FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The First 10 Things Obama Needs to Do in His Second Term

by DAVID MACARAY

1. Don’t spend one dime on a gala inauguration. In fact, don’t do anything more than you are legally bound to do, which is placing your hand on a Bible and swearing to uphold the Constitution. Keep it austere. Show the public you’re aware of the challenges ahead and are ready to get to work.

2. Appoint Barney Frank Secretary of the Treasury. Frank is smart, he’s out of a job, he knows finance, he knows Congress, and, refreshingly, he neither fears nor favors Wall Street. Under no circumstances should you appoint another investment banker. Hasn’t this incestuous cronyism done enough damage??

3. Assuming that Hillary Clinton is serious about stepping down, appoint U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State. In fact, even if Ms. Clinton isn’t serious, she should be gently nudged out. She’s too much of a hawk.

4. Use the bully pulpit to wean the public from the mistaken belief that “free trade” equals “fair trade.” The American worker is getting slaughtered by our one-sided trade agreements. You need to educate the public by going on television and laying out the actual facts. Congress won’t do it; the media won’t do it; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce won’t do it. The president needs to do it.

5. Put aside all this tiresome “they must be worthy of meeting with us” nonsense, and arrange a sit-down with President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Worst case: Nothing comes of it because Ahmadinejad uses the occasion to badger us. So what if he does? Where’s the harm? Best case: We make genuine progress in our relations with Iran. It’s a no-brainer.

6. Prove to organized labor you meant what you said during the 2008 campaign, and put the EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) back on the table. But this time around, actually roll up your sleeves and fight for it.

7. Plead with Hilda Solis to remain as Secretary of Labor. She’s done a commendable job in the face of unprecedented anti-union sentiment. Simply put, you could scour the entire landscape and not find anyone better than Solis. Keep her.

8. Withdraw from Afghanistan. Everyone knows we can’t “win” (it’s already the longest war in our history), and everyone assumes a civil war will follow our departure no matter when we leave. Here’s the deal: If we leave now, there will be a civil war. If we leave in 5 years, there will be a civil war. The message? Leave now and avoid the additional cost in lives and dollars.

9. Announce that we’re removing our troops from Japan and Germany. Those countries don’t want us there anyway, we can’t afford the expense, and our imperialistic military presence around the world has become an embarrassment.

10. Unless proven to be unfeasible (unless the cupboard is truly bare), insist that every U.S. ambassador speak the native language of the country to which he or she is assigned. Granted, pretty much everyone in the upper echelons of government all over the world now speaks English, but that’s not the point. Indeed, it’s part of the problem.

In this electronic age, ambassadors are largely ceremonial. You don’t need a Ph.D in International Relations to be an ambassador. By showing the host country that we respect them enough to send an emissary who speaks their native tongue, we win friends. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can’t overemphasize how much the citizens loved hearing us speak their language…even when we mangled the hell out of it.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former labor union rep. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail