In a live video Q & A session, Truthdig Editor and columnist Robert Scheer answered readers’ questions about his latest column, “Hogwash, Mr. President,” and Obama’s second State of the Union address. You can read the full transcript below or listen to the podcast by clicking on the link.
Kasia Anderson: Welcome back to Truthdig’s Robert Scheer-column extravaganza. This week we’re discussing your latest column, Bob, on the State of the Union address. And we have some questions that both agree with what you say and challenge you, so we’ll get to both of them. Are you ready?
Robert Scheer: I’m ready, Kasia.
Anderson: OK. So our first question comes from Tyler in Louisville, Ky. He starts off with the statement: “I’m over Obama, so what actual progressive alternatives are available for a primary challenger in 2012? And how can such a leader be recruited quick enough to compete with the corporate GOP (and DNC)?”
Scheer: Well, I think it’s … I think we’re in the middle of a political process in which Obama has, I think, very unwisely chosen to move to Wall Street, to move to what would have normally been a right-of-center Republican position, somewhere to the right of Richard Nixon and certainly Dwight Eisenhower, where he’s bringing in all of the Wall Street hot shots. He’s basically counting on playing to their blackmail: “You give us what we want and we’ll create jobs,” and so forth. And that’s his strategy. It’s the old, as I said, Republican right-of-center strategy. And I think it’s really important to challenge his narrative, and to talk about how is it really working. Are the jobs coming back? What kind of jobs? Are they low-paying jobs? Even in auto now, there are people with experience making $15 an hour. What happened to decent working conditions? Why are you bringing in the head of GE, who has exported hundreds of thousands of jobs abroad to China and other places, to be your head of job creation?
So I think what we need is a debate in this country based on the facts as people are experiencing them in their own community, in terms of jobs, the value of houses, their own economic situation, and to put pressure on their representatives, whether they’re from the right or left, and on the political leadership to take into account how it’s really working out. Because what we’re hearing now is all pie in the sky. If corporate profits are high, even if they’re high because they’re trading more abroad, that’s considered a sign of prosperity. And people who are hurting, which is most Americans, who are hurting, have got to register their pain, and they do it politically. They do it through letter-writing, they do it through demonstrations, picketing, what have you. But that’s the stage we’re at now.
Anderson: OK. And here’s another question I know you’ll probably cotton to, by Dylansdad15, a Truthdig member: “Why does the president continue to ignore the ‘real’ unemployment statistics? Real unemployment hovers around 19%, and America needs to recognize this problem.”
Scheer: Well, we had a manifestation of real employment statistics just today, as we were going to air on Thursday—the first time applications went up. Because anytime it looks like there’s a possibility of getting a job, people come back into the work force and try to find work. And you’re right, the real unemployment figure is horrendous, because so many people have given up or are in despair. And obviously, the president is not focusing on that, because he’s looking for good numbers. He’s trying … you know, the speech was deceitful in a very significant and disturbing way. The speech … you know, it’d be one thing if he tries, “OK, let’s rally the troops, let’s try to have an optimistic view, let’s try to. …” I’m all for that. You know, I don’t want to drown in despair. But to give a speech on the state of the union and not devote significant energy to joblessness, to the low price of houses, to people’s mortgage foreclosures—50 million Americans suffering with homes that are either going to be foreclosed or are deeply underwater—and to ignore all that, and to have this Pollyannaish speech about how Wall Street is booming, and the economy is booming—I thought it was, frankly, obscene. I mean, it was … you know, this is the community organizer? This is the guy who’s supposed to feel the pain of ordinary Americans? And it was really a “what’s good for Wall Street is good for America” kind of speech, and it was truly depressing. And so obviously he’s focusing on whatever statistics he can focus on that make it all look rosier than it is.
Anderson: Well, here comes someone with a little defense of Obama. Maybe you could speak to this. It’s Truthdig member Gaylordcat, who wants to know: “Mr. Scheer, you said you supported Obama when he ran for office, and I also read that you have become disillusioned in him since he took office. I share your feelings. However, after reading your comment on his State of the Union address, I ask you: What would you do if you were president? I’ve pondered that question relative to myself and I’m stumped. I read Richard Reeves’ piece on ‘What It Was Like to Be John Kennedy.’ What I sensed from the article was that unless one is president, one does not know what the job entails. I’m wondering if we are too hard on Obama because we don’t know what he is facing. We see it from a very different perspective than he does. Any comments?”
Scheer: Well, I wrote a book called “Playing President,” and I relied on interviews that I did with Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and the first President Bush, and so forth. So I understand something about the pressures on the president and the difficulty of making decisions. But this is pretty clear stuff here. Obama came in saying that he was going to do, basically, two things. One is he was going to be a peace president, and not get us involved in unnecessary wars, and I think his record there is not a good one; it’s actually quite abysmal. He escalated the war in Afghanistan, and our military budget, which the first President Bush had said should have been instantly cut by one-third because the Cold War was over. We’re now spending upwards of a trillion dollars a year on so-called defense, which is really aggression. And you’re not going to get big savings in the budget if you can’t cut defense, and there’s no real sign of that happening. They’re talking about, what, $70 billion over five years, or something; it’s not real significant. But his biggest failure is he was supposed to be concerned about ordinary Americans. And instead of—and he should still do it—instead of coming to the aid of homeowners who are suffering, and forcing these banks that he’s bailed out to do cramdowns, to do mortgage adjustments, which is not happening … keep people in their homes, you know, this is their nest egg, this is their savings, and if you can’t make them feel secure about their homes, they’re not going to be shopping out there. So that’s number one.
And then number two is the job creation. And he hasn’t … you know, we’ve given a lot of money to the corporations, we’re in what Paul Volcker called the liquidity trap, we’ve made a lot of cheap money available to the big banks and to the big corporations, and they’re hoarding that money. And so what is he doing now? Instead of pressuring them to go out and invest it, he’s coddling them and saying “No, please, help us out,” and he had all these guys come to the State of the Union and so forth; it was just awful. And if you look at the key people, his chief of staff, [William] Daley, was the key lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase. And he made $8 million just leaving JPMorgan; he was getting $5 million a year, and what was he doing for the last three years? This is Obama’s new chief of staff, the guy who guards the door to the president, the guy who controls the information to him. He was lobbying against financial regulation! He was lobbying against the Consumer Protection Agency. That tells you, really, all you need to know about what Obama is doing. He’s listening to the wrong people and he’s moving in the wrong direction.
Instead of listening to people like Volcker and plenty of others out there who could tell him, “No, what you have to do is concentrate on job creation, you have to concentrate on helping people stay in their homes, you have to worry about the consumers, you have to pressure Wall Street to give back something for all the money we’ve given them …,” which has been enormous. There’s a report issued today—this is Thursday—the main report on what happened during all of the meltdown, and it blasts Goldman Sachs. It blasts [Timothy] Geithner, who was the treasury secretary, was head of the Fed back then, making these deals for AIG and the pastoral money, and it said this did not have to happen, this banking meltdown, and that in fact the government going back to Bill Clinton was complicit in it.
Anderson: OK. Well, piggybacking on your point about foreign wars and Obama, we have Chris in Salem, Ill., asking: “If terrorism is using violence to get what you want, aren’t we terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan? If war is a conflict between two well-equipped and well-organized armies, why do we allow our leaders to say what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan is war? Shouldn’t we insist on the more correct term “Occupation”? Wouldn’t it then be harder for them to make the case for funding and to insist what we are doing is noble and good?”
Scheer: Well, there’s no question that these are occupations. In Iraq’s case, there’s no evidence to this day of any involvement of Iraq under Saddam Hussein in terrorist attacks against the United States. It’s a continuous embarrassment that our buddies in the Mideast, in the Emirates and in Saudi Arabia, were the main backers, and the funding came from the places in the Mideast that we thought were the good guys, our allies. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Not one came from Iraq. In fact, not one was a native Afghani. So, you know, the whole excuse … we all know, it’s well documented, there’s an inquiry going on in England right now in which Tony Blair is being blasted for having gone along with Bush. And we know that the whole excuse for the war was fraudulent from the beginning. They knew it, it was built on a tissue of lies.
And so, yes, in terms of terminology, it is an occupation. And you know, this whole use of terror—the whole notion of terror is … it can’t be excluded from the actions of people who have sophisticated weapons. It can’t be reserved just for people who have roadside bombs, or do hijacking. If you’re using drones to destroy innocent civilians, that’s terrorism. The dropping of the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I thought, was an act of state terrorism, and I still do. I think just because you have big airplanes and big bombs and can destroy lots of people at will doesn’t mean that’s an act of war as opposed to an act of terror. The key definition in terrorism should be: Are innocent civilians being killed for some other purpose? Even if the purpose is noble—even if you think the purpose is noble—if you’re in fact treating human beings as sort of collateral in your war, and that you can sacrifice them, who are innocent people, that’s terrorism.
The other thing that should be noted about this use of the word terrorism is this whole idea that we have to have a massive military arsenal to combat it. The terrorists that should have concerned us, the people who did the hijacking and so forth, had an arsenal that could be bought for a couple of hundred dollars at Home Depot. You know, box cutters and pen knives, and so forth. Why in the world we have to have stealth bombers, why we have to have the most sophisticated weaponry, to combat them just makes no sense. We have weapons systems that are designed to defeat the old Soviet Union that doesn’t exist. And then the excuse is “well, the Chinese might get it.” So we’re in this absurd position where we’re borrowing money from the Chinese to be able to pay for weapons to potentially combat the Chinese. It’s like some kind of nightmare scenario, when it isn’t laughable.
Anderson: OK. So, taking it from the international to the domestic front, we have a question about the housing industry, housing market. Truthdig member Anyfreeman asks … well, first he says: “Thanks for cutting through the distractions. My question: How can Americans protect our homes and future from the fallout from the biggest swindle in history? The foreclosure debacle is just a cover-up of the most effective Ponzi scheme, the mortgage securities scam. The Obama crew is the same that created, perpetrated and profited from this “Hoover maneuver” of capital theft. However, nobody has even been referred for prosecution. Heck, during the ’80s S&L scandal, the Department of Justice referred 2,500 miscreants, and more than 1,100 actually did jail time. How can we make the enforcers enforce the rule of law when they are the very architects of this mess?”
Scheer: Well, you know, the only way we can do it is by embarrassing them. That’s why we have Truthdig. That’s why I wrote a book called “The Great American Stickup.” And it’s amazing—I mean, just to combine the two issues of national security and economic well-being, the chief national security adviser to Barack Obama, his previous job was being the Washington lobbyist for Fannie Mae, the housing agency that helped get us into all this trouble. So this guy who was there in Washington, deceiving Congress, deceiving the public about what Fannie Mae was doing, what was going on with the housing thing—is now entrusted with our most secret data and excuse for going to war, and what are we doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, and so forth. It’s bizarre.
And as I say, the chief of staff there now in the White House is somebody who lobbied for the big banks, and was up to his eyeballs in all of those deals. The guy who was brought in, the head of GE is brought in to be on the jobs council, is somebody who at GE capital … they specialized in these toxic subprime mortgages, and the government had to bail them out. So not only are these people not being punished for what should have been crimes, except they got to write the laws to make their crimes legal, these Ponzi schemes, but they’re being rewarded with ever more important jobs. Ever more important jobs.
And let me say something to our readers who feel I’m too harsh on Obama. If George W. Bush or another Republican were president now, and that president, that Republican president, made the appointments that are being made now by Barack Obama, I know every one of those people on the progressive side of things, that’s criticizing me, would be outraged. They would condemn it. Absolutely condemn it. If we had a Republican president, say John McCain were in there now, and he was appointing the head of GE to be head of his jobs commission, and the guy had exported hundreds of thousands of jobs, he had the subprime mortgages coming out of his eyeballs, more than half of GE’s profit that this guy has benefited from, he got $14 million himself in salary when we were all suffering. And if McCain had appointed that guy to be head of his jobs council, we would all think it was ludicrous! Obama does it and we think it’s an act of statesmanship. Or some people do.
And I don’t understand the people who feel the need to defend Obama at this time. You know, I find him very charming, very impressive; yes, I did support him when he was running. And by the way, I hope he does well. I really would like to see … I’ve said this before in these broadcasts: I would love to be proved wrong. Trust me. I don’t like the American people to suffer; I would love to see policy succeed rather than fail. But the idea that we’re doing ourselves a favor, we’re doing our president a favor, we’re doing our society a favor, by withholding criticism is nonsense. It’s a denial of what democracy is all about! Democracy is all about debate, and dissent, and challenging. And I hear just too many people—I’m getting too many comments around, you know, when I’m on the radio and in our columns and other places that run the columns, people saying “Oh, you’ve got to rally around the president.” Well, that’s not what Jefferson, you know, had in mind. That’s not what our Founders had in mind. What, rally around our leaders mindlessly? No! We’re supposed to be the center of democracy. We’re supposed to be thoughtful. We’re supposed to be challenging. And I’m hearing too much of this talk about, you know, “Let’s rally around our president.” I think that’s a very dangerous notion. You know, the emperor has no clothes now, and we have to challenge it.
Anderson: OK. Here’s a question from Persistence, who asks: “What role do you think the Business Roundtable plays in steering the President’s economic policy and overall agenda?”
Scheer: Well, I think they’re calling the shots—the Chamber of Commerce, increasingly; the Business Roundtable; the top Wall Street people. And I think this is what Obama got out of his Harvard education, frankly. I think he’s just too enamored with these people. You know, one of the contradictions I pointed out in my column was, here’s Obama saying, “We have to have a better-educated population. We have to have better test scores. We have to. …” You know—who are the people who got us in trouble? They’re the people with the great test scores. They’re the people who went to the most difficult colleges to get into. They’re the people who graduated with those MBAs from Harvard and Yale, and those law degrees from Harvard and Yale. They’re the ones who concocted these financial packages. They’re the ones who told us we had to have these over-the-counter derivatives and credit-default swaps, unregulated, the thing that Clinton signed off on. They’re the ones who for decades told us we should trust the markets and trust their mathematical formulas, and trust the new gimmicks they were designing. So it wasn’t the people in the community colleges who were struggling to master math, or in high schools who were struggling to master math, who got us into this mess. We got into this mess because of the best and the brightest, just like we’ve gotten into the worst wars we’ve experienced. You know, David Halberstam’s whole book on Vietnam, “The Best and the Brightest.”
And so the real problem here is not that we have a poorly educated population. The real problem is that people who are educated seem to be educated to be greedy. To be concerned about themselves, to be concerned about their careers above the interests of the ordinary Americans. Where do we teach ethics? Where is morality? Where is there concern for the ordinary person? Do they teach that at these elite schools? Do they care about that? Is that part of our education? And so I was astounded … you know, here’s Obama giving a speech at a time when so many Americans are suffering because of what the best and the brightest did to us, and their financial packages and their distortions and so forth, and yet, what, the problem is we don’t have high enough test scores?
Maybe the problem is that we’re testing for the wrong things, and we’re not asking questions about ethics and values, and we’re not teaching about values. I mean, I’d put back to some conservatives the question that used to be asked, “What would Jesus do?” Has anybody read Luke? Has anybody read the fable of the good Samaritan? Has anybody really thought about what our Christian, Hebraic, Muslim background is supposed to teach in terms of values and concern for the vulnerable? Has anybody read what’s said about usury and taking advantage of people, particularly impoverished people? So maybe the problem is in the schools we’ve lost touch with our basic values. Whether there were secular values that we used to have, going back to the deons, or religious values, there doesn’t seem to be any concern. And so here you can appoint the head of GE, who paid himself during the worst year of the economic downturn—when his company was going to go belly-up if the taxpayers didn’t save them—and he paid himself $14 million, and we turn to him to help us out now? He’s an admirable person and the president appoints him to this key position? I don’t get it. I mean, certainly these people can test well, and they go to the best schools, but where are their values?
Anderson: I bet a lot of your longtime readers are a bit startled to hear you reference the Book of Luke, Bob. Is this a new phase in your…?
Scheer: No, I have always felt that … first of all, I teach a class in ethics. But, you know, I’ve always felt that important discussions have taken place within the framework of religion. There’s no question, in every society. And whatever your view of revealed truth, or a deity, or so forth, it’d be silly to ignore not only religious traditions but philosophical ones. I mean, go back to Confucius, you know. Confucius says a doctor … it’s not enough that a doctor be a good doctor, but if the doctor is greedy and only interested in making money, then that’s not admirable. That’s not ethical. The doctor has to be concerned about the society, about the patients and so forth. That’s Confucius, what, 400 … four centuries before Aristotle. Aristotle makes the same point about concern for the larger interests of the city-state and the well-being. Then you get, if you look at Hebraic tradition, concern for your community, you don’t charge people, certainly in your own tribe, but even … your neighbor. And the reason the good Samaritan parable is so important is the definition of the neighbor has extended. It’s somebody you might have hated, but you see at the side of the road, and they’ve been beaten, robbed, naked, and no—you put them on the donkey and you take them to the inn, and you pay for their well-being.
So concern for the others is supposed to be built into all of our major philosophical and religious traditions, including Luke. Whether you think it’s revealed truth or not, the fact is it’s an important reference to consider ethical questions. And I just wonder whether any of that goes on in our law schools and our business schools, because these people act in the most self-centered, unprincipled, immoral way. And that’s really the story of this meltdown. And there’s a report issued today, Thursday, which people should read which says no, this was not, as Obama tried to suggest in his speech, the normal problems we’re having in a competitive world of training people so we’re … no! This was a scam. This was a rip-off of the American people that didn’t happen because these Wall Street interests controlled the government process, they controlled the regulatory agencies, and they were able to make what should have been illegal, legal. And we’re still paying the price.
Anderson: OK, I think we have time for maybe one more question. And this comes from Chris Rushlau, who asks: “So politically speaking, what is holding this presidency up? What is its base?”
Scheer: Well, what’s holding this presidency up is opportunism. Obama is a great salesman. And so was Bill Clinton, for that matter. The problem with George W. Bush, you know, he wasn’t very good at selling himself. He had the war, though; without the war and the appeal to a pseudo-patriotism, George W. Bush would have been a one-term president. The first president Bush, and Jimmy Carter, were not as good at selling themselves, and that’s why they were one-term presidents. Ronald Reagan, obviously, was a very good salesman. Obama may be the best salesman we’ve ever had. I mean, how a guy with a funny-sounding name, and our first, you know, non-white-male president is so effective … you have to say in part, yes, he’s obviously brilliant. He’s obviously very sharp. And he’s very … he’s charming. And what he’s doing now, though, is the mainstay of opportunism. He’s … if you look at the speech, I forget the phrase I used, I called it … you probably remember, Kasia, because you edited it. …
Anderson: I remember everything that you write.
Anderson: Platitudinous hogwash!
Scheer: Platitudinous hogwash. It was a collection of platitudes. It was like, “Hey, give me everybody’s Christmas wish list.” You know? “Let’s have a faster Internet. Let’s have cleaner air. Let’s have more solar. Let’s have more jobs, let’s have more competitiveness, let’s have more investment. …OK, let’s have a sentence here about better-educated students listening to their parents.” I almost thought we were going to have an appeal to eat spinach. You know, balance your food, go get your eyes checked frequently. I mean, I don’t know what. You know, it was like a list of all obviously good things to do. Yes, we should all work harder, we should all study harder, we should all learn more, we should all have a good attitude, we should all reach out to our neighbors, and so forth and so on. But those are platitudes.
The fact is, we have a society deeply divided over real stuff. We have people who shamelessly paid themselves, what, $15 million a year while they’re impoverishing other people. That’s not going to be … we can’t just sing “Kumbaya” and hold hands. You have the banks being made whole by the government with taxpayer money and then ripping off the taxpayers. We can’t just overlook that! You know, there are hard choices to make. And Obama did not address a single difficult choice. Yes, I will give him one … a couple of points of credit. Let me be a little more balanced. I thought mentioning gays in the military and saying, you know, we’ve got to be over that—that was good. Although he had to put a caveat in there that we’re no longer going to be able to debate recruiting on campuses, and militarism on campuses—we have to give that up. I don’t like that; it’s an infringement on free speech and our right to challenge military recruiting.
But there were a couple of good lines, but in the main, the reason Obama is successful despite this harsh reality, he’s an incredible snake-oil salesman. That’s what he is.
And he patched together a speech, or his writers did, that had something sounding good for everyone. And while you’re watching a speech, it’s very difficult not to say, “Yeah, I’ll check off that one, I like that one.” Yeah. Who wouldn’t want health care that will allow all of us to get insurance, no matter pre-existing conditions, if we can keep costs down, and if the medical industry is happy and the consumers are happy, and we’ll all work on that—that’s fine. But if you ask the question how we’re going to keep costs down, which is a legitimate question—a question that even the tea party people, Republicans are asking—it’s a legitimate question. And the fact is that Obama’s health care plan does not have a provision for keeping costs down, because he rejected a public option, rejected any kind of governmental cost control, rejected an extension of Medicare.
If we had had a health plan that said, “Let’s extend … or put Medicare down to 55 years,” that would have been a big improvement, because Medicare can control costs. But there’s no real cost control here, and I’m afraid that the health care, for all of its good qualities … and it is important that we be able to insure our children up to a certain age; it’s important that we not deny health care when you lose your job, or pre-existing conditions; those are real common-sense achievements. But yes, if you can’t control costs, then you haven’t accomplished very much. And I’m afraid there is nothing really in this health care plan that goes to that issue. But what he did in his speech is he just said, “Boy, everybody wants good health care.” Yes, everybody wants good health care. And he said, “I’ll work with you on the defects.” Well, that’s wonderful, but will he really take them on? And the fact is he didn’t, in the creation of the health care plan; he didn’t take on the for-profit health care industry that got what it wanted.
Anderson: Well, here’s a suggestion from within our own Truthdig team, which is that we ask you what you thought of Obama and the Chinese president’s visit?
Scheer: Yeah, I thought this was a strong moment for Obama. I think he … look. I think Obama is obviously better than many of the alternatives. Don’t get me wrong. And the fact that he’s not willing to … he has, at times, flirted with the bait China, “hold the Chinese responsible,” card, which Republicans and Democrats do. The good thing about this visit is he was willing to treat the Chinese with respect, which they deserve. That doesn’t mean you give them a blank check; that doesn’t mean you don’t criticize their human rights record. And in fact, one of the great achievements of that visit is the Chinese leader—Chinese leader! In public! Now, unfortunately, it wasn’t reported in China the way we would have hoped—but in public, in front of the world, said, “We need to work on our human rights.” That was an incredible, incredible victory. When is the time when an American president has said that, we need to work on human rights? That was a real achievement.
And I think the resistance of the impulse to demonize China, to look for scapegoats … the fact is, it was the U.S. economy that messed up the Chinese economy, not the other way around. It was the U.S. economy that messed up the Greek economy, and the Spanish economy, and threatened the German economy and the English economy. It was our banking policies—we are the culprits in this thing. Our Wall Street geniuses are the people that caused this international crisis. Now, the Germans and the Chinese have come out of it better than we have. But we can’t demonize them; we can’t blame this all on their currency or something. They’re going to try to do as well as they can, and they have a lot of people, a lot of mouths to feed. They’re going to try to … we’ve always jiggered currency, we’ve always jiggered trade to protect our own people; let’s not kid ourselves. So what they’re doing is, they say, hey, we can’t have riots in the street, we’ve got … hundreds of millions of people are going to be very unhappy with any of the slightest little drop here. And so they have protected their interests, and like the Germans, seem to be coming out of this nightmare that we created, you know, in better shape.
But I think it was a real achievement of Obama to embrace the Chinese, to treat them as equals, to not demonize, and yet to reserve the right to criticize things that are universally important, like human rights, yeah. So I thought it was a masterful—let me be very pro-Obama on this—I thought it was his best moment in foreign policy; it was masterful. So I don’t always want to criticize … look, I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. I take no joy in being a naysayer. I know we have people who comment and say, “God, you just love to be in opposition, you just love to be critical. …” I don’t. Trust me, I would rather go sailing today with our managing editor, who happens to be my son, Peter, and say, “Hey! The world’s in great shape. We don’t really need to put out Truthdig. We don’t need to be sounding the alarm. You know, let’s just go sailing! It’s a beautiful day in Los Angeles. You know, we have this little sailboat, let’s go out there, let’s enjoy it.” I’d love to just think, “Hey, let’s have a great lunch here, you know? Let’s take the whole Truthdig staff down to the beach, and we’ll go have lunch. Our work is done. We’ve got a great president, he’s solving our problems, and we should shut up for a while.” But the problem is that a lot of people are hurting around the world, and it would be irresponsible for us to shut up now. We can’t do that.
Anderson: Well, we’ll have to at least cut this off for the short term, or else you’re going to clock into overtime here. But thank you for your participation.
Scheer: All right. And by the way, thank you, Kasia, for doing this great job, and for being one of the two or three leaders of Truthdig.
Anderson: You’re welcome, Bob. Can I go sailing now?
Scheer: Yes. [Laughter]
Anderson: So thanks, everyone, for your questions, and we’ll look forward to the next live chat with Robert Scheer.