Monday, December 2, 2013

2014 Platform: Priorities and Issues

It is time we insisted we have a government that is of the people and for the people for a change. I am calling for a 21st century economy and 21st century social values that respect the rights and lives of all citizens, not just those of a narrow religious view or the largest corporate donors.


Administrative Priorities
(If Elected I Pledge to Work on Legislation to Advance These Issues)

1. Reshape Immigration Policies to a) provide safe, controlled ports of entry for undocumented immigrants; b) coordinate the identification and registration of foreign nationals already in the country so they may be documented and taxed; & c) strengthen existing rules regarding the exploitation of undocumented workers, both immigrant and national.
2. Investigate Wall Street fraud and bank/mortgage fraud which created so much misery in our country, along with the regulators who were supposed to protect us from those folks. Any houses not currently occupied should be returned to their rightful owners. Call for reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, tighter regulation of the derivatives market and greater executive accountability for corporate abuses.  
3. End cannabis prohibition, establish a taxation system for its production and sale, Pardon and rehabilitate non-violent prisoners in jail for possession. Promote medical research.
4. Vastly Increase Education Spending for smaller class sizes, improved school infrastructure, increased arts ed and special services.
5. Create TVA-style Solar and Wind Power generating networks to reduce dependence on petroleum/gas/coal-based technologies.
6. Federal Campaign Finance Reform to eliminate corporate funding of candidates and establish public funding for all elections. In addition, I would call for a federal challenge to recent state-level voter suppression laws.
7. Develop a program for the government acquisitions of all private/for-profit correctional facilities at the national level and offer incentives for state compliance as well. Review all government contracts that privatize government services to evaluate ways to return those jobs to the public sector.
8. Revamp highway and internet infrastructures to improve equality of access for all Americans and get America building again.
9. Review  & Revive previously successful government programs already cut as “tax-savings measures” to evaluate for reviving.
10. Federally end gender-inequality, including instating full marriage and adoption rights for LGBT 

On The Issues

We need to get out of the business of ruining other countries for business interests. Our role in Afghanistan is poorly defined and counter-productive. It squanders cash and good will, aids Karzai narcotics trafficking, the Uni-Cal pipeline and fattens defense contractors while violating basic American values. I call for a timetable for withdrawal from this quagmire and an investigation into the profiteers who have bilked our government’s good will for billions.

While I support the idea of balancing the federal budget, I am not going to wreck good programs for the sake of arbitrary, largely symbolic cuts in spending. For example when I call for a reduction of defense spending, I am not calling for a reduction of our military personnel; but a reduction in the monies paid to military contractors for over-priced, often unnecessary weapons systems.
I am also calling for a return to sensible taxation. The GOP Slash & Burn budgetary practices of the past two decades have destroyed or badly damaged many of our country’s most important functions: safeguarding our resources, wallets and fellow workers from abusive business practices; protecting the public from all enemies both foreign and domestic; and creating an infrastructure to aid all Americans in pursuing our life, liberty & happiness; and perpetuating the freedoms. These are the main goals of the government and we will only get the quality of government we are willing to pay for. Right now our government works best for its wealthiest. I say it’s time they paid their fair share. It’s time we stopped paying for their tax cuts off of the back of the public.
While supporting the idea of balancing a budget, solving the current financial crisis is a first priority and it requires a Keynesian New Deal public sector infusion of gov't spending through infrastructure jobs, not further austerity to further dampen consumer spending. Social investment and robust consumer spending and restored confidence due to improved quality of life will help pay down the debt the right way. It is time to improve our way into the 21st century and build our better America now.

Campaign Finance:
I support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions, and call for a nation-wide "clean elections"-style program for all state and federal elections as a way to get money out of politics and get the focus of elections onto the public and not on a money chase. In fact, one of my campaign issues is to say that if corporations are privileged with citizenship rights; then they should be subject to citizenship spending limits in elections.

Cannabis (Marijuana):
The 80 year “War on Drugs” has been a catastrophic failure, a horrific social and economic injustice and must be brought to an immediate halt. Cannabis has a 7000 year documented history of safe positive recreational and medicinal use and the prohibition we have suffered under has only enriched the criminals and the jailers. A properly operated and regulated cannabis market can dramatically reshape consumer spending, yielding billions in state and federal revenues. And, the return of the hemp market to the US can be an stimulus to our struggling agri-industry as well. Legalization will cripple drug cartel influence and help reduce our border violence. It will also go a long way towards improving the attitudes of millions of Americans when they stop having to fear their government sees them only as criminals. It is time to admit our mistakes, end the war on Americans.
Capital Punishment & Corrections:
I do NOT support capital punishment and oppose the prevailing punitive trends that perpetuate as many social problems as they aim to solve. Our criminal justice system is a shambles and has led to our country veering towards becoming a prison state. Our economic imbalances lead to unjust imprisonments and fuel the oppression of the poor and minorities. We must do better. I want a review of all death-row cases w pending DNA evidence and a suspension of the expansion of the private prison industry. Further I call for the full restoration of all former prisoners’ citizenship rights (including voting) once they have served their time. In conjunction with my efforts on cannabis reform, I also call for a review of all federal cannabis possession cases and pardons or reductions of sentences for all non-violent convictions.
Planned families are happier, healthier & more stable and impose fewer burdens on society over time. Modern medicine gives women the choice to decide their destiny. I strongly support a woman’s access to family planning measures of all kinds and resent the Pro-"Life" movement’s push to erode Roe V Wade as an encroachment on our national First Amendment religious freedom.
I support the concept of federal spending, especially spending on infrastructure projects, as a means of promoting economic growth. Government spending and government workers improve society both through their own consumer spending and by the good work their departments do.
I do not support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation. Tax cuts do not increase revenue, they cut services. Isn't it time we stopped selling our country out to the public impulse to be cheap and greedy? I want my country to be healthy and strong and it needs to be respected and supported, not short-changed at every turn because someone wants to be penny-wise and pound foolish. Can't we start caring about our country again and not just ourselves?
Economic Development in Rural Arizona:
The economy of Western/Rural Arizona is as diverse as the regions this unique Congressional District (AZ-04) encompasses. Along the Colorado, tourism and agribusiness dominate, manufacturing and transportation issues, drive the economy along our interstate corridors. Mining and forest management are major factors in the central highlands; and sustainable urban development and quality of life are primary concerns in the extreme-suburban areas of Maricopa and Pinal Counties and in the booming Yavapai communities of Prescott & Prescott Valley. Each area has its own issues and needs specific support, not a “one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter” quick fix. Promoting tourism and improving our transportation corridors is an approach that provides support throughout the region. Sensible mineral management policies that protect the environment and worker rights provide long-range stability for the people of rural Arizona and can still provide the US w our precious raw materials. Arizona has jeopardized our water quality and public health for far too many years for short-sighted business interests and our Bureau of Land Management routinely mismanages the lands we entrust to it and starve the counties’ PLT funds (Payment in Lieu of Taxes—the way the federal government compensates counties for land the national government holds and takes out of the local tax base) instead of contributing a fair share to local economies.
Our lives in rural AZ will always be rugged. That’s why we came here, but the federal government is supposed to be our friend and becoming a partner in our economic survival would be a great place to start.
NCLB and "Race to the Top" are disasters, outrages and destroying our schools. The powerful are gutting public education and enriching themselves. Time to drop high stakes testing, unfunded mandates, and teaching to the test. Time to invest in arts education, smaller class sizes, critical thinking skills and supportive social services. America is falling apart and can only be saved through education. We have GOT to start seeing education as a service again, and start investing in the quality of education our children deserve. In today’s crushing economy, many of America’s poorest have come to need our public schools for the social services they have come to provide. It is time we stop constantly trying to underfund these services and start honestly attempting to address the struggles our students and their families face.
America has got to move past the petro-chemical model that has dominated our energy strategies and our economy in general for the past 150 yrs or so. I call for intensive support of alternative energy sources on the consumer and on the industrial level and hope we can put a stop to endangering the American public for the profit of our oil & coal moguls. I do not support continuing our national subsidies to the oil and gas industries. I further do not support lowering our protections from the slipshod predatory practices of energy companies. Diablo Canyon, Hinckley, CA, Love Canal, Times Beach, Exxon Valdez, Deep Water Horizon, these are real events, real cases where America has suffered because company errors, neglect, greed, or deceit. We need more protection, not less.
Human activity is contributing to climate change. We have seriously devastated the planet’s climate and bio-systems and MUST address this runaway pollution problem before we imperil the whole planet. I support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, federal funded research for alternative energy applications and pollution mitigation measures. I do not support indulging the Right’s War on Science. Do we still have to go through this? I would rather talk reality than oil company propaganda.
I am opposed to making gun safety an issue in my campaign. That said, as a Christian, I no longer own guns myself. I support gun rights, but believe in the "a well regulated militia" part of the 2nd Amendment as well. I don't want 4 year-olds with bazookas, do you? All men are not angels. Some folks are criminals, some are fools, some folks are nuts. Criminals, fools and nuts with guns kill people. Let's be reasonable.
Health Care:
Flawed or not, I support improving, not repealing, the 2010 Affordable Care Act. I avidly call for single payer/universal health care for my long-term goal. But in the here and now, as long as we exist in a outdated, over-priced for-profit healthcare model, people will need health insurance to pay for their outrageously priced, comparatively sub-standard medical care in America. In some cases that means that some individuals will have to be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. And it further means that we need strong safeguards to protect Americans from the heartless abuses of the health insurance industry, who all too often equate success, not with improved quality of care, or the health of the patient, but profits gotten from denial of care.
Of necessity, the ACA has some strong mechanisms in place to ensure participation; but it unfortunately needs those as has been amply demonstrated by the greed-driven HMO practices of the past and the short-sighted health care decisions of many Americans. Thus the mandate. The American public ends up having to pay the health care costs of those who refuse to purchase health insurance when they are faced w catastrophic injury or illness anyway. The ACA’s mandate reduces the burden on the rest of us by guaranteeing more Americans participate. We have to buy all sorts of things that are good for us under penalty of law. Parents must feed and clothe their children under penalty of law. Drivers must buy IDs, insurance, safe cars, we all pay taxes, etc. So that's all I have to say about that angle.
However, I further want to note that gutting the ACA instantly hurts tens of millions of Americans. The GOP doesn't care about that. They're after a talking point to sway the greedy and uninformed. I believe the right’s battle over the central philosophy behind the ACA is their greatest shame: to insist that a government is not responsible to ensure, protect and promote the quality of life of its citizens is to harbor a cruel vision of our country. It is not Christian and borders on Un-American. When they cry they don’t want a country that cares for its people, I wonder what it is they do want? Ultimately I want universal health care, but the ACA is a key step in that direction.
American Immigration policies are an outrage and one of the most frustrating human rights embarrassments in America today. Our country has long made a shameful practice of exploiting our immigrant population from the indentured servants of colonial times, the Irish, the Asians, and Southern and the Eastern Europeans of a century ago, right up to today’s demonization of Hispanic immigrants and our government’s blind eye to the creation of an invisible slave-class: the undocumented immigrant, who is exploited by small businesses and multi-national corporations alike. I reject our administration’s policies and practices by and large and hold that the recently scuttled “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” was not the change we need.
That said, I do NOT support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship, or the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police. And I do support allowing DREAMers, undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin. Our immigration laws create injustice for both the documented and the undocumented immigrant alike. They perpetuate a second class underground human being and a culture of fear, racism and disrespect, and need to be reformed. People who are already in the US need to be brought into the system. Talented and or well-off immigrants need to not be penalized due to government ineptitude. Economic refugees need a path to immigration legally, not a path through the desert. If you want to stop illegal immigration, make immigration legal. And the exploitation of American workers, citizens or no, has got to stop.
I support full-citizenship rights for our LGBT community including marriage equality as a minimum expectation for a country that claims to be about liberty and justice for all. Again this is a matter of a violation of my religious freedoms by homophobic theocrats legislating their prejudices on my marriage rights. No one is free while others are oppressed. Our American humanity depends on how we treat all people. Marriage, adoption, health care, family property, the list goes on. Is this really a still a question in America? Why?
National Security:
America can never attain security by threatening the rest of the world into submitting to our will. It is not our freedoms that our enemies hate, it’s our oppressions. We have got to review our priorities in a world where the US sphere of influence is only part of the larger interwoven mosaic. American might was meant for defense. If we made more friends we’d have fewer enemies.
Social Security:
I am so sick of the Right’s attack on Social Security and reject any schemes they have to restructure social security to their own liking, including suggestions that individuals divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts. This is a recipe for disaster and SO predatory it verges on Un-American. This anti-American boondoggle is criminal in intent and needs to be widely discredited. It will only enrich the powerful, impoverish the public, and destroy our entire social service network. Whoever promotes this should be tried for crimes against humanity.

Spending and Taxes:
Spending: Yeses & No’s:
Increase Arts Spending
Decrease Defense Contractor Spending
Greatly Increase Education
Decrease Homeland Security
Maintain International Aid Spending
Greatly Increase Medical Research
Greatly Increase Scientific Research
Maintain United Nations
Increase Social Services

Taxes: Yeses and No’s
Increase Capital Gains Taxes
Maintain Corporate Taxes
Slightly Increase Excise taxes (alcohol)
Slightly Increase Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Maintain Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Maintain Income taxes (low-income families)
Maintain Income taxes (middle-income families)
Increase Income taxes (high-income families)
Increase High-End Inheritance taxes
Maintain Payroll Taxes
Legalized and Tax Cannabis and Cannabis Products,
End Social Security Pay-In Cap for Those Earning Over $105,000
Create the Transaction Fee for Brokers for Electronic Trading
Increase Taxes for Businesses With Offshore Tax Shelters
Enforce White Collar Fines for Tax Cheats
Adjust Taxes for Those Earning Over $250,000 to 35%



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