Sunday, February 19, 2006


Woodward and Bernstein on Larry King

I caught Woodward and Bernstein on Larry King the other night, and while Woodward remains a Bush apologist and access whore, Bernstein had some choice words for the President and his men:

I think the most interesting aspect of this is to compare it to the Nixon presidency because we are at a point in the Bush presidency, as in the Nixon presidency, where what the president says and what the vice president says is not believed on its face by a large part of the American people, by a large segment of the press.

And, indeed, there is a track record of falsity, untruth, disinformation, misinformation, so that there is becoming a distrust in this presidency that's very similar to what we saw under Nixon and that is why all these questions have been raised that ordinarily the question would be one of merely sympathy for both the shooter and the man who was shot.


As Bob says there are unanswered questions and pretty much at this point almost anything on an important question that the vice president says raises a question of distrust in my mind because look at the numbers of almost every word that you say, "mission accomplished," "Abu Ghraib," "WMD," whether it's the president or the vice president, Katrina, the response to Katrina. You look at this house behind me and you hear, you know, "Heck of a job, Brownie."

There is a disinformation campaign in which words mean almost nothing. It's almost Orwellian. If you went back and read 1984 that's not to say that this presidency is 1984 but if you look at 1984 it's about largely the use of language and the use of language by this president and by Mr. Cheney is disingenuous and I think that is not always disingenuous but on the big questions it has been.

This was a sweet dig on Woodward:

First of all, before Bob gets his NRA card taken away, you've raised the right question.
There's more:

Larry just asked exactly the right question why not tell the truth? Why not tell the truth about WMD and the failure of intelligence? Look behind me again. This president has refused to give the record of his deliberations and of those aides of his as to how they responded to this hurricane to the Congress of the United States.

This is unheard of. Why not tell the truth? Why not tell the truth about how it is that this president authorized the use of torture in regulations promulgated by the now attorney general, then counsel to the president Mr. Gonzales?

Why not tell the truth about this spying program without warrants that George Will, the conservative columnist said yesterday represents a grab of presidential authority that might be as dangerous as terrorism itself.

We have got a real problem of truth and I would suggest that we are at a point. We now know, you know, John Dean wrote a book called "Worse than Watergate" about this president and when he wrote it I thought it was just hyperbole. Now, we are at a point where we were after the reporting Bob and I did in Watergate, after Judge Sirica entered the Watergate situation and brought to the light some more facts. We are at a similar point in this presidency where we were with the Irvin investigation...


The truth is we don't know if it's worse than Watergate and the only way we would find out at this point is by a real congressional investigation with subpoena power.

And one of the most interesting aspects of this is that ideological defenders of this president in the Republican party are, some of them are very uneasy in private with this president and with his actions and his answers to questions that might not be truthful and at the same time they continue to defend him because they agree with his ideology.

One of the great things that happened in Watergate was eventually Republicans did not continue to support Mr. Nixon and his actions when they found them to be against the law.


The system is corrupt, thoroughly corrupt. It's become corroded. The legislative system and the Congress and the state legislature is subject only to money, really.

And what the founders intended to be a citizen legislature is an oligarchical legislature today, is plutocrat legislature today. That unless money is involved, forget about the public good, and if money is involved forget about the public good.

The system isn't working.
It's not about Jack Abramoff. He's just the example of what happens when you take it as far as it can go in terms of how toxic it can become and how the evil of what happens when money determines what goes on in our political system.

Abramoff is reflective of it. It goes all through this administration. It goes all through the more important administration. Who's in the White House doesn't matter ultimately. It's the Congress of the U.S., and they're no longer responsive to the people. They're responsive to money.

snip (on Katrina)

It's a disaster. But what's so interesting, and again, I don't know enough yet, is what the people say, and that is, that they're not getting the help they need.

For instance, their mortgages are being threatened, they say. They're being threatened with foreclosure. The insurance companies are finding ways not to pay for what happened there organizations here say. And yet the efforts of the people here is just heroic.

Last night I met a guy, a state trooper colonel, who went into all the synagogues with two men and took out all the Torah scrolls as the synagogues went under the water and saved those artifacts.

The stories of people who helped people at that level are just heroic. And to contrast that with the reaction of FEMA, of the White House, of the president, who took so long to get here on the ground, who has said, you know, that they didn't really know that this was coming, and that this catastrophe could happen.

This is not a natural disaster that happened here. This is a disaster of negligence. That much you can tell, that it's nature and negligence.


But you ask yourself a basic question, if you are a federal agency, the same federal agency sophisticated enough supposedly to protect us from terrorists, you ought to know enough that in a big disaster requiring evacuation, that you need buses to get people without vehicles out of your city.

They didn't even seemingly think about this problem early enough on. You know, the Republican report released yesterday is savage about the response from the top down.

And to listen to the people here, you know, there are a couple people here I've known for a long time. I've come to this city a lot, who are menial workers. Their families are in Texas. They're in Baton Rouge. And they are trying to hold down jobs, stay in makeshift quarters, deal with their families who may or may not come back.

You know, this has never happened in this country. We have never lost an American city or come this close to losing one. And I don't think we'll lose New Orleans, because finally people are recognizing how important it is. These are human beings...

the transcript is here.

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