Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Now that a Democrat has been elected president, the Democrats in Congress have no excuse. They can no longer pretend that they have to “hold back” to win the election.
They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges against Bush, Cheney and company for Iraq.
They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges for torture.
They have no excuse to delay criminal charges for spying on Americans.
They have no excuse to delay criminal charges for 9/11.
Now is not the time for Democratic machine politics. Now is the time to implement true American values – cherished across the political aisle – of liberty and justice.
There can be no liberty in America unless the tyrants who have tried to imprison us and enslave us are prosecuted.
There can be no justice in America unless the high and mighty are held accountable for their actions.
Obama is a former Constitutional law professor. He knows the value of the Constitution and the rule of law. He promised during his campaign to curb the unconstitutional practices of the executive branch.
But that is not enough. Because if the tyrants in both parties who have trampled on the vision of the founding fathers are not held accountable, then future tyrants will learn that they can get away with it, also.
Now that Obama has won, there is no excuse. Those who have trampled on our country and our people must be held to account for the whole world and future generations to see.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Few Presidents-elect face challenges equal to those that await Barack Obama, who will now preside over a nation best described as ‘GOP occupied territory’. Bush presumed to rule as ‘imperator’, by decree, far beyond the President’s ‘job description’ as it was written by our founders. Bush borrowed from Nixon phrases like ‘executive privilege’ to rationalize abuses of power and rule by decree. Bush assigned to John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales the tasks of making legal –after the fact –the seemingly innumerable crimes he had committed against the US Constitution and the sovereign people of the US, in other words, all the crimes American colonists had charged to George III.
“He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.” –Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, July 4, 1776.
By ‘rule of law’ I mean the very source of our sovereignty: the US Constitution, called a ‘goddamned piece of paper’ by Bush. I mean the laws and, as well, the veneration accorded them by the citizens of these United States. I use the phrase the ‘rule of law’ to mean the culture from which our Bill of Rights derived and is sustained. I cite these principles because they are and should be inseparable from our national identity, because they are what it means to be ‘American’. It now falls to Barack Obama to restore America’s reputation all over the world and to undo at home the harm that has been done our republic, our culture, and our national identity. It falls to Barack Obama to make right the wrongs, to steer the ship of state. At this link Bush administration vs. the US Constitution, you will find an extensively documented survey of Bush’s seemingly innumerable assaults upon the rule of law in America.
No one can restore the ‘rule of law’ without addressing first the source of its demise. In America, the ‘rule of law’ fell to an ‘authoritarian’, top-down mentality which seeks out and exploits its complementary mindset –the throng of submissive GOP followers. It is a dysfunctional, destructive mindset which, if allowed to fester, will eventually dry rot the foundations of our republic.
Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans’ limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity – nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however – and generally oppose the government’s doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves. In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans’ controlling government for too many years. No Republican – nor anyone else, for that matter – has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.–John Dean, The Evidence Establishes, without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous, FindlawSource: http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2008/11/obama-must-restore-rule-of-law.html*********************************************************
Millions of people in America and billions around the world are greeting the sweeping Republican defeat with a sense of relief and even exhilaration. However, their interpretation of the Obama victory is very different from that of the Democratic Party leadership, including Obama himself, and the ruling class constituency that backed the Illinois senator.
The US media will doubtless say that the Democratic victory is not a mandate for a radical change of course. Already, even before the votes were counted and Obama’s victory was officially acknowledged, leading Democrats were putting forward precisely this position. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who threw his support to Obama during the Democratic primary contest, cautioned Tuesday night that the Democrats should “be modest” and “seek alliances.” Georgia Congressman John Lewis echoed these remarks, saying the Democrats had to “go slowly” and pursue a “bipartisan” course.
In fact, Tuesday’s election was a clear popular mandate for a reversal of right-wing policies that have largely been of a bipartisan character.
Whatever satisfaction the Democratic Party draws from its victory is tempered by the realization within President-elect Obama’s inner circle, the party leadership and the political establishment that the mass expectations and hopes aroused by the election will not be easily contained. The outcome of the election sets the stage for a new and protracted period of intense class conflict in the United States.
The WSWS editorial board
Read the entire article: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/nov2008/pers-n05.shtml
November 5, 2008
A Mandate to End the War
Not a mandate for more wars
by Justin Raimondo antiwar.com
Let’s be clear about the nature and meaning of the mandate we’re going to be hearing so much about: President-elect Barack Obama has a clear mandate to end the Iraq war as expeditiously as possible. His campaign was energized by and differentiated from Hillary Clinton’s by his emphasis on correcting that horrific mistake. Hillary equivocated, refused to recant her vote for war, and coyly suggested that we might withdraw only as far as Kurdistan. Obama, on the other hand, pledged to get us out in a year, albeit adding weasel words about “residual” forces guarding our bigger-than-the-Vatican ambassadorial compound. He gained his initial momentum by grabbing on to this issue and holding on for dear life, as the Clintons self-destructed and the economy did, too. Obama arrived at this moment not only on the strength of his pledge to end the present war, but also the implicit promise to refrain from involving us in any further hostilities.
The defeat of the GOP was easily predicted: I’ve been doing it for years, here, for example, and here. This election was a referendum on John McCain’s brand of enthusiastic interventionism and his volcanically warlike temperament,and it was a stunning repudiation of both. Iraq, Iran, the wilds of the Caucasus – what was distinctive about the McCainiac foreign policy was the wide range of his potential targets. Al-Qaeda often seemed to take second or even third place on his enemies list, with the Iranians and the Russians taking first and second respectively.
Here was a campaign run by the hardest of the hardcore neocons, and the weight of this bone-crushing defeat will settle heavily on their shoulders. Saddled with the neocons’ war and the central theme of the McCain campaign – “victory” in Iraq and intervention around the world – Republicans all across the nation have been dragged down to defeat: the neocons have proven a heavier albatross than the party can bear. What we may be witnessing is the end of the GOP as an effective political force, at least on a national level.
We know what the American people voted against: they voted to end not only this war but the grim prospect of perpetual war, the “generational” conflict that served as a cover for the politics of fear and an unprecedented assault on our constitutional rights. They voted to punish the hubris of that top White House official who told journalist Ron Suskind:
“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'”
It’s possible to evade reality, to believe it is self-created, and to persist in this delusion for quite some time. In the end, however, reality has a nasty habit of catching up with us. The day of reckoning for “history’s actors” has arrived, and not a moment too soon. The nation breathes a sigh of relief, as a long-festering carbuncle is sloughed off and falls away.
The scar it leaves, however, will long remain. Certainly it will disfigure the face of the GOP for decades to come. Ron Paul warned them, and they didn’t listen. Now they are paying for their arrogance, and in spades.
Paul, the leader of the party’s anti-interventionist wing, predicted that the burden of empire would cause the economy to fail – and, with it, the GOP’s electoral prospects. His reward was to be refused entry to the national convention, where they didn’t even do him the courtesy of counting his votes. The party rejected a million enthusiastic Republican and independent voters, and did their best to shrink rather than grow their pool of voter support. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
This election will make many of our supporters and contributors very happy. At last, the War Party, which they see as synonymous with the Republican Party, has been driven out of the White House, and peace is about to break out all over. A word to the wise: don’t bet on it. The War Party, as I’ve explained often and at length, is hardly limited to the GOP. Its Democratic proxies are influential and often have a decisive influence; witness the legions of Democrats who voted “aye” on the Iraq war resolution.
As I pointed out yesterday, the War Party has already launched its campaign to capture the Obama administration – and, given his pledge to escalate the Afghan war, they haven’t got far to go. Now is the time when the antiwar movement must rely on its own institutions and exert maximum leverage. We must put pressure on the administration to keep its promise to get us out of Iraq – and guard against a possible confrontation with Iran.
Joe Biden predicted Obama would soon be “tested” in the foreign policy realm, and when the time comes, one has to wonder: will he take the opportunity to prove his “toughness” and overreact, or will he fulfill the promise of his campaign – the promise of a meaningful change in our foreign policy of relentless aggression?
Obama has promised to talk to our alleged enemies, but one has to question whether this will merely amount to an elaborate series of ultimatums delivered to Tehran’s doorstep or left at the gates of the Kremlin. If so, these extended “negotiations” are likely to culminate in conflict, giving us more of a pretext to lure our European “partners” into going along with the program.
From the perspective of the antiwar activist, there are many dangers that lurk just around the corner, and the most insidious and least obvious is the consolidation of economic power in the state. This centralization will make it easier for the federal government to mobilize all the resources of the country for military purposes: indeed, the economic crisis will give the government cover to further consolidate and rationalize its growing power and increase its ability to punish “anti-government” critics. From what we have seen so far, the Obama administration is almost certain to abuse its power in this way.
Another danger that looms large on the horizon of Obama World is the prospect of a lovesick media corps, one so enamored of their Messiah-in-the-White-House that, while failing to examine his policies overseas, they swallow his explanations too readily. It is all too easy to imagine our besotted press corps capitulating to a new era of political correctness in Washington, where all criticism of the Dear Leader is deemed “reactionary” and implicitly racist. When the Obama administration assures us Iran is building “weapons of mass destruction,” how many in the mainstream media will be inclined to question them? I’m very much afraid of the answer to that question.
The Obama campaign was supposedly born as a grassroots movement, an online phenomenon that went viral and created a new majority. This myth is belied, of course, by the huge amount of corporate dollars that went into the campaign. McCain was outspent by an incredible margin. The Money Power is heavily invested in Obama, and they fully expect their generosity to be repaid – with interest.
In the international arena, this means the protection of corporate interests abroad, with the U.S. military being used as a private police force to protect American business interests – you know, the sort of enterprises that are “too big to fail” and have to be succored by the U.S. Treasury. Obama, like McCain, signed onto the Wall Street bailout, and he’ll be just as willing to send in the Marines to secure their interests abroad.
The more years I accumulate observing American policymakers in action, the more I’m struck by the essential continuity of U.S. foreign policy. Since the end of World War II, our course has been set: straight for the same mausoleum that houses the remains of the British, the Soviet, the Roman, and all other would-be global empires of the past. It will take more than mere “change” to turn this around. It will take a Herculean effort, one that is now possible – but only if we remain vigilant, and relentless in our exertions.
~ Justin Raimondo
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
ROME DIARY: July 2, 2008-07-02
From Gaither Stewart
Umberto Eco, Italy’s world famous novelist (The Name of the Rose), essayist and sociologist, Doctor Honoris at dozens of world universities and winner of dozens of major literary prizes, addressed the letter below to the promoters of a July 8 manifestation on Rome’s Piazza Navona against the Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi. The letter was published on July 2 in Italy’s major newspaper, La Repubblica.
Less one fail to take seriously the reports coming out of Italy regarding the status of its democracy since the election last April of today’s neo-Fascist dominated government, I am pleased to add this testimony from one of the nation’s most authoritative voices.
Umberto Eco: “The minority has the duty is to protest.”
While expressing my solidarity with your manifesation, I would hope that it will serve to recall two points which one is often tempted to forget:
1. Democracy does not mean that the majority is right. It means that the majority has the right to govern.
2. Democracy does not mean that the minority is wrong. It means that while it respects the government of the majority, it expreses itself each time it believes the majority is wrong or believes that it (the majority) is performing acts against the laws, against morality and the very principles of democracy, and it must do this always and with the utmost energy because this is the mandate it (the minority) has received from citizens. When the majority claims it is always right and the minority does not dare to react, democracy is in danger.
July 2, 2008
Based in Rome, Gaither Stewart, well known for his dispatches and essays from Europe, is Cyrano’s Journal’s Senior Editor & Special European Correspondent. Gaither is currently focused on the troubling re-emergence of fascist parties and movements in the old continent.