Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union

The President delivered his State of the Union Address last night and a few things jumped out at me.

Dear President Obama,

You mentioned in your speech "building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants" and continued investment in "clean coal".  I sincerely hope you know better and are just saying these things to throw a bone to the right wing. But I am troubled by the idea of government investment in these technologies. No insurance company will fully insure nuclear power plants so we need the government to provide that protection through the Price-Anderson Act and investors are unwilling to take the risk on them so the government also subsidizes them. Add to this the fact that nuclear power plants are terrorism targets, mining, transporting and enriching radioactive materials is hazardous and we still do not know how to dispose of this clean, plentiful, safe fuel. It also does not matter if you can burn coal in a "clean" way if we continue to blow up mountains and destroy communities and waterways to get the coal in the first place. Coal cannot be clean.

On health care, you said, " if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know." How about allowing all Americans to buy into Medicare? This wasn't even on the table?

Trade. No politician is ever specific enough to spell out what they mean by trade policy. Put "trade" and "jobs" together and it sounds OK. Sure, we should make more "goods" that people around the world want to buy. I wonder what you mean by " we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea, Panama, and Colombia." What is "key" about these partners, besides that they are super close to the US and right wing?

Not mentioned in the speech was the utter failure of the US to resolve the coup in Honduras. The former president there is being exiled to the Dominican Republic while the coup leaders are getting all charges dropped.

You mentioned the shocking decision by the Supreme Court, "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections." but instead of demanding a serious rebuttal to it like... a constitutional amendment, you call for earmark reform and urged "Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong." A bill can be overturned in the courts. We need an amendment and we need the President to lead on this.

Then there was the "spending freeze". I don't know what to make of this, except you are trying to curry favor with Republicans. Please understand this. They hate you.  Senator Jon Kyl told NPR's Steve Inskeep "I don't think the American people want a whiner who says, 'Woe is me.' It was a terrible situation, and more than a year after he was sworn in, he's still complaining about the Bush administration,"

Mr. President, you are very smart and a good speaker. Much of what you said was good. I do not agree with all of your policies, but I want to support you. It is time to lead and throw your weight around. If Republicans want to filibuster everything, Democrats are going to have to grow a spine. I thank you for saying, "To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills." Republicans were able to get almost everything they wanted with a very slim majority under Bush. Democrats were cowed by the "nuclear option" threat to end the filibuster and as a result we have Justices Roberts and Alito, whose activism threatens to end America as we know it with last week's supreme court ruling.

There is a lot of work to be done in this country. According to charts and graphs I have seen, it is not as bad as it might have been. I will accept that you have done what you think is the right thing and that it has largely helped. The "recovery" is far from complete. It is difficult to see the light when you are still near the bottom of a hole. I hope you can bring some of the opposition along, but so far, it has not worked. It is their way or no way. You have the will of the majority behind you. Don't be fooled by the Massachussets special election into thinking that Americans don't like health care reform or they want Democrats to be more like Republicans. People are disappointed because you are so "centrist" like another popular president named Clinton. People are disappointed because big business continues to write the rules. People are disappointed because banks still will not renegotiate mortgages. I think you know. I think you understand. Now come on and fight for the people. Stop disappointing.

Thank you,

Angelo Sacerdote
Concerned Citizen

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