Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution

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The four planks to the ESRA can be found through the following link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-michael-lerner/the-environmental-and-soc_b_7115984.html

The four planks are:

The ESRA (Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution) has the following planks:

  1. It bans all private money from state and federal elections and permits only public funding, thereby eliminating the huge advantage that the super-rich have to shape the Congress, the presidency, and the various state legislatures. This is a far more powerful step than allowing the Congress to set limits on money donations by overturning “Citizens’ United” decision of the Supreme Court. ESRA also does make clear that corporations are not “persons” with rights that are granted to human beings in the Constitution and that money is not a form of speech protected by the Constitution.
  2. It requires the wealthier corporations (those with incomes of over $50 million/yr—but excluding all the small businesses) get a new corporate charter once every five years which will only be granted to corporations that can prove a satisfactory history of environmental behavior and social responsibility—to a panel of ordinary citizens who will also hear the testimony of people from around the world who have had their lives impacted by the behavior of the corporation being reviewed. The system of “regulatory agencies” doesn’t work—the regulated corporations have succeeded in getting their own leaders, lobbyists or other loyalists, appointed to these agencies by presidents of both major parties—so the ESRA extends to ordinary citizens (with environmental experts as consultants) the ability to decide the fate of corporations just as our legal system now gives those citizens the right to decide the fate of fellow citizens facing crimes that might even lead to a death sentence. The ESRA specifies a set of areas that the panel must consider, but it can also bring in other environmentally relevant considerations. This part of the ESRA applies to all corporations selling goods or services in the US (whether based here or not) as well as US corporations operating only outside the US, and it provides a massive incentive to corporations to change their corporate behavior (because with the ESRA, the environmentally sensitive people within corporations will be able to insist to their corporate leadership and to investors that they risk losing their license to function and hence the investments of their stock holders totally unless they dramatically change their practices to be dramatically and demonstrably less destructive to the environment).
  3. It requires every school from k-to graduate or professional levels to teach environmental practices, latest information, skills both in working with and protecting Nature but also in empathic communication, caring for everyone on the planet, and learning how to organize and use democratic and nonviolent methods for protecting the earth and humanity’s future.
  4. It overturns any treaty or trade agreement (including the currently secretly negotiated TPP that Obama and the Republicans in Congress have sought to give “fast track” approval) which can be shown to be destructive to the wellbeing of the environment or to working people or is judged by a court to stand in conflict with the intent or specifics of the ESRA. It also requires corporations which seek to move assets or operations out of the US to provide reparations and compensation to the people of the area in which it previously had been operating. And all terms of the ESRA apply equally to any firms to which these larger firms subcontract.

 

Below are some ideas I have put forth:

Criminal Justice System

  1. Overturn the three strikes law. Reduce the reliance on mandatory minimum sentencing until it is a last resort. De-criminalize all elicit drugs. Shed For-Profit Prisons. If “We the People” are to allow private sector prisons let them be non-profit prisons based on true rehabilitation when possible.
  2. When someone is arrested for possession and /or use send then to a mandatory drug treatment or dual diagnosis program. If possession is over a certain about then criminalization may be appropriate.
  3. Make Marijuana legal (as it is in California) nationwide and tax it to help with more addictive substances and the rehabilitation of their users – as in healing.

 

Tax reform

  1. Lower tax burden on the middle class by raising taxes on the top one percent.
  2. Institute a National Business Based Renewable Sales Tax – Businesses that manufacture products that use parts not made from recyclable materials or use fuels (as in automobiles) that are not from renewable resources. The more recycled or renewable materials that they use the less sales tax. Could a Nationally Based Renewable Sales Tax replace the Federal Income Tax for both businesses and individuals alike? Remember Human Beings are one the top of the Renewable list.
  3. Offer tax credits to businesses that use Renewable Resources and Materials in the products they sell as well as in the manufacturing of the products.
  4. Expand tax credits for individuals that buy products and services that utilize at 50 to 100 percent of the products / services that are renewable or use renewable resources

 

Education

  1. Utilize emotions / intuitive principles in learning as ways to dream and envision creativity in Grades K through 12 as well as compassion for oneself, community and those that are different. Education based on diversity not division.
  2. Include emotional tolerance – diversity education in elementary and high school education.
  3. Increase funding and infrastructure for specialized technical education as an alternative to college
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