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

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How the Bush years fundamentally changed the US government, and what America must do to reconstitute its democracy.
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Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union

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Overview


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

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Swanson has been an indefatigable commentator and activist tirelessly advocating for the dismantling of the imperial presidency and the restoration of the principles of our Constitution. 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, Buzzflash.com

"David Swanson is the most thoughtful, determined, and energetic progressive activist in America, and one of the most important voices of his generation."—Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583228883
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

"You must be Dr. McCall,” the anthropologist said, reaching to shake his hand. "Aloha.”
"Righto, Dr. Chow. I appreciate your willingness to meet with me.”
She motioned toward the rattan chair opposite her desk, next to a tall bookcase. McCall eased his lean six-foot frame into the chair, quickly scanning her collection on Pacific island history and lore. Next to the books stood a large shark-skin drum, worn smooth from generations of thumping palms.
The anthropologist leaned back in her chair and eyed the astronomer. Self-assurance lined his rugged face, a look she had seen all too often on haoles. "You work on Mauna Kea.”
"Yeah, we're studying a volcano on one of Jupiter's moons, a monstrous cone named after your goddess Pele.”
"And you want some background for your paper.”
"Yeah.” He sank deep into the chair, pulling out his notebook and pen.
"History or legend?”
"Both, I guess.” He smiled warmly, his green eyes twinkling.
Maile proceeded to tell the astronomer the story of the goddess. She shared the simple version, good enough for a haole scientist, skipping over the deepest meanings of the tale. But she told it vividly, with resonant voice, flashing eyes, and the storytelling skills inherited from her mother. Gavin could see it all: Pele leaving the mysterious ancestral land Kahiki, guided over the ocean by her shark brother Kamohoalii; her embattled search for a home in the volcanic archipelago, eventually reaching the island of Hawaii; her fierce romances with obsessive lovers and battles with jealous rivals; Pele lovingly building mountains, or angrily burning villages when she felt betrayed-stories revealing the islanders' love and reverence for a deity that can create and destroy.
Each episode intrigued McCall, but he grew just as interested in watching Maile's expressive face, and soon ceased taking notes. Staring at her bold features, he could visualize the fiery beauty and formidable will of the volcano goddess.
"And these stories,” she said, wrapping up, "only hint at the depth of her power, this woman god so commanding that she once even humbled Hawaii's mightiest king. But that's another story.” Maile relaxed back in her chair.
"Marvelous tale! And first rate in the telling!”
Maile smiled. "Today you will find people whose devotion to Pele has never flagged, even as the islands themselves have changed beyond belief.”
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    The cubs

    Ran off. (Camp is more important right now anywho...)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Rosefire

    Pas to camp bleeding

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Rising

    Cant bring himself to kill them, he pushes them aside and limps to camp

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  • Posted October 5, 2009

    This Book Is Quintessential Submitted by Richard J Schaedler on Sun, 2009-10-04 14:00. I finished DAYBREAK Saturday October 3rd and have taken some time to contemplate the vast array of topics and issues David Swanson coveres in the book. This Book

    Submitted by Richard J Schaedler on Sun, 2009-10-04 14:00.
    I finished DAYBREAK Saturday October 3rd and have taken some time to contemplate the vast array of topics and issues David Swanson coveres in the book.

    I am not sure where to start as there is so much worthy of discussion and dialogue. As a lawyer, his examination of the Constitutional aspects of the "imperial presidency" are particularly important to me.

    Since the days immediately following the "election" of Barrack Obama as President, I have been admittedly neglectful of following ADS.org as I previously did during the period from June, 2005 to November, 2008. I was actually finding myself avoiding following this site during the campaign as I sensed a developing deep disappointment taking hold with the "hope" message the Illinois Senator was projecting. I sincerely wanted to believe it but something inside me wasn't buying what he was selling!

    Once elceted, the appointments of Emmauel as Chief of Staff as well as the retention of the "a-- kissing little chicken-s--t" Petreus as the military "leader" of the occupation of Iraq, and Robert Gates as the Secretary of Defense, made it clear to me that my misgivings about a President Obama were particularly well founded. David's book details the manifestations of these concerns with great clarity.

    This President is no different from the prior occupant of the Executive Mansion when it comes to the implementation of power. Obama has done nothing to reverse the abuses of the previous administration. About all I can observe from afar is that Vice President Biden is light years of an improvement over that criminal mastermind, Richard B. Cheney! Otherwise, Obama is conducting "business" as usual for the "imperial" executive branch. David spells this out effectively in DAYBREAK.

    I completely agree that Mr. Swanson is the 21st century's Tom Paine. The itch that he has given the unacceptable power structure in this country needs to become a rash and more Tom Paines have to come forward, including myself. As such I would hereby call upon myself and others similarly disgusted with having witnessed the devolution of the United States into a quasi-fascist dictatorship to volunteer to do whatever is necessary to RESTORE not REBEL!

    Tom Paine was the revolutionary but we have to be the ones to restore what his generation brilliantly gave us as the legacy of those Founding Fathers. That is the legacy of freedom that is worth fighting for in the spirit of Ghandi and King. We are right about all of this and the imperialists are just as wrong as the British were in 1776. The current autocrats are today's version of the loyalist torries from Paine's era. Banding together as true patriots is what it takes to destroy tyranny of the likes of Bush, Cheney, Pelosi, Obama, etc.

    These are all the human veneer, the face of the real manipulators of America's current situation. Swanson identifies the power and influence of the wealthiest few in this country who have bought for themselves the worst government that money could purchase. WE THE PEOPLE must stop this tyranny, now!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2009

    Too far left

    This book gave me the impression the David has an axe to grind and this is way of expressing himself. Fortunately his ideas are the minority. I finished most of the book then just discarded it.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    I Want To Live In David Swanson's America

    David Swanson is an activist's activist. 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 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.

    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.

    In this book, he articulates in 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 - that they seem so startling.

    Swanson 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 serious change.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Your to-do list = read this book

    This book can educate the ignorant, map out a solution,encourage the distraught, and remind us that what the United States of America once stood for is worth saving.

    Yes - David Swanson points out the dangers of what happened during George Bush's presidency - where Congress lost much of its power and the presidency has become more a monarchy - even a dictatorship. But Swanson doesn't just point out the bad, he also shows the steps to recovery, though it will be a struggle to regain what freedoms we've lost and citizens will have to be more conscious of those dealings in Washington D.C. and how they can negatively affect our rights as individuals, our jobs, and - most importantly - the future we leave our children. Accepting a Constitutionally ignorant Congress is a terrible thing, so David Swanson literally gives a to-do list for American citizens at the end of his book.


    On August 30th, 2009 former CEO of Halliburton / former Vice-president Dick Cheney said in an interview aired on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about bending the rules torturing prisoners "suspected" of terrorism and should those involved be held accountable:

    "I just think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage, long term, to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say."

    Accountability.

    Chris Wallace, asking no tough questions at all, does go on to ask him, "So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're okay with it?"

    Dick Cheney answers, "I am."

    David Swanson wrote this about George Bush and it makes perfect sense:
    "It seems almost trivial to accuse someone who launched an illegal war that has killed over a million people of torture. But if we are going to prosecute the lowest ranked torturers, it makes sense to look up the chain of command.
    There is no doubt that George W. Bush conspired to commit torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and murder. How do I know? He said so.
    In his January 28, 2003, State of the Union, Bush said: 'All told more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States.'"
    Every American should read this book. And stick to the to-do list!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding book

    This book accomplishes two critical things. One, it clearly documents the power grab and crimes of the Bush administration. Two, it provides a field manual for a social movement to put the people (us) back within the balance of powers.

    The book is an excellent documentation of the theft of our democracy. Swanson presents a thoroughly documented analysis of the creation of the imperial presidency. This grounding is fundamental for citizens to have the tools to counter the blather that passed as news and neo-con talking points for eight years - and continues now as the talking heads try to block any investigation of those crimes.

    David Swanson also provides suggestions and strategies for an activist citizen's movement to (1) address the undermining of the Constitution and balance of powers, and (2) to return citizen voice and power to the ruling of our nation.

    One of the issues that people across the political spectrum should agree on, is the long term threat that the powers stolen by the Bush presidency will pass from President to President unless they are challenged. Swanson (and most in the impeachment movement) are aware of this as well. There is a consistent effort to paint those who want thorough investigations - with prosecution where warranted and legislative remedy where needed - as wanting "revenge," or having "political" interests, or just "Bush Bashers." However, we know and Swanson makes clear, the stakes are much higher - the future of any functioning democracy in the United States.

    This book is more than a "read it" book. Swanson has created a reference manual for activists. Daybreak is chock full of organizational strategy and mechanisms. It provides a vision of what a citizen involved democracy in the United States could look like - and how to get there.

    My recommendation: Get it, read it, share it. Kudos and thanks to David Swanson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2009

    From BuzzFlash's Review

    By BuzzFlash:

    David Swanson is the most prolific, indefatigable advocate and activist that BuzzFlash knows of. He is equally at home writing countless persuasive commentaries on the Internet about the urgency of upholding the Constitution and making those in power accountable under the law on his main site AfterDowningStreet.org. and with being a ubiquitous grassroots activist.

    Swanson is a young father, but his personal actions echo the mobilization protests of the '60s. Unlike so many of us creatures of the Internet who make our logical arguments for principle and social justice on the net and feel that we are doing our job, Swanson doesn't miss an opportunity to hit the streets, Congressional offices, protests in front of the White House, organizing advocacy marches -- whatever it takes.

    As a result many "mainstream" progressives regard him as "unruly" and violating "decorum." Meanwhile, the right wing shouts, screams, and engages in the most vile, hateful and violent behavior and the same Congressional progressives and "centrists" run scared and capitulate. All David Swanson asks for is justice and is spurned.

    A lot of the new Internet left doesn't have room for the likes of a true grassroots activist and "pamphleteer" like Swanson. No, he's not a radical of any sort, just someone who would have been riding with Paul Revere or penning protest broadsides against King George, or organizing protests for American Independence.

    He speaks truth to power, and for that he has irritated some progressive Capitol Hill Democrats because he has the "audacity" to hold sit ins and corner Dems who are trying to weasel out of standing up to injustice.

    Unlike many progressive net advocates, Swanson is not about to be co-opted by lofty rhetoric about the Constitution by Dems who continue the status quo of letting entrenched power remain above the law. He's not someone who will appear on the media as a pundit (with rare exception), because he does more than talk in sound bites and challenges the acceptable range of being a "Democratic seat filler" on talk shows. So the corporate media knows he won't stick with the corporate news "script" of the day.

    David Swanson is what we all need to be if we are to defeat the powerful and unlimited financially backed forces of corporate control over our nation; he takes his case to the streets, to the Halls of Congress, to churches, to colleges, to anyone who will hear him out. He believes that when all you get from the Democratic elected officials is rhetoric without follow through, you sit in their offices until they come out -- and sometimes get arrested.

    David is a man who hits the keyboard, but never forgets that it is hitting the streets that makes the difference: that is how we achieved gains in Civil Rights, in ending the Vietnam War, in gaining the right of Women to Vote, in stopping a reactionary anti-immigration movement.

    Buy and read David Swanson's 360 page book. If we are to win back the momentum of the '60s, David is one of those who will be there leading us in a protest march for justice.

    David knows that the only way to counter big money is sore feet, a hoarse throat, and hundreds of thousands -- even millions -- taking the strength of their convictions directly to the sources of power in America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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