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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 7, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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protect our families from predatory lending activities. these are helping to tilt the skills of our economy back into balance so we put the interest of the 99% of americans who use financial products ahead of the 1% who profit from them. i was deeply disappointed when our republican colleagues voted against the wall street reform bill. it should have been overwhelmingly bipartisan bill. but now the bill is law, and guess what -- my republican friends are doing everything in their power to prevent it from doing its important job. earlier this year 44 republican senators served notice they would not confirm anyone -- let me repeat, they would not confirm anyone -- to the position of director unless structural changes are made to the bureau that would effectively take away its
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ability to stand up for consumers. the changes they've demanded are unfair and unreasonable. no other independent financial regulator has its rules subject to veto by other regulatory agencies. to suggest that the only regulator whose primary mission is to protect everyday hard-working americans should face unprecedented levels of oversight simple does not make sense. once -- simply does not make sense. once again, the republicans have brazenly put the interests of others over the interests of main street consumers. mr. president, to restore the marketplace to consumers, we need a financial system that works for them. they need a system based on a full and transparent understanding of of the costs f those services. but absent a director, the consumer financial protection bureau won't be able to
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supervise payday lenders or debt collectors or private stiewnd learnedders. it won't be able to make it easier for the good actors in the financial system, our community banks, for example, or our credit unions, to compete against those who are making a large profit by unfairly taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. mr. president, richard cordray is a superb choice to serve as the first director of this bureau. as attorney general of ohio, he was a strong but fair advocate for consumers. his work has earned him the endorsement of bankers, c.e.o.'s and civil rights leaders ayos the state of ohio. -- across the state of ohio. he is a public servant of the highest caliber who deserves to be given the opportunity to lead this critically important bureau. as a mete of fundamental -- matter of fundamental fairness for hard-working americans on main street, we need an effective, evenhanded consumer protection biewr row.
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bureau. mr. cor cordray deserves the opportunity to head this bureau. i call on my colleagues at long last to put the interests of consumers ahead of those whose reckless pursuit of profits and bonuses have caused so much harm to our society and economy. i call upon my republican colleagues to ignore the legions of wall street lobbyists who are urging them to disable and, if possible, kill the consumer financial protection bureau. richard cordray is a dedicated and impartial public servant who will put the best interests of american consumers first. we should give him that opportunity. i hope that my colleagues will join me in strongly supporting his nomination. mr. president, i yield th yf. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: thank you, mr. president. we are now as a country squarely in the middle of the obama economy. it is a period of slow growth,
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persistently high unemployment with many potential workers having abandoned the playing field and simply given up looking for work. there is a growing awareness among our countrymen that the policies of president obama, the policies enacted during the first two years of his administration under democrat supermajorities, have made matters worse. we have legitimate disagreements in this capitol concerning the solutions to the problems that we are experiencing with the obama economy. my colleagues and i on this side of the aisle would enact aggressive regulatory reform, an expansive energy policy and we would vastly limit the size and
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scope of the federal government. that is our plan and it's a plan that we could have genuine disagreements about. what i want to talk to my colleagues about today, mr. president, though is what i would suggest is a manufactured dispute and it is over this issue of the extension of the payroll tax. that is an issue on which really there is a wide consensus on the democratic side of the aisle, over here on the republican side and down the hall in the other body. now, the president said only a few months ago that it is not wise to raise taxes on anyone during a recession, and we certainly are in a recession. in recent weeks, the president
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has suggested that perhaps he has abandoned this position and changed his mind and that we should perhaps raise taxes on -- on some people even though we're still in a recession. but republicans have consistently agreed with what the president said earlier. we are in a recession and this is no time to raise taxes on anyone. this means we shouldn't raise taxes on the working poor. that means we shouldn't raise taxes on employees working on the assembly line or working in the retail sector. it means that we should not raise taxes on job creators. we should not raise taxes on investors that we depend on to provide the capital to create jobs. we shouldn't raise taxes on anybody because we're in a time of recession. now, let's put this in a
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historical context. last december, at a time when democrats still have had supermajorities over here in the senate, when speaker pelosi was still in charge in the house of representatives with her majority there, this congress on a bipartisan basis enacted legislation to keep in place the bush-era tax cuts, to leave those rates in place for all americans at whatever income level. and we also on a bipartisan basis enacted a cut in the payroll tax. now, this is the social security tax that all workers pay regardless of income, the so-called fica taxes that you see on your pay stubs. and last december, that tax dropped the payroll tax for employees from 6.2% to 4.2%.
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i supported that. republicans and democrats supported that. it's up for renewal and there's a huge majority of members of the house and senate who want to renew that. the distinguished majority leader, senator reid, however, has suggested that not only do we keep the lower rate of 4.2% rather than 6.2%, but we actually lower that fica tax to 3.1%. mr. president, we can have an extension of the current fica tax rate. democrats know it. the white house knows it. and the republican conference knows it. but one problem must be addressed and i think both parties want to address this. we need to offset the cost to the social security trust fund
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of these -- these lower payroll tax rates. why do we need to do this? because when we -- when we're -- when the law says we're really supposed to be taking in 6.2% and putting that in the trust fund to make the -- the social security program as solvent as possible, when we lower that to 4.2%, or to less, as the majority leader wants to do, it amounts to a drain on the social security system. and i think the last thing we want to do in -- with a weak system, which we know can't come out in the end, is to put further pressure on the social security trust fund. so both parties have proposed to offset or pay for a continuation of the payroll tax cuts. you know, last week the white house unveiled a digital clock
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at the top of its web site that counts down to the date when the payroll tax cuts will expire at the end of the year. this somehow suggests that someone in this town wants the payroll tax to go back up to 6.2%. this is pure political gamesmanship. we can have a bipartisan solution to keep the payroll tax at 4.2% but we must pay for them -- pay for it. now, the distinguished majority leader, senator reid, had a proposal last week not only to lower the payroll tax to 3.1% but to pay for it by raising taxes on someone else. this violates what the president
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said several months ago, we don't need to raise taxes on anyone. we can pay for a continuation of this, as republicans have proposed to do, by offsetting it with smart spending cuts, a freeze in federal pay, a reduction in the federal work force, and means testing of some benefits at the upper-income levels. we proposed this last week but it was shot down by the majority in this body with a -- to me a contribed plan to actually lower the payroll tax and shift those taxes to someone else. now, we're told that this week, just like last week, we're going to have some more political theater. the majority leader will propose once again a tax increase on others so that we can keep this
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payroll tax cut and we will propose a side-by-side which is essentially the pay-for plan to keep the tax rate as it is. both of these will fail because the majority leader intends for them to fail and essentially we will have wasted two weeks at the end of this session of congress by creating a manufactured disagreement for the sake of scoring political points. maybe after we get this week over with and we've had yet another week of gamesmanship, the senate can get down to the business of passing a simple extension of the payroll rates in their current form and to offset that action with savings. there is an absolute majority in
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the senate and in the house to do just that. in doing so, we can end three weeks of political theater with the democrats trying to score points for 2012. i wish we could fast forward to next week and get this important piece of legislation done and enact a continuation of the payroll taxes that a vast majority of republicans and democrats support. thank you, mr. president. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, last week i came to the floor and urged all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together in a commonsense, bipartisan way and extend for a significant period
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of time the very important national flood insurance program. that program, which is essential to the country, involves a lot of properties essential to real estate closings, to allow that important part of our economy to happen as we struggle to get out of this recession. that program would otherwise expire a week from this friday. i also wrote senator reid that same day as i came to the floor urging him to support this legislation extending this vital program to be passed quickly, hopefully unanimously, through the senate. mr. president, the good news is, is i've reached out to many folks, democrats and republica republicans, since then with -- we've continued to build consensus to do that, to make sure there's no threat of the national flood insurance program
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lapsing yet again as it did unfortunately four times in 2010. no good reason. for a total of 53 days. every time that happens or is even threatened to happen be win a few days, there's great chaos and uncertainty in the real estate market. good closings are put o. our of. our economy slows down for no good reason as we need every closing in sight to do exactly the opposite and improve the economy. again, mr. president, the good news is that we have built consensus, and i think we have reached consensus to avoid that sort of lapse. so i return to the floor today, mr. president, to get that formally done, and at this point i would ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of 1958 -- s. 1958, my bill to extend the national flood insurance
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program well into next year to may 31, which i introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the measure. the clerk: s. 1958, a bill to extend the national flood insurance program until may 31, 2012. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. vitter: i'll have a few more formal comments after we pass t but i urge its passage. the presiding officer: since there is no further debate, will all in favor say aye. all opposed say "no." the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have t the measure is adopted. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that any statements relating to the bill appear at this point in the
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record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. and, mr. president, in closing, let me thank everyone, both sides of the ierl, who worked in a very commonsense way to get this done. again, sort of a worst-case scenario is what we all experienced in 2010. four different times in 2010 the program actually lapsed. a total of 53 days. more times than that, it came within a few days of lapsing and created great uncertainty in the real estate market. we don't need any of that. we're trying to struggle out of a recession and a very bad economy, which has been led by a real estate downturn. so we need every good closing we can get. and giving the market this certainty over a week before it would otherwise expire is very good as we try to create that certainty and build a better
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economic climate. so i'm very happy we came together in a commonsense bipartisan way to extend the national flood insurance program as is to may 31. let me also say in closing, mr. president, that i strongly, strongly support a full six-year reauthorization of the program. i've worked on that bill with many others in the relevant senate committee, the senate banking committee. we've reported a good bill out of committee. i want to get that through the senate floor and merge it and compromise in some reasonable way with the house reauthorization. we need a full-blown six-year reauthorization of the program with significant reforms, but that was obviously not going to happen between now and a week from friday. it's obviously not going to happen a month or two into the new year. so we needed to create the
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certainty that this extension will create as we continue to work on that full reauthorization. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: murray: mr. presidi
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ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor this evening to urge my colleagues to support legislation tow extend and expand the payroll tax cut that middle-class families across america depend on. last week democrats brought a bill to the floor that would have not only accomplished this goal for our workers, it would also cut the payroll tax for
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half of our nation's employers and eliminate it had entirely for businesses new hires. to pay for this proposal, democrats proposed a small surtax on millionaires and billionaires. that is people who are earning more than $1 million a year. in order to extend and expand a critical tax break for middle-class families and small business owners, we thought it right to call on the wealthiest among us, those who can afford it, to pay just a little bit more at a time when the vast majority of americans are really struggling. our bill set up a choice, and we thought it was an easy one. do you vote to extend critical tax cuts for middle-class families or do you vote to protect the wealthiest americans from paying one penny more from their fair share? well, unfortunately, mr. president, almost every senate republican chose to side with the richest americans and filibuster our middle-class tax
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cut bill. and in a surprising development, their leadership's own bill to simply extend the middle-class tax cuts while protecting the wealthiest americans was opposed by the majority of republicans. mr. president, republicans spent months on the joint select committee on deficit reduction saying that tax cuts for the wealthiest americans should be made permanent, that the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations should get even deeper tax cuts. the tax cuts for the rich shouldn't be paid for and should be simply added to the deficit and that a pledge made to a republican lobbyist named grover norquist gave them no choice but to support tax cut extensions. so i have to say i am truly disappointed to see once again that this apparently concern for tax cuts only seems to extend to millionaires and billionaires. and now that a break for middle-class is on the verge of
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ending in a few short weeks, potentially causing deep harm to our weak economy, those republicans who fought tooth and nail for tax cuts for the rich are nowhere to be found. in fact, many of them are actively opposing it. mr. president, republicans seem to be operating under the backward economic principle that only tax cuts for the richest americans and biggest corporations are worth fighting for. in fact, they have a name for that group of people. they call them the job creators. they believe the only ones who create jobs in america are the rich, and they claim the tax cuts and loopholes they fight for that benefit the wealthy will somehow trickle down to the rest of us. well, mr. president, that's wrong. we know that republican economy policy has failed us. it was this kind of thinking that turned a surplus into a deficit, that brought our economy to its knees, that failed our middle class and allowed the wealthiest americans to amass record fortunes paying
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the lowest tax rates in decades. it's the wrong way to go and americans know it. and our country has the scars to prove it. mr. president, a constituent of mine named nick kanar published an op-ed in bloomberg business week that speaks to this point exceptionally well. nick is a businessman. he's a venture capitalist in seattle. he helped to launch more than 20 companies, including, and he has a deep understanding of 21st century jobs and the innovation economy. nick wrote in that, that it's not tax cuts for the rich that create jobs, but that -- and i want to quote him. he says "only consumers can set in motion a virtual cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than i ever have been or ever will be."
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he advocates ending the tax breaks for the rich and using some of that savings to give average working families a break and put more money in their pockets. nick's logic is clear and it makes economic sense. it's in line with the -- with what the american public believes and is exactly why this middle-class tax cut needs to pass. so while i strongly supported our last bill that would have extended and expanded this tax cut on workers and employers, it is clear republicans were not going to drop their filibuster. so we are back now with a compromise. republicans claim to be concerned that our bill was too big, so we scaled it back. they said they didn't like the surcharge on the wealthiest americans, so we cut it down significantly and we made it temporary. and to make it even more acceptable, we included spending cuts that both sides said were acceptable as well as their proposal to make millionaires ineligible to receive unemployment insurance and food stamps. so, mr. president, the compromise that's before us is
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fully paid for. it extends and expands payroll tax relief for millions of middle-class families in our country. it will create jobs and provide a critical boost for this economy at a time when we desperately need it. so i continue hoping that our republican colleagues will be as focused on tax cuts for the middle class as they are on for the wealthiest americans and largest corporations. and i hope they stand with us to pass this critical legislation in time for the holidays because that's what american families want. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. p.
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the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: it shall be. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. colleagues, tomorrow, we are going to be voting whether to close debate on the nomination of richard cordray as director of the consumer financial protection bureau. this can be framed in terms of his qualifications, but that would be a mistake because folks on both sides of the aisle have noted he is exceptionally qualified for this position. a graduate of michigan state university, of oxford university, the university of chicago law school where he was editor in chief of the
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university of chicago law review. in addition, he's held a number of public positions with honor and distinction -- as state representative, as ohio treasurer, as ohio attorney general. indeed, as ohio's attorney general, he was an aggressive advocate for consumers. he recovered more than $2 billion for ohio's retirees, investors and business owners and took major steps to help protect its consumers from fraudulent foreclosures and financial predators. what a terrific resume. an individual who has stood up for retirees, who has stood up for business owners, who has stood up for investors and said fraud will not be tolerateed. we will seek it out and we will penalize it and we will end it. in other words, exactly the
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resume of someone you would want to head a consumer financial protection department or division or bureau. so why are we voting tomorrow on ending debate? why don't we just have a unanimous consent motion that we go to a final vote? and the answer is my colleagues across the aisle are objecting. they are objecting to a vote on his nomination, not because he isn't qualified, but because they want to prevent this agency from doing its job, protecting america's families against predators. i cannot think of many issues that are so important to the success of our families as making sure that they are not subject to financial predators. and yet, my colleagues across
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the aisle are opposing this nomination in order to protect the predators preying on america's families. that is just plain wrong. so i hope they'll change their position before tomorrow. let's turn the clock back to 2003. in 2003, a new type of mortgage was invented in the united states. this was a mortgage that had a two-year teaser rate, a very favorable low rate so as the service abate for mortgage or ij ij -- originators to say to their clients, this is the best mortgage for you because it has the lowest rate. what they didn't tell their clients is after two years, that interest rate exploded to a very high interest rate, a predatory rate, and that they couldn't get out of the mortgage because the mortgage had a little sentence
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in it that said you have to pay a huge penalty if you try to refinance this mortgage. that penalty was 5% or 10% of the value of a loan. show me a working family in america that buys a house, puts down their down payment, makes their repairs, gets moved in and still has 10% of the value of a house sitting in a bank, able to pay a penalty so they can get to a fair interest rate after the interest rate explodes. so this new mortgage turned the humble, amortizing family mortgage that had been the pathway to the middle class for millions of american families into a predatory trap that destroyed families and that created a lot of wealth for the 1% who run the system in our society. and have no doubt, that 1% got in in every possible way. they said well, let's take and package these predatory
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mortgages and sell them, and then let's take pieces of those packages and combine them with pieces of other security packages and resell them. and then let's develop a brand-new insurance industry that insures securities -- this insurance is what's often called credit default swaps or derivatives, fancy names for insurance for these packages of mortgages, and then let's thereby make them very attractive to pension funds and investors across the world, actually. and this was so successful that those who were buying those mortgages were willing to pay a huge bonus to those originators, those mortgage originators to steer families out of the very successful, humble, amore advertising -- amortizing fixed rate mortgage into this predatory, exploding interest rate mortgage all the time posing as a family's counselor, saying it's my job to do what's best for you.
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so why did this predatory practice in 2003 that grew enormously over the next four years, why did it go on? what happened to oversight of fairness, and what happened to the agency that was supposed to shut down predatory practices? well, that agency, mr. president, was the federal reserve. the federal reserve is a very powerful organization. the federal reserve has two responsibilities -- employment and monetary policy. those are the traditional responsibilities, but they were given a third which was consumer protection. so somewhere in that vast, powerful agency, up on the upper floor, the head of the federal reserve and his key advisors were hard at work on monetary
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policy, deciding what interest rates that they would lend to our major banks, and they were hard at work, we would hope, on the employment side as well. but they seem to have forgotten that they were also responsible for consumer protection. that mission was set aside. it was put down in the basement of the building, and the doors were locked and the lights were turned out and they did absolutely nothing about these predatory practices that were destroying the finances of millions of americans. they were betraying the fundamental relationship between a family and its trusted mortgage originator who was getting bonus payments for steering them in to these loans. and they did absolutely nothing about a number of other predatory practices, and that's why, that's why the consumer financial protection bureau was
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created. that doesn't have other responsibilities to distract it, that isn't going to take the fate and success of our families and lock that mission down in the basement and turn out the lights, because this is the heart of why this bureau exists. so this vote tomorrow is about whether or not you believe in the family value of fair deals that build the success of our families or you believe in the 1% exercising full predatory practices to destroy the financial lives of americans, destroy the financial lives of our veterans who are standing up for us in war, who are often a highly targeted group when it comes to these types of mortgage practices and these types of payday practices. so, mr. president, this is an important vote tomorrow. it's not a vote about the qualifications of the nominee
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because the nominee has acknowledged they have just the right set of skills to be highly qualified from a number of directions. it is a vote about whether here in america you believe that it should be okay to be a predator or not okay. i believe it's not okay. i believe that states and the federal government should do all they can to make sure deals are fair, to make sure that there are not conflicts of interest, to make sure they are not steering payments that are undisclosed to the consumer, to make sure that there are not hidden clauses that say if i convince you, i'm your advisor and i say sign here, that you have not now destroyed your financial life for the next 10 or 20 years as a result of that trust. fairness matters to the success of our families. mr. president, we should have a unanimous vote tomorrow to end this debate and get on to the final vote of whether or not to
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confirm a very distinguished and capable and honorable man who is prepared to fight for the success of american families. thank you, mr. president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call, senator. mr. merkley: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, it is suspended. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of senate resolution 345 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 345, expressing the sense of the senate on the closure of umatilla army depot, oregon. the presiding officer: is there
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objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate and any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on thursday, december 8, 2011, that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning business be deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 413, the nomination of richard cordray to be director of the consumer financial protection bureau, with the time until 10:30 a.m. equally divided and controlled
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by the two leaders or their designees. and that the cloture vote on the cordray nomination occur at 10:30 a.m. finally, if cloture is not invoked, the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 1944. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: mr. president, the cloture vote will be held at 10:30 tomorrow. cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to s. 1944, the middle-class tax cut act of 2011. unless agreement is reached, that vote will be friday morning. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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russia held parliamentary elections on sunday and vladimir putin the united russia party won about 50% of the vote on the delegations of election fraud. the heritage foundation yesterday hosted a discussion on the russian elections. this is about an hour 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. thank you for joining us here at the heritage foundation and in our mcdougals and sarah allyson auditorium. we of course welcome those who join us on our heritage of our
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website of these occasions. we would ask if you would be so kind here in the room to make sure that cell phones have been turned off as we prepare to begin and will be most appreciated. we will of course post the program within 24 hours on the website for everyone's future reference as well. our internet viewers are always welcome to send questions or comments simply e-mail chang at and we will pass them on to panelists' even after the even if necessary. hosting the discussion this afternoon is dr. stephen cohen, senior research fellow with the kathryn and shelley cohen center of international studies he earned his ph.d. at the center of diplomacy. he works on the area of economic development and geopolitical challenges from russia and the former soviet republic to the global war of here, the continuing conflict in the middle east and u.s. energy security. a number of the council on foreign relations committee international institute of strategic studies in london and
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the association for the study of nationalities. ariel, i will turn the program for to you. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming and thanks for everybody who is watching us on the internet. first when we were planning this event as a part of our series of events on russia we did not know what's going to help -- happen after the elections. to tell you the truth i was in russia for the meeting coming and we met with him leaders of the political parties, we met with putin, etc., and we were asked to make a prognosis, a prediction coming and i predicted in correctly that united russia is going to get 60%, 55-60% of the vote that
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just russia will be wiped out not because they will be wiped out by the voter because the electoral commission will not allow them to be in the duma all that proved to be wrong. but we have a terrific panel today here who will be able to shed light at what happened, with the background is and what the implications are. not just for russia with the u.s.-russian relations. i think it's always important to examine what the relationship between our countries is and where it's going. we have come as i said, outstanding experts, and i will present them in the order they will appear and then have a few concluding remarks. vladimir murza-kara as a member of the federal council of solidarity, russia's chief of democratic opposition movement. he served as a companion
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chairman for presidential candidate, the famous dissident, an adviser to the opposition leader, but he was arrested today with a number of other leaders. vladimir is the author of "before or revolution: the quest for responsible government in the first russian state," contributor to the elections and after and russian liberalism, ideas and people. he is the bureau chief for rtvi. he writes extensively for u.s. and russian media and holds an ma in history from cambridge university. to his left, dr. katrina swett, and i wondered if your mother is
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here, too. dr. swett established the lantos foundation for human rights and justice in 2008. she serves as the president and chief executive officer and teaches human rights and american foreign policy at tufts university, my alma maters. katrina also taught at the university of southern denmark, the director of public policy in the new england college, has an extensive academic background and also has a distinguished career in the new hampshire politics as adviser, commentator, strategist, katrina and her husband, richard, during his tenure representing u.s. congress and later when he served the united states ambassador and an hamdan mark worked on human rights issues and was also the key adviser to her father, the late congressman tom lantos, someone whose expertise we will all sorely miss especially on such issues
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as human rights and such issues as russia. when i testified with katrina, there was more than one voice in congress saying when are we going to have you in congress. last but not least, my good friend david satter. a former moscow correspondent and a prolific writer born in chicago, graduated university of chicago in oxford where he was a rhodes scholar, worked for "chicago tribune," london financial times, wall street journal and a number of books the latest one i'm leaving right now and it's a very depressive reading. it is called -- it was a long time ago and never happened anyway. it's about the memories of stalin's repression and we hope to have your book review.
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with that let's go to vladimir first and then katrina and then have a few words after that. >> we can speak here. maybe take ten to 12 minutes to read -- thank you for coming and to heritage for hosting this important event has a very important time and before i speak a little bit about the elections just a very quick update as to ariel already mentioned several opposition leaders were arrested in moscow today about an hour and a half ago including boris himself, leader of the freedom. the talking chairman which was the only pro democracy party on the ballot last time and the head of the left-wing nationalist russia group as well as many journalists as the prominent and the famous anti-corruption campaign
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sentenced to two weeks and 15 days in jail by a moscow court today. and this also began last night when some 10,000 people gathered in central moscow to protest against the election results and served in the largest pro-democracy capital over a decade, and the unrest began last night some 300 people arrested last night and some 200 people were arrested today. the interior ministry announced this morning that they are bringing in the division to keep order in the russian capital and we are witnessing how they are keeping order right now. but back to the original topic of the election, apart from silencing his opponents and enriching his personal friends the one vladimir putin was good at was fixing elections in fact he had a perfect track record on this from march, 2000, but this track record was broken last
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sunday. it to be absolutely clear this was not space, it wasn't for the, it wasn't fair. to begin with several opposition parties were not allowed on the ballot in the first place. there were numerous violations during the campaign and the vote i'm going to talk about them in a few minutes. but even in all of these conditions, and even according to their own unofficial data, officials figures, the party was just weeks ago opening both preserving the two-thirds super majority in couldn't muster 50% of the vote. the latest official result was 89.3. that's according to this morning that's actually 100%. what happened on sunday what's happening today and what happened yesterday these last few days this is a turning point for the putin regime in my view. it's a turning point not because the new duma well heddell against the kremlin as the
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previous one, not because the quote on quote opposition parties the three parties that got into the duma apart from russia would pose a challenge they would vote as told by the kremlin especially on all of the important matters but it is a turning point because the instability vladimir putin enjoy it the last ten to 12 years has been shattered because and said even according to their own results in the official figures they have to admit the majority are against them and there is no question about it the didn't vote for these sanctioned parties against vladimir putin and that is the message from sunday and what this will mean very practically that those people who are intimidated and threatened a specially in the regions they were intimidated they will be in difficult to intimidate and also the career
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back the regime for the personal gain and advancement would begin weighing their options because it seems the political pendulum has stayed frozen for the past 12 years is beginning to move in a new direction. the election did not represent any kind of improvement. the most and description as provided by the head of the mission, ambassador yesterday said and i quote these elections are like a game in which only some players are allowed in the pitch and then it is tilted in favor of one of the players come end of quote. nine opposition parties ranging from the center-right popular freedom party to the united labor front and others in between were banned from taking part in the election by the minister of justice refusal to register them. the television message was firmly and controlled by the regime. there was ample administrative interference during the campaign we saw the state and regional
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officials were urging voters especially public sector employees but the party of officials openly linking future budget allocations to the territories on united russia would get on voting day and we saw the mass manipulations and violations on the voting day itself in fact they have assessed the vote count and 40% of cases on 30% of the polling places as bad or very bad. the documented cases of ballot stuffing of multiple voting and so-called carrousels people go around several polling stations and approach a member of the commission was kind of cruising in the deal with them and then vote numerous times. there were cases, many cases of unlawful and observance and candidates from the polling places and there were ample cases of the riding of the official protocols once completed. in terms of monitors there was
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in the last few days before the election russia's so independent monitoring cannot stand attack from the authorities it was investigated and was signed as the director to the airport, the laptop was confiscated, 10% of the monitors were denied access to the election for the various pretexts and on voting day itself some of the most popular independent media web sites in russia including the web site of the radio station were reporting the violations on cases of fraud were down by cyberattack and remained down for the entire day of voting. and then of course the north caucasus republic as usual prove to be faithful for the kremlin and the 91% and 92%, 99%, 99.5% in chechnya. this has been the case in
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several. so there is good reason to believe that the results for united russia was much lower than the 49%. in fact there was an exit poll conducted across the 40 regions by the institute of social studies the moscow-based institute and these are the figures to give, 38% for russia, 24% for the communist, 15% for russia, 15% and 5% for the only pro-democracy party that contested the election. this figure is actually significant because if they cross the threshold it would have meant not only a voice in parliament but access to all of a regional elections around the country and the presidential represented even by one person do not have to collect signatures and that is the popular way of presenting the opposition from the quote on quote fraudulent signatures so this would have been significance if they cross the 5% threshold. and it was pretty obviously stalled especially in moscow where it was reduced for 18 to
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20% of searchers where they were present to 8.5, 9% in the official protocol moscow and then to below 4% nationally. so, the main message from sunday was that even according to the figures, the official figures, the majority of russian voters voted against vladimir putin. and we are seeing more and more that people are prepared to express their discontent and their frustration, not just at the polls, but increasingly on the streets. and we're seeing, in the course of 2010, a wave of anti-government process especially what we are witnessing in front of our eyes yesterday and today in moscow is further proof of that. and the regime in my view is facing in the near future very serious dilemma in the face of the discontent and writing and your. they will either have to take steps to reform and liberalize the political system which means
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almost certainly will be voted out at some point. or they will try to hang on to the power by the means of further repression in which case might be hosni mubarak. the trees is there but in either way it seems that this past two or three days or the beginning of the end for vladimir putin's regime. in conclusion i would like to take up the u.s. russia angle. we are seeing already the u.s. state department expressed concern over the on the fairness in quitting by the secretary of state yesterday and today. but i think that this is a very good opportunity for the u.s. and the u.s. government to demonstrate its commitment to the value of collateral of law and the democracy not just in words but in practice. to that and there is a very important bill currently pending before the united states senate. it is the accountability act bill s. 39 pittard 26
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co-sponsors from the conservative republicans to conservative democrats to read this bill proposes a brilliant simple and very effective friday. the idea is that human rights violated specific concrete names, and this bill proposes to introduce targeted personal sanctions that is to say the entry in the mud states and an asset on the financial, freedom financial leverage in the united states for those who violate internationally protected and internationally organized rights and freedom of russian citizens including a section for including the right to space elections. this is aimed at people who officials and people close to the regime who likened to burma or zimbabwe but want to take the indications in shopping trips to new york city and one to give their money and children in the west. some personal responsibility. and this is not just my view.
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there was an open letter by several leading up positions in russia a couple months ago to the u.s. senate addressed to the majority leader harry reid and john kerry urging to pass the bill as soon as possible. it's time for some personal responsibility for people for the chief political handler of the regime and to certify the electoral results. this is the only thing the will make them think twice. if there is a precedent for this in the democracy of which was seven years ago and signed into law seven years ago which provides for the u.s. for that human rights violators including those engaged in the election fraga in case of belarus it is largely symbolic because mainly because the length of the time the regime has been in its national inspiration the belarus officials have as many personal interests in the west. the officials over the current regime certainly do come and so
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in that case it wouldn't just be symbolic it would have some consequences. stating the obvious it is of course up to the russian opposition to bring democracy back to russia and doing all it can right now, but if the west wants to show that it's serious about the rise of human rights and democracy now is a very good time to show at. thank you. >> thank you. this was very important and the approach it from a different perspective. dr. lantos. >> first of all let me say that i'm really very honored to be here as part of this panel, and i'm surrounded by colleagues, all of whom have greater personal experience with the issues that are unfolding in russia than i do come and significantly more expertise. i somewhat suspect perhaps my invitation here is a product of the fact that i may be the only democrat here -- >> we are not holding it against
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you. [laughter] >> i'm so grateful for that. >> i am a russian democrat. >> that counts. that can be a sense of solidarity if i say so. and for somebody who's been involved publicly in washington for many years, this is actually the first time i've had the pleasure of being hit at the heritage foundation, and so i feel a little bit like a forbidden fruit being here but it is wonderful how it's a great honor and it is my great pleasure to be here. you know, sometimes it is through small incidents coming in even small moments that important truths are revealed. and much was made a few weeks ago of the famous booing incident that took place following a martial arts match when the curtain went up on the stage and in a moment that shocked everybody cheers and boos could be held and some thought maybe we are making too much of this. maybe what happened in the reaction of a bunch of potentially inebriated and certainly excited fans at and martial arts match doesn't reveal that much, but i think in
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the aftermath of sunday's's election we now know that that was in fact one of those will of the tory small moments unmasked a big truth. what ever happened in the election on sunday, one thing is clear. vladimir putin had lost to a large degree his legitimacy, and perhaps even his inevitability. considering everything that preceded these elections, the results are truly remarkable coming of vladimir and i coming in as you said, you got it wrong a few weeks ago and we were just beginning to talk in the elevator how surprised we all were because i think any of us were thinking about being here with you today and beginning to prepare our thoughts we were somewhat stunned when the actual results began to come in. despite overwhelming state control of the media, it's deployment now over a long period of time as a personal propaganda tool puts up the kremlin and of putin personal
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income and of course the increasingly narrow and dangerous scope permitted for any sort of a genuine free press in russia. despite the targeted persecution prosecution and even the alleged murder of those who have been seen as opponents of or simply credible critics of the kremlin and the names of course of more than 150 slain journalists come to mind. despite enormous electoral fraud, and we are not simply talking about the stitching about boxes or the voting that vladimir referred to, but the whole setting of the stage that tilted playing field that was quoted by vladimir, and again, the deployment of the overwhelming bulk of the media outlets as part of the election campaign on behalf of the united russia. the electoral watchdog
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organizations and now of course the well-documented ballot box stuffing. despite the careful cultivation certainly from the western perspective the almost iconic narcissistic personality that has been built up around the new macho star all of this disturbing and authoritarian manipulation or perhaps because of a. when the russian people themselves had a chance to give their verdict on putin's party, their answer was unmistakable. yet the verdict is all the more remarkable because in many ways the russian economy right now is one of the healthier ones in that region of the world. certainly there are challenges. certainly there are big issues of stagnation and many things we can talk about there. but it feels the russian
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government has spent freely in the recent years on raising pensions and building infrastructures, schools and roads and hospitals so we find ourselves asking the question how do we explain this humiliating public review of russia and its support of vladimir putin? there are probably a lot of explanations. durkan of course dhaka about economic unease, about the future which plays a role in any country. it's playing a role in the election unfolding here in the united states. we can talk of the growing disgust and the open discussed with the rampant corruption that characterizes virtually every aspect of the russian government and more broadly russian society. ..
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the profound lack of rule of law transparency if without a doubt a component of this. but i believe that there may be an even deeper meaning and message being sent by these elections. perhaps they represent a rejection of the historic slander against the russian people, namely that they don't
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really embrace or desire democracy. that when all is said and done at some level they preferred to have a strong czar to rule them and to protect them. the russian people with this election result in the face of all the obstacles and all the reasons and all the corruption and the intimidation may be saying to the world that this is false, and if that is what they are telling us, then i think we would do well to heed its. i combat this issue from the perspective of somebody involved in the issues of human rights, justice and democracy and i want to say just a word about the act which was referred to previously. we don't have to look too far back in our own legislative history as americans to realize that very often went those who are fighting for greater democracy and greater human rights in russia and other parts
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of the world, try to advance a legal vehicle, a legislative vehicle to take our stance, to plant our way, to put our marks down. we always hear, we can do it through the means and with that act we have had the current administration, which i have great praise for in some regards but i have some criticism here saying we are going to do this administration of it. we are going to do this through other means. we don't need to sort of ruffle the feathers of our russian partners by formerly assayed matter of legislative enactment passing the law that is really sort of a red flag to them. i hope and i encourage our leaders in congress not to listen to that siren song. i am reminded of two relatively recent examples where we had it administrations making just that argument. one of course is the jackson van eyck amendment, still technically on the books in my
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own view and one of the messages that i have been taking and will be taking to leaders two leaders in congress in urging their support for these acts is that we should not and we must not repeal it without a commitment to pass it. i think there should be a deal there. at jackson fan eggs may no longer have the real word pertinence that it did in the past so i think we need to approach that. the other example that of course i remember is the south african sanctions bill and i remember the reagan administration at that time saying oh this will harm the very people we are trying to help, oh there are other ways to go about this, publicly sanctioning in other countries never good idea diplomatically and in fact reagan's veto that piece of legislation ending one of a few rebukes and it's a very difficult thing to accomplish legislatively. that the dough was overridden and we sell the results of that.
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i'm so grateful you brought that these ablation -- legislation of. i think it's concrete and deliverable in something america can do now that the u.s. congress can do now to say, we do not accept the status quo and we do not accept the notion that we have to soft-pedal our concerns about human rights and about justice and democracy and rule of law in russia in order to pursue other important areas of shared interest. i think that the critical issue that is laid before us succinctly and well but by my college to the right and that is with russia now because clearly this is a turning point. there are always two roads open and two rows always diverge in the woods as we like to say in new hampshire and one road is more or less travel depending on which one you choose. i think that the lessons of the arab spring for good and for ill are indeed very instructive here.
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but as i look at russia's response, for example to what has been going on in syria and their steadfast refusal to condemn the shocking and appalling and disgusting brutality of the syria and regime in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters there, i don't see a hopeful outlook for the likely response of the kremlin and if putin. i hope i'm wrong. i want to be wrong. this is an instance where we all want to be wrong but i think it remains to be seen and i know we will have more opportunity to discuss this further as the dialogue begins. thank you. >> thank you very much. and now david, please. >> when i got the news about the election results and particularly about the demonstrations in moscow over the corrupt electoral process, i
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was reminded of two incidents, one in real life and one in literature. one, the one from real life was of course the moment when nikolai chichester addressing a huge crowd was suddenly looted and the booing escalated. he was taken completely off back newsreels of that incident, which took place in the late '80s showed him completely discomforted by the fact that his previously passive subjects were now booing him and of course it was not an insignificant event. it was followed by full scale revolt of the population and eventually his execution. and i am reminded also of the incident in war and peace that
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is described by tolstoy. the moment, when it became clear that the russians having long retreated before the french army, were going to resist ed r.d. no, something in the atmosphere had changed and it was palpable and it was perceived by everyone. i think that what we have now is what we could call a moment in russia. russia was a country in which there were very few demonstrations of protest for a very long time and those demonstrations which did take place oftentimes organized around the very valid that secondary issue of freedom of assembly, attracted relatively few people. now we have mass demonstrations in moscow, concerning the pivotal issue of electoral fraud
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and the question of who in the final analysis is going to hold power? i have been following russia for many gears and this gave me the opportunity to follow also the career of vladimir putin. when i first saw him after he was announced as yeltsin's successor, it was hard for me to believe that such a physically unprepossessing, seeming externally mediocre individual could possibly aspire to the position of head of state, in particular if you bear in mind that his career was made not in electoral politics but in security services, that he had no platform, that he made no public appearances, that he refused to take part in any debates, that his soul qualification for power was that
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he was appointed to a high position and then under mysterious circumstances was able to pursue a war of revenge and chechnya. the only time up until that moment when he appeared with yeltsin that i had been aware of him was during the scandal which the rounded the russian prosecutor general. yeltsin, having narrowly avoided impeachment, was obliged to accept as prime minister primakov who had opposite jim tendencies and he was also anti-american but in any case, after all of the years of economic carnage under yeltsin, he enjoyed support among the
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population for his opposition to some of the excesses of the corruption of yeltsin in europe. he gave the prosecutor general the freedom to conduct meaningful investigations of the people who were closest to yeltsin including boris tara soft ski. he was the favorite of yeltsin's daughter tatyana. bara dean was the head of the property commission which controlled the real estate and the buildings that were owned by the kremlin. and he made serious progress in those investigations with the cooperation of the swiss. until the moment, when in an operation organized by putin he was filmed receiving a sex act from a prostitute in the company of another prostitute. that in itself would not have
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been so unusual, but what happened next was unusual for any country, even for russia. a video of this encounter was shown on prime-time television with a brief warning that it might not be suitable for children. [laughter] this operation ultimately led to the removal of him, the end of the thread of prosecution against yeltsin's cronies and the promotion of vladimir putin. i had never taken them seriously before that and i was barely aware of him even though in those years i was following russian affairs as closely as i could. once he was nominated as prime minister, once he was designated the prime minister of russia, more strange things happened. bombs went off in russian apartment buildings. these bombings in which 300 innocent people were killed,
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were blamed on chechnya and rebels but there was never any proof that chechens were involved. putin spoke about a chechen trail, not chechen culprits and not evidence, not even suspects. and it was this act which seem to be directed against the very heart of russia, gens ordinary people, sleeping in their beds in their apartments in the middle of the night, women, children, old people all of whom were blown to bits and these acts, which terrified the whole country were used to justify a new invasion of chechnya and as a result of the initial successes, putin, whose popularity rating had been in --
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yeltsin's as a result of the first polls registered at 2%, and air in mind that pollsters say that 6% of the respondents don't in any poll, don't understand the question. under the circumstances, he was an absolutely negligible political figure, with no chance to assume power after yeltsin completed his term. but as the director and executor of a victorious war waged in part in revenge for a heinous act of terrorism, he became instantly popular and all of the anger in russia that had been built up over an entire decade of pillage and depredations by a small corrupt group that was connected to yeltsin and the members of his family, were
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redirected toward the chechnya and and putin was no longer seen as yeltsin's -- i'm sorry, putin was no longer seen as a participant in the yeltsin era of corruption. he was seen in stead as the savior of the nation who was defending it against an attack by terrorists, and this brought him to power. in december 1999, parliamentary elections, the opposition, which had been dominated by communists, became -- the opposition which was dominated by communists was wiped out and a probe putin parliament was created and it existed up until
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this time. so, in the years that followed, what we saw is, what we saw was the development of an autocracy in russia fueled by the good luck that putin had in being placed in power at the very moment when world commodity prices began to boom and russia became the foremost world beneficiary of this booming commodity prices. the market mechanisms put in place by yeltsin similarly made it possible for russia to prosper, and the gross national product of russia increased six times. under these circumstances, the uneasiness that people felt over putin was submerged in their satisfaction that finally, there so many gears of poverty and
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deprivation, russia was at last experiencing something like a decent standard of living, and that accounted for putin's popularity. but nothing lasts forever and insofar as putin constructed an autocratic system, in which he controlled all levers of power and those who had personal connections to him monopolize not only power but property, and any possibility of an independent judiciary system was eliminated. a situation was created in which people begin to feel the weight of the autocracy that was created in their daily lives. impossible to find justice, impossible to rely on the law, impossible to express oneself through the ballot locks, impossible to change anything.
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possible to talk, and impossible to make a career without compromising yourself. slowly, that discontent began to reach a critical mass and i think what happened in the elections that had just taken place was bad even those people corralled in their factories in their polling places and coerced into voting for united russia, putin's controlled party no longer were willing to put up with it. they showed their anger and a relatively modest way, but it was the only way that was available to them, by voting for the communists, by voting for just russia, by voting for the only parties on the ballot that were allowed by the putin regime.
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but, the change was unmistakable, and the fact that even under these circumstances, people were still willing to go out and demonstrate in numbers that they had never shown before on a critical issue showed that the cracks are appearing in the autocratic system that has been created. some may say that these election results don't mean anything because the pro-kremlin parties that received more votes are in critical situations are nonetheless going to vote the way putin wants. but what we have seen, regardless of whether or not that is true and there may well be changes on the part of people who are the first time recognize that there is political potential in opposing the ruling autocracy, nonetheless, they
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have demonstrated their sentiments. they have demonstrated their dislike of the people who world them and give them no voice in the running of the country. and, it's not going to be the same again. it will take more events, more confrontations between civil society and the leadership but the cracks in the existing regime, which were papered over as long as russia was enjoying unprecedented economic growth, are going to grow more and more serious because a regime which is as corrupt as this one and which allows as little political opposition as this one and as little real political self organization and this little rule of law can only become more corrupt, more repressive, and more and yielding, generating
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exactly the reactions that it wants to avoid. so i think that when we look back in a couple of years on where russia has gone, we will treat these election results as extremely serious and an extremely important for good in the road. we can only hope that subsequent events, and this will depend on the russian people themselves, will make it possible for the russians to realize the opening toward democracy that they lost so tragically after the fall of the soviet union and to build a new society in which the individual and the rights of the individual are respected. >> thank you very much david. to try and wrap it up, i would like to focus on sordid details, the issue that i picked out from
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spending hours either talking to russian politicians, experts, on the phone and through facebook, going through the internet, and then trying to draw some conclusions. first of all, when you are talking about the show then skate division in 2011 moved into the center of moscow, we should ask ourselves who is it named after? is it named after the founder, the founder of the secret service that is responsible for execution of hundreds of thousands of people and then after his death, the same system under stalin is responsible for executing probably between 20 and 30 million people, facilitating the worst man-made
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famine in the russian and soviet history in which five to 6 million people died. it's all in david's book so by david's book. but seriously, this is the equivalent of angela merkel dealing with unrest in berlin and in moving a division of the german army, but the division is named -- and of course it's inconceivable that it should be inconceivable today in russia that a division of troops that are supposed to shoot the people or harm the people would be named after the founder of cheka. two, there is a wealth of evidence from people who filed their reports come in their
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blogs or messages on facebook that not only did they witnessed the election fraud, but in some cases the police were called on them and in some cases they were screamed at, called names and some women claim that they were beaten. granted as many times you see on television unconfirmed reports, i don't think the events are moving so fast that people went out and found these people necessarily every time and confirmed it. but i talked to my former intern. actually, somebody i know, he was my intern but he was -- intern who was in the city. he also, as an activist for the voice organization who tried to
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observe the elections was witnessing tons of election violations. another point. at the party congress, mr. putin called activist who received support from the west and monetary elections or he anticipated this accusation of election fraud and he said these people are judas's who are not traitors, do this's, very heavy language, very charged language and this was such wording that really brought a chill down my spine and especially the people who were involved in this monitoring. now anyone who took the grand for their ngo would be under threat and immediately three
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duma members wrote a letter to the prosecutor's office, initiating, where's the prosecutor's office? where's the tax service and what are they doing not going after the goalless. gryzlov was fined $4000 hopefully they were not and growth by that and it looked like the cord did with the higher-ups wanted but at the same time did not shut gryzlov down, so people are hedging bets and another point is people are hedging bets as mr. putin and mr. medvedev themselves. i would like to find out today from mr. putin's spokesman and from medvedev's spokesman who expressed in their press conferences that neither putin nor medvedev are members of united russia party. hello. they are just leaders of the party list but they are not members of the party. the party has to take the hit,
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take the blame. then it will be the party, not members of the party. mr. putin, quote a politician unquote. mr. medvedev if you remember said before the elections that only if the party performs well and the elections, he will be the prime minister. the party did not perform well in the elections. does that mean somebody's somebody is going to offer mr. medvedev a sacrificial lamb to the electorate and so mr. putin can walk into the presidency in march question mark. i don't know yet. beyond that, let's try and generalize what we have learned already. i agree with him that this is really a fork in the road. john mccain sent a rotor to
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mr. putin saying prepare for the odd about spring. mr. mccain, it's december out there. it's not the spring comes the winter but what does that mean? are there masses of are masses of hungry and upset russians, hundreds of thousands and millions of people in the square? is at the russian equivalent of the muslim brotherhood or the russian brotherhood? no. what we saw yesterday at this point in time, and i don't know tomorrow and after tomorrow and i have been wronged i admit it. what we saw is one of the russian politicians i talked to today said, the whole -- was full of people chanting putin is a thief. it is not very big and it was part, about seven to 10,000 people. who were these people?
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people living close in the heart of moscow. this was intelligentsia. i was looking just a second ago, a woman, some kind of a glamour circuit correspondent, was there, arrested. the leaders of the political party, let's name them again. solidarity, the anticorruption leader and blogger, etc. the question is, what happens beyond that? and the gentleman i talked to said, people are really upset. they are not getting trains and buses to go to moscow to stop the regime but they are really upset. therefore, the choice in front of the united russia putin is
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are we cracking down or are really brutalizing? if you remember your soviet, sort of the trajectory of the soviet rule, the trajectory in the 19th century, the russian history is a fluctuation between liberalization and a crackdown interrupted by a revolution. so, are we facing a real -- winter. i am not so sure yet. and i am not so sure yet because people are doing well. economically, they are upset and offended. one of the things that was said at the center outside of moscow, people were really, people really felt offended. they felt spat at. so this is something may be like
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1904 or 05 revolution or the february revolution. maybe not, because the opposition both in 04, 05 and 17, opposition to the czar was much broader, was much better organize and the duma was in opposition. today we don't have that. so, the choice that the rulership brush are going to make will to find where russia is going from here but what's important, i agree with all the speakers here, that this is not the same. in my log in national interest today was the end of an era, question mark. this is not going to be longer, this minimal violence, minimal rather minimalistic, tailor made
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oppression. either you have to go to real elections and they are not going to cancel the elections or you have to crack down. i would say 60/40, 70/30 that there will be as they say in russia the tightening of the screws. where does that leave the united states? we saw an anti-american vitriol coming not just at mr. putin but also from somebody like, dmitry, just before the elections, threatening to interrupt our supply lines to afghanistan via russia and eurasia if we don't do x, y and z on missile defense. we heard this expression by putin against the people who monitor elections or work on democracy issues, calling them judas's. the western earl was on the rise
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and unlike the soviet times, i don't think as many people take it as seriously. there are still a lot of anti-americanism that we here at the heritage foundation published papers examining the evidence of anti-americanism in the russian media etc., but on this particular issue, on the election fraud, this is not working. that is also interesting and the final word is a word of caution. when you look at the election results, when you look at the increase of the boat that went to the communists, let's say these independent studies and exit polls suggest communism may have gotten as much as 25%. shavinski got 10%.
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l. dpr, 14% so you have already communists shavinski nationalists and 40% and probably a good chunk of united russia. altogether you have probably 40 to 50% of people who voted who have nothing to do with what we consider liberal values and a vision for liberal russia. that is a bad sign and if the existing machine just falls apart and disappears tomorrow, i do have a running argument with my liberal friends in moscow, remembering the example not of february 17 budd at november 17, who is there to pick up the power if the power is in the street? if you look at cairo, who was there to pick up the power, the
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political power in cairo or in tunis or in tripoli if it is lying in the street and the answer is people who are willing to use force, who don't care about the democratic niceties and here, i totally agree with david. it will be up to the russian people. the russian people missed an opportunity of the rather weak constitutional monitor to push and press and get it quasi-constitutional monarchy between 1917 to turn it into a row constitutional monarchy or a real democracy. that experiment failed and the price was very high. the price was 30 million lives including my great-grandfather. in 91, david says there was a failure of experiment. i would say partial failure of experiment because this regime is not as -- as the soviet
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regime. everything is relative but yes, this is now moving into a scenario in which there is a real struggle for power it will be up to the russian people whether to come up with a democratic model, sustainable democratic model or god forbid go to chaos. to dictatorship. >> and let's open it for discussion now. we are a little bit over time but i think we need to have audience participation. yeah, wait for the mic. introduce yourself because we need for the record also here. >> i have one comment in one question. my comment concerning the results of the voters. a special operation which is called an election. i don't think that we need to mention too often the so-called official results of the election
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because they have been falsified. unfortunately we know at least a little bit about how really the russian people did vote this there were a lot of observers who collected quite interesting information and in those polling stations. there level of falsification was very low or no falsification at all and based on the survey of several hundred of those polling stations, we can say that these united russia had received probably between 24 and 25%. since most of the polling stations allocated in moscow, moscow are blessed it is not completely representative for the whole country. the more sophisticated mathematical analysis performed in our institute based on the results shows that united russia
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received at most 3435% of real voters. so i think those results are much more relevant to the real picture and probably we can use the true results only with the word falsified and to use others just as a more appropriate, some kind of estimate of what is happening. happened. my question would be about the fork but i understood it slightly differently compared to what you have explained. seems to me not some kind of behavior of thousands and millions of people but the fork in the behavior of the regime and the behavior of the regime between liberalization and some kind of -- of these interests, increasing pressure and some kind of authoritarian. so just based on your
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information if i may ask you, could you provide us with any evidence of the -- and the symptoms come any signals, any signs, and the evidence of liberalization either with the shavinski division or with any other? just any evidence you can find that would support these particular options? >> we could do it very simple thing. they could rename the shavinski division. >> okay, please. part of the suggestion, do we have anything else that would support this particular possible portion of the politicization and russia? >> the short answer would be no,
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none at all. we will take thousands and thousands of people in streets of moscow to change your. i don't believe for a minute they are going to do it themselves. >> next question. >> sorry, just to continue because i think it's important. that is why i don't think we need to spend any time or waste any time discussing the first option and what is most important is the second option and what is going to happen if, not if, but since we know that this option has been taken. >> i think virginia offered one option to pass the rule of law and accountability act that looks at human rights violations and specifically violations of democratic procedures and elections because if we are going to go to something post
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jackson-vanneg there is a widespread sense and the congress that we need tools to address these issues that are staring at us today in moscow in the media and industries. there are several more questions. the gentleman all the way in the back there with the glasses. please introduce yourself. >> hello, my name is philip. i have a comment for ms. lantos swett. i just wanted to note that my humble opinion economic sanctions are less judged on their efficacy than they are on their political convenience. for example partisan cart and -- carter did everything to get rid of economic sanctions against cuba but at the same time imposed economic sanctions against chile, rhodesia and south africa. regarding the south african case i just wanted to note that in
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certain circles nelson mandela's regarded as a model statesmen. is important to remember that he and his african national congress were financed by fidel castro and gadhafi in nelson mandela considered gadhafi and castro both tyrants to be as good friends and comrades in arms. thank you. >> well, think you are right that economic sanctions are at the end of the day a political statement. sometimes they work in terms of squeezing the economic situation in a given target country and other times they are like a sieve and not terribly effective but they are a way for a government to make a political statement about their view of the nature of the regime and i do think that if, as vladimir has said in the gentleman in the back had indicated, that the odds are that the response of putin and those around him in the kremlin will be towards greater repression, then it
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frankly raises the stakes for the united states to figure out what our policy is vis-à-vis russia going forward. we have had their reset policy. we have had a range of things he wanted to sort of move forward on with russia but when the underlying political reality or the underlying structure as it relates to democracy and elections and human rights and rule of law and corruption becomes so blatantly antithetical to what we stand for, you have to revisit and rethink a policy. policies are not in set in place and left to run on automatic. we live in a dynamic world and so i think that this will be a challenge. i think it's one of franqui with a presidential election looming, you know this administration is not going to be eager to move front and center because there are other areas where they would rather focus their attention and they think it is a test of those of us concerned about russia,
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not to let this slip off the agenda but i agree with your basic point that sanctions are a political tool as much as an economic tool. >> a quick clarification, no one is talking about legal sanctions against russia. the opposition stance is abolished jackson-vanneck repealed because it is unfair to punish an entire country for the actions of a few. it's not the country spoke so the idea is to replace jackson-vanneck with targeted personal sanctions against the violators, not against the country. an important distinction. >> the gentleman in the yellow tie there. >> my name is robert and i'm counsel to the u.s. russia foundation. or economic development and the rule of law. you may have not heard of it. it was founded from the free flows of the sales of investments for private equity firm established in part with
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the u.s. government a few years ago. in light of yesterday's developments and today's, more of a request than a question. would you look at our web site, you and -- usr fdot are you? but that we are doing, ariel in the three panelists. we are having another board meeting in a couple of weeks. look at our web site and think about what we could be doing. we have a substantial endowment. we sold our companies and russia have a profit. we have got a pretty hefty endowment. we have to take more of the sales from the investments to even more evan endowment. we typically have been focusing on issues in the rule of law field. for example we were helpful in getting these users shall systems to start putting cases on the wheel rather than having somebody assigned them arbitrarily to his buddy on the bench. one of our law firms in moscow for many years was sir j.'s law
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firm and those folks. we worked with him closely to take a look at our web site. see what we have been doing. let us know what you think we could be doing if you can get things to ariel. he and i could communicate and he will get them to me and i will take them to the board of directors when we meet in a couple of weeks and maybe you will come up with some ideas that we can put into action. >> thank you, robert. appreciate it. i will take three last questions because we are over time and i will take them all three at once and then if you can keep track of the question, we are going to answer all of them. the gentleman and the red tide. >> i interpreted the election results correct, both the communist party and the nationalist far right party may gain at the expense of the
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united russia party, so wouldn't that indicate that the people actually would want even more government interference in the economy and more nationalism fanned united russia was willing to offer? >> if you can keep the questions -- okay. we are going to take two more. georgia television. >> my name is david with the georgia television station. i wonder if he could give us more details about the -- that took place in moscow. do you have the exact number of how many people were arrested in moscow? thank you. >> okay, and we have a place for one more question. no question? that's good. okay, to questions. one, what do the russian voters really want and the second one
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is how many people were arrested and what's going on? why don't you start in the collies can -- >> the short answer is no and it does not mean people want more interference and more nationalism status. is david indicated the only choices russian voters on the ballot where those approved by the putin regime. nine parties were not allowed on the party for instance the popular freedom party which stands for freedom for democracy, for integration with your. we don't know how many votes we would have gotten would have gotten because it wasn't there. people could not vote for it. his movement was called anything but united russia so they were calling on people to choose any, essentially the people were saying just to flip a coin or something. it wasn't a conscious choice. it wasn't a vote for the communist regime. it was a vote against vladimir
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putin and as david said the only way people could make the vote because there were no genuine opposition voices there. the only one was -- and i also mentioned basically it was stolen. from the exit polls. >> they did not make the 7%. >> no, they made the five though and that would have been important. what was mentioned about not just the exit polls but the actual results from the polling places which had independent observers. one and five voted for the democracy party on the ballot, significant result. and to david's question the figure we know is 300 arrested yesterday, 200 arrested today and that's 500. at the rally yesterday there were 10,000 so 300 arrested. today five people were arrested and before they could get to the square. he was arrested as he was getting out of his car to go to the square.
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he did make it to the protest. that is what they do. >> to protect his safety. >> i am sure, absolutely. so, these are the figures and we also know they are taking everybody, resting journals. they don't care if you show them press credentials. they are resting parliamentary candidates. he spent three hours and the police station. he is still a registered parliamentary candidate because the official election is being tabulated this saturday, the tenth so until the official results are announced all these people on the list are still candidates and cannot be touched by law. they are being oppressed and thrown into jail so this is a complete havoc and chaos and total disregard for any kind, anything in approaching law. >> and okay, so you covered it. anything to add?
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>> well i agree with everything vladimir has said and this wasn't anybody but putin votes in many ways and in fact if you read some of again the man and woman in the street reports they were saying that i never thought i'd cast a vote or the communist but i had no other option so i did it to register my opposition to putin that i do think your question raises an important thing we have to think about which really does sort of relate to this brilliant book that david has just written and i would encourage everybody to read it. i am in the midst of it myself and it's a dark book in many ways but a very important one. and that is that russia has never confronted or come to terms with the magnitude of the horror that was inflicted during the height of the darkest days of communism under stalin and david can explain it so much better than i can but that
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process of confronting the tragedy and the evil in their history is really very essential to being able to build a future vibrant society and democracy that is grounded in this notion of the fundamental nature of individual rights and that has not happened yet in russia. so in that sense i dink there are not only challenges going forward but there remain challenges. there remained the great great challenge of not papering over what happened in the past because it is very hard when you fail to confront those sorts of dark demons from the past to build something strong for the future. >> well, russia was called during the soviet times a country with an unpredictable past but more specifically for these elections, not just the fundamentals. you know my kids went to school
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and they studied from the early age about the constitution and the founding fathers so this is uncultivated very early on. inrush it doesn't happen. they learn many important things. they learn about how the russians thought napoleon in world war ii, but the rule of law is not what is inculcated in school. specifically to the elections, we would not even know what the real results are if we had the real results, because people didn't have adequate access to television. television in russia is still the number one medium of political communication. and i think what we are seeing now with this vote is also the rise of social networks. i am a skeptic of social networks. i always say social networks are a technical thing. you have in the russian log as
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they are nationalism, fascism, communism whatnot but the bottom line was there was a bypass to television that especially the younger people, people who are more educated in large cities, have access to social networks and they run around television. what you see now is a reaction. people in the government are saying, we need censorship on the net. and you see it again and again. this chaos, this anarchy should not be allowed. i was in their rector of the university. we were on the same panel speaking on the same subject of social networks and he just hammered at that you need people, you need to mobilize people, to be sensors on social networks. you have to have power to take -- off the internet, very
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anti-liberal message coming from moscow and they would roll their eyes and say this is old-style russian propaganda and we are not taking it seriously. this is what the reaction today is. there was something they couldn't control and they don't like it. >> okay. i will conclude i guess our discussion. i just have one or two observations. one is that they vote for the communist the democratic party which is misnamed by shavinski, these are often protest votes and they don't necessarily mean that the people are pro-communist or pro-fascist. right now it is a protest against the massive corruption that people see around them and with limited ability to express themselves.
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but, there is a real danger given the traditions of russia that if the situation starts to unravel, that forces may emerge that are extremely dangerous to the world and to russia itself, and that is why i think when the discussion comes to what should the west do, that we often make a mistake if we think exclusively in policy terms. i think it is of course issa port the act and i think such measures are important and they can play a role, but the most important influence that the west can wield on the situation in russia is moral influence and it's for that reason that i think, and the clear and the nation of values, something that is very difficult for us oftentimes because we are confused about ultimate values ourselves including the value of the individual in a situation like the one that existed in russia where everyone is
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hell-bent on transforming the economy from communist to capitalist. and under the circumstances, it's very very destructive and self-destructive to have a policy like reset in which we confuse ourselves and confuse the russians about what the real issues are. if we establish a commission on civil society between a friend mike mcfaul and -- is a kremlin propaganda is the thrust of whose work is to show there is no role for civil society. and so justice during that communist period, it's important to use such moral authority as the west does have to make it very clear that it is a society that is based on law that should set the conditions for the society that is lawless and not
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the society that is lawless that should define their frame of reference for the society that nonetheless is based on law. if we keep that in mind, think we can have in addition to necessary but limited measures that we can take like the act, we can have a positive influence on the future of russia which is a terribly important issue for all of us. >> thank you very much. you were a traffic audience and we spilled over somewhat but it was well worth it i think. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> you the. >> you the year is on debt crisis in this european summit dominate the debate in the british house of commons today. prime minister david cameron answered several questions from members on safeguarding britain's financial interest in talks with e.u. leaders in brussels. the u.k. is not part of the 17 member eurozone but is a member of the european union which represents 27 countries. >> order. questions to the prime minister and to rosendale mr. speaker. >> thank you mr. speaker.
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this meeting i had meetings with colleagues and others and in addition i shall have meetings later today. >> mr. speaker the british people want to do two things from this week's european summit. firstly a resolute and uncompromising defense of britain's national interest and secondly an end to the disastrous euro crisis, currency the party opposite still wants to join. will the prime minister to britain proud on friday and show some spirit in brussels? >> i can guarantee to my honorable friend that is exactly what i will do. the british national interest absolutely means that we need to help resolve this crisis in the eurozone. it is freezing the british economy just as it is freezing economies across europe. resulting in this crisis is about jobs and growth in
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business and investment right here in the u.k.. at the same time we must seek safeguards for britain. that is the right thing to do and that can absolutely -- there's no prospect of joining the euro something they right honorable gentleman opposite takes a different view about. ..
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if they choose to do that through the treaty at 27 that we are involved in what insist on the safeguards for britain, and guess that means making sure we are stronger and better able to do things in the u.k. to prevent, to protect our own national interest. now let me explain the more that country is in the year autozone, the more we would ask for in return but we will judge that on the basis that what matters most to britain. >> the more he talks, mr. speaker, the more confusing. let me remind him on the eve of the biggest postwar rebellion against the prime minister and europe he was telling his backbenchers that the opportunity of a treaty change would mean the future the repatriation of power.
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that was just weeks ago. today not one mention of the phrase repatriation of power. boyd is the prime minister think it is a national interest to tell the backbenchers one thing for a rebellion on europe until >> ieuropean partners on other? >> i don't result a single word i said in the debate. yes, what we want to do do sp specifically and particularly in the area of financial services where this country is a massive national interest remind him iti is 10% oft gdp. it is 3% of the trade surface,ua it is 7% of u.k. employment.u i want to make sure we have more power and control control here e u.k. to determine these things. that is in complete contrast to the party opposite that gave away power after power. [cheers and applause] >> they gave up our power and
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they made a chilling the bailout fund. we've had to get out of the bailout fund. they gave up a rebate and get nothing in return. we managed to freeze the european budget. you have one party, one government that defends britain's interests and another that always surrenders it. >> ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, i think the short answer is -- >> order. i say to the usual, predictable noisy tendency when i said to the other side a moment ago, people must be heard. that's what will happen, however long it takes. ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, i think the short answer is that six weeks ago he was promising us backbenchers and begging for europe. now he has just reduced to hand-wringing. that is the reality from this prime minister. and the problem for britain, and the problem for britain is that the most important european summit for generation, the matters you truly for families
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and businesses up and down the country, the prime minister is simply left on the sideline. that is the truth only the prime minister caught between his promises in opposition and the reality of government. that is why britain is losing out in euro. >> i'm afraid even the best scripted joke on handbag isn't going to save his leadership. [laughter] [shouting] >> he talks about being isolated. let me just explain to him where we would be if we adopted labors policy. if we adopted your spending and your deficit policies, and if we're in the euro, what we would find it is i wouldn't be going to brussels to fight for britain, i would be going to brussels to get a bailout. [shouting] under the proposal, under the proposal being put forward, labor would put britain in such a bad position that the tax
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changes would be written by the shadow chancellor. they would be written by the german chancellor. [shouting] >> mr. andrew tyrie. there's a wide view on europe's -- one can sense that since the response, will the prime is to take the straightforward message we tested european council to vote one thing, most likely choose in the house of commons would be the perception of a calculated assault from brussels? not even in their interest on the well being of u.k. financial services industry, and on the 1.3 million people in all our constituencies who work in the? >> the honorable gentleman is entirely right. of course, we want to see a greater rebalancing of our economy and we want to see more jobs in manufacturing in aerospace and technology but the economy that we inherited is
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very dependent on financial services. i do think we should at least celebrate the fact it is a world-class industry, a world-class industry not just for britain but actually for europe. it's vital we safeguarded. we do see it on the continued regulatory attack from brussels, and i think there is an opportunity, particularly if there's a treaty at 27 to ensure some safeguards, not just for that industry but to give us greater power and control in terms of regulation here in this house of commons. and i think that is in interest of the entire country and something i will be fighting for on friday. >> does the prime minister agree that the recent escalation of industrial action in the public sector which incidentally in my part of the world was not, is a result of genuine anger -- [inaudible] and unfair action which is making people on low and middle
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incomes pay for the aransas the stakes of the top? >> i'm afraid i think the honorable lady is just plain wrong, because the lowest paid workers are not being asked to contribute more to their pension. and in terms of fairness, in terms of fairness let me just make this point. under what we are offering, a primary school teacher earning 32000 pounds a year could receive a pension worth 20,000 pounds a year. now, a private sector worker, remember the people are putting their money into these pensions, a private sector worker would have to pay dirty 8% of their salary. almost half of their salary to get an equivalent pension. now, of course, there's an issue of fairness. we must lay fair by public sector workers but we also must be fair to the private sector who are putting their money into these pensions. >> steve baker. >> does my right honorable friend agree with me that it's time for this country to lead europe into the hope and potential of a new
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post-bureaucratic age? >> well, i do think there are opportunities for britain in europe. i think we should start from the premise that it is in britain's interest to be in the single market. we are a trading nation. we need those markets open. we need to be able to determine the rules of those markets. but as your changes yes, of course there are opportunities but the first priority of the end of this week must be to make sure that the eurozone crisis that is having such a bad effect on our economy is resolve. but at the same time we should be very clear about the british national interest, safeguarding the single market, financial services, looking after the interest of u.k. plc. >> can the prime minister tell us if you were having usual christmas bash with rebekah brooks and jeremy carson? [shouting] and if so, if so, will they be talking about just how out of touch they are with british public opinion?
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>> i seem to remember the annual sleepover was with the former labour prime minister. [shouting] and you know, i will be having a quiet family christmas. >> mark pritchard. [inaudible] is it not the case that bailout after bailout of the eurozone would not save europe or in the eurozone, making europe more competitive, reducing its hygienic costs and cutting regulation and red tape from business? >> i think the honorable gentleman is entirely right. i can quite understand why leading members of the eurozone like for instance, the germans want to see tougher fiscal rules about budget deficits for eurozone members. but i think it's absolutely right to point out that the heart of the crisis is actually
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caused by current account deficits in some countries and large current account services and other state in less resolve the competitiveness problem at the heart of the euro crisis this crisis will keep recurring. so our argument has been throughout yes, you need tough rules on budget deficits, yes, you need to have the institutions of the euro including the european central bank acting in concert and acting strongly, but you've got resolve the competitiveness problem at the heart of the single currency in order to deal with this crisis and i will continue to make those points on thursday and friday. >> can the prime minister confirm that next year according to the institute of fiscal studies as a result of his economic policy, the poorest third of families will lose three times as much as the richest third? >> no, his figures are wrong. if you take, if you take all the things that the government has done, which is the right way to measure this what you find is that the top 10% see losses that
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is 10 times greater than the bottom 10%. and i believe that is there. and i believe a point that hasn't been properly understood that is important is if you take the richest 10% in our country, they not only see the biggest reduction in their income in cash terms, they also see the biggest reduction of their income proportionately. so we are being fair pick it is incredibly difficult to do with the debts and the deficit that the honorable gentleman whose party left behind was determined to do in a way that is fair. >> ed miliband. >> tragic is that the wrong again. the figures are there. the figures are there. the figures are there and the poorest third are losing far more than the richest third. and, of course, he used to say i'm not going to balance the budget on the backs of the québec is not balancing the budget, though, he's right, he's not balancing the budget mr. speaker. 158 billion pounds more borrowing. [shouting] but he is -- mr. speaker, but
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there is one group to give him credit, that he is making come he is easing the pain for. and i don't think mr. speaker, it has gotten the publicity he deserve. he is the delaying a year the tax on a private jet, mr. speaker, at the same time at picking on the poorest families in this country. now, can he confirm, can you confirm that a working mother earning 300 pounds a week it seemed v.a.t. go up, or tax credit cut, to child benefit frozen and their maternity cut? >> he had 13 years to tax private jet. [shouting] and a former labour leaders are jetting around in them. [laughter] we will attack them into years. he quotes the institute for fiscal studies but let me remind you what the institute for fiscal studies said about labour's plans specifically. labors policy would lead to, ethical, even higher debt level over this parliament.
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i know, mr. speaker, they don't like to hear it went their own policies are taken apart. [shouting] >> calm down. they don't like to hear. [shouting] spent what i simply said it would is i want to get down the order paper. let's hear it. >> let me just explain what the eye of asset to his plans higher debt than those will, in fact, see. that is the truth of the. if you want the steamers were getting the economy by the interest rate you have to stick to the plans we have set out. they are is not a party in europe apart from moldova and communists to back his party's plan. >> ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, he doesn't understand that he is cutting too far too fast and that's why we have problems in our economy. he doesn't want to tell us what the iss says about his plan. he's the prime minister after all, mr. speaker.
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the new tax and benefit measures, the new tax and benefit measures are on average a take away for lower income families with children. the figures speak for themselves. his changes are hitting women twice as hard as men. isn't the truth that he's the first prime minister in modern times to take from women and children first? >> i have to say his soundbites get weaker and weaker as his leadership gets weaker and weaker. that is the truth of it. if you look at what we have done, lifting 1.1 million people out of tax, that is mostly women that benefited if you look at the increase in attention, five pounds starting next april that will benefit mostly women. if you take the issue public sector pension where we're helping the lowest paid in the public sector that will help women. yes, we are giving the economy a stimulus by keeping our interest rates low. we have interest rates at 2%
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while they are at 5% in italy, 5% in spain, 30% increase to if we followed his advice we would have interest rates rocketing, businesses going fast, more people out of work. that is what labour offer and that is what they will never be trusted with our economy again. [shouting] >> can i tell the prime minister that the small indian enterprises in my constituency are still having great difficulty accessing reasonable finance. a major contributor to that is lack of competition. will the government consider breaking up the nationalized bank in order to be able to create more competition on the high street? >> well, i do think would've opportunities to increase the competition on the high street and as we look to return to state banks back into the private sector will have further opportunities. we've managed to take one important step forward which is of course is to get northern rock back out their lending to businesses and households
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properly established in the northeast of england. >> close question, jeremy corb corbyn. >> not here. mr. john berry and. mr. speaker, our history at repatriating powers back from the e.u. is not a happy one. may i therefore suggest a fundamental renegotiation of our relationship with the e.u. a stone free trade, growth and competitiveness which other countries enjoy, and not political union and deadweight regulation. does the e.u. summit, a defining moment. will the prime minister seize the moment and? >> i'm a little bit more optimistic than the honorable gentleman. actually the bailout power that the last government giveaway we are returning to the united kingdom via the treaty. so we have returned to power and recently we've just one
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exemption from all e.u. legislation to make sure from january 2012 microenterprise will not that any new e.u. regulation at all. but in answer to the question are going to go in there and fight for british interest on first and fight, yes, we will pick but let's be clear, there's the option of a tree at 27 where we have the ability to say yes or no, and as a result get a price for that. but there's always the possibility of the euro zone members at 17 will go ahead and form a treaty of their own. again, we have some leverage in that situation because they need to use of e.u. institutions. but we should recognize the exact the what our leverage is an make the most of it. >> thank you, mr. speaker. last year the prime minister's -- [inaudible] and he is either on all these issues and the justice secretary has said this agenda is not
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realistic anyway. does the prime minister regretted leading his party up the golden path and -- [shouting] >> between the genius manifests a potentially vetoing a treaty that may be essential to avoid huge damage to the u.k.? [shouting] >> what i regret is that the party opposite gave away so many powers. it's going to take a while to get some of them back. further, when he was in government, there were repeated increases in the e.u. budget. this year we have achieved an e.u. budget freeze. when he was in budget he giveaway the bailout power and we had billions of pounds in other country. we got that power back and at least with strong negotiation standing up for britain would help clear up the mess that labour left us. >> thank you, mr. speaker. over the last second and a half -- we allow our young people to leave school without the proper
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skills to make decisions that next week the group on financial education of schools will report on where we -- with the prime minister meet with a small group -- [inaudible] >> i'm very happy to meet with my honorable friend who does a great deal about is having himself been a supply teacher for many years in the constituency he now represents. [laughter] excuse they. i'm happy -- financial education is important our young people and i look forward to seeing his all party report. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister once said he wants to lead the most family-friendly government ever. isn't it a disgrace that nearly 19 billion pounds -- over 13 billion have fallen on women? >> well, it was this government that introduced 15 hours of free
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nursery care for three-year-olds in four-year-olds, something that the labour party never managed to do in government. and in spite of the appalling mess that we were left, we put in an extra 380 million pounds to double the number of disadvantaged to-year-olds whose parents will get free nursery care. that israel progress, real help for families, something they never delivered. >> thank you, mr. speaker. what with the prime minister say to a council like cleveland who are considering -- [shouting] who are considering rejecting government funding for a council tax freeze next year and instead charging by hard braxton constituents 3.5% abortive? >> i've very much open to all council to take up the offer of a council tax freeze because in this you of all your for people to face economic hardship is important we help where we can. that's what we've got the petrol
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tax. that's what we've allowed the council tax free to go ahead and so my place to be based institute would be to support parties that back a council tax freeze. >> thank you, mr. speaker. since the education act of 1944 successive governments have supported subsidizes travels for students who live 30 miles or more from the school the choice. some local authorities are beginning to cut back on that support. i don't think any number in his house wants to see that happen. and the prime minister encourage local authorities to brace the spirit of the 1944 education act on this particular issue and? >> i think the honorable gentleman asked a very important question. i support school choice, parents having the ability to choose between schools and i also support fuels. i will look very close at what he says and what local
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authorities are doing to discuss with education secretary and see what we can do to enhance choice but also the faith-based education that many of our constituents choose. >> andrew turner. >> does the prime minister agree with me that in exchange for us supporting the euro countries indeed with the crisis, we should be seeking changes in the laws of immigration, employment and fishing rights in order to support our economy and? >> what i would say to the honorable gentleman is, as i said, if they choose a treaty at 27, that treaty requires our consent. and so we should, therefore, think of what i think most our national interest, and i talked about keeping the single market open, i talk about the importance of financial services. but clearly the more that euro zone countries want to do any treaty of 27, the more changes they want to make, the greater ability we have to ask for sensible things that make sense
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for britain. i'm very keen we exercise the leverage that we have to do a very good deal for britain and that's exactly what i will will be doing in brussels this thursday and friday. >> thank you the prime minister promised i'll cut the deficit, not the nhs. why is this government closing the emergency much research as i king george hospital, cutting frontline, shouldn't he have said i'll cut the nhs, not the deficit? >> the honorable gentleman is just one because the deficit is coming down. the nhs spending is going up to out as part of it and i know that his own health spokesman said it is irresponsible to increase spending on nhs. we didn't think it was a responsible. we think it is the right thing to do. as he knows the health secretary has set up the crotch area for all local changes, including in his constituency.
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it has to be proper public engagement. there has to be some clinical evidence. there has to be support from commissioners and has the proper support for patient choice. >> the prime minister has taken a strong interest in the incredible work of the oxford parent infant project in helping families who are struggling to form a strong attachment with their babies. two months ago i started a new charity in my constituency. and with the premise is interest in strengthening families, would he commit to look again at the incredible work that can be done in earlier intervention the state a fortune in the criminal and care services later on? >> i think the honorable lady is entirely right, and i know about the project she speaks about and i'm delighted she is now expanding it into her own constituency. all the evidence shows that the more we can do to help children and their parents between the age of north and two, when so much as they can set and they have such a bad impact went on
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in life that's what i think her work and deed the work of members across this house in prioritizing earlier intervention is so important for our country. >> the prime minister was asked by his constituents philip baldi cut vat on home repairs and improvements, he owns his own construction company. cutting v.a.t. and home improvement -- [inaudible] including the federation of small businesses. with the support that cut in vat which would help jobs growth and business? >> the problem the honorable gentleman has is a have a huge long list of actually spending an extra tax cuts that they want but as we've heard to date at question time again, they oppose every single spending reduction that we are making big impose everything a fundamental reform to get better value for money. so you can only conclude that the spending would go up, the borrowing would rocket, that
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interest rates would increase at the economy would be left in very, very dire straits. >> doctor julian lewis spent why is my right honorable friend supporting a policy of fiscal unification for the euro zone state which if it happens will undoubtedly lead to the creation of a dangerously undemocratic single government for those countries? >> the point i make to my honorable friend is this. i don't want britain to join the euro. i think britain is better off outside the euro. those countries that have chosen to join digital have got to make that system work. in order to do that they don't just need stronger fiscal rules, which i think is clear. they need of greater competitiveness. it is for them to decide how to go ahead and do those things. what we should do is maintain britain's position outside the euro and make sure we safeguard our interests at the same time. that's exactly what i've been doing in brussels.
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>> thank you, mr. speaker. 10,000 service personnel will have heard of the real terms cut in pay while serving on the front line in afghanistan. what does the prime mr. think that disgraceful cut is going to do for morale for those are risking their lives for us? >> what we have done is double the operational allows the people in afghanistan receive, and they are frankly extremely brave people, and we should be doing right by them and that's what we've doubled that allowed to we've also increased the council tax disregard. we made sure that the pupil premium is not just of able to children on pre-school meals but is available to all service children. we have put the military cabinet into the law of our land that will go on defending promoting and protecting our armed services personnel and their family. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the application spans three local authorities, each of whom independently --
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[inaudible] subsequently a distant unelected planning inspector overruled them and even move forward his decision by three months so it could be made the day before the local bill got rural%. can he simply look into what appears to be a played slap in the face for localism? >> my honorable friend does make an important point and he knows as a result of the changes we're making, it will not be possible in future to overrule such decisions so as to the original target because we've now got rid of those regional targets. we're getting much more authority and many more decision-making powers to those local bodies. our planning reforms will a sure that local people and their councils decide what it is that people need and how we meet that need. >> mr. speaker, is the prime minister worried that the scandal of -- has just gotten a lot worse given the previous broken guarantees to the public? prime minister is now rejecting
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a vote on this latest european changes. he must solve the issue to the public at large. will the prime minister give a guarantee to this house that there will be opportunity for the british people to deliver its verdict on the changes that are happening in your? >> what this government has given is something that no previous government has done in this country, which is we passed a law that means that if ever this government or any future government or any future house of commons fight to pass parse from westminster to brussels it has to ask the british people in a referendum first. that would've meant they would have had to been a referendum on lisbon or on amsterdam or on those other treaties. so the fact that people, feel also betrayed under the last government. that cannot happen again. [inaudible]


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