tv Headline News RT February 20, 2013 8:00pm-8:30pm EST
coming up on r.t. over the weekend thousands demonstrated in washington demanding action on climate change they hope president obama will take action but while they were marching he was playing golf with oil executives so what does this mean for climate change policy. an animal rights group say conditions inside slaughterhouses and farms here in the u.s. are horrible and insider and spend time working on a farm joins us to share his story. and what it was south florida university a private prison corporation and football have in common i handed involves money and naming rights we'll look into that connection coming up. it's wednesday february twentieth eight pm here in washington d.c.
i'm liz wall and you're watching our t.v. we begin today with a look at why environmentalists are outraged over president obama's recent golf trip as thousands tens of thousands of americans descended upon washington d.c. to protest the keystone x.l. pipeline we find out days later president obama was the gulf thing at a florida resort with tiger woods a big oil big wigs among its gulf buddies jim crane and milton carroll both prominent figures in the texas oil industry crane happens to own the excrete exclusive yacht and golf club where they were playing he was also a big donor to the obama campaign carroll is the chairman of houston based center point energy both mad are directors of western gas holding one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world so what does this imply about america's energy future earlier i was joined by john wunderlich policy director at the sunlight foundation here in d.c.
and chris williams an environmental activist in new york i started off by asking if it was a slap in the face to environmental activists to see the president playing golf with oil tycoons. very much so it shows that he is full of fine words but it's very skimpy on actual action. when he was talking about his all of the above energy strategy during a state of the union and boasting about how many more pipelines he's intending to layo has laid during during his previous administration i think that that is really his focus and his emphasis clearly because he spends his afternoons with his oil buddies rather than listening to fifty thousand people outside his house which is where i was on the so you think it's all talk actions speak louder than words i think you would agree with. john i want to ask you we already know that big business leaders have had more access to the president and government officials then you know the average american but does this face time and does it actually
influence policy absolutely if you if you. have more time to represent your position and your issue in front of people with more power than of course you're their decisions are going to reflect your priorities and at the same time as the president was golfing with executives over the weekend we were in the accountability community dealing with the announcement of his new cd for his new group to can receive large on limited campaign contributions and really grappling with what that means for the accountability of the decisions that the president's going to be making are you know in the u.s. are we pride ourselves on being a democracy every vote counts what is this essentially do to that notion well we wonder how much the merit of decisionmaking gets undermined when people can write a five hundred thousand dollars check to the president or or to the president's organization and that's the reason that we don't that we have limits and disclosure requirements for campaign finance and what the president has really done is built
a new system outside the campaign finance laws to receive corporate unlimited donations and we think that that's really threatening to the way that we make important decisions as a democracy. as a country like these environmental decisions. on the environmental front i want to ask you what is the environmental impact of drilling for natural gas. because we saw people are saying that this is historic that this is one of the biggest environmental protests that we've seen. in our history so can you talk more about what your concerns are are as an environmentalist the impact that this could have on the environment. well if they actually build this pipeline and bring hundred thousand. barrels of oil from toss a day to texas for refining as james hansen the director of the nasa go to the
center said it's game over for climate so this would be an absolutely devastating blow not just to indigenous rights and people in canada but the devastation of canadian. ecosystems but also burning all of the oil every single day will mean it's impossible to make any any real advancement with the question of climate change and doing something meaningful and it means you're building more and more infrastructure based on oil and gas burning for the future when we should be moving in a completely different direction i mean the twenty first century should be the century when we start really moving drastically away from fossil fuels towards alternatives and energy conservation and the obama administration is all about ramping up oil and gas production to virtually unprecedented levels and making the us compete with saudi arabia in terms of its output for oil fossil fuels now
president obama he has talked about this transition to clean energy he has talked talked about getting off of this dependence on fossil fuels do you think that there's a recent gulf extravaganza as proof that that's not going to happen. i think it's absolutely indicative of the fact that he's not serious when it comes to making a transition in the near term and i think if we're going to get anywhere the movement has to be independent of the democratic party because then all allies and the people themselves have to do it we have to do it we have the people we need to be organized four in five americans think the government should do more about to address climate change and they're absolutely right we need to get organized and we need more protests is fantastically inspiring that there were fifty thousand people in the freezing cold so eager for more. i do want to bring up one more thing john hillery clay and no longer the secretary of state but she is still making the news
she. is reportedly going to make a lot of cash as a speaker charging one hundred thousand dollars somewhere in that ballpark to speak so are what are the implications of this what does it say about the revolving door of money and influence in washington when we have to worry about officials that are leaving top positions in the way that they use their position to cash in whether it's to influence or just to sell their reputation in the name that they have and then also officials do coming into government and i think with this situation we have both concerns whether hillary's going to be selling access to the decisions and people that she was in charge of as secretary of state and then also whether people that pay her hundred thousand dollars speaker fees are actually buying a better position for a potential future future political political career that hillary may have a lot more questions of very interesting gentlemen appreciate you both weighing in on this that was john wunderlich policy director at the sunlight foundation and
chris williams and environmental activist. well by now you probably have heard about the horsemeat scandal that made people throughout europe sick to their stomachs people were outraged after they found out that horsemeat was in their food when they thought it was all beef and it sparked a discussion about how much we really know about what we're eating and while horsemeat seems to be taboo what happens on farms here in the u.s. may make your stomach even more uneasy. disturbing images like this of abused animals and inhumane working conditions they've been brought to light by undercover journalists and whistleblowers but in some states it may be difficult or impossible to expose these conditions illinois the latest state to pass the so-called ag gag bale's which outlaws making such images public for more and there's someone who has seen firsthand the atrocities that go on behind closed doors as some u.s. farms go to carlson former investigator for the humane society from the earlier
with his insight you know go in and it's almost generous to refer to places like these as farms that they're more of a factory or of industrial assembly line almost like a scene from the matrix animals are confined in a pig farms in individual pens so small they can barely move chickens eglington silly bees are confined in cages seven to ten small wire cage about the size of a microwave as the eye can see so these are industrial facilities where animals basically get no human interaction. as seen at the matrix a troubling portrait of a place for we get our food cody after seeing all of this firsthand how has it how has it affected you. well it's certainly changed my my eating habits for sure a pretty strict vegan ever since being in these facilities and it's also made me consider this a very important issue that i think the public deserves to know about and why do
you think it's important for people to know about what happens behind closed doors what really happens on some of these farms. well i think that the public has to write a right to know how their food is being produced especially if it's being produced in a way that is unsanitary or unsafe or inhumane or illegal. and certainly the industry is going to very far lengths to keep people from knowing these conditions which i think just goes to show how important is that they do and and i also want to ask you who typically works at these places is it mostly immigrants. labor sort of divided there's a lot of immigrants there largely undocumented there's also just. people in small rural communities where there's not a lot of options of other places to work so there's a pretty even ok i also want to ask you when it comes to these animals these instances of being abused or some of these atrocious conditions would you say that
this is the norm at a lot of us farms or or is it rare how prevalent do you think this is. sadly the everyday standard conditions that most of these factory farms is egregiously inhumane on top of that you know the media often likes to focus on these rogue workers that will sit distinctly abuse their animals and that's certainly a major problem that goes on these facilities but i think the biggest problem here is that every day conditions it's animals being confined in tiny cages where they can never move being mutilated or castrated without anesthesia being overbred and that medically neglected that i think is the worst part of what's going on and that often gets overlooked in the sensational aspect of these abusive workers now we had mentioned earlier this piece of legislation. one that kind of strict making these images public where people can be punished for going in taking these photos and snapping these these images because it hurts business says. when you hear
about some of these kinds of laws are being implemented to protect these farms well what do you think. honestly i think it's criminal you know these these and i whistle blower bills are being disguised as our fraud bills but the real fraud that's going on here is is being perpetrated by these companies that are trying to deceive consumers into buying something other than what they think that they're buying i think most consumers knew about the conditions on these farms they won't want anything to do with them. and so i think that this is a sort of last ditch attempt a desperate attempt by the industry to keep people from knowing the truth now i understand that you are now working on getting a lot agree how do you hope to take action and be a force for change. well i mean i certainly think that we need stronger enforcement of the laws that we do have for animals right now unfortunately most states now
have what are called common farming exemptions which means that any common farm practice is not illegal and that happened in most states in the ninety's and now it's very difficult to get criminal prosecutions of these farms although we certainly get them a lot just last december in wyoming nine workers at a hog farm that supplies to tyson were charged with animal cruelty in august workers were convicted of felony animal cruelty had a butterball turkey facility but i think really at the same time we need to be pursuing stronger legislation several states have begun to set minimum standards for certain farm animals and these ag gag laws represent a strong pushback against that shred. that was cody carlson former investigator for the humane society also lighter in our tale what do a south florida university have private prison corporation and plus paul haven't called it a hand it involves money and naming rights well look into the connection there the
break. the same story doesn't make it news new song no puff pieces mean tough questions thank you. potentially deadly blizzard taking aim for the northeast it's expected to hit starting in a few hours from new york to maine we have team coverage of the storm. that we're watching is the very heavy snow moving into boston properly or today it was very sticky you can see it start to become much more time to read it again and there's still a lot of snow out here a place for snow ball play. dates and it is going to be pretty incredible day there and record snowfall throughout much of it might still be largely blogger listens to the emergency vehicles are exceptional.
the so. a lot of the booming private prison industry in the u.s. which has teamed up with a florida university campus up until recently florida at landing at a florida atlanta university excuse me has been scrambling to find a sponsor to buy the rights to name their new seventy million dollar football stadium and they now have a taker poker aton base and geo group a private prison company florida atlantic has accepted six million dollars by the private prison giant so in a matter of time and this stadium will be called geo group stadium earlier i was joined by michael brooks producer of the majority report and i asked him if he thought this was a strange partnership. yeah stuff really a strange partnership i think what it shows us though is kind of
disturbing convergence between. privatizing certain things like prisons like detention centers which. is a questionable area for the markets to be involved in aggressively and they're really starving public investment for things like universities and education systems so you're seeing a convergence of two pretty problematic things in this way that is you know kind of funny and kind of odd but it points to problematic underlying patterns yeah i want to bring up some numbers michael when it comes to geo group this company that paid the six million dollars to get their name on the stadium this company own more than one hundred properties that's over seventy three thousand beds across the u.s. u.k. south africa and australia and they bought they brought in it one point seven
billion dollars in revenue and two thousand and twelve so can you tell us more about this prison corporation jare group what kind of share do they have in the private prison industry. well they have a significant share in it and like you pointed out this is also a global corporation kind of following global best practices in this industry which is questionable you know the questionable industry in of itself it has about i think just under three billion dollars in assets and then not only is that operate prisons it also operates detention centers for undocumented migrants and immigrants which i think is another area that's really problematic it's been fined and investigated for not only mistreatment of inmates but also mistreatment of its own employees so there's a lot of problems here and it is a very big player in this market meanwhile florida atlantic officials they say that
they see nothing wrong with this in their sponsorship and they hailed your group as being a successful local business should they be more concerned about your group's name being on their stadium. well i mean we could answer that in two ways of course they should be would be the most obvious and direct answer i think what's happening though is that the the the school wasn't able to find another sponsor for the stadium. head of geo group came forward who i think is an alumni of the same university and now they're playing you know kind of classic p.r. strategy the best defense is a good oftens and that's what they're pushing and they're saying there's nothing wrong with this this is a great local business but again i think intrinsically and there's definitely a problem there because of all the things we've talked about now michael we don't have too much time but at this proliferation of private prisons has been dubbed the
prison industrial complex now that one of the big players in this so-called complex is becoming part of this great american pastime in the state of florida i mean is this a sign of how the president of the private prison industry has become prominent and powerful part of the system well it is a prominent powerful part of politics and of you know election funding and it's a it's a significant. i think what's different here is you're talking about like you say going into a kind of prime american pastime and we've mostly thought of that as you know. companies involved in this should be relatively innocuous or kind of broadly agreed upon even if they're not totally innocuous like maybe all these fast food companies there aren't so great for you but we don't think that there's anything kind of intrinsically problematic about them necessarily so but i think so i think that it's a big cultural stuff i don't know if it's
a big departure from the type of special interest power they've had in the political process before but it's a pretty significant cultural stuff to have them kind of step out of the shadows like this yeah i just want to bring up one last point we've reported on private prison and that's this booming industry before and how there is an incentive there too i mean it's a business to keep these places filled up right yeah oh absolutely and i think you know i mean i remember that there was a local story about a judge in pennsylvania i think a couple years ago who bribes from a private prison and was putting juveniles in jail for i mean. i believe some mistakes personally as a teenager but you know like drinking a beer that i should have drunk or something like that i would have gotten you know put in this detention center under this judge i mean that's a really big sample of it and i think you know more broadly every dollar we're not investing in things like education is
a dollar that it's not going to something like the michael prize or a pleasure as always that was michael brooks he is the producer of the majority report thank you. well now to the developing story of the death of a three year old boy by the name of max shadow and as the investigation continues questions have begun to surface regarding his treatment and the possible abuse at the hands of his adoptive parents are things honest aasia turkana is on the ground in texas with the latest twenty russian children in the last seventeen years died in their adoptive american families most recently here in texas much mean known to locals as max shadow just what i heard on the news. just the kid had some scratches . that's all i know three year old mark and his younger brother keel lived in this house with their adoptive parents in a rather secluded neighborhood it was from here that on the afternoon of january twenty first the boy was taken away by an ambulance never to come back the boy had
severe bruises on his legs had an internal organ to get in because it would be speculative on the part of the doctor while waiting for the result russian authorities didn't hear about the case for almost a month. fortunately usually months after russian child has died in the u.s. that the american side informs us about it in one case it was five years after a boy died russian officials say it was the boy's mother who beat him as well as continually fed the child drugs intended to treat schizophrenia and adults meanwhile at the u.s. state department we obviously take very seriously the welfare of children particularly children who've been adopted from other countries according to moscow a little corp has been shown until it was demanded. with two dozen deaths caused by abuse and even manslaughter russia in a move often criticized recently imposed a ban on american adoption of its kids i've always believed that russia should stop
these adoptions and i hope that they maintain this stance and don't yield to pressure weeks after moxie just texan officials have little to say while they wait for autopsy results their results of the investigation with russia heavily involved and asking for punishment of those responsible could take weeks to be announced no arrests have yet been made while the investigation is slow paced and the alleged information on the little boy's life and death extremely scarce one of the questions that demand an answer is why should it take a rigid push from abroad for the u.s. to pay attention to yet another tragic death of a hopeless child to whom it promised a better life on its soil to chirk in a after county texas. well here's some food for thought we've heard the medical reasons why obesity is bad for your health but it turns out it could also be bad for the economy american obesity rates are unprecedented are our unprecedented
levels and getting worse experience for its estimate that forty two percent of americans will be considered obese by the year twenty thirty and the long term cost of this issue could affect the financial future of the u.s. our to correspondent megan lopez takes a look at the weight of the nation. obesity is one of the most prevalent and important health problems in america if you only what you eat there are far more people now who are classified in the obesity range than there are who are classified in the normal weight range than the average american is a greasy two pound cheeseburger topped with bacon and served with the side of french fries obesity is associated with more than sixty different diseases including diabetes and heart disease and numerous others however this phenomenon is bloating more than our waistlines it's also weighing down our economy so let's take a look at the numbers according to the center for disease control the u.s. spends some one hundred forty seven billion dollars each year on obesity related
medical expenses like type two diabetes and heart attacks obese men rack up an extra one thousand one hundred dollars in medical expenses each year meanwhile obese women account for thirty six hundred dollars in medical expenses per year and that number is expected to swell over the next decade but it's not just the health care system that's affected given the average change and among people states that actually leads to a change in the way which airplanes fly that requires more fuel and you can actually calculate that out fuel is one of the growing costs for airline industries and heavier passengers contribute to that so with obesity can affect something like ticket prices what else can it affect obese men take six more sick days if you're in the workplace and obese women take nine additional days and it turns out that being present network can be just as detrimental it can also lead to more present
two years which is a concept that economists have been measuring for the past decade or so it's that idea that you can be in the workplace but you're not fully productive on any given day the jets made it cost of lost productivity due to obesity communally seventeen thousand dollars per employee per year all of the money spent on obese americans has to end up somewhere. the food industry benefits but it certainly isn't alone certainly there are people who have had to develop new sizes of furniture and there's an industry there people who had developed new sizes for a whole variety of things also morning big bucks farms because government subsidies often go to farms that provide the grains and candy used in jumpsuit it might be a national benefit to reduce some of the subsidies that exist and to what farmers who produce any type of product basically play on a level playing field and let the market decide which food should be emphasized or not emphasize based on consumer demands of the cost of production meaning not of junk food wasn't as cheap people would likely choose healthier options perhaps the
only problem that's bigger than the obesity epidemic in the u.s. is trying to find a solution that doesn't infringe on americans' rights to pick what's on their plate it's a delicate balance but the fact is that the financial stability of this country could come down to the tip of the scale in washington meghan lopez r.t. . well it is the end of an era for a prime time c.n.n. anchor erin burnett reports are out now that burnett is taking over a solid at o'brien's morning slot bryant is reportedly on her way out and burnett has had some notable moments on the cable network here's a few. i. want to protest that nobody seems to know. this was the right thing they're going to. talk about the really really decent it is going to be pretty incredible day there and the record snowballed throughout what's been like. well for a mocking movements to interrupting interviews not everyone was
a fan of burnett's approach to going out for the shuffle as part of c.n.n.'s effort to boost its ratings which have been suffering lately but despite wall to wall coverage of the now infamous carnival ship it's one of many changes they're making wills see if it works. all journalists family famously go to great lengths for a good story and this next one went to great heights and to another level of consciousness and his journey into the stratosphere australian weatherman grant dan your aim to bring his viewers the weather all those live shot he brought in this live shot you brought viewers more than that they saw an interesting drawback to quickly changing altitude. well dan you're certainly got a look at the weather from his view but he couldn't stay away.