Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Letter to President Obama

Okay, we elected you, Mr. President-Elect. We're really happy that you made it to the White House, but now it's payback time, big guy.

I'm going to give you my Top Ten Issues to work on. How you do it is your business. But these are the issues that are most important to me.

  1. Revoke all harmful environment deregulation from the Bush era.  I need you to take back all those horrible laws and policies like the "Clear Skies Act" and "Healthy Forests."  We know what they really were - giveaways to the corporations who wanted to do logging in our national parks and pollute our drinking water and air.
  2. Stop all the wars. I know you've said you will create a plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. To tell you the truth, fighting a war in Afghanistan isn't going to help find bin Laden either.  This is a matter of cooperation with those governments, not a policy of war.
  3. Restore America's luster abroad.  This is so important. I would like you to meet with foreign leaders worldwide and tell them that we want to be their friends again. Start with the top twenty most important countries, and don't forget the former Eastern Bloc countries like Poland and the Ukraine.
  4. Use the Internet to involve the citizens.  Help us redefine what it means to be a citizen of America. Help us think of ourselves in terms of being citizens instead of consumers.
  5. Move our healthcare system toward cheaper, safer, more effective holistic healthcare and away from drugs and surgery.  You haven't mentioned this in your campaign, but I think it is definitely one of my Top Tens.
  6. Make it cool to work for the government. You said you could do this in a Rolling Stone interview. Public service should be a badge of honor.  I know you see it that way.  Now help the rest of us to see it that way also.  Teachers and government workers of all walks of life should feel so proud to be serving their country.  I believe you can help us make that happen.
  7. Put your renewable energy plan into effect.  From everything I can tell, you have followed the Apollo Alliance plan pretty closely.  Solar panels, wind turbines, hybrid plug-in cars, getting utilities off coal (including "clean" coal), a mixture of decentralized and centralized power generation, etc.  I couldn't be happier about that.  Now put it into place, as an absolute top priority.
  8. Rebuild our country's infrastructure.  We need new bridges, roads, public transit.  I know that these things need to happen largely within states and communities, but you can help with funding tweaks and using the bully pulpit of the presidency.
  9. Put a strong focus on civil rights and women's rights.  I trust you very much to do this, Mr. President-Elect. Give us Supreme Court justices who will uphold Roe v. Wade and let's continue our helpful policies towards minorities and women in the community and the workplace.  I don't think quotas and most affirmative action are that helpful, however, but you've mentioned a number of ideas in your books and on your Website that make more sense for all of us than those older ideas of civil rights.
  10. Put a sharp focus on Internet policies.  Revise outdated laws like copyright and patent to reflect the Internet age, and please make net-neutrality a reality.


Zack said...

A conservative rebuttal:

1. I don't know why conservation of the environment isn't or shouldn't be part of the conservative agenda. The only requirement should be that environmental regulations pass some basic cost benefit test and the benefit to the environment justifies the economic cost. The Kyoto protocol was a miserable failure in this regard and even its proponents couldn't justify it based on any rational cost benefit analysis.

2. This point seems to have two premises that are blatently false. One is that anyone wants the war to continue, and the second is that finding bin Laden is important to our national interest. Our premature and incompetent withdrawal from Vietnam result in the largest genocide since WW2. We have a moral obligation to avoid letting that happen in Iraq, particularly since we tore down their existing government. The notion that we have within our power some simple way to stop the war is wishful thinking. Immediate withdrawal of all US troops would not stop the war, and would make things far worse.

3. This is a nice sentiment, but not specific enough to rebut.

4. Sounds good to me.

5. This is not bad. I am horrified by the proponents of national health insurance who think that tinkering with the insurance side of medicine will magically cause more doctors, nurses, and hospitals to appear so we can make more health care available to people now lack access. We must find a way to keep people healthy in a more cost effective way. Our current system is badly broken.

6. This is a tough one. There is a large "underclass" in the country where the normal social structure and moral values necessary for a healthy society exist have broken down. Teachers, police, and other government workers must deal with this every day and it is a horrible job. There is no way to make it cool. I am troubled by this and don't have a good answer, but acknowledge that it is important to improve the situation. One thing is clear and that is that government welfare programs have made the problem far worse as an unintended consequence.

7. The direction is right but the mechanisms are wrong. The government should transition taxation away from a highly progressive income tax which stifles economic growth, and toward a consumption tax. The consumption tax should be partially broad base, and partially targetted towards non-renewable energy sources. Much of our international competition is doing this with good results. There is no way alternative energy initiatives can succeed with oil so cheap. Government tinkering can't change this.

9. I suppose I am in a small minority in that I believe in keeping abortion rights but believe that Roe v. Wade must be overturned because it is terrible constitutional law. Laws made by unelected judges lack the legitimacy of the legislative process. The whole system of checks and balances it badly broken if the courts can unilaterally make fundamental changes is law without any check or balance from the other branches.

10. Sounds good to me.

MAAZ said...

There is a site that has examples of aura camera systems at that prints aura photos. Has anyone experienced this system?