This is a comment I put up on another blog, “Soapbox”, in Gristmill, part of the Grist site with environmental news and comment. I originally put it up as a response to a post by Terry Tamminen, former head of Cal EPA until Governor Schwarzenegger found him too environmental for his taste (or those of his campaign contributors). Here’s a link to that post: http://www.grist.org/comments/soapbox/2007/02/16/tamminen/index.html?source=weekly
My platform – close to the ground
- I agree with Terry. Apologize to the Iraqi people, commit to US reparations, and start trying to extricate this country from being the world’s policeman (and a rather brutal one at that). Along those lines, endorse a UN sponsored regional peace conference to resolve the situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. (Some suggested proposals – a) a federated Republic of Iraq, with oil revenues distributed among the various provinces based solely on their population size; b) regional disarmament [including EVERYONE, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.], coupled to a promise that all US [and Western European and other outside countries] forces will be permanently withdrawn from the entire region.)
- Totally revise US foreign policy as follows: a) no more military aid to ANYONE; b) humanitarian and development aid to countries based on need through UN agencies, with no US strings attached; c) a new US policy favoring allowing every country the right of self-determination, based on popular plebescite, on what kind of government it wants; d) no more US interference with any country’s internal affairs; e) a commitment to take international disputes to the UN, rather than attempt unilateral action; f) agree to have the US participate in the World Court; g) have the US ratify the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Announce a policy of phased demilitarization of the country. Included in that would be the unilateral reduction in the size of the U.S. military to make it comparable to those of other major world powers. Follow that up with a proposal for phased reductions, through internationally supervised treaties, in all countries’ military forced. Unilateral action by the U.S. to reduce nuclear stockpiles to a size comparable to that of Russian stockpiles, followed by phased and policed reductions in the stockpiles of all nuclear powers.
- Establish a national single-payer healthcare system, modeled loosely after the Canadian system.
- Establish public financing for all federal elections, along the lines of the systems already put in place in Maine and Arizona. Propose a constitutional amendment allowing reasonable limitations on “independent” campaign expenditures in elections and providing for a one week campaign-free “cooling off” period just prior to the election. Eliminate the Electoral College and replace it by a national popular vote for the presidency.
- Make combatting global warming the number one national priority. That includes: a) establishing new gas mileage standards for all vehicles, with those standards to be ratchetted up on an annual basis; b) establish a national institute of climate and energy research, with all research coming out of the institute freely available in the public domain. Major research areas would include: alternative power sources, with an emphasis on renewable carbon-free sources, study of ways of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, etc.; c) establish a national carbon tax, with the proceeds to be used both to fund energy research and to assist in decreasing the societal disruption caused by reducing energy use
- Establish a National Institute of Environmental Research to study how American society is impacting the environment, how the US can have a smaller “environmental footprint” on the world, and what can be done to undo some of the environmental damage that has already been done.
- Agree to undo NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements, and replace them by trade agreements that require participating countries to respect uniform environmental, labor, and human rights standards.
I think that’s enough for four years’ worth. I’m sure I could come up with some other ideas for a second term.