An American Primer

A manifesto of sorts.  How to solve our own ugly, seemingly insurmountable problems as a nation and perhaps do as much for the rest of the world at the same time.  I’m quite cognizant of how ambitious it may sound, yet things, answers, need not always be so convoluted.  Simple answers for stupid questions indeed.  I kicked this around for a few days with the object being what exactly would I do If I could.  Turned out to be reasonably simple.  Let us, shall we?

In the particular order of urgency.

1) Get the fuck out of the Middle East.  We have consistently and maddeningly failed to effect change for the better there for decades at enormous expense in money and lives.  “Blood and treasure”, the nomenclature neocons and hawks are  so very fond of.  Walk away from Israel, pull completely out of Iraq, Afghanistan and leave Iran the hell alone (they just aren’t a credible threat to us).  Let Iran and Israel diddle themselves, posture and puff and fuck with each other until the cows come home.  If one turns the other’s sand into glass, so be it.  Might just have been an inevitable conclusion anyway.  I’m sick and tired of discrimination and ideology rooted in such archaic concepts as religion.  My God can beat up your God is so nineteenth century.  Our involvement has historically forced a bad situation to flirt with a heavy petting, worse case scenario.  See above.  We’ll fuck it up long before we solve it.

We give more foreign aid money to Israel than we do to every other nation on the planet combined.  Why?  Why do we do that?  They aren’t starving.  They aren’t plagued by disease.  We give them money to kill people.  That’s what they do with it.  They bully and discriminate and kill with your money.  My money.

They are assholes.  Oppressors.  And so are we.  We had no reason to go into Iraq. Tell me different and we’ll play spot the right wing retard.  There is no longer any reason for our involvement in Afghanistan.  There may have been at one time, but that didn’t bear fruit, did it?  Dick-in-Bush dropped the ball spectacularly.  We can’t even say whether Bin Laden is still alive.  We sure as hell can’t say with a straight face that he was behind 9/11.  Now we spend our “blood and treasure” kicking one hornet’s nest after another, making no progress and galvanizing an entire generation to oppose us with no real fear of death.

Things are great, couldn’t be better.  Better……start this again.

Upside, being we’d save about ten billion a month.  We’d stop pissing in the ears, the mouths and up the noses of people who don’t deserve any such thing and be able to afford health care for every man, woman and child in this country.  Education?  Infrastructure?  Walk in the park.  All of the sudden, plenty of money.  See how easy this is already?  Israel would be forced to walk back it’s incendiary dickheadedness and perhaps concede a little humility in the spirit of humanity.  Agree to talk to and treat Palestinians like human beings as opposed to say, cattle to be loaded onto boxcars to be gassed.

I’m no anti-semite but unchecked Zionism is indistinguishable from apartheid Israel can piss up a rope, at least until she learns some table manners.  They just don’t deserve a seat at the grownup table.

Moving right along……..


2)Alternative energy like yesterday.  This includes hemp production, the most viable replacement for ALL products petroleum, not just energy.  Plastics, textiles, lubricants, even concrete.  No pesticides, renewable every sixteen weeks or so……not deleterious to to topsoil.  Foodstuffs even, high in protein and anti oxidants.  Strongest natural fiber known to man.  Makes Cotton look Fisher Price.  And of course, solar, wind, tide……the goddamn sun, it’s all there and don’t you try tell me it’s not technologically or monetarily feasible.  It is, and has been for years.  IT IS ALL THERE.  All that is missing is the education and subsequent will of the people.

We could walk away from fossil fuels almost completely in a handful of years.  With plants that ingest carbon and produce oxygen and passive systems that don’t pollute.  Imagine.  It really is this easy.  Really.

3) REAL campaign finance reform.  Publicly funded elections and I mean exclusively publicly funded..  Each candidate has exactly the same amount of money to spend provided by we the people.  Equal airtime, no private contributions and corporations expressly and legally forbade from any participation at all, not the least of which is monetary.  Big energy, big pharma and big money and all the rest barred from the process forever.  This really is our best hope.  It is our singular hope.  It will never happen and so, things will never change.  I remind you thus, lest you think me naive.

Any church that even attempts to proselytize political, will pay taxes on every single goddamn dime placed in the collection plate until they prove they’ve grown up and left the game of jingoistic, hypocritical moralizing behind.  Organized religion has never done more good than harm.  I fucking hate churches and their obviously undeserved tax exempt status, yet blatant and bold fuckery.

4)  Abolish all drug prohibition.  The most lucrative legal cash crop in California is citrus, clocking in at aprox. $1.5 billion a year.  Marijuana by contrast is around $17 billion a year.  In California alone bitches.  We incarcerate more people per capita in this country than ANY nation on earth, the majority being non-violent drug offenders.  People can and will abuse substances whether legal or not.  It’s analogous to preaching abstinence only to teenagers.  To do so is pissing in the wind of millions of years of instinct to procreate.  Mankind has sought to self medicate since we first crawled out of the soup and discovered the coca plant which eventually begat the bong and then the crack pipe.  The war on drugs is an abject and embarrassing failure and a massive financial rabbit hole.  They’re not criminals when they begin their institutionalization but they sure as fuck are by the time they hit the streets their first time out.  Therefore and hence, the majority of “offenders” will return to the institutions.  There is no such thing as rehabilitation in the United States prison system.  The default has long since become recidivism.

Addicts will be addicts whether their poison is legal, sanctioned, or not.

Tax it.  Regulate it.  Stand a far a better chance of keeping it out of the hands of children.

5) End the grip of the military industrial complexAmerica is actually wealthy as all get out.  We crap cash. We swim in the filthy lucre.  The largest industry in the world is the ability to manifest death.  We as country spend nearly half of every dollar spent on just that.  Talk about a nation dedicated to war.  Ten times the expenditure of our nearest competitor; that would be China, who by the way, has four or five times our population and they’re doing a hell of a lot better than us thank you very much.  They practically own us for fucks sake but they aren’t dancing in the streets because we’re barely worth shit anymore and they’re stuck with us.  We have become the turd in their punchbowl.

We’ve never really been a democracy, at best, we may have been able to define ourselves as a republic, I’ll settle for that.  I cannot bear that what we are and have been for some time is a plutocracy that insists on making nice with a backward ass “Christiantheocracy.  The reason the corporations adore the religious zealots so is because they are so pliable.  So easily manipulated into acting counter to their own interests.  I want to throw fossils at creationists like Lewis Black.  I can’t stand them.  On one hand, you know, whatever gets you through the night, on the other, you really must be fucking kidding me.

6) Suspend whatever broadcast license Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck et al. hold that enables them to perpetuate such profligate, heinous, insidious, inflammatory bullshit.  They’re welcome to their opinions, interpretations even, but abject lies on the public airwaves will henceforth not be tolerated.  Dan Rather got fired, so did Bill MaherHelen Thomas resigns in shame but these assholes still have access to American living rooms every goddamn day where they vomit the most toxic, vile effluvium with gleeful and wanton disingenuousness.  Fuck that shit.  Free speech is not a license to lie over and over and over again.

The answers are simple, the Devil is in the implementation.  All these things are interdependent of and on each other.  No single item can be completely efficacious without a congruent and concerted enactment of the others.  I understand this.  Yet what I’m proposing here is so gorgeously simple.  Such a clear path toward most of us being able to get on with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…….. I couldn’t resist sharing my grandiose little pipe dream with the rest of you.

Drinks for my friends.

20 Responses to “An American Primer”

  • Teck:

    HOMERUN!

    HE-Double L YEAH! “Walk away from Israel we have failed to effect change for the better…” Time to move on and focus on our country’s needs. Invest in our people and help us heal economically, physically, and emotionally. Unite our people…in the big scheme of things we all want the same things!

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing and hearing about saving energy and converting to alternative energy ( solar, wind, etc. ) since the 4th grade. For me that is at least 30+ years ago! As you said, “IT IS ALL THERE!” Quit talking about change and JUST DO IT! It’s never easy, and people will p*ss and moan every step of the way, but in the long run ALL will benefit from it.

    And, yes, “Addicts will be addicts whether their position is legal, sanctioned, or not.” True, so true…Regulate it!

    I follow your blog on a regular basis and appreciate your views. This one struck a chord with me.

    Thank you!

  • Michael Douglass:

    Thanks doll. Really appreciate that you read and participate:)

  • Torz Baron Copley:

    Michael… that was the best, the funniest and most fucking simple plan I think anyone has ever come up with…
    The most amazing piece of writing I have read in a very long time…

    You ROCK!!!

    Lets see if we can implement this incredibly, gorgeous and simple plan!

    Bravo…
    Torz x

  • Michael Douglass:

    Again, thank you very much!

  • REIYA:

    YES, TO ALL ABOVE, EXCEPT THAT OBAMA WERE TO DO ANY OF THE THAT HE WOULD BE ASSASINATED. OUR COUNTRY IS ACTUALLY BEING RUN MY MULTI NATIONAL CORPORATION. CHINEASE NATIONALS & CORPORATE CHINEASE WITH DUAL CITIZENSHIPS PRACTICALLY RUN THE HOOVER INSTITUTE AT STANDFORD. THERE IS NO US IN U.S., ANYMORE…, HOW DOES ONE SAY BLACK HOLE IN ESPANOL? MY NEW MANTRA IS UMMMBABYCUMCUM. I LICK, MISSED YAK PISS FROM THE TOILET SEAT, SO FORGIVE ME IF MY FEET STINK! I FIGURE I’LL GET JAILED OR ASSASINATED WITHIN THIS LIFE TIME, SO WHY NOT I; JUST LIVE IT UP; PUT THE FRIDGE ON DEFROST, AND CHILLOUT?

  • Q:

    Dude….you got my vote 🙂 I thoroughly agree from A to Z !!!

  • Holy Crap!!!!
    Well said/written! You knocked it right out of the park !
    Ever thought of running for office? You have my vote if you do.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Temy:

    I’m in general agreement with you about the solutions, and that they will never and can never happen. The reason for that is that the problems are rooted in the human genome and brain and, unless/until those are reprogrammed en masse, the problems cannot go away. I disagree that freedom of speech is not about repeatedly lying to the public, or on public airwaves, or screaming “fire” in a a theater. I say it is precisely that. I have zero sympathy for any imbeciles who may be trampled because someone yelled “fire” and they bolted without checking to see if there was on. I think it’s a good way to cleanse the gene pool a bit. The reasons that people like Bill Maher got fired, or that Helen went away, or even that the “nappy-headed hos” guy was fired is that the vast majority of the public is just plain stupid, and the power people know that and play it to full advantage.

  • Michael Douglass:

    I’d just as soon let nature deal with gene pool I’m not entirely sure of your point. Otherwise, my theory is the “1/4 paradigm”. I posit that 25% are incurably stupid in any circumstance. Any given context. Nixon resigned and had a 25% approval rating. When Dumbya left office it was about the same. Gotta saw one quarter off the top no matter what. The human condition.

  • gary:

    Gaining some momentum. I like it! Keep up the good work Michael.

  • matt:

    Some really good ideas but this country is so screwed up we would have to blow up everything to make this happen. Good luck I am on your side.

  • Celiene:

    The Prohibition has to end – TOTALLY AGREE! And so does MOST law enforcement – they know it will NEVER, EVER work. Checkout Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.). CAlifornia – if wer are SMART will pass the law in November that MARIJUANA will be legal. Oakland Pot Dispensaries WANTED, nay BEGGED to be taxed to help Oakland. Oaksterdam University in Oakland is thriving.

    And we must not forget INDUSTRIAL HEMP! Hemp can run cars, feed us, clothe us and just about do ANYTHING – and yet, it is STILL illeagal to grow the US. It could save farmers, create THOUSANDS of jobs! Go to ANY Whole Foods store (or the like) and you will find HUNDREDS of Hemp products on the shelves. And yet, we have to get our Hemp from Canada. WHY?

  • Michael Douglass:

    It’s riculous isn’t it?

  • Eidolon:

    Short time reader, first time commentator. Love your stuff, keep up the good work.

    For the most part I agree with you, but have a few general criticisms. First, I agree that we should change our course in foreign policy in the Middle East. Stop handing blank checks to Israel, nurture a diplomatic relationship with Turkey, remove ourselves from Iraq and withdraw from Afghanistan.
    But, I don’t think Iran should be allowed to “diddle” around and do whatever it wants if what it wants is a Nuclear Arsenal at its disposal. I’m not somebody who is completely against Nukes, I love that we have them, but I am somebody who is against anyone else having Nukes, especially an unstable nation led by a pack of irrefutable pricks like Iran. Political pressure, perhaps even military threats, must be applied to Iran’s leaders but we must also take caution not to appear to support revolutionary dissent amongst Iran’s general populace (We do. But, if we appear to, it will backfire. Tehran will claim all malcontents are American supporters and that America is attempting to take over the country. Tehran will use it’s state controlled media to try to sway public opinion in their favor.) while also separating Iran’s people from the idiots in charge (If we lump them all together, they may all band together. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be lumped in with W. and Darth Cheney simply because you come from the same country, would you?)
    Iran is a hell of a mess. What to do about the situation there deserves it’s own article and discussion forum, but it’s also a mess we have partly created. I’m not only talking about creating tensions in the region by our blind support by Israel, but, in knocking over Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein, we screwed up the math.
    Iraq was a natural check to Iran. They got along like Oil and Water. Cats and Dogs. Ike and Tina. Saddam was an evil, stupid bastard. But he was a useful evil, stupid bastard in a region chock-full of evil, stupid bastards. It’s no coincidence that Iran ramped up it’s nuke development once Iraq was toppled and America’s army was fighting two wars in which a stalemate was the closest thing to victory. We seem to think Israel is the only check to Iran we need. In discussions with my family, my father is a strident believe in Israel “taking Iran out” if it develops a nuclear weapon. It may. But it would also provoke a huge backlash in the region, perhaps prompting a new Israeli-Arab war. Not like a skirmish in the Gaza strip, but the Real Damn Deal, as it would be seen as an Arab vs. Israeli conflict, whereas Iraq-Iran would allow the other Arab nations to sit on the sideline, or hell, an Iraq-Israel vs. Iran conflict would really be a mind blowing event to watch.
    If only W. would’ve taken a more nuanced view of the Middle East, aside from his one glance at the map before deciding that “Saddam tried to kill my daddy,” was the only thing he needed to know.
    My second thought on your Middle East section is that you articulate more of a vision on Foreign Policy in general, as what we’ve done in the Middle East seems to be just a microcosm of our failed foreign policy at large. I believe we should, in general, stop Nation Building.
    We have had limited success when engaged in Nation Building, and it has really only worked in three instances: South Korea (with caveats) Japan (after we completely broke the will of the country) and Western Germany/Germany. So, nation building really hasn’t worked out that well for us since the turn of the century. Or the last fifty years. And when I say stop nation building, I’m not just talking about invading countries and toppling governments, but also training insurgencies, airlifting weapons and cutting blank checks.
    America needs to stop trying to police the world. I don’t mind sending humanitarian aid and participating in NATO and UN actions, but we can’t singlehandedly police the world. Hell, we can’t even police Wall Street or our own Mineral Management Service.
    I agree wholeheartedly with you on Alternative Energy. I too want more development and incentives for wind, solar and tidal energy. I’d love to see a Carbon Tax or some kind of pollution cap. Clean Energy and Green Tech are important to America’s health, and economical and technological security and stability.
    I also agree on finance reform and keeping America secularized. We were founded with the intent of being a secular democracy. On Churches, I agree that they should stay out of politics.
    Anecdotally, I have two ministers in my family. I love them and respect what they do, and I myself am not an atheist. But, watching my minister family members sign marriage licenses struck me as wrong, both in that I believe it is a separation of church and state and also in sullying a spiritual union with printed bureaucracy. I have been to other countries where two weddings are held, one in a church, and one before a judge. One for spiritual unions, and another for tax purposes. I’d love to have that here. Might even take religion out of the gay marriage debate if people couldn’t legally be joined in a church.
    Of course, Campaign Finance Reform, destroying the plutocracy and limiting corporation’s ability to influence politics might be the hardest thing to do on this list, especially with the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations have the same speech rights as individuals.
    Money protects money. Personally, I’ve always wondered if Democracy and Capitalism can coexist. If our electoral process remains for sale, perhaps they cannot.
    I believe Marijuana should be legalized in much the same way alcohol or cigarettes are legalized. Tax it. Educate people on it. Don’t make it a social taboo, but keep it away from developing brains and hormonal/endocrine systems. I feel that the harder drugs should still be illegal, but more support should be given to rehabilitate addicts. I don’t think they should be in jail with more hardcore criminals. The drug war is just a small part of a larger issue. We need to look at how we deal with imprisoning criminals and, even, how we view criminals as a society. A dealer is different from a mass-murderer.
    We need to cut military spending. Not only that, we need to change what the military spends money on when it does spend money. We don’t need another nuclear sub that can destroy the world by it’s lonesome. We don’t need to focus on fighting Russia, China and other developed countries with traditional militaries and nuclear arsenals of their own. That is why we have our nukes, as a deterrent to theirs. No more Star Wars projects or expensive pet military projects. We need to spend with an eye on the wars like those we’ve fought over the past fifty years, which are conflicts against non-traditional, mobile and highly evasive foes. That means more recruiting, more mobility, more drones. New thinking.
    Fox News does suck. But they are protected by Freedom of Speech, meaning they can say whatever they want, I’m sure they’d answer with a shit-eating grin. Sure, Freedom of Speech allows you to say whatever you want, but, they are more than just someone speaking. They are – and I used this term in the loosest possible manner – “newscaster.” “Reporters.” “Journalists.” “The Press.”
    The Press has a sacred civic duty to the people. A free, fair and knowledgeable press is fundamental to the health and existence of a democracy. The press has in some ways abdicated their responsibility, but more and more, they are less about reporting and more about making money, usually through sensationalist journalism or presenting biased, partisan rhetoric that engages the emotions more than the mind.
    News didn’t used to be like this. I come from a Newspaper family, full of writers, editors and clerks. They lament the lose of the prestige of “News” and point to one event that set it all rolling down hill.
    The 1987 abolition of the Fairness Doctrine. Prior to From 1949 to 1987, broadcasters were held accountable by the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine, which required the holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, reasonable, fair and balanced.
    Simply, it held broadcaster to a higher standing, keeping the sensational, one-sided partisan bullshit of the today at bay.
    If this were to be reincorporated, it would hurt Fox News, destroy their format, put their broadcasting license at risk and generally change the culture of News and Media Organizations in America. And the culture needs to be changed. The First Amendment is not a promise to allow people to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of the health and safety of their fellow neighbors.

    Sorry if this ran a bit long, knock one back for me, my liver’s shot.

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