Civil Liberties

Daniel Ellsberg on Obama: "His actions are totally uncoupled from his public statements. I don't even listen anymore."

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The world is a worse place now that we no longer have haircuts like that one in the middle

From an interview that the Pentagon Papers leaker gave to Der Spiegel:

Ellsberg: I think Obama is continuing the worst of the Bush administration in terms of civil liberties, violations of the constitution and the wars in the Middle East.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: For example?

Ellsberg: Take Obama's explicit pledge in his State of the Union speech to remove "all" United States troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. That's a total lie. I believe that's totally false. I believe he knows that's totally false. It won't be done. I expect that the US will have, indefinitely, a residual force of at least 30,000 US troops in Iraq. […]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You doubt not only Obama's missions abroad but also his politics back home in the US. Why exactly are you accusing the president of violating civil liberties?

Ellsberg: For instance, the Obama administration is criminalizing and prosecuting whistleblowers to punish them for uncovering scandals within the federal government …

SPIEGEL ONLINE: … Such as the arrest, confirmed this week, of an Army intelligence analyst for leaking the "Collateral Murder" video of a deadly US helicopter attack in Iraq, which was later posted online at WikiLeaks.

Ellsberg: Also, the recent US indictment of Thomas Drake.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Drake was a former senior official with the National Security Agency (NSA) who provided reporters with information about failures at the NSA.

Different times

Ellsberg: For Obama to indict and prosecute Drake now, for acts undertaken and investigated during the Bush administration, is to do precisely what Obama said he did not mean to do—"look backward." Of all the blatantly criminal acts committed under Bush, warrantless wiretapping by the NSA, aggression, torture, Obama now prosecutes only the revelation of massive waste by the NSA, a socially useful act which the Bush administration itself investigated but did not choose to indict or prosecute!

Bush brought no indictments against whistleblowers, though he suspended Drake's clearance. Obama, in this and other matters relating to secrecy and whistleblowing, is doing worse than Bush. His violation of civil liberties and the White House's excessive use of the executive secrecy privilege is inexcusable. […]

Ellsberg: His actions are totally uncoupled from his public statements. I don't even listen anymore. He has turned 180 degrees. Another example: His promise to filibuster a law giving the phone companies legal immunity for any role they played in the Bush's domestic eavesdropping program. Then he not only voted not to filibuster it, he also voted for the law—against the wishes of his backers.

Rest assured: Ellsberg, like I'm guessing many people who share his critique of Obama, "will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans."

Link via Becky Chandler's Twitter feed. Eli Lake wrote about the Bush-Obama WoT/civil liberties commonalities in our June issue. Read Reason's interview with Ellsberg from 37 years ago. ?

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104 responses to “Daniel Ellsberg on Obama: "His actions are totally uncoupled from his public statements. I don't even listen anymore."

  1. Obama: Making Bush look saintly since 2009!

  2. The libtard excuse is that Obama simply continued Bush’s policies. When in reality not only he co-opted them, Obama blew up the budget for all of them. Obama went full-retard as they say.

    1. But how is that even an excuse? Didn’t he run promising to change those policies?

      1. He means that he isn’t merely continuing the policies, he is actually far, far worse than Bush when measured with the same stick they used to measure Bush. Saying he is, “continuing Bush’s policies” is watering down the how far he went.

  3. What is that awesome pearl-handled piece he is toting.

    1. M3A1 or M76? I mean it looks like a M1911 SMG…

    2. They’re ivory. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.

      1. General Patton, is that you?

    3. Swedish K subgun.

    4. The grips are just wood, not anything exotic.

  4. Ellsworth may vote for him again, but I, for one, will not. Precisely because, as Ellsworth puts it, his actions are completely decoupled from his public statements. Count me as a newly minted third-party voter.

    1. Great! Now we just need 20 or 30 million more like you.

  5. Ellsworth may vote for him again, but I, for one, will not. Precisely because, as Ellsworth puts it, his actions are completely decoupled from his public statements. Count me as a newly minted third-party voter.

    1. Make certain to vote twice.

      1. If he’s from Chicago, that’s no problem.

        1. Dead or alive, don’t forget to vote. And when you’re done, don’t forget to vote.

          1. Then borrow the time machine from Primer and do it all again.

  6. Ellsberg, like I’m guessing many people who share his critique of Obama, “will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans.”

    Because their “critique” is a list of things they support while making a huge bullshit show of opposing?just like the people they vote for do.

    It’s a fucking amazing coincidence.

  7. “will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans.”

    Bleh. My district’s primary results were not good. Really SoCon Guy beat a more milquetoast GOP’er to take on the thoroughly corrupt Gerry Connolly. Since there will be no third parties in the general election (Virginia is not for ballot access lovers), it looks like I’m going to skip the election or vote for a Jesus-freak of the first order. Because I’m sure as hell not voting Democrat.

    So I’m a little sympathetic to where this guy’s coming from.

    1. Ah, the Finian-Harrity race. All of Finian’s mailings concentrated on Harrity voting for some tax increases while a Fairfax Co. supervisor.

  8. The Democrats are dead to me, given their behavior since taking Congress. How anyone can make the GOP look less evil and inept is beyond me. Not that I’ll necessarily vote GOP (beyond Gridlock November) or stop with my tradition of voting LP whenever reasonable, but there you are. I simply lack the self-loathing and suicidal impulses necessary to vote Democrat.

    1. Vote against the incumbents. The only way to break the hold is to keep them from burrowing in like ticks.

      1. Agreed. It’s the one reason I’ve been registered with the GOP all these years so that I can vote in the primaries. Part of the evil libertarian underground, I’m afraid.

        1. I delisted myself a couple months ago. The shame was too great. Even if I can’t vote in the primaries anymore.

          1. I’m a little embarrassed by the association, to be honest. And watching the abuse the party gives good elements like the RLC is just sickening.

        2. I do the same as you when it comes to the GOP. Living in New York…well, let’s just say the Republicans are slightly better than the Democrats.

      2. I see that Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) is in enormous trouble in his primary, thanks to his pro-TARP vote. He got to a runoff, but he had ~25% versus ~40% for the top votegetter.

  9. Someone on one of the other threads made a good point. Most of the Democrats who were screaming so loudly about Bush doing targeting killings and such are in reality scared shitless of another 9-11. They don’t object to the act. They were just upset Bush was so public about it. They didn’t like the publicity. If you think about it, that kind of explains why so many Democrats who were having kittens every day about these things when Bush was doing it, seem so quiet under Obama. Yeah, they are hacks and that explains some of it. But not all of it. I actually think they prefer a President who lies about these things.

    1. In the 2004 election, I reminded a democratic friend of all the ways Clinton had screwed over third world countries, so that a vote for Kerry was hardly a vote for ending American bullishness. He said flat out he doesn’t give a shit what the presidents do outside our borders, but would for Kerry because world likes us more when democrats are in power. I wish more dems were that honest.

      1. Their ultimate hero is FDR, a man who took America into “total war.” Don’t expect these guys to be anti-war except when it suits them.

        1. And Woodrow Wilson. Not to mention Kennedy and LBJ for the Vietnam War. The list goes on…

    2. It’s more likely they were sincerely appalled by Bush’s actions, but are now repressing that feeling since it’s their guy in charge.

  10. If it’s good enough for Obama, then it’s good enough for Arizona

    KALAMAZOO ? The White House appears to be laying the groundwork for President Barack Obama to shake the hand of each senior at Kalamazoo Central High School’s commencement ceremony next month.

    Seniors are being asked to provide their birthdates, Social Security numbers and citizen status to the Secret Service so background checks could be performed. Such a check is required for anyone who gets within an arm’s length of the president, students were told at their senior breakfast Friday.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/kala…..t_eac.html

    1. “Just mail it to me.”

    2. Can I opt out?

      1. That’s racist!

  11. Bush brought no indictments against whistleblowers, though he suspended Drake’s clearance. Obama, in this and other matters relating to secrecy and whistleblowing, is doing worse than Bush.

    I wonder if this is in some way a derivative of the “academic” mindset.

    1. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Bush knew that if he ever did indict a whistle blower, he would have paid a huge political price. It would have been a page one story and the media would have done everything to damage him with it. I am sure Bush would love to have done what Obama is doing. But he knew he couldn’t do it without paying a price that wasn’t worth it.

      Obama in contrast has no worries of the media or anyone in his own party ever holding him accountable.

  12. “Obama in contrast has no worries of the media or anyone in his own party ever holding him accountable.”

    Needs to be repeated.

  13. Rest assured: Ellsberg, like I’m guessing many people who share his critique of Obama, “will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans.”

    Ugh. Fuck this country and its one-party rule.

    1. And yet he wonders why Obama pays absolutely no attention to the things he considers important.

    2. What the hell is wrong with these people? Blind partisanship is what got us to this level of stupidity in the first place.

    3. Obama to Ellsworth (laughing): You’re angry? Who you kidding man? I OWN YOU!

  14. How long will it be before some psychiatrist’s office is broken into?

  15. ‘Rest assured: Ellsberg, like I’m guessing many people who share his critique of Obama, “will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans.”‘

    You mean like Reason’s editors?

    1. Boring. I suppose we will probably find out, but I will be very surprised if any of them vote for Obama again.

      1. I bet at least 1/4 of them do. And you can keep this post and hold me to it.

        1. So we’ll *increase* staff vote totals for Obama? I’ll take that bet.

          1. Reason should follow-up with every person who answered their survey in 2008, even if that person is no longer working for reason (like Weigel). I would like to see that.

      2. Well, if they do, they can turn in their libertarian cards for good.

      3. “Suppose”? The only reason this comes up is because we post our vote intentions every year, and proselytize for other news outlets to do the same.

    2. Exactly one current full-time Reason editorial staffer voted for Obama, as far as I am aware. NTTAWWT, or with whatever one chooses to do in the ballot box, but on the slim chance than anyone cares about the accuracy of this meme, etc.

      1. Hey, at least you told us–I agree. On the flip side, many reporters elsewhere didn’t have to tell us. We already know how they voted.

        1. Agreed, Pro’L Dib. No one is required to tell someone else how they voted, and it impressed me that this group did, whether they voted or not. Moreover, they explained why they made the choices they made. I found that, in itself, to be compelling.

          but on the slim chance than anyone cares about the accuracy of this meme, etc.

          Was this a dig Matt? I do care about the accuracy, I am just waiting for the mea culpa from Bailey. I also assume the former staffers that voted Obama/Biden still read the comment sections here.

          1. Yes, it was a mild dig, since every time this comes up I hear about all those Reason staffers who voted for Obama, when that just ain’t so. Recognizing, of course, that us surveying staff/contributors/various libertarian types, and lumping them all together, helps to create this confusion.

            1. Well, I apologize for any confusion to which I may have contributed. Mea Culpa.

              I still call out any Reason commenters that voted for our current occupant in the WH. Some may cop and mea culpa, others won’t. That’s fine. I just feel very strongly about this HCR disaster and the impact it will have on all of us. We all have skin in this game.

              1. We all have skin in this game.

                More racist than that you can’t get.

      2. You surveyed full-time reason staff, reason contributors, and others with “libertarian” tendencies. This being a libertarian magazine, I believe the intent was to show how people with libertarian sensibilities were planning to vote. It’s not a meme; it’s disgusting so many so-called libertarians voted for Obama.

        If it matters, I believe there was one person who admitting to preferring McCain. Fuck him too.

        1. The meme is that a significant portion of Reason staff voted for Obama, which isn’t true.

          1. You’re deliberately misinterpreting the “meme” then. As far as I have used it — and others I believe, but please correct me if I’m wrong — it has been in context. Reason staff, contributors and libertarianish types told us how they were going to vote. I don’t recall anyone (at least not repeatedly) claiming it was solely the reason staff.

            1. Whoops, now I don’t mean to be misleading. Change “solely” to “significantly.”

              1. See, “You mean like Reason’s editors?”, above.

      3. And sly choice of words there (“current”). Reason hired these dupes. Is something wrong with your vetting/interview process?

        1. Uh, I/we don’t vet based on voting record, and rightly so. If we did, I’d be the first one disqualified.

          And the only difference between “current” and “then” Reason staffers is David Weigel, whose voting record pre-2008 was almost certainly more right-of-center than mine ever has been or will be.

          1. FWIW I voted I voted for Mike Castle for Congress in 2000, when I voted in Delaware. I voted in the GOP primaries in Illinois in 2002 and 2004, and GOP in the general election in 2002. (IE, I voted against Blago.) When I lived in VA always voted against Jim Moran.

      4. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  16. Obama makes me glad I’m Canadian.

    If I’d been American, I probably have voted for him in 2008, believing he couldn’t be worse than GWB. I’d now be knocking my head against the wall saying “How could I be so f*****g stupid?”

    1. I don’t know, I’m not convinced I’d hate John McCain less, just differently. But having Palin as Veep would have been priceless. Imagine all the Vader/Ms. Vader Cheney-Palin references and mockup pics we’ve missed.

      1. McCain wouldn’t have been able to get away with this shit. Could you imagine the uproar in the MSM if he had tried to indict a whistle blower? And I guarantee you he would have had a much tougher time putting a hit out on an American citizen.

        McCain would not have been in any way libertarian. But I really don’t think he would have done some of the shit Obama is doing if for no other reason that it would have caused such outrage.

        1. McCain would not have been in any way libertarian.

          Well, he would have been more free trade and definitely anti farm subsidies. But no one seriously cares about that from the libertarian side; not enough to base one’s vote, surely.

        2. McCain would not have been in any way libertarian.

          Well, he would have been more free trade and definitely anti farm subsidies. But no one seriously cares about that from the libertarian side; not enough to base one’s vote, surely.

          1. True. And we wouldn’t have the porkulus. We probably still would have had TARP. But we would have save $700 billion in stimulus money. And no way would we have gotten anything as bad as Obamacare.

            I really can’t see how McCain would not have at been better or not nearly as bad.

            1. McCain would’ve been better because he wouldn’t have been in the same party as the majority of Congress. Sure, he’d have annoyed us with some bipartisan bullshit, but I think we’d have had some precious gridlock to save us from the crap that’s been spewing from Demotopia lately.

              1. I kept telling people to vote for McCain, of nothing else as a better alternative to Obama. Nobody listened. Then again, I live in New York, so….

            2. But we would have save $700 billion in stimulus money.

              No, probably about $350 billion, considering McCain’s alternative stimulus plan relying more on a larger temporary payroll tax cut.

              1. That’s what I think. He’d have cost us some money, too, but not to the degree Obamania has. And no fucking healthcare bill.

              2. True enough. Doesn’t it seem quaint to remember the days when $350 billion was a lot of money?

                1. Ah, yes …

            3. I think there would have been a McCain stimulus. The biggest two differences, I think, would have come in health care (less statist/expensive) and foreign policy (more). He’d be both stronger on free trade agreements, and more likely to impose trade sanctions.

              1. Honestly Matt, what would he have done overseas that is any different than Obama? Talked a better game on Iran? It is not like anyone is going to do anything anyway. I seriously doubt McCain would have been able to pay the political price necessary to target American citizens. And he would have been under tremendous pressure to end the wars.

                1. Of course, for all we know, McCain’s hunger for the presidency was driven by a lust for revenge against Vietnam.

                  1. How can “hunger” be driven by “lust?” I would think that a Deadly Sin wouldn’t want to rub elbows with a mere urge.

                    1. How can “hunger” be driven by “lust?”
                      Lemme tell ya…

                2. John — McCain probably wouldn’t be drawing down troop levels in Iraq, and he’d be a helluva lot more confrontational about Iran and North Korea, for starters.

                  1. We aren’t drawing down troop levels in Iraq anymore than the original timeline.

                    Which is to say, very slowly. And we got a surge into an even worse theater for mostly domestic political reasons to boot.

              2. And Matt I don’t think the Dems in Congress would have given him any kind of healthcare bill. They wouldn’t have wanted the issue to die in the next election.

                1. They might have set him up for a forced veto, to use against him in the midterms and the next presidential election.

                  1. I sometimes think if McCain won, it would have been viewed as a third Bush term, and perhaps allowed for someone even more extreme than Obama (or a more extreme Obama) to win in 2012. We’ve seen what happens when “progressives” get their way. The tides gotta turn someday. Perhaps it will sooner than if McCain had won.

                    In my fantasy land.

                    1. I’m with Pro Liberate and John on this: if you are going to vote for an “establishment” crook, better to vote for the one which will result in the most gridlock.

                      As George Will said at CPAC: “Gridlock is an American accomplishment!”

  17. Unrelated, but here’s an article that we’ve all been waiting for:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITI…..tml?hpt=T2

    1. http://www.chron.com/disp/stor…..43272.html

      And the Dutch offered to help, but dumb ass told them no.

      1. But the super-deluxe regulatory state will fix all of these lapses. If only the right people were writing the rules…

    2. Favorite line:

      “And a 2008 inspector general’s report found that regulators in the agency’s Denver, Colorado, office received improper gifts from energy industry representatives and engaged in illegal drug use and inappropriate sexual relations with them.”

  18. This oil thing has really opened the floodgates to Obama’s base finally doubting their Fearless Leader. I think lefties are more superstitious about natural and man-made disasters than conservatives. Just my opinion but I think some of them believe Mother Gaia or whatever is not looking favorably on the Bamster so they are allowed to vocalize it.

    1. The “Mandate of Heaven”

  19. This oil thing has really opened the floodgates to Obama’s base finally doubting their Fearless Leader.

    That’s the conventional wisdom, but I’m not so sure. The endless underwater gusher has been going on for almost two months now, and his poll numbers have barely moved.

    I’m starting to think that he could nuke Tehran and 95% of his base would still vote for him.

    1. Where they gonna go? They’re pretty much stuck with him now. Hehe.

  20. This being a libertarian magazine, I believe the intent was to show how people with libertarian sensibilities were planning to vote. It’s not a meme; it’s disgusting so many so-called libertarians voted for Obama.

    Given the situation at the time, I can’t be bothered to get a big hate on.

    If ANYBODY votes for this lying sack of shit a second time, I’ll be pissed.

    1. Agreed. At least libertarians, moderate republicans and independents who voted for him ADMIT they made a mistake and were wrong about him.

      Here’s to hoping the only other alternative isn’t Palin in 2012. She is the one person he could beat easily (that I’ve heard of.)

      1. I really hope Palin doesn’t get anywhere. I do hope Ron Paul gets more traction…or Jesse Ventura.

  21. So Ellsworth took time off his investigations as to “what really happened on 9/11” to weigh in on this? And we are all richer for it!

  22. Now this one is what I’ve been looking for. Would be giving you credits on the way how you deliver this great insight. Such an interesting story.

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