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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  December 13, 2012 2:00am-3:00am PST

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those days. >> glen, are you all right? >> i'm fine. >> good, good, i apologize for that by the way. >> i love life tv. >> you never know what is going to happen. >> that's what happens when you criticize the welfare state. >> cenk: that's almost a literal elbow from the sky. coming, young turks. [ ♪ music ♪ ] >> eliot: good evening i'm eliot spitzer. and this is "viewpoint." syrian forces continue to fire scud missiles at rebel fighters. >> we made a decision that the syrian opposition coalition is
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now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the syrian people in opposition to the assad regime. >> eliot: this recognition by the u.s. is a major step forward for the syrian rebels even though the president was quick to say they do not support the chaos in the country. >> there is a small element of those who oppose the assad regime that are, in fact, affiliated with al-qaeda and iraq, and we have designated them as a terrorist organization. >> joining me now to help us understand what this means in syria and the larger context of the middle east, from the hoover institution, one of the most astute observers of middle eastern politics.
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thank you for joining us. >> thank you very much, governor. >> eliot: is this recognition by president obama too little too late or appropriately calibrated calibrated. >> you stole my line. it's too little, too late. it doesn't matter what the obama administration is doing. we waited 21 months. 40,000 syrians were killed. thousands of syrian versus fled to turkey, iraq and jordan. many are refugees. the city has been completely leveled to the ground, and now we come, we offer this recognition, it's very lame. >> eliot: will we be in position to affect the outcome. let me state this as a premise. i take it as a premise that assad will fall at some point. his civil society is fallen. do you accept that premise. >> it was a year ago when the obama administration said bashar is a dead man walking. a year later we can see that
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this may be the end game, but it has nothing to do with what we do and what we say. and indeed president obama gave hillary clinton secretary of state to promise that the cavalry was on the way and they never showed up. >> eliot: what i heard was there was not much they could do to affect the dynamics of this revolution. >> they were skillful in the way they depicted this fight. the only thing we could do is to have boots on the ground. the syrian people did not want boots on the ground. they wanted help, a free fire zone and no-fly zone and they wanted help, and we offered none. we offered none. now that the syrian rebellion may be on the verge of victory we come in with our conditions and second guess the syrian rebellion and say these are terrorists, we can't support them. we can't trust them with
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aircraft missiles. it's a odd morality that went want to deny people when they're using jets to level cities. >> eliot: the administration has been slow in the at least in response to the syrian revolution. what do you see as you type forward. what type of regime will replace assad. >> we can never tell. neverwe can never tell. they have pulverized, we know that. that has happened in front of our eyes. we know the muslim brotherhood will have a piece of action. we know those who have been pushed to the grave will want a piece of the new syria.
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>> eliot: you think we've been delinquent in our response. >> had we intervened early had the cavalry come early there would have been no missiles needed put now we declare that the syrian people are saying who are you to make these judgments about us? where have you been and why haven't you aided this rebellion. the rebels have fought and died and suffered alone. i go quite a bit every now and then to the syrian-turkey border and talk to refugees in the refugee camp, the faith in the united states is viscerated. >> eliot: to move south where the revolution is a year or two years ahead chronologicalcally if not in terms of theory, what do you see emerging in cairo in egypt where the constitutional referendum will occur shortly. will it pass? and what is your view of the constitution? >> there will be this vote on this constitution.
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it will be a two-state vote. one vote will be cast this saturday and then another vote cast in the successful saturdays. the constitution is very very--if you look at it, in articles--i inflicted 256 articles on me, one article guaranteed the right that everyone has the right to play sports. this is what the liberals worry about, that islam is the religion of the state but all constitutions say that. even the old constitution of the tyranny that islam is the religion of the state and there would be a role for the shariyia. it is not particularly egregious. it's the manner the way it was drafted and the islamists were left to draft the constitution. >> eliot: a simplistic level if
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i can try to get my arms around the likely outcome. do you end up as turkey, iran or pakistan. where do you think the civil society in cairo in egypt is pushing and will the muslim brotherhood understand that it should veer towards turkey not iran? >> well, i think that's a very good question, a very important question. there is no iran in egypt's future. egypt is a very different country. it is a more forgiving country. i don't know, it's the nature of life in egypt. again, if we look at the russianen model it was sustained by oil. the only reason why a democracy could hold its own in iran and bring down civil society to civil obedience is the treasure of the state the big atm. the egyptians don't have that. if you're reliant on tourism and the suez canal and reliant on
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strangers with foreign aid up to have a more moderate version of islam. if i had to guess--in a way they have been telling us, they're inspired by the turkish model. >> in that case, did president morsi misjudge the reaction of those in the street when he tried to force this referendum as quickly as did he? >> mohamed morsi, he may be a very good engineer and he might have done very well in california where he was a student of engineering. but he's not a student of egyptian history and did he not gauge the temperament of these people. they brought down one pharaoh and they were not looking for another pharaoh. >> eliot: quickly. do you think he learned that lesson. >> he has learned that lesson. he appears to be a chastened man, and there will be a vote in the next week or so.
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>> eliot: thank you for your wisdom. >> thank you. >> eliot: it is not just unions under attack in michigan. it's also the unlikely local in the g.o.p.'s continuing war on women. that's next. i'll be joined by the attorney general in new york who has set out to she had light shed light on thehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe on to me now? you know the the kind of guys that do reverse mortgage commercials? those type. those types are coming on to me all the time now. she get's the comedians laughing... that hilarious. and the thinkers thinking. joy okay so. there's wiggle room in the ten commandments is what you're telling me? >>she's joy behar. joy and the best part is that current will let me say anything. what the hell were they thinking? > only on current tv. brought to you by geico 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance. visit geico dot com for a free rate quote.
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>> eliot: while all eyes and ire have been focused on the
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union-busting right to work passed through a lame duck michigan legislature, many by members who have been booted out of office, it was an all too familiar target. if you thought the war on women ended with this november's election when the most ardent warriors against women's reproductive rights were widely defeated apparently michigan didn't get the memo. in a slew of new bills the nation's most regressive state in terms of reproductive rights with laws according to planned parenthood that would be unprecedented in the country. many of these bills were proposed this summer but stalled after the backlash, and now many of the lawmakers lost their recent election and they're try to go frantically get them signed into laws before they leave their seats. they were attacked on three fronts first by requiring employers who seek to cover abortions in their insurance
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plans to add an additional rider in order to do so. second to refuse offering services that they object to at their own discretion which would limit a multitude of procedures, and third required all those who cover abortions to add a supplement program for women who opt into it to pay extra. now governor snyder who is also certain to sign them into law. with me is lisa brown and katie oppenheim. thank you both for joining us. >> thank you for having us. >> eliot: lisa, let me start with you. this is shocking for those who look at michigan as a blue state, first what do these bills do, and how did they make it through a mushroomsture that we thought was a bastian of progressive thinking, union bauer and women's. >> right we have legislature going against the will of the
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people. and we have a governor who said he did not want to deal with divisive issues. jobs was job number one and he completely flip flopped on that. it would have been nice to see him come out and say i'm going to veto this legislation. there are so many bills i can't even keep them all straight. you named a few of them. but coercive abortion. we offered amendments that you can't coerce a woman in completing a pregnancy and that amendment would not be accepted. the right for insurance, like you said, and this isn't just taking control over a woman's body away from herself taking control from a doctor, you're putting it in the hands of employers, insurance companies but then you think about the economic issue as well when you talk about the rider for the insurance as well, a woman has to plan ahead of time that she's going to need an abortion? well all the economic burden
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falls on the woman for that. the war on women continues. it's just unbelievable, and it's the most restrictive legislation that is going through any state. >> eliot: shocking for those who look at those who look at michigan and think it would be somewhere else on the political spectrum. katie, you're both a nurse and activist. explain the emotion within the healthcare spectrum and the emotion of your colleagues when they see these antediluvian law being imposed on your state. >> thank you. i think everything that has happened in the last 24 hours there is an awful lot that has happened, it's going to be detrimental to women and poor minority women. what this does for us as nurses is it says that we really won't be able to do our jobs the way we know we should. we know that people need to be able to plan when they're going to have a child.
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this language goes so far as to say the rider would be even if you became pregnant in a case of a rape or incest, it's something that for us as nurses in our job primarily to protect the patient patients, protect their health, that they're not going to be able to do that any more. in my mind, and i've spent a lot of time at the capital in the last couple of weeks this is a bunch of whiled aged white men making decisions for women. >> eliot: which is something we got used to watching in washington, d.c. with the republican majority in the house of representatives. it seems so unlikely to have occurred in michigan. jennifer granholm recently your two-term governor, a colleague here at current tv, and also a close friend, i said to her i can't understand how this has happened. would these bills pass in the new legislature that will be seated in january? >> that's a great question and we have to question that.
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what is the push? why are we pushing these true these through in lame duck. i think they would have a harder time and i think that's why they're pushing it through. you saw the outpour in june against the when i use the word vagina. people were outraged with this legislation. you know, from there we had the aiken comment, and it went on from there. and the outcry and how women came out in november to vote. >> eliot: right. >> everything that they're trying to be push through lame duck is against the voters. there was something else being introduced, a tax exemption for fetuses. and you know, and take
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into account that this term we already got rid of the tax deduction for children, and we tax pensions on seniors but we should have 12-week-old fetus we should have a tax exemption. the hypocrisy goes on and on. >> eliot: this embraces the notion that a person whose life begins at inception this is an effort to impose an agenda that you might expect elsewhere in the nation but not there. katie, you spoke as being a nurse that you're troubled about this. you have become a nurse to provide healthcare. are your colleagues going to be galvanized around this and say this is not what we want for our state? and will there be a push back of a sort. >> these bills, it's only been about four hours since they
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passed, and certainly my members are still reeling from the activities of yesterday and i think we will always continue both through michigan nurses association and our women's health professional organizations to fight for women women. i think it will take a little time to come to the best strategy. i think we'll have to become very creative. michigan is primarily a rural state. this will be extremely difficult for people outside of southeastern michigan to get reproductive healthcare. so for us as nurses i think we'll have to do more education and outreach in the community. it's going to take a little time to figure out what strategies we're going to use. >> eliot: when we think of michigan, as with every state
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that there is diversity politically. in the right to work laws. >> right to work for less. >> eliot: exactly. do you think they provided cover for these heinous bills in the sense that so much attention was focused on them that these awful anti-choice bills were snuck in the dark of night. >> i don't think so because there is even more on the agenda. there is another emergency financial manager legislation which with legislation that governor snyder signed, it was the fourth bill that became law in his term. so less than two years ago. and our voters said, we don't want that. we just voted in november. yet on the floor we're taking up another bill on the same exact issue. we have a legislature going against the will of the voters. they forget we're democracy that means we're a representative government.
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>> eliot: is this being orchestrated by the governor or do you think he is really being played by the conservative forces of the republican party and he will be gone, and he's scratching his head, i'm going to be the poverty child for right wing politics, why doesn't he veto some of these bills. >> i would love to know the answer to that. he campaigned saying he was one tough nerd but he's anything but. let's take up legislation that will move michigan forward. let's take up legislation that will create jobs. we would have had a loss of jobs because clinics would close. let's put forth legislation that will insure all of our kids have a high quality education. let's do things to move michigan up the ladder instead of falling down. now it's not just workers rights. it's in women's rights. it's just slipping farther and farther away. i think the question that he
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probably asked himself was do i want to be an one-term governor or not? do i want to have a primary? i think that's why he's kowtowing to the extreme right week so that he can run for a second term. meanwhile he forgets that he'll lose all those moderate voters who thought he was going to be a moderate governor to do what's right, and he has failed to do that. >> eliot: i asked over an over again, when did michigan become mississippi. katie and lee sharks thank you for joining us. we'll continue to cover this. >> thanks for having us. >> thank you very much. >> eliot: troubles from a former governor jennifer granholm is next, and jennifer > i want the people who watch our show to be able to come away armed with facts and the arguments to feel confident in their positions. i want them to have the data and i want them
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to have the passion. but it's also about telling them that you're put on this planet for something more! i want this show to have an impact beyond just informing. an impact that gets people to take action for themselves. as a human being that's really important. this is not just a spectator sport.
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idates. how do we explain the radical swing to the right? with an unique insight on that i'm joined by jennifer granholm, two-term governor of michigan, host of "the war room," and star of the democratic convention, welcome to the show. >> thank you eliot. >> eliot: perhaps, a sad day for michigan politics, watching what has been happening there. these pieces of legislation being pushed through so quickly. what is your sense of what is happening to politics in your home state. >> there has been a complete and total takeover of the apparatus
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of government by the conservative. the house, the senate, the governor's hoves the attorney general the secretary of state the supreme court all controlled by republicans. even though they went over nine points for barack obama we're seeing this. why? there has been a huge take over because democrats did not show up at the polls so much and the republicans did that happened in michigan, now we're seeing the results of it. >> eliot: 2010, you were as governor was living through a transition that was incredibly difficult, but i think they'll be successful because of the things did you but you put in place a republican establishment that is contrary to what most voters in michigan seem to be saying nine points for president obama still a blue state, yet there seems to be an anti-unionism that is coursing
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through the bloodstream. >> there is an anti-unionism that is coursing through the bloodstream of the republican legislature, but that does not mean that it's on the ground of michigan. if you ask people if it would be a good idea to put this right to work law in place, you would get the majority of the people--i don't think how much of the majority but clearly the majority who would say they do not want this to happen, and it is too divisive. the governor flip flopped in the last minute even though he campaigned on not being a divisive governor. there was pressure from members of the legislature on him. there was apparently some closed-door meeting where the senate majority leader who is a republican and who is a pro- pro-labor republican who flip flopped because he felt he might be primaried. it's being played by the billionaires who we see playing this on the national level but
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also michigan has a few of them that has particular clout in the republican party in michigan. >> eliot: well look, you defeated one of them twice in your gubernatorial races much to your credit. you and i frankly as governors know that you have to as governor negotiate aggressively with everybody whether it's the union or legislature, but that's not the same thing as changing the rules, which is what this so-called right to work--i even hate that phrase because that's not what it is. but they're changing the rules in a way thate viscerates the capacity of workers to form and collect. >> new york is one of the bastia bastians of organized labor. when you were governor, when i was governor, we would negotiate with the unions to get the concessions and savings necessary. they were the people on the ground who could best identify where the savings were. that's true as well in the auto
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industry. they trumpet the number of jobs they have created in 2010, but ironically the vast majority of those jobs are automotive jobs and they came because of the concessions that the union put in place to make it competitive. it's a heart breaking week for those of us who know the history and know the potential of unions to be the force for good. >> eliot: you spoke to many executives over your years as governor and said what will it take to invest more capital in this state. ask they say if you become a right to work state? is that what they talked about? >> well, there were some who said i'm going to go to alabama because it is a right to work state. that is true. but there were a lot of them, and fact the auto industry appreciated the fact that there was such a great working relationship with the uaw and
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have you talked to bob king on your show? >> eliot: no. >> he will tell you that the uaw are obsessed with quality and they would be the ones who are able to identify where the chinks in armor are and they recognize that it's not just the management against labor any more but that it is american companies versus the rest of the world, and they want those jobs in america. they're going to find ways to make those businesses competitive here. >> eliot: i got to tell you in the conversation i've had, i don't think i ever heard anyone say we want you to be a right to work state. they wanted skills, an educated workforce. they wanted the environment to be able to get the people they wanted. those were the issues that mattered. if you look at the date tax i'm not persuaded--i'm persuaded contrary to what the right to work advocates say that it does
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not increase jobs. >> what they do is increase wages which increases demand and the purchasing power of people who are purchasing products that they will manufacture. it is a backward strategy and a race to the bottom. if we want to compete with china by lower ourselves to the standards that they have that is just not the way that america is going to lead the world. it's not going to be the way that we feed our people. i read an article in salon that says that michigan has given up and it will become a service-own state. >> eliot: it's a shame to watch. one last question, there is much commentary, and rightly so, that these have been rammed through a lame duck legislature. would these bills have passed next year, what do you think would they have been able to do this? >> i think it would be a lot of tougher. there are a number of republicans who have close ties to labor but you know, the
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other weird thing, eliot because they were jammed through in the space of two days by using those maneuvers to do it, you'll never know the answer because nobody had a chance to work on people, to comment whether they would be persuaded. >> eliot: governor granholm, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thanks, eliot. (vo) this friday current tv presents a special event. >> nobody knows disasters like comedians. that's why for my upcoming benefit for victims of hurricane sandy, i booked the strongest, smartest comics i could find. my comedian friends and i will raise money to rebuild homes and lives one laugh at a time. so tune in next friday for my all star comedy special. >> together we can get new yorkers back to yelling at strangers and ignoring our friends.
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>> eliot: in tonight's facts matter segment the numbers are
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flying fast fast fast fast and furious about the right to work bill signed yesterday in michigan. take a look at this claim yesterday from fox news. >> as of october the average unemployment rate in right to work.states is 6.9%. but 7in' 6% unemployment in non-right to work.states. the national rate for that month, 7.9%. >> very interesting numbers. >> eliot: they are more than very interesting numbers. they are impossible numbers. they some how find that the average of 6.9% and 7.6% is 7.9 percent without bothering to explain how they got to those numbers, numbers that anybody can he see just don't make sense. we did the hard work and looked at the raw data and it seems that they made the rookie mistake of averaging the state's percentages without accounting for the different sizes of the states involved. which just goes to show you you
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have careful you have to be in the numbers that you're using. we too found that non-right to work states did have higher unemployment than states with right to work.laws. so the question here is that of causation or lack there have. every reasonable economist will tell that you it's nearly impossible to isolate the impact of right to work.laws on a state's job growth versus all the other factors that can affect employment. however one thing that numbers can prove is the right tohave a negative affect on the annual salary of workers in that state. according to the economic policy institute, wages for both unions and non-union workers in right to work states are about $1,500 less than a similar worker in a non-right to work state. every day presents another exciting issue. from financial regulation,
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fraud on wall street. things everyday exploding around the world that leave no shortage for exciting conversations. at the end of the show, you know what has happened, why its happened and more importantly, what's going to happen tomorrow. did you get chips for the party? nope. cheese plate? cheese plate...nope. i made something better. ♪ ♪ you used the oven? boom ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] pillsbury crescents. let the making begin. [ female announcer ] why settle for plain bread? here's a better idea. pillsbury grands! flaky layers biscuits in just 15 minutes the light delicate layers add a layer of warmth to your next dinner. pillsbury grands biscuits let the making begin. then how'd i get this... [ voice of dennis ] safe driving bonus check? what is that? so weird, right? my agent, tom, said... [ voice of dennis ] ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident-free... ...but i'm a woman. maybe it's a misprint. does it look like a misprint?
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but when joint pain and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis hit even the smallest things became difficult. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. because enbrel, etanercept suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections tuberculosis lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores have had hepatitis b have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. [ phil ] get back to the things
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that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. >> eliot: of the estimated $6 billion spent in the last election cycle the mysteries who paid for the ads flyers and phone calls was never solved, no could it be under the law as it existed. but a lot of that money came from so-called not for profit portions. now they're closeing the gaping loopholes that permitted the flood of money. and to report the percentage of their spending and who their donors are. if this approach goes national, voters may be surprised who is backing some of the big election
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heads while donors will no longer be able to hide in the shadowing backdrop. joining me is friend attorney general schneiderman. thank you for joining the show. >> thank you for having me. >> eliot: explain what you're doing and why? >> we have proposed legislation that would require the none profits that are being used and really being abused, to pay for political ads and other political activities while concealing the identity of the donors. we'll require those organizations to tell us how much they're spend on campaigns and if there is more than $10,000 spent on any local elections, state election or referendum, they have to provide a detailed list of the
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expenditures and donors who supported those expenditures. we estimate this year's election when the numbers are all added up will have over $500 million worth ever money spent by 501 c 4s, this one type of non-profit that the tax code allows for on straight political ads. we cover direct advocacy ads issue ads within six months of the campaign that say stop joe smith from raising your taxes and it's a detailed regulatory scheme that we think is going to close a loophole. if you give money to a candidate, and you give money to a pac, they have to disclose who the donors are. this vehicle is only used by people who want to influence an election and conceal their identity and we're closing that loophole with these regulations. >> eliot: to start with something that you said that you and i have been in the political arena, you appreciate this, people would be amazeed to
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realize not for profits are allowed to participate in pure political advertising. >> but there are very strict limits on it. the irs has been very close to take action. at the end of the day they are the ones who have the power to revoke the not-for-profit status which we hope it will encourage them to take more action. but most non-profits do not engage in political activity. pure charities can't spend a dollar. c-4s which are supposed to be exclusively for social welfare purposes are allowed to spend a little bit of money for political purpose. there is no question that citizens united was decided in 2010 we've seen an extraordinary increase in the amounts being spent and frankly
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people who want to conceal their identity want to do it because these organizations pay for the worst ads. if you're paying for the slimiest attack ad of all time you probably don't want your name associated with it. if it's the worst advertising and a lot of advertising, the voters will know who the contributers are. you can assess someone based on that. candidates are required to disclose pacs and super pac that is have come into existence are required to disclose. this is the one vehicle for dark money, and we're going to shut it down. >> eliot: now importantly you're not limiting somebody's first amendment right. you're simply saying you must disclose who is paying for it. >> correct. this is something that even in the citizens united decision, which i believe is a bad decision and hopefully will be overturned justice kennedy emphasized that one of the things that made it possible to take the spending limits away
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was disclosure, voters would be able to know who is giving money. >> eliot: which has not happened because the republicans in congress has stymied the disclose act. but what you're doing we're going to force to you disclose because you're not for profit. you're not doing this in other jurisdictions. it's in the not-for-profit world world. >> and specifically we're dealing with spending in new york state or local elections. we have mayoral elections coming up, we have elections going on all over the state. we want it set up in time to protect new york voters, and incidentally to protect donors. if you see something about the ethics in government you might give money to it if you don't know who they're spending money on. as you point out we do have some of our good colleagues in congress including senator schumer working to pass the disclose act. we're the first state to take this step.
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we're encouraging other states to take the step, and we hope this will eventually persuade our colleagues in washington to actually pass the disclose act. >> eliot: we have a house that is republican. you in your work leading up to today's announcement found 21 other states, give or take, that could unilaterally do what you're doing follow your lead and say not for profits in our state must disclose. then you begin to reach the big states you begin to reach virtually the entire nation. >> you do. i have spoken to the attorney general of maryland, head of the national attorney general association, he'll pass our materials onto colleagues in our states. we hope this approach is adopted by other states. we also hope that our federal counterparts take action because really it breaks down the whole system of government to have mysterious--and also frankly these could be corporate
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expenditures. you may not know what a corporation is spending money on. it could be individuals who have all sorts of things in their background that should be disclosed. even when sheldon adelson gave all this money to newt gringrich, he at least did it through a super pac so you knew he was giving money to newt gringrich, and you could make an assessment. >> eliot: has the irs indicated they're interested in this? like the sec and other areas of your jurisdiction, you pushed the fed, the irs could do much more, do you think they will? >> they have not. i think they will. i think they may need some encouragement from other federal actors, but they are--they really have not dealt in this area. they have not ruled on the definition of how much they are allowed to spend. we're going to close the gap in new york and hopefully they will close it. >> eliot: my guess they will be pressured, and the white house will look at them and say this
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is not a partisan thing. this is a matter of what not for profits are not supposed to do. get off your whatever, and irs should do it. eric schneiderman, thank you. this will shed light in the darkest corners of our political arenas.
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middle class taxes hostage to try to protect tax cuts for high income individuals. >> eliot: funnying me now to discuss the latest going on in the fiscal cliff saga is congresswoman jackie speier. welcome. thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> eliot: rather than saying yes we'll agree to some agree to some marginal rates to the wealthy, they want to make permanent the tax cuts to the wealthy. what's going on in the head of john boehner. >> i'm not sure it's the head of john boehner but the heads of the tea party members who did not read the results of the last election. it's important to realize that the bipartisan bill by republicans and democrats in the senate were passed extending the tax cuts for those making under
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$250,000, and fixes the amg which we have not spent much time talking about. that expired december 31st of last year. unless we fix that this year there will be a rude awakening for about 60 million middle class families who all of a sudden will see themselves paying more in taxes. so there is no--there is no reason for this high drama that we're going through right now. >> eliot: that's exactly right. now one has to differentiate between what is public and the statement that speaker boehner is making and the notion that they would send that bill up to the white house extend it permanently cannot be their negotiating position right now. but they have not publicly agreed the higher rates for the wealthy, and they have not agreed to pass the bill for the 98% giving comfort to the middle class. doesn't their negotiating position get weaker every day? >> i believe so. and it's important to also note that everybody even the wealthy, are going to continue to have a tax cut for the first
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$250,000. >> eliot: that is correct. >> for everyone. there is a tax cut for everyone in this country for the first $250,000 of income. >> eliot: you raised the a tmt. i want to shift to the other piece of this bargain, the cuts in spending, two-thirds of this negotiated deal which eventually we will get to will relate to cuts in spending. how much do we know at this point about what the proposed cuts will be? it does bother me a little bit that the democratic side, which we have to support that as well, has not given more information about the cuts that are being proposed. where do you think we should come out on that? >> here is my big fear. i believe the extent that the president continues to negotiate with speaker boehner as he must do but to the extended that they have to have the majority of the majority to sign off with any kind of a bill will probably mean that it's going to have a
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huge affect on senior citizens. i'm not going to go there. this whole concept of having the age for medicare benefits to kick in move from 65 to 67, as if that's going to be some incredible savings is only going to save about $2 billion a year. now when you're looking at coming up with $100 billion a year, and there are so many other areas to look at why would we put that kind of a burden on a vulnerable population? these are senior citizens. these are people who have been waiting to get to medicare, and all of a sudden we're going to bump it another two years? and then they become much more uninsurable because once you reach 64, 65, 66, you start to have chronic conditions, and insurers oftentimes will not support it. it is not a way to go. it's more about them wanting
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their pound of flesh. i thought we were beyond that. i thought the election sent a very strong message that the american people want us to get together and do this job in a bipartisan fashion and stop throwing sand at each other in the sandbox. >> eliot: you are so right and you made a series of critical points. raising the eligibility age for medicare does not save a lot of money. it saves a tiny bit of money. those who would be in that gap between 65 and 67 would still have to be insured. and the similar as a whole would not save any real money in terms of healthcare costs. then you referred to something which is needing the majority of the majority. i want to ask to you explain that. what you mean i think is that for the republicans to even bring a bill to the floor they need a majority of their conference to agree to the bill, which means it's going to be a draconian piece of legislation. >> that's correct. with the number of democrats in the house right now we're at 200, 201 you don't need that
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many republicans to pass a reasonable measure that will let the tax cuts on those making over $250,000 expire, use some elements to bring down the spending without going after medicare and social security. those are issues that we should address, but not part of the fiscal cliff. >> eliot: there would an way to thread the needle with the moderate republicans and without deferring the republicans because of this majority of the majority rule. you know, time is up, unfortunately. we rarely go to bon jovi for political wisdom, but linguistics is what politics is all about. he said we should not be using the phrase "entitlements" but "empowerment." should we strike the word entitlements. >> it's not an entitlement because people have prayed
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