Progressive Work Around

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sarah R. Wartell, executive vice president at the Center for American Progress, talks about what President Obama can do to advance a progressive agenda without the help of Congress. The organization has published a report recommending the use of executive orders in the face of division and probable gridlock between the House and the Senate. 


Sarah R. Wartell

Comments [20]

A suggestion for the President: legalize the production of industrial hemp (formerly known as "European hemp").

Hemp has been produced in the Western Hemisphere since approximately 50 years after Columbus' voyages to the New World. It was also crucial to the colonial economies of the United States, as well as the 19th Century and the Industrial revolution. Only in the 20th Century were anti-marijuana fears running so amuk that industrial hemp became tarnished with the brush of its psychoactive cousins (formerly known as "Indian hemp" or hashish, which is akin to marijuana).

The on-going arguments as to whether marijuana should or should not be a Schedule 1 drug governed by DEA prohibition is generally unrelated to prohibitions of industrial hemp prodution. The intentional confusion of the two products is a long-standing effort (scare-tactics?) by lobbyists from particular agricultural industries (Hearst Corp., DuPont, etc.) who were competing with or concerned by hemp production during the 20th Century.

Hemp is a very fast-growing biomass, and can be grown in many areas of the country... not only those where seasonal agricultural production are major industries. As biomass, it attaches CO2 and produces O2, thus aiding us to stave off global warming and the climate crisis. Industrial hemp is useful in cleaning contaminated soil.

As consumer products go, industrial hemp can be used to produce American-made quality textile manufactures, such as clothing, bags and satchels, jewelry, and other fibrous textiles which are now dominated by foreign production (cotton, jute, sisal, etc). By comparison, hemp is a more durable fabric and less abrasive to the skin than some of those fabrics, and has the added benefit in that legalization in the manner I'm recommend would stimulate the domestic economy.

Other products from industrial hemp include paper, cinderblocks, fabric, rope and cordage, and so forth.

Lastly, industrial hemp and hemp seeds can be used to make hemp oil, which can be produced into food products or biodiesel.

The President can re-legalize the production of industrial hemp using your authority over the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA drug czar can recommend the elimination of restrictions on the production of industrial hemp, thereby allowing for production in the 7-10 states which currently allow for it but are waiting for the DEA to act.

Nov. 23 2010 01:27 PM
Paul from NYC

Some of the capitalistic overlaying language used here is disgusting, as when she says (referring to Obama) "he's the CEO of the world's largest corporation," which continues to highlight our deep obssession and fears around losing our failing capitalist experiment. In the way that some speak of losing our religion, we also need to lose our capitalism. Just keep asking yourselves: does capitalism really need to be saved? Was Madame Thatcher right in the early 80s when she said that "there is no alternative"? Was that really true? Was it?

Nov. 23 2010 10:46 AM

Lincoln: I agree 100%. I have been saying it every time I hear a British accent. And I am half British!

Now with Ireland heading into trouble, more educated young people are going to come to America and take American's jobs. The problem is NOT people from South America. Those people are a necessity. The problem is cases like someone in my own family living here from London because her husband got an amazing job in New York. There's a whole gaggle of ex-Pat Brits living here. it's not right.

Nov. 23 2010 10:29 AM
Bill from Hempstead

Community Landtrusts are a viable use for repurposing of forclosed properties. My wife and I are involved with a group starting up nonprofit CLT satellites in Nassau county..
specifically, we have been working with Andrew Coliver's group.

Nov. 23 2010 10:26 AM
gary from queens

Sarah is mouthing the Dem talking points when she claims that the electorate wanted Obama to "get things done." Moderates were driven to the tea party BECAUSE Obama was getting things done, like spending 3 trillion bucks in 21 months!!

Nov. 23 2010 10:24 AM
jacob from Brooklyn

How about advancing actual progressive causes like The Employee Free Choice Act? Bringing back tougher banking regulation? Not caving on the Bush tax cuts? Developing an Keynesian industrial policy?

Oh yeah. That would alienate the Dems corporate donors.

But, no. He is the "CEO" of brand America. With "progressives" like these no wonder the Tea Party wins. They are able to tap into the anger of a confused populace while these DC "progressives" worry about branding.

Nov. 23 2010 10:24 AM
Lincoln Powell from Bloomfield, NJ

By executive order, the president should issue an immediate moratorium on temporary work visas (H1B, H2B, L1, et al) so that corporations will hire unemployed Americans rather than cheap foreign temps. It makes no sense to continue to issue thousands of these visas monthly. Also, the Justice Department should prosecute the companies that hire foreign temps (and the consultants that show them how) for fraud, since they must show that they 'cannot' find Amnericans for these jobs in order to get these visas.

Nov. 23 2010 10:23 AM

obama was elected that's the "desires of the citizen voters"

Nov. 23 2010 10:22 AM
Susan from Chatham, NJ

Yes, the President can issue Executive Orders, but then can't the next office holder can just reverse them? How can he effect change that doesn't get canceled out by the next administration?

Nov. 23 2010 10:20 AM
Gregg from SoHo

Firedoglake ran a multi-part series on just this subject BEFORE the election--with input from folks like James Galbraith, Bill Black, Glenn Greenwald, and Alan Grayson. If Obama had shown some leadership then, maybe the midterms wouldn't have been quite as terrible a bloodbath.

I appreciate CAP's picking up where we left off; I hope they use their relationship with the Administration to push for some of these actions, which, beyond showing leadership, would directly help so many in need.

Nov. 23 2010 10:19 AM
David from Queens

Direct the SEC and Dept of Justice to investigate Hedge Funds roles in shorting selling the financial crisis into being and prosecute to the letter of the law the anti-trust, insider trading, and RICO statutes.

Nov. 23 2010 10:18 AM
RLewis from the Bowery

@ Martin,
These things are not against the law. And if Bush did it, why shouldn't Obama?

Nov. 23 2010 10:18 AM
antonio from park slope

Viceroy Bush and Darth cheney seemed to do what ever they wanted...
Can't President Obama, just force a public option, or something slightly progressive. Force cities to reduce sprawl by investing in transit...

Nov. 23 2010 10:18 AM

This particular listener OFTEN misses the point of what's being said.

Nov. 23 2010 10:17 AM
gary from queens

Yesterday, I may have confused "Center for American Progress" with "New America Foundation", when I remarked (below) about the latter's Steve Clemens here

Neverthless, both of these Soros' funded thinktanks come up with stategies that would have made a bolshevik blush. And I would like to think that the BL producers selected this topic after reading my comment yesterday, which included:

I had to listen to progressives rail against the supposed imperial presidency of GW----or as Gary Kamiya had referred to him in in 2007, the "triumphalist-in-chief." Treatises published alleging that a powerful executive is a doctrine formulated by neoconservatives. That we needed have a check on executive authority. They lectured that we must restore "separation of powers" and "checks and balances." Well, no more than two weeks after a drubbing at the polls, the New America Foundation now counseling Obama to bypass Congress and push their liberal agenda through executive orders! They're also suggesting that the government should ban anything in the media and internet that isn't factually true! It would seem that "power to the people" seems out of fashion, now that the people have spoken.

Nov. 23 2010 10:16 AM

What Obama can do on his own. Haha. Who cares? Obama doesn't want to do anything on his own. The guy must know that Republicans will NOT work with him, yet continues "reaching across the aisle" to "work together." His election was bought by Wall St., and now Wall St. has short sold him. He sounds defeated, like he doesn't even want his job as president anymore.

Nov. 23 2010 10:16 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

OH PLEASE! There is no will to help home-owners, otherwise a REAL solution would have been pushed through already.

Nov. 23 2010 10:14 AM
Carolyn Blackburn from NYC

Improve governmental communications.
This TSA SNAFU is a perfect example of how our government needs a good PR team!

Nov. 23 2010 10:12 AM
yosif from Manhattan

Make the fillibuster on the floor. Enough silent filibuster bs. Use reconciliation to pass a public option? Bush did it to get his tax cuts with just 50 votes in the senate.

Nov. 23 2010 10:10 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

So the guest is, in effect, going to tell us how Obama can circumvent the normal legal channels of government in a representative democacy that desires of the citizen voters?

Ahhh, so that's what this overhyped "progressive" label means....I get it now. All options, however devious, are on the table as long as they reflect your agenda.

Nov. 23 2010 07:56 AM

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