Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Two Clerihews (based on recent news)

Matthew Perry, 
boarded Charon’s ferry. 
As Charon pushed off, Perry was heard to crack. 
“That parachute really WAS a knapsack.”

Taylor Swift 
has an annoying gift 
for always creating a hit song 
out of yet another relationship gone wrong.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

The American Solidarity Party and Distributism


The American Solidarity Party is a relatively new Christ Democratic party that espouses ideas very much in line with Christian and Catholic teachings - and, of course, Chesterton's ideas.

The party, for example, embraces Distributism.

From the party's principles:

The American Solidarity Party believes that political economy is a branch of political ethics, and therefore rejects models of economic behavior that undermine human dignity with greed and naked self-interest. We advocate for an economic system which liberates people from being cogs in a pitiless machine, instead creating a society of widespread ownership, or distributism. (Emphasis added.)

We believe the American economy should be reordered to place human dignity first and to recognize that the family is the basic unit of economic production. We are committed to policies that emphasize local production, family-owned businesses, and cooperative ownership structures.

Policy should encourage and incentivize families who run their own small businesses and help them to provide just wages to their workers. Government policy must not favor large corporations, help them to outcompete small businesses, or encourage administrative bloat.

In order to discourage the overexpansion of corporate power, businesses should be progressively taxed for each location and for the expansion into varied types of merchandise and services.

We call for the expansive use of antitrust legislation to break up “too big to fail” multinational corporations and banks. We also call for the breakup of media conglomerates, big technology companies, and over-concentrated industries that leave the United States particularly vulnerable to industrial accidents and disruptions. We support limiting the political power wielded through the legal construct of “personhood” for organizations and corporations.

We call for the restoration of the requirement that corporations must serve a public good in order to be granted the benefit of limited liability. We support the prohibition of corporate bylaws and the repeal of state legislation requiring shareholder profit to trump considerations such as employee well-being and environmental protection. We seek to limit the political power wielded by organizations and corporations.

We recognize that “one who oppresses the poor taunts one’s Maker.” Economic rentiers and speculators who produce nothing, but only extract money through corrupt relationships with public power, need to pay their fair share through taxes on land and financial transactions. We call for increased regulation of the banking industry and stock market to prevent corporate bailouts; instead, we favor distributing ownership shares of capital to the common people.

We call for community-oriented, non-interest-based lending practices and mutual-aid organizations supplemented by countercyclical social credit to replace predatory lending agents that target working-class communities. We must reject a financial system based on saddling workers with debt and interest payments, and instead embrace one that encourages productive activity. We call for greater legal responsibility on the part of creditors and vendors for vigilance against fraudulent activity, such as identity theft. We support initiatives for a debt jubilee and other forms of debt relief.

We call for the end of foreign ownership over domestic farms, real estate, and industry. We seek increased support of small family farms, cooperative farms, agricultural land trusts, and community gardens. We also call for the end of punitive zoning laws that unfairly target our poorest citizens by preventing them from engaging in small-scale agriculture and animal husbandry. We call for a program of family gardens, distributed animal husbandry, food-handling education, and food-preservation education based on the World War-era “victory gardens,” in order to end food scarcity and instill resilience in supply chains.

We acknowledge that natural monopolies and the common inheritance of the natural world need to be closely managed and protected by the public, not surrendered to oligarchs. We call for policies that deliver citizens their fair share of our common wealth so as to widely distribute private property and for the inheritance of natural resources in the form of a citizen’s dividend and baby bonds. Land-value taxes should be imposed to fund infrastructure projects rather than bond payments and property taxes so that those who benefit the most from public works shoulder the burden and land improvement isn’t penalized.

We support the right-to-repair movement. When possible, products should be made with the possibility of adding, modifying, or removing parts or software so that people can repair rather than replace the product, and this should be incentivized with regulatory policy.

We call for the Surface Transportation Board to ensure railroads meet the needs of their customers and to forbid railroads from participating in stock buybacks and dividend payments if they do not meet a satisfactory rating. Precision-scheduling policies that have stripped railroads of the personnel needed to safely operate trains must cease. We call for an expansion of rail networks to connect more communities in order to reduce our reliance on long-distance trucking logistics and to provide alternatives to air and car transport for personal transportation. Toll roads must be scaled by vehicle weight and size in order to appropriately account for maintenance costs.

We recognize that it is dangerous and harmful to have large portions of our supply chain reliant on foreign powers. We call for an interventionist industrial policy to return manufacturing to our country.