The editor of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, has compiled a list of actions she is urging President Obama to implement in his first 100 days in office:
Bush Executive Orders: As Obama himself said of his first 100 days when campaigning in Denver, “I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution.”
Economic Stimulus: Stop the bleeding–through expanded health and unemployment benefits and providing real aid to beleaguered state and local governments so they can sustain essential public services.
Iraq: Present plan and hold to your timeline for withdrawal.
Health Care Reform: Begin immediately by expanding health insurance to kids and passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program legislation vetoed by Bush.
Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights: Repeal the Global Gag Rule that requires NGOs receiving federal funding to neither promote nor perform abortions in other countries.
Energy and the Economy: Announce a clean energy strategy that will reduce oil dependence, address global warming, create thousands of green jobs, and improve national security. Groups like the Apollo Alliance, Center for American Progress, and Natural Resources Defense Council have strong and concrete plans in this regard. Incorporate elements of this plan into stimulus package.
Bailout for Main Street: Work to ensure that homeowners have real opportunities to renegotiate mortgages and remain in their homes.
Poverty and Inequality: Appoint a Hunger Czar–as Senator George McGovern and Congressman Jim McGovern call for in a recent op-ed–who would “coordinate the various food, nutrition and anti-poverty programs… to increase the independence, purchasing power and food security of every human being.” Announce your commitment to the goal of cutting poverty in half in ten years.
Labor and Trade: Reject Colombia, Korea and Panama trade agreements as currently written and ensure future agreements promote the public interest. Work towards passage of Employee Free Choice Act.
Science: Allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Global Warming: Reverse the Bush EPA decision and allow California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Call for a new climate treaty and ask Al Gore to lead that effort.
Guantánamo: Close it, and try people in the US or resettle in countries where they face no risk of persecution or torture. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof offers a compelling idea to “turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries… [serving as] an example of multilateral humanitarianism”
Detention: Close all CIA black sites and secret detention sites. End extraordinary rendition. Abolish preventive detention that allows people to be held indefinitely without charge. Initiate criminal investigations into programs of rendition and secret detention. End trials by military commission. End opposition to full habeas corpus hearings for detainees in Guantánamo and other similar situations. Make known the names and whereabouts of all those detained in rendition and secret detention programs.
Torture: End use in court of any evidence obtained through torture. Officially reject all memos, signing statements and executive orders that justify the use of torture. Establish an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of detention and interrogation practices in the “war on terror.” Announce administration will work for redress and remedy for victims of human rights violations for which US authorities are found to be responsible.
Protect Dissent: Ensure that the FBI adheres to surveillance guidelines. Open Justice Department investigation into surveillance related misconduct. Pledge to end all secret surveillance programs not reviewed by courts or congressional committees.
Limit State Secrets Privilege: issue new Executive Orders that reverse the expansion of state secrets privilege and the over-classification of documents. Pass legislation making it clear that military contractors are accountable for abuses.
Roll Back Executive Power: Repudiate unitary presidency. Renounce use of signing statements as a tool for altering legislation. Pledge to abide by the War Powers Act and end abuse of Authorization to Use Military Force. (Or as Bruce Fein–a key player in the Reagan Justice Department–said, “Renounce presidential power to initiate war anywhere on the planet, including Iran.”)