for a More Sane Humanity
The human race can achieve a more propitious destiny
by embracing fair-minded ideas and bold plans that courageously and honestly
address the pressing problems facing humanity here in the 21st century.
Agenda consists of an elaborate list of ideas which, if implemented, would make
our communities healthier, our economy more stable and sound, our societies
saner, and our supporting environment more likely to be sustainable. These ideas include plans that are more
comprehensive and detailed than the bigger picture and higher priority
mega-ideas that are summarized in One
Dozen Big Initiatives to Positively Transform Our Societies (available
online in Part Four of the website at www.EarthManifesto.com).
Each of the
initiatives proposed herein is categorized into one of eight principal domains:
Priorities, Environmental Priorities, Foreign Policy Priorities, Government
Priorities, Social Justice Priorities, Education Priorities, Legal System
Priorities, and Health Priorities.
“Let us cease thinking only
of ourselves and reasoning only in the short term. Let us assure
for the children to come
the same rights that have been declared for their parents.”
Whereas the need is great for humanity to create
enduring and sustainable societies;
And whereas, to do this, we must adopt long-term
plans that are visionary and fair-minded;
And whereas such long-term vision would guide us
toward far better solutions to the daunting challenges we collectively face
than the alternative of allowing regressive ideas and the status quo to
continue to prevail;
And whereas consensus must be reached to create
common grounds for good understanding and optimum planning and consistent
action, we must work together to find better ways of sensibly establishing
priorities that help assure we have a sound international economy characterized
by moderate risk, truer justice and peaceful coexistence;
Therefore, let it be resolved that we radically
redesign and restructure our economic and political systems so that they are
fairer, more humane, more far-sighted, and more secure for all.
Be it also resolved that we find a means to motivate
ourselves, individually and collectively, to live our lives in ways that are
more authentic, fulfilling, responsible and sustainable, and that we never
forget that our ultimate social responsibility is to leave a fair legacy to our
children, and to everyone in future generations.
Let us seek new and innovative ways to redefine
progress to give greater respect to the common good, and to bring forth a
general prosperity that is characterized by more egalitarian social policies that
help ensure the health and well-being of a growing middle class.
Let us seek an understanding of justice-for-all that
wholeheartedly incorporates the wisdom and fairness of Golden Rule principles.
Let us strive to coexist with other people in our
communities and on our planet in more genuine, empathetic, collaborative and
Let us give greater respect to the rights, freedoms
and mutual security needs of peoples in other nations by striving to prevent
war, fairly resolve conflicts, adhere to international laws, build peace, and
understand the pragmatic reasons that we should honor multilateral action and
the sovereignty and dignity of other countries.
Let us carefully consider the perspectives of those
who say that U.S. doctrines of preemptive warfare and imperialistic
empire-building are doomed to a kind of failure that will leave us all far less
safe and make the world significantly more unstable and dangerous.
And let us cultivate a kind of longer-term vision
that ensures that our legacy to our descendants will be a fortuitous one that
helps protect the diversity of life on Earth and a stable climate and healthy enveloping
The following ideas represent policy alternatives to
the status quo. They are much more just
and sustainable than today’s short-term-oriented, mismanaged, profit-prepossessed
and highly partisan doctrines. These ideas, if implemented, would ensure
a more salubrious collective fate than current policies portend. They would help mitigate interpersonal and
international tensions and conflicts, and thus transform our societies into
saner and healthier ones.
On the off-chance
that this Progressive Agenda becomes a compelling force in the world of ideas,
or is used as a resource by voters, organizations, politicians or students --
or that it becomes the founding principles of a new Progressive Political Party
-- these understandings should serve as a rough guideline for the intelligent
reform of the policies of the United States.
We are reaching a Tipping Point
in world affairs, and these ideas just might stick!
“We can't solve problems
by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
--- Albert Einstein
“… I offer nothing more than simple
facts, plain arguments, and common sense … and have no other preliminaries to
settle with readers than that they will divest themselves of prejudice and
prepossession, and suffer their reason and feelings to determine for themselves
… and generously enlarge their views beyond the present day.”
--- Thomas Paine, Common
Sense, 1776 (paraphrased)
“The only real voyage of discovery consists
not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.”
Economic Priorities :::
Undertake a revolutionary transformation of our
economy, with the objective of making our uses of resources and our ways of
life more sustainable --- fiscally, socially, and environmentally.
Manage the economy better by making
production processes more energy efficient and less wasteful of resources.
Encourage innovation, ‘green building’, renewable
energy sources and new industries that will contribute to a necessary greening
of the international economy.
Ensure that all costs of production are included in
the price of every product, including fair wages, reasonable corporate taxes, pollution
prevention, and toxic waste mitigation and clean-up. Do not continue to allow corporations to cut corners and externalize
such costs onto society.
Redefine progress by utilizing a Genuine Progress
Indicator (GPI) to more accurately gauge the health of our economy. Stop using misleading Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) measures that fail to assess damaging impacts and the true quality of economic
growth. This will allow us to more
intelligently shape and redesign our economy.
(See the website RedefiningProgress.org).
sensible, balanced and farsighted new rules and enforcement to prevent another
economic meltdown by controlling speculative debt leveraging and subjecting
banks and both existing and new categories of securities to better transparency
Glass-Steagall Act to prevent conflicts of interest between depository banks
and investment banks.
Enact serious reforms of financial markets to rein
in systemic risks posed by gambits of hedge fund managers and private equity
funds, in accordance with the suggestions in Chapter Four of Robert Kuttner’s
Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our
institutions more effectively, and make policy decisions with greater regard
for systemic risks.
future government bailouts on sensible basic plans and make sure that people
who cause problems, or those who profit most from them, including corporate
executives and investors, are the ones who actually shoulder most of the cost
of paying for them.
Include Main Street,
not just Wall Street firms, in future financial bailouts. Do this by investing in a productive economy
that puts Americans to work at decent wages in productive jobs that add value
to families and communities.
banking schemes and the fleecing of people by unscrupulous mortgage brokers and
Establish a way to
mediate the renegotiation of mortgages to reduce home foreclosures.
for rent-to-own plans that are designed to keep people in homes that are
subject to foreclosure.
financial transactions tax on all stock, bond, commodity, and insurance transactions
to reduce the debt associated with having bailed out the economy in the
a clearer purpose of the Federal Reserve to preserve financial stability and to
reasonably control the growth of asset bubbles to prevent them from becoming
overblown and thus causing painful economic busts.
the packaging and securitization of mortgage loans so they can be rationally evaluated
and rated and priced.
progressive surtaxes on all incomes over $1 million per year for couples and
over $500,000 for single taxpayers and for all corporations earning more than
$25 million in net profits until the national debt is stabilized. Invest half of the revenue from these taxes
in clean energy, physical infrastructure, public education, and improved
Require all city, county, state and federal
governments to assess the amount of unfunded liabilities they have for
long-term pension and healthcare costs of government retirees, and require
sensible and fiscally responsible provisions to cover these liabilities.
Make healthcare fairer for all by divorcing coverage
from employment and finding a way to achieve universal coverage for all
Regulate excess profiteering by health insurance
companies and find a fair-minded way to cover people who have ‘preexisting
Reduce government bureaucracy and its undisciplined,
mismanaged and profligate spending.
Reevaluate and manage military spending better,
reducing it by 25% in the next 5 years.
Close 25% of the military bases we maintain in 130
Invest more wisely in our nation’s crumbling
physical infrastructure (see details in the American Society of Engineers
Report Card, which rates our overall 2009 performance a “D”).
Reform the laws and regulations governing
speculative oil futures markets, and close the “Enron Loophole”, which is
costing people billions of dollars worldwide in high oil prices.
Implement a $3 dollar per barrel “green tax” on
every barrel of oil pumped domestically or imported. Use the money raised to finance highway and bridge construction
and repair projects and to help solve problems related to the nation’s
deteriorating infrastructure and needs for expanded mass transit services.
Provide more affordable loans to small businesses
through the Small Business Administration, in recognition of the fact that
small businesses are vital to economic and job growth in America. Subsidize this initiative with taxes on the
most profitable 500 corporations in the United States.
financial ‘literacy training,’ and provide it to all American
citizens so that they will have a better understanding of how to manage credit
and debt, and how to do better at saving money, and how to avoid predatory
lenders and other financial pitfalls.
Promote the cause of microcredit and the Village Banking Campaign to encourage
microloans and microinsurance and to help reduce poverty by providing aid to
small enterprises that help poor women and children worldwide.
Reduce subsidies and loopholes that primarily
benefit large corporations.
Implement policies that emphasize fair trade, not
just free trade, and make strong provisions in international trade agreements
for fair treatment of workers and for environment protections.
Increase the Standard Deduction on everyone’s tax
return by $2,500 of income free from tax for every taxpayer. Ensure that this highly egalitarian change
is revenue neutral by adjusting the progressive tax scale to make up for lost
Increase taxes on Big Business, so that this segment
of the economy pays a share of national taxes equal to what it did 25 years ago
(yes, it was then much higher than today).
This will ensure that product prices include a fair share of corporate
Reinstate the Estate Tax to its pre-2001 status,
making sure that once every generation the super-wealthy are required to square
up with society for the privilege of having been able to live in a land that
allows them to maintain their good fortune and great privileges. Set the tax-exempt exclusion at $2.5
million, and tax amounts in excess of this on a sliding scale up to a maximum
marginal estate tax rate of 60% on rich kid’s inheritances over $100 million.
Make the tax treatment of charitable contributions
more favorable for all taxpayers by making such contributions deductible
directly from taxable income, not just as a component of itemized deductions.
Simplify tax laws and reduce the loopholes in them
that allow wealthy people to reduce their actual reported Taxable Income.
Eliminate tax loopholes for billionaire hedge fund
managers and private equity firm managers.
These loopholes allow them to pay taxes at low capital gains rates on
their income rather than higher income tax rates that other workers pay on
Change taxes on capital gains to make them
progressively graduated, replacing the current 15% tax on all capital gains
with a 10% tax on gains up to $10,000, 15% on gains between $10,000 and
$100,000, 25% on gains between $100,000 and $1 million, and 40% on gains over
Beef up IRS tax law enforcement, and target rich
cheaters instead of the middle class and the poor.
the tax evasion that is inherent in offshore incorporation, which currently
allows American companies to shelter assets overseas and drains an estimated
$70 billion annually from the federal Treasury.
Treat the Social Security system as an insurance
system, not a guaranteed retirement system, since it now operates as a
Ponzi-type scheme that is a transfer of payments system, not a fully funded
retirement system. Means testing should
be applied so that those who earn more than $200,000 per year in income and
dividends and capital gains do not receive any Social Security payments. This would help make the system more sound
sharing in the heritage of the Earth, has a duty as trustee for future
generations to prevent irreversible and irreparable harm to life on Earth and
to human freedom and dignity.”
--- Jean Jacques Cousteau
::: Environmental Priorities :::
Honor Precautionary Principles as enunciated in the
1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in order to protect Earth’s
ecosystems and biodiversity.
Invest in revitalizing cities to make them safer and
more livable, and to limit suburban sprawl, and to promote more compact development.
Provide significant sales tax rebates for vehicles
that get more than 40 miles per gallon, and institute higher sales taxes on
vehicles that get less than 20 miles per gallon.
Invest in public transportation, and make a
commitment to help finance the acquisition of equipment as well as related
operating and construction costs.
Create strong motivations for commuters to use public transportation by
making it safer, less expensive, and more convenient.
Implement legislation to immediately increase
federal gasoline taxes by 25 cents per gallon, and add another 25 cents every
year for each of the next 10 years. Use
the proceeds of these taxes to pay for public transportation and needed
infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges, and develop a plan to
mitigate the regressive impacts these taxes would have on workers that are
least able to afford the higher costs.
Implement “peak pricing” congestion fees in dense
urban areas to reduce traffic and smog, and to increase public transportation
Assess property taxes at a lower rate for smaller
homes, and at higher rates for houses larger than 2,500 square feet. Use a progressive scale that increases as
the size of homes increases. Set this plan
up so that it results in a moderate net increase in property taxes, and use the
funds generated to finance affordable housing and to provide a federal Renter’s
Tax Credit so that those who rent are not discriminated against in favor of
Foster the development of “in fill” housing in
appropriate urban areas.
Focus efforts on achieving sustainable resource consumption
and preventing “tragedy of the commons” adversities in which shared resources
are damaged or polluted or exhausted by vested interests that act in rational but
narrowly self-serving ways.
Undertake a National Intelligence Estimate to
evaluate the threats to national security that are posed by abrupt climate
change associated with greenhouse gas emissions.
Develop a visionary undertaking to spark new energy
alternatives as we move beyond Peak Oil.
Do this now to prevent more severe disruptions later, while we still
have the fossil fuel resources to make the needed changes. Use the Apollo Alliance’s “Ten-Point Plan
for Good Jobs and Energy Independence” as a guideline to accomplish this vital
Work with the Rocky Mountain Institute to develop a
national plan to reduce the profligate use of energy and electricity in the United
States while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and improving national
security in the process.
Significantly increase the national Corporate
Average Economy Standards on all vehicles.
Assist the auto industry in retooling, if necessary, and devise a fair
plan that gives the government (and taxpayers) financial ‘warrants’ from Big
Auto companies in return for investments in them. Such a plan would have ensured that taxpayers would have benefited,
not just investors and speculators, when the auto companies recovered from the
bailout during the credit crisis.
Invest in developing cleaner uses of coal such as
coal gasification and the sequestration of carbon dioxide. Assess higher
taxes on “dirty” uses of coal.
Pass legislation like the proposed Climate Security
Act with strong provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diminish the
pending impacts of climate disruption by using direct green taxes or a carbon
emissions trading system.
Help the developing world -- China, Russia, and
India in particular -- with clean energy technologies in order to reduce the
terrible impacts that the increased use of coal will have on the global climate
over the coming decades.
Shift subsidies from polluting industries to clean
industries by using tax incentives to encourage energy conservation, efficiency
measures and alternative energy sources.
In particular, give greater subsidies to solar power, and reduce
subsidies to Big Oil and the nuclear industry.
Restore the American railroad system to a much
better level of service, and invest in faster trains and more frequent and
Establish a new tax on all air travel tickets in
recognition of the exceptionally harmful effect of high altitude greenhouse gas
emissions. Use the proceeds to fund
carbon-neutral offsets in emissions-trading programs that are designed to
mitigate the impacts of jet fuel combustion in the upper atmosphere.
Create clean energy generation by advancing
non-polluting gasification techniques that use municipal, agricultural and
Provide better incentives for sustainable forestry
Develop an Urban Forest Stewardship Initiative to
prevent the decline of urban forests so that cities become cooler, cleaner,
healthier and more livable.
Strengthen building code restrictions on risky
building and development in floodplains, and stop funding “repetitive-loss”
Reduce property taxes on pedestrian shopping districts,
and increase property taxes on large malls.
Create and empower an Intergovernmental Panel on
Biodiversity to protect species against extinctions that are being caused by
habitat destruction, stimulated consumerism, climate change and other human
Establish more Marine Reserves where fishing and oil
drilling are banned in order to protect ocean coastal zones from pollution and
Advance a “catch shares” fishery management approach
to solve the serious problem of overfishing in the world’s oceans.
Make it a priority to reduce runoff pollution of
nitrogen-based fertilizers, sewage, oil, and industrial animal-farm wastes to
prevent ocean dead zones and red tides in coastal waters.
Prevent the Navy from using high-intensity sonar that
can severely disturb, injure, and kill marine mammals in the world’s oceans.
Protect America’s coastlines and the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge from oil spills and risky drilling.
Drastically reduce the winter access of noisy and
polluting snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.
Find ways to reduce the production of wastes. REDUCE and REUSE. RECYCLE and ROT (compost) where these activities are cost
effective. And productively and
intelligently REDESIGN, to improve production processes of goods and services.
that significantly reduces the amounts of non-recyclable plastics and non-degradable Styrofoam that are
produced, and increase the number of products sold that are packaged in
recyclable materials (like plastics with recycling codes 1 and 2). Provide incentives to make sure that such
recyclable plastics are actually recycled.
Such initiatives will save energy and reduce the amount of waste that is
discarded in landfills.
that eliminate always-on natural gas pilot lights and wasted energy caused by
continuously having instant hot water in residences and workplaces.
Reduce the production of toxic wastes. Do this
by mandating the inclusion in the price of every product or service an
allowance for the full cost of pollution mitigation and clean-up costs that are
related to the activity.
Outlaw outfall pipes
that spew PCB’s, heavy metals, and other toxic wastes into rivers and lakes and
Create a new
Superfund to clean up closed mines, toxic waste sites, factory farm pollution,
hazardous wastes and abandoned factories.
Do this by implementing new taxes on industries that are involved in
creating these environmental problems.
Demand an executive
order that allows businesses which “round down” cash transactions to refuse to
handle pennies. This initiative,
embraced by thinkOOB.com, will reduce
the production of costly, zinc wasting, pollution-causing pennies for cash
Create tax disincentives that tend to slightly discourage
families from having more than two children per couple.
Help save whales, polar bears AND the human race by studying the ideas in
this Agenda, as well as the ideas in One
Dozen Big Initiatives to Positively Transform Our Societies.
is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”
--- Thomas Jefferson
::: Foreign Policy Priorities :::
Adhere to the principles of just war, especially the
understandings of proportional responses.
We must not act unilaterally; we are not
omniscient. If we cannot persuade other
nations with similar interests and similar values of the merits of proposed
uses of military power, we should not proceed unilaterally.
Recognize the wisdom in Mark Twain’s
observation: “It is easier to stay out than get out.”
Unilaterally reduce military spending for new
generations of nuclear missiles, bunker-buster nuclear weapons, Star Wars
initiatives, and depleted uranium munitions.
Find ways to drastically reduce the production and
planting of land mines in the world.
Outlaw the production and export of cruelly
indiscriminate cluster bombs from the U.S.
Refocus and re-prioritize national security spending
so that it is proportional to actual risks.
Strive to ensure that our military activities are
not responsible for harming and killing innocent people.
Empower the International Criminal Court, located in
The Hague, Netherlands, to more effectively prevent the use of warfare to
settle international disputes.
Learn more about our ‘enemies’ and the dynamics of
our foreign policy in order to avoid making mistakes that have led us to
war. Recognize the compelling insights
that Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, shared
in the 2003 film “The Fog of War”. These include the fact that Americans
misjudge enemies and exaggerate the dangers of their actions, partially because
of our ignorance of the history, culture, politics and experiences of people
abroad. Find better ways to comprehend
perspectives of people in other nations through greater efforts to cultivate
empathetic insight and to understand opposing points of view.
“An inglorious peace is
better than a dishonorable war.”
--- Mark Twain
“End the occupation of Afghanistan
and bring our troops home!”
--- Dr. Tiffany Twain
Congratulate ourselves for having repealed the
discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allows gays and lesbians to
serve openly in the U.S. military.
Close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
and prohibit prisoner renditions and torture.
Strengthen the training on human rights, the Geneva
Conventions, and the value of civilian control of the military at the U.S. Army
School of the Americas, located in Fort Benning, Georgia (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
Cooperation in the year 2000), because of its strong ties to
oppressive U.S. foreign policy and its ideological extremism. Too many men have been trained there who
have perpetrated human rights atrocities and other scurrilous activities in
Latin American countries.
Develop powerfully effective ways to mitigate and
marginalize extremism in world affairs, and focus on reducing religious
conflicts between Islam and Christianity.
Rein in the ruthlessness and law violations of
covert operations abroad.
Strengthen the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
(FISA) to staunch Big Brother trends of increased spying on American citizens by
the government, and rein in abuses of power that were first asserted by the
Foster a greater concern for the integrity of
habitats and biodiversity on all military bases and in all military
Provide financial support for a worldwide school
lunch program, sponsored by Uncle Sam and other developed countries. The
program should guarantee one meal a day for all school children in every
country. This initiative would
dramatically improve nutrition, literacy and opportunity, especially for
girls. It would also stimulate
understanding, improve our international image, and cost only as much per year
as one aircraft carrier each year.
the 50-year-long economic embargo against Cuba.
Increase the amount of international debt that is
written-off in order to benefit the world's poorest countries.
Support international family planning efforts by committing funds to both
domestic and international programs whose goal is to reduce unwanted
::: Government Priorities :::
Radically improve government operations by reducing
waste, inefficiency and bureaucracy.
Skillfully, intelligently and appropriately reduce
the size of the Federal Government.
Make the government more public-interest oriented and effective and
frugal instead of being extravagant with taxpayer funds. Downsize it by 10% over the next 3 years
through employee attrition and affordable early retirement incentives.
Curtail the power of corporate interests to trump
public interests when it comes to public protections, environmental safeguards, and
Redefine the legal role of corporations in our
society to exclude them from exercising the same rights of citizenship as
individuals, and eliminate the most blatant of corporate abuses of power that
harm our democracy and natural environment.
Implement effective means of preventing corporations
from evading state and federal “corrupt practices acts” that relate to
political influence peddling.
Increase the transparency of government and the
accountability of elected officials, and end government secrecy in order to
reduce fraud, accounting shenanigans, dishonesty, deceptive political
practices, and cronyism.
Strengthen our democracy by reducing the
anti-democratic influences of media concentration, assaults on a free press,
deceptive government propaganda, “fake news”, and yellow journalism.
Reinforce the Freedom of Information Act to more
honestly require openness and accountability in government, and strengthen the
mandate for federal agencies to provide initial responses to citizen requests
and then accurate information in a timely manner.
Clean Money/Clean Elections legislation and Congressional Ethics reforms to
reduce the influence of Big Money in our political system.
Pass the Disclose Act to
restore transparency to national elections by requiring the disclosure of
corporate and union spending for candidates for public office.
Enact legislation or a
Constitutional Amendment to reverse the anti-democratic Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court.
Defend and enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and
strengthen the rights of all citizens to vote, and prevent all manner of
interference with the voting process.
Elect the President and Vice President by direct
popular vote, and eliminate the antiquated Electoral College system.
Ensure that elections are fairer by protecting
against purges of minority voters and the use of “caging lists” to suppress voter
Take steps to make sure that computerized voting
machines have verifiable paper trails and are not vulnerable to fraudulent
“black box” manipulations of results.
Do away with political district gerrymandering
entirely in every state.
Strengthen the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act,
with the clear goal of making the government more open and ensuring a balanced
representation of viewpoints to broaden the influences of special interests on
public policy decision-making.
Defend the Constitutional separation of powers to
ensure that Executive Privilege does not unduly trump the legislative and
judicial branches of government.
Reinstate the Ethics in Government Act that expired
in 1999 to ensure that the nation’s president is more accountable to the
Conduct a massive review of all classified documents
from the George W. Bush Administration and release to the public those that
have been inappropriately restricted from the attention of citizens and the
media and historians.
Insist that Congress adequately performs its
oversight responsibilities, particularly in areas of fraud, misrepresentation
and war profiteering.
Improve disaster preparedness and the robustness of
emergency response systems, and reduce the wastefulness of pork barrel spending
on “Homeland Security”.
Make serious reductions in “earmarks” in such
legislation as highway bills, Farm Bill subsidies, and military appropriations.
Create an Office of Public Integrity that is
independent of Congress and the White House to rein in lobbyists and ensure
more ethical government.
For all no-bid contracts given to companies during
emergencies like disaster reconstruction and wars, require that the receiving
company pay a profiteering tax for all profit increases that result from the contracts.
Reduce subsidies and loopholes that benefit certain
industries, especially ones that are harmful to the public's health and
well-being, like Big Oil, Coal, Nuclear, Tobacco and Gambling.
Make sure that government agencies responsible for
protecting the public’s interests, like the Food and Drug Administration, the
Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the Department
of Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services do not have
their primary purposes subverted by partisan administrators, political
operatives, special interests, corporate lobbyists, or religious
Demand that Congress act to ensure the Internet
remains open, nondiscriminatory and neutral in order to keep the Internet open
to all citizens and to protect free speech online.
Strengthen the important principle of the separation
of Church and State to keep any religious dogma from unfairly influencing our
schools and government.
Make laws stricter that concern the sale and
possession of handguns, assault weapons and automatic weapons that have
excessive magazine clips, and make background checks universal.
Support research on gun violence and encourage mental health providers to get involved in
gun regulation and the promotion of safe gun ownership.
Create better protections for the majority from the
unreasonable tyranny of the minority in power;
AND create better protections for the fair rights of minorities from the
tyranny of the majority.
Create federal Civil Grand Juries of responsible
citizens that are independent of the White House and Congress, and give them
responsibility for making recommendations to improve government. All of the States in the U.S. should also
empower civil Grand Juries of citizens at the County level to help improve local
Assess an additional 5% federal tax on all gambling
winnings in excess of $1,000 at casinos, and use the proceeds to invest in
addressing problems caused by addictive gambling.
Tell your political representatives in no uncertain
terms that you want them to STOP trying to divide us, deceive us, distract our
attention from domestic challenges, betray our trust, cheat us, bait us with
hot button issues, and make us more insecure;
and insist that they get on with high priority tasks of making America
and the world more fair, more just, more honestly secure, more sustainable,
more fiscally responsible, and more ecologically sound.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is
that the stupid are
cock-sure, while the intelligent are full of
--- Bertrand Russell
::: Social Justice Priorities :::
and social justice in all decision-making.
Leave a propitious legacy to future generations
through far-sighted policies that protect the many “services” provided by
natural ecosystems, and help ensure we do not leave our children with depleted
resources, a polluted commons, a less stable climate, and unsupportable levels
of national debt.
Ratify a Bill of Rights for Future Generations, as
advocated by the Cousteau Society and as specifically proposed in the Earth
Establish a Precautionary Social Principle that
enshrines a fair and bipartisan concern for the common good as a higher value
than narrow doctrine or divisive partisanship or foolishly shortsighted
Convene a Commission to determine: 1) how global
economic activities can be carried out in more ethical contexts, 2) how social
justice can be valued in addition to private profit-making, and 3) how both
economics and ethics can integrate an overarching respect for ecological truths
and long-term considerations.
Organize international cultural, artistic, and
intellectual exchanges that promote mutual respect and understanding between
nations, and seek to thereby penetrate the fog that envelops nationalistic
Create greater environmental justice, ensuring that
poor communities do not suffer so disproportionately from the effects of
pollution, toxins, violence, and diseases caused by environmental degradation.
Find better ways to reduce economic inequalities and
the economic insecurity of the majority of Americans.
Create an efficient, fair and affordable system of
universal healthcare in America.
Require the federal Medicare program to negotiate
prescription drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies in order to
reduce program costs.
Ensure that veterans are not betrayed and
short-changed by society when they return from war. Support programs like those advocated by the organization
Veterans for America (VeteransforAmerica.org), including a VA care system that
is not overwhelmed and that does not have a long backlog of veterans awaiting
Revoke the most controversial provisions of the
Military Commissions Act, which legalizes extreme interrogation techniques.
Support environmental organizations that are
striving to make the world a better place.
Reevaluate mortgage interest deductions and tax-free
exclusions on home sales so that they are not so heavily skewed in favor of
high-income tax payers.
Change bankruptcy laws to be fairer, especially with
regard to student loan debt.
Find ways to reduce credit card interest rates and
to reduce predatory banking, usury and inequities involved in the profiteering of
banks at the expense of poor people.
Create better programs worldwide to educate and
empower girls and women.
Fully fund Title X domestic family planning, and
allow over-the-counter sale of Plan B emergency contraception.
Encourage sexual self-responsibility and the use of
contraception in family planning.
Stop the anti-abortion war. We simply cannot afford to divert our
attention, our time, and our resources into forcing women to bear unwanted
children. Pass a Constitutional Amendment
to guarantee the right to women to have an abortion in the first trimester of
pregnancy to assure that the Supreme Court’s fair-minded Roe vs. Wade decision is codified into law.
Demand that all established churches reform their
policies related to women’s rights and roles in their organizations so that
women are treated more fairly and more respectfully.
Pressure the Catholic Church to (1) stop essentially
forbidding fertility to those who WANT to bear children, but aren’t able to
(i.e., demand that the Church stop opposing surrogate motherhood, artificial
insemination, and in-vitro fertilization), and (2) stop essentially making
fertility mandatory for those who are able to conceive, but DON’T WANT to
(i.e., demand that the Church stop opposing contraception and
abortion). As Mark Twain pointed
out, “The church is always trying to get other people to reform;
it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of
Pass an International Violence Against Women Act to
fund local programs and services that will help end the most brutal
forms of violence against women, including honor killings, bride burnings,
genital mutilation, mass rapes in war, and domestic violence.
Take bold and effective steps to stop
international sex-slave trafficking, which so cruelly harms hundreds of
thousands of girls and women worldwide.
Enact truly comprehensive and fair-minded
immigration reform in the United States.
Grant more visas to
highly skilled foreigners who have advanced degrees from American universities
in the "STEM" fields — science, technology, engineering and
Protect “whistleblowers” to encourage them to blow
the whistle on violations of the law and on government waste, fraud and
Ensure a free press and more integrity and
impartiality in journalistic ethics.
Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in broadcast media.
Act to reduce the trend toward increasing corporate
concentration of newspaper and television media.
Switch your long-distance telephone service to
companies like CREDO, a progressive phone company that contributes millions of
dollars to good causes and opposes the National Security Agency’s illegal
mining of telephone call records.
Find ways to help ensure that workers are paid
Increase the minimum wage along with inflation, and
devise programs that share the benefits realized from productivity increases
with the workers who help make them happen.
Reduce working hours by 5% in the United States,
where the average worker works 500 hours a year more than the average
German. Or guarantee workers an
additional week of vacation each year to reduce stress and improve the quality
of their life experiences, and to allow more wholesome connectedness with
family, friends, and nature. Overwork
contributes to higher energy consumption, more pollution, consumerism, and less
fulfilling life experiences.
Support changes in atavistic laws in the remaining
seven states that make it illegal for heterosexual couples to live
together. Shame on North Carolina,
Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, Idaho and Michigan for their
stubbornness in retaining these laws!
Enact a federal ban on job discrimination against
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers to make our laws consistent with
existing federal civil rights laws that ban job discrimination based on race,
color, national origin, gender, religion, age or disability.
Encourage new religious sensibilities that honor
healthy values and Golden Rule fairness and sustainable existence and a spirituality
that respects other beings and the health of our home planet. And let’s simultaneously find ways to
emasculate the aspects of established religions that contribute to supremacist
conflicts, terrorism and wars.
“You can't depend on your judgment when
your imagination is out of focus.”
--- Mark Twain
::: Education Priorities :::
Invest in higher quality and more well-rounded public
Increase spending on infrastructure, modern equipment
and materials in all public schools.
Devise ways to defeat counterproductive aspects of
the tenure system in schools.
Make public schools safer.
Make education at all levels more affordable to
people on the lower economic rungs of society by increasing Pell grants and
reducing interest rates on student loans.
Take steps to ensure that more students succeed in
graduating from high school and college.
Invest in higher education disciplines that are
becoming relatively weak in the U.S., including math, science and engineering.
Teach a comprehensive curriculum at all levels of
public schools that emphasizes critical thinking and good communication skills,
not just rote memorization.
Teach students about ethics, philosophy,
self-understanding, individual responsibility, social obligations, ecological
ideas, long-term perspective and comparative religion studies.
Expose students to the Arts, and encourage openness
Provide better pre-school and child development
Ensure that children receive honest sexual education
at an appropriate age.
Give local leaders a greater voice in education
decisions, and minimize the extent to which the federal government and religious
establishments influence the curricula in public schools.
Provide a context of respectful and empathetic
tolerance for differences and diversity amongst people by promoting a sensible
Golden Rule approach to bold initiatives designed to achieve greater justice.
Encourage documentary film-making with tax
incentives to help provide people with a greater depth of understanding of
“It is wiser to find out than to suppose.”
--- Mark Twain
::: Legal System Priorities :::
Limit the terms of federal judges to 12 years,
including those who serve on the Supreme Court. This would make the judicial system more responsive to changing
Restore the right to habeas corpus and fair
detention and timely trials.
Invest in effective programs to significantly reduce
freed prisoner recidivism rates and to alleviate the crowding of prisons and
the spiraling costs of locking up more and more people.
Reinforce our national commitment to the Geneva Conventions
related to the fair treatment of prisoners of war and civilians in times of
Reduce jury size from 12 to 7 for non-felony cases
to save money and citizen’s time.
Protect the right to sue, and also find ways to
reduce “frivolous lawsuits”.
Adopt national No Fault automobile insurance.
Fight drug and alcohol abuse by creating programs
that address the causes of substance abuse.
Make medical marijuana legal nationwide to allow people
to mitigate pain and suffering through its use.
Demand that Congress reclassify marijuana from a
Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to a
Schedule II drug, recognizing the fact that marijuana, like other Schedule II
drugs such as morphine and opium, has accepted medical uses.
Resolve the conflict between federal and state laws
concerning marijuana to clarify them for local community decision-making.
Stop the harsh Prohibition against marijuana by
de-criminalizing its recreational use.
Regulate it and tax it heavily to deal with other more serious drug and
alcohol problems. The incarceration of
thousands of people in jails and prisons on minor drug offenses has serious and
lasting negative consequences. Such
policies are costly, ineffective and extreme, and they ruin the lives of
hundreds of thousands of people for minor offenses.
Make prostitution safe and legal. Tax it to finance health and safety measures
for sex workers. Provide support to
women involved in prostitution who want to escape the terrible cycle of
inadequate opportunity and desperation.
“Be careless in your dress if
you must, but keep a tidy soul.”
--- Mark Twain
::: Health Priorities :::
Find ways to encourage the health and well-being of
people in our societies, and to diminish our reliance on prescription drugs and
Educate people about preventative medicine and a
Encourage effective exercise and nutrition programs
to combat obesity.
Make fast foods healthier by reducing the use of
“trans fatty acids” and hydrogenated and partially
hydrogenated oils in processed foods and in restaurants.
Invest in improving our systems for diagnosing
diseases and afflictions.
Dramatically reform the latest extension of the
every-5-year federal Farm Bill to reduce subsidies for the overproduction of
corn and soybeans, and to make our food and farmlands healthier, and to
mitigate pollution, and to improve childhood nutrition and public health, and
to stimulate conservation programs, and to make production methods more
sustainable and humane.
Embrace the slow-foods movement to alter the
unhealthy aspects of the American diet, and to appreciate healthy food and
connect better with our bodies and families.
Enact legislation to require labeling of genetically
engineered foods so that people can make better informed decisions about their
use and the potential risks of foods made from genetically modified plants and
Recognize the greater rights of people currently
alive than of fetuses by supporting both women's reproductive rights and stem-cell
research to conquer diseases and afflictions.
Make a more serious commitment to fighting AIDS in
Africa and elsewhere by providing free contraceptives to those who are most at
risk, and make HIV drugs more affordable.
Enact the Freedom of Choice Act to staunch the trend
towards governmental interference and discrimination and invasions of privacy
and liberty in women’s reproductive decisions.
Support a program to cover everyone with some form
of healthcare insurance coverage, and eliminate the power of insurance
companies to discriminate against people with “preexisting conditions”. Pay for national health insurance for all 48
million Americans who currently have none by reducing the bureaucratic cost,
profiteering and coverage denials that are incurred each year under the current
Require that healthcare plans cover contraceptives,
because contraceptives help prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted
diseases (STDs). Eliminate coverage for
recreational drugs like Viagra that effectively encourage unwanted pregnancies
Ratify the global tobacco treaty to prevent tobacco
addiction and related diseases.
Create programs that encourage and facilitate the
connection that young people have with nature and the outdoors.
greater comfort and dignity in dying.
Support hospice and palliative care efforts and keep the government out
of end-of-life decisions and right-to-die issues.
costly, aggressive and futile medical treatment ordeals in the final days of
the lives of terminally ill patients.
people about the social benefits of green burials and conservation burial
Let us together IMAGINE a better world --- “It’s
easy if you try”, as John Lennon sang.
We have the power to change the world to make it a
far better place. Let us be yea-sayers
rather than naysayers in a committed striving to actualize this better world!
These ideas are a summary of insights from the far
more extensive writings that can be found in the Earth Manifesto.
Dr. Tiffany B.
December 2010 (roughly modified in