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April 25, 2009

Senator Boxer Taking Questions

-- by Dave Johnson

Senator Boxer held a press conference at the California Democratic Convention today. Originally it was going to be a "roundtable" with bloggers, but because of time problems it instead became a press conference at which bloggers were allowed to ask questions too. I don't fault Sen. Boxer for this but it led immediately to the old-style Important Person at a podium giving careful answers to self-serving questions instead of a back-and forth conversation where there is an equal discussion between the people and their representative-who-works-for-them. The format change forced her into that role, which is the standard in today's politics. In my humble opinion.

That said, if we had a senate with 100 Barbara Boxers, this would be a very different and much better country.

Boxer on torture (typing notes as she answered and these are a collection on the subject, while answering several questions):

In our country we have to face all the issues that confront us. ... I support the truth coming out. The people deserve to know the truth and they have to handle it.

I support a truth commission.

We signed at least three international treaties that deal with outlawing torture. We have been very clear in our nation that torture is not acceptable and the definition includes the waterboarding technique.

I believe in this country and that means I believe in openness and transparency and getting the truth in front of the people.

We executed Japanese who did it to our people. Either we are a nation that believes in the rule of law or we are not.

If I lose my Senate seat because people think it’s good to torture, so be it.


On banks, mortgage "cramdowns" (judge changing the terms of a mortgage so the person can afford to keep the house) and lobbying,

Dick Durbin is doing a heroic job trying to keep people in their homes. Right now if you declare bankruptcy as an individual, let’s say you have two homes and a lot of assets, the only one that judge can’t touch is the first home, because bankers have a lot of influence.

These are different times and it really is better to keep people in their homes and renegotiate
The banks are still a major lobbying force, still operating that way.

If a company comes to taxpayers, until you pay us back your executives shouldn’t earn more than the President of the US.


I asked about the rule of law and the appearance that the country has a two-tiered system, and how the people should feel about what they are seeing,
The people should feel something is wrong if there is no investigation, if a law is broken it should be prosecuted.

On banks, we have a court system, if a law is broken it should be prosecuted.

If we don’t like a law we repeal it, we don’t ignore it.

If anyone feels the law is not followed and are concerned about it that is a problem.

If I break it, you break it, should apply to anyone.

Everyone has the right to present their case.

I don't think I asked my question well because the answer didn't go to what I was asking. The "press" format requires a pre-formed question that doesn't have the opportunity to be a conversation. I even re-asked at one point during the answer to try to get to the way people are seeing a two-tiered system where the rich are let off...

Posted by Dave Johnson at April 25, 2009 12:31 PM


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