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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #26 Banning all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, registering and licensing guns, and limiting ammunition.

Prudent gun-control laws in Australia, Japan, and many other nations have shown that atrocious crimes using especially lethal guns can be greatly reduced and nearly eliminated without banning all guns.

In the United States common-sense gun reforms have been blocked in the US Congress because legislators have been corrupted by contributions and threats from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and this has allowed frequent gun massacres to continue in the US.

All military-style assault weapons including automatic and semi-automatic weapons as well as large clips of ammunition and excessive supplies of bullets can be banned from private ownership without affecting self-defense at home or reasonable hunting. People need to register cars and obtain driver licenses, why not have similar laws for guns which cause many more unnecessary deaths?

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #25 Criminal justice reform to implement restorative justice that compensates victims of crime and emphasizes rehabilitation rather than punishment.

After the helpful First Step Act we still need major criminal justice reform by implementing the principles and methods of restorative justice. These include compensating the victims of crime and allowing those willing to meet with the perpetrators to work toward reconciliation and greater understanding, and replacing punishment by counseling, therapy, education, job training, and rehabilitation. I would therefore encourage this transformation of the federal prison system to provide a better example for the states.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #24 Subsidizing organic agriculture, carbon sequestration, and land restoration and soil rehydration.

An important part of the Green New Deal will be the restoration and rehydration of land to create more plants that will absorb carbon dioxide to reduce global warming. Advances in permaculture (permanent agriculture) in China and in many other places are enabling humans to reclaim barren lands to restore the soil for plant life, and this could be done on a large scale especially in the western half of the United States.

By transforming industrial agriculture to organic farming food will be more healthy, and by rotating crops and by plowing used plants back into the earth much carbon dioxide can be sequestered.

Both of these large-scale projects are especially helpful because they will not only slow down carbon emissions but actually could diminish the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reversing global warming.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #23 Taxing and removing subsidies to unsustainable industrial agriculture, and regulating food and drug purity.

Industrial agriculture with its large-scale monoculture, extensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and confined animal-feeding operations needs to be transformed by removing its subsidies and by taxing its products that are unsustainable ecologically.  Pesticides poison these foods and the environment, and abusing the use of antibiotics for livestock is promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (superbugs).

The US Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 needs to be effectively enforced in order to guarantee the purity of food and drugs and protect people’s health.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #22 Taxing livestock to pay for emissions and water costs.

Livestock cause as much as 18% of all greenhouse gases. Denmark has proposed a tax on cows equal to $265.58 per year to help them reduce their greenhouse gases by 40% by 2020. PETA also advises an excise tax on meat in order to pay for the health and environmental costs it causes. The World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, and eating red meat also contributes to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The United States is a very large consumer of meat and has the highest health care costs.

Bloomberg has found that 41% of US land in the 48 “contiguous states revolves around livestock.” BioScience reported, “Agriculture consumes about 70% of fresh water worldwide” with 1 kilogram of cereal grain requiring 265 gallons of water while 1 kg of beef uses 11,359 gallons.

For these reasons a tax on livestock especially beef will improve health, the environment, and safeguard the diminishing resource of fresh water during global heating.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #21 $20 per ton tax on carbon emissions.

The carbon tax is needed to discourage the use of fossil fuels and to pay for their disrupting the climate and to use the revenue to mitigate its consequences as well as to support clean energy technology that prevents climate disruption. In 2018 the price of carbon emissions in Europe went above 20 euros ($22.6) per ton. By increasing the carbon tax annually fossil fuel companies will be encouraged to provide cleaner energy sooner.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #20 Funding clean energy and efficiency and the Green New Deal.

I support the comprehensive reform plans in the Green New Deal Resolution 109 introduced into the House of Representatives by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on February 2, 2019.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #19 Negotiating reduction of military forces worldwide.

After all nuclear weapons in the world have been dismantled and abolished, negotiation for the reduction of military forces in the world could begin probably under the coordination and supervision of the United Nations which could also be reformed to be made more democratic and fair to all nations and people. The benefits of such universal disarmament for the people of the world would be immense and would enable humanity to solve other emergencies such as climate disruption and more equal economic development.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #18 Greatly increasing support for United Nations peacekeeping.

I believe it is inherently unjust and morally wrong for powerful nations to use their armed forces to try to police other countries because they usually do so to advance their own interests. Yet violent conflicts need to be resolved, and wars must be prevented and stopped as nonviolently as possible. Many great philosophers and peacemakers such as WilsonRooseveltEinstein, SchweitzerBertrand RussellA. J. Muste, and the Clark-Sohn plans have suggested that an international court of justice and a neutral world authority such as the United Nations can best be used to resolve these conflicts be sending in UN Peacekeeping forces. Therefore I strongly support the universal disarmament of national military forces while strengthening United Nations Peacekeeping.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #17 United States acceptance of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The imperialistic policies of the United States as a superpower have often violated many treaties and international laws. To protect itself from criminal prosecutions by the International Criminal Court the US leaders have refused to join that court or accept its jurisdiction. The ICC was established in July 2002 and is now accepted by 123 nations. An additional 31 countries signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but have not ratified it yet. The United States signed but in May 2002 notified the UN Secretary-General it no longer intended to ratify. This irresponsible decision needs to be reversed.

Many Americans believe that the United States is the greatest nation in the world; but if we want to be more than the greatest criminal nation in the world, we need to improve our ethics by reforming our international behavior and accepting international law and the International Criminal Court.