A system beyond repair by Leela Yellesetty

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Image by AJ Franklin via Flickr

by Leela Yellesetty
SocialistWorker.org
January 3, 2011

Cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall’s book is a passionate call for struggle and social change–but with deep flaws about how to get there. Leela Yellesetty explains why.

“It shall be unlawful for any person with the intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any government in the U.S., to print, publish, edit, issue, circulate, sell, distribute or publicly display any written or printed matter advocating, advising or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence.”
–U.S. Code, from a 1940 law still in effect

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Protofascism Comes to America: The Rise of the Tea Party by Ted Rall

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by Ted Rall
Information Clearing House
www.rall.com
July 22, 2010

Is the Tea Party racist? Democrats who play liberals on TV say it isn’t. Vice President Joe Biden says the Tea Party “is not a racist organization” per se, but allows that “at least elements that were involved in some of the Tea Party folks expressed racist views.”

Right-wing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has received permission to form an official Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s official. The Tea Party matters.

So: is it racist? Certainly a sizeable minority of Tea Partiers’ “take America back” rhetoric is motivated by thinly disguised resentment that a black guy is president. As for the remainder, their tacit tolerance of the intolerant speaks for itself. “Take America back” from whom? You know whom. It ain’t white CEOs.

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Out-Republicaning the Republicans By Ted Rall

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By Ted Rall
April 01, 2010 “Information Clearing House

Obama Revives Clinton’s Disastrous Triangulation Strategy

“It was Bill Clinton who recognized that the categories of conservative and liberal played to Republican advantage and were inadequate to address our problems,” President Obama wrote in his book The Audacity of Hope. “Clinton’s third way…tapped into the pragmatic, non-ideological attitude of Americans.”

Clinton’s “third way” was “triangulation,” a term and strategy invented by his pollster Dick Morris. Triangulation is a candidate’s attempt to position himself above and between the left and the right. A Democrat, Clinton insulated himself from Republican attacks by appropriating many of their ideas.

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Daniel Ellsberg: Beyond the Echo Chamber, and Racial Profiling

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GRITtv with Laura Flanders
Feb. 24, 2010

The Bush administration thrived on secrecy; Obama promised more transparency, but has yet to really deliver. What’s more, when information does come out, it seems that accountability is nearly impossible to get: the torture memos were released, but there will be no trials. We ask Daniel Ellsberg, one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers, if there’s anything the people can do to take the power back.

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We Have met The Nazis, And They Are Us By Ted Rall

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By Ted Rall
September 04, 2009 “Information Clearing House

CIA Atrocities Revealed to a National Shrug

NEW YORK–Nazis. Americans are Nazis. We are Nazis.

Godwin’s Law be damned–it’s impossible to read the newly-released CIA report on the torture of Muslim prisoners without thinking of the Third Reich.

Sadism exists in every culture. A century ago, for example, Western adventurers who visited Tibet reported that the authorities in Lhasa, that supposed capital of pacifism, publicly gouged out criminals’ eyes and yanked out their tongues. But Nazi atrocities were stylistically distinct from, say, the Turkish genocide of the Armenians or the Rwandan massacres of the early 1990s. German war crimes were characterized by methodical precision, the application of “rational” technology to increase efficiency, the veneer of legality and the perversion of medical science.

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Mr. Obama: Resign Now by Ted Rall

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Dandelion Salad

by Ted Rall
uExpress.com: Ted Rall , 05/28/2009
June 03, 2009 “Information Clearing House

With Democrats Like Him, Who Needs Dictators?

MIAMI–We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From healthcare to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn’t have the ‘nads to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now–before he drags us further into the abyss.

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Why We Fight – U.S. Troops Die For Rapists By Ted Rall + Afghanistan Women Protest

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
May 08, 2009 “Information Clearing House

LOS ANGELES–American soldiers serving in Vietnam wondered what they were fighting for. U.S. troops in Afghanistan don’t have that problem. They know exactly what they’re fighting for: rapists.

After President Obama’s coming “Afghan surge” there will be 72,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Their primary mission is to prevent Afghans from overthrowing the unpopular regime of Hamid Karzai, the former oil consultant installed by George W. Bush when the U.S. occupation began nearly eight years ago. Continue reading

Vote Theft For Idiots – Part Deux by Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

by Greg Palast
July 23, 2008

Greg Palast and Ted Rall for the second installment of ‘Vote Theft for Idiots.’

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Vote Theft For Idiots - Part Deux by Greg Palast & Ted Rall

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Vote Theft For Idiots by Greg Palast + Free For All (trailer)

Vote Theft For Idiots by Greg Palast + Free For All (trailer)

Dandelion Salad

by Greg Palast
June 23, 2008

Are they going to Steal 2008?  Don’t worry:  it’s already stolen.  But you can steal it back.  Ted Rall and I have teamed up for one of the first ever series of hard-edged investigative journalism – in ‘toon form.

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Kids In America(n Torture Camps) – Why Does the Media Cover Up War Crimes?

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
05/30/08 “ICH”

LOS ANGELES–In last week’s column I cited New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau as a prime example of what ails us: reporters who don’t report, a.k.a. journalists who love the government too much.

When Lichtblau found out that the Bush Administration was listening to Americans’ phone calls and reading their e-mail, he decided to hold the story. Instead of fulfilling his duty to the Times’ readers and running with it, he asked the White House for permission. By the time the NSA domestic surveillance story finally ran, 14 months had passed–and Bush had won the 2004 election.

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Propagandists First, Journalists Second – How the NYT Won 2004 for Bush

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
05/21/08 “ICH

Should the news media be patriotic? When a journalist uncovers a government secret, which comes first–national security or the public’s right to know?

In the United States, reporters consider themselves Americans first, journalists second. That means consulting the government before going public with a state secret. “When I was at ABC,” James Bamford told Time in 2006, “we always checked with the Administration in power when we thought we had something of concern, and there was usually some way to work it out.” Continue reading

Don’t Move On, Start Over – The Next President Must Make Bush an Unperson by Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

by Ted Rall
The Smirking Chimp
April 2, 2008

“No one owes obedience to a usurper government or to anyone who assumes public office in violation of the Constitution and the law. The civil population has the right to rise up in defense of the constitutional order. The acts of those who usurp public office are null and void.”
— Article 46, Constitution of Peru

Comedian Bill Maher is a brilliant contrarian. He dislikes George Bush. Yet his view of the stolen 2000 election is conventional, ahistorical and quintessentially American: Forget it! Move on! “Oh, Ted,” he replied when I mentioned the judicial coup d’état on his TV show, which aired October 3, 2001. “That’s so September 10th. It really is.”

It has been nearly eight years since the U.S. Supreme Court violated the Constitution by installing George W. Bush as president. Their ruling was immaterial. They shouldn’t have agreed to hear Bush v. Gore in the first place. Under Article II of the Constitution, Federal courts don’t have jurisdiction in election disputes. The state supreme courts–in that case, Florida–have the final word.

It’s tempting, as Maher suggested, to try to move past 2000. But we can’t. What followed doesn’t allow it.

When a ruler seizes office by extralegal means he rules the same way. Because he does not derive his power from the people–indeed, his rule relies on their passivity–he is not beholden to them. Selling the public on his policies is hard enough for a legitimately elected ruler; an illegal one has to resort to bullying, presented as a stern, autocratic triumph of the will. He is forced to order his lawyers to find legal loopholes using the most tortured reasoning imaginable. In the end, when citizens turn against him, the tyrant shrugs his shoulders. “So?” This is what the vice president replied when a reporter asked about polls showing that Americans have turned against the Iraq War. Cheney’s question was perfectly reasonable. Why should he care what we think? We didn’t elect him. He doesn’t owe us the slightest consideration.

Electoral illegitimacy begets illegitimate rule: Secret detentions and torture redefined into meaninglessness. Secret prisons. Ending habeas corpus, the right to have one’s case heard before a judge–a right English-speaking people had enjoyed for 800 years. Secret “signing statements” purporting to negate laws signed in public. Spying on Americans, lying about it to Congress, and then, after getting caught, trying to legalize it retroactively. Destroying evidence. An executive order granting the president the power to declare anyone–without evidence–an “enemy combatant,” then order that person imprisoned for life, or even assassinated.

Even if the next president has promised to end extraordinary renditions (which began under Bill Clinton), close Gitmo, outlaw torture and overturn the Military Commissions Act, which eliminated habeas corpus, he or she will surely be tempted to retain some of Bush’s beefed up new executive powers upon moving into the Oval Office. Who wouldn’t want to read their political opponents’ email and listen to their phone calls?

But let’s posit, for the sake of argument, that Bush’s evildoing comes to an end next January. There will still be a mess to clean up.

One million Iraqis and Afghans are dead. Tens of thousands more have been tortured and maimed. Thousands of dead soldiers; tens of thousands more grievously wounded. Millions of Americans have had their privacy violated. They deserve justice. We deserve justice. The war criminals, torturers and phone companies deserve due process. If there are consequences for driving fast and cheating on your taxes, after all, there surely ought to be a price to pay for urinating on an innocent man in a dog cage at Guantánamo.

America might want to move on. How can the rest of the world let us?

Bush v. Gore gave us an illegitimate president. Bush presided over an outlaw government. If we sit on our asses, as we’ve done since that weird, soul-crushing day in late December of 2000, illegality will be hardwired into the U.S. government. The country itself will become, like the Soviet Union and its wonderful freedom-guaranteeing constitution, a caricature of itself. “What is the difference between the Constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both guarantee freedom of speech,” the old Russian joke went. “Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech.” A gangster regime presiding over the trappings of law and order is a vicious joke–illegitimate and ultimately doomed.

There’s one way–only one way–to avoid ratifying Bush’s legacy. The next president must do the following three things immediately upon taking office:

1. Issue an executive order declaring all laws and actions undertaken by the Bush Administration, the states and local municipalities (because many state and local ordinances are influenced by national politics) between January 2001 and January 2009 null and void.

2. Act quickly to restore the rule of law–freeing Gitmo inmates, offering compensation to victims of torture and rendition, order immediate withdrawals of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and other undeclared wars.

3. Create a cabinet-level department to investigate top officials and subordinates of the Bush interregnum for crimes they may have committed and refer them to the appropriate courts for arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.

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So? … A Note from Michael Moore (+ video)

Admit it: You don’t know where the !@#$% Tajikistan is by Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

by Greg Palast
February 12, 2008

Or Kyrgyzstan. Or Turkmenistan. But as your kids will be fighting there among the oil pipes, you should kiss Ted Rall’s crazy ass for going there first – and getting it all down in a book of dead-on cartoons and reportage, Silk Road to Ruin.

Rall almost didn’t make it back. The Taliban who was supposed to execute Rall spoke English – the gunman picked it up as an NYU grad student. As happens when two guys from New York get together, they talked about New York women. Rall told his executioner that you could learn a lot about women by looking at their legs. The Talib said he looks at their eyes. “Not like you got much choice,” Ted opined, noting the draped figures nearby.

Selling Out the Uyghurs, or, Why even More of them Hate Us

from Ted Rall’s Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East

A four-day ride on the westbound express train from Beijing takes you to China’s Wild West. Xinjiang Province, hundreds of miles beyond an eroded earthen mound that was once the Great Wall, lies southwest of Mongolia, east of Afghanistan and north of the Tibetan plateau. Full of dusty deserts, soaring mountains and eight million Muslims, Xinjiang is—like so many geopolitically sensitive places—the middle of nowhere but in between a lot. (Early 20th century British explorer Aurel Stein noted the region’s “desolate wilderness, bearing everywhere the impress of death.”) Today Chinese-occupied Central Asia is a case study in how American foreign policy turns pro-American Muslims into deadly enemies.

“From the pre-modern era until the mid-18th century, Xinjiang was either ruled from afar by Central Asian empires or not ruled at all,” Joshua Kurlantzick writes in Foreign Affairs. During the 1950s Mao’s Communist Party worked to consolidate its power by centralizing Chinese culture and politics in Beijing. That meant suppressing cultures and religions out of step with the majority ethnic Han Chinese, such as the Tibetans and Mongols. The jackboot came down hardest on Xinjiang, where in 1955 more than ninety percent of the population were Turkic Muslims—mostly Uyghurs along with smaller portions of such Central Asian tribes as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Tatars. The Uyghurs, whose rich pre-Muslim Buddhist culture gave their language (which can be written in Arabic and Roman script) to Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire, were viewed by China’s new government as a threat to national cohesion. They may have had a point. After all, they had revolted against precommunist China forty-two times in two hundred years.

…continued plus cartoon strip by Ted Rall

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tajikistan

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LET THEM DRINK RAPESEED OIL by Ted Rall

Rall-Ted

Ted Rall

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove – How American Democracy Relies on Fascism By Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
01/03/08 “ICH

NEW YORK–What would you do if you learned that Bush Administration officials wanted to round up thousands of Americans and throw them into concentration camps?

For all we know, there is no slippery slope. It’s entirely possible that extraordinary rendition, eliminating habeas corpus, and the torture camps at Guantánamo and elsewhere are exactly what the government says they are–tools for fighting terrorists, not domestic political opponents. But how likely is it?

History is clear: Over and over again, the U.S. government places fascists in powerful positions. Once in office, they exploit wars and national tragedies to roll back hard-won freedoms. They’re Democrats as well as Republicans.

As has happened with increasing frequency in recent years, another blockbuster story revealing the anti-democratic impulse within the top echelon of the U.S. government has appeared and vanished overnight. According to Cold War-era files declassified last week, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover repeatedly advised President Harry Truman to arrest “all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, jail them in military prisons and try them before kangaroo tribunals that “will not be bound by the rules of evidence.”

“For a long period of time the FBI has been accumulating the names, identities and activities of individuals found to be potentially dangerous to the internal security through investigation,” Hoover wrote in a 1950 memo. “These names have been compiled in an index, which index has been kept up to date.”

Capitalizing on anti-communist hysteria at the start of the Korean War, Hoover asked Truman to preemptively detain 12,000 people, 97 percent of them American citizens, in order to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.”

Hoover was a lunatic. Truman ought to have fired him on the spot. Instead, in September 1950 Congress took his advice and passed a law authorizing the detention of “dangerous radicals” if the president declared a national emergency. Truman signed it. In fact, he declared such an emergency three months later. No one knows why, but the president never actually followed through with mass arrests. Hoover’s “subversives”–people suspected of left-wing political sympathies–remained free. He was wrong. There were no acts of sabotage.

It wasn’t the first time the government went “crazy.”

Between 1919 and 1921 the Bureau of Investigation (predecessor of the FBI) carried out the Palmer Raids, named for Alexander Palmer, Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general. The BOI rounded up 10,000 lefties, anarchists and foreigners on a list compiled by a young J. Edgar Hoover, then in charge of the Justice Department’s General Intelligence Division. Many were tortured. Five hundred fifty were deported.

Palmer’s clampdown accomplished nothing. On September 16, 1920, a bomb attributed to anarchists went off on Wall Street, killing 38 people and wounding over 400.

Crazy…like a fox.

During the 1960s and 1970s the CIA–in violation of its charter, which limits the agency to acting overseas–cooperated with local police departments across the country to compile a list of 300,000 Americans and organizations suspected of opposing the Vietnam War.

On April 6, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive No. 52. Reagan targeted 400,000 people for arrest and confinement at concentration camps in mothballed Army bases. The National Security Council’s “secret government within a government,” as Congressional investigators later described it, planned to cancel the 1984 presidential election so Reagan could remain in office indefinitely.

“Lt. Col. Oliver North, for example, helped draw up a controversial plan to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad,” The Miami Herald reported on July 5, 1987.

People who hate The People never sleep. In 2006 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which overturns the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibited the use of combat troops on the soil of the United States. For the first time in 128 years, the president can declare martial law in case of a hurricane, riot or terrorist attack. In May 2007 Bush attached a National Security Presidential and Homeland Directive to the National Defense Authorization Act. In case of a “national emergency”–the president could declare it without consulting anyone–he could suspend the Constitution and appoint an unelected provisional government under a “national continuity coordinator.”

To an optimist, America’s brushes with fascism seem like comforting evidence that the system works. Despite it all, even taking into account grotesqueries such as the concentration camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II, the First Amendment remains in force. Few Americans feel threatened by government tyranny. Few worry about getting shot by trigger-happy soldiers or being detained in concentration camps (unless they’re flood victims in New Orleans).

So why does a democracy need fascist schemes like Reagan’s Rex-84 Alpha Explan (a FEMA plan to put American protesters against a planned war against Nicaragua into camps)? Because American democracy is an iron fist in a velvet glove, a glove that’s becoming increasingly transparent.

Threats of repression are rarely carried out. They don’t need to be.

If potential opponents are afraid, there’s little need for concentration camps. The threat of repression (and actual crackdowns, explained away as exceptional excesses and brushed off with a token apology) creates a chilling effect on people who might pick up a rock instead of a sign.

A dog doesn’t have to bite everyone every day to earn a fearsome reputation. Mount cameras all over the place, and you don’t need to have anyone actually watching on the other side.

In a country whose legal framework authorizes the government to kidnap, torture and murder them, opponents of U.S. policy must decide whether getting out of line–anything from a letter to the editor to direct action–is worth the risk of getting kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

Ted Rall is the author of the book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge. www.tedrall.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Naomi Wolf Celebrated Author of “The End of America” (must-see video)

Sign the Pledge! Trim Bush from American History By Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
www.TedRall.com

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column that resonated with a lot of people.

Since 2001, I noted, “We’ve lost our right to see an attorney, to confront our accusers, even to get a fair trial. Government agents have kidnapped thousands of people, most of whom have never been heard from again. Bush even signed an edict claiming the right to assassinate anyone, including you and me, based solely on his whims. Torture, the ultimate sign that civilized society has been replaced by a police state,” has been legalized.

None of the major presidential candidates are currently promising to do what it would take to restore democracy: close Gitmo and the CIA torture chambers, get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, revoke the protofascist USA-Patriot and Military Commissions Acts, obey the Geneva Conventions and turn over Bush, his torturers, his Congressional allies and his top civilian and military officials to an international war crimes tribunal for their role in the murders of more than one million Afghans and Iraqis.

The politicians are too timid to do what’s right. But we can bully them into it. Let’s begin America’s long slog toward moral and political redemption by demanding that our next president’s first act be to declare the Bush Administration null and void. Every law and act carried out between 12 noon on January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009 should just…go…poof.

My readers are cranky, distrustful and smart. (You can read their comments at tedrall.com.) Rallblog readers are all over the place politically: old-school Democrats, Goldwater Republicans, libertarians, socialists, anarchists, even neoconservatives. But they’re speaking out as one about my call to expunge the legacy of the Bush Administration: Yes. Yes. Hell, yes!

Let’s make it happen!

Now is the time. Write (an actual letter, not email) to your favorite presidential candidate and declare that you are a single-issue voter. Swear that, if he or she agrees to sign the following Pledge, your vote is assured. If not, promise to stay home or vote for someone else.

“I, ______________, hereby solemnly pledge that my first act upon assuming the office of President shall be to sign an American Renewal Act of 2009, which shall declare all laws, regulations, executive orders, treaties and actions undertaken by the federal government during the illegitimate and unlawful administration of George W. Bush to be null, void and without effect.”

Sound crazy? So did Thomas Paine in 1775. As a practical and legal matter, however, consigning Bush to the dung heap of history makes more sense than revolting against the British.

First, the law.

George W. Bush’s January 20, 2001 inauguration was unconstitutional. This isn’t because Bush lost the popular vote. Nor is it because he lost Florida and thus the electoral vote. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Florida recount lawsuit, Bush v. Gore, violated the U.S. Constitution. It’s a states’ rights issue. Elections fall under state law; the highest court that may resolve a legal challenge about an election is a state supreme court. The U.S. Supreme Court–a federal body–didn’t have jurisdiction in the case.

An American Renewal Act is merely a confirmation of two centuries of standard practice.

There are precedents. After France was liberated in 1944, incoming president Charles de Gaulle declared the collaborationist government of Marshall Henri-Philippe Pétain null and void. (It was a stretch. Unlike Bush, who carried out a judicial coup, Pétain came to power legally.) In any case, Pétain vanished from textbooks. Numerous laws passed between 1940 and 1944, dealing with matters like taxes and construction projects, had to be debated and passed all over again.

The Southern secession of 1860 was perfectly legal, yet laws and currency issued by the Confederate government in the South were invalidated by the victorious Union in 1865.

The main argument for erasing Bush and his nefarious deeds is a legal one: official acknowledgment that the 2000 election was stolen gets the U.S. back on the path to democracy. (Should Al Gore should be allowed to serve the term he won in 2000? I don’t know.)

There’s also an ethical principle at stake. As de Gaulle said about Pétain’s partnership with the Nazis, the Bush Administration so disgraced itself and our nation that we have to renounce it in order to restore our moral authority, to be able to face citizens of other, less despicable, countries in the eye.

Another argument is based on power. Imagine that Gore had seized power in 2000 instead. Now imagine that he had turned as rabid as Bush, that he had ruled as far to the left as Bush has to the right. Businesses would have been nationalized. Healthcare would have been socialized; doctors would be federal employees. Taxes on the rich would have soared while the poor got off scot-free. Republican protesters at the Democratic National Convention would have gotten beaten up and thrown into filthy internment facilities for days on end. Crazy Gore would have apologized for foreign policies that provoked the 9/11 attacks. To prove he meant it, he would have sent troops to overthrow the world’s most heinous dictators, all U.S. allies, in Uzbekistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Now imagine that, over the years, Gore’s policies had ruined the economy and mired the military in endless, losing wars. That people had turned again him to the same degree that they’ve rejected Bush. As Frank Rich writes in The New York Times, only 24 percent of Americans approve of the Bush Administration–almost as bad as the image of the U.S. in Pakistan.

You can bet that the Republicans, after they took back power, would carry out the mother of all rollbacks. Gore, the rogue president, would probably wind up in prison. There’s no reason to treat Bush and his policies any more gently.

“We are a people in clinical depression,” writes Rich. “Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.” Anyone who reads Tim Weiner’s “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” knows the U.S. was damned far from perfect before Bush came along. But Rich’s broader point is correct. Falling short of lofty ideals is better than forgetting about them.

Demand that the major presidential candidates sign the Pledge for American Renewal. We know the woman and half-dozen men who are leading in the polls want to rule us. But will they lead?

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.

h/t: After Downing Street

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Torturers: The Next Generation By Ted Rall

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.