Tell It Like It Is

by Alicia Bay Laurel
December 7, 2008

I’ve been sending the Obama administration-in-waiting every piece of information and feedback I can these days, via http://change.com/yourvision and http://change.com/ideas.  I hope all of you are doing the same.  They actually reading our input!

For example, today I sent them an article from the LA Times about the Bush administration’s penchant to have government agencies spy on Americans involved in lawful activities and then listing them on terrorist lists, with a request that this stop immediately.

I sent them the article I recently posted on generating enough electricity to power the entire planet for the foreseeable future, without any pollution, using a totally renewable source: the tides of the ocean and the movement of rivers.

I suggested that Halliburton/KBR, and the other war profiteers, pay to rebuild Iraq, since they profited by billions from its illegal invasion.

I suggested that Big Oil, which has recently had the most profitable years of all US corporations ever, pay to repair the environmental damage they have perpetrated, including damage to wild areas and wildlife habitat, global warming, air pollution and oil spills.

I suggested that the War on Drugs is a major waste of taxpayer money, since it spends billions to pursue, prosecute and imprison people for victimless crimes. I suggest, instead, lifting the prohibition on recreational drugs for use in the privacy of one’s home, while maintaining strict laws prohibiting the use of ANY intoxicant (including alcohol and mind-altering prescription drugs) while driving a motor vehicle. By legalizing recreational drugs, the government can generate more money for public health programs by taxing the sale of these substances (as with alcohol and tobacco, which are equally addictive), and the criminals involved in their illegal distribution would be out of business.

I do not use these substances, nor do I advocate their use by others, but, as a taxpayer alarmed at the prospect of the government running out of money for needed programs, I see ending Prohibition as one of the ways to streamline the way our government operates.

Furthermore, once legalized, agricultural hemp can replace petroleum products in a wide variety of manufactures, and, since we are approaching the end of the earth’s supply of petroleum, we need to consider the alternatives. Hemp produces a sustainable source of paper fiber that does not require bleach (which is the pollutant that kills fish in rivers downstream from paper factories). Hemp fiber is used to make lumber and fabric (the word “canvas” comes from the word “cannabis”), hemp seeds produce a high quality edible protein and nutritious oil, and hemp leaves have a proven medicinal value for cancer and AIDS patients.

I encourage everyone who is thinking about how things are done now and how they could be done better send their thoughts to the online Office of the President-Elect.

How about this: If you want a bulk mail permit, you must use 100% postconsumer waste recycled paper for your mailings. And, how about a paper/cardboard recycling bin in each US post office. Why not in every office building in the USA? Then recycled paper would be readily available and cheap.

And to close, Albert Bates’ two-word advice to stop global warming: Plant trees.