Wednesday, September 5

More platform

The politics of the US affect other countries. Here are thoughts from the 2012 Democratic National Platform:

This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families.

Democrats know that America prospers when we’re all in it together. We see an America where everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We see an America that out-educates, out-builds, and out-innovates the rest of the world.... We are the party of inclusion and respect differences of perspective and belief. And so, even when we disagree, we work together to move this country forward. 

Democrats believe that getting an education is the surest path to the middle class, giving all students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to our economy and democracy. Public education is one of our critical democratic institutions.... there is no substitute for a great teacher at the head of a classroom.... If we want high-quality education for all our kids, we must listen to the people who are on the front lines.... The President has laid out a plan to prevent more teacher layoffs while attracting and rewarding great teachers. This includes raising standards for the programs that prepare our teachers, recognizing and rewarding good teaching, and retaining good teachers. We also believe in carefully crafted evaluation systems that give struggling teachers a chance to succeed and protect due process if another teacher has to be put in the classroom. We also recognize there is no substitute for a parent’s involvement in their child’s education.

Democrats are committed to preparing math and science teachers and training workers with skills for the future, and doubling funding for key basic research agencies.... Unions helped build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Their work resulted in the 40-hour workweek and weekends, paid leave and pensions, the minimum wage and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare – the
cornerstones of middle class security.... We believe in an America where people looking for work can find good jobs, where hard work pays, and where responsibility is rewarded. 


As Americans, we are bound together by more than nationality or geography. We are bound by a shared set of ideals and values rooted in the notion that we are greater together; that our collective efforts produce something better than the sum of our individual actions; and that together, rather than divided, we can overcome the greatest challenges that come our way.

We support parents and their children as they work to lead healthier lives. With prevention and treatment initiatives on obesity and public health, Democrats are leading the way on supporting healthier, more physically active families and healthy children.

Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. 

Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world – from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we
believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both
principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.


We are committed to creating a rural economy built to last – one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class by growing the food, fiber, and fuel that the rest of the world buys and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great.By investing in job creation, clean energy, agriculture, and education, Democrats have built a stronger rural economy where future generations can enjoy the rural way of life.

An agricultural economy built to last is integral to the affordability of our food, the independence of our energy supply, and the security of America’s middle class. Democrats support agriculture from the small farms that feed the community to the large farms that feed the world. Under President Obama, American farmers are seeing record farm income, record agricultural exports, and millions of acres enrolled in conservation programs. President Obama has expanded markets for American goods that help support more than a million agriculture jobs here at home. And in the past few years, agriculture has been one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy, creating one out of every 12 American jobs. Democrats appreciate agriculture’s role in securing America’s food security and making our country an ambassador of food aid to countries across the world. That’s why Democrats support a strong farm safety net, with increased availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss. Democrats are  also planning for a strong agricultural future, and President Obama has proposed increasing funding for research and development to improve agricultural productivity and continue to pursue global food security.

We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules.... We are committed to protecting all communities from violence.... We are committed to equal opportunity for all Americans and to making sure that every American is treated equally under the law....
We are committed to ensuring full equality for women....


President Obama – the son of a single mother and the father of two daughters – understands that women aren’t a special interest group. They are more than half of this country, and issues that affect women also affect families.... The President and the Democratic Party believe that women have a right to control their reproductive choices. Democrats support access to affordable family planning services....

We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

We believe the right to vote and to have your vote counted is an essential American freedom, and we oppose laws that place unnecessary restrictions on those seeking to exercise that freedom. Democrats have a proud history of standing up for the right to vote.

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law.

We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation.

Democrats are committed to protecting our natural resources while creating jobs, preserving habitats, and ensuring that future generations can enjoy our nation’s outdoor heritage. From investing in clean energy to protecting our air, land, and water, Democrats have made protecting the environment a top priority. Today we are responsibly developing our natural resources to create clean energy jobs here at home while encouraging conservation, reducing energy waste, and protecting the environment.... We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. President Obama has been a leader on this issue.

When President Obama took office in January 2009, our armed forces were engaged in two wars. Al- Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, remained entrenched in its safe havens. Many of our alliances were strained, and our standing in the world had diminished. Around the world and here at home, there were those who questioned whether the United States was headed toward inevitable decline. Under the leadership of President Obama and the Democratic Party, the tide of war is now receding... 

Charting a responsible path out of the war in Iraq has been a crucial element of President Obama’s foreign policy and has enabled important shifts Moving forward, President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to building a robust, long-term strategic partnership with a sovereign, united, and democratic Iraq in all fields – diplomatic, economic, and security – based on mutual interests and mutual respect.in our broader strategy.... 

President Obama and the Democratic Party understood that the war in Iraq distracted us from confronting many of the most fundamental national security challenges facing the United States, including the danger posed by international terrorist organizations that threaten the American homeland. As the Bush administration shifted its focus to Iraq, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda established safe havens across the border from Afghanistan, in Pakistan. President Obama’s decision to end the Iraq war freed up military and intelligence resources to refocus on this fight and enabled us to shift to a much more effective approach to counterterrorism.... Importantly, President Obama also shifted away from the Bush administration’s sweeping and internationally-divisive rhetoric of a “global war on terrorism” to a more focused effort against an identifiable network of people: al-Qaeda and its affiliates. That has allowed us to target force with greater precision against those who want to harm Americans and attack the United States and move away from the type of large-scale military deployments characteristic of the previous administration and favored by many Republicans today.
As a candidate, then-Senator Obama committed to bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, even if that meant crossing the border into Pakistan. As a consequence of the President’s decisions and the brave work of our military and intelligence professionals, bin Laden can no longer threaten the United States and al-Qaeda’s senior leadership has been devastated, rendering the group far less capable than it was four years ago. The al-Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan has never been weaker.


The United States went into Afghanistan after 9/11 to bring justice to those who had attacked us and to take away al-Qaeda’s safe haven. But by the time President Obama took office, we had lost sight of those goals. So the President refocused our efforts there in 2009, setting the clear goal of defeating al-Qaeda and denying it an ability to reestablish a safe haven in Afghanistan. Because of the deteriorating security situation, he sent additional resources to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and to give the Afghans the time and space to build the capacity of their security forces. We have accomplished that, and now we have begun the process of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, including removing 33,000 by September 2012. And, with the support of our allies, the President has outlined a plan to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014.
Already, the United States and our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies have begun to transition responsibility to Afghan security forces. At the same time, we are keeping up the pressure on the Taliban,
pursuing the possibility of a political resolution to parts of the conflict, and continuing our capacity building efforts. Beyond 2014, we will continue to provide counterterrorism and training assistance and to build an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, as outlined by the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement concluded in May. But we will not build permanent bases in Afghanistan. More broadly, we will also continue to support peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan can be a partner in that process.


President Obama, working closely with our international partners and Congress, has put in place unprecedented sanctions against Iran. Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon, but has continually failed to meet its obligations under the NPT and several United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it cannot demonstrate with any credibility that its program is peaceful.... President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution. At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely....

Cybersecurity threats represent one of the most serious potential national security, public safety, and economic challenges we face.

The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe. That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change.

The greatest dangers we face – terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks, climate change, and transnational crime – cannot be solved by any one nation alone. Addressing these challenges requires broad and effective global cooperation.

President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.... It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace
between Israelis and Palestinians.


International institutions – most prominently the United Nations – have been a centerpiece of international order since the Development expands markets for American products and creates American jobs. Strong and prosperous regional partners are critical to addressing global challenges, ending regional conflicts, and countering the spread of global criminal networks. And good governance and stability cannot take root, and basic human dignity cannot be protected, where poverty reigns and people lack access to the food, basic education, clean water, and medicine they need to survive.mid-20th century.

The President and the Democratic Party believe that true development requires much more than delivering aid – it requires building the capacity of governments and peoples so that assistance is no longer needed. That is why the administration through its Feed the Future initiative has, with the G-8 and other countries, mobilized more than $22 billion for a global food security effort aimed at building the capacity of nations to feed themselves.

America’s leadership extends beyond our economic prosperity and military might – it is also rooted in our enduring commitment to advancing a core set of universal values. These include an individual’s freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, have access to information, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders. They also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice.

As we continue to perfect our union here at home, setting an example for others to follow, we will also continue to champion universal rights abroad. We recognize that different cultures and traditions give life to these values in distinct ways, and each country will inevitably chart its own course. America will not impose any system of government on another country. But we also know that the sovereignty of nations cannot strangle the liberty of individuals. So as people around the world yearn for greater freedom, we will continue to support progress toward more accountable, democratic governance and the exercise of universal rights. We will do so through a variety of means: by speaking out for universal rights, bolstering fragile democracies and civil society, and supporting the dignity that comes with development.

The Arab Spring represents the world’s most sweeping recent movement toward democracy, but it is not an isolated case. Across the globe, people are demanding more from their governments – and, when they do, they will continue to find support and partnership in the United States.

As we work to advance universal values and human dignity, the President and the Democratic Party understand the critical importance of expanding protections and opportunities for women and girls around the world. Ensuring full equality and providing women and girls the opportunity to learn, earn a livable wage, and participate in public decision-making are essential to reduce violence, improve economies, and strengthen democracy. To continue to make progress at home and advance women’s rights and opportunities abroad, we will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
 

President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the State Department are committed to advancing the rights of women and girls as a central focus of U.S. diplomatic, development, and defense interests. We will continue to promote the full engagement of women in the political and economic spheres. We will work to address underlying socioeconomic problems, including women’s access to health, education, and food security. And we will ensure that women are equal participants in reconciliation and development in areas affected by conflict. President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to supporting family planning around the globe to help women care for their families, support their communities, and lead their countries to be healthier and more productive. That’s why, in his first month in office, President Obama overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions.

Some 27 million women, men, and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. The President and the Democratic Party believe that trafficking in persons is both an affront to our fundamental values and, as a source of funds for transnational criminals and terrorist organization, a threat to national and international security. The Obama administration has used bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, training programs, public outreach, and law enforcement to combat trafficking in persons across the globe. The administration has continued to provide annual assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of foreign governments’ efforts to address the issue, encouraging all countries to do more and calling out countries that have failed to do enough. And the administration has provided technical assistance to improve law enforcement and grants to support grassroots prevention efforts around the world targeting sex and labor trafficking, child sex tourism, forced child labor, and other abuses. The administration is also committed to taking action at home to fight trafficking, including the sex trafficking of young girls.

And must quote former President Bill Clinton: "Cooperation works better than constant conflict."

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