View Full Version : Elections Far left's version of Fox producer guy accosts various Dem reps

08-26-2008, 09:21 PM
As we arrived at the Pepsi Center, we chased down Senator Carl Levin, chair of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee and a passionate supporter of Joe Biden.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Your response to the foreign policy team that Senator Obama is putting together? Many of these people were considered hawkish Democrats during the ’90s.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: Hawkish Democrats during the ’90s. I have a lot of confidence in Joe Biden. You’re asking me about Obama’s team or about Biden’s team?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yes, I’m asking about Obama’s team.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: I think he’s got the people that he is comfortable with. I have no doubt that the people that he has support policies which are fundamentally different from the McCain policies. That’s the question, is—it’s not precisely where on some imaginary continuum or other our candidate is. Barack Obama is night and day difference from where McCain is on foreign policy issues.

And the main issue is, number one, will there be a timetable in Iraq, or will the open-ended commitment remain? Obama wants some kind of a timetable in Iraq. McCain says open-ended. He will not do anything other than to say it’s going to be condition-based and so forth. So that is a huge contrast.

Then you’ve got the difference in terms of allies, the importance of allies. McCain has supported the Bush policies, which have been unilateral, which have been arrogant, which have been—separate ourselves, call other folks names, “you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists” kind of rhetoric from Bush. McCain has supported the Bush policies, and Obama differed very differently.

JEREMY SCAHILL: But, Senator, in all fairness—

SEN. CARL LEVIN: I have to go.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Senator Biden played a major role in authorizing the invasion.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: He also, at that time, tried to come up with an alternative, which would have supported [inaudible]—

JEREMY SCAHILL: He refused to call any dissenting opinions.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: I’ve got to go.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Senator Levin refused to answer any more of our questions and walked off with inside the Beltway journalist Joe Klein of Time Magazine.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: Hey, hi, Joe. How are you doing?:doh!:


JEREMY SCAHILL: We headed into the Pepsi Center and ran into New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, who represents Harlem.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL: I put my bet on Obama on getting us out of Iraq.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Joe Biden, they’re saying, is going to be the big foreign policy guy in the White House.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL: You know, I’ve been around for thirty-eight years in the Congress. Vice presidents never counted that much, except Cheney.

JEREMY SCAHILL: So it doesn’t concern you that some of these people were very belligerent on Iraq?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL: No, no, no. Biden knows he made a big mistake. He’s said it, and that’s all I need. Let’s get the hell on out...

...JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, when several of you—I have to press you on this issue because of the district you represent. Several of these people put forward the myth that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Madeleine Albright, for instance, was a key player in the sanctions against Iraq, of the sustained bombing campaign that Clinton launched against Iraq. It’s not just that you’re bringing together a variety or a diversity of opinion. The key players in the foreign policy team are the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party. What we’re hearing from a lot of people is great concern about this foreign policy team and that so many of them were a part of the myth laboratory that was created in the lead-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It’s not just about bringing people together. These are people that were firmly in favor of the war and helping to push it.

REP. TAMMY BALDWIN: Well, I think the myth laboratory really was the Bush administration. I think it was in the closest circles. Now, I don’t have evidence, because this has been the least transparent administration, you know, in my memory. But yet, I feel, even as somebody who opposed the war from the beginning, that I was misled, the stuff that I was shown. And I know that nobody had more access than the administration, that they were showing almost everyone this intelligence, if you will, that seemed to be produced after incredible pressure to produce what the leaders wanted to hear.

So I don’t regard any of them, any of the Democrats who were more hawkish, if you will, as having a role in misinforming the public. They took things at face value. That said, I think that the hallmark of a strong leader like Senator Obama is going to be to say, “I am firm on this. I’m bringing you in for your counsel. I will listen, but we are redeploying out of Iraq.” And that’s what I expect from him, and I think that will happen going forward...

JEREMY SCAHILL: If there is one Democrat who has seldom shied away from criticizing his colleagues for their support of invasions, bombings and wars, it’s Dennis Kucinich, who ran against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. He vocally opposed the policy decisions of many of Obama’s key advisers when they were in the White House in the 1990s.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I still oppose them, but I’m going to work to get Barack Obama elected, because we have to take a new direction. Unless we shift away from the neocons and their control, we’re looking at more war. No question about it. So, you know, a lot of us aren’t going to be particularly satisfied, but so what? You know, the voters made their choice in the primaries. You’ve got to respect that choice. And what I’m going to be doing here, tomorrow, at the convention, is to talk about the economy and look at those issues around which we can be united.

Be certain that under a Democratic administration, if that administration is showing aggressive tendencies or is putting us on the edge of a war again or not taking us into a direction of peace, I am not going to be quiet. I mean, I’m going to continue to talk about the direction America should go in. But we can’t let those differences that we have right now cause us to fracture at a time that we really have to bring a change to the White House. So, we have to be able to tolerate the differences for the moment. But make no mistake about it, when we take—when the Democrats take the White House, if they’re right on foreign policy, I’ll back them, and if they’re not, I’ll oppose them.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Are you going to challenge aspects of the Democratic Party platform this time?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Oh, I challenge it every year.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Talk about what you’re going to challenge.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: You know what? The platform has basically been approved. I’m not—I’ve made my stand on platform issues. But if we don’t get a change in administration, we’re stuck with the neocons again. I don’t think America can remain as a solvent nation. The cost of the war in Iraq, up to between—over $3 trillion. A war against Iran would cost $5 to $10 trillion. These guys are borrowing money. They’re putting us in hock to the future. They’re ruining our kids’ future. We have to change this.

So that’s why my message is the same. Whether the party wants to change its direction or not, I’m still going to be the advocate within the Democratic Party for a new approach for international policy: no more pre-emption, unilateralism, first strike; strength through peace, not peace through strength.

JEREMY SCAHILL: We talked to a lot of people outside. They say, “We want Dennis Kucinich to run as an independent.” Why not?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know what? I’ve made my choice. I’m inside the Democratic Party. I’m going to do everything I can to make the Democratic Party relevant and to make the Democratic Party responsive. I’m aware of the concerns that people have about this party. I’m well aware of them. That’s why I ran for president in the first place.

JEREMY SCAHILL: On the convention floor, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman managed to get within an arm’s length of Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden. She wanted to ask him about his role in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Biden, could I ask you one serious question?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN: I’ve got to do this quickly.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Biden then disappeared up the stairs. ROFL While the hype inside the Pepsi Center is mostly about Barack Obama, many in the social justice movement have criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Perhaps the most frequently invoked of these criticisms is that of her statement upon taking over as speaker in 2006, when she said that impeachment of President Bush was off the table. We put that question to Representative Peter Welch of Vermont.

REP. PETER WELCH: The issue here is accountability. And you’ve got to be candid with the American people. Congress voted with the President to go to war. So they don’t have great standing in second-guessing at this point. We’ve got to bring the troops home, is my view. Secondly, on the whole wiretapping, which is the other area that is of enormous concern to me and many Americans, Congress voted to give the President that authority. So, frankly, I think people can be looking not just to impeachment, but to putting pressure on their members of Congress to use the power of the purse on the war to cut off funding and to use the power of the vote to demand we protect constitutional rights and not re-pass FISA, as Congress recently did.

JEREMY SCAHILL: I think some can reasonably say there’s been a serious failure of leadership from Nancy Pelosi on some of the key issues for the antiwar movement, civil liberties community. It seems like the House caves on almost all of the major issues of the Bush administration’s agenda.

REP. PETER WELCH: Well, Pelosi has voted against the war. Pelosi voted against the FISA—the original FISA legislation. I happen to think Pelosi’s doing a terrific job. And the original Congress, when they voted to support the war, it was a catastrophic mistake for this country. They got a lot of bogus information from the President. But the members of Congress who took the time and had the courage got it right. Pelosi was one of them.

JEREMY SCAHILL: One issue that is almost never discussed in media coverage of Barack Obama is a position that some of his supporters may find surprising. We discussed this with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

JEREMY SCAHILL: The state of Pennsylvania, of course, is a state that has the death penalty on the books.


JEREMY SCAHILL: Senator Obama has spoken in favor of the death penalty. What’s your position on it?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: I’m actually against the death penalty. I think that the potential for making mistakes far outweighs the need to put someone to death. Life with no parole will essentially accomplish the same primary objective, which is to make sure the person is never out on the streets to harm anyone in the future. But, you know, look, there will be any number of things that—you know, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What I’m focused on is making sure that Senator Barack Obama becomes the next president of the United States of America, and I’m going to everything I can to get him elected.

JEREMY SCAHILL: And then, final question on that issue: You have one of the most famous death row prisoners in the world on death row in Pennsylvania, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Do you think that his case has been handled justly?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: You know, I’m certainly no expert on that particular case. It’s been in the criminal justice system for a long period of time. We’re going to let the criminal justice system handle that particular case. I wasn’t out there that night. You weren’t out there that night. None of us standing here knows what exactly happened there. And so, the system needs to be able to function and operate, and it will work itself out.

JEREMY SCAHILL: But would you call for Mumia Abu-Jamal to be taken off of death row, given your opposition to the death penalty?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: My position on the death penalty has been very clear. The particulars of that case and all the components of it are just really—it’s way beyond what my opinion is about the death penalty, in general, versus a particular case. That’s a very serious matter involving the killing of a Philadelphia police officer. We’re going to let the system take care of itself, and we’ll see what happens.


“CAPTAIN HENRY MORGAN”: Captain Henry Morgan, my friend.

JEREMY SCAHILL: And that’s the name you’re sticking to?

“CAPTAIN HENRY MORGAN”: Absolutely. Captain Morgan for president!

JEREMY SCAHILL: As we were leaving the Pepsi Center, we ran into a symbol of the massive corporate presence at the convention. Masquerading as a candidate for president was “Captain Morgan,” the mascot of the brand of rum.

JEREMY SCAHILL: What’s Captain Morgan’s vision for Iraq?

“CAPTAIN HENRY MORGAN”: Some of these issues, we’re going to let Obama and McCain discuss. What we’re going to focus on is putting the party back into politics. Right? They’re doing a great job. They’re having a great time. They’re really focused on those. We’re here to make sure that we’re having fun every day that we wake up by putting the party back into politics.

DIAGEO SPOKESPERSON: He’s totally vetted. Captain Morgan [inaudible].

JEREMY SCAHILL: No, but I mean, how—for a private company to be able do this inside of the convention, how are you guys [inaudible]?

DIAGEO SPOKESPERSON: Captain Morgan’s got the Captain’s Corner Lounge in the pavilion number two media lounge. So—

JEREMY SCAHILL: What’s it called?


JEREMY SCAHILL: No, the Captain’s…

DIAGEO SPOKESPERSON: Captain’s Corner. It’s the official hot spot for Captain and the Morganettes. That’s their party.

JEREMY SCAHILL: So are you an official sponsor of the Democratic and Republican conventions?

DIAGEO SPOKESPERSON: Diageo is the official pourer of both the Democratic and the Republican National Convention.

JEREMY SCAHILL: The official what?

DIAGEO SPOKESPERSON: Official pourer.:spock:

JEREMY SCAHILL: Captain Morgan’s representative told us that they have an official contract at both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Perhaps Captain Morgan’s presidential candidacy was one of the most over-the-top displays of corporate influence over this convention, but it’s hardly the only one, as Congressman Dennis Kucinich explained.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: One of the enduring problems of our political system, whether it’s about Democrats or Republicans, is the role of corporations in the political process. We have a real problem in America, where corporations have infiltrated our political process so seriously that they’re putting labels on all of us. There’s not one on me, but I can say that when I go to my own Ohio delegation, and I see “Dominion” on everything—and that’s a natural gas company that’s jacking up everybody’s rates, and they need the support of a state administration to do it—don’t think that I don’t understand what that’s about. We’re in the Pepsi Arena. Obama is going to give his acceptance in Invesco Stadium. What’s this about? It’s like we’re forgetting the public sphere.

Whole story (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/26/jeremy_scahill_grills_democratic_lawmakers_on)

08-27-2008, 07:13 AM
You mean that wasn't the "whole story"?

08-27-2008, 08:02 AM
You mean that wasn't the "whole story"?

Nobody else liked Captain Morgan? :harumph:

08-27-2008, 09:17 AM
Its like were forgetting the public sphere.

WTF is Kucinich babbling about? Oh those evil corporations?! How dare the private sector buy naming rights and promote their products?! There needs to be more public sector ownership (via government subsidy and/or annexation).

08-27-2008, 09:45 AM
Nobody else liked Captain Morgan? :harumph:

The Captain Morgan part was funny. I should have known that those crazy democrats were all drunk on the hard stuff. :p

Duck Dog
08-27-2008, 01:05 PM
Way to come across showing little bias. :rolleyes:

08-27-2008, 01:14 PM
Captain Morgan.....fine, but where the f*** were the HOT Captain Morgan girls.

I've seen the Captain at a few bars doing promos and stuff...and he always has a hot entourage of young ladies dressed in pirate gear.

08-27-2008, 05:30 PM
Way to come across showing little bias. :rolleyes:

Huh? Read it again, I said he was far left. Did you want me to cal him a moderate?

08-27-2008, 05:31 PM
The Captain Morgan part was funny. I should have known that those crazy democrats were all drunk on the hard stuff. :p

Well you'll note he said he'd be at the Republican convention next, so you'll have your chance. :toast:

08-27-2008, 07:10 PM
Well you'll note he said he'd be at the Republican convention next, so you'll have your chance. :toast:

I'm not too keen on Rum, can he bring some vodka instead? :)

08-27-2008, 07:27 PM
I'm not too keen on Rum, can he bring some vodka instead? :)

Ok, your loss :) :