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January 23, 2007

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis

Not only did I have no idea this 90 minute documentary had become available again, I actually didn't know Bill Moyers had done it in the first place back in 1987. It covers a huge swath of Forbidden History, and is REALLY worth watching—either below or full size here.

Many thanks to the King of Zembla for pointing this out. While he does of course rule as an autocrat in his own domain, he's surprisingly encouraging about open government elsewhere.

Posted at January 23, 2007 08:06 AM | TrackBack

It has been around, but not in its complete form.

The King finds such things for us.

If only people will see this and realize a true patriot is speaking, but I often have such fantasies.

Posted by: SPIIDERWEB™ at January 23, 2007 09:24 AM

For those of us still on bicycle power (dial-up, I mean), the transcript is available at

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 23, 2007 11:07 AM

Aparently everybody and anybody with a little power or the desire for power wants to sidestep THE CONSTITUTION, OUR COMMON LAW. Personally its the "trying to be secret" government we have in power that worries me the most at this time. Sure, your Illuminaties and your Triads may have plans to take over, but the POWER resides in the people themselves. They go to work every day to produce our world as we know it. To control THE AMERICAN PEOPLE takes more than a dullard puppet President, more than a secret plan or organization, more than an army. The ONLY thing that can and will work is CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. Anyone who touts the word REVOLUTION and has their NAME by it, is by definition a NONCONSENTING INDIVIDUAL. The best laid plans of mice and men are ALWAYS trumped by the first fool coming down the pike, that's why we as CITIZENS must constantly correct the course of OUR MIGHTY SHIP OF STATE.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 23, 2007 11:20 AM

Nothing is more nauseating than the sight of Ollie North hamming it up for Congress, using the most oily fake sincerity and fake patriotism, pretending to move himself to crocodile tears, using fake high-flying language like "those here assembled," in an attempt to justify his scumbag criminality.

Posted by: bobbo at January 23, 2007 02:39 PM

How awful, all that gore on the tube. Good thing we do not show those types of war images any more, they disturb my beautiful mind.

Posted by: Mart at January 23, 2007 03:02 PM

Thank you mistah charley ph.d, this machine is of the hand crank model. Had the cat in a squirel cage for an up-grade, alas, times are hard and as a consequence, he's not been eating well. It would be cruel and unfair to make him work w/o pay. (food)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 23, 2007 04:10 PM

Many thanks. I hadn't forgotten this period, I spent a lot of time w/ the anti-contra movement here. The thing I did forget was that once there was something called JOURNALISM! Moyers, Rather and others were always sceptical. The news department were not yet profit centers. As valuable as the internets are, nobody blogging has the resources alone to put something like this together. Somehow, guys like you, Digby, Josh Marshall, the folks at FDL need to put together something like this Moyers report about the congress'es failure wrt Iraq, Universal health Care,... pick a subject. You guy's know the players, the timelines, and who said what, when. Maybe outline a project and take an online a subscription. Thanks again! (Jackson Brown is Great!)

Posted by: john in california at January 23, 2007 05:48 PM

I had forgotten how blatantly, frightenly arrogant those guiys are/were.

Posted by: slim at January 23, 2007 10:50 PM

Though our national leaders thoroughly believe the masses are too simpleminded to understand the intricate labyrinth of national leader thought processes nothing could be further from the truth. We can all understand the greed that drives national leader actions and that a few should have far more than they could possibly ever need to the point where everyone else suffers. What could be more logical than that? It certainly is a relief to know that we can lay our trust at national leader feet fully knowing they will always do the right thing even if it means inventing bogey men that hide in our closets or under our beds only waiting for us to turn out the lights so that they can spring out and rend us limb from limb. Thank God all we need do is give our national leaders all our money, our children and our adamant gratitude so that they may save us. Someone once said all a plumber need know is that shit runs downhill, something our national leaders both democrat and republican have taken to heart.

Posted by: rob payne at January 24, 2007 04:51 AM

Thanks for linking to this, it was really inspiring for me to see that this kind of journalism has actually made it to broadcast television once in this nation's history. Perhaps one day, critical voices will again be heard in the national dialog.

Posted by: brian at January 24, 2007 09:32 AM

Bill Moyers mistakes. Too much focus on North. North was not the central figure.

It's obvious from the hearings that he was media prepped, and that the Congress unused to television coverage or oversight decided to give him way too much leeway. That his lawyer had the arrogance to interrupt the Senator from Hawaii, say all you need to know about the show trial.

The real scandal was in the Congressional committee chairmanships that agreed to go along with the Reagan Administration, without using their powers of oversight. Moyers needed to focus on that.

Over this last several years, the internet has much more effective about giving shit directly to Sen. Jay Rockefeller and and Sen Pat Robertson, as well as House chairs Harman and Hoekstra.

What's especially noticeable is the slow pacing, and the endless shots of people without any real power, talking vaguely about "what they think". The whole show could have been much tighter by talking in much more depth about what mattered.

I guess its nice that Moyer got to make the documentary at all.

Interesting to note that the Contra Scandal was objected to as much for its incompetence and profiteering as for its law breaking. Also that North's fascist line of propaganda is still the model used by the right-wing, it's no wonder he was given a radio show. I think the people who prepped him went on to a very successful run taking advantage of the end of the Fairness Doctrine later that year.

Posted by: patience at January 24, 2007 01:25 PM

Thanks for this - great bit of footage.

Happy Burns Day! Robert Burns - a true freedom fighter. More at

Posted by: Gus Abraham at January 25, 2007 08:33 AM

I got to your blog by surfing from link to link. The only way to find real treasures!
Thank you for this link to good , true journalism.
And a bit of rather recent history so fast forgotten. The only thing that has changed is journalism. Some of it still survives, barely. Keith OLberman comes to mind.

Posted by: ullariitta at January 28, 2007 03:45 PM

Please copy/paste this link to go see what Molly Ivins said/says about Bill will be glad you did!

Posted by: Mr. Natural at January 29, 2007 12:12 AM