Bill of Restored Rights

Justice

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

~ The Declaration of Independence

1. Free, Fair, and Democratic Elections:

No government official, elected or appointed, can say they are upholding, supporting, or defending the Constitution of the United States unless they are doing all that is in their power to ensure free, fair, and democratic elections at all levels of government. Furthermore, no American can call our government a “democratic republic” without our having the guarantee of free, fair, and democratic elections at the federal, state, and local levels.

To this end (that of ensuring free, fair, and democratic elections), we must terminate the flagrantly unconstitutional, U.S. Supreme Court’s fabrication of “corporate personhood,” which was conjured up and promoted by corrupt Supreme Court “Justices” (not least of which was the “Justice” Lewis Powell, author of the 1971 Powell Memo/Power Manifesto, in which he outlined a detailed pathway to tyranny by the ultra-rich owners of large and powerful corporations, most of which has come to fruition) by passing a 28th amendment to the Constitution. Such an amendment would restore the rights of the federal, state, and local governments to regulate the amounts of campaign contributions, and establish a fund to finance election campaigns, making grants from it contingent upon candidate popularity as proven by initiative signatures.

Oversight:

Create a system of mail-in ballots for all elections and keep all ballots for some period for double-checking. Create a national, state, and local database of voters so they can log in and double-check that their votes were counted and tallied correctly.

2. Corrupt Influence over Government Officials:

End the corrupt practice of private interest lobbying of our elected and appointed officials. End the revolving door between government posts and private business and lobbying by creating extensive time periods government officials must wait to accept positions in the business fields they regulated or represented.

3. Freedom of the Press:

Break up the large media corporations that own and control all of the mainstream media companies — 90% of all media companies (the U.S. press) into at least the number that existed before Reagan started allowing the consolidation of the media plus a number proportional to the percentage increase in U.S. population since that time (around 1980); and restore the Fairness Doctrine.

Place all cable companies under one national cable company: it is a natural monopoly — with the difference that different monopolies operate in different regions of the U.S. Remove the right of cable companies to charge fees for their services, as they make much more than enough money through advertising. Also, in the interest of the viewing public’s sanity and serenity, place reasonable limits on the number of minutes and the absolute number of commercial breaks for television advertising allowed for each hour of programming. Alternatively, set the cable fees at some fair level and make them commercial free.

Our modern-day “press” (the media) consists not only of newspapers and periodicals, as it did at the time of the ratification of our Constitution, but also of television and internet shows, radio shows, podcasts, blogs, movie studios, and Internet service. The Internet is not only a basic and important means of communication for Americans, but it is also a basic and important means of assembly as well. Therefore, it is important to supply hi-speed, quality, land-based (ethernet) broadband accessible to all U.S. residents, subsidizing it for those who cannot afford it. There is no need for all the overlapping infrastructure of the numerous Internet Service Provider corporations (ISPs). Also, wireless internet service is not necessary, except in some remote areas and regions. Minimizing radiation levels has been scientifically proven to be more healthy for humans and animals.

4. Taxation

“No taxation without representation” was a rallying cry of the colonial period in the parts of America under British rule during the 1760s and 1770s. The first time the American colonists under British rule were taxed was under the Stamp Act of 1765. This act was vehemently opposed and the British government was forced to repeal it.

According to Article I, section 2, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution,

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.”

Seeing that our elected officials are no longer “elected” by the people, but most all of the time by the small number of the ultra-rich among us, who are able to rig elections however they want them to go with their huge campaign contributions; and since it is a well-established principle that there is to be no taxation without representation; the taxes being levied today in the U.S. are completely illegitimate and unjust.

The effects of this illegitimacy and injustice are obvious to anyone who will pay them the slightest attention, such as the following (not an exhaustive list, by any means):

1) The lower and middle classes (those least able to afford to pay taxes) pay a disproportionately and unfairly high percentage of their incomes to federal, state, and local taxes; while the upper class (those most able to afford to pay taxes) pay a disproportionately and unfairly low percentage of their incomes to taxes. This arrangement (or manipulation, rather) is clearly and logically speaking, upside down.

2) The ultra-rich pay zero percentage to some extremely low percentage of their incomes to federal, state, and local taxes.

3) The ways in which many taxes are levied is quite convoluted and unjust. For example, in some states, a portion of the revenues raised to support public schools is actually raised through the sale to the general public of lottery (lootery?) tickets — a form of gambling. Naturally, it is the lower and middle classes who buy most all of the lottery tickets. This should be a public scandal and disgrace, and yet this method of supporting public schools is generally accepted in those states.

4) The burden of high property taxes on the lower and middle classes has recently made home ownership much more difficult to attain and maintain, and is a source of great stress and discontent for lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

5) The very poorest in many states, who cannot afford even the basic necessities to sustain themselves, are forced to pay 9% or more of their poverty-level income to sales taxes. Food is often exempt from these taxes; however, there are many necessities that do not consist of food, such as clothing, toiletries, and transportation costs. Again, this should be a public disgrace and scandal, and yet it is generally accepted by the public.

5. The Banking System/The Federal Reserve:

Restore the authority to print and lend money to the U.S. Treasury Department (take it away from the privately owned Federal Reserve with all due haste), where it was wisely entrusted at the founding of the United States of America. We have suffered from the greed, recklessness, and usury of the private bankers for far too long, this stretch; and enough great and courageous U.S. presidents have been assassinated because of their efforts to get these earth-moving powers back to where they rightfully should reside. Presidents Jackson, Lincoln, McKinley, and Kennedy all ordered these powers to be placed back under the authority of the U.S. Treasury Department — and all were targets of assassination attempts shortly thereafter, with only Jackson surviving such an attempt (All Wars Are Banking Wars, by Michael Rivero).

If there were ever a corrupt, powerful, and pernicious monopoly set up with the power to collude and control vast amounts of wealth in the U.S., it was the Federal Reserve, and the other privately owned, differently named, central banks in U.S. history. Giving permission to a privately owned, central bank to issue and lend money at interest is a design that will ensure usury, recklessness, deceitfulness, and theft from the people.

6. Anti-Trust Enforcement:

Break up all monopolies and powerful oligopolies, as all operate in violation of the constitutional antitrust mandates. If any business sector (such as a power company that gets most of its power from one or very few sources) is found to be naturally dominated by a monopoly or powerful oligopoly, we should acknowledge that it is a natural monopoly/natural oligopoly; and put it under the regulation and ownership of a democratically appointed and governed public utility. This will ensure against unfair price fixing and exploitation (as happens where competition does not exist or is very weak), as well as duplication of infrastructure and services, thereby reducing economic and environmental costs. To allow a few corporations to provide a service or product that comes from a natural monopoly or oligopoly is to ensure vast sums of windfall profits to a very few, who will exploit it and keep prices as high as will be tolerated.

This is a matter of extremely introductory and fundamental economic theory, and yet we have so many natural monopolies and natural oligopolies that have been exploited to the maximum for so many decades under the thin guise of free enterprise, competitive corporations. For example, there was the “break-up” of AT&T into “smaller companies.” Does anyone recall when phone service was quite inexpensive and affordable? I do. Another example is cable TV. The cable TV service corporations promised commercial-free TV for a small monthly fee, then gradually started running commercials and jacking up prices as they killed off the quality and quantity of free, air-wave TV until now we have next to nothing on free, air-wave TV (compared to expensive, cable TV) and 1/3 of cable TV programming consisting of commercials. Such a glaring misrepresentation that is was fraud — but … technically… it was legit. What? Say that again?

Many will say that this would discourage innovation. However, it will not. Most all major technological and scientific innovations and discoveries have been and will continue to be made by scientists working in the labs of universities and government-funded institutions and in garages all over the country. Try as you may, you cannot shield the world from the light of the sun, nor from the light of the minds of the people who invent things and technologies and discover scientific breakthroughs. If you could, how then were all the ones invented and made in the distant past when most inventors and scientists toiled on shoestring budgets?

7. Healthcare:

Make U.S. hospital companies nonprofit, as they were before the Nixon administration reversed this policy in the late 1970s. Do the same with pharmaceutical companies. Hospitals should never be for-profit for obvious reasons. Most all major breakthroughs in new drugs are made by scientists working in government-funded labs and government-funded research programs in and outside of the major pharmaceutical corporations — mostly in universities and scientific institutions.

Establish a universal healthcare program/Medicare for All program that covers all necessary medical needs for all U.S. residents, including dental, vision, and hearing needs. All other industrially and technologically advanced countries have a universal healthcare system in place; and the people in those countries get so much better healthcare for so much less economic cost — and these are hard, statistical facts. One cannot even argue the contrary with a straight face. It is a monument to the corruption spawned by the ultra-rich in the U.S. that we do not have such a universal healthcare system in place in 2021. That portion of medical fees that Americans are extorted to pay which is exorbitantly high for necessary healthcare goes directly to some owners and shareholders of the corporations and a very small sliver of employees which consists of those who are paid incredibly high salaries: the CEOs, highest-level managers, and members of the boards of directors.

Place the A.M.A. and other professional medical associations under the control and guidance of democratically elected or appointed officials, so they may establish fair and wise standards of care and policies not based on potential profits but on the medical interests and needs of the patients. I envision an assembly of physicians made up of the top academicians and practitioners in the medical field. Make medicine about medicine again, and not about money.

8. Public Education:

End the unjust and tragically wasteful policy of funding public schools from local property taxes (which levels vary widely); fund all public schools equally through federal and state spending. Fully fund all public schools from preschool through college with federal and state spending. Make all education at public educational institutions free for all students (as it is in most industrially advanced countries). What a great society we could have if we did not waste so many bright, young minds — many of which are the best and brightest.

In the interest of reparations, restore some level of remedial educational programs and affirmative action admissions until we as a nation have achieved equity in educational outcomes. After all, how can any underprivileged class of students pull themselves up if there is no lifeline cast to them in a fast-paced, competitive society?

Make all school lunches free — integrate them into the general costs of running K-12 public schools and public colleges. There should be no shame for school children or youth for being poor, and no hardship when it comes to lunchtime.

In this way, all children and youth will be given the opportunity to have a high-quality education, and all will have a much greater opportunity to reach their potential. This will benefit not only the individual students, but the country as a whole.

9. Law Enforcement/The Prison System:

We should ensure that there shall be no “cruel or unusual punishment,” that there shall be “due process,” and that there shall be “equal treatment under the law for all.” We should ensure that we are a nation of laws and not of men.

Establish democratically elected or appointed, citizen-run oversight and regulatory boards for all police departments and correctional/prison/criminal justice institutions which are closely connected to their local communities with supreme oversight and decision-making authority.

For too long, the criminal justice system, from the police forces to the penitentiaries, has operated in unjust and destructive ways, ensuring maximum levels of recidivism and minimal levels of rehabilitation. It is not an unfair question to ask whether many of the current policing and correctional policies were laid down for political reasons having nothing to do with justice, rehabilitation, or public safety. These reforms will help to ensure that the law enforcement agencies and criminal justice system will each work to help to keep our communities safe and to bring about justice and rehabilitation of those caught up in criminal behavior.

10. Labor Rights and the Minimum Wage:

Just as physical property and real estate is owned by people, labor is also owned by people. It belongs to them, and only them; and they have a right to set a fair price on it.

In the interest of setting a fair minimum price on labor, we should gradually increase the minimum wage to what it would be if it had kept up with increases in inflation and productivity, with a starting point of the highest level it reached in the mid-1960s, in order to counter the theft of wages and benefits that the ultra-rich and their corrupted government officials (puppets) perpetrated from the mid-1960s. There is an estimated $50 Trillion in wages that have been stolen from workers since that time (Hanauer, Nick & Rolf, David M. “The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90% — And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure.” 2020, Sept. 14. Time. https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-america/). The consensus among the vast majority of fair-minded economists and political theorists is that this phenomenon occurred because of union suppression and other unfair labor and political practices on the part of the ultra-rich … and their corrupted political officials (puppets).

We should also establish a maximum ratio of highest to lowest wages for all workers. This would go a long way toward discouraging those with unsavory motives from spending too much time and energy on working to unfairly weight the balances in their favor. At the heart of this issue is the question: how much does an extremely hardworking or extremely smart person really deserve over and above the average worker in the same company? What about the great discoverers of penicillin and insulin, who donated their critical and life-saving discoveries to help humanity, asking nothing in return? When something as essential as insulin or penicillin (at the time of its discovery) is discovered, how can the researchers/discoverers even conceive of hoarding it to themselves and making it hard to get (expensive) in order to maximize their profits from their discovery? For one, it is fairly likely that 10 other researchers/scientists were on the cusp of the same discovery. Also, the particular researcher/scientist who does make the discovery only succeeded in such great fortune because they were standing on the shoulders of countless giants who preceded them.

We have recently observed outrageous examples of this phenomenon of hoarding critical, life-saving medical discoveries on the part of the highest-level employees of some corporations that produce medications in order to maximize profits (which have led to and are still resulting in immense suffering and countless deaths) with the recent scandals involving the 400% price hike in the EpiPen by Mylan and the 5000% price hike for the anti-malarial/toxoplasmosis drug that HIV-positive patients use by Martin Shkreli (Willingham, Emily. “Why Did Mylan Hike EpiPen Prices 400%? Because They Could.” 2016, Aug. 21. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/08/21/why-did-mylan-hike-epipen-prices-400-because-they-could/?sh=679b2857280c). With the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, this phenomenon is even more starkly clear and more clearly brutal than ever before. While over 60% of eligible adults in most of the richer countries have been vaccinated, less than 1% in the countries of Africa and many other poor countries have received a vaccine. How can this be when it is so inhumane and cruel, and when such greed and manipulation will certainly result in the pandemic lasting so much longer and so many more people falling ill and dying? And we’re talking millions of future victims of the greed-fest surrounding the vaccines hoarding. While some argue that it is not practical to share, because of this and that (it would be hard … kind of complicated — but certainly is not doable); and some argue that they’re “doing all they can”; the truth is that it is greed that is at the heart of the hoarding. And we are all suffering and will be for … who knows how long, from the endless lockdowns and isolation and mask-wearing and social distancing. Such a predicament would have been inconceivable in the generations in which penicillin, insulin, and the cure for polio were discovered. And yet this brutality is being justified by the economic ambitions of a few — by the twisting and warping of the great science of economics. That is how perverted our society has become — or at least, the few wealthiest in our society and those who adhere to their ways of thinking.

Taking in the big picture, in today’s societies of the U.S., the E.U., and other wealthy countries, there has recently been an epidemic of a different variety: that of the troubling increase in the numbers of narcissists and sociopaths. Sociologists and psychologists have discovered a definite correlation between the rise in economic inequality and the rise in the percentages of people who are narcissistic and/or sociopathic. This discovery makes one pause to think harder about the fundamental problems associated with inequality; and not just the constitutional, legal, or economic problems; and of precisely what kind of society we want to live in, and which we would like to leave to future generations.

This is a list of 10 rights I believe it would be wise and just to restore to ourselves and our society. Some are a composite of more than one closely intertwined rights. We have strayed far from the intent of the founders of this country — at least what they envisioned for all adult, white, landowning men in 1787. However, many of their shortcomings were corrected later in the history of this country. We seem to have reached an apex of rights in the early 1960s. Then, trouble ensued. There was a turning point, a critical historical moment when a democratically elected president, much beloved by most of the people, was assassinated. There were so many lost opportunities for the people of the United States and the world when JFK was taken from us; just as at that critical, historical moment when Lincoln was taken from the people in 1865. However, Americans of Andrew Jackson’s era and other eras that followed, including FDR’s administration in the 1930s, and times on through the early 1960s corrected many of the injustices that were perpetrated during the greed-fests (including the Gilded Age and the Roaring 20s) that followed Lincoln’s assassination; and I believe that we can do the same in our time.

Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.

~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Angela Bellacosa

Angela Bellacosa

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