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Upon January, 2007, to Democrats who will control our House and Senate:

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 12:59 PM
Original message
Upon January, 2007, to Democrats who will control our House and Senate:
As soon as your posteriors take all the Committee leadership chairs, here is your initial mission:

1. Immediate breakup of media conglomerates. Re-institute the Fairness Doctrine that was gutted during the Reagan years.

2. Strong corporate regulation, with tax incentives to maintain employment ranks and the manufacturing base inside the 50 States and with tax payments to the U. S. Treasury. No offshoring or outsourcing without heavy, heavy penalties assessed on the U. S. corporation. Revoke corporate personhood.

3. Publicly-financed political campaigns. No exceptions.

4. Prohibit pay-to-play lobbying.

5. All retiring politicians must be prohibited from working as lobbyists for 5 years after leaving office. This would stop the revolving door from making legislative decisions benefiting a brand-new lobbying job, soon after leaving Congress.

6. Re-examine all financial support for other nations, with an eye for fairness and based upon true need to support their populations. Open these discussions to public Congressional hearings.

7. Leave Iraq. Now. Turn over all newly built bases to Iraqis. Begin planning for the UN to preside over Iraq's rebuilding and peacekeeping, putting all competitive bidding for rebuilding contracts under UN control and supervision.

8. Make cash payment reparations to Iraqis, to be disbursed through the UN, for what we have destroyed in their country, and for support for the fractured families in mourning and catastrophic circumstances, to help them to pick up the pieces of their lives and livelihoods and rebuild their infrastructure.

9. Make an exhaustive list of harmful * policies in effect, and surgically excise each and every one of them.

10. Commence with criminal investigations for treason, of members of the * Administration, leading to indictment, public trial and conviction, followed by sentencing.

11. Revoke/block all pardons * may try to bestow upon his criminal cohorts. Iran-Contra-style pardons will not happen again.

12. Nullify all Supreme Court appointments under the illegitimate * Administration. For Roberts and Alito, require new and open confirmation hearings if they are still interested in serving as justices. Require them to answer all questions fully. No detailed and truthful answers equals no confirmation. Simple as that.

13. Expressly prohibit the merging of church and state, as written in the U. S. Constitution. Enforce this law.

14. Promise The People of America that elected officials will run our government for the people, not for a wealthy few, and certainly not for faceless, mercenary corporations.

15. Return to pen and paper voting nationwide, hand-counted immediately after polls close, under direct public observation, with the results telephoned into the Secretary of State's office. Permanently ban all electronic/electromechanical voting machines.

16. Abolish the Electoral College. Every person's vote is equal in our country. It's time to stop ignoring 40 states when we elect our President.

17. Immediate planning committees to establish universal, single-payer health care for our people, throughout our lives.

We, The People, have only just begun.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. 18. Change the flag to just White and Blue.
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 01:09 PM by IanDB1
19. Insist that "The Affirmation of Humanism" be posted in every courthouse.

20. Free milk and cookies for illegal immigrants and gays on their birthdays.

21. The word "Bush" will be added to the list of "Seven Deadly Words" you can't say on television. It will replace the word "Tits," which didn't really belong on the list in the first place.

22. Replace the words, "Under god," with the words, "Under Canada," in The Pledge of Allegiance.

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Radio_Guy Donating Member (875 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. Eliminate the flag altogether
Why do we need a flag? What purpose does one really serve?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Oh, the flag has a purpose...

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whopis01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. under canada
that's funny....
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. What will happen to Air America Radio without The Fairness Doctrine? n/t
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. Excellent mission for the new Congress!
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 01:13 PM by AndyA
That should be a good start for them. I hope it comes true. :thumbsup:

Edit: Recommended.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. 23. Instant run-off voting!
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 01:13 PM by IanDB1
24. Revise the CAN-SPAM Act to allow individuals and private companies to sue spammers, and not just a handful of large ISPs.

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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. 25. Ship Tom Cruise to the moon.
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yourout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Big kick for IRV.
This would allow real Democracy to take root.
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Faygo Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
6. Fulfill Katrina promises. Real tax reform. Fix Social Security correctly
I'm exhausted just thinking about it; a few additions to an excellent list.
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gunsaximbo Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'm saving this one.
I agree with every point.

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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
9. 0. investigate the banana republican party and break it up with rico
if ever the was a racketeer influenced and corrupt organization, the banana republican party is it!
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. Excellent list for starters! A few notes...
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 04:12 PM by calipendence
A few things to add to each of these points:

Along with taking away corporate personhood in item #2, they also need to nullify the notion of "money=free speech". Otherwise you won't be able to fully implement 3 as a mandatory system. Right now it works in Arizona and Maine because being a public financed candidate is a voluntary opt-in thing. Others are still allowed to run the old way. It's just that the voters start to gravitate to those running on public financing.

Perhaps for #10, in the interest of rebuilding international relations again, consider some gross violations of international law in terms of war crimes as grounds for sending them to the Hague for trial.

On #12, not only do we need to look at the Supreme Court, but other courts too. Judges like Reggie Walton should have his financial history unredacted and reviewed, and followup impeachment if wrongdoing is found. I'm sure that there are other judges in this category too. The "random" selection process of assigning judge to cases needs to be reviewed and made really "random", not just falsely advertised as such.

#12 might be hard to do constitutionally without passing some ammendment. On the other hand, if we can find out that some justices were participating in the criminal coverups of this administration that prevented important cases from being heard (like Sibel Edmonds' and Jeffrey Sterling's appeals), then perhaps we can move to impeach some of them through existing laws.

On #15, I wouldn't ban electronic voting systems, but there needs to be laws about it being publicly available and reviewable source code (NO proprietary code that could get compromised), and these machines should be used to "augment" providing paper ballots with touchscreen entry (to reduce the errors in paper ballots), not REPLACE them. Machines used properly might prevent things like hanging chads that happened in 2000, but they shouldn't be thought of as a way to implement "paperless" voting, which is a bigger problem than flaws from non-electronic voting. We need to restructure who has oversight over voting machines (electronic or manual) and their contracts to ensure that there is no fraud going on that is engineered by the ruling party. Need to evaluate whether states have the authority to dictate their own voting machine mechanisms for national elections like president.

Add a few more planks

- Immediate review of NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT treaties as well as WTO, and come up with a list of changes that are necessary in those treaties to also enforce fair labor laws in addition to "free trade" laws that the WTO currently enforces. If those changes aren't made within a certain timetable of international negotiations, then revoke our participation in all of those treaties.

- Restore funding to alternative energy research funding that was in place before Bush took over with NO ties to ANWR drilling like the current president has done in previous ways to justify alternative energy research spending.

- Immediate passage of a full protection bill for security whistleblowers so that they are protected from abuse, and also reevaluate the terms of the State Secrets rules being used for preventing court cases from happening, and pass legislation to provide means for courts for legitimate protection of state secrets, but not to prevent such cases from being heard like they have been.

- Remove the cap on payroll tax so that everyone is "all in" on social security, and that this keeps social security funded for the foreseeable future.

- Reinstate the "death tax" as it was written before.

- Reinstate bankruptcy protection, with perhaps negotiating terms where those who foolishly went bankrupt (those who might have lost it in Vegas, etc.), that other forms of bankruptcy are protected again.

- Return the top marginal income tax rates that were aroud during the 60's (between 70% to 90+%) at least for a temporary "correctional" period, until the gap of wealth between the rich and the poor is restored to healthy non pre-depression levels. Perhaps look at revising capital gains taxing too.

- Reindex the Alternative Minimum Tax rates so that it is updated for current rates of inflation, etc. which it hasn't been for decades now and currently is affecting many in the middle class in ways that are actually more adverse than it is affecting the wealthy that it was originally targeted at.

- Medicare is rewritten NOT by agents of the pharmaceutical companies to allow for competitive bidding of drug contracts that currently has been made illegal in a fascist anti-competitive way.

- Get back into treaty negotiations on Kyoto immediately and take the lead on doing pragmatic solutions towards addressing global warming.

- Do some honest review and investigation on the effects of depleted uranium on both our troops as well as those in areas where our weapons have been used to see what needs to be done to correct these effects if possible, and also to change our weapons systems so that they don't have lasting environmental damage too. Also review Agent Orange and dioxin effects in Vietnam too while we're at it in the same fashion.

I'll probably think of some more later, and I'll add more. But all of these and yours would be a good way to start!
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Great additional points, calipendence, thanks.
Certainly the trade treaties should be examined again, with strict attention to preservation of all workers' rights and with stringent environmental safeguards.

Kyoto desperately needs the U. S. on board again; it's beyond time we flush the * Administration's
arrogance surrounding this treaty.

Good economic points as well, especially the need to rewrite the Bankruptcy Bill so it will cover those it SHOULD cover... namely, those who lose a job, divorce or suffer catastrophic illness/accident.
Also, Medicare should be re-examined, strengthened and preserved.

About the electronic voting machines, I will always advocate pen and paper ballots over electronics at the point we find ourselves now. My reasoning....

...It will give complete control of counting votes to each County Supervisor;

...It saves millions/billions of dollars;

...Voting/tallying are not held hostage to power outages, *humidity*, machines not put into service for whatever reason, leading to shortages of equipment and long voter lines and work time lost;

...It would cut out all wrangling with Secretary of State "political appointees" such as SOS Cobb in Florida. This *was* an elected position until Jeb made it his appointed position after Katherine Harris left. Voting should not be controlled by hostile takeover. For example, we need just look at what Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho is going through with Ms. Cobb and Diebold/ES&S/Sequoia right now.

...It would cut out permanently the monumental problems with secret, proprietary software battles and corrupted memory cards. These problems are nowhere near being resolved, and much more damage to our country will be in the pipeline unless we say we've had enough.

...No special training for poll workers is necessary.

...With Sharpie pen and a paper ballot, there are no chads, no "paper trail". There is just an accurate hand-count in the first place. Hooray for simplicity. And we have fairness, accurate count and ballot security, all addressed at the local precinct levels.

IMHO, this is the single most critical issue we face before this November.

Democrats in DC, I hope you are listening.

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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. As someone who is a software developer...
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 10:33 PM by calipendence
I think voting machines COULD be useful, if used the proper way and with the proper motivations and checks and balances.

Recall the problems we had with the paper ballots in Florida in 2000. Older machines and how they are organized, recounted, etc. can also be abused.

Imagine that we have a touch screen machine that isn't connected to the internet or a central tabulator machine at all. All it does is just help a person with a touchscreen and print out/hole punch a paper ballot instead of the person punching holes, etc. themselves. If done right, one could alternatively punch the holes by hand instead of the touch screen machine punching them in the event of a power outage. The machine that reads the ballots would read them in the same fashion. Used that way, the electronic machines wouldn't replace any cards, etc. (like we used before). It would be used to just augment the process by reducing the chance of error that the individuals would have filling out the ballots. The person should be able to double-check what the machine punched out for him/her after he/she's done with his session if he/she's concerned about what the machine is doing with his/her votes. Then the machine would be helpful in reducing errors instead of being a potential agent of fraud. If the machines are more prone in tests to introducing errors than the hand filling out of ballots, then throw them the hell out. The main purposes of them should be to reduce the chances of human error filling out the voter ballot and to do that efficiently to help reduce times people are standing in lines at the polls, not replacing the ballot or having people standing in lines with screwed up equipment not working and no backup process with a power outage or some other technical malfunction.

I think you and I agree a lot more than you think. I think a big chunk of what's there now in terms of the electronic equipment should be ripped out and thrown out, or at least completely redone to allow complete oversight and verification to the levels we had before. We need to have supermajority buyin to the procedures so that we can have everyone's approval that any such equipment is OK to be used. It shouldn't be decided just by a single-party controlled board of supervisors or voter registrar office (like we have here unfortunately in San Diego).
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. The overwhelming sense of urgency I feel about November's vote
is what drives me to advocate nothing else right now, except hand-counted paper ballots, marked with a permanent pen, marking an "X" in the box beside the chosen candidate's name.

While I don't disagree that voting electronics may be ironed out correctly in the future, especially when Republicans are no longer in control, for the immediate future, I really do not see any other emergency measure to ensure accuracy and reproducibility of the count, other than by hand-counted, marked, paper ballots.

This story is in today's news:

I-Team 8 Finds More Problems with ES&S Voting Equipment
April 5, 2006 04:42 PM


Jackson blames the vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S).

"This is not fair to the voters of Johnson County, the taxpayers. They've paid for this equipment. They've paid for this service, and this is not acceptable," Jackson said.

What's missing is a "smart card" that allows you to vote. For now, copied paper ballots will have to do for absentee voting. Johnson County and nearly two-dozen others across the state don't have the official paper ballots.

The chairman of the Indiana Election Commission is angry. "It's inexcusable that ES&S did not get those ballots to those people," said Tom Wheeler, Indiana Election Commission chair.

The machine that counts the ballots considers a ballot defective if it is not official. If that is the case, when it comes out, somebody from the election board has to count the vote by hand.

I-Team 8 has also learned the batteries that came with Johnson County's $2.4 million equipment are old and failing. At least nine other counties have the same problem. If the battery fails, the internal ballots and all the votes cast will be lost.

"That's the problem with paperless ballots and no trail balloting. They're gone," Wheeler said.


I feel that we are in a state of emergency for an accurate vote count in this November's critical election. Like never before.
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I'm in full agreement that accuracy is the priority at this point...
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 10:20 AM by calipendence
And at the current state of voting machines, their reliability, and who's running their companies, and their demands to keep code proprietary, that they should all be thrown out. I was just noting that for the long run, if and when Dems take over, that if voting machines were developed and used properly, they could be useful, and we shouldn't be rejecting voting machines altogether just because of the current sorry state of affairs of what's offered and how they've been pushed on us in this sorry state.

Original question is what would be done later after we take over, so that was the reason for me saying how my vision of voting machine technology would be used down the road. Use tried and true manual voting machines though until proper review and safeguards could be guaranteed, and with the principle that machines aren't trying to replace paper (and verifiable) ballots like they are trying to rationalize is a good thing they are doing now, but to augment the process of still using verifiable paper ballots to avoid the messes like we had in Florida in 2000.

I've made a point of calling the registrar's office here at Brad Friedman's request before the April 11th special election for Cunningham's seat to find out and confirm that we are using scanned ballots, which with Diebold's central tabulator still aren't perfect but are at least better than the touchscreen set up that some were afraid was going to be inflicted on us with McPherson's recent attempts to recertify them here. I'm as worried about those machines as you are in the present context and don't want them anyplace now.
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NoPasaran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
15. Consititutional Amendment
Requiring Tex-Mex restaurants to provide FREE chips and salsa.
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