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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  July 4, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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>> president obama will be at the white house today. he will pend time with u.s. troops and their families. vice president joe biden's second day of the trip to iraq. one headline says this is seen as a move to end the political
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deadlock there. also, today general david patraeus officially took command of the mission in afghanistan. a quote from him in this important endeavor teamwork is not an option. this is a tough mission. there is nothing easy about it said the general. on this independence day we have the question for you to open the program. is america exceptional? we have that from one writer from the new yo"new york daily who says it is time to rescue the idea that america is exceptional. what do you think? [phone numbers on the line] host: we have this piece on this fourth of july titled "bring back the old glory." he says the notion of american exceptionalism that it is a unique nation on earth if not in all history is in decline among
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much of the country's self-appointed chattering classes. they write the lion's share of books, magazines, editorials and blogs. that leads to the idea that america itself is in decline. it is a dangerous notion writes the author. not just on our 234th birthday but the long-term health and strength of the republic. we must rescue american exceptionalism to preserve the bright future we deserve. the idea we have a special place on the planet dates back to the book "democracy in america" and the position of the americans is quite exceptional he wrote in 1831 and may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. the words of alexis de tocqueville from his book. the broader piece by john steele gordon. is america exceptional?
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rockville, south carolina, first call this morning. lamont, democrat, hi. caller: i think america is the best country in the world. my granddaddy had to drop out of second grade because he had to work. you look around the country, people dropping out of school that can't get no education. but this is the best country in the world. people need to stop complaining and be blessed to live in the united states of america. thank you. host: that is lamont in rockville, south carolina. sarah on the democratic line from dayton, ohio. caller: i think we could be exceptional but first we need to face reality, which is what our country was based upon, the people we enslaved and knocked out, native americans. and there are supposedly, according to reports, a million
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dead iraqis based on an invasion based on lies. we have to face those realities before we can be heard and be honest from where we come from and where we are going. we can't go ford without a.c.c. -- can't go forward without acknowledging the past and we have a very serious and bloody past. in fact, i'm wondering when somebody is going to talk about iraq again. it is like we don't count the dead there, injured or displaced. we need to face those realities. host: appreciate your thoughts this morning as well. allen is on the line for ins from phoenix. the question on the fourth of july is america exceptional. what do you say? caller: as soon as we stop doing what we are doing we are depositional. we have to prove we can stop a war. host: back to john steele gordon
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he writes that people on the right in american politics are quite comfortable with this concept that america is exceptional. they tend to accept it almost without question. those on the left typically deny american exceptionalism vehemently or cast it in as bad a lot as possible. one wrote american exceptionalism makes our empier limbal true which is i cannic d. altruistic. of the far left generally this is much of what america stood for, individual political and economic freedom to make one's on choice. the left prefers collective decision making through government the singular importance of the individual in the country that is at the very heart of american exceptionalism so it is not surprising that the left doesn't like the idea. let's see what judy thinks,
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democratic caller from indianapolis. caller: i think that people are individuals and that they have to work to make their way in the country, in the world. but i think we are in a situation now in the united states where the very rich have -- are holding on to their money instead of putting it into the economy to help small business and to massive move -- and to move the country forward t. is causing a lot of problems. we don't have any money. the country is in a lot the of debt. and democrats are concerned about that as well. but the people who really have the money need to put it into the system and start investing in in the country and doing things so that small business can move forward, corporations can move forward and people can
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be hired if the money is circulating. they will make money doing that so i don't know what the problem is. let's get the money out this and get the country moving. host: from indianapolis to brooklyn, new york, independent caller, is it honifa? caller: yes. host: is american exceptional? caller: i think it is very exceptional. i think it is the largest experiment in democracy ever taken place in the world and it is not easy because there is such a diversity of people that are here. and we have to deal with that. i agree with the second call but when you look at the st star-spangled banner, it ends with the question, does the flag still fly over the land of the free and the home of the brave. that is a question you have to ask yourself every day. are you still free? are you still brave?
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i think it is exceptional because there are a lot of people that are exceptional. look amy goodman says with exception to the rurals. it is very important to question the rulers. the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. we have to be more vigilant. host: got the point, caller, from brooklyn. he writes president obama doesn't go as far as the % anti-american left. he saeid i believe in american exceptionalism just as i suspect the brits believe in british exception exceptionalism and the greeks believe in exceptionalism. to obama it is nothing more than casual chauvinism. norfolk, virginia, ken, independent. what do you think? caller: i think that america still is exceptional. i think it is an idea based upon
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individual achievement assertiveness. we have challenges that we need to accomplish and address and there are tiles we do -- times when we do and tiles we don't but i think it is an depositional country. host: the author uses a sports analogy while the fans of the white sox and yankees may be chauvinistic the white sox have been in five world series and won three the yankees in in 0 and won -- in 40 and won 27. are the yankees no more exceptional than the white sox? the yankees are lucky they are located in the country's largest media market and the owner of the boston red sox needed to raise money and sold them babe ruth. but the yankees made them most of their luck. a sure-fire formula for success. the u.s. has been exceptionally lucky, too, writes mr. gordon, and like the yankees made the most of it. the first piece of luck is the land we occupy on the globe.
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abundantly endowed with natural resources and with a vast territory, we are a continental power like russia or china. but we border on only two other countries, both friendly. strategically we are an island power. harrisburg, pennsylvania, claudia. republican. is america exceptional 1234 caller: absolutely. i'm thankful that i'm born and raised in this country. i have been in europe several times and this is a wonderful country. they are afraid of us. they don't know of us. and they make their own opinions based on liberal points of view. we are an exceptional country. i'm a first-i'm caller and i thank you for taking my call. host: he said our mother country was in medieval england the concept of perform -- personal
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liberty was born. local control of local matters was the norm there and liberty and self-government came to america. the u.s. more than any other country was created by individual people, not rulers. so power has always tended to flow from the bottom up. more to come on this piece and more of your calls. is america exceptional? but if you haven't heard, we want to introduce you to an interesting story about the declaration of independence on this july 4th. here is one of the headlines. tod today's philadelph"philadelphi." they title it "appearing acts." jefferson erased a word preservation scientists at the library of congress discovered that jefferson, even in the act of declaring independence from england had trouble breaking free from rule. in an early draft he wrote the word "subjects" when referring
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to the american people. he then replaced it with citizens, a term he used frequently in the final draft. the library released the news of the word for the first time this past friday. on the phone we have the librarian of congress james billington to join us to tell us more about it. dr. billington, good morning. happy fourth. how did this come about? >> it came through a new technology where we know there was a little blur behind the word citizen. we never knew what was underneath. and it was what jefferson originally wrote. but you have to realize we are talking about exceptionalism, bringing the 13 colonies widely dispersed together, they were never met as a group until 1754 in albany and they later
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declared their independence. that is astonishing, really. up until that time they generally referred to themselves as subjects of the king. they were unhappy with much that the king was doing and it was a remote power and top-down philosophy. they got together, and after they had actually, the congress, called us an independent nation on july 2, between the 2nd and #ed they -- 4th they had the debate of how to explain it to the world and write a document like a declaration that would explain it. then the process by which it came into being, which was a deba debate, there are collections in jefferson's rough draft that you can see on your website and in creating the united states it was an amaze iing production. they discussed the history of europe, the history of classic alan particularity tkantiquity d
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he wrote it after we were independent on the 2nd. and you can look at this imaging and read what was underneath, what was smudged out before. and instead of subjects they were all independent colonies subject of the king. they were not citizens of something new. the term had been used before but it was the accepted thing and the reason in a sense for declaring independents. there were not any more top down. everybody was a citizen and they had freedoms and responsibilities. and later they had rights. all of those -- most of those founding documents are in the library of congress and preserved in the original. here you see jefferson's rough draft and you see the collections that were -- you see the corrections. adams and franklin wrote corrections and jefferson penciled them in and so we are
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discovering by breaking down light and taking photographs you can see what is underneath the pencilling and ink covers or in this case a word that was smudged out and carefully wrote "citizens" over it. you can see it there. it is relatively dark. you can see the sort of smudging around it. there is speculation of what was underneath but we thought it was "patriots" or some other word but it was a servile word of being a subject and being replaced by being a citizen. you take successive digital photographs and you break up the light into the component parts and you can see what is underneath. you see he tried to follow to some extent right over the original words so that even though they had been smudged out, they wouldn't be discovered, it would be more difficult to see the word
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underneath. you can do this for all kinds of things. the capitol was called the same kind of image, the reflective image. that diagonal thing is breaking up the light into the component parts using you want extra vial late -- ultravial late you can detect the changes from congress's house to capitol, o-l, on the infrared band. so you take digital photographs of the broken up light, what is called optical dispersing of the aspects of light. that means you don't have to sample it or tamper with it or use radioactive materials. you have the clean untouched original version. that is why preserving these original versions and using this new technology, which combines digital photography with breaking up of light into component parts, is tell us more
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and more about what the founding tparts had in -- fathers had in mind. >> history and technology coming together. thank you for coming on on the 4th of july. >> happy fourth to everybody. host: we want to let you know that the library of congress interests you, it is the subject of our next c-span documentary some time in the fall. so we will get you information as we get closer to an air date for that special on the library. is america exceptional is the question this morning. it comes from it piece in the "new york daily news" from an author named john steele gordon. bring back the old glory. it is time to rescue the idea that america is exceptional. cleveland, tennessee, boris on the line. caller: i think america is exceptional. at 7:16 this morning i had a brown cow and i sat here and enjoyed my day just for this
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morning and i think america some people don't believe in brown cow and thank good for america. host: it is perhaps the enenshrining at the heart of our system to pursue happiness that is what is most exceptional. for happiness it is in the individual and not the collective. it is that pursuit that brought us to these shores that led us to establish limited government and protect the abundance we enjoy. if the sun shines brightly here it is not because we are a chosen people. it is because the american people chose to create these united states. mount vernon, new york, richard, rug. your -- republican, your thoughts this morning. caller: good morning. we are exceptional on paper. but in practicality we are not. we don't care about the
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immigrants coming in into the count because we are interested in getting their votes. we allowed the oil spill to continue because we are worried about cap and trade. the constitution and bill of rights, yes, that is exceptional. we can do a lot better. thank you. host: titusville, florida, terry on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you. host: fine, tierry. go ahead, please. caller: i don't agree with america being exceptional any more. i believe that all of you are heads of state, congress, even down to the president, is selling us out to line their pockets. i kind of just am dumbfounded by they can't cap this oil well. they can cap oil wells everywhere else in this world,
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why not cap this one? host: san diego, republican caller. go ahead, please. caller: electrical low. host: what is -- hello. caller: i'm calming from detroit. there are a lot of things we can do. the federal government is giving up money to redevelop areas. they don't know what to do with that money. one thing i thought, one thing i think we could do to help our children, we have to have people trained to be able to take jobs that are becoming available. one thing we can tkdo is ban ce phones or devices from public schools. the children are not focusing on learning. host: we go from detroit to san diego. you are there, san diego? caller: yes, good morning. happy 4th of july. i would like to comment that as be a -- yes, america is
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exceptional. we have american, hence the term i can. if everyone takes on their role as an american we can make america great and exceptional. but individually it is difficult to do something. i'm a paraplegic. i have been told you can't do this or that. you can't walk, you can't use your legs. i pushed through because i can. i believe that i can. with that mentality we can unite and we can make america exceptional. we teach individuals responsibility. host: thanks for calling. front page of "new york times" a long story no less of a person is the title here on the 4th of july. he is 23, walter reed army medical center, not far from here, in rehab the past year. he lost four limbs in iraq.
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a determined soldier rebuilds life. quite a bit of text on this if you want to learn more. as far as iraq policy goes and the iraq war, the "washington post" reminds us there have about 4,413 fatalities, military deaths since 2003. and in hostile actions 3,488, nonhas toil. 925. this is part of a piece that focuses on vice president biden's trip to iraq. he is there for the 4th of july. he got there yesterday and is meeting with officials. he arrived when many are questioning whether the u.s. policy in iraq is adrift. some officials say they are worried the u.s. is concerned only about its exit from iraq and not the country's democracy as it is shifting focus to afghanistan. the distant policy in this country is deemed as a weakness
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and a failure said the minister of industry giving the wrong message to syria and iran and will give the wrong message to the taliban. this is the vice president's fourth trip to iraq. maybe a signal to iraq that the u.s. administration is still enbe gauged according to -- still engaged according to this story. cape cod, massachusetts, republican caller. is america exceptional? caller: yes, i think we are missing the major point that the united states is the only country in the history of the world to be populated entirely by immigrants. these immigrants had to be the strongest to take the journey they did over here. so we took the best and strongest people from all over the world and populated this country. host: what does that mean? caller: well, it is the only
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time in the history that it has happened. we are populated by strong, independent people. they had to be that way in order to leave their country, a lot of them as teenagers that came across oceans, especially 1600's, 1700's, 1800's where the chance of getting there wasn't very good. so they had to be strong and independent. it is really exceptional that this country is -- this has never happened in the history of the world. host: now kwame on the independent line from springfield, virginia. caller: i think america is exceptional. i'm from ghana, and i believe america is important. host: when did you come from africa and why did you come?
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caller: my mother was here in 1972 and i have a long history here in the united states. i'm proud to be next to sole foreigners because we come here and help this country to manufacture forward. but -- move forward. if you look at what is happening in terms of education, america is the role mother to a lot of people and lot of people love this country and this country has to take the firm leap. there is no country like america. that is why we have people who settle the immigrants here to
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help this country. and i believe that there is no country like america. host: thanks for explaining your background and situation. george on the line from nashville, republican. caller: hello. i do believe america is very exception exceptional. but that article you are reading about the new york yankees and chicago white sox, i think that was -- anybody that doesn't believe the new york yankees are mo more, very much more exceptional than the chicago white sox, whoever wrote that is crazy. host: thanks for calling this morning. this is the piece "bring back the old glory" we are talking about. time to rescue the idea that america is exceptional by john steele gordon. to afghanistan for a couple of seconds here now. the war debts update, "washington post" on this fourth
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of july, 1,137 military deaths since 2001. 850 hostile, nonhostile, 287. david patraeus officially takes command in afghanistan with a ceremony earlier today. here is a photo 3 "new york times" -- photo in "new york times." he spoke at an independence day celebration yesterday at the u.s. embassy in kabul followed by karl eikenberry. he seeks military civilian unity in afghanistan. there is a quote. in this important endeavor teamwork is not an option. this is a tough mission. there is nothing easy about it. if you look at "newsweek" today, jonathan altar who wrote a new book on the first year of the presidency has this headline. t minus two years. believe the president on
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afghanistan. he says the country can't aforehead a trillion dollar commitment to nation building. the only way funding will continue is if republicans take control of congress this fall. even then the war remains unpopular with the public. as michael steele's comments attest and obama is not oblivious to the implications. let's say that patraeus insists that july 2011, the time line, be pushed back a year which is possible considering the current problems on the ground. that means the deescalation will begin around 2010 just in final for the democratic national convention. we ain't staying long. caller: we are exceptional but
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the problem is in often blinds us to our shortcomings. host: which are? caller: well, de tocqueville was in the 1830's. nearly a century before that it was talked about what was america and what was exceptional about us. but we were murder iing native americans as we moved west. we enslaved hundreds of thousands of people. after enslavement, the whole segregation apparatus went in effect. immigrants coming into the united states suffered horribly. today, with our exceptional iis it keeps us from learning from other countries. the whole energy issue. we are being sideswiped by china, by others that are going ahead and making m.s.
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we -- by making movements. we don't want to do anything other countries do because we are exceptional. we don't want to learn from others. it is one thing on the fourth to talk about the united states as an exceptional nation. it is fine and in many ways it is true as the librarian of congress talked about. but that is not going to solve our problems. we need to recognize that other countries have wisdom, too, and that we have had serious shortcomings. and that idea that we are an exceptional nation can often stand in the way of making the progress that we need to do today. host: thoughts of ken in baltimore. within tweet this morning from a viewer adds to that point. into
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host: thank on the line from pleasanton, california. caller: our country is a great country. we were very great -- we are a very pragmatic country from the start of history and we have taken from europe what we wanted, we have looked at other situations and we have adapted as a practicingactic country. -- pragmatic country. i'm against the war first of all because we cannot win the war and it is draining our resources unbelievable. and as we look through history, the english could not win in afghanistan. the russians couldn't win in afghanistan. why are we there? no one ever talks -- republicans, democrats, independents -- no one talks about the money we are spending there. we could use this money in so
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many, so many nice ways. hiring more policemen, more teachers. that is all i would like to say. but i would like people to understand we are a practicingactic country and -- pragmatic country and we shaoul learn from other people. host: let's bring edward in from east brunswick, new jersey. independent caller. is america exceptional? caller: i think we are a great nati nation. but the fact is we must close our borders because we are america. just like germany have germany, the french have french. each country has their own people. so americans are americans and if we allow the borders to be open and mexicans flood into our country then we will become mexico. host: let me jump in.
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an earlier caller said one thinking that makes the country great is we have allowed people to come in from everywhere over the decades. caller: ok, i understand that. right. well, yeah, i guess you could say that. but we are americans and you have to remember that we were founded on independence from great britain. we don't want to go back to being under tyranny. and if we alou mexicans -- allow mexicans to flood our borders and bring their ideology to our country, then we fail to understand that we are built on the bill of rights. our foundation of the country is the bill of rights. host: what is that ideology you are referring to in caller: freedom and the bill of rights. we have freedom of religion and speech. we have the ability to defend
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ourselves because we have the second amendment and we have the -- tkpwhr i think we got all the points from toward. he seemed to have stopped. if you look at the arizona republican this morning, "the immigration cycle" with reaction to america's newest arrivals. a shot of the family looking at the statue of liberty and they say the u.s. has come full circle as arizona's new law pushes the issue in the spotlight. decades old arguments over government policy, economic needs and human rights are being raised in a politic iized confrontation over what it means to be an american. many fear illegal imtkpwrapts are taking jobs and spreading violence and changing culture. on the other side many believe the tide of opposition will result in discrimination, racial profiling and denial of
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constitutional rights. boston now, steve on the democrat's line. tkpwhrao good morning. a quick aside about the yankees, what they have is an exceptional payroll which pales everybody else except the red sox. the last exceptional team in baseball were arizona who beat the yankees and their pig payroll -- big payroll. host: move us from baseball to the country. what do you have to say? caller: this country was formed by some exceptional gentlemen who had an exceptional idea and carried it to fruition. it seems like we are slipping in mediocrity. no people are standing up and speaking in exceptional ways and inspiring people in exceptional ways. so i believe we are slipping in mediocrity. we started with richard nixon who was the first president who was truly a crook in office, who
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was thrown out of office and had to resign because he was trying to maintain power for himself which was totally something that he was doing illegal which was foreign to the except of the presidency. since then it has been going downhill. we are exceptional in a lot of ways. but there are no exceptional statesmen in this country running this country. host: thanks. the "new york post" writes that the revolution is in our d.n.a. maybe you really are related to uncle sam. more than six million americans can be claimed to be a genuine yankee doodle dandy. that is how many had an ancestor that helped fight the british. if you include americans with relevance testifies who fought -- relatives who fought on the british side one in 40 has an ancestor that ties to the revolution. next is julie an independent.
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go ahead, please. is america exceptional? caller: i'm actually a 20-year-old college student and i have a couple comments on this idea. i think that america is exceptional but i don't think it is the country itself but the people inside it that are exceptional. that being said, i think the prevailing idea of the country as being exceptional tends to lend itself to the idea that it is correct and only form of democracy that is allowed. i go to school with a lot of international students and they have expressed that the american idea blinds us from other causes and i think we overlook the idea to kind of push american iism o things that we have done in the past that doesn't make it exceptional. host: thank you for your thoughts. here is another tweet this morning on all of this.
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s host: here is an editorial in the "baltimore sun." what would jefferson do? our view this fourth comes when the tea party is invoking the spirit of the founding fathers but they forget how fractious our nation has been. they go through the history in political fighting over various issues that have occurred and they end by saying politics is a rough business. it has always been and always will be. it is that we should be celebrating, our right to disagree with one another even to accuse each other of forgetting the principles on which the nation was founded as part of an ingenious system that cements the union not by stamp oubgt dissenting views but for thing them in vigorous opposition. how would the founding fathers vote on the stimulus bill or
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financial package. just like our reserves did today they would not want anything else. that is the "baltimore sun." november scotia -- nova scotia calling now. in canada. is america exceptional in your view? caller: well, i would say it is exceptional but not many positive ways. i think we have become increasingly more hypocritical and immature definitely as compared to denmark, for example. most of the republicans claim to be morally superior yet they do the opposite of what the beatitudes and golden rule stand for. they prefer to spend more money on unnecessary wars than programs that promote the general welfare. two more points. they prefer to have more -- they
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get more upset in losing their gun rights than helping the most needy. and the fact that these groups are on the rise i find alarming. i'm white and i cried tears of joy when obama was elected. i thought we are growing up. the last point is not only democrats are pro-abortion. but for the people most of them on the right say they are pro-life yet they are pro death. i lost two kids to murder and i'm consistently pro-life and an antideath penalty. thank you for listening. host: to louisville, kentucky. democrats line servant america exceptional 1234 caller: not any more. we used to be but i think we
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have become tied in with the criminal element in wall street and even the federal reserve. and i think that the one thing we can do and ellen brown is the expert all over the internet and she wrote ta book, every state and country can set up their own bank. it is not tied to the federal reserve or wall street. and north dakota is the only state now that has a state owned bank and they now -- they are the only state not in bankruptcy. they have over a billion dollars in their coffers. they make loans to farmers, small businesses. i think that is one thing we can do. host: the fourth of july is the second editorial in the "washington post" today. they write about federal power here. they say it is an american tradition. the declaration of independence begins with soaring pronouncements on quality and human rights then to a list of
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grievvnces directed against the king of england and expressing a electrical of outrage that -- level of outrage that seems quaint 25today. on this fourth much of america seems to be in grievance mode again with the kphreupb instants -- complainants looking back to a golden age of limited government. with our liberties seen as imperiled from an overwaoerpbing power. they say it has been lording it over us for quite a while since the nation's earliest days with results that have drawn little complaint from americans. these include the acquisition of a vast territory of louisiana purchase, texas, huge chunk of mexico, oregon territory and alaska and there is all the government mapping and exploration that allowed this left-hand to be divided among newcomers as well as taking the writes r rights of way for rail,
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road and other avenues of communication. most americans have benefited from this federal power for a couple of centuries now. it is a far from perfect instrument but it is something we created ourselves and we have orderly processes for changing it. independent caller on the question is america exception. what do you say? caller: we are definitely exceptional. for a nation found on democracy. the constitution that claims to be a great document says people of color or only three-fifths of a human being and we have carried that all the way. again the declaration of independence was intended for free white men who owned property. most of these tea baggers upset with immigrants coming across the border want the immigrants to become americans. host: massachusetts there. to florida, tallahassee,
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democrat caller named donald. hello, there. good morning, donald. caller: yes. host: yes, sir. go ahead. caller: absolutely, i do believe that america is exceptional. but i want to make one comment that i want all americans to hear. we have become a society that we sit up in our church and what we have heard of more than anything, any democrat, any republican party, is the false teachings that we give in the churches. we have people that if to church -- go to church and hear one verse a week from the preacher, never teaching them good's word. they teach them one scripture a week. we were founded, this nation
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will be called the blessing that good gave this american society. but we have allowed this false preachers, these false preachers to come in, beg for money and don't teach good's word. we must get back to studying chapter by chapter, verse by verse and we always will be exceptional pause good's please something on this nation. host: "washington post" post up all night. quite a lengthy piece. president obama's nighthawks as they call them. had -- this is eric holder in his kitchen. he is weighing the issues of national security. he has the loneliest perch. top officials charged with gooding the home vigil into the hours dawn. the secretaries of homeland security, defense and others
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featured. in the politico the republican of oklahoma has called on michael teel to resign as -- steele to resign as chairman of the republican national committee. those remarks last week on the war in afghanistan were assailed by members of his own party. frankly i find 9 remarks totally unacceptable. he is the former comparison of the n.r.c. he said in a statement to politico he should apologize and resign. he undercut american forces fighting in the field. politicize dd a war that he purports to leave. it is time for him to go. that opinion is that the statement is the most serious such demand to date. they say it has wide ranging influence. that is in politico this morning. we go to our last couple of calls on this question, is america exceptional. first one is from skodak, new
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york, independent, liz. caller: yes, we are exceptional and i think we are exceptional because every person that called in we are a people who are never satisfied with our current circumstance. we are always looking to improve, get better, and because each one of us wants more and works for it, it makes the country work. if you look at all the other nations in the world, other than australia, maybe canada, you don't say that. the people are happy with status quo. they let their government do what the government does. people in this country are never satisfied. they are always annoyed. they alwaysment change, and change is good. host: last call on the democrat
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line joel from sioux city, iowa. caller: good morning. i would like to say that we are not necessarily exceptional but we need to be. it is not such a bad thing to exist in the world. the caller from new jersey mentioned about freedom of religion and one thing he left out is freedom from religion. thomas jefferson is being written out and civil rights of certain minorities are being trampled. the founding fathers would not stand for that. we could be exceptional if we followed their precision. host: the last word there from sioux city, iowa. we will take a time-out and then we will talk about failed states around the world, at least the
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opinion of blake hounshell. we will go to various parts of the world, what they are experiencing and what it means. meantime, some news from c-span radio. >> we will tell you what is going to be on the sunday tv talk shows. the topics will include the gulf coast oil spill, afghanistan, the economy and politics. on abc this week correspondents will talk with john mccain. he is the ranking republican on the senate armed services committee. the guest on fox news sunday include senator joseph lieberman who chairs the homeland security committee and south carolina republican senator jim demint and kenneth einberg administrator of the gulf coast claims facility. on "face the nation" bob scheiffer will be with lindsey graham. on cnn's state of the union the
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host will talk to guests including the ohio democratic congressmans. afghanistan's ambassador to the u.s. will be object. "meet the press" is preempted by sports programming so you can listen to the sunday morning talk shows starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span radio. nationwide on x.m. satellite channel 132 and web at c-span you can follow us on facebook and twitter. >> one of the best quotes i ever heard about money in politics it is like water that finds a home. >> he writes about political action committees and one the pullitzer prize. tonight we will talk with jeff smith national investigative correspondent for the "washington post" on "q and a."
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>> the c-span video library has every c-span program since 1987 but did you know that includes i have every author on book tv? the c-span video library is book tv your way. >> today on book tv bill bennett live in depth. the former education secretary has written more than 20 booksor adults and children. join the discussion on american history, education and politics for three hours starting today at noon eastern. it is part of book tv's three-day holiday weekend on c-span 2. get the rest of the schedule at "washington journal" continues. host: joining us is blake hounshell managing editor of foreign policy magazine. if the current edition is titled
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the bad guys' issue. you call this group the committee to destroy the world. tell us who they are around what they have in common. guest: it is a parody for a news magazine fans of the "time" magazine cover from the 1990's with alan greenspan, larry summers and bob ruben. this is the flip side. the guys who are trying to do bad things. you have robert mugabe the dictator in single -- zimbabwe. he turned them from a breadbasket to a failed state. we have the leader in burma. then you have omar bashir to his left leading the genocide in darfur. kim jong ill on the other side. the guy you may not recognize is from the central african republican. host: what do they have in
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common all of them? how can you explain who they are and people like them? guest: the short answer is they are dictators. they are people who have established a country that revolves around them. often times it is their families or close associates who basically loot and pillage the resources of their countries. what we say in this issue is 5 that failed states make dictators and dictators make failed states worse. host: you take it to countries around the world. what are we looking at? guest: that picture, i believe, is from west africa. it is from a huge garbage dump i think it is in ghana, which is one of the better countries. but they still have this habit of again into actually makes money by importing garbage and
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sorting it. host: let's go to the other side of the african continent because you lead your list of failed states and here is a look at the list and maybe the camera with get in there closely or we can put them on the screen. somalia number one. talk to us about somalia? why is it a failed state? guest: in many ways it is the original failed state. when the term was coined which was in our manage in 1992 -- in our magazine in 1992. that is when somalia was in the headlines with the blackhawk down incident. people were struggling to deal with the countries that were falling apart at the end of the cold war. somalia has ever since gotten worse and worse. the international community, washington, doesn't really have an answer for how to deal with these. host: take us deeper into somalia. per capita g.d.p. $298 a year? guest: yes. that is even a guesstimate.
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nobody is keeping good statistics. they barely have a functioning governme government. nine million performance. job mortality under five. two hundred per 1,000. that is one in five. what do the statistics tell you? guest: they tell you a story of a place that you wouldn't want to live. this is a country that is barely a country. it not able to provide for its citizens. we have militias ruling. the government that is the u.s. supported for the just controls a few city blocks in mogadishu and the officials barely get out of the compound we are told. it is a country that is lawless. ruled by militias and at the top of the index the past three years. host: before we get to calls and we will put the numbers up on
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the screen for blake hounshell, we will have separate liens for democrats, republicans and independents. how do you put this together, this index? >> we work with the fund for peace which spends all year going through media reports, reports of places like the world bank, international monetary fund, anderson international human rights watch, places that have people on the ground and are reporting back. they combine a bunch of different indicators, 12 indicators, and come up with a ranking each year. we are not saying by the way that every state on the index has failed. it is just different degrees of stability basically. host: how do you define failed? you have separate criteria. what are they? guest: we are looking mainly at economic factors, refugee flows, how they treat their own citizens in terms of human
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rights. how much control the government has over its own territory. there are 12 different factors. i won't belabor the readers with all of them. but when you add them up these are the countries that should be at the top of the list, they should be blinking red and we should worry about the outbreak of conflict, genocide, that sort of thing. host: in the article you have somalia. two decades later the u.s. has no plans and they have been very much involved there on and off over the decades. why should we be thinking of somalia? guest: somalia is important as much as a symbol as in its own right. it is a symbol of our own lack of understanding about how to rebuild shattered societies, shattered governments. somalia has been a ward of the international community the last
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two decades. it is a great case study of a place that hasn't gotten any better. we tried all different numbers of things and now there is a conversation in washington about disengage the. people are thinking maybe we should try getting out of there and letting somalia stew in its own juices which i think would be no answer. host: let's stay in africa for one more minute. several other countries, at least the top five countries that you have here are all in africa. what is it itself and the world's approach to the continent that makes these failed states? guest: i think historically africa has never really had strong states. when there have been strong states in africa they have opinion hugely oppressive. egypt is a good example of a state that doesn't treat its citizens well. but gyp is a rare -- egypt is a
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rare example of a coherent entity around several thousand years. most of them are artificial. the borders were created by clone ideal powers and -- clone ideal powers and don't map up well with ethnic groups. you have history that encourages groups to fight and the resources are scattered across borders and that makes for an ugly situation in places like the congo which is where a lot of technology for things like cell phones come from, the minerals that are being fought over in eastern congo by a number of groups. this is kind of a semianarchy particulic place. host: congo is number five on the list. you touched on egypt. you have it it at 49.
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let's get to calls for blake hounshell. jacksonville, florida, first. stuart, republican. caller: good morning. i just want to make a comment. it is my opinion that we were and can still be an exceptional state or country. i feel now that we are kind of going downhill because we have 50% or more of the people that are dependent on entitlement programs and welfare and i think you should have put obama's picture in there of the group of fell also youed earlier. i wish we could come back to a country that people are independent and take care of themselves and depending on the country for everything. .
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caller: good morning. i noticed that you opened this episode by showing various men from around the world and associating them with the countries which they caused to be failed states. and shortly thereafter, you gave list of the failed states around the world. i noticed on there that number 7 on crour list is iraq. would you explain to us why that's a failed state and who was specifically caused toyota fail? i'm real interested in that and i will take my comment off the air. host: iraq. guest: sure. iraq has had a few rough years in our index. at one point it went up to
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number two at the height of the chaos and violence in 2006-2007. there's no question that the u.s. invasion of iraq fragment that had country. aud lot of ethno sectarian violence, basically a civil war going on. and it is actually doing slightly better now. but i think the ranking on our index is just a sign that things aren't quite gum drops and lolly pops there just because u.s. troops are leaving. there's still a lot of problems. there's still bombs going off nearly every day. there's still 100-something thousand u.s. troops there at the moment. and they haven't even formed a government yet since they had the elections this spring. host: part of the reason the vice president is there. here's one of the headlines in the "washington post." he is meeting with officials, as we know. and the subhead to the piece is that the troop issues and the country's leadership
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unresolved. so they're still working on how to deal with the political situation there. if the troops pull out. st. petersberg, florida on the line, wendy, good morning. caller: good morning. yes. i'd like to ask about failed states. and i think that i'm worried, because i have never seen america move so fast, so quick with laws going through our congress that people don't even have time to read. and i count on obama having transparency and having us allowed to read what we were going to pass. and i have never seen people throw down bills in the congress and in the senate and say, i want these signed by tomorrow and returned to my office. host: let's hear from dillon,
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tennessee. caller: yes. my viewpoint on this wholee situation is that we are at a point where we spend billions of dollars every year of taxpayers money on aid to these countries, these failed states brks it somalia or zimbabwe or anywhere we are. and we largely do that through the u.n., but we have this middle ground that we sit on and we never do anything. we give these people aid and then we have drug wars -- drug lords that take their aid and we have troops on the ground that aren't allowed to shoot back. and in the gulf around somalia, the ships aren't allowed to fire on the pirates. there's all these problems with actually excuting our beliefs on helping these countries, and
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we just keep digging ourselves a deeper hole in debt and we never seem to do any good. host: let's get the perspective of our guest. guest: sure. you may be surprised how little relatively the united states spends on foreign aid relative the size of its economy. we spend something like $45 billion a year if you take out afghanistan and iraq. some would argue that we don't spend nearly enough. there's a good argument about whether the united states really belongs in a place like afghanistan at all. and that's certainly one of the failed states at the top of our list, i think it's number six. and when we talk to the administration about what's the strategy for a failed state, they brought up afghanistan as a test case and they said afghanistan was a pete rhode island dish for their failed state dish strategy. so we can see it's a lot harder than we want toyota be in a place like afghanistan when
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we've got our next door neighbor in mexico bodies showing up on the side of roads every week, we can't seem to get mexico parts of mexico stabilized how are we going to be able to do in afghanistan. that's what a lot of people say. host: the numbers in afghanistan about $1100 per year. also, the life expectancy, just 44 years old. what does a number like that mean to the future, the development of a country? guest: well, probably the more relevant number in afghanistan is their birth rate. their birth rate is through the roof. and there are people that worry that afghanistan is going to be in conflict for the next four decades if not longer solely because they've got this crop of young men there and young men like to fight. so i think 44 is a number that is terrifying, but i think more terrifying is a birth rate that's into the fours and into the fives, a country that is
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just exploding even as there are literally explosions going on all over the place. host: child mortality is 257. and then moving on, fertility rate births per woman, you have seven. also, some interesting facts here, mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people, 27. internet users per 100 people, two. and length of time of the leader in office there, under, about nine years now for president karzi. back to pirates. the caller mentioned pirates. you devote a couple pages to what you call the pirate den. what should we be taking away prom these pages? guest: somalia has become sort of the perfect haven for piracy. it's got a huge coastline, ships passing there every day, valuable ships. it's got no government. and basically, you know, pirates there have free rein. i think there is something like 13 ships from around the world
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there that are tasked with combatting the pirates, but that's not nearly enough when you have a huge expanse in the guff across from the coast of somalia. the good news is that we have been able to defeat piracy in the past in the strait of molacka in malaysia. and that sort of bodes well for being able to combat pirates in somalia. but so far, we haven't seen the kind of international will that it would take to get it done. host: tim on the republican line from virginia, good morning, tim. caller: to you and all your staff for coming in on this great day. and i would just like to say that if america fails it won't be because of the ideas or because of our founding documents. it will be because the people and the people we vote into office and all these people who think that freedom means the freedom from personal responsibility and all they can do is criticize. we need contributors, we need
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love, kindness, forgiveness, and personal responsibility. thank you and god bless america. host: atlanta on the line. what do you make of this list of failed states? caller: well, the way i see it is that we as americans and europeans have contributed to the failed states. host: how so? caller: because colonialization and -- colonialization and just the state of pillage of the continent of africa. guest: that's certainly a huge factor historically. but truth is that there are countries that have overcome that history. so i think there are a lot of factors. it's kind of like that movie murder on the orient express,
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based on the detective novel. and in that movie the detective is trying to figure out who killed the passenger and it turned out that everyone killed them. so when you think about failed states, there are a lot of different factors that are to blame. clolalism being -- colonialism being one of them. these places that have kind of weak systems make it easy for tirnltse tyrants basically crazy people to come to power and do bad things. host: las vegas as we take a look at the cover. they call these men the committee to destroy the world. the issue, they're calling it the bad guys issue. who is to blame for failed states. republican caller from vegas. go ahead, please. caller: yes, sir. i am from somalia originally. and i do see there is like in
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reality, attachment to reality is totally different than what you guys show on tv that i was watching. it's really lots of people from ethiopia or from neighboring countries which are not included right now. and they do come, like we have a lot of eetsdzyopians who imgrated to somalia for finding a job. somalia's problem is not economically, it's security. host: caller, let me ask, when did you come to the u.s. and why did you come? caller: i came in 1995. and at that time, civil wars were raging. when i came to the united states, and of course it's far better. there's no comparnes. but what i'm saying is that
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economically it's not that bad. and we do have responsibilities as we are the last empire left on the earth. so we do have responsibility of smaller countries. host: so what should the responsibility of the u.s. be? because part of the debate here in washington as we've been talking about is what should the policy be towards somalia at this point? caller: the policy i think should be letting somalis be somalis and give the people freedom where they have the options, we always have these -- we always are supporting these tyrants and dictators. and if people want to live a certain way that we might not be happy with it. host: let somalis be somalis. good enough. guest: someone said that's the current policy. i think what the caller is
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alloading to is the ethiopiaen military went in there a few years ago to try to defeat the islamists that were ruling in mogedeeshi. they were able to push them out but they didn't -- did leave a lot of instability in their wake. and a lot of somalis don't have a warm feeling toward ethiopia. the reality is that we were backing a government that is not democratically a elected going into a country that is chaotic. there are no slillser bullets here but some would question whether it is smart to get another country involved in somal ya's mess. host: number 10 there is pakistan. speak to us about pakistan. because when you plug nuke leer weapons into the equation here, many like pakistan, what does
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that mean? guest: it's terrifying. we don't have great visibility on what kind of controls pakistan has on its nuke leer weapons. pakistan routinely says they're fine, don't worry about it. people in the u.s. government that know about these things tend to think that's ok. they have talked to the pakistanis behind the scenes and feel comfortable that the weapons are secure. i think the worry that people who look at this have is that when the nukes are on the move, if -- let's say there's some incident with india. let's say india mobilizes troops along the border, pakistan mobilizes and they have these mobile nuclear launchers. people worry that militants could get their hands on them at that point in time. so i don't know how realistic that scenario is. i guess it's sort of the thing we'll find out if it happens. but they tell thause smart people are worrying about this and looking into it. i think the bigger worry is
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that the government in pakistan just collapses. i don't see that happening in the near term. i think you just have a military that controls the country there and will continue to control it. but they're kind of a fren my right now. they're with us and they're against us at the same time. host: our guest joined the foreign policy in 2006. blake is now managing editor of that publication, foreign is the website. educated in political science at yale. the next call from san juan, puerto rico. good morning to you. caller: yes. actually my question here is perhaps the u.k. and the stumplet is a huge part of it. and the old saying is a u.s. is a good starter but a poor finisher. a good example is panama. the same thing in somalia. the same thing in iraq. and now in afghanistan. we left those countries, all u.s. and cumplete perhaps left
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those countries in the worst shape. and of course once the super powers so called install a puppet leader and they don't like what he deeveyates from what he or they like, then they label him and they abandon him. i understand. but what is the solution? you say all the problems. what are the solutions to these issues? host: thanks. guest: i wish i could tell you that there was an easy answer. but i think what we are learning is that there isn't an easy answer in places like this. if we can't stabilize a place like afghanistan after a decade, admittedly it's a hard case. but you have to wonder whether we are trying for goals that are not achieveable. and i think one of the things that we might see general petraeus do in afghanistan now that he is there is to try to lower the goal posts and say,
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look, we're not after democracy run out of kabul kind of a situation that has never existd in that country. we are just going to try to get a minimum level of stability that's good enough to get the united states out with its head held high. and i think as we become more aware of these places in the world, we have started to think that there are problems that we can solve in a way that the world never actually has been able to solve. host: orlando hanging on now. thanks for waiting. independent caller. what would you like to say? caller: i would just like to say that i think the world is really misleading because -- world failed state -- because to the average person who does not follow world affairs, they won't know. but the u.s. creates dictators dwhrout the world. for example, they supported mark ost in the fill pins.
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they supported the shah in iran. and i forget the gentleman's name in zy year that is now the democratic republic of congo, they supported him for years until he was overthrown. and even in haiti, they supported john carl dufe yea who was escorted out by american planes when he went to france. so, i think that the united states creates a lot of these failed states. in the case of muge abie, it is u.s. sanctioning i think that is really hurting zimbab we more than mugabe all because he took land from the white rode quetions. that's all i have to say. host: before you respond, one twitter comment as the camera continues to go down the list of the 60 failed states says this.
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they want to more more about the history of zimbabwe. not long ago it was the bread basket of africa. what happened? guest: i think robert mog by happened to zimbabwe. they had this disastrous land reform program and that led to enormous hyper inflation and very few countries that go through the currency of zimbabwe was running into the millions and billions per dollar. and when that happens, you know, people can't save. people can't invest. you know, people just have to sort of take these wheel bareos full of bills and try to live their lives. and that led to enormous ref gee flows into south africa. for instance, i think there's something like 250,000 zimbab we's liing in south africa today as a result of his
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policies. and this is something that i think he did to himself. this wasn't the u.s. and the british forcing him to do anything. he wasn't interested in doing. the sanctions are reactions to his policies, not the cause of them. host: to another part of the world, central america. you have a separate watch list that touches on guatemala and honduras. and you make the connection in that piece that policy towards mexico, especially in the drug area, has affected these two countries. guest: there's definitely a game of wackem all going on in south america. we had some success to the drug lords in colombia so they moved a lot of their cocaine distribution operations to mexico. and then the president of mexico launched a huge crackdown, and that led a lot of activity to move south to
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gaut malla and honduras. and mexico is a pretty powerful country relatively speaking. it's a developed country. gaut ma and honduras are not little government resources.h and basically the governments there just don't have the capacity to fight the drug lors lords the way that mexico might or colombia might. and so they've basically become central american narco states and they really don't have the capability o fight back. host: some of the detail here in the piece. a mere 1% of cocaine went through central america as recently as 2007. today, summer between 60 and 90% does. he also talks a little bit about honduras and the crime there. 7.3 million people, 15 murders a day. guest: it's like washington, d.c. in the battle days. host: let's go to jerry, good morning. caller: yes.
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thanks for taking this call. i like your perspective on guinea. i think maybe today we may hear the two finalists with respect to their first ever elections since 1958 since independence. do yeah have any insight? would you care to forecast if guinea can ever remove -- be removed from the failed state status? guest: well, i'm actually pleasantly surprised that they've even had this election. i think a lot of people like me included, when he came to power there, there was that massacre in the stadium last september. people were very skeptical that the hunto would meet its promise of holding elections. but i think as we have seen in a lot of other places, elections aren't the end game usually, you know, a place that doesn't have a good democratic tradition has a real hard time establishing the type of
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institutions that can make democracy really work. it's not just a question of do you have an election or do you not. a lot of the places told the top of our failed states index, the leaders were elected. a great example is the president of egypt. he was elected several times and no one would call him a democratic leader. host: nags head, north carolina. drags, good morning. caller: yes. thank you for taking my call. i have a couple questions for your guest whose insights have been have very informative. urpt talking about pakistan earlier. how did they get their nuclear capability? and the second question is, with the monetary support that we give them, do you think that they are really kind of evening it up? or do you think they're kind of watching this? -- patching this?
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guest: well, that's the million dollar question. there are a lot of smart people in ashington that are trying to figure this out. as to the nuclear question, i believe pakistan has some help from the chinese although they deny it. they developed nuclear weapons from the 80s and 90s in response to india's development of nuclear weapons. there was a time when pakistan was sanctioned by the united states, and people say, you know, that didn't really work well either. right now we're sort of friends with tack -- pakistan. we're giving them a billion in foreign aid in addition to he reimbursements that we give them for war on terror activities. caller: i understand politically. i mean, they get support from us and they kind of like have to support us with the counter, with what's going on around this area.
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they kind of have to play the political thing with the people, too. guest: right. caller: it's just scary. pakistan is a scary to me. guest: well, you know, the obama administration can claim some victories here. i mean, the pakistani military went into south waziristan at the urging of the administration and cleared out some of the taliban that were fighting against the pakistani government that they had sort of turned a blind eye to for many years and finally i think we were able to convince them that it was in their interest to do that. the real question is, is pakistan going to go into places like north wa stir zan where you have afghan taliban and associated militant groups that aren't threatingning pakistan right now that are directing their activities towards nato troops in
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afghanistan. i think it's very dangerous right now with the time line that the president laid out for the beginning of u.s. troops to withdraw. a lot of military folks in pakistan are taking that as a sign that the u.s. is going to leave and so they are hedging their bets and saying maybe we need these militants to be around for a while. we want them on our side. host: do you have have a separate section here the worst of the worst and general coke nut. that's how you describe these things. the top is kim jong ill of north carolina who we most recently read might be grooming his son who nobody seems to know much about for taking over. what else can you tell us? guest: this was done by someone who is an economist at the american university here in town. he is from ghana. and so coconut heads is his term for kind of these dictators that come into power and loot their countries.
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i guess it's a west african term. but kim jong il is definitely the worst of the worst. here's a guy that runs the world's last stalinnist state. people there, they basically don't have a functioning market economy, they have some black markets. but it's a place where you can only get two or three channels on your tv. the government actually sets the tv so that you can't get other channels. it's a hugely repressive place. neighbors watch on other neighbors. each sort of apartment block will have several people who are designated by the security services to rat on their neighbors, and that's the kind of situation that makes people very frightened every day. host: obthis list of dictators, we touched on the top four that are on the cover here. but number five and number seven on this list and number 22 are the folks who run turk
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men stan, uzbekistan and belarus, all former sove yet republics. what is it about those former republics? guest: well, i think there is still a lot of sove yet mentality in places like that. and in a place like belarus, it is still being run as if it is almost like a sove yet satellite. belarus has had its spats with russia over the year, but it's been basically a friendly country. the president call him the last dictator of europe. he is not nearly as bad as some of the other folks on this list. the dictator in charge of turk men stan whose name i won't even try to pronounce right now, he took over from a guy named turkman bashi who wrote his own version of the bible, basically and tried to change the names of the month to members of his family. i mean, this is really a kind of crazy place.
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host: big trading partner, holder of lots of u.s. debt, china. the leader, you are calling him the worst of the worst among the bad dude dictators. what do we know about him? guest: i think technically people might gripe that technically he is not not a dictator, he is the head of a large bureaucratic communist party but they are largely a repressive state. they have enormous numbers of internet minders who monitor the chinese internet for certain key words that they don't want people to say. you're not allowed to talk about tibet, you're not allowed to talk about taiwan, you're not allowed to talk about the uighers, a minority group in western china. china is certainly a lot freer than it was, say, in 1979 but it still has one of the most repressive state apparatuses in the world. host: queens, new york. you're on with the managing
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editor of foreign policy. good morning. caller: thank you for having me. i have a comment and a question. my quhent is, first we need to define the words that we are using. and a dictator is a strong leader with a firm hand who can get their country through a crisis or turbulence. examples is back in ancient rome was a dictator. and also after helping out ancient rome. it's interesting today that we have leaders who are forced to either please the west and reconstitute their economy by liberalizing it to the negative impact of their people, or to not please their people and be voted out. an finally, my question is, i know you said that these failed states, most of them only have parts of colonialism. but that's not true. the top five are in africa and they're directly the result of racism and colonialism.
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and the people know it. and the rest of the states on the list, most of these are former colonies who have not been given the chance to strive and develop on their own with their own great men, with their own patrick henries and their own george washingtons. and i think if we look at it through a pure honest view with brotherhood, not from any bias viewpoint, we can see that fees failed states don't have to be failed states if they're gin the chance to grow in the way that they want to. guest: i think that people here would like nothing better than to have these places grow and thrive on their own. and the truth is that the problems in many of these failed states are due to neglect more than they are to medling from the international community at this point. what i meant to say earlier is that there are countries that were colonies that are doing pretty well right now. ghana is actually a good example.
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look, they had this great run in the world cup. they have a pretty functioning economy and government. senegal is another place that has had democratic elections used to be a french colony. so there are success stories even in africa that have overcome the colonial legacy. so i don't think that we can say that it is only colonialism that is to blame. it's certainly a factor but it is one that can be overcome. host: last call, joe, independent. good morning, joe. caller: good morning. how are you? guest: fine, sir. caller: if you would just for the viewers put up the top ten failed states for a moment. the common thread i see is i think there is an al qaeda influence and if there's not an al qaeda influence, then you have -- i'm probably going to ruffle some feathers here, the so-called religion of peace, you have radical islam influence. and i will take your comment off the air. thank you very much.
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host: that will be the final comment from you. guest: i tend to view relidgebs as a product of their societies and a product of the politics or economics in which they grow. i don't think we can blame any one religion for the problems in these places. when you have a country like malaysia or indonesia, a muslim country that is thriving. i think we need to look for other factors besides the religion. i think a place like, for instance, saudi arabia, which is a very strong state but certainly no one could call it a free society, a lot of the things that people attribute to islam there can really be thought of as bedoin practices, desert traditions. so i think religion is sort of, it leads you in the wrong direction. it's a red herring and i think we should look for other influences. host: blake houn shell is
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managing editor of foreign policy magazine. the bad guys issue, who is to blame for failed states. thanks a lot for your time this morning. guest: thank you. host: coming up we will talk more about the gulf oil spill and specifically gulf coast restoration. our guest, senior director of the environmental defense fund. in the meantime, a look at the world of politics through the eyes and the pens of cartoonists.
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>> at the table now, paul
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harrison, senior director of the environmental defense fund here to talk to us about gulf coast restoration. there's a "washington post" piece this morning, for now, assessment of oil spill damage is a joint effort. the government and bp working together but it's to the concern of some. first off, what's your own assessment of what's happening down there? guest: well, first the important thing to remember is that this is the largest single event environmental disaster we've had in our lifetime and it is still very much going on. the oil is still coming out. some of it is being collected, a lot is not being collected. it is still hitting the fragile louisiana marshes, gulf coast beaches. and we still have at least a month, probably two months even if the relief wells are effective, to have oil out in the area hitting the marshes, hitting the beaches. so as all of this is happening, as the ongoing effort to shut
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this off is happening, we are having to figure out what the impacts are on the environment. so having -- and it's important to remember that the -- this is not something we've planned for, this is not something we've experienced before. so a lot of the science work that needs to be done, we weren't prepared for that, it hasn't happened. one big concern is that this conversation is happening between the government and bp and making sure that this is happening in public. that the best scientistses in the world are brought in here to see this, to be engaged, to provide solutions and answers. and i think that is only really beginning to happen. host: so back to that subhead of that piece, government and bp working together. it's got a lot of people concerned. why is that? and what should be done about it, in your view? guest: well, people are obviously concerned because
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both the government and bp have an interest and everybody's thinking that e everything is ok. that they've got it under control. the reality is, because we weren't prepared for this, because this has happened in a way that we've never expect, it's not under control. at least in terms of our understanding of what the long-term impacts of this are on the fish, on the birds, on the eco system. host: let's get the phone numbers up for paul harrison, with the environmental defense fund. we're talking here about gulf coast restoration. our guest has been educated at the college of william and mary, also has a law degree from fordham university in the bronx new york, was a trial lawyer at the u.s. justice department from 2000-2006. currently senior director for mississippi river and east coast center for rivers and deltas, part of the
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environmental defense fund, senior direct there are. and as we look at restoration, mr. harrison, what's the prescription from your area? if you don't quite know how bad it is yet, how are you going to get your head around how to restore things? what's your process going to be? guest: well, one of the things that people need to remember about the louisiana wetlands in particular and the gulf of mexico is that these are places where environmental damage has been happening for the past 80, 100 years. you can take the louisiana wetlands, for example, because we made some decisions on how we manage the mississippi river, the wetlands are actually the delta of the mississippi river. this is where the river comes down, it's draining 41% of the united states, it's eroding all that land and sediment. and it builds this land mass, where new orleans sits. it's where the fishing communities are. and it's an ongoing battle
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between the gulf of mexico and the mississippi river to build land. we pretty much turned off the mississippi river's ability to build land so that we could have flood control, so that we could have big navigation channel. and then, starting in the 1930s we started doing oil and gas development out in the wetlands. louisiana was the first place that anywhere in the world where people went out into the water to start drilling for oil. and that led to the development of pipeline canls and dredging. it's basically a huge industrial infrastructure on top of a very fragile eco system and that has caused huge damage as well. so we know a lot about how to restore this system. people have for the past 30 years known that the system is going into collapse actually since the early 1900s, we've lost about 2300 square miles of the coastal wetlands, like the entire state of delaware disappearing or the entire urban area of greater chicago turning into open water.
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and so while we are looking at the questions of what the direct impact is from the bp disaster, we also know how to restore the system. it's to reconnect the river, the water, and the sediment to the wetlands and allow them to build back. and it's much the same for the gulf of mexico, for the deep waters. this is going to have a significant impact. we don't know exactly what that impact is going to be but we do know a lot about how to manage fisheries, for example, to make sure that we're not taking too many fish so that they can't recover. we have to use a lot of those tools moving forward. host: the first call, republican, jean, go ahead. caller: hello. i was wondering, in the long run do you think once this oil is cleaned up, but it sounds like years, that there actually will be a time when we are actually restoring the area,
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especially along the louisiana coast which has been destroyed in other ways? guest: it's an excellent question. and it's really within our control. it's whether we make the decisions as a nation to invest in the long-term health of the wetlands and the gulf. for example, there are going to be probably billions of dollars out of this in terms of what are called natural resource damages that bp will have to put on the table. similarly, there are going to be penalties, anywhere between 1100 to $4300 per barrel of oil released. do those go into the general treasury and disappear or do we reinvest them in the gulf of mexico or the louisiana wetlands? the same with the damages. do we take those money and say -- and this is what the president talked about in his oval office address.
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do we take those moneys and make sure we are solving the long-term big picture problems, going beyond the crisis of the moment? those are policy choices, they're choices in terms of how government operates, how we spend our money. but they are very much within our control. and if we do it, we do have the gulf, the louisiana wetlands have the ability to recover. people just have to help. host: so who answers those questions, the two that you just raised? the folks here in washington, states, companies like bp or combination? how do you get to the answers? guest: it's everybody. and it's also the larger oil and gas industry. so i raise that issue of weved we have had basically a hundred years of damage from oil and gas activity here. now, mind you, this isn't a moral question. this started well before we had environmental laws. the oil and gas there fueled the nation through world war
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ii, through the post war boom and now still produces a third of our oil and gas. so, but here we are now and we are at this critical turning point of do we reinvest in restoring the wetlands, do we reinvest in the gulf. so it will probably require action from congress at least in the longer term because as the caller mentioned, this is going to take years. and we all know that politics is short attention span theater. we've got to make this a permanent activity. but it also requires the gulf governors to get together and say we're ready to be partners on restoration, we're ready to do what we need to do to talk to the folks on the grown and make sure things are lined up. and final lirks it will require the administration to seamlessly transition from stopping the damage, from stopping the spill into
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restoration. now, they've asked secretary of the navy to spear head how this all works and the president has spoken about his understanding of it. so we have all the pieces on the table. the question is just how they come together . host: let's hear from shirley, democrat's line from detroit. caller: good morning. i would like to know your thoughts on any crnl charges that should be levees. and what do you think the long-term effect would be with any policies made with the democrats once the republicans are back in office which i feel will be inevidentable? guest: the investigation of the blowout is still ongoing. the standards for criminal penalties are relatively stripped. i think everybody who has looked at what happened there from the initial explosion that tragically killed 11 people to this ongoing disaster that's
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now 70 plus days out, and it's pretty hard to look at that and say that somebody didn't frankly do something criminal. it wasn't just a mistake. this wasn't just an accident. this should never have happened. now, the question of whether this is a partisan issue, a republican-democrat issue, i mean, obviously we have, particularly in the governors we have a series, different parties in charge. it would be a real tragedy if this becomes a political football. this has to be something that is resolved in the long term as basic federal, basic state policy. host: lots of of course in the paper about this. miami herald lead story talks about lawsuits. gusher of oil brings geiser of lawsuits, story out of
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tallahassee, businesses, fishermen, coastal residents, everyone is lined up to sue bp. so bp commited to this $20 billion fund. how do lawsuits play into the picture in that? guest: one of the important pictures about the $20 billion in escrow, which is $5 billion a year for the next four years bp commited to that was that the deal the president struck with bp is that the fact that bp put that money into the escrow fund had no impact one way or the other on any legal obligations, any legal standards. so very quickly you are seeing significant economic impact because of the bp disaster. you are seeing fishermen obviously really stressed and many of these fishermen are from the same communities that suffered from katrina and rita and gus tove and ike. they've had a really rough five years. but the economic impact is obviously spreading out to the
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other gulf states and even further. so you are going to see a lot of private lawsuits. you're going to see a lot of people fighting over that $20 billion and perhaps even more. this may be a place where congress needs to step up and say, we need to put some bounds on this. we need to make sure that people who have been impacted are made whole. we need to make sure that people are put back to work. but we also need to make sure that the money that comes out of bp here doesn't just disappear into a black hole and is actually put back into restoring the communities, restoring the eco system, restoring the economy of the gulf coast. host: we should point out too this piece in the business section of the "new york times" this sunday in following the money, where bp's money is landing. they have a chart here. they say that so far since may bp has paid more than $144 million in claims, 55 million going to just basically loss of income. and then money going to
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fishermen, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, crabbers, charter boat owners, rental property owners. a lot of local folks there. it's paid just under a third of the more than 950,000 claims it receives. -- 90,000 claims. next call from tampa. chris, go ahead. caller: the question is, if foreign skimmers were let in on+ day one, how many more barrels of oil could have been collected? it seems like the gulf is impacted by the obama administration due to union pressure. guest: well, i think no question that more skimmers is better and we should have had more skimmers right up front. one of the unfortunate realities, and this is something we'll have to talk about as a nation and we are in congress as response bills move forward, is we set up the system where the oil companies were responsible for planning the response to any potential
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problems. you know, these are some of the largest companies in the world. and the deal was, you leased some land. it's under water. from the federal government. you did all the operations, you gave back a portion of that money. but then you were responsible for the operations and you were responsible for putting together a plan if there were any zaferts. you were responsible for -- disasters. you were responsible for putting in place the resources. and one thing we have seen here is those plans were completely inadequate. and the way we set tup structure is that the federal government was not responsible for making these decisions. i think that was a mistake. but that's where we were the day of the explosion. i think the administration has consistently said that they're in charge, that they're using all the resources available. i think you have seen more and more resources brought to bear. the question of political blame
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here will be discussed for probably at least a year. but the fact is that we have got to put in place the kinds of struct turs to make sure that we are ready to attack these kinds of industrial disasters from day one. and, frankly, not have to wait for equipment to be brought in from the other side of the world. that equipment should have been on site ready for any potential problems in the gulf of mexico. host: we have texas. linda on the line for democrats. good morning to you. caller: good morning. host: go ahead with your comment or question. caller: first, i just wish just god bless america, the united states, period. but what i want to know is how is this really a big difference from katrina from the oil? i notice the 11 people did e get killed and i hate that but also i noticed more died with the katrina. and also, i noticed it was people are begging for milk for their babies. through this here is so much
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different and i mean, it's just a big difference. and it's noticeable. and i just want to know why. guest: so this is a very different kind of situation from katrina. you know, but it has many, many parallels. and you're right to emphasize that the human impact is quite different here. at least as relates to the city of new orleans. you know, you can take, for example -- and when you get out into these rural communities down in the buyo what people think of as louisiana cagen culture, communities that were not really covered during katrina and gus tove and ike, had in many ways just as bad things happen to them. you know, those folks give you an example. for example, fishermen during those big storms would have had his or her home destroyed. would have lost their boat. but they knew that the shrimp were going to be there when
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they came back. they invested in their businesses, they rebuilt their boats and got out there. now the bp disaster happened. it's very different. they still have their boat. many are asked to go out and do things like control burns but they don't know whether their future is there in terms of their fishery and culture. and it's a very different thing that way. i would point out that this thing is still going on and we are just entering what the national weather service has forecasted to be a severe hurricane season. so we are going to have oil in the water, we hope and we pray that there will not be a significant hurricane that goes through this area. but we have to be cognizant of the fact that we may still have a hurricane, we may have oil brought in and we may have levee failures, we may have those kind of problems again. and we really hope that, and believe, that the government has put in place new structures so that we don't have the kinds of loss of life that we had during katrina, that we are much more prepared for that.
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so we learn here, we learn there, and hopefully we learn. host: wanted to get more of your thoughts on deep water oil drilling in just a second. but first, here's a piece of our "newsmakers" program. i want to tell you that our guest today, 10:00 and then at 6:00, senator jeff bingaman. chairman of the energy and natural resource committee. about a minute and a half of the senator talking. >> i think it should do what it is in the process of doing, and that is secretary salazar has announced that he is going back to the drawing boards and is trying to develop a, another moratorium but a much more targeted moratorium. and one that would be appropriate to ensure the safety of drilling operations to the extent that the administration has concerned about that. but not have it in the blanket form that was earlier struck down by the court.
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i think that's the right way to proceed. clearly, the administration, at least clearly to me, the administration has authority to do that. and i think the administration has the responsibility to ensure that these drilling operations are done in a safe manner. to the extent that they don't have that assurance now, they are well within their rights and their responsibilities to put in place a moratorium to get control of the situation. i don't think that has to be a six-month moratorium. i don't think it has to be any particular time period. but i think the administration is doing what it needs to do to refine their moratorium and hopefully shorten it and hopefully ramp up their ability to ensure the safety of these operations. host: you can see the full segment on "newsmakers," senator jeff bingaman, democrat
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from new mexico, chairman of that energy committee on the senate side today at 10:00 and then at 6:00 p.m. eastern on to that point, paul, harrison a targeted moratorium this time. what do you think? guest: first, it's important for folks to know that the moratorium is actually targeted right now. we have not called off oil and gas drilling in the gulf of mexico. there is almost 4,000 operating wells out there, 40,000 miles of pipeline. this produce as third of our oil and gas. what we are talking about here is deep water drilling, the drilling that's happening like the bp deep water horizon a mile underneath the surface of the ocean, places where, as the oil industry says, it's like working in outer space with the pressures. you can't get people down there, everything is robots. and we still don't know really what happened, sadly in part because the folks who were close toast this were the ones that were killed when the well exploded. we don't really know exactly
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what happened there. so i think, though, that the senator is right, particularly because this is having economic impact in these communities where it's more than 15% of the louisiana economy. we've got 33 deep water drilling rigs that are basically in motteds balls right now. it's important to quickly get to the question of how we drill safely out there, to get as focused as possible. one of the things we're really hoping to see is the oil and gas industry, not just bp but the other majors, and the folks on the ground, who do this kind of work, to come together and start putting proposals on the table for how we do this much more safely. it's those kinds of conversations that can move this question forward, that can deal with the economic impact on the communities. we don't need this to decision to take nine months, a year, a year and a half. we've got to get the best minds in the world together and figure out the solutions now.
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but also, ask the question, are there things we shouldn't be doing? should we invest, for example, i mentioned earlier, in pre-positioning response equipment? should we be pre-drilling relief wells? all kinds of ideas on the table that should be able to make this much safer. and both to humans, the environment, and to the economy. host: we have about 15 minutes left with our guest. let's get back to those calls. baltimore, thank you for waiting. tom, republican. caller: it's pronounced thom. host: go ahead, sir. caller: watching the program, i sort of had a eureka moment. this entire country is uncircumstance sized. host: let's go to west virginia. marianne. caller: hi there, i actually just have one major comment. i believe that the united states is being undermined by its own government in order to make us more dependent upon
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countries with whom we are now fighting. i believe the bottom line is money. and it goes to the top of the heep. no names need be mentioned. i'm sure. i believe the fat cats shall get fatter, the skinny ones shall die. it's a youthization of sorts. all due to our government. these oil wells could have been and should have been controlled. maybe not from day one, but certainly within the first few days. this is just, it's simply ridiculous. i just cannot understand why no one can see what is going on in relation to this now it's an oil leak. you know, we can't call this an act of god. and yet, now where do we get our oil?
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where will we go now? guest: caller raises some really important questions. how do we get a grip around our national energy policy? we know for many reasons including which we are sending just hundreds of billions of dollars each year offshore to produce energy that we use in our very oil and gas intensive economy. there is legislation on the hill now that is being discussed at very high levels about how we transition to a clean energy economy. and that is going to include oil and gas for many years. but it's important to know that the united states has just a very small fraction of the world's oil and gas reserves, but uses almost a quarter of the oil and gas produced in the world. we are energy hogs. we have to have a real national conversation and we have to take action on how we
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transition to energy that is produced here and a lot of that is going to be wind and solar and geothermal and probably nuclear. it is time to move off oil and gas as our primary source of energy. we are always going to need it h. . caller: what is going to happen when the gulf coast residents
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start investing in crude oil in various ways? i know is coming. who is going to be responsible? nobody wants to be responsible. host: mobile, alabama and there. guest: really important question. there are so many people who live in the coastal wetlands in mississippi and florida, and it is not just direct health impacts from being in proximity to a large industrial disaster, but also be stressed, the mental health -- the stress, the mental health impacts. one of the callers talked about katrina. the posttraumatic stress syndrome has happened to so many people in new orleans as a result of what has happened there. is the nation going to invest in
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making sure we have the right resources to help people with these kinds of things? that is very much an open question. whether bp will be responsible directly for those kinds of impacts, this is a question that will undoubtedly be worked out through litigation. it could be short cut with a real congressional action. one of the things people need to understand is litigation takes many years. it sucks up huge amounts of money and energy. we are hoping congress will address all of this together so we can spend the money on helping people, helping the eco system. i am a lawyer, but not on the fighting and the politics. host: you have the oil spill on your screen as we look at restoration. 27% of domestic crude oil production comes from the gulf
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region. as far as a fresh seafood every year, 1.2 billion pounds. it is six of the top-10 shipping ports in a country or found in the gulf region. the plan is supposed to balance economic and environmental concerns. where is the right balance in your view? guest: louisiana and the gulf coast or often referred to as "the working coast." the reason people are there is because of the environment. the reason the tourism industry is there. because of the beaches, because of the fishing. the reason that new orleans is there is because of the mississippi river. it is often referred to as an impossible city in unnecessary location. there has to be an intercept between economic activity and people and cultures, many of whom have been there centuries.
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not the people, but their culture. the oil and gas industry. we look at where all the pipelines and wells and canals are. you know it is going to have an enormous impact. a lot of that impact we can resolve. we can fix those things. we can take some of the money that comes from all of this activity and invested back into healing the ecosystem. there needs to be fishing. there certainly needs to be this serves the cultural heartland. that is going to be the challenge. the good thing is to people in the gulf coast have really been addressing this thinking about these issues for some time. there will be partners down there and plans already in place. -pit is really a matter of whetr we can put together the right big picture plan and the right resources and the right long- term commitment to doing it.
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host: trenton, florida. what part of the state is trenton in? caller: the gainesville area. i was wondering. there is a lot of talk about energy, biofuels, and how we can produce 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre. did they think about setting up algae forms there are around the gulf coast? or that it can have the runoff from the fertilizer used as nutrients, and the company'ies - are already somewhat biofuel- oriented. >guest: the gulf coast is where our energy industry is now. i think there is the potential for it to be a powerhouse for
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clean energy developed. texas is the largest state in terms of wind production in the united states. the algae idea is something people have talked about. one of the big issues we have right now is a story in the "new york times." how do we subsidize the development of fossil fuels? the oil and gas industry? we need to have a new paradigm for how we fund and deal with energy in this country, and we need to have that now. so, the folks down there who are thinking, hey, should i start and algae form -- farm, they know the market will support it. carbon-intensive, global warming activity, we are going to transition added that. the future is in biofuels and solar and wind. the market signal will bring in a venture capitalist. this is how the economy always
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works. it is important for congress to move forward with legislation now so business people can start investing and investing safely. host: we can read just a little bit from this "new york times" peace. it says that when the --
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>> that is in the "new york times" today. guest: we will continue to have this focus on foreign oil. as the indians and chinese try to have the same standard of living we have, the amount of oil will be much more scarce. if you think about more than 2 billion people wanting to live like americans and look like them in terms of how much demand is out there. the way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to transition to a clean energy future, and that is why we need to put in place the structures to say, we are moving past this. as an oil industry executive
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once said, "we did not end the stone age because we ran out of stones." the question is whether the oil and gas industry really needs to -- whether congress needs to look at that in terms of how we invest the money back into the communities it impacts and the ecosystem's it impacts. that is going to be a really, really big question over the next six months to a year. host: we have an independent caller for paul harrison. caller: i understand what is going on, but the same thing happens with the madoff ponzi scheme, with 9/11. we are not focusing on because of the problem. the government is the cause of the problem. you should be investigating how this actually happened, not the aftereffects. we know the disaster. we know the oil spill. basically, we have different
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branches of government, and the media is the fourth branch of government. you guys are covering up the cause of this problem so it does not happen again. what can we not just focus on what caused the accident? who prevented states from helping clean this thing up one of very first happened? it prevented us from letting this oil even hit the shore lines? this is the aftermath of it all. this is the same thing that happened with nuclear power in this country, with three mile island. that shut down that system. we are doing the same thing with this oil. you are using it to your advantage -- host: mr. harrison? guest: the caller has a good point. we left -- we, the nation -- so we could keep oil and gas prices
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down. that is all of us. i have yet to see a state in this country where people have got together and said, you know what? we need to step up on that question. we left that in the hands of the oil industry. we said, you guys are the ones you should be in charge of cleanup. you guys should be in charge of basically a standard. the group at the department of the interior, the minerals management service was responsible for regulation, responsible for royalty rates and how much money came in and where it went. we basically let the oil industry get in there and control that agency. so now secretary salazar has divided that agency up. they will need more reform on a question. we have got to go back and say, look. in my community, in most communities, we have a fire station. that is paid for through taxes. there is one fire in your neighborhood year.
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most the time, those guys felt little old ladies cross the street and get canton is out of trees. -- those guys help whittle ladies cross the street and get kittens out of trees. we have the assets repositioned. we have independent regulators who are not in any way connected to the money in the system. bizerte really big picture structural questions -- these are really big picture structural questions. the president has appointed a commission to look into these questions and look at how we transition into the big picture solutions. is really important that commission come up with these kinds of groundbreaking changes so we do not have these conflicts of interest and we move forward. >host: last call. democrat, rockfalls, for paul harrison. caller: i agree with pretty much
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everything that's paul harrison there is saying. the collar that was just on has some very good -- caller that was just one has some very good points. i would like to see paul harrison take these views to washington and present them to obama. and present them to congress. host: what exactly was the point you wanted him to respond to? caller: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer every day. it is about american creed, american policies, and i just feel that more of this should have been all placed years ago when the oil industry started, you know, they have been knowing about this for so long. host: final thoughts from our
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guest. guest: this is a big moment for changes in washington, and this is one of them. we need to of a national conversation about our relationship with the production of fossil fuels, oil and gas, and how that is invested in the development of our communities, and transition to a place where we are not dependent on foreign oil, we are not spending our hard earned dollars on foreign dictators. we're very committed to having that conversation with the nation in washington, d.c. host: paul harrison, thank you for your time. we have 45 minutes left. in a moment, we will continue our series on states to run the country and their fiscal and economic conditions. when state with a significant projected deficit is pennsylvania. our guest will be peter decoursey of
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+ we will let a special line just for residents of pennsylvania. host: the topics today on sunday talk shows will include the gulf coast oil spill. e white house correspondent will speak with senator john mccain. the guest on fox news sunday include the kinetic it independent senator joseph lieberman, and south carolina republican senator jim demandsd jimemint. on a face the nation, there will be a discussion with an armed services committee member and lindsay gramm. and duncan hunter of california will be on the sunday talk shows.
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also afghanistan's ambassador. we note that meet the press is pre-empted by nbc's sports programming. today you can listen to the sunday morning talk shows starting at 1:00 p.m. on c-span radio. that is nationwide on xm satellite radio and live on the web at you can also follow us on facebook and twitter. >> this week on "the communicators." australian senator cates -- kate lundy. monday night on c-span 2. >> one of the best things i've ever heard about money and politics. it is like water that finds the whole. >> he won a pulitzer prize for reporting on tom delay and jack
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abram loft. tonight we will talk with jeff smith. >> the c-span video library has every c-span program since 1987, but did you know that includes every author who has appeared on "book tv?" the c-span video library. is "book tv" your way. >> -- host: joining us is peter decoursey from first, a quick look at updated figures from pennsylvania. the current jobless rates as of may was 9.1%. the projected deficit for $0.1
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billion. give us your sense of what pennsylvania looks and feels like these days, economically. -- the projected deficit was $4.1 billion. guest: we are very much like someone who has been watching the weather news and is waiting to see if the hurricane sweeps away the entire house next year. both the governor and the senate majority leader spent a decent part of this week talking about, essentially, if you think this year's budget is bad, wait until next year. we will have a new governor and about a $4 billion structural deficit. once the state's pension problems, unemployment problems, and the disappearance of stimulus money all combined to take the state revenues to fund the state portion of the budget from about $28 billion to about $24 billion. host: what does it all mean?
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what are folks most worried about these days? what is the mood economically as you talk to people? guest: i think there is still a tremendous amount of worry. as you said, you have the official unemployment rate at 9%. when you look at folks who are no longer seeking work, the functional unemployment rate is higher than that. i think there is still a lot of worry for people and a very great sense that we are dividing more than we have had in recent years. this is a state where folks have always had jobs and health care. an increasing number do not. unlike five or 10 years ago, a tremendous sense by many of those who have jobs and health care that both are very much in peril. and the state's economy, i think, is a much bigger worry
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than the state government deficit. but i think they are becoming interlinked in a way that i do not think gives people confidence in the government or the economic situation. i think they feed on each other. host: so what is being done with it? we see the lead story in the inquiry -- budget puzzle still lacks pieces. questions remain. so speak to us about the recent acts of the legislature and the governor in dealing with those issues. guest: this year was basically a holding action budget. 3% of the budget is funded on federal funds, the welfare stimulus money that has not been approved and may not be approved. once the governor and legislature have agreed to essentially week a month and see
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if they can either get legislation passed by congress or get some -- the governor says "a clear signal." i am not sure what that is. but once there is a clear signal, they will meet and the government will cut the budget by a further 3%, which will probably completely on to his $250 million basic education increase. he is very proud of that. that was pretty much the hallmark of this budget fight for him. he had $250 million for basic education increase across the state. we are one of the few states, the governor says to be able to increase basic education funding this year. if that $850 million in federal money does not appear soon, and there is no sign from the
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congressional delegation here that it will, then most of the things -- that $250 million goes poof, and along with it other parts of the budget. another thing that is interesting, the state is very much constrained in what it can cut. one condition of accepting more than $2 billion a year for the last couple of years in federal support for the state budget -- not the federal items, but the state items -- is that now there are a whole bunch of things like higher education that the governor can no longer legally cut, even if the 8 $50 million does not appear. there's 700 -- even if the $815 million does not appear. their $700 million in this budget. the governor not only is facing the possible disappearance of
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this money, but constraints on how he can cut if it has to start cutting august 1. host: let's take our first call on this segment concerning pa.'s fiscal problems. go-ahead, david. caller: this government should offer a drug amnesty program, allowing time for people to get off drugs before they implement drug testing for social security recipients and welfare recipients. what does it do is, it would shake the tree and the deadbeats would fall off. then, of course, it would generate more wealth for the economy. i think this should be investigated more and more because there are a lot of people who are fond of welfare
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and social security. host: thank you. peter decoursey, did you get all of that? guest: i apologize. i am sure the caller had a good point, but i know more about gaelic football then that issue. i apologize, but i have nothing to add. host: let's get some more callers on that segment on pennsylvania here. in historical terms, how bad is the deficit for pennsylvania? guest: i guess that is 15% when gov. rendel came in. he faced a structural deficit of 10%. he is bequeathing to his
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successor 60% worse than he got. at least a moderate area of pennsylvania state governments, the introduction of the two- termer governorship in 1970, i believe that is the worst anybody gave to a successor in terms of the general fund budget. in the 1970 lines, one governor borrowed a great deal of money when the state credit rating was not particularly good. his successor complain about the debt load. in terms of walking in and having to find, in this case, 15% of your budget -- there has not been one i am aware of since 1970 when we introduced the income tax. host: what has been the leading businesses, employing generators
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in the state, and how are they trending? guest: natural gas drilling has been a big plus, and they have supplemented to some degree very helpfully because more or less the pattern in the economy in pennsylvania the last couple of years is the coasts are doing well in the middle of the state is doing poorly. in eastern pennsylvania, south eastern pennsylvania, south western pennsylvania, particularly alleghany county, a uc a huge increase in technology jobs -- you see a huge increase in technology jobs. biochemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, technologies industries. they have done fairly well and much better than the rest of the state. in some sense, it has been very
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good for what i will call the poor and middle part of the state, the rural part of the state, because you had this boom of bringing jobs, economic development, and directing royalty payments to a lot of people who own land there. that only farmers, but timber owners, people who own summer camps up there. literally this past week, i have talked to six lawmakers or lobbyists whose families have for 50 or 60 years have a hunting camp or summer camp in northern pennsylvania on 6 acres of timberland, and almost all of them have leased out to the natural gas companies. this has filled in and become a boom in northern and rural pennsylvania where there has really not been an economic driver sense the coal and -- since the coal and steel
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industry were in the state. compared to what they used to bait. host: we have a call from scranton, a democrat won. we did have audio problems earlier. sorry about that. it looks like we got things fixed. caller: i am reading the sunday scranton times hear about when tom ridge was governor, and they were talking about so many state liquor stores, and they want to sell the state liquor stores to get some money to balance the budget and they can sell these liquor stores to which republican gains of friends, you know? they are ripping the country of, the state of. they want to privatize everything. i was in the army years ago, and we would do kp. now they have private companies coming in and doing the kitchen
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work when the soldiers did that. host: can you help us with that caller's issue? guest: this has been coming up sense dick thornburgh in the late 1970's'. basically governors come in and try to privatize the state liquor stores. pennsylvania is one of the few states that still has liquor -- wine, spirits -- in separate stores owned by the state. this is a relic of the old days when it was felt that you should not have wide distribution of liquor because people would be more drunk and it would be easier for children to acquire all. so, there has been -- as part of the republican party's
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modernization of appeals literally for 40 years now, is it that that system is archaic and should be hidden -- should be gotten rid of. and we are joining other states. basically, the objections are threefold. one, there is a small number of conservative republicans who think that that will increase the availability of liquor. it tends to be just enough to push the union-backing democrats across the majority line in both chambers of the state legislature. so, there is always this loose coalition of the anti-drinking availability and the we are for the union-democrats. and the third thing is that republican governors see this as a privatization issue and a
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justice issue and a bring us into the 20th century issue. democrat governors see it as a an assault on the unions and also as one of these things for you have a short-term gain, but then after you sell the liquor stores, you cannot get the steady income from the lector stores every year -- liquor stores every year. republican governors proposed it, and it fails because some of their party are pro-union and some of their party are anti- liquor. and there is always a enough democrats to make that into a majority. democratic governors oppose it for the union reason. and it never happens. my guess is that will continue to not happen. again, the previous segment talked about how this is a moment of change, your guest
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believe, in oil policy. all around america, states are facing these 20% structural deficits. if governors like chris christi e, mitch daniels -- you are going to see some serious cuts and changes, and that is a change that could happen if a republican governor is elected and -- this is a big hand -- and we continue the trend in pennsylvania of having what i would call moderate, middle-of- the-road, pro-union republicans replaced by democrats or by losing their seats to democrats and having more conservative republicans from the west make up their place in the new house and senate majority.
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i think there is a possibility. when you are $4 billion down in revenues and you are balancing the budget with one time revenues for basically the last three years, it would seem foolhardy to rule out the kind of billion dollar revenue boosts we would get from selling the liquor stores. it probably requires the republicans taking back the house in pennsylvania and the governorship. in my mind, that is a good thing, because elections have consequences, and that could well be one of the consequences of this fall election in pennsylvania. host: our guest peter decoursey is bureau chief and editor for former schoolteacher, a form -- former assistant to a councilwoman in pennsylvania. he was a writer in college for many years for various outlets.
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san diego, we have a call from nina. go ahead please. caller: i apologize. i did not hear everything your guests had to say earlier. you had audio problems. i think everybody needs to take a step backward and look at the big economic picture here. one family is from pennsylvania. in a day when my mom was growing up, of course, there was the coal industry, the steel industry. we have shipped so many jobs overseas, nationwide, and put some many regulatory boundaries on farming, we are having a very rough time. you do not have to be a scientist to figure out that where the jobs have gone and what is going on in this country. we are busy buying cheap chinese
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goods, and nobody -- i am old enough to remember when buying american-made goods was a token, and it just does not happen anymore. it seems to me that pennsylvania, which is a fabulous day. i went to camp there. i know what you are talking about pennsylvania -- i know you're talking about. pennsylvania, you have of beautiful state that is capable of farming and industry. where did those jobs go? i am familiar with what the teachers union is doing nationwide, demanding more and more money in refusing to take any of the pain that goes along with these budget cuts -- host: let's get a comment from our guest. guest: i did not mean to imply the liquor stores for the answer to a $4 billion problem. what i meant to suggest was,
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when you have a $4 billion problem, you are much more liable to solve it with one- time fix's for a couple of years and continue to do one-time fixes, rather than cut $4 billion to throw people off welfare, to remove subsidies for business. it is very hard. this year -- last year, pennsylvania had a huge fight over basically keeping the budget the same place it had been the year before. this year, we have thrown up our hands and moved it to next year. obviously, the teachers' union is very strong, but so are the business lobbies here in pennsylvania. we have a lot of people trying to hold on to what they have got from state government as hard as they can. that will continue to be a problem. as far as the industry issue, i
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ttink the caller is right that it is our real problem. i do not think it is a pennsylvania-specific problem. obviously pennsylvania used to have more manufacturing. when that left, it became a problem. to a large degree, a lot of pennsylvania manufacturing went to north carolina and the seven states. now it is going overseas. it is amusing to read stories out of arizona and north carolina about other people doing it their jobs away -- not amusing. sad. it is very sad that other people are doing to them what they did to states like new york and new jersey. what we need to do, i think, in what they tried to do in pennsylvania and i believe in other states is find out what jobs we can keep, and what do
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you do about the people who are not going to be part of that knowledge economy coming out of our schools? there's a lot of effort in pennsylvania and other places to deal with those issues. the fact is, those are difficult issues. it is a difficult problem. how you deal with personal quirks. how you deal with education? all difficult questions. i do not know you can necessarily say, we are going to return america back to the 1940's when we were a manufacturing giant. i do not know that is going to happen as long as these pricing issues exist. host: we will talk to our guest for 20 more minutes. we have 20 minutes left for our guest, peter decoursey.
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arlington, virginia has been waiting. independence caller. go ahead, john. caller: hall is a pennsylvania's financial report numbers -- how is pennsylvania's financial report numbers? here in virginia, the public got overtaxed, i think, $114, which was a taking. which -- apparently you are not supposed to do that. [laughter] host: these are interest-earning accounts he wants to know about. guest: i am not quite sure i understand the question period to the extent i understand it, since we are -- understand the
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question period to the extent i understand it, since we are running deficits in pennsylvania, when gov. ridge and others and others rolled up rainy day funds, there was always the argument you should not have a budgetary reserved. instead of a budgetary reserve -- excuse me. i am a bit sneezey this morning. you should spend the money you have left or return it to the taxpayers. now, the last two years -- the last year was a $3 billion deficit. this year was a $1.1 billion deficit. almost $1.2 billion deficit. we are not spending. i am not sure the issue arises. i apologize if i misunderstood the question.
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host: speak to the budget and the deficit and its impact on the two groups. begin with seniors. if i am not mistaken, pennsylvania has one of the older collected population in the country. hal is the budget deficit affecting seniors there? -- how is the budget deficit affecting seniors there? >guest: much of it is supposed to go to senior programs. what is happening is senior programs are being paid out of the senior -- out of the general fund budget. gov. rendel has been aggressive about moving funds out of the general fund to pay for those programs. which means you have waiting for a lottery-funded programs for seniors, which spanned pharmaceutical drug assistance for the elderly to rides and
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other kinds of programs to help the elderly. cuts this year in the budget to library services, for the blind and disabled, that again impacts the elderly more than any other population. and i think those are the main ways. you have a couple of mean groups, including pennsylvania aarp, who are saying you are literally taking hundreds of billions of dollars a year out of programs for the elderly supported by the lottery and using it to fund the general fund budget. gov. rendel disagrees, saying it is spent on elderly programs within the general fund budget, but that is not entirely true. the budget has dipped into environmental programs. takes $180 million from the oil and gas fund which is supposed
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to be supporting environmental programs and put that into the general fund to pay for losing all these revenues. the fact is, the budget black hole of the last two years has been taking away funds and increasing waiting lists specifically, most notably for the poor and the elderly and environmental programs. there have been some smaller cuts in dollar amounts, but larger in percentage, to the department of agriculture also. the short term for this budget has been -- it is a bad budget for the elderly. liberals, the environment. host: we will ask about schools in a couple of minutes, but let's take a call from pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning.
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thank you for taking my call. first time col. just an observation. i am alive long resident of pennsylvania -- i am all life -- president of pennsylvania. in the past couple of years, they have not been able to pass the budget on time. it is nickel and dime. the state employees for the most part are held hostage every year by the government. my point is, we are in a money crunch nationwide. pennsylvania is no different. pennsylvania has, i believe, the second highest amount of lawmakers of any state in the union with the second highest compensation package. in order to change this, it would take a constitutional convention. if you think that the politicians will vote themselves
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out of a lucrative position, it will never happen. the spending in pennsylvania is outlandish. they already know that by 2012, the pension system for commonwealth employees, teachers, and so forth is going to go right through the roof. it seems to me that someone in harrisburg could come up with a better idea. my philosophy is no employee that is funded by taxpayers should be entitled to 100% of their host: salary peter decoursey, -- 100% of their salary. host: peter decoursey, from harrisburg. guest: let's say you got rid of the entire budget for the legislature in pennsylvania. that would be one 13th of the
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shortfall next year. even if you -- and by the way it would be unconstitutional -- but even if you did it, how are you solving the other $3.7 million of the problem? there is an issue that has been raised by a lot of people. but even if you spend less on the legislature, he would only be solving 8% of your problem. i apologize, john. i forgot the rest of your question. host: let's talk about the education question. the philadelphia inquirer talks about the negotiations between the teachers' union and gov. rendel. thursday pledged to bump up aid for schools. tell us about the plan. guest: they have both had to
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start doing layoffs and raise property taxes. you have to go back to 2002, and the governor said he ran because as mayor of philadelphia, he did not have the power to fix the school system and to fund the schools properly. so he ran on basically two ideas. one, we need to spend a lot more on education and improved test scores and performance. and two, that required a massive infusion of funds that would also drive down property taxes. this year, that was a very powerful idea and it's very much helped him in his first term and to win reelection by 61% for his second term. the problem is, essentially, the property tax relief he has sent to homeowners averages out at all little less than $200 per
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homeowner, and almost every district in the state has raised taxes higher than that. this year, rendel's plea was we need to do this to keep our educational programs going, and if you do not do this the school district will raise your property taxes, and i promised not to do that. he stopped to the major promise he made during his campaign -- hestuck -- he stuck to the major promise he made during his campaign. you have programs where people are making $9 an hour to supervise people who have disabilities in community homes, who are getting cut this year, a $6 million cut, while education gets a $250 million increase. but the reason for that, the governor will tell you, is to
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keep the progress growing. pennsylvania has improved in its test scores during the rendel administration and has increased the amount of state education subsidy relative to other parts of the subsidy over the last eight years. that is essentially his top issue, running for governor in 2002, and he has stuck to it doggedly, even when a lot of people within the democratic party and the legislature have said, wait a minute. why are we cutting human services, the environment, you know? why are we keeping these workers in these community homes for these disabled and those with mental retardation issues -- why are we keeping them at $9 an hour when we are paying the average teacher $70,000 a year? this was his major initiative. host: understood.
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let me jump in and take a couple of calls in a row. mark, you are up first. what do you say? caller: peter, i think the problems in pennsylvania are pretty much self-inflicted. i am from philly. i know you are from philly. the tax burden in this city is horrendous. if you are a resident, it is around 4%. the state income tax is 3.1%. then you have federal taxes and property taxes, and when it comes down to it, the average middle-class person in philly is paying 40% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes. host: thank you for your point. let's take another call. what is on your mind, grace? caller: the first issue is a fiber-optic cable between where
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i live and other places -- it is made in china. what happened to the jobs in pennsylvania? that is the first point. the second point, the bank is called comerica bank that owns that. that is in india, the call center. what about the call center in wilkes-barre -- wilsbury? when you look at the jobs, you see a lot of mexicans and foreigners during those jobs on the roads. even the project with the fiber- optic cable. why are we not using pennsylvania workers? host: two biggies in that last two calls. what do you say? guest: again, governor rendel
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tried to address the tax burden issue by decreasing the property tax for most of the state and decrease in the wage tax in philadelphia. obviously that caller feels, as most do when you poll them, that he did not do enough. as to the lady, the first thing is, having watched the fiber- optic cable be a huge issue for my entire career as a journalist in pennsylvania, which is 20 years -- it is a relatively dwelled populated area for non- philadelphia, non-harrisburg, non-pittsburgh area. it is sad they are only getting fiber-optic cable in 2010. it should have been there 10 years ago. as to will they use it? obviously it is a price issue. you have this dichotomy because
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you talk to them and they say of course, i want government to acquire the services at the lowest price, of course i want to pay the least amount in tax increases. then you have people go, well, why are we using fiber-optic cable from china? we are using it because it is cheaper. that is the only reason you would use it, i would think. it becomes this issue that nobody wants to pay more for the cable or other government were their fiber-optic or their activities through the computer. it becomes a tough balancing act. when you are trying to cut costs in a bad economy, as i am sure comerica was, and these other folks were, and this becomes our real problem. how do you keep these kinds of jobs in pennsylvania or america? i do not think anyone has salted. host: more of pennsylvania by
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the numbers. the foreclosure rate -- 6.65%. 7427 jobs created by stimulus in the state. long term jobs, short-term jobs? what is the sense of the stimulus spending? guest: it has been most noticeable in the road building in the state, and those jobs are obviously not permanent. that is a concern. the hope, and i really do -- i do not know if this will work or not, is we build a bridge over the bad economy and private companies will start building again and start making money again and revenues will go up said the state will be able to afford transportation and build more roads and keep a relatively level -- are relative level of
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activity going. whether that will work -- again, this was supposed to be a year revenues in pennsylvania were supposed to be flat. instead, revenue growth in pennsylvania was -4%. that is better than last year when it was -11%. we have a long way to go to zero. we do not have the infrastructure to keep the kinds of jobs going that the stimulus plan has -- bridge construction, road construction -- until you have the state economy, and the state economy generally follows the national economy, moving again. again, you look at the figures you just cited in the program. not really happening. host: one last call from pennsylvania. new cumberland. republican line. welcome to the program. caller: thank you for having me.
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a couple of points. first, the liquor stores. i believe we should do away with the state-owned liquor stores. he made the point we are collecting revenues from this. if someone wants cheaper liquor, their rundown to maryland or new jersey. they go somewhere else where they are not run by the states. if the state gets rid of it, we do away with the wages. a point on wages, by the way. the wages for state workers are very good. the benefits are excellent. you cannot get all of those benefits in private industry. there is a lot of cost and maintenance and upkeep for those. basically, they are getting some profit at the height maintenance cost. collect the taxes. we will get as much money as we would from the so-called profit from the liquor stores. and the unions -- the salary in the state is very good.
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benefits are excellent. but state government is inefficient. we probably have too many people to begin with. unions, by and large, do you ever notice when we talk about bankers and wall street and those fat cats, we always used the term, "agreed -- "greed?" but if you try to cut saiu by 1 cent, the greed comes out of their years and their eyes. it is amazing. host: we're down to the last minute or so. give us your take on the future of the keystone state economically. guest: there have been some signs that the monthly revenue shortages are going to get better. they are shrinking somewhat. whether or not we will reach
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$850 million budget growth next year -- we have not seen that yet. i think you're going to see a vigorous debate in the campaign this fall about how best to do that. whether that is continued spending and government intervention as the democrats prefer, or massive cuts and the transformation of the way state government is -- which both candidates are promising, but corbett has locked himself into and no tax hike pledge. that will be very interesting. and probably that election will do a lot to determine the future of the state's and state policy. host: peter decoursey, bureau chief and columnist for thank you for joining us, talking about the future and pennsylvania. pennsylvania.


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