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Archive for July, 2011

I think that the time is right for liberals and conservatives to demand a different standard from their leaders, going outside the reach of corporate rule that is infecting both sides of the aisle. And the cornerstone of this movement should be a push to demand that politicians pledge to support the Fair America Platform.

While many of these concepts fit well within the Democratic party (when not ruled by the DLC, the corporatist wing of the Dems), many of these ideals can appeal to logical, compassionate, and honorable conservatives. And beyond that, most of these concepts are supported by rank and file Republicans as well as Democrats across the nation.

The name Fair America represents a sense of honor and justice that supersedes greed. Coming from an economic populist framework, it will embody reigning in corporate control throughout politics as well. That’s a great place to start. In order to be a viable alternative for Republicans, we need to define the goals as something that appeals to their sense of virtue and fairness. Why fairness? Because rooting against fairness can easily be seen as unAmerican.
In order for the pieces to fall into place for this potential alignment of both Democrats and Republicans, a fracturing of the current GOP is needed. Actual conservatives need to be seen as making a stand against today’s CORPservatives, pointing out the hypocrisy and corporate servitude.
The Fair America Platform will give this new breed of GOP legislators a place to reinvent their party, distancing themselves from a dogmatic past. It will give Democrats a place to put social, economic, and political justice center stage, just what America is clamoring for.
One of the keys is to minimize the GOP hot button issues, since those are always the red flags that Rove/Luntz/the Kochs always lead conservatives around by the nose with. Take them out of the dialog, and there’s room for logic. Here’s how the Fair America Platform would look, based around the concept that fairness gives everybody a chance:
Fair Taxation
-Create a new “1000 Families” top tax tier at 72% for those making $35 million or more per year.
-End all offshore corporate tax havens and close other corporate loopholes
-Stop allowing capital gains income to be separate from regular income for those making over $800,000 per year.
Government Efficiency
-Reverse the push towards privatization throughout government which adds a layer of profit to costs levied on tax payers, and also dilutes expertise and efficiency.
-Draw down all Middle Eastern conflicts, cut personnel at overseas bases in friendly countries
-Cut all new weapons programs by 80%
-Restore Social Security’s solvency by raising cap from $106,000 to $135,000 with two more doughnut holes. For those making over $2 million a year, apply the standard rate to annual income between $2 and $2.05 million. For those making $5 million or more, apply the rate to income between $5 and $5.25 million.
-Grant bargaining power for Medicare Part D prescriptions
-End all oil subsidies
Fair Elections
-Mandate public funding of ALL national and state office elections, with paper ballots hand counted in each
-Turn back all laws aimed at limiting the ability to vote such as new “voter ID” legislation
-Severely restrict lobbying influence in Washington
Job Growth and Fair Business Practices
-End all tax incentives for sending jobs overseas
-Cap bonuses within companies receiving bailouts
-Create corporate tax rate incentives for returning workforce to America
-Create another stimulus geared solely towards infrastructure, education, and local police and fire services
-Strengthen EPA and all oversight groups
Notice that the platform doesn’t make a point out of marriage equality or other divisive issues. Work can be done towards those goals, but by not putting them front and center we expand our scope.
Fairness. Honest people can get behind it. What of the above can Republicans find fault with in the context of fairness? If we link our agenda to honesty, integrity, and giving the average Joe a shot in the world, there are tens of millions that this could strike a chord with.
The Fair America Platform doesn’t have to start with bipartisan roots. It has that potential, and I’d like a world where Republicans see its adoption as a sensible alternative tea party pandering. But if its only impact is to reshape the direction of the Democratic party as a whole, fairness wins.
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On June 29th, Norman Goldman spoke to an astounded conservative, Maureen, on his national radio show. She couldn’t believe the sheer volume of lies, deception, and baseless accusations that her Republican leaders were making as a bait-and-switch ploy to deflect focus from their blatant corporatist legislation.

Maureen was an inspiration on many levels. As someone whose Republican allegiance didn’t outweigh her logic, she represents the exact target that miniprotesting campaigns are seeking. For her the tipping point was reached, and she allowed herself to awaken to the true CORPservative agenda.

People like her are precious for saving America. We need to embrace them, applaud their strength and integrity in fighting their party’s twisted desires. But here’s the tough part, particularly for those of us that are so angry at Republicans in power. In order to win over those like Maureen, we have to maintain respect for actual conservatives, and always differentiate between them and the lockstep CORPservatives like the tea party clones.

Odd as it may seem, rather than hoping Maureen will jump to the Democratic side, we should encourage her and those like her to try to change the Republican party from within, because her conservative voice is probably more acceptable, more reasonable to Republicans than our own. Her logic will go much further among them than ours.

People like Maureen are needed to push for actual conservatives in the GOP primaries, to unseat the Republo-fascists currently sending our country towards oblivion. We need her to show up at her county’s monthly party meetings and start focusing on the alternatives to her current GOP legislators.

Our best shot at returning reason to American politics is for conservatives to force a change in the GOP from within, demanding a far higher standard for honor, integrity, and compassion from their party leaders. Most current national legislators won’t meet those benchmarks, and a wholesale change of GOP leadership would be a firm referendum against current GOP tactics.

During the GOP transition, we only ask that Maureen and those like her vote for Democrats in the general elections and the most sane, least sleazy Republicans in the primaries. Once true conservatives are confident that the Republican platform has returned to the standards and integrity they were drawn to in their youth, they can return to supporting their party in its new form if that’s what they want to do.

A return to honorable conservatism would also return Rush, Beck, Hannity, and Savage back to the fringes where they belong.

As liberals, we will always have lots to be at odds with when confronting conservatives. But for old-school Goldwater conservatives, it’s OK to acknowledge the validity of their arguments even if we disagree. Because honest, respectful debate is something we don’t need to shy away from. We’ve got a lot of truth on our side. And particularly with religious conservatives, many at least understand the spirit of the Golden Rule, and that is the basis for equality.

While the concept of miniprotesting was conceived as a tool for liberals to combat Bush and more recently the vast GOP overreach, putting this tool in the hands of someone like Maureen makes perfect sense. Miniprotests are made up of three groups of four spread out along three consecutive street corners. A central 30” x 40” sign held at waist level is the focal point of each group, and the inscriptions on these signs make a running message like the old rural Burma Shave ads.

Here’s what Maureen and 11 like-minded folks should have as their main sign inscriptions:

Corner #1:  Bring Back Honorable Conservatism. Dump Today’s CORPservative Greedmongers

Corner #2:  GOP Hypocrisy, Lying, Disrespect For Middle Class Well Beneath True Republican Morals

Corner #3:  End Today’s GOP Integrity Deficiency in the 2012 Primaries. New Blood not Blue Blood

At each of the three corners there will be three other people holding smaller signs overhead in the traditional manner. Their signs can read things like, “GOP Blocked Ending Oil Subsidies” alongside “Creating Tax Breaks for Billionaires is NOT Conservative” and “GOP Defunded Consumer Protection Agency.” There can also be signs like, “GOP Has Not Passed ONE Bill to Create Jobs,” “Today’s GOP Focused On Power Not People,” and “GOP Prolonging Tax Breaks for Overseas Outsourcing.”

Another miniprotesting main sign inscription set could be:

Corner #1:  True Conservatives Are Appalled by Today’s CORPservative Agenda

Corner #2:  GOP Willing to Sacrifice Medicare to Preserve Oil Subsidies, Offshore Tax Havens

Corner #3:  Fellow Republicans, We Must Take Back Our Party From the Pious With a Corporate Bias

So in the next year, we must drive the wedge between the conservative and CORPservative agendas, and hope that we can realize a triumph of logic through our efforts to correct disinformation by miniprotesting campaigns, social networking, and by putting pressure on the unFox networks to get real. After all, truth will eventually get lucrative. Fox has too much invested in disinformation, but perhaps another major network will see the coming wave and focus on truth and all the loyalty it inspires.

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