Friday, March 26, 2004

Pete Giangreco (consultant to Barack Omama and Principal with the Strategy Group) clashes with Joe Morris (Chairman of the United Republican Fund of Illinois and supporter of Jack Ryan):

Jeff Berkowitz: Let me throw out a quote to you Pete Giangreco and see if you agree..."the Bush administration and its allies are right wing wrecking crews, part of an unholy alliance between Government and Wealth, who are engaged in the deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America," true or false, would you agree with that statement, Pete Giangreco.

Pete Giangreco: I don't think I would choose the words, but there does seem to be an unholy alliance among powerful interests and a President of the United States [George Bush] who seems to take up their cause instead of the cause of people and I think that's replete in the actions of this administration, whether it is in tax policy with lots of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and just, you know, that gets paid for by everybody else.

Berkowitz: So, you agree with the part about an alliance between government and wealth?

Giangreco: Well, I think so, I mean, I think, you know-

Berkowitz: What about the deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America? A little too harsh, would you say?

Giangreco: That's too harsh. That's too harsh. Look, just because they are wrong doesn't mean that they are evil.

Berkowitz: Now, that [quote] comes from Bill Moyers, speaking to a Take Back America conference of Democratic liberal activists in the summer of 2003. Bill Moyers, of course, appears regularly on Ch. 11... [The program NOW, produced and hosted by Moyers, is on WTTW, a Public Television station, virtually every Sunday at 12:00 pm], that is Bill Moyers.

Giangreco: You can understand the anger of people like Bill Moyers when they see what George Bush has done to this country in 3 years, I mean, really taken it in the wrong direction-

Berkowitz: You can't filibuster too much, let's let Joe Morris into this conversation.

Giangreco: But, I mean, you lose three million jobs on one hand, and, you know, an ominous threat to civil liberties on the other, there is a lot to dislike about what this administration has done.

Berkowitz; Joe Morris, an unholy alliance between government and wealth?

Joe Morris: Well, I think outrageous, demagogic rhetoric coming both from Pete Giangreco and Bill Moyers, let it not be forgotten that Bill Moyers was the Chief of Staff for Lyndon Johnson when Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States [1963-68]

Giangreco: So, I don't get any points for disavowing that last part.

Berkowitz: I'll give you two points for that

Morris. And, it should be noted that Pete Giangreco is a paid lackey of Barack Obama, full disclosure requires that, so he is paid to badmouth [President] George Bush and Republicans.

Giangreco: I would do it for free and I am doing it for free now.

Morris: I will defend them voluntarily. This kind of rhetoric is typical of the kind of campaign that Democrats have to mount in the 21st Century in order to try to win. They have to mount campaigns of hatred and extreme attacks because if you simply lay out the facts, the facts support the return of the President for a second term in the White House and the facts support the general trend of what a Republican administration has meant to this country. Pete's telling an untruth when he says there is a loss of 3 million jobs;

Giangreco: it's true.

Morris: The fact of the matter is economic data today show, in fact, jobs growing in the United States

Giangreco: Let's talk about falsehoods. This is an administration who promises, Secretary [of the Treasury] Snow promises 200,000 new jobs, starting in October [2003]. In December, there was 1,000 new jobs created, 12,000 in February [2004]. This administration keeps promising and promising. They said we will do 2.6 million new jobs between now and the election and then they pull back from that because they saw that its not happening--

Morris: Pete, you--

Giangreco: Hang on, Hang on- it's not happening for a lot of reasons. Some things that are in control of the President and some things that aren't. You have a Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers that says that outsourcing is a good thing. That that's a part of free trade that is good. That's their view of the world. That's the corporate view of the world that means if we can Walmart everything at low cost- you have higher corporate profits and what it results in is the destruction of the American middle class.

Berkowitz: Joe Morris--

Morris: What Pete wants us to forget is that Bill Clinton and his other client, Bill Daley [Brother of Mayor Daley, Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration and point man for President Clinton to get NAFTA through the Congress] were among the great advocates of NAFTA. NAFTA was certainly a bi-partisan proposal but what Pete and his ilk want to do is take all the credit for anything that derives from NAFTA and blame anything bad that happens with NAFTA and free trade on Republicans. The cold hard facts are that job decline started at the end of the Clinton Administration and that George Bush had to assume the Presidency at a time when all leading and trailing economic indicators were turning down. And, the fact of the matter is that leading and trailing indicators at this moment are turning up and that's why Democrats are panicked and things are looking good--

Giangreco: It's not a point of

Morris: Excuse me, may I finish a sentence.

Berkowitz: Let him finish and then let me ask a question.

Giangreco: He has finished several.

Morris: Things are looking good for the American economy as we look ahead to November which means they are looking bad for Democrats.

Giangreco: Joe hasn't been to Galesburg, Illinois where they just lost 200 jobs to Mexico.

Berkowitz: Let me ask a question because I want to frame issues and let you two gentleman go at it . One thing you both just sort of touched on and I want to ask Joe Morris: Pete has implied that oursourcing is a bad thing. And, I guess he would say "offshore sourcing," which is actually more of what we are talking about [is also a bad thing], so let me ask you, Joe Morris, are out-sourcing and off shore-sourcing [bad things]. When technology enables us to do certain things, [such as] allow a U. S. hospital to transmit x-rays to India for diagnosis and they can do it cheaper [than in the U. S] and send the results back to the U.S.-that is going on in the United States. Is that a bad thing?

Morris: Of course, it is not a bad thing.

Giangreco: See, I disagree.

Berkowitz: Let Joe explain and then you will get a chance.

Morris: Bill Clinton and Bill Daley can't be wrong all the time. And, they were right when they promoted free trade through-out the 1990s and promotion of free trade is a good thing for the American people because it means more jobs, more income for Americans...

Giangreco: But, free trade only works for Americans when it is fair trade. And, this Administration has fallen down, particularly in a couple of areas. No. 1, they refuse to repeal the tax incentives where we use taxpayer dollars to actually give to corporations to ship their Headquarters overseas. The Bush administration didn't create this recession but he is making it worse. Secondly, ...

Berkowitz: Point blank, are you opposed to NAFTA and would you like to see NAFTA repealed, and speaking for Barack Obama, do you think he would agree with you?

Giangreco: Well, speaking for Barack Obama, he clearly would like labor and environmental [standards] so we can bring people in other countries up to our level, not bring it down.

Berkowitz: Would he [Democratic Senate Candidate Barack Obama] have voted against NAFTA?

Giangreco: I think he would have changed the bargaining position of this Administration, which is to roll over and play dead for this "worship at the alter of free trade," here when we should be gathering the industrial nations and forcing China to stop breaking the trade laws that we are a part of. I mean let's talk about vigorous and fair trade. They are for rolling it over because it is good for corporate interests.

Berkowitz: ...Joe, I know you are not working for the [Republican Senate Candidate] Jack Ryan campaign, but you are familiar with Jack and his ideas. Would he be generally in accord with the views that you have taken here on trade.

Morris: I think he would. I think all of the evidence shows that free trade is good for American workers, not just American corporations- but the people who stand behind American corporations and every other player in the American Economy, shareholders, workers, everybody.

Berkowitz: Exports create jobs-- is [that] what you would say?

Morris: Exports create jobs and so do imports because we do things with imports and I think if you listen carefully to everything Pete Giangreco just said, two things jump out: No. 1, he conceded that George Bush didn't create the recession, it is something he inherited, and the second thing is that he didn't directly answer your question about what Barack Obama would do on the vote on NAFTA

Giangreco: He would like to renegotiate

Morris: I think he would vote against NAFTA

Berkowitz: Let's go on to National Security. Point Blank, Pete Giangreco, is the United States safer today than they [we] were on September 12, 2001.

Giangreco: I don't think you can say that-- No, I mean--
Berkowtiz: ...Are we less safe [now] than we were on Sep. 12, 2001? Your answer is we are less safe?

Giangreco: I think we are because we are facing--

Berkowitz: And, you think Barack Obama would agree with you on that?

Giangreco: I don't know what Barack would believe on that one...

Berkowitz: Joe Morris, are we safer now than we were on Sep. 12, 2001

Joe Morris: No question about it. We are safer because we know a lot more about what the threat is and we have taken direct action in both domestic matters that is creating a structure of Homeland Security and direct action overseas taking down the Taliban and the home that it supplied to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And, in taking down Saddam Hussein, [we made it] so not only is the United States safer but the Middle East is safer and the Middle East is safer because we are now looking forward to a generation where American Presidents of both parties for the next 50 years are going to follow in the wake of the beachhead that George Bush has created in the Middle East--

Giangreco: I think that is a pretty naive answer, Joe--

Morris: an American military presence in the MIddle East. We have had an American military presence for half a century in Korea and an American military presence for more than half a century in Europe and those American military presences have helped keep peace. That's going to happen in the Middle East and that's a beachhead.

Giangreco: I don't disagree with Joe but I don't think anybody is going to follow George Bush's blueprint which was a complete botching of the Israeli- Palestinian situation where they disengaged for months and months and months.

Berkowitz: Let's go to the current--

Giangreco: and said we don't want-- and fumbled that and that's creating more problems in the middle east

Morris: fumbled how? because unlike Barack Obama, George Bush won't cave in to Palestinian-Arab terrorists.

Giangreco: No, I think--

Berkowitz: Wait a second, let me just clarify that. What do you mean by that? Why do you think Barack Obama would cave in to Palestinian terrorists?

Giangreco: You are making up a record that doesn't exist? Have you heard him say that?

Morris: Sure, I have. Barack Obama speaks in the language of moral equivalency of Israelis and Palestinians.

Giangreco:That is not true. Joe, Joe- what you are saying is patently false. You can't prove what you just said.

Berkowitz: Pete, let him finish and then you can respond.

Giangreco: He [Barack Obama] is a staunch supporter of Israel, as much as George Bush and as much as you are. And, as much as I am, because it is the only democracy--

Morris: What is Barack Obama's position on the wall of security.

Giangreco. I don't know the answer [to that]. But, he is a strong

Morris: What is Barack Obama's position on whether Israel should give back the Golan Heights to Syria?

Giangreco: He has been to the Golan Heights. I don't think he supports that.

Morris: You don't think so.

Giangreco: Why don't you tell me? Since, you seem to be projecting to our audience that you know everything about Barack Obama's record when clearly you know nothing. You know even less than I do.

Morris: I would like to hear Barack Obama speak clearly to those issues:

Giangreco: I would like to hear you speak clearly about it.

Morris: He [Obama] continually side steps those questions.

Giangreco: No, he doesn't. He was very articulate ... when he spoke- can I have a minute- when he spoke in front of 5000 people on why he thought that the Iraq War was the wrong war at the wrong time. He spoke very eloquently about where American force should be directed. [It] should be focused on Al Qaeda, on chasing down terrorists, on standing with our allies and he is committed-- he is an internationalist, he is not an isolationist. He is someone who believes in projecting American power, but for all the right reasons. This administration, Paul O'Neill said it, Clarke has said it, people who have been part of this administration, was fixated on Iraq, before 9/11, it made us less safe as a country, it has made us less safe afterwards because we still have not dealt with the real threat to America, which is Al Qaeda.

Morris: Pete is trumpeting a big lie--

Giangreco: No, I am trumpeting what Republicans have said.

Morris: Well, Richard Clarke is no Republican. He was a Clinton holdover in the Bush Administration...

Joe Morris and Pete Giangreco, interviewed on "Public Affairs," in a program recorded on March 25, 2004 and which will air in the suburbs during the week of April 5 and through-out the City of Chicago on Monday night, April 12 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21. For a "Public Affairs," schedule of suburban airing days, times and Channels, please see the blog entries, below.