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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  November 23, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EST

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"washington journal" is next. host: thanksgiving week begins. it is monday, november 23, 2009. we will begin this first half hour asking you about the influence of lobbyists, not only about the health-care debate, but more broadly on capitol hill. we would like to weigh in with your thoughts. you can reach us also at you can also e-mail us at c-
7:01 am just a reminder -- if you have phoned in in the last 30 days, please give others a chance. the military is saying that four military service members have been killed in the last 24 hours in afghanistan. no says it three died in southern afghanistan on sunday, two killed by a bomb attack and the third in this effort firefight. -- and of the third in this separate fire fight. the healthcare debate heats up -- this is al "the wall street journal" plays it. 60-39 votes on saturday night set the stage for as many as three weeks of debate and compromise in december and perhaps more in january.
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we want to bring to your attention a headline about lobbying in the healthcare debate and rescue more broadly, who has the bigger influence? here's the front page of "usa today" -- a number of organization hiring firms doubles. in doubles companies and groups hiring lobbying firms on health issues nearly doubled this year. about 1000 organizations have hired lobbyist since january, compared with 505 during the same period in 2008.
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more articles about lobbying, particularly with the healthcare debate. thoughts on who has the bigger influence in washington? constituents or lobbyists? good morning, mike, on the line for democrats. caller: good morning, thank you for c-span. you do a great job. the lobbyist industry, the hired guns, have the most influence. the taxpayer, you and me, we are nobody. we mean nothing to the elected officials. and healthcare debate really to me is a debate about, it is about -- is should be about campaign finance reform. the staggering amount of money
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that they are spending, the lobbyists, industry, against the taxpayer -- a suggestion, at two,o quickly,ne, i'm interested to hear from republicans since every republican in the senate voted against the healthcare business -- aren't there taxpayer republicans out there with healthcare issue problems, financial, of bankruptcies? is there any way you could set a line for republicans to call if you have issues and problems with the healthcare? that is my first suggestion. my second, quickly, you have the aflcio guy on -- host: that is right. caller: i think that one of six jobs is related to automobiles. we just had cash for clunkers for the japanese car companies
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made out like bandits and the taxpayers bailed out gm. but we have a cash for clunkers for the taxpayer who bailed out gm? host: thanks for your input. this is neal, an independent caller, from new york city. caller: i think that the lobbyist hold the high cards right now because they control the funding on electro events. if we could commandeer -- the funding on a like toelectoral e. i think during time of elections we should have commandeer the airwaves in have mandatory debates. try to basically fund the election processes. then these politicians will not have to worry about raising
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money all the time. host: here is a headline this morning from "the new york times" -- party for cash, senator max baucus will be busy trying to steer a massive health care reform through congress, but not so busy that he will be able to find time to hit washington's fund raise tdraisiy circuit. here is a republican caller, from mexico. caller: yes, i would like to
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know, going off the other individual who talked about the lobbyists -- seems like the democrat party if you look at them all, to see what they have in their background, where they're getting a majority of their money. that is all i would like to say about that -- i would use nancy pelosi as an example. host: been on the democrats' line from dallas county, missouri. caller: good morning. i think the lobbyists have the greatest influence. they have the money. the insurance companies' a and t only them, but these home health-care that handle things like respirators and one thing and another, let me give you a little example and i will not take long -- i have a bad hip
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and the only medical care that i want is through the va. i have been disabled since 1987. i good to see my primary doctor there and he has a consultation to physical therapy -- physical therapy phones me and sends me and air mattress for my bed. i was curious so i get the model number of it and we have an hmo home health care here in buffalo -- i want to know what it costs. i figured maybe $75, $100. it cost $1,560. that was a hospital-sized air mattress. host: that is what the va paid
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for it? caller: they come i'm sure that the va got it for less -- but the older people who needed -- the medicare and medicaid, they have to pay for that. you know that the air mattress did not cost that, but that is how they are ripping off medicare and medicaid. this all leads to be closed host: up thanks for your input, dean. here is a tweet. this is one organization that human not expect to have a voice in the health-care fight -- back to this article today, they write that the american beverages association hired a fifth lobbying firm as a work to kill federal excise tax on sugary drinks to help pay for the bill.
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the group spent $7.30 million on logging during a three-month period. good morning, russell. berkely spring. caller: in may when senator max baucus kicked off hearings, he had three days of hearings and 41 people scheduled to testify, not one of which favored canadian-style, single-payer healthcare which the majority of americans are shown to want through polls. a group of us stood up and asked max baucus to give voice to some doctors to favor single-payer. we were in the hearing room and stood up. senator baucus had us all arrested were charged with
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destruction of congress. this man takes so much insurance industry money -- this is the problem with democrats -- they're taking insurance industry money and cut a dirty deal with obama. they say if you take single- payer of the bill, we will support it. and they did. it was right before the gavel came down. i was the first one to stand up and say, senator baucus, we need to do this -- could you please let this doctor testified? this week, later, a group of activists are going to call this bill of turkey, called for its defeat -- it is a 2000 page monstrosity. single-payer activists are opposing this bill. we want them to start from scratch enjoying congressman kucinich and others who voted against it.
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it is a bill of health insurance industry. start from scratch and push for single-payer. that press conference will be at the national press club on wednesday. host: what date was it when you were arrested? caller: i don't know the exact day, but it was the early part of may. host: things, we go to raleigh, n.c., john on the republican line. caller: thank you. everyone thinks the lobbyists have all this financial influence because of the financial and put into the political campaigns, but the voters in the end will have the say. the voters are being very observant now with their representatives and senators in congress. i think in 2010 that a lot of folks will get a big wake-up call when it comes to really does run d.c.
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for all the men and women serving in the military overseas, we are very thankful to you and your families sacrifice on our holiday weekend. god bless america. host: about 15 more minutes of your calls on who has the bigger influence in washington? constituents or lobbyists? here this headline, the catholic bishops flex their muscles at the opportunities ahead. emboldened by success and inserting restrictive abortion language and to the house healthcare bill, roman catholic bishops said they have found of the model that could provide the latter voice in future policy debates.
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inside this story, i will turn the page and go little deeper into this story -- they write, churches strategic decisions are significant because with catholics representing 30%, the largest single religious group among members of congress, it can gain access across party lines. while pressuring democratic leaders to adjust to the abortion coverage language earlier this month and the bishops simultaneously contacted republican members and warned them against using procedural tactics to torpedo an amendment. a related story this morning about patrick kennedy. the bishop in rhode island -- this is in "the new york daily news" -- the bishop bent him on communion. the bishop of rhode island
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confirmed yesterday he has asked rep patrick kennedy to stop receiving communion because he is pro-choice. kennedy is the son of late senator ted kennedy, the last remaining member of america's most powerful roman catholic plan serving in congress. part of the reasoning behind this is also in this article, which that patrick kennedy and his bishops have clashed repeatedly in the past in a recent series of public letters sparked by the churches opposition to cover abortion
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under the democrats sweeping health care reform proposals. we get to massachusetts next on the democrats online. this is max. caller: good morning. i'm a first-time caller. i definitely believe lobbyist have more influence than they should be given. it is a pay-for-play program. whenever lobbyists pay they get to read the bill and the american people suffer. host: orange, calif., michael on the republican line. who has the bigger influence? caller: good morning, first, i am a roman catholic republican. i hope you will let me comment on what you just read. we see that as catholics we have laws we have to follow. abortion is one that goes against them.
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anyone who does not follow those laws we consider heretics and they are outside the church. nancy pelosi, john kerry, ted kennedy or another -- they are basically heretics and outside the church. i'm not sure why the church is just now saying this after years and years. on what the lobbyists say, they have to be more powerful than constituents because there are 40,000 of them. they are in washington, d.c. every day. take someone like me who has never been to d.c. we hear about the billions they donate to politicians. when you just read about max baucus, how is it that on this crucial healthcare debate he can be having all these fund- raisers? the politicians are worse than the lobbyists because they are taking money from both sides. i do not know if you see that as
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corruption, but during the healthcare debate their meeting with lobbyists from the healthcare industry. there is something very wrong with that. i appreciate you letting me make my comments this morning. host: this is inside "usa today" -- the vote for the senate debate just began. to secure the 60 votes, he writes, those needed to overturn a filibuster, reid bowed it to request by wavering democrats such as lincoln from arkansas who wanted 72 hours to review the bill, landrieu from louisiana who supported a provision that would increase medicaid funding to her state -- and hours after the vote, this tension still remained on
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display over more fundamental issues such as how to pay for the legislation. below this article here that have a large chart on interest groups, lobbyists, and other groups who have a stake in the healthcare debate. a look at those starting with doctors, hospitals, drug companies, insurance companies, employers, singers, the uninsured. good morning, new jersey. caller: good morning. happy holidays to the listeners. i definitely believe that there is too much influence. my numbers registered over $600 million spent between advertising, drug companies, insurance companies to influence this bill. i cannot see how we can have a
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bill with that much influence going on. knocked to change the subject, but churches with injuring about this abortion part, i really believe that the church will get so political that they start to pay taxes -- not to change the subject. there is supposed to be separation between church and state. they should not be able to put that much influence on senators. host: all right, ron. bill on the democrats' line from st. louis. caller: good morning. it would be the lobbyists by a landslide. if they represented mike tyson the american people would be pee wee herman. you don't think they get that job of $150,000 per year -- you don't think they spend millions to get a job that pays $115,000
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per year. they get the job because the get rich from selling the american people out from lobbyists. our company has been criminally mismanaged for the last 50 years and is going down a hole. host: all kinds of different groups on capitol hill. here is an article concerning one of them, talking turkey is lobbyists gravy train. as most washington citizens continue to focus solely on the health-care debate, wells and have the best signal did in town -- chief lobbyist for the gobble lobby. -- he may have the biggest gog in town.
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inside "the roll call" -- mr. wells last year at the annual pardoning of the turkey, a white house tradition going back many presidencies. they write the one of the highly visible traditions is the of coming pardoning of the national thanksgiving turkey by president barack obama -- the lucky bird is from the chairman of the federation's turkey farm. it will be on c-span this week.
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sam francisco, good morning to don, republicans caller. caller: how are you doing? host: fine, thanks. go ahead. caller: the first thing. the woman who enters the phone does not tell me how long i will be on line. host: sometimes it is hard to tell. we appreciate your patience. caller: i don't know whether 25 minutes or 70 minutes, but they can usually narrow it down. i'm disgusted with my republican colleagues. i'm a diehard republican. the party of lincoln. i am disgusted that these people are so caught up in a political maelstrom of democrat versus republican that they cannot see that americans needh
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health care americans -- that americans need health care. hello! the americans the health care just as germans, french, british need health care. bickering over dollar and cents -- in a good republican because i will send you $100 million, but we'll have people coming to the emergency rooms. there will cost you $200 billion. host: one more call here, robert is on the independent line. caller: i do not agree -- nothing -- concerning previous callers.
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the congressmen and senators have turned into thieves by taking the lobbyists' money. why is the catholic church on non-profit organization? how can they go up there to lobby at all? if the country really wants to help they ought to start taxing these non-profit organizations. i think the lobbyists, heavily more power than with the should have. down here in my local town, everyone wants -- this local politician wants everyone to vote for him, but we will not because he is standing up for local insurance companies. in a moment we will speak with walter pincus.
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we'll turn our attention to national security, including the competition among intelligence agencies. >> things given week on c-span, a look at partisan politics in america. a look ahead to 2012. what is there?
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the role of the media. assessing the obama presidency. tuesday night, the first state dinner as obama welcomes the indian prime minister. also, three nights of documentary's beginning with the supreme court on thursday night. >> coming this been skimming, american icons -- three nights on the comic homes of the three branches of american government. -- coming this weekend. friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the white house. beyond the velvet ropes. our visit shows the grand public places as well as the rarely- seen places. and then the capitaol.
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three memorable nights, thursday, friday, and saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. "washington journal" continues. host: walter pincus is the national security reporter for "the washington post." welcome. you wrote last week about the developing turf war between the director of intelligence and the cia. you said the tension that had arisen between the two had to be settled by national security adviser james jones through some solomon-like measures. what were some of those festering issues? guest: the director of central intelligence previously through legislation had been running everything, at least in name.
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the new director of national intelligence is kind of finding its way as to what he runs and what remains with the agency. these issues had been around for a while. one of them developed over who would be the director of national intelligence representative in capitals around the world. traditionally it has been the cia. although dennis blair did not have any one particular to name his carving out his territory. the issue arose over whether the cia would remain as the top intelligence group. that bounced back and forth. it began before blair came in and was finally settled by jones at the cia would remain, this station chief, would remain there. two other issues came up at the same time.
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one was who would represent the intelligence community at the national security conference meetings at the white house. and at different levels. that was decided by the director of national intelligence. the toughest one was the question of covert action. it is a presidentially-directed covert action not to be disclosed. has to be done by law, the president has to signed a finding. it directs the cia to carry it out. the director of national intelligence wanted to be in that mix. because it is a direct connection to the agency, it was a tussle over that and decided the direct line between the president and cia would remain. in those areas where they wanted
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their to be some oversight, when the white house, the nfc, , the president directed it to be done and said the national director could step in. host: backtrack a little bit for us. how did this director of intelligence, that office serve? guest: in the wake of congress believing, and to some degree the general public -- that something had to be done because of the intelligence failures that people said it mounted up. the cia did not predict or stop or disrupt the 9/11 attack. then the over-staging of saddam hussein's wmd's. so, what they did in effect was to put someone on top of the cia and the other 15 agencies.
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host: intelligence agencies? guest: a coordination job. people believe that the cia is the central agency and it is in analysis and spine overseas. but there are 15 other agencies, most of them inside the pentagon. the pentagon is the 800 lb intelligence gorilla. they have all the money -- 80% spent on intelligence goes through the pentagon. host: you been out of the entire intelligence budget, 80% goes to the pentagon intelligence, 20% to the cia? guest: no, not even 20%. you have other agencies. the state department has one, the treasury has one, the department of energy has one. the cia budget is substantially increase, probably 15%, maybe.
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but you needed in the old days and still do -- that the director of central intelligence now and again now the director of national intelligence has to get along with the secretary of defense. we are in a very lucky position for intelligence right now because of the gates is secretary of defense who was at one time the director of central intelligence, so there is a meeting of the mines. host: adding this extra layer of bureaucracy, has it improved intelligence-gathering? has it improved oversight? guest: oversight really depends on the agencies themselves primarily, and on congress. what it is and what is being sorted out is sort of who has the authority where. the one really positive thing gained is a new sense of working together which you did not have
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before. it was a stove-piped. the cia did their thing, the defense intelligence did their thing, and to some degree special forces did their thing. there is much more collaboration now. put an end the director of national intelligence was good in some ways. in other ways it is another layer, another layer of approval -- putting in the director was good. host: you read an article about the fbi watchlist. 1600 are suggested daily. you wrote in march that the u.s. intelligence committee suggested on a daily basis that 6 in hundred people qualified for the list because they presented a reasonable suspicion.
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this article was written before the shootings at. fort at why would somebody like hussan not have made it on this list? guest: we are still in the process of finding that out. this is a collaborative effort. you have people feeding data at an enormous rate. how you sort through it -- what list that you get put on is amazing. when i first read about these lists, three years ago there were something like 150,000 names. now there are 450,000. there are multiple names, particularly terrorists themselves have multiple names. again, this is one of these
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complicated things. the tsa people at the department of transportation sort through when you get on planes to have one last, another list of people who cannot fly. then there is the fbi with a major list. then the national counter- terrorism center has the master list. host: one of the challenges is issues with personnel? what do they have enough personnel to oversee this? guest: you have a language problem, for one. much of the material is in arabic. you have trouble recruiting people to do translation. once you start talking about people's names and you have different people supplying the names it becomes a real mess. host: let's hear from the viewers. corona, calif., good morning,
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gloria, on the democrats' line. caller: on a show someone mentioned in detention camps in the united states so i went to the library and find out the joint chiefs of staff -- buildings throughout the states, some are old military bases. they claim there is a red, blue, yellow list with different names on them. do you know of anything like that? some are like concentration camps. host: are you talking about detainee camps like guantanamo detainees -- where they would go? caller: no, these are throughout every state, armed and ready for something, some influx of a large quantity. host: do you know anything about that? guest: no, and i do not -- i
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hate the idea when people get nervous and scared. stories develop like this. people who have access to media push them. it scares people. it is nothing i have ever heard of. i doubt it. host: good morning, on the independent line. caller: one of the last two journalists, walter, and i am glad to speak to you this morning. intelligence agencies were not fitting the white house the information they wanted to hear so they develop their own out of the defense department. i have a little information because one of my cousins work for it, and extremely intelligent man, capable of doing anything he was told to do. which probably included feeding some false information to mr. cheny's office to get to the
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president to influence his decisions at that particular time. pretty much cooking the books as far as i'm concerned. it put a pretty big riff in my family because of our particular beliefs in politics. that is why i'm pretty much an independent because i want to stay out of it. it does not matter what kind of information is coming out if you cherry pick what you want. unless the intelligence is turre across the board, our leaders can do what they want. guest: i think you are right. that was one of the issues during the bush. bush how people just chose to believe what they wanted to. -- during the bush administration. that is where it led us. one of the interesting things going on today is that president
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obama is sorting through the intelligence. there is a real disagreement right now. both internally and a externally -- as to the threat from the afghan taliban, the pakistani taliban, and from groups in afghanistan who are just plain gangsters and drug dealers. it is a very complex issue. you have to sort through it to decide what your policy will be. i think that is going on now. host: the me ask you about iran. over the weekend it staged war games and sits on the nuclear offer from the west. guest: what you are seeing is iran acting in a nationalistic way, not to our best interests,
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but to theirs. we have been threatening a iran for a decade now. in their effort to get their nuclear power and potential for a nuclear weapon we have been through the bush administration when we wanted with policy to overturn their government. they are being threatened militarily by the israelis to blow up these sites. they are going through what they see for themselves. i think that we have to watch it. but i think we have to watch what we say and do. one of the ironies today in iran is that the opposition to the government in the election turns out to be the people who were objecting to this deal that amandhmadinejad made.
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there is an objection to the policy of america to stop them from doing what they think they ought to be able to do. whether or not it will build a nuclear weapon. they want the ability. host: how to reconcile differences between the estimate that came out a couple of years ago that said they were not interested in building a weapon, and a more recent news that they might be on that course? guest: the course, they are on is the potential to build a nuclear weapon. there are at least two elements involved. first is to get the nuclear material. the material that is enriched
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uranium. the tricky part is that at a lower level it is what you use in nuclear power plant. the second element, are they working to design a warhead? that is where the intelligence said they had stopped. that is very hard to discover whether they are going back and doing it. there are probably disagreements among intelligence agencies. certainly the israelis feel they are going ahead with a warhead. we do not have conclusive evidence of that. host: next up is in new orleans and 20 on the caller: democrat'' line good morning. mr. walter pincus, pre-9/11, i would like to know your opinion if you think this is really bizarre.
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the intelligence in charge before 9/11, through its come up to and through the iraq war, is anyone in any agencies losing their job? it they were given medals. i'm starting to think that maybe it is the lsd that i ate in the 1960's that is causing me not to see the logic in this. maybe you can explain? guest: i think what you're talking about is president bush giving the medal of freedom to george tenet, the director of central intelligence, both 9/11 and in the iraq period. that is much more a political thing for george bush because if you remember he also gave a medal to the general who sort
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of did the invasion of iraq which turned out not to have been totally prepared for what happened afterward. at that period of time, the interest in the bush white house was to make things look good. at a time when there were not looking good. host: here is a caller on the independent line. caller: good morning. you have a nursing a lot of operations, mr. walter pincus. my favorites authors run the gamut. i want to throw out a few things and you can respond to whatever it interest you. the 1993 world trade center bombing was supervised by an fbi mull who was surprised -- fdr knew about pearl harbor but we needed it to get. into the get
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muhammed's nephew was in the 9/11 world trade bombing which is current to what we are dealing with today. guest: that covers a lot of ground and conspiracy theories. in some cases, i hate to meant going back to the second world war, i think president roosevelt did the right thing by helping the british before we got into the war. the other ones, that fbi i doubt was involved in 9/11. i don't even want to talk about the u2. host: a couple of sundays she rode about the potential nuclear treaty with russia. u.s. officials optimistic about a new nuclear treaty with russia. why does this have to be done?
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guest: the current start treaty runs out december 5. it is important to keep, particularly the verification issue going. i think they may or may not reach some kind of agreement. what they will reach is in agreement on straddling the of period of time between finalizing a treaty which is very complicated and reaching the agreement to keep the current agreements in effect. this treaty was put together in 1991 at a time when we and the soviet union are facing -- thousands of warheads on alert. in the intervening time the russian systems have gradually been less-well taken care of, so
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the threat is not there. but we have to keep the treaty in place because not everyone else is looking at us. if we and the russians can agree, then you will have a better movement broadly of cutting down numbers and making it less of a desire by other countries to build nuclear weapons. host: you write that a more contentious issue has been reducing the number of nuclear- capable bombers and land or submarine-based missiles with the russians pressing for deeper cuts than the u.s. side. why is russia pressing for more and reluctant to give? guest: part of it is a numbers issue. our systems, some that deliver strategic nuclear weapons from the u.s. to targets three dozen
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miles away -- we're thinking of putting conventional warheads on them. we can now target much better with precision strikes. they do not need a nuclear weapon to carry out the mission. host: as with these predators drones? guest: no, these are icbm's. missiles with conventional warhead -- can do great damage to what has now been a new thing, to bury your facilities underground. host: san diego, on the republican line. caller: ok, good morning. i'm calling because i have been a victim of terrorism for the last two years gangs. this has something to do with me
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feeling like i have been exposed to weapons. this has been going on for thousands of americans across the u.s. i have contacted officials and on forssmann and there has been no response. host: what kind? caller: gang-stalker terrorism. host: do you know anything about that? guest: no. host: middletown, conn. caller: the journalist had in the recently nuclear north korea -- that close call, can you explain, help an american overseas look to some form of
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safety through whom? the embassies? the nato alliance is? host: what specifically are you asking about korea? caller: i'm really concerned about the issue of the safety of american people abroad. is there when they travel or are on the job in another country. what things are being done? host: the state department raises concerns on countries. has that increased lately? guest: no, i think what the caller is talking about are the two american journalists who wandered over the border of north korea. in that case -- you have another
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case in iran, people who take chances like that have to be careful. in the case of the two americans who wandered into north korea as journalists, they eventually did get out. it becomes a political issue, but certainly the state department of the government works quite hard to bring them back to safety. host: on iran, why is it america's job to make sure they're not some thread? no one seems to answer that question. on china there is a store this morning in the ap that beijing has criticized the report that chinese sties are aggressively stealing american secrets. a report said that american officials believe that chinese spying is growing in scale,
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intensity, and sophistication and urges congress to review the bully to meet the rising challenge of such beijing has been knowledge. guest: the terrible thing of covering these issues -- all these years i can remember at the end of the cold war one of the big issues was that we had to develop defenses against economic espionage because the chinese, french and everybody else were stealing our economic secrets. this is a group that is devoted to watching this kind of thing. i think you are finding that the economic espionage between companies and now between governments supporting companies has been going on for years. every once in awhile it gets raised. this is an economic group whose
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job is to raise this kind of issue. host: has cyber-spying become a greater challenge in the last few years? guest: that very thing is also hacking, which people do just for fun. as far as i can tell there is no permanent way to protect what you put out there on the internet. in the and there's no way to protect telephones and telephone lines. people in america, one of the issues is, who's going to control cyber defense? who is going to get all of our companies this way of talking to one another? who will protect it? host: here is don, charleston.
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caller: i have read a good deal about the buildup to iraq and just wanted to ask your opinion. there was a lot of influence from the israeli lobby, and many jewish journalists who were influential in pushing this country into war. i see the same thing now i thing nowran been demonized. false reports that they are a threat. dow you see that happening agai? what is the effect of the israeli lobby parting us into war? guest: i am jewish and i read about the danger of going into war. i don't think it is a universal aim.
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so you can take that one off the table. i think that israel, however, does have a strong interest and fear of a riran. it is made none. there is an israeli lobby which has a big effect in this country. we also agree o write about its. it is part of democracy. there are lobbies for all sorts of things, some of more powerful than others. it is up to us to try to inform the public. and expect our government to deal not with what lobbies say, but with the facts. host: you have also written about this proposed shield legislation set to come before the synod. attorney general holder was asked about it last week in the
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justice committee -- set to come before the senate, this shield of legislation that is proposed. what is it? guest: this is a law that we give journalists protection from subpoenas by the federal government as they now have protection under state law. it is one of these things in which the industry itself feels it needs protection. my view of this is personal. i have a law degree. in law school i read about privileges, attorney-client privilege, doctor-patient, and so on. they were all given by the court. i think that it is unseemly for journalists to go to congress to
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lobby for a bill protecting us. the same people we argue should not be lobbied by other people. it is that contradiction. it also does not really change things. in most cases in which i have been involved involve national security. that status would not change under this law. but that is not why i have my doubts about it. host: savannah, ga., on the republican line. just make sure that you've mute your tv or radio. caller: on this thing about the vice-president under george bush bringing in false information -- what he inferred, for george bush to begin the war in iraq --
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before george bush became president there was information on iraq coming from england and other foreign countries. and from the previous administration of clinton and hillary clinton herself all agreed this was going on in iraq. i want to know why you try to blame it on the vice-president? guest: i think it is one thing to have information that saddam hussein may be trying to build things. it is another to use it to justify invading the country. there are other things that could have been done. and that were being done with saddam hussein to keep him lockblocked in. he was a terrible leader. the country is prole better for the fact that he was not there.
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it caused diversion from afghanistan and the loss of 4000 americans. and and told people being permanently disabled. there is quite a price to pay for whatever results we are getting. host: you spoke earlier about the technology challenges facing us -- though tsa and cia watchless. there is a lead story this morning on tracking sex crime offenders. it gets trickier. . .
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guest: if you are very clever with hacking, you could probably brought a bank and nobody would know. host: do you think officers are relying more on data then on the street reporting? guest: they are no different than we are, of reporters. they divulge sources and try to find out what is going on -- they develop sources and try to find out what is going on. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. it seems pretty clear that
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congress and the american people have been misled going into iraq. the more i've researched it, the more it gets clearer. if you look at the article of impeachment, and all of the evidence that is out there -- why was nothing done? if bill clinton 10 be impeached for lead about having an affair is it that absolutely nothing seems to have been done? thank you. >guest: one of the things you sw was the last election. we vote against people who we think did the wrong thing. host: walter pincus, thank you for joining us. guest: thank you. host: in just a moment, we will hear from ruth goldway, postal regulatory commission chair.
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first, a news update from c-span radio. >> president obama speaks about government initiatives on education this morning, followed by meetings with advisers and the full cabinet. later, the president presents a human rights award to a group that has been challenging the regime of president mugabe. as the president continues to consider strategy at in afghanistan, four u.s. service members have been killed in the last 24 hours. nato says three of the americans died yesterday. the fourth died today in a bomb explosion. senator chuck schumer speaking earlier saying majority democrats will push through a bill with or without republican support. responding to the senator, tae
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bailey hutchison of texas says the democrats are pushing a measure that would impose heavy spending mandates on businesses at a time when the economy is still struggling. several economic reports are expected. u.s. home sales, consumer prices, and jobless benefits are among them. many expect a 3.5% annual growth rate to below worked. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> tonight, net net neutrality. federal communications commission chairman maps out the goals for his agency. >> "washington journal" continues. host: ruth goldway, postal regulatory commission chair.
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how likely is that to happen? guest: if the postal service wants to cut saturday service, they will have to come to the postal regulatory commission. we will determine the cost and benefits and report back to them. in addition, they have to get permission from the congress. the law under which the postal service operates is fairly vague, they do have to deliver six days a week. host: what is behind this consideration of dropping saturday service? guest: the postal service has lost approximately 13% of its volume of mail. is facing billions of dollars in deficits each year. the postal service is looking for ways to save money.
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one of the proposals is to reduce delivery. they have already undertaken activities to reduce services. some of them proveimprove the delivery. they have reduced employees that have better delivery service standard times. some of them are hurting people. they have produced 1/3 of the collection boxes -- they have reduced 1/3 of the collection boxes. host: if they are running at a loss in the post office does not get government funding, how do they fund the debt? guest: in the old days, they would raise prices because of the monopoly. given the internet and the pressure from the downturn in the economy, it's difficult for them to do that. now they're looking for
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different sources of revenue. you may have seen advertisements for click and ship. they are exploring ways to expand some of the services that they provide at post offices. for the most part, and perhaps too much, they have focused on just cutting back. host: ruth goldway is with us until 8:30 for your calls. we will take your tweets ane e-mails. 56% would favor doing that.
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you are the regulatory commission. when you see polls like this, how do you taken to consider public opinion on the postal service? guest: we are tasked with the straassuring that the postal service sufficient into the future. polls are useful, but you have to see what is the most effective for everyone. polling can indicate a moment in time for a particular bias. i do not know if you have seen the stories about the postal service wanting to cut back on santa claus mail. if you were to ask about that in polls, you did a very different
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response. host: the postal service reacted to some negative press on that. guest: i hope so. one of my earliest memories is watching a movie called "miracle on 34th street." the postal service dumps tons of mail in front of the judge addressed to santa claus. i think they made a big mistake on trying to cut back on sat acronta claus. host: might you have a whole new generation who might send santa an e-mail?
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guest: it is one of those things that you cannot substitute for. host: i have a suggestion. i thought for the longest time you could cut a lot of the cost by delivering to odd numbered addresses monday, wednesday, and friday, and even numbers on tuesday, thursday, and saturday. i do not need to get the mail every day. guest: there's a lot of interest in reducing delivery. that is why they are proposing five-day rather than six. a lot of the issue is the drive time and the truck and the sorting of the mail. it is probably just as efficient to go to everybody's home if you're going to be on the street.
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it does seem that many people would be just as happy getting mail five days a week. there are some people who want their mail on saturday morning. package delivery might be one of those areas. figure in of the write-downs will not be easy. host: how has the recession affected the postal service's bottom-line? guest: the recession has been hard on the postal service. the postal service's big growth has been financial millions and millions related to the housing industry. -- housing mailings and mailings related to the housing industry. the question for the postal service is, when the recession is over, will mail volume go back to previous levels?
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it is a question nobody quite knows the answer to. i am sure mail is still powerful, but it may not reach the volumes that it did in the past. caller: good morning. host: welcome. caller: thank you. i have a quick question. over the past several years, have come to realize -- actually, it was years ago when my friend told me about her son who had an internet business. he was ordering free postal service boxes to be delivered to his house, and then he used those to ship his supplies. if you are looking for ways to reduce the cost, what are you giving away boxes and other free
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supplies that have to cost a pretty penny in this economy? guest: those businesses should be using those boxes to use the u.s. mail for delivering their products. the boxes are what we call the competitive side of the postal service business. they said rates to make a profit. the cost of the boxes are included in what the postal service estimates will be its profits. they think by giving them away, they will encourage more people to use them. those kind of small businesses, the ebay kind of businesses are just the businesses that are growing because of the postal service. host: orlando, fla., democrats line.
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caller: i think the problem with the post office is the management structure and the latest set up. in the late 1990's, they started bonuses for supervision and a gave out over $1 billion in the first four years. the way the employees are treated -- the best resources you have are the employees. they do not want to hear anything. it is a pyramid structure and it is run like a communist country. why not use your employees for the benefit of its service? guest: the law requires the postal service to negotiate with its unions. there's no ability pour the unions to go on strike. the labor relations is less than flexible.
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that leads to problems on either side. i would say that in the last several years with the postmaster general jack partner in charge, labor relations have been pretty good. he comes from the background. he is sensitive to it. there are problems when you have these kind of cutbacks. host: how big is the post office in terms of the police? many are union employees? guest: 90% are unionized. it is about 650,000 strong. there has been a big decrease in workforce. host: an article earlier this year co-- the postmaster general got a raise and several perks.
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the changes were approved by the postal board of governors. does that a salary -- does the salary have to be competitive for related industries? guest: in 2006, the congress enacted an amendment which created the postal accountability and the nets but act. it said that the salaries for the top administrators of the postal service could go up too much higher levels than they have been before, precisely so they could compete with the private sector. and the board of governors could compensate the postmaster general, who is the ceo of a huge enterprise.
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there were hearings. some of that deals with retiree benefits that are factored in a way to make it look like it is more of a salary increase than it is. i think that the postal service employees are not overpaid. this is a remarkable industry that is very efficient. wages are not the problem. the problem may be whether they are sensitive to consumers, whether they are innovative enough, whether they are flexible enough. these are hard-working people. caller: thank you. i want to make a four-point comment. there was a report on cnn that some firm that relocates postal people, buys them million-dollar
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homes. there was another report that they spend $1 million per week not to work. if you have been there 6 years, you cannot be laid off. they took the vending machines out of the lobbies because they said they were getting old. cray is subject to this morning. if they reduce the saturday delivery, i hope they will mandate that to deliver five days those weeks there are a holiday. guest: it is one of the complications with dealing with this six-day delivery. what do we do with the long weekends?
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mail is a big driver in the economy. all those people that expect to get paid or give you a financial notices -- if you cut back too much, you will really harm the economy. this is a $68 billion a year company. there are bound to be expenditures that look bad. i am with you that the postal service has been lax with its relocation benefits. i understand they're beginning to look at that much more carefully now. stand by rooms is a result of declining mail volume. they are trying to encourage employees to leave. then the machines -- my biggest
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concern with the postal service ifs they have not figured out how to use these offices to the greatest extent. then the machines were only taking coins. they did not seem to be the optimal service configuration. how you can develop a network that is as customer friendly as the postal service needs to be for the average citizen is one of the questions i'm putting to them. host: how much has the postal service reduced their work force? guest: in the mid-90s, it was eight hundred 50,000. it is now sixth hundred 50,000
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-- it is now 650,000. there's a certain infrastructure. you have to deliver mail whether you have one piece of mail or three pieces of mail. the volumes have gone down much faster than they have been able to cut, given the infrastructure. the postal service is enshrined in the constitution of the united states. we have a law that says the postal service should produce universal service. we have to maintain a basic service. host: joseph, independent caller.
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caller: one of the previous callers mentioned at the topic -- the vending machines. i look forward to going to the post office now with dread. one local post office has a giant hole in the wall covered with plywood where the vending machines used to be. when i asked one of the minister why they were gone. she said it was cost control. there's no way it can be more efficient to have all those people waiting in line. it makes no sense to me. there's something seriously wrong with the reasoning behind this kind of decision. i have seen it across the board. they're using space in the post offices for selling packages
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that have teddy bears and balloons on them. they should be sticking to basics, common-sense service. if i can avoid going to the post office, i will do it. they might as well -- it is just a nightmare. it is a baffling ordeal. guest: i am sorry to your use say that. you are not alone in complaining. waiting in line time is one of the most insisted complaints that we here at the postal regulatory commission. i think the postal service can do a much better job at making the post office's customer friendly. with regard to the vending machines, they were down so much of the time, and provided so little revenue that they did not seem worthwhile to maintain.
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they are trying to get people to buy stamps online. you can buy them at wal-mart and causeostco. if you find out more convenient, by all means do it. you can also order the commemorative stamps online. i will take to, quite seriously. -- will take your comment quite seriously. host: how long have you been with the regulatory commission? how often do you to were postal offices? guest: i have been on the commission for 11 years.
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the commissioners go on field trips two or three times per year. we visit some of the facilities so we get a sense of both sides of the industry. we've had public community hearings. we did that for a study we did on the universal service obligation. have done that quite recently for an opinion we are developing on whether or not the postal service can close a certain number of what it calls stations and branches. host: houston on our democrats line. caller: yes, she has to understand that the levels of
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different management is the problem with the postal service. when you start taking out what keeps the employees gainfully employed -- that is the problem with the money being distributed wrongly. that is because you up too many levels of management. host: thank you. guest: i think it is fair to say that in the last 10 years, as employees have been cut, a lot more have been cut online than management. that has not always been the case in the last few years. the commission is not the agency that manages the postal service. we are the regulator. we'll get the results, policies, and we can make comments.
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it is up to the postal service self. host: in your testimony, there have been a number of postal experiments that have not performed well. give us an example of some of the experiments and have not lived up to expectations? guest: they had a stored value card for telephones. they lost money on it. they had a retail store that they tried to open in the mall of america. they were thinking of expanding into leather jackets and various other things. what you ahve is a have is a hue
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agency that has not spent as much time as it ought to on relating directly to the consumer. when they try some of the products, they have tried it in the context of we will do it ourselves, not bring in other people to help. the postal service has begun partnering with effects on priority mail. they are partnering with hallmark cards. i think they may have more success. if the postal service can develop partnerships, perhaps they can develop more innovative products. caller: in was calling about the postal service's two-tour
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initiative, where more employees are separated into two tours per day. that just gets people paid more that work at night when there is no delivery end when the mail does not move, especially on sundays. i was wondering how that is working across the country. it does not seem to be working well in her effoartford. guest: the new law requires performance measurements. if there are real problems in a region, we should be able to see them. the service performance measurements that the postal service have submitted to us have indicated improved service.
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one of the benefits of lower volumes is there are not as many bottlenecks. we are not the managers. we cannot tell the postal service which way to deploy its employees. we can look at the outcome. the two-tour the initiative doesn't seem a problem. host: ruth goldway, postal regulatory commission chair, thank you. next, richard trumka, afl-cio president. we will talk to them and take your calls right after this. ♪
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>> this thanksgiving on c-span, american icons. beginning thursday night, the supreme court, home to america's highest court, reveals beat bill read in the exquisite detail. friday, the white house, inside america's most famous home. our visit shows the grand public places.
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saturday, the capitol, one of america's most symbolic structures. >> tonight, net neutrality and improving broadband service in the u.s. fcc chairman maps out the goals for his agency. >host: richard trumka, afl-cio president, joining us to talk about jobs and unemployment rates. the most recent one, 10.2%. how many are union members? guest: probably 20%. we have a lot in some areas where the unemployment rate is higher tree in construction in
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the washington, d.c. area. if you take the underemployed, those who are ready less than they would like to be working, it is much higher. host: afl-cio has developed a five-point plan. guest: this is a short-term job creation. in the long term, there were many other things. this is to get jobs created right now. we think it can create two million jobs in a year. the person is unemployment benefits, food assistance. the program is set to expire on december 31 of this year.
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if we do not extend it, a lot of people -- the unemployment rates will shoot up. the second thing we need to do is invest in our infrastructure. putting people back to work to create in the infrastructure that we need to be sufficient. we have a $3 trillion infrastructureb deficit in this nation right now. to put people to work in construction, that is pressuring, development, engineering. host: wasn't that's supposed to be done in the stimulus spending? guest: it was, and we need more. we need to have a 10-year or 15- year commitment to rebuild infrastructure. host: part of the plans has put funds to work for main street. guest: when the money directly to small and midsize banks.
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it was supposed to go to the big banks so the big banks would start lending. the big banks are not the landing. small businesses are having a tough time getting credit. we believe if we put money in their hands, they will be able to create jobs. host: we are breaking up our phone lines and little differently for this segment. president obama is going to convene a jobs summit. will the afl-cio be part of it? guest: yes, i have been indicted so we can talk through this. -- i have been invited. we need to do aid to state our local governments. they have almost a two hundred
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billion dollar deficit. they began to retract, we will not only lose jobs immediately, but we will also lose vital services like fire and police protection. the last item is targeted job creation in a number of communities. to target communities that have a high level and two straight job creation, not jobs substitution. host: on your web site, you have a chart about the gap in the labour market. i want you to explain this chart. the jobs needed to keep up with a population growth on the straight line. this is where we are as of october 2009. the employment drop offical dramatically. the red line is how much needs to increase to get to october 11. why is that an important date?
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guest: we have about a $10 million of deficit. we have lost eight million jobs since 2007. we need about 140 ,000 jobs each month to keep up with a population. over this time, we now have 10 million jobs that need to be filled. we have six people applying for every job that is created in this country renown. people are hurting. we need to get people back to work. more than 5 million people in america have been unemployed for six points or longer. host: is the bottom line for the afl-cio the creation of jobs, or the creation of union jobs? guest: the creation of jobs. we have to create jobs for the
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country. the 10 million jobs that this is not union jobs a deficit. as american jobs deficits. of course, in the future, we would like to unionize many of those so we can improve their wages and improve their benefits. host: let's hear from some union folks and others. tampa, fla. caller: i want to bring up the scenario regarding jobs creation. we need to create these jobs. my problem is how can they be serious when the keeper of the external work to do jobs? i understand the right to work
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states and all that stuff. when you talk about creating jobs in america, and then you have other people come in and put more in the pot to take those jobs away. the way the legislation is going on now. guest: i'm not quite sure exactly what he means by people coming in and taking those jobs. if you're talking about immigration, we have -- that is an issue that we have to deal with, of course, over the long- term and short-term. if you're looking at job creation during this period of time, we do have a problem. long term, we have to look at things like the tax code, trade laws in this country.
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the program we are talking about now focus is on short-term job growth. this line stops in october because the figures are not in for november. host: "the wall street journal" has a headline -- "the white house is lukewarm about proposals by congressional democrats." what are you pressing congress for? guest: let's start with this notion. doing nothing is not an option. if we do not do something, jobs -- the unemployment rate will continue to rise. there will be a greater deficit, not a lesser deficits. we have to do something in the short run to get jobs created.
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our program -- we think it will create two million jobs quickly. we pay for reauthorization of the transportation act. we favor reauthorization of the clearwaten water act. people are hurting right now. host: st. petersburg, fla. good morning, dave. caller: good morning. i think the president should have underlying veto powers because congress is about ready to pass on the bill for health care. i am sure there will be a lot added on that is not necessary. i also believe that nonprofit organizations, the ceo's should be capped. that includes our government and
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congress. host: on his issue on health care, on the so-called on cadillac tax, what is the afl- cio's position? guest: first, let's define that. there's a misconception. you can have a normal, moderate plan and have been old days were the beneficiaries are older in age where there have been a couple of catastrophes, so the premiums are higher. you could be in an area of the country where those premiums are naturally higher because the insurance company has a monopoly or near monopoly in those areas. to simply the findingdefine thi cadillac plan is a misnomer. for the plants at the top, you can take a look at those.
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tax the middle class workers benefits is not a good way to finance his plan. host: do you know where it stands now? host: at the senate level, it is $23,000 per year. anything over $23,000 per year premiums, you end up with that party% excise tax. -- 40% excise tax. $1,000 per member is paid right now for the uninsured. the plan has $1,000 tacked onto it because of uninsured people. to tax them again is a double hit at the same people. will not result in lower cost. will result in the people getting less health care and still have been the costs go up. for instance, if i get a heart
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bypass, the cost of the bypass will not go down. the only thing that will happen is that my plan will pay less and i will have to pay more. we do not think that is the way to do it. that is rationing everything in the country but health care. host: next up for richard trumka, alexandria, ky. caller: do you think it is feasible to keep giving unemployment after so long a time -- to keep individuals for not looking for work? what about immigration? guest: i do think we need to expand unemployment benefits. they're about to expire. if they do, millions of people -- probably 5 million people or more will stop getting any
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income. that will result in more unemployment, which will result in a deeper recession, which will result -- we favor extending those benefits for one year so we can get through this crisis and get people back to work. the food assistance part of the program probably spurs the economy more than any other thing. for every $1 you put into food assistance for the unemployed, it increases economic activity by $1.74. there's nothing out there that does it more effectively. we think that is important for us to continue. of course, health care is the third component. host: the associated press story in "the washington times" talks about pushed back in small businesses.
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small-business owners who are playing increasingly higher unemployment insurance. guest: if the government is adding to that, it will not hit them. it will extend that out some. their payments continue on a regular basis, anyway. we are trying to use tarp funds and give them to small business and medium-sized business so they can do a job creation. we know that credit is not getting to them. we know they are having a hard time. we know they can create jobs in the short term. that is why we are saying use these tarp funds. host: philadelphia is next. good morning. caller: thank you for c-span.
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the five-point plan that you brought up -- i am indifferent to it. i'm just wondering where with companwould to the money come f? i am a younger person. in 25 tree i have some friends in unions. they do not like it. one of the parts they complained the most about -- they feel that they work the most, and when it came time for layoffs and cutbacks, there always the first to be cut out because of seniority issues. in philadelphia, we have bill local union. they went on strike earlier this year. they were offered a very
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generous package, in my opinion, and they still went on strike during a period of recession. who ended up hurting the most was the poor and middle class. what can be done for unions -- maybe you want to comment about that. guest: i appreciate all the questions. i hope i get some of them straight at the beginning. you ask where the money would come from. part of it would come from government spending and borrowing. in a time of recessions, we simply have to borrow your way out of it. there are people who say do not borrow any money and things will get better. they really will not. just look at the states.
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in the states, there are almost $200 billion in deficit. they will start cutting back on police jobs, fire jobs, education jobs, and there will be less employment. it will get worse. our experience has said that in a case like this, you borrow short-term, and it creates jobs. those jobs create revenue and put things back into place. the bush-reagan tax cuts have taken about $2.5 trillion out of our revenue stream. some of those taxes on the rich, we think, could be restored. you talked about some of your young friends that consider themselves working harder than everybody else. i'm sure they were parork hard.
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we think seniority layoffs are fair. the person was 20 years ought to be the person retained so they can continue to use their experience in the 20 years of contribution teammate to that company. host: he also asked about the transportation strike sent philadelphia. the members of the union went on strike. guest: i think he gave a very simplistic explanation of one issue. it was a multi dimensional. a strike is a lasting that can happen. as a last resort.
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i agree that middle-class and working-class people rely on public transportation a lot more than the rich. we hate to see them hurt. we have worked hard in cities like pittsburgh to avoid any type of dispute. we are working with them to try to reconfigure the systems so they can service the people that need the service the most. it is a long, complex issue. host: you were just elected president of the afl-cio. when did you first joined the afl-cio? guest: i first became a union member in 1968. the union was not part of the afl-cio. i became president of the mine workers in 1982 and in 1988, i brought the mineworkers back into the afl-cio.
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host: kenny is a union member in huntington, new york. good morning. caller: in asking about living wages for most people. i work in part-time job. now i am getting 10% of my paycheck taken out because of the hospital bill that i could not finish paying. host: they take it right off the top? caller: yes, 10%. it is hurting me financially. i would like to see at least getting -- having a better
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paycheck for most employees out there when they go to work. i live on what i make, but i'm not living comfortably. host: he used the term living wage. when you hear that, what do you think? guest: first of all, he is not alone. there are a lot of people going through the same stress, and the same torture. when i think about a living wage, i think about a wage that will pay a family of four enough to keep them above the poverty line. you can gauge that with health care or without health care. without health care, it probably has to be a little over $10 per hour. with health care, a little less than that. if we are going to reward work
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in this country, which i think we showed, which i think we talked about doing, then you cannot have somebody working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, and still below the poverty level. i think wages should be above that. most of the countries in europe are already pushing their wages above that. a living wage would allow kenny and people like him the opportunity to live above the poverty level and have a little bit of money to put on the side. the other issue that he mentioned is part-time jobs. right now we have an unemployment rate of 10.2%, but when you add in the people that are working part-time jobs that want to work full-time, you are way up over 17%. that is outrageous. i think we have a lot of work left to do to get people like
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kenny back to work, to get health care so he does not get 10% of his wages taken out. host: joe in florida for richard trumka. caller: i am very happy to have a union man on c-span. i was a worker in metals deal. we lost our jobs. i came to florida. i cannot seem to five manufacturing jobs. if i do, i'm always classified as overqualified. when i try to get certified, it takes nine months of schooling to get certified just to be in air conditioning. you cannot wait that many months. if you lose the job, you have to go again. why can't we take a test, were trained people -- or train
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people. where all these manufacturing jobs? guest: we are really working on manufacturing jobs. you cannot be a first-class nation unless you produce things. the number of things we produce keeps going down. there are two economies in this country. there's the financial economy and there's the real economy. the real economy produces things. the financial economy was conceived so that it would help the real economy produce things. somewhere along the line, things got out of whack and the financial economy started taking president over the real economy and started sucking money out of the real economy into the financial economy because you could make more money with those exotic instruments. we then it conceived of some bad trade laws.
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unfortunately, as bad as they were, they were not in force over the last nine years. the third thing was that the tax code in many ways rewarded people for taking those jobs offshore. one of the biggest challenges that we have is to recreate the manufacturing base in this country. it flows down. you create a three or four more jobs every time you create a manufacturing job for a person like yourself. a lot of the multinationals that are out there -- they used to make decisions that ryan the best interest of this country. they cared about the communities. they cared about the shareholders. they cared about the workers. now we have multinational corporations that make decisions in their best interest, even if it is in the worst interest of this country. our biggest challenge is trying
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to realign the interest of those multinationals with the interest of this country so that we both win. that is a mid term and that is a long-term project that this country has to work on. quite frankly, it cannot survive unless we are successful. host: middletown, new jersey. caller: good morning. i want to thank you for addressing the disparity of health insurance cost for our nation. living in new jersey, i am well aware of that. $25,000 does not buy me a cadillac plan, is just kidding me a ptgetting me a ppo. i was going to bring up the insane supply side economics. we are a consumer based economy. a consumer based economy is based on demand, not supply.
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when we adopted this policy, we started to have been saying trade agreements where we were shipping jobs overseas. we decrease salaries. we busted up the ability for trade unions and negotiate. as a result, a lot of working- class people cannot afford to buy the products that we are producing. productivity went up. the man went down. supply increased. we need to bring back strong union jobs. and the free workers situation -- that is only adding to our problems. we have to have a living wage like you were speaking about. if we can manufacture here, we do not import it. guest: you are on the money.
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from 1946 until 1973 in this country, productivity doubled, and so did wages. 35% of the workers in this country had the benefit of collective bargaining. the interesting thing about that period, the people in the bottom wages and work reaching to the top faster. the wage gap was narrowing. .
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guest: from the mid-70s to date, the engine that drove the economy with deck financed consumer spending. the level of unionization went down. people could not bargain anymore and all the parts fit between productivity rises and wages went to the top and% or 2% in the country. -- the top 1% or 2% in the country. we need to deregulate the economy, do a lot of things at we are talking about with the regulation and also give people a better way to bargain so they can get a better share, or a more fair share of what they produce. change the tax laws. change the trade laws. make a concerted effort to produce things in this country. we produce fewer than 50% of the
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things necessary for national security in this country right now. not luxury items, things necessary for national security. what we are doing is mortgaging, if you will, the future away. our generation is leaving the country to the young people 18- 34 in this country with less opportunity than what we received. and quite frankly, we ought to be ashamed about that and we ought to do everything we can to get this country back to where those children, those young workers have the same opportunities, at the very least, that we had, that alone a better opportunity, which is what we should strive for. host: to kansas city, don, on the union line. caller: the biggest problem that we have had in the past -- well, of course, reagan was ahead of that, but the fast track that
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they finally got rid of with bush. he just went wild. what we need right now is for obama to get into this the buteo and make sure that things are being done fair -- it into this wto and make sure that things are being unfair. he needs to look into nafta. we have got to get things straight because it is just killing us. there are only so many construction jobs. we need manufacturing back. you have the pressure of people coming from mexico and the fact all of manufacturing is gone, that pushes everyone into construction. let's talk about supply and demand. you have got too many people. of course, every business will tell you when there is not an of people we need to bring more people in so that we can get more workers. what they're talking about is that they want lower wages. they're not talking about people. they're talking about cost.
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host: don, thank you. let's get some response -- response. guest: i think he is right. if you look at trade, it has been an important issue in continues to be an important issue. we have run up massive trade deficits. as a result, the chinese have bought up assets and are responsible in some parts for the amount of credit that we drown in in the last couple of years. if you look at what happened, china manipulating its currency and gets about a 40% advantage over american producer by doing that. china does not enforce its child labor laws, its prison labour laws, its health and safety laws, and its minimum wage laws. and it gives them about an 80% advantage over an american producer that way. if you are a small or mid-sized producer and you are trying to
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compete, before you open your doors, they have a 120% advantage over you. that is not fair. we should actually start enforcing those laws. what we have advocated it is taking a timeout, if you will. but let's do an inventory of everything that works and does not work in those trade agreements. if it works, let's keep it. if it does not work, let's try to negotiate it out so that we can have a trade agreement that does benefit people on both side of the border. nafta was supposed to help the mexican worker and was supposed to help us. it has helped neater worker. it has not helped the mexican worker and it has not helped the american worker. it has helped people at the top of the heap make a couple extra billion dollars on the products they make while the rest of us pay the price for it. host: we thank you for coming by this morning. we will go to your phone calls
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next. first, an update from c-span radio. >> nato secretary-general anders fogh rasmussen speaking earlier in brussels says the group once allied nations to commit more forces to afghanistan ahead of a u.s. decision on whether to send more u.s. troops. the obama administration is considering military proposals to spend up to 40,000 additional troops next year. the decision is expected in the next few weeks. experts polled by thompson reuters say home resales are projected to rise to the highest level in more than two years. this as first-time buyers to the advantage of an $8,000 tax credit. sales are expected to show in your the 1.5% increase. it could be the best month for home salesj+k since july 2007. a new survey by the national association of business economics said the job creation will start to see some recovery after the first quarter of 2010
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in addition to the so-called jobless recovery. economists think gdp growth will also improve. and finally, most trucks enrolled in the ec -- in the ec border crossing because at the border for just 20 seconds and nine out of 10 do so without their cargo being inspected. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we will take your calls for the next 25 minutes or so on whether you read a daily paper. if you do, the members on the screen. if you do not, the following number. this is based on a story in the associated press today and printed in the number of newspapers. the story is saying that newspapers are in losing subscribers at a staggering rate because their circular numbers
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are rising, but they're not necessarily selling more copies. the reason is that since april 1, new auditing rules have made it easier for newspapers to counter a reader as a paying customer. that is helpful for newspapers if it sells and electronic edition. here's a story about microsoft and news corp. in today's "financial times." microsoft web pact is the headline. microsoft has had discussions with news corp. over a plan that would involve the media complete -- company being paid to de- index is websites from googled.
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they also write in this piece in the next column over in the " financial times" that news corp. has been exploring online payment plans, models for its newspapers and has taken an increasingly hard line against will -- google. we ask what paper you read it to read a daily paper and you want to share that with you -- with us. this is the business section of the "new york times."
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do you read a daily paper? pittsburgh, this is victor. and you do not read a daily paper. and where you get your news? caller: i get my news mainly from disch networks. i do watch cnn, but i do go to
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alternative sites like democracy now and free speech tv. and linktv and documentaries. i want to make a statement here. there are only six newspapers right now -- actually, six companies that control the majority of all the newspapers. essentially, you do not have any information. it is the same old stuff. it is the same with how the news, with cnn and fox and msnbc. and abc and cbs and nbc, they are all the same. that is my comment. host: omaha, could morning, you do read a paper. [dial tone]
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all right, bill from wyandotte, you do read a paper. caller: i read all three of the free -- the detroit free press news. i just got tired of the lies and i will catch my news before go to bed or in the middle of the day. i listened to radio show. host: is that a local show or a syndicated show? caller: i hear it all over and in indiana. i think it is national, or local midwest. host: 2 leveaux, good morning, christine. -- to louisville, kentucky, good morning, christine.
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how long have you been a subscriber? caller: least 40 years. host: you want to tell us more? why you let the paper so much? caller: that is where i get most of my news. i have been reading the newspaper -- i started when i was about 10 years old wanting to look at the funniest and went from there and actually wanted to read the paper. now, of course, that is where we get most of our news. i must say i am disappointed in what little i see. host: is the paper cutting back? >> oh, yes, it is cut back tremendously. it does not amount to anything during the week. and the sunday paper, what it is a -- what is in it is just a mishmash of what has been in it before. and there is news about -- the
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news about the world wide news is just next to nothing. not what is going on with our forces, we do not see what is going on. fwb it is upsetting. host: christina, thanks for calling this morning. this is the front page of the "new york times" and it reads the federal government faces balloon in debt payments. virginia, good morning to ben who does not read the daily paper. caller: no, i do not. to many of the stories have been influenced by things like reuters and ap and i think we need to have a lot more local reporting instead of just copying and pasting what we get from international resources. host: you are from the previous caller that her paper is cutting back in local reporting. how you solve that problem? -- how do you solve that problem? caller: we need to go back to
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better journalism when we have a better sense of what was going on and what people were actually saying instead of what republican and democratic groups say is going on around the country. most a vote news ike -- most of the news i get comes from c-span because i listened to "washington journal" and i do not hear things that come from congress. host: you do not hear those stories in the paper, you are saying? caller:, i do not hear those stories. the with the kind of bizarre stories that you hear about a and with people getting disqualified from health insurance. i do not think it is as common as you might think. and i like to get my daily news from sources i trust -- a source of a trusted for many years,
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host: thanks for joining us. and gail from lewiston does read the daily paper. caller: sheriff from -- with my father -- i share it with my father. i get the portland paper, too. host: is the lewiston paper a locally owned paper? caller: yeah, i think so. they also object out the "new york times" online. host: here is a story from the guardian in the uk. military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the iraq war that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by tony blair's government attempts to mislead the public.
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that marriage, gary is not reading the newspaper. go ahead. -- pension rouge, louisiana, gary does not read the newspaper. caller: i read the paper from several different cities. also, in baton rouge [unintelligible] i can go to website where they are iputting in news from both sides. i do not want to spend my money on something that is not going to report the news -- you know, with a slant. host: can you tell us how often -- how old you are? caller: i am 41. host: thanks for the call.
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max does read a daily paper, go ahead. caller: have been an avid newspaper readers, most of my life. i do have internet access and i spent a lot of time on the computer hunting around, but it does not provide the same satisfaction as sitting in the -- in a chair with a copy and the newspaper in your hand. host: how old are you, max? caller: 57. host: thanks for the input this morning. in a political column, the story this morning is about funding for afghanistan. he writes, "money for nothing if we put into afghanistan." the powerful chairman of the house appropriations committee has a stark message about afghanistan for president obama. sending more troops could be a mistake that could "wipe out every tradition we have for rebuilding the economy."
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the chairman for the appropriations committee told this to abc news during an exclusive interview. long island, you do not read a newspaper. caller: sometimes i read the paper, but i should read it a bit more. most of my news comes from and others. they gather the information for me and i look at it and make sure i clarify what they have said. it is truthful and it is really amazing what is going on. people gather information to this one central site. i suggest you go to it. host: st. louis, joe, you do read a paper every day. but what is it? >> i also read the -- are really caller: i read in the wall street journal and others. i also get a lot of information from you guys.
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host: here is an article from the "wall street journal" front page this morning about wikipedia. texarkana, texas, next up, james does not read a daily paper. power you get your news? caller: on the television and i will pick up a weekly. i did not want to hear their opinions. i want to know what is going on. host: do you think tv networks
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or other sources of me are not subject to the same sort of bias is that newspapers have? caller: exactly, but there are certain programs that you can watch during the day that give you more information of what is really going on. just like getting online, there are certain areas -- some of the papers are still good, but it became more of their opinion that what was actually going on in the world today. and it is the same old stuff day after day and it is a waste of money. host: at what television you watch most foreign news? caller: c-span, cnn, fox -- i do the different ones, but most have been pretty strict about what is going on in the country. i based my opinion -- i base my opinion on what is going on on both sides of it. host: thanks for the call. and jim in please summit does read a paper.
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which one is that? caller: [unintelligible] but it has really declined. host: why is that? caller: the sunday big front- page story was about the sex scandal that is going on here. it is a horrible thing, but we had one of the great debates about health care all day saturday and it was not even on the front page. host: it was not on the front page on sunday. caller: that is right. and today, there was a small part. what i read is the editorials, paul gruden and mary sanchez and
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one of the people here in kansas city, the guy from the open quote miami herald -- the guy from the "miami herald." also, i watch cnn and fox and of course, i've watched "washington journal" almost every morning. host: we're glad to have you with us this morning. this is the front page of the "philadelphia inquirer."
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vivian in austin, texas, does not read a daily paper. why is? caller: i would read one if i could afford it. but i want to say that you did not use to do polls on this show. i appreciate that. i get most of my appreciation -- i want to thank google and microsoft and of the people that have the translation. you can go to any country in this world almost and translators papers, even if you do not speak the language. it is wonderful to go to argentina and translate their newspapers. i even go to china. host: do you have a favorite for newspaper you go to? caller: not in particular, but i love the one out of argentina.
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the chinese papers are pretty much like ours, state-run, i can know, right wing propaganda stuff and get things like that. i get on democracy in ounow. i love the internet. i am an old computer nerd. host: thanks for joining us. atlanta does read a newspaper. which one is that? caller: it is from south carolina. they do a lot of investigative reporting and to cover their subject curley, and that is what i am after. -- and they cover their subject thoroughly, and that is what i am after. c-span, pbs, the associated press, do not forget about those people at the associated press.
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bill moyers, if you want to hear the story, go to those places. if you want a blurb like area channels have started doing, they will give a few lines of headlines that have happened in the area and then not say that for the rest of the story, go to a website. that turns me off. host: here is another from hendersonville. caller: i read the "wall street journal" and the "new york times" and two other papers. i also read the charlotte observer. i have a funny story about a small island. the isle of wight, a tiny little place off the southern coast of england, i was there and i brought one of their daily papers home. i took it to the market and
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waited. it weighed over 2 pounds. host: the newspaper weighed over 2 pounds? caller: and this was not inserts'. if it was news. host: was it the sunday paper? caller: no, it was the wednesday paper. it was the "isle of wight county press." agreed for newspapers when i'm here on the internet. -- i read foreign newspapers when i'm here on the internet. host: one more call here. peter in philadelphia does not read a paper. not happy with the philadelphia papers? caller: it is so slanted that you cannot really get the news out of it, sir. if they gave it to me i would not read it. host: where you get your newspaper, -- your news from? caller: i go to c-span, rush
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limbaugh, fox, the internet. i google loved a particular subject -- i google up a particular subject. i get the real story. host: thanks for your calls this half hour. next year will turn our attention to food borne illnesses. this is erik olsen from the pew charitable trusts. we will talk about that right after this. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> thinks giving week on c-span, a look at politics in america from the bipartisan policy center. topics include next year's midterm elections and a look
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ahead to 2012. what is fair and politics? of the role of the media, and assessing the obama presidency. also tuesday night, a state dinner as president obama wokas the indian prime minister singh. >> tonight, and that neutrality, a wireless spectrum, and improving broadband service in the u.s. the federal communications chairman maps out his goals for the agency on "the communicator's" on c-span2. >> $50,000 in prizes for middle and high school students, a top prize $5,000. just create a 528 minute video on one of our country's strengths or a challenge that -- on a five-minute video on one of our country's strengths or a
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challenge that our country faces. and greta camera and get started. go to 4 contest rules and information. host: eric olson is the food and safety director for the pew charitable trusts. here to talk with us about this new report, the center for food borne illness has a report called the long-term health outcomes in selected food borne pathogens. what particularly did the report looked at? tell us some of the symptoms and illnesses that they've looked out. guest: the report dealt with the basic issue that a lot of people think that when you get food borne illness is just a tummy ache or you are just sick for a day or two. but this report shows that some of these impacts cannot -- last a lifetime. if you survive the loss, which some people do not -- about 5000 per year -- you can have long-
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term effects from paralysis to impact on your brains of that you cannot think the way you used to. many other effects, reacted arthritis, a variety of impact. some people i've had to have multiple kidney transplant. it can be a serious problem. host: salmonella, e. coli, you get a bad case of that and that is bad enough, but you could have long term lingering effects. was the issue not known before that these lifetime issues could exist? a guest: the research is just trying to come in on what some of these long-term effects are. one of the conclusions of the report was that we need to have a system so that we can track people that get sick to be sure that we know what these long- term effects are. equalizes one where if people get -- e. coli is one where people get sick with that they can get a condition that causes kidney failure and can kill a person, but it also has a long term effects to wear their
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kiddies never functioned correctly and they have to get a transplant -- their kidneys never functioned correctly and they have to get a transplant. host: where does this come from? guest: e. coli comes from fecal matter and can come from our beef, but it can also get on to leafy greens like lettuce and spinach. of late, we have found it could contain some of these pathogens. host: this chart shows that ages under four -- and i think throughout this report it shows the many of the food borne illnesses affect the youngest most. why is that? guest: there are many reasons. some of these diseases can affect kids more profoundly. one of the reasons is that kids immune systems are not quite fully to a loved. another is that kids do not need quite as much of the votes to get sick, and also, there stomach acid -- as much of the bug to get sick, and also their
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stomach acid is not strong enough to kill it off in some cases. host: eric olson is here to take your questions. the numbers are on the screen. you can also send us an e-mail or a tweet. we are familiar with the food pyramid, but here is a food pyramid on the burden of illness. . what does this try to convey? guest: what this shows is there are a variety of illnesses ranging from a mild stomach ache to actually death. the concern is that, of course, we have got over 70 million americans that are getting sick every year from food borne illness. several hundred thousand of those people and up getting sick and several thousand actually died.
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the pyramid is actually highlighting the fact of the effects. the good news is that congress is poised to move forward on legislation. it is passed the house with brought by it -- with broad bipartisan support and just passed the senate committee last week unanimously. it is not a controversial partisan debate. luckily, we are within striking distance of historic and changes. host: here is the headline on line. this is the georgia peanut plant of a shutdown -- what was that shutdown for? guest: there were salmonella contamination problems. people will remember that earlier this year there was a massive recall, hundreds and hundreds of products were recalled that contain peanuts in them. it was traced back to this plant. there were a couple of plants that were fingered as a source of the problem. uncleaned planned activities and
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they ended up with pretty broad contamination problems. hundreds of people died. by all estimations, probably thousands. host: we have calls waiting. this is june in dover, delaware. but go ahead. caller: thanks for taking my call. i am a long time listener. i want to make a statement and as the question, if i may. i am a health-care worker, retired, but i remember working in the health field and before i was employed at i was given not only the physical examination, but i was screened by nasals what, even rectal swapbs and blood samples to be sure was not carrying any diseases that could be transmitted to others. i do remember that the screening to place not only in hospitals, but in places where people
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handled food and where people worked. -- and in plants where people worked. the youth feel that the lack of screening might play a role in the dissemination of -- do you feel that the lack of screening might play a role in the dissemination of diseases? guest: that is an interesting question. what we're doing now has not been updated in over 70 years in any substantial way. and it has not kept up with current science. there is a wide array of problems. it is not just workers that could be carrying these illnesses. it is unclean factories, poor handling of food at the processing facilities, and it could even be out in the fields that the contamination has occurred. what we need is to move this legislation as quickly as possible. we have this historic opportunity to enact something that is bipartisan and does not have this partisan rancor we are seeing in other legislation. host: is this legislation in
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reaction to some of these incidents, or is it just long overdue? guest: this legislation is long overdue. it has been kicking around for decades. it is surprising to most people that it was theodore roosevelt back in 1906 that signed the original legislation and it has not been updated in any substantial way since 1938, since the great depression when fdr signed the most recent update. we clearly have an update -- an outdated law that is not keeping pace. the good news is that there's something that can be done by the end of this year if the senate will act. host: here is a call, republican caller from new york. caller: i'm a vietnam veteran in the united states marine corps and i have a wide range of views on things. my question is this, the globalization of the food sources, the food products in
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this country and in the world, has that added to the e coli issue in any way? guest: the fact that we are now getting our food from all over the world -- you can go into the supermarket and see oranges that come in from soups -- from south america, fresh fruit and vegetables from all over the world, processed foods from all over the world, the problem is that we have a food safety system that dates back to the 1930's that has not kept pace. you put your finger on a very important issue, which is that we have this outdated set of laws and regulations. in many cases there are no rules. believe it or not, only about 1% of the imports, of our food imports are ever checked by the fda. we really need this new law to update and make sure that we are not seeing food borne disease transmitted across the globe. host: do other countries have strong for food safety laws?
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guest: some do, some in the european union, some other countries in asia even have stronger than -- food safety laws than they did 10 years ago. the problem is that there is no clear national requirement that we have strong food safety laws in all the countries that are reporting into the u.s. and host: we ask you about a couple of the food borne illnesses that are covered in this report. where is this infection? guest: it is another type of the pathogen that can show up in our food. it is a severe type of illness in some cases and many people have died from it. the concern with all of these organisms and pathogens, very often, there's nothing the consumer can do about it. you cannot wash your canada. you are not going to wash your crackers. -- you are not going to wash your peanut butter. you are not going to wash or crackers.
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people should be confident that when they sit down and give their families some food that it is safe. host: what is the worst illness -- incidence of food borne illness in the u.s.? guest: there have been many topics in the last five years. we have the massive pinnock outbreak, a large outbreak with spinach contamination -- peanut outbreak, in large outbreak of spinach contamination. we have had let his outbreaks and many outbreaks with meat contamination. a legislation really only deals with 80% of the food supply that the fda regulates. it does not deal with meat and sproat -- meat and poultry. many people think that we will have to get an update to those as well, although they have been a somewhat more recently updated and other legislation. host: next call is from john, independent line.
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caller: i cannot hear you. i need to turn on my television again. i'm sorry. host: just make sure you knew after your comment. -- that you knew to it after your comment. caller: i want to know why we are allowing things that are subsidizing and killing us, spurring all of these chemicals out there. i worked with agent orange victims that were against the past by the industry for many years. host: is that a separate issue, pesticides verses food borne illness? guest: they are two related issues. i worked on a law that was passed in 1996, the food quality protection act that addressed the pesticide issue.
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it is one that has been very controversial the environmental protection agency regulates the pesticides that are in our food supply. many people, including the caller, have raised concerns, continuing concerns about pesticides in the food supply. this legislation that is in front of congress focuses on the pathogens that are causing so many people to get sick, but the caller raises a good issue, which is that it is not just pathogens in our food supply. there are chemicals that can also pose risks. host: you mentioned that we cannot wash some food, but what are some steps that consumers can take to prevent food borne illness? guest: there are some steps -- some steps that consumers can take, for example, washing your vegetables before you read them is one good thing. making sure that your washing your hands before handling things like turkey or poultry or ground beef and other meat.
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be very careful to wash off and sanitize in a cutting board and knives or cut. you used -- or any cutlery that you use. with these massive outbreaks that we are seeing, for example, lettuce or spinach, there is nothing that the consumer is going to do to eliminate that risk, basically, you have to have a modern food safety system. this is why we believe it needs to be updated. host: good morning, new hampshire, go ahead. caller: i used to live in california in the 1970's. one of the things though farm workers were trying to work for was to have things like porta- potti is out in the fields. in 1976 when i was working at a camp, had to go through an area
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with crops and i never saw porta-pottis in the fields. is that a federal law? guest: that is a good question. right now, the fda does not have any regulations that are legally binding that apply to how one grows things like fresh fruit and vegetables. that is one of the things that would be required in this law, that the senate passed through committee and may be considering, we hope, as soon as december. our goal is to make sure that things like that, where you have basically a vacuum, no federal regulation to make sure that the food is being raised in a safe way needs to be addressed. host: about 15 more minutes with erik olson on the issue of food safety. caller: kentucky, good morning to marry on our republican line.
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host: kentucky, good morning to marry on our republican line. caller: good morning, where i grew up, we slaughtered our own animals and build our own crop -- our own cows and we never got sick. our animals 8 on our land like god gave them to be. -- our animal hiss ate on our ld like god gave them to be. i think the chemicals that we spray on our food -- i mean, beans cannot even tayside they're supposed to -- to not even taste like they are supposed to taste. host: she brought up the issue of hybridization in particular
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vegetables and fruits. does that cause the growth in food borne illnesses? guest: i do not think that most people consider hybridization as a cause for food borne illness. what she did put your finger on is the significance in our food sources have changed in the last decades. it used to be that if there was a food borne illness it would be a very small area because the food would go from a local farm to a small area. with this massive industrialization of our food supply, there is ample food across the country and we can buy food san vegetables in our grocery stores -- fruits and vegetables in a grocery stores year round, but the downside is -- as we saw with this peanut issue, that it could affect the whole food supply. what happens is they buy from a
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silicon -- supplier and they're not sure that the supplier is providing food that is 100% safe. if there is not a strong safety system, they could be passing along food borne pathogens and have these massive -- massive recalls that could be hundreds of millions of dollars. host: next call on our democrats line. caller: i'm so thrilled to be on. i'm a first-time caller. host: welcome. caller: thank you. mr. olson, i ended up in the hospital and had a very serious reaction to jalapenos when there was a recall on that going through the food chain. i even brought in the broccoli. are brought in the cauliflower and the salsa that i had purchased in the store. i was very ill and they gave me
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an antibiotic and i'm very thankful parenthat i am better because of it. my thought is that i am very concerned about -- is there going to be any more extensive tests or any kind of way to check the things that are imported into our country from other countries or near our borders, or anything that will help us to prevent this kind of situation happening? and it had to be in the salsa because it was the jalapenos that were in the salsa. my question is that, and i have another question. because of this, we have a statute -- this situation that happened to my husband and i, we check every time when we go to the store, we check the meat. we do not buy anything from
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mexico. host: do you still have a lingering effects of this illness? caller: so far because of the antibiotic, i do not. i do not take any mccain -- medication. that was the first incident in my life that i had to have the serious antibiotic given to me. i think because of my system never having and avionics -- antibiotics, it will be wiped it right out. host: let's hear from erik olson. guest: certainly, your one living example from -- of a person that has gotten seriously ill. we work with a group that represents a lot of victims of food borne illness, some of frowhom are the children of peoe that have died or the adult parents of children that have died. these impacts can be very
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profound. your lucky that the antibiotics worked well for you. certainly, the fact that the jalapeno operate was a large are break -- in a sense, we were lucky because we found out what the cause of the opera was. sometimes we never really know what caused the outbreak because of a a what our data was. but you have identified an issue. these reports that showed that food is not being checked until congress out -- updates a lot that shows our food is protected. we will continue to have these topics. host: eugene, ore., this is jacki. caller: i would like to know how much the lack of enforcement has to do with simply the government thinking, we will lose financially if we have to close down a factory.
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a onetime high worked in foster care and as i remember, as i was growing up and as this was being built, they were killing people. and the president's response was, we cannot regulate business even though it is killing people. guest: again, you have identified a significant issue, which is the lack of enforcement. believe it or not, the fda only inspects food factories on average once every 10 years. a lot can happen between those. one of the big reasons for that is a lack of resources at fda. clearly, there is a need to ramp up the amount of resources available to the fda. but the fda does need stronger laws so they have the authority to go into the at factories and review their records. believe it or not, the old law does not allow the fda to go in and check all the records that
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might reflect tests that were done that could show contamination. unless the fda has a reason to strongly believe that there is a problem, they are not authorized to look at records in these food factories. that has caused significant problems in some of these cases. host: if this new law goes into effect, will it increase the size of the fda, n.y. -- more staff, etc.? guest: yes, it will make sure that the fda has the muscle and authority to step in and deal with these problems. it is important, we think, that we are in striking distance to get this enacted. it is bipartisan support it. we did some polling at a few terrible trusts -- at duke charitable trusts that nine out of 10 believe this is important legislation. host: we have a link to the food borne illness report at our web
9:53 am site. you issued this report ahead of this law, or sort of in conjunction with this bill being developed. guest: yes, the pew charitable trust is part of a larger coalition called the make our food save coalition. at one of our organizations, called the food borne illness protection, actually reviewed the literature and put it away -- put it together in a way that those of us that are not doctors
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can understand it. if you go to you can see that and several other reports on food safety. host: next we go to california. caller: what can we do to prevent lobbyists -- from allowing the fda lobbyists, and congress is actually stopping the fda from doing their job. they do not allow them to inspect a lot of the food that is coming in unless there is a problem. second, does your group support prevention of food borne illnesses? i am not sure where you are coming from. it sounds like you would support cloning of the food and chemicals and things that are in the food to prevent these food borne illnesses. guest: actually, cloning of the
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food is not part of this legislation that we are working on. our coalition includes groups like consumers union, which pulses consumer reports, and the american public health association, and a variety of major consumer groups. we have made a strong case, we think about the law is so outdated -- we have this 70- year-old law -- and we need to address these pathogens. that is a top priority to be sure that we do not have this bacteria in the imported foods or domestically produced food. host: fort worth, texas, good morning. caller: my question to the gentleman is based on the pyramid that you showed earlier, at the very top of that pyramid, is -- and i would like to know what happens to the people who are in the top of that.
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who are now indeed -- what is it? unable to get health care because they have a disease that has not been treated and etc., predetermined illnesses, i mean, we are starting to get into some serious health injuries here at the very top of that pyramid. could you respond to that? guest: absolutely, that is an important point. we are adding enormously to our health care costs and to heartache in many families because we have had so many food borne illnesses. these illnesses can put people in the hospital. we have had several people from across the country come to washington and talk to their senators about a month ago. some of them had been in the hospital for a month, two months, some of them lost children or have lost a parent. unfortunately, the top of the pyramid, the ultimate effect of
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some of these illnesses unfortunately is death. there are other cases with people with lifelong paralysis, reactive arthritis that makes them -- makes it very hard for them to move. this cost billions of dollars, clearly, to the american economy, and it is heartache to the families effects. host: virginia, go ahead. caller: i was wondering if these laws are passed, what it will be to the small farmers and small food producers? i'm pretty sure it will adversely affect them because they do not have the resources and processes in place. and they are not the ones bringing the food borne illnesses to the marketplace. is the biggest agricultural conglomerate to are responsible. i was wondering if there is a way to change the bill to protect small farmers and small operations. guest: caller identifies this issue that has been raised both
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in the house and in the senate. in fact, the senate committee that marked up the bill, which is changing the bill before it moves through committee, made several significant amendments that required the needs of small and organic and sustainable farms to be considered when these rules are established. obviously come out regulating a very small farm -- obviously, regulating a small firm that produces a small amount of food is different than a massive farm in california that could produce a significant percentage of the lettuce crop that we all eat. the bill was changed to make sure that the special needs of farmers -- small farmers are considered in the bill. host: i have a twitter comment. guest: this report ahoy and our organization -- this report, and
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our organization actually has a strong stance on climate change. if you go we have -- if you go to we have a lot written about host: carroll from st. louis, you get the last word. caller: years ago they had a plan to irradiate food to kill bacteria. did they decide that was dangerous because of the radiation? why didn't that ever go through? guest: this legislation does not touch on that irradiation. it has been fairly controversial. some in the community have been concerned that irradiation may or may not present a health risk or mask


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