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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.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #16 Stopping covert operations and negotiating an end to all military conflicts.

During World War II the United States formed the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) based on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and its British Commando raids. OSS was succeeded by the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) in January 1946, and then the Central Intelligence Agency was formed in July 1947 which assigned covert operations to the Special Activities Division (SAD) that included covert political action in foreign nations and the Special Operations Group (SOG) which includes Paramilitary Operations Officers and Special Forces. To protect its secrecy and deniability CIA officers are trained to use false identities and lie in their operations. The budget of the CIA is included in the secret projects of the “black budget” which has greatly increased since 9-11-2001. In 2018 the Trump Administration was reported as asking for $81 billion for the black budget in 2019.

Although I support the gathering of information to increase awareness of what is going on in the world, I believe that violent actions in other countries are violations of international law and the United Nations Charter and must be stopped if the US is to help lead the world to peace and justice.

Also we must negotiate as soon as possible reconciliation and an end to all military conflicts. These violent activities in the name of a “war against terrorism” have stimulated more terrorism by those resenting American interference in their countries, making bad situations worse.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #15 Negotiating the disarmament of all nuclear weapons in the world fulfilling the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

On July 7, 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was approved by 122 nations; 69 nations abstained including the 9 nuclear weapons countries and all 29 NATO members except the Netherlands which was the only state that voted against the treaty.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was signed in 1968 and became effective in 1970, and 191 nations have joined the treaty. Yet a half century later the nations with nuclear weapons are still in violation of Article VI which reads:

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

I believe that the abolition of all nuclear weapons is even more of an emergency than climate disruption because a nuclear war could mean the end of the human race, and until those weapons are abolished, it could happen at any time. The United States and Russia, which have 95% of all the nuclear bombs, stand to gain the most economically by removing these useless weapons; but these governments have refused to give up their MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) nuclear “deterrent” because of their cowardly desire to dominate other nations with these genocidal devices. Negotiation for the universal disarmament of all nuclear arms is my top priority as a Presidential candidate.

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Beck’s Progressive Benchmarks #14 Removing all US military bases from foreign countries.

The United States has about 150,000 troops at an estimated 800 military bases in some 80 nations. Russia may have as many as 40 bases in 9 countries that are mostly former Soviet Republics; but Russians do have bases in Syria and Vietnam. No other nation has more than ten foreign bases.

Mikhail Gorbachev renounced the Soviet empire by allowing non-Russian republics and east European satellites to be free, ending the Cold War. Although President H. W. Bush and his Secretary of State Baker promised Gorbachev they would not expand NATO to the east at all if Germany was allowed to reunify, subsequent Presidents Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and Trump increased the NATO alliance by adding Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009, and Montenegro in 2017.

The US also has bases in Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Diego Garcia, Cuba, Curaçao, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The annual cost to American taxpayers of the foreign bases has been estimated at $22 billion by the Pentagon, at $250B by economist Anita Dancs, and between $100-150B by author David Vine.

The Chinese have often accused the US of “hegemony,” and other critics call it “imperialism.” The US uses these bases to project power around the world which is covered by regional commands and so has taken on the role of policing the world. Yet every US President admits that this is done in the name of the “national interest” without admitting that this is notdone to establish justice or world peace.

I recommend bringing home these troops while negotiating diplomatically and encouraging the United Nations to expand its peacekeeping functions which it has carried out with many successes since 1946. As a neutral world authority the UN can act as nonviolently as possible to resolve international conflicts.