In 2007, Rocky Anderson prepared a compelling case for the impeachment of President Bush. Today, he claims President Obama's crimes are even "more frightening," and he urges voters to organize and make a stand against tyranny.
Testifying in July 2008 at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Anderson charged President Bush and Vice-President Cheney with "egregious abuses of power," "felonious wire-tapping," "misleading Congress and the American people about threats to our nation's security," "illegal torture and kidnapping" of innocent people, and other "monstrous human rights abuses," concluding that "there has never been a more compelling case for impeachment."
Much to his dismay, however, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi announced, "Impeachment is off the table," and upon entering office, President Obama signalled that Bush, Cheney, and others in their administration would not be held accountable, even if they violated the law, opining, "We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."
That was the end of the Democratic Party for Anderson, who subsequently declared, "The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party."
Since then, the U.S. has witnessed even greater abuses of power by the Obama administration, which has not only continued the practices of the Bush administration, with regard to the denial of due process and human rights violations, but has also ordered the assassination of a U.S. citizen and is pursuing war with Iran under false pretenses, just as Bush did with Iraq.
In response, Anderson has formed the Justice Party and is running against Obama and the GOP candidate in the 2012 presidential election. He has also received the nomination the Progressive Party in Oregon and is seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination in California. He is a front-runner on Americans Elect, an online organization securing a place on the ballot in all 50 states that promises to pair the leading candidates (from different parties) as President and Vice-President against the GOP and Democratic Party choices in an effort to end partisan deadlock.
Anderson was in New York City on Monday, to meet with his local campaign volunteers, and granted the DigitalJournal (DJ) an exclusive interview. Ending wars, restoring civil liberties, putting the Federal Reserve under the U.S. Treasury, paying down the national debt, and fighting climate disruption are among his chief concerns, which he shares with most of the leading third-party candidates. But before any of these goals can be accomplished, according to Anderson, the third parties need to form coalitions.
DJ: Some say that Obama is merely caving into Republican demands or codifying already existing laws, as with the NDAA and the Anti-Protest law. Is this true?
ANDERSON:It's not only a ludicrous claim, it's phenomenally subversive to what our country has always purported to stand for. Now there's not even a pretense of standing up for fundamental values of due process. It's never even been considered before that U.S. citizens could be added to assassination lists, at least before the Bush administration. This has all happened in the course of the last decade.DJ: There is some confusion about whether or not citizens are potential targets in the NDAA.
ANDERSON:Citizens are clearly included within the terms of the NDAA. A lot of Obama supporters believe that Congress somehow came up with the idea of giving the president the power to indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens, and this was foisted upon President Obama. It's absolutely false. In 2009, he was advocating for the power to indefinitely detain without any semblance of due process.DJ: Who benefits from the "war on terror"?
ANDERSON:The military industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, and politicians who have no qualms about staying in power by spreading fear among the American people. It's so absolutely obvious to anyone who is paying attention that we have only created more hatred and hostility throughout the Muslim world.
DJ: You sound like Ron Paul.
ANDERSON:The good part of Ron Paul. He completely fails to recognize that our Constitution and the Republic was formed because there is a real force of good that can be done by government. He doesn't understand that we need the protection of government for our individual health, safety, and general welfare. DJ: Can individuals fight pollution by defending their property rights?
ANDERSON:I think you need to be able to do that. As a lawyer who practiced for twenty-one years, [I know] it's an extremely slow and expensive process. Justice is, in a very large part, not within reach of the common people in this country.DJ: What sort of compromises would you expect from Libertarians, with whom you have a great deal of agreement, before you could form a coalition?
ANDERSON:For me the greatest issue facing our planet, that we absolutely need to deal with, is climate disruption. The human rights implications, the economic implications will be greater than anything ever experienced in human history. That's one area where I wouldn't be able to say, 'Let's just forget about it.'DJ:Your thoughts on green energy subsidies?
ANDERSON:The money we used to put into R&D--under the Carter administration, for clean energy--if we had kept that up we'd be the world's leader. Instead, we've turned that mantle over to China. In Germany, people found that they could not refrain from putting on solar panels because they got paid so much more for putting into the grid than what it cost to take out. Tom Friedman makes such a good point about this. It's all about price points. if you add the external costs of utilizing fossil fuels to what we pay for it, it changes the game.DJ: What about student loan debt?
ANDERSON:For-profit colleges bring students in. They pay enormous tuitions. They take out loans that are subsidized by the government and are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Now that is unbelievable, that Congress could have done this. Non-dischargeability in bankruptcy is usually reserved for really extraordinary circumstances--for example, if you've engaged in fraud. Congress did that for for-profit colleges, who are owned by folks like Goldman Sachs, and for banks. So they're pumping out all these students, who don't get jobs. Many of them didn't have the talent to begin with. They just took their money. There were proposals for reform legislation. But Democratic lobbyists, who used to be on Capitol Hill, put on a lobbying blitz for their clients, costing the American people billions of dollars. DJ: How do you stop it?
ANDERSON:You stop the revolving door. You don't bring people in from those industries, as the head regulators, and don't allow people who have been working on these issues to go out and work in those industries once they leave government. It should absolutely be prohibited.DJ: How do you appeal to Republicans and members of other parties?
ANDERSON:I think mainstream Republicans, people like my parents were, they've had it with that party. They're looking for an alternative. [I can appeal] in terms of fiscal responsibility. I have a long record of calling for, or at least moving toward, a balanced budget, if not a surplus.
I think it is absolutely vital that third parties try to come together, in any way we can, under one new banner. Being part of the dialogue isn't enough. We need to change the world, and we need to change it now. To me this should not be about ego; it should not be about personalities. This should be about identifying our common ground and doing everything we can to fundamentally change things, to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics.
More information about Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, and recent Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights, can be found at VoteRocky.org.