Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Join the Movement! Liberty League Manifesto

Reading about the origins and history of the Tea Party movement, it is evident why this reactionary, libertarian movement had such success, in its own terms and was able to paralyze the Obama Presidency.

Our Flag

Their Flag

There were thousands of people involved, organized only loosely, but marketed brilliantly, across the country and meeting locally.

The idea of the movement was not a centrally controlled ideology, like the communists of yore, but a decentralized faith in certain ideas--low taxes, low to no government.  It was animated by the government's decision to rescue the economy and bail out various irresponsible financial institutions which would pretty clearly have taken the entire American (and world) economy down with them as they collapsed.

Anyone who saw "The Big Short" or read the book knows how richly the credit rating corporations (Moody and Standard and Poors) deserved to die, along with some of Lehman Brothers, Saloman Brothers type institutions. Nobody went to jail, which is likely one reason Mr. Trump won in 2016. People were angry and President Obama failed to punish enough people.  It was like Gerald Ford pardoning Nixon--but this time people were not simply morally outraged--they had suffered and wanted revenge.

Now we need a movement from the other side, from the left.
Here is the manifesto, our shared ideas and goals:

1. We need a government run health insurance plan: Medicare for All, which anyone who wants it can sign on for. If commercial insurance companies can offer a better deal, go for it, but for those citizens who prefer it, the government will put you on Medicare.

2.Diversity, ethnic, religious and racial is good.  We think we are stronger, less boring and more interesting and vigorous as a result of those striving immigrants who invigorate our nation. This does not mean we do not believe in borders or we intend to offer immigrants a free ride (which, by and large, they do not ask for.) We have two problems here: A/ Those illegal immigrants who are already here.  B/ Immigrants of the future who wish to come here. We cannot possibly absorb a billion Indians or Chinese so we must limit the numbers, but we'll do this not by religion or even country of origin or even by the presence of family in the United States but by virtue of what the immigrant has to offer in the future or has demonstrated in the past. So a hard working Mexican who has helped build houses or skyscrapers for 30 years without papers has earned his citizenship.  We do not need rapists, violent criminals or even dependent unemployable immigrants.

3. Nobody should be harassed by the government or by commercial entities or by fellow citizens for things about themselves they cannot change if they wanted to--race, or sexual orientation. That doesn't mean we will pay for hormone or surgical treatment for sexual change therapy, but we will not allow these people to be harassed.

4. Abortion should be kept legal, but we reject infanticide. Where you draw the line is open to discussion.  Ideally, the government or private organizations like Planned Parenthood should be contracted to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Ideally, every 12 year old girl should be fitted with an IUD when she gets her HPV vaccine.

5. Government ought to promote the common good: Medicare and Social Security have been the two best government solutions to the problems of healthcare and support of people who have grown too old to work. These programs should be strengthened. In the case of Social Security its financial security should be guaranteed by taxing incomes beyond the current $118,000 up to $250,000 which will insure its financial health until 2050.

6. Eternal war should be abandoned.  We cannot and ought not be the world's policeman and we should withdraw our bases from Korea, Japan, Europe.  Our military should be a force which can intervene across the globe for short wars but it should not be built for wars of occupation or regimen change.  Laws should be written to foster responsible use of drones which are a cost effective way of projecting power.  The "war on terror" is no more a war than the "war on crime." It is unending and is, in its essence an ongoing police effort. We may need military forces to fight it but we'll need smart policing to sustain it. To that end police forces (like the NYPD) should be as important and well funded as the military.

7. Nuclear proliferation should be discouraged.
8. Climate change may or may not be real. It doesn't matter. We ought to behave as if it is, because economically, it will be a boon to our economy to shift from coal and oil to wind and solar and natural gas. Those coal miners are smart enough to build wind turbines and solar panels.

9. Science is the best way to approach thinking about problems like public health (which includes vaccines) and arguments should be based on evidence rather than fantasized "facts" which serve the purpose of the advocate.

10. Cows and Grass should not have votes:  Our government ought to represent the people who live within the geographic confines of our nation and the Constitution should apply wherever the country has an official residence, i.e. off shore possessions like embassies and Gitmo. To that end, the electoral college should be abandoned and state legislators and United State Congressman should be elected as our United States senators are elected: at large.  Representatives should no longer represent narrow interests of some Iowa county with more cows than people. We can render irrelevant gerrymandering by at large elections. But we ought to go farther, eventually, by considering whether our current state borders are dysfunctional anachronisms and we might think about redrawing our governmental precincts in a way which groups in a more meaningful way, recognizing the rural voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland may have more in common than any of those voters have in common with Cleveland, Philadelphia or Baltimore.

There is the manifesto.
I'm working on the flag, but the image on top will be the main thing, maybe with a scarlet background. I'm working on that.

We need help. As Arlo Guthrie noted, movements can get started without leaders.

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