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08/24/2007 - 1:29pm
American Social Justice Party
For reference (because I'm not going to quote the entire site, only pieces I think are important to this post), the site can be found here: ASJP
First, I'll start by quoting this comment from the site: A credible third party is needed with a focus on getting the government, in all branches and at all levels, to respect the Constitution of the United States of America. It is from this statement that I deduce that this party's founder intends on our government following the rules, even if the later statements indicate that this person doesn't actually know what the rules are (i.e. hasn't read the Constitution).
1. National Defense
I agree for the most part with the party's stance on this issue, so I won't go into details here.
Another agreement, for the most part with this position. The invasion of Iraq was US policy well before 9/11, so it's clear that 9/11 had nothing to do with our invasion of Iraq; it was only the excuse used to get people to agree with those actions.
The part I disagree with is this statement: The United States should also agree to pay reparations to the Iraqi people, insuring that contracts for the reconstruction are awarded through both a competitive and fair process. It was illegal (against our own law) to invade Iraq. The solution is not to compound the problem by proceeding with additional illegal activities. Further, the American people (the people who would be taxed to pay these reparations) did not choose to invade Iraq. If reparations are to be made, it should be made out of the hundreds of people's pockets in Washington who committed these crimes.
3. The Middle East and the "War on Terror"
The initial outlook on this describing how our foreign policy of intervention has caused many problems in the Middle East is absolutely correct. However, it then contradicts itself and goes on to talk about how we should continue to intervene by establishing an autonomous Palestinian state. This is where the author begins to show his lack of understanding of the Constitution. Nowhere does the Constitution give our government the authority to police the world, create countries, or redefine other nations' borders.
4. Energy and Dependence on Foreign Oil
Everyone agrees that we need to decrease out dependence on foreign oil, we just don't agree on how. This is absolutely a place where the free market can shine. There are many alternative methods of renewable energy being created. However, because of government intervention in the form of subsidies to the oil companies, these alternatives are unable to compete. The solution is to remove the government subsidies to oil companies, which will allow alternatives to compete in a free market.
This would economically be similar to a carbon tax, but the channels through which the money flowed would be different. Specifically, the money stays in the innovative private sector and out of the hands and control of big government spenders.
5. Civil Liberties
Completely agree with this section.
6. National Health Care
It is the belief of the American Social Justice Party that the United States health care system is need of significant change and improvement. Conservative pundits are wrong when they state that the American health care system is the best in the world. It is not. This is all true. These conservatives are a few decades behind. Back before government was involved in health care prior to the late 60s, we did have the best health care system. A trend can be easily seen that as government involvement in health care increased, our quality of health care increased, and the prices continued to go up.
I disagree with virtually all of the remainder of this section. They acknowledge that there are arguments against them, and they have posted responses. So I will respond to their responses:
The ASJP recognizes the divisiveness of this issue in our society and believes that space should be provided here to directly address some of the arguments made against national health care. The include:
D. A capitalistic society requires individual responsibility; this is simply a step towards socialism.
Response: Capitalism in its pure form lacks compassion. Our society should not lack compassion.
We must take care of each other in this nation, knowing that we will be taken care of if and when the time comes. As a nation, we already have a socialized military, police force, and fire service. We also have an excellent example of socialized health care in terms of Medicare, which is the most cost efficient medical insurance program in the United States.
Capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchism, etc., all lack compassion. That's because they are political and economical systems. In a socialist system, money is taken by threat of force from one person and given to another to provide for them. If I held a gun to someone and mugged them, then gave that money to someone that I felt was more in need of it, I dare say no one would call me compassionate.
I agree that our society should not lack compassion. But "society" is not defined by it's economical system. In a system like capitalism, where people are free to do what they want with their money instead of having the government take it from them, you'll find that people are far more compassionate. Prior to the 70s, charities and church-run hospitals provider necessary health care for those who couldn't afford it. When the government became involved, prices started going up, making it so more people couldn't afford health care. The ASJP is now wanting the government to increase its involvement in health care to fix the problems created by government involvement in healthcare.
Medicare is an abomination. How anyone can claim that it's an example of efficient health insurance is astounding. And to say that as a nation we have a socialized fire service is factually incorrect. Fire service is provided on the local level, not by the federal government. Our national police (the FBI) shouldn't exist, according to the Constitution. If we followed that, we would have only local authorities (as we should). Speaking of the Constitution, it does not allow for universal health care or Medicare.
E. The system works well now and that it will be "cured" if we simply provide coverage for those without.
Response: This is untrue. Those with insurance are equally at risk. Between out of pocket expenses and insurance companies unethically denying claims, even those with insurance have no guarantee that they won't be indigent in a matter of months after one illness or injury.
Agreed here. The current system does not work well. I contend that the solution is getting the government out of healthcare completely, not increasing their involvement.
F. Income taxes would increase.
Response: Only if current funding priorities remain in place, and even then this argument does not account for the elimination of co-payments and other out of pocket expenses. In terms of funding the program, the current annual cost of the war in Iraq exceeds what would be necessary to fund a national health care system.
G. Private insurance companies may be put out of the health care administrative business.
Response: The goal of private insurance companies is to make money - that is at odds with providing quality health care to all people that need it. The American Social Justice Party believes that our values need to be focused on individuals and non[sic] on corporate health care.
Someone needs an economics class. Making money is not at odds with providing goods or services of any kind, including health care, it is one of the primary motivating factors in providing the best quality goods and services so a company can thrive.
H. A bureaucrat will be responsible for determining what care you will receive.
Response: The bureaucrats that will be charged with determining plans of care in a national health care system will be medical professionals. Juxtapose this with the current bureaucrat who is determining plans of care; someone who will receive financial reward for the denial of coverage. The focus needs to be placed on the health of the patient and nothing else. As an example, doctors in Great Britain are given pay incentives for how healthy their patients become. The ASJP believes that this is a far more productive approach for the American public.
Saying that the proposed system is better than the current system (and perhaps it is) is not reason for implementing it. It only demonstrates how poor the current system is. The solution is not to accomplish the near impossible by finding better bureaucrats, but rather to remove the bureaucrats altogether. An insurance company should be responsible to provide coverages according to the contract signed by the company and the individual, and the courts need to uphold contracts (upholding contracts is a legitimate job of the courts).
7. The Budget, the Debt, and Taxes
I agree with the balanced budget here. Just as an individual shouldn't spend more than they make, neither should the government. The line-item veto proposed is extremely dangerous, along the lines of signing statements that the author denounces earlier. It gives the President the authority to make law, a power the Constitution expressly gives only to the Congress. Tax cuts should be made across the board so as not to have a progressive tax system. People who earn more money generally do so because they work harder, smarter, and provide a greater contribution to society. I'm not talking about a very small minority of people like CEOs earning $20 million per year. I'm talking about the average upper-middle class person that simply makes a higher than average income. This person does so because they put in the work necessary to provide for their future financially, and they should not be punished for this in the form of higher tax rates.
8. The Environment
The ASJP appears to support government involvement in cleaning up the environment. So do I, but not through legislative processes. First, we need to address the oil subsidy issues I mentioned above. Secondly, as government has been the largest polluter in the history of the world, it would seem naive to leave it in charge of keeping national forests and the like pollutant free; sort of like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house. People take care of their own property. Because they own it, they have an incentive to do so. Respecting private property rights would go a long way in keeping the environment clean.
9. Election Reform
I'm not sure how I feel about this section. Candidates who cater to corporate wishes receive a large proportion of their funds from these businesses, which gives them an unfair advantage, and causes the candidate to "owe" the company if he or she becomes elected, which is the ultimate problem in a scenario like this. On the other hand, I don't think the this is really the problem. I think the problem is an uninformed sheep-like population that sees a candidate on television kissing babies on the forehead and says, "Gee, he looks like a nice guy, I think he should be president." If people actually made themselves informed about issues and candidates before placing their vote, then I think the amount of money a candidate had or where it came from really wouldn't matter.
10. Accountability of Elected and Appointed Officials
I think this is a sound position, but I think it can be simplified. Federal officials (at least those elected, I'm not sure about appointed) take an oath to uphold the Constitution. It should be required of these people that they have actually read the document and can demonstrate a solid understanding of it. When their actions are inconsistent with the Constitution, they should be deemed to have broken their oath and removed from their position. I know of only one federally-elected official out of all of the members of the Legislative and Executive branches that has followed the Constitution 100%, so a policy like this would certainly thin the herd.
11. Constitutional Reform
The American Social Justice Party supports the restoration of civil liberties lost to American citizens under the Bush administration that have been guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Additionally, the ASJP supports constitutional amendments that would require a balanced federal budget and that would provide the President with line-item veto authority. Any individual lines vetoed would still be subject to potential override in Congress.
Finally, the ASJP strongly opposes any constitutional amendments that would impose moral judgments of one group of people onto another. Thus, amendments prohibiting abortion and same-sex marriage are unwelcome.
All of this looks good (except the line-item veto, as described previously). However, it's totally contradictory to virtually everything else the ASJP proposes. Also, the first statement "The American Social Justice Party supports the restoration of civil liberties lost to American citizens under the Bush administration that have been guaranteed by the United States Constitution" indicates that the ASJP believes that the Constitution is what gives the people their rights, and that is not the case. In reality, the people have every conceivable right that doesn't infringe on other individuals' rights, and the Constitution enumerates the powers that the government has in order to protect those rights. That is, by the way, the government's sole responsibility; protecting the rights of individuals.
These rights include life, liberty, and property. The right to property extends to the right to use my property as I so choose, which concludes that it can't be taken from me (i.e. and redistributed to others in the form of universal health care, etc).
12. Immigration and Border Security
The ASJP seems to suggest that we need to strengthen our borders, but in regards to the illegals already here, "What's done is done."
The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants in our land are law-abiding
That is simply a contradiction. Illegal immigrants cannot, by definition, be law-abiding.
The point that we simply can't round up every illegal immigrant in the country is correct. There really is no easy way of doing that. But we absolutely do not need a "fast track to U.S. citizenship" for these people.
I welcome immigrants to this country that are here to better their lives through hard work and acquiring legitimate opportunities that are unattainable where they come from. But because of the flaws in our system, these opportunities unfortunately include free health care (emergency rooms) and free education for their children. These social programs being allowed to people that are here illegally put a strain on our system. Because of these social programs, it's difficult to distinguish between the immigrant that wants to move here and make a real life for himself, and the one that sees an opportunity to receive government hand-outs. Once these social programs are removed, immigration can be severely relaxed, as this country will naturally attract those with good work ethics and repel those looking for a freebie.
13. Jobs and Corporations
The United States government has placed the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of the American people. Corporate tax breaks, no-bid contracts, free trade agreements, and government subsidies to corporations have done nothing to make the average American worker more secure. In fact, just the opposite has taken place. The United States has seen millions of jobs move to other nations.
Corporate profits have soared, as have CEO salaries, while the buying power of the average American has declined. While corporate executives live lives of luxury, pension plans have been trashed and the financial futures of many Americans has been ruined. Corporate accounting scandals have demonstrated that greed is the primary driving force behind corporate America, and Americans suffer as a result.
Correct symptoms, wrong diagnosis.
It's clear that the middle class and poor are getting poorer, while the rich are getting richer. However, people seem to make an illogical jump to corporate greed as the culprit. If it was that simple, these large corporation would go out of business because, with such large profits, they wouldn't be able to compete in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs would see the large profits of a given industry and start a competing business. This competing business would draw the prices down. Large corporations would lower their prices to compete, or be pushed out of business.
However, there is one primary driving force that prevents that from occurring. It's one overlooked by virtually everyone, and it is also the mother issue of all issues. The Federal Reserve.
In 1913, the Federal Reserve was created. It's an organization of private banks that print the country's money. It is not a federal agency any more than Federal Express. They print the dollars that we keep in our wallets, our savings accounts, our investments, and this money has absolutely no value other than the fact that they tell us it has value, and we believe them.
Here's an example of the law of supply and demand in action. Let's say that at a given point in time, we have $1 trillion in circulation spread out among the population. The Federal Reserve prints up $50 billion and puts it into circulation, now we have 5% more money, which usually means that people in general have 5% more money. When people have more money, they spend more money; and when they spend more money, prices go up. This would be seen as a 5% inflation. And if all of this happened proportionately, we probably wouldn't have a problem.
But it doesn't, because of the way the Federal Reserve injects money into the system. When the Federal Reserve injects money into circulation, they do it by providing it to the banks, and the banks loan it out. A large number of the loans go to those that borrow large amounts. These generally tend to be people are large corporations.
In this scenario, let's say a land developer needed to borrow a large sum of money to create a new shopping center. He's borrowing the money from the bank who just had new money provided to them by the Federal Reserve. When he borrows this money, the economy isn't aware of it yet, so prices have not yet inflated due to the introduction of this new money. Since he's borrowing this money to build a shopping center, it's practical to assume that this money is going towards contractors and supplies. So let's say that one particular supply, concrete, is going to cost him $50/yard (I'm making up that dollar figure, I don't know what concrete costs). He spends the money, gets the concrete, builds the shopping center. But as he spends the money, he is now introducing new money into the market. Once the market forces become aware of this money, inflation occurs. Now the price of concrete is $52/yard.
So what happened here? This person now owns concrete worth $52/yard for which he paid $50/yard. In short, this person's relative wealth has increased due to inflation, while the rest of us poor saps are now paying $52/yard for concrete. Do this over an over, on an ongoing basis, and on a nation-wide scale, over a long period of time, and you can start to see why the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are getting poorer.
A primary cause of people losing their wealth, not being able to afford health care, education, or any number of other important aspects of life, is monetary inflation caused by the Federal Reserve. Abolish the Federal Reserve, move our country back to a sound money system backed by something of actual value, and this disparity will begin to shrink.
American infrastructure is in peril. Areas in need of improvement include schools, airports, drinking water supplies, waterways, roads, bridges, mass transit systems, railways, dams, and hazardous waste facilities. It is imperative that the United States begin making a major investment in overhauling the national infrastructure.
These things are infrastructure, but they are not national infrastructure. It is imperative that the federal government keep their hands off of these things and let people at the local levels, who know how to best run their communities, handle these issues.
The American Social Justice Party opposes "No Child Left Behind" or any legislation in which public schools struggling with academic achievement are financially penalized as a result of this achievement. It must be acknowledged by the federal government that educating a society is no easy task, and that such a task is best served when left to educational administrators, and not Washington bureaucrats and legislators. Educational professionals should be charged with developing a national strategy for academic success.
Everything was good up until that last statement. In practice, there is no difference between a bureaucrat, and an "educational professional" "charged with developing a national strategy for academic success."
With respect to higher education, the federal government has exceeded its authority in regulating the internal operations of colleges and universities while conversely federal and state support of public institutions has dramatically decreased.
I find it ironic that the ASJP would make any argument claiming the federal government has overstepped its authority when virtually the entire platform is based on the federal government overstepping its authority.
16. The United Nations and International Law
Nations professing to be democratic and supporting world-wide democracy must acknowledge that a part of living in a democracy is accepting decisions that we may not agree with. Thus, the United States of America must stop asserting its perceived superiority over the rest of the world. The United States should serve as a full contributing member to the United Nations, not withholding contributions over political disagreements. The United States must abide by U.N. decisions, and additionally must consent to be an active member of the International Criminal Court.
The first flaw is the first sentence itself. Our country is not a democracy, it is a republic. We do not profess to be a democracy (well, maybe George Bush does, but he doesn't speak for most of us). We do not live in a world-wide democracy. We can accept decisions that we don't agree with, so long as those decisions are restricted to the countries where the decisions were made (i.e. we cannot accept another country's "decision" to invade us).
The United Nations has no authority in our country, nor should it. Local governments are best for dealing with most issues in their communities, and the federal government is charged with dealing with only a small handful of issues because most things cannot be properly done at a central federal level. It should be obvious that a world government organization like the U.N. would have even less ability to make viable decisions.
17. The Internet
The American Social Justice Party supports "net neutrality" and opposes any attempts by the government or by corporations to limit access to or content on the internet.
Oh? Under what authority does the ASJP propose the government would use to implement net neutrality?
What the government should instead do is not provide artificial monopolies to cable and phone companies. If the government were to allow competition in the high-speed internet department, we wouldn't have a need for net neutrality.
18. Gun Control
Individual citizens in the United States of America have the right to own legally purchased and registered firearms. However, it is the belief of the American Social Justice Party that the Second Amendment applies to government regulated militias and does not grant private citizens unrestricted access to such weapons. We believe that it is the role of the federal government to protect citizens from gun violence, and we support regulation that serves to control and/or deny access to specific high-risk groups of people, as well as to regulate the types of weapons available to private citizens.
It is the belief of me that the ASJP does not understand the history behind the second amendment. For reference, here's the text: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It specifically mentions "the right of the people." But for those who want to argue, "but it says Militia," that demonstrates a lack of understanding of history. In the 1700s (when the Constitution was written), the militia was every man over 18 years of age, as they were often called upon for defense. So the intent is clear that it was intended to refer to all males over 18 years of age. As times have progressed, our country has recognized that women are entitled to equal protection of their rights, so it is safe to assume that this definition now includes everyone over 18, men and women.
However, none of that really matters. We don't need the second amendment in order to be freely armed, because the Constitution gives no authority to the government to place any controls on guns.
In addition, there is no such thing as "gun violence." This is a term made up to scare people into believing that guns need to be controlled. When someone is intentionally hit by a car, we don't call it "automobile violence." When someone is mugged by an African-American, we don't call it "black violence." Violence is violence, no matter the method, and should be opposed. But to try to place the blame on an inanimate object like a gun is absurd.
19. Government and Science
Science is the vehicle by which we make improvements to our daily lives, but science can complicate our lives as well. It is the opinion of the American Social Justice Party that science must continue to develop and advance, yet be tempered by ethical and legal considerations. Scientists and government must come together to determine appropriate boundaries for science, particularly in the areas of cloning, genetics, and weapons research.
The government should stay out of science altogether. As long as scientific research doesn't infringe on the rights of individuals (like killing someone to study their anatomy), then it should be allowed. And "allowed" doesn't mean "federally funded."
20. Government and Religion
The United States was not created as a theocracy, and the American Social Justice Party opposes any and all Constitutional amendments, legislation and/or executive orders designed to impose the moral values of one religious group upon others. The ASJP believes that the separation of church and state is vital to a free society, and that the freedom of religion also includes a freedom from religion. Additionally, the ASJP believes that creationism and intelligent design, unlike evolution, are speculation unsupported by objective fact, and thus have no place being taught in a public classroom.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
21. Individual Civil Rights
It is the view of the American Social Justice Party that the Constitution intends for all free citizens to be treated equally. Any discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other individual factor is wrong.
By many moral beliefs, it is wrong. By others, it is not. Just like religion, these moral beliefs should not be pushed on anyone by legislative action.
Additionally, women must be granted equal rights and equal pay in the work place. The contributions of women in America on a daily basis are no less significant than the contributions of men; their pay should reflect this contribution.
Wages are determined by the market. This is absolutely an area where government intervention would be extremely harmful.
While progress has been made in extending rights to black Americans and other minorities, discrimination is still rampant and must be acknowledged. Until there is a completely "level playing field for these citizens", particularly as it relates to poverty in America, it is the opinion of the American Social Justice Party that there is still a legitimate place in our society for Affirmative Action programs.
And for as long as you keep thinking in terms of groups with programs like Affirmative Action, we will always have discrimination. No one said it better than Ron Paul:
"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist."
22. Abortion and Reproductive Rights
The American Social Justice Party believes that abortion is an option that must be provided to victims of rape and incest.
This is unclear. Are they saying that these services should be available, or are they saying that they should be paid for by tax dollars?
23. The Death Penalty
The death penalty is a barbaric practice generally still utilized only by third world nations. Additionally, on too many occasions people have been executed despite evidence suggesting the innocence of the person being executed. In a nation professing to value human life, criminal executions must be abolished.
Completely agreed. No government should have the power to kill its citizens.
24. Alcohol and Drugs
Both alcohol and illicit drugs have negative ramifications for both individual citizens and society. However, it is the opinion of the American Social Justice Party that the federal government has exceeded its authority in coercing individual states to adopt a 21 year old drinking age. Such restrictions should be removed and this issue should be left to the deliberations of the states.
I'm impressed -- A comment that's in-line with the Constitution.
25. The Media
Finally, it is the belief of the ASJP that the internet should remain a completely open forum, subject to no government or corporate tampering.
This statement contradicts the idea of net neutrality. Though I agree again with the symptoms describe in this section about the corruption of the media, I don't agree that the answer will be found through legislative means (and again, there is no authority to do so). Media is corrupt because they have an agenda. This agenda comes from them being large. In the 1950s, all of the major media was owned by about 100 companies. Today, all of those companies have been absorbed into six conglomerates. It is only through government intervention over the past half-century that has incentivized these smaller companies to merge into larger ones. With only six mainstream sources to acquire news, it's going to be slanted.
After reading through the entire ASJP's list of issues, twice, I found myself asking, "How are they different from the Democratic Party?" They're smaller, they're run differently, but their views are virtually identical. I see no difference between their platform and that of the Democratic Party's platform. I'm surprised there was no proposal in here for increasing the minimum wage.
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