Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

TODAY ON BASHAM AND CORNELL: "Strength through peace" — not peace through strength. Presidential Contender Dennis Kucinich is our guest again today. Kucinich will discuss updates on the MSNBC debate exclusion fiasco. Also: Emmy Award Winning Actress & Edwards supporter Jean Smart.

If you're in Vegas for the Nevada caucus, you can listen live at 8 AM on KLAV 1230 AM or on the web at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

DAUGHTER DAY: CATE EDWARDS AND CHRISTINE PELOSI on our show today! If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

** NBC/GE WON THE RIGHT TO EXCLUDE KUCINICH FROM THE NEVADA DEBATE. The network won an emergency appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn the judge's decision to allow America to hear from Dennis Kucinich.

How can a network whose purpose is to serve the public interest have such power in destroying the democratic process?

WHY did NBC take such extreme measures to keep Kucinich from the debate? Does the network think it would be bad for the democratic process to have at least one candidate onstage who is against media monopolies, won the Gandhi Peace Award, never voted for the war, and is pro-environment? This is a travesty, an abomination and proves that network conglomerates do not have the public interest at heart.

Dennis Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 on the promise to save the city’s municipally-owned electric system which offered customers significantly lower rates than the private utility. A year later, Cleveland’s banks demanded that he sell the city’s 70 year-old municipally-owned electric system to its private competitor (in which the banks had a financial interest) as a precondition of extending credit to the city.

The attempted political blackmail failed as did several assassination attempts. He remembered his parents counting out coins on the dresser and refused to sell the people’s power. In an incident unprecedented in modern American politics, the Cleveland banks plunged the city into default for a mere $15 million despite being offered triple collateral to protect the loan.

The principled stand destroyed his political career. He lost his reelection bid. He was demonized as the mayor who threw Cleveland into default. Fifteen years later, the citizens of Cleveland - recognizing he had saved them hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal power bills and also forced the private utility to keep bills low to compete – voted him into the Ohio Senate. His campaign signs featured a light bulb and the expression “Because he was right.” In 1998 the Cleveland City Council honored Dennis for “... having the courage and foresight to refuse to sell the city’s municipal electric system.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fear is 'false evidence appearing real.' Don't give "evil" any power by holding it in your thought. Do not worry or fear anything, no matter how bad things look.

We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality.

"As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the other. How important, then, to choose good as the reality! God is love, infinity, freedom, harmony... This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness." - Mary Baker Eddy

I'm going to put up inspirational ideas every day from now on. Christine Pelosi is right: we need to inspire each other and stop spiraling down into so much fear about the economy, the war, the world.

We need to lift each other up and be the party of hope and inpsiration. We can be the party of light.


Arab Sitcom Becomes Surprise Hit in Israel

Every week in Israel, thousands of Jewish families open up their homes to an Arab family. The latter are only fictional characters — from the hit Israeli sitcom Arab Work — but still, many say this is a critical marker in (pop culture) history. (read more at: GOOD NEWS

Positive Radio Brings Calm to Tense Kenya Slum

Pamoja FM broadcasts African music, reggae, and hip-hop – as well as mellow encouragements to remain calm and nonviolent during the country's worst political crisis

Celebrating 800 Years of Rumi, Sufi Poet of Peace

"Rumi's poetry, originally written in Persian, has endured through the centuries, especially in the Islamic world. Christians, Muslims, and Jews gathered at a mausoleum to celebrate Rumi's poetry.

How The Bucket List Film May Change Your Life & Make You Happier

A corporate billionaire and a working class mechanic have nothing in common until they're forced to share a hospital room.

I am a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards and think they are the purest Progressives (although I love Obama, and think Hillary would be good too.) But outside of Kucinich, of the "Big Three" that were allowed to debate in Nevada this week, Edwards is David to Goliath. He represents the interests of American citizens with a carefully thought-out plan for restoring economic prosperity and handing it back to the middle class.

Items of Interest:

1. Fox News: We Report -- Even if We Know It's False
From Paul Begala at HuffPo: "After I told Fox yesterday that the story about me wasn't true -- and this is the surreal part -- they kept reporting it anyway. Fox's Garrett told me he'd "take it under advisement." Take it under advisement?"

2. Finally, Lee Iacocca, one of the most successful businessmen in the country, speaks with outrage and says what we have been saying all along. This essay is long overdue. Please scroll down and read it and then decide which candidate should be the next President of the United States and Leader of the Free World. But first these photos...

I was researching the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in southwest Cambodia, built by the vanished Khmer empire. I am obsessed with archaeology and the sacred sites of the world. The strange beauty of these pictures haunts me on several levels.

The roots of the iconic tree wrapped around the Temple of Ta Prohm, seem a fitting metaphor for the Bush Dynasty's parasitic grasp on our fragile democracy. (You know, elitism with its claws in our constitution.) All this came to mind because our guest on Friday's show was Jill Derby, the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party. She had traveled to Cambodia in the early 70's when these temples were relatively untouched by tourism.

Below are the "Heads of Kings and Buddahs." The ancient Khmer regime mixed religion with politics as if they were one and the same. (Photo credit: Linkinn Angkor Wat)


Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.
I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out! - Lee Iacocca

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points—not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.

So, here's my C list:

A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go.

If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping. There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President—the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?'" Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't.

Leadership is all about managing change—whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him.

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths—for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.

A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.

If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.

To be a leader you've got to have CONVICTION—a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President—four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.

There's more in Iacocca's new book.

If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Valerie Plame, Lou Dobbs, Helen Thomas, Christine Crier, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk