Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dan Ellsberg on Past, Present, Future

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon Radio
August 1, 2008

Daniel Ellsberg was the key figure in the Pentagon Papers controversy in the early 1970s – the leaking of the secret history of the Vietnam War – and today is one of the most incisive commentators on a whole variety of current political issues.

Read on.

6 comments:

Mark E. Smith said...

I'm not sure I understand how Ellberg can support the Constitution, admit that Obama will not do anything to restore the Constitution, and still support Obama.

Is it lesser evilism, believing that McCain is worse? Congress has already funded the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2010, so no matter who is President, they will continue. According to the Nuremberg Principles, wars of aggression are the worst crimes against humanity.

How can one war criminal be more evil than another war criminal?

I have been urging those who oppose war crimes to boycott the election in November. If you don't support tyranny, don't vote in its rigged elections and don't give it your mandate and your stamp of approval by voting. If people simply stayed home, the government could no longer pretend to be democratically elected or to have the support of the American people.

Mark E. Smith said...

Sorry, Daniel, typo --that should have been Ellsberg, of course.

For more about the election boycott, check out:

No in November

Particularly this:

Consensual Political Intercourse

If you don't like it, don't vote for it. What could be simpler than that? Don't worry that the bad guys might win -- they already won. They own the Congress, the courts, and the voting machines corporations that program the election results.

Twice in a row people fell for that old boogeyman, if you don't vote for the good guy, the bad guy will win, and both times the bad guy won. Isn't it about time to stop being suckers?

Bill from Saginaw said...

Ellsberg and Greenwald -

This was an excellent, thoughtful, and productive dialogue.

In addition to Daniel Ellsberg's historical summary, in particular I loved the timely observations about how US Presidents (regardless of party or ideology) never voluntarily yield power back that Congress has acquiesced in giving to the office. Also, the post-2008 election remedial measure of establishing some sort of high profile, far reaching joint Congressional Committee to investigate crimes stemming from the invasion and occupation of Iraq is righteously on the mark.

As to the ultimate legal remedy for rolling back the Bush regimes many interrelated offenses which have undercut the Bill of Rights under the rubric of fighting a global war on terrorism, I think wholesale revision of the National Security Act of 1947 is long overdue.

Bush/Cheney have succeeded in reversing virtually all of the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam legal restraints upon abuse of executive branch powers. The legislative handle to use in my opinion is to redefine, and sharply narrow, what can be declared "classified" in the first place. Then retroactively de-classify most if not all of the Bush regime's paper trail, while prospectively opening up the federal government's future war and national security decision making processes.

The National Security Act passed in the immediate aftermath of World War II created the military-industrial-national security complex ruling Washington today. Congress created this monster. Anybody who says Congress is powerless to reassert political and legal accountability over the excesses of the Pentagon and what is now Homeland Security is lying.

All that is needed is the political will to do so, plus a proper focus upon which evils are the most pressing.

mark e. smith -

I've always admired the late George Carlin's approach to your issue and the slant of the "No in November" website you recommend.

Carlin claimed not to have voted ever since 1972. He insisted that making a conscious decision to not register and to not engage in lesser-evilism was part of his right to be left alone, and an act of responsible civic virtue. I happen to agree. I believe folks do have a Constitutional right to declare a pox upon all your houses, and to disavow all allegiance to a patently unrepresentative or oppressive state by boycotting the voting booth.

That said, I think that for the 2008 election cycle your recommended tactic is counter productive civics to the point of being suicidal.

A gang of crimials have been looting the public treasury and raining down hi tech death and destruction abroad for the last seven years with impunity. John McCain and the GOP enablers behind him have vowed to carry on with those institutional policies.

Barack Obama, Ralph Nader, Robert Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and others have publicly pledged to at least scale back the carnage, and work to restore some semblance of respect for the rule of law.

To me, that's a distinction with a real difference. Mugwumpism has its virtues, but not when one of the two major political parties on your ballot openly seeks to erect a neo-fascist state.

Everybody who stays home, smugly and holier-than-thou, on this November 4th so as not to get his or her hands dirty actively facilitates the Repugs ominous chances to steal another one, and to then follow up driving the last few nails home into the coffin of what was once a Constitutional republic.

Bill from Saginaw

Mark E. Smith said...

Bill, there's a problem that Ralph Nader, Robert Barr, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, and others would be up against if elected:

The Fable of Lanova Messiah

While written the the form of a fable, this little essay is a direct commentary on why third party and independent candidates can, at most, only aspire after 24 years or so in Congress, to becoming as powerless as John Conyers.

As for Barack Obama, he is a war criminal. He and McCain voth voted to fund the wars of aggression (crimes against humanity) in Afghanistan and Iraq until 2010 no matter which of them is elected. Barack's agenda is closer to that of Bush in that he would draw down U.S. troops in Iraq and replace them with more mercenaries like Blackwater, Aegis, Triple Canopy, DynCorps, etc. He plans to to expand the war of aggression in Afghanistan and to finish privatizing the war of aggression in Iraq.

Since peace is not on the ballot, this is an excellent time for people who do not wish to be "good Germans" and grant their mandate to a government engaged in war crimes, to refrain from voting.

Axis of Logic: Abstinence

Whatever you may or may not do, don't try to tell me that you oppose crimes against humanity and then go out and vote for them. If you vote for war criminals, you are a war criminal yourself. There is no excuse. You can't pretend that you don't know that both candidates are committed to continuing the wars of aggression based on lies.

Talking to a Republican is like talking to somebody who is smashing an infant's skull against a wall and laughing while they do it. Talking to a Democrat is like talking to somebody who is smashing an infant's skull against a wall and mumbling that the Republicans or Ralph Nader made them do it and they wish they could stop, but they can't because it is so much fun, but if you vote for them they might think about stopping after they've killed a few more million infants.

Don't B.S. me, Bill. You either support war crimes or you don't. If you don't, you won't vote for them, because peace is off the ballot. If you do support war crimes, you're a loyal Democrat and I'm sure that all the war profiteers in your party are grateful. But the millions of innocent victims are not, nor are their families, neighbors, friends, and allies around the world.

Mark E. Smith said...

As for stealing the election, the election has already been stolen. The programs for the central tabulators that will reallocate the votes have already been written. The winner has already been chosen.

This is the first time that I know of that the military-industrial complex has been donating more money to the Democratic Party than to the Republican Party, so, given that trillions of dollars in sole source, no bid, cost plus defense contracts are at stake, it is quite possible that they've already chosen Obama to preside over the wars of aggression.

Brad Friedman of bradblog.com described our elections as "100% faith-based" and said that we vote and then wait for the "election fairy" to tell us what the results are.

If you read Consensual Political Intercourse (linked above), you know that your vote has nothing to do with the results or with who takes office. What it does, as the Axis of Logic article (also linked above) points out, is grant legitimacy and the appearance of being democratically elected and having the support of the American people to a government that is not democratic and has very little support.

Break the voting habit. Nobody died for your right to vote--they fought and died for your right to a voice in government. A "vote" that is counted secretly behind closed doors or inside a central tabulator is not a voice in government.

Do you want to know how stupid some people are? Take a look at this:

Unofficial Election Poll

Ask yourself the same question. Ask your friends and neighbors. Would you continue to vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet? Half of the U.S. electorate would. The other half already understands the problem and won't vote. So who is apathetic, those who refuse to flush their votes away in rigged elections or those who couldn't care less?

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