Sunday, August 10, 2008
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his vice presidential running mate Matt Gonzalez have won the California Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) nomination, thus claiming a slot on California’s ballot in November.
The political Left’s repeated charges of spoiler (the Right and Left’s embrace of one or another "spoiler" working to either’s advantage) I agree are ridiculous charges, claims and wishes.
It is far better to support a truly democratic system, a truly progressive participatory democracy, and equal justice under law. Such a system must have activists engaged, with equal access to air time; multiple, diverse, dissenting, different voices, parties, perspectives, points of view writing and affecting policy and politics, government and mass media, and every agency and institution of global and domestic society. Therefore, together with Cynthia McKinney’s and other independent and dissenting voices, thoughts, and proposals…
Nader and Gonzalez’s issues "on the table" deserve consideration:
Comprehensive, negotiated military and corporate withdrawal date from Iraq
Single-payer, Canadian-style, private delivery, free-choice public health insurance system for all
Living wage and repeal of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act
No-nuke, solar-based energy policy supported by renewable, sustainable, energy-efficient sources
Carbon tax to deter global warming
End to the corporate welfare and corporate crime that has resulted in millions losing pensions, savings and jobs and squandered tax dollars
More direct democracy reflecting the preamble to our constitution which starts with ‘we the people,’ and not ‘we the corporations’.
Nader on criminal justice, war on drugs:
The criminal justice system is so badly broken one hardly knows where to begin describing the breakdown…
Almost endless resources—roughly $50 billion every year—pour into catching, trying, and incarcerating people who primarily harm themselves.
The approach to drug addicts, as with alcoholics and nicotine addicts, should be rehabilitation—not incarceration.
Resources could be better used to combat serious street and corporate crime that directly violates the public’s liberty, health, safety, trust, and financial well-being.
Nader and Gonzalez’s 12-point crack down on corporate crime and violence deserve consideration:
Increase Corporate Crime Prosecution Budgets:
The Department of Justice’s corporate crime division and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been chronically and pitifully underfunded and therefore do not have sufficient resources to combat the massive often reported corporate crime wave in the United States. This results in inadequate investigation, settlement of cases for weak fines and ignoring many corporate crime violators completely. There needs to be a strong corporate law-and-order will in the White House. Ban Corporate Criminals from Government Contracts:
The U.S. should enact a tough, serious debarment statute that would deny federal business to serious and/or repeat corporate lawbreakers. The federal government spends $265 billion annually on goods and services. These contracts should not support corporate criminals. These standards should also apply to procurement contracts in Iraq.
Crack Down on Corporate Tax Avoidance:
The U.S. should punish corporate tax escapees by closing the offshore reincorporation loophole and banning government contracts and subsidies for companies that relocate their headquarters to an offshore tax haven. The IRS should be given more power and more budgetary resources to go after corporate tax avoiders. Publicly-traded corporations should be required to make their tax returns public.
Democratize Corporate Governance:
Shareholders should be granted the right to democratically nominate and elect the corporate board of directors by opening up proxy access to minority shareholders and introducing cumulative voting and competitive elections. Shareholders should be given the power to approve all major business decisions, including top executive compensation. Shareholders should be treated as the owners of the corporation—since, in fact, that is what they are.
Expand Corporate Disclosure:
Corporate sunshine laws should be enacted that require corporations to provide better information about their records on the environment, human rights, worker safety, and taxes, as well as their criminal and civil litigation records.
Rein in Excessive Executive Pay:
Shareholder authorization should be required for top executive compensation packages at each annual shareholder meeting. Stock options—now accounting for about half of the executive compensation—should be counted on financial statements as an expense (which they are). Tax deductions for compensation 25 times above the compensation received by the lowest paid worker in a corporation should be eliminated, as recommended by the famous business guru Peter Drucker. Insiders like Warren Buffett say excessive corporate executive pay is associated with inflated profits and other accounting deceptions.
Fix the Pension System:
Corporations must be held more responsible for the retirement security of their employees. At a minimum we need to give workers a voice on the pension board; not require workers to stuff their 401(k) plans with company stock; and give workers the right to control their 401(k) plans. In addition, an Office of Participant Advocacy should be created in the Department of Labor to monitor pension plans.
Restore the Rights of Defrauded Investors:
Repeal the self-styled securities reform laws that block defrauded investors from seeking private restitution, such as the private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which allowed the aiders and abettors of massive corporate crime (e.g., accountants, lawyers, and bankers) to escape civil liability.
Regulate Derivatives Trading:
All over-the-counter financial instruments, including derivatives, should be subjected to the same or equivalent audit and reporting requirements as other financial instruments traded on stock exchanges. Rules should be enacted regarding collateral-margin, reporting and dealer licensing in order to maintain regulatory parity and ensure that markets are transparent and problems can be detected before they become a crisis.
End Conflicts of Interest on Wall Street:
Enact structural reforms that separate commercial and investment banking services and prevent other costly, documented conflicts of interest among financial entities, such as those that have dominated big banks and security firms in recent years.
Track the Extent andCost of Corporate Crime:
The Department of Justice should establish an online corporate crime database. Also, just as the FBI issues an annual street crime report, ‘Crime in the United States,’ it should also publish an annual report on corporate and white collar crime with recommendations.
Foster a National Discussion on Corporate Power:
Establish a Congressional Commission on Corporate Power to explore various legal and economic proposals which would rein in unaccountable giant corporations. The Commission should seek ways to improve upon the current state corporate chartering system in a world of global corporations and propose ways to correct the inequitable legal status of corporations as ‘persons.’ The Commission would be led by congressionally-appointed experts on corporate and constitutional law, and should hold citizen hearings in at least ten cities followed by a public report and recommendations.
Government controlled by private economic power is fascism
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in a 1938 message to Congress calling for a similar inquiry—The Temporary National Economic Commission.
Peace and Freedom Party on the Peace and Freedom Party
The Peace and Freedom Party, according to its website, was established in the Vietnam war era, June 23, 1967, "by people who wanted to vote for something they could support.
The Democrats were leading the nation in the war against Vietnam. As the military drained the domestic economy, Republicans and Democrats called for ‘law and order’ to repress Americans who wished to improve their own lives. Black militants were rising up angrily in the cities, while Filipino and Latino farm workers were organizing labor unions in the fields. Women were agitating for full equality with men. These forces of discontent united to create an electoral arm of ‘The Movement.’
A massive voter registration drive placed the Peace and Freedom Party on the California ballot in January 1968. On both the state and national levels, we have shown a willingness to work with other like-minded groups, trying to build a mass based socialist party throughout the country…
"The Peace and Freedom Party is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We represent the working class, those without capital in a capitalist society. We organize toward a world where cooperation replaces competition, a world where all people are well fed, clothed and housed; where all women and men have equal status; where all individuals may freely endeavor to fulfill their own talents and desires; a world of freedom and peace where every community retains its cultural integrity and lives with all others in harmony."
Sources: "Nader Calls For Crackdown on Corporate Crime, Reversal of So-Called War on Drugs" August 8, 2008: http://www.votenader.org/media/2008/08/08/CorpCrimeWarOnDrugs/ http://www.votenader.org/media/2008/08/02/PFPnomination/ http://peaceandfreedom.org http://www.votenader.org/media/2008/07/15/McKinney/ "Nader/Gonzales 2008" August 6, 2008, GunsandButter.net: Guns & Butter investigates the relationships among capitalism, militarism and politics."
Tags: Peace and Freedom Party, Ralph Nader, Matt Gonzalez, dissenting voices and democracy, policy differences, Cynthia McKinney, equal justice under law, corporate crime, unjustice justice system, broken government, Democratic and Republican parties undifferentiated, distinction without difference, Democratic and Republican wars and corruption, complicity in bad governance, need for real change from Washington downWritten by cwriter85
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