Wednesday, February 16, 2011

US Democracy: Roman or British Empire?

"If we choose to keep our empire, as the Roman Republic did, we will certainly lose our democracy....There is an alternative, however. We could, like the British Empire after World War II, keep our democracy by giving up our empire." Johnson, Nemesis


This compilation offerS but a glimpse of losses and gains. Eventually, sooner the better, a book should appear that assesses the entire record. Let me know if you see it.


US Dismantled: Examples
Paul Craig Roberts: US Becoming Fascist
Citizens United Case Corporate Victory
Public Citizen Resistance
Noam Chomsky

You too have wondered: Is our country becoming less democratic? Paul Craig Roberts recently described the US as an “incipient fascist state.” That bad? Or worse? So I have been gathering evidence to help me decide: Is our Constitution being deliberately dismantled? The following examples from politics from the last decade are a few of the many found in Johnson’s book, Nemesis. I am also collecting examples from economics, the power of money over a democracy. What do you think? Send me your examples, of gains as well as losses.

The Supreme Court’s intervention in the election of 2000 naming George W. Bush the 43rd president and decisions that followed according to columnist George Will exhibited “a monarchical doctrine.” What were those decisions?

Post 9-11
The Supreme Court refused “even to consider whether the Bush Administration had the legal standing to round up well over a thousand foreigners in the United States in the wake of 9/11 and keep all details of their cases secret, including their names and the charges, if any, against them.” That is, “’the government arrested more than a thousand people in secret, and the courts let them get away with it….There is no accountability for the abuses, and secrecy allowed the abuses.’ Not one of those arrested turned out to have the slightest connection to the 9/11 attacks.”

October 12, 2001
“Attorney General John Ashcroft sent a memo to all federal agencies urging them to bring every excuse they could think of to bear in turning down Freedom of Information requests. He offered agency heads backing on the stance.”

November 1, 2001
President Bush issued Executive Order 13233 countermanding the Congressional Presidential Records Act of 1978 that had made the papers of a former president public property upon his leaving office. EO 13233 gave Bush and former presidents the right to veto requests to see his presidential records.

October 2002
Congress voted “to give the president unrestricted power to use any means, including military force and nuclear weapons, in a preventive strike against Iraq whenever he—and he alone—deemed it ‘appropriate.’”

Johnson, Chalmers. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. Metropolitan, 2006. 60, 244, 247, 248,
Roberts, Paul Craig.

Paul Craig Roberts | Incipient Fascist State
Paul Craig Roberts, Reader Supported News
Intro: "Anyone who doesn't believe that the US is an incipient fascist state needs only to consult the latest assault on civil liberty by Fox News (sic). Instead of informing citizens, Fox News (sic) informs on citizens. Jason Ditz reports ( Dec. 28) that Fox News (sic) 'no longer content to simply shill for a growing police state,' turned in a grandmother to the Department of Homeland Security for making 'anti-American comments.'"
See Roberts’ essay below.

Supreme Court ruling overturns a century of law and paves the way for corporations to spend unlimited amounts on direct campaigns to elect or defeat federal candidates.

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Issue #38 • November 12, 2010
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Media Transparency I: Disclose Act
Media Transparency II: Wikileaks

We are all responsible for the quality of our political system.
That responsibility includes being informed and acting on your knowledge.
For a democracy to survive, its informed citizens must lead. But do they wish to? What forces hinder their engagement in the work of sustaining a democracy? Why are people drawn to Hitler and to all the other agents of collective intoxication?
In his late writings Sigmund Freud explored these questions. In books like Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego and Totem and Taboo, Freud analyzed the power of dominant leaders.
His model of the human mind is the first step toward understanding. We are not mentally unified beings. Rather, we are composed of diverse, conflicting energies, which he called id, superego, and ego (roughly emotional desires, religious beliefs/ conscience, and reason).
This conflicting inner world or psyche creates confusion and anxiety. Mature persons work to understand themselves and gain self-awareness by bringing their natures into a balance, a balance of tensions, personal and political. A dynamic inner and political life must involve continuing tensions—controversy, difference.

But many people seek to completely allay the pain of inner tensions and efforts to resolve them via various intoxicants. They seek the inner peace of wholeness through temporary shortcuts—wine, romantic love, fundamentalist religion. And strong, masterful leaders.

The Hitlers of the world make the struggle to bring our natures into mature balance unnecessary by providing a sense of wholeness and security. They become the new, improved super-ego at the expense of the other inner energies, offering to individuals simple, clear, consistent, absolute, unified values—one code, one fundamental way of being. The leader focuses our energies by resolving our doubts and identifying our enemies. And the immature populace, fleeing the tensions of self-awareness, respond gratefully by embracing tyrant and tyranny, loving the homeland, blaming scapegoats, and feeling enhanced by imperial ambitions and aggressions.

Our strongest and most lasting foundation against totalitarians or terrorists with the same goals, is not to seek reassurance through a powerful, external stand-in, but to continue our inner and outer struggle with complexity, which promises self-and political understanding and autonomy.

The best prevention of Hitlers on every level is the informed, mature citizen.

League’s Support of DISCLOSE Act Passage Elicits Great Media Coverage
Last week, the League hailed the passage of campaign finance legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives as the first step in achieving greater transparency in U.S. elections in this press release. In response to the League’s advocacy and outreach efforts, the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, and Business Week were among the media citing the League’s support of the DISCLOSE Act.

Learning about the hero behind the Wikileaks helps us understand that a transparent government tends to be a just government. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Julian Assange, peace hero and founder of Wikileaks

Fascism Coming to a Court Near You
“The Rule Of Law Has Been Lost” By Paul Craig Roberts 1-21-10
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. His new book, How the Economy was Lost, will be published next month by AK Press / CounterPunch. He can be reached at:

What is the greatest human achievement? Many would answer in terms of some architectural or engineering feat: The Great Pyramids, skyscrapers, a bridge span, or sending men to the moon. Others might say the subduing of some deadly disease or Einstein's theory of relativity.
The greatest human achievement is the subordination of government to law. This was an English achievement that required eight centuries of struggle, beginning in the ninth century when King Alfred the Great codified the common law, moving forward with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century and culminating with the Glorious Revolution in the late seventeenth century.
The success of this long struggle made law a shield of the people. As an English colony, America inherited this unique achievement that made English speaking peoples the most free in the world.
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this achievement was lost in the United States and, perhaps, in England as well.
As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), the protective features of law in the U.S. were eroded in the twentieth century by prosecutorial abuse and by setting aside law in order to better pursue criminals. By the time of our second edition (2008), law as a shield of the people no longer existed. Respect for the Constitution and rule of law had given way to executive branch claims that during time of war government is not constrained by law or Constitution.
Government lawyers told President Bush that he did not have to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibits the government from spying on citizens without a warrant, thus destroying the right to privacy. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the President did not have to obey U.S. law prohibiting torture or the Geneva Conventions. Habeas corpus protection, a Constitutional right, was stripped from U.S. citizens. Medieval dungeons, torture, and the windowless cells of Stalin's Lubyanka Prison reappeared under American government auspices.
The American people's elected representatives in Congress endorsed the executive branch's overthrow of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Law schools and bar associations were essentially silent in the face of this overthrow of mankind's greatest achievement. Some parts of the federal judiciary voted with the executive branch; other parts made a feeble resistance. Today in the name of "the war on terror," the executive branch does whatever it wants. There is no accountability.
The First Amendment has been abridged and may soon be criminalized. Protests against, and criticisms of, the U.S. government's illegal invasions of Muslim countries and war crimes against civilian populations have been construed by executive branch officials as "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." As American citizens have been imprisoned for giving aid to Muslim charities that the executive branch has decreed, without proof in a court of law, to be under the control of "terrorists," any form of opposition to the government's wars and criminal actions can also be construed as aiding terrorists and be cause for arrest and indefinite detention.
One Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S.government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested.
Sunstein defines those who criticize the government's increasingly lawless behavior as "extremists," which, to the general public, sounds much like "terrorists." In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.'s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a "terrorist plot" in order to arrest them. That this proposal comes from a Harvard Law School professor demonstrates the collapse of respect for law among American law professors themselves, ranging from John Yoo at Berkeley, the advocate of torture, to Sunstein at Harvard, a totalitarian who advocates war on the First Amendment.
The U.S. Department of State has taken up Sunstein's idea. Last month Eva Golinger reported in the Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen, that the State Department plans to organize youth in "Twitter Revolutions" to destabilize countries and bring about regime change in order to achieve more American puppet states, such as the ones in Egypt, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, Britain, and Western and Eastern Europe.
The First Amendment is being closed down. Its place is being taken by propaganda in behalf of whatever government does. As Stratton and I wrote in the second edition of our book documenting the destruction of law in the United States:
"Never in its history have the American people faced such danger to their constitutional protections as they face today from those in the government who hold the reins of power and from elements of the legal profession and the federal judiciary that support 'energy in the executive.' An assertive executive backed by an aggressive U.S. Department of Justice (sic) and unobstructed by a supine Congress and an intimidated corporate media has demonstrated an ability to ignore statutory law and public opinion. The precedents that have been set during the opening years of the twenty-first century bode ill for the future of American liberty."
Similar assaults on the rule of law can be observed in England. However, the British have not completely given up on accountable government. The Chilcot Inquiry is looking into how Britain was deceived into participating in the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq. President Obama, of course, has blocked any inquiry into how the U.S. was deceived into attacking Iraq in violation of law.
Much damning information has come out about Blair's deception of the British government and people. Sir David Manning, foreign policy advisor to Blair, told the Chilcot Inquiry that Blair had promised Bush support for the invasion almost a year in advance. Blair had told his country that it was a last minute call based on proof of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Sir William Patey told the inquiry that President Bush began talking about invading Iraq six or seven months prior to September 11, 2001. A devastating official memo has come to light from Lord Goldsmith, Prime Minister Blair's top law official, advising Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be in breach of international law.
Now a secret and personal letter to Prime Minister Blair from his Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has surfaced. In the letter, the Foreign Secretary warned the Prime Minister that his case for military invasion of Iraq was of dubious legality and was likely as false as the argument that removing Saddam Hussein would bring Iraqis a better life.
Blair himself must now testify. He has the reputation, whether deserved or not, as one of the slickest liars in the world. But some accountability seems to be heading his way. The Sunday Times (London) reported on January 17 that the latest poll indicates that 52 percent of the British people believe that Blair deliberately misled his country in order to take Britain to war for the Americans. About one quarter of the British people think Blair should be put on trial as a war criminal.
Unlike the U.S., which takes care to keep the government unaccountable to law, Britain is a member of the International Criminal Court, so Blair does stand some risk of being held accountable for the war crimes of President George W. Bush's regime and the U.S. Congress.
In contrast, insouciant Americans are content for their government to behave illegally. A majority supports torture despite its illegality, and a McClatchy-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree that "it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism."
As our Founding Fathers warned, fools who give up liberty for security will have neither.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. His new book, How the Economy was Lost, will be published next month by AK Press / CounterPunch. He can be reached at:

CHOMSKY’S LECTURE ON US DEMOCRACY AT RIVERSIDE CHURCH, JUNE 12, 2009, excerpted by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, June 13 on CAT. Google Democracy Now
Noam Chomsky on “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours”

Noam Chomsky, the MIT professor, author and dissident intellectual, just turned eighty years old this past December. He has written over 100 books, but despite being called “the most important intellectual alive” by the New York Times, he is rarely heard in the corporate media. We spend the hour with Noam Chomsky. He spoke recently here in New York at an event sponsored by the Brecht Forum. More than 2,000 people packed into Riverside Church in Harlem to hear his address, titled “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours.” In his talk, Chomsky discussed the global economic crisis, the environment, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, resistance to American empire and much more.
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Noam Chomsky, speaking at Riverside Church in Harlem on June 12, 2009.
AMY GOODMAN: Today, a Democracy Now! special with one of the most important dissident intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky.
Born December 7th, 1928, in Philadelphia, by the age of ten he was writing an extended essay against fascism and about the Spanish Civil War. At fourteen, he was in New York, getting his education, as he tells it, in the back of the 72nd Street subway station, where his uncle ran a newspaper stand. The front of the subway station, that’s where people ran in and out buying newspapers quickly. But at the back, a little less trafficked, that’s where people stopped and had political discussions about the news in the papers they did or didn’t buy.
At sixteen, he was at the University of Pennsylvania, where he got his doctorate. He became a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of twenty-six. He remained there for more than half a century and continues to teach there today.
While Professor Chomsky broke new ground as a world-renowned linguist, shattering all previous paradigms, he was also taking on the war in Vietnam. Throughout his life, he spoke out against US imperialism, from Vietnam to the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, from the death squads in Latin America to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and now to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Noam Chomsky turned eighty years old this past December. He has written over a hundred books. But despite being called "the most important intellectual alive today” by the New York Times, he is rarely heard or quoted in the mainstream media.
Today we spend the hour with Noam Chomsky. He spoke recently here in New York at an event sponsored by the Brecht Forum. More than 2,000 people packed into the Riverside Church in Harlem to hear his address. The title of his talk, “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours.” This is Noam Chomsky.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, let me say a couple of words about the title, which, as always, is shorthand. There’s too much nuance and variety to make any sharp distinction between us and them. And, of course, neither I nor anyone else can presume to speak for us. But I’ll pretend it’s possible…….

Self-examination as an important and even essential value for individual and political understanding goes way back to 4th century Greece, and is justifiably respected today. In fact, the Quakers themselves are varying their statements. A letter from the AFSC dated May 1, 2008, begins with these words: “I want to live in a better world. I want to live in a society where ‘peace’ means more than the absence of violence. Where it means financial and cultural security….” We all recognize at once the tactic sometimes today called “framing.” In Greek and Roman rhetorical education (and continuing today), it was part of the training in how to speak and write persuasively: you must consider your audience, especially your opponent. An ancient rhetorical tactic is to employ the terms of your opponent as a bridge (or tunnel) into your opponent’s position. Today the US is obsessed with security, thanks to the constant enemy-creating fear-mongering of our National Security State. Hence in the letter the General Secretary of the AFSC, Mary Ellen McNish, in addition to defining “peace” in traditional Quaker language of “human rights and dignity,” adds “financial and cultural security.” “This [human rights/dignity and security] is the vision and goal” of the AFSC, declares her third sentence (my emphasis).
But the values-experimenting by the Quakers in 2008 doesn’t end there. In a card sent to contributors, the FCNL inside quoted lines quoted above but changing “liberty” to “equity”: “equity and justice for all.” And on the outer page of the card is written: “Let us then try what love can do to mend a broken world.” Dignity, security, equity, love--the Quakers are revising and inventing, trying out alternative concepts. Let us follow their lead.

Another important value is that of democracy. In Democracy’s Edge Frances Moore Lappe describes movements “that not only seek to restore the long arc of justice but are potentially extending it to democracy’s next historical stage—a more inclusive, pervasive, vibrant democracy.” She draws hope from the growth of truthful information gradually enlarging the informed citizenry. People know (she is writing in 2005) that eleven million children in the world’s richest nation face hunger and that wages are so low that one in four working families face financial hardship. Part of this new, alert electorate is the growing awareness (not with cynicism but with realism) of the incompetence and greed of many leaders. “The 1980s savings and loan scandal and the 1990s implosion of corporate giants like Enron and Tyco revealed shocking arrogance and ethical blindness.” And going to war on worthless and fabricated intelligence, without planning to secure the peace, bringing about the deaths of thousands of our own troops and of perhaps a million Iraqis, ”have forced Americans to face up to bad faith at the highest levels.”

A momentous consequence of these failures at the top (a recognition that began before the U.S. and French Revolutions) is the demystification of authority and the empowering of the rest of us. Could we—everyday people using our ability to become informed and to act on our knowledge and moral standards—do better? With this question, the revolution of the people began, eventually producing citizen organizations like OMNI, and the insistence on life-giving-and-sharing values.

Out of this confidence in ourselves that We, the People might create a better world, comes the recognition of life-affirming values: nonviolence, world peace, liberty, justice, rights, love, stewardship (from faith peace traditions, The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter). We have lived through a darkening eight years that opposed these values. We now anticipate their rebirth, but if we are to have a living democracy, we must be its instrument.

OK, now it’s your turn.

OMNI BOOK FORUM, FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2009, Nightbird Books, 6:30.
Elections alone do not make a democracy. In the first place, President Obama has no intention of changing the existing institutions, but only to improve some of them. The US National Security State will remain unchallenged, just as it was by the major party candidates (except for Cong. Kucinich) during the recent presidential campaign. And in those areas of power that Pres. Obama has challenged, the same powerful, wealthy interests that hijacked our government during the past eight years are still entrenched in Washington, DC., as we have seen during the first two months of his presidency. Therefore, OMNI is still needed to advance alternatives to the Corporate (money)-Pentagon (money, patriotism)-White House-Congress-Mainstream Media-Education Complex (which is what Pres. Eisenhower would write in his Farewell Address today). OMNI engages our fellow citizens as truthfully as it can regarding the realities of power in our country, and we call upon an informed citizenry to resist the established power of the complex. Our Book Forums are only one of numerous actions we have constructed to challenge the corporate/military USA by engaging the public to become real citizens, as President Obama said during his election victory speech, by embracing “a new spirit of patriotism of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.” For eight years OMNI has not only called for such change, but we have provided concrete programs and service for accomplishing it.
And our call has been to the people—We, the People—to build a constitutional nation of, by, and for the people. We stand with Frances Moore Lappe. This is a “development essential to Living Democracy—a deepening appreciation of the capacities of those at the ‘bottom.’ With ‘regular’ people stepping out in their communities—becoming knowledgeable in arcane matters from banking to federal communications policy—our expectations grow as to the legitimate role of those without official authority” ( Democracy’s Edge). And with Paul Loeb, who in Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time (1999) introduced us to many ordinary citizens who have found fulfillment in social involvement.
The purpose of this panel is to identify specifically the major causes and features of the disintegration of our representative government and the major requirements for its rebuilding. Two panelists will discuss books about the dismantling, and two will present books that set forth the needed restorations.
Panelists and Books:
Claire Detels: Johnson, Chalmers. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. 2006.
Amjad Faur: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. 2008.
Lindsley Smith: Ann Fagan Ginger, The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Law: A Guide to U.D.H.R. Articles in Treaties Ratified by the U.S. 2008. (Other books by Ginger: Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. 2005. Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy: A Took Kit for Congress & Activists. 2008. )
Thomas Markham. Susan Rosenthal, Power and Powerlessness. 2006.

Dick will draw attention to these books:
Frances Moore Lappe, Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life. 2006. Democracy must be of, BY, and for the People.
Tavis Smiley, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. 2009. A compendium of Pres. Obama’s promises.

Following: See a sampling of the rich exposes of the dismantling, and of the rebuilding.
--Cochran, Augustus III. Democracy Heading South.
--Herbst, Susan. Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics. Temple UP, 2010.
--Judt, Tony. Ill Fares the Land. Penguin, 2010. Rev. Harper’s Magazine (June 2010). Surveys the social calamities of the last 2 decades of lost collective action for social justice, and makes an appeal for a return to social-democratic ideals.
--Posner, Richard. The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy. Harvard UP, 2010. Follow-up on his A Failure of Capitalism.
--Williams, Terry Tempest. Finding Beauty in a Broken World and the Open Space of Democracy. Inter. Democracy Now (10-21-10).

Bennett, Control of Information in the United States (1987) and Control of the Media in the United States (1992). Annotated bibliographies.

Bennett, James R. Political Prisoners and Trials…Bibliography, 1900 through 1993. Pp. 267-304 on US. Although US leaders have proclaimed their support for human rights in all nations, they are themselves guilty of massive human rights violations against people around the world and have embraced as allies countries guilty of similar crimes. Furthermore, US officials have imprisoned thousands of their own citizens for their beliefs—not only communists and socialists, but trade unionists, suffragettes, conscientious objectors, civil rights protestors, and on and on.

Brightman, Carol. Total Insecurity: The Myth of American Omnipotence. Unchecked corporate and executive political power and obsession with security has created a permanent state of war and war economy.

Brock, David. The Republican Noise Machine: Right Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. 2004.

Buchanan, Patrick. Where the Right Went Wrong. Indictment of GOP leaders and Bush White House for abandoning principles in the pursuit of power.

Byrd, Robert, Sen. Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. 2004. (Subject of an earlier Forum.)

Carroll, James. House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power. 2006. (Subject of an earlier Forum.)

Carter, Jimmy.Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. Strong defense of separation of church and state.

Chomsky, Noam. Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9-11 World. Interviews on Iraq, preemptive strikes, US vs. peace of the world, etc.

Cohn, Marjorie. Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. 2007. (Earlier Forum).
Conason, Joe. It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush. 2007.
Dowd, Maureen. Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk. Bush admin.’s fractured adventures in empire-building.
House Democratic Judiciary Committee Staff. The Constitution in Crisis: The High Crimes of the Bush Administration and a Blueprint for Impeachment.
Giroux, Henry. The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex. 2007. On the “anti-democratic forces of militarization, corporatism, and patriotic correctness” that now dominate US universities. The book fits just as well under Resistance/Rebuilding, for it is a “defense of the university as a democratic public sphere.”
Goldberg, Michelle. Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. How an increasingly bellicose fundamentalism is gaining traction throughout our national life through right-wing evangelical culture and the Republican party.
Hedges, Chris. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. 2006.
Hightower, Jim. If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates.
Holtzman, Elizabeth with Cynthia Cooper. The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens. 2006.
Johnson, Chalmers. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. 2006.
Johnston, David Cay. Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themsleves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill). 2007. (Discussed at US Capitalism Forum).
Kaiser, Robert. “So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government.” 2008.
Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. Bush and his corporate cronies threaten our health, national security, and democracy.
Krugman, Paul. The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century. Norton, 2003.

Lerner, Michael. The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right. The destructive alliance of the Religious Right and the Political Right.

Lindorff, Dave and Barbara Olshansky. The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing Presieent George W. Bush from Office. 2006.

Loo, Dennis & Peter Phillips, eds. Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney. 2006.
Mailer, Norman. Why Are We at War? Analyzes George W. Bush’s quest for empire. Norman Mailer, one of the greatest authors of our time, lays bare the White House’s position on why war in Iraq is necessary and justified. By scrutinizing the administration’s words and actions leading up to the current crisis, Mailer carefully builds his case that Bush is pursuing war not in the name of security or anti-terrorism or human rights but in an undeclared yet fully realized ambition of global empire.

Mann, James. The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. 2004.
*Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of how the War on Terror Turned i nto a War on American Ideals (2008). (Amjad Faur). An account of how US leaders made ruinous decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda.
Moyers, Bill. Moyers on America: A Journalist and His times. Democracy has been replaced by government of, by, and for the corporate ruling class.
Palast, Greg. Armed Madhouse. BBC reporter reveals Bush’s plans for seizing Iraq’s oil, exams War on Terror, Kerry won 2002 election, and more.
Rampton, Sheldon and John Stauber. Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America into a One-Party State. Penguin, 2004.

Rasmus, Jack. The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. 2006.

Rich, Frank. The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush’s America. A step by step chronicle of how the White House built its souse of cards, and how the institutions that should have exposed these fictions, esp. the mainstream news media, failed.

Risen, James. State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The scandals show how power works in Bush’s presidency.

Ritter, Scott. Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change. A sound US-Iranian relationship based on mutual respect, non-aggression, and economic interaction is in the best interest for both countries.

Rossi, Melissa. What Every American Should Know About Who’s Really Running America, And What You Can Do About It. 2007. Includes a good biblio. mainly on dismantling.

Scheer, Robert. The Pornorgraphy of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. 2008.

Standaert, Michael. Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the “Left Behind” Novels and the LaHaye Empire. A religious right-wing and neo-conservative conspiracy whose agenda of intolerance is furthered in works of fiction.

Sunstein, Cass. Radicals in Robes. Supreme Court’s right-ward shift may further endanger environmental regulations, campaign finance reform, right to privacy, etc.

Sweig, Julia. Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century. US sowed the seeds of its decline in the eyes of the world in South America.

Whitney, Craig, ed. The WMD Mirage: Iraq’s Decade of Deception and America’s False Premise for War. The false intelligence and misinformation explains how Bush justified the need for war.

Willis, Clint, ed. The I Hate Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Condit Rice Reader: Behind the Bush Cabal’s War on America. Expose of what the editor feels is the most vicious, destructive, and immoral group ever to run the country.
Wolf, Naomi. The End of America. 2007. US fascist shift under Bush.

“A just world is possible. Human beings create society, and we can change it.” Rosenthal, Power and Powerlessness. “It is the job of politicians to make promises, but it is the job of the people who elect them to make sure they keep them.” Tavis Smiley, Accountable
Alterman, Eric. Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America. Counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation.
Boulding, Elise. Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History. Syracuse, 2000.
Brown, Peter, and Geoffrey Garver. Right Relationship:Bbuilding a Whole Earth Economy. 2009.
Garey, Diane. Defending Everybody: A History of the American Civil Liberties Union. 1998.
Ginger, Ann Fagan, ed. Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. 2005.
Ginger, Ann. Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy: A Took Kit for Congress & Activists. 2008.
*Ginger, Ann Fagan. The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Law: A Guide to U.D.H.R. Articles in Treaties Ratified by the U.S. 2008. Just in time for the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights! (Lindsley Smith)
Hartmann, Thom. What Would Jefferson Do? A Return to Democracy. US has departed from vision of Founding Fathers. Democracy is not an aberration in human history but the oldest, most resilient, and most universal form of government.
Hayden, Tom. The Port Huron Statement: The Visionary Call of the 1960s Revollution. Historic document of US radicalism, a gernational call for direct participatory democracy.
Korten, David. Agenda for a New Economy. 2009.
*Lappe, Frances Moore. Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life. 2006. (Dick Bennett)
Lardner and Loewentheil, eds. Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era. 2009.
McChesney, Robert. The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century. 2004. (probably more on Dismantling)
Morgan, Robin. Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right. Ideas and arguments from the Founding Fathers and others.
Polner, Murray and Thomas Woods, Jr., eds. We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now. Basic, 2008.
Poundstone, William. Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (And What We Can Do About It.). 2008. On “range” voting.
The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace. Beacon, 2002.
*Rosenthal, Susan. Power and Powerlessness. Trafford, 2006. This is the most challenging, think out-of-the-box book in this biblio. Its picture of the US is that of a nation divided between “a few who wield immense power and the rest who feel varying degrees of powerlessness..” This imbalance is no accident, but is the direct result of the few grabbing power from the many. “Part One explains that society does not arise from human nature. On the contrary, current social arrangements violate human nature. Part Two shows how power is divided by class. Part Three investigates how power and powerlessness are perpetuated. Part Four reveals how powerlessness can be transformed into power.” “The need for change is urgent. Everywhere, there is injustice, anguish, and anger. This book explains how society shapes people, how people shape society, and how powerlessness can be converted into the power to transform the world.” (Tom Markham).
--Smiley, Tavis, with Stephanie Robinson. Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. Atria, 2009. Chapters on 6 major areas of policy, each followed by an “Accountable Assessment Checklist”: Obama’s campaign promises, questions to Obama, questions to Congresspeople, and to community leaders. The final and most lengthy chapter is “The Accountable Report Card,” in which Obama is quoted on issue after issue, and then readers are asked to evaluate his performance. The book expresses Smiley’s strong belief in the importance of We, the People, and a nation of, by, and for the people. “It is the job of politicians to make promises, but it is the job of the people who elect them to make sure they keep them.” He calls upon the citizenry to “track the progress of the president’s vision for our future. Presidents alone do not shape our future….citizens must always be prepared to hold the president accountable on what he (perhaps one day, she!) promised he’d fight for. Never forget, we, the people, are accountable for making sure that promises made are promises kept.” (171).

True, Michael. To Construct Peace: 30 More Justice Seekers, Peace Makers. Twenty-Third, 1992.
Wittner, Lawrence. Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960. Columbia UP, 1969.
Wolf, Naomi. Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries. 2008 (Earlier Forum).
Zirin, Dave. A People’s History of Sports in the United States.

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