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Here's the "real change" that America desperately needs; and needs it now!

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Message Michael Payne

Some of the best advice I ever heard was: if you want to get something really important done the first thing you must do is START! That's not happening in America today; we just can't seem to get untracked. When a candidate runs for political office it's routine to proclaim that "it's time for change" or "I stand for change." And, of course, we remember the Obama campaign when he promised to do just that if elected. He also said, "Hope and change are not just the rhetoric of a campaign for me." And he sealed that statement by also stating, "Yes we can."

After writing about his failure to follow through on his promise for change I have been challenged several times to clarify exactly what I mean and asked why I am unfairly criticizing our president for not making, or aggressively pursuing an agenda of change. Well, in the campaign, Mr. Obama was not very explicit about the exact changes he intended to make; however, he inspired us with his message and gave us hope that meaningful changes would follow. We're still waiting.

The facts indicate he still hasn't addressed the most pressing problems facing our nation. So, to be fair to him and to offer up constructive criticism and ideas, I will list those changes that I believe are necessary to keep America safe, to restore our economy and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Here are the changes that should be high on his domestic agenda:

*End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan; bring the troops home under a specific timetable, not subject to events on the ground or pressures from the military.

*Reduce the $1 trillion annual Pentagon budget by and put $500 billion into critical domestic needs; not a stimulus but effective, lasting programs to employ U.S. workers.

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