Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Norman Rockwell Illustrates the American Solidarity Party Platform

I’ve recently joined the American Solidarity Party.  Here’s their platform, which I’ve illustrated for them.  I mean, Rockwell actually made the pictures.  So he should get some of the credit.

I trust it goes without saying that this is not intended to suggest that Rockwell did (or would, if he were alive) endorse the ASP platform.  

Complete Platform

The National Committee of the ASP offers these planks as a framework for local and national candidates. We welcome your feedback and suggestions!

National Platform of the ASP

The American Solidarity Party is committed to transcending the Red/Blue divide with coherent policies informed by religious values. We offer the following program for a future based on the principles of Common Good, Common Ground, and Common Sense. 

Right to Life
-We support constitutional and legal measures that establish the Right to Life from conception until natural death.
-We call for an end to capital punishment.
-We oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

-To replace the culture of death with respect for life, we call for adequate social services and income support for women, the elderly, immigrants, and other vulnerable persons.
-We call for a ban on gestational surrogacy contracts.
-We oppose the use of military force in violation of Just War principles.  Among other things, this precludes the use of pre-emptive strikes and disproportionate retaliation.
-We advocate a foreign policy that reduces ethnic and economic tensions world-wide.

-We support laws and policies that reduce the incidence of violent crime on our streets. We call for strict accountability in the use of lethal force by officers of the peace.

Religion in the Public Square
-We acknowledge that the Judeo-Christian worldview has played a positive role in the history and culture of the United States of America. We advocate for laws that allow people of all faiths to practice their religion without intimidation and deplore aggressive secularism that seeks to remove religion from the public sphere.

Civil Rights
-We support the legal recognition of marriage as a union of one man to one woman for life.

-The ASP is committed to the defense of the Bill of Rights.

-We deplore the reduction of the “free exercise of religion” guaranteed by the First Amendment to “freedom of worship” that merely exists in private and within a house of worship. The right to follow what the Declaration of Independence called “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” must be respected.
-We will defend the rights of public assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. We oppose the expansion of censorship and secrecy in the interests of “national security.”

-We support Ban the Box Initiatives.
-The ASP acknowledges the persistence of discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, and gender, and supports laws favoring equal access to the polls, the courts, housing, education, and credit.

-We oppose conscription into the armed services and other forms of compulsory government service, except in cases of clear and present necessity during declared war. We also oppose the mandatory registration of women in the Selective Service system.
-We call for reforms in the process of jury-selection, in order to prevent jurypacking and the narrowing of jury pools.
-We will work to restrict the legal construct of “personhood” for organizations and corporations.

Economic Participation
-The ASP believes that political economy (economics) is a branch of political ethics. We reject models of economic behavior based on greed and naked self-interest.

-To build an economy that is fair, transparent, and democratic, we support models of production and distribution that are local, responsible, and sustainable.
-We support the creation of family-owned businesses and worker cooperatives. We oppose regulations designed to inhibit competition from smaller firms.

-We call for the repeal of subsidies which encourage urban sprawl and discourage local farming and production.
-We advocate a tax shift from earned income (wages and interest) to unearned income (economic rent). We propose to shift the burden of property taxes from buildings and improvements to ground rents.
-We call for the direct payment of surplus revenue to the public as a Citizens’ Dividend.
-We support the creation of sovereign wealth funds in financial markets.
-We call for increased regulation of private pension plans, with greater transparency regarding fees collected by fund managers.
-We oppose the privatization of Social Security, and advocate a return to the use of the funds generated from the program to be solely used for the payments out to recipients, rather than the current use of the funds for many purposes.

Banking and Finance in the Public Interest
 -The ASP regards money and credit as public utilities. We support increased oversight of the banking industry and personal accountability for fraudulent behavior.
-We call for amendment of the Federal Reserve Act to enable direct investment in public works.
-We support the creation of public investment banks and private credit unions at the state and local levels.
-We advocate deflation of the student-debt bubble through partial forgiveness of student loans and restoration of bankruptcy-protection for debtors.

-We support stricter controls on consumer credit, including limits on interest and regulation of credit-card companies and payday-loan and title-loan stores.

Free and Fair Trade
-The ASP believes that the surest path to really free trade is the removal of obstacles to domestic productivity, such as payroll taxes, government subsidies for cheap energy and big agriculture, and the hoarding of productive land for speculative purposes.

-We maintain that international trade agreements should guarantee the freedom of all participants. We are opposed to regulations and loopholes that protect special interests at the expense of consumers. We are opposed to favorable trade status for countries in which workers are exploited, and to agreements that favor international corporations over local producers.
-We call for reform or replacement of international trade organizations (such as the WTO, World Bank, and IMF) in the interest of transparency, accountability, and fairness to all nations.
-We oppose the use of international financial pressure to restructure the economies of debtor nations. 

Health and Welfare
-The ASP advocates the replacement of privately-funded health insurance with a decentralized ‘single-payer’ system.

-We oppose the privatization of Social Security and other public pension systems.
-We oppose the sudden elimination or reduction of income supports such as welfare, food stamps, and unemployment insurance, when no other safety net is in place.
-We call for the gradual replacement of needs-based welfare and assistance payments with a Citizens’ Dividend, funded by the collection of unearned income.

Stewardship of the Environment
-The ASP advocates generous funding for research in safe and renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind-power.
-We intend to roll back government subsidies for reckless oil- and mineralextraction (such as "fracking”).
-We support a strong regime of environmental protection by independent public agencies.  At the same time, we insist on the direct accountability of illegal polluters to their victims in the courts.
-We call for the institution of pollution taxes to fund research in cleaner methods of production and to compensate all citizens for abuse of the natural commons.

-We advocate a cap-and-dividend approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Producers will bid for permits to emit a fixed amount of greenhouse gasses; revenue from the permits will be applied to ecological research and the Citizens’ Dividend.
-In those regions adversely affected by the transition from fossil fuels and mineral extraction to renewable energy sources, we support programs to reduce the damage done to communities and residents, including economic redevelopment aid, job retraining, and/or direct aid to those laid off and their families.

Civic Engagement
-The ASP calls for the reform of electoral laws at the federal and state levels. In particular, we call for a system of proportional representation in the lower houses of federal, state, and local government and a method of either approval voting or range voting for elections.
-We support the right to initiative, referendum, and recall in all states.
-We call for a reform of the redistricting process through independent and impartial agencies.
-We oppose unduly restrictive voter-registration laws.

-We advocate easy access to impartial information on candidates and ballot initiatives in public print and broadcast media, and legal accountability for the misrepresentation of facts in political advertising.
-We support measures to expose and reduce the influence of private lobbies on public servants, including a cooling-off period before the latter are permitted to accept employment in private firms related to their public duties. 
-In keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, we support expanding (where necessary) the autonomy of local governments from state governments. We also call for legal accountability of higher levels of government to lower levels.
-We propose that tax revenue be collected by local agencies and distributed upwards to higher levels of government, rather than from the top down.

Public Services
-The ASP supports the creation of a vigorous and responsible public sector in transportation, education, the arts, and entertainment.
-We oppose the privatization of natural monopolies such as toll roads and bridges, community policing and parking enforcement, public transportation, prisons, and energy and water utilities.
-We oppose the enclosure of science and culture through unduly restrictive intellectual property laws. Copyright and patents should be leased at their full market value, like other forms of economic rent. We support increased public funding for basic research.
-The ASP calls for public ownership of the airwaves. Commercial use of the electromagnetic spectrum should be leased to recover its full market value. We support the broadening of non-commercial access in the form of local PEG (public, educational, and government) television and radio stations.
-We call for anti-trust legislation and enforcement to resist the formation of media conglomerates, and, if necessary, break up those that already exist.

-The ASP regards the Internet as a public utility. We support strict net neutrality, so that users may access legal content without restrictions imposed by their Internet Service Providers. We will support the creation of local, public ISPs and universal Wi-Fi access to the Internet.
-The ASP supports public and/or community ownership of professional sports franchises. We support appropriate action to ensure that these ownership structures are not barred from professional sports leagues.
Justice in the Workplace
-The ASP recognizes the right of workers to form associations in pursuit of their economic interests. We oppose union-busting laws that interfere with the relationship between employers and labor organizations.

-In the enforcement of anti-trust and consumer-protection laws, we will work to maintain a level playing field between labor, management, and consumers.  
-We insist on legal protection for occupational safety and compensation, equal access to employment, good faith in hiring and retention, and paid leave for illness and child-rearing.

-The ASP believes that the responsibility for the education of children resides primarily in the family. Families should be free to home-school their children or send them to public or private schools.
-We call for public support of both public and private schools, with a preferential option for economically disadvantaged students.

-We support the freedom of teachers to design their own curricula within general parameters set by local authorities.
-We support initiatives to improve education for virtue and citizenship, as well as core subjects such as reading and writing, mathematics, science, and the arts.
-We call for increased public investment in higher education and a reduction of tuition at public institutions, as well as stricter regulation of for-profit educational enterprises.

National Security
-We call for an end to unilateral military intervention in foreign countries and the closing of US military bases abroad, where these are not required to protect diplomatic missions or to meet explicit treaty obligations.
-We condemn the use of torture – by whatever method, for whatever purpose, and by whatever euphemism it may be called – by any representative of the United States or in its interests. Those who participate in or authorize torture should be stripped of position, prosecuted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
-We oppose the use of lethal drones against civilian populations in neutral countries.
-We call for the prohibition of private arms sales from the United States to foreign countries.
-The ASP believes that a less aggressive foreign policy will reduce the threat of terrorism within our borders. In the short term, we call for a review of the effectiveness of centralized and specialized anti-terrorist agencies, such as the TSA.

-We call for the repeal of the Patriot Act and the re-instatement of basic civil rights, including the right of citizens to a speedy trial in civilian courts. Secret tribunals (such as the FSA court) must be abolished and military courts returned to their proper role. Foreign non-combatants must not be detained in American facilities or remanded by agents of the U.S. government to foreign prisons.
-We oppose government censorship of the media and the internet.
-We condemn the indiscriminate and unauthorized collection of data from the phones and computers of American citizens and foreign nationals.
-We oppose laws and trade agreements that allow the monitoring of personal internet usage for non-criminal offenses, such as copyright infringement. We call for the periodic destruction of internet histories and other user data collected by internet providers, unless these are specifically required by a court order.

Border Security and Immigration
-The ASP calls for reform of immigration laws, including amnesty and a path to citizenship for aliens currently residing within our borders.
-We oppose the militarization and fortification of our national borders. We are opposed to proposals that place undue restrictions on labor and movement within the United States.
-We favor a generous policy of asylum for refugees from religious, political, racial, and other forms of persecution.

-In the future, we will work toward the negotiation of fair-and-free trade agreements that will make immigration a choice, rather than a necessity. 

Personal Security
-The ASP believes that preventing and punishing crime is an essential public service. We oppose the privatization of law-enforcement and penal institutions.
-As public servants, officers of the peace should be held to the highest standards of professionalism. We support the creation of civilian review boards at all levels of law-enforcement.  

-We oppose legal requirements in sentencing, such as three-strikes laws, which result in the arbitrary, long-term imprisonment of non-violent criminals.
-We support the decriminalization (not the legalization) of recreational drugs. Funds currently expended on the “war on drugs” should be directed toward prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
-We support the implementation of the so-called "Nordic model" for dealing with prostitution by imposing stricter and more uniform penalties for the purchase of sex, decriminalizing the selling of sex, and providing viable employment alternatives to those who are exploited as prostitutes.
-The ASP regards pornography as a harm to society and opposes the exploitation of human persons that pornography entails.
-We oppose the participation of public agencies in legal vices, such as gambling and the sale of recreational drugs and alcohol. Where gambling is permitted, windfalls should be taxed as a form of unearned income.
-We call for more vigorous enforcement of laws against human trafficking.
-We call for greater legal responsibility on the part of creditors and vendors for vigilance against fraudulent activity, such as identity theft.

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