Obama's Open Forum Opens Possibilities

By David Swanson

Candidate Obama asked for our opinions through a website. Our top demand was that he keep his promise to vote against immunity for telecoms that spied illegally. He ignored us, promised to do better as president, and hasn’t.

President-Elect Obama asked for our opinions through his transition website. Our top question was whether he would appoint a special prosecutor for Bush, Cheney, and gang. He refused to answer the question until asked by the corporate media, and then talked about “looking forward”.

Now President Obama is asking for our opinions on a website. This is a good thing but should be gone into with some caveats. First, Obama has always ignored us before, and ignoring people who obediently type on your website as supporters of whatever you do first and citizens with their own opinions second is easier than ignoring just about anything else. Here are other actions you can take following the 30 seconds needed for this one: http://prosecutebushcheney.org

Second, we have representatives and senators whom we are supposed to lobby and whom we are much more likely to lobby successfully, and they are supposed to run the country, not the executive. Third, majority opinion and the clear mandates of our nation’s laws ought to carry more weight than the opinions of a self-selected group of presidential advisors (I mean other than Congress which has devolved into more or less just that).

But what if a flood of American citizens were to give the president the kind of advice that is most useful rather than the kind that is most enjoyable to hear? What if we were to ask President Obama to (allow the attorney general to) prosecute his predecessors and (encourage Congress to) remove the unconstitutional powers they claimed from the presidency? Might someone hear our voices, repeat our questions on camera, begin thinking about our point of view, or ask about our issues before confirming a new Supreme Court Justice?

It’s certainly possible. Here’s a direct link to a proposal I’ve just posted on the president’s new website. Please go there and vote the proposal up. The text of the proposal is below:

http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/3161-4049

End Imperial Presidency

Leave the White House less imperial than you found it. Prosecute Bush, Cheney, and their top officials in order to deter in the future the crimes of aggressive war, misleading congress, defrauding congress, misspending funds, war crimes, murder, warrantless spying, torture, domestic propaganda, violations of the Hatch Act and the Voting Rights Act, obstruction of justice, misprision of felony, retaliating against whistleblowers, etc. Restore to Congress the power to legislate, the power to begin and end wars, the power to raise and spend money, the power to approve or reject treaties and appointments, and the power to oversee the functioning of the federal government including through the power of impeachment and the power of inherent contempt. That means no more signing statements rewriting laws, and instead support for legislation that would criminalize such behavior. And it means similar action on each of the other offenses.

We, the people, must:

Demand that Congress ban the use of funds for any activities created in violation of the law by presidential signing statements.

Amend the Constitution to clearly ban the use of presidential pardons to pardon crimes authorized by the president.

Amend the War Powers Act and the Constition to include the requirement that Congressional authorizations of war include time limits of no more than 12 months, after which Congress must vote again to extend the war or end it, to disallow the unconstitutional initiation of wars without Congressional approval, and to make the law enforceable.

Make war profiteering by any war maker a major felony. This would apply to any employee of the federal government or anyone who had within the past decade been an employee of the federal government.

Legislate a requirement that, in any war, the military aged children and grandchildren of the president, the vice president, all cabinet officials, and all Congress members serve on the front lines in the most dangerous combat positions — no exceptions, no exemptions.

Prohibit the use of mercenaries or any armed contractors, as well as the use of any military force on American soil except when directly engaged in defensive war against a foreign nation.

Repeal the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the Protect America Act, the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the PATRIOT Act.

Ban secret budgets, secret laws, and secret agencies.

Change the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster.

Amend the Constitution to eliminate the Senate.

End all rendition, as distinct from extradition.

Amend the Constitution to make the ban on ex-post-facto laws include any laws that would retroactively grant immunity for crimes.

Amend the Constitution to bar the vice president from exercising executive power.

Amend the Constitution to clarify the congressional power of inherent contempt.

Amend the Constitution to include the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted publicly at the polling place.

Give Washington, D.C., full voting representation in Congress.

Amend the Constitution to ban private financing of campaigns, create public financing, and provide free air time to candidates.

Sign and ratify the Rome treaty to join the International Criminal Court.

Vote for this proposal and suggest modifications here:
http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/3161-4049

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