A Third Party That Knows How to Party
New -- 15 November 2010
"Joining a political party is like joining a gang." -- Chris Rock 
It's important to note that a gang... like a political party... is designed to support its members regardless of their tendency toward honesty or dishonesty, ethical or criminal intent, ethics or the lack thereof, and/or any general tendency to accumulate power at any and all costs. In this quest, the pervading necessity of a gang and/or political party is one of loyalty... under any and all circumstances.
Accordingly, before one joins a gang... or a political party... it behooves one to know a bit about the people with whom one is about to become guilty by association. While many gang members may have joined a gang as a simple matter of personal survival in the neighborhood, joining a political party at the State or National level does not enjoy such a rationale and is in fact a matter of deliberated choice... hopefully, a choice willingly and knowingly made. Accordingly, before one gets too excited about joining a Third Party... primarily because of a profound and overwhelming disgust of the First and Second Parties... one needs to know a bit about the alternative. If this new and improved Third Party one that truly Knows How to Party?
Essentially, one needs to know the basic premise on which your next choice of political party (and/or gang) is founded? What political or ethical philosophy, for example, is at the heart (and the head) of the party... as opposed to simply being a party dedicated to gaining power purely for the sake of power? How is this new party attempting to change the State, Nation, World, and the local spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy?
Clearly, one would assume that most new converts to any new political endeavor would also insist upon party members and future associates being rational, intelligent, and willing to admit the possibility that experience in the world is often superior to wholly theoretical considerations. Any new political prospect might rationally expect that being conservative would imply advocating conservation as part and parcel of the party agenda... while being liberal might imply supporting liberty... not to mention life and the pursuit of happiness.
Using this logic as a basis, one might then hope for the extraordinary possibility that both liberty and conservation... i.e., aspects of the rational definitions of liberal and conservative... might both be included in the new Third Party That Knows How To Party (aka the TPTKHTP).
It should be noted, parenthetically, that the “unity” bit in the American Unity Party does not necessarily imply that the AUP will always (or ever) compromise with the radical extremists of the far left and/or far right. On the other hand, the party's middle name does imply that “United We Stand; Divided We Fall,” will be part of the AUP’s essence. It will be the responsibility of the extremists to stand with the majority whenever the situation and the security of the nation demands.
There is also in the name the implication of the AUP being socially and financially responsible.
While there are many possible positions associated with any Third Party Platform, this essay is going to take the position that in general terms, any Third Party worth having is one that recognizes change as a universal attribute, that the laws of physics do not tolerate positions that assume an unchanging stability, equilibrium, or continuing order of any kind. The position of the AUK, i.e., this particular Third Party, is: Change is a given; resistance to change is futile.
The AUK’s position statement is that the acceptance of change as a guiding principle is contained within any reasonable definition of liberty. Liberty is, in fact, the means by which one can try new and innovative ways of dealing with an otherwise contrary, changing universe. Meanwhile, those fundamental bits of bedrock that provide temporary stability in the midst of chaos are to be lauded and supported. The key will always be the degree of “temporary”... with the intent going for the long term whenever possible, but always asking the question of just how valuable and particular tradition can be in specific situations. The human tendency to seek comfort, security, and/or safety is recognized as simply being human, but so is the desire for liberty. These competing urges, of course, lead to something of a dilemma.
As Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said :
We must not assume that Liberty and Safety are necessarily opposites... they are not. Ironically, one’s pursuit of liberty (life and happiness) is often a pursuit of safety and security. It’s just that change means that most security is going to be more like plateaus along a continual trek through the mountain wildernesses.
Admittedly, such philosophical considerations as these tend to be a bit anachronistic in the face of politics. Profound philosophies tend to lose their appeal in the frontline skirmishes between politicians. Or as been said... probably too often... the devil is in the details. In other words, what precisely are the specific ingredients of a third party dedicated to maximizing liberty and safety, while simultaneously navigating the shoals of change?
Speaking of shoals, Thomas L. Friedman  used a quote from Lewis Mumford (in the latter’s book, The Condition of Man), where Mumford was thinking about the development of civilization... and also describing Imperial Rome’s decline:
Friedman then added:
If there is any really fundamental, philosophical difference between conservatives and liberals, it is in the degree of which one seeks stability, and/or embraces change. When asked, everyone is for liberty... albeit mostly this means that each individual is very enthusiastic about their own personal liberty.) Personally, being something of an optimist, I believe in change... specifically that things can get better, and often do... and that ideally, the process of getting better can be accomplished without bloodshed... other than perhaps the metaphorical kind of bloodshed in which one can yearn for a virtual reality bloodbath involved the unwashed and defrocked politicians of the traditional Fear Parties... i.e., the Re-pubs and the De-mocs.
Now... given the above premise(s), it is now worth considering the “planks” (i.e., the devilish details) of the Platform for an American Unity Party.
PLANK ONE. The first item on the agenda... in order to really get some changes made... is that it’s going to be essential in having the means to elect those with the particular persuasion of the AUP into positions of power... rather than having no choice between the sheeple party members of the just say NO to any and everything the other guys propose. Among other things... then... the FIRST plank of the AUP is:
Eliminating most restrictions on third parties, small group and even individual candidates.
Corollary One: Get rid of the Electoral College.
Corollary Two: Allow voters to RANK candidates in order to preference. Then by a process of eliminating one candidate with the lowest number of votes in a step wise fashion, recounts would allow those voters who voted for an eliminated candidate to have their vote count for their next ranked candidate. The recounting process would continue after each elimination of a candidate until a single candidate has a majority, or all other candidates have been eliminated by having fewer votes.
Corollary Three: Place severe limits on the power of parties. Candidates for ANY office would be required to collect signatures (with the number of signatures dependent upon the number of registered voters in the constituency... e.g. 0.1%) before they get on the ballot. (Anyone could still mount a write-in campaign... see Alaska's mid-term election for Senate. Talk about fun city!) There would be no other limitations on who could be on ballot... groundhogs included. (Computers can handle all comers.)
Corollary Four: ALL precincts throughout the nation would use the same computer voting machines... i.e., equal protection under the law. The software would be “hardened”, inviolate to every degree possible, and would provide each voter with a summation of their vote on the computer screen when they're finished voting (and which they could check for accuracy). The vote would then be printed out on a hard, permanent copy... where the voter could again check the printed version for accuracy... prior to placing the ballot in the ballot box. ALL recounts would be by hand, using the printed hard copies. Clearly, the counting of votes is at least as important as who votes.
Corollary Five: Place severe limits on campaign financing... with all candidates having FREE and EQUAL access to Radio and Television, the Internet, so-called debates, and other forms of political shenanigans. (Just think of the fun when a John Stewart gets free air time on the FOX network, preferably following the Glenn Beck diatribe show... or vice versa!)
Corollary Six: Get rid of the power of seniority in the Congress, whereby junior Senators and Congressmen are reduced to regimented numbers under the iron clad control of party whips and other evil doers.
PLANK TWO -- Limit, expand, and define precisely who can vote... i.e., who can register to vote.
PLANK THREE -- Defining Person.
Corollary One: Over many years, the Constitutional idea of a "person" has been re-defined and expanded beyond rational limits to include corporations -- the latter which are in reality nothing more than fictitious legal entities. This is just silly. Corporations, for example, are not required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead they only have to be accurate; they do not have to be complete. This makes some sense in that the Ford salesman does not, for example, have to tell a customer that there’s a much better Dodge a few blocks down the road. Furthermore, Corporations have limited liability and the corporate veil which typically cannot be pierced. This is a real boom to the ruling Corporate aristocracy, while being denied to individuals. Rationally then, a corporation can not claim such perks and simultaneously enjoy the status of being a person. With privilege comes responsibility. Separation of these latter two essentials can not be condoned in a rational society.
Corollary Two: There will also, inevitably, be the issue of when a fetus becomes a person, an issue which has become something of a “can of political worms”! In the issue of when “life begins”, some might claim that life begins at conception, while another might say: at birth... and of course, the third position: Life beings when the kids move out and the dog and cat die. Despite such mirth, however, this issue is going to be an extremely tough call... even if one might lean toward compromise and reality. For example, one might define (human) life as beginning when a baby can survive without extraordinary intervention... or in the third trimester... or... ?
Hmmmm... maybe we’d better put this one on hold for the immediate, practical future.
PLANK FOUR -- Advocate and incorporate into law the linkage between Free Speech and Responsibility. For example, no one is allowed to a defense of “free speech” when yelling “fire” in a crowded theater... unless of course there’s actually a fire. Doing so just to get a better seat would always be considered a no-no.
Fundamentally, Free Speech applies only if the person exercising their free speech can be identified. Anonymous sources or individuals, secret groups, the mentally unstable, or anyone with a hidden agenda (e.g. Foreigners) DO NOT GET THE RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH. If you can’t take responsibility for your words, then you don’t get license to broadcast them.
Corollary One: Responsibility also applies to journalists who quote unnamed sources. A journalist can say that there was an unnamed source, BUT the journalist must be willing to assume responsibility for his free speech, as well as reporting and believing the source to be credible. In this way, the journalist’s motives can be examined for purposes of credibility. Free Speech should only apply if the recipient can examine the source, including their possible agendas and/or credibility. (Considering that most journalists have minimal credibility... in part because they are both gullible and drama queens... this is a significant issue.)
Corollary Two: Corporations are not persons (see Plank Two), and... therefore... are nor capable of Free Speech. Obviously, Corporations are not human beings (the constitutional definition of person or persons). Furthermore, when the CEO of a corporation assumes the power to spend corporate money on behalf of a politician with which any number of the company’s shareholders might conceivably disavow, then that CEO is violating his fiduciary duty to said shareholders. Nothing in any legitimate Corporate bylaws could allow for the bribery of officials, covert (or overt) support of specific politicians, or other such misuse of corporate funds. Corporations could advocate on the basis of issues, but only when their identity is clearly stated... such that anyone disagreeing with their position can later vote with their dollars by refusing to buy the products of this Corporation... or supporting the Corporations with whom they do agree.
Corollary Three: Anonymous denunciations and criticisms will still be part and parcel of everyday life, but not in terms of being broadcast or disseminated without someone, somewhere taking responsibility for the arguments... even if only as a means of being a devil’s advocate. Ultimately, the distinction between the credibility of anonymous sources and those taking responsibility for their words will become commonplace.
Corollary Four: Criticism is allowed on Anything! Sensitivities are not a defense against criticism. Mocking, making fun of, and lampooning any politician, philosophy, public figure, religion, religious belief, or the latest diet to shed ugly pounds, must be viewed as absolutely essential to liberty. If a religion or any other individual or group can’t take the heat, then why are they so hell bent... pardon the pun... on acting as a straight man for those comics who relish having so much great material to work from?
PLANK FIVE -- Marriage would be defined (thus providing legal basis for the rights and/or inheritance of any applicable fringe benefits). The Marriage Definition would include any two or more people, of whatever sexual inclination, who willingly and knowingly exchange vows among and between themselves in whatever manner of their choosing... and thereafter choose to be married in the eyes of the State. This implies a minimum age (or a demonstration to an appropriate court of one’s ability to understand their free choice). It also implies the validity of “line marriages”, where by virtue of having multiple husbands and wives, a marriage can continue in a long line, even after the death of all but two of the partners in the marriage. (This is great for the children of the marriage who are almost never left with a single parent, and instead can be raised by a small community of like-minded people.)
Okay... maybe the idea of a “line marriage” is a little advanced. Practically speaking, maybe just between two people... for now.
Still... the essential goal is to maximize happiness... however one attempts to define and/or pursue it.
PLANK SIX -- Benefits should be Earned.
Corollary One: Anyone wanting citizenship, health care, retirement, educational benefits, and/or free tickets to The Aging Rolling Mostly Downhill Stones’ next concert... must earn them. This implies service to the society, government, and so forth... and can be done via military service, community service, job corp, peace corp, civil construction corp, or any other number of ways of contributing to the society, which in turn will be paying for any or all of the benefits accrued. Individuals may spend two to forty years at such service... depending on just how many benefits they wish to acquire. There will be many different jobs to do... some of the sort that are not sought after -- everyone gets a smattering or taste of all the variations in desirability.
In essence: There will be no benefits (other than schooling for children) without the person first earning them. One could think of this as the old tradition of reaping what one sows... or in modern parlance, benefiting from what one earns. Some might argue that such alleged “old traditions” are mostly myths... akin to such things as the work ethic.
Corollary Two: Then there’s the issue of the transition from our current system to the new one. Basically, we honor our contracts... albeit most of the biggies are of the insurance variety... i.e., we don’t remove safety nets, but we also don’t pay Social Security and Unemployment Benefits to millionaires, criminals, and Members of Congress.
Corollary Three: The Whole New Can of Words bit: Health. First of all, it’s essential to note that what most people want in their lives is health. Just health. Health care is a secondary benefit, and hopefully not even needed. This thereby suggests that preventative medicine should have a priority over fixing it after it's broke. Then, following these two superior priorities... when something does go wrong... then we take care of it in accordance with one’s contribution to society. In third place in terms of priorities, a distant third, is health insurance... and is designed primarily for rich hypochondriacs, individuals to choose to opt out of public service (for any reason), and members of the Society for Bewilderment.
Obviously, health “care” is a really touchy subject... but in large part because it’s a misnomer. No one really yearns for health care. What everyone wants is HEALTH... period... or even three periods (as in “so forth and so on”... or just for emphasis). Health care is, like hemorrhoids, a royal pain in the ass.
BTW: The same idea is applicable to Lawyers, politicians, and government officials? One of the things sorely needed [pardon the pun] are some SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAWS that PROHIBIT conflicts of interest... not merely some mentioning in passing that such a conflict exists... and then promptly proceeding to ignore, if not take advantage of the conflict.
PLANK SEVEN -- There must be a separation of church and state -- see Freedom of Religion.
PLANK EIGHT -- The ascendancy and predominance of Common Law: Everyone is entitled to Equal rights... provided those rights imply the need for the recipient extending the same equal rights to other. The key is to maximize the rights of an individual to be sovereign and pursue his or her own personal concept of happiness.
Corollary One: Extending equal rights (trading, etceteras) to foreign countries who do not allow for equal rights for their citizens, or their citizens extending equal rights in return... is a no-no. The idea is to provide the maximum amount of freedom to individuals and others... consistent with not penalizing other persons because of the first individual's or country's stomping all over the rights of others.
A somewhat extreme view of Common Law should be that one should be at liberty to do anything they want... including marrying a cow, if they’re so inclined. ...except, of course, that cruelty to animals and those urging its prevention have inalienable rights to do so.
PLANK NINE -- Constitutional limits on Corporations
Corollary One: Imposing the Rule of Twenty.
Corollary Two -- Monopolies are not allowed (either effective or sole source monopolies). Anything “Too Big to Fail” (TBTF) is automatically broken up into smaller units... or the government takes over and makes appropriate and massive cuts in pay for executives, and other actions to save the left-over bits of the TBTF. If the government is going to be responsible for saving a TBTF, then the government must own it... at least long enough to break it up into manageable pieces (which thereafter would be SETFAGR - Small Enough To Fail... And Good Riddance... if they do in fact fail! Yes... I know... It’s the Capitalist in me).
Corollary Three: Banksters will be outlawed... or incarcerated... possibly in their own empty vaults. Investment brokers and Banks will be forever and wholly separated. Banks will be required to be “Trusts”, “Fidelities”, and Fiduciaries... even organizations that one can "bank on".
Corollary Four: There will be a requirement for corporate Insourcing. If this takes laws that are imposed upon any corporations operating or selling products in the nation, or just Prohibitive Tariffs, there must be definitive movements in making America independent of foreign dominance. The key is to encourage (if not insist upon) in-country investments and maintenance of a very strong industrial base.
Corollary Five: Illegal immigration is not cool. Admittedly, the USA always been into immigration... it was a great idea... at least when the idea was of the “melting pot” variety. It’s one of the things that made America great. It’s the “illegal” bit that’s troubling.
Corollary Six: Lobbyists... particularly foreign lobbyists... are outlawed. The only exception is for persons, i.e., individuals or voters (Keep those cards and letters coming)... those who are not paid to mouth some party-corporate-military-industrial-complex line of BS. A one time notification of one's concern is okay... especially when requested by the politicians. Absolutely no gifts accepted by politicians.
Also... There is no reason for anyone to have access to politicians when Congress is in session (or State Legislatures). The politicians can always go back to their constituency and hear all they need to hear then. While In Session, only written, signed (and responsibility taken by an individual) documents can be provided to any elected official.
Corollary Seven: There must be a consistency of government statistics in economics and other relevant areas of government. I.e., there are to be no changes in methodology of calculation; only new forms of providing a statistical basis for a new concept. (See Shadow Stats.)
Plank Ten -- Education
Universal Education is essential to the preservation and improvement of the species. The expansion of minds in terms of knowledge, wisdom, and increased ability to think is fundamental to any intelligence worthy of the name. Thus education is in may aspects the most important plank when it comes to intervention by any government in order to benefit the collective. (Collective, not society, in that societies are not always worth saving, whereas the collective of humanity at its best, is worth having, saving, and pepetuating.)
Several years ago, a conservative newspaper published a small article in which one could answer a dozen questions and by doing so discover if they were a true conservative. One of the questions was: Do you advocate a strong national defense? The answer that most anyone would likely answer is, "Yes. Who would not want to be safe, to be free of being invaded, of having a defense against those in the world that would choose to enslave us." A "yes" answer, of course, meant you were a consevative.
A second question was: "Do you favor spending more money on education?" The answer here is also pretty clear: "No; I don't want to spend more money. Enough is enough." Again, "no" implied a conservative.
However... what if the questions had been: 1) Do you favor spending more money on national defense?, and 2) Do you advocate a strong education?" Ah... there's the difference. Many, if not most, would respond, that "No; we don't want to spend more money, and yes, a strong education is a good thing." (The deceptiveness fo the original article is thus exposed... and frankly, not much of a surprise -- particularly, when the writer was a journalist and biased editorialist.)
The American Unity Party takes the following position: It's time to spend LESS money on education, and simultaneously improve the quality of education for everyone! This plank is the proverbial win-win situation. What needs to be done is vastly improve the efficiency of the educational system... potentially with more emphasis on distant education, far better use of computers to present, engage, enlighten, test, and encourage learning, greater flexibility to ensure that the word "educate" ("to bring forth") is cast in its best light, and a strong willingess to eliminate those aspects of traditional education that are counter-productive. [See, for example, The Public School Nightmare.]
[It is important to note that instead of taking an extreme position -- whether from the administrators and teachers unions, or from the anti-public education wing of the anti-government, every-man-for-himself party or parties -- the AUP is taking a middle road... one that is simultaneously socially and financially responsible.
Obviously, this Third Party, this American Unity Party Platform, is a work in progress, under construction, and possibly employing people in a positive manner of sorts. The AUP Platform clearly needs expansion, if not just a bit of alternative input. But hopefully, one is getting the idea.
Considering the recent mid-terms elections, there are undoubtedly loads of disappointed souls, heavily sprinkled with heavy sighs of immense relief. Of course, later, after another 12 months of pretty much the same old garbage... recycled and spread broadly... most everyone should be ready for a whole new versions of “throw the rascals out.” (And that means... for starters, the entire Congress, Presidential Administration... and with a little patience possibly: a good chunk of the Supreme Court.) Then, once the three branches of the Federal Government begin to see the light of at the end of the tunnel of... well... enlightenment... we’ll be ready to take on the State governments and the more local and often overlooked politics in the county, city, and other governments. Of course, some early inroads in even these smaller examples of hideous governmental bureaucracies could be made. It’s just that one needs to attack the Hydra where its hurts the Hydra the most. (I.e., chopping off one head at a time if largely ineffective... except as it leads to (initially) pleasant emotions and occasionally some good exercise.) What is really needed is a nationwide do-over.
BTW, this page was launched on 15 November 2010, the 233rd anniversary of the Articles of Confederation of the United States, the first establishment of a union between the former colonies of Britain. This slight nod to traditional values is, of course, intentional... and simultaneously does not conflict with the aims of dealing with the changes wrought by the apparent invasion of the Arcturus Group into the Milky Way Galaxy.
With respect to the American Unity Party... just so you’ll know... I’m taking names, and chewing bubble gum. (And I’m just about out of bubble gum.) So send in your cards and letters... or just e-mails. Whatever.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/opinion/03friedman.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general, Thomas L. Friedman, “Third Party Rising”, The New York Times, The Opinion Pages, October 2, 2010.
 “Obama’s foreign-cash allegation,” The Week, 10/22/10, page 6.]