With 15 months until the next U.S. Presidential election, there should be plenty of time to get acquainted with each candidate’s stand on all issues, especially those with some importance. However, history suggests that we will only hear limited topic sound bites, unless we the people push for more. I made a list of some of the major issues for me in determining for whom I will vote. If you would like to add to or comment on the list, please leave a comment or email me at SkeptiSys@gmail.com
In short, this is the list:
1. Prison. United States has the highest per capita prison population in the world, significantly.
2. military. The military budget and activities are shameful.
3. corporate welfare/taxes – money should go back into the society, not to multi billion dollar companies
4. electronic freedoms. Our government, including corporations, are trying to turn the internet into a shopping mall.
5. constitutional right to be free from religious state. Censorship laws, anti-homosexual laws, all unconstitutional.
6. Corporate responsibility. corporations are not people. Laws are conflicting on this, but the supreme court has ruled that corporations are people, which gives them constitutional rights only afforded to persons. But their control over our society needs to be returned to the people.
7. Government subverting our constitutional rights: Democrats were elected in 2006 to remove troops from Iraq, a bloody war-for-profit. Instead they pass laws that make it easier for the Bush administration to spy on Americans, and announce they will not do what is their constitutional authority to do, which is to impeach a president that breaks the law. It is congressional oversight, and these democrats – who are so anti-public programs as to make Nixon seem like a liberal bead flapping hippy, refuse to do their job because they are afraid to lose their corporate sponsors.
8. basic human needs: education, health care, food, etc. How do presidential candidates avoid giving clear plans for that which governments were set up to provide?
These general issues are now the most important to me for the next election, yet it is almost impossible to find a candidate with good plans to fix them. Actually, it is difficult to find a candidate who won’t contribute to the problems. Although Ralph Nader always addressed these issues.
My original intent was to provide more details on each of these subjects, as to why they are so important to me and my country. However, this was much more time consuming than I thought it would be, and I seem to have run out of time for now. So here is some more details on #1, prison population.
1) Prison population. What will you do about the enormous prison population? The most simplistic way to measure how free a country is to take the probability that a citizen will be abducted and locked in a prison cell. By this measure, the United States is the least free country in the world, of 216 (prison rate: 737 per 100,000). And it isn’t close either, the 2nd highest per capita prison population is 17% less than the U.S (French Guiana 630/100,000). All prison population numbers published by http://www.prisonstudies.org/
Also related to this issue is: the increase of secret prisons; attempts to imprison American citizens without trial; and decrease of rights for prisoners. Many states have already passed laws forbidding ex-felons from their constitutional right to vote, at anytime in their life. It is my belief that many people in prison are innocent, supported in part by the frequency of convicted who are exonerated based on DNA testing.
Prisoners also frequently are forced to work for much lower than minimum wage. Has slavery returned to the U.S.? Per Bureau of Justice statistics “at year end 2005 there were 3,145 black male sentenced prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States” http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm
Any candidate that wants my vote will have to provide a plan for reducing the prison population for non-violent offenders.