Streisand's Liberal Rants at Star-Studded Democratic Fundraiser; Barbra Urges "Offensive" Against Bush; Asner: Bush "Desecrating" America; Robbins: Bush Wants to Deflect from Halliburton; Cruise & Spielberg on Hussein; Top Ten List: "If Streisand Were President"
1) With celebrities from Christian Slater to Julia Louis-Dreyfus looking on, Barbra Streisand headlined a $6 million Democratic fundraiser Sunday night. Streisand sang a parody of The Way We Were: "Next Election Day I Pray/That the Country Will Deliver/A House Without Tom Delay!/We Need a Team Change/A Definite Regime Change/Oh, That Would Be a Dream Change/From the Way We Are." She also charged that Republican control of the House has resulted in: "Poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground."
2) The text of Barbra Streisand's memo to Dick "Gebhardt" in which she urged Democrats to "go on the offense" against President Bush. A Streisand aide argued that industries "run by big Republican donors and insiders clearly have much to gain if we go to war against Iraq."
3) Ed Asner charged on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor last week: "I feel that George Bush's actions are desecrating the America that I grew up in and believed in. He is making us an imperialist government." Showing he trusts the UN over his own country, Asner maintained the U.S. action in Afghanistan "was justified because the UN supported it. Now, if we had gone in alone, then I would have been worried."
4) President Bush will attack Iraq just because he wants to "change the subject from Cheney and Halliburton and the crumbling confidence in the stock market," actor Tim Robbins told the Washington Post. Robbins claimed he resents Bush putting "American soldiers in harm's way and to do everything to change the subject so that Republicans can keep control of the House."
5) Some concern for Saddam Hussein expressed by director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Cruise. But do they back Bush?
6) Letterman's "Top Ten Ways the World Would Be Different if Barbra Streisand Were President."
Editor's Note: Prompted by the big Barbra Streisand fundraiser, this is an all-celebrity CyberAlert, a recounting of the most recent political activities and comments from the Hollywood community, topped off by a timely Letterman "Top Ten" list. While CyberAlert normally concentrates on the news media, the political efforts of celebrities, and political plots in movies and TV shows, is also worth tracking given its influence, especially on those with little political knowledge.
Barbra Streisand headlined a celebrity-packed fundraiser in Los Angeles Sunday night which raised $6 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC, chaired by Congresswoman Nita Lowey, raises money for House candidates.
Update: After this CyberAlert was published, Matt Drudge disclosed that Shakespeare never penned
the words Streisand attributed to him as part of her commentary on stage during the fundraiser, words she
cited in order to rally opposition to Bush's Iraq policy. She fell for an Internet hoax.
And the October 1 edition of FNC's Special Report
with Brit Hume played a clip of Streisand singing her modified lyrics to Memories/The Way We Were.
See October 2 CyberAlert]
Barbra Streisand singing: "As long as Democrats were the
majority, I could sleep nights, Not weep nights"
Erica Werner of the Associated Press trumpeted: "The diva emerged from semi-retirement to deliver a nine-song set Sunday night on the stage of the Kodak Theatre, the new home of the Oscars. Celebrities such as Christian Slater and Julia Louis-Dreyfus rubbed shoulders with top House Democrats including Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and California's Rep. Nancy
Pelosi, the minority whip."
Reuters reporter Gina Keating relayed: "Among those who kibbutzed with Gephardt and the California congressional delegation at the pre-concert reception were Warner Bros. COO Alan Horn, former studio boss Mike Medavoy, comedian Richard Lewis, and actors Alan Cumming, Ed Begley Jr., Sally Kirkland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her producer husband Brad Hall."
On Monday's Fox & Friends, FNC's William Lajeunesse reported: "She called President Bush, Vice President Cheney and John Ashcroft 'crazy.' She called the White House 'too far to the right house.' She changed the lyrics of the song Memories to Miseries."
Actually, the name of the song she adapted for the occasion was The Way We Were. A stanza of her updated song she performed at the event emceed by comedian Steve Harvey and which also featured Barry Manilow:
Next Election Day I Pray
That the Country Will Deliver,
A House Without Tom Delay!
We Need a Team Change
A Definite Regime Change.
Oh, That Would Be a Dream Change
From the Way We Are."
Interspersed with the parody of The Way We Were, at the fundraiser which the 3,500 in the audience paid from $500 to $250,000 to attend, Streisand offered screeching liberal commentary, such as this charge about what Republican control of the House has caused in the last two years: "Poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground."
"I don't particularly enjoy performing on stage but I'd do practically anything to help the Democrats win the House," Reuters recounted Streisand as proclaiming. Keating of Reuters added: "She sang a few of her standards -- Funny Valentine, Evergreen -- and unleashed an attack on the House's Republican majority and President Bush during a rendition of The Way We Were. Pausing in the middle of the song, Streisand said she found Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney 'frightening,' adding: 'I find bringing the country to the brink of war unilaterally five weeks before an election frightening.'"
The AP's Werner noted: "The singer prefaced a rendition of God Bless America with the remark that it was, 'a prayer for our Democratic leaders to continue to have the strength and courage to stand up for what is right.'"
A September 24 DCCC press release listed "artists who are supporting the event," most likely by sending a check, but which I did not see mentioned in any news story about the event: "Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Ben Affleck, Maya Angelou, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Michael Douglas, James Gandolfini, Wesley Snipes, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Reeve, Anjelica Huston, John Travolta, Kevin Spacey, and Annette Bening." That press release is online at:
For the Reuters story with a photo of Streisand at the event:
For the AP story:
"As donors milled around the ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland complex, many said they were not convinced that the United States should go to war," reporter Matea Gold related in Monday's Los Angeles Times. "'I'm afraid of Saddam Hussein. I think he's a very dangerous man,' said actress Lesley Ann Warren. 'And yet I am very concerned about our country initiating war in the face of a lot of the rest of the world not aligning with us.'"
For the LA Times report: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-money30sep30.story
Barbra Streisand's Web site recounts her customized lyrics for The Way We Were as well as the political commentary she interspersed with singing the parody at the September 29 event. An excerpt (lyrics IN ALL CAPS as on the Streisand Web site. Also, Streisand uses a lot of ellipses which are run as she has them, so to designate what I've skipped over I've used [Skipping Ahead]):
LIGHT THE CORNERS OF MY MIND
MISTY WATERCOLOR MEM'RIES
OF THE WAY WE WERE
When I sing that song now, I can't help but think about it politically.
OF THE HOUSE WE LEFT BEHIND
LOVELY DEMOCRATIC MEM'RIES
OF THE WAY WE WERE
It was 1993...a time of hope...of new possibilities. We believed that our children and grandchildren would live in an age of extraordinary opportunity.
We had a Democratic Congress that put the country on the road to
prosperity...passed the family and medical leave act...legislation to increase funds for education...an anti-crime bill that banned assault weapons and violence against women...safe water and clean air acts.
UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY.
THE DOW WAS UP, THE DEFICIT WAS DOWN.
AS LONG AS DEMOCRATS WERE THE MAJORITY,
I COULD SLEEP NIGHTS,
NOT WEEP NIGHTS.
SEE THEIR SAVINGS SLIP AWAY
AS THEY FEEL THE WORLD AROUND THEM
BECOME MORE FRIGHT'NING EV'RY DAY.
Talk about frightening...
Shortly after George W. Bush was elected...sort of...I saw him on television say, "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck-of-a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." And he laughed...
You know people never really joke. That was very revealing...a taste of things to come...the arrogance of wanting unlimited executive power...a government that operates in secret...keeping presidential papers secret...holding secret meetings with oil companies.
I find George Bush and Dick Cheney frightening...Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft frightening.
SEEMS THAT'S ALL THAT FILLS THE NEWS,
BLAME THE FELLAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE
FOR THE WAY WE ARE
IT'S NO WONDER
WE ALL SING THOSE TEXAS BLUES
IT'S THAT TOO-FAR-TO-THE RIGHT HOUSE
AND THE WAY WE ARE.
GLOBAL WARMING? DON'T BELIEVE A WORD OF IT
AND WHAT'S A DROP OF ARSENIC OR TWO?
SAVING MEDICARE? THEY NEVER HEARD OF IT.
TO THEM, HEALTH CARE
IS WEALTH CARE
In the last election, some people said it didn't make a difference -- Republican, Democrat...what's the difference?
I'll tell you the difference.
This is what the Republican House did in the last two years:
Passed the drug companies' prescription bill that does nothing to control prices.
Passed the Enron energy bill, that does nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Passed a sham pension reform bill that eliminates employee retirement accounts.
Now we have tax cuts for the rich, but no raise in the minimum wage for the poor...poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground that polluters no longer have to pay to clean up -- the taxpayers do.
If we take back the House, we can limit the damage the Bush White House does.
We can check the power of an administration that wants to police what you do in your bedroom and hide what they do in office.
We can force votes on programs that benefit people -- working men and women, children, seniors, teachers, veterans, fire-fighters, police officers, coal miners...Americans that this administration seems to care about only when the TV crews are around.
NEXT ELECTION DAY I PRAY
THAT THE COUNTRY WILL DELIVER,
A HOUSE WITHOUT TOM DELAY!
WE NEED A TEAM CHANGE
A DEFINITE REGIME CHANGE.
OH, THAT WOULD BE A DREAM CHANGE
FROM THE WAY WE ARE.
We have the facts on our side...the truth on our side
We have to get the facts out...the truth out...and the vote out!
SO, IN NOVEMBER,
LET'S MAKE THE CONGRESS
A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
THE WAY WE WERE
THE WAY WE WERE!
END of Excerpt
For the full recounting of her lyrics and polemics:
If you don't recognize or can't picture any of the liberal activist celebrities who contributed to the Democratic fundraiser, here's a list of links to their Internet Movie Database bios with photos.
Those listed as attendees in news stories about the bash:
-- Alan Cumming:
-- Ed Begley, Jr: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Begley+Jr.,+Ed
-- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, best-known as "Elaine" on
-- Steve Harvey, who had a Fox sit-com: http://www.hollywood.com/celebs/detail/celeb/188304
-- Christian Slater: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Slater,+Christian
-- Lesley Ann Warren: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Warren,+Lesley+Ann
And those listed by the DCCC as supporters of the event:
-- Ben Affleck:
-- James Gandolfini, who plays the top mobster on HBO's The Sopranos:
-- Wesley Snipes: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Snipes,+Wesley
-- Kevin Spacey: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Spacey,+Kevin
-- Billy Crystal: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Crystal,+Billy
-- Annette Bening: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Bening,+Annette
-- Robin Williams: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Williams,+Robin
-- Michael Douglas: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Douglas,+Michael
-- Goldie Hawn: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Hawn,+Goldie
-- Sally Field: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Field,+Sally
-- Whoopi Goldberg: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Goldberg,+Whoopi
-- John Travolta: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Travolta,+John
Streisand's memo to Dick "Gebhardt" urging him to "go on the offensive" against President Bush. Barbra Streisand's Web site notes that "a recent private memo to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt from Barbra Streisand and her associate, Marge Tabankin, was leaked to media and reprinted in various edited forms."
Indeed, late last week the DrudgeReport highlighted the memo cited by Roll Call's Ed Henry, who noted: "It was done so quickly that the original copy that went to Gephardt addressed him as 'Gebhardt' and was accidentally sent to a Republican office on the Hill, which is how it leaked." For Roll Call's online story:
The Streisand Web page presents the memo "in its full and final form." Here it is:
DATE: September 25, 2002
TO: Congressman Dick Gephardt
FROM: Barbra Streisand/Margery Tabankin
RE: Take the Offense
As you know, Barbra Streisand is busy in rehearsals for the performance she's giving on Sunday for the DCCC, so she asked me to convey to you her feeling that it is time for the Democrats to get off the defensive and go on the offensive.
Naturally, Barbra's not surprised to see the Bush Administration evoke strong rhetoric about Democrats caring more about their own 'special interests' than protecting the security of the country. Of course, the Republicans will say anything they need to in order to accomplish their own political agenda. Barbra feels that the Democratic Leadership must not continue to take this lying down.
While the Republicans are shouting about the Democrats' special interests, why are the Democrats not saying the same about the Republicans? How can we ignore the obvious influence on the Bush Administration of such special interests as the oil industry, the chemical companies, the logging industry, the defense contractors, the mining industry, and the automobile industry, just to name a few? Many of these industries, run by big Republican donors and insiders, clearly have much to gain if we go to war against Iraq. Barbra urges the Democrats to publicly convey this message to the American people.
While there are serious problems with Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Barbra feels that we can't let this issue become a distraction from the country's domestic problems and the President's inability to fully dismantle the Al Qaeda network. Afterall, Saddam Hussein did not bomb the World Trade Center.
END Reprint of memo, which you can see online by going to this address and scrolling down the page:
Roll Call's Ed Henry learned it was Senator Tom Daschle's temper tantrum on Wednesday which motivated Streisand's fax. "Margery Tabankin, the liberal activist's top political adviser," Henry relayed, "told Roll Call Daily that she sent the memo to Gephardt and Daschle after she had a phone conversation with Streisand. 'We had just watched Tom Daschle's speech,' said Tabankin. 'We were both very emotional.' After Streisand vented to her about how Daschle had finally gotten the Democratic message out, Tabankin tapped out the memo."
"I feel that George Bush's actions are desecrating the America that I grew up in and believed in," actor/left-wing activist Ed Asner told FNC's Bill O'Reilly last Thursday night in castigating Bush's policy toward Iraq. Asner charged on the September 26 O'Reilly Factor: "He is making us an imperialist government. He is choosing to replace heads of state and government he doesn't like."
Asner was amongst a bunch of left-wing celebrities, including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei, which the September 23 CyberAlert noted had helped pay for a full page New York Times ad denouncing President Bush's war on terrorism. The ad screeched: "We call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate."
The signers also equated 9/11 with the terror inflicted by the U.S. military in Baghdad, Panama City and Vietnam. For details about the ad placed by a group called "Not in Our Name," go to:
Asner appeared on O'Reilly's show as part of a publicity tour for a DVD set of the first season of the Mary Tyler Moore show, on which he co-starred.
After complaining that "probably one of the worst effects of World War II" was that "it glorified war for many generations to come," Asner charged: "I feel that George Bush's actions are desecrating the America that I grew up in and believed in. He is making us an imperialist government. He is choosing to replace heads of state and government he doesn't like or-"
O'Reilly wondered: "You wouldn't have replaced the Taliban? You wouldn't have attacked Afghanistan after 9/11?"
Asner replied: "I would have waited longer, but I probably would have done it. But that was justified because the UN supported it. Now, if we had gone in alone, then I would have been worried."
There you have the Hollywood Left's world view in two sentences. If it's approved by the UN it's "justified," but if their own country does it, that worries them because they see the U.S. as a force for making things worse, not better.
(O'Reilly did point out that the UN did not pass a resolution supporting America's specific military actions in Afghanistan.)
President Bush wishes to attack Iraq just because he wants to "change the subject from Cheney and Halliburton and the crumbling confidence in the stock market," actor Tim Robbins told the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago. Robbins claimed he resents Bush putting "American soldiers in harm's way and to do everything to change the subject so that Republicans can keep control of the House."
Robbins made his comments to Lloyd Grove, writer of the Washington Post's "The Reliable Source" column, as part of an interview to promote his attendance at a press event to push for a rollback of welfare reform.
In the September 18 story, Grove quoted Robbins:
-- "I am not, was not, a big Clinton fan...I hear he was a liberal. I hear people described as liberals all the time that I don't tend to agree with. I think the rise of the Southern Democrats and the Democratic Leadership Council has pushed the definition of what's a liberal farther and farther to the right."
-- "We didn't get Osama bin Laden, so okay, fine, let's accept the fact that we didn't get this guy. Let's be smart, if it's really terrorism we want to go after, let's go after terrorism individually and specifically. But I'm against this whole 'Let's bomb a new country because things aren't going our way.' It's 'Let's change the subject from [Vice President] Cheney and Halliburton and the crumbling confidence in the stock market.' Talk about cynical! Because it's the cost of human lives that I resent -- to put American soldiers in harm's way and to do everything to change the subject so that Republicans can keep control of the House."
Robbins has starred in movies such as Arlington Road, in which he played a terrorist, Shawshank Redemption and Bob Roberts (which he wrote and directed). The plot outline for Bob Roberts, as recited by the Internet Movie Database: "A corrupt rightwing folksinger runs a crooked election campaign while only one independent muck-raking reporter is trying to stop him." For more:
For a bio and picture of Robbins, who has a family with "Not in Our Name" (see item #3 above) signer Susan
Last week, director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Cruise strongly condemned Saddam Hussein, comments that were taken by some in the media to mean they support Bush's policy. But CNN's Bill Hemmer cautioned on Monday's American Morning: "Later, Spielberg backed away from his remarks, saying that he does not support war with Iraq." (I could not locate any story on the Web with such a clarification from Spielberg.)
Friday's Access Hollywood provided the fullest quotations that I saw from Spielberg and Cruise, who were in Germany to promote the European release of their movie, Minority Report.
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down how Spielberg asserted: "Saddam Hussein has proven every day that he's currently a criminal." Cruise observed: "You know, we're all pissed at Hussein. The crimes that he has against humanity within his own country, it is horrific."
Access Hollywood's Tony Potts set up a soundbites: "At the packed press conference, the director and star were asked if they saw any parallels between the pre-crime subject of the film and the President's effort to put down Hussein before he does any more harm."
Spielberg replied: "What we don't want to do is wind up, you know, five years from now, after something horrendous has happened in another country to another city and say, 'Why didn't the world act when it had the chance?'"
Potts added: "While both are supportive of the U.S. cause, Cruise is hopeful that a peaceful solution can be found."
Cruise: "I know I don't want war. I know that. I don't want innocent people to be harmed because you know it really comes down to just a few people causing this level of destruction and this level of chaos, when you look at all of the terror that happened on 9/11. And it comes down to a handful of people that can cause so much chaos and destruction and so much terror."
For more about the two:
The plot outline for Minority Report, the film to which Potts referred: "In the future, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence."
From the September 30 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways the World Would Be Different if Barbra Streisand Were President." Late Show Web site:
10. State of the Union address features five costume changes
9. Trillion-dollar military contracts awarded to AAMCO Transmissions
8. Secretary of the Navy re-named "Prince of Tides"
7. First time since Ford that a President has performed a duet with Neil Diamond
6. Statue of Liberty's nose made twice as large
5. President blows off Russian summit for a two-week gig at the MGM Grand
4. Marvin Hamlisch brought in to make Constitution "peppier"
3. When she enters room, Marine band strikes up "Hello Dolly"
2. Common headline: "Security Briefing Ends in Diva Fit"
1. United States declares war on cellulite
On #9: Streisand's husband James Brolin does commercials for AAMCO.
-- Brent Baker
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