Column for 2 November, 2008

Twenty Questions for the Next President of the United States

 

“If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

                                                                                                            –Romans 12:6-8

 

Some questions for the next President of the United States:  1) the manufacturing sector of the US Economy has been declining rapidly since the 1950’s and is now on the verge of collapse.  Do you believe the US can continue to be an economic superpower if we don’t make anything anymore? 2) “Free” trade agreements put America in unfair competition with countries that subsidize their businesses, ignore environmental and workplace safety laws, and pay slave wages.  What will you do to make sure other countries play by the rules?  3) Organizations like the World Trade Organization are gaining increasing control over the American economy, despite being unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable corporate bureaucracies.  Will you continue to surrender American sovereignty to these agencies?  4) US agriculture is in crisis due to the virtual disappearance of small farms, taxpayer-subsidized agribusiness corporations paid to grow unhealthy foods, and such insanities as shipping American poultry and fish to China to be prepared and then shipped back to America for sale.  What will you do to end subsidies for junk food and restore the country to a sustainable farm system?  5) Sooner or later, our current economy based on cheap petroleum will come to an end.  What steps will you take to help transition the country to a post-petroleum economy? 6) Will you honestly tell Americans what it will take in terms of lifestyle changes to combat the global climate crisis?  7)  Will you end subsidies to big corporations that exploit public lands and resources and require them to pay fair market value?  8)  Will you stop corporate welfare to giant corporations who ship American jobs overseas?  9) Will you pledge never to add signing statements to bills, but rather show the intestinal fortitude to either sign or veto them?  10) Will you abide by the War Powers Act, which has been systematically ignored by every President Democrat or Republican since it was enacted?  11) What will you do about illegal immigration?  Pro-immigration advocates are right that it would be impossible to deport 15-20 million people without seriously curtailing everyone’s liberties and that a “guest worker” program would only drive down wages and lead to a permanent and possibly radicalized underclass.  On the other hand, the anti-immigration forces are right that we can’t just go on declaring a general amnesty every 20 years and that it is a threat to national security to have a border that leaks like a colander.  12) Will you pledge to fully restore and respect tribal sovereignty?  13)  Will you offer a fair settlement of the Cobell v. Kempthorne trust lawsuit?  If hundreds of billions of dollars are available for Wall Street welfare, surely there’s enough money to compensate thousands of Indians who were ripped off by the government that was supposed to protect them.  14)  Will you restore to tribes the power to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians in Indian Country?  15) Do you support some form of mandatory national service to address urgent problems at home and hopefully recreate a national sense of duty as opposed to entitlement?  16) This has been the most expensive presidential campaign in history.  National politics are corrupted by torrents of special-interest money.  Will you support either the overturn of the Buckley v. Valeo decision where the Supreme Court decided that money equals free speech or public financing of campaigns?  17) Will you amend the loathsomely misnamed USA PATRIOT Act to conform it to the Bill of Rights?  18) Will you pledge not to allow the use of torture?  19)  Will you agree to stop wire-tapping Americans without a warrant?  20) Do you agree with George W. Bush that the president, on his sole discretion and without review by Congress or the courts, can arrest American citizens on American soil and lock them up for the rest of their lives without a trial, formal charges, or access to the courts? 

Thank you, Mr. President.  Please remember that you must answer in complete sentences, show your work and neatness counts.  And yes, this will all be on the test.         

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Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 10:21 pm  Comments (3)  
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  1. […] Column for 2 November, 2008 Twenty Questions for the Next President of the United States   “If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”                                                                                                             –Romans 12:6-8   Some questions for the next President of the United States:  1) the manufacturing sector of the US Economy has been declining rapidly since the 1950’s and is now on the verge of collapse.  Do you believe the US can continue to be an economic superpower if we don’t make anything anymore? 2) “Free” trade agreements put America in unfair competition with countries that subsidize their businesses, ignore environmental and workplace safety laws, and pay slave wages.  What will you do to make sure other countries play by the rules?  3) Organizations like the World Trade Organization are gaining increasing control over the American economy, despite being unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable corporate bureaucracies.  Will you continue to surrender American sovereignty to these agencies?  4) US […] […]

  2. Here’s what I would answer to the questions I feel competent answering. I’d have to get back to you on the rest:

    1. No, but there’s no reason we can’t make new things we didn’t make before, like new forms of green technology that would help save ourselves and the world from the current Road to Hell we’re on.

    5. Become a world leader again and unleash the power of American innovation in a whole host of ways, instead of an addicted junkie who makes excuses for his habit.

    6. Absolutely.

    7. Yes.

    8. I would stop corporate welfare to any and all corporations, regardless of where their jobs are.

    9. Yes.

    10. Let’s face it. The War Powers Act, like the Tenth Amendment, is long dead. Let’s either have an open and honest debate about changing it, or agree to follow it again.

    15. No, but I will use every power at my disposal to summon this great nation to a renewed spirit of voluntary service and self-discipline so we can end the worst aspects of our consumptive national lifestyle and unleash American innovation on creating and manufacturing green technologies to save ourselves and the planet from certain ruin.

    16. Absolutely.

    17. Absolutely.

    18. Absolutely.

    19. Absolutely.

    20. No.

  3. 17) Will you amend the loathsomely misnamed USA PATRIOT Act to conform it to the Bill of Rights?

    Or at the very least simply sign Congress’ repeal of the act?


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