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Ctosing Octoter 30, 2004 Think you for making us ti vour Vence” in Austin. Kevin al Ranee Buck 414174873 www. . Iazyoakbandb . com QeM, continued from page 19 expose and dismantle this machine. TO: Assuming they don’t shred everything beforehand. PK: They can’t shred the people. The biggest thing would be to end the reign of terror in the agencies, so that the CIA and the Treasury Departmentthe civil servantscan talk about what actually happened. It’s obvious that there was intense pressure placed upon the agencies to come up with the conclusion that [the Administration] wanted. But very few people are willing to say that, because these guys play rough. There’s a lot of funny stuff involving the Justice Department, where officials who’ve criticized Ashcroft’s handling of stuffwhich is disastrous, right? Not a single successful terror prosecution [but] a lot of grandstandinghave found themselves subject to internal investigations. If we can get to a point where these people can speak freely, it will matter a lot. Homeland Security: I want people to be able to talk freely about the timing of terror alerts. You can draw a chart and it’s obvious that terror alerts increase when Bush is down in the polls and vanish when he’s up in the polls. But we need someone to go on the record and say that they’ve been used as a political tool. TO: In writing about the cult of personality surrounding the president, you mention the 27 photographs of him that appear in the 2005 Budget. PK: I actually went to check and looked at a budget from the Clinton years. It’s a rather dry-looking thing with charts and tables. The Bush budget is very much short on charts and tablesit’s better not to think about what would be in them. But it has these themes, uplifting themes of various kinds and each of them is illustrated with multiple glossy color photos of Bush doing presidential-type things. Obviously you see him standing in front of a giant American flag talking about homeland security, but you also see him hiking along a mountain trail, comforting the elderly, helping children learn how to read. It really does look like something from a Communist country. You know, I joked when I wrote about it that they forgot the photo of him swimming the Yangtze River. It’s very unAmerican, but it fits in with Operation Flight Suitthat kind of stagecraft, that glorification of the individual leader. What I wrote at the time of the carrier landing is that in the American tradition, the president is a civilianeven if he’s a former general. The president does not appear in uniform; he’s not a generalisimo; he’s not a hero. That’s why the Constitution says the president is the commander-in-chief: to make it very clear that civilian authority, not military, runs the country. And then here we are doing these things that are really something that you would expect to see in a banana republic. TO: What’s the column if Bush wins? PK: I don’t really want to think about that. The problem is there are different ways he could win, too. TO: Jimmy Carter has already written an op-ed in The Washington Post saying that the basic international conditions for a fair election are not there in Florida. PK: We’re within inches of having most of the world, actually all of the world, and quite a few Americans, believing that we’re no longer a functioning democracy. That could happen a month from now. Moderates and liberals made a terrible mistake in 2000. Their attitude was well, this was very bad, but the right thing to do was to basically gloss over it and pretend it’s okay. That just encouraged these guys. It should have been a mobilizing point. Instead, everything we really know about the voting looks worse this year…. Sometimes it’s a little soothing to read history. I have developed a big taste for the novels of Alan Furst, who writes these historical thrillers set in the thirties and forties in Europe. I think the very darkness of itthe fact that we know that it all came out okay, makes you sort of feel better. The other book I read in the last couple of weeks was Rubicon, a new, rather well-written story about the fall of the Roman republic. You find yourself doing that sort of thing. Me and Robert Byrd. STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION. tin, TX 78701, is published biweekly \(24 issues lisher, The Texas Democracy Foundation; Managing Editor, Barbara Belejack; Editor, Jake Bernstein. Owner: The Texas Democracy Foundation, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, TX 78701. 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average Data and for Issue Date 9/24/04. Total Number of Copies: avg. 7759, actual 7978. Requested Mail Subscriptions Outside-County: avg. Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution: avg. 94, actual Free Distribution Outside the Mail: avg. 160, actual Requested Circulation: avg. 95%, actual 98%. Signed Lara George, Circulation Manager, 9/29/04. 10/22/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27