If I Were In Charge!
I would institute the following (effective immediately) improvements:
· Our democracy is based upon both Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press; a healthy democracy depends upon both for its very existence. Unfettered and unrestricted public use of both will remain the Supreme Law of the land! The sanctity of journalists’ and reporter’s notes will not be breached; their investigative and news sources will be strictly protected with absolutely no government access or right of subpoena ever allowed under any circumstances whatsoever. (NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule will be made for “special circumstances,” not even in case of so-called “national emergency.”)
· The private/corporate-controlled Federal Reserve banking system will be totally abolished. Complete control of the U.S. money supply will be restored to the U.S. Treasury. Reinstatement of the gold standard backing for U.S. currency will commence. The use of the U.S. penny coin will be eliminated.
· All public-access functions and any/all government meetings and processes must strictly abide by the “Sunshine Law”; no “closed-door” government meetings will be allowed. (NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule will be made for “special circumstances,” not even in case of so-called “national emergency.”)
· No government documents shall remain “classified” (regardless of their original and/or final classification status) after 10 years have passed from their initial classification date.
· NASA will be put under strict civilian control; removing all military interest, influence and secrecy from within and without NASA.
· All governmental and privately outsourced contractors’ electronic eavesdropping (including NSA’s “ECHELON”) of any U.S. citizen, both within the 50 U.S. states and when U.S. citizens are on vacation abroad is outlawed. (NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule will be made for “special circumstances,” not even in case of so-called “national emergency.”)
· “Outsourcing” to private or corporate contractors of any military services or duties would be strictly prohibited. This would include a ban on so-called “mercenaries-for-hire.” Under NO circumstances whatsoever would such private/corporate mercenary or “security” forces ever be allowed to be employed or utilized (for either public or private functions or services) on U.S. soil. (NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule will be made for “special circumstances,” not even in case of so-called “national emergency.”)
· Recognizing that true National Defense/Security begins at home, reduce the current Pentagon/military budget by a full 90%; that would allow for a strictly defensive (NOT “offensive”) capability. Also, place all military materiel, goods and services production, provision, and maintenance strictly under government entities; no private or corporate involvement/profiteering whatsoever allowed!
· All U.S. troops will be brought home from foreign lands; all U.S. military bases outside of the 50 U.S. states will be shut down; the U.S. Navy will only patrol waters within our territorial boundaries.
· The continued use and production of so-called “depleted” uranium would be immediately halted! Military use of depleted uranium by the U.S. and Britain in both Gulf Wars (and elsewhere) in armor-piercing munitions -- bullets, tank and cannon shells, and bombs -- is one of the most dangerous and long-lived threats faced by humanity. When these munitions strike or explode, the depleted uranium is turned in to lighter-than-air, nano-sized particles that permanently (as far as humanity is concerned) contaminate the air and water. In fact, the exploded particles blown by local winds can (and do) actually travel far and wide; in some cases, even around the world distributed by the jet stream air currents. It only takes one single nano-sized depleted uranium particle lodged in a person’s lungs or digestive tract to cause cancer!
· The American flag should be flown or displayed on all government buildings and at all public (government tax-supported) sites and facilities. The American flag can be displayed and flown on private (non-commercial) residential properties. Prohibit the displaying or flying of the American flag on the premises of any commercial establishment or for-profit business; the flag should not be displayed or flown in conjunction with any commercially sponsored event or organization. Also prohibit the displaying or flying of the American flag on any property owned and/or operated by, or at any event sponsored or administered by, any religious organization. The flag can (and should) be displayed at all public “patriotic” events; this would, by democratic necessity, include any public protest rallies in opposition of government and political policies. Also, the public burning of the American Flag in protest would be Constitutionally recognized as legal right of expression under the First Amendment’s recognition of Freedom of Speech.
· Require that National Weather Service (local and regional) radar, “NASA Select TV” and all channels of C-SPAN be broadcast 24/7 over the free public airways.
· Forbid so-called “sponsors” (commercial businesses) to be promoted in any way on National Public Television and National Public Radio and their local and regional affiliates. Provide more-than-adequate total funding for PBS and NPR, and their local and regional affiliates, directly through federal tax dollars.
· Sports would either be totally banned from broadcast on the public (free) television airways; or strictly mandated to never either usurp or delay in any way other scheduled broadcast programs. (Example: As frequently happens with “60 Minutes” on CBS being either delayed of shortened by preceding football!)
· Speaking of “60 Minutes,” they would no longer carry any “celebrity” interviews, and would again concentrate on their more important investigative segments exposing the many instances of criminal corporate corruption and profiteering, along with government collusion and malfeasance.
· Reinstate a progressive federal income tax rate (as we used to have in the U.S.), but in the following manner. No one who made (individually/per-person) less than $50,000 annually would pay any federal income tax at all. The tax rate would begin at 5% at $50,000. It would increase incrementally an additional 5% for each additional $50,000 annually; with a top rate of 90% at $900,000 and above. There would be no top taxable income cap.
· Do away with (WITHOUT EXCEPTION!) literally ALL tax deductions, tax abatements, and so-called “write-offs” for value depreciation, etc. (That would mean NO business expense deductions; NO “investment” deductions; NO “savings” deductions [IRAs; etc] “incentives”; NO mortgage deductions; NO deductions for having children and/or dependants; no lower or upper limit on estate taxes; etc.) Additionally, so-called TIF (Tax Increment Financing) and tax-free “Enterprise Zones” would be forbidden to be used or employed on U.S. soil. In other words, there would literally be no way allowed to legally hide assets and/or delay tax obligations.
· Forbid any businesses and/or corporations from “passing on” the cost of their taxes through increased prices for goods and services to consumers. Require that all taxes paid come directly out of their “profits” and/or from the business CEOs and business board of directors’ “benefits” and/or stockholder “dividends.”
· Institute permanent strict price and rent controls nationwide across the board on all goods and services. Allow an absolute maximum of 10% profit (after taxes) on all commercial/for-profit goods and services.
· Require that any and all products sold in the United States be 100% manufactured within the borders of the U.S. and to be made by legal U.S. citizens. (Some raw materials may be imported from outside the borders of the U.S.; but absolutely no pre-manufactured “parts” are to be imported from outside the country and then “assembled” in the U.S.)
· Require any and all business (goods manufactured and sold, services provided) conducted in the U.S. to be done so strictly by U.S.A. home-based/headquartered organizations, which shall be both owned and operated by legal U.S. citizens.
· Require any/all “foreign” (non U.S. citizens, either living here or abroad) investors to immediately sell their owned investments and holdings within the U.S. at the original purchase value (not at appreciated “market value”) directly to the U.S. government. If they refuse to do so, all such holdings and investments (and any/all profits obtained from those holdings and investments held within the U.S.) will be immediately confiscated (without compensation or right of redress) by the U.S. government.
· Forbid any and all sales taxes on food and beverages (with the exception of luxury items, such as alcohol, tobacco, caviar, etc.) and medicines.
· Require that ALL “essential services”, which would include ALL utilities (electric, gas, phone, internet broadband connections; etc.) be exclusively provided by strictly regulated non-profit entities.
· ALL public transportation would be required to run “24/7” and be widely (locally and regionally) conveniently available, and would be 100% FREE; all costs totally federally tax supported.
· Require that ALL medical products and services (including pharmaceuticals, etc.) be provided by strictly regulated non-profit entities. (In other words, allow ABSOLUTELY NO profiteering whatsoever in the provision of medical and health-related goods and services!)
· ALL health care products and services -- which would also include dental and eye glasses/contacts and/or laser vision correction, and all prescribed medicines and pharmaceuticals -- would be provided FREE to every legal U.S. resident. Payment for these strictly price-controlled and regulated medical goods and services would be 100% provided for by a federal government tax-supported “Canadian style” single-payer system. All a person would have to do to receive, without delay, these free-of-charge/no-questions-asked goods and services, is to present their single-payer medical card.
· Establish an absolute minimum wage (for both public and private employees) of $20/hour. Additionally, require an automatic (pegged to annual inflation rate adjustment) cost-of-living wage increase.
· Every employed person would be guaranteed at least 3 days off each week, with one of those days off with a minimum of 6 hours full pay.
· Employed work days would be a minimum of 4 hours, and a maximum of 6 hours. Each work day would include a full hour (with pay) off for lunch. Also, there would be two guaranteed (paid time) 15-minute break periods, with one during the period before lunch and one during the period after lunch.
· Every employed person will be given the day off (with full pay) on their birthday; or if their birthday falls on either a regular holiday or on one of their normal days off (or while they are on vacation), they can chose to honor it on either the first day before or after those occurrences.
· Require that every employed U.S. citizen be given 3 months paid vacation annually. (Each individual can choose however and whenever to take their annual vacations; either broken up as a series of weeks or as an extended vacation. However, they MUST arrange to take off the 3 months, in total, every year. No time-delay deferments or “carry-overs.) Also, no allowed limits (disincentives) on paid sick leave.
· Social Security benefits automatically kick in at age 50 for everyone making less than $50,000/year. Anyone over the age of 50 and less than 60 years old making over $50,000 in a year will have their benefits cut in half for the next year, up to the age of 59. No restrictions on Soc. Sec. benefits at age 60 and above.
· No one in the U.S. would be required to work beyond the age of 50 years old. (They could, if they choose to do so, continue to work and be paid for their efforts, up to the maximum age of 70.) No one would be required to work/be employed for pay before the age of 21. (This doesn’t mean that they would have to be employed or seek paid work at, or after, the age of 21, though; nor could they be required to work without pay.)
· All children would be required to attend public schools for grades K - 12. However, as long as written parental consent from at least one biological parent or legal guardian is obtained, a child 16 or older would be able to quit the public school system; no reason would be required.
· All schools (K - 12) would be required to not begin their annual school year before two full weeks after Labor Day. The annual school session shall end no later than two full weeks before Memorial Day. Schools would be in session no more than 4 days/week, with a minimum of 4 hours/day and a maximum of 6 hours/day. This would include (be inclusive; subtracted from those hours) both a full hour for lunch break and at least one full hour each day for a relaxation and recreation period (NO competitive team sports, whatsoever allowed!) for both students and teachers. Each daily classroom session would be a maximum of 45-minutes; allowing at least a minimum of 15-minutes between sessions for bathroom visits, etc.
· NO competitive team sports of any kind whatsoever would be allowed to be taught or practiced as part of the public school curriculum. No competitive teams shall be conducted at any time on public school grounds or property. No competitive team sports shall at any time be sponsored or officially promoted as part of a public school education. (“One-on-one,” non-contact sports competitions would be allowed to be participated in between students on school grounds, but NOT taught, nor encouraged, as part of the official school curriculum.)
· Every legal resident of the U.S. would be given the opportunity to attend (totally free of charge/100% federal tax-supported) any 4-year college of their choice within 50 miles of their main residence while in attendance. This college education would be provided whether or not it was intended toward an “employable career” or just pure “education for education’s sake.” This would include the guarantee that the individual could choose to either accelerate or delay (spread out their college term over a number of interspersed years) their education on any amenable schedule workable between them and their college.
· Every town or community (with a census population of at least 1000) would have a well-stocked, federally subsidized library. These libraries would be open 7 days/week from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Each library would have, in addition to regular staff librarians, at least one librarian who would specialize in assisting library patrons with online-research searches. In addition, each library would have adequately sized auditorium facilities for the daily showing of various documentary films (both of the independent and Public Television variety.) Library patrons would be required to present their library card for physically checking out materials; however, they would NOT have to show their card or “sign-in” to use the library’s online public computers. There would be NO censorship or restricted access in use of the publicly accessible online computers.
· Require that conveniently located, unrestricted and well-maintained bathrooms be available for public use in any/all retail establishments during their hours of operation. Provide tax-supported, well-maintained and conveniently located public restrooms throughout all metropolitan areas.
· Recognizing it as part of our national security, provide FREE high-speed wireless internet access to all.
· Institute a total and permanent ban on any sort of “opt-out” requirement in regard to computer use; whether related to on- or off-line access/use. Conversely, only allow limited use of “opt-in” with the stipulation that such “opt-in” choice NEVER be done under a “pre-checked/chosen” basis!
· Recognizing the immediate need to mitigate global climate change, provide massive (billions of federal tax dollars) for the no-cost-to the-homeowner installation of “off-grid” nanotech-based solar power (with in-home hydrogen production/storage, via M.I.T.s’ Dr. Daniel Nocera’s photosynthesis-like process) for every home and apartment for the provision of 100% of electrical needs. (It should also be noted that Dr. Nocera’s process, which would cost about $1000/per abode, is a totally “closed-system” which uses AND daily regenerates a mere one gallon of water to produce the hydrogen from solar-power; AND that his process produces enough total power to provide the electricity for an entire home along with enough excess power to charge an electric and/or hydrogen-fueled car, too!)
· Recognizing the root cause of massive resource depletion, air and water pollution, environmental degradation, much-reduced quality of life, and major global warming acceleration/global climate change is unrestrained increases in human population: encourage a maximum of “one-child/couple” birth rate, along with major “disincentives” for having more than one child per couple. This policy would remain in place at least until the worldwide population level reached a reduced-number maximum of 100 million; this is the optimal number environmentally for planetary carrying capacity. At that point (100 million) planetary population would be stabilized via a “one-for-one” replacement birthrate cap.
· Provide free (federally tax supported) birth control to all who request it, regardless of age. Also provide free (federally tax supported) vasectomies for males and tubal ligations for females to anyone over the age of 18 who requests the service.
· Keep abortion legal and provided free (federally tax supported) of charge for any/all with no questions asked and no required “waiting periods.” No required “parental consent” or notification for underage minors requesting abortion services.
· Outlaw the death penalty; replace it with a with lifetime prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
· Strict institution of separation of Church and State. No official recognition, nor promotion, of religious holidays (such as Xmas) would be allowed.
· Establish as National Holidays (with full pay) both Earth Day in April and Arbor Day in June.
· No public elections voting booths or facilities for any government position shall be set up within or on property held, operated or owned by any religious organization.
· Marriages between two individuals (consenting adults over the age of 18; regardless of sex of the couple) shall only be held legal (with full spousal rights and duties under the law) if performed by a government licensed Justice Of The Peace. Religious wedding ceremonies would not be legally binding nor carry the weight of any spousal rights/duties.
· Reinstate the U.S. Postal Service as totally government administered and provide 100% tax support. All post offices would be open to the public 7 days/week from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
· Require all commercially manufactured goods shipped within the continental U.S. to ship by rail/train to cities and towns; only then are the goods to be distributed from the rail terminals and delivered to business by truck. Additionally, ban tractor-trailer trucks from ALL Interstate and U.S. highways.
· 100% ban on ALL diesel engines (cars, trucks, busses, trains, boats, etc.) within two years. Convert all such engines to either and/or hydrogen/electric.
· 100% ban on building any new nuclear or coal power plants; accelerate the switch over to full “off-grid” solar and wind power, along with the total phase-out (within 5 years) of all nuclear and coal power plants.
· A 100% ban on any new oil and gas drilling (on-shore or off-shore) and accelerate the switch over to 100% hydrogen/electric vehicles; with a total phase-out of all oil and gas energy consumption within 10 years.
· Free total-archive Internet access to all published materials within a year of their publication; with a one-year maximum limit on all copyright/s. This would include all newspapers, magazines, books, movies, music, etc. The public archive would be administered by the Library of Congress. This would not preclude these published materials from also being electronically archived by such free-access entities such as Google, etc. Additionally, copyright holders would be strongly encouraged to allow accelerated free online access (within a week of publication) to any/all materials so that even further timely access to all published materials is improved.
· Every household in the U.S. shall be freely provided (federally tax supported) with at least one land-line based telephone; free high-speed wireless Internet guaranteed access; a minimum of one digital television set (with at least a “19-inch” viewable screen); at least one free “net book” laptop computer, with at least a minimum 12-inch screen, at least 2 GB memory, at least 150 GB hard drive, with at least 6 hours of battery life, and free security (anti-virus/malware) software service with free daily auto-updates and regular free upgrades; guaranteed free heating and cooling (air-conditioning) for their abode’s bedroom and bathroom.
· Make “Daylight Saving Time” year-round , and uniform in all 50 U.S. states
· Vouchers for two free, government subsidized, pairs of walking shoes (summer & winter wear) per person each year for everyone making less than $25,000/year. (Excludes “fashion” shoes, such as high heels.)
· In order to promote safe and healthful outdoor activities such as walking and hiking, require that no “mixed- or shared- use” trails and/or side paths be constructed or promoted. Ban all wheeled on- and off-road devices (including skates, skateboards, roller skies and bicycles) from operation on any walking paths, trails and/or sidewalks. Additionally, no horse riding would be allowed on walking paths or hiking trails.
· Every member (above the age of 8 years old) of a household with a combined income of less than $25,000 would be provided with a free (government subsidized) quality bicycle, along with bicycles helmets and proper safety training for on-road operation. The bicycles would be pre-equipped with rear-mounted racks to which rack-packs and panniers could be easily attached (and/or removed) for carrying emergency gear, school items, and/or items purchased at a store, etc. Each bicycle would also come with a retractable theft-proof cable lock (that would be permanently attached to the bicycle) long enough to go through both wheels, frame and around a secure anchor, such as a tall, thick metal pole, etc.
· Noting the fact that bicycles are legal vehicles, and that in all 50 U.S. states bicyclists have the exact same rights and duties on the road as motorized vehicles; also that the bicycle is not only one of the most efficient forms transportation, and as a result of the “Goods Roads Movement” back in the 1880s and 1890s by the League of American Wheelman (aka: Bicycle USA; today called League of American Bicyclists) there resulted an entire network of the first paved roads throughout the U.S.; and also that bicyclists cause absolutely no wear and tear to the roadways while paying taxes which provide for the maintenance and upkeep of these same roads. Require that all roads be paved with high-quality, smooth asphalt; no gravel, or “chip & seal; and that all driveways be paved-back at a minimum of at least 20-feet from asphalt roads.
· Throughout metropolitan areas, adequate numbers of (federally tax-subsidized) free-for-use, total-enclosure (weather-proof; vandal- and theft-proof) bicycle parking lockers would be installed in conjunction with public transit park-and-ride lots and near various retail businesses; also at major shopping centers, movie theaters, libraries, etc. All public schools would provide secure indoor bicycle parking facilities. All places of employment would be required to provide bicycle parking facilities -- either secure indoor parking, or total-enclosure bicycle parking lockers -- for their bicycle-commuting employees. (Employers also would be encouraged to provide adequate clothes-changing facilities and clothes lockers, along with shower facilities, for their bicycling employees, too.)
· Every U.S. citizen at the age of 18 would be given a free starter “basic” electric/hydrogen two-seater vehicle, with free maintenance and service (including tires and battery replacements) for the first ten years of use.
· No commercial advertising billboards would be allowed along any Interstate or U.S. highway whatsoever; neither along any state or county roadway outside of metropolitan areas. Limited (and small in size; not big billboards) advertisements would be considered for placement in non-scenic sites in metro areas. (Any already existing billboards or advertisements proscribed in the above descriptions would be immediately removed.)
· Remove any/all admission charges to all parks and other public venues (city, county, state and national); all goods, services, maintenance and administration therein to be strictly provided and performed by those directly employed by government. Prohibit any commercial service operation (and no advertisements of commercial services, or “sponsorship” notices) within or immediately adjacent to any and all public parks and venues. No alcoholic beverages are to be allowed in any public park or public venue.
· Every legal U.S. citizen would be provided with one-time 100% free-of-charge (federally tax supported) with a full all-expenses-paid two-week trip to the visit and tour the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and the Smithsonian Institution/museums in Washington, D.C. In addition, expenses (transportation, etc.) would be provided for side trips from D.C., to visit George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s homes, too.
· Every U.S. citizen would be provided with a one-time 100% free-of-charge (federally tax supported) full all-expenses-paid month-long trip to see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, along with other National Parks (in the Southwest and West) of their choice.
· Decriminalize suicide; legalize assisted suicide, with absolutely no restrictions, no required “waiting period,” nor any required “reason” given by/from the person desiring or seeking such assistance.
· No killing of animals for “sport” allowed. (This does not preclude pre-licensed hunting or fishing for food consumption. Nor does it preclude self defense when attacked or in danger of imminent attack by a predator.) Any intentional violations will automatically result in a $10,000 fine and 1 year in jail.
· Ban tobacco smoking 100% indoors (including homes with either and/or anyone under the age of 21 and/or any other resident who is a non-smoker) and within 150-feet of any building or home entrance/exit. Provide free smoking-cessation assistance and clinics, upon request, by either a smoker themselves and/or their employer and/or their spouse.
· Legalize marijuana and tax it like alcohol.
· No advertised “sponsorship” or promotion of any event or organization (whether public or private) will be allowed by the manufacturer, provider (wholesale or retail) or distributor of any alcohol or tobacco products.
· No public consumption of alcohol allowed: not in restaurants, nor in bars; not at sports events. No alcohol may be consumed at any location or event whereupon the consumer would need to drive home after consuming the alcohol before having a chance to “sleep it off.” (The only exception to this rule would be when and where a firm prearrangement had been made for a non-alcohol-consuming “designated driver” to chauffer the alcohol consumer back home from the location after the event.)
· An arrest and conviction for first-time drunk driving (not involved in an accident resulting in either damage to another vehicle or property, nor physical injury to another person) results in minimum of 3 months drivers license suspension. A second DUI arrest and conviction (no accident/injury involved) results in a minimum 6-month drivers license suspension. A third DUI arrest and conviction (no accident/injury) results in a 1-year drivers license revocation.
· Any drunk driving arrest (regardless of whether or subsequently convicted for the offense) for involvement in a DUI accident resulting in either damage to others’ vehicle/s or property, or injury (of any sort; no matter how minor) to another person, incurs the following: First-time offense results in automatic 1-year drivers license revocation; second offense results in a 5-year revocation of their drivers license and a minimum one year in jail; third offense results in a minimum 5-years in jail and permanent revocation of their drivers license.
· Any drunk driving offense (even if it is their “first time”) that results in the serious (life-threatening) injury or death of another person results in the permanent revocation of their drivers license and at least a minimum of 20 years in jail, with no possibility of early parole.
· Establish a federally tax supported, weekly 6-number National Lottery. Every U.S. citizen would automatically be enrolled -- via their federal government-issued and registered single-payer medical card -- for one free lottery chance each and every week. Each weekly lottery drawing would be broadcast live on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. on the free over-the-air National Weather Service TV channel. --- U.S. citizens could purchase additional one-dollar lottery tickets each week, with no limit on the number tickets they may choose to purchase. However, they would have to swipe their single-payer medical card at the time of each purchase to register each extra ticket. No “unregistered” tickets would be considered valid. (Only U.S. citizens could participate in the National Lottery.) The extra one-dollar tickets could be conveniently purchased at any of the National Lottery kiosks that would be located inside the entrances of all libraries and all U.S. post offices. --- All lottery cash winners would be automatically notified, simultaneously via robo-calls to their telephone, online via e-mail and via snail-mail. Weekly National Lottery cash payouts would be redeemable by presenting their single-payer medical card at the counters inside their local post office. (All weekly National Lottery payouts would have to be claimed within one year from the date of the winning drawing.) --- Lottery ticket payouts would be as follows: 1 number – Additional free ticket for next week’s drawing; 2 numbers - $100.00; 3 numbers - $1,000.00; 4 numbers - $10,000.00; 5 numbers - $1000,00.00; 6 numbers - $1,000,000.00. (Weekly National Lottery payouts of $10,000.00, or more, would be paid out via direct-deposit check.) --- Additionally, each year (New Year’s Day thru New Year’s Eve) anyone who won any cash lottery payout would be automatically registered for the annual $10,000,000.00 Grand Prize lottery drawing. (No additional Grand Prize lottery chances would be available for purchase.) The Grand Prize drawing would take place at Midnight between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and would also be broadcast live on the free over-the-air National Weather Service TV channel. The Grand Prize winner would also be automatically notified, simultaneously by robo-call to their telephone, online via e-mail and via snail-mail. Each annual Grand Prize winner would receive their lump-sum cash (direct-deposit check) payout at an all-expenses-paid award ceremony dinner broadcast live on the Weather Channel and hosted by the President of the United States at the White House in Washington, D.C., on President’ Day in February. --- All National Lottery winnings -- both the weekly drawings and the annual Grand Prize -- would be tax-free, lump-sum payouts.