tv In the Arena CNN June 2, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
he repeatedly said that europe is essentially a europeanist, that he's making european decision. insulting to you? quickly in briefly, is that becoming a dirty word? >> no, when it comes to politics, it's the best thing to bash people overseas. it's a tried and trusted formula. when in doubt, attack the foreigners. >> glad you have a thick skin. thank you, richard quest. that's all from us tonight. "in the arena" starts right now. a phrase that filled the world with hope, for a region and people that have struggled und under tyranny and hopelessness. in tahrir square, it was hard to
believe that it would have a happy ending. now syria is a much, much different picture. tonight, i'll take a close look at where the arab spring went wrong as the threat of outright war hangs over a region, that at least for a moment thought change was coming. more in just a moment. but, first, a look at the other stories that we're covering tonight. mitt romney made it official. he's running for president but with sarah palin's bus tour in new hampshire, will anybody notice? and today the only muslim in congress made a vow. >> the world will not forget for liberty and justice and for the people of syria. >> earlier he had urged the world to go into libya. where do we draw the line. then moammar gadhafi and goldman sachs, a marriage made in heaven or in hell? i'll ask matt what happened when
libya's dictator mate the deal kings of wall street. syria and the story that we've been closely following over the past few nights. the 13-year-old boy who was tortured and murdered. his brutal death has em bol denned anti-government protesters and has become a rallying cry. now cnn has learned that one of his relatives saw him alive at a prison. arwa damons that the latest. >> cnn was not able to get ahold of hamza's relative and providing more chilling insight into what young hamza may have suffered. a trip was received that he was being held in one of the prisons. he went there and actually saw that hamz wachlt was athat he
was alive and well. at that point he was told that the family should go to the hospital. when they arrived at the hospital, it was there that they were handed over a corps. those chilling images with authenticity we cannot verify that appeared on youtube, showing his bloated, mutilated, and horribly disfigured young body. according to the relative, his mother became hysterical. she had a nervous breakdown, alternating between sobbing intensely and then shrieking for joy that her child became a martyr, believing that hamza was brutally tortured for two days because authorities were enraged that the family was able to track him down. saying that he was the youngest of 6, just 13 but with the maturity of a 30 yearly. he was always taking part of the demonstrations to break the siege of the city. remember, his family was from
outside of daraa and on some occasions he was refusing to eat because he told his parents it was unfair to have access to food when so many people were suffering because of the siege. he also had dreams to be a policeman one day. but according to the relative, he changed his mind when he saw police brutality against the demonstrators and didn't know what he wanted to do when he was going to grow up. now we do know that he is, at the very least, emerging as a symbol of the syria uprising. >> more on our headliner story as tension on the streets escalate. the syrian government forbids us from doing our jobs as journalists within our borders. therefore, we lie on voices from the inside to tell us what is actually happen. because if we're to believe what the government disseminates on their news outlet, they are all singing kum-by-ya.
this was smuggled out by a few brave souls. a warning, the images you are about to see are unusually disturbing even for footage out of syria. >> what we have been doing over the past few weeks is seeking out people that were there when the city went under attack and what we found is that the security forces have killed hundreds of protesters arbitrarily arrested thousands and this was no accident. for me the most striking thing about these videos is just to see peaceful protesters coming under fire for no reason. >> we've been seeing tape like this since the violence in syria began. but how exactly are human rights
workers managing to get it out of there? joining me now is the person responsible for that. he is nadeem, human rights watcher and in tunisia and joins us on the phone. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> your organization put out a report that the syrian government is committing crimes against humanity. tell us, what are those crimes? give us a sense of the magnitude and who is the victim of those crimes. >> sure. we just put out a report of what has been happening at the main protest movement since mid-march and we've documented three grave types of crimes. one, it is the shooting of unarmed protesters and those shootings have killed more than 450 people so far that we've been able to document in the government of daraa and according to some local activists, the number may be higher and the second pattern is
the massive arbitration campaign and the torture of those detained and we're talking about thousands of people that lasted for 11 days on every single day, they were detaining more than 100 people, men and children in a number of cases and certainly the denial of medical care to the wounded protesters and the two cases that we've documented, the lack of medical care led to the death of the protester and they have not had a chance to live if they had been treated properly. >> i think we all understand and have seen the footage of those that have been shot and killed. i don't want you to ask you to be graphic but tell us factually what type of tortures you are talking about that you have documented in this report. >> sure. i mean, first people need to realize that this is rampant torture. this is not an individual case. this is what we've seen for the last few months.
we're talking severe beatings, electrocution, be it through cattle product, a set of other means. we've also seen unusual brutality in southern syria where people have been sort of held in severe stress positions. a number of people and have died under director tur but we have seen some of the marks on the people that managed to escape syria after they were released from the neighboring countries and these were pretty shocking -- whipping on the back, whipping on the sole of the feet. toenails fell off after being subjected to beatings on the feet for hours. >> have you been able to find out who is orchestrating this systemic torture? >> you know, it's hard to know exactly who is in control but what we documented is we have a
sense of the security agency that is responsible. either military security, political security, air force security, and something called general security inside syria. we name some of the high level commanders but what we have not been able to do is get down to the commander level that is responsible for this. and this is why we're calling for international investigation that would have access and that would manage to go up the chain of command and hold those responsible accountable. >> nadim, one last question. and i apologize for that. you spent several years working for one of the largest law firms here in new york city. is that correct? >> correct, yes. >> how does the quality of the evidence that you've seen that led to this report compare to what you used to see in your work for that law firm? >> look, there's no doubt, the evidence is compelling. there is clear evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed. now, we are not a court of law.
we are a human rights organization working under very difficult circumstances. we are denied access and rely mostly on testimony of witnesses but we feel that the testimony is strong enough and obviously this needs to be handed over to an international investigation and we hope that this international investigation would lead to proper judicial process and that those responsible would be held accountable in a court of law. we are not a court of law. what we are doing is raising the alarm that there is some significant crimes being committed as we speak in syria today. >> nadim, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> so what next? what, if anything, can the u.s. do to stop the frightening prospect of a middle east at war? joining me is cnn's own fareed
zakaria. we've got three civil wars, libya, yemen, and syria. massive uncertainty and chaos brewing. if you were secretary of state, how would you construct a foreign policy for the united states to deal with the crisis? >> i think syria is the most difficult one because we have the most leverage over them. i think the administration is being too soft from syria. i think that we should be trying to devise a policy which says, look, we don't want complete chaos there but we want to try and ratchet up the pressure in as many ways as we can so we make life difficult for them. a stable syria with a side in control has never been good for the united states. so let's remember a little bit of instability in syria if it comes with freedom, openness, pressure on the regime, that's not so bad. >> let's go back to whether the united states does or does not have -- everybody accepts two things, i suppose. one, the middle east is the most dangerous region of the world and, two, within the middle
east, syria is at the center of the international affairs. explain why it's so important compared to libya? >> well, part of it is gee og graph foo and part is history. it's right next to lebanon and it has dominated lebanese politics. syria is next to israel. it's an area occupied by the war. syria has historically had a rivalry of sorts with egypt and iraq. so it's sort of at the center, literally, of the arab world. the historical part is that syria has always been a kind of bastien of repressive stability. it has been a place where the father of the current president drew a line against islamic fundamentalism where he literally killed 20,000 people to ensure that the fundamentalist movement died down. if all of that erupts, you can
imagine instability in lebanon and you can imagine instability even in iraq, relations with iran get more complicated. so it certainly has broader ramifications. >> what is the downside risk and what might israel do and saudi arabia do? what do we worry about as it continues to evolve in the direction that it is now? >> the danger is that you could have a war with israel and internal civil war in lebanon. remember, hezbollah is armed with tens and thousands of rockets. >> located primarily in lebanon? >> located primarily in lebanon and has rained rockets down on israel. that would be the most likely scenario. it's more difficult to see what would happen vis-a-vis iran or iraq. if that happens, you go from civil wars in the middle east to a wider war involving israel. and that becomes a very difficult war because every arab state would have to line itself
up. while its head may tell it that it is actually with israel and needs stability, it's hard -- >> now, you said a couple moments ago, we don't have that many levers against syria and we want to do what is ride, which is to say to assad, you are a brutal tyrant and should not be there. on the other hand, we're looking at saudi arabia saying, look, the united states, what you brought on, stability at least was -- there consequences of having these in play. >> you know, that saudi line is frankly absurd because it's not as though the united states actively encouraged these forces. in fact, i was in egypt. the principle complained that we supported the mubarak regime. it was not because of one phone call that barack obama made that hosni mubarak resigned. so similarly, in syria, we are not really organizing the dissent. what is amazing is that the
syrian people, despite being killed by the hundreds are doing it. >> the second chapter of the arab spring, which began as a spring, a long, hot summer. it's ugly, messy, and uncertain at this point? >> this is exactly what happened in 1848 in europe. you have democratic revolutions against the monarchies. initially seeming very hopeful and then the armies came up and in many cases the armies sided with the monarchy. but the long story, the 20-year story is those ideas were infectious and caught on and i think here you might see something similar with egypt being more important. if the revolution exceeds in egypt, even if it fails everywhere else, it's not going anywhere. >> one of the unfairly critiqued speech that president obama gave a couple weeks ago was his very powerful claim, we need to help the egyptian economy, financial aid, exports from egypt to the united states, whatever we can
do. is their economy moving forward and what can we do to resuscitate it? >> you're absolutely right. the president is right. if egypt is the centerpiece, the egyptian economy is going to be the centerpiece. it's right now growing at zero. it was growing at 5 to 7% for the last three or four years. there's no foreign investment. tourism has collapsed. even revenues from the suez canal. they are in very bad shape. they need help. here's the biggest problem. reform has been stigma advertised. after doing nothing for 27 years, mubarak started to do some reform and now it's tainted and no politician wants to go back and say, guess what, that stuff that mubarak did that you hated, we're going to have to do more of that. so the politics -- it's always a fascinating problem, which is, how do you get the politics to meet the economics. >> you just described egypt but it describes perfect for the
united states. you have a special this sunday, the american dream, is it disappearing. maybe the one answer is innovation. nothing that is important here is the deficit and what can we do to bring back our own economy? >> well, i think there are two elements to that problem and we try to discuss one of them is the employment problem. you have to get people back to work. innovation is a crucial part of it because it's what we do well. it's how we create new jobs. what i was struck by, there's a great debate about what the government should do. >> all right. fareed, thank you, as always. i plan to watch your show sunday night. fareed zakaria, this sunday, "restoring the american dream ". coming up, mitt romney makes it official. candy crowley was there. seems like it was crowded up there today. >> reporter: it was. certainly if you were on the
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mitt romney made it official today, he's running for president of the united states. and in many ways his announcement this time was different than the one in 2007. back then, mitt romney announced in winter. this time he announced in the summer. 2007 romney stood at a museum. today it was a farm and maybe the biggest difference this year, no tie. but the bottom line, it's still the same mitt romney. great credentials, great
experience, but does he have the emotional heat he needs to unseat the current president. candy crowley is joining us now. >> reporter: thank you, sir. >> here's my question. >> reporter: yes. >> did you feel the passion? did you feel the emotional energy that this guy is going to need? >> reporter: i don't think you're going to turn him into barack obama. i mean, this is not a man that emotes that way. this is a ceo. this is a business guy. listen, passion or at least showing passion has never been the number one criteria for republican nominees. bob dole, john mccain, even george bush. they were not true emoters. so it's not a hazard getting to the nomination. perhaps when you're up against somebody as gifted as president obama is, then it becomes a problem. i think when you look at what
mitt romney has to offer, what they are banging on is that this country has to be about dollars and cents and jobs a year from november and they are banking that his credentials as a businessman and as a certain extent as massachusetts governor will stand him in good stead with republican voters. >> candy, he went for what i would call the economic jug gu lar. he has taken the economic model from europe. it's hard to imagine anything more critical. you're european. >> horrible. >> absolutely. >> but he went through the litany of legitimate economic data, unemployment, foreclosures, everything that has the public deeply concerned but did he given as that will touch a nerve that is sufficient? >> listen, i'll tell you two of the biggest applause lines -- and when you say answers, there were not details. but he did talk about capping government spending at 20% of the economy. he said it's about 40% now. he did talk about a balanced
budget. those were huge applause lines in this group, which obviously are republicans from new hampshire and new hampshire is very focused in on conservative fiscal things. so, yes, he had those sorts of things but not in terms of -- listen, here's my eight-point plan on reducing the deficit. >> candy, i've got to say, we've got to move on to something. there's going to be a voice perhaps for his campaign but he had one line in there that i actually thought was a good line receipt for clee. my generation will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill. you know, it's a nice concept. i just wish it were true. >> well, you know, this is -- i wish i could say, boy, i've never heard that concept before but we have from both republicans and democrats, i should add. but this is clearly a campaign that at least the obama -- i'm sorry. the romney people feel is going to be on debt and jobs, and that's where they are going to
focus his attention. >> all right. candy crowley, thank you. for more of romney's big announcement, romney's spokesperson in 2008. kevin, welcome. >> great to be with you. >> first question is, why is he different now than he was back in '08? in '08 he was credentialed, experienced, buttoned down, looked the part, but kind of fizzled. why is it going to be different this time? >> well, the '08 campaign, i remember when we did that announcement in michigan. we went on a three-state tour right after that and spent a couple of days going out there and meeting the voters of ohio and new hampshire and south carolina. on the way back at the last leg of that trip, i remember getting a poll from the abc washington post and they showed us at 4%. that was a real stark reminder of the challenges that we face. that's a different frame right now because when you're at 4%,
you have to introduce yourself on every issue, national security, economy, social issues. what happens is that you have a whole bunch of different issues and don't have one big argument for why you want to be and the american public is really focused on the economy. who can get the american public back to work? and he has the experience and the vision to do that, to make that argument. >> i don't want to play devil's advocate but he had the same experience then that he has now and same argument that he has then that he has now. if anything, he has to stand up to a president that is getting the economy moving. but what was the answer that mitt romney gave in the speech today? i read the speech. it was receipt for clee nice and there was no answer other than government spending at 20% gdp in terms of job creation or dealing with dropping housing prices. >> in '08 there were a lot of instances where the messages got
muddled and now he has a much clearer message. the american public wants to know who is going to get america back to work and i think he has the answers there. standing in deficits are two of the problems but i also think that he has to look at his experience. that's where he's going to be able to connect in a way that he wasn't able to connect in 2008. he has the experience. the president had no experience in the private sector, no experience at creating jobs and look what we have. we have record high unemployment and a country that really thinks we're on the wrong track. >> kevin, again, i think we've all heard the argument that former mitt romney made today against president obama, the data points. but nothing in there gave a prescription and affirmative mechanism by which he would create the jobs. that's what i'm asking you. other than repeating what has been the republican mantra for a couple of years and then joining the pile on in terms of obama care which is another separate, distinct problem from mitt romney. what in there is a new idea
about job creation that the public hasn't heard? the polls, he's only at 15. still -- >> he's -- i looked at the early primary states and he's doing much better. name identification helps. that's what exactly these campaigns are about. the campaigns are where you deliver the answers to the american public. this is ultimately going to be a campaign that is framed around two. do you have faith in government and in government spending in order to help the economy and do you have faith in helping the american people create the jobs, create the risks that there's going to be so the private sector can flourish and go back to creating jobs. government has to be involved but it's not the only answer. governor romney has a view that says the american public is how you create jobs and private sector is how you create jobs. president obama has said spend more money and let the government create jobs. that's going to the frame. i think governor romney is going to be more favorably aligned with where the public is given the dismal record on the economy.
>> kevin, we're going to see how that plays out. >> certainly. >> it's going to be interesting. we'll have you back to parse it out over the weeks and months ahead. >> great to be with you. thanks. >> thanks. goldman sachs and gadhafi. business partners? i'll ask what happens when a deal with a madman goes really, really bad. stay tuned. [ female announcer ] you've never had red lobster like this before. your own complete four-course seafood feast for $15. start with soup, like our hearty new england clam chowder. then enjoy a fresh salad with unlimited cheddar bay biscuits, followed by your choice of one of seven entrees, like new shrimp & scallops alfredo, spicy coconut & citrus shrimp, or wood-grilled fresh tilapia. then finish with something sweet, all for just $15. right now at red lobster.
first, the manhattan news. the subpoena was dropped on goldman sachs. what do you think they are looking for? >> well, from everything that i've gathered, it's related to the material in the levin report. >> senator levin? >> yes, he did a very large report that detailed a series of fraud al gags against the bank. goldman sold a bump of properties to a series of clients not disclosing to them that they bet against these properties and thought negatively of them et cetera, et cetera. et cetera. >> so there's a conflict of interest that pervades the banking world that leaves clients on the outside and bankers getting rich? >> yes. it's a textbook example of the bank doing one thing, it believes one thing, it tells clients something entirely different. there should be a chinese wall between those areas of the company but it never really happens that way in practice. >> here's the question that i
think a lot of people are going to ask. why isn't the manhattan district attorney's office, where is the department of justice, the cftc, where are the federal offices that are supposed to be doing this? >> that is exactly the question that people were asking. it's great that the manhattan district attorney is looking into this. it's also great that eric snyderman is investigating a series of banks. but with all of this news, it only becomes more and more conspicuous as you say that the s.e.c. is not involved, the department of justice, all of these federal agencies should have been doing this job apparently are not. we just don't know yet. >> it's conceivable that they are doing it, we don't know. we would at the end of the day have to say, hats off to you? >> absolutely. >> and in the insider trading trials that we've heard about, they have been there and convictions in the gallion case, there was a goldman sachs board
member who was paid for inside information and no word of a criminal investigation of him. it just seems mystifying to me. >> it is strange. the really conspicuous item of news here is that this is not the s.e.c. but rather a local prosecutor. >> hats off to him for doing it. >> look, the other thing that has poured out into the papers, goldman lost 98% of the money that was given to him by moammar gadhafi. on the one hand, you want to say good. good. hard to choose between goldman and gadhafi, maybe. but then they tried to give the money back to gadhafi. explain this. >> yeah. apparently they were so broken up about having lost 98% of gadhafi's investment. incidentally, i didn't know it was possible to lose 98% of any investment. but they did and they were so shaken up by it that they went back to gadhafi and offered to sell a $3.7 billion stake in
goldman sachs with aid to gadhafi. it's really an amazing development. >> sell it to him in a way that he would recoup his money? >> exactly. advantageous terms. >> and business structures all designed to give back the money that they lost for them? >> right. and what is so amazing about this, i've interviewed personally a number of people that have been on the wrong end, people that have lost a lot of money, in the hudson deal, $2 billion that got away, and you never see goldman sachs being so solicitous of a client, you have to wonder whether they are worried about being beheaded. maybe the client service improves. >> i was going to say, maybe that's it. maybe if you're gadhafi and you're an international terrorist, goldman will go back and say, we're sorry. >> we're sorry, we'll give you a better deal. >> but all of the investors and bond deals which they knew to be lousy deals, too bad, you've just got to suck it up and too
bad? >> yes, the hedge fund lost $100 million and morgan stanley that lost a ton of money in the hudson deal. you never saw goldman go back and offer to get the money back for them. it was an mazing development. >> there is something at a deeper level, the economy is at a very worry some point, to say the least. with the job numbers that will come out tomorrow, looking bad, housing prices still plummeting. the tension between the banks getting back hundreds and millions of dollars and the rest of the economy sinking, does that begin to show the anger as it were or questioning of the policies that have been followed? >> yeah, i think so. there was an implicit agreement that the government had with all of these banks, which is, we are going to make you well again. we are going to bail you all out. we're going to rescue from insolvency and in turn you're going to kick start the economy and invest in the country and put people back to work.
it just didn't happen that way. they got bailed out and privatized that money and turned it into profits and beach houses and sports cars and there is a lot of public anger out there and i think that might be driving some of the new impetus towards new investigations. >> and at the very moment, when the banks were offered essentially told, what we want you to do is reform the mortgages so homeowners don't have that massive debt that they can't afford. the bank said no and won that political fight? >> right. and they sped up the foreclosures. >> exactly. >> they did exactly the opposite. >> that's right. >> they didn't uphold their end of the bargain. >> and the white house was on the wrok siwrong side of that, saying we got reform mortgage. >> matt, as we said, goldman sachs is favorite friend. coming up, how many things are going wrong with the economy on your fingers. it's not just goldman sachs. you'll need at least four hands. richard quest will help me do the math. stay tuned. ♪
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no president has ever been re-elected when facing the kind of unemployment that we are facing in the country right now. but that's not the only crisis facing barack obama. there's the monster deficit. the federal debt has spiralled to a terrifying $14 trillion and counting. and more than 20 million people are out of work, under employeed or have just plain given up looking for a job. worse yet, fixing one problem could aggravate the other.
joining me to talk about all of this is the one and only richard quest, host of cnn international's quest means business. i'm thrilled you're here in new york. >> thank you. >> so you got these twin problems, unemployment and the deficit. usually you solve one by exacerbating the other. highw how do you make sense out of this? >> you can't do both at the moment. and in the battle of unemployment and you can sit -- >> stop and explain why. >> because you've got to get people back to work to create economic activity. as long as you have the threat of unemployment and people worried about their jobs, you have a crisis of confidence and the spiral goes down even further. now, there is the urgency on the deficit. you've got two deficits. you've got the total federal deficit and the annual budget deficit. >> 1.3 trillion. >> right. you don't have to actually start doing too much with the annual deficit. you don't really. all you have to do is put
yourself on the path of a program. >> you're trying to thread a needle. explain to folks how you would ordinary narrowly deal with a problem of high unemployment. what would you do? what is the leverage that the government would use? >> monetary, get interest rates down into the basement, which -- >> people borrow more? >> absolutely. >> where are interest rates right now? >> there's a difference between what the banks are paying when they are borrowing from the fed and the money market rates and what you and i are paying on our credit cards. >> what are we paying on credit cards? >> we are paying much higher than they are. >> that's not fair, is it? . okay. monetary policy and then -- >> fiscal policy. >> what is that? >> good old fashion government spending. normally what happens, in a classic economics, you spend your way out of a recession. you pull money into -- >> does it work? >> of course it does. >> why do the republicans
embrace it? >> don't take me down that road. >> all right. i'll leave the politics out of it for now. >> of course it works. it totally works if you have money to spend and at the moment you have a budget deficit of 1.3 trillion. >> but we can't borrow any more? >> you can borrow more and the way long-term interest rates and ten-year bonds, the interest rate came down under 3% for the first time in many months. that tells me that the market is not too worried at the moment. >> you're saying something hugely important. what you're saying is ordinarily, if you have high unemployment, the government spent money to stimulate the economy, the way it gets the money, because there's no tax revenue, is to borrow it. >> absolutely. >> but normally if the market was saying we don't trust you to pay it back, interest rates would go up. but since interest rates are going down, you're saying the
market -- >> those are the technical factors. the bears are out -- >> what are we talking about bears for? >> forget the bears at the moment. they are out. the bond market is basically telling us that inflation is not a worry at the moment. >> right. because inflation would drive interest rates up? >> absolutely. because to kill inflation. inflation is not a worry at the moment but could be. >> right. >> secondly, it's telling us that equities are not going to be -- >> stocks, right? >> stocks. shares. they are not going to be the great benefit. even though the dow is up 20% over 52 weeks. the point i want to make is, we can dissect this like a sweater. we can pull the threads and watch it come apart. however, this economy is wading through and in some of the -- >> that's a british phrase. >> it's syrup. >> okay. >> it's stuck in the mar mire. >> it's difficult to -- >> stuck in the mire. >> for a second time in many years it's a soft patch and the problem is, all the of the
traditional ways of getting out of that are not valid. >> i want to get back to what you vuthed earlier. when you thread the needle, you said, look, you've got to deal with the long-term debt but push that issue down to years three, four, and five as long as the economy comes back? >> no. you've conveniently forgotten providing you've got a plan. and the problem in the united states at the moment is that there isn't a plan. >> you create the plan for the deficit. >> yes. >> and then the other piece of it is, you can go with some sort of stimulus now. >> yes. >> you get the unemployment rate down. you generate the revenue, pay down your debt in the long term and that's the objective? >> and you take the confidence. you give people confidence so they are not worried about their jobs. this is really about the corrosive effect of a joblessness, worries about debt, and, of course -- >> we haven't gotten to the housing crisis. we're going to keep you on this side of the ocean. richard quest, it's always great to talk to you.
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and in libya the american military under nato command continues to provide support for rebel fighters. what should the overall u.s. goal be in the middle east? representative keith ellison gives us a perspective. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for being here. >> you're a very good sport for holding up the phone. thank you. >> no problem. >> i was watching you on the floor today and i heard when you said regarding the 13-year-old syrian boy who was allegedly tortured and killed, we will not forget and the u.n. advisers have come out and said that they are very concerned about the systemic violence. what bothers me is that we always hear about their concerns but no one ever seems to be willing to go in and do the job to the fullest extent. it's always carrots and sticks. is that working? >> well, let me tell you. each country in the middle east is unique and when it comes to syria, it presents unique
challenges. if you contrast that with, say, for example, libya, which is a coastal city where there's -- the rebels actually had control of benghazi and where the arab league said they support international action, it's just a different ball game in syria. the arab league really hasn't spoken. it's a really geographically diffused conflict. but i do think that we do have to call -- we have to say that assad is not a legitimate leader. that he should, in my opinion, step down, that the leadership of that country needs to be put on a list that would curtail their travel and we need to take the steps that we can take. but, of course, these things are complicated and if they were easy, we wouldn't be in the situation. and there's no country in which the police state dominates the population like syria. >> but here's the problem,
representative. we take action to an he can tent. yeah, the arab league said we want you to take action. but when there were civilian casualties which always occur with military action, they said, wait a second, we brought you in to protect civilians, not kill them. excuse me, that's not the way military action works. there are always civilian casualties. and so you take a look at these things and it seems to be that we go in and we get stuck because we can get so far and then our hands are tied and that's where we are with libya, isn't it? >> well, you know what, i think that light is at the end of the tunnel with libya. the international community is involved and arab league is sticking there and rebels are gaining power every day. so i think that this thing will resolve in a way that is favorable but there's no doubt, it's tough. and i want to tell you, i'm one of those people usually against military conflict or involvement. i opposed iraq.
i believe you should be out of afghanistan. but i'm not going to be the one to stand by and let civilians get mowed down like in detail or darfur or in this case in libya and i'm going to at least raise my voice when it comes to syria or even bahrain. we have to raise our voices and say that it is wrong even if our tools are not readily available. >> emotionally, i am right there with you. it is just heart wrenching to watch what is happening in these countries and sit back and do nothing. but -- >> right. >> we are. if we take a look at what has happened in libya and if we take a look at what has happened in syria, people are being systemically killed there. we haven't been able to stop their actions. >> we are part of that nato force. >> right. but it hasn't stopped it. >> we are part of the solution in libya. and i stand with the president on this decision in libya. i do think he should come back to congress and consult but i do not take issue with his decision
to join nato and deal with gadhafi. particularly with this murderous rampage that he was on. but our hands -- we just don't have that many tools. we've sanctioned them for years and years and it has put us in a position where we don't have that much leverage unlike egypt where we have this long, historic relationship with their military, we could actually influence the military and that ended up being one of the key factors that got mubarak to go. in syria, we don't have that much leverage. i'm hoping to get turkey. we have nothing on them. >> right. i think that four americans, one of the issues that we're facing is that we want to have a plan for libya. the issue that really strikes me, i can't figure out why we go into some countries and why we don't go into others. overall, i need to know what are the american national interests that we have that are worth
having military action, putting american men and women in a place to be killed what is worth that for us as a country? >> great question. let me just tell you this. i stand by the idea that just because we can't do all does not mean that we shouldn't do any. i think where we can make a difference, where we can help and where our interests are at stake, we should be involved. you get into a situation like libya where we don't, maybe our interests are not heavily in libya but we have a guy mowing down citizens. i don't think the world's only super power should say we'll invade iraq when it might suit us but when the arab league and people are being killed, and they ask for our help, we won't help. >> i don't know. i take a look at the issues that we have and all of the other countries with as much money as we do and the ability to go in there and make a difference, i just question where we are and what we're doing at this point without a real, clear goal in front of us.
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