FOUR MORE YEARS!—THE AGENDA

Congratulations to President Barack Obama for his election to a second four year term. Now he will have the opportunity to continue his successes from his first term, learn and apply the lessons from the mistakes he made, and reverse course or become pro-active to address some issues and policies where he has disappointed.

The signature achievement was the passage of the Affordable Care Act. While it is on the whole commendable, there are some legitimate gripes about some provisions that could be improved. Those provisions are not the nonexistent death panels or the fantasy requirement for one bureaucrat for every doctor’s examining room. But since the states cannot be forced to accept or implement the broadened Medicaid eligibility standards there does need to be a way to ensure that low income Americans have access to coverage above and beyond the subsidies that will be in place.

For all the praise that Obama has received for reigning in Wall Street excesses, that praise is somewhat premature, though not nearly so premature as the Nobel Peace Prize. He, too, relies too heavily on advisors who had been immersed in that environment and stronger controls are still needed to prevent another finacial meltdown.

These other items should be on the agenda as well. I have previously spoken out on them so you may want to access my prior posts for details.

  • Close Guantanamo, move the prisoners stateside, file formal charges in civilian criminal courts and let due process rule. That shithole was established without Congress and can be shut down the same way.
  • Immediately begin returning our troops from Afghanistan and end our role there, obviously providing for the troops’ safety to the extent possible.
  • Defense spending needs to be slashed severely. This can be accomplished without endangering our security.
  • Immediately end the drone murders of alleged terrorists and issue a mea culpa for the weekly death lists and pray like hell no war crimes tribunal comes calling.
  • Initiate steps to secure the future of Social Security and Medicare while unequivocably rejecting any notions of privatization or vouchers.
  • Be firm but fair when dealing with Republicans in Congress to manage the economic policies that will result in potentially better lives for all Americans.
  • Reject the War on Drugs that has seen abyssmal inequality in the application of laws and has been an utter failure by any criteria. Instead embrace legalization which has better odds of treating the negative effects of addiction while providing new revenue streams. In the meantime cease any federal actions where states are dealing with marijuana on their own terms.
  • Though I’m not certain who died and left the U.S. to be the sheriff determining who can have nukes and who cannot, continued sanctions on Iran are a must to dissuade them from bomb building. At the same time we need to take the initiative to get all nuclear equipped nations to the table to get an agrrement that will lessen the chance of any maverick state (no, not Alaska, Sarah) from ever using these WMD’s.
  • Continue encouraging the replacement of dictatorships with elected governments, even at the expense of losing an “ally” like Muburak.  Not doing so may end up creating more Irans.
  • Continue support of Israel while at the same time pressuring its leadership to end its provocative actions that do nothing to ensure peace while keeping its Palestinean neighbors in dire straits. A potential change in that leadership may be in the offing in January elections.
  • Re-embrace the notion of climate change, totally neglected in the campaign. I won’t hazard an opinion that Cap and Trade is the most effective counter-action, but if that path is chosen, use the bully pulpit to garner support by emphasizing that it was a Republican initiative in the first place.
  • Any domestic spending programs geared toward infrastructure should be used exactly for that. The recovery from the massive damage from Hurricane Sandy may provide an impetus to economic activity regardless of Obama’s actions.
  • Some difficult decisions must be made on taxes and spending even before the next term officially begins. Since much input to those decisions comes through Congress, it is imperative that the President be clear in his intent. He must also have a strategy ready to deal with Republican opposition. It is hard to project how intransigent that opposition will be given the election results. But I say this to Republicans. You have done your damnedest to restrict Obama’s successes but he was re-elected despite your maneuvering. You now have a duty to return to doing what is right for your country which, I hope, most of you are capable of doing. Do not grant carte blanche but be reasonable. A second term is indeed a mandate from the people.
  • There are suggestions out there as to how to reform the electoral process so $3 billion is not needed to lie to voters. Bring some of the people with these ideas into your inner circle and develop a plan to achieve this reform.

There are likely areas I’ve missed but I intend to add to this agenda from time to time. Additionally I will further expound on what I believe to be viable solutions, especially in the realm of the so-called entitlements, defense spending, and drugs.

I look forward to presenting these ideas and I hope that you look forward to critiquing them while being able to offer realistic alternatives that better serve the goals.

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