October 12, 2004

Got on the bus half drunk again the driver glared at me

* From an interview of Daniel Ellsberg, the former marine who in the late 1960s leaked what became known as the Pentagon Papers, which described nearly three decades of institutionalized lying by top U.S. officials to the American public, and to each other.

Ellsberg: "Under the USA Patriot Act, the Houston plan [a plan put forth by Nixon aide Tom Houston that proposed the US coordinate our intelligence agencies and focus them on domestic dissent]. We're not a full police state yet, but the Patriot Act is moving us closer to it. There are provisions of the Patriot Act that Nixon envisioned, but he backed off from them.

"Here's the significant point: The succession of crimes that brought Nixon down are now legal under the Patriot Act. CIA operatives acting against an American citizen? No problem. Breaking into a doctor's office to steal information? No problem. Sneak-and-peak entry? No problem. Coordination of the FBI and the CIA [the CIA is forbidden by its charter from operating against American citizens]? No problem. Wiretaps? No problem. We have become less free. When the Nixon administration was caught doing these things, it had real problems. The resulting scandal helped remove Nixon from office. Today that wouldn't be the case. And if the Bush administration can legally do these things, what might it be doing that's still illegal?" [emphasis added]

The full interview can be read [a PDF file] at The Sun magazine website.

* Top ten conservative idiots.

" 7. Furious George
Karl Rove must have put George W. Bush in a world of hurt after his strange performance during the first debate. In Miami Bush was caught on camera smirking, grimacing, swaying from side to side, and molesting his podium. This time he was clearly under strict orders to show no emotion whatsoever while John Kerry was speaking. It worked pretty well. Apart from the frantic blinking and teethgrinding - which, to be fair, could be left over from his cokehead years - Dubya managed to stay relatively composed. For a while.

"Unfortunately, at the first debate Bush also ended up looking like a wimp, stammering, pausing, and staring blankly at the camera for several seconds before answering questions. So this time he was also under orders to be more forceful while speaking - to look more like a "leader" than he did during the first debate, where frankly he looked like a tranked-out sock-puppet."

* Krugman:

"By singling out Mr. Bush's lies and misrepresentations, am I saying that Mr. Kerry isn't equally at fault? Yes.

"Mr. Kerry sometimes uses verbal shorthand that offers nitpickers things to complain about. He talks of 1.6 million lost jobs; that's the private-sector loss, partly offset by increased government employment. But the job record is indeed awful. He talks of the $200 billion cost of the Iraq war; actual spending is only $120 billion so far. But nobody doubts that the war will cost at least another $80 billion. The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct.

"Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers."

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