By William Hughes | LA Indymedia
“We have in our power to begin the world over again.” – Tom Paine, author of “Common Sense.”
For me, the essence of author/activist David Swanson’s insightful tome: “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union,” is this: On June 16, 2005, I was at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., to cover a hearing on the infamous “Downing Street Memos.” This document, crafted by the Brits, revealed that the Bush-Cheney Gang, colluded with Dubya’s poodle, Tony Blair, the then British P.M. It showed that they were predisposed to go to war with Iraq–no matter what. To that immoral end, the scoundrels schemed to fix the “intelligence and facts…around the policy.” In other words, the b……s lied and thousands of innocents died, U.S. troops and Iraq civilians alike; and the U.S. taxpayers are now out $3.5 trillion and counting. (1)
That hearing, initiated by Swanson, along with a coalition of activists, was held in a basement room of the Capitol–more like a large closet. (2) The Bush-Cheney Gang wouldn’t allow the use a regular meeting room on the Hill. The House of Representatives’ “Out of Iraq Caucus,” led by Representatives John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Bob Filner, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Dennis Kucinich, James McGovern, Jim Moran and Lynn Woolsey, sponsored the “unofficial” event. The phonies in the Establishment media either totally ignored, marginalized or mocked it. This, sadly, was their M.O. during most of the reign of the Bush-Cheney Gang.
Most telling, however, was who testified at that historic hearing. They were individuals whose names are repeatedly mentioned in “Daybreak,” for trying to get the truth out about the Iraq War and the related evil doings of the Bush-Cheney Gang. I’m referring to: Cindy Sheehan, the “Peace Mom;” Ray McGovern, the gutsy, ex-CIA analyst and WMD expert; and, ex-U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson. His wife, Valerie Plame, was “outed” as a CIA agent by V.P. Dick Cheney’s stooge, Irv “Scooter” Libby.
“Scooter” Libby was later caught lying to the FBI about his sneaky role in that rotten caper. He was convicted by a Federal jury, in Washington, D.C. of perjury. Swanson argues that there was evidence in the Special Prosecutor’s investigation “directly” implicating Bush and Dubya in LIbby’s follies. Dubya later commuted Libby’s sentence, but even he, a master lawbreaker and usurper of the U.S. Constitution, refused to pardon the bum. Go figure! (4)
Swanson details how Dubya enlarged the powers of presidency way beyond the original intent of “The Founders.” He rightly labels it a “power grab.” Swanson cites 161 signing statements, along with Dubya’s implicit claim, as Swanson interprets it, that he possessed “the right to violate laws…about 750” of them. One glaring example of this insidious practice is how Dubya insisted that he didn’t have to “report back to Congress on the use of the [USA] Patriot Act authority to secretly search and seize” supposed evidence to be used against citizens to make out a case against them under that draconian law. By this action, Dubya was signing “away provisions that he himself had negotiated with Congress to include [in the Bill] in order to win passage of the legislation.” This is the same measure that a mostly cowardly Congress, led by Sen. “Turncoat Joe” Lieberman, passed in the middle of the night with little or no public discussion.
Congress, Swanson emphasizes, unconstitutionally delegated to Dubya, in October, 2002, the right “to use force” against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. By doing so, the author claims both Dubya and the Congress violated the “Constitution and the War Powers Act.” The war-making power rests under Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 11, with the Congress alone. What Congress did, in this situation, is like a judge delegating his judicial power to his office secretary and/or law clerk. It was patently wrong and remains a stain on the Republic.
Swanson spends a considerable amount of time in his book on “congressional spinelessness.” He calls it the “congressional collapse.” One important area where many of the lawmakers failed their Constitutional duty was in the realm of Impeachment. Swanson shows that a prima facie case for Impeachment could have easily be made against both Dubya and V. P. Dick Cheney. The latter, more so than the president, because his arrogant utterances, and bald face deceptions, opened him up to more public scrutiny. (4)
With respect to the battle for Impeachment, Swanson spotlights the laudable efforts of House member, Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH). He writes: “In April, 2007, [he] introduced three articles of impeachment against the vice president. The resolution became H. Res. 333, and Kucinich reintroduced it on November 6, 2007, as H. Res. 799, in order to force a vote on the floor of the House. Twenty-seven Congress members cosponsored. The full House voted to send the resolution to the [Judiciary] committee, but that was understood as a way to kill it…In June, 2008, Kucinich introduced thirty-five articles of Impeachment against Bush.” They eventually suffered the same dismal fate as the Cheney’s articles.
Moving on, it will just break your heart to read how the Congress could have ended the blood bath in Iraq. As Swanson underscores–and this was in 2007 when the Democrats held a majority in the House–all they had to do was simply to “stop passing bills to fund it.” I think there is going to be a “Special Place” in Hell for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her cronies for their shameful part in not doing what they had promised the American people, prior to the 2006 elections. They clearly implied they were going to end the war if they won that election. It became clear fast, however, that wasn’t going to be the case.
Swanson outlines a host of endemic evils that our country has absorbed over the years, such as: the ultra-expensive role of Global Cop; the enlargement of the Military-Industrial Complex way beyond anything that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ever feared; the threat to Civil Liberties by having a president with near “dictatorial powers;” along with the baleful interests of the parasites on Wall Street, as reflected in the bailout of the Banksters. Swanson describes that repulsive scheme as “Welfare for the Wealthy, [Henry] Paulson’s Plunder and related giveaways and loans $8.400 billions (that’s $8.4 trillion.”) (5)
How are the people, those that truly love our Republic, ever going to undo this current sorry mess–this “Imperial Presidency”–and re-create a “More Perfect Union?” Swanson lays out a blueprint for that task. It is, indeed, going to be a very daunting one, but the alternative is to end up languishing in a Police State! Truly, the latter is just too horrible to even contemplate. I also believe that with the national economy in a deepening recession, more people are now beginning to listen to voices other than those coming from the Looney Right.
Finally, Swanson writes with urgency. This is particularly justified since President Barack Obama, who pledged “change,” acts, (double gasp), like he is serving out Dubya’s third term in office! The bottom line is this: Democracy isn’t a spectator’s sport. People have to get off their collective butts…and take action. Let Swanson’s call for the full utilization of “Citizen Power,” echo throughout the land. The people need to take their country back before it is too late. Wake-up, America! (6)
1. http://projects.publicintegrity.org/WarCard/Default.aspx?src=project_hom… and http://antiwar.com/casualties/ and http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174902 and
2. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/about and
5. http://world.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/57927 and
6. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/13664/index.php and http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16855/index.php and http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16292/index.php
©2009,William Hughes. All Rights Reserved.
Editor’s Note: William Hughes’ videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2. His latest book, “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party,” is available on Amazon. Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.