READER COMMENTS ON
"Can We Keep the Republic?"
(21 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 9:17 am PT...
Has Obama done anything to repair any of the damage? If so, I must have slept through it.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 9/1/2009 @ 10:56 am PT...
The "damage" can never be repaired if Obama only looks forward; never back. Indeed, the failure to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for their crimes against democracy and humanity, simply creates an impunity that will encourage a future effort to end constitutional democracy and the rule of law as we know it.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 12:24 pm PT...
I was just going to say the same thing. Where has Obama done anything to repair the damage done by the Bush/Cheney mafia? Does he even care? I wish one of the
stenographers White House press corps would bring up the issue?
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 1:01 pm PT...
The job of the President is to move the country forward. It is the job of the Department of Justice to redress past grievances. The ball is in Holder's court to start the repair of the damage.
“As attorney general, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law,” Mr. Holder said in a statement. “Given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”
Dickless Cheney and Twitchy Bush, The Hague '10
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 1:53 pm PT...
Earnest @#2: A Constitutional Democracy is the opposite of the founding.
The seventeenth Amendment that empowers your socialistic point of view should be called out for the ink stain that it is.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 2:15 pm PT...
ghostof911, I see us moving forward in the same direction as B/C, not the direction we should be moving in. Also, whatever Holder ends up doing, I'll bet you it won't be nearly enough, if anything, to hold the previous occupiers accountable. Same ol, same ol.....
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 2:28 pm PT...
AS much as I admire a lot of David's work and his tireless efforts, I think a lot of his focus is misplaced. The Congress? What have they done since we got the Dems the majority they said they needed to get anything done? And backing Obama in the elections? He should have known better as a progressive.
The point is is that the system is almost hopelessly corrupt and the populace too pathetically ignorant, and I'm not sure anything short of a revolution is going to fix things.
The first step would be in my opinion, to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, and reverse the trend of media cosolidation.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 2:33 pm PT...
AJ - David has been holding Congressional (and Obama) feet to the fire. Big time. His book details how to do exactly that.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 3:11 pm PT...
"But how does that [public pressure] work with a corrupt and spineless Congress?" the reviewer asks.
Author Swanson has formally endorsed a "Plan B" for when Congress fails us (which is most of the time now): NATIONAL ballot initiatives, which empower us to share legislative power with Congress. See http://Vote.org/endorsers to see other real leaders who support Sen. Mike Gravel's National Initiative for Democracy
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 3:21 pm PT...
Brad, he may be putting pressure on them, but my question is what has been accomplished? We're still on the same dangerous road we've been on since Bush's coup'de'tat. Is it because the Dems are still spineless wimps even with their majority, or are they nearly as corrupt as the ass holes they replaced?
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 9/1/2009 @ 3:57 pm PT...
Two points in response to Tunga, comment #5.
First, while I always endeavor to be earnest, there is no "a" in the name, Ernest.
Second, as someone who holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science, I can't help but chuckle whenever I see the less informed argument, usually advanced by Republicans, that the United States is a Republic and not a Constitutional Democracy.
"The word'republic' is derived from the Latin phrase res publica which can be translated as "public affairs"….In the United States Founding Fathers like James Madison defined republic in terms of representative democracy as opposed to only having direct democracy.
" Res publica usually refers to a thing that is not considered to be private property …but which is rather held in common by many people."
"'Representative democracy' is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to either autocracy or direct democracy."
The anti-democratic project of the Republican party, aided in no small measure by corporate Democrats, to privatize public functions is destructive of res publica, lends itself to autocracy and the creation of a permanent privileged class, which is an anathema to the representative form of democracy Madison envisioned for our constitutional republic.
Madison's vision of a constitutional democracy finds its embodiment in the First Amendment and Madison's observation that:
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.
As envisioned not only by Madison but the U.S. Constitution, the American "republic" was intended to be a "representative democracy" whose constitution, per the preamble, was adopted to "promote the general welfare."
So when I refer to "Constitutional democracy," Tunga, I am referring to the form of government that James Madison and which finds its embodiment in the Constitution, an evolving document, whose amendments and history --- post civil war equal protection; early 20th Century universal suffrage, direct election of U.S. Senators --- have all moved toward the egalitarian principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and away from property-based and class-based discrimination.
I might add, Tunga, that the Preamble of the U.S. constitution begins with "We the People," not "We the Corporations." What you see as my "socialistic point of view" is in accord with the views of Abraham Lincoln, who said in 1861:
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much higher consideration.
I would venture that it is the destruction of res publica by an increasingly authoritarian hard right, and not my "socialist point of views" which is foreign to the Constitutional democracy envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 5:03 pm PT...
AJ @ 10 said:
Brad, he may be putting pressure on them, but my question is what has been accomplished? We're still on the same dangerous road we've been on since Bush's coup'de'tat.
I completely disagree. The road may be nearly as bad for the moment, and paved with the broken shards of the last eight years, but --- to mix metaphors --- it takes time to turn the Titanic around.
I believe it *is* being turned around, though *entirely* too slowly, and dangerously so (such that it could turn back around and back out to sea again at any moment).
Is it because the Dems are still spineless wimps even with their majority, or are they nearly as corrupt as the ass holes they replaced?
I'd say we've got both of those, though far more (in my opinion) of the former type. Wimps, terrified and otherwise in the pocket of the corporations they're now forced to count on if they want to ever be re-elected. Gotta get the corporate money the hell out of the system, and then we'd be able to decide whose the wimp and whose simply corrupt.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 6:15 pm PT...
right-wingnuts heads everywhere are exploding, I cannot wait to see the criminal fallout from this expose'!
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 8:33 pm PT...
beck is done for, over 50 advertisers boycotting his program...faus spews losing big bucks over this and now reports glenn's about to be given his walking papers....priceless!
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 10:06 pm PT...
I love when the misguided libertarian types try to use the Federalist Papers as some kind of ?!?PROOF?!? that Madison intended for the federal government to stay out of all affairs that weren't specifically enumerated in the Constitution. My readings of the Federalist papers have shown me quite a different perspective, that the founders of our country believed deeply in GOOD GOVERNMENT, and in particular in the strength of the legislative body.
Without romanticizing the late 18th-century, awash as it was in the inhumanity of slavery and other forms of white male landed oppression, the establishment of our Constitutional Democracy was for the benefit of We the People, which at the time most certainly did not include the contemporary corporate structures. Our current problem is precisely the "if they can keep it" that Franklin had in mind, as he and the rest knew the capacity of the wealthy classes to exponentially increase their power within in a system such as ours, which is prone to the oldest of all human vices - corruption - as are all governmental systems. Our folly, as Franklin saw it (the man had unique foresight) was that America would fall prey to self-aggrandizing narcisissm and "take our eyes off the ball" as a citizenry. Which we have indeed done, incrementally, since the late 1800's when corporate entities were (erroneously) given 14th Amendment rights of personhood.
So now we find ourselves in the pickle that we actually don't have the GOOD government that the founders intended, and a whole class of political thought has developed around the notion that government can never be good unless relegated to a few very specific tasks, such as national defense (ironically, our government is actually terrible at national defense - they are very good at unnecessary offense, corruption, waste and fraud - but I have yet to see a case in which our use of military force was entirely justified and honest in this regard), and creating a climate for the creation of wealth. These Ayn Randian theories of government and their proponents live in some parallel political universe which has NO BEARING on the intent of the brilliant minds who deliberated and penned our founding documents.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 9/1/2009 @ 10:17 pm PT...
Without trying to promote or inflate myself, take a look at the last few posts of the conversation between "Ken" and me at this link (Ernest, I wanted to forward this to you directly, but you have no contact at your name). Ken tries desperately to justify libertarian selfishness using the Federalist Papers to derive the original intent of James Madison, but he has the whole idea completely backwards, and when called on the carpet for his specious interpretations, he falls back on nothing more than "you're doing violence to me when you take my money for social purposes." Which is what really needs to be exposed - these people don't want to live in America. They want to live on their own little islands. Well tough titty for you, fishface! America was the first nation on the face of the planet where it was decided that We the People come first. Love it or Leave it.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 9/2/2009 @ 11:33 am PT...
Obama has done a few things: Promised to close Gitmo, released the OLC memos, withdrawn whatever authorization there was for torture. His position on "national security secrecy" is terrible and his saying in the same breath "no one is above the law but I want to look forward" qualifies for the non sequitur award of the year. So describing him as not having done "nearly enough" to reverse the damage of B/C seems to me a fair characterization. Holder's position on (non)prosecution of our war criminals is also unacceptable, but at least he's looking sideways.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 9/2/2009 @ 3:06 pm PT...
Soul Rebel: On this youtube video you can hear a wing-nut shouting: "It's a republic. It's not a democracy!"
As reflected by my comment #11, the wing-nuts don't have the foggiest notion what they're talking about. They simply parrot this spoon-fed talking point without the slightest understanding that "republic" as used by the framers of the Constitution during the founding of the republic commonly known as the United States of America, in which "republic" was used as synonymous with "representative democracy" and in which the framers were well aware of the potential for despotism flowing from unchecked executive power.
Peter Weiss: Holder's effort to limit prosecutions is not "looking sideways." It's merely a replay of Rumsfeld going after a "few bad apples" in the wake of the Abu Ghraib --- throwing a few low level grunts under the bus so as to shield those at the top who ordered the torture, including Rumsfeld.
Holder knows full well that Bush/Cheney, in authorizing water boarding (in Cheney's case he not only admits it, but brags about it) made them accomplices to torture. He therefore knows they are guilty of criminal violations of U.S. treaties and the War Crimes Act, yet he limits prosecution to a few low level CIA grunts and perhaps independent contractors when, in truth, the real culprits at the top and the attorneys at DOJ who issued the torture memos should be brought before the bar of justice.
Obama's and Holder's actions amount to an abandonment of their solemn oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and that abandonment, itself, may be an impeachable offense.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 9/3/2009 @ 1:13 am PT...
Well, it seems David's latest essay seems to nail it - we are officially in Bush's third term. Change? What's that?
I think that the progressives need to wake up and vote for the best candidate out there, and get behind them EARLY, to overcome the expected self-fulfilling media prophecy that will ensue again as always. We have to recognize their brainwashing tactics for what the are and work diligently to overcome them. It CAN be done. Screw what the media tells us about who is most electable - it's all bullshit.
It was all too clear to me that Obama's lofty rhetoric was just that - why is it that so few people looked at his voting record and his stated positions?
Hopefully Kucinich will try again, or Nader and McKinney. If so we may get another chance. If this next election doesn't bring about massive change, it might just be game, set, match for the other team.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 9/3/2009 @ 5:13 am PT...
on the subject of healthcare, contrary to what the reps would have you believe the first public hospital was created in renaissance italy Florence when the bubonic plague was devastating the country. So you can theorize that public healthcare was a thing of the renaissance not socialism as they would like to make you believe. That is correct, public healthcare is a renaissance notion that brings with it unparalleled prosperity, culture and progress.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 9/7/2009 @ 6:52 pm PT...
Brad, did David Swanson mention the National Initiative (that Evan Ravitz talked about in the comments here) in his book? If not, that's kind of strange. He points out the problems with the corruption in government, but doesn't offer a long-term solution, it seems.