I've made some cool friends in the seven months or so. One of them is running for president.
In fairness to Brent Anderson, I think he's been conscripted into the role. It's possible that he was pressed into service because he has the most presidential name in all of Word Made Flesh, or because he has the least insane demeanor of the bunch. I'm just saying.
Anyway, I hate to break it to my friends, but I'm pretty sure Brent is not constitutionally eligible, seeing as he's under the age of thirty-five. That being said, the official platform of Brent Anderson for President, reproduced here from the Brent Anderson for President group page on Facebook, is chock-full of creative ideas that haven't crept their way into my suburban milieu. So with the permission of the folks at Brent Anderson for President I present in what follows their platform for the direction of the U.S. government over the next four years. What do you like? What gives you pause? What are you tempted to copy into an e-mail to your major-party candidate of choice?
• No Covert Ops (Allows for Counter-Ops)
The US government creates a victim mindset for its citizens by covering up its military and political activities around the world, actions which make foreign citizens angry at the US. When retaliation comes, we have no context for why they have committed these acts of violence. The US considers itself morally superior when responding to these “unprovoked” attacks.
See documentary: “Why We Fight” 2006.
• Put an end to the military industrial complex
Eisenhower, in his farewell Presidential address, warned against the military industrial complex. The US spends more in discretionary income on the military than all other discretionary spending in the US budget. It also spends more on its military than the next eight countries combined.
• No Standing MilitaryAs a peace advocate, I would hope for eliminating the standing army of the US and instead responding to military threats through the use of militias that could rise to meet a particular threat and then be disbanded.
• Sand in the Gears of Global Capital Movement
In classical economics, land, labor, and capital are considered factors of production. The economies of the world grow because of the use and benefit of these factors. The ability for capital to move so freely around the world is good on a number of levels; however, it also encourages financial speculation, financial coercion, and promotes a race to invest in countries with poor wages but also poor environment and labor laws. The use of capital for investing in a people, industry, etc. must be encouraged by throwing sand in the gears of capital movement and creating incentives for capital to remain in one place for investment purposes. Labor should be much more mobile, to compensate for capital movements, before capital restrictions are lifted.
• No Government Flood Insurance for New Home Construction on US coastline
With scientists predicting global warming and sea levels to rise, the US government puts itself in a precarious financial position by agreeing to cover these unknown risks. It also creates a moral hazard by rewarding the foolish behavior of constructing homes in these areas.
• The Nation-State as a Necessary Evil
. . . The nation-state is outdated and its use of force to compel obedience is anachronistic. However, with the rise of the power of the corporation, the nation-state may need to survive as a counter-weight to power of the corporation.
• Limited Government
Most of the problems that US citizens want the US government to solve were created by the US government. Limited government is the ideal. Civic organizations are the solution for many societal issues. When Baby Boomers face retirement from government positions, I would not re-hire most of those positions, instead replacing most of the personnel with technological improvements that make the government more efficient. In some ways politicians and bureaucrats should be technocrats. Efficiently managing those tasks given to them by the citizenry (the trains run on time).
• Restore a Limited Line Item Veto
The Supreme Court ruled against the line-item veto for Presidents. The line-item veto, in the short-time it was used, eliminated pork projects from otherwise necessary spending bills. Now, President Bush uses signing statements, which are extra-legal notes put into the margins of bills that specify how the President interprets the bills and how they will be enforced. These extra-legal notes circumvent the power of the Congress. A limited line item veto should be restored both as a compromise and as helpful tool to limit wasteful spending.
• Fiscal Responsibility
There is currently a provision that specifies that pork projects, when inserted into a bill, must show what member of Congress inserted the project, for transparency. This provision, which seems only partially in effect, would be mandated.
• Lawmakers must wait 4 years before becoming a lobbyist
A provision of the Lobbying and Ethics Reform Bill, passed in 2005, increased the time a member of Congress must wait before becoming a lobbyist, from one to two years. I would encourage a waiting period of four years, to discourage the revolving door between lobbying and Congress.
• Parties of Congress sit together; not split down the aisles.
• No pre-emptive military strikes against other countries.
The US has recently violated international law, and its own rules in foreign policy by invading Iraq; the US should only react defensively, to protect its interests. The sovereignty of other nations must be respected. In addition, Americans are not worth more than persons of any other country
• Ending Bretton Woods created institutions
The IMF and the World Bank are institutions that while they might do some good, also enslave countries into debt. (read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man). This debt makes them beholden to the US and other economically powerful nations.
• Follow-through with Jubilee concept in forgiving debt of Majority world countries.
• Reforming the UN (Security Council gives too much power to colonial powers)
There are plenty of calls for reforming the UN because of waste. These calls should be heeded. The UN, in its present form, does not give enough power to the nations which are not part of the Security Council. The Security Council is a vestige of the post WWII era and should be reformed.
• Adhere to Kyoto Protocol
The US should adopt the Kyoto mandate to reduce greenhouse gases.
• Free Public Transportation
Due to Eisenhower’s construction of the interstate highway system and car companies paying off city councils to kill trolleys and other forms of transportation, our country has been unduly dependent on the auto industry. A renewed look at trains and trolleys should be undertaken. A freeze of federal highway spending should also be undertaken.
• Free Trade
A media misperception is that the US adheres to free trade, but we don’t. We claim that other countries which don’t adhere to free trade are poor because of their protectionism. Free trade is good in economics, because of comparative advantage. I would continue to press for free trade….but true free trade which eliminates a lot of the protectionism of the US. Dumping would continue to be prosecuted.
• Food v. Fuel
US citizens have been marketed to embrace ethanol. Ethanol is the oil-companies and agribusiness’ preference because they can corner the market and rely on present infrastructure to deliver the ethanol. Even though ethanol could be produced from switchgrass or other plants, ethanol is currently produced mostly from corn, and not the byproducts of corn. While research could help ethanol to be produced from other plants, our current situation pits corn the food v. corn the fuel. Because demand for corn has risen so dramatically, it has been priced out of the diets of many households. Many Mexican families can no longer make traditional corn tortillas for their household because of the demand for corn for ethanol in the states. I would hope Congress would pass legislation so that any plant currently used for food consumption would be outlawed from being used for fuel, unless only the plant’s byproducts would be used for the fuel.
The water crisis in the States and the larger crisis of water facing the world is one of the most endemic problems facing our world today. A severe measure needs to be taken to stave off drought in the future.
-Home lawns could no longer be watered; drought-resistant and grasses that need less water, like buffalo grass, should be planted.
-No private swimming pools
-Farming would have preference over new construction projects and new neighbors.
-Farmers would not be able to irrigate their lands unless efficient drip-irrigation methods were used. Farms that consistently need water that depletes the local water table over an average of five years, would not be able to irrigate their land. Inefficiencies, where proverbial deserts have become arable land through constant irrigation, would lose their legal right to use the water.