No, not that kind of party. The political kind. We could call it the Promethian Party, seizing the political dialogue back for those of us who don't have a dozen lobbyists. Here's what the platform should be:
- Economics. Raise taxes on the right, rising to 50% on amounts above one million dollars a year. Yes, I know the standard talking point that if you do that, all the millionaires will flee the country. Bite me. They didn't flee the country during the Eisenhower era when the top tax rate hovered around 90%. If you want to talk about how Reagan cut the rates and the economy boomed, you can also bite me. Reagan's tax cuts let rich people get much richer but they also caused a recession (no, it wasn't Congress, guess what you can do?) and hammered government revenues. The insane "trickle-down economics" theory is crap, it always has been crap and it's never worked.
Small tax cut for the middle class. Tax credit for the working poor. No need to mess with corporate tax rates, just close the loopholes that let the majority of US corporations avoid paying taxes and institute a law that any profit earned on goods sold in the USA is taxed at USA rates. If you don't want to pay US tax rates, you don't get to sell to US consumers.
- Law & Order. We will not torture. Nor will we quibble about whether techniques classified as torture for five hundred years are really torture. The right laughed hysterically at Clinton quibbling about the meaning of "is" so they do not get to quibble about the meaning of "torture". The UN Declaration on Torture (which the US is a signatory to) expressly state that no special circumstances will excuse torture. While we're on the subject, anyone in custody is either a criminal, a civilian or a PoW and covered by the appropriate schedule of the Geneva Conventions. Since you aren't in a rebellion or invasion, they also have habeus corpus rights and criminals will get a fair trial as soon as is practical (just as the dozens of domestic terrorists already held in Supermax jails did).
The USA PATRIOT Act to be repealed in it's entirety and no, that doesn't endanger you in the slightest, STFU. The PATRIOT Act never had anything to do with preventing terrorism, it was about granting intelligence agencies every police-state fantasy they ever had. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are the supreme law of the land and the PATRIOT Act is an unconstitutional abomination.
The system of allowing Presidents to nominate judges was intended to insulate judges from political pressure. It has done exactly the opposite, allowing the more authoritarian presidents (*coughBUSHcough*) to enshrine their personal bias to a lifetime appointment. However, allowing judges to be elected by the general public opens them to the same pressures as politicians and the general public don't understand the law anyway. Therefore, judges for the Appeals courts or SCOTUS will now be elected by the ABA (American Bar Association) for fixed terms of ten-years (from which, they may resign at any time) and no-one may stand in those elections until they have at least fifteen years experiance as a lawyer and/or lower court judge. While we're on the subject, anyone complaining about "activist judges" is to be bludgeoned with a large ripe haddock. We will pursue a Constitutional Amendment to this effect.
All "three strikes" laws to be struck down. Also, an inquiry will be convened with regard to the war crimes comitted under the Bush administration.
- Equal Rights. The ERA to be ratified at the first opportunity. Partial Birth Abortion Act repealed. FACE Act to be fully enforced. Federal hate crimes and anti-discrimination laws expanded to cover homosexuals. We will order the military to cease enforcement of DADT on our first day in office and repeal it fully at the first opportunity. DOMA is repealed as an unconstitutional challenge to the "full faith and credit" clause.
With regard to same-sex marriage, we are going to concede the word "marriage" to the collective church. However, that is [i]all[/i] we are conceding. We will enact law to ensure that the package of rights and responsibilities currently known as "marriage" will henceforth be available to any two mentally competent adults who register themselves as a Civil Union. For fairness, anyone already married when this law comes into effect will automatically gain Civil Union status in addition. In other words, if you want to have the legal rights with your partner (of either gender), you have to register as a Civil Union. If you want to take it further and have religious rites, that's fine, it's optional. The entire set of legal rights (such as but not limited to, presumptive inheritence, presumptive child custody, etc) shall now be granted to Civil Unions which shall be considered to take the place of the word "marriage" in all federal laws.
Also, cannabis is legalised for production, private consumption and sale from licensed vendors (i.e. vendors already holding a license to sell alcohol), subject to the exact same retrictions as alcohol (age-restricted and a ban on driving under the influence). If you wish to grow your own, that's the same as brewing one's own beer and none of the state's business. Also legalised federally is gambling (including sports gambling) in licensed premises.
- Religious Rights. All persons have every right to practice their faith and to freely worship as they see fit and our administration will not threaten that. However, your religious freedoms come with the responsibility to respect the religious freedoms of others. You cannot make law on a religious basis and any religious argument in law or public policy can and will be summarily ignored. If you hold an opinion for religious reasons, that's fine but you'll need to come up with a secular argument to justify it. You may not erect religious symbols on public property unless other religious/social groups (including athiests, for the purposes of this discussion) are free to do likewise. To put it another way: Erecting a cross alone on public property, not allowed. However, if a group of Christians wish to take up a collection to erect a cross on public property, they may do so, provided that Jews may put up a menorrah; Hindus may erect a statue of Shiva, Wiccans can erect a monument of the Wiccan Rede; athiests can erect a monument of, say, the "Coexist" logo and so on. The only acceptable reasons for refusing such a display shall be either that it contravenes obscenity laws or that it's physically dangerous.
- Education. No, you cannot teach creationism, cration science, intelligent design or whatever silly name you've come up with now in science class. It's not science. When you come up with a testable hypothesis that survives peer review, we'll talk. Science says that evolution, while incomplete, is the most likely explanation for humanity's current state. Creationism, if it is taught at all, shall be taught in Comparative Religions class. Nor can you have teacher-led prayer. Students may quietly pray whenever they wish so long as they do not endanger the class while doing so. Comprehensive sex education shall be taught, in an age appropriate manner, from the age of 11 onwards. Some children (mainly girls) may have already begun puberty by this point but the law must deal in averages. Machines vending condoms shall also be added to the bathrooms of male and female students (bite me, conservatives, no-one has a shag purely because there are rubbers available). All education shall be based on available evidence and teachers shall get a pay rise to the same level as a civil servant of comparable seniority. In exchange, teachers shall take a short test each year to ensure that they remain up to date on recent developments/discoveries in their field. teachers shall also be exempt from having to repay student loans after completing five years as a public school teacher. Any soft drinks vending machines installed on school grounds shall attract a 5% tax, to be funnelled straight back into education. Pay to play, guys.
- Healthcare. Our administration shall enact, as soon as possible, a system of universal healthcare, funded fom taxes. This shall include prescription drugs although we will ask citizens to pay a $15 charge as a contribution (inflation linked) for each prescription filled. Those below 18, over 60, in full time education, military service or receiving welfare payments shall be exempt fom this charge. Private insurance shall continue to be available for those who wish to pay for it. Medical students shall have their student loans written off after serving five years in the USHS (for lack of a better name). The USHS shall also absorb Medicare and Medicaid in the process of being rolled out. The combination of Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance costs you around $2.3 trillion a year. A USHS run along the same lines as the French system (generally accepted as the world's best) would cost less than half of that. Contraception (including, but not limited to, birth control pills, condoms, IUDs, etc) shall be provided free of charge and exempt from prescription charges.
- Defence. A 20% cut in defence spending. America spends more on it's military than the rest of the world combined. Last year's budget increase alone was larger than the entire budgets of your nearest four competitors. This isn't a "strong military", this is a mental illness. In terms of value for money, the Pentagon makes Enron look like a paragon of scrupulous accounting. Any person with some knowledge in this area could cut 10% off the budget just by eliminating the programs which are admitted to be obsolete.
Iraq is handed over the the Iraqi government. However, 50,000 troops shall remain there under the command of the Iraqi government. They shall be rotated out every six months and should the Iraqi government ever ask us to leave, they shall be brought home as quickly as logistically feasable with the exception of the American Embassy's security detail.