BLANK 10:51 Truthdig
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 18:51:15 GMT

  Welcome to our live chat session! While we wait for Robert Scheer to arrive, feel free to chat amongst yourselves and/or submit questions.

11:06 Comment From erniesfo

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:06:34 GMT
Comment: Dear Bob – 3 topical questions: 1) What do you make of the Administration’s silence re the threat posed to Net Neutrality by the Google-Verizon Deal?; 2) What do you make of the administration’s rebranding eh, “remissioning” of the Iraq war?; 3) Does it appear a little early for Obama & BP to take a victory lap in the Gulf?

11:07 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:07:00 GMT
Comment: One other – on point question: What do you feel is the functional purpose of the Dems’ nostalgia for Clinton given his economic record – accelerating the financial deregulation and deindustrialization of the US and the end of welfare as we know it, which, it must be said, targeted poor (mostly white) women and children?

11:09 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:09:32 GMT

  Well as I said in my column, it’s a dangerous gimmick. We see it on the Republican side in the constant celebration of Reagan, and the radical deregulation that Clinton implemented was the Reagan revolution, the end of Reagan’s 8 years; he [Clinton] signed off on financial bills that stiffened, it fulfilled the promise. So yes I think it very dangerous to try and celebrate Clinton.

11:10 Truthdig

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:10:01 GMT

  Question from: Northamerican: “I can`t believe your comment on JFK! Do a little research, Scheer… My question would be … is it your Israel connections which make you hate the man? Most of us “goyum” who studied the history of JFK and his concerns of the khazars know better.”

11:11 gudoleboy via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:11:17 GMT

  Clinton wedding-2 million, Jenna Bush wedding 100K – Republican Party is party of the rich??? Who has class? Taste?

11:12 stuartvernon via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:12:10 GMT

  RT @baroqueartisan: @Herfarm FACT–>George Bush & his Republican Congress destroyed the Clinton Surplus~What do you say to that?

11:13 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:13:51 GMT

  I don’t get the question; what are you talking about? I don’t think I have a bias. My writings raise important questions, the need for state solutions. The question on JFK, and certainly when the man was alive I liked and supported him, but the fact is that JFK did things his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower refused to do, which was to send troops to Vietnam. He called them flood control advisory and it was under JFK that the CIA killed Ngo Dinh Diem. When you look back at the history of the Vietnam War, JFK … and it killed 3.5 Indochinese. As far as Cuba, it was JFK who decided to invade Cuba, and again, what business did we have? Castro’s great crime at that time was to nationalize exploitative American properties. We still have a strange relationship with Cuba, whereas communist China underwrites our debt. Yes, I would criticize JFK on those accounts very seriously.

11:14 Comment From Tom Allen

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:14:11 GMT
Comment: I lived in Capitol Hill during the dark days of Clinton. It was Clinton who finally convinced me that there was no place for me in American mainstream politics. I now live in Canada and work for a real honest-to-god social democratic political party (the NDP). It’s easy for much of the electorate to feel nostalgia for the Clinton administrations because so many of them are so completely tuned out. How big a role does basic ignorance of the details of actual Clinton policies do you think fuels this nostalgia?

11:15 Comment From Tom Allen
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:15:48 GMT
Comment: By the way — I enjoy reading your columns regularly and send them out to my colleagues soon after reading them. Thanks for your work.

11:15 Comment From EJK
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:15:52 GMT
Comment: Bob, big fan.

11:16 maxpeppertree via twitter
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:16:17 GMT

  If HILLARY CLINTON has plans for 2012 she needs to resign because if anything happens in the world, she will be blamed for it just like Bush.

11:18 Spectricide via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:18:48 GMT

  RT @MWJ1231: RT @SgBz: When they had the chance, instead of using it to pay down deficit, Repubs squandered Clinton surplus on tax cuts for rich #p2 #tcot

11:20 campfiresteve via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:20:40 GMT

  Bob Scheer puts the “Clinton Royalty” into perspective. FI: “Without Lewinsky’s stained dress we’d have had Al Gore.”

11:21 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:21:01 GMT

  Well first of all I am hoping there isn’t all that much nostalgia. I attack Tina Brown in my column because she was stoking it. I am trusting that most people, including most democrats realize that Clinton made quite a mess of it, not the least of which is that his sexual obsessions, derailed poor Al Gore. If not for that scandal we would not have had 8 years of Bush which were disastrous. So I don’t want to exaggerate the Clinton nostalgia but I think your point is much more interesting in that we don’t have a serious social democratic alternative, NDB in Canada does present such an alternative. Most of the European governments, even when they are conservative, contain a serious component of what used to be called social democracy. What happened with Clinton was a betrayal of any such prospect, even though he was poor, even though he was from the South, he was no Southern populist like Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Earl and Huey Long from Louisiana. What Clinton did was forget his poor boy roots and suck up to Wall Street, and he made a deal with the financial devil in the form of Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers, and these guys took Clinton and the American economy to the cleaners. It’s terrible and began with the most callous policy to come out of the democratic administration which was called welfare reform which was done for the most shameful opportunistic triangulation reasons, screw the poor so you look like you believe in tough love, forgetting that 70% of the people on welfare were children through no fault of their own.Now we don’t keep count of those people, we’re totally oblivious, out of sight, out of mind. Then he did the Telecommunications Act which transferred power to big conglomerates, more than they ever had, then the Financial Services Modernization Act then the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which enabled the great financial debacle. This man was wretched in his government practices, charming as an individual but his legacy is unfortunately quite dismal.

11:21 Comment From erniesfo

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:21:17 GMT
Comment: I apologize, 1 more: Why do the Democrats, and Wall Street, appear to be content with “normalizing” such high rates of unemployment? I was just rereading FDR’s 1933 Inaugural – he was all over the unemployment issue in a way that the Dems & Obama appear to have no interest in being.

11:25 BrettR4763 via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:25:14 GMT

  RT @novenator: Follow @Robert_Scheer for excellent political commentary and award winning journalism

11:25 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:25:53 GMT


  I think that’s a really important question though I’m not sure I can fully answer it, but FDR betrayed his class in one sense and saved it in another. He felt it. He had passion about it, he knew he was someone who came from a wealthy family, experienced all the privileges, and at first was quite willing to let the free market system operate, but when he saw the damage, and Eleanor Roosevelt helped him recognize that, and when he saw this, he got fire in his belly and he acted on it. He basically said, “Never Again,” and he pushed through legislation to bring Wall Street under control and created Glass-Steagall and others. Those regulations were gutted by Clinton, and to answer your questions, the whole plundered class, I don’t think they are feeling the pain of ordinary Americans. You just talk to the students from the best universities that can’t find work, people in industries that were once considered the best, thrown out of work, an enormous amount of pain and it’s going to the tea party, immigrant bashers, and it’s a pain that progressives and certainly progressive Democrats should be responding to, but they’re not. They are being elitist and indifferent.

11:26 Comment From Tom Allen

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:26:50 GMT
Comment: Agreed. I recall when moving to D.C. that Capitol Hill was awash in young, highly educated people whose heads were full of concepts such as “positioning.” The lack of real convictions on the part of so many of these careerist types that I had the misfortune to meet can almost (but not quite) make one pine for the days of George W., at least to the extent that I found myself meeting individuals who actually had convictions and principles — the wrong ones, mind you.

11:27 Comment From Jason
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:27:09 GMT

Comment: As a child I used to look up to Bill Clinton, he was somewhat of a hero of mine. Unfortunately, it appears the policies he put into place have cost us dearly, especially the working-class liberals that he came from himself and supposedly supported. I feel betrayed in many ways. It seems like an “Animal Farm” situation, where you end up becoming the thing you hate, in this case the Clintons have become some kind of snobbish royal family. I see this happening with Obama (who I regret voting for now), the betrayal is too much. What does it take to get real leaders in this country vs. those that are only out to get themselves elected and re-elected to secure their own legacies?

11:32 Robert Scheer
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:32:00 GMT

  Well first of all, I am not ready to give up on Obama. However, to answer your question, the only way these guys can be halfway decent is for the voters not to be insured in their charm and talking points and focus on basics. Here’s a guy who got elected saying he believed in peace, and we got more wars. He claimed to care about poor people, the poor people, who were swindled in this financial madness, yet he bailed out the banks. What we have to do is stick to the basics, serve as biblical injunction would have it. Care about the vulnerable, help the people who need help. Put government to help the working class, the middle people, but the Democratic Party has lost that commitment. The labor unions are not focused on industrial working conditions, the environmental movement has lost clout, we need a Ralph Nader, the spirit, and the real problem is we don’t have a coherent progressive force. In terms of peace, we don’t have it, because we don’t have a draft, so the war is seen as a luxury we [can] afford, the only alternative to a secure job system. We basically have turned over the economy to those at Wall Street who only care about their own pockets .

11:32 Comment From EJK

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:32:02 GMT

Comment: Still a big fan. 🙂 I do think you need to rethink JFK in the light of quite a number of books released over the last few years. Jim Douglass’s book “JFK and the Unspeakable” in particular. The coverage of exactly what was going on on the ground in Vietnam in the autumn of ’63 is mind-blowing. Basically, folks such as the traitor Henry Cabot Lodge, Lucien Conein, Ted Shackley and many others sabotaged much of what Kennedy ordered, leading JFK himself to be Arthur Krock’s source for the October 1963 NYT article claiming that the possibility of a domestic US coup would come from the CIA and not the Pentagon. The “high WH source” quoted by Krock was Kennedy. A link:

11:32 Comment From EJK
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:32:43 GMT

11:39 Robert Scheer
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:39:45 GMT


  I think any reading of the Pentagon Papers will clarify the responsibility of Kennedy for what happened in Vietnam. There’s no question about it, it extends to current players, [Richard] Holbrooke, who was involved in all of that. If you ever read one thing about it, you should read Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American.” Kennedy was committed to the good imperialism, that the Americans were going to present the best system, that we were going to battle for their hearts and minds and we ended up kiling 3.5 million of them [Indochinese]. But Kennedy fell for this idea, hook, line and sinker. We have clean hands, we know what we’re doing. In the case of Kennedy the role of organized crime, which he knew something about through personal, family contact. Most people knew what a sewer Havana was, and yet when there was a revolution there, Kennedy positioned us on the wrong side of it and drove the Cuban revolution. There was a book about it at the time by Maurice Zeitlin. He [Kennedy] made a mess of Cuban policy and almost got the world blown up through the Cuban Missile Crisis. He brought Diem and installed Washington. All this happened under Eisenhower.

11:39 Comment From erniesfo

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:39:51 GMT
Comment: Looking back, I would like to think that Gore would not have attacked Iraq as Bush insisted on doing. I was still concerned at that time with Gore’s complicity with the “end of welfare” meme. In any event, you still have to believe that Gore would have been better than Shrub.

11:40 Truthdig
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:40:22 GMT


  Last question from Docpm: “Wasn’t all this dereg started by Carter?? with Raygun (Reagan) accelerating it in earnest? long before Barnaby Bill spun his dastardly deeds and pardoned everyone later?”

11:41 ginaswo via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:41:22 GMT

  RT @latimestot: Letterman: Ex-pres Clinton grew very emotional during Chelsea’s wedding. Once during the vows and again when they ran out of buffalo wings.

11:42 chandlerepp via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:42:41 GMT

  @kenblackwell: Failure of ’94 GOP Revolution is that we campaigned like Reagan then governed like Carter #tcot #ncsc10

11:43 Truthdig

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:43:08 GMT

  (Note: Bob is working on the last couple questions, but stick around after, we’ll open up the chat for freer discussion.)

11:43 OldeCountry via twitter

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:43:37 GMT

  RT @sunshineejc: NATIONAL DEBT INCREASES~Carter 42%~Reagan 189%~Bush 55%~Clinton 36%~WBush 89%~~WHERE IS THE #GOP FISCAL CONSERVATISM?~#P2 #tlot #dems #sgp

11:44 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:44:01 GMT

  It is true that Carter, playing the role of the deliberate centrist, embraced notions of deregulation as part of the betrayal of wonderful FDR policy, but he didn’t get anywhere with this and he faced economic problems because of the oil. The Reagan revolution is called that because he had been campaigning about this and getting the government off people’s backs. He honed this message when he was a spokesperson for General Electrics and when he became president he continued to do just that. He believed that what’s good for GE is good for Americans. He did appoint Wendy Gramm, Phil Gramm’s wife, head of the Commodities Trading Commissions, and she did a lot of damage, but it was Clinton who put through radical deregulation of our financial community, our conglomerates, and that is the source of our problems.

11:44 Comment From erniesfo

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:44:10 GMT
Comment: EJK: Unfortunately, the historical record shows that Kennedy’s policies were more consistent than divergent with those of his predecessors.

11:44 Comment From napoleon
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:44:12 GMT
Comment: What do you think of the 9/11 responders bill not being passed?

11:45 Comment From napoleon
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:45:23 GMT
Comment: Why do you think the mainstream media refuses to talk about Clinton’s hand in the economic collapse?

11:45 AndresFGuevaraB via twitter
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:45:23 GMT

  Governor Reagan beat President Jimmy Carter in Massachusetts by 2,421 votes.

11:52 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:52:34 GMT

  Because it’s the hand that feeds him. First of all, when we talk about mainstream media, it’s owned by the same people who caused this whole problem. I was reading the papers of these regulations which were affecting the owners of the L.A. Times, where I worked for 30 years, and it looks like Morgan Chase is going to own that one. When we talk about the mass media, we are talking about the same hedge funds that wanted this radical deregulation, and I don’t want to be accused of over-promoting my book, “The Great American Stickup,” but I do have a chapter on the L.A. Times and how they were cheerleading in terms of their news reporting that it was a matter of common sense, they saw no controversy in it, and it was something that the owners of mass media pushed very extraneously. I attended a few of those hearings and found that there was very little interest in critical coverings of these [proceedings]. Bills were written by lobbyists to serve the interests of corporations who paid them and the mass media embraced it. For example the Tribune Corporation needed the deregulation because they wanted to own newspapers and [TV] channels in the same [market]. To have one columnist to challenge them was too much for them and I suspect the story is the same throughout all media. And what we call “investigative reporting” is investigative reporting that does not affect the mass media who are paying for them. That’s why it’s good to have independent outlets like Truthdig, as long as we can figure out a way to keep financing it, so send money. If you feel like it, send us a contribution to help support independent reporting.

11:52 Truthdig

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:52:45 GMT

  Thanks Bob, thanks everyone!

11:52 Robert Scheer

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:52:54 GMT

  Thanks a lot for chatting and let’s do it again next week!

11:52 Truthdig

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:52:56 GMT

  We’ll open up the chat for live free discussion.

11:53 Comment From Sean

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:53:01 GMT
Comment: Is it possible to even revive a “real” left in America? It appears that the majority American public lacks any real value of democratic ideals. People suffer from extreme apathy and eschew politics as “boring”. How can a populace so divided come to any rational conclusion without free press? The press being owned by the oligarchy has its own agenda, which is not in line with democracy. Politicians are no longer practicing, or even appearing to practice, disinterestedness. It is very hard to find hope with all that assails democracy right now.

11:53 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:53:03 GMT
Comment: Re winning hearts and minds – during Vietnam it even became an Army handbook acronym: WHAM. We can’t sound peaceful even when we “try”.

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