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CBS's Smith Cues Up Sebelius to Recite Health Care Talking Points --5/13/2009


1. CBS's Smith Cues Up Sebelius to Recite Health Care Talking Points
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith repeated liberal talking points while asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about President Obama's plan to nationalize the health care system: "People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?" Sebelius easily hit that softball: "It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people..."

2. Shuster Absurdly Says Cheney 'Didn't Know' About Al-Qaeda Pre-9/11
David Shuster, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on Tuesday's Hardball, absurdly asserted that Dick Cheney "didn't know" about al-Qaeda before 9/11. After playing a clip of the former Vice President on Face the Nation stating that "on the morning of 9/12...there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda," Shuster ignored the "great deal," qualifier and insisted to his guests that somehow Cheney was clueless about the threat of the terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Shuster's guest, former Cheney aide Ron Christie, corrected Shuster, pointing out "that's one snippet taken out of context...Of course we knew about al-Qaeda," but that didn't stop Shuster from pressing his case as he claimed Cheney approved "torture," because he didn't know about al-Qaeda.

3. Tina Brown Slams Dick Cheney's 'Crazy Jihad' and 'Hate-Fest'
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Tuesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC to rail against the "crazy jihad" and "one-man...hate-fest" of Dick Cheney. Brown, who is now the editor of the Daily Beast Web site, trashed the former Vice President for constantly appearing on cable news programs to attack the current administration and for claiming that Barack Obama is making America less safe. After asserting that Cheney is about as popular as Pakistan's President, Brown sneered: "In some ways, I kind of admire this kind of crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did." Remarking on the Vice President's claim during Sunday's Face the Nation that he prefers Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell, the liberal journalist mocked, "'Cause when he said on that show that Rush Limbaugh, rather than Colin Powell, was the face of the party, it was like once again, that huge, fat crazy frame fills the screen and becomes the face of the party."

4. CNN Panel Pushes Republicans to Say Cheney Should 'Just Shut Up'
Three CNN personalities and one regular commentator on Monday's No Bias, No Bull program all tried to get Republicans Bay Buchanan and Kevin Madden to disown former Vice President Dick Cheney, and agree with some unnamed Republicans who call for him to "just shut up." Host Roland Martin characterized Cheney's multiple media appearances recently as "turning into a big problem for the family of Republicans" and that "some Republicans wish the former V.P. would just shut up." Correspondent Jessica Yellin and Drew Griffin saw no good in the politician's media tour, with Yellin labeling Cheney "one of the least popular figures in the Republican Party, aside from Rush Limbaugh." She asked Buchanan, "Why is it good for him to speak out as such an unpopular guy?" TruTV's Lisa Bloom agreed with the unnamed Republicans: "I think a lot of Republicans probably wish Cheney was secured in an undisclosed location right about now."

5. On FX, Writer Frets U.S. Didn't Heed France on Not Going to War
Four weeks after FX's Rescue Me featured a New York City firefighter telling a French journalist how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of "a massive neo-conservative government effort" to enable "American global domination," Tuesday night's episode gave the French character "Genevieve," interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders, a platform to rail against how the U.S. failed to heed France's advice in starting "two new wars" in the name of "revenge." Discussing 9/11 with firefighter "Tommy Gavin," played by show creator Denis Leary, "Genevieve" agreed "9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy," but she fretted, "to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world." As the two walked along a Manhattan street following a visit to Ground Zero, she lectured, presumably alluding to Iraq: "France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die....Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns." To which, Gavin zinged: "Or soap."


CBS's Smith Cues Up Sebelius to Recite
Health Care Talking Points

On Tuesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith repeated liberal talking points while asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about President Obama's plan to nationalize the health care system: "People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?" Sebelius easily hit that softball: "It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care...And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services." Smith concluded the interview by wishing Sebelius "good luck" on implementing the massive government expansion.

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Prior to Smith's interview, correspondent Bill Plante reported on the health care industry cutting costs as a first step toward Obama's plan: "If the providers stick to their word, it will reduce the nation's health care bill by $2 trillion over ten years. And save the average family of four $2,500 a year. Currently, Americans spend about $2.4 trillion annually on health care, or about $7,800 per person...Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120%. Employees are now paying $1,600 more for family insurance premiums annually than they did ten years ago."

The figures cited by Plante came from The Kaiser Family Foundation, a group pushing for a nationalized health care system. The foundation Web site explains: "The percentage of Americans believing that health reform will benefit them needs to go up and cannot go down if there is to be a public environment conducive to a comprehensive reform effort." Plante concluded his report: "And as the costs continue to increase, the pressure for reform will only be greater."

Read the Kaiser Foundations 2008 Summary on Employer Health Benefits here: ehbs.kff.org

Kaiser Foundation site: www.kff.org

Here is the full transcript of the May 12 segment:

7:13AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: Up next, a major move towards overhauling health care. We're going to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services what it means for you and your wallet.

7:16AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: President Obama is praising the cost-cutting plan announced Monday by the health care industry. But even if the savings are realized, the U.S. will still spend more on health care than any other country. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante explains.
BILL PLANTE: The President, flanked by former opponents of health care reform, called the industry's promise remarkable.
BARACK OBAMA: But what's brought us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years.
PLANTE: If the providers stick to their word, it will reduce the nation's health care bill by $2 trillion over ten years. And save the average family of four $2,500 a year. Currently, Americans spend about $2.4 trillion annually on health care, or about $7,800 per person.
MARK MCCLELLAN [BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: There is a lot of momentum around health care reform this year because health care costs have gotten to be such a challenge for so many Americans.
PLANTE: Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120%. Employees are now paying $1,600 more for family insurance premiums annually than they did ten years ago. And as the costs continue to increase, the pressure for reform will only be greater. Bill Plante, CBS News, the White House.

SMITH: Joining us from Washington D.C., is Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Madam Secretary, good morning.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Good morning, Harry. Nice to be with you.
SMITH: So the health care industry comes to Washington and promises a couple of trillion dollars worth of savings over a decade-long period. Is this a kind of preventive medicine? Is this a way for them to say, 'if we give you this now, we hope you'll keep your hands off us when the real surgery starts'?
SEBELIUS: I really think it was a remarkably generous offer and meeting yesterday. First of all, a lot of the leaders of the health care industry would not have been in the room in the early '90s. They were actually running television ads fighting health reform. And now they're at the table, committing to this president that they want to be part of the solution. And frankly, they have a lot of the tools in the system that can begin to cut the crushing costs on businesses and families that are really unsustainable and unacceptable. I was there representing the largest health agency in government, committing, as the President's budget has already proposed, that we will do our share in terms of reducing the increase in costs. So yesterday's meeting, I think, was a breakthrough moment.
SMITH: People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?
SEBELIUS: That's right. Well, again, I think it's important that when America -- the American public hears cutting costs. It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care. So bringing them into a system with a home health, making sure that we're actually coordinating care of our chronically ill patients so that they're not getting 15 different recommendations helps. And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services.
SMITH: Alright, Secretary Sebelius, thank you for your time this morning. Take care.
SEBELIUS: Thank you.
SMITH: And good luck.

Shuster Absurdly Says Cheney 'Didn't
Know' About Al-Qaeda Pre-9/11

David Shuster, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on Tuesday's Hardball, absurdly asserted that Dick Cheney "didn't know" about al-Qaeda before 9/11. After playing a clip of the former Vice President on Face the Nation stating that "on the morning of 9/12...there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda," Shuster ignored the "great deal," qualifier and insisted to his guests that somehow Cheney was clueless about the threat of the terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Shuster's guest, former Cheney aide Ron Christie, corrected Shuster, pointing out "that's one snippet taken out of context...Of course we knew about al-Qaeda," but that didn't stop Shuster from pressing his case as he claimed Cheney approved "torture," because he didn't know about al-Qaeda.

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following exchange aired on the May 12 edition of Hardball:

DAVID SHUSTER: You have both mentioned al Qaeda and here's something, Ron for you that I found sort of baffling. Here's Vice President Cheney talking about what we know about al Qaeda. Here he is from Face the Nation, this Saturday. Watch.

(Begin clip)
DICK CHENEY: On the morning of 9/12, if you will, there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda. There was a need to embark upon a new strategy with respect to treating this as a strategic threat to the United States.
(End clip)

SHUSTER: We didn't know about al-Qaeda Ron? I mean we knew that Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. We knew they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And in August of 2001 President Bush and Vice President Cheney knew or they were informed in an intelligence briefing that "Bin Laden Was Determined to Strike in the United States." So when Vice President Cheney says, "We didn't know about al-Qaeda." he's wrong, isn't he?
RON CHRISTIE FORMER CHENEY AIDE: Well again that's one snippet taken out of context David. I haven't seen that entire snippet. Of course we knew about al-Qaeda. But if we want to go back and we want to have selective memory against the Bush administration we also knew that the Clinton administration knew about al-Qaeda and President Clinton was given a golden opportunity to take out Osama Bin Laden and he elected not to do so. So let's not go down the road of we didn't know about al-Qaeda, David.
SHUSTER: But the reason, the reason Ron this is important is because the Vice President, right, but the reason, the reason I bring this up is because the Vice President's suggestion because we didn't know about al-Qaeda that it was therefore okay to torture to get information about al-Qaeda. And that's the link where I think it's problematic.

Tina Brown Slams Dick Cheney's 'Crazy
Jihad' and 'Hate-Fest'

Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Tuesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC to rail against the "crazy jihad" and "one-man...hate-fest" of Dick Cheney. Brown, who is now the editor of the Daily Beast Web site, trashed the former Vice President for constantly appearing on cable news programs to attack the current administration and for claiming that Barack Obama is making America less safe.

After asserting that Cheney is about as popular as Pakistan's President, Brown sneered: "In some ways, I kind of admire this kind of crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did." Remarking on the Vice President's claim during Sunday's Face the Nation that he prefers Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell, the liberal journalist mocked, "'Cause when he said on that show that Rush Limbaugh, rather than Colin Powell, was the face of the party, it was like once again, that huge, fat crazy frame fills the screen and becomes the face of the party."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Co-host Mika Brzezinski offered Brown a word of caution, noting, "But, you know how these things change. I mean, if he [Cheney] is proved right and if it [a terrorist attack] happens fairly soon, in some way, believe me, things turn around in politics and the world of policy in a heartbeat." She also admired the "special confidence and strength" that the ex-VP exudes, a point that even Brown agreed with.

The former mainstream media editor hasn't always been so nasty. On August 9, 1999, she appeared on Good Morning America to laud the relationship between Bill and Hillary Clinton, embarrassingly stating, "What you feel is this is a couple who share the passion for the world, for doing good for politics, for making life better for other people. This is their great bond, and it really has brought them together with almost a sort of spiritual intensity." See the August 10, 1999 column for more: www.mrc.org

(Two weeks ago on Face the Nation, Brown trumpeted "what a force-multiplier Michelle Obama has turned out to be" as she and her husband work in "flawless concert," so while "the world is talking about torture and the Bush administration, then we have Michelle with her vegetable garden. Talk about Spring time in America!" See the April 27 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org )

A transcript of the May 12 exchange, which aired at 6:36am EDT, follows:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And I wonder, Tina, if the White House doesn't want to hear from him, so this is his only avenue to express himself.
TINA BROWN: I'm sure the White House doesn't really want to hear from him. I have to ask myself at a certain point, you know, is Dick Cheney running for president? I mean, you know, there's a vacuum out there and maybe he thinks he's the guy to fill it. I mean, the fact that he has a 19 percent approval rate, you know, he could run with Zardari, who has the same approval rate in Pakistan. In some ways, I kind of admire this, kind of, crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did. At least he's not chicken to do that.

MIKE BARNICLE: Well- Do you think it's a hate-fest? I think he is so obsessed with his role in history and he's smart enough to know that nearly everything he said during our involvement, during the buildup to war in Iraq and during the first two years in Iraq he was wrong on, he was categorically wrong.
BROWN: He doesn't see that way, and he believes that he will be justified in history and he is going to continue to fight that corner, you know, until he the day he goes out. I mean, in that sense, you have to admire the fact he's not run away to hide with an enormous book advance, which, you know, everybody else does. But, you know, he's so damaging to the Republican Party every time he comes out.
BARNICLE: Yes, he is.
BROWN: 'Cause when he said on that show that Rush Limbaugh rather than Colin Powell was the face of the party, it was like once again, that huge, fat crazy frame fills the screen and becomes the face of the party.
BRZEZINSKI: But, you know how these things change. I mean, if he is proved right and if it happens fairly soon in some way, believe me, things turn around in politics and the world of policy in a heartbeat.
BARNICLE: Don't- Don't we all think though- well, I don't know what we all think- I think that it's an admirable trait that he has that he clearly does not care what we say or what anyone says.
BROWN: Doesn't care, no.
BRZEZINSKI: There's a special confidence and strength.
BROWN: He doesn't care. But, after all, his hold stand is, he's based his entire bet on the fact there's going to be this incredible national disaster. You know, he's going to pedal along until the meteor hits. You know?

CNN Panel Pushes Republicans to Say Cheney
Should 'Just Shut Up'

Three CNN personalities and one regular commentator on Monday's No Bias, No Bull program all tried to get Republicans Bay Buchanan and Kevin Madden to disown former Vice President Dick Cheney, and agree with some unnamed Republicans who call for him to "just shut up." Host Roland Martin characterized Cheney's multiple media appearances recently as "turning into a big problem for the family of Republicans" and that "some Republicans wish the former V.P. would just shut up." Correspondent Jessica Yellin and Drew Griffin saw no good in the politician's media tour, with Yellin labeling Cheney "one of the least popular figures in the Republican Party, aside from Rush Limbaugh." She asked Buchanan, "Why is it good for him to speak out as such an unpopular guy?" TruTV's Lisa Bloom agreed with the unnamed Republicans: "I think a lot of Republicans probably wish Cheney was secured in an undisclosed location right about now."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Martin began the segment, which began ten minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, by playing three sound bites from some of Cheney's recent interviews. After introducing his two guests, he asked Buchanan: "Now, Bay, the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, recently called the Bush presidency a 'millstone around our necks.' Does having Dick Cheney out on the talk show circuit help Republicans in any way?"

Buchanan thought it did help: "We have to speak out against the president's policies when we disagree with them. And so on two points, Cheney should be out there. Number one, he believes that what Obama is doing is damaging this country's security....And secondly, he can get through the groupies in the media -- the Obama groupies -- he can be heard....So, he represents many, many of us who believe that somebody's got to take on these policies of Obama, and let Americans know that's not where Republicans would go."

Yellin then interjected, telling Buchanan, "Okay, Bay, let's get real. Dick Cheney is one of the least popular figures in the Republican Party, aside from Rush Limbaugh. Now he is aligning himself with Limbaugh, attacking one of the most popular figures, Colin Powell. So, the question is, why is it good for him to speak out as such an unpopular guy, especially when the former president himself has said it's time to keep our silence and let the new president do his job?"

Buchanan answered by criticizing Powell, and tried to correct the correspondent's assessment: "You know, Colin Powell...when it was to his advantage to associate with Republicans, he did so. And when it was to his advantage to abandon us, he did so. He does not agree with our economic policies. He does not agree with our social policies. He agrees with Obama, and now he says we should embrace this idea that, you know, go the Obama way....Why do we even need us if we're going to agree with Democrats? And so to suggest he is some popular figure in the Republican Party is a complete mistake, is an error."

Martin responded to Buchanan as he prompted Madden for his take: "Kevin, first of all, when Cheney says, well, we don't need to moderate, you have to have moderates in a party. You have to have more than just folks who are on the far-right, and so is it nuts for Bay to say that, well, Colin Powell agrees with nothing? He is a Republican." The Republican strategist understood the anchor's point, but didn't entirely agree:

MADDEN: No. Well, two points. First of all, I have worked up on Capitol Hill, and when I was in -- I worked when we were in the majority, and the reason we were in the majority, Roland, was because we governed through the moderates. You look at many of these suburban areas, in places like Columbus, Ohio, places like Philadelphia -- seats that are now held by Democrats were once held by Republicans. So the way to govern a majority is through the moderates. Secondly, I think, look, I don't think there was an attack on Colin Powell. I think that Vice President Cheney and Colin Powell have had their differences. Those differences are now public. But I do believe that, if we're going to again regain the majority as a party, we have to look at the loss of Colin Powell as emblematic of our struggles with independents and moderate Democrats on national security issues and economic security issues. So as a party we can't -- we don't necessarily have to moderate. I agree with Vice President Cheney on that. What we have to do is modernize our message on issues like health care, energy, education, so that we reach this larger swathe of the American electorate.

Bloom and Griffin then entered into the discussion, continuing Martin and Yellin's earlier points and bringing in poll numbers to support their argument:

BLOOM: Okay. Okay. But, Bay, only 27 percent of voters at this point are identifying as Republicans. Doesn't the party have to expand its base, and do so immediately?
BUCHANAN: You know, the American people, if you look at that same poll, 33 percent, it has dropped for Democrats as well. And then there was a poll by Rasmussen last week that in a congressional ballot like they -- it was a generic ballot -- what was it? 39 percent went Republican and 40 percent went Democrats. That's one percent.
BLOOM: Yeah, but the Democrats are not hurting right now. They are not in any trouble.
BUCHANAN: No, you're wrong. You know, being in power is a tough thing. They no longer have Bush to kick around. They no longer have this idea of change, and so those things are gone for them. They have to run on their record. What they're giving us is Barack Obama and this extreme agenda of his to spend us into oblivion, and that is going to be something they have to defend. In the meantime, we got to get fresh new faces, so the American people can see the future is these guys. Meanwhile, we got a couple of attack dogs doing some good work for us-
GRIFFIN: So, Bay, Bay, why not just tell Cheney to shut up and let Obama collapse under his own weight-
BUCHANAN: No, no, no -- look, look-
GRIFFIN: And the Republicans will just swoop into power?
BUCHANAN: You know, first of all, you can't tell the former vice president to be quiet, because he feels a need to get out there and make sure the American people know that what this guy is doing is harmful to this nation. And, secondly, you need attack dogs. You don't want to use your new, fresh faces as attack dogs. You want the old guys who has been in this and know it is a contact sport to get out there-
BLOOM: But I'll tell you something, Roland-
BUCHANAN: And what has happened? Cheney now has your attention and Gibbs' attention.
BLOOM: I think a lot of Republicans probably wish Cheney was secured in an undisclosed location right about now.

Martin let Madden have the last word at the end of the segment. He replied to Griffin's earlier point about telling Cheney to shut up: "Real quick, to Drew's point, I don't remember anybody in the media saying that Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter should have, you know, just shut up and go away when they were making those arguments....Look -- Dick Cheney, whether the media likes it or not, is a national security expert, and he's arguing these policies on principle."

On FX, Writer Frets U.S. Didn't Heed
France on Not Going to War

Four weeks after FX's Rescue Me featured a New York City firefighter telling a French journalist how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of "a massive neo-conservative government effort" to enable "American global domination," Tuesday night's episode gave the French character "Genevieve," interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders, a platform to rail against how the U.S. failed to heed France's advice in starting "two new wars" in the name of "revenge."

Discussing 9/11 with firefighter "Tommy Gavin," played by show creator Denis Leary, "Genevieve" agreed "9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy," but she fretted, "to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world." As the two walked along a Manhattan street following a visit to Ground Zero, she lectured, presumably alluding to Iraq: "France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die." As to why she wants to write about 9/11:
"It's an amazing story, it's a story about how so many people in the world came to support America and its people, to say, 'hey, you know what? You've done so much to help us and to support us, we want to give back to you.' But what did your government do with all that good will? Hell, you went right back to war. You started two new wars. In the name of what? Revenge?...Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns."

To which, Gavin zinged: "Or soap."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Page for the show: www.fxnetworks.com

The April 15 CyberAlert item, "FX's 'Rescue Me' Pushes 9/11 as 'Massive Neo-Conservative' Conspiracy," recounted, with video:

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of "a massive neo-conservative government effort" to enable "American global domination," a character on FX's "Rescue Me" argued on Tuesday night's episode. In the drama about firefighters in New York City, firefighter "Franco Rivera," played by actor Daniel Sunjata, a real-life 9/11 "truther," laid out his theory for a French journalist interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders. As noted in a February NewsBusters post, in a New York Times story about the then-upcoming storyline, Brian Stelter reported the ludicrous theory "may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company (FX is operated by the News Corporation)."

During the episode, "Franco" outlined the four-point plan by the Project for a New American Century, starting with how Bush-Cheney "came to power with plans already made to attack Afghanistan and Iraq." Second, "we have to make huge technological advances with our armed forces, that for some reason include the capability to fight wars from outer space." Third, "huge increases in military spending" to the neglect of "sick and dying first-responders, 9/11's heroes, who can't even pay their light bill let alone their medical bills." Fourth, "we changed the definition of pre-emptive attack so we can unilaterally bomb the shit out of, invade and occupy countries even if they pose no credible threat or had nothing to do with 9/11." Finally:

"How you going to put it into action? I mean, the American people are never going to go for shit like that, right? You're damn straight. No, what you need is an event, an event that gets everyone's heads turned around the right way. What you need is a new Pearl Harbor."

Full rundown: www.mrc.org

In subsequent episodes, "Franco" has taken quite a bit of heat from other firefighters, and a widow, angry at him for tarring the department and the memory of their husband, by lending his name to the conspiracy theories.

From the May 12 episode, in what matches the video/audio, the exchange between "Gavin" and "Genevieve," played by actress Karina Lombard:

GENEVI'‰VE: You should open up about it, be vulnerable. It's attractive.
TOMMY GAVIN: It's not like a bartering chip I use to pick up chicks with. You know, that was like the beginning of World War III for us, so-
GENEVI'‰VE: Yeah, okay. That is unattractive.
GAVIN: What?
GENEVI'‰VE: Well, the part where you go from how you feel to World War III.
GAVIN: But that is how I feel.
GENEVI'‰VE: You know, 9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy, but to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world.
GAVIN: What's your point?
GENEVI'‰VE: Well, you know, France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die.
GAVIN: Listen, I don't get why you want to do a book about 9/11 if this is your take on America.
GENEVI'‰VE: Because it's an amazing story, it's a story about how so many people in the world came to support America and its people, to say, "hey, you know what? You've done so much to help us and to support us, we want to give back to you." But what did your government do with all that good will? Hell, you went right back to war. You started two new wars. In the name of what? Revenge?
GAVIN: All right, hang on. First of all, I don't know shit about no Algerians, okay? Second of all, yeah I wanted revenge. I wanted revenge for my cousin. I wanted revenge for my country. I wanted revenge for the 50 other guys I knew that day that got buried under that shit. How am I supposed to feel? I wanted blood. I wanted it in like a week. So, I'll be honest with you, I basically feel the same right now. So, shoot me.
GENEVI'‰VE: Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns.
GAVIN: Nah, or soap.
GENEVI'‰VE: Uhh. Great cliche.

-- Brent Baker