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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  January 10, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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>> military detainees first held at gautham guantanamo bay ten
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years ago. speaker at the event including jim moran of virginia and former chief prosecutor of the u.s. military commissions at guantanamo bay. this is an hour and a half. >> thank you for coming. i'm peter bergen. i run the national securities program here. we're really delighted -- "delighted" probably not the right verb, but happy to have this distinguished panel to discuss we called the panel guantanamo forever? because that's the main question at hand whether or not guantanamo will close and how might that happen? to begin, we'll have congressman moran who is serving his 11th term as u.s. representative from virginia's 8th district, a member of the senior
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appropriations committee, a key critic of divisions in the national defense authorization act and a great act of political courage, congressman from virginia voted against the authorization of the act because of the provisions related to the military detention of terrorism suspects. we also have from the united kingdom, andy worthington as he's probably done more work to basically explain who exactly is in guantanamo more than any other journalist than i'm aware of, and then we also have colonel morris davis, chief prosecutor in the military commissions. he's now retired from that position, retired active duty in october of 2008. he teaches now law at howard, and finally, we have thomas wilner, head of sterling's global relations practice.
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he's represented guantanamo detainees and key cases before the supreme court like boumediene v. bush. we will wrap this up at 1:45. thank you. >> thank you very much, pete e and we thank -- peter, and we thank you for being here, and we have a terrific panel. i don't want to take too long, but there is so much to be said. let me stipulate my position first. guantanamo should be closed. as a detention facility. the supreme court has ruled that noncitizens have the right to habeas corpus which is being denied to them currently, and so
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you can make a strong case that the existence of guantanamo is unconstitutional. i feel quite strongly that it is underminding our national security, and that it is a -- it's an ongoing compromise of our foreign policy and the idea that define the united states of america, and as long as guantanamo continues to exist, it underminds our credibility throughout the world, and i think most people would agree
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it's america's idealism that it's its strongest asset in dealing with the rest of the world and primarily contributed to its economic, military, and political success in doing so, so guantanamo is 5 real problem from a foreign policy from a national security and from a legal stand point. in fact, our current president ran on a position that he would close it, and so from that, you would have to believe that given the facts of the majority of the american people that would agree with the president's position. it is open, and as a result of legislation that was just passed
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by the house and senate and signed by the president, i'm afraid that it will stay open indefinitely without a very substantial push back from the american people which means that it is a subject that should be addressed in this presidential election year, and obviously every member of the house is up and approximately a third of the united states senate, so it should be addressed. it's an important issue. now, when it began, there were 20 captives back in january of 2002. that's why this conference is being held today. it's the tenth year anniversary of the opening of guantanamo.
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there have been about 800 people held at and we'll call it gitmo, it's a little bit easier to remember, but there's been 800 people held, about 772 were originally brought there more recently, people taken out of what are called black prisons in other parts of the world where who were the worst of the worst, and some reason to believe that to be the case personified, and they have been put there at guantanamo as well, but they are not typical of the people held at guantanamo. they should, as far as i'm
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concerned, be dealt with in the legal system, but the data that we have and we would challenge people to repute it that that additionally when 772 people were brought there in the early years, only 5% were captured by the united states forces. 86% were arrested either by pakistan or by the northern alliance and then turned over to u.s. custody. this was at a time when the united states offered large bounties for the capture of suspected enemies. it's very little screening when these people were turned over. now, we know a lot of the actions that the pakistan
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military have taken have not been consistent with america's policy or its national security, and yet, these are the people that we accepted these prisoners from, and we accepted their word that they were terrorists. the majority of the detainees have not been determined to have committed any hostile agents -- acts against the united states or its coalition allies, more than half. only 80% of the detainees were characterized as al-qaeda fighters, 30 pakistan captured -- 30% captured because they were "potential hostile organizations," almost two third, 60% were associated with such an organization.
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associated with is a very broad term as you can imagine. we have some of the top people in the government and certainly in the washington establishment working with mek for example which has been labeled a terrorist organization. i only throw that out because these identifications are just so lose. they were insufficient justification to detain people for an entire decade in some cases. now, the majority of the 175 that are still there have been cleared for release. the actual numbers are 17136
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subject to after criminal prosecution, 48 are considered to be such that they should remain in preventative detention without criminal trial, and the remaining detainees may be transferredded either immediately or -- transferred either immediately to a foreign country. now, this is a result of the conclusions of the guantanamo task force. this is what its final report said just about a year ago now. now, it should also be said that civilian courts are prosecuted successfully more than 400 terrorists, and yet going to read you legislation which was just passed by the congress of the united states and signed
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into law with a caveat by the president. i want to make one more point before i go to that legislation. not only is this the least justifiable society by the united states for national security purposes, but it is by far the most expensive prison on the planet. there's 1850 u.s. civilians that maintain a compound that contains 171 captives. you can do the math. that's over $800,000 a year per detainee, and of the 171, only six public tribunals that may
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start a year from now after pretrial hearing and discovery, so here we are with all of this concern about all this wreckless or concern of spending, and some of the very people who raised the greatest concern are maintaining a facility where the majority of people have been cleared from release, but nevertheless held under what the supreme court suggests is unconstitutional detention without the right of habeas corpus, and i know thomas wilner will address that in a few moments, and yet, the new numbers this year would bring it closer to a million dollars per year per detainee. how can you justify it?
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now, let me tell you the legislation that is most relevant and is cause for the greatest discouragement. the national defense authorization act, which i say was just signed, for the first time in the united states' history, explicitly allows the president to indefinitely detain without charge any suspected terrorist who is captured even within the united states. this can include u.s. citizens and u.s. persons. with regard to u.s. citizens, the provision that was signed into law does not expressly exclude their detention without charge or trial. that's section 1021 of the national defense authorization
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act of 2011. the current authority of the president which is what people say would not be affected unfortunately is very unclear. now those who argued on the floor of the house and the senate that liberties are protected in the united states, i don't think fully consider the implications and many of you are taking notes, so i'll be sesk, of subsection e of 10211 because it says that the law should not be construed to affect existing law or authority relating to united states citizens, but the reality is that current law on the scope of the president's authority to indefinitely detain is unsettling. it's not clear. when you say it doesn't affect
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it, or it doesn't affect law that has not been clarified, and, in fact, the u.s. government and the pedia case as well as the almari case, as recent as 2009, claimed that the president had the authority to detain a suspected terrorist captured within the united states indefinitely without charge or trial. the claim of the executive detention authority of those captured within the united states has not been tested, and the state of the law present is unclear. that's very important to say because people need to understand that not only is guantanamo a foreign policy embarrassment, but it has profoundly undermind the constitutional protections of all united states citizens. now, the subsection, section
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1022 would force the military without a trial with anyone sorted with al-qaeda forces or anyone suspected of planning or attempting a terrorist attack. the keyword is "suspected." that language does not exclude the united states' citizens. fbi director muller says he fears this is going to severely compromise the ability of the fbi and our civil authorities from being able to conduct their speedometers. now, this may seem somewhat legalistic, but the legalism we're talking about is a basic constitutional protection. so in the interest maintaining
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guantanamo, justifying political positions that members of congress and the senate have taken that we will not allow terrorists from guantanamo into the united states. we have seriously eroded something that is intrinsic to the constitution of the united states. now, let me just wrap this up with this. that is the politics of this country. the reason why we have this situation is not the fault of the president of the united states. i can tell you from firsthand knowledge and experience.
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the problem is the congress of the united states and the fact they operated within an echo chamber of conservative media that has hammered away at what is really not a clear and true statement that the people at guantanamo are not the worst. many of them should not be been picked up, most of them should not have been detained. the vast majority of them are not immediate threats to the security of the united states just look at the numbers of 800 with nearly 600 already released, but we held them in detention without giving them the ability to defend themselves or even to know what they were
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accused of. in the early years, many were abused, but i would suggest that being held under force without being able to contact your family or to defend yourself is abusive. now, the majority of the congress today is not prepared to close guantanamo. they are prepared to provide whatever money's necessary to keep it open. the majority are not prepared to allow the detainees at guantanamo even the worst of the worst, ie, khalid sheikh mohammed, they are not trying
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them in the civil justice system. the problem is while 400 terrorists have been prosecuted in our civil justice system, only six have been successfully prosecuted by the military system of justice because of the lack of evidence. i think this guantanamo's going to remain open for an indefinite period of time until the majority of the american people say no. we now understand what's going on. we now understand the majority are eligible for release. we understand that despite the language that says that basically prohits them being transferred to other countries, we understand they should be transferred to their country of origin. we understand that the rule of law in the united states should apply to guantanamo as well. thank you for being here. thank you for your interest in
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this very important issue, and, peter, do you want to introduce the next speaker? [applause] hello, everybody, and thank you very much, congressman moran. you said so much there that i'm not sure what's left for me there. that was excellent. i was going to talk briefly about the men still held approved by transfer by the task force and established by president obama, these 89 men, because i think those are the people that we all should agree need to be released, and we have to find a way to reach a point where that can happen, so these are men that the task force consistented of lawyers and from all departments and intelligence agencies who said we have no interest in holding these men forever, so they are still held. now, two-thirds of those men are
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from yemen, and the reason they are held is primarily because of the hysteria that is with a man who tried to blow up a plane bound for detroit in 2009. actually, the mandatory military detention provisions into the authorization agent came from the same hysteria that arose, and if you recall that period, this is a man who was running around the rates, interrogated, and was successfully prosecuted and convicted. he spoke, he spoke openly without torture being used, but there were people in high positions in the united states who wanted him to be sent to guantanamo and to be water boarded. the same cheerleaders for torture in guantanamo who are still amongst us and still spreading this violent and un-american and unconstitutional message. what happened as a result of the capture of this man and this
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hysteria was that the people demanded that prisoners were not to be released to yes , yemen, and actually the president bowed to that criticism, and congress has always later imposed restrictions on the rights to release prisoners, so the yes , -- yemenese are stuck. the u.s. government doesn't want to hold because of some other unrelated incident involving a man who is nigerian, but recruited in yemen. that doesn't make sense. that is guilty of nationality, i think, and i think people find that extremely unfair and should fine that extremely unfair, and we have to find a way to be able to put pressure on the government and congress to say you need to stop this kind of restriction. the impositions made by congress on the release of prisoners, i think, ought to be shocking to americans. the lawmakers have got together
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with great exceptions, lawmakers have got together to preserve the provisions that have said that the defense secretary must certify to congress that if a prisoner is to be released, to a country, then he must be able to certify that prisoner will not be able to engage in acts against the united states. now, i feel that's actually impossible to do. that's not quite as bad as another twist added with lawmakers saying the defense secretary must not release a prisoner -- the government must not release a prisoner if there's a single alleged incident of recidivism of somebody having returned to the battlefield or taken up any actions against the united states from a whole country. we're back to the same issue guilt by nationality, and the same is happening within the entire country. the analogy i use for this is imagine let's take the states of colorado. let's say within the u.s.
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domestic prison system, somebody's released from prison to colorado and commits a crime, and the lawmakers of the country get together and say in future, no one must ever be released to the state of colorado because of the one criminal. that's the analogy. that's a real analogy. if that were to happen in the united states, people would understand that's deeply unfair. it's one of these things that happened with the way that hysteria is built up about guantanamo. i think those are the really -- those are the really big issues about how we start to work on the release of prisoners, and yemen is the big case. to be able to say to elected representatives this is going to stay open forever, this prison, unless some action is taken, and there may be short term political maneuverings that
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require people to not do anything about it in the short term. the short term becomes the long term. when history one day comes to look back on this period, when it's presented in the history books that the united states government and congress presided over a situation for years, years and years in which people of the government didn't want to hold remained held in the prison, were not released, that's not going to go down well. that is going to be a bad legacy, but i'm trying to work out how we can get to the point to say to position in responsibility to act and say when is it going to happen? next year, the year after, five years, ten years? the last people to leave guantanamo left in coffins. they died there last year. the last living prisoner was released a year ago. more will die and leave in coffins, and at the moment, no
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one is leaving through any other means. i'd like also to mention to people who may not know that the process of habeas habeas corpus that the congressman mentioned where the prisoner is secured habeas corpus rights from the supreme courts. it's something that's been undermind over the last year and a half by judges here in washington and the circuit court who have fought back against the decisions by the lower court to release prisoners because of a lack of evidence and reasons i can only describe as naked ideological reasons say the government doesn't need to present anything in the way of evidence, and that evidence should not be challenged that whoever the government says is somebody that should be held should continue to be held. what's happened in the last year and a half is that after successes for the prisoners and the last 11 habeas corpus lost, five ore success petitions were vacated or ruled against by the
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circuit court. it is not possible to get out of guantanamo through legal means. after all of those years of struggling, the judges of the dc circuit courts have eliminated habeas corpus as a remedy for prisoners in guantanamo, and i think that's something that should concern people as well. i don't want to carry on for too long because i wanted opportunity for my colleagues to speak as well, and i just want to mention in the hope of keeping the conversation alive throughout the election year about the need to close guantanamo, tom and i and other people have set up a website and a campaign called close guantanamo, www.close www.closeguantanamo.org. we encourage people to sign up to show the president and show lawmakers and show judges how much interest there is in bringing those terrible years to an een. there is a white house petition
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that we set up on we the people website to endirge the president -- encourage the president to respond to the people's request to close the prison. we hope you sign up and join us. we'll provide information throughout the year. we just want to make sure that we all live in a time where the news cycles move very quickly. just this week people are talking about guantanamo. next week, they may have forgotten. we need a campaign to keep this message going throughout the year telling important stories, bringing stories to the public from mainly we hope from the lawyers themselves who visit the prisoners in guantanamo to humanize the people because pretty much everything done to keep these people dehumanized as originally intended by the bush administration. these are the people who don't have family visits still. however much guantanamo is a more humane society than it was. these people unlike my other
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prisoner on the mainland do not have the rights for family visits. these are people who effectively are still the third exceptional category of human being that was dreamt up by the bush administration. they were not l held as soldiers with the protections, were not held as criminal suspects, but the bush administration called them illegal enemy combats. they are still a unique category of prisoner that doesn't have proper rights, and we really must work hard to bring it to an end because otherwise i'll be here next year, i'll be here in five and ten years, and the shame of this will only build over time. it's in the going to go away. thank you very much. [applause] >> well, thank you. we have to quit meeting this way. [laughter] i know looking at not just the pam, but the audience, i
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recognize faces here last year. hopefully we'll meet here one day as a foot note rather than an ongoing chapter in our nation's history. mitt romney on the campaign trail took to quoting passages from america the beautiful. i remember a passage from the star spangled banner that says land of the free and home of the brave, but over the past decade, we have become the constrained and cowardly. i joined the military because i believed in the land of the free and home of the brave, and i want my country back, the one that i signed up to serve. we had fee mongers playing to fear and portraying people as the worst of the worst and turning backs on the law and running from it for the past decade, and we are still here today on the 10th anniversary of guantanamo. last year when i was here, we
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went through the history of guantanamo and when columbus landed until the present. i won't bore you with it, but i was a chief prosecutor from 2005 to 2007, and i resigned when i was pressured to use evidence obtained by torture. i think people can argue whether enhanced interrogation techniques, what people call torture produced useful intelligence, but it certainly doesn't produce reliable evidence to be used in an american criminal proceedings, and when i was told that president bush said we don't torture, and i decided to resign. it was not popular in the republican circles when i did that, but i was hired to work for congress fortunately, and i was the most optimistic person when president obama got elected in 2009. in the military, you can't participate in political activity. i just retired from the military for the first time and i got to participate in the fall of
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2008. obama sign in my yard, donated money, went doo-to-door, and somebody came to my yard setting my obama sign on fire. i got another one. i was optimistic when he took office and extraordinary disappointed when he caved on his promise to close guantanamo and end the military commissions. ives working for congress at the time, and i wrote an op ed in the "wall street journal" saying is double standard justice what we are doing. democrats were not anymore pleased with me than republicans, and i was fired the next day. my case is pending at the dc circuit before the same panel with detainee rights, and he may not be fond of my first amendment rights, but we'll see. i'm thankful to organizations that continue to fight the fite after a decade. you know all the major organizations, groups like physicians for human rights, the national religious campaign against torture, and others that don't give up. you know, it was a british
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citizen that said never, never, never quit, and hopefully americans remember that too and never quit. i'm thankful to howard university law school for giving me a job. howard's motto is leading the fight for social justice, and looking back at thurgood marshall and what he went through to lead the right for civil rights, human law falls 234 that same category. if you think about guantanamo, i mean, from a year ago -- exactly a year ago today until now, what's changed? i mean, there's 171 people at guantanamo, there were 173 last year. in a year's time, we had two people die, one person convicted with the military commission, and we had congress pass the national defense authorization act making guantanamo a permanent fixture. other than that, nothing's really changed in the course of a year. think about it for a minute. think about these words. falsely imprisoning people, holding them for long periods,
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trying them in inappropriate circumstances, conducting hearings in secret, inadequate legal counsel, confessions obtained by coercion. sound familiar? that was from a press statement yesterday from a state department spokesperson talking about the conviction of the man from iran. it sounds familiar to me. we're hypocrites for holding ourselves up as being this standard bearer for the rule of law and human tearian treatment -- humanitarian treatment, and yet what we condone for ourselves we condemn for others. now, how did we get there? john, you did an article in the "wall street journal" about a week ago reviewing a couple books by david sheffer and william shawcross. he was not impressed and in the article, john, you said, and i think this explains how we wound
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up where we are today. john, this is you speaking, "america's response to 9/11 caused outrage among intellectuals because it proved so successful prevents further attacks on the united states, eliminating bin laden, the al-qaeda leadership, and beginning the authoritarian regimes in the middle east. the bush administration rejected the intellectual international network of activists, right groups and courts in favor of rebust unilateral response that drew upon the traditional sources of state power including military force and sanctions, america's p response was -- america's response was to hated because it relied on national sources of power spurred on by a great people's belief with its own exceptional place in history, taking advantage of the sue peoria economy and military, they mountedded a campaign to bring democracy and capitalism to lands that barely knew them." that was the mind set that led to guantanamo bay.
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america is an exceptional country, but we can't use that exceptionalism to claim we're an exception to the laws that apply to everyone else on the planet. william, who, john, you mentioned in the article the next day in the "wall street journal," and he talked about the current administration. as i said, i've been extraordinary disappointed in the lack of leadership from president obama. i mean, i agree, it's a difficult process when you have a congress against you, and to give credit where credit's due, dick cheney and liz cheney did a great job going on in the offensive painting this as you're with us or you're with the terrorists. rather than stand up and call their bluff and tell the facts like they are, the president chose to spend the political capital on health care reform and the economy and other areas, but we have to get back to who we are in the land of the free and home of the brave where we hold up the idea that others
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live to that shawcross talks about the use of drones, again, another expwressing phenomena, where president obama had not just embraced the bush policies, but kissed it on the lips and ran away with it, particularly with the drone program. william wrote, "the decision to use drones to kill in yemen was a remarkable turn around for a politician who criticized the war on terror waged by his predecessor in the oval office. by the fall of 2010, it did not come as such a surprise. by then, mr. obama also authorized military trials which he once condemned to take place in guantanamo which he promised to close. like mr. bush, mr. obama had to learn the hard way that his theologian warned, "we take and must continue to take moral hazardous actions to preserve our civilization." again, i think that's the mind set that led to a decade of guantanamo and turning or back
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on the rule of law. as i said, it's unfortunate when we criticize others, and we can't hold ourselves up as the example. as a military person, i spent 5 years in the military -- 25 years in the military. think back to 1991 and the first gulf war. we invaded iraq, over fairly quickly with minimal casualties because the iraqis put down their weapons and raised their hands when they saw american soldiers because of our humane treatment and republic for rule of law. think about the image today. would the same soldiers surrender if they would be sexually humiliated, tortured, and indefinitely detained? from a military perspective and a national security perspective, it's not in our interest to maintain this facade that guantanamo needs to continue indefinitely into the future. as i mentioned in a case, it's
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one thing to complain about the treatment, as unfortunate the treatment a he's in, but we don't have a strong leg to stand on when we condone the same process in guantanamo. i was driving home a couple weeks ago, and there was a story on npr, and i turned it on the in the middle of the story talking about a person being detained in cuba and how unfair that was. i thought it's a story about guantanamo. it was a story about allen gross, and american citizen who worked for the state department who was apprehended in cuba and prosecutorred, and he's being detained in a cuban prison, at the state department condemned holding him in that cuban prison. i thought on the other end of the island, we have 171 people that we're doing the same thing to. again, i think it's unfortunate we find ourselves in this situation. i look forward to the day, and i always enjoyed seeing andy, but i hate to see him once a year
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here when we lament about the ongoing saga at guantanamo bay. i hope we get back to our roots and that when the campaign is over -- i mean, it's amazing to me on the campaign trail now since you can't be dumb enough or hateful enough, if you watch the debilities, what's the big applause lines? you know, if a person doesn't have health insurance, we let them die, yeah. we had more executions in texz than anywhere else, yeah. waterboarding, if i'm elected, we'll go back to it, yeah. that's what a section of the american public reacts to. i appreciate you taking time from your day to come out here again this year to mark the 10th anniversary of guantanamo, and i hope you go back and talk to your friends and neighbors and remind them we're americans, and we're better than this. [applause]
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>> well, i didn't know what i was going to say until i heard the other bright people here say something. i am struck that this is the third year in a row that andy and i have done this and the second year with mo, and that nothing's changed, which is probably the biggest lesson. i do want to say before -- i want to talk more about what i think people can do to change this, but i really do first want to acknowledge two things. we get very depressed in our democracy today about the lack of political courage. i just want to say, really since day one jim moran, it would have been politically easy to be the other side, but he stood up on this issue from day one. kris -- christina husky is here, and he talked about closing guantanamo when it was terribly unpopular, and voting against an act in
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northern virginia is an agent of political courage. we still have heros. mo davis resigned as he said as a chief prosecutor because of the use of torture. there's still people in our country who stand up for what's right, and we need to get more. [applause] you know, i just say a few things about guantanamo. it's extraordinary to me security experts throughout the country have unanimously said that's from the secretary defense, national security adviser, the head of the military, the head of the fbi, have all said that these policies and guantanamo don't help our security. they hurt our security. those facts are ignored. the reason they hurt our security, and jim mentioned it well about our greatest asset who we are, and ronald reagan, a republican hero put it very well in nominating george, the real
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george bush i say, the first bush president, the second term, you know, he said our greatest strength is not a our wealth or power, but our ideals, our ideals of individual freedom, justice, and the rule of law. guantanamo clearly violates those principles of america. they are not who we are. it hurts us every day it remains open. what can we do about it? i've got very depressed because i've been involved in this now for nine and a half years, and things don't seem to get better, but i want to share something. a few weeks ago, i went to the robert f. kennedy awards in new york, and one of the awards was given to al gore, and i thought, oh, my gosh, why is al gore getting this? he stood up and made a speech which encouraged me, and i think
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gave some guidance on what we could do. he said, and he was talking mostly about the environmental, but other things in our democracy today saying, you know, people come to me, and they are very depressed about what's happening to our country, and he said, i'm reminded of what martin luther king said in the early 60s when his supporters came to him and said it's not going to get better. we're depressed. we're giving up. he said that's not so. things will get better because a lie cannot endure and the principles of the united states are too great to allow it to. that's inspiring to me because i think it said things. the only way that a lie can exist is in the absence of truth, and i'm struck every day that people don't know the facts, that jim talked about this echo chamber in certain areas of the country where people -- people simply don't know of the 171 people at
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guantanamo, 89 of them have been cleared. that's an incredible -- people don't know it. if you say that, people are shocked by it. there's people who were cleared for release. don't we have the courage to get the facts out. that's the important i think i think you can do. in that regard, as andy said, we're setting up a website which is going out now which is closeguantanamo.org. go on it. participate in it. read it. send it to your friends. on that, there's a white house petition, a petition to the
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white house to close guantanamo. it's a difficult thing for the president of the united states to do with the congress the way it is, but i think if we get, ewe know, it's an amazing thing. in the last election, both john mccain and president obama were for closing guantanamo. what happened afterwards? you know, other things more important? maybe they seem important to people, but i just encourage you now to use the time to really get these facts out and work on it. i think that's what we can all do. thanks. [applause] >> thank you very much to the panel, and speaking also of, you know, putting himself out there, thomas wilner, took the cases, a lot of, you know, they were not popular, and they had a great deal of success, and andy worthington, who after all, is an american citizen, really highlighted the people who are in gan begun, so --
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are in guantanamo, so i want to thank all of you. we have time for questions and answers, and because it's on c-span, wait for the mic, and identify yourself, and ask a question rather than make a statement. if you have a question for somebody specific, address who you want the question to, so starting here. >> hi, i'm todd piers, defense attorney for some guantanamo detainees, and years ago, it seemed evident to people and they commented on opinions issued, and notice how close of a resemblance they had to carl smith, and people mention that, but it seems bad manner to rely upon the legal theories of the nazi crown jurorrists, but there's books written now and posner on the "new york times"
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of why we need to keep guantanamo open, but why isn't anybody taking notice, i guess, my question of the fact that posner and books come right out and say we have to go back to carl smith, this jurorrist of the nazis, of legal opinion -- legal theory of the nazis to figure out how to work and act in this state of miranda warning, and they go -- state of emergency, and they say we have to suspend the constitution, can't have civil right, and on and own and on, and it's a total subversion of the constitution. as long as they have the veneer of caring about national security rather than the real motive because it seems they are trying to create an authoritarian state that is so anti-american that you don't want to think of it, but that's -- >> thanks for ignoring my statement about questions rather than questions. [laughter]
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>> why are we not recognizing to defend the constitution and not allow these ideas to be a gangrene in our system? >> most officers in active duty have to keep their mouth shut other than writing scholarly articles and that thing. the other side -- they bought into the narrative, the worst of the worst issue and they catered to fear, and people are concerned about their safety. it was franklin that said if you give up your liberty for your safety, you don't deserve either, and we've done that. we've become so afraid of the, you know, the bomb going off on times square in new year's eve killing people that were willing to give up on who we were prior to 9/11, and there's a lot of military officers, i think, who stood up. i don't know if you saw this week or last week the first come
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daunt of guantanamo who i believe is an army officer who said guantanamo needs to be closed. it doesn't serve a useful purpose. there are military folks who have stood up. we need more and more citizens in general to are willing to pay attention to the issue. >> i have a question about the yemen prisoners because andy mentioned one had a part to play in that, but the real problem is the escapes from the yemen prisons on two occasions, and there was discussion that perhaps the saudis would take the yemen prisoners, but that didn't happen. what concretely might -- you know, how do you solve the problem now that the problem in yemen is worse with the three civil wars, and nobody cares who the government is or return the detainees to, and so what concrete steps could the government take to remediate with that problem? sir? >> well, i agree with the
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gentleman and agree with colonel davis and this is with fear abigotry. fear of the unknown and bigotry of muslims. i think that's a principle element of this. with regard to the legitimate concerns, though, and there is a seem seemingly legitimate concern though that the military says as many as a quarter of those released have gone into the battlefield as they said, and that's what peter's getting out. how do we ensure that they don't go back into activities that might jeopardize the security of the united states? i think it should be underscored first of all, 60% of those who are in prisoner in the united states are recidivism, and
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there's an element of that, but when you look at the specific people who have been cited as having returned to the field of battle as they say or some activities related to terrorism, it's about 6%. it was about 4% that you could identify. it went up to about 6%. the increase that 2% are really russians and chie nays. the russians considers most to be terrorists or potential trrszs, and the chinese, and if you look at that, they would be more on the side of individual freedom and consistent with america's struggle for independence, but i won't get into that. it's suspect to the extent of which they are actually terrorists, their objections are
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not consistent with what poses 5 security threat to the united states. in terms of yemen, when you release people, you follow them. that's what the saudis do. you can make a strong case that since we know their background, we know everything about them, if they were going to go back into the field, it -- first of all, they would be suspect, working with us possibly. they are -- they are people that have been cleared, so they are not terrorists. , and it seems to me that if they were going to go back, it would be a propaganda tool achievement for al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula anyway, and so
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we hear about them. it would be easier to capture them if they were engaged in terrorism because we know so much about them. i don't think that's a compelling argument for not releasing people. it's not compelling enough argument to cause us to act inconsistent with our most fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law. >> i just wanted to say briefly i thought the questions were related in a since that the fundamental problem at the heart of the bush administration was war on terror was e -- equating people involved with military conflict and those involved with terrorism activities. the worst of the worst at guantanamo, propaganda and donald rumsfeld remains because people are encouraged to think everybody in guantanamo are a terrorist, bent on acts of international terrorism were they to be released where that's never been the case. only a small handful, a few percent of the people held there have been accused of actual acts
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of international terrorism. there were many innocent people. there were people who were involved in a military conflict with the taliban against the northern alliance. these are the people that we're cuban talking about releasing. it's not terrorists. somehow, we are not able to make the case that the complete shifting of language and of concepts that was undertaken by the bush administration has lodged itself in people's consciousness so they think that guantanamo is full of terrorists. these are not people who are going to fly a plane into a building. people that were released to yemen, these are minor insignificant foot solders in a conflict that was over a long, long time ago, and we have to make that case, but unfortunately, we're in an arena where rational explanations are not popular. >> i have to push back on that with a thing we have to consider that the two leaders of the
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al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula were released from guantanamo. they are people you probably should not have released. it's more complicated than what you presented to that, i think. what's the complication to that, if any? >> i don't know, pete, but what's compromising this is the reside -- recidivism claim. you did research to say it's less, and i understand there's a potential of somebody, you know, bearing ill-will against the united states, but how can we have a zero recidivism pocket? the only way that it's happened is to say everybody must be locked up there forever and nobody can ever leave, and then we get into with it's about is preventative detention. that's a very alarming situation to be in because you can see how that playing into the kind of
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office that tom talked about who want to indefinitely detain people who have not committed crimes, but who might. >> right. >> that would be very alarming. it is alarming. >> go ahead. >> one point made, christine and i represented a fellow who was clearly not a terrorist, and he is a recidivist. guantanamo turned him -- no doubt in my mind, turned him into -- >> tells story. ..
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clearly aware there is harm but what does it benefit and why also do we need to be the policemen for the world? there are other places that can hold people if we have some concern about them and what they said is true i always think can i get one more example what.
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what a person who was listed as somebody they were not going to prosecute and was a dangerous person this guy has been cleared by the cia. the very beginning they interfered and said he is a terrible mistake with him they are going to hold them there in this way of the too dangerous to release because of the few factors that go on how does that benefit? why do we need to do it? is their recidivism? i don't know how much of the danger because ourselves, so just observations. >> gentleman over there. >> can someone explain to me who has sort of engaged on this and we periodically the supreme court saying that they are the right of habeas corpus seem to be a big victory we've heard today from the congressman that the circuit and appeals courts have pushed back against that the play isn't the supreme court
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getting the cases again certainly they must not feel that they can be usurped by circuit and appeals courts. >> maybe i should take that on. we won the right to habeas corpus for guantanamo detainees actually twice. in 2004 in the case the supreme court ruled 6-3 that the detainees have the right under the habeas corpus statute to habeas corpus, the habeas corpus statute was passed as the first judiciary act and 79. then congress with a great bunch of republican majority revoked habeas corpus for those people and then in 2008 we one the constitutionally guaranteed right so congress can revoke it. what has happened since then is honestly the d.c. circuit has interpreted the standards for habeas corpus. and it's become clear now that so that yet even though with
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these difficult standards, most people bringing habeas corpus cases have one. but the d.c. circuit, which disagreed with the supreme court decision and made it clear he has put in standards that basically say if any evidence is presented by the government that this person might be connected with terrorism or tel dan they can be held forever even if they could have been a cook for the taliban. that is the standard now. we have sought supreme court review for those cases. we are in a very difficult position with the supreme court because justice kagan reduces herself from these because she was in the justice department while they were first coming up. so you have a divided court with no ability right now to give review. we are hoping that there will be review soon in the case and that justice kagan can vote on
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granting of reva review. one thing i've learned, and we've brought our case for habeas corpus in may 1st, 2002. i thought that this case, this issue would not be resolved by the courts because they took along a long time and the policy matter to stop this silly person. that hasn't happened. and the fact is the courts are very, very, very slow process. eventually it will probably be cleared up. but a lot of these people would be dead or broken by that time. >> in the front here. >> just wait for the microphone. >> i mrs. theologist. my name is alice and i'm a filmmaker. i would like to ask a question to all of you.
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we are in an election year. i just left a meeting of people who are very sympathetic to president obama where it was said let's not bring up anything that might challenge him or make it look as though the people on his side were disagreeing with what he's done. what do you say to a group like that when there is a great injustice like this being done and he is partly responsible for it because of his leadership or lack of it? >> i know the congressman moran and i probably have a very different view. i would say the worst places in hell are reserved for those who stand silent in the face of injustice. to participate in the
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presidential selection process on the aggressively campaigned for president obama and have been thoroughly disappointed. but there is no one on the other side that i see as a valuable -- it's like having to pick between comedy and diarrhea. i don't want either choice. i would like something more palatable. but will be the lesser of two evils. >> when we argued this issue in the fall appropriations committee and then on the floor of the house, i was very frustrated because we were not getting any information that i felt was helpful to our side and the presidents publicly stated position out of the justice department. talked to them, have heated conversations, they knew how i felt. i don't know why they didn't fight the language more vigorously. i don't know whether it was political policy or simply that they didn't have the people in
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place at the time that they needed. there was a lot of restructuring going on. so there was a disappointment i grant you. but, one of thing i did not say and should have said when the president sign this legislation, he made it clear what that this objection will sanction he said that it fundamentally maintains unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch authority of the transferred detainee's to a country and hinders the authority to carry out its military and national security and foreign relations activities and what under certain circumstances violate the constitutional separation of powers principles. now, he did take exception to the signing of the legislation. i don't think he had a choice about signing the legislation.
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it was clear he was going to do it. he wasn't going to be able to stop because the fact is he didn't have sufficient support in the senate. he then led alone in the house. so, he was forced simply to let it go, but with the caveat that president bush employed many times to say he takes exception to these. he wants to close it. he has said very definitively as has attorney-general holder that these people should be tried in civilian court. that's the only time we've successfully tried people have been in civilian courts. there's been six prosecutions in the military courts, but four of them were wheels for the shorter sentences. it was merely not for trial. so our only success has been in the civilian courts and that is what he has maintained. he hasn't changed his position, but he has accepted the
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political reality coming into the political reality is that unless the american people become better educated about this and far more forceful in terms of caring about it within the context of the space process, it's not going to change. >> i would say if people were interested in voting for president obama and care about these issues they should say to people who want to go blindly along with it, we need to be able to say to the leadership, we need to be guilty to the president, maybe we will vote for you, but you need to demonstrate that he will take these issues on board. you need to demonstrate we know how difficult it is but if you win and it january, 2013, you are going to act. we are going to see you do what you did not do and did not fulfil from your public thank you. i think that is a fair deal but i don't think there's any reason why people should blindly accept everything as they don't criticize you will make it difficult.
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i think that isn't appropriate at all. >> i don't think you can stand silent in the face of justice i think i need to say president obama's greatest failing is not that he doesn't believe the right things, but he doesn't show leadership in mobilizing public support to get them done. the fact is he showed a tremendous ability during the campaign to convince people that this -- with the bush administration was doing was not in our public interest and he used to say every day we are going to close guantanamo and stand up for habeas corpus, that protecting our security is consistent with our principles. we are stronger because of it. he needs to do that again and we need to push him to do it. we need to push him to show leadership. we can't. i struggle to get facts. he has the bully pulpit. he should use it.
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>> i know you have to go. >> this one here. >> hello. my name is cynthia from vernon new york and this is for all of you folks out there. would you agree that one way to let our president no how we stand on this issue is for to encourage every person everywhere to call up four, five, 61, one, one, which is the white house line where people, citizens can call up and give your opinion. last time you remember, some of you will remember, but when
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nixon -- when the attorney general elliot richardson was resigned, the telephone at the white house was ringing off the line. and when enough people in this country about a million people or whoever to keep that phone ringing off the line and they shall by npr, the dying and show and ask these questions that the facts -- >> thank you very much. thank you. >> is there a decline on that? okay. this gentleman over here. >> thank you. flash >> my question is for mr. mr. wilmer, the people can do. i think the panel made a very persuasive case dealing with guantanamo as guantanamo as a
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single issue but what if even with a longer-term perspective we were to look at guantanamo not in isolation in a broad package of what we call a legitimate activity weakens the drones, torture, prevent attacks, political assassinations, maybe some other things can be put in that nest, but if we were to try to get that and get what we would say is accountability?
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and national defense authorization act as pointand ne authorization act as pointed out announced anyone who suspected of terrorism to be picked up and held by the military forever its extraordinary and i don't want to try it to the drones now because i think it is a troubling thing there's also putting all these this year should be debated. we've really had a public debate about torture in this country. people assume it's good. i used to see president bush thought it was because he is to watch the tv program 24 and he saw that it worked there. that is the death of our study
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of these. we need to be careful in picking. it doesn't stand for every injustice and some are more complicated. >> i think your point about accountability we are great at preaching to others around the world about rule law and the accountability. right now we are prosecuting for the massacre he's a the bottom of the totem pole nobody has ever been held accountable for creating the environment that permitted as the gloves were off the geneva conventions were quaint anything necessary to keep us safe herewith with. the convention says there's no justification whatsoever for torture and then there is a duty to investigate prosecute and provide a civil remedy for victims and we have brought every one of those who pretend that nothing happened.
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why don't i stand up for this. first up this by and large is not a random sample off the street. where we have a roane change in terms of people with these questions but drones and so what i don't think is an effective strategy and i'm sorry but i don't think calling the president is an impact strategy in fact mr. mitt romney who is the most likely opponent of the president has said he would double the size of guantanamo, and that is the position of life here what is the majority of the people he can get away with saying that. unlike most of the people and
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the more random audience if told even one what detainee at guantanamo has the capacity to go back and cause harm to the united states then i want you to keep them all their. and they operate, the politicians who feed off of this echo chamber it is predominantly now a conservative chamber on the radio and on the television and much of the media. they know that when people turn on the radio that's what you're going to hear about and the love to have president obama take the right position, stand on principle because they know right now the majority of the american people are not with them. they are not with you. now this is a reflection of
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information of knowledge may be some reflection, but that's where we stand. this is a unique issue although i think it is a much more important one and we oftentimes credit for. i think that our best shot is to underscore what tom just said to ask people to think about this. we have now passed legislation over the president's objections that allows the military no person in the military uniform ever volunteered unless the are enlisted in the military for the purpose of taking action against american citizens. it's to protect american citizens. and yet the law as we read it says the military now has the right to detain indefinitely without habeas corpus people who are suspected of terrorist activities. suspected.
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that is a fundamental the erosion of everything we stand for. so people need to know this is in our interest. this is in the interest of your children and grandchildren. we can allow this to continue. we need to understand it and then change it. >> that's why i appreciate all of you being here. thank you. [applause] >> the disagreement a lot of people would respond to. we have about ten minutes left. you're immediate left. >> john mccullough from the fund of reconciliation.
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i want to put it in a context a little bit. there was a tremendous reaction in the white house and the congress and the media when one cubin hon worst record by the end justified reaction. how many suicides have there been at guantanamo? how many people are currently being force fed to prevent their suicide, force feeding itself has a highly questionable human rights aspect to it. but is there any figure on suicide and force feeding at this point? >> the guantanamo bay committing suicide, two others died of natural means. the number of people who've been on the hunger strike and force that i don't know, you know, in 2005 when there was the biggest time restricted was repeatedly the people held but that any one time there are people in the
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hunger strike now and then you're being force fed and that for seeding process is pretty brutal. you know, that's the kind of end of what is still going on, but i do think that fundamentally what's wrong with guantanamo is that it is outside of every other detention system and i think that congressman more than just then was eliminating that with reference to the u.s. existence with the fundamental unfairness of holding people indefinitely without charge or the trial and the model for that is guantanamo and the thing that still applies in guantanamo, the thing that i don't know how we get the message of compassion and fairness and justice as when congressman moran said so many american people are on cheney's marks i'd still. the people held of guantanamo were held without charge or trial are in there for ten years that are going nowhere.
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what has been the effect on them in this particularly unique aspect of that detention? it is the open-ended nature of that detention. they have no idea when if ever they are going to leave. every morning they can be wake up thinking will like home box in the domestic prison system everyone is sentenced. it may be unfair but they are told with the sentence is. this doesn't happen at guantanamo. in 2003, in october, 2003 and then called christoff at "the new york times," sorry, spoke to "the new york times" and the committee of the red cross, which presents but isn't supposed to speak out publicly about what they've seen. they frequently spoke out during the bush administration. he said what trouble is guantanamo was the open-ended nature of the detention of the prison and its ruinous effect of the mental health. that was over eight years ago. those effects on the mental health prisoners still apply and
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i just wish i could find a way that we could have compassion of something that people could identify with this and what understand. but that is unfair and the reason they need to expand remains fundamentally unfair. if you have a case against somebody, charge them otherwise don't maintain this idea that by being a brittle and unfair you are actually somehow doing the right thing. >> if you talk kim kardashian engineering a detainee. [laughter] >> hello. my name is kimberly, and i was one of the founders here in washington of the washington regional campaign against torture we work carefully to terribly hard and got no attraction at all. so when the media didn't come
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congressman moran was great. so i come too, started to work with obama and thought that he would actually deliver on what he said he would. and, you know, went door-to-door starting his new hampshire. i've now decided that since he has not done that we really can't depend just on presidents. they are going to have to work to try to unseat every person who voted for this lot and that what we need to do is to get out into states and districts and make it precarious to infringe on our human rights in this matter to the commander. so what you think. [laughter] >> shiller told the lawmakers who voted for it but while doing that make sure that people know that guantanamo is the root of the idea that it's okay to sleep
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people in imprisonment and throw away the key. i am over here talking about this and you are the guys who through the british out because you were opposed the tyranny of king george iii. >> you know, i think there is a danger and congressman moran said it that when people look like might get together they disagree and fight on the other side. this is a liberal cause come close guantanamo. the other people say i think a lot of people out to say don't we need it? this is a terrible time. you got terrorists. i think it is an obligation to go further than just opposing this it's to get the facts out. get the facts out that security experts have agreed it doesn't help us it does cost 800,000 or million dollars per year or per person. that 89, more than half of them
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have been cleared by the interagency task force made up of the top security and law enforcement officials in the country. it's amazing. people don't know them. why are you holding people that have been cleared the essentially although they don't say innocent are essentially innocent. why would we do that and p800000 for each of them? so, i wouldn't do it in the sort of liberal, you know, things. i just try to get the facts out. as i said, you know, i'm just sort of here. really this only exists in the absence of truth and i know somebody here is from the national journal. you know, the national journal years ago at the same time that stephen hall did a study did a study about who are these and it was terrific. as a matter of fact they were not picked up on the battlefield, they were picked up on -- we need to push the press to get the facts out, too. we can really do much more on
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that. i am trying to justify my own existence because i guess i was depressed by it. so i'm chongging to think what can we do? tell everyone you know whether it is your brother who is a right wing or sister. here are the facts. make people answer on the fact. >> one more question. >> hello. i hear with the group called witness against torture. we are on the attendee fast in solidarity with men of guantanamo. tomorrow we will be holding a rally hopefully as the nursing get out and support against. just a quick question. it seems that the ideas to the spending of habeas corpus is now coming at a central part of our policies. i'm wanting to know how the detention center for example of this alleged allegations of torture and indefinite detention happening there.
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>> is that a sort of guantanamo east. i can answer in the legal sense and then overall. when we did the last supreme court case in 2008 with this is a very legalistic matter. there was one way to win the case that said guantanamo is like the united states so they should be entitled to habeas corpus because of that. we avoided that but the distinction said look, when the united states hold someone in a place secure from a battlefield where you've got time to do it people should be entitled to a fair review. in fact, justice kennedy wrote that decision in that case adopted the argument, so she didn't tashi it to guantanamo being different. he said in the circumstances you look people can't be held without process unless there's the extension see of the battle and everything.
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the circuit court has determined that since they are still an ongoing war in afghanistan blogger run fits in with the extension cease the battle and the court shouldn't intrude. that has not been reviewed by the supreme court, and in the time the case was made, the afghanistan battle was heating up and the fact that the base was attacked. so it's a complicated issue. our feeling is that the united states cannot take people to offshore prisons and hold them outside of the law. there will be times in the war when you need to hold people and they don't have the right to lawyers or judges looking at them then. certainly when you told people for years in the state place they've got to have read you. so we took the dancers in some general way. splenectomy bob crème is a place that demonstrates guantanamo is a place where with respect to terrorism was conjured up for a bunch of people who mostly had nothing to do with terrorism,
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bottom to become bottom seems to exist for wartime. it underpins the detention in guantanamo authorization fees for some passed by congress a week after the 9/11 attack. in 2000 for the supreme court said you can hold prisoners until the end of hostilities there like forgetting some parallel world to the geneva convention. i think at that point the geneva conventions were unilaterally discarded and they then dictate how everything happens. now blogger and air force is the only review of the prisoners have the they were able to make a statement before they were told the allegations against them. that was very bad. when president wallace challenged he said we are going to bring in the review process that we used in guantanamo. i'm following this and seeing whether it fits in the geneva convention. it doesn't. so what happens is that, you know, people are held that for at least a year on average
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before they give the review process which is brought to bagram the d'aspin court found inadequate, and on that basis it seems to be held or they are released or transferred to afghan custody. it is a mess and i don't think that people cared enough in the geneva conventions have they not been reinstated properly that the bush administration did has not been properly investigated and i acknowledge so i think they are very connected. but i think is very troubling. and the way to see that again, i like to make analogies where people can understand it is in the american context what would happen if american citizens were captured by some other country and were held in the wartime on the same process would be helpful for 14 months and get some kind of a review process that we invented how would that play in the united states? we all know.
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>> any final thoughts? >> i agree. for better or worse guantanamo is the kind of public symbol that it's just the tip of the iceberg and there are many many times more people are being held by the u.s. and other places, but little attention to what guantanamo gets is much more than anywhere else. thank you very much to the panel. [applause] >> would anybody like to take the time --
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to communicate any kind of a message to the public. slogans' beat details. to me this is one of the truths
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that i have learned in the recent politics you cannot communicate details. you can be on the slogan side of an issue you can win if you are on the detailed slide your going to lose. [applause] >> governor andrew cuomo delivered the second state of the state address of the empire state plaza convention center in albany. he announced plans for the nation's largest convention center in newark city a 1 billion-dollar jobs initiative for buffalo and plans to repair 2,000 miles of roads and bridges. this is an hour. >> thank you very much. [applause]
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thank you.ou, thank you. thank you. happy new year, new york.good it is going to be a good one.th the lieutenant governor is and he great. [applause]we when we started theadministtion administration we had three colb you seele behind me ball is thet personification of that. he was a great mayor of the cit of rochester. he's been a phenomenal governor. he's been everywhere. he's truly a superstar. let's give him a round of applause, lt. governor bob duffy. [applause] our great country will have ano important job at one time he was a formeran assemblyman.rmer [applause]er anotr
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another gentleman who had a ver important job when he was the state senator still has an important of attorney general eric schneider. [applause] majority leader talking about broad players, the last person to have a rookie season was derek jeeter. a pleasure to be with you. [applause] speaker sheldon. th had two rookies to deal withi last year. the speaker both myself and the -- i can tell you this the speaker was always constructive it's not that we always agree o everything but the question is are you positive and are you constructive and are you working towards a solution and of the speaker was always constructive and was always supportive of me
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personally. we all owe him a debt of gratitude for a great job lastgr year. [applause] my friend john simpson pleasuree o be with you. thank you for being here. [applause]n alre minority leader brian. thank you very much foryou very vice, your serviceof the court of app especially chief judge lipman, an honor to be with you, and as a point of certainly privilege, i hope you noticed there's been a certain amount of restoration that's been going on in the capital, the ogs, office of an the general service team has done an outstanding job headed by the commissioner. [applause]assembly
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foot for thank you for all of your help. [applause] and to all of you my fellow new my f yorkers, thank you for taking the time to be with us today. it was just about one year ago today that we got in this room at this point to talk about the state and the trajectory of the state. we said at that time the state was at a crossroads, that new yorkers were hurting abouters 800,000 people unemployed or underemployed. the economy had reaped hardship and anxiety all across the state and people needed help.go the government however was
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filled with scandal that was ineffective and ride withst partisanshipat and the state was divided in many ways. upstate and downstate millionaire's middle class, gays straight cut democrats andstrair republicans. we had a fiscal deficit which was the most pronounced problemm but maybe even a more difficultb problem was the trust deficit, pee performance deficit, the integrity rfdeficit that the ste was also suffering from.from new yorkers the serve better. it than they were getting.new itd the new yorkers knew it.o cp the capitol was a symbol of the deterioration and it was under the renovation for 11 years believe it or not. scheduled to take four more years by the time the renovatio was finished we would have had to start a renovation all over again. the situation was grim. people have problems and our
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government didn't have thee capacity or the credibility to be of service. we were at a crossroads we had choice to make and we made the choice. it remains dysfunctional andogeo decided to come together tonmen reestablish the government in the state of newan york and to forward to rebuild our state.ch we've made the right choice. we chose to begin to change the culture of all the need to put people first to rebuild the trust to restore our dtv readin capital. the 234th legislative sessiona had a historic success for the people of the state. [applause] would be asked the men and wome of the assembly and the senated
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please stand so we can recognize you and give you a round ofr applause for the great work that you did in this legislativeed tf session. you restore the faith of the people in the state and we thank you. we all think you. onwhat se] thinking back what we accomplished makes me tired with no taxes and we got a budget edneta on time.enact the tax cap after 20 years of debate and discussion. we've closed -- blabber. [applause] [laughter]lis, we closed 3800 prison bedsosed because we finally realized tha rison operations is not economic development.
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we eliminated the nt a payroll tax for most small businessesl across the state. we passed the toughest30 years, regulations and 40 years. we launched and the new york open for business campaign anda regional councils that areat ar energizing the entire state.st we passed an affordable energy policy with the recharged new york financing and after eightd years we passed article 10. we provide desperately needed flood relief to homeowners andd small businesses and passed the ethics reforms to restore trust in the government and attack the chronic high unemployment among the inner city disadvantaged youth with an innovative jobs program. [applause] be restored new york's ta reputation as the progress of capital of the nation.ndmark avt we have landmark achievements i the area of social justice ands,
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economic justice. millions of new yorkers had been treated as second-class citizen for too many years. we ended the injustice. we stopped the discrimination. we made history. ri led the nation. mar we passed the marriage equal thr for all new yorkers, and we did it together. [applause]we but we didn't stop there. for decades new yorkers wereed burdened by an unfair tax code.d under our old tax code whether you made $20,000 or $20 million, you paid the same tax rate believe it or not. was it was just plain wrong.ought we brought fairness to new york. our principle is very simple. the more you make, the high yea
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the rate you pay because a flat tax is just not a fair tax and that's what we understand and believe in the state of new york. [applause]new under our new fair tax plan,bras we've added new brackets to protect the middle class and a high earner brackett. fair tax plan we stimulated thee economy byc providing a middle class tax cut.agrees everyone agrees to stimulate the economy whether it is president reagan or president barack obama that a tax cut stimulates the r economy. and everyone agrees that the middle class has been struggling for too long without any help and without any assistance and we've provided a middle class tax cut for the lowest rate in 58 years. [applause]st
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now 58 years. just think about that. it was a really long, long time ago. the year was 1953. was tom dewey was governor of the state of new york.the the first culbert television sets were just being sold. orckie robinson was playingse f second base for the brooklyn dodgers. [applause] the first corvette was created. [laughter] i was just a twinkle in myer's e father's [laughter]doub may be a double trinkle. [laughter]
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the majority was onlyonly 4-years-old. but what a ladder he was, wasn't he? [laughter] speaker silver was onlyeven 8-years-old. but even at eight he was speaker silver. [laughter] ryt what is very heartening isve that even then you should know they were both working together hand in hand in the spirit of bipartisanship. let's give them a round of applause. [applause]down 2011 will go down in historyboos books as an extraordinary success and the members of the legislature should be very proud of what they've accomplished.
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unfortunately, that wasn't the only story of 2011. 2011 was also a very challenging year towards the state in manyma ways.albany. especially outside. we had a terrible situation with tropical storm lee and hurricane i dream that caused terrible damage in parts of the state that could really least affordt it. the mid hudson the north country, the southern tier sustained terrible damage. but in our darkest hours, new yorkers shined brightest. the revenue and orders came together in the spirit of community and the voluntarismin was inspiring. the way our first responders came together all across themode state as models of courage as models of public service wheny every instinct in your body says run to safety ha the first
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responders and to provide safety to other neighbors and other neo yorkers if it wasn't for theof extraordinary work of the first responders what we went through would have been much, much, much worse. [applause] we are joined today by many of the first responders to savehat lives during that terrible period for the state of new yor i will ask them to stand at this time and let's give them a big round of applause and thinkd of their courage and other service in their volunteerism. [applause]
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[applause] 2011 we accomplished much there is no doubt, 2011 we've been through much. there is nero doubt. it but it's also no doubt that we've only just begun to do the work that this state needs done we've established credibility, we reversed decades of declinew in the state, but now is theual time to actually get to workyore building a new new york. we have big problems in new york. we also have big solutions in.
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new york. today i'm going to put forth a rkree part plan to make the newo new york a reality. part one the next phase in thei economic blueprint for growth,o part two, the real imagine the governmcaent can make it a real in part three a new york new division for the progressivere,n future. when it comes to economics anda getting the economy moving, our challenge for 2012 is this, how does government have any government, the state government, the national government, how do they spur jo creation in a down economy whil limiting spending and maintaining fiscal discipline? the answer is create at public-private partnerships that leverage state resources to generate billions in economic growth and create jobs. and that is the challenge that we face. spurring the private sector toto create jobs without spendingspn state resources that would
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actually hurt the economicion of situation o f the state. let's begin by building on our economic strength. we know that new york is ayorkeu destination location to words it spent $50 billion in new york ie 2010 alone. new york is the place -- the nee york is the place that people want to come to but new york must stay ahead of thecompetion competition. the convention centers aret econ important economic generators.wu right now when you look at the list of weare new york is in terms of convention centers,w sadly new york's convention center on the west side ofentio manhattan is down at the bottom of the list literally number 12 as the places like anaheimplace california, washington, d.c., los angeles, there is new york. right now the jacob javits convention center is not competitive. conv that hurts the new york economy because we are just not getting
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the show here. the largest convention center in the country is in chicago at 3.1 million. you see it is 842,000 square feet. now this is not in a problem. you talk about four years, possibly expanding jobs. it's hard to expand the job because it's lost, the hudsonon river is on the west side of the development of the north and the development of the east.t but today is different, today io different because we are nott b just on the talk about ourab palms, we are not just going tot talk about challenges we want to talk about the opportunities.e and today is different becauseui ng are nos t just going to talki about this challenge we are going to do something about it.s it's builtt the largest convention center in the nation there is. [applause]we we believe we can attract
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$4 billion in the private secto investment to build a state ofn the art convention center at thl racetrack. it will be all about jobs, jobs jobs, tens of thousands buildin he number one convention centen 'l the country. we we will go from number 12 to number one because that's where we deserve to be the number one state in thein nation period. [applause] we can then transform the current jacob javits site and master plan the 18 acres tores revitalize new york city to west side and follow the battery par model which is a tremendous success battery park city and master plan the project the priv private sector actually developed. battery park city hascity residential units, hotels,denti recreational facilities, parks the liberal we teach about
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battery park city in the urbanp planning design schools around the country. we would follow that model for the jacob javits site.jacob t believe we can attracttrac $2 billion in private sectordoll development.private to give you a sense of the size of the site is 18 acres. the united nations is 17 acres8 and the world trade center site was 16 acres. is the javits center is a very large tract of land and has great potential for though west side of manhattan. it is also bordered by the hudson yards and the moynihan station projects which are unde way. when you put javits moynihan and hudson to gather you were talking about a comprehensive revitalization of the west sidea of manhattan whnnich can make at wejor c difference. while we are investing on our strength, we also have to invest in those struggling areas of our state and many of our struggling
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areas have been ignored for too .ong. new york is stronger when every region of the state is strong. we must address the crisis inin new york and in buffalo specifically. [applause]nds, buffalo, my friends, has the third highest poverty rate in te the nation. in the nation.yo, not in new york, in the nationo behind detroit and cleveland.of 28% of the people in buffalo are living in poverty.at at a time when the state population was growing, buffalo lost 10% of its population.anot this is another issue that hasn gone on for many years while the state sat by and didn't takedoes action. it doesn't have to be that way.r 25 years ago the capital
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district region, the region weto are in today, albany, had a struggling economy. the state began investing inling albany's high-tech industry. today, albany is height of thewl world-class center for nanotechnology as the speaker mentioned, we just signed anw agreement within intel and ibmbi bringing in thousands ofngof additional jobs, and there is a vibrancy in the capital distric region around the man of technology that would not haveb happened but for the state's investment.it if we did it in albany, we can do it in buffalo.buffal we believe in buffalo.ady we are ready to invest developn $1 billion in an economicr the development package for the city of buffalo to bring businessck back to buffalo. it's gone on for too long. it's going to stop today. [applause]
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standing for buffalo and standing for billion we are going to standt for the councili which have been a great success in the buffalo regional council was working very well to creater thousands of jobs, attract companies internationally orjob nationally and we will putd together an economic developmen package that works for the th economy. we believe the 1 billion can leverage at least $5 billion in economic activity. last year we got serious aboutgo economic development all across the board.we and we have a two-part strategy. we had a macrotop-down strategy, new york open for business. we have new york state set thet template, set the table, and a microbottom-up strategy in the regional council. it has worked very well. the regional council has exceeded everybody's expectations. there is an energy that is out there, there is some optimism,
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there is the hope, therefore, lo partnerships. local governments are talking,i the private sector is workingthu with the public sector, people of different parties talking, iney are talking to the metstalk fans. it'se unbelievable.a tal and the creditor for this greato accomplishment goes to one manma specifically if a normal public servant our lieutenant governor bob duffy and we want to giveli him a round of applause. [applause]soell it has worked so well the weto want to keep it going. we want to launch a second round of competition for an additiona $200 million. there's grt eat momentum especially in upstate new york.
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let's offer by the second round in a growth that momentum even stronger. [applause]enopened f the new york open for business' campaign is going to bending expanding this year and go global in the port authorityautt will coordinate an effort to boost internationalinrnat s mpetitiveness because we arees not just competing with other states. we are competing with countries all across the globe. to we have to realize that and we have to be prepared for the compet competition.the the open for business campaign was also being expanded tobe promote tourism and will beand running television advertising campaigns to attract people tog our state, highlighting our highonal treasures like the catskills and the long island beach as we have the greatest i the country and to promote andc, generate tourism to allow the state especially upstate newin u york. [applause]
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another potential economic engine for the state is casino game, when it comes to casino gaming, i believe we are living in a state of denial, it's time we confronted reality, it is not a question of whether or not we should have gaming in this state, we have gaming in the state of new york, we have tribal casinos all across the state, we have racinos all across the state, we don't realize itfinger we don't regulate it, we don't capitalize on it but we have gaming. we have 29 thousand electronic gaming machines, that is more than in atlantic city. that is more than any state in the northeast or the mid atlantic, so the debate that we don't want to go is just not true.
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we are in the gaming business. we're not doing it well, we're not doing it as well as we should be doing it but we are in the gaming business. we are also surrounded by casinos. on virtually every border of the state. massachusetts just legalized casinos. so not only do we have gaming within the state, we are surrounded by gaming. and for us this is not about chips and cards. this is about the jobs that the casino industry generates. we generate one billion dollars in economic activity for the state of new york if we recognized reality and regulate and capitalize on gaming the way we should. let's amend the constitution. let's do gaming right. let's make it safe. let's protect our people,
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but let get the jobs back in new york and let's take the first step this year. [applause] we have a great opportunity to rebuild new york. we need jobs, we need to be competitive, we need to be safe. we need to rebuild our infrastructure. 32% of the bridges are rated deficient. 40% of our roads are rated fair or poor. 83% of the state parks and major dec dams are in a state of disrepair. we have much work to do and we need a new approach to get it done. i'm proposed setting up new york works fund and task force. this task force will be made up of leading public and private sectors experts. coordinate for the first time all the state capital construction.
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mta has a capital plan they're pursuing. different than of the port authority which is capital plan they're pursuing. different from the department of transportation which has a capital plan that it is pursuing. different from the department of housing which has a capital plan that it is pursuing. it makes no sense. it never did. time to be squandering resources. you can't have that many agencies and authorities coming up with their own vision for the state. we need comprehensive vision and we need the expertise frankly to help us get it done. not the state's forte. there are people in the private sector who are expert at this, want to be helpful. we want to invite them in. put together a task force and actually lead this effort.
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we want a comprehensive master plan of all of the states construction over the next few years and how we can coordinate and maximize that work to have a positive synergy among the projects. we also want to accelerate the construction. we can't do this on government time. this is going to have to happen on real time. it can't take three years to put a shovel in the ground. it just can't work that way anymore and it is not going to. [applause] and i said, said in the beginning, that the task for us is to find leverage with private sector partners. we want to find a 20 to one, leverage throughout these projects that we maximize the impact of the state money. we are planning to improve more than 100 bridges, which will include finally
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building a new tapanzee bridge. 15 years of planning and talking and commiserate something too long. it is time to build and to act and perform. [applause] we're going to repair 2000 miles of roads. that is from buffalo to new york city five times. we're going to finance upgrades to 90 municipal water systems. improve 48 state parks and historic sites visited by 37 million people per year. and after hurricane irene in storm lee, repair 114 flood control projects, all across this state. we need power to power our economic growth. let's build an energy highway system. that doesn't exist now. we have supply of power in northern new york, quebec. we have power supply in western new york. we have a tremendous need
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for power in down state new york. let's connect the dots. let's connect the supply dots to the need. what eisenhower did in the '50s, by building a interstate system is what this energy highway can be to the next generation. if we want the state to develop and we need the jobs and we need the businesses, we're going to need the power and this is the way we're going to do it. the state can master plan a system and issue an rfp. we'll allow private sector, private sector companies to come in to bid it and build it. we believe they will finance it over a period of time and we believe it can generate $2 billion in infrastructure. this is no doubt a comprehensive and ambitious jobs program. 15 billion in infrastructure. 4 billion for a convention center.
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two billion for javits transformation. 2 billion for energy highways. one billion for gaming. one billion for buffalo we believe will generate additional money from the private sector. a total of about $25 billion. this program will make a major impact on the trajectory of this state's economy if we get it done. and the people of this state desperately need it because it all comes down to one word, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. that's what people need in this state and that's the focus of this plan. [applause] part two, we need to reimagine government that can make our plans a reality. this is not going to be a question of tinkering around the edges. we started last year with our sage project. the more i've seen the worse
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the situation is with the state agencies. this is going to be a ground-up reorganization. i'm going to be giving you more details in the budget but the system is just gotten to a point where it is not operational and we've been cutting the budget for many years and reducing personnel. we never reduced the workload and the wheels have come off the car. we're going to need to fundamentally reimagine how the government operates. we'll need a government that performs better and costs less. a government that, woulds for people of this state must commit to fiscal discipline. the state's competitive advantage is increased when we are reducing taxes, not raising taxes. we have to commit to hold the line on spending this year and close the remaining budget deficit with no new taxes and no new fees. we can do it. [applause]
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we must do it. we must do more on mandate relief. the cost of pensions are going sky-high as you know. [applause] 100% increase in pensions from 2009 to 2013, believe it or not. we need to reform the pension system and create a new tier 6 in this state. i understand the politics and i understand the political opposition but the choice for you this year, my friends is this. when we're talking about pension reform for union employees, we're talking about union employees who don't even exist at this point in time. because current employees are covered by the current pension system. we're talking about changing a pension system for employees who may be hired in the future. employees who may be hired in the future.
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no one ever said a pension system was a legacy or an inheritance where it got passed from one bern down to the next. i refer to these people as the unborn. not even hired yet. and if they look at a job with a benefit package and decide to take the job with that benefit package, that is their decision and their opinion but to protect a pension for years in the future as a legacy when the taxpayers of this state just can't afford it anymore, is a violation of the public service and the public duty. we have taxpayers who are suffering today. and we have taxpayers who need help today. [applause] and let's respond to them. we need to help local governments. the property tax cap we passed worked.
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it forced fiscal discipline. forced being an operative word and it stimulated a citizen dialogue but it stopped the assumed annual increases. and property taxes were going up at a rate that was unsustainable. unsustainable. 6%, 7%, 8%, every year. and it was just on automatic pilot and you heard it all over the state. the tax cap doesn't stop as we know. the taxes from going up. but, it engaged the citizens. what is this tax cap? what is this about? more people are now turning up at the discussions, the local budget discussions because citizens are engaged and it has put pressure on the local officials to think before increasing. but that's exactly what we wanted to happen. we want the citizens engaged and it is working. but, the local governments
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are also right that we have to do more on mandate relief. we set up a mandate relief council in last year's legislation. i want that mandate relief council to have public hearings all across the state where citizens participate, and local elected officials participate. let them come up with a package that they present to the legislature this year on mandate relief and let the legislature take an up-or-down vote this year because the local governments deserve that. [applause] we must change the focus and reimagine the government in our priority area. priority mission, for this state government is public education. i think we can all agree. what i want you to know, i learned my most important lesson my first year as governor in the area of
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public education. i learned that everyone in education has a lobbyist. [laughter] i am not kidding. superintendents, they have a lobbyist. principals, they have a lobbyist. teachers, have a lobbyist. school boards also have a lobbyist. the maintenance personnel, they have lobbyists. even the bus drivers have lobbyists. the only group without lobbyists are the students. [applause] well this year, my friend, the students do have a will be byist. i'm taking a second job. i amount going to be the
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governor of the state of the new york and i'm also going to be the student lobbyist. [applause] and we're going to have to take a fundamental look at what we've been doing because the purpose of public education is to help children grow. the purpose of public education is not to grow the public education bureaucracy. [applause] we are driven by the business of education. more than achievement in education. business of public education, and the attention to the business of public education is brought us to a point where we spend more than any
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state in the nation. the lack of focus on the achievement and the students have brought us to a point where we're 38th in graduation rates. it is not about the business. it is not about the lobbyists. it was about the student and the achievement. we have to change our focus and we have to switch those two numbers. then we'll be a success in public education. [applause] we need major reform. we have to change the paradigm. when it comes to transforming education we need to focus on student achievement and we're going to need a real teacher evaluation system. the law that was passed in 2010 during the race to the top law just doesn't work. we recently even saw the board of regents threatening to stop money going to school districts because the teacher evaluation system
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has never been put in place. two years, and it hasn't even started yet. our children deserve better than that. and hopefully they get it this year. [applause] we must also transform education when it comes to the management of school districts. there's a vast disparity between how school districts manage their money and manage the system. some are managed much better than others. it's a point that hasn't been evaluated or looked at. we need to demand a management efficiency and have a real management evaluation system along with a teacher in school academic system. we need a new blueprint for education. i want to form a commission to really come up with an overhaul plan for our education system. i want to do it on a bipartisan basis. i want to do it cooperatively with the
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legislature. where we have joint appointments. but i want the report done this year because we have wasted enough time and i want to do it together. [applause] is public education is a core mission. we simply can not fail. we will not fail. we all say it's about the children and the future. it is about the future and it is about the future and that's one obligation every person in this room takes seriously and i know we'll accomplish it through this legislative session. public safety is also a core mission. and we learned the hard way last year that we must anticipate and be prepared for all emergencies. we need a statewide network of emergency responders who are prepared for anything at any time. i don't want to get into a long debate about global warming whether it is happening or whether it is not but i can tell you this. 100 year floods happen every two years now.
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so, something is going on. i witnessed first-hand, last year, the work we need to do with the breakdown in communication transportation and the need for better deployment of personnel throughout the state. we have a spotty emergency response system. some areas of the state have more expertise, more equipment, more personnel. others parts of the state don't. we must have the best state emergency management operation in the country. it is literally a matter of life and death. it is one of the foremost responsibilities of government. we are blessed to have a gentleman who has more experience in this area than anyone i've ever met. he is come up to join us to put together our state
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emergency operations. he previously ran the emergency operation for the city of new york and for the state of indiana. he then went to washington where he is a biodefense expert at the u.s. health and human services, but he's a new yorker first. we asked him to come back and leave washington to come put together our network. he agreed. we owe him a debt of gratitude. i'm excited to have him. let's give a big round of applause to jerry howard. [applause] part three, a new york wigs for a progressive future. -- vision. we are still in a financial crisis. it is still taking a terrible to on our state homeowners. last year we created the department of financial services headed by benjamin losky. it was a new york state regulation that provided
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financial regulation and consumer protection. this year we'll establish the foreclosure relief unit which will provide counseling and mediation services to help banks resolve mortgages and help new yorkers stay in their homes finally. [applause] last year we enacted the best tennant regulations in 30 years. this year we'll make sure those laws and regulations are being enforced creating the tenant protection unit at department of homes and community renewal to investigate fraud and prosecute unscrupulous landlords. too many tenants have been abused for too long and it stops now. [applause] we are committed to expanding mwbe opportunities and doubling the goal of 20% for mwbe. [applause]
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we have identified an obstacle which is many of the mwbe companies can't obtain the bonds that are necessary to participate in the state contract. we will now be providing support for that bond which will allow companies to qualify for up to $200 million in state contracts. [applause] our cuny system is the great equalizer. for working families the cuny system said that any student in new york could get the best college education in the nation. and cuny has done that magnificently well for many years. it is a precious jewel of this state and it is a jewel we started polishing last year and we'll continue. we started the new york suny 20-20 program last year.
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that allowed campuses to compete for grants to improve the academic excellence of the college but also become an economic development generator for the region. the research centers competed last year. it is going very well. we want to expand that competition to the 60 other campuses for suyn all across the state and have three awards of $20 million each to spur competition and provide funding for suny to reach the level of excellence we all want them to reach. it is an exciting program. suny is doing magnificently well. we're blessed with a great leader. let's give a big round of applause to chancellor nancy demfor. [applause] for all the progress and for all our sophistication, we
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still have wrongs to right and some of them are frighteningly basic. one in six children in new york live in homes without enough food. and when you think of that statistic, with all we've accomplished, with all we have, we still have in this state children who go hungry. my friends, that is just simply unacceptable in this great state, in the year 2012. the federal food stamp program is available for many of these families who are not taking advantage of it. 30% of the people who are eligible for food stamps don't enroll. that is 1.4 million people in the state. one billion in federal fund unclaimed. we want to start a program where we promote outreach,
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we increase encoalment and we end the -- enrollment and we end the stigma of applying for food stamps. one of the things we do now which makes the stigma actually worse and creates a barrier for families coming forward to get food stamps is we require fingerprints. i'm saying stop from time to timing for families with children for food. stop it all across the state, and let's stop it this year. [applause] i understand fraud detection. i understand fingerprinting. but don't make a child go to bed hungry because your government wants to come up with a fraud program that requires fingerprinting. [applause] we will make sure no child goes to bed hungry in this state. i want to expand the dna data bank which has been a
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great technological revolution in the area of criminal justice. it helps prove guilt or prove innocence. it's helped with 2700 convictions. it helped with 27 exonerations of innocent people. right now the database is applied to 50% of all crimes. i propose we expand it to 100% of all crimes. let's provide justice for all and let's be the first state in the nation to do it. new york can lead the way once again. [applause] we have done great work when it comes to tax tearness. fairness. there is more work we can do. we can close loopholes. we can make it more fair. we can make it more pro-growth. there is a lot of work to do. i want to form a tax reform and fairness commission to go through the whole code to
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close those loopholes. i want to do it on a bipartisan basis in partnership with the legislature and let's get new york to have the fairest tax code in the nation that also incentivizes job growth in this state. [applause] i'm going to be sending you a bill on campaign finance reform that puts public financing, match contributions, lower limits and increased enforcement at the board of elections. new york currently rates 48th in the country in voter turnout. we have a government that we can be proud of. let's have. let's build that pride and let's have elections that new yorkers can be proud of also. [applause] let's have campaign finance reform and let's do it this year. [applause] in closing, let me say this. by all accounts last year
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was an historic success. and i'm hearing it and i'm sure you're hearing it. people ask all the time how did you do this? how did it happen? and they have all sorts of complicated answers for why we had a successful year, complicated theories. i think it is actually simpler than that. i think we had a change of attitude last year, a collective change of attitude. we were done with the dysfunction of albany. done with the label of being dysfunctional. we were tired of dealing with the incompetence of government. and we made up our mind that we were going to change it. we disregarded the political extremists on the left and on the right. and we did what was best for
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the people of this state. we believed in the people of this state. and we honored the people of this state. and we showed a mutual respect to each other. institutional, and personal and by the end of the year i really believe we put our politics aside and we were no longer democrats first and republicans first. we were new yorkers first. and we acted that way. [applause] and it worked. and we delivered. and we got things done. and we made this state a better state. and that is why we're here in the first place. and the people get it. and i am so honored, so honored to be part of what you did. and i have been so overjoyed
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to be able to go out to the people of this state and explain to them our accomplishments and how we have worked together to make this state a better state. now, you will hear that you're back in this town the naysayers and the cynics are saying well, what happened last year was a fluke. you can't do that again. that was, for whatever reasons the stars the plan etc.. but it was a one-time situation that we're going to slip back to the old way. that we're going to slip back into dysfunction. that is what you will hear from the cynics. i'm hear to tell you that the cynics don't know us and they don't know new york because there is no way we are going back. we are going forward.
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there is no way we are going down. we are going up. [applause] i am telling you, we have just started to explore the potential of this partnership. we have just started to explore the limits of our imagination. we have just started tackling the problems that this state needs tackled. this agenda that we laid out today is an ambitious agenda, more ambitious than anything this government has done in decades and decades and decades. but it is an agenda that know that we can do because we are new yorkers. and we are part of the best government historically in the nation. and we can do this. we can build the largest convention center in the country. we can rebuild buffalo. we can transform the jacob
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javits site. we can build a new energy highway system. we have that capacity. it is who we are. it is where we come from and we're not going back. this whole state's legacy, our history was about seeing challenges and attacking the challenge and always going forward. we did all sorts of things that they said we couldn't do. we built that empire state building 102 stories. we did it in 400 days in the middle of a depression. when you're driving across up state we built that erie canal and opened up the entire west to commerce. we did it on time. did it on budget. did it with men and women wand mules. we've always been the progressive capital of the nation. we ended slavery in this state 35 years before they signed the emancipation proclamation. we declared independence from brittain before they signed the deck a la race of independence.
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-- declaration. we birthed, women's rights movement, environmental movement, all were born in this state in this capitol by this government. [applause] this state has served so many purposes. we've been the gateway to immigration. while other states build walls to keep people out, we open our arms and we invite people in. we're not afraid of the diversity. we celebrate diversity. we are a state of immigrants!. [applause] and we are up state and we are down state and we are black and we are white and we are gay and we are straight but we are one state at the end of the day and we act that way. we come together because we
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are new york. and if we remember those lessons, my friend, there is nothing that is stopping us. this isn't the end. this is the beginning. last year we learned to walk. next year we're going to run. we have the challenges. we have the need. we have the know-how. we have the confidence. we have the credibility. we have the talent. we have the relationship. and we're going to deliver for this great state the best is yet to be. they ain't seen nothing yet! 2012, is the year that we're going to make the empire state the empire state once again and we're going to make the dreams of this state a reality. thank you and god bless you. [applause]
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>> now florida governor rick scott delivers the annual state of the state address. he comments on the unemployment rate, education spending and the cost of living in florida. governor scott has announced plans to seek re-election in 2014. this is 35 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please have a seat. the senate president didn't have to introduce me because they are all doing it
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outside. [laughter] also took me longer to walk in today because i think i know a lot more people this year. so, and, -- [laughter] [applause] it is great to be here. the, i just want to tell you before i start, i have really enjoyed all of you, just meeting everybody and just the commitment everybody has to this state. so thank you very much and thanks for everything you've done. how nice you have been to my family. so, all right, get started. thank you very much. my fellow floridians, president haridopolos, members, speaker cannon, members of the florida senate and members of the florida house of representatives, chief justice canady. members of the florida supreme court, my fellow cabinet members, chief
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financial, attorney general pam bondi. chief financial officer jeff atwater. commissioner adam putnam and my partner, lieutenant governor jennifer carroll. [applause] it's an honor to be with everyone of you here and it is a real special honor for me to be your governor. as you know i've always been a big believer getting to work early. but this is the first time we have ever shown up for work two months early. until i told that to my family last night and they said, do you think anybody will get it? and they said, well we got it. hopefully they will. let me start by introducing my wife of 39 years, ann. [applause]
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ann. i'm real honored that my daughter allison is right next to her and her husband. [applause] and her husband pierre and my, our, our, grandson, august. so is -- [applause] he is eight weeks old today. so. and i apologize for everybody that i have had to show pictures of him too. when allison and other daughter was born. we didn't have iphones. i couldn't show pictures. i'm real thankful that my family is here. [applause] people ask ann and me why we ran for this job and clearly we ran for this job
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together. when i told ann and trying to talk ann she would be great, would it be fine if i ran, great as long as i don't have to give speeches. three days later she was giving talks we called them. so we clearly ran for office together so. but the reason we ran is, you know, there is one simple truth. we, we can never look at our children, allison and jordan, our son-in-laws, our grandchild, august, without feeling our love for them. and we know that this type of love also carries a very specific duty. that duty is to leave our children a better place than we inherited it. [applause] it is same duty that probably brought each of you to this chamber today. and a duty that extends to all the children, every child of this great state. like you, we're willing to give our all to make fall absolutely the best place to live and raise a family.
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a state where you can find a job. get a quality education, for your children. a state where you can enjoy a low cost of living, free of burdensome taxes and unnecessary government interference. a state where dreams absolutely become a reality each and every day. last session together we made the changes necessary to improve the opportunities for the citizens of our state. education, pensions and medicare reforms. coupled with government reorganization and deregulation. all of those things have helped produce jobs. they saved taxpayers money and they improve the education of our children and bring down the cost of living for all floridians. we worked together to accomplish all of this. and so if i haven't told each of you face-to-face, on behalf of all the citizens
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of this great state, thank you, thank you, thank you. [applause] like all of you, as you know, i love this job. i love my work. i tell everybody, tell people everywhere i go if you like people and you want to try to make a difference there is absolutely no better job than being governor of the greatest state in the country, the governor of florida. i have been on the job for a year now and i have traveled all over the state. i have been to all sorts of small towns. all the large towns. i tell everybody if they say they live in city, i probably was there two weeks ago. i've had the honor of meeting and listening to thousands of floridians and they have shared with me their joyce and their concerns. and you know what? it turns out they share the same joy and the same concerns. the joy is, in living in this most special place. given the opportunity to
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live in florida. a place of sunshine. a place of beaches. we have cities that pulse with energy and light. a place where rivers, clear rivers flow to blue oceans and a place where bold people come to build their dreams. from our shores we have launched men into the moon and with the same brave spirit, millions have come here to plant their flag in florida soil to build something new and better. i know an and i did. many of you have felt that same joy here. but with that joy comes a lagging doubt. when i talk to floridians, they worry that their best opportunities are behind them. that their children may never experience the security and prosperity that they have known. they wonder, whether the ringing proctor & gamble thatmation of progress has been silent -- proclamation of has been silent. opportunity we once saw within our reach, may
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instead now be unattainable. it is clearly understandable that they would feel this doubt. following a series of very, very prosperous and productive years, floridians saw the unemployment rate begin to steadily climb in 2006. from a low of 3.3% that year, to it grew to a high of 12% in december 2010. floridians saw home values drop, wages decline and jobs and opportunities fade away. my fellow floridians, i'm here today to tell you that promise and opportunity absolutely will return. in fact, they are returning. even as we meet here today. we have many miles to go and some of them clearly will be painful. our higher journey is already underway. this year and today, we see the rebirth of even greater
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florida. but don't take my word for it. let's look at the numbers. in the past year floridians, not government, created almost 135,000,000 new private sector jobs. -- 135,000 new private sector jobs. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank goodness because everybody remembers i said 7 steps and 700,000 jobs. i'll be glad when i get to the 700,000. we netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011. that is the third most of any state in the nation. in florida those new jobs
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produced the second largest drop in unemployment in the country. there is only one state ahead of us. so, when my campaign, when i said let's get to work, it wasn't just a slogan. florida got to work and each floridian deserves the credit. [applause] but who also deserves the credit are each of year, the legislators in this room. last year you passed and i signed a budget. we balanced without raising taxes or fees. despite a revenue short fall of nearly $4 billion. . .
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in population. this is a clear sign to the promise of florida still burns bright, and i should add to all of our friends and new york come on down and illinois. [applause] our temperature rell doors is about twice as high as yours and your tax burden per citizen is about twice as high as ours.
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those are good numbers for us. think about it the state of new york which is about the same population as florida has a budget roughly twice as large as ours. they say temperature and then i ask what the tax is you have to pay dramatically less. so, you as a legislature all need to be commended for years of tough decisions balancing the budget and delivering quality services and education and infrastructure for their citizens at half price new yorkers pay. half the price. [applause] and for those of those already in florida would do these numbers tell us? it is long the decisions we make in the next few months will determine whether we continue to create a business climate that will be producing jobs and
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opportunity for floridians whether we fully recapture the spirit of human potential which is a floridian i'm absolutely convinced that we will. my friend the state of our state will continue to improve. [applause] there are many. i'd like to focus on what i believe are the three most important jobs i have as your governor. one, ensuring that the floridians are able to gain employment, never to, securing the right of every floridian so the quality education. and three come keep the cost of living had low. the families and businesses that are in our state can continue to prosper and grow. and the ones that are here know
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they have to get there as soon as they can. when it comes to jobs, it's important to remind ourselves the private businesses create jobs not government. what the government gives to one person hasn't been taken in the pocket of somebody else. something arrogant and overreaching in thinking we have this wisdom to micromanage and economy. having spent decades in business in the government i am convinced more than ever that with few exceptions the best thing the government can do is to create a level playing field and then get out of the way. [applause]
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a [applause] what happens to competition people get a better all gets better service, prices get better. so, if we put the florida companies in the position where we can now compete companies in any of the state in any other country what happens? jobs are going to grow like crazy. as we all know, small businesses create most of the jobs in florida. i know this from my own experience. i started the business with single shops so my mom could have a job. we had the two shops and more employees. the two resources were critical in allowing me or any small business to grow and create
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these jobs. every window but i sold it gives me more capital to hire more people and buy more equipment and by the way you don't have to worry about all your employees needing your doughnuts. after the second day it's too hard. i've always said it didn't have as many doughnuts as they wanted and the second day they didn't need any. [laughter] after we sold out five of doughnuts. [laughter] so i'm back to eating donuts. but every minute i spent focused on the business resulted in growth and more jobs. so we have somebody in the gallery today also knows something about the potential of the job creation in the doughnut shops. rachel came to the united states 12 years ago in the philippines and she has owned anybody from tampa she has owned nicola's donuts in tampa for the last year. so she hosted the in my first get to work day and i told her i
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wouldn't be the best at making doughnuts but i know how to solve them and it worked out. we sold out 240 dozen. at 6 o'clock they were all gone by 8:30. so, she is been in business for 30 years. they have two locations. they've been voted best donuts in tampa and one of the 24 best donuts in america by the troubled leisure magazine. they've recently added cupcakes and my mom came down and now we know how to sell a great apples redder. so, rachel and her husband are here. if they will stand up and they are a great example. [applause]
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they are a great example of the hard work it takes to run a small business and just how our economy will grow. i'm gerry appreciative. one thing about this job is there's media around a little bit. so i was -- rachel flout i was speaking to long so she brought a bunch of doughnuts to me and told me i had to get to work. [laughter] the media of course loved that. so, taxes and regulations. they were the big destroyers of the capitol time for small businesses. almost every dollar that i earned as a shop owner went to a little do not shop. so every dollar taken in taxes slows the growth and that impacts jobs. almost every minute i had in the day also went towards growing our small business. so to every minute i spent addressing some new rules and regulation also slows growth.
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when the growth is slow what happens? jobs are the first casualty. for this session we need to lower the burdensome taxes on small businesses and continue our mission of slashing the red tape. [applause] we also improved machinery by which the government seekers can get a job. i propose greater accountability for the work force to submit tax money is not the state and the purpose of the boards is fulfilled to get people jobs. that's the entire purpose and the only purpose.
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i'm also a asking you to require job training for those who are overseeing the amount climate tracks. [applause] ensure like in your life and my life every challenge creates the opportunity and time in between jobs gives unemployed floridians the opportunity to learn more skills. by lowering taxes and eliminating unnecessary regulations are critical to the bedrock of any sound sustainable economy is the key to work force. well equipped to meet the challenges of an advanced global marketplace. in my own life i've seen firsthand how education puts the american dream within reach. as you know i grew up poor and delivered newspapers for 5 cents a week or $5 a week and when i wasn't delivering newspapers i was selling tv guide's and we can probably remember that for 4 cents a copy and i flip hamburgers for 85 cents an hour.
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i learned every one of those jobs. today i stand before you privileged to be the governor of the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. this is the american dream. [applause] it is a story told a thousand times with each generation. and the means by which it is accomplished is an effective and accountable education system. so we can have great weather, bjs, when you of the wonderfully strategic location, which we have, but they don't provide the intellectual power estimate for businesses competitive we would become a footnote when this history is written. but if we can continue to create a culture of excellence in now with schools, a full chapter in
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the history that disguise the real beginning of a mighty prosperous nation and state. [applause] we begin to do this by building on the success of the last session when wheat increase school choice for florida's parents. we also refocused the all dated tenure system into the system that can reward the best performers for excelling in educating our students. as you know, as you each no none of that is particularly easy but all of this is obviously necessary. if we are to give our children the chance to grasp the future, i want to thank each of you for your willingness for those issues because i think it will have a dramatic impact on the state to. i spent the past two years listening all about the vision
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for the future of our state. i would like to take a moment now to recognize one of the talented her working educators that taught me a great deal about a bright future for our students and the state. here with us today in the gallery heather is a first-year teacher in the community. i had the opportunity to meet her when i taught school for a day this fall. heather is very committed to her students. she teaches american governments of a high school. her students are -- she teaches honors and advanced placement, english -- easy for me -- english-language lerner's every day, and as all of us have hopes and dreams for our future and our grandkids future, so do her students. when i talk to her students there to do everything from being a chef to a veterinarian, they want to be a hair dresser, a doctor, a lawyer, some of the
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module and shops, they are not sure which ones yet but they want to own shops. but educators like heather, these students and their dreams are clearly what is going to drive the prosperity of the state's. i want to thank you for all you do. [applause] micha other daughter taught special needs kids for four years and comes back to the third degree now but these teachers gistel of their students. you can see it with hatari and her kids and i can see it with my daughter. after traveling the state in listening to parents, teachers like heather and other students, i heard one thing very clearly. over and over. floridians truly believe support
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for education is the most significant thing we can do to ensure short-term job growth and long-term economic prosperity for the state. and you know what, they absolutely right. that's why this session i asked you to continue your commitment to education to ensure the difficult decisions we must make on the budget are focused on prioritizing the things we all know are essentials to the future of the great state. as you know, my recommended a budget includes $1 billion in new state funding for education. [applause] i ask each of you to consider that, my recommendation very carefully, think about it very carefully. and as you know and as i have said on this point, i just can't budge. i'd ask you again to send me the budget that significantly

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