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Political Philosophy for Todd "Todd Chretien" Chretien
Bring the Troops Home NOW
We need peace in Iraq.
More than 2,250 young American troops and over 100,000 Iraqis have died with no end in sight. If we want to stop the dying and respect the Iraqi people's right to run their own country, then we must immediately withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq and the surrounding countries.
We have spent over $370 billion to invade and occupy Iraq. Our military budget has escalated to over $650 billion per year. For the money we've spent on the war in Iraq, we could have eliminated unemployment or paid for health care for all uninsured people in our country. One day of the occupation could have paid for the levees needed to save the people of New Orleans.
If we want lasting peace in the Middle East, the U.S. must completely reverse its policies. We must stop threatening Syria and Iran with military action, propping up right-wing dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and funding Israel to the tune of $7 billion per year while it denies justice for the Palestinian people. Here at home, we must redirect resources from the military-industrial complex towards developing renewable and clean energy.
Create Decent Jobs with Union Rights
Here's one positive way to dramatically improve our society. In 2005, the federal education budget was $67.7 billion. In the same year, we spent over $100,000 to occupy Iraq. If we switched those numbers, we could use the extra $33.3 billion in education to hire 660,000 teachers, an almost 50% increase in elementary and high school teachers. These would be good union jobs with salaries and benefits of $50,000 a year. Imagine that! Imagine the hope we could unleash by reducing class sizes by 50%. Imagine the transforming impact in our poorest neighborhoods. Imagine a country that prioritizes education over war. My wife is a middle-school special ed teacher in a public school in Oakland and my daughter will be going to kindergarten in two years, so this is an issue near and dear to my heart.
Tax the Rich
I'm thirty-six-years-old. My generation is the first generation in American history whose living standards are worse than our parents, and we expect even harder times for our kids. But our economy is richer than ever before. What's going on?
In California the richest 5% pay just over 7% of their income in taxes, while the poorest 20% pay over 11% of their income. And we're paying through the nose for health care, tuition, and transportation. In return, we get crumbling schools, indifferent HMO's, overcrowded classes at our public colleges, cuts in transportation service or massive traffic jams. We must demand the corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, at least as high a percentage of their income as you and I pay. If we just did that, we could lower taxes on most people, restore funding for our schools and health care system and rebuild our public transportation. If we don't do this, then we will face permanent budget cuts and we will pass on the wreckage to our children.
End the Death Penalty and Three Strikes
We need a new civil rights movement in the country. Hurricane Katrina exposed the racist contempt our government has for the lives of poor and Black people. Things are no different in California. The prison-building boom has filled our jails with poor people. In 1970, there were about 40,000 prisoners in California jails, now there are over 165,000. This is madness. There are more Black men on death row in San Quentin then there are in the freshman class at UC Berkeley, just ten miles down the road.
We must transform the prison-building boom, into a school and hospital-building boom, and we must end the "Three Strikes" law, which fills our prisons with people whose only crime is that they are poor and disenfranchised. I helped organize the movement to try to stop the execution of Stan Tookie Williams in December. The State Legislature should immediately pass AB 1121, placing a two-year moratorium on the death penalty and the federal government should do the same.
Equal Rights for Immigrants
In the last ten years, 4,000 people have died in the California and Arizona deserts trying to cross the border. Everyone knows that California's economy depends on undocumented workers from Latin American, Asia and the Philippines. Yet, employers and politicians want to keep them in an apartheid-like status. Impending new federal legislation like the Sensenbrenner Act aims to whip up racism and will only further criminalize hard working immigrant families. Immigrant workers deserve to be treated with respect. I believe we need to demilitarize the border with Mexico and grant amnesty and drivers licenses to people whose only crime is traveling far from their homes to support their families.
Abolish the USA Patriot Act
The USA Patriot Act violates the Bill of Rights. According the ACLU:
Legalize Gay Marriage
Gays and lesbians deserve equal rights. It's just that simple. There is no logical reason for discriminating against same sex couples and they deserve equal protection under the law.
Defend Abortion Rights
Women deserve equal rights. One of those basic rights is to have personal control over their own bodies. With the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito, Roe v. Wade itself is in jeopardy. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, illegal and unsafe abortions will lead to the death and mutilation of thousands of women as well as tens of thousands of unwanted pregnancies. It is time to stop the retreat and to stand up to the assault on women's rights. As the National Organization of Women put it, anything short of a filibuster against Justice Alito was a "meaningless gesture" and a failure to defend women's rights on the part of Senate Democrats.
Build Schools Not Jails
In the past 25 years, California has built over 20 prisons, and only 2 state university campuses. There are now over 160,000 people in California's prisons, as many as attend the University of California system. We put a higher percentage of our people in jail than any state but Texas and more than any country in the world. Meanwhile, we are closing public schools across our state from Oakland to San Francsico to Los Angeles. If we want a future for our children, we must build schools not jails.
Punish Corporate Polluters
Chevron reported $14.1 billion in profits in 2005, the highest in its history. While Chevron's CEO's are laughing all the way to the bank, Richmond, California's children are coughing all the way to the hospital. Asthma rates are out of control and our environment is being destroyed year after year, while corporate polluters like Chevron operate above the law. It's time to get tough with them.
National Health Care
According to the California Health Care Foundation, "The decline in employer-based health coverage and the increase in public health insurance coverage leave the number of uninsured in California unchanged from 2004 at approximately 6.5 million, or just over 20 percent of the non-elderly population. A median California household spends $49,765 annually; the greatest share of which is spent on necessities such as housing, transportation, and food. If serious health problems arise, even for an insured family, coverage and out-of-pocket costs could account for a significant portion of annual spending. Even lower-priced products available in California can cost $1.62 per hour worked, or 11 percent of the state's median wage."
Worrying about paying for or obtaining health insurance weighs heavily on the vast majority of California's families. The most sensible way to end this deepening crisis is to develop a single-payer, national health care plan, which guarantees quality medical care to all people.
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: July 17, 2006 12:59
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