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Politics

I've grown more politically active the last few years.  This is where I stand:

Political Party

I am primarily a progressive Democrat with Independent leanings. For the last decade, I have become more and more disgusted with the Republican Party as it has become more and more of a party of right-wing reactionaries.

Defense

While it is important to have a strong and credible military, it is ridiculous for us to spend more money on our military than all other countries put together. TBD

Economy

Almost all large businesses, especially international conglomerates, care far more about short term profit margins than they do about their customers and employees. They will happily downsize or off-shore jobs if they think they can make a quick buck doing it. They are typically run by executives who have no concept of what life is like for the average person, whether customer or employee, and only care about making obscene amounts of money, even when they run their businesses into bankruptcy. Most are absolutely incapable of self regulation and need regulation to prosper.

I am a capitalist and believe that people need the incentive of making a personal profit. While it is perfectly fine for businesses to exist to make a profit for their stakeholders, they should also exist to provide dependable employment for their employees and valuable products and services for their customers. A business that is only interested in the next quarter's profits is a business that will not remain in business for the long hall.

No business should be allowed to grow so large that government and the tax-payers cannot afford to let it fail. Such a large business poses too great of a risk to society.

Large industries need strong regulation to keep from taking unacceptable risks and acting in ways that are highly detrimental to society. Every time congress let themselves be bribed by lobbyists and special interest groups into getting rid of regulations, the economy goes to hell in a hand basket in the next five to ten years.

Everyone should be able to earn enough money working full time at a single job to make a simple living, being able to pay for basic housing, food, transportation, taxes, clothing, etc. There should be no working poor who can't make ends meet working two jobs. The minimum wage should be a wage that one can get by on.

People have gotten spoiled by imported goods, the prices of which are too good to be true. Too often, these products are produced by the working poor or slave labor under conditions that should be criminal. Consumers need a way to know that they are not contributing to criminal activity by buying imported products.

Education

For the most part, public schools in this country are poor to terrible in terms of educating our children. TBD

Energy

TBD

Federal vs. States Rights

I think that the concept of states rights is an obsolete hold-over from when our country was formed from thirteen independent colonies. I'm an American, not a Pennsylvanian. There is far too much in the way of inconsistent laws and regulations the vary from state to state. TBD

Foreign Aid

TBD

Global Warming

Global warming is by far the biggest problem facing humanity. It is obviously real and is caused by two man-made greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and forests and methane primarily from agribusiness and municipal wastes. The science is clear and irrefutable. And at our current rate of spewing these pollutants into the air, things are going to get much much worse and stay that way for a very long time. We are facing a runaway positive feedback loop that will only accelerate if we don't make massive and painful changes in the next (very) few years.

As the arctic icecap melts, open sea water will absorb more sunlight leading to even faster melting of the Greenland icecap and the permafrost in Canada and Siberia. The resulting soggy tundra is starting to rot, and this will lead to massive increases in the production of methane, which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. This will raise ocean temperature, and if the oceans heat sufficiently to melt the vast deposits of  methane hydrates beneath the sea floor of the continental shelves, then the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica will be gone.

People think hurricane Katrina was a huge disaster, but it will be nothing compared to the disaster that will be caused by sea-levels rising tens or hundreds of feet and farm lands becoming too hot or dry to grow food. Billions of people will die unnecessarily due to starvation, plagues of tropical diseases, and wars brought on by massive migrations of displaced refugees. Just the costs alone will be in the hundreds or thousands of trillions of dollars. Unfortunately, most people, businesses, and governments would much rather put off the problem indefinitely than deal with it in time to avoid this catastrophe. They would rather save a few billion now, deny the problem, and let our childrens' children deal with the consequences of our inactions.

Odds are that we won't wake up and face our responsibilities until after the tipping point has been crossed. What will our descendants think of us?

Health Care

Every citizen should have basic health coverage, which should be one of Government's responsibilities to provide to its citizens. TBD

Illegal Drugs

You would think that we would have learned something from Prohibition, when idealists outlawed alcohol to improve peoples' morals. All it did was funnel massive amounts of cash into organized crime, cost the government millions in lost taxes and increased law enforcement, and make average citizens criminals. The failed war on drugs has done the same things and even increased the amount of drug use over that in several European countries with more liberal laws. We should legalize most drugs, regulate and their purity and limit their concentration, tax them heavily, and thereby treat them the same way as we do our two most popular recreational drugs: alcohol and tobacco. We need to radically change our approach because what we are doing now is not working and only making matters worse.

Science and Technology

TBD

Terrorism

TBD

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