Ten Ideas That Could Transform the USA

1…   Immediately close all US military bases on foreign soil.  Author Chalmers Johnson reports that there are 737 US bases in 130 foreign countries.

2…   Immediately discontinue the manufacture, export, and use of drones.  Cut the military budget by 99%. Cut the State Department budget by 90%.  Eliminate the Black Budget which was authorized by the 1947 National Security Act of President Truman.  Even if all uniformed members of the military were brought home, the killing would not end. It is clear that  the State Department, CIA, and private contractors are more dangerous than the military. The uniformed military is only the tip of the iceberg. The real danger is with US forces that operate in secret.

3…   Encourage the dissemination of information from whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.  Any possibility of a democratic nation died with the adoption of the Black Budget which prevented citizens from having access to information; therefore, no informed vote has been cast in the USA since 1947. If you can’t follow the money, you don’t know what your government is doing. More whisleblowers are needed so that voters will have the information necessary to cast informed ballots.

4…   Place a 100% tax on all income above $88,000 – all income, earned and unearned.

5…   Aim to close all nuclear power plants.  Encourage green power - solar power – water power – wind power.   A ridgeline with windmills is preferable to a ridgeline that has been contaminated.

6…   Support small, local, organic family farms.  End all subsidies to large industrial farms.

7…   End all secret boards.  This can be accomplished by withholding public funds from organizations that use secret boards for decision-making purposes.

Hospital ‘Ethics’ Boards meet in secret and make life and death decisions.  Any decision to ‘pull the plug’ should be made in the open. Patient confidentiality would not be violated if the identity of the patient was not disclosed.

Library boards sometimes meet behind closed doors and censor political books that could be considered ‘unpatriotic’.  (Yes, it is now happening in the USA.)

When fascism came, it was not at the point of a gun, it was not brought by government troops, it was not even imposed by the Corporate CEO or the Hedge Fund manager.  Fascism quietly came in the guise of a misinformed teacher, a celebrity celebrating assassination, and a bespectacled librarian banning books.

8…   The problems with the legal system could fill volumes but there are some simple improvements that could be made.

Limit the use of expert witnesses.  With enough money testimony can be designed to fit any goal desired – no matter how unjust. Juries should always be told when testimony is purchased.  Now is the perfect time to examine the way juries work.   Secret deliberations foster unjust verdicts.  The deliberations should be open -  the identities of the jurors could be withheld till after the verdict is rendered.   Group deliberations are a problem.   Anytime more than one person is in a room, one person will be dominant.   A pecking order contaminates the process and can prevent a fair verdict.  Is unanimity really a sacred concept – or should there be room for dissenting views within a jury?    Even the Supreme Court allows for dissenting opinion.

End the death penalty. The State should never have the power to kill its citizens or anyone else. In addition, the death penalty can be a deterrent to justice.  The first juror to speak publicly after the Casey Anthony trial stated that it was the death penalty that affected her verdict vote.

9…   Adopt a national policy which assures food, shelter, and medical/dental care for all – with no regard to race, creed, citizenship, economic status, place of birth, or any other dehumanizing judgment.

10…  Send a formal apology with an offer of reparations to all individual victims of unjust US imprisonment and torture.  Also to all countries that have been victims of USA foreign policy. Start with the former inhabitants of Diego Garcia. The Chagossians were forcibly removed so that the island could be transformed into a military base for the US. It can be debated that the forced expulsion of the native population is evidence of genocide by the USA.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Read other articles by Rosemarie.