tv Book TV CSPAN February 26, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm EST
and that, of course, is just by changing four seats. the other, the other mission is to make sure that we here in america have a fair and secure vote. and so i'm going to be working with election integrity. >> host: which is? >> guest: election integrity really goes to these problems that we're having with the law that opens the door for mischief. we've seen things happening like 953 dead people voting in south carolina. we don't want that to be an element. we don't want it to be a factor in the 2012 election. and so that's why we're working now with citizens. we want a million people to volunteer to go to the polls and keep their eyes on the process, you know? stalin said it's not who votes, it's who counts the votes. well, we want to be there when they're counting the votes, and we think it's up to we, the people of america, to be constantly vigilant in this
process and be willing to give up for to eight hours, maybe a whole day at the polls not only volunteering on election boards, but just to be observers in the process. >> host: now, this book, "right angle," was published by author house. what is that and where is it available if people want to buy it? >> guest: it's available on my web site, our voice pac.org, just spell it out. there you can order the book. you can also get it at amazon, borders, barnes & noble. but if you want all of the proceeds of your donation to come to me, go to my web site. um, author house is a self-publishing company. i decided that i wanted the proceeds to all be used for this pac, and so i'm not in that situation where i get a percentage of my book. i own my book, and be i, you know, i paid them to do what i
needed to have done, and now the book and the proceeds are all up for our cost as our voice pac. >> host: and we've been talking with shane angle, former -- sharron angle, former nevada state legislator, republican candidate against majority leader harry reid. and the author of of this book, "right angle: one woman's journey to reclaim the constitution." >> up next, former senator russ feingold appeared on c-span's washington journal to talk about his new book and to take viewer questions. in the book "while america sleeps," senator feingold presents his thoughts on the political and social obstacles facing the united states and the world today. it's about 45 minutes. >> host: and at our set in new york city at pace university joining us next is former senator russ feingold of wisconsin. senator feingold has a new book out called "while america
sleeps." you selected the title, as you tell, from winston churchill's famous book from world war ii, "while england slept." what are you trying to do with this book, senator? what are you telling americans about the state of our international relations and our terrorist threat right now? >> guest: thanks so much for having me on the show. yeah. um, during the ten years after 9/11 when i was serving in the united states senate on the foreign relations committee, on the intelligence committee and the judiciary committee, you know, i saw some changes in the way we were responding to 9/11. at first i thought things were very good. it was a terrible tragedy, but we were going to work together as a people to address this issue. and then things sort of started to go downhill, especially with the divisiveness over what i considered to be mistaken war in iraq. and then we entered a period that i think we're in now where i basically think we've sort of gone back to sleep on shot only al-qaeda, but sort of being concerned about the rest of the world. part of it's understandable, of course, because of the economy.
but some of it's just political manipulation saying, you know, we're trying to blame president obama for the economy, and let's not talk about anything else. well, i think that's dangerous, and it reminded me of churchill. churchill gave some 35 or 40 speeches in the house of commons during the 1930s and early '40s where he basically said, look, i know we're not used to worrying about the rest of the world here in england because we're an island nation, but, folks, the germans are rearming. and his essays were put together by his -- or his speeches were put together by his son in a book called "while england slept." i had never read the book, but that title sort of reminded me of what i think we're slipping into now, a country that somehow believes ten years after 9/11 that we can go pack to our sort of -- back to our sort of island, if you will, mentality. we're over here on the other side of the world, and the rest of the world will take care of itself. we can't do that anymore if we want to be safe and success. so that's the spirit of the book and why i wrote it. >> host: you have, i'm going to
segway very quickly into presidential politics. you have signed on to be supporter and adviser of the obama re-election effort. i'm wondering whether or not you think there is sufficient discussion in this year when we've got a bad economy about international relations. in the presidential -- sorry. >> guest: it's completely insufficient discussion of international matters in the campaign. and that's partly because of this manipulation. the candidates on the republican side and the right in this country don't really want to talk about foreign policy because partly because of the legacy of the bush administration and partly because barack obama's done a pretty darn good job. [laughter] i mean, usama bin laden's gone, al-awlaki's gone in yemen, the president has got a much better reputation around the world than george bush. one of the reasons they don't want to talk about it is they don't want to give him create. they also want to try to say he's always apologizing for america, they make fun of his
foreign trips which i think were very good to places like india and indonesia. and then they have these absurd comments like herman cain who i miss a little bit because he helped me make my point. they asked him about uzbekistan, and he goes, oh, i'm not going to pretend that i know anything about becky sta n. it's not a joke. it's right to the north of pakistan and afghanistan. when we have problems with pakistan and we need to get our armaments and our other things into afghanistan because of a war that shouldn't be going on anymore, well, then we have to send hillary clinton and make deals with, basically, a stalinist dictator in uzbekistan. well, maybe that sounds new to people, but you know what? it has to do with our national security and, frankly, the safety of our own troops.
>> guest: we immediate to have a conversation during the cam -- we need to have a conversation during the campaign as americans, not as people in political parties, as americans that we need to be together on these issues. >> host: with regard to iraq, you detail in the book and you just referenced it that you were concerned about america's policy objectives, and you didn't think the war was a good idea. we were there, we were there for a decade, and republicans are criticizing president obama's decision to bring the troops home and, in fact, we are seeing stories as we did this morning of major bombings across the country, thinking that perhaps al-qaeda is trying to destabilize further. so i'm wondering about any gains we made during the ten years that you are concerned about we might lose with the pull-out schedule. >> guest: the idea of going into iraq was a terrible idea. president bush ran around the country saying, you know, al-qaeda's operating in 60 countries around the world. used an official state
department list. well, guess what? that list included, of course, afghanistan, uzbekistan, ireland, and iraq wasn't even on the list. how do you think al-qaeda decided to go there? because of the foolishness of putting ourselves in a situation where we were essentially playing osama bin laden's game. if you look at his speech that he put on the internet a couple of days before the 2004 election, he mocked us. he said i know what to do with these guys. we send a lock up -- a couple of mujahideen to these places, and america comes running. what we really want to do to the united states of special bankrupt it. well, that's exactly the trap we fell into, and i think we got out of iraq about five years too late. the idea that we're going to sort of resolve all the issues that have been there from time immemorial in a country like that by invading and occupying it, you can't do that. you need to work with governments that are friendly around the world to identify
al-qaeda operatives and to try to keep them on the run or get them as president obama's often done. so i, if people want to argue that we should still be in iraq, they can go ahead and argue it, but that means we're going to have to invade every country in the world at some point, put our troops there like it's the game of risk where you can never leave. i guarantee you that's not something that's going to work. >> host: senator feingold, i have the challenge of trying to get two very complex issues here on the table here in a short time, and i'm going to move right on the the other. the opening sentence of your book, "while america sleeps," is actually around the passage of legislation that bears your name, mccain-feingold, the campaign finance reform legislation. and i'm wondering since it has now had three reviews by the supreme court, the latest of which was, of course, citizens united in 2010, what you think about the state of the legislation today. >> guest: well, it's really interesting. there's a misconception out there that somehow the
mccain-feingold bill has been overruled. actually, it's the only thing that's left of our campaign finance system. the supreme court eliminated a couple of the more minor provisions that, frankly, i did not think was central. what i considered central continues to be the law which is, you know, corporations and unions can't give unlimited contributions to the political parties. and politicians can't raise it. so that's good. but as john mccain and i always said, this was only one thing, and we needed to build on it. what happened instead was in citizens united the entire foundation that we built mccain-feingold on was destroyed, and that foundation was the longstanding 1-rbgs 00-year rule that corporations couldn't use their treasuries, you know, when we buy soap or gasoline, they couldn't use that money for political purposes, and the 60-year-old that labor unii don't think so couldn't do the same thing. so what has happened is the that the entire campaign finance system has been eviscerated and only one of the building blocks, mccain-feingold, sill -- still
exists. and that's why i created a group last year that is being very successful in raising this issue, progressives united. progressives united.org which is the group in america working with other groups like democracy for america and be others to raise awareness of how devastate ing this, one of the worst decisions in the history of the supreme court actually is to our m of government. >> host: a question for you. you are critical of president obama for deciding that he will, in fact, accept superpac participation in his re-election bid. some pundits and politicians are calling this a game changer. would you explain why you think it's a bad idea for him? >> guest: i do think it's a bad idea for the president to allow his people to be involved with super pacs. it doesn't look to me at all like who barack obama is. as i've already said, on a wide range of issues, especially
international issues, i think he's doing a very good job, and we need him as his president. he's doing well right now. i think the only thing that's a drag on his campaign at the moment is any kind of affiliation with this increasingly corrupt system. i think it's a way for democrats to lose not only at the presidential level, but at the local level because if any democrat in their right mind believes we're going to win a battle that has to do with corporate pun, they're crazy -- money, they're crazy. we can never compete if question is who has the most money in a system of corporate contributions. add to that guess what you're going to get for policy. you're not going to get progressive democratic policy, what you're going to get is corporate policy, corporate democrats. and we've seen this before. before john mccain and i shut down the soft money successfully in terms of political parties, what did soft money buy? it bought nafta and other trade agreements that shipped our industrial base of this country overseas because democrats and
republicans were both corporatized. we destroyed a lot of the freedom and diversity of our media to the telecommunications act which really destroyed a lot of the differences and opportunities for individuality in radio. and, of course, as i sit here in manhattan we think about the corporate purchase of both democrat and republican votes to destroy our economic system vis-a-vis wall street. to repeal until glass-steagall act which was the key protection after the depression of our banking system, of the protection of people's money by separating investment houses from banks. well, this was all part of this ugly system. it's back. and it's back with a vengeance. and if anybody believes that there really is sop keep -- somd of independence as the law requires of super pacs from the candidates, that's a joke that even justices of the supreme court are already saying they know is a farce. and i think this decision not only can be overturned, but will be overturned especially if president obama gets to pick the
nominees for the supreme court. >> host: okay. let's get some calls, and the first is from madison, wisconsin. tony's a democrat out there. you on for russ feingold. go ahead, please. >> thank you. fist time caller, long time listener. this is a great service to the country, it's too bad it's not on free tv. senator feingold, thank you for being the only sane voice during the conception of the patriot act to say, hey, hold on, maybe we should slow this. with regard to your comments about the republican candidates, i was just curious about your opinion towards ron paul and maybe considering a feingold/paul ticket. thank you. >> guest: well, it's great to hear from madison, wisconsin, of course. i live right next to it in middleton, wisconsin. obviously, ron paul and i agree on some issues. he was willing to challenge some of our unwise interventions at various times in iraq. he believes we ought to have
some serious congressional review of interventions overseas including getting more serious about the power to declare war on behalf of the congress. he opposed to patriot act. i was the only senator to do it, but there were a number of congressmen who were smart enough to say, wait a minute, this thing goes too far. i don't agree with some of his other views that have to do with aspects of immigration and some of the other issues in the country, so i'm not going to be voting for ron paul, but we do have some common ground. and i compare him favorably on many issues to the sort of just pure talking points of the republican candidates on issues like iran or campaign finance. these guys really have no real differences between them. of course, romney you're not quite sure what side he's on from one day to the next, but at least paul presents a little different point of view. >> host: our next call for the former senator is from woodstock, illinois. lydia, independent, good morning. >> caller: good morning.
i appreciate all that you've done, and i think you have a tremendous it could be terms of honoring our owner's manual which is the constitution. i'm going to give you a challenge because arnold toi nby in his book "a study of history" describes civilizations that are the p proper unit for analysis. now, we are the stewards, we have a stewardship responsibility to our form of government. and that is why we have to safeguard our process first before we go into other units, into other nations. they can look to us, and we can demonstrate through example. now, i hope you read the book and you reference it in your discussions with the white house because it is manual of what is going on currently. and i will pick up your book. in fact, i will read it next week. i have a lot of respect for you,
but i think we have to demonstrate this is a larger issue rather than just progressive. okay? thank you. >> guest: i should probably -- you bet. wonderful comments. i should be reading some more toinby myself as i continue to this subject. but you make a really good point about the constitution. and our stewardship of it. half of my book, "while america sleeps," is about errors we made, in my view, about how we looked at the rest of the world and our military interventions and that aspect. but the second part is a concern about the way in which the fears of 9/11 were exploited domestically for political purposes. and this is particularly true in two areas. one is in the area of the patriot act, the legislation that was used as vehicle to essentially put into place an old wish list of the fbi having to do with looking at people's library records and searches of their homes when they're not there that really had need to do with terrorism in particular and was just a power grab.
that was just one example. the other was, in my view, the outrageous interpretation of article ii of the constitution, the commander in chief power, you should george bush and john yu. they basically took a new view. they said, well, we've been attacked by a different organization, therefore, the law doesn't apply anymore. so if congress and the president have signed a bill saying you want to do wiretapping, actually with, we don't have to do that. that law doesn't apply to us because we're the commander in chief. this is a direct attack on our constitution, the very pownation that the founder -- foundation that the founders put together of saying there needs to be checks and balances. it is one of the most important developments coming after 9/11, and it has not been fixed, and it needs to be fixed. so, yeah, the whole story of america going to sleep includes not just not know what's going on in the rest of the world, but not knowing what's been done to us and our freedoms and it hasn't been fixed.
>> host: got another madison caller. this is brad, a republican there. >> caller: hey, mr. feingold, how you doing this morning? >> guest: brad, how are you? is it snowing in madison? >> caller: you know what? it is actually wrapping up, but, yeah, we got -- >> guest: okay. good to get the report. [laughter] >> caller: better than most of the weathermen around here. oh, i didn't say that. i just wanted to thank you for your service. i'm a republican myself, but i voted for you over ron johnson, and i'm not really too impressed from what i've seen from old ron. but just wanted to ask you if you were to run for president, um, what would your budget proposal be? i mean, honestly to cut some spending and save us young people like myself here for the next 20, 30 years, what would you cut? and not the obvious answers.
don't hit me with defense. thank you. >> guest: okay. well, first, brad, thank you. this is exactly what wisconsin can be about and has been about in the past. here is a republican who calls me up, obviously, doesn't agree with me on everything, did vote for me independently which i, of course, appreciate. and, you know, we may not agree on the questions you've asked me, but this is what we've got to get back to instead of this blood and guts stuff where everybody vilifies each other. so i thank you for your attitude. i haven't been thinking about on a daily basis about what kind of budget i would put together for the country. when i came to the united states, i came in with a specific 82-point plan that had to do with ideas all the way from getting rid of an outdated program to larger ideas about closing tax loopholes. and we put that into place and working with both parties in the 1990s we actually got rid of the deficit before george bush came into office. now, look, part of the answer's going to have to be not having the bush tax cuts extended
forever. i don't think we can afford to have the complete elimination of the estate tax, for example. you know, this is -- i think people should have a serious exemption of up to $10 million per couple. if you have $100 million, it is not necessary to completely give up that revenue. but on the spending side, i guarantee you there are many places where we can identify programs that don't work, and i had a great deal of success doing that in the senate, identifying things that have no longer, no longer have their usefulness because, you know, ronald reagan was right when he said something to the effect that the closest thing to immortality is a federal program. it develops its own constituency. some of our foreign policy programs like the aspects of the so-called radio free europe is things that had their relevance at one time but really became wasteful and bloated. so we need to have that kind of analysis not on a partisan basis. and you say, you know, defense spending. well, this isn't a question you're cutting defense spending,
but making sure defense spending is relevant to the threats that are around us. way too much of the defense budget goes to those military contractors. and to military -- things that don't work particularly well such as the osprey helicopter. let's say you and i could agree we're not going to cut it, but let's make it more efficient, and let's make it more targeted to what we need to do. so those would be some of the things i would look to in formulating a budget, but i have not given it comprehensive thought at the moment. >> host: well, his question was predicated on future political ambitions. there's a bit of a discussion going on with my twitter community here as you're talking about what your interests and intentions might be in the future. wisconsin governor, presidential bid. what are you thinking about for your political future? >> guest: i'm not thinking about running for office at all. i've resisted requests that i run for office during this two-year period. my family's very happy about it after 28 years in a row of being in public service, i'm in the private sector.
i'm a private citizen, you know? some of these guys who campaigned against me were right, it's a good thing once in a while to have an opportunity to look at the world this way. and i completely disagree with the idea that public service is bad which is what they tried to say, that it's somehow a wrong thing to serve honorably the public and it's a great thing. but i have an opportunity right now to sit back and really think, write about what i've written about in my book, "while america sleeps." i never had the chance to sit down and do that because i was addressing the day-to-day issues that i needed to address; dairy farmer issues in wisconsin. we had a flood in wisconsin, you had to deal with that right away. there is a place for people who have been in public life to come back and say, look, i was on the intention committee, i was on the foreign relations committee, i am very worried that we are losing our focus on what happened to us on 9/11, what can happen again. yes, i could do that as an elected firm but, frankly, at the moment i'm having a better success in getting that message out as somebody that is writing
and thinking and talking about it, and i think there's a place for that in america as well. >> host: while you reference your book, people should know the style is very often a tick tock of events. where you were at certain times, who said what to whom. curious about how you kept all the details of all that for all these years that you rib in the book -- write about in the book? >> guest: well, i should have kept a journal, but i didn't have that discipline. a lot of it came from memory in the book, remembering incidents. but i have this tendency to come back from a meeting or a trip and make my staff listen to my stories. so they had heard the stories. and then i hired a research assistant, a guy from my town, jeremyful toson, and i asked him to interview poem who worked -- people who worked with me, we even wanted to make sure about some meetings, a meeting we held with ben ali in tunisia. we went back, and jeremy make
talked to the ambassadors at the time to see if they had the same recollections. i believe my recollections with this kind of help are as accurate as possible. and some of the more entertaining stories i'm pretty sure i know for sure that those are right because i laughed pretty hard when a couple of them happened. it's a serious back -- book, but there is some entertaining stuff about senator helms, vice president biden, and we try to use them to make a serious point. >> host: any pushback from any of your colleagues about inside some contentious meetings? >> guest: i was over at the new school, and one of the funniest stories in the whole book relates to bob kerrey, and i walked in and said, is he going to punch me in the face? he asked me if he could tell the story in the introduction. >> host: next call from kentucky. dwight, independent. hello, dwight, you there?
>> caller: yes, yes, i'm here. everyone's talking about the middle east, which i think our real enemy's china here. corporations don't want to make any responsibility anymore, so they move jobs overseas while they get tax breaks. and it's, and all these wars is bankrupting america. it just don't make any sense. i'd like to say on a couple of calls a while back, the segment a while back, a caller in florida he was a republican, they want to raise minimum wage, sir. my republican redneck friends here would say everything will go up. so that's all aye got to add. >> host: okay, thanks very much.
your comments on minimum wage and what effect it has on the overall economy. >> guest: well, if i could, first, let me just respond to the first part where i sabin go. here's a caller who's saying, wait a minute, you can't just focus on the middle east. what about china's influence in africa? you can be concerned about iran getting a nuclear weapon, but what about iranian influence in latin america? we need to figure out a way to look at the world globally. al-qaeda, in my view, is still very active in northern africa, and michael leiter, the former counterterrorism chief says that there's still a serious challenge there. al she bob is a chapter of al-qaeda in somalia. in northern africa there is al-qaeda in the islamic maghreb. in nigeria there's a group which is carrying off huge numbers of attacks both on western targets and internal religious targets against christian churches and the like. and it appears to me that they
either have an al-qaeda connection or use the same tactics. so we have to be able to look at these different places at once. as to the minimum wage, i'm a strong believe that a strong minimum wage is necessary, it is very important to protect the livings of people that particularly at this time, it gets to the point if you don't have an adequate minimum wage where people simply can't make ends meet even if they're working two, three jobs, people and the couple. the minimum wage, i think, is a good program, and i have, of course, when i was in both the state senate and the u.s. senate consistently supported reasonable increases. >> host: on the economy, this tweet from pwg944 writes: please explain the relationship of nafta, other trade deals to loss of u.s. manufacturing. >> guest: yeah. the north american free trade agreement, the deal with china and be other deals, central
american free trade agreement, all were cooked out of the same broth, basically. what they were were agreements that pretended to be balanced but were heavily balanced toward countries that were on the other side of the deal, and the american or international corporations that were a part of it. there weren't enforcement mechanisms in case the workers' rights in those countries were not respected. there was fancy language about respecting it, but no way to enforce it. this is how we lost jobs to mexico, and a lot of those jobs in mexico then ship today china. and then we lost huge numbers of jobs to china and many other countries, and wisconsin has one of the large industrial manufacturing bases in the country. and we took def can stating losses -- devastating losses of longtime, wonderful companies places like green bay, sheboygan and those places as well as the loss of industry in a city like milwaukee which was once one to have greatest manufacturing
towns in america, still, of course, has some. but we've lost many of those because of trade agreements that were paid for with soft money that both parties were involve inside until the mccain-feingold bill shut that down. >> host: baton rouge, louisiana, tyrone, good morning. you're on for russ feingold. >> caller: good morning, miss susan and senator, how you doing today? >> guest: i'm good, how are you? >> caller: okay. i'm a ron paul supporter. don't mean to put you on the spot, i haven't had a chance to read your book. i read part of pat buchanan's book. my point comes down to the economy and how we're investing money in foreign aid. and i get in trouble when i say this because a lot of people take it the wrong way, and i hope you don't, senator. but i think we are a bankrupt nation. with the debt we have, we're never going to get out of this
debt with the intervention policies that we have. and i think much of it has to do with the security of's reel. israel. i'm not against the security of israel, but i think us going into iraq, on the verge of going into iran to try to prevent their nuclear proliferation which there's no proof that they have these weapons or they're trying to, you know, really have the means to get 'em, and i guess what i'm trying to say is at some point we're going to run out of money. paying israel to stay a step ahead, paying their neighbors not to attack them. and at some point when our money runs out, what will happen to the state of israel? i mean, we're not going to have the money, china won't take them under their wing, and the only outlet they're going to have is to go back to europe. and when they depend on europe, the jewish nation always -- the jewish people always gets in
trouble when they go over there because we simply can't sustain. >> host: going to jump in there, thank you. russ feingold? >> guest: well, iran isn't just a threat to israel, which it is, it's a threat to the united states of america if they get nuclear weapons. so both because israel's an ally and because of the direct threat to our security as well as other european allies of ours, i think we need to take seriously what's going on in iran, but that doesn't mean i'm advocating attack. and as to foreign aid, you know, i agree with the caller a little bit with regard to this. i don't want us to just throw a bunch more money at a lot of different countries in order to solve our problem. what i try say in my book "while america sleeps," is i'd like to see a small apt -- amount of money to help improve our knowledge of countries and having a more positive relationship with people this other countries. you know, let's be citizen diplomats. let's help americans maybe with grants to go for two or three weeks a year to help people and
to help them learn certain things that would be of use to them, and maybe they could help us learn things as well. a great example is a guy in wisconsin named damon she man sky. he came to me in 1994 and said, was, i'm a dairy farmer, but i had the opportunity to go to the former soviet republic and visit a dairy farm. he said there was is so much bacteria in the milk at the dearie farm, the ilk -- dairy farm, the milk could have walked to market by itself. ten years later he comes back to my office, and he'd gone to something like 30 other countries and done the same thing. he is helping us without huge foreign aid show that america is interested in other people, that we want to share information and skills, and it also means he learned about that country. he was able to come back to the green bay area, and he could tell people about what things are like there. we lack a cowing report -- scouting report on other
countries. even high school teams scout the other football team. they have some knowledge. we are at a huge disadvantage when we don't have a sufficient knowledge of the rest of the world, and we immediate to really bring up our -- we need to really bring up our game in this regard. >> bell brook, ohio. mary's a democrat. good morning, you're on. >> caller: hi, former-senator feingold, i have a lot of respect for you as well. hope you run for national office again. but the former or, no, i'm sorry, the new chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general dempsey, was just recently on cnn's gps program. and he, god, it was the most rational conversation or statements i've heard about iran. there was a sense of a deep understanding of foreign policy. and he said the iranian regime is a rational actor, and he also said that a strike at this time, these are his quotes, a strike at this time would be destabilizing. and you just said that iran, um, is a direct threat to the u.s.
iran has never threatened the u.s., and the comments from ahmadinejad have been misrepresented by some of the very same people who lied our nation boo iraq. now -- into iraq. now, i believe you voted against the iraq war resolution, and i think you were on the intelligence committee at that time -- >> guest: i was not at that time, but i did vote against the iraq invasion, yes. >> caller: okay. so senator durbin was on the committee and was against it. >> guest: right. >> caller: do you think those individuals out of the office of special plans operating off the pentagon that seymour hirsh and others have written about, those who created and disseminated that false intelligence, should they be held accountable? and then on c-span they've often had former head of the cia's bin laden unit michael surer on, and he has repeatedly said that the three issues, the reason that people in that part of the world are so angry with
the u.s. are u.s. support for dictators in the region, u.s. support for israel no water -- matter what they do, no matter how many illegal settlements they continue to build in east jerusalem. and also, um, our military bases on their land to access the oil in that region. so if you could talk about the core reasons that people in that part of the world are so angry about, with the u.s. as michael surer has talked about on -- >> host: thank you, mary. >> guest: well, you know, one of the stories i tell in "while america sleeps" has to do with, frankly, one of my first experiences meeting with a large group of islamic-americans and foreign students in madison, wisconsin, just a few days after 9/11. they had an open house because they wanted to have a dialogue, and i went over there and had a wonderful reception, we had a great time talking. and i asked this question that you've asked, basically, asked, what is the source of some of the feelings in the middle east.
and although certainly there were comments about israel and the palestinians and at the time talking about the no-fly policies and the various humanitarian issues in iraq at the time, the overwhelming criticism was that we supported dictators and despots in the middle east. that was the big one with. here we are with these values of democracy, human rights, women's rights and be so on, and yet we're supporting people like ben ali in tunisia, saleh in yemen, mubarak in egypt and even, you u know, on occasion working with saddam hussein when it was convenient for us. so this is what people said. it just galled them that we would have these values, claim this is what we cared about, cared about democracy, and yet we'd pick some guy -- musharraf, we'd pick some guy and say let's go with this guy rather than making connections with the people of the country.
people say, look, you don't know what you're going to get if you back one of these dictators. look, that's a chance we have to take. we have to find a way to figure out how to work with the people of the country and not pick some strong man who's going to cause us to -- the very root has to do with the mistake we made in this regard this the early 1950s. they had finally gotten a freely-chosen president or prime minister named -- [inaudible] and with the cia and others we took him out of power. and this was a great frustration for the iranian people that led to the dominance of the shah of iran who, of course, was one of these strong men that we supported against the wishes of the iranian people. this is the kind of mistake we've made, and we have to reverse it. >> host: senator, bringing you back to campaign finance. last friday in "the new york times," lindsay mark lewis, former finance director for the democratic national committee,
had an op-ed in the times which was titled "a better way to buy politicians." here's just a little of what rind say wrote. >> guest: well, frankly, he couldn't be more wrong. we saw his comments in "the new york times," and true progressives united my executive director of the organization responded. it's like saying there's one system of organized crime, so
let's open up another system of organized crime to balance it. that's what it is. we've already seen what this system of soft money did before pk cane-feingold. it was very corrupting, as i write in my book, actually, and some of the speeches i've given. we talk about the fact that you could actually hear people talking about these corrupt contributions on if the floor of the senate while they're voting on it. so the idea that this gentleman thinks it's a good idea to go back to unlimited contributions to the party raised by senators and congressmen? is that is a completely defeatist attitude. what he's forgetting is that things were much better in the 2008 election. we didn't have these huge contributions because the citizens united case hadn't occurred, and we had successfully banned soft money to the parties. so what happened? people went with a more democratic route. they went n part, with electronic democracy by having the internet be a mechanism where college students and others who maybe didn't feel a part of the political process giving $10 or $20 contributions.
that was exciting. and corporate america saw that and were worried about it and, in fact, i think they saw the face of democracy, and they werer terrified. so what did they do? they engineered citizens united and, unfortunately, the person you mention says, okay, well, we'll never be able to deal with that, let's get rid of everything else. to me that's the most defeatist and sad approach i could think of. >> host: and on that note robert grant tweets this question: will senator feingold be putting his energies into the future improvements and changes in campaign finance reform? >> guest: that's what i'm doing every day. this is what progressives united is all about. i founded it with a number of people that i've worked with in the past as well as some other experts a year ago, right around the time of the anniversary of the citizens united decision. people can go to progressivesunited.org to be part of a several hundred thousand strong group that is working to make people aware of the consequences of citizens united, but also to support legislation that would help such
as the disclose act and make sure people know where the contributions are coming from to get rid of the federal elections commission which is a joke and have real enforcement, but also to call out candidates whether republican or the president or anyone else if they're deciding to play this game of getting involved with corporate money through these undisclosed and unlimited contributions. this is a system that i believe is devastating for those who are progressives. and so a system where we believe that money shouldn't control policy, but people should control policy. and so we are working every single day, and i think with great success, to to highlight everything from the super committee which we were worried last summer was going to give away the store and create a bad budget to demanding that there be a real investigation of what happened on wall street. and the president actually took some steps in that regard after we raised the issue. of so we're proud of what we've done, and we want to encourage people to join us because we are the group that is specifically focused on this, but we also work cooperatively with other
progressive groups like democracy for america and move moveon.org instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying that's the way we have to do. >> host: we have two more calls. one is another wisconsin call, and it's mason who's an independent there. >> caller: hi, senator feingold. i was just wondering if you could give your take on everything that's going on in our state right now. i mean, i don't know if you covered that already, i kind of got a late start watching this. >> host: thanks, mason. >> guest: we haven't covered it, and he's calling from the granite capital of the world. the best granite in the world is from his hometown. anyway, yeah, our state has been thrown boo a horrible situation. -- into a horrible situation. governor walker got elected, i understood he won the election, it was one of those elections when all the democrats lost, and he got into office. good for him. the problem is he decided to attack our state.
he didn't want to work with the other side, he decided to divide the state right down the middle by attacking our collective bargaining rights for public employees. this has been around for decades. we were the first state in the country to have this law. governors of both parties have always understood that it's a good thing to have collective bargaining in this area, and it's a basic right. he used every brutal tactic, every unfair approach you can use, and i know because i served in the wisconsin cincinnati senate for ten years -- state senate for ten years. in a hell-bent desire to destroy this law, and he's succeeded for now. but instead we're saying -- and i was one of over a million people that signed a petition to recall him. what's it for? i think it's for a situation where a governor has completely waged war on the working people of the state this a way that no one could have predicted and that has divided families and friends and put a state that is usually very genteel and cooperative and
community-oriented, he's turned it into sort of a form of a war zone. so we need to reverse that, and we think we've got a good chance of replacing him in probably as soon as early june. >> host: our last call for you is from kansas, this is phil, a republican there. phil, you're on. >> caller: good morning, senator feingold, how are you today? >> guest: i'm great, thanks. >> caller: um, i just recently completed the book "the world america made," and one of the points made in the book is that americans, we've got this involvement all around the world. we're the superpower, and so we're involved in these things, but the american instinct is twofold. it's on one end we want to get involved in something, and as soon as we get there, we're looking for the exits, we're looking for a way out. okay? the instinct, i think, is partly humanitarian. for instance, my wife and i were watching last night the news out of syria, and we conservatives are often told that we don't
have a heart. but we really do, and we were watching the news out of syria, and it was tragic to see what was going on. and my wife and i were talking about it, somebody's got to do something realizing that when we talk about somebody, it's going to be us that's doing it. in and a few minutes later we were watching news from afghanistan about people in the streets rioting over the burning of ca -- qurans, two american soldiers have been killed. and the instinct there is let's get the hell out of there. how do you address a guy like me who really wants to be engaged in these things, but at the same time i am really looking for the exits? how do we get our arms around all of that stuff and do the right thing and see the job through? >> guest: well, this is one of the chapters in my book, "while america sleeps," it's called in for a penny, in for a pound. it has to do with this syndrome you're talking about. we have the attitude that once
we go into a situation we have to stay there forever. getting the job done is sort of a meaningless term. does it mean we're going to resolve the differences within afghanistan that have been there for thousands of years? that's absurd, that's not going to happen. our purpose of going to afghanistan was to get osama bin laden. under president obama we got him in pakistan. so why are we still there? it's craze is si to still be there. this is something that is not making any sense and is sapping our economy. there's a different way of doing it, and president obama showed great wisdom in this with with regard to libya. he didn't have to send in boots on the ground so we had to have people there for years and years because of this argument that once you're there you can't, you know, you really can't leave until everything's taken care of. he very wisely engaged the international community. we helped, we did things that made a difference to keep the tipping point going against gadhafi, and we got rid of the guy. and to me, that shows wisdom, a president that actually gets it instead of this crazy idea that you have to invade one country
at a time and stay there like we're playing the game of risk instead of trying to have a better relationship with the rest of the world. >> host: that's it for our time with russ fine feingold. this is his new book, thanks so much for talking with the c-span audience this morning. >> guest: i greatly enjoyed it, thank you. >> every weekend booktv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> c-span donated the 081 vote -- 801 books covered on book notes to george mason university. the university is currently cataloging the collection at the fenwick library. book notes, an hourlong interview program hosted by brian lamb aired from 1989 to 2004. gmu's university librarian shows us the collection entitled "beyond the book."
>> in the mind of brian, this book is the genesis of the "book notes" program of c-span. by reading this book, he decided he wanted to interview the author, and that gave him the idea that, of "book notes," that it would be worthwhile for him to read a lot of books and to talk to the authors. >> host: and 801 total episodes of "book notes," all original, and this was the first official "book notes," correct? >> guest: exactly. dr. brzezinski, of course, was the chair of of the security council for the carter administration. >> host: john zenelis, when you pick the books to go in these display cases, who cure rated this, by the way?
>> guest: several of my colleagues in the special collections and archives area. they made the selections, showed the works to be highlighted, and they made the an annotations accompanying each of the displayed items, and they chose to select a question asked on the "book notes" televised program by brian lamb and then reproduced the answer, the response provided by the author to that question. >> host: and here again in the ben franklin book you can see a lot of notes taken while reading the book. when you put these books in the cases, did you look for varying points of view as c-span does in general? >> guest: yes, exactly so. earlier i mentioned one of the criteria was to reflect the broad perspective involved in "book notes," and that's exactly
the point. there are various subjects covered in the 801 books, and secondly, many m points -- certainly, many, many points of view from a political perspective, a social perspective, humanistic perspective, all kinds of perspectives. >> host: is this archive available for scholars or for the public to see as well? >> guest: it is beginning to become available. library staff are in the process of cataloging the czech. we are about -- collection. we are about 40% through it at this point. for the titles that have already been cataloged, yes, they're available to any student, faculty member here at the university and, of course, because this information is accessible through the worldwide web, to scholars elsewhere in the united states and abroad.
>> host: so you'll be putting it on the george mason web site at some point? >> guest: oh, yes, most definitely. >> host: now, we've seen some of the books on display here, but you've also got posters throughout the library here, and i want to start with this one right here. this is from maya lin's interview, what are we looking at here? >> guest: we're looking at two pieces of paper. one is a page from a writing pad that has brian lamb's notes about the book, and then we have an envelope from a bill it looks like where he also has made additional notes, including some personal information -- [laughter] such as henry in naples, florida, i understand. and i understand henry was the first person that employed brian
professionally, in a professional capacity. so it shows that brian lamb maintained relationships throughout his life with his early mentors. >> host: well, let's continue, let's go look at the full collection if we could. and, again, we've got posters throughout -- >> guest: yeah, the purpose of the posters is to connect this part of the exhibit to the other part of the exhibit which is, um, the third building of in the building complex that institute fenwick library. >> host: now, can the public come through here and see these books? >> guest: yes, most definitely. we're in the other part of the exhibit which is outside our special collections and can archives area. here we have three display cases containing materials from the
books collection. in this particular case, it's not just the books, but we also have a, what we consider an archives part of the collection which is relating to the book of cornel west. and it is john coltrane, giant steps. >> host: do all the books have notes such as this one that we see here? do all the books have -- >> guest: um, um, it varies. i understand from brian originally he was not making annotations within the books themselves. he was making notes separately. he has retained some of those notes but not all of them.
but later on as the program progressed, he started making notes in the books themselves. >> host: now, in the long term will that ink fade being open as it is now? to the air and the light? >> guest: well, all until materials over time deteriorate. however, we in libraries especially in special collections and archives we have a special environmental conditions to preserve paper and anything that is written on paper. so under proper care this writing should last for centuries. this particular books can only be used on site in the reading room of special collections and
archives to which we'll be going later. however, we have older copies available in the general collection of the libraries that are available for circulation. >> host: some more notes from one of the books. why did this, why did this one get blown up? what was special about this one? >> guest: um, we understand that paul thoreau was, is one of the favorite authors of brian, and as you can see from this poster, the blown-up notes, he really became interested in this particular book, and that's why we chose it, because of the significance to the author. >> host: and here you have a letter to brian from betty friedan. >> guest: exactly, recommending that marty's book be considered
for "book notice," and i should point out he was a professor here at george mason university. in fact, this case contains another book by a mason professor which is "say cheese," which, by the way s the only fiction book to be highlights in the "book notes" program. so here are the rest of the 801 books, correct? >> guest: exactly. and these books are shelfed in the order that they were in brian lamb's office at c-span, and also they are in the order of the televised programs. >> host: so beginning here, i mean, except for the ones that are taken out and you have little notes here -- >> guest: exactly. those are place holders to
indicate where the exhibited volumes belong in this arrangement. >> host: and so these are the books in order, correct? >> guest: exactly, yes. >> host: well, did you watch, were you a "book notes" -- >> guest: oh, most definitely, i was a regular viewer, and when brian lamb announced on air that the program was coming to an end, i made a mental note that the next day i neated to look into the -- needed to look into the matter of whether we could obtain the collection and the associated archive from the c-span organization. soon thereafter we made contact with mr. brian lamb. we visited him, we presented three separate proposals from 2005 until 2010.
and in the end we convinced brian that george mason university would be a good home for the collection, but more importantly, he was impressed with what we had, what we were planning to do with the collection. this collection is going to be integrated with the teachings of the university. we will be working with several academic d.s to make sure that -- departments to make sure this material or is integrated into appropriate courses at the undergraduate and graduate level so that our students will have access to primary research materials as they study and explore the various subject
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