Take A Stand Against Corporate Domination
It's no surprise that Congress voted to bail out the banks while working class people are losing their homes and their jobs. The corporations win and the people lose on every issue.
Jobs and the Economy
We need a stimulus bill which puts people to work building housing, fixing schools and hospitals, and creating, expanding, and improving public transportation systems. We need to clean up toxic sites, restore habitats, and install rooftop solar energy systems. We can fund this by taxing rich people and corporate profits.
The rich and their corporations have too much power. The marginal tax rate on very high incomes was over 90% under Eisenhower. It has been going down steadily ever since. Capital gains taxes have been reduced since the Clinton administration. Now jobs are disappearing. Yet we are told that taxing the rich will hurt us. What a scam!
The truth is that the wealthy do not invest in production of things that we need . They just seek to accumulate more wealth by investing in paper stocks and in manipulating market conditions. The result has been variety of bursting bubbles, most recently the mortgage crisis.
If the rich who control the wealth and resources of the country and the world cannot sustain the economy, it is time for the rest of us, who do the work and pay the consequences, to take charge.
Housing for People, not for Profit
Stop evictions and foreclosures.
Under our market driven system, housing is built by real estate developers to be sold for a profit. Because everyone needs a place to live, demand is high and the price of housing goes up faster than wages and the average rate of inflation.
The rapidly increasing cost of housing has made it an attractive investment. Speculators buy up not only the buildings, but the mortgages of home buyers. Manipulation of the home loan market by financial institutions caused the bubble to burst, and now ordinary homeowners and tenants face foreclosure and eviction.
We need homes which are part of a community in which we work, go to school, shop, and enjoy recreation. We should not be pushed out of town by high rents and home prices. We should not face homelessness because the very wealthy who control the economic system would rather board up homes than make them affordable.
We will not get what we need until we join together. We can build a movement to change our economic system from one which promotes profits for a few to one which ensures the well-being of all.
We need a system which covers all of us. Socialized medicine, like the British system, or single payer, as in Canada or variations in France, Australia, and Germany provide effective health care for everyone in those countries. The cost is lower and outcomes better than the insurance and pharmaceutical company controlled situation here.
The only member of the U.S. Senate to support single payer health care was an independent, Bernie Sanders, of Vermont. Our Congress gave us a costly plan which requires everyone to buy private insurance.
Women's Reproductive Freedom
Abortion should always be legal. It should be the decision of the pregnant woman. Current policy restricts a woman's right to choose abortion instead of bearing an unwanted child. The latest health care bill removed abortion services from any health insurance policy that receives public funding. The Hyde amendment does not allow abortion under Medicaid or military health plans. I would take action to end these restrictions.
Now even birth control is under attack in Congress. Women should not be restricted from or vilified for enjoying their own sexuality.
Birth control, abortion, and other women's reproductive health services should be included in a free national health care system.
On the environment
We need an environmental policy with teeth. It is unconscionable that our children suffer increasing rates of asthma from breathing air with high levels of particulates, and that many drink water polluted with runoff from chemical fertilizers and other poisons.
We must also protect our forests, wetlands, and other natural habitats from wanton destruction in the name of development.
The threat of global climate change is real. Our California senators want to solve the problem with a market based "cap and trade" system, even though that scheme has already failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Congress must set strict limits with enforced penalties.
We should promote the production of clean, renewable energy. But we must reduce our energy consumption, whatever the source, by building infill housing and developing more efficient and user-friendly public transportation.
Crossing the border to work or escape persecution should not be considered a criminal offense. The real culprits are the corporations which move jobs to wherever they can pay the lowest wages and the politicians who negotiate and vote for trade agreements like NAFTA which have devastated the economies of other countries.
Senator Feinstein has long promoted increased border enforcement, even advocating leniency for rogue agents who shoot first and ask questions later. We must not buy the lie that the undocumented are the enemy. They are our fellow workers, and allies in our fight against big business.
The U.S. occupation of Iraq is officially over, but thousands of U.S. troops remain there. Many more are based in Kuwait and other corporate-friendly monarchies in the region. The war and occupation in Afghanistan continues, with one soldier's unauthorized massacre of civilians in Kandahar just the latest atrocity. And now the capitalist politicians are recycling the same hyped-up fear-mongering they used to justify invading Iraq to drum up public support for yet another military adventure in Iran. These wars and occupations do not make workers in the U.S. safer or the lives of workers in those countries better; they only serve to protect corporate profits at the expense of workers there and here. Those operations will end when our representatives stop voting to fund them.
The State of Israel has been engaged in a campaign of abuse and domination against the Palestinian people. It is now threatening to bomb Iran.
Israel carries out these policies because the United States allows it to. The U.S. government gives Israel billions of dollars every year in money and military hardware, more than any other country.
The U.S. gives Israel diplomatic cover, providing an automatic veto in the UN Security Council against any resolution that would hold Israel accountable, and going so far as to cut funding for purely charitable UN agencies like UNESCO if they recognize Palestine. Israel acts like a bully in the region because the big bully has their back. And California's Democratic Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, can always be counted on to back Israel no matter what.
The U.S. Government should cut all military aid to Israel, along with every other country. We must insist that Israel comply with UN resolutions, including those that forbid settling on conquered land, and to respect the Palestinian people's human and national rights. And we should join the rest of the world in applying whatever measures are needed to hold Israel's government accountable for its violations of international law.
We need an education system which allows every person to achieve his or her full potential and become part of a cooperative society that is mindful of the needs of all and the health of the planet. Toward this end I support:
An end to the high stakes testing movement that punishes low-income communities and individuals with different learning styles. Replace Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and other slogans with high quality facilities, arts programs, science labs, and well compensated teachers and other education workers who understand human development.
Full federal funding for special education. All children have the right to participate in all school programs to the fullest extent possible. The government mandates policies to achieve this end, but does not pay school districts enough to cover the necessary staff and adaptations.
Remove religion from the schools, including anti-evolution drivel, abstinence-only sex education, and meaningless pledges to flags and deities.
Ban corporations from any influence over schools and curriculum. Abolish corporate charter schools. Don't allow corporations to control university programs, like British Petroleum at U.C. Berkeley.
Free day care for the children of all workers. Free education from pre-school through graduate school and lifelong learning.
Control of local schools by elected boards, parents, teachers, and students. Allow non-citizens to vote in school board and other local elections.