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Reply #109


Response to msanthrope (Reply #91)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:32 PM

109. I met Ellsberg at Rice University where he met with students, inspired us to go to D.C.

We got more involved with politics than we before, helping mobilize student anti-war actions across the USA. From Wikipedia entry on the Pentagon Papers:

In February 1971 Ellsberg discussed the study with New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan, and gave 43 of the volumes to him in March. The Times began publishing excerpts on June 13, 1971; the first article in the series was titled "Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces Three Decades of Growing US Involvement". The name "Pentagon Papers" for the study arose during the resulting media publicity. Street protests, political controversy and lawsuits followed.

To ensure the possibility of public debate about the content of the papers, on June 29, US Senator Mike Gravel (then Democrat, Alaska) entered 4,100 pages of the Papers to the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds. These portions of the Papers were subsequently published by Beacon Press, the publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that "for any Speech or Debate in either House, shall not be questioned in any other Place", thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the decision Gravel v. United States.


I suppose this is why we can't get at Daryl Issa for his stunts, releasing information. Many arguments do not take these factors into account, nor do they take into account how the majority in the Congress of Senate is essential to bring things to the public, to investigate, to change things.

We had a brief window around the time Obama was elected, with many investigations by John Conyers and others, and those who deny it was brief or what the issues of Democratic Party control of doing things, I no longer cite the proof. They just want to bash Democrats without learning the basics or the numbers. They consider these details beneath them as they talk about great causes, but those details, like the state races, are what makes what happens in D.C. happen. It's boring until it all comes together to do something good or bad. and there is really no surprise what apathy leads to - plutocrats winning.

Ellsberg, Kerry, MLK and the Kennedys shaped my life and those who I knew, mid-sixties thorugh the mid-seventies. Our focus varied from civil rights, voting rights, women's and gay rights, anti-war, to environmental, immigrants and unions. There is never a lack of things to work toward, the work is multi-generational.

I have never forgotten when I saw Mike Gravel's tearful testimony as he entered the words into the Congressional Record to preserve them for the public. Nixon was hot after everyone to get the disclosure stopped, but this was the way to get it done.

You are right. I feel certain Kucinich or Sanders would have done the same as Gravel with this information. It was the reason I supported Gravel in the 2008 primaries. When he did not get the nomination, I checked out Obama and I have no regretted my choice as being the best man for the job.

As Gravel and Ellsberg said, Presidents are not in the same position as they were. When I met with a group of Democrats and listened Kucinich in a Q & A session and people were furious at Obama for the war not ending fast enough, he said the same thing, that Obama's job is not the same as that of a Representative and he supported Obama as a progressive.

In case you never saw the unedited Gravel video, here it is:




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