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OPEN LETTER TO LENO, MAHER & G.E. FROM YOUR ANTI-CENSORSHIP "DISRUPTORS"


On Tuesday, January 15th, four free speech/fair election patriots visited the set of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (and guest, Bill Maher, who was coincidentally appearing), to voice their displeasure over NBC, MSNBC and parent company General Electric's refusal to allow Congressman Dennis Kucinich to debate his fellow Democrats in MSNBC's televised Presidential debate to be held that evening. The four First Amendment advocates, Carol Barbieri, Jennifer Epps, Eva James and Mark Lipman, "interrupted" the Tonight Show airing, exercised their Constitutional rights, and used the people's airwaves to inform conglomerate G.E. of its failure to appropriately inform American voters of the views and policies of ALL candidates vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party.

Since their brazen challenge to G.E., NBC and MSNBC via their Tonight Show "presence," there has been wide media speculation as to who the "visitors" were and why they had made so vocal - and perhaps disruptive an "appearance." The following is their OPEN LETTER in their own words to Jay Leno, Bill Maher, MSNBC, conglomerate General Electric, and the American public to provide an in-depth and informative explanation. (Please view the youtube link of their Tonight Show "appearance": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDWsxgVOSk8)

I know these patriots personally and respect their love of nation and their fearlessness. I've been provided this letter and substantiating data to publish on their behalf. I'm delighted to do so:

Thursday, January 17, 2008
Dear Jay and Bill:

We hope you understand why we interrupted The Tonight Show taping on Tuesday. It was not a decision taken lightly. We had no idea who was going to be on the show that day, and it wasn’t a protest against either of you. Our beef was with NBC / MSNBC and their agenda-driven censorship.

Our words—“Let Dennis debate”; “GE, NBC, Put impeachment on TV”--should make it clear that we were protesting MSNBC's barring Presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich from the Democratic debate in Las Vegas that evening, and we were also demanding that the media stop censoring calls for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. (As you probably know, Kucinich has proposed a resolution to impeach Cheney: HR#799; and impeachment is part of his campaign). The four of us who were there included a combination of L.A. National Impeachment Center members, and Kucinich supporters, acting completely independently from his official campaign--and certainly we were not connected with the WGA at all; it never even occurred to us that anyone would think that.

We believe that rather than exercising 1st Amendment principles, MSNBC was actively suppressing speech in the interests of its parent company, GE. Kucinich had met MSNBC’s criteria for inclusion in the Jan. 15th debate and a judge had even ordered them to include him. But his views seem to differ from GE’s so much that MSNBC fought all the way to the State Supreme Court to keep him off the air. That’s a lot of trouble for a news corporation to go to in order to NOT cover someone.

On the same day, the day of your show, House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, 19th) was arguing in Congress for impeachment hearings for Cheney re. HR#799. (HR#799 has 25 co-sponsors, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), also on the Judiciary Committee, back Wexler’s call.) Wexler has over 203,130 signatures in a petition for hearings and presented them to the House. Yet Wexler’s courageous act was met with a wall of silence in the corporate media just as any serious attention to impeachment has been.

We made the decision soberly, with much thought, to break through that silence. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

We were only 4 people in The Tonight Show audience, but we are part of a much larger group of hundreds of thousands, millions even, of deeply concerned Americans who have spent almost this entire decade trying to curb the criminality of the Bush Administration and to convince the Democratic Party to do their constitutional duty and stop it.

Throughout this time we have used tactics that society sanctions: meeting with our elected representatives, protesting in the streets, writing to Congress and the media, filing suits, working on electoral campaigns, making films, singing songs, and on and on. And look where it has gotten us. Nothing has changed. Not only are we still in Iraq; we may attack Iran.

When we asked you for help, to "save our democracy", we meant it. In this historic moment the last of our rights is being stripped from us. If we do not stand up now we will have nothing left to stand up for. Jay and Bill, you are in a position to do a lot of good. We ask you for your help. "We ask all Americans to help by acting NOW! We are all in this together.

The time that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about, when silence is betrayal, is upon us. We feel that silence is a betrayal of the 3,900 American troops who have died in Iraq because of Bush and Cheney’s lies, the 1,400-4,000 people who did not survive Katrina because Bush failed in his duty to send federal resources, the 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11 despite the many warnings received by the Bush Administration, and untold others who have suffered and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere because of the unchecked criminality of the President and Vice-President. This criminality only continues because corporate-owned media allows it.

NBC’s censorship of Kucinich’s voice epitomizes the extreme peril our democracy faces, when even our bedrock democratic freedom to hear legitimate presidential candidates speak to voters is trumped by corporate power. We know that we disrupted the normal way The Tonight Show runs, but these are not normal times.

Sincerely,

Carol Barbieri

Jennifer Epps

Eva James

Mark Lipman

L.A. NATIONAL IMPEACHMENT CENTER www.bcimpeach.com

ADDENDUM:

POPULAR SUPPORT FOR IMPEACHMENT:

*70% of American voters in an ARG poll think Cheney has abused his powers
*64% of American voters in an ARG poll think Bush has abused his powers

http://americanresearchgroup.com/impeach/ (Nov. 13, 2007)

*52% of American voters in a Zogby poll were in favor of Congress considering the impeachment of Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval;
only 43% were opposed

(The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults.)

http://www.democrats.com/bush-impeachment-poll-2 (Jan. 9-12, 2006)

*203,139 people have signed Rep. Robert Wexler’s petition for Cheney impeachment hearings ( www.wexlerwantshearings.com)
* 25 congresspeople have co-sponsored Kucinich’s H.R.799 to impeach Cheney
* Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) on the House Judiciary Committee called for hearings on H.Res.799 ( www.wexlerwantshearings.com)
* Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) wrote Committee Chair John Conyers, requesting hearings
* the Vermont State legislature passed a resolution for impeachment
* 88 city/municipal councils passed resolutions for impeachment
* 53 local political groups or jurisdictions passed resolutions for impeachment
* 17 state legislative districts passed resolutions for impeachment
* 11 other states saw state legislators attempt to bring impeachment resolutions
* in 14 states, Democratic Party groups passed impeachment resolutions
* National Lawyers Guild passed a resolution for impeachment
* ACLU of SoCal. passed a resolution for impeachment
*ACLU of Florida passed a resolution for impeachment
* United Teachers Los Angeles passed a resolution for impeachment
* Greater Seattle Local, American Postal Workers Union passed such a resolution
* AFSCME Local 2083, Seattle Public Library Union passed such a resolution
* the Green Party of the United States passed such a resolution
* the California Green Party passed such a resolution
* the Vermont Progressive Party passed such a resolution
* Veterans for Peace passed such a resolution
* United for Peace & Justice National Steering Committee passed such a resolution

ADDENDUM:
G.E./MSNBC’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST--

REASONS FOR KUCINICH’S EXCLUSION?

There may be several reasons why G.E. did not want Kucinich’s voice heard:

1.) GE is the nation’s third-largest weapons-manufacturer, and so stands to gain from the Bush Administration’s war-making. Kucinich is the only candidate who voted against the war on Iraq, led others to vote against it, and has continued to vote against it.

2.) GE also has been maneuvering for some time to store its nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a move staunchly resisted by environmentalists. Kucinich is the only Presidential candidate to have voted against allowing a repository at the proposed site.

3.) GE has a division called GE Healthcare Financial Services – and Kucinich is the only candidate for universal, single-payer health care.

4.) Finally, Kucinich is the only candidate who has proposed a resolution, HR799, to impeach Vice-President Cheney, and who has spoken out at past TV debates for impeaching President Bush NOW.

Whether one or all of the above reasons were a factor, it is clear that in the conflict of interest between GE’s business and NBC/MSNBC’s duty to objective journalism, GE won and keeps winning. The entire country thereby loses.

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Bravo, Bravo, Bravo to four great American patriots.

The time for silence has passed. Today I have phoned Senators Dodd & Feingold to thank them for standing for our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. NO IMMUNITY FOR TELECOMS OR GEORGE W. BUSH IN THE FISA BILL.

In addition, I phoned Harry Reid and told his Assistant that neither Senator Reid, nor any other Congressperson, nor the President, has the authority to give away our Constitutional Rights and for Senator Reid to attempt to do so, is a betrayal of every American and is a violation of his oath of office. NO IMMUNITY FOR TELECOMS OR GEORGE W. BUSH IN THE FISA BILL.

Lastly, I received an email from Senator Boxer asking me what my most important issue was for 2008. Unfortunately she did not list a space for "Other" among the choices listed. So I called her office and spoke with her assistant and told her to tell Boxer that my most important issue was the betrayal of the American people and the Constitution by Congressional Democrats--specifically Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein and Harry Reid. We are fed-up with their traitorous silence and inaction to protect the Constitution and the American people.

TIME TO SPEAK. CALL 202-224-3121.

Speaking of MSNBC luminaries, anyone ever mention that the prior night Keith Olbermann was defending his 'employers' GE from attacks by Billo, and that even in his features about the LV debate, he never mentioned the Kucinich lock-out? My bet is that was extremely difficult for him to stifle his rage, but he broke his amazing streak of home-run rants by abdicating his responsibilities on this one.

Unless someone can show something I missed, I don't think Keitho can consider himself the antidote to faux 'fair and balanced' if he won't say a word about this matter concerning his 'employer's' derailing of democracy. Any thoughts anyone? Is Keitho too golden to touch about this matter?

"The Arc of the Moral universe Is Long, But It Bends Towards justice" ~MLK. "John Conyers and his Committee Needs to Align With The Friggin' Moral Arc Here!" ~io

Olbermann stopped mentioning any candidates besides the top three in most of his election reports months ago. I used to admire him, but he's as guilty of shutting Kucinich out of election news coverage as the rest of the network.

KUCINICH had won numerous major ONLINE polls and received his invitation to the January 15, 2007, Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas. But suddenly, the criteria was changed, which excluded him. A network even defied a Judge's ruling to let him debate by running to the Nevada Supreme Court to exclude him. In doing so a network DENIED the American people their right and desire to hear and see a true progressive candidate debate the most crucial and important issues facing the nation. Excluding Dennis was NOT "in the public interest", which all the networks are obligated to serve. The other democratic candidates, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, LOST their "once in a lifetime" opportunity to win a Presidential debate "fair and square" by taking on all comers in a spirit of fairness and "fair play", an American value and tradition. Most certainly, if elected President, that person will want to relish the victory knowing it was "a clean win" without the help of others eliminating the competition. Whoever won that debate, it was NOT "a clean win"! "In The Public Interest", John, Hillary, and Barack, should now BOYCOTT any Presidential Debate that excludes Kucinich.

the more people feel pushed out of their own community, their own country, their own constitution, the more the will and the resolve grows to change things for the better and to stop the currents to tyranny.

'tro da bums out

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