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Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union

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Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union Cover

ISBN13: 9781583228883
ISBN10: 1583228888
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A lot more has gone wrong over the last eight years than meets the eye, and it will take more than a new president to create the kind of change that is necessary.

Daybreak is a thorough investigation of how Bush/Cheney altered the way American government works and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It includes clear plans for how we may reclaim democracy, declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Shocking and inspirational, Daybreak provides a clear breakdown of all that we have lost, and all that we have to gain.

Review:

"[A] useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government." Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

Review:

"Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task." Mark Karlin, editor of Buzzflash.com

Review:

"To the credit of Swanson's broad perspective, Daybreak recognizes the interrelatedness of myriad issues, offering insight to both problems and solutions..." North Coast Journal

Review:

"David Swanson's Daybreak...makes clear that we need to do far more than elect a new president to see our tattered Democracy restored." Vincent Bugliosi

Review:

"David Swanson's masterful exposure of the emergence of a monarch-like president coupled with an effete, irresponsible, and constitutionally ignorant Congress is well worth the price of admission." Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan

Book News Annotation:

Activist and blogger Swanson (cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org) warns that the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency witnessed unprecedented crimes against the US Constitution in the service of the imperial presidency. He surveys the Bush/Cheney power grabs with reference to distortions of law, declarations of war, budgetary powers, the politicization of the judiciary, powers of treaty and appointment, executive signing statements, and the power of pardon. He also describes how the US Congress failed to act as a check or balance against the executive and urges readers to engage in actions towards undoing the imperial presidency, a project he suggests at one point may take generations (especially as President Obama has embraced many of the Bush/Cheney positions described). Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

How the Bush years fundamentally changed the US government, and what America must do to reconstitute its democracy.

Synopsis:

"[Daybreak is] a useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government."—Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

"Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task."—Mark Karlin, editor of Buzzflash.com

"Daybreak offers a powerful and compelling picture of what real change in America could look like. The world needs more true advocates of democracy like David Swanson!"—Thom Hartmann,Syndicated Radio Show host and author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

Daybreak is an eye-opener about how our nation was hijacked by the Bush administration and how much repair work we, as citizens, must do. David Swanson, who has been a one-man wonder leading the charge for accountability, writes a compelling narrative that inspires not just outrage, but ACTION.”—Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange

“David Swanson is the most thoughtful, determined, and energetic progressive activist in America, and one of the most important voices of his generation. He's also a unique bridge between traditional real-world organizing and the brand new world of online activism. His combination of cheerful organizing, passionate speaking, and brilliant blogging is an inspiration to everyone who craves a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.”—Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com

A lot more has gone wrong over the last eight years than meets the eye, and it will take more than a new president to create the kind of change that is necessary.

Daybreak is a thorough investigation of how Bush/Cheney altered the way American government works and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It includes clear plans for how we may reclaim democracy, declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Shocking and inspirational, Daybreak provides a clear breakdown of all that we have lost,

Synopsis:

Daybreak is] a useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government.--Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task.--Mark Karlin, editor of Buzzflash.com

A lot more has gone wrong over the last eight years than meets the eye, and it will take more than a new president to create the kind of change that is necessary.

Daybreak is a thorough investigation of how Bush/Cheney altered the way American government works and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It includes clear plans for how we may reclaim democracy, declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Shocking and inspirational, Daybreak provides a clear breakdown of all that we have lost, and all that we have to gain.

David Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ConvictBushCheney.org, Washington director of Democrats.com, and a board member of Progressive Democrats for America. He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign and has been a leading voice for the prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes.

About the Author

David Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ConvictBushCheney.org, Washington director of Democrats.com, and a board member of Progressive Democrats for America. He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign and has been a leading voice for the prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Michael Anthony, October 5, 2009 (view all comments by Michael Anthony)
Being an Iraq War Veteran, and author myself, I was wary when I picked up this book--as I am picking up any political book.

When finished reading Swanson's book, I remembered a fleeting line from JFK's speech for his party's nomination: "We must prove all over again whether this nation--or any nation so conceived--can long endure."

I think too often, politics and politicians only have four year or eight year vision. One thing we all need to be aware of is that simple decisions now, are going to affect the history of our nation. We need to ask ourselves, a hundred years from now, are we going to be proud of what we've become and our decisions. Are we going to say, we abolished hunger, disease, we spread freedom, or are we going to say....

Maybe I'm on a JFK fix, but Swanson also rings true to the idea of a "New Frontier" what we need to do, to make this the nation we know we can have, and we deserve.

There's a lot in-between, but it's truly is a hard book to put a finger on. But I like it, and I recommend it.
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Karen Feridun, October 3, 2009 (view all comments by Karen Feridun)
In anticipation of David Swanson's appearance in Kutztown, PA on November 4th
Daybreak by David Swanson
by Ron Stouffer and Rosie Skomitz
CommonSense2, October 2009
Reprinted with permission


We first encountered David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, when he broke the news of the ‘Downing Street Memo’, a document that many considered a smoking gun proving that George W. Bush lied to make a case for invading Iraq. The memo, from a 2002 British intelligence briefing, indicated that Bush was intent on invading Iraq despite his claims to the contrary. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied in order to promote the invasion, ostensibly to remove Saddam Hussein based on alleged links to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Swanson told us that “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” We did not doubt Swanson’s claim then, and the accuracy of his assertion is even more evident in hindsight.

In his latest book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson revisits the crimes and abuses of the Bush-Cheney administration, focuses on the spectrum of shared responsibility, offers suggestions and solutions for a more democratic future, and challenges us to become active citizens and agents of change for the better.

Though the sins of Bush-Cheney were not unique to their administration, they took abuse of power to a new level of brazenness and arrogance and in the process made a mockery of the Constitution. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not. Either we enforce the Constitution or we do not. Failure to hold leaders accountable makes it more likely that future presidents will continue illegal behavior. (Note that Pres. Obama continues the practice of missile strikes in foreign countries, detaining people without charge, renditions, signing statements.)

The Bush administration violations of the law are legendary - torture, warrantless spying on citizens, signing statements acknowledging the intention not to execute legislation, attempted domestic use of the military, misleading the U.S. into illegal war, to name but a few. If ever there was an administration that deserved to be impeached, this was it. Yet Congressman Dennis Kucinich was a voice in the wilderness exercising his Constitutional duty to present articles of impeachment.

Swanson correctly accuses Congress of abdicating its duties and allowing the president to assume powers not inherent in the office. Via signing statements, the president became a legislator. Congress should have insisted that the president execute legislation as passed as well as all the laws of the land. Congress had the power to stop every Bush-Cheney crime but did not do so. Further, Congress may have been reluctant to investigate and impeach because members had knowledge of illegal torture and spying, etc. and thus were complicit in the illegal activity. And most (Democrats included) went along with funding Bush’s illegal war.

One factor contributing to abuse of power was the secrecy of the Bush-Cheney operation. The sun did not shine on the machinations of this outfit. Transparency be damned. Congress must cease to roll over and play dead. It must take its Constitutional responsibilities seriously. As Swanson says, “…ultimately we must make Congress accountable to us and persuade it to assert its powers: its power to reject appointments, its power to oversee government operations, and its power to impeach any civil officer guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. If those powers continue to be neglected, they will cease to exist even as they become more badly needed.”

During investigations into impeachable offenses, subpoenaed officials either refused to appear at the hearings or feigned a poor memory. In either case, no information was forthcoming, and no one was held responsible. Federal agencies refused to testify, the White House refused to turn over documents, and the Justice Department, on Bush’s orders, refused to enforce contempt citations. Though it sounds more like Nightfall than Daybreak, this book offers hope.

In Daybreak, Swanson calmly and methodically lays out the many abuses and abdications of power on a broad array of domestic and international issues. He also supplies a wealth of suggestions and solutions. Generally speaking, he advises enforcing laws, improving laws and amending the Constitution so that autocratic presidents do not insinuate imperial authority, ensuring a more democratic media system, and changing our own behavior.

Swanson’s specific suggestions include a checklist of rights to be included in an amended Constitution; the end of the occupation of Iraq, either by not passing funding legislation or, if necessary, bringing bills to fund only the withdrawal of troops via discharge petition; the promotion of a single-payer health care system which advances the welfare of Americans.

Readers come away with a call to activism and the demand that we accept personal responsibility. We are not off the hook but are compelled to accept the challenge. Swanson makes that clear in no uncertain terms: “We the people permit these agencies to exist, and we are responsible for every ounce of suffering they inflict on the world…” and “Cheney and Bush could not have done any of what they did without Congress. But by the same token, Congress could not have done any of what it has done without us. It is our responsibility to make our demands clear and forceful, and to devise strategies that hold our representatives accountable if they fail to represent us.”

To that end, we must remain “disciplined, resolved, fearless.” It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. We must not back down. We must not give up.

Please join us as Kutztown Area Democratic Club’s Fall Film/Lecture Series presents David Swanson’s lecture and book signing on November 4 at 7 p.m. in Room 145 of Kutztown University’s Boehm Hall. Plan to attend what promises to be an informative and stimulating discussion.
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aliciamorgan, September 22, 2009 (view all comments by aliciamorgan)

I want to live in David Swanson’s America.

David Swanson is an activist’s activist; I first became aware of him through the organization he co-founded, AfterDowningStreet.org. On May 3rd, 2005, through a link on Raw Story , I read about the Downing Street minutes, a recording of a meeting chaired by Tony Blair in which it was revealed that (as Rep. John Conyers wrote) “[the] British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so." I was just stunned, and even more stunned by the deafening silence from the mainstream media. Swanson and his co-founders were on it like white on rice, and I joined the group and bookmarked AfterDowningStreet.org as the ‘go-to’ website for information on the efforts to bring this into the light of day.

He has worked within politics, within peace groups, within labor groups, within communications groups, and his involvement in –and knowledge about – such a broad range of progressive issues and his hand-on experience with the inside workings of government and politics gives him a unique perspective on what is really going on in America; and, what’s more – what can and ought to be done to make it better.

I was thrilled to have David Swanson be the first person to review my book The Price of Right, and while it was not uniformly glowing I thought it was fair, made good points deserving of consideration and in general positive rather than negative, which is what one would hope for in a review, and I was glad to have it. One of his main criticisms was that, while I pointed out problems within our system, I did not present ideas for solutions to those problems.

When he was kind enough to send me his own book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, to read and review, I saw why.

This book is sweeping in scope, and not only articulates the problems but nuts-and-bolts approaches to solutions to these problems from a progressive point of view. Swanson’s premise is that it is not a bad President or a corrupt party in power that is the root of our current trouble in America, but the imbalance between the so-called ‘three branches of government’, with an all-powerful, ‘imperial’ executive branch and a defanged, ineffective legislative branch, that has made the voice of the people unable to be heard.

Step by step, he outlines how the power grab by the executive branch during the Bush-Cheney regime has endangered, not only our present situation, but our future. The unprecedented powers that Bush and Cheney claimed for themselves – lying to Congress, starting a war of aggression based on those lies, ignoring the Geneva Conventions and habeas corpus, torture, illegal wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, abuse of the Justice Department – the list is so extensive as to be almost unbelievable; yet they have gotten away with all this and more; and they have yet to be so much as frowned at for these crimes – Congress (and the new President) seem to prefer to act like none of this ever happened, and want to ‘look forward rather than backward’. The reason that Cheney, Bush, et al. must be held accountable, Swanson asserts, is not, however, for revenge or retribution, which will not bring back one soldier or innocent civilian, but a far more important reason – to prevent future administrations from seizing those powers for their own use.

As much as the former administration abused the office, they could not have done so without the acquiescence of Congress, and this is what Swanson sees as a main point of his book. It is Congress that is the vox populi, and Congress which must stand its ground for the people if the American experiment is to succeed.

In this book, he clearly articulates, in very specific detail, not only what progressive values entail, but how they can be implemented. It is a radical approach, to be sure, and it’s difficult to imagine that these gigantic changes could happen in today’s climate of liberal timidity and conservative aggression. Some of these ideas are already on the progressive agenda – campaign finance reform, cutting the military budget, election protection, etc. However, Swanson goes further and dares to suggest solutions even many progressives would shy away from proposing - enlarging the House and eliminating the Senate, eliminating the electoral college, enlarging the Supreme Court and lessening its power, and tosses around other ideas requiring Constitutional amendments. As radical as these ideas may be, they are not idly thrown out – they are carefully researched and thought through. He carries progressive ideals to their logical conclusion, and it is only because we have gone so far in the opposite direction – towards corporatism and away from democracy, towards empire and away from a republic – that they seem so startling.

Swanson is more than an idealist – he has a firm direction and vision that he outlines in Daybreak, and has a history of successful and practical action working within the system as well as outside it. But, what is most important in my opinion, is that he works and fights for what he believes in, regardless of its chances of immediate success – and Daybreak is a practical handbook for change; the kind of change that is brought about by people who work towards their aim in the face of daunting opposition. Swanson is no stranger to that path, and this book is a call to those who are ready, with him, to ignore the ‘conventional wisdom’ and the naysayers, take on the big fight, and work for, not spare change, but real transformation – towards a ‘more perfect Union’.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781583228883
Author:
Swanson, David
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - General
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Executive power -- United States.
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement
Subject:
Government - Executive Branch
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 19 oz

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Product details 384 pages Seven Stories Press - English 9781583228883 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government."
"Review" by , "Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task."
"Review" by , "To the credit of Swanson's broad perspective, Daybreak recognizes the interrelatedness of myriad issues, offering insight to both problems and solutions..."
"Review" by , "David Swanson's Daybreak...makes clear that we need to do far more than elect a new president to see our tattered Democracy restored."
"Review" by , "David Swanson's masterful exposure of the emergence of a monarch-like president coupled with an effete, irresponsible, and constitutionally ignorant Congress is well worth the price of admission."
"Synopsis" by ,
How the Bush years fundamentally changed the US government, and what America must do to reconstitute its democracy.
"Synopsis" by ,

"[Daybreak is] a useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government."—Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

"Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task."—Mark Karlin, editor of Buzzflash.com

"Daybreak offers a powerful and compelling picture of what real change in America could look like. The world needs more true advocates of democracy like David Swanson!"—Thom Hartmann,Syndicated Radio Show host and author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

Daybreak is an eye-opener about how our nation was hijacked by the Bush administration and how much repair work we, as citizens, must do. David Swanson, who has been a one-man wonder leading the charge for accountability, writes a compelling narrative that inspires not just outrage, but ACTION.”—Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange

“David Swanson is the most thoughtful, determined, and energetic progressive activist in America, and one of the most important voices of his generation. He's also a unique bridge between traditional real-world organizing and the brand new world of online activism. His combination of cheerful organizing, passionate speaking, and brilliant blogging is an inspiration to everyone who craves a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.”—Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com

A lot more has gone wrong over the last eight years than meets the eye, and it will take more than a new president to create the kind of change that is necessary.

Daybreak is a thorough investigation of how Bush/Cheney altered the way American government works and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It includes clear plans for how we may reclaim democracy, declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Shocking and inspirational, Daybreak provides a clear breakdown of all that we have lost,

"Synopsis" by , Daybreak is] a useful guide to restore the balance of powers and reclaim our constitutional system of government.--Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

Daybreak urgently reminds us that good political intentions are not sufficient to ensure the continuation of our democracy; informed vigilance is vital to that task.--Mark Karlin, editor of Buzzflash.com

A lot more has gone wrong over the last eight years than meets the eye, and it will take more than a new president to create the kind of change that is necessary.

Daybreak is a thorough investigation of how Bush/Cheney altered the way American government works and deteriorated the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It includes clear plans for how we may reclaim democracy, declare our rights, and truly set out for a new America.

Shocking and inspirational, Daybreak provides a clear breakdown of all that we have lost, and all that we have to gain.

David Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ConvictBushCheney.org, Washington director of Democrats.com, and a board member of Progressive Democrats for America. He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign and has been a leading voice for the prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes.

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