Ex-Secretary of Lying-in-State Madeleine Albright is moving to
HOST. Hi everybody, and welcome to the Ann Arbor Dating Game! I’m your host, Danger Girl. Today we have three hot bachelorinos backstage, but before we meet them, let’s bring out our lucky bachelorina. She lists her hobbies as "keeping a diary", "talking", and—it says here on her questionnaire—"helping global corporations maximize their profits". Her ideal bachelorino would "speak softly and carry a biiiig stick"! She’s just moved to town, working at the business-training institute at UMich Inc®LLC™Ltd&Co.edu, where she "advises companies on how to compete globally". Meet Madeleine "Available" Albright! Maddie, since this seems to be a big theme for you—what is your advice for young people in our audience who might be starting their own global corporation?
Bachelorina Maddie Albright
MADDIE: Well basically as anyone knows you have to buy low and sell high. I help you find people around the world who for some reason or other sell their stuff and their sweat for next to nothing. If you soak the stuff in the sweat long enough, that’s called a "solution", and if you can contain the reaction, out comes a "product". Then if you tell enough people about your product, but don’t tell anyone about your solution, you can hook them into paying a lot for the product, even if that means they have to work extra long hours and go into debt.
HOST: Why would people sell their sweat’n’stuff so cheaply?
MADDIE: It doesn’t really matter why; the system works regardless.
HOST: But I mean how do you find these people?
MADDIE: Sorry, I’d have to charge you for my trade secrets. Let’s just say I have a knack, and major companies like UM are willing to reward that, obviously, or I wouldn’t be here today.
HOST: Well, we’re glad to have you. Let me tell the audience a little more about you. As I was saying, Maddie’s new in town. For the last few years she was the first female Secretary of State. She worked on Bill Clinton’s staff, and by most accounts did so without a stain—quite a distinguishing mark! Hmm, it says here that your job there was also to help America’s corporations compete globally. Is that right?
MADDIE: Oh, no, that must’ve been a typo. My job was to help, uhh, America’s national interests. My job was to meet with other governments and persuade them to cooperate with us.
HOST: That’s the "speaking softly" part. But if they didn’t agree, then I guess you’d start swinging your own biiiig stick—dropping bombs, blockading food and medicine, and so on?
MADDIE: Me? Never, I was just a peaceful diplomat. If diplomacy didn’t work then maybe someone else would use force. But my job was to use only words—persuasion—not war or bombs or sanctions.
HOST: That’s nice to hear! I always wonder why so many Americans approve of those kinds of attacks. I mean, how can people in a country like ours, so secure from outside threat, be so afraid?
MADDIE: Ah, well, my persuasion duties also included persuading them to love bombs and sanctions.
HOST: …Umm, I’m still wondering, though, how could that work on basically peace-loving folks?
MADDIE: Well, it’s not easy, and I couldn’t do it alone or presto-chango, but only with lots of help over many years from others in the government and the news business. But in another way it is easy, because there are a lot of governments out there that do evil things to their people, and we watch them and let the public know when they do.
HOST: It must be hard to watch the whole world at once!
MADDIE: But we focus only on where our national int—yeah, OK, I guess it is hard to watch the whole world at once.
HOST: Though I think you were saying we only resort to force when persuasion doesn’t work, and we only need persuasion in the first place with countries that aren’t cooperating with our global corpora—I mean, our national interests.
MADDIE: Right. Places like Yugoslavia, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba.
HOST: Embargoes and other acts of war mainly kill or impoverish the very people you tell Americans you’re trying to help: for instance in Iraq more than a half million children have died. I mean, that’s ten times more children than died in Hiroshima. And—you know, is the price worth it?
MADDIE: As I said to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it. Their governments make them miserable; we just put them out of their misery. Besides, we’re ready at any time to help the survivors economically, provide them with jobs, buy their stuff. Just as soon as we can get their governments to let us in.
HOST: Ah, now I see why people might be inclined to start selling their sweat’n’stuff cheap—if they’ve been bombed or deprived for long enough, what else is there to do once their government starts cooperating with the foreign corporations? So it sounds like your old job gives you that lucrative "knack" for "finding" desperate people?
MADDIE: Didn’t I say I’d have to charge you for my trade secrets?
HOST: Well, maybe instead you’ll kiss and tell after your dream date with one of the three bachelorinos we’ve found for you. So off you go into the sound-proof booth while we meet them. …
Bachelorino #1 is a UM student in the activist scene and one of Ann Arbor’s more quirky personalities. According to his website, www.umich.edu/~rjhughes/crushonyou.html, he has a crush on most people, so he probably has a crush on you! Meet Ryan Hughes, a.k.a. Galaxor Nebulon! … Bachelorino #2 is a UM Professor Emeritus of Political Science Fiction, where he wrote several children’s books including Rogue Regimes, after being replaced by Oliver North in Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council. He left UM to pursue the bachelorino lifestyle in DC, where he is now "temporary scholar" at The Middle East Institute. Meet Ray Tanter! … Bachelorino #3 is a former substitute schoolteacher from Columbus Ohio, who in February 1998 helped crash a worldwide-televised CNN pep rally for Washington’s plans to bomb Iraq, turned public opinion against the war with his commonsense questions, and in the process helped prevent the threatened war. He now works with a radical bookstore in Philly and works nationally against antidemocratic corporate and military power. Meet Jon Strange! … Get ready! We’ll start with the bachelorina’s questions after this word from our sponsors …
MADDIE: Bachelorino #1, hi, my name is Maddie. I’m new in town. What would you most like to show me?
BACH #1: Well, if you’re here, the greatest sight in Ann Arbor is you. And you’ve seen you. So I don’t think I can impress you.
MADDIE: Hmmpf, you’re probably right. Bachelorino #2, same question.
BACH #2: I don’t know … things are pretty different since I left this town for DC. They’ve gutted the building where I taught politics, and now it sorta looks like a bomb hit it. Hey! Maybe we’d both get a kick out of that. We could lie on the Diag with a brown bag lunch and imagine we blew it up.
MADDIE: Why, that would bring back so many fond memories of when I worked in DC. Very tempting, Bachelorino #2! I knew there must be things to do in the midwest. Let me give you another chance, Bachelorino #1: we’re in high-level talks about what to do together one Sunday. What’s your pick?
BACH #1: Like I’ve always said, Sunday is a great day for a sundae. I’d probably show up at your door and surprise you with some flowers I’d picked along the way. It’s a surprise, though, so don’t tell you I said that. Then we’d probably stroll down some scenic way, and eventually end up at the ice cream store for a delicious sundae.
MADDIE: Thank you Bachelorino #1, that’s a little better. But why pick flowers when a low-wage Colombian is ready to pick them for you on a large and profitable Dole plantation? Just go to the flower shop—at least half the flowers are grown in Latin American countries without pesky profit-cutters like limits on pesticide use, water hogging, and subsistence wages. I love flowers! And cacao is grown the same way, so make my sundae chocolate!
BACH #1: I don’t know ... the story was all over the big papers this summer that lots of our chocolate is harvested by child slaves in Africa ...
BACH #3: That’s right. You can see it all at the web site for the KnightRidder newspaper chain. The big chocolate companies like Hershey’s and Mars buy 43% of their cacao from the Ivory Coast, without a care about the rampant use of child slaves, and in fact they pay so little that this encourages the growers to kidnap young kids as slaves. Then they bring this stuff back to the US and blend it into all their candy. One slave named Vincent pleaded, "Tell them, when they are eating chocolate, they are eating my flesh". So—you know, is the price worth it?
MADDIE: Wait a minute, I’m asking the questions, and I’m asking Bachelorino #1: if we can kill half a million Iraqi kids in hopes that that might bug Saddam Hussein, a few thousand child slaves is a small price to pay for all that yummy chocolate and all those yummy corporate profits, don’t you think?
BACH #1: Goodness, that’s awfully rude. I’m not so sure I have a crush on you after all.
MADDIE: Anyway, Bachelorino #3, let’s give you a turn. Sometimes I miss my old home in our nation’s capital. What would we do on a trip there?
BACH #3: They say the best thing about DC is that everything’s free—everything but protestors’ speech, that is. That’s why we have to go on September 29th and 30th, to add to the mass protests against the IMF and the World Bank. These sharks loan money to dictators and "developers" who pass the debt but not the benefits on to poor people, and slash spending on health and education to pay interest on the debt. There’s a strong connection between a country’s debt to the IMF and its having rampant slavery, low wages, and no environmental protections. We need to show DC what democracy looks like on the streets, if we’re going to make democracy safe from these bankers.
MADDIE: But that’s how corporations compete globally! That’s the whole point! Bachelorino #1, same question.
BACH #1: Actually that sounds like the perfect first date in DC. They say tear gas is an aphrodisiac.… Plus that reminds me of something else we can do on Sundays—I picked up a
September Agenda and on page 7 it said that there are these get-togethers in town at 7pm where creative and clever people make plans for our actions for the protests, both in DC and right here in Ann Arbor. Plus you get to meet inside the Zen Buddhist Temple, which is fun.
MADDIE: Are you all nuts in this town? Bachelorino #2, say it ain’t so!
BACH #2: Sure, these two clowns just wanna keep the poor poor. Poor people need those jobs! What else are they gonna do? They’re poor! [snickers]
BACH #1: It’s more like those jobs need the poor people. Civilization existed for eons before Nike and Dole and Mars (Snickers), before we started paying companies and armies to herd people off their land and into factories to make our stuff. People banded together for eons before we started paying dictators to kill union organizers …
MADDIE: Spare me! Let’s move on to something else. Bachelorino #2, suppose I’ve set a firm deadline for you to give me a sign that you’re dealing with me in good faith. What would the sign be?
BACH #2: How would a beautiful diamond engagement ring suit you?
MADDIE: Now you’re playing my song! Global diamond companies are very profitable! It all started about fifty years ago with those great ad campaigns and now, suddenly, almost every woman thinks they’re her best friend and almost every man thinks they’re mandatory. Sparkling!
BACH #1: But with all that demand, dictators and rebels take over the mines and fund their wars and brutality. You know, how can the price be worth it?
MADDIE: Let me answer you this way—after the show I’ll give you a 50-minute lecture on US foreign policy …
BACH:#3: Wait a minute, I’ve heard that line before! You’re Madeleine Albright! Now it all makes sense. Remember on CNN? You came to Ohio State in February ’98 to lead a stage-managed "town hall meeting" cheering for bombing Iraq. After my friends made a ruckus because they wouldn’t let us speak, the cops were reluctant to rough us up on international TV, so finally the CNN producers let one of us ask you a question. Me! And when you got flustered you promised to meet with me later about US foreign policy, and you never did. Maybe now that you’re in Ann Arbor you can make good on your promise? Meanwhile, let me try again: What do you have to say about dictators of countries like Indonesia who we sell weapons to, yet they’re slaughtering people in East Timor, and who our companies pay to slaughter people who protest against Nike abuses or poison runoff from Freeport McMoran’s gold mine?
MADDIE: Ah, yes, the largest gold mine in the world! My predecessor Henry Kissinger, and my friend Gabriele Kirk Macdonald who I chose to judge war crimes in Yugoslavia, are human rights consultants for Freeport McMoran. We love gold! So a few people get poisoned—gold wouldn’t be precious if it was easy to mine! Surely the price is worth it. Don’t you feel the romance of it? I mean …
BACH #3: And what do you have to say about Israel who is slaughtering Palestinians, and who impose martial law? What do you have to say about that? Why do we sell weapons to these countries? Why do we support them? Why do we bomb Iraq when it has similar problems?
[Studio audience erupts into cheers]
MADDIE: There are various examples of things that are not right in this world, and the United States is trying …
[Bachelorino #1 joins in shouting her down. Bachelorino #2 tackles him and throws him through control room window]
MADDIE: I really am surprised that people feel that it is necessary to defend the rights of Saddam Hussein when what we ought to be thinking about is how to make sure that he does not use weapons of mass destruction.
BACH #3: That is not acceptable. We cannot violate U.N. Resolutions when it is convenient to us.
MADDIE: We’re not …
BACH #3: You’re still not answering my question, Madam Albright.
BACH #2: Then let me, young man! Iraq is on my list of rogue regimes! Israel and Indonesia aren’t! Read my book!
BACH #3: Yeah, well I have, and your book says a rogue regime is anything your government says is one—that’s how Cuba gets on your list, for instance. There’s no principle there, it’s an intellectual hack job.
BACH #2: Hack job! I’ll show you hack job! You wanna step outside?
BACH #3: You wanna piece’a me?
HOST: Looks like you’ve done quite a job of diplomacy there, Maddie. I think we better go to commercials …
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