Our Priority Issues
- End the Occupation, Redirect Funding
All U.S. troops and military contractors must be safely withdrawn from Iraq now with war funding redirected toward social needs at home, and humanitarian and reconstruction aid to the Iraqi people. Under our Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse to cut off funding that prolongs the occupation of Iraq. The disastrous war in Iraq must not be extended into an even more disastrous attack on Iran.
U.S. foreign policy must be fact-based, committed to international law and respect for the sovereignty of other nations, and aimed at intelligently countering real threats, such as weapons proliferation and transnational terrorism. Instead of producing more advanced nuclear warheads and promoting weapons into space and building missile shields, U.S. policy should lead by example in non-proliferation by disarming our own nuclear stockpiles. Reducing our nuclear weapons will facilitate negotiations with major powers like Russia and new nuclear countries like Iran. U.S. policy must be even-handed in the Middle East, aimed at justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. U.S. foreign policy must shift from reckless unilateralism toward cooperation and diplomacy with people of other countries knowing us more by our helping hand than our slugging arm.
- Health Care for All
It is immoral for a country as wealthy as ours to have 47 million people with no healthcare coverage, and millions more with inadequate, overly expensive coverage. Despite spending twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare, our system performs poorly because the private U. S. insurance bureaucracy soaks up nearly one-third of all healthcare money in waste, profits, paperwork and advertising. Poor health and poor healthcare drag down the economy and job creation; healthcare expenses are a factor in half of all personal bankruptcies. Nonprofit national health insurance Enhanced Medicare for All could provide topnotch universal coverage by negotiating drug and treatment costs, while recouping $300 billion in administrative savings currently wasted in private insurance bureaucracy. This kind of cost-effective single-payer system is publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare.
- Economic Justice
The Bush Administrations enormous tax breaks for the wealthy must be rolled back so that the richest 1 percent of our population (with yearly incomes averaging $1.3 million) will not pocket $300 billion over the next few years. Tax burdens on the middle class can be eased if the wealthy pay their share. Thirty seven million people (equivalent to the population of California) are living in poverty in the U.S. today. These immoral levels of poverty, which disproportionately impact communities of color and women, can be significantly reduced through concerted effort including a living wage for all workers, expanded earned income tax credits, childcare assistance and housing vouchers. The federal government must fulfill its promise of resources to Hurricane Katrina survivors so they can return to rebuild their communities in the Gulf Coast.
- Clean, Fair, Transparent Elections
The U.S. election system is in crisis, with voters facing political and racial obstacles in casting votes and in getting their votes counted. Big money and entrenched power deform the political process, with incumbents unfairly insulated by district gerrymandering and rules obstructing independent candidates and parties. We need comprehensive campaign finance reform at the state and national level, including Clean Money public financing of the public's elections, plus free TV/radio time for candidates. We need a ban on touch-screen (DRE) voting machines for counting votes, paper ballots as the official records for deriving voter intent, and rigorous mandatory audits of elections. We must end racially-biased disenfranchisement of felons who've served their time, and initiate reforms like "Instant Runoff"/proportional voting, which assure more accurate and broader representation than winner-take-all elections.
- Stop Global Warming
No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming the triumph of greed and corporate power over the public good, and the near-sighted focus on the short-term over the welfare of future generations. But the U.S. public is ready to take action to save the planet and protect our remaining wild places from further degradation in the pursuit of oil. We need elected leaders who will act boldly in reducing our country's oil dependence and use of fossil fuels. This can be done by raising auto fuel economy and imposing mandatory caps on carbon pollution while investing in public transportation, energy conservation technologies and alternative energy development. (Such investments create good-paying jobs.)
- Reproductive Freedom/Civil Rights and Liberties
A womans reproductive freedom, including the right-to-choose, is essential to personal privacy and gender equality. Equal rights and equal opportunity must be a guiding principle of society, especially in view of historic and ongoing discrimination against women and racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. Affirmative action in employment and education is an important tool for racial and gender equality. Lesbians and gays must be afforded equality, including in marriage and military service. The Bush administration has exploited the 9/11 tragedy to constrict precious Constitutional rights of privacy, speech and due process. These rights must be restored. Drug policy should emphasize treatment over criminalization not a drug war that erodes Constitutional freedoms, privacy and law enforcement resources. The prison-industrial complex in which economic interests profit from incarceration must be shrunk and capital punishment, with its racial and class biases, must be abolished
- Media Reform
A half-dozen media conglomerates now sit on the windpipe of the First Amendment, having seized the publics broadcast airwaves; these companies helped facilitate the Iraq War. Giant phone and cable TV companies threaten to transform the Internet from a free forum fostering citizen action to a corporate-dominated medium fostering profiteering. The Internet can be saved by legislating Net Neutrality. Regulation and anti-trust enforcement can break up media monopolies to diversify broadcasting and expand minority and nonprofit ownership. Our country needs well-funded, genuinely independent public broadcasting to replace the current corrupt system of corporate underwriting and politicized White House control. Government policy should promote nonprofit and public access outlets, along with high-speed community Internet for all.
Protecting the right of workers to form and join unions in the U.S. is essential to preserving the middle class, as is federal investment in job creation, such as the Apollo Alliance for renewable energy, and investment in wireless Internet networks. We need fair trade deals with other countries that protect workers' rights and the environment not wage-reducing "free trade" agreements that protect only corporate rights to globally exploit unprotected labor. We need to begin by canceling NAFTA. Finally, we need humane and comprehensive immigration reform, which insures a fair attainable path to citizenship and the rights of undocumented workers in the workplace and affirms the dignity and integrity of immigrant families.