SkeptiSys

August 18, 2007

Who got next?

Filed under: Uncategorized — skeptisys @ 2:18 pm

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.

2 Comments »

  1. I would add affordable housing. Unscrupulous landlords are on the frontline of the battle against the poor and working class.

    I’ll give you an example from my personal life. Right now, my landlord is trying to order our family out of our apartment so that his son can move in. The lease allows him to do this. But wait, he forced the couple living beneath us out just last year to make room for the same “son”.

    Instead, a yuppie new to the city moved in paying him thousands more annually in rent. So the “son” thing is a ruse, but the leases are written in such a way that if we try
    to prove he’s not acting in good faith in court, we risk having to pay HIS lawyer’s fees as well as our own unless we can find a sympathetic judge.

    Anyway…I think number 6 is the most important thing on your list. I remain appalled by what I do know about the way corporations gained the rights of people through the courts. I’d like to learn more. Undo this application of the law, and I believe a number of the other items on your list would at least begin to take care of themself.

    How can we get these issues addressed though? I still remember how the candidates shut down the discussion back in 2000 by banding together to deny Nader the right to debate.

    Comment by Vicky Bullettes — August 18, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  2. Sorry to hear about your situation, Vicky. I am not an attorney, so don’t rely solely on this info. It appears each state has separate tenant laws. Every site I reviewed stated that it is wise to consult an attorney, probably a disclaimer as well as good advice. Some states offer public lawyers for civil case, in certain low income situations.
    Important issues in what I read include: when the lease ends; if landlord began eviction proceedings; what type and timing of notices sent to you. There are may be organizations that will help on a local level. By law as I understand it, all tenants have the right to organize, either on a smaller level (2 neighbors or a building) or larger (block or town/city). The combined influence is greater. So there may be one in your area. You may also consider starting one, as others may have had similar difficulties with the same landlord.
    I was under the impression that any side can be required to pay attorney fees, if a motion is accepted by the Judge for frivolous claims. I don’t know if Judges are more whimsical than the other branches of government, but they are required to follow the law. If not, they can be overturned on appeal.

    Thanks for the post, the rest of which is more general and probably best replied in a new post.

    Comment by skeptisys — August 19, 2007 @ 1:29 pm


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