an in depth interview
On September 22, I did an almost 90 minute interview with Dr. Ben Marble, the 35 year old ER physician, rock musician, father, husband, and the guy who told Dick Cheney to Go Fuck Himself. This is an edited transcript of the first 50 minutes of the interview.
If you havent read it yet, heres a great article telling you the story of Bens dialogue with Vice President Cheney.
Rob Kall: What went through your head before you spoke to Cheney.
Rage, I guess rage, somewhat. The sum total of everything, with the inadequate response on the local scene but also the New Orleans area, with the images I saw of the people dying in the streets. Plus the things I saw first hand myself, And the incidentw here I was not allowed to go to my house to try to salvage things. The MPs forced me to drive a long way around when I was almost out of gas, when the gas station lines were three hours long. It was the sum total of those things. So I thought, I think I should say something. I felt like I was speaking for a lot of people other than myself and I know that a lot of people are unhappy with this administrations policies in general and so, I felt like I should say something.
Rob Kall: So, after you said it and you hightailed it out of there, a little bit while later, some police came back. Who came back and what did they do to you?
What happened was, I said it at first, the first timeGo fuck yourself Mr. Cheney and there was this appalled, stunned silence and I decided I wanted to make sure they heard it so I said it again, Go fuck yourself Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself, and then at that point I started walking away and I said, Go fuck yourself asshole.
And the reason I started walking way is because these secret service guys were looking at me with this wild eyed crazy look on their face and I didnt them to perceive me as a threat and give them the excuse to shoot me or something. So I was walking away from them and I walked past the guy who patted us down and I waved at him and told him
have a nice day and then I walked back home.
Well after that, a few minutes went by I noticed my friend Jay Scully was still b ack at the press conference. SO I called him and told him come on back Jay, we gotta get moving stuff. A few minutes later he came back. The first thing we did when he got back was, he said that the tape had run out. So we took the tape out. It was a Sony mini DVD. Theyre only 30 minutes of video, each DVD. So went ahead and took that one out and hid that one, just in case they came by and tried to confiscate it and I put a blank on in its place. Then Jay and I started moving stuff. As we were moving stuff, two military guys wearing MP armbands and green fatigues came by, saying they were looking for a guy wearing an orange shirt who had cussed at the vice president. And at the point point, I said Well, thats probably me. And they were like, Oh really, that was you, and they said, Were going to have to detain you for questioning. You are not under arrest. Were going to have to put you in handcuffs. Do not run.
I was like, Like Im gonna run. You dont have to tell me not to run. You all have the machine guns, not me.
They put me in the cuffs, at which point they started walking me to the parked police car, near the train tracks that they wouldnt let me go through before. I told Jay, Jay, turn that video camera back on, so he picked the video camera back up and started filming. And he shot some video of me and the cops and all that. Well then they put me in the car. They questioned me. They asked me questions like Why did you do that? Are you planning on hurting the Vice president.?
Rob Kall: What did you tell them when they asked you why you did that?
I said well, if he can say that on the floor of the United States Senate, the last time I checked this is the still the United States of America and I have the right of the freedom of speech, and if he can say that on the floor of the senate where people are supposed to be civil and courteous, then I think I have the right to say it in the middle of the worst disaster in the history of our nation.
Rob Kall: Yeah!
And they didnt know what I was talking about. I said, I follow politics and he said that to a senator in the middle of the senate. And theyre going, like, Oh really? He did that?
And I said, He did. Some of them seemed to kinda of think it was funny but most of them were pretty angry and upset and had the hope we ride him to jail mentality.
Rob Kall: How many were there?
At one point there were probably eight to ten of them.
Rob Kall: All carrying machine guns?
Probably four of them with guns. The guys with the guns were in the military, and then t there were some police officers and then some plain clothes guys who I believe were the secret service guys. They detained me for fifteen or twenty minutes and they took the camera away from Jay. I was in the back seat of the police vehicle and I noticed they had my camera in the front seat. Now I dont know what that did to the camera, or if they did anything, or maybe Jay just messed it up, but the video he shot of me in cuffs didnt work, its corrupt. For Whatever reason that is, it did not work.
So they held you for fifteen or twenty minutes, interrogated you and let you go?
Yes. They said, Well, apparently you havent broken any laws, youre free to go. They took my name, my social security number, my address, my place of employment and they said if they needed to get in touch with me they would give me a call.
Rob Kall: Have you had any further contact from them or been in touch with them?
Rob Kall: So, have you been political. I know you were aware of Cheney cursing out Leahey. Have you been active in politics.
For a long time I was, I think, like a lot of Americans, pretty apathetic towards politics, because it seems like both sides
I wish there a viable third party
but it seems that with the two party system youre getting two sides of the same coin kinda deal, where they both seem to interested in, in not doing whats right for the American people and doing whats wrong, for their agenda and their pocketbook.
I did start becoming a little active. You know Ive been playing guitar since I was thirteen years old and started writing songs when I was 20 or so. I had written several songs which kinda had a political edge to them and they did pretty well on mp3.com and I was in my band dR. O, and we did real well on mp3.com and just to make a long story short, our claim to fame for dR.O on mp3.com was we had more number ones than any band in the world. We had 26 genre number ones on mp3.com, we had listeners in over 100 countries. Yahoo life magazine labeled us the supergroup of cyberspace.
Rob Kall: Cool. How would you describe your sound.
Its sort of alternative hard rock.
Getting to the political activism point of it, on Sept. 11, of 2002, 2003 and 2004 I was in New York to play a concert called the September Concert, which is a free music, city-wide event where musicians come from all over the world to play music in New York, after 9/11, of course, to basically not let people forget about it. In 2004 I decided to stage a one man protest in front of the United Nations. And I played a song I wrote, Four More Wars, that I wrote specifically for the protest. That was a month before the election. It flabbergasted me that people still voted for this person, that, to me, anybody with half a brain wouldnt vote for this guy. Everyones allowed to vote for whoever they want to, but my personal opinion is that this is the worst administration in the history of our country.
If you look at the list of accomplishments that W. Gump has, I call him W. Gump because hes an overachieving simpleton and hes the worlds most famous cheerleader, the mess doing the agenda of Cheney and Rove
anyway I played that song four more wars. Basically, the chorus of the song is are you for more wars? Vote for George Bush, for more.
Hes the war president, if you vote for him, guess what youre going to get. Youre going to get more wars, because apparently thats all he knows how to do is start war after war without legitimate reason.
Now I must backtrack and say that I was behind the president when he went into Afghanistan . I thought that was certainly justifiable and needed to be done, but then somewhere along the line he got off track and was misled, I dont know if
Sometimes I like give him the benefit of the doubt, that hes being a little naïve and being misled by his handlers spoon feeding him all this bad information as far as justifying a war in Iraq when anybody should have known it was a bad idea. I think most people who follow politics at all thought it was a bad idea. Even his father thought it was a bad idea, if you look back at the historical writings of Bush seniorabout things turning into a quagmire, which is what we have now.
And then you have Donald Rumsfeldeverything that comes out of his mouth is the opposite of truthOh, its not a quagmire. Its not like Viet Nam. Anything he says you can just turn it 180 degress and thats the reality of the situation. To me, hes our version of Baghdad Bob.
Anyway, I did that protest. I videotaped it and played the September concert that year and people went out and voted for him anyway. I still cant understand or fathom how people re-elected him.
He took the largest surplus in the history of our nation and converted it to the largest deficit in the history of our nationin a mere three years. Thats a pretty astounding accomplishment.
Rob Kall: Hes got three more years. What do you think hell do in those next three? My God!
Well its pretty scary to think of what he could do in the next few years. I think its pretty obvious to everyone now that were headed on a downward spiral as a nationour worldwide credibility, he has utterly destroyed it. Hes basically given Osama Bin Laden everything he wanted. Hes gotten our troops out of Saudi Arabia, which is what Osama wanted. Hes basically bankrupted our nation, which is what Osama wanted. Hes given Osama more jihadi recruits than he could have ever dreamed of. How many times does he have to keep giving the enemy the exact thing that they want? What they want is a holy war and hes giving them the holy war that they want. Ive told people for years that I think World War Three started on September 11, 2001. And it has just taken a while for the people of the United States to realize that. I think the rest of the world realizes it, but we dont. The majority of Americans still dont realize it. They dont want to admit it
Rob Kall: What are the implications of World War three starting then?
Hes already said its a global war on terror numerous times. Rumsfelds said it. How many nations do you have to have attacked before you call it a world war? Spains been attacked. Londons getting attacked. Were getting attacked. Granted those terrorist attacks are random and all thatbut there are a lot of other attacksIndonesia, Russia
The thing I fear most is that eventually if either Russia or China line up against on the opposite side, we are in serious trouble. Fighting the war against terror alone is bad enough, but if China or Russia were to line up against us, like, if we were to attack North Korea or if we were to attack Iran, we cannot beat China and Russia. We would have a hard time beating one of them alone, but theres no way we can beat both of them.
Theres a fallacy that we won the cold war. That whole premise that we won the cold war totally forgets that China is a very viable nation and is actually the other superpower. Theres this myth that were the only superpower in the world. Well thats just BS. China is kicking our butt economically. They have the largest military in the world. How can people say were the only superpower.
Rob Kall: China is the only ASCENDING Superpower.
Correct. And they have the capability and the structure in place that will allow them, eventually, to surpass us because their work ethic is so phenomenal, plus they have five times the population we have. I dont know. Its a scary thing. Its a good idea to remain friends with as many people as possible, specifically people like China and Russia. But theres something here, historically, that we have that nobody else has ever had in the history of mankind. And that is the greatest communication tool of all timethe internet, which allows people from all over the world to become friends with one another. Lack of communication has been the classic cause of war throughout time and now we finally have a tool that breaks that down. Were kind of losing our excuses to keep fighting these wars when we have the ability to communicate with the people we may consider our enemy and talk to them and try to work problems out. But then you get leaders like Bush and either youre with us or against us and dont want any compromise and go around just attacking nations at his will, starting unprovoked wars. And the rest of the world looks to us as a leader. Hes setting the precedent that its okay to just attack this country or that country and take it over just because we feel like it. WE make up some lame reason why were going to do it and then it turns out it wasnt true. But hey, well make another reason while were there.
What happens when Russia decides they want to take a country and take it over, or China decides they want to attack Taiwan and take it over. Hey. Taiwan has WMD. Were going to invade Taiwan because they have WMDs theyre going to use on us. What kind of justification can we use to argue against them doing that? We certainly dont, with everything going on with the economy the way it is, hurricane Katrina and now Rita, do we have the wherewithal to try to stop China from taking over Taiwan if they wanted to. I dont think we do really.
Rob Kall: Since you had this Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame moment, has it changed your attitudes or your politics or beliefs any way? Strengthened, weakened, intensified?--
Well, something kind of odd happened. Ive received literally thousands of emails, 95 to 98 percent of which were supportive. A few were not. Some were threatening.
I got on a website, democraticunderground.com
just to talk to some of these people that were sending me these emails and ****** the extremists on the left are just as hypocritical as extremists on the right. I tried to discuss issues with compromise and what I see as real world solutions. I consider myself a realist. People try to label me a liberal because of what I said, but I think of myself as a realist and, so I got on that website and was trying to just discuss some issues and debate a little
. And after about two days, they banned me from the site. They couldnt handle any dissension from their dogma. I was basically pointing out their hypocrisy and then suddenly my threads were locked (discussion threads on an electronic bulletin board) and they removed me
To me that just proves that they want to point the finger at the right wing for being extreme and theyre just as extreme in their views. For instance, we were discussing the gay marriage issue. I tried to think of a realistic compromise for that issue, because I tried to see both points of view on that issue, which, from the right wing perspective, the word marriage, has historically, for thousands of years, has always been between a man and and a woman. Thats just history. You cant negate history to satisfy a politically correct agenda. And I agree with that. I call the left wing extremists the PC utopia fascists because they have this politically correct utopia vision in their minds and thats nice, utopias a nice idea, but reality is nowhere close to utopia.
Rob Kall: Whats your opinion on gay marriage? Where do you stand on it?
I have no problem with homosexual couples. I tried to offer a compromise. Why cant there be a simple compromise based on the reality of the sexual preferences of the individuals and have two termsone, homosexual marriage, and two, heterosexual marriage? Very simple, based on the sexuality of the people involved. It seems like a pretty simple, realistic solution where both sides are getting what they want. Homosexuals would be getting their legal rights as far as benefits, insurance, etcetera and but no, they couldnt have it that way. And the thing is the right wing people wouldnt want to have it that way either
. But I think homosexuals should have something.
Now someone else suggested, Why dont we have a civil union? and I said fine, I would be okay. I would be fine with a civil union and get government out of church altogether. Just have civil union as the legal term for all couples regardless of sexuality. And I think thats a fine compromise too. But when I pointed out the hypocrisy of what they are saying
theyre demanding that we change the definition of a word that has been that way for thousands of years, just to fit their political agenda to me thats just wrong. You cant just suddenly say, OK, were gonna call oranges grapes because it fits our political agenda and if you dont like calling oranges grapes, then youre a bad person and youre ignorant and youre a bigot, because you wont call oranges grapes. You understand my point there.
Rob Kall: It doesnt seem like thats worth throwing you off their bulletin board.
They took away my posting privileges and basically said I couldnt post there anymore.
Rob Kall: Thats an experience youve had, and my question is, has it changed your attitudes or beliefs since youve been through all this?
I dont think so. I pretty much feel the same way. I think maybe it has strengthened them a bit. A lot of people in the local area are not too happy with what I said, because I live in Bush country. But I have a right to say what I want to say and if they dont like it then they should leave to China.
I ask Dr. Marble about work, and he replies he wants to avoid discussing his job, but then, when I ask him about how things have changed, he tells me that before the storm, a typical night in the ER might see 70 patients. Then, when the storm hit, for a week or two, it was up to 500 patients a shift. Whats it like now.
Actually, the night shifts are kinda slow because of the curfew and people dont want to venture out after curfew because theyll go to jail. So basically, at night, only the really sick people tend to come in
During the day its still pretty busy. Its leveled off. I think were just seeing 80, a hundred or so. That first few weeks after, it was very intense.
Rob Kall: Did you see any patients who died?
There was a man who came in, and the thermometer would only read up to 110 and it said he had a 110 fever and it wouldnt go any higher. That was a friend of mine. The real heroes are my co-workers. Dr. Miranda had to work on that guy, Dr. Seglio, Dr. Patterson, the nurses. These people have really been working their butts offthe nurses, the staff. This to me is the saving grace of everything that has happened. Weve had nurses, doctors, etc. from all over the country come in. Theyre not from FEMA, theyre not from Red Cross. They just came in their own vehicles and they just got here. They flew and the drove. I had people who worked ground zero they worked the tsunami who just camefrom California, from Michigan, from Minnesota, from New York from all over the countryany state you could name pretty much and they just showed up. They had their stuff packed and they got here. Then I hear stories of people who tried to go through one agency, the Red Cross or something like that, well youre on hold. Youll have to take this class for a week and then well send you down there, and theyre watching the news and seeing people dying and theyre saying, you know what, Im not waiting. Im going. And they left on their own.
Rob Kall: So they bypassed Red Cross and FEMA and they started getting to work.
They just came. They just came by the droves.
Rob Kall: Would you say that the work that got done there got done in spite of FEMA?
You hate to knock help because they have helped in a lot of waysthe Red Cross, FEMA, the Salvation Army, etc. But they dropped the ball in a lot of ways too. Those first four or five days were really bad.
The national guard was a tremendous help in maintaining law and order because the first few days there was looting rampant here in Mississippi. You heard about looting in New Orleans. There was plenty of looting here on the Mississippi coast. I witnessed it with my own eyesjust driving by and people are in a Radio Shack or K-mart and people are walking out with arms full of stuff. And that was before the national guard had a presence.
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