tv PBS News Hour PBS December 23, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. president obama said today he's getting 95% of what he wanted on health care, as the u.s. senate prepares to vote. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, jim lehrer's full interview with the president, conducted at the white house this afternoon. >> this notion that somehow the health care bill that is emerging should be grudgingly
accepted by democrats as half a loaf is simply incorrect. this is 9-tenths of a loaf. >> ifill: also tonight, public outrage in mexico, where criminal gangs murdered four members of a soldier's family-- payback for his role in a drug raid. >> woodruff: then to somalia and its ongoing crisis: we get an inside look, reported by john lee anderson of "the new yorker." >> ifill: and, he wasn't just a great composer. ♪ it turns out handel was a smart investor too. >> this was the route to becoming rich quickly and handel was young, he was an eager beaver. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "pbs newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour is provided by:
>> chevron. this is the power of human energy. and by toyota. and monsanto. the national science foundation. supporting education and research across all fields of science and engineering. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: president obama today defended the health care reform bill as the senate cleared the way for a final vote tomorrow morning. he spoke to jim lehrer in a wide-ranging interview conducted
in the white house map room this afternoon. here is that interview, in its entirety. welcome. >> thank you so much for having me. >> lehrer: so you are completely satisfyed with the health reform bill that the senate is about to pass? >> i am never completely satisfied, but i am very satisfied. look, when i made that speech in the joint session of congress, i set out some criteria for what in my mind would qualify as reform based on the conversation they say had with families all across the country, and the letteres that i was refugee -- receiving about people going through a tough time in the health care system. i said we wanted to make sure the people who didn't have health insurance could get health insurance, and this bill covers 30 million people who don't have it. i said for people who have health insurance we have to end insurance company abuses where they ban you from getting health
insurance because of preexisting conditions or they've got fine print that sets up lifetime limits on what you can spend so if you really get sick you may lose your house, even though you think you have health insurance. y we have the strongest health insurance reforms we have ever seen. the argument about the patient bill of rights in the 19 90s. this is the patient bill of rights on steroids. i said it had to be deficit neutral. it doesn't just meet that criteria. it actually reduces the deficit. i said we had to make sure we were starting to get a better bang for our buck so doctors, hospitals, nurses, provider s all were focused on what provides quality care and not just more expenseef care superpower and we have all of those game-changers inside the bill. when you look at the criteria i set forth, this is a good deal. now, are there provisions here, provisions there i would love to have in the bill? of course. but overall, i think that i've
seen 95% of what will work for the american people , for small businesses, and for the government budget that i was seeking from the beginning. >> lehrer: 95% of what you wanted? >> absolutely. >> lehrer: now, do you feel the same way about the house version that passed a few weeks--. >> you know what, what's interesting is the house version and the senate version are almost identical. there are some differences in how they pay for particular provision but the same principle of setting up an exchange where small business and individuals can buy npool their purchasing power to get a better deal from insurance companies. that's in both bills. the insurance reforms are both in the house and the senate versions. one of the things they think is important to remember is that even though the exchange . -- the pooling that i'm talking about doesn't start for several years, a lot of the insurance reforms start reet away. children, for example, won't beably to be bared from getting health insurance even if they
have a preexisting condition as soon as i sign that bill and we get that reform in place. so there are a lot of provisiones that are both in the senate and the house bill. i actually think that reconciling them is not going to be as difficult as some people may anticipate. >> lehrer: are you going to be involved in the reconciliation? >> absolutely. >> lehrer: in a hands-on way? >> absolutely. >> lehrer: are you going to actively participate? >> we hope to have a whole bush of folks over here in the west wing and i'll be rolling up my sleeves and spendsing some time before the full congress even gets into session because the american people need it now. i mean, something that's gotten lost, jim, during the course of this debate --s that you because this is how washington works-- it ends up being, "well, the president wins on that one. did he lose on that one? what is joe lieberman doing today? what is mitch mcconnell doing tomorrow?" right now, there are familys when don't have health insurance
and as a consequence of somebody getting sick in their family have been bankrupt. right now, there are small businesses who have been doing the right thing by their employees and just got a notice from their insurance companies that their premiums went up 25 p30 p40%, and that business owner is having to make a decision, do i start dropping coverage for my employees, or do i have to lay off one employee to keep coverage for everybody else? those kinds of decisions are happening right now. i intend to work as hard as i have to work, especially after coming this far over the course of the year, to make sure we finally close the deal. >> lehrer: you're not going to sit down at the table with conferees, a list-- spoken or unspoken-- of your own killer provisions, you have to get them out thereof or a favorite provision that you want in there your own preference? >> obviously, i've got some very smart people who are here working day to day on these
issues. i am, though, consulting have been closely with health care economists, for example, to make sure that , for example, the provisiones that will change how doctors, hospitals, other providers provide care so that it's more patient centered and it's not focused on how many tests can we do, but rather what's going to bruce produce the best-quality outcomes. how coo we redugs medical errors in helps which costs you thousands of lives every year. and we know what will prevent them-- simple checklists hospital can do. those are the things i have enough interest in that i say to the confer ease you guys have to make sure that's included because part of the deal here is not just providing more coverage or more subsidy, but we keep on spending twees as much as every
other advanced country and have worse outcomes. part of our goal is to spend our money more wisely. if we don't do that, it doesn't matter how many subsidies we have in there, sooner or later we run out of money. it gobbles more and more of our federal budget and family budgets. >> lehrer: let's say, for instance, the public option plan. it's in the house version and not the senate version. what's going to be your position? >> look, i've been in favor of the public option. ening the more choice, the more competition we have, the better. on the other hand, i think that the exchange itself, the system that we're setting up that forces insurance companies to essentially bit for three million or four million or five million people's business, that in and of itself is going to have a disciplining effect. would i leek one of those options to be the public option? yes. do i think it makes sense, as some have argued, that without the public option, we dump all
these other extraordinary reforms and say to the 30 million people who don't have coverage, you know, "sorry, we didn't get exactly what we wanted?" i don't think that makes sense. >> lehrer: so that's not a deal breaker for you in any way, either way? >> i think right now, that the senate and the house bills, if you look at their overlap, the 95% that they agree on , if that bill was presented to me, i would sign it. >> lehrer: mr. president, as you know, this context, health care and other things too, people are suggesting that maybe you back off too quickly on some of the positions, like whether it's health care reform, the public option, some of these other things. what do you think-- how do you respond to that? >> i think people who say that aren't paying attention. as i said before, if you compare where we are now on health care to where i started at the
beginning of the year, or what i said during my campaign, i'm getting 95% of what i want. now, i might not be getting 95% of what some other folks want. and oftentimes what happens is people who are frustrated because they haven't gotten what they want suddenly say,, he's compromising." i've been very consistent in what i think is achieve expabl very good for american families. so this notion that somehow the health care bill that is emerging should be grudgingly accepted by democrats as a half a loaf is simply incorrect. this is .9 of a loaf. and for a family out there that reet now doesn't have health insurance , it is a great deal.
it is a full loaf for a lot of families out there who right now have nothing to fall back on if they get into a medical emergency, and for people who have health care reet now , this is a good deal weapon write now you're getting less insurance than you think you're getting less security than you think you're getting. at any point the insurance company can say you know what? actually, we think that did you not inform us of that gallstone that you had removed a while back. maybe you forgot, but we consider that prekpefting condition, so we're not going to cover-up you for the leukemia you were just diagnosed with. those are stories that happen all the time. and what we're saying is patients have rights. people who are buying insurance should get what they pay for, and this is going to give them a level of security they have not seen before and, frankly, we have been fighting for, for years on a bipartisan
basis. many republicans were in favor of the patients bill of rights in the 90s, and unfortunately, i think you've seen greater polarization-- a lot of the debate this year has been more about scoring points than actually getting something done. >> lehrer: how do you feel about the way the 60-vote filibuster rule has been employed during the debate? >> i'm very frustrated. right now, that's the way things are operating, and we've had to make sure that we fight through those issues. i think harry reid has done a very good job grinding it out. but as somebody who served in the senate, who values the traditions of the senate, who thinks that institution has been the world's greatest deliberateive fwody, to see the filibuster rule, which imposes a stikt-vote supermajority on legislation, to see that
invoked on every single piece of legislation during the course of this year is unheard of. i mean, if you look historically back in the fests, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, even when there was sharp political disagreements, when the democrats were in control and ronald reagan was president, you didn't see even routine items subject to the 60-vote rule. so i think that if this pattern continues, you're going to see an inability on the part of america to deal with big problems in a very competitive world, and other countries going to start wruning circles around us. we're going to have to return to return to some sense that governance is more important than politics inside the senate. we're not there right now. >> lehrer: is there anything you can do as profit united states. is it a senate situation? >> it's a matter of senate rules.
look, the fact of the matter is, if used prudently, then i don't think it's harmful for our democracy. it's not being using prudently right now and my hope would be whether a senator is in the majority or minority that they are starting to get a sense after looking at this year that this can't be the way government runs. and one of the things where i think democrats and republicans have to constantly do is try to put themselves in the other person's shoes. if we had a republican president right now and a republican-controlled senate, and democrats were doing some of these things, they'd be screaming bleed murder. and at some point, i think the american people want to see government solve problems not just engaej in the gamesmanship that has become so customary in boston .
>> lehrer: copenhagen-- it was a situation you and many others wanted done, and none of it got done and yet you said that was a success. is that a loaf? >> i think copenhagen is entirely different from health care. i think that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in copenhagen. what i said was essentially that rather than see a complete collapse in copeen haig an in which nothing at all got done and would have been's huge backward step, at least we kind of held ground and there wasn't too much backsliding from where we were. it didn't move us the way we need to. the science says that we've got to significantly reduce emission overs the next 40 years. there's nothing in the copenhagen agreement that ensures that that happens. what did occur
was that at a point where there was about to be complete breakdown and the prime minister of india was heading to the airport, and the chinese representatives were essentially skipping negotiations ,ings and everybody was screaming , what did happen was cooler heads preveiled, and we wereably to at least agree on non-legally binding panthers for all countries, not just the united states , not just uranium, but also for china and india which, projecting forward are, the going to be the world's largest emiters. that was an important principle that everybody has to do something in order to solve this problem. but i make no claims and didn't make any claims going in that somehow that was going to be everything that we needed to do to solve climate change. and my main responsibility here is to convince the american people that it is smart
economics and it is going to be the engine of our economic growth for us to be a leader in clean energy. and if we pass a bill in the senate, reconcile it with the house that says we are going to invest in wend energy, and solar energy and we're going to be the guys producing wend turbine and we are going to be the folks producing solar panels on rooftops and we are going to be the country that is retrofitting all the homes and businesses so we are 30% more energy efficient than we are right now, that produces jobs which can't be exported. it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. it is good economics. it will increase our exports. oh, and by the way, it also solves the climate problem. and that is, i think, an argument that i'm going to be making roit not just next year but for several years to come. >> lehrer: mr. president, on afghanistan, how much of what you said in words and in theme in your
nobel piece peace acceptance speech is driven by the experience of the last year being president of the united states, particularly having to make rough decisions on afghanistan? >> there's no doubt that the experience of this year , meeting with our troops, looking at intelligence, going to dover to watch caskets come ing in, had a profound impact on how i think about my responsibilities. the general theme of the nobel speech which says that this is a dangerous world where real evil kpefts out there, and that compelz us to occasionally make very delve decisions about using force, that we shouldn't glorify war but we should accept there are times where we have to defend our nation, protect our values. that theme is actually pretty
consistent. one of the interesting things people forget-- probably the first speech of mine they actually got notice in my political career was back when i was a state senator. and the run-up to the iraq war was occur, and i stood in the plaza, daley plaza, at an anti-wareralee. >> lehrer: this is in chicago >> in chicago. and there were all these signs that said, "war is not an opposition." and i actually started my speech saying i disagree with those signs. sometimes swar an option. world war ii had to be fought. the self war is part of the reason why i can stand here on this podium. the question is are we fighting the right wars in the right ways? and so in that sense, even in my opposition to iraq, for example, evidence always very clear about the fact that us going after osama bin laden , us dismantling al qaeda, us making sure that
people ro who are willing to legislature -- slaughter nntz have to be stopped. mydition on something like rwanda, it makes sense for us to intervene in genocide or humanitarian efforts. those are viewes that are farm consistent. obviously, the experience of the last . year being president deepens and enriches that general philosophy. but it's one that i have held for some time. >> lehrer: you brought those into the presidency. they were just hone by this experience. >> absolutely. i think if you look at my previous speeches and writings, they're fairly consistent. it is very important for i think those of us who desperately want peace , who see war as at some level a breakdown
, a manifestation of human weakness, to understand that sometimes it's necessary. to beably to balance two ideas at the same time, that we are constantly striving for peace. we are doubling up on our diplomacy. we are going to actively engage. we are going to try to see the world through other people's eyes and not just our own. we will invest in things like preventing climate change, that we're going to invest in development aid, not because it's charity, but because it's in our self-interest-- we're going to do all those things and then there are going to be times when there is a hitler. there are going to be moments like 9/11 where, despite our best efforts stingz have still --
thengzs have e still emerged that are of danger not only to us but the things that we care for, that we've got to apply force. and that is a tough set of decisions to make. that doesn't negate our constant pursuit of peace, and or preference for nonviolence resolution of problems. >> lehrer: mr. president, almost a year in to your perezidency, what's your comfort comfort level in dealing with all these things we've just been talking about and you've been dealing with this last year? >> you know, i have to tell that you-- i've spoken to some historyians, and i think they will agree , that regardless of your political preferences that we had as much on our plate this year as any president has ever had in their first year. maybe since f.d.r. i think that
we have managed an economic crisis of monumental proportions, two wars air, whole host of other challenges very well. i am entirely dissatisfied with where we are right now terms of jobs and the fact that families out there on the eve of christmas are still really worried about being able to pay the bills or send their kids to college or have health care for themselves. and so i don't pat myself on the back at the end of this year, but what i do have confidence in is that we've made good decision, that we've applied sound judgment to some very difficult situations. and that if we stay on a path where we are in working hard , maintaining a sense of possibility for the future,
we're willing not to defer tough decisions around health care or energy or education so that somebody else deals with them, that america will be strong again. and i think that i've shown this year that i can make hard decisions. even when they're not popular , and that i take a long view on these problems and i, frankly, think that's what america needs reet now. >> lehrer: mr. president, merry christmas, happy new year. thank you >> thank you, six, to you as well. thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour" tonight: the reprisal killings that have shocked mexico; the violence that has derailed somalia and the investment strategies of a great composer. but now, for the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. hari. >> sreenivasan: president obama's plan to close the prison at guantanamo bay, cuba has run into new delays. "the new york times" and others reported today the site for terror detainees may not close until 2011, at the earliest. it could be april before
congress approves money to buy a state prison in illinois. and it will take more months to upgrade the prison. the president originally wanted guantanamo closed within his first year in office. the u.s. anti-drug effort in afghanistan is failing. that verdict came today from the state department's inspector general. his report said the nearly $2 billion program suffers from poor oversight and rampant corruption among afghan officials. also today, there was word a british soldier died tuesday in helmand province, in a roadside bombing. new violence erupted in iran today. security forces confronted supporters of the late grand ayatollah hossein ali montazeri, the country's most senior dissident cleric. we have more from jonathan rugman of "independent television news." >> reporter: these photographs of iranian riot police in isfahan appeared on the facebook web site today. as opposition groups claimed many protestors were injured and arrested during clashes involving batons and teargas,
while iran's police chief warned of "fierce confrontation" unless the protests stop. in isfahan, one protestor dared to film this rally using a mobile phone. "death to russia!," the crowd shouted. a reverse of the usual "death to america" and a round about way of shouting down the iranian regime itself. in the capital tehran, though students were far more blunt. "death to the dictator!"-- their rallying cry in pictures posted on youtube today. but as iran's president confronts the biggest domestic >> sreenivasan: iran's state news agency denied the reports of clashes. instead, it accused the foreign news media of "staging a psychological war." a major storm moved over the middle of the country today, promising heavy holiday snow. a foot or two was possible in kansas, colorado and elsewhere by christmas day. flight delays were already fouling travel plans, with more cancellations expected tomorrow.
sleet and freezing rain began icing roadways. the national weather service warned conditions could be life threatening. u.s. safety investigators headed to jamaica today after an american airlines plane overshot a runway, while trying to land. the jetliner skidded across the rain-soaked tarmac into the grass last night. it stopped less than 15 feet from the caribbean sea and the fuselage cracked apart. more than 40 people were hurt. the colorado parents in the "balloon boy" hoax are going to jail. the father, richard heene, was sentenced today to 90 days, partly on work release. the mother, mayumi, will serve 20 days, once her husband's sentence is finished. last october, they claimed their six-year-old son had been carried away on a weather balloon. he was eventually found, back at the family home. prosecutors said the heenes had wanted a reality t.v. show. wall street had an up and down day. the dow jones industrial average ended by gaining one point to close at 10,466.
the nasdaq rose nearly 17 points to finish at 2,269. those are some of the day's main stories. i'll be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you'll find tonight on the "newshour's" web site. but for now, back to gwen. >> ifill: and now, violence in two nations, one far away, the other right next door. we start in mexico where an ongoing drug war took a gruesome turn this week. ray suarez begins our coverage. >> reporter: the wave of drug killings spreading across mexico in recent years, invaded paradise monday night. the family of a navy commando was murdered in the gulf coast town of paraiso-- spanish for "paradise"-- in an act of reprisal. gunmen broke into the home of ensign melquisedet angulo córdova and gunned down his mother, brother, sister and an aunt. just hours earlier, they had stood vigil as angulo was buried. he died during the operation last week that killed arturo beltran leyva, head of one of mexico's largest drug cartels.
mexican president felipe calderon condemned the murders yesterday. >> ( translated ): it is also my duty today to express my most sincere condolences to the family of melquisedet angulo, to the navy of mexico, for a horrible attack perpetrated in the night. >> reporter: the attorney general of the southern mexican state of tabasco said today a group allied to the beltran- leyva cartel carried out the monday murders. he said it was warning to the military: your families are now targets. at his death, beltran leyva was among the most powerful of mexico's drug lords-- the self- proclaimed "boss of bosses". he had consolidated his position through brutal warfare with other drug runners, and with the mexican government. mexico's attorney general said beltran-leyva's death might now lead to a power struggle. >> ( translated ): and this will for sure force them to
restructure. it's not unlikely that there will be violence within the cartel until the new head is defined. >> reporter: which can only mean more misery for a country where drug-related violence has killed 15,000 people over the last three years. it was once largely confined to the region near the u.s. border- -tijuana, juarez, nuevo laredo-- but has now spread nationwide. as the killing escalates, president calderon has sent 45,000 troops into several mexican states to restore order. and u.s. officials are working in concert with mexican authorities to run down the traffickers both south and north of the border. attorney general eric holder spoke in october after raids in the u.s. netted 300 suspects. >> i think we have to keep hitting them. to the extent that they do grow back, i think we have to work with our mexican counterparts to cut off the heads of these snakes, and get at the heads of the cartels. >> reporter: still, the cartels have billions of dollars at their disposal. they stepped into a void after the top colombian drug runners were taken down.
they now dominate the distribution of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines in the united states. in turn, the mexican groups bring back large caches of weapons bought illegally in the u.s. along what's been dubbed "the iron river". those weapons have so far allowed the cartels to outgun the mexican forces sent to stop them. >> woodruff: and for more on the mexico drug war, i'm joined by david luhnow, "the wall street journal's" latin america bureau chief in mexico city. david, first of all, what more can you tell bus the gunning down of this navy commando's family? >> well, the operation seemed to be well designed. just hours after the commando was buried with full military honors, a group benefit a desen hit men stormed the house. they broke open the door. they were armed with ak-47s, and
assault rifles and shot up the entire family. they left as quickly as they arrived, and prosecutors, mexican prosecutors are now saying that they may have had help from local police in find -- planning their getaway. it looks like a pretty either efficient operation, which shows this cartel run by arturo beltran leyva, is alive and kicking >> how well publicized was the name of this navy commando? >> well, that's a very good question. the name was publicized, and that's unusual in mexico. because normally, the military soldiers, both navy and army that take part ofn these operations, their identities are kept secret. most wear black masks to hide their identities. when they were killed, the government has up until now released their names and honored them as fallen heroes. the problem this timps revenge was taken. what it would suggest is the
drug cartel has informants within the mexican navy that gave them the information as to in man's family's whereaboutss and that's pretty worrisome. >> woodruff: how unusual is it for the cartel to go after family members like this? >> it's very unusual. it sort of breaks one of the unwritten rules of the war on drug down here in mexico. the drug cartels have been getting increasingly violent. they've been resorting to tactics, very similar to the islamic terrorists in terms of beheading and videotaped torture and tactics of that nature to terrorize their rivals and ordinary mexican citizens and the government. in this case going after the family members of a soldier or policeman is an unprecedented step and a worrisome one which may suggest they may not stop at the actual people fighting them but they may go after their
family as well. >> woodruff: how are people responded to this? >> unfortunately, many are becoming inured to the violence. mex kranz really becoming sort of accustomed to the bloodshed. in the last year alone, there have been 7,000 to 8,000 people killed in drug-related violence, and the city right across the border from el paso, texas, has the world's highest murder rate right now bthree times more violent than baghdad, iraq. so there's a daily toll with this kind of violence, but at the same time, other mexicans are really shocked by this. mexican mothers, in particular, hold an exalted place in mexico. mother's day down here is taken very seriously, and the the fact that these guys went after this many's mother is really seen beyond the pale. >> woodruff: in the broader sense how supportive has been the public been of the drug
crackdown that ical initiated? >> unfortunately, many mexicans don't trust their government. this is a country where the government was there to protect itself and its allies and to enrich itself. many view what the government does, even if correct, with a healthy dose of skepticism and cynicism. polls show the majority of people sort of support the drug wars. they know the gainings are pretty bad and they are not fully behind the u.s. government sglid finally, what difference do you think this killing upon this navy commando's family could have on the drug war itself? or do you expect it to have an effect? >> well, i think i think it's one of these escalationes that we're seeing. every month it seems there's a new level that the drug
gangs reach. and, unfortunately, if this keeps going in this direction, we could see more and more civilians being targeted. we could see potentially some assassinations of mexican officials. this could become much like what happened in colombia in the 80s when the war on drug cartels there caused a lot of civilian casualties. >> woodruff: david luhnok of the "wall street journal" joining us from mexico city, thank you. >> ifill: next, violence in another part of the world in the african nation of somalia. and to jeffrey brown. >> reporter: this was the scene last week when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a medical school graduation in mogadishu, the somali capital. 22 people were killed, including three government ministers. somalia has been plagued by civil war, piracy off its shores, and massive violence for several decades. just in the last three years,
19,000 civilians have been killed and a million and half displaced. the group believed to be behind the most recent attack, "al shabab", meaning 'youth' in arabic controls the southern part of the country and most of the capital. it also has ties to al qaeda. and that has raised new alarms. >> where al qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in somalia or yemen or elsewhere-- they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships. >> reporter: amid the lawlessness and threat of kidnapping, few foreigners travel to somalia. one who has is jon lee anderson, who wrote about his experience in the "new yorker" magazine. >> you described somalia as the world's ultimate failed state. now fill in that picture, what does that mean? >> this is a country that has been ignored, neglected by the outside world for the past 20 years. nearly 20 years. in that time, the state such as it existed, it had already crumbled and devolved into
feuding militias, clan-based militias. in essence, that's carried on in the same fashion. >> reporter: so what do you see when you go to a failed state? >> let's put it this way, i flew in with the president of somalia. we landed on an airstrip where there was a crashed jet, and just scrub, you could see the ocean nearby, the indian ocean. very, very low buildings all sun-bleached and covered with dust. there were armored personnel carriers and troops awaiting us on the airstrip. they belonged to the african union. they were ugandans. i was immediately hustled into one of those a.p.c.s that had two machine gunners on turrets on top. and we, within a few minutes, had assembled a long convoy with armored cars. >> reporter: and this is the president. >> this is his arrival home. there was not a street left unguarded. we then went through a series of anti-suicide bomber barriers, past more sentries, and into the
gates of the villa somalia, which is the presidential palace. that is the only turf he controls. >> reporter: the president anderson accompanied is sheikh sharif ahmed-- who was himself once allied with the "shabab". since his split with the group, the u.s. has lent financial and military support to his government. this summer in kenya, secretary of state clinton became the most senior u.s. official to meet the somali leader. not that long ago was considered a bad guy, right? and now a lot seems to have been invested in the possibility of what he could do for somalia. "the good islamist" >> the good islamist. he's a man who has shown a certain amount of pragmatism. the idea is this: there are some uncomfortable moments in the past. there were positions he took. there were friends he had that nobody really wanted to go back there and talk about anymore. i discussed this at length with
him and with the americans and it makes for an interesting story. he's something new in perhaps the muslim world, emerging as a man who comes from a position of military islam and has not rescinded his ties with those who look upon al qaeda with kind eyes. the united states is now sending arms to sheikh sharif and they are providing a kind of aerial security, if you will, for his regime. and it looks like the partnership is here to stay assuming he can survive in office. he now says... he never says he was in favor of al qaeda. but he now can see that some of his former allies were extremists and he could do nothing about it. >> reporter: and how strong are those former allies? what are their ties to al qaeda or their potential ties to al qaeda? >> osama bin laden has appeared in a video lauding them and urging fellow muslims to support them.
to that extent they have received the kind eye of osama bin laden. structural links are more difficult to know about. there are certainly some foreign terrorists who have taken sanctuary there. they are now doing jihadi videos like much as we've seen in pakistan and afghanistsan and did at one point in iraq, where they were, where people were being beheaded. there are now jihadi suicide bombers. this was unknown before 2007. they are now adopting the tactics that we've seen with the most virulent form of extreme islam elsewhere, al qaeda. if they're not al qaeda they certainly want to be. what you have is a society where you have two generations of youth who are uenmployed, largely untaught in many cases and who, in the collapse of the traditional structure of the somali state now seem to be dangerously susceptible to the
kind of siren call of the idea of a global jihad. >> reporter: so somalia as a somalia as a potential haven for al qaeda. >> somalia is very much a potential haven. to what degree it is at the moment is still an open question. what certainly is there is an insurgent force which is, which has both in rhetoric and action called up al qaeda as a mentor force, as the standard it would follow and it's got a lot of people worried. >> reporter: when i asked anderson whether he returned from somalia with hope or fear. he cited last week's suicide bombing as well as his own experience in mogadishu. the setting was a private university, established only recently to train doctors amid the chaos. and the three government ministers killed, he said, were "diaspora" somalis-- who'd fled the violence, but later returned to help their country.
>> so i came away with a strong feeling of hope on the one hand because i saw diaspora somalis, somalis that had lived out comfortable lives in the west, but had returned because they're patriotic, because they want to do something with their lives other than make money somewhere. and yet, you know, worried and anxious because of the ability of the shabab to destroy so close to the very heart of this very fragile state. so, very mixed feelings. >> reporter: jon lee anderson, thanks for talking with us. >> thank you. >> ifill: united nations security council today took steps to curb the arms shipments to the islamist insurgents in somalia, voting to impose sanctions on neighboring eritrea. the resolution demanded eritrea stop "arming, training and equipping" al shabaab and other groups, a charge eritrea denies. >> woodruff: finally tonight, one of the great composers and his winning investment strategies.
our economics correspondent paul solman has spent much of this year trying to make sense of the current financial news of our day. but tonight he has a holiday story connected with the economic conditions of another era. >> 1, 2, 3. ♪ >> reporter: the handel and haydn society rehearsing the messiah at boston symphony hall. >> it's become the holiday piece hasn't it? every major city, in fact village, small town in the states all do messiah just as the same in england. everybody does it. >> reporter: everybody does it, because everybody else buys tickets. the messiah is a sort of savior of cash-strapped classical music. >> ♪ rejoice!
rejoice! ♪ rejoice greatly! >> reporter: in fact, the link between the messiah and money goes back a long ways. it turns out composer george fridrick handel, which means "market in german, was not only a musical whiz, but an entrepreneurial one. >> the dominant pattern in the 17th century as handel got started was you either worked for the church or you worked for the nobility. >> reporter: harvard's mike scherer has written a classic on classical music and economics: "quarternotes and banknotes." "opera was the road to independence from the patronage of court and clergy," he says. >> and the composers competed as freelances to have their compositions chosen to be operas. >> reporter: handel, on royal retainer in london, jumped into the game, according to m.i.t. musicologist ellen harris. >> his first opera is "rinaldo," 1711, and it was a huge hit.
he probably would have gotten a flat fee for writing the opera and that probably was about £200 and he would have had a benefit night, so he could take the box office from that one night. could have brought in £500-600. >> reporter: the currency conversion web site, measuring worth, calculates that would be something like 800,000 pounds today, well over a million dollars, out of which, however, handel had to pay most of the expenses of production. >> paying for the orchestral musicians, paying for sets, paying for costumes. opera has never been a really good money maker, we know this today. >> reporter: furthermore, in england back then, it was an art form imported from abroad. >> and with the importation of opera came the importation of these stupendous singers both the women singers and the castrati who had these
extraordinarily high voices. ( singing ) >> reporter: daniel taylor is neither a castrato nor a woman of course, but a counter-tenor. >> their breath control was enormous and they had large ranges and they had enormous flexibility, so they could sing these long, long runs. ( singing ) and they were really the superstars of the day. >> reporter: expensive. and, to the english, somewhat off-putting. >> the british public didn't like these people who were strutting along and being pains in the neck and everything. so handel, always the businessman, always the opportunist, thought, "right, i'm going to solve this one. i'm going to write, i'm going to change to oratorio." >> reporter: oratorios like the messiah required no sets; no costumes; cheaper singers. >> he began using exclusively english singers so he had a very different cost ratio to his
performances, and its only with the oratorios that he began making really big money. >> reporter: and it's the messiah that marks the turning point. >> it's with messiah, that he goes exclusively to oratorio performance. and he never does another opera after messiah. >> reporter: but it wasn't just handel cashing in that caught our attention. it was the success of handel, the investor, in the hot-money security of his day-- the south sea company, formed to help finance the nearly broke english crown. >> the plan was they would be largely responsible for transporting african slaves from the african coast, to the west indies or to the colonies. but that certainly was not happening in the 1710s and '20s and they basically had no capital. what they did have was a promise of future returns-- somewhere, somehow. so shares in the south sea
company were in a sense the mortgage-backed securities of georgian england and people mobbed to buy them in london's exchange alley. >> it's not so different from the kind of dodgy debt that people were investing in here in the past five and 10 years, when there was no there there. and this idea that this was the route to becoming rich quickly, and handel was young, he was an eager beaver. he saw all the upper class doing it. >> reporter: isaac newton did it. >> everyone did it. >> reporter: because the securities kept rising in value. like this lord, sharing his winnings with his servants, handel, who left london on business, cashed out. soon after, south sea bubble burst. panic reigned. investors were dropping like stones; they were underwater. >> and handel was not involved in that because he got his money out. >> reporter: in the next few years, the south sea company,
backed by the equivalent of our fed, reorganized itself-- jailing the directors, and creating a new bond issue, paying a secure, government- backed 3-5% for now safety- conscious investors like george frideric handel. so does that suggest that he sobered up after the bubble burst and that's why he changed his investment strategy? >> yes, he was willing and eager to take a risk and won early on and then when everything fell apart and the rebuilding process begins, he does not hesitate a minute to reinvest in the market, but he uses a more conservative strategy by going for bonds, rather than for stock. and he does that for the rest of his life. >> reporter: but for all her love of handel and his investment history, ellen harris thinks our use of the messiah to tell you about it might be something of a stretch. >> it's like saying he lost his
popular base of support so... ♪ he was despised, despised and rejected. ♪ but then, he died a rich man - ♪ hallelujah! it's not what the messiah is about. >> ♪ hallelujah! >> reporter: to us, however, george fridrick handel's art and business success is a cause for celebration. >> handel was unusually successful and ended up leaving a fortune, on the order of £20,000 pounds sterling which, in those days, was a lot of money. >> reporter: many millions, in fact, supporting charities to this very day and setting an example for composers for ever after. ♪
>> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: president obama said he's getting 95% of what he wanted on health care. he spoke with the "newshour's" jim lehrer, as the senate cleared the way for a final vote tomorrow. the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what you'll find there. hari. >> sreenivasan: on our web site tonight, you can compare how people who live in different types of economies are faring this holiday season. our "patchwork nation" hardship index measures gas prices, foreclosures and unemployment. on our "world view" page, we've asked the heads of three global aid organizations to describe the worst and least covered humanitarian crises of 2009. and some good news from elkhart, all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line. and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs
newshour is provided by: >> what the world needs now is energy. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change. what is that energy came from an energy company? everyday, chevron invests $62 million in people, in ideas-- seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world to move us all ahead. this is the power of human energy. chevron.
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