptable” level of warming. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives preservationist benchmarks concerning what is required to balance out the normal worldwide temperature at its present level of around 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) over the pre-modern normal of 56.7 degrees. As indicated by the IPCC, worldwide CO2 outflows need to fall by around 40 percent underneath current levels inside of 20 years, to around 20 billion tons, and 80 percent by 2050, to seven billion tons.
Indicating what will be the most drastic measure to be taken in avoiding catastrophic environmental change, a recent study in the journal Nature found that 92 percent of US fossil fuels reserves must stay in the ground to keep worldwide temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, the threshold climate experts say would bring catastrophic floods, droughts, rising sea levels, heat waves, wildfires, ocean acidification and biodiversity loss and other extreme weather events. So, what to do now?
Implement low-carbon energy base that promotes conservation, conversion into renewal energy sources and fusion technology, providing a fair transition from fossil fuels and a “global treaty” to block the export of fossil fuels. How to do these?
(A) Implement the climate protection bill by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Bernie Sanders that includes a carbon tax on the nearly 3000 of the largest fossil fuel polluters, covering about 85 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, even a little $10-per-ton national carbon tax would cut greenhouse gas outflows by around 28 percent of 2005 levels, save a huge number of lives and kick off the renewable energy industry by finally putting it on an equivalent playing field with Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal, as per a study by Think Progress. Putting a cost on carbon would flip the script. Compelling the fossil fuel industry to pay for even a little rate of the harm it does to our planet would, thus, give it a motivating force to keep carbon in the ground. Outflows would go down and everybody would be in an ideal situation.
In his bill, Sanders cautioned that the main researchers who study environmental changes now let us know that their projections in the past weren’t right. That, actually, the emergency confronting our planet is significantly more genuine than they had already believed.They now let us know that on the off chance that we proceed with our cheerful way, where 12 out of the most recent 15 years were the hottest on record, and make no definitive move in changing our vitality framework and cutting green-house gasses, this planet could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit or more hotter than is right now the case.
It’s no coincidence that putting a cost on carbon—unquestionably the most extreme environmental change open—is now supported by 33 nations and a large portion of overall heavyweights, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, two of the world’s preeminent political pioneers on ecological change (Angela Merkel of Germany and Jerry Brown of California, a state that positions as the eighth-greatest economy on the planet), four of its biggest banks (Citi, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase), and a considerable lot of major oil companies.
Organized by the 2015 World Economic Forum, CEOs of 78 major companies, with combined yearly turnover of $2.1 trillion, said in a public statement to world leaders that an ambitious arrangement in Paris would make both financial growth and jobs and urged governments to incorporate the pricing of carbon emissions as a major aspect of policies to limit global warming, as world leaders get ready for a summit on environmental change in Paris.
“We believe that effective climate policies have to include explicit or implicit prices on carbon achieved via market mechanisms or coherent legislative measures according to national preferences,” they wrote. Such pricing would “trigger low-carbon investment and transform current emission patterns at a significant scale,” they added, noting they were taking voluntary actions to reduce their environmental and carbon footprints.
(B) Implement the modest Obama’s Clean Power Plan that pushed for 32 percent diminishes in carbon dioxide surges from power plants by 2030, with the base year of 2005, preventing nearly 900 million tons of carbon pollution from being released into the atmosphere each year, having the same climate protection impact of taking 70 percent of our cars off the road, and requiring a 28 percent of a power production to be generated from renewable sources. Since 2011, already, the nine-state cap-and-trade system that covers Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states has cut carbon emissions by 15 percent and saved consumers $460 million off their electric bills.
But the landmark climate rule is confronting hardened opposition from most U.S. Republican policymakers, power companies and business associations. Critics of the plan say it will hurt energy industry and their clients by raising power costs and driving utilities to close down coal plants. U.S. energy experts have indicated America’s coal generation could dive to levels not seen subsequent to the 1970s if the proposed power rules come into force. However, there is broad support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to limit pollution, and there is massive support for increasing our use of renewable energy sources on a national level.
In comparison, California’s ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) right now requires utilities to supply 33 percent of their power generation from renewable sources, for example, sun, wind, and geothermal force, by 2020. The new bill, The Clean Energy and Reduction Act, that goes more further than that would expand that objective to 50 percent by 2030. It would likewise require a 50 percent expansion in energy efficiency in buildings and structures by that year. The state means to lessen the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 — a major stride to the larger 2050 objective of decreasing carbon dioxide by 80 percent under 1990 levels.
A study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the U.S. can produce 80 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2050, utilizing accessible technology. However, that exists as fantasy as long as renewable energy keeps on being financially disadvantaged in favor of fossil fuel: In 2013, as per the International Institute for Sustainable Development, taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuels totaled $548 billion, contrasted with just $121 billion for renewables.
(C) End tax breaks and subsidies for big oil, gas and coal companies.
Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act to stop taxpayer-funded $135 billion giveaways to oil, gas and coal companies.
Every year, the United States government gives out $20.5 billion to bolster the mining of oil, coal, and gas, with $17.2 billion of that coming at the federal level and $3.3 billion coming at the state level. Internationally, the world’s 20 top economies spend more than $400 billion dollars every year – through a blend of direct spending, tax reductions, speculations by majority-owned companies, and public finance from government-possessed banks and monetary establishments – propping up fossil fuel generation, a practice that seriously undermines the world’s mitigation of environmental change, as indicated a new report by the environmental advocacy group Oil Change International. Every year, governments funnel billions of dollars in support to the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is using those public dollars to dig up fossil fuels that we must not burn if we want a safe-climate future.
D) Eliminate and inevitably boycott Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) gasses.
These are intense greenhouse gasses used as a part of fridges and ventilation systems and are discharged essentially amid repairing of or toward the end of the life-span of these items. The outcomes are the collection of substances in these applications which shapes a formerly unrecognized extra hazard for environmental change. These substances are used as a part of the spot of the ozone-layer-exhausting substances (CFCs en HCFCs) that were once in the past utilized and banned as a part of 1987. HFCs that supplanted CFCs, conversely, don’t influence the ozone layer, however add to the greenhouse impact.
In October 16, 2015, Obama administration has announced new efforts to diminish the use of hydrofluorocarbons as a piece of worldwide treaty to confine their uses. Also, announced in July 2015, EPA limits atmosphere warming chemicals, including hydrofluorocarbon . The Obama administration moved to restrict the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the most powerful greenhouse gasses produced by human action. The Environmental Protection Agency pronounced that sure uses for HFCs are restricted and certain alternatives can be used. The move is a piece of President Obama’s second-term push to limit climate change, to a limited extent through regulations restricting greenhouse gasses. The EPA said the private sector is as of now moving far from HFCs. Without the right regulations, the EPA evaluated that HFC use would double by 2020 and triple by 2030.
(E) Keep it in the Ground Act
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, have introduced in Nov 2015 the bill Keep It In The Ground Act, that would bar new leases on coal, gas, oil, and tar sands extraction on federal lands in the U.S. The bill, would likewise, preclude offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean and forbid the renewal of leases that haven’t yet produced fossil fills.
“This bill is about recognizing that the fossil fuel reserves that are on our public lands should be managed in the public interest, and the public interest is for us to help drive a transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy future,” Merkley said. “We don’t have a lot of time to do this, so there’s an urgency to it, and a place that’s readily available for us to act is on the fossil fuels that are on our public lands.”
Fossil fuels from public lands as of now make up a significant portion of the United States’ carbon emissions: according to a Center for American Progress and Wilderness Society report, oil, coal, and gas taken from public lands and waters are responsible for more than 20 percent of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. As indicated by one Bureau of Land Management report, 279 million acres of land of government lands in the U.S. contain an expected total of 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Numerous authoritative voices, for example, the leaders of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, and the Bank of England, Mark Carney, have cautioned that numerous fossil fuel reserves could be left useless by the actions toward averting climate change. On the off chance that the retreat from fossil fills does not happen in a slow and arranged way, financial investors could lose trillions of dollars as the “carbon bubble” bursts. A recent study by Citigroup predicts the cost of leaving more than three quarters of oil, gas, and coal reserves underground or beneath the sea, called stranded assets, would cost the energy companies and nations over $100 Trillion if Paris Agreement terms succeed.
President Barack Obama verbalized that idea in his justification for cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline in November: “Ultimately, if we’re gonna prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re gonna have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”
[F] Expand research and development into climate change mitigation techniques.
These include cutting-edge efforts to cut or prevent the emissions of greenhouse gases-limiting the magnitude of future warming. It might likewise include attempts, for example, (a) carbon capture and storage (CCS). One form of CCS involves chemically capturing the carbon dioxide from a power plant smokestack, and then piping it underground so that the invisible gas is contained in rock formations without leaking, (b) another approach, so-called “Negative-emissions technologies” are processes that could pull carbon dioxide either via sequestration or out of the atmosphere by means of emerging geoengineering strategies. Another potential carbon sink includes ocean iron fertilization to promote the growth of CO2-consuming algae to counter-act the increasing acidification of the oceans that yield the most oxygen needed by living things (see above).
An interesting example of Negative-emissions technologies was recently reported from Columbia University’s Klaus Lackner who described carbon scrubber, a device sufficiently little to fit inside a shipping trailer, and costing less than $200,000, that has the capacity to remove a ton of CO2 a day from the air – at a small amount of the expense compared to similar technologies. Also, an Australian atmosphere researcher Tim Flannery describes a bewildering cluster of carbon-negative tools in his new book Atmosphere of Hope, including cement and plastics that “consume” carbon. “We must begin setting up the ground now [to convey such tools], even as we undertake the gargantuan effort of cutting emissions,” Flannery writes.
Mitigation likewise reaches out to the protection of carbon “sinks” like the forests or oceans. New carbon sinks can be created through, for example, forest regeneration or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation, while the existing forests and phytoplanktonc should be protected. The need to slow down destruction of the world’s remaining forests, such as the boreal forests, rain-forests, and the phytoplankton in the oceans, in order to prevent the planet dangerously overheating has long been acknowledged, but has proved impossible to be achieved.
[G] Expand research and development into hydrogen fuel cells
Fuel cells, which are designed to utilize a catalyst, such as platinum, in converting a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen into water?, are a promising innovation for use as a source of heat and power for structures, and as an electrical power source energy for electric engines pushing vehicles. An important byproduct of this chemical reaction is the electricity generated when hydrogen molecules interact (through oxidation) with the anode to produce protons and electrons. Power devices work best on hydrogen, the most plentiful element in the atmosphere, although rare existing by itself. However, ocean water and hydrocarbons like natural gas, methanol, or even gasoline can be converted to deliver the hydrogen required for fuel cells. These cells are being composed in light of the fact that they will eliminate of releases of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate discharges.
There should be expanded research and development to address the full scope of mechanical, economical, and institutional obstructions to the broad commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell units with a definitive objectives of diminishing our reliance on oil, lessening carbon emission, and empowering perfect, solid force era.
[H] Revitalizing Coal and Oil producing regions.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has disclosed in Nov 2015, the Plan For Revitalizing Coal Communities to invest in current coal and oil country, to recover as the “clean energy economy” develops, saying “We can’t ignore the impact this transition is already having on mining communities, or the threat it poses to the healthcare and retirement security of coalfield workers and their families.”
Clinton’s proposal calls for $30 billion towards infrastructure upgrades, aid for dislocated workers and vulnerable communities, mine property remediation, “green collar” job skills and education programs, broadband changes, repurposing old mine sites, health and retirement plans, and incentives for business formation in Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and the Western coal regions.
[I] Expanding Fossil fuel divestment.
This is the elimination of investment resources including stocks, securities, and speculation reserves from companies invested in extracting carbon and fossil fuels, trying to diminish climate change by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy through the stigmatizing of fossil fuel businesses. A number of environmentalist and student groups advocating a massive fossil fuel divestment, which in 2015 was apparently the quickest developing divestment development in history. By November 2015, 500 separate institutions, including California state government, the University of California, insurance giant Allianz, the German city of Munster, and the London School of Economics, had resolved to divest their portfolios, representing $3.4 trillion in total, from oil, coal and gas companies, according to gofossilfree.org. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, became the second governor, joining California, which in October 2015, passed a bill into law forcing the state’s public pension funds to divest from companies profiting from the production or transport of thermal coal, to endorse divestment of the state’s pension funds from ExxonMobil as well as the coal industry in January 2016.
“Our small state must partner with California, which manages hundreds of billions of dollars of state funds, and divest Vermont of coal,” Shumlin said in his address. “Let’s remember Vermont is downwind of the coal fired plants to our West; we’re the tailpipe to their dirty energy choices. Their pollution sickens our children, creates acid rain, dumps mercury on our forests and in our lakes and increases greenhouse gas emissions. I ask that you send me a divestiture bill just like California’s. While you’re doing that, Governor Brown and I will invite other Governors to join us in what should be a national effort.”
A study by the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at University of Oxford found that the vilification of fossil fuel corporations brought on by divestment can “materially increase the uncertainty surrounding the future cash flows of fossil-fuel companies.” That, thus, “can lead to a permanent compression in the trading multiples – e.g., the share price to earnings (P/E) ratio of a target company.” As an evidence of that, according to climate change website, 350.org, fossil fuel stocks have lost 30 cents on the dollar in the last 2 years, as measured by a specialized index the financial tracking firm MSCI, and the coal industry’s financial free-fall as reported by the leading coal exchange-traded fund (ETF), of having lost nearly 55 percent of its value by early December 2015.
[J] Combating Climate Denialism
Republicans, being the business party, famously, are to a great extent deniers of environmental changes, hating emerging green energies of any kind. What explains their resistance to climate science? As indicated by new research distributed in Nature Climate Change, there’s no less than one factually demonstrated motivation behind why more than 56 percent of Congressional Republicans deny environmental change: echo chamber, which refers to circumstances where individuals surround themselves with data they want to listen to, and shut out the rest. We’ve known for some time that these present themselves in climate issues; A 2014 report postulated that the reason Americans haven’t completely accepted the scientific consensus on environmental changes is a result of echo chamber like Fox News outlets and right-wing think-thanks, where conservative viewers and readers are “exposed only to content consistent with their opinions, while shielded from dissenting views.”
Republicans’ open hostility to coping with climate change has been strident since President Obama took office. In 2009, White House’s first-ever carbon pollution control, the Cap-and-trade bill was voted down by 168 House Republicans, where just eight sponsored it. (Adversaries killed it in the Senate, where it never got a vote.) This has made an odd circumstance that was as of late summed up by New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait: “The entire world is, in essence, tiptoeing gingerly around the unhinged second-largest political party in the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, in hopes of saving the world behind its back.”
The Republican Party could be the single most noteworthy obstruction to worldwide campaign to moderate environmental change. But small cracks are appearing across this conservative wall of denial. For instance, ahead of time of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, a resolution distributed among House Republicans that recognized the evidence of a changing atmosphere and the risk it poses to human existence. The resolution required no solid solutions, just saying that Congress ought to focus on studying and tending to the issue at some vague point later on. Yet only 11 of 247 House Republicans were willing to sign it— a scanty 4.5 percent of the GOP caucus.
More ominously another ABC News/Washington Post survey distributed on the eve of COP21 summit finds that the quantity of Americans who say environmental change is a “serious issue” has even fallen six points subsequent to the same survey was led in June 2014. In the meantime, the quantity of individuals who say climate change is not under any condition a serious problem (36 percent) has grown 7 points since the previous survey. A study from July 2015 conducted by the Pew Research Center put those numbers much lower: only 27 percent of Republicans believe climate change is real and man-made, compared to 71 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of scientists who are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This has led to David Brooks — a conservative commentator, to explain it in Dec 1, 2015, on the climate change issue, that: “[T]he G.O.P. has come to resemble a Soviet dictatorship — a vast majority of Republican politicians can’t publicly say what they know about the truth of climate change because they’re afraid the thought police will knock on their door and drag them off to an AM radio interrogation.”.
A study published on November 30, 2015 in the journal Nature Climate Change looks at the institutional and corporate structure of the environmental change counter-development. Report author Justin Farrell revealed a web of 4,556 people with overlapping ties to 164 organizations, who are led by ExxonMobil and the Charles and David Koch family foundations, that advance climate denialism. These include prominently The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), that co-organized a failed climate-denial conference along with the coal-funded Heartland Institute. Both CFACT and Heartland participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and that have provided state legislators with climate denial briefings at ALEC conferences. As indicated by Farrell, those organizations “were most successful in pushing their view” as groups with ties to those donors were “more likely to see their viewpoints make it into media than those without such ties.”
Yet, a New York Times/CBS News survey in November 30, 2015, demonstrates that 66% of Americans say the United States ought to join a binding universal treaty to limit the effects of a worldwide climate change, including those persons who identify as conservative. Furthermore, 63 percent of Americans—including a thin majority of Republicans—said they would bolster local policy intended at constraining carbon emissions from power plants. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said a global warming was at that point having genuine impacts or that it would in the future. Nine in 10 Democrats concurred, in contrast to 58 percent of Republicans. 33% of Republicans said they trusted the climate change’s impact on the earth would be irrelevant.
This result was similar to a June 2014 ABC/Washington Post survey reports that 70 percent of Americans believed that the central government ought to require states to limit the measure of carbon dioxide gasses created inside of their borders. A 2015 Stanford University poll also found an overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming.
While the rest of the world was meeting in Paris for COP21, the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives in Dec 1, 2015, with some assistance from a few Democratic defectors, voted to block regulations to limit pollution from power plants, the foundation of the administration’s push to tackle climate change, sinking efforts to pass climate legislation. “The next president could simply tear it up,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (whose home state of Kentucky produces dirty coal), proclaimed on the Senate floor, referring to the president’s power plant regulations. “Governments currently engaged in this round of climate talks will want to know that there is more than just an Executive Branch in our system of government,” he added, noting that the climate agenda “may not even survive much longer anyway.”
Similarly, Republican lawmakers are threatening to withhold financing to a new “Green Climate Fund,” that the president, along with other wealthy nations, promised the summit to set aside to offer assistance to low-income developing countries with curbing emissions and preparing for the effects of global climate changes. “We pledge that Congress will not allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to go to the Green Climate Fund until the forthcoming international climate agreement is submitted to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent,” 37 Republican senators wrote in a letter to Obama on December 1.
It’s true that the Paris agreement probably will fall short, on its own, of the international community’s stated goal of halting warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), which is regarded as the benchmark for dangerous, unmanageable climate change. Although many people consider it unrealistic to meeting the 2 degrees goal, these talks, which aptly, if ominously, have been called “our last hope” for climate action, must be met with bold optimism.
Regardless of the possibility that the more than 195 nations have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions — a significant improvement compared to the Kyoto Protocol’s coverage of 14 percent of global emissions, are now incorporated into agreement on this 31-page document, called the historic Paris Agreement, signed in Dec 12, 2015, global warming will persist after the 2020 point when the agreement comes into force. Based on the domestic pledges made by 187 countries, covering some 95 percent of global emissions, worldwide temperatures would now ascend to 2.7 to 3.5 C over the pre-modern level resulting still in catastrophic warming.
As John Atcheson, explained in his commentary on why 1.5 C is nothing more than aspirational, that “We can only emit about 200 billion more tonnes of carbon dioxide to have even a 66% chance of staying below 1.5 C. Since we are emitting about 40 billion tonnes per year (about 44 billion US tons), we will blow through the budget by 2020, the year in which the Paris agreements are to start being implemented. In other words, that ship will have sailed before the Agreement is in effect”.
During the last day of COP21, Mark Hertsgaard of Nation remarked, that, notwithstanding the well-intentions of the summit attendees, as in the Copenhagen 2009, this too will likely fail to reach a workable consensus. “A case in point is unfolding at the landmark United Nations climate summit in Paris, where president Obama and other world leaders seem eager to define a scientific failure as a political success. This triumph of political spin over scientific reality is unfolding for understandable, even well-intentioned reasons, but its effects would be ruinous for human lives and institutions now and for generations to come.”
As Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman explained in a piece published recently in the New York Times: “Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe… Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.”
While there’s solid divergence between the major political parties on climate change policies, there’s a developing bipartisan consensus inside of the national security community that environmental change itself represents a critical danger to national security, something long declared so by the White House. The Council on Foreign Relations task force, co-led by former New York Gov. George Pataki, issued a recent report examining at how the United States should lead by dealing with the issue from a foreign policy strategic point of view. Here’s only one of the findings from the influential group’s report:
“The Task Force also finds that the developed countries, including the United States, have a direct national security interest in helping developing countries and vulnerable populations adapt to unavoidable climate change. Unless developing countries are assisted with adaptation, climate change is likely to affect them in ways that will ultimately have direct impacts on the United States, including on its national security. For examples, as climate change affects resource availability, migratory pressures will steadily grow, potentially intensifying existing sources of conflict.”
Interestingly, as per a survey of 750 specialists directed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, a catastrophe brought about by climate change disaster is seen as the greatest potential danger to the worldwide economy in 2016. A failure of environmental change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a greater impact than the spread of weapons of mass devastation, water emergencies, mass involuntary relocation and an extreme energy cost – the first run through in the 11 years of the Global Risks report that the environment has been in first place.
Cecilia Reyes, Zurich’s chief risk officer, while commenting on Europe’s recent refugee crisis and terrorist attacks having raised global political instability to its highest level since the cold war, added that: “Meanwhile, geopolitical instability is exposing businesses to cancelled projects, revoked licences, interrupted production, damaged assets and restricted movement of funds across borders. These political conflicts are in turn making the challenge of climate change all the more insurmountable – reducing the potential for political cooperation, as well as diverting resource, innovation and time away from climate change resilience and prevention.”
Naomi Klein, the author of 2014 book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, on mostly inevitable consequences of global climate change, declared in a recent interview, that “Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes,” Klein writes. “It’s a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinction—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.”
Other dairies on Dailykos website by same author:
Tuition-free community college
8. Institute tuition-free community college. Public education should be considered a basic human right and not be just a function of the students’s capacity to afford, but also should be considered as the country’s investment in its own future.
To make college cost-effective and to reduce the wasteful drop out rate, there should be four conditions for attending tuition-free college. For students to qualify for free college, (1) they should pass a college test to ensure college preparedness and (2) students be required to work 10 hours a week of public service on campus or around, (3) require students to complete at least a trade certificate or an associate of arts diploma. For students who choose to drop out, however, (4) they should pay back the state for the costs of the courses already paid for. For those who are unable to afford repayment, they could qualify for a public service waiver. These terms would ensure that almost all students will graduate on time. According to National Student Clearinghouse, the six-year graduation rate for students was only 60.5 percent at public four-year colleges, and 62.5 percent at private nonprofit colleges in 2014.
9. Implement Workfare, which refers to the training for and gaining of work as a condition for social assistance, in others words, a safety net that undeniably binds public assistance to gaining formal employment. This recommends how a need-based entitlement to be supplanted with a work-molded security net. Thus, it is about time to implement an unpaid public service work requirement on able-bodied in order to receive welfare, disability assistance, public housing assistance and food stamps. This was a key reform left out of the 1996 welfare overhaul that was intended to move people from receiving long-term public assistance to self-sufficiency.
10. Implement Prison reform. This reform should emphasize “individual responsibility and while continuing to call for incarceration, but that amends the frequency and length of prison stays and vastly corrects the internal circumstances and conditions within prison walls”. Any rehabilitation regimen, including mental illnesses, alcohol and substance treatment, personality-building, literacy classes, and so forth- provides the best chance of success if it is mandatory.
(a) Impose mandatory 25 hours a week workfare public service and general education requirements, where classes to be offered to inmates/students who lacked a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate.
(b) End incarceration of juveniles. “The American rate of juvenile incarceration is seven times that of Great Britain, and 18 times that of France. It costs, on average, $88,000 a year to keep a youth locked up — far more than the U.S. spends on a child’s education,” wrote Nell Bernstein who authored Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison. Even as many states have attempted to alter their adolescent prisons, Bernstein says that incarcerating kids is the wrong strategy to manage most early life wrongdoers. Their detention in those prisons in the future will shape who they are.
(c) Reverse Bill Clinton’s cutting funding to 350 college programs in prisons around the country in 1994, as a part of his Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which also imposed draconian measures that included longer jail sentences, expanded financing for prison facilities, put more police in the cities, and honored police with award cash for drug-related arrests that numerous minority groups now see it as a cause for police brutality. (see # 11)
(d) Implement Obama’s Second Chance Pell program to reestablish the federal grant to prisoners looking to enroll in college. A 2013 study by the Rand Corp, financed by the U.S. Dept of Justice, showed that detainees who got some broad instruction were 43% more averse to re-carry out criminal acts and go back to jail inside of three years than the individuals who didn’t get any educating.
(E) Felony disenfranchisement. Restore voting rights to former felons. About 6 million American citizens, staggering 1.5 million are in Florida alone, are incapable of voting as a result of a past criminal conviction. Upwards of 4.4 million of these persons live, work, and bring families up in our cities. Every state has its own particular laws on disenfranchisement. While Vermont and Maine permit criminals to vote while in jail, 11 different states permanently limit certain felons from voting.
These laws, profoundly established in our grieved racial history, have an disproportionate effect on minorities. The nation over, 13 percent of African-American men have lost their entitlement to vote, which is seven times the national normal. (It is believed that nearly 30% of black males in Florida are presently ineligible to vote.)
Defenders of re-enfranchisement say that criminals who have paid their obligation to society by finishing their sentences ought to have the majority of their rights and benefits restored. They contend that efforts to deny ex-criminals from voting are out of line, undemocratic, and politically or racially propelled.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, an author of a new book, titled “Between the World and Me,” recently spoke of police misconduct in a way that resonated with a real lived urban life, by saying, “It seems like there’s a kind of national conversation going on right now about those who are paid to protect us, who sometimes end up inflicting lethal harm upon us,” Coates said. “But for me, this conversation is old, and I’m sure for many of you the conversation is quite old. It’s the cameras that are new. It’s not the violence that’s new.”
11. Institute Civilian Oversight & Police Accountability. A string of highly publicized police killings exhibits the need to reexamine laws that administer the utilization of deadly force. Although numerous urban areas have regular citizen oversight commissions that research cases including improper utilization of power and to consider police responsible and that even the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends all areas to create oversight procedures to improve police responsibility, such structures are just effective when they have a lawful power, for example, subpoena.
According to Human Rights Watch, most effective review agencies are those who have full authority “to audit police files and reports, and who are able to scrutinize the entire departmental structures, and convince police departments to back more oversight”. The most effective citizen boards also have “independence, civilian control, and some role in disciplinary hearings, and have enough public support and engagement to withstand legal challenges and backlash from law enforcement”. (“De-militarize Police and settle lawsuits involving police misconduct/ brutality/ murder with Police Union funds instead of taxpayer dollars”. (Thanks to NJ Progressive Indie for adding the last comment)
12. War on Terror
End the false, shadowy and global War on Terror, (“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous”, George Orwell).
The policies assumed by the Obama regime directly throughout the last few years indicate probably they are quickening, not slowing down, the war on terror that has been tirelessly reinforced in the course of the most recent decade. For the sake of the War on Terror, the present president has weakened decades-old Miranda protection; systematized another plan of inconclusive confinement on US soil; plotted to move Guantanamo inmates to inland in Illinois; expanded secrecy, restraint and discharge limitations at the sources; invented another hypothesis of presidential powers for the first time to kill US natives, including an American child, Abdulrahman Awlaki; recharged the Bush/Cheney warrant-less listening in structure for an additional five years, and additionally the so-called Patriot Act, without a single change; and simply marked into law every new limitation on the detention of suspiciously and illegally-held prisoners.
13. Implement Single Payer health insurance that provides better care at less cost to all without a “Mandate”. Also known as “Medicare for all”, it is a system in which a “single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the providing of health services remains largely in private hands”.
According to Physicians for a National Health Program, the project would be supported by the funds received from supplanting today’s wasteful, profit-oriented, different insurance payers with a single streamlined, non-profit, single payer, and by unobtrusive new taxes taking into account capacity to pay. Premiums would vanish; 95 percent of all family units would save.
14. Child’s rights
Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of 1989. The CRC “incorporates the full range of human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political, and social — into one text that promotes and protects the well-being of the world’s children and their families.” America signed it in 1995 but never ratified it. More countries have ratified the Convention than any other human rights treaty in history—192 countries had become State Parties to the Convention as of November 2005. The remaining two countries which have not ratified the Convention are famously Somalia and the United States.
In spite of the fact that Presidents Clinton and Obama have supported approval, resistance from Republicans in the Senate and their conservative groups have hindered the ratification of the treaty. Religious associations including the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the John Birch Society are a portion of the gatherings who have initiated the most resistance to passing of the treaty.
15. Confederate Flag
Remove the Confederate Flag from all government sites. (“Symbols of hate and division have no place in our government. It’s time to stand up for what’s right and take down the Confederate Flag!”, sign MoveOn.org petition).
16. Equal Pay for equal work
Pass the Equal Pay Act of 1963: Equal Pay for Women, signed by President Kennedy with the intention of ending gender-based pay discrimination. Recent reports estimate women now make 78 percent of what male counterparts make.
But after 40 years, female workers are still robbed of 23 pennies for each dollar a man makes in the U.S. Indeed, even with the sections of five key laws to forestall discrimination in the working environment – e.g., the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act – the gender pay hole is still an intractable issue.
Congressional Republicans sneered at pay equity enactment as a race year pandering. Be that as it may, but a September 2015 Gallup survey reported that pay value was the main issue confronting working females in today’s economy. A 2014 July survey by the Democracy Corps found that 90 percent of Americans favored measures to help women get equivalent pay for equivalent work, accordingly raising incomes for women and families.
Fair Taxation Issues.
Conservatives are proposing an adjusted budget plan throughout the following 10 years and large tax breaks for the well off and corporations. To balance financial backing without raising new incomes, they will need to slice $4.5 trillion in federal spending, influencing essentially every service the government provides. To adequately counter these recommendations, progressives need to request “tax fairness” instead and that the rich and huge enterprises ought to pay their fair share. Surveys demonstrate that the tax fairness is firmly upheld by people in general – not simply by Democrats, but also by a substantial segment of independents. Furthermore, contingent upon the inquiry, greater parts of Republicans, or majorities, bolster making the rich and companies pay their fair share.
It is about time to implement the following reforms that would ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.
Since 2013, after the Supreme Court’s decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, states all over the nation have been passing measures that make it increasingly hard for Americans – especially African-Americans, the elderly, the young and individuals with handicaps – to practice their principal right to cast a vote. These measures incorporate requiring an official personal ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register, curtailing early voting, wiping out election day registration, new restrictions on voter enrollment drives and extra barriers to voting directed against individuals with criminal convictions.
It is about time to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (H.R.2867 – 114th Congress (2015-2016)), with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska becoming the first Republican to cosponsor the bill. The bill compels states with well-documented history of recent voting bias to clear future voting changes with the central government, requires federal approval for voter ID laws, and outlaws new GOP-led efforts to suppress the growing poor and minority votes.
26. War on Drugs
End the War on Drugs. It is the ideal time for sensible approaches to regulate drug use, legal or not, through the expanding knowledge in science and sympathy instead of tired political hysteria and fear-mongering. Drug prohibition has done essentially nothing to reduce drug supply or rates of addiction. Most drugs should be legalized it, regulated it, taxed it and the proceeds be used to fund substance abuse treatments.
The war on drugs has been continuing since 1960s, cynically used by the Republicans as part of their Southern Strategy, an electoral movement albeit losing one directed against poor and racial minorities that were supposedly “causing” crime, through efficiently making hidden (and regularly not really hidden) supremacist appeals to white voters, who were disaffected with liberal democratic racial and welfare policies and frightened by crime and urban riots, that was then easily focused onto the “pathology” of black families. This was calculated to be used as a way of discrediting of the philosophy of racial equality that upset the Jim Crow social order, that supposedly had contributed to this pathology. The carceral state actually came as a backlash against the civil-rights advances. The Moynihan report, for example, claims that black criminality results from dominant black mothers and absent black fathers.
And as commentator Stanley Greenberg, then a political researcher and now a main Democratic strategist, found in his classic 1985 study of Macomb County, Michigan, the whole marvel of the strategy that led to great exodus from the democratic party was based on racial hatred: “These white Democratic defectors express a profound distaste for blacks, a sentiment that pervades almost everything they think about government and politics”, he says, “Blacks constitute the explanation for their vulnerability and for almost everything that has gone wrong in their lives; not being black is what constitutes being middle class; not living with blacks is what makes a neighborhood a decent place to live.”
The results of the war on drugs have been astounding. Already by 1993, “African Americans accounted for 88.3 percent of all federal crack cocaine distribution convictions”, according to Naomi Murakawa, author of “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America”. Today, almost 785,000 Americans, or half of all prisoners, are detained on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. A year ago $40 billion in tax dollars were spent in battling the war on drugs, totaling over $1.5 trillion since 1971. As an aftereffect of the incarceration fixation, the United States maintains the biggest jail population on the planet, with America having five percent of the world’s population, but housing 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, and the U.S. nonviolent detainee populace is bigger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.
As per the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of guilty persons under age 18 detained for drug offenses expanded twelve-fold from 1985 to 1997, around half of federal prisoners and one-fifth of state prisoners are behind bars for selling or using drugs, with most apparently released destroyed as useful human beings. The population most affected by this carceral state instead of treatments, is African-Americans, who represent about 12 percent of the overall population, but represent 59 percent of those in state prison for drug offenses. From 1985 to 1997, the rate of African-American youngsters put in jail expanded from 53 to 62 percent, with some naming this failed war the New Jim Crow, a title of a popular book by Michelle Alexander, whose central premise is that “mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow.” In the ensuing debate, it has motivated Naomi Murakawa, author of “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” to spin it more broadly by reasoning that, “The strength of ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander is that, by equating mass incarceration with Jim Crow, it makes it rhetorically impossible to defend it, but, on the other hand, there is no ‘new’ Jim Crow, there is just capitalist white supremacy in a state of constant self-preservation.”
“If this were a war fought for four decades by any other generals with this outcome, we’d have run up the white flag years ago,” David Simon, creator of The Wire, told Salon.
27. The American Dream Act
Pass the Restore the American Dream Act for the 99 Percent Act introduced in 2011. The bill would create more than 4 million employment opportunities and lessen the budgetary deficiency by more than $2 trillion throughout the following 10 years, attempting up to this point to marshal the assets expected to address the financial emergency.
28. Labor rights
Implement S. 2814 (113th) bill by Sen. Lamar Alexander [R-TN] (Introduced 09/16/2014) in modernizing the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act 1935), to expand guaranteeing workers’ rights to organize and bargain, collectively through representatives of their own choosing, regardless of who the workers or the employers are, an essential step toward full economic democracy. Evidence keeps heaping up: unions are good for workers.
“Collective bargaining is our best tool for raising wages in America,” the AFL-CIO 2015 report (pdf) reads. “It should be front and center as Congress considers policy and as presidential candidates announce agendas. Moreover, the results will illuminate the larger issue underpinning chronic wage stagnation: that vibrant worker organizations are key to restoring the balance of economic power in our country.”
29. Wall street reform
Implement Volcker Rule, (12 U.S.C. § 1851) of the Dodd–Frank Act that bans banks from conducting certain investment activities using their customers’ savings and mortgage accounts, and reduces dramatically their ownership of and relationship with hedge funds and private equity funds well-known for high risks.
The Volcker Rule proposed by top economist Thomas Lariviere is supposed to deny banks from exclusive exchanging and limits interest in mutual funds and private value by business banks and their associates. Further, the rule guides the Federal Reserve to enforce improved prudential prerequisites on systemically distinguished non-bank organizations occupied with such exercises. Congress did exclude certain allowed exercises of banks, their subsidiaries, and non-bank organizations distinguished as systemically critical, for example, in business sector making, supporting, securitization, and guaranteeing. The rule additionally topped bank possession in multifaceted investments and private value rates at three percent.
30. Foreign Aid, the Permanent War and the Millennium Development Goals
It is time to end using foreign aid as a long arm of dizzying hodgepodge of diplomatic and military strategies, known as The ‘three pillars’ theory -defense, diplomacy and development- in order to ‘advancing American interests and solving global problems as diplomacy or defense’. In the development sector, in 2013, the U.S. government dedicated $40.11 billion to economic and military assistance, more than double what it was in 2000, famously and vigorously defended to be just 1% of total budget, as found in contrary by a 2013 poll that found majority of the public thought mistakenly it was 28%.
Still its total impact is seriously being undercut by the fact that most of it gets spent on supporting military operations in various countries. The greatest single recipient of foreign aid – both military and financial- in 2012 was Afghanistan, representing over a quarter of all foreign aid. Together, the main five nation beneficiaries in 2012 represented 57 percent of all foreign aid. Real development assistance, however, accounted for 8%.
But in plain terms the entire agenda means serving the interests of the military-industrial complex and the multi-national corporations, and in the massive support given to the waging of endless, destructive, and “preemptive wars” against the rest of the world in forms of wars against communism, terrorism, Islamism and drugs that the much of the world opposes and resents. By all measures, every one of these wars are continuation of colonial wars through which the Western powers have sought over hundreds of years to force their will upon weaker societies they thought worth disrupting, oppressing and exploiting. The global war of terror alone touched 60 countries. Critics charge that the “war on terrorism” is an ideology of fear and repression that creates enemies and promotes violence rather than mitigating acts of terror and strengthening security. The worldwide campaign has too often become an excuse for other governments as diverse as South Africa and Ethiopia to use it as pretext to repress local opposition groups and disregard international law and local laws.
The result is that entire regions of the earth live in utter terror. There are now nine civil wars raging in Islamic countries between Pakistan and Nigeria, and seemingly everywhere nations are collapsing, trembling or are under attack and producing waves of migrants totaling so far more than four million refugees in other countries.
The exposed greed and violence that characterize the permanent war driving these conflicts is concealed inside the empire behind the cant of patriotism and security, which sanctify imperialism and racism. Its effects are everywhere and victims are always the same. Eduardo Galeano once wrote that “each time a new war is disclosed in the name of the fight of the good against evil, those who are killed are all poor. It’s always the same story repeating once and again and again”, who are then being pushed permanently into the global underclass and or converted into millions of refugees fleeing wars, the new wretched of the earth. In 2015 alone, 342,000 of those migrants had reached Europe.
W.E.B. Du Bois, writing of similar past empires, warned more broadly about the far-reaching effects of the permanent occupation, especially in terms of ushering of rapid globalization with its attendant crisis, by writing, “Here, are no labor unions or votes or questioning onlookers or inconvenient consciences,” Du Bois writes. “These men may be used down to the very bone, and shot and maimed in ‘punitive’ expeditions when they revolt. In these dark lands ‘industrial development’ may repeat in exaggerated form every horror of the industrial horror of Europe, from slavery and rape to disease and maiming, with one test of success—dividends.”
Instead, it is time for a different paradigm shift in giving foreign aid that is entirely distinct from the conduct of the permanent war, a one that lends support only to the least of the least developed countries but only through the UN’s millennium development goals, the best-known and most effective foreign intervention project ever.
The United Nations Millennium Declaration, marked in September 2000, comprising of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which aim for “eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and Malaria, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development”, all by the deadline of 2015 – frames an outline consented to by all the world’s nations and all the world’s driving humanitarian foundations. They have stirred uncommon endeavors to address the issues of the world’s poorest. The UN is likewise living up to expectations with governments, civil society and different accomplices to expand on the energy produced by the MDGs and go ahead with an aspiring post-2015 development agenda.
The UN’s 193 countries at the 2015 General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters are expected to sign off on the Sustainable Development Goals, comprising 17 goals, with 169 targets, which are hoped to provide a framework to combat poverty, climate change, inequality and hunger. Seven months of negotiations have produced a document: Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
31. Embargo against Cuba
Lift Embargo against Cuba, ending the 50-year exclusion of Cuba from the Organization of American States, by scraping the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1962. The folly of this failed policy reminds us of the sensible road not taken: “For the thing we should never do in dealing with revolutionary countries, in which the world abounds, is to push them behind an iron curtain raised by ourselves. On the contrary, even when they have been seduced and subverted and are drawn across the line, the right thing to do is to keep the way open for their return.” Walter Lippmann, July 1959.
32. Guantanamo Bay
Set up in January 2002 inside of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, “Gitmo” broadly houses many detainees whom U.S. authorities are unwilling to transfer them to the U.S. to stand trial because of Republican congressional refusal and whom have likewise been regarded unsuited for extradition or discharge.
It’s time to close down Guantanamo Bay prison, a pitiful re-invention of nineteenth century imperial outpost that ought to disgrace liberal Americans’ conscience: the foreign terror suspects subjected to beatings, waterboarding and rectal feeding, among other brutal acts of violence, the refusal of internationally observed lawful techniques, the repetitive suicides and hunger strikes conceived of despondency.
33. Fair elections
Legitimize minor parties (Green, Socialist, and so on) to keep running unhindered in every one of the 50 states. In many states, for a party’s contender to win in a contest, he/she must pick up a backing proportional to certain rate of voters all together for the party to continue to be poll qualified in the entire state. Case in point, in all states, major parties are yielded access to the ballot, awarded on a victor take-all basis, meaning a candidate who comes in second or third in a particular state does not win a single electoral vote regardless of his percentage of the popular vote. Most others, however, don’t even permit minor parties to keep running in primaries that all that much determine the result. Thus, minor group hopefuls in these states can run just in general elections, if any.
The major parties have been hostile to the minor parties since mid 1800s, who have built a labyrinth of cumbersome regulations and systems that make it troublesome for minor parties and independent contenders to pick up a spot on the general race poll. “What happens is third parties act as a gadfly,” said Sean Wilentz, director of the American Studies program at Princeton University. “There’ll be an issue that’s being neglected or that is being purposely excluded from national debate because neither party wants to face the political criticism that it would bring. A classic example was slavery.”
No one else knows this electoral system better than Ralph Nader, the perennial third party candidate and the ultimate gadfly, who was tossed into the political wilderness to which he has been exiled, whose comments remain moving in describing the realities of the corporate state:“The gates are controlled by two parties indentured to the same commercial interests,” Nader said. “If you don’t go through those gates, if you do what [Ross] Perot did, … you [might] get 19 million votes [but] not one electoral vote. If you do not get electoral votes you don’t come close. And even if you do get electoral votes you are up against a winner-take-all. This means if you lose you don’t build for the future as you would with proportional representation. The system is a locked-out system. It is brilliantly devised. It is pruned to perfect a two-party duopoly.”
Most voters though continue to believe that third parties are needed. In a Gallup survey in September 24, 2014, a lion’s share of U.S. adults, 58%, say a third political party is needed in light of the fact that the Republican and Democratic gatherings “do such a poor job” representing the American voters. These views are minimally changed from a year ago’s high. Since 2007, a majority has ordinarily called for an outsider party. (“It’s silly that a country that prides itself on choice allows only two.”, by Bill Maher)
34. Venezuela’s self-determination
Lift sanctions against Venezuela. This is the time to end the discredited, interventionist strategies and fashion relations taking into account regard for human rights and the universal privilege to self-determination with all Latin American states.
The whole region has collectively rejected Obama’s Executive Order issued 9 March 2015, pronouncing Venezuela strangely “an unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security and foreign policy”, and has approached the US president to revoke his declaration. Additionally, Venezuela has been a strategic economic partner as America imports 733 thousand barrels of unrefined petroleum from Venezuela a day, or 10.4 percent of all oil imports.
35. Minimum wages
Raise the federal minimum wage, so that it reaches $15/hour, while afterwards indexing it to inflation rate, a direct and immediate benefit to the poor working class. According to a White House statement, raising the government’s lowest pay permitted by law would not just advantage more than 28 million workers the nation over, but also 19 million wage-earners from a wide range of family units.
Congressional Republicans deny even to permit the minimum pay raise vote in the House. Be that as it may, but Americans are clear on this issue. A Pew Research Center survey in January 2014 reported that almost three-fourths of adults (73 percent) bolster raising the lowest pay permitted by law, including a greater part of Republicans.
36. Patriot Act
Repeal USA Freedom Act before its expiry in 2019. This act explicitly reintroduces the illegal bulk collection programs involving the personal data as were authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. (“Patriot Act” for “Are You Scared Enough to Let Me Look at All of Your Phone Records Act,” – Jon Stewart).
Forty-five days after 9/11, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act without understanding it. This new law should shield you from terrorism, yet it has truly abandoned you unprotected against lawless government agents. The Patriot Act contains various infringements of the Fourth Amendment. It gives government representatives tremendous new powers that have been abused to examine guiltless Americans.
This abuse of power violates the Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. It reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
37. A progressive budget
Take more seriously the ‘People’s Budget’ for Fiscal Year 2016 presented by Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The essential goal of the People’s Budget is steady with the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ FY2015 spending plan option: Use expansionary monetary approach to straightforwardly address the country’s most squeezing financial difficulties and focus on a fast and strong come-back to full recovery. The financial backing was produced from the proof based conclusion that the present monetary test of joblessness results from a substantial interest shortage—the aftereffect of the Great Recession and its outcome—and that the discouraged condition of financial action is to a great extent in charge of expanded spending plan shortfalls and the late ascent out in the public debt.
38. National security
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” —James Madison, Political Observations, 1795.
“Deficits don’t matter,” Republican Vice President Richard Cheney once famously professed. Four years ago a highly placed government official corrected Mr. Cheney in a different and crucial context. He said, “I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt…” It was not some ultraliberal financial specialist talking: it was Admiral Mike Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) said on “Morning Joe” in 2013 that “$100 billion could be cut.” Ron Paul (R-Ky) says that less than half the defense budget is for actual defense, the other half is for militarism overseas.
And Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense in both the Bush and Obama Administrations, asked, speaking on May 10, 2010, that, “Does the number of warships we have or are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies or partners? Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a five-star general and the WW II supreme commander, pioneered in this discourse on April 16, 1953, by delivering his famous speech weeks into his administration. As his time in office advanced, so did the blooming of the military/industrial complex:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone..It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… The military-industrial complex has a total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—[that] is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government…The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities”.
If the massive defense budget, more than $1 trillion on national security this year, consisting of baseline budget plus “overseas contingency” of $601 billion in 2015, down from $610 billion spent in 2014, and $20 billion in the Department of Energy budget for nuclear weapons, nearly $200 billion for military pensions and Department of Veterans Affairs costs, and other expenses, an obscene waste of resources, which has to be spent, a strong national security can be better achieved by investing military and homeland security spending publicly in America only.
Instead, the current spending priorities are geared towards subsidizing much of the defense budgets of many countries, called allies, actually making up 2/3s of the NATO’s entire defense budget, in spite of the vicinity of an extra 27 nations in the association, and then maintaining more than 4,000 bases inside the U.S. and 1,000 overseas, lodging 255,000 men and ladies in uniform: 65,000 positioned in Europe, 80,000 in East Asia and Japan, 5,000 in North Africa, the rest scattered in 140 nations. The recurring yearly fixed expense of every base ranges from $50 million to $200 million, as per a RAND Corporation study; at bottom $36.85 billion for each year. What’s more, positioning military personnel abroad is significantly more expensive than it is at home: RAND says from $10,000 to $40,000 more every year, per individual. Another $2.55 billion.
All these bases are serving several purposes, mainly employment and training for command and obedience, which could all be done at home at a lower cost, but, for the interests of the military-industrial complex, who are bristling with their 655 lobbyists employed by the contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, many of which pay no taxes, the main purpose is obviously that of leveraging and showcasing of all these bases as convenient showrooms for U.S. military products. But just like in other Western powers, and just like any other local manufacturing industry, the non-nuclear arms industry should set up their own show-rooms everywhere without such massive government subsidies.
The political elites, Democrat or Republican, serve the demands of military-industrial complex corporations and empire. The military machine holds well the political and economic arenas hostage, and can mount daily effective public opinion campaign, scripted like a Walt Disney movie. The Pentagon spends $4.7 billion a year and has somewhere in the range of 27,000 employees who deal with enrollment, promoting, psychological operations and advertising, as indicated by a 2009 report by The Associated Press.
For better long-lasting results, some of that wealth could be funneled into science research, technology industries, climate change mitigation, the medical world, or education.
Foreign policy based on pursuing of virtual military domination and the cultivating of corporate consumer markets worldwide is guaranteed to breed more antipathy and resentment that foster more conflict over time. (“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations”, David Friedman).
39. Preventing Financial crisis
Restore and revamp Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that kept business banks from exchanging securities utilizing their customers’ accounts whose annulment in 1999 is accepted to have played major role in the 2008 economic crisis that left millions of Americans unemployed and vastly devalued their largest assets. The method of reasoning for looking for the separation was the irreconcilable situation that happens when banks were making profits in both business and venture investments, and the propensity of such banks to participate in unnecessarily risky activities. Accordingly, business banks wound up being loaded with billions of dollars in losses because of the over the top introduction of their venture keeping money arms to subsidiaries and securities that were attached to U.S. home industry. At the point when the housing industry crashed, it drove into enormous losses for the banking division amid the 2008-2010 recession that required the $800 billion bailouts.
Having learned from this experience, Sen Elizabeth Warren introduced 21st Century Glass Steagall in 2013 that restores the separation wall between the financial markets and investment markets, specifically, “To reduce risks to the financial system by limiting banks’ ability to engage in certain risky activities and limiting conflicts of interest, to reinstate certain Glass-Steagall Act protections that were repealed by the Gramm-LeachBliley Act, and for other purposes.”
40. Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act- ‘Anti-Golden Parachutes’ act
Adopt the legislation, H.R.3065 – 114th Congress (2015-2016), introduced by U.S. Congressperson Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that would ban incoming government appointees from taking rewards like bonuses, called golden parachutes, from their previous private sector employers and lobbying groups. In limiting conflicts of interest, it would likewise require senior government controllers to recuse themselves from any work that would especially privilege any employer or client they had in the two years prior to joining the administration.
41. Close the Revolving Door Act
Pass the bill, Close the Revolving Door Act (S.2417 113th, 2014) introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Al Franken (D-MN) to boycott the unbelievable routine of previous individuals from Congress trading in for spendable dough as large cash lobbyists. It builds punishments for breaking the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995; broadens the restriction on congressional staff getting to be lobbyists, from one and only year to six and gives public in general better online access to data about who lobbies Congress.
42. Student loans
Allow Student Loan Refinancing For All Students to avail themselves of lower and fixed interest rates. Warren Bill. (Please sign petition). Public support for this is quite high as shown in a November 2014, NBC/Wall Street Journal survey reported that 82 percent of Americans support giving access to lower expense student loans and giving more opportunity to the individuals who are paying off their student advance debt.
With student loan debt in this nation standing at $1.16 trillion, affecting 40 million students, and all the more alarmingly, the normal student debt for school graduates in the class of 2014 is $33,000; and that as the aggregate obligation owed in student credits keeps on rising, their loan renegotiating the terms is turning into an undeniably viable alternative for graduates; renegotiating student debt can bode well. With interest rates still close to historic lows, renegotiating student debt into lower and fixed rates is highly beneficial in the repayment of the loans and to reduce the rising incidence of defaults that are mostly concentrated amongst those who attended for-profit and community colleges.
The possibilities are limitless in considering all ideas, including these progressive ideas, in achieving a more perfect democracy.
This manifesto is for starting a debate that is overdue on how to revert back from elite-led republicanism into a democratic state that the founders had in mind and generations of US soldiers were thinking about when they went to war. Then all kinds of things will become possible. As voters and taxpayers, we deserve better than this impasse and defeat, and it is time to get back in touch with our progressive roots.
“On issue after issue, the polls and these are not snapshot polls; these are polls over a consistent period of time show that most Americans share what one could call core liberal or progressive values: investment in health care and education over tax cuts; fair trade over free trade; corporate accountability over deregulation; environmental protection over laissez-faire policies; defending Social Security and Medicare over privatizing them; raising the minimum wage over eliminating it. The country prefers progressive alternatives to the failed policies of the conservative right”. – Katrina vanden Heuvel.
“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Frederick Douglass’s famous statement in 1857.
“Empires are restless organisms. They must constantly renew themselves; should an empire start leaking energy, it will die.” – Gore Vidal.
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” – Henry David Thoreau.
“Civil disobedience, which will entail hardship and suffering, which will be long and difficult, which at its core means self-sacrifice, is the only mechanism left.” Chris Hedges.
“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
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