Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A Green Party Response to Obama's First 100 Days
Below is a copy of parts of the text from an email I recieved from the Green Party of the United States. It's assessment of our better but still not up to par President is a fair and just assessment. Please consider . . .
We need your help. Given the world that is fast coming upon us, we need to take full measures, not half-steps, in order to create a livable and sustainable world. That is the essence of the Green Party. After 100 days of Obama's presidency, it has become clear that we are a far cry from where we need to be as far as civil liberties, the environment, the economy, health care, and the military. The Green Party has real solutions to the problems at hand. Please look over the 100 Day Report Card below. Keep in mind that C is "good enough"; in percentages, in order to get a "better than average" grade, you need to score 80%.
Is the Obama administration doing "good enough" or "better than average"? We don't think so! If you see your vision reflected below, donate what you can to ensure that the Green Party is strong and able to put the necessary pressure on our monied system.
Civil liberties: F
The Executive Branch is finally following the law by releasing and repudiating the Bush Administration's legal memos that attempted to justify torture. The President also raised the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for providing that justification.
However, the Obama Administration defends the illegal wiretapping program, leaves the door open to outsourcing torture through "extraordinary rendition", and argues that prisoners can be denied habeas corpus if they are shipped to the Bagram prison in Afghanistan instead of Guantanamo! The Administration also opposes a Congressional truth commission to investigate torture by the Bush Presidency, although citizen pressure may successfully force an investigation.
Obama supporter Glenn Greenwald, who writes for Salon.com, recently wrote: "What's being asserted here by the Obama DOJ is the virtually absolute power of presidential secrecy, the right to break the law with no consequences, and immunity from surveillance lawsuits so sweeping that one can hardly believe that it's being claimed with a straight face."
The Green Party supports a ban on torture, the repeal of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and opposes the warrantless surveillance of US citizens, 'extraordinary rendition' of prisoners to extract information, and denial of habeas corpus and due process.
The Obama Administration has taken some positive steps on global warming by allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants, initiating legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and providing funds for alternative energy in the recently passed economic stimulus bill.
Unfortunately, the Administration has committed to spending only $145 billion on alternative energy over the next 10 years, about 0.1% of our country's gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast, the proposed military budget for 2010 alone is $664 billion. The Administration supports nuclear power and "clean" coal, and its proposed cap and trade scheme is vulnerable to abuses such as free giveaway licenses for utilities to emit greenhouse gases. In the European Union, free licenses have resulted in increased emissions from coal plants that have offset the reductions gained from new wind power.
The Green Party advocates a moratorium on new coal fired power plants, ending subsidies to the nuclear and fossil fuel industries, increasing CAFÉ standards, and ending mountaintop removal mining. (And though not mentioned in this letter, the Green Party also advocates environmentally friendly alternatives such as wind and solar energy)
The Obama Administration's economic stimulus bill is headed in the right direction with new infrastructure projects that can put Americans back to work. Plans to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire are also encouraging.
However, the stimulus was too small and too focused on tax cuts. The Administration's plans for repairing the financial system are likely to result in a great deal of wasteful spending, reward those who got us into the current economic crisis, and ignore the fundamental problems. It is unfortunate that the Administration has rejected calls to nationalize the largest and most insolvent banks in favor of a plan that loans nearly $1 trillion to hedge funds to indirectly subsidize the banks. By contrast, Wall Street Journal recently reported that only "10% of borrowers in some stage of foreclosure appear to be eligible for the federal aid to homeowners program."
The Green Party advocates ending trade in the highly speculative financial instruments that helped cause the crisis, restoring regulations on banks, breaking up financial conglomerates, promoting small local banks and credit unions, implementing a much larger public works program, and working to build a steady state economy based upon sustainability.
Health Care: D+
The Obama Administration has proposed substantial increases in federal spending in order to extend health coverage to more Americans. The Administration's spending plans will extend coverage only to about one-half of uninsured Americans and are short of effective methods for cost control.
The Green Party continues to advocate the single-payer health care systems as the most efficient and effective way to deliver health care to all Americans
Foreign policy/military: D
The Obama Administration has taken a few encouraging steps, such as starting to at least open talks with foreign leaders. The President has shown an increased willingness to negotiate with Iran, and has stated plans to discuss nuclear arms reductions with Russia. However, there are numerous loopholes in the agreement to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and the Administration is re-deploying some of the troops to Afghanistan. The U.S. is also continuing to launch military operations in Pakistan that have killed and displaced many civilians and contributed to destabilizing the country. The Administration also plans to maintain unnecessarily high levels of military spending.
The Green Party advocates the complete and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops and contractors from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq and deep reductions in military spending.
This assessment is fair. Though I support President Obama over the recently proffered viable (i.e., likely to be elected) alternatives, and as a better Prez. than several preceding, his actions are still half-steps, if that. If this world is to become sustainable and this nation to find equalibrium with nature and the rest of the world, to establish justice and proper equality, much stronger action is needed. Please consider . . .