“Now go down to the doctor's office and get a colostomy bag.”
July 2, 2007 7:08 PM   Subscribe

“Mike, are those the Pentagon Papers?” Former Senator and current Presidential candidate Mike Gravel tells the story of how he got the Pentagon Papers released into the public record in 1971, and later published by the Beacon Press.
posted by homunculus (38 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Transcript.
posted by homunculus at 7:09 PM on July 2, 2007


a wonderful speech!
posted by growabrain at 8:10 PM on July 2, 2007


previously
posted by pruner at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2007


Quite a contrast to the castrated "opposition" we have these days.
posted by delmoi at 8:28 PM on July 2, 2007


"...and out comes Bob Dole, who's one of my enemies."

LOL
posted by pruner at 8:34 PM on July 2, 2007


this is really interesting and funny... thanks for posting it, homunculus.
posted by pruner at 8:39 PM on July 2, 2007


this is interesting but not funny. gravel is the only candidate on the dem ticket worth considering. he exposed the pentagon papers, he filibustered the draft for vietnam, and he friggin made this awesome video.

it's not funny that gravel isn't considered a major candidate. it's too bad long standing principles and deeper thinking don't get one all that far in this age of moneyed and starstruck politics.
posted by localhuman at 9:58 PM on July 2, 2007


I meant that Gravel's telling of the story is funny... not that Gravel, or the lack of respect that he gets, is funny.
posted by pruner at 10:06 PM on July 2, 2007


localhuman - I had previously FPP'd that Gravel video... I even linked to it upthread.
posted by pruner at 10:42 PM on July 2, 2007


a great story, much appreciated, homunculus.
posted by jrb223 at 11:16 PM on July 2, 2007


The full episode of Demcracy Now also contains speaches by Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and Robert West, the president of Unitarian Universalist Association who agreed to publish the Pentagon papers in the Beacon Press.

You can watch the full episode here.
posted by rajbot at 11:35 PM on July 2, 2007


pruner: this is really interesting and funny... thanks for posting it, homunculus.

My pleasure. I had meant to link to your post as reference (which I'm usually meticulous about) but forgot. Thanks for those links.

And thank you, rajbot. The whole thing was fascinating. I'd heard some of Ellsberg's account before, but not the others.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on July 2, 2007


Speaking of Daniel Ellsberg and whistleblowers in the present: Let Sibel Edmonds Speak.
posted by homunculus at 12:04 AM on July 3, 2007


Are there any people out there with a history of real patriotism who aren't weirdos making freaky dadaist youtube videos?

Can we convince them to run for president?
posted by Riki tiki at 1:48 AM on July 3, 2007


Great speech, great post. I love Mike Gravel; if, as a certified anarchist, I could bring myself to cast a vote for anyone, it would be him. Thanks, homunculus!
posted by languagehat at 6:12 AM on July 3, 2007


if, as a certified anarchist, I could bring myself to cast a vote

Technically speaking you could, hat.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:02 AM on July 3, 2007


Totally awesome. Thanks, homunculus.

I got to see Daniel Ellsberg talk about the PP a few years ago (may have been during the Downing St. Memo period), and it's great to read/hear the other part of the equation. (He also wasn't nearly as funny, though of course he was talking about war, death, and government secrets.)
posted by mrgrimm at 7:34 AM on July 3, 2007


Technically speaking you could, hat.

I could bring myself to vote? I'm not sure how you would know that, but technically speaking, I don't think so.

though of course he was talking about war, death, and government secrets.

As was Gravel. It's entirely possible to be funny about such things (see: Mark Twain, Joseph Heller, and the gravedigger in Hamlet).
posted by languagehat at 9:04 AM on July 3, 2007


hat, what I meant with my cranky, pre-caffeine snark was that you're always toting the anarchist flag, and that you somehow frame your refusal to vote as some sort of practical limitation, where it's really a choice, of course. It just gets a little old you know, when you're always running around repeating "I am an anarchist and I can't bring myself to vote! However, this is my opinion on issue x!" - you may do it eloquently and consistently, but in the end I feel there's a certain self-defeating quality inherent to the statement.

I'm not saying hypocritical, but I am saying self-defeating.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2007


I'm sorry, but that simply doesn't make sense. I realize that anarchism is such an unusual philosophy most people don't know how to deal with it, but would you say to a pacifist "you somehow frame your refusal to kill as some sort of practical limitation, where it's really a choice, of course. It just gets a little old you know, when you're always running around repeating 'I am a pacifist and I can't bring myself to kill! However, this is my opinion on war!'"?

I do not "frame my refusal to vote as some sort of practical limitation." I think voting is wrong, just as a pacifist thinks killing is wrong, and just as you probably think certain things are wrong. I don't know what this could possibly have to do with the right to express an opinion.
posted by languagehat at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2007


If you replace "anarchist" with "heterosexual" and "vote" with "have sex with a man"...
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2007


That was a fantastic story. Really, he's the only serious candidate.
posted by odinsdream at 11:33 AM on July 3, 2007


"now go down to to the doctor's office and get me an anarchist!"

as a (non-certified) anarchist, i figure voting is more like playing the bad hand you've been dealt, rather then betraying my personal beliefs. then again, i have little problem betraying personal beliefs when i feel like it. i'm not a fanatic nor a purist in any sense.

do your anarchist beliefs prevent you from paying federal income tax? if so, how do you do it? (i would very much like to do it myself.)

to me (again, not certified), anarchism is about voluntary associations rather than forced institutions, and i could certainly picture myself joining an organization voluntarily and voting on decisions.

i guess that's not what we're talking about, and (in america) we have no choice about whether or not we join the government.

however, since we don't have that choice, i don't have much problem with voting, especially for local decisions where my vote has more importance. i generally couldn't care less for the candidates, but i can't imagine not voting for ballot initiatives, *especially* any new, enforceable legislation or bond measures (more taxes).

anyway, perhaps i'm more of an anarchist in dreamland than in reality, but i don't have much problem with voting (or not voting).

what's amazing was that i've never seen languagehat "toting the anarchist flag." i never knew, but i'm certainly glad to see it.

(sorry for the derail, homunculus. again, great post.)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on July 3, 2007


i've never seen languagehat "toting the anarchist flag."

That's because I only mention it when it's relevant, which is rarely. I fear gnfti was just being a jerk, but I forgive him because he hadn't had his coffee, and that's a sad condition for anyone to be in.

anarchism is about voluntary associations rather than forced institutions, and i could certainly picture myself joining an organization voluntarily and voting on decisions.

Oh, absolutely; when I say "voting is wrong" I mean "in a statist setup where I'm being encouraged to vote for the jailer of my choice." At least here in America I'm not forced to vote for the jailer of my choice, as in many benighted countries.

do your anarchist beliefs prevent you from paying federal income tax? if so, how do you do it?

Nah, I hold my nose and pay it. And if they threatened to throw me in jail if I didn't vote, I'd hold my nose and do that too, in as useless a way as feasible. I'm not a wild-eyed bomb-throwing anarchist, I'm just your average middle-aged guy who wants to live a peaceable life but happens not to believe in the legitimacy of the state.
posted by languagehat at 1:23 PM on July 3, 2007


I'm just your average middle-aged guy who wants to live a peaceable life but happens not to believe in the legitimacy of the state.

Huh. I'm surprised that a thoughtful prescriptivist can hold this position. Perhaps we mean something different when we use the word 'legitimacy'?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2007


Yeah, it's probably not worth debating semantics. I did express myself somewhat haphazardly upthread, and I apologise for that. (Plus, I'm convinced that at the end of the day languagehat and I will agree on a lot of issues - political, social, or otherwise.)

In fact, what I wanted to say was that the original statement came across (to me, at least) sort of as "I would rather die than vote" - a notion which was expertly deflated later on.

Then I got this vision of lh as that guy at the party who cannot stop talking about how he's a vegetarian but he loves a good burger and oh, poor him, he wishes a could eat the burger, but alas, he's a vegetarian and oh - did he mention he's a vegetarian?

And I already know quite well that lh is not that guy, but along with "I'm straight but if I were to make out with one person of the opposite sex" and "I'm a pacifist but if I were to kill one person" it just seems like such an awkward thing to say. Eat the burger, kiss the boy, kill the bastard, and oh for Pete's sake, vote for the guy already, but spare me the imaginary impediments. Hey, guess what - maybe you like a little bit of meat now and then, maybe you're just a teensy bit gay for a certain set of same-sex hotties, perhaps you're willing to kill someone given the right circumstances after all, and huh, turns out you can state a preference for a political candidate.

Of course, you'll now probably be all "I never said that", and rightly so, because it turns out I misinterpreted your statement, and I want to thank you for the subsequent clarification. But I stand by my point that saying "if I hadn't opted to abstain from activity X then oh boy would I indulge in activity X" is a hollow tautology, and (to me) an annoying one to boot.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:59 PM on July 3, 2007


Also:

a thoughtful prescriptivist

Ouch! :)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:00 PM on July 3, 2007


Huh. What a complete and utter brainfart. I thought about descriptivism, and still wrote prescriptivism. Then I previewed it, and it made sense in my head. Only now it doesn't.

I sure could use another cup of coffee.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:18 PM on July 3, 2007


Anway, I just meant that a descriptivist position on grammar strikes me as structurally similar to a realist position on politics: this is the state we have, and we steer it as best we can. On the other hand, I'm quite sure languagehat will return and give a stirring account of the difference between grammar and the ethico-political considerations that go into political legitimacy.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:22 PM on July 3, 2007


a descriptivist position on grammar strikes me as structurally similar to a realist position on politics

This is one of those situations in which whatever structural similarity exists is of no practical importance. There really isn't much similarity between saying people are correct to use words the way they use them and saying it's OK to rob, imprison, and kill people as long as you have a government-issued badge. As a matter of fact, it seems to me there's a much more significant similarity between "people should speak the way they want, regardless of the wishes of would-be linguistic dictators" and "people should act the way they want, regardless of the wishes of would-be real-world dictators." But maybe that's just me.
posted by languagehat at 2:30 PM on July 3, 2007


Great speech, great post. I love Mike Gravel; if, as a certified anarchist, I could bring myself to cast a vote for anyone, it would be him. Thanks, homunculus!

Well if you're hypocritical enough to get certified casting a vote is the least of your worries.
posted by delmoi at 3:11 PM on July 3, 2007


(hmm, I posted that before seeing that this thread somehow became a pile on languagehat thread, which is absurd.)

Anway, I just meant that a descriptivist position on grammar strikes me as structurally similar to a realist position on politics: this is the state we have, and we steer it as best we can.

The problem with that analogy is that with grammar, you are trying to analyze something, where as with politics you are trying to manage something. In fact, the descriptivist and the anarchist are similar in that both do not believe in management of whatever it is they're related too. That strikes me as a much more natural analogy.
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on July 3, 2007


In fact, the descriptivist and the anarchist are similar in that both do not believe in management of whatever it is they're related to.

Exactly!

The "certified" thing was a joke.
posted by languagehat at 3:25 PM on July 3, 2007


with politics you are trying to manage something

This is where anarchism breaks down, in my opinion. Politics is the art of freedom: it's a collection of strategies for resisting management and avoiding domination. Sometimes we work together, and sometimes the institutions we create get out of control: in those situations, politics is the art of taking politicians down a peg. In a democracy, this often involves voting, though that's rarely sufficient.

By the way, this is why Machiavelli, who basically invented the modern conception of the state, is actually a highly anti-authoritarian thinker.

a pile on languagehat thread

I wasn't piling on. Just laying wind eggs and wondering about the connection between two positions (one of which I hold, and one of which I don't) for some guy I don't know but can't help liking.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:10 PM on July 3, 2007






Deep Voice, Deep Throat
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on July 5, 2007




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