tv U.S. Senate CSPAN August 8, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
didn't want to see this. it's another view from the courtroom. right from the start, you are not providing or slanting if you will that report by saying, well, come on in. have a seat. maybe rotate people out. it removes the immediate aspect of secrecy or suspicious about the courts motive. >> we have a freedom of information and other states have similar organizations, and the, you know, our position has always been that we are just citizens. we should have the same right as all of the citizens of wisconsin to records to meetings and access. in most cases, expect where there's a trial and a limited amount of space, i think that's still the best way to go is that citizens are citizens. >> they say that transparency is
the new object activity with the internet. the more open the better. >> okay. here, and then we'll come up there. >> nancy peters, minnesota. to play the same side with a question, we often times have a high profile case that is reported very well, very accurately, and once a year, there's the top winner of the public comments on the story. online. so i call 80 or more comments to float from the top. for me, it's discouraging to read what more than half of the comments are. because number one, they miss the main point of the story. number two, they have their own agenda that no matter what is written, they are going to spin off on something else. then the banter is number three between them. so that's my perspective. because we are supposed to be
educating the public about the courts. as you are trying to. so what does that do to your work ethic and your development and how you approach the next story? because right from the get go, it was a great story. and yet the public is still not really absorbing it the way you would think. >> let's look at online commenting is prodemocracy. i think that news organization will not get rid of it, i think it has very little value. i do comment as someone on npr, i took a lot of grief. so the figures are that about 90% of the public online reads and moves on. about 9% will occasionally comment. and then there's 1%, they are called the online come nay tour.
to -- to me they are the loudest drunk in the bar. i just don't think it's worth paying attention to. >> i think it's one the uglier sides of the era of journalism. it's sort of the ugly window into human nature. just the level of comment and sort of the personalized response. i have a friend who's a leading national sports writer. she can't bring herself to read the comments because the reaction is is always personal, you know, attacking her character and her hair style and just really the most vicious way. and, you know, that's a good way to put it. what bothers me are the unanimous comments which i don't think there's a place for. for years, they wouldn't allow letters to the editor unless they were from a real person. i think the same standard should be in effect for comments.
>> my question is how valuable are they to a real news organization. >> these are great questions. we have huge debates in the own newsroom about comments and trying to deal with it. it got even worse this spring, because wisconsin was such a focus national opposition, that we were getting comments or stories with over 3 or 4,000 comments. you can't even read that many comments, let alone police them. and it's -- we're trying to develop a new system now that combines the best of facebook commenting which has people using their real ids for the most part and allows side conversations and things like that with our own system where we can take out the bad guys that people notify us about. but "the new york times" has, i think, 14 people dedicated to comments full time. they have a limit of 2,000 or
something like that on each story. they still have problems. >> sometimes if you wake up on the west coast, it's too late to comment on a "new york times" story. but what i wonder, do you ever get tips. is there news information and, you know, because reporters wonder, should they check the comments and engage? >> we do get tips. but it's also a problem. because we also can't go and ask our internet people for their identities and their e-mails. because that seems to be an invasion of their privacy. so we have to go back into the comments and say, hey. >> offline. >> yeah, there's a tiny percent of the comments. >> why do you do it? it's really interesting and it's just starting to change again. we'd have the debates and
interns and young staffers. until this year, everyone under 35 said this is free expression. people have thick skin. if they, you know, who cares about hurt feelings. let it all out there. that's the world. people should know what the world is really like. don't worry about it. people can tell who the loudest -- people don't listen to the loudest drunk in the bar anymore. don't worry about it. then this year, people that were older than 35 were horrified by these things. i tell myself among that group. but this year started to change. it was really interesting because our intern or last year. they started to pretty half and half. now about half of the young folks coming into the newsroom are thinking maybe the commenting isn't good afterall. >> i think that's the growing fact and use of facebook. identifying areas. this is when we balance enormous
and identified speech. we've gotten a number of request for the years from news organization or state press associations that talk about this. one the early suggest was set up a reader panel. what is it that you want to read on your comments? when you put off the comment because you have this word or exchange, it's a read decision. but it's pass power intensive. you have to then have somebody reading those. i think very much we're in the transition phase. because now with facebook and other social media where you are identifiable or traceable back, the early, you know, sort of affection for anonymity is really the one or .05% of the people who were standing out the door because they couldn't get a letter to the editors. >> there seems to be momentum.
maybe it's wishful thinking. but it seems that way. >> again, we are -- i think facebook is a big part. we are in transition, i think much more so in that area than anything else in terms of the new media. although it's fair to say we are nowhere near where we are going to be five years from now. >> all you have to do is look back five years ago where we were. you know, that just -- >> this is john from minnesota. i just want to say that my experience with judges and court staff who are opposed or cautious about cameras and recording things in the courtroom aren't concerned about public seeing it. what they are concerned about is preserving the fairness of the process. that's our number one thing. that's the issue that it turns on. judges who have become convinced it's not going to interfere with the judicious or due process rights of the people in courtroom will go with it. but there's still a lot who think this is going to interfere
in a way that's going to hurt that person's access to a just decision. so i just wanted to point that out. i have met very few people in the media -- in the courts who think the publics shouldn't be aloud to see them. our courts have always been open. >> in what they do they think it will interfere? what does the harm come from? >> i think they fear it'll be disruptive of the process, you know, as it's going on. they fear it will discourage people from testifying, discourage people from coming forward. i think they have a lot of concerns, business people are afraid that it'll somehow expose their business to something, you know, i just -- i'm not necessarily defending it. i'm saying it's almost never about that the public shouldn't see this. it's about what our role is, which is delivering a just resolution to a dispute. >> yeah, and i -- my response or
reaction that everyone should if they wish is that it -- we are past that -- almost that point of concern. it's no longer a case of will it be open, it's how it will be open. with citizen journalist, bloggers, tweeters, all of the rest, the question really is do you have a mix of credible organizations that make their business, or people who are independent doing their reporting along with a lot of other people who maybe misinformed or not have education. or do you just have people outside of the courthouse? you know, it's no longer a question of can i close the courtroom, it's a question of how to open it. >> there's a lot of concern about the fear of juror intimidation. that's a big one too. because it's hard enough to get people to serve on juries a lot of times, without the fear they are going to be on tv on something, you know? >> let's see. i think we have time for a question or two more, if we still do.
>> brett crow from ohio. a lot of us live and work with reporters and such, i wonder from the "milwaukee centennial" not only in the nation's capitol, what sense do you see as far as how the coverage is changing and who's doing the coverage? >> we have two great reporters in madison, which is down from three at the height. although what we do now is we move beat reporters to madison it cover the capitol. so an environmental reporter will cover environmental committees in the legislature and things like that. and we'll keep moving people back. during all of the stuff going on this spring, we had tons of reporters going in and out all the time. there's been a significant decline overall and folks have
tracked this pew and others have done research on this in state houses throughout the country, mostly because it used to be where there were families and maybe, you know, every state had dozens of family owned papers, and individual companies a lot of times they'd each have their own reporter or fuel reporter working for three of four of them. there were a lot of reporters in that group. now since so many newspapers are owned by chains, they might have one or even none devoted to their state capitol coverage. this is where bloomberg, i think, has seen an opening. one the areas where bloomberg is moving is into state capitols. i think mostly it's been -- i think the first impetus was to
cover because they had been primarily a business news providers. but they are definitely expanding what they are doing in the state houses. i think that -- i think that as long as there are -- and this will vary from state to state, depending on how many news organizations there are. but broadcast as long ago, this happened a long time ago, when you saw it, where broadcasts stopped covering the state houses unless there was big sensational news. people on the streets, you know, trying to get into the capitol and stuff. so the dwindling number is serious. i don't think it's disastrous. as long as there are good organizations and others, the news is till getting out. i think that citizens are helping tip things off and letting reporters who are still
covering it now when stories come up. but i think it's a concern for the future. >> we've done a series of state house reporters going back to 1998. we had a baseline. even when we first did it. it was a big decline. we did it most recently two years ago and found something like a 20% dropoff in the few years since we had just done it. so this is with traditional news organizations. again, kind of as i mention before in other areas, you see new outfits and various state capitols some nonprofit, some for profit web based covering state houses and george is right about that bloomberg, beginning to plunge in. they started in a couple of states and now expanding. the ap has not retreated. they continue to provide a presence. but over all, the overall amount of fire power focused on state houses at a time when they are
increasingly important is really discouraging. >> alicia, you have the final word if you want to talk about this, we haven't talked abouting a -- about aggregators. that's the focus. that's topic for another state. but the state house coverage? >> i wanted to add that npr is nothing but a content provider, it provides content to 900 radio stations all over the country. they have started something called impact on government. where they are trying to get two state house reporters in every state who would feed the public radio system. so they recognize too, there's a need for that. what's interesting about the public radio model, you know, npr isn't funded by congress, the public radio stations are.
yet, if they don't have a strong local news operation, you are not going to donate money to that which this public radio station would use to buy npr's content. they are in trouble in that way. they have to do things like cover state and local government to be relevant. pretty soon we'll have internet radio and you'll be able to get in the car and driving home now, if you live here, you might just only have one public radio option and have to listen to whatever is on. but once you can get in the car and maybe listen to all things considered out in l.a. because it works with the time difference here. that's very important. and it goes back to what george said that you have to provide something that people can't get somewhere else. >> and one terrific example of public radio, i think, as a news organization and a platform for information is minnesota public radio. they just do a fantastic job. their internet operation is hard
to navigate, but the data on it and the information and the reporting and citizen reporting that they do is really impressive. >> they are very big on public -- what is it called? >> public experts. >> public experts, i can't remember what that's called. they reach out and ask, there's a plane crash. anybody know information on this particular kind of plane. using that as experts. >> i think we'll go to one more question. >> this is hopefully just a quick question. i'm jennifer bundy from west virginia. a lot of us are in the process of setting up facebook pages for the court systems. what kind of content would be useful to have on our facebook pages that would be credible content for the judicial system to provide for reporters that would not involve electronic documents, a lot of our states do not have efiling of documents. >> if i can respond quickly to
that. one the things about your question, i think when it's been said earlier, think of it not so much for reporters, but for the public. think about what that citizen across your state, west virginia, whatever state it is, would like to know about what's going on in the court in effect today. or what, you know, how to reach these courts. some of the things that you are maybe doing on the web page refashion for that. because the journalist will go to the facebook and track from there. the wider audience for that facebook page i guarantee in any given day is going to be the public. >> the one thing that lisa said earlier that's really -- i forget to mention in developing those sources, it's more important today than ever before is speed. you know, if it's really what are you guy dealing with today? and now that people are going to be coming to the facebook page for. you have to keep it updated.
>> a quick comment. we'll push the envelope a little. >> the new jersey facebook page has a couple of things that brings people to it because it's interactive. we planned that you can pay your traffic ticket online, but you have to go through the home page to find the button that says you can pay your traffic ticket online. because we're going to force people on the home page to see if things are there. but we also find that the media indeed relies incredibly. and we have huge sections for per se litigants -- people representing themselves -- and that brings citizens to the facebook page. so if you want to get the general public coming to your page wish absolutely right. make sure to include things that citizens might look for and know that reporters are relying more and more once you put that out
there, supreme court opinions, trial court opinions, rules of court, general announcements, those sorts of thing. the press is there every day. >> i think unfortunately, we have come to the end of our sessions. thank you. and please join me in thanking my panel. [applause] [applause] >> on behalf of our group, e want to thank you. it was really very interesting in sharing your experiences. i think it'll help us in carrying out our work. we're going to take a break now for lunch and be back with a terrific luncheon speaker very soon. so thanks again. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the group gathered here at newseum in washington, taking a break for lunch. we'll have measure live coverage when the discussion presumes at 1:00 eastern from jeffrey toobin, mismost recent back is "the nine." on the supreme court. also take looking at the white house, where at 1:00 eastern president obama will be delivering a statement to the press, he's expected to discuss the economy and standard & poors recent downgrades, and we'll expecting him to comment on the helicopter crash over the week that took the lives of 30 u.s.
military workers, including 20 navy s.e.a.l.s. this week and throughout the month, a look at cybersecurity and it's effect on national and military security and consumer protection. this week, white house cybersecurity coordinator howard schmidt discusses the obama administration's effort to produce cyber threats and to protect the u.s. against cyberattack. the communicators errors 8 p.m., right here on c-span2. with the senate adjourned for the august recess, watch booktv all this month in primetime on c-span2. tonight secrets and myths revealed. annie looks for aliens in her book "area 51" and top military base.
>> more from the news media and jeffrey toobin. here's a look at the morning's panel from the newseum. >> credibility, our own survey, we do one every year. we ask certain questions every year since 1997. one of those is -- concerned bias. we've been consistenting getting the last few years about 2/3 of the more american public sees bn news report. now at the same time, almost the same number sees a role for the press' watchdog. if you just ask is a free press important, you get 95%. though sometimes they seem at
odds. how do you all deal with that issue of bias? >> it bugs me at npr, that's what i get in terms of what the job was to be the public advocate for the listeners. explain npr to the listeners and listeners to npr. i came to learn what we have now is a very fractured media. people really listen, read, watch through their own internal beliefs. and so what they see as bias is you are not on my side. you are not advocates for me. that isn't the role of the news media. so i think it's a specious complaint. within ten minutes once i got a complaint about the same story that had to do with the arab israeli conflict. one was npr is nothing but national palestinian radio. ten minutes later, it's israeli
organization. same story, perceived. >> that's a versatile news organization that can be both. >> we've had one interesting things in the last few weeks. it spins off of the bias question. there are a lot of people that agree with lisa, when they talk about bias, they are saying you didn't come out on my wide. what we've had with the rise of cable and the internet, and i think fox news takes a lot of credit or blame for this. the developing where a sizable number of people only go to news outlets that preach to the choir, that reinforce the news. you have people who gets the news from fox, they go to the drudge web site and within to the rush limbaugh's of the world. and for a while, there was pretty much a right. now we've had equivalence on the left with msnbc which was going nowhere and found the niche as the left alternative, or "the huffington post" a huge and
successfulling a -- successful aggregator. that's kind of troubling. you can see the reflection in our politics. i guess it's one -- they both come from the same source. where we have two sides in washington not talking and a big slice of the public who are listening to only what they see as their own news. >> to some question, that's national. how does that play out in the regional and local level? when you are talking about bias? >> very much the same way? largely because there's business models around that now. there's local conservative talk radio just like there's rush limbaugh. it draws out a niche audience and people are sold to advertisers. and there's local foundations and organizations pushing political candidates on both
sides that do the same sort of thing. there's more and more of the kind of shadowy groups that are doing a form of journalism. sometimes they will break stories. although they are coming at it from a political perspective. another that's come in reaction to this that i think is a great tun for people like us that want to go where the truth is and not worry about the politics is politifact and fact checking groups. we're part of the politifact network ourselves. it took three people to establish politifact wisconsin. there's a lot of resources doing into the fact checking operation. >> you are checking claims about -- well, really any campaign claims. >> campaign claims, which has been intense in wisconsin since the last election and through this year. and advertising. but also anything involving the
political and issues process is up for grabs. including talk radio and things like that. but it's got enormous positive response from readers. probably the two thing that is have gotten the biggest positive response is it's more positive response. i've been in the business for 40 years now. i've never seen responses this positive. and the two big things are fact checking and watchdog journalism, the real serious, in-depth investigation. we had one last year, a couple of years ago into subsidized child care scams. so far it's saved the state of wisconsin taxpayers more than $100 million. the fraud that we uncovered in -- and that's really delivering news of value and readers really
respond to that. >> that's a positive step. i think a valid criticism for years of traditional media, there is too much on one hand or the other. somebody would make outrageous or the other side would respond and walk away. you leave the leader saying what, to be objective, you have to do that. to me, that's silly. you need to do what the fact checking outlets do. something that i think you see in more reporting now. when you reach the conclusion and it's based on the fact. not based on the fact that it's right wing or left wing. this is the truth of it. i think there's a lot of excitement, there's a lot to deemployer about -- deplore, about, but that's one the really positive things we are seeing. >> rem brought up, based on the facts, who's fact? and what interpretation of the facts? look at the s&p and whether it
do so-called institutional news. not to go to the institutions that provide facts, that have a case where you could read things that have been filed. you can read the opinion but move to more sort of life-style, softer subject matter. yet what i'm hearing is the future of news to some degree at least, a large degree, is in these kinds of factual institutional accountability kinds of reporting. is it we're just seeing that trend, sort of ran its course along with a lot of other pressures has managed to, sort of peter out now at this point and we're going back to more institutional, more accountability kind of reporting? >> i think that there's, a news organization will always do some of both entertaining and informing with serious news. that's part of our job. being part of our community is covering entertainment, covering the arts, things like that. but when you're covering
about general feature issues there's a lot of options out there now, more than ever been before, both online and on tv and everything else. hgtv and all the types of things they offer we used to put in our feature sections which people can find anytime they want to. so, what, with our smaller staffs, if we're going to have smaller staffs, what will we focus our attention on? that is the stuff we can do that nobody else can do. >> let me give just a few numbers to maybe put some perspective a little bit on some of the subject we talked to, again according to the pew study of the state of the media in 2011. the projection this year to lose somewhere between 1,000 and 1500 jobs in the industry. that doesn't sound like great news, other than you look at the trend, where one year i believe or a couple of years we lost 11,000 jobs in total in the news industry. it's on average, newsrooms
are 30% smaller than they would have been in 2000. roughly a decade we've lost 30% of the staff. and that i think, probably folded in some smaller papers where reductions were a lot less than 30% because some newspapers certainly experienced more than that. nearly half of americans, 47% actual, now get some local news no longer through traditional medium but through a mobile device, a phone, ipod touch or ipad. and those numbers are going up dramatically. if i remember the information from the study correctly, in december, the number of people who were getting or had access to a ipad or phone was four times higher than it was four months earlier. so that pad explosion is just a new trend. other than the internet, every other platform saw a decline in audience, including cable news which had been holding steady or going up for a long, long
time. for the first time in 2010 more people got their news from the web than from newspapers and newspaper circulations were projected first six months of this year to go down, national average, about 5%. there has been a slow decline. not tirely out of the control of the newspaper. >> in fact balanced against increased readership on the web? talking about subscriptions or both or the actual paper product? >> i think 5% decline in the actual sale of the paper product but the trend was to see people going to a web-based product which again might be your website rather than, you know, somebody else's site, particularly for local and regional news. >> that is one of the most important things out there to recognize that the newspapers, despite all their woes, have a much larger audience for their news than they ever did before because many of the their sites are among the most popular on the internet. >> i had an eye-opening experience where i get "the washington post" delivered every day.
my son one morning picked up, he was 22. picked up his laptop and read a story at his homepage what it is like to live on minimum wage. he came downstairs was talking about that story. he never, he would have walked by that newspaper all day. but you know he got the story. so it is delivery systems that are changing. the real problem is, how do you make money out of that? if you get 10 cents for an ad versus $100 for an ad in the newspaper. >> that pesky revenue thing seems to show up in all these discussions. >> the first stat you talked about is a significant one, that 30% reduction because i agree with lisa and george, it is very exciting time. a lot of great things are being created there is much more information available. there are much more available for journalists and there are new forums and new exciting new platforms and web sites, with
"propublica", investigative news and that local sites, that kind of thing. >> but? >> the big but, 30% fewer reporters, you haven't had nearly consummate increase in the new form. so what you worry about at least in the near term is the coverage of news, particularly at regional papers around the country, and where, the cuts officen mean, a lack of the kind of journalism george championed. the kind of digging, the watchdog, the enterprise journalism that's so important and means important beats are abandoned. in democracy it means a lot less information. i'm not saying that the sky is falling and the world's ending but in the short term that's a real concern. >> you haven't been spared cuts in the newsroom? >> right. >> how have you as an editor, how has your paper balancing that loss of often, the person who is most highly-paid and may be the one most attractive to the
financial side, to part ways with, how do you balance that as an editor, either, just deal with it because it occurred or can you prevent it? >> well the first thing we really had to do was figure out which, which positions we needed to save the most and, so some of the technology has also given us new ways to cover things that are more efficient. so, for example, 20 years ago, 25 years ago, we had 30 people in our library. we had two newspapers with multiple editions and we had to cut and clip every single article and cross reference it and put it in envelopes and put them in these giant envelope retrieving machines that went up stories so that people could find stories in the past. now nobody does that. that is 30 people that have been replaced by digital archiving. we used to have all sorts of texes that were needed to fine tune photographs and
things like that and now the computers do that. we used to have whole come posing rooms full of people that do layout. now that is done by our newsroom on the computers. so, so a lot of the losses in staff have been in nonjournalist positions. and then, and then in, but we have, lost journalist positions. i'm not trying todown play that. but what, we really had to decide what were going to save. what we saved the most, people on the street getting the news and information and new skills like commuter, data mining skills. you can get a lot of investigative data now than you used to. you don't always have to drive down to the courthouse and ask a clerk clerk to open files and photocopy them for hours. >> i think a fair amount of that still goes on, seeing faces around the room. >> but so much more of it is
available digitally now. that makes you a lot more efficient. so it isn't, it isn't like we've lost 30% of our reporters. now, the, but on the other hand, there's been vast cuts all around, so this is everybody cutting. so there are far fewer reporters covering madison and politics in madison than there was because everybody has cut. when we go to some state, really important state meetings like our state natural resources board that sets policy for environmental and wildlife things, we're often the only news outlet that's there at those meetings. that's scary. >> quick survey in the room, show of hands, how many of you in your respective location haves a journalist assigned it full time to coverage of your area. there is one, two, three, four, five. >> can i say something about that? >> sure. i think we have a microphone coming so we can be heard both in the room and on
c-span so. >> how many used to? >> what was it like 10 years ago? >> i thought they were going to disappear. we do have them but they're increasingly young and inexperienced. and they rotate off their beats very quickly. and so what we're dealing with is, even when we get assigned recorders they don't stay very long and they woman in -- they come next dreamly unknowledgeable about the legal system. >> i will tell you in our justice and journalism program that began in '99. we usually have a dozen judges and journalists by circuit on the federal level. the easiest thing to do was get 12 veteran courthouse reporters to come in and sit and talk to the judges. by the time we were about 2/3 of the way through that i could count on one veteran reporter being there who had been covering the courts, veteran, being five years. after that it was, parachuting in or multibeats or so-called, justice beat where they were covering police on one day and a
trial on the next. now, you know, electronic journalism, television, radio, now web, has dealt with that probably more than print. print had the luxury of assigning somebody. it wasn't all that uncommon to find a television or radio reporter to have to parachute into court. >> i think that's always been the case. i covered the courts for the san jose mercury. i don't someone from tv, we're talking over 20 years ago. >> the one thing i would, i don't know everyone's individual situation and a lot of this will depend on the size of your county or your community, of what kind of experience level your reporters are likely to have but, i would really encourage people, one of the tendencies, folks have to get very defensive with reporters and to give out as little information as possible. i would really encourage you to develop those relationships, even with the young, inexperienced reporters and help teach
them what you know about the legal civil and really, they're usually very intelligent young people. if you can, if you can really help them through, they want to get right. and most cases where we've gotten a story wrong, i think we're making actually fewer mistakes than we used to probably because we kept the right people in a lot of cases. but when we have made mistakes or when we have had to run another story to clarify something because we didn't get it all right or, something like that, it is often been the case where the source, or sources were so defensive, that they were so afraid to talk, that they never, they never clarified the issue to the point where we fully understood the issue. so that's what led to the problem to begin with. so i think the vast majority of people you're working with will be people of good will and if you can help them learn about what you
know, it will really, they can learn things very quickly. >> we learned from a lot of judges participated in that range of programs, the credibility with the reporter that they knew was very important to them. they were a lot more reluctant to talk to somebody they didn't know or somebody who has only been there for a short time. so it's an interesting, in the flow of information, it wasn't just, i know a fact, here it is. it was, do i talk to you about it? how much do i tell you? a lot of people were backing off. so inadvertently contributing to misinformation or or less information getting out. >> can i -- i wrote a chapter for a book about coverage of columbine. one of the things i learned, one of the tv stations there, and i thought this was a really good idea, they would have like the pio officer for the police or some policemen come and spend the day with them to see what their pressures were, what their job was like so that
the police, or whoever the reporter was going to for information would have a better understanding of how the news business works and then vice versa. so really, sort of get to know each other's jobs so that you would understand what that pressures are, and you know, i think it's a very generally, maybe not in your situation but reporter, policeman, is often a very adversarial relationship and it doesn't need to be. and everybody is just doing their job. >> yeah. the group introduced themselves to each other this morning before this panel and i was struck by the number of people who mentioned those hot, big, giant, media trials that we've all seen come up with increasing frequency it seems. but let me to to a little example to pose my next question. my older son ryan was visiting us where we live in
nashville. he is from out of town. he was driving to my office. he came on a police blockade near the vanderbilt university campus. that was probably 10 blocks from my office. by the time he arrived at my office, he knew why it had been blockaided, which was suspicious package at a hotel. he knew that the package had been found not to be explosive device and the story had kind of come and gone in the course of 10 blocks. he was stuck for a moment. had time to tweet. and got that all the way through. so the, we tend to think of these the new media explosion and the new media use and the big stories but there was a fairly ordinary story obviously that turned out not to be newsworthy in the largest sense. and yet he knew bit. so i'm going to ask with that as a backdrop, plus the megatrial, how has 24/7 instant need were made this business different, for good
or bad? >> it's made it different in a lot of ways, in both ways i think. so your example the fact that reflects back you can instantaneously learn about all kind of things whether in vanderbilt or in egypt. we, you hear a lot about citizen journalism, which has, you know, tremendous up sides in terms of getting information out. it has a real risk in, do a lot of it isn't necessarily confirmable and you don't know what spin it is. nevertheless in journalism there is a huge amount of information that comes out quickly and just in general news organizations have changed. in years at morning newspapers there was always a rule if somebody cover ad story at 10:00 in the morning, it seemed like a law they couldn't start writing until 4:00 in the afternoon because sometimes they were making file quotes and mostly, it wasn't deadline yet. now you have a world
where -- >> i remember those days. >> we're all being punished for our since. you cover the thing, and you better tweet about it. then you write a blog post. maybe you post some video and then maybe actually a write a full-fledged story for the next day's paper. the upside there's a lot, whether on local or national story, you have tons of information really quickly. and you have access to it, which, you know, which, preinternet you didn't have. so i think we have all gotten spoiled with this. i get very frustrated if there is not a update on a website every two seconds. for a news consumer it is very exciting. the downside there are competing competitive stories. you see it in a lot countdown clock. there are a lot of new players in the political world and there's a tremendous premium and on other stories too, on financial stories with an outfit like bloomberg. they place tremendous premium on getting it first. this is not brand new.
for years we had two wire services, ap, upi, you would be in trouble if you were two seconds behind the other. this is reinventing the old. now it is like on steroids. so the downside of that is the pressure to get something up and get it up quickly and, yes, you can update it and add nuance but that the potential to have shallow reporting or just wrong reporting is really huge. we did a big piece on bloomberg whose growth has been fascinating. a lot of it is terrific. they're covering a lot of government agencies that nobody, certainly nobody, almost nobody does. but a very distinguished reporter left them because he said because of this tremendous premium on get it fast, get it first, he felt most of his own work just wasn't very interesting. i think there is that tension. it really puts a premium on being careful not to get it wrong. >> that was once the province of the electronic side of broadcasters.
as you said, didn't have the technology to deliver it up. i remember a state senator in indiana when really the first e and g equipment showed up, electronic newsgathering stuff where they go live in the chamber. this guy had been in the senate a lot of years. walked over and say, great you can now screw it up faster. that was his assessment getting it out quick. broadcasters dealt with it for some time. that is not new for them. newspapers having whole new world, tweet, blog, post, video, whatever. >> i think 10, not even quite 10 years ago on september 11th we were still putting out extras and putting them on the street with hawkers using wire services as our primary source of information. that, seems like ashouldn't history today. we'll never do an extra print edition again. you know, and, i think rem hit it on the head.
there's good and bad to this. a lot of good and, the bad i think is actually an opportunity for for us to apply that credibility. one of the most interesting things we've seen with twitter, which is is the place for breaking news, period, is, the, we don't, it used to be what someone beat you by a few seconds or a few minutes or something like that to the story well, it is their story and shame on you. you should be embarrassed for getting beat. people would come at you with that type of attitude. that's gone. items zoo to me when we, when we go into twitter they don't care if we're first that much, as long as once we get there, we're trustworthy. >> really? >> then they start coming to us. we can create a hashtag and drive people to us because, and there's good and bad. so the, a great example last year, like a lot of places in the country we had some
torrential rain pours last summer and big floods, flash flooding type stuff. so there was a big storm. what are the chances, i think this happened about 7:00 at night, a storm sewer below a street was washed out and, and made the land above it unstable. what are the chances of a reporter or a photographer from our paper being at that intersection the moment a cadillac escalade pulled up to the stoplight, stopped and fell into a 10-foot hole? but what are the chances of someone else being there with a smartphone, and a camera? so because our reporters and our breaking news hub and editors are on twitter and because they created a hashtag, brew city flood everyone was going to, as soon as that guy posted his photo of the escalade and 10 feet down in the hole, which was about five minutes after he personally helped the guy out of the hole, it was the
driver of the truck. we had it on our website as our lead photo because we were there with him and we got that. so there's a credible source of information from whoever is at the event can tell you about it instantly. on the other hand, you have a congresswoman getting shot and many news outlets reporting that she has been killed, when that isn't true by the same rush to the truth. in bloomberg's case you can almost justify it because the old sell on, buy on rumor, sell on truth or sell on facts, sell on the story, where in the financial industry with day trading and everything else, sometimes rumor is all you need. you don't need it to be factual but in our world you need it to be factual. i think if we go in there, sometimes what we tell our beat reporters, if there's a rumor out there, just get out there and say, yeah we know what you're hearing, we're hearing it too but we haven't confirmed it or
found out it is not true but stay tuned people seem to appreciate that. >> that latter part --. there was recent sort of flap on twitter, that sounds awfully bad to me, but over reports that piers morgan had been suspended i believe by cnn as a result of the whole investigation in great britain and the phone-hacking thing involving murdoch and news corp. there was a discussion of that later, rem, you commented on this, in which a reporter said it's fine. we talk about those things in the newsroom all the time, hey, did you hear? and it's fine to tweet that. no problem with doing that because well, we talk about those things in newsroom all the time and tweeting is what we're talking about with people in the newsroom t gained a foothold by simply being tweeted. you wrote about that. >> i did. i think the blog post i responded to you, you
mentioned i thought was nuts where it basically said, it's fine. it is like a conversation in the newsroom. just send it out. well twitter may be, to him the new newsroom but to a lot of people it's a news source and, you have to be really careful. if this was a distinguished british journalists posting this as if it were a fact, it was the latest. and you just don't add anything to the conversation, to me, passing stuff along that may be true or may not. just because we hear a lot about, well, it is journalism the platform is different. this is great example of it. until you know something is true you have no business sending it out there. you're not adding to the public knowledge. >> i think we've seen also the coverage of the megatrials where there is awful lot of that speculation of guessing what it means. i will tell you that in one of the trials now i can't recall from two or three
years ago, so it is about 40 megatrials ago, there was a cable show opened up by saying we've got this development. we don't know what it means. then they spent 30 minutes then talking about it. admitting at the start of the show we have no idea what this development means. that i think leads to some of the complaints and problems people see in journalism. we'll go to your questions in just a minute. if you raise your hand, we've got the technique. the mic will come to you. i go to questions in just a second. what about that idea, if i can, let y'all respond to that, that tweet because it is kind after rumor, it is kind of interesting, we need to be first or need to be out there so people will follow us, is that what's driving this? >> i think one of the questions we should ask, why does it matter? there is a lot of triflalization of the news on twitter. so what if your son knew and within 10 seconds? to me what it does is equalize all events and i just, i would
like to, majority of the tweets actually are people passing links according to some of the founders of twitter. they're not really commenting on things there. so i think that is good. then you can go to the source. you can look at the source and see. but i think it's really dangerous just to put something out there. and if you use twitter, be very careful with it because, i had an experience at npr which made me, and i was really embarrassed, i teach media ethics at georgetown where npr intern was shot last summer on way --, she was stabbed in the back, i'm sorry on her way to work and i, saw on twitter someone said, morning edition producer stabbed. i just did a direct response on twitter and said no, it's not, it was an intern. i think she is okay. she is on her way to the hospital. two hours later i get a call
and i'm independent of npr. and i get a call from the head of communications saying please stop acting like a spokesman because someone had taken that tweet, and turned into a piece, a blog piece. and then sent that out on twitter and used me as the source. so, i thought whoa!, you have to think, anything can and will be used against you and be very, very careful with social media because, i could give hundreds of examples of where it comes back to bite you. the. >> we'll go to some questions. microphone there if you just tell us who you are and where you're from, that would be great. >> and what your twitter name is. [laughter] >> dick coreli from the administrative office of the u.s. courts. rem, you innings ined there is a -- mentioned that there is development that some new organizations are identified with certain ideology or political slant. it occurs to me that some of these are, those who are
making, who have pretty good revenue flows, are very popular. 100 years ago when i studied journalism history i seem to remember that is how journalism got its start in this country. every news organization had its own political slant and, you had to buy six penny newspapers to figure out what was going on in the real world. do you see this development or this return to this type of journalism as a plus, a minus? and i can't remember from my journalism days, what, what was behind the demise of that kind of journalism back in colonial times? >> you're right, there is kind of a back to the future aspect of this because it goes back and a lot more recently than colonial times where we had this, over time, business model evolved where appealing to a broader swath of people made business
sense and just kind of underinpinning of the objective or people don't like to hear, independent journalism not wedded to a ideology kind of came about. i think it is an unfortunate development, whatever the history, to go back to that because i think, as i mentioned it is kind of, it leads to what we've seen in the debt ceiling business and what's dominated our politics in recent years. we have a whole lot of people who don't talk to each other and only hear what they want to hear. that makes dialogue very, very difficult. but as you also point out it has, it's a good business model. i don't think fox news and msnbc are going to unilaterally disarm anytime soon. >> david fellers, also from
washington, d.c. you've talked about the cataclysmic changes in the, in your industries. what might you expect from government public affairs people, whether it's the courts -- >> we leave this earlier discussion from the news media and the courts, take you live back to the newseum for the ongoing discussion with cnn's jeffrey toobin. >> nice to be here. i have to say i have a lot of affection and some sympathy for what you do as court information officers. . .
>> and the knowledge that i have of encountered with you and your colleagues. and nowhere is that more true than at our very own united states supreme court, cathy and patricia, where it patricia? there she is. and all of their colleagues, i have not intentionally, but occasionally made their lives miserable, and really just want to express my appreciation for the wonderful work they do, for their great web site, but we in journalism, we have a rule. a piece of advise that i'm sure many of you are familiar with, show don't tell. and so i'd like to show the one
time i believe that i have ever written about the public affairs office at the united states supreme court. which is the talk of the town story, short talk of the town story. which was published almost exactly 10 and a half years ago. i think you will recognize the circumstances. in ordinary circumstances, the press room of the united states supreme court has the hushed feel of a law library. there are two long wooden tables, this is prerenovation, surrounded by carols. the year begins first monday in october, arguments start at 10 a.m. sharp. this is what made the events of the last week so extraordinary. after the arguments in the case bush v. gore on monday, the usual press room crew had grown
to more than 50. at 10:00 on tuesday, the opinions are handed out at ten to, the tv reporters put on the coats and prepare to sprint to the camera locations. there was no news. then the vigil began. the supreme court is still one the few relatively league proof institutions in washington, so the search for clues about when the ruling might come become desperate. itchy reporters monitored the movement of kathy, the court information officer as if she was a lab rat. was she walking faster? closing her door? going to lunch? no clue was too small to dissect. the activities of the supreme court police, famous for their stone faced, drew scrutiny.
were they rustling? no one could say. then the poinsettia rumor. there was a poinsettia on a table when opinions are sometimes is that corrected. the supreme court employees walked in and moved it from one end of the table to the other. [laughter] >> was the staff making room to district the justice's decision? it turned out that a court staff member had noticed that reporters without seats were perching on the table. the poinsettia has been relocated to keep it from being knocked over. when it became clear that she was ordering dinner, the reporters followed suit. someone had the rare image of acting out a real life vision of an old washington joke. can you send four pieces to the supreme court, four with mushrooms, four with pep roanny,
and one plane. i guess not a funny old joke, but that's what it is. dripping into rolls of spilled coffee. the end came, entered the room and announced we're going to make a line. he read out the names of the permanent members of the supreme court and they cued up in the marble hallway. at 9:52, the large cardboard boxes of opinions appeared, and the line moved at the nervous half running pace of the the paratroopers jumping out of plane. they had arranged for reporters to make a quick exit to the street through the door. it was a courtesy, they said, but there was a sense too the sooner everyone was gone, the
better. [laughter] >> so i think kathy is pleased that's the last time i've written about her as well. a person in my position, such as it is, it often asked to question. what's your favorite justice? and now this is one of many areas in my remarks, and i want to say this at the outset, where kathy and patricia would not answer appropriate, they would never say, they would not associate themselves with my remarks in any way. but the answer to my question is that i need a new answer. because my answer for a long, long time was david souter, because he was just such a wonderful, unique american character on the united states supreme court. this was a guy with no cell phone, no answering machine who didn't use a computer, who you
didn't -- who doesn't like electric light. he used to move his chambers -- move his chair around his chambers over the course of the day to catch the sunlight going through the window. but, you know, for all that justice souter could be eccentric, he knew one peculiar wonderful fact about the justices of the united states supreme court, which is that they are simultaneously very important public figures, public people. also largely unknown to the public. people really don't recognize them very often. certainly other than justice o'connor and justice sotomayor, they are not widely recognized figures. and the justices sometimes have a little fun with this. and there is a peculiar fact in this regard which is that this
has been true for a very long time, which is that stephen breyer and david souter are mistaken for each other. if you know what they look like, they don't really look alike. it happens. justice souter was driving from his home to new hampshire. the guy said i know you are, you are on the supreme court; right? yes. you are stephen breyer. souter didn't want to embarrass himself. yes, i'm stephen breyer. they chatted. then he asked, justice breyer, what's the best thing about being on the supreme court? he paused and thought, i'd have to say it's the privilege of serving with david souter. how could you not love a guy like that; right? [laughter] >> but he's gone now.
and -- not gone gone. i mean he's just back in new hampshire where he'd prefer to be anyway. and the court is a different place than it was. you know, people often talk about, you know, facts about the supreme court. there are certain indisputable facts, six men and three women. there are six products of harvard law school and three products of yale, there are six catholics, and three jews. those are interesting facts. what i submit to you, it's the only important fact about the supreme court is this, that there are five republicans and four democrats. that is almost all you need to know about the contemporary supreme court. as much as we might think, we might hope that the supreme court is a -- something
different from the partisanship that we see at the capitol, or at the white house or the other end of pennsylvania avenue, the court is a very political institution. that has often the case throughout american history. that is not something novel. but the politics of the current supreme court are quite vivid, and quite important. it's sort of explain why i think this moment is important. i'd like to back up a little through the court's history. to the last time the court was really a unified ideological force. that was really the mid and late 1960s. because in the mid and late 1960s, the court was a really liberal institution. there were seven liberals on the united states supreme court. and, you know, there really was a liberal agenda at the court.
justice brennan and chief justice warren would meet every saturday and talk about what are the cases that we want to take, what are the issues that we want to deal with? and they really worked their way through american law with their agenda. every year, huge cases, 1964 and justice brennan's opinion in "new york times" versus sullivan. changes opinions forever. 1964, justice douglas' opinion in griswold versus connecticut. the case that englished -- established the right to privacy. 1986, the case that changed television dramas forever, because it's the one right that everyone knows they have now. 1967, perhaps the best named
case in the history of the supreme court, it was 1967, loving versus virginia. what was loving versus virginia about? it's the case that said that states could no longer ban racial intermarriage. think about that. 1967, there are people in this room who were alive in 1967. and it was only then that the supreme court, the supreme court got around to banning racial intermarriage. to put it another way, in 1960, when barack obama's parent got married in kenya -- i'm sorry, i mean hawaii. don't we miss donald trump running for president? you know, it was just so good while it lasted. when barack obama's parents got married in hawaii, their marriage was a crime in 25
states, and there were people in prison for it. in all seriousness, it is a recognition that, you know, this country has changed and changed for the better in many ways. but in the curious way of supreme court vacancy, four justices left almost as soon as richard nixon became president. you never know how that's going to work. jimmy carter is the only president in american history to serve a single full term and not have any appoints to the supreme court. there were no vacancies. richard nixon was only president for five and a half years. you'll recall he had to leave early, remember? but he got four appointments. because chief justice warren, justice fortis, and justice black all left. and richard nixon got to name the replacements, warren berger, lewis powell, william rehnquist, and harry blackmon.
as you think about that list, i think it illustrated something about the supreme court, but something much broader than that. which is to me the biggest political development of my lifetime, which is the evolution of the republican party. the republican party of the 1970s is almost unrecognizable from the republican party of today. that's because look at what -- you can see in the appointments to the supreme court. a lot of people thought what nixon got all of those appointments the court was going to change dramatically. but it didn't. in 1970s, the court was almost as liberal as it was in the 1960s. think about the big cases of the 1970s. the nixon tapes case, they essentially forced nixon out of office, pentagon tapers, they approved school busing, they ended the death penalty in the united states.
just declared every statute on the book unconstitutional. they allowed it back in in 1976. of course, still the most controversial decision, 1963, roe v. wade, it was a 7-2 opinion with the only two dissenters being byron white, who was appointed by president kennedy, and william rehnquist. three of the four nixon justices were in the majority. i think that really tells you a lot about where the republican party was in the 1970s. the change began in 1980 with the election of ronald reagan. ronald reagan brought with him to washington people who said look there has been a liberal agenda at the supreme court for a long time. we need conservative agenda too. he brought with him someone who i think the very under rated figure in american history. someone who is, i think, the
most important person regarding the supreme court who did not serve on the court. that's edwin meese. edwin meese said we are going to under take a very significant effort to change the federal judiciary, but including but not limited to, as the lawyers say, the supreme court. 1981, the year reagan was inaugurated was also the year, not coincidently, the federalist was. people talk about the federalist society like it's a secret code. there's something scary, it's a conservative lawyers group, and it was founded as the conserve tiff movement was -- conservative movement was building here in washington. it was all part of the conservative agenda.
what was the agenda? expand power, welcome religion into the public sphere, above all, reserve roe v. wade and allow states to ban abortion. another big part was the arrival in washington of a group of young, vigorous, highly intelligent, highly motivated conservative lawyers. who were two of the best and the brightest of that group, john roberts and samuel alito, no coincidence. that's who they were then and now. but the republican party of today was not the republican party of 1981 either. the example of that is what happened in 1981. potter stewart announced his resignation and ronald reagan had made a campaign promise that
jimmy carter didn't even make. he said if i have the chance, i will nominate the first woman to the supreme court. when stewart left, reagan said, find me a qualified woman. i'm going to keep my promise. it was not a simple thing. there was not a republican women in the traditional pipelines for supreme court justices. reagan had to go all the way to the intermediate appeals court in arizona, not even the arizona supreme court to find the extraordinary figure who was and turned out to be sandra day o'connor. it was worth noting that reagan didn't say find me someone who will over turn roe v. wade, find me a social conservative, he didn't. because that was the priority, or the republican priority. that was not what justice o'connor was and not was not the kind of justice she turned out to be. 1986, warren berger resigned,
ronald reagan dominated william rehnquist from associate to chief, and named anthony scalia. conservative justice then and now. 1987, a key turning point. that was the year that lewis powell resigned. basically since the nixon years, there was a term in the justices don't like very much, there was a swing justice. justice in the middle between the liberals and conservatives. it was very much lewis powell at that point. his departure was a key -- it was something very important for the court. what did ronald reagan do? nominated robert borg to that seat. and something very important had happened between the confirmation of scalia and rehnquist in '86 and the nomination of bork in 1987.
in the 1986, the senate changed hands. democrats were in charge. instead of strom thurman, he was from delaware, joseph biden. senator biden turned those hearings into a referendum on bork's view. i think bork to his credit, but now many people think to his detriment, really engaged with the senator. bork was brilliant, honorable, ethical, and very, very conservative. he was someone that said the right to privacy does not exist in the constitution. he had written that the civil rights act is a monstrous thing. and the senate said by a vote of 58 to 42, too conservative. howard baker, who was white house chief of staff, we just can't get someone that conservative through. we have to appoint someone
ideologically different financial bork. that seat went to anthony kennedy. and anthony kennedy, i don't think you can say is any liberal, but he's certainly not robert bork and the court has reflected that over the years. now the appointment of bork really sort of -- kennedy not bork, set the stage really for the rehnquist years on the court. that's what my book "the nine" was about. the rehnquist years. i was inspired to write "the nine" by a book that is familiar, i'm sure, to a lot of you which is called "the brethren" by bob woodward and mr. armstrong. first look at the behind-the. scenes look at supreme court which was published a long time ago now. if you recall the theme, the theme of the book was how all of the justices without regard to politics couldn't stand warren
berger, they thought that was a pompous jerk. as i started to work on "the nine" great, i get to report about how all of the justices don't get along and like the chief justice. to my great disappointment as a journalist, but satisfaction as a citizen, i learned that was not at all the case under chief justice rehnquist. chief justice rehnquist was a very popular figure around the supreme court by -- without regard to political affiliation. and, you know, he really learned a lot from, i would submit the negative example of warren berger. and one the things he learned, one the things chief justice rehnquist did, he engineered a tremendous reduction in the court's workload. the justices liked this very much. in the '80s, the court was deciding about 150 cases a year.
by the time rehnquist died, the court was deciding about 80 cases a year. think about that. almost in half. during the '80s, there was a proposal, serious proposal, warren burger supported it, to have kind of a super appeals court between the circuit courts and the supreme court to help the supreme court with it's workload. and like a lot of these ideas, it went to the white house council's office for evaluation. and the white house council at the time was a guy named fred in the early '80s. he gave this proposal to a young member of his staff to write, to analyze it. and the young member was named john roberts. this was what roberts wrote in a memo about that proposal. well, some of the tails of woe are enough to bring tears to the eyes, it's true that only
supreme court justices and school children are expected to and do take the entire summer off. the chief justice doesn't talk this way anymore. the entire summer off looks pretty good from where he's sitting now. which i believe is venice, florence? i believe it's one of those places where he's teaching. they are often teaching in italy, and so -- i don't begrudge that, i think it's great. it's also true the workload has gone done a great deal. it's also true that chief justice roberts as rehnquist that it remains a congenial place. you can see that in oral arguments, i'm sure in a group like this, many of you have had the opportunity to see the supreme court in action. if you haven't, it's one the great free shows in washington, d.c. and i mean that sincerely, it is really a fantastic thing to see
the supreme court oral argument. and there is, of course, one very well known fact about supreme court oral arguments, and that is that there are eight justices who are very engaged and very, you know, prepared and ask a lot of hard questions and clarence thomas doesn't ask any questions at all now. it was important anniversary of the court in february, as some of you may know. it was the 5th year in a row, 5th anniversary of justice thomas not asking a question. you know, those of us -- i don't go to all that many arguments. you know, a lot of my colleague, bill meers, where's bill? cnn. bill goes to a lot of arguments. you know, you can't help but sit there when you watch these oral arguments and think to yourself: will this be the day? [laughter] >> will this be the day that the streak ends? and it never is.
it's just -- but the thing is if you go to the arguments, you see that justice thomas is not -- and this is true for my report. he is not isolated or unpopular figure. he's someone that chooses never to ask any questions. and the court remains a congenial place. looking at the rehnquist years, i think it's useful to divide it between 1986 and 2000 and 2005. and the dividing point in the history of rehnquist court, in many respects, the dividing point in the history of our country is the courts decision in bush v. gore. justice scalia, as many of you know, speaks at -- you know, does a lot of public speaking, he's a great public speaker, and in -- they take questions or as i heard him say once when he
says i agreed to take questions. i didn't necessarily agree to answer questions. but anyway, he often gets a question kind of a hostile question about bush v. gore. he always says the same thing, oh get over it. well, just speaking for myself, aisle not -- i'm not over it. i'm a bush v. gore obsessive. my last book before "the nine" was a book "too close to call" about the recount in florida. it ended, just like the election in florida in the supreme court. one the things i tried to do in writing was interview al gore. if you are writing a book on that subject, you want to interview al gore. i tried everything, i wrote, i called, i worked every connection that i had. and he just wouldn't talk to me. well, by coincidence, while i was working on "the nine" i met al gore at a social occasion. he had read "too close to call."
mr. vice president, you are not going to believe this, i'm writing another book where bush v. gore maybe at the center of it. i think i'm the biggest bush v. gore junkie in the world. he said to me, you maybe second. which, you know, i think you got to give him a point on that. right? [laughter] >> but the curious -- one the many curious things about bush v. gore was the after math at the supreme court. because here was, of course, the famous 5-4 decision which gave the court, you know, essentially awarded the presidency. but in the five years after afterwards, the court moved to the left. 2000 to 2005, no question about it. that was when they ended the death penalty for juvenile offenders, ended the death penalty for mentally retarded, and in texas, where gay people couldn't be prosecuted for
having sex. and, of course, in case after case, they rejected the bush administration position on guantanamo bay and hostages -- detainees. why? why did the court move to the left after bush v. gore? i think it goes back to what i was saying about the evolution of the republican party. san da day o'connor who was at that point the swing justice saw that the current republican party was not her republican party. she didn't like john ashcroft and the way that the war on terror was being conducted and the war in iraq, and above all, justice o'connor was alienated by an event, and that's the terri schiavo case. that was a case about -- as i'm sure you remember, a very sick woman in florida. who was should make the medical
decisions, there was an issue of independence there. it was also about a sick person, who should make decisions, her family or the government? this was the time that justice o'connor's husband was crippling into alzheimer's disease. it was not entirely abstract issue for her either. and we have now seen the last three justices to leave the court, justice o'connor, justice souter, and justice stephens. three more different people you will never meet, justice o'connor, the tall, rangy charismatic politician, former majority leader of the arizona state senate, dominates every room that she walks into. justice stephens, john paul stevens, the antitrust lawyer from chicago. david souter, the reclusive, i say this lovingly, the eccentric
bachelor from new hampshire. who do they have in common? they are all republicans. and they all left the supreme court deeply alienated from the contemporary republican party and they were replaced by -- the two who left, rehnquist and o'connor were replaced by representatives of the more contemporary republican party and both justice alito and chief justice roberts, i think reflect the more conservative party. i think you see that in the last five or six years of supreme court. whether it's striking down gun control, ending the school control plans in louisville, seattle, and the signature of the roberts court at this point, citizens unit, which is really the beginning of the end or the beginning of the total
deregulation of all campaign finance laws in this country. and, you know, stephen breyer who is hardly a his derrick, it's not often in law that so few have quickly undone so much. president obama has had two appointments to the court. i think they very much reflect the obama presidency, just as i think, you know, there used to be a myth at the supreme court. that justices are surprised by how the -- how their justices turn out. it largely goes back to the eisenhower with warren and brennan. if you look at the last, not few years, but decades of supreme court appointments, i think you see precisely justices turning
out as expected. just go back in your head. kagan, sotomayor, robert, alito, breyer, ginsburg, thomas, all of them exactly as expected. i don't say that as a bad thing, i think it's a good thing. presidents should know what we are getting. i think we are getting pretty much what we expect from these justices. but i think it is -- it is worth thinking about that what we see is what we get. and presidents to an extent that i think we journalist don't fully acknowledge, presidents tell the truth about what they want in supreme court justices.
president george w. bush said i want to nominate in the mold of scalia. obama spoke in favor of justice ginsburg and breyer. i think he did appoint justices like that. come next november -- i don't think there are going to be any appointments between now and then, listen to what the presidential candidates say, that's likely what we'll get in the next supreme court. with that, i look forward to taking your questions, and answers them. [laughter] who's got a question. yes? [inaudible question] >> you know what, that's a great question. could you repeat it so it goes into the microphone? >> sure.
which one? both? >> both. man, you are mike 'd up. >> when he left the court, it was first time in 300 years where the court did not have a member with any state court experience, do you think that fact matters? >> i think it's terrible. i mean, you know, i believe in diversity. but diversity is not just about race and gender. there are eight former federal judges, only elena kagan is not. she was dean at harvard law school. it's similar. the court that decided brown v. board of education. there was nine justices.
i think it's terrible there are no state court, there are no former elected officials on the court. there used to be a long tradition of appointing people with political experience. you see that. justice breyer often, you know, he writed -- you know, a formative experience of justice breyer's life was when he was chief counsel to the judiciary committee. he saw how it was made. he thought the process was a good process and something that the court needed to take seriously. the rest of the court, i think it's particularly true with justice scalia have a lot of contempt on how the sausage was made. i think the lack of diversity in terms of professional background is a -- is a real loss to the court.
i think state court, political sense, i think justice sotomayor is very valuable because of this reason, trial court. she's the only former district -- i think knows how trials work in the real world when you are sitting up there with juries and witnesses, that's something there should be more of on the court. >> along the same lines and since you mentioned it yourself, do you feel any similar views with regard to the religious, no protestants versus the x number of catholics and jewish folks? >> you know, as i my dad used to say to make a long story unbearable -- let me -- that's a question that i've heard before.
i have a somewhere long answer. i hope you'll bear with me. one the things about the court is the membership of the court reflects the -- what matters in the country at large. in the early part of our -- the republican, you know, the big differences, i mean everybody effectively was protestant, that was not -- that was not an issue. but the regional differences were what really mattered at the supreme court. because that's what mattered in the country. it was very important there be a new york justice, massachusetts justice, a virginia justice, that reflected the political controversies of the day. now not very important. we had two from arizona. small state. it was a curiosity, no one cared. so the country started to
change. in the late 19th century, immigration really was changing the country. you started to have that be important. you had the first catholic justice who was the guy who wrote dred scott. why am i blanking his name? bad decision. justice tawny was the first catholic justice on the court. turn of the century, you started to have a jew. justice brandeis, cordoza. the country starts to be, the big issues in the middle of the century, civil rights, thurgood marshall, important milestone. 1981, first woman on the court. 2009, sonya sotomayor, the first
hispanic justice. as an over way, you have the evolution of six catholics and three jews. i think that's not very important or significant. because john roberts and samuel alito were not appointed because they were catholic, but because they were conservative. because the real divisions in our country are ideological, more than religious or racial. president obama didn't appoint sonya sotomayor because she's catholic and elena kagan because she's jewish, he appointed because they were ideological in line with him. i think it's one the good things about american society that religious differences have faded to the point where the fact there are no protestants on the supreme court, so what? that's my reaction is so what? yes? >> state courts are grappling
with cameras in the court. and we know from kathy that there are -- there's not likely to be cameras in the supreme court any time soon. >> my friend justice souter was -- the famous phrase, over his dead body. so yeah. >> what do you think about that? do you think it would help the public perception and understanding, or do you think it's a good thing they don't have them? >> i think it's absurd and religious there are no cameras in the supreme court. you can tell how much my opinion marries in that debate. look, you know, i think there are reasonable arguments to be made i'm not persuaded, but reasonable arguments where you have witnesses, jurors, cameras could have some effect. but in appellate courts where, you know, you are dealing with professional lawyers, professional judges, i think it is absurd there are no cameras in the court.
i was amused to see that justice ginsburg gave a speech just a couple of weeks ago. i forget where it was. where she plucked out some funny and vaguely embarrassing comment that is the justices had made during oral arguments. and said -- and then, you know, concluded by saying as you can see, it won't be long. we're not going to allowing cameras in the courtroom any time soon. you know, it would be embarrassing to have this stuff on camera. imagine if you came to the supreme court in the first amendment case and said the reason we kept this, because we thought it might be embarrassing. they would laugh you out of court. look, it is their candy store. and in fairness, i think the court is an institution that works very well the way it is. i understand that they are reluctant to tamper with it. i just think, you know, to say an event is public in 2011
because 75 people or whoever it is can troop in there and watch, i mean i think that's a undually limited reading of the world public. now i do think the court has done well, or better on the issue of audio. and i really do, the rule now, as i'm sure many of you know, the audio recordings are released every friday. which is sort of two steps forward and one step back. they used to release the important cases the day of. now they just release them all at the end of the week. look beggars can't be choosers. i think that's an improvement. i wouldn't be surprised if in ten years the arguments were streamed live over the web. because that would really require no disruption at all of the supreme court's building, of the, you know, the architecture,
the microphones are there now. no one would see anything different. i think, you know, younger justices, both justice sotomayor and justice kagan in the confirmation hearings were much more receptive to the issue of cameras. so audio i think is on a march in the right direction. video is a different story. you would have to put cameras in the court, the justices are appropriately and understandably very jealous and protective of the supreme court's building, you might have to change the lighting, all of that, you know, i can see why they would pause on that. still, it's the public's business. i think it should be open to the public. but it i want going to happen any time soon. yes. there's a hand over there. are we done?
are we done? okay. thank you for having us. [applause] [applause] >> thanks so much, jeff. we appreciate you being here with us today. i think now we're ready for, tom, how long do we have for a break? >> 15 minutes. >> 15 minutes before our next session. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we are doing to leave the discussion here for the day at the newseum, taking a look at the white house where we are expecting shortly president obama will be delivering a
statement to the press in the state dining room. he's expected to discuss the economy and standard & poors recent downgrade and we are expected him to comment on the military helicopter crash in afghanistan over the weekend that took the lives of 30 u.s. service members, 22 of those navy s.e.a.l.s, watch the president's remarks coming up live on the companion network c-span. >> this weekend and throughout the month of august on the communicators, a look at cybersecurity and it's effect on national and military security and consumer protection. this week, cybersecurity coordinator, howard schmidt, discussed the obama's administrations effort to reduce cyberattacks. you can see that right here on c-span2. with the senate adjourned with the august recess, we're bringing you booktv all this month in primetime on c-span2.
>> i'm not for changing the system just so we can feel good by having voter turnout, which may approximate when they have in australia, 97%. voter turnout doesn't mean much in the terms of health of a democracy. some of the most vicious dictatorships in the world get turnout to 95 to 99% when they hold elections. >> voting is a responsible act.
for whatever reason i'm uninformed, i haven't had the time, i should not be coerced to make a decision which is life and death for many people. >> today and tomorrow on c-span, ralph nader and the center for study on law hosts a serious of debates looking at controversial topics. monday, pros and cons of mandatory voting, and tuesday, professors from georgetown and the university of massachusetts on taxing stock trades, derivatives and currency, debating the controversial, today and tuesday at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> later tonight on 8 eastern, a look at the operation to capture and kill osama bin laden with a man who led the seam, specialist
commander, eric olsen, is interviewed at the aspen security forum. gail smith, who served as director from global development spoke last week at a forum hosted by the society for international development here in washington, d.c. her remarks run about 25 minutes. >> thanks. and yes, i do cheer for the packers. i'm so delighted that the labor negotiations between the packers and the nfl have been resolved. i have a fabulous fall to look forward to. we also have a fabulous speaker to look forward to. gail smith is well known to many of you. let me just do a short introduction to remind those of you who don't know her as well sort of what she's about and thinking about about. i anticipate her contributions to the a highly effective sid
world congress will be telling. many of you from the washington chapter will remember the spirited discussion that gail and tom ridge led at the 2008 conference head before the 2008 presidential elections. gail and governor ridge disagreed on some issues, agreed on others, but in general, help the us to think about the likely priority that the candidates would give in their administration. they also, i think, were honest and straightforward in sharing their own views on some of the specifics that the candidates were bringing to the table. gail also brought her great deal of her own development related experience to the debate. building on her involvement with usaid, clinton white house, center for american progress, enough project, help commission,
and the modernizing foreign assistance network. she predicted, if i remember correctly, that an obama presidency would take the development challenge seriously. because support for development is simply the right thing to do. in her current position as a special assistant to the president and as a senior director of the national security council, where she is responsible for global development, democracy, stabilization, and humanitarian assistance issues, she has made good on her prediction that the obama presidency would take the development challenge seriously because it's the right thing to do. just about this time last year, the president put the finishing touches on the first ever presidential policy directive on global development. this policy is focused on sustainable development outcomes, touching directly on the theme of this congress, a
world moving towards a sustainable future. and emphasizes the process of working together to achieve the goals. gail is clearly committed to bringing the policy to life, the partnership for growth, just one the innovative initiatives that she leads in support from her position at the white house. some of you visiting from africa maybe more familiar with gail's work as a journalist in the region. for almost 20 years, she lived in the area and wrote about issues of war, peace, hunger, and economic and political development. even through this professional work, facilitated development efforts. her inside into the politics and economics of the horn of africa was critical to the development work that i and others in usaid did in that region in the early '90s after the fall of the dearth regime in ethiopia.
with these brief words of introduction, i'm sure you'll join me in welcoming gayle smith, we'll invite you to share your ideas and experiences with us, and really help us as participates in this congress to begin to build momentum for greater reaction towards the common challenge that brought us all together here. a world moving forward with a sustainable future. with that, welcome. [applause] [applause] >> that was a very nice introduction. i was appalled listening to it. because it made me add up how long i am. emmy, i want to thank you, when i had the privilege of working at usaid, but also the privilege of being educated by so many of the career men and women have
who built the agency, me being one of them. thank you for the kind introduction and also for everything that you taught me. thank you to all of you. one the reasons that i am excited and determined when i get up in the morning to go do this wonderful job that i have is because we've got congregations of people like this that have ability and passion. it makes a huge amount of difference. thank you for that. congratulations on an extraordinary congress. it's fantastic to see the people that you brought together, mr. president, it's an honor to see you again. congratulations for that. sustainability is the theme that you all have talked about. i'd like to organize my remarks about and around that principle. starting with the premise that jan just suggested and dan as
well in the mobile of internationalist, which is now a word i will incorporate into my vocabulary, we're at a profoundly critical development. i think we have more leadership in the developing world that we've seen before. at the level of international institutions, governments, self-society, across the gamut, we are seeing the emergence of leaders who give meaning to that notion of country ownership by virtue of the fact they are owning and leading. we also have more players in the game. that's a great thing. i think assistance alone isn't going to do the trick. we have more donors and private sector that has not only embraced social responsibility as members of the ability, but is increasingly understanding that development is critical to
what they want to do. we have constituencies across this country and around the world that range across the political spectrum. in our government, we have constituencies much deeper and broader, emmy mentioned the policy directive on development last year. which she personally presented to the world at the united nations. we also held an event in washington to roll it out, which included our aid administrator, the secretaries of state, treasury, and defense. development is important to the obama administration. it's embraced in the national security strategy and as emmy said, we've presented the first ever policy directive from the president of the united states outlining the development priorities and approach.
why is it important? there are three key reasons. you can't disconnect. one it's obviously in the national security interest and not just because it's a great counterforce to extremeism. also because it is the thing that builds that affirmative vision opinion that income passes hope, gives people dignity. it's in our economic interest. we need and want a world that markets economically, and functions in all corners of the world. it's in our interest morally. america is known for it's generosity, investment in people, and willingness to partner. how do we take this going forward? i would think about sustainable in three ways. the first that coming up in this
city, politics. what a political moment we are having. the politics of this, i think we all know it's tricky for those of you who aren't from the united states, we often display this in public. to give you a little bit of background, foreign aid as the proxy for the commitment to development has often, a political football. i know when i was first at usaid with emmy and others, there was a huge battle about whether it was worth the united states investing in the rest of the world. i think we then entered into a different moment where we started to build a very strong bipartisan, in fact, nonpartisan consensus. emmy mentioned the event that i did with governor tom ridge, while we did disagree on some things, one the things we joked about, that might have not been the best campaign event. we agreed on more than we disagreed on.
we still have the foundation of bipartisan, in fact, nonpartisan commitment to development. : >> that is sustainable outcomes. the united states will, as we always have, do everything we can do alleviate poverty, but as we found in the nine month study involving multiple u.s. government agencies and proceeded the issuing of the directive, we with with weren't
doing as much as we could have to say it's really sustainable, that we were making investments that we could see five or ten months later. we put at the centerpiece sustainable economic growth. we put at the centerpiece part of our mission has to be to marry our foreign assistance to push to drive more private capital into development and work with countries to mobilize the domestic resources they need. they mentioned the partnership for growth which is a non-initiative, it is not a budget account, and thank you for using the word "innovative" because i really think it is. it's a way we are trying to bring the tools together and see if we can do the sustainable piece. we identified four countries where a colleague of mine joked
it's revolutionary that we based our decisions on fact. we did a qualitative and quantitative analysis of whether these countries were well-positioned to sustain achievable growth and worked with them with the binding constraints of growth. we involved every government agency that has a tool to bring to the table, and we're now in the process of developing action plans organized around two things. what do they need to do? what do we need to do? what are the policy changes needs, and how do we invest in that change? by using or assistance, mobilizing domestic resource, and bringing more private sector capital to the table. we'll see. i can tell you what's different about it so far. first, the cooperation among u.s. government agencies in this, and quite frankly across the board in implementing this new policy has been
extraordinary. second, the dialogue between the united states and these four governments is not a dialogue between donors and beneficiaries, but partners committed to a common goal. third, we are finding there's more to bring to the table when we marry all these tools together. third piece of stainability has to do with how we do business. if we want to do as much as we can on the development front, we need to do things differently, and there's several elements of that that i just want to mention to you all today. an important one is strengthening our u.s. agency for development. throughout the years, often because it's been a football in the politics of washington, sometimes because the importance of development wasn't understood. aid went through a really
prolonged period of externally motivated decline. it didn't receive the funding it should have. there were times it was thought politically expedient to cut operating expenses. it's hard to run a development agency when you can't operate, and it was over time disempowered. i think we've seen in the rebuilding and strengthening of aid remarkable progress. it is becoming a leader across the inner agency in bringing data and analysis back to the mix to introducing mainstreaming and constitutionalizing innovation to clap rating with other agencies and being back in the game as a modern, robust, and capable development agency. we have more to do, but i will tell as somebody who was educated on the working of my government by my -- my first job in government was working with us-aid. it's something i'm proud of and are committed to continue
doing. the other thing is bringing all the other agencies to bear. we have the millennium challenge corporations, a treasury department that engages with the mdbs, the world bank and ims. we have o peck, the trade and development agency, the peace corp., the department of labor, department of health, department of agriculture. all of these agencies because our economy is in deep global are somehow engaminged in that global economy and they bring extraordinary tools to the table. i think through the global development policy committee we established at the president's direction, we are finding ways to bring those things together. we are also finding ways to cooperate more and better with partners. clear recognition on our part, none of us can do this alone. what's that mean in terms of collaboration? it means not just coordinating with other donors, but sitting
down with other donors at the outset to say how do we approach problem x or y together? it means reaching and more and more often to non-traditional donors, some who don't bring assistance to the came, but maybe bring technical assistance to the game, but our growing in number and diversity is powerful. it means collaborating with the private sector not just as investor private capital, but as a part of the development architectture that has unique skills and capabilities. our foundation in the country continues to grow and expand its commitment to develop, and our ngo community continues to grow to expand policy theft and give us additional tools. we are working much more deliberately to say at the outset of our approach of given development challenge who all needs to be in the room and what's the division of labor
among us. the third thing that i think is most critical about what we're bringing to the mix is a much greater reliance on data, analysis, and facts. i think the development is clearly an aspiration. i think there's a lot of people who still think there's pretty much all that it isment everybody in this room knows it's also a discipline, that we know what works, we know what doesn't work, and we can make informed choices. we can go to scale where things work, and we should stop doing the things that don't work. again, this is one of the things that's hard to see on the outside, but i cannot describe to you the shift in the way we're approaching things in this regard, that meetings and discussions begin with multiple agencies increasingly in the business of sitting down and saying here's our objective and here are the facts.
we're building analysis in across the spectrum, and it's really our hope and aspirations that we can really get to the forefront of leading our development efforts with something the president referenced in the policy directive which is we need to drive our policy with evidence of impact. ultimately, impact is what it's all about. we are committed as we can be to achieving greater and more sustainable impact, and as i close, i just want to come back to two things. i think on the challenging side, this is a tough moment. there's more demand for development than we've ever seen. the arab spring, a growing number of weak and failing states, the additions of climate change and resource scarcity, fewer understanding of the challenge. we have a global economy that is moving, changing very, very quickly in ways that are
positive and negative, and we got politics, but what we've also got is commitment, knowledge, the players to get the job done, and the people most important who are at the heart of this ready, able, and willing, so i would like to thank all of you for everything you're doing, restate our commitment to working with you in any way that we can, and just reenforce how important it is to show the government here, the world, the american people, our media that there is such a well-informed committed constituency here for development that not only believes it, but are doing it as well as of you are, so thank you very much. [applause] i can take a couple questions because the time is limited, i'll just take easy nice ones.
[laughter] >> the microphones are coming. >> i'll just look to you to throw something at me when i need to stop. >> you are in trouble, gayle, i did not see you for the last 25 years, and you are looking good. [laughter] [applause] gayle, i just left the nvp, and up to 25 years of going around concerning development, i just have one question. in fact, i'm going to quote one who says, i quote, "january 20, 1999, the wind and snow range on
pennsylvania avenue which runs from white house to the capitol, when in his inaugural address before congress, president trueman called the world regions underdeveloped. this was born the concept suddenly since never questioned that the diversity of lifestyle of the southern atmosphere into a single category -- under developed. by the same toiken and for the first time, an unpolitical scene arose as the new world that old people of the world should follow the same path and aspire to a single goal -- development." what do you think about that? [laughter] >> first of all, it's lovely to see you. i met him some years ago when i was with the development gap,
and i will -- it's great to see you and great to see you're still doing what you're doing, and look, what we're looking at is a common enterprise, and i think that while, you know, we talk about, and it is all true and it's important to our national security, to our economy, to our interests in terms of who we are, but there's something at the cementer piece of -- centerpiece of development which is dignity of the individual, the community, the country of governments, and of the world. president obama when he rolled out the policy said in terms of his desire that some point in the future when you peeled back the piece of paper and looked at who the real development leaders were among the poorest parts of the world, it wouldn't say that they were 60% dependent on assistance. it would show that their economies were working because he says no head of state wants
to walk up to another head of state and ask for money, and so i think the words that you read are still true today. i think that what's different is this notion of developed and developing is changes and changing rapidly. i think the gulf is not as wide. i think the vie bran sigh -- vibrant in development that if you look at growth statistics are underdeveloped is such that i don't think that wide distinction works anymore, but as i say, at the heart of it, i think a lot of the words are still true, and thank god you're still at it. i saw in the program there's a couple other people i haven't seen in 20 years. i kind of feel like this is a reunion, but please don't say anything what happened 20 years ago. [laughter] >> i'd be interested on your
thoughts of the development of afghanistan with the prime objective of stability and growth. >> wow. you know, i think you can look at afghanistan in the lens of afghanistan itself and the policy and the war there, but i think also take a step back and think about afghanistan and the context of what we know about development. it's a country that on the one hand has enormous development potential, but faces enormous constraints in terms of capacity, in terms of the conflict, and so on and so forth: i think the key to development in afghanistan is two things. one is to take alessson that i think this community has learned and beyond this community is learning. development is a very, very, veries very long term proposition and in afghanistan we aspired a progress and it's
going to be a step-by-step incremental process. the second is what can be achieved is informed in part by the context, so that in a country where you have peace, where you have strong constitutions, where you have a public and a government that are mobilized and engaged on the issues of development you can make more progress more quickly than a country like afghanistan where you got the constraints that existment i think it's a mission that is necessary for all of us. i do think it's a mission that is different in terms of how it'll up fold in the way we need to pursue it, then, again, the way one would approach a development strategy in a country that again, is not at war. i mean, i'm -- oh, okay. she's looking unsatisfied.
>> i'm not for changing the system just so we can feel good by having voter turnout that may approximate what they have in australia which is 97%. the fact is voter turnout per se doesn't mean much in terms of health of the democracy. some of the most vicious dictatorships in the world get turn out of 95% when they hold elections. >> voting is a responsible act, and i should not be cohearsed to make a decision which is life
and death if more people. it would be immoral to do that. >> today and tomorrow on c-span, ralph nader and the law hold a series of debates on controversial topics. the pros and cons of voting with fred smith and tuesday, professors from georgetown and the university of massachusetts on taxing stock trades, derivatives, on today and tuesday on 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the ayes are 74 and nays are 26. the bill is agreed to. >> with the debt ceiling bill signed into law, watch the debate and see what your elected officials said and how they finally voted with c-span's chronicle, a representative resource of congress and there's complete voting records and when
members return in september, follow more of the process including daily floor action and committee hearings at c-span.org/congress. >> next, a discussion on the role of the social security and medicare trustees as well as the solvency of the two programs. according to the annual trustee report on the financial health of social security released in may, the program's financial future is challenging and not sustainable. this discussion held by boston college center for retirement research is an hour. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> it's time to get started. steve, sit, please. [laughter] i, again, have the honor of introducing the luncheon speakers. today we're extremely fortunate
to have robert and chuck, the trustees of the medicare and social security system. for three years these slots have been vacant, and fortunately for us, bob and chuck have been selected. as everybody knows, bob has a long career in public policy. he was the director of the congressional budget office and now president of the urban institute. chuck started in a strange direction as a ph.d. in quantum chemistry from berkeley, but then was on the hill, and president bush's economic council and now research fellow at the hoover institutions. they were chosen for their high level experience, their acute policy insights, and for their many talents, not the least of which is a rare ability to command wide respect across the
policy spectrum. chuck is going to talk about social security. bob has a slightly harder job of talking about medicare. they are both delighted to take questions at the end of their remarks, so let's welcome them here today. [applause] >> thank you so much for that very kind, very warm introduction, and i thank you as well just for inviting me to participate here. i'm looking through some of the papers a in the booklet, and i wish i showed up for more of the proceedings because they are as always fascinating presentation. i spoke to this conference a few weeks ago when i wore my white house hat, and then i was a retirement security adviser to president george bush, and when the bush second term ended, you
probably all thought you were rid of me -- [laughter] but, atlas, now, president obama and the senate ruined that hope. i'm back as a public trustee for social security and medicare. it's like when a song you were sick of gets remade by somebody else as it was vanishing from the air waives, and then you have to hear it all over ago. sorry about that. it's great to be here because we have timely and important things to talk about in this setting. for the last several weeks, if not monthings, washington has been absorbed with the whole debt ceiling crisis, and now that that at least temporarily has passed us, we're able to turn to other very pressing economic policy concerns. obviously, first and foremost among these are the trustees on various arcana of science, but a lot of the material covered in this event is going to be
nrkzingly important to policymakers in the months ahead. now, most of you know about the trustee's process and you know a bit about what we do, and -- but for the benefit of those of you who are not as familiar as others, let me say a little bit about who the trustees are and the functions that we perform. there's six trustees, four of them are government trustees, the secretary of treasury, secretary of labor, secretary of hhs, and, of course, the social security commissioner. there are two public trustees -- one republican, one democrat. you can guess what i am at the end of the proceedings. these positions were formed in the 1983 social security amendments, and the basic idea was that there would be two external pairs of eyes looking at the projections on a bipartisan basis, and sub
stanuating public confidence they were put together in the most objective way possible. those of you who know me know i'm been a long time defender of this process. even before i was a trustee, i would participate in the annual debate over the significance and relative accuracy the trustees projections. that's an appropriate thing to occur each year. the projections should be debated, discussed, and approved one year to the next, but iewf always been in the position of saiing i thought the process was serving the public well and the projections were at least in a qualitative sense accurate and reasonable. now that i have the very high honor of serving as a trustee, that long time confidence and support i've had for the process i found have just been further sub stachuated over the last year. i had the opportunity to participate from it on the inside and see the rigorous work
and the clear commitment to objectivity, general freedom from agendas, partisan, ideological, or otherwise, and it's just been a gratifying thing to be a part of. again, as was said, i'll talk about social security. bob will talk about medicare. that is, of course, because social security is the easy subject, and medicare is the difficult one. [laughter] let me just begin with a little bit about what the trustees report projects. whoops. before i say how we as public trustees interact with the projections, it's worthwhile to note what they are, and this chart, if you had to pick the single graphic in the social security trustees report that expresses the projections of the trustees in a nutshell, this is probably the one. you can see a tremendous amount of information on this graphic. basically, you see a couple of lines here. everything is expressed as a percent of the program's taxable wage base. you can see the bold line
representing the system expenditures, and you can see how they are projected to grow very dramatically over the next quarter century as the baby boomers leave the ranks of the work force and enter the ranks of the beneficiaries. now, in some respects, the latest version disguys this demographic phenomena a little bit. if you look closely around 2008, you see a sudden spike in costs relative to the tax base, and, of course, that's when we hit the recession, and the recession pressed the tax base so costs rose for that reason as a percentage of the denominator, but we had the spike in disability claims and some increases in retirement benefit claims and other things you see as a consequence of that recession. now, if it were not for that spike in costs in 2008, what you would see in this graph is a pretty steady and uninterpreted and fairly sharp increase in
program cost relative to the tax base stretching from about 2008 to 2035 directly as a consequence to demographic change. the rapid decline in the ratio workers to beneficiaries as the baby boomers move out of the work force. now, what this chart also shows, even though it's primarily focused on system operations, you also get important information here about trust fund financing. it shows, if you look at 2036, you see the bold line coming down, and that is the point of trust fund depletion where we see a split between the benefits of the program as promised, and the resources it has on hand to pay those benefits. this graphic also presents information that combines trust fund depletion for social security that is projected in 2036. you can also see clearly that this is primarily a situation where demographic change is causing costs to rise relative to income, that this phenomena
crests in the mid-2030's and levels off after that. the events from the 2030s on ward are not really the principle drivers of the imbalance, but the increase of cost between now and 2035 that creates that imbalance between income and outflow. finally, it shows the percentage of the benefits that can be financed from incoming tax revenue once the trust funds are depleted, that percentage is 77% in 2036 and declines to 44% in the years afterwards. now, there's a few key summary measures and statistics that appear in the trustees report each year worth reviewing. this year we project that the combined social security trust funds will be exhausted in 2036, but there's more than one trust fund on the social security side. there's the old age and survivors trust fund and the disability trust fund, and they are not in equal measures of health. the disability insurance trust
fund is projected to be depleted in 2018. the other report contains projections for the nightmare scenario. that's what if we don't do anything until 2036. if we fail to act until then, we face terrible choices. i would almost say ridiculous choices. it's not plausible to believe our system could enabout austerity measures of the magnitude required in 2036, but we show what they are. you have to reduce benefits across the board by 23% including people already in retirement as well as those coming on to the rolls or hike the payroll tax rate up to 26.4%. i'll touch on this more later is you don't tend to see qualitative changes in the social security changes from one year to the next. the projections tend to be relatively stable because most of the factors unlike the
medicare projections bob will talk about, most of the factors bear upon the projections in a qualitative way that are fairly well-known and easily to estimate. if you go back and look at every trustees report overred decades, you see over and over again the same general cost curve. you might see the imbalance move, but the qualitative shape of things to come does not vary that much. i mention that because this year we find that the 75-actuary imbalance of social security is 2.22% of taxable payroll. that's not a qualitative change to the previous year's report where they projected 1.92%. that's 0.32% worsening, the single worst deterioration seen by the trustees since 1994 along with a comparable deterioration
in the 2009 report. it's not a qualitative change, but by social security standards, it's actually a pretty big one. the roojs for the large single deterioration this year are presented in the pie chart stole from a presentation bob recently gave, but about half of it arises from changes in longevity. bottom line is we are living longer than previously projected. that's good news, but not great news for social security finances. that's the vast majority of the part of the pie chart that refers to the demographic, mostly longevity changes. a portion of our longevity objections appear in the methods and other data slice here because as we extrapolate in the immediate future forward from recent experience, we do it at the rate of change in recent years. there's a change in those two
slices of the pie. overall, roughly half of the worsening in the report is because of longevity reports. there's also some worsening because of the sluggish economy, and, of course, spillover effects reducing immigration, but longevity is the biggest piece of it. okay. now, turning to the matter of what we as public trustees have to say about all of this i would say first and foremost that our primary responsibility as trustees is really to vet the assumptions that go into the projections and sign off on them as being reasonable and objective. reasonable doesn't mean right. we don't know what's right, but we can make a determination whether or not we are using the most reasonable assumptions. basically, what happens is the economic and demographic variables that bear upon the
projections are basically developed by the office of the social security actuary. those recommendations are put before us, and we along with the other trustees review them, edit them if we think they require editing, or accept them. the same economic and demographic variables are used with the medicare report and the social security report. there are obviously some other variables that bear upon the medicare report developed by the medicare actuary's office, but these come first out of the social security ac rare ri's shop. they present us with recommendations for an intermediate or best guess assumption for each variable, and there's also a low cost or high cost variable that basically represents what would happen if that particular variable broke in the direction that either decreased or increased system cost. now, obviously, the first two items you see here, fertility and longevity because they bear on system demographics, they are
very, very important to the long-term shape of social security finances. just a couple notes i would make on the others before moving on -- net immigration -- it's my experience when people look at the trustees reports, the immigration numbers look small inpart because they are presented as net immigration figures, the differential of people coming into the social security area and people coming out of the social security area. it is not a gross immigration number, and i think that accounts for part of the reason why they tend to appear smaller than many people expect when they first look at the report. productivity is an assumption that's obviously fly specked a lot each year. it's what the trustees assume and have assumed is that future productivity will be roughly consistent with what it's been over the last several business cycles on average. now, i'd like to remind people that you don't fund a system with productivity, but taxes upon wages, and so therefore, a
very important component of this is what is the share of productivity growth expressed as real wage growth. this is important, of course, because compensation expressed as real wage growth is taxable by social security whereas compensation that comes in form that are not taxable like other benefits do not result in additional revenue for social security. it's a real wage differential more than the productivity direction is relevant to social security finances. on that side, we're basically projecting as the previous trustees have a slight increase in real wage growth going forwards based on the projection that the share of worker growth going forward that is expressed as rising real wages will be slightly higher than it's been in the past due to in the past our having extremely high rapid growth in benfits not subject to
tax such as health benefits. a very important additional matter that the trustees have to speak to is not only what the assumption and projections are, but we have to tell policymakers how much confidence they should have in these projections, how certain are they? there are a lot of different ways that the trustees report speaks to projection certainty or uncertainty, and one of the -- the ongoing taskses we have as trustees is how we should talk about it and how much emphasis the trustees report should place on different forms of uncertainty. now, as i indicatessed previously, there's -- as i indicated previously, there's sort of a low cost and high cost scenario built around illustrative scenarios. if you take every variable and
breaks it in system costs, you get the high cost se scenario. i've had a long standing frustration with how some people have read the report in the past because there's a tendency to comb through the report saying here's a scenario in which the trust fund is not insolvent. even op-ed writers for the "new york times" do that saying there's a significant chance that the program will not be insolvent at all. that's very much the wrong way to think about the trustees low cost and high cost scenarios. they are illustrative and don't appear anywhere within the broad range of likely possibilities for program finances. to shed light on that, there is an analysis that appears in the report, and it allows the different variables to flux wait and shows the wide range of se scenarios that result from the fluxuations.
i showed one graph resulting from that analysis here, and you can see that with respect to the long term direction of the social security trust funds, qualitatively you just do not see that much change even under pried wide variation in the economic and demographic assumptions. under the medium scenario, the programs, combined trust funds are insol vent in the mid-2030s, but from the 10th to 90th per sen percentile, it changes a couple years and go out to the 97 per percentile, there's years of movement, but you don't see a call taitive change in the social security and the low cost and high cost scenarios are outside the bounds of even that 95% scenario interval so there's really not much basis when you look at the trustees analysis of uncertainty for adopting a wait and see attitudes towards program finances. under all of these even
reasonable plausible scenarios, we're better off correcting program finances today rather than waiting until a future date. the last thing i would say before turning it over is simply that the trustees always have an issue of deciding what to emphasize, what's important. the trustee's report last several 100s and very few people, sorry to say i'm one of them, read them all the way through, and i suffered from this as a congressional staffer, by the way, but there's a lot in there, and policymakers seasonally don't have time to wade through them, and we have to choose what to emphasize and hying lighted, and that's a -- highlight, and that's a very important role of the trustees, and it's expressed in various ways. when we testify before congress and we have a five minute statement to make, we have to choose what to put into the statement. when we talk at a press and an
event like this, we have to talk about what to put in and leave out of our presentation. in the trustee's report summary and the all-trustee's message and the message by the two public trustees, we have to make choices about what to put into the messages, so with that in mind, i'll review a couple thing we as trustees that the two of us or the trustees as a group chose to emphasis this -- imp size this year. one is that we would be better off if legislative corrections are enabouted soon. you are probably tired of hearing this. this lab said in every report stretching back to decades long before we were a part of the process. it's important and important policymakers understand it. there's real adverse consequences, especially for potentially vulnerable beneficiaries the longer we put off dealing with this problem. secondly, this -- especially --
well, certainly in social security, but even to a large extent with medicare, the vast majority of the projected cost growth in these programs taken together occurs before 2035. on the social security side it's almost all by 2035 and then things level off, and pre-2035 the primary factor driving cost growth is demographic change, a change in the workers to beneficiaries. this is not to say health care cost inflation is not a significant problem. it is, orvel, a very significant problem growing more significant the further out one looks, but we have a very immediate problem affecting our ability to get federal finances under control and get these federal programs under control and coming out rapidly playing out entirely over the next quarter century. it's important to understand that our window of opportunity for action is in many ways defined by the way in which demographic factors are driving
program cost growth and doing it not over the very long term, but now through the mid 2030s. another thing, and i've already touched on this, problems are certain. the certainty is different with respect to the two programs rather than the degree of certainty and size of the short fall is different with respect to the two programs, but the fact of the short fall is quite certain with respect to both programs, and whether we talk about social security or medicare, this is not a problem where we can sit back and hope for the best. another item that we chose to emphasize, and i will say having appeared with bob at a couple hearings already, i'm not sure how we'll we're doing at conveying this point, but it's easy to get distracted by other debates they want to have. people have the debate what the trust fund means, is it real? people want to debate social security and medicare's relationship to the larger federal budget, how it interacts with the unified federal budget, how does it not -- these are
important things to discuss, but you can really get sucked into an angels on the head of a pin discussion that can distract you from the reality that regardless of where you come out in these discussions, we have to deal with social security and medicare. i often compare this to the blind man feeling different parts of the elephant. you can talk about the trust fund, and well, okay, i want to talk about the truck, the side, or the tail and they can all be right and all want to emphasize different as pelgts of the trust fund and it's a real asset, no, it's not a net asset to the federal government as a whole, ect., ect., and you can choose to emphasize different sides of this depending what point you want to make. as soon as you step back from the arcane discussion about, you know, how big a problem is social security with respect to the larger federal budget deficit, you still have the same conclusion, have to deal with the programs, better to deal with it sooner rather than
later, and there's no interpretation on any side of the various discussions that really argue seriously for not dealing with the programs in the near term. finally, another point made that i think is important is it's difficult to quantify, but we make it in words in the report which is that we can show you technically how the costs of repair rises over time, but in many ways, we are understating the actual cost of delay because of practical political constraints, practice call policy restraints. we can show you that in 2036 you have to cut benefits 26% across the board. fine, but when are politicians going to want to cut benefits 23% across the board? they are not going to want to for that poor 94-year-old widow in 2036 because she's been
retired and she's a poor widow. if you want a assessment of how the costs play out in practice, you have to factor in things like we don't want to cut benefits for people already in retirement or have sudden reduction of benefits for low income people, that sort of thing. you put those factors together and explain to policymakers how is their window of options becoming more narrow with time, the answer is the window of opportunity to solve the problems is closing much more rapidly you know from the various across the board illustrations we do. we make that point in words in the report and try to stress it when i testify, but the bottom line is that when we talk about the cost of delay, we look at the lens, it's much bigger than it first appears, and with that, i'll turn it over to my colleague to talk about the more complex of the two programs. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here, and i attended a number of conferences over the years, and always been interested in who is being transmitted. i want to start by acknowledging the really tremendous contribution that the retirement research con cosh yum and its constituent in part, boston college, university of michigan, mbr, and all the folks who worked with them have made over the last 13 years to our understanding of retirement policy and our knowledge of behavior of those approaching retirement and in retirement. i also want to congratulate the con on producing papers that by and large have been accessible to the non-academic have been
policy relevant. i think this has been over these 13 years a tremendous investment that will pay even greater dividends in the future as we get around to reforming the nation's retirement programs in ways that reflect the change social and demographic environment as well as the fiscal realities that we face. chuck and i were asked to say a few words about the roles and responsibilities of the public trustees as well as the challenges that the trustees face in making long run projections. with respect to the first of these topics, as you might have suspected, no job description or training manual or briefing in which the roles and responsibilities of the public trustees are laid out exist. when i was first called and een asked would i have interest in
being nominated for this position, i asked the individual who called as well as the individuals in the white house what the expectations were and what the responsibilities were, and there was silence at the end of the phone. [laughter] being a researcher at heart, i -- and with little help from google -- [laughter] i went next to the statutes and the language they are in, and discovered that there were four duties enumerating from the full board of trustees, and just to remind you what they were and to quote -- the first of those is to hold the trust funds. that's the actual legislative language, and i thought, well, i mean, do we go out to parksburg, west virginia, open the file cabinet and hold the pieces of paper? [laughter] is that a heavy lift or light lift? [laughter] i mean, do we do this every year
to judge the situation of the trust fund? [laughter] but i've been disappointed to find out that that's not the case. [laughter] no trips. second is to report to the congress each year on the past and future status of the funds which basically is what the report, the reports do. third, to report to the congress immediately if the amount in any trust fund is too small, which, i guess -- [laughter] maybe you have to go to parkersburg and check it out. finally, to review policies followed in managing the trust funds and recommend changes. there's no, as i said, separate distinct roles with the public trustees to those of the ex officio trustees. now, as you all know, the public trustees' positions are not
particularly visible ones, so you can't look at the believer of incumbents and get an idea of what to expect from an observational stand point. wouldn't have helped us any way because as pointed out, there's no incumbents to observe. neither can you really call up those who will be your fellow trustees. they being cabinet secretaries who probably have more important things to do than answer questions like this. in any case, none of them, nor any of the political appointees in the departments who serve as representatives in the working group would have been able to say too much because for all of the time they have served, there had been no public trustees. one can, as i did, consult with those who felt a public trustee position in the past, but what
those discussions revealed was that at different times, the public trustees roles have been quite different, and there was nothing to generalize about except there was one common message that i heard from all of them, and that was that to be most useful to this process and most effective, the public trustees should collaborate and develop common positions wherever possible and chuck and i with one glaring exception have followed this advice, and the glaring exception is that every time we're in a room with more than two people, i become doctor, and he remains chuck. [laughter] it's sort of amusing for awhile, and then i realized this was his subtle way of saying i'm a whole heck of a lot yakker than --
younger than you are. [laughter] so here we are again, doctor talking to chuck. [laughter] of course; i didn't go through this investigation. i didn't have to go through this to know what the primary responsibility of the public trustees was, and that is as chuck mentioned to ensure to the public both the integrity of the reports and the objectivity and high quality of the analysis that underlies them. notwithstanding the independence of the ac rares and of the social security administration, it is possible that political pressures could create incentives to shade the analysis in optimistic directions. those of you who are older than chuck will remember that during the nixon administration, some people in the white house had obsessions with certain data
series and tried to tinker with them, so it's not totally fanciful, but neither would it be surprising to any of you that while in theory that exists today in practice anyone should lose a minute's worth of sleep over. the office the actuaries are committed to their reputations earned over the years for developing sophisticated objectives and analysis that the staffs who support the ex officio trustees are professionals who take their mission of objectivity very seriously as does the staff at ssa. it's clear through having gone a cycle and watching the give and take that occurs when the reports are put together that there is no administration position. each department and agency has
its own perspectives and own views and as far as i could tell feels quite free to express them even when it's a minority view and even when steve goss is frowning or rick is squirming in his chair showing their displeasure. it's really an an extremely open and fun process, and to be part of the back and forth of the e-mails at 2 a.m. when the final pieces are being put together is quite interesting. the technical panels are another piece here that we have, and they are convened periodically. there's two now in process, and they help to ensure the
integrity and quality of these reports. as you all know and some of you may be in the room, these are the most knowledgeable -- among the most knowledgeable analysts and practitioners on social security and medicare, and what they do is review the assumptions and methods used in past reports and make recommendations about how they might be improved in the future, so while at this point in our history, the public trustees speedometer for ensuring the integrity and objectivity and quality of the trustees report isn't a huge issue that requires constant vigilance, there are other roles that we play, and i will talk about them in respect to medicare. most important of these, in my opinion, as chuck mentioned is
to be a fresh set of eyes looking at the report and asking whether changes should and could be made that would improve their usefulness. only the public trustees are likely to raise such questions. as you've undoubtedly noticed, the structure and content of the trustees report changes little from year to year. if one is familiar with the previous report, one can open a new report and find the same analysis using a fresh set of assumptions and a new base year data in the same place with the same charts and the same supporting analysis. there's many reasons why achieving such continue newty makes a great deal of sense, but at the same time someone should be asking from time to time whether the reports tab shortened, restructured, and seven mid to better serve the needs of those to whom the reports are directed.
maybe even there will be more people who read the entire report having heard chuck's confession as a staff person and the wiping and nod that -- wink and nod that maybe she doesn't sit and read them from cover to cover. the reports and even the summary document are not very user friendly. they are not bedtime reading unless you desire to fall asleep quickly. [laughter] to some extent this is, of course, unavoidable because social security and medicare are large and complex programs and explaning how their funding mechanisms work and how their financial situations are likely to change over the next 75 years is no easy task. the use of jargon and technical terms a probably unavoidable. over the years, the trustees and the actuaries have added more
and more information offering new and useful per specttives and more detailed explanations and analysis. little has been dropped. as a result, the reports have become longer and there's a growing danger that the reports could become confusing and hard to follow for those who have not earned a black belt in entitlement analysis, and probably those who have are in this room right now. it's also worth noting the communication technology has changed dray gnatically in the -- dramatically in the last couple decades, and i suspect most users now access the reports online. one has to ask whether the core of the report could be condensed with much of the methodology discussion and material relegated to web-based dependencies that would be accessible through links in the main report. by law, of course, the reports are directed to the congress
whose members have knowledgeable staff to help them con -- con den, summarize, and digest the reports' conclusions. the report is also of great interest to the public and various interest groups representing current and future retirees, providers, and other groups, and they depend by and large on the media to translate the reports for them. this raises a second question worth reviewing which is do the reports do enough to ensure that the key findings will not be miss characterized, exaggerated, or minimized? in general, the media wants to tell a dramatic story, a simple one, and the more crisis there is really the better.
now we'll see the real difference between chuck and me which is technology. [laughter] the projections in the most recent medicare report provided a lot of food for crisis talk. first it revealed that contrary to previous projections, hi spending would proceed income for the indefinite future rather than returning to a surplus which is what the previous report had showed after the economy began to recover. ..
projected in the 2009 report. whichs the last one that was issued before the affordable care act was enacted. currently, the trustees reports do in my opinion an excellent job of providing detailed, balanced explanations of why key metrics change from one year to the next. the story is rarely a simple one. the changes in the assumptions are listed and the analysis is laid out. but often readers are left to develop their own summary explanation. your own line or 30 second sound bite. and in an era where many americans get their information from sound bites from politicians, or from screaming ill informed posts on cable television, one wonders whether the greater effort shouldn't be made in the trustees report to highlight short summary explanations of the changes that take place from year to year and the metrics that receive the
most attention by the press. let me conclude by saying a few words about a third question. which is how the inherent uncertainty of projections can be incorporated into these reports, conveyed without under mining the confidence and the projections or the seriousness of the problems that we face in the future. this is an issue that in medicare really has two dimensions. one common to all of health care, and the other one peculiar to medicare. all projections of health care are inherently uncertain because the services being provided are continually changing and evolving. as new introindividuals -- interventions, devices, and procedures come online and the delivery systems change. as a result, no one really knows with a great deal of confidence what health care will look like in 50-75 years or what it will
cost. this problem is compounded with respect to medicare, because it is a program with a particular structure and payment schedules set into law. and the charge that's given to the trustees is to project the cost of that program under current law. however, we can be pretty sure that certain aspects of current law will not be adhered to. the obvious example here is the sgr, sustainable growth rate mechanism, under which physician fees will be reduced by some 29.4% in january of 2012 and held down to a moderate rate of growth for the next 75 years. for the last nine years, these cuts have been part of the law. but congress and the president have waived discipline of the sgr and has almost certain that that will happen again.
this is a situation that's not unlike the dilemma that the congressional budget office faces. the projections for many years on the bases of current law. but current law, of course, had the expiration at various points of the 2000 and 2003 of the income tax that everybody knew would not be what was happening. so there's a sort of desperate search for an alternative base line that was credible but value free. that is an impossible task. we face the same situation.
what trustees reports do is estimate current law. and so when you open the trustees report, although there are warnings every 15 pages, staring at you, these are numbers for part b that assume that there's a 29% cut. that's going to be extracted and if that were not the case, the part b spending in 2012 would be some 12.6 percentage points higher. by 2020, it would be 19% higher and by 2080, it would be 79% higher. we're not talking crump change here. these are very, very significant differences. if one provides two sets of projections in the reports, will
that be confusing? if one provides a second set, assuming that the sgr is not adhered to, there's the question of what should you use in it's place. should you use the underlying law which suggests the medical economic index would be used to update the physician fees schedule, even though over the course of the last nine years, the congress and the president have on average, selected up dates that were not as high as the mei. so this is a huge, i think, challenge that we face. trying to present information that's useful, adheres to the law, and does not confuse the
readers. let me stop there. while i say i raise issues of respect to the trustees report, in no way do i have the answers to these questions. i was part of the discussion that weigh the these issues and continues to weigh the issues. and as chuck as said many times, i just don't know where to come out. there's no particular solution. just as a final picture for you, as you know the chief actuary and cms has raised concerns not just about the sgr, but also about the ability of the nation to adhere to the constraints
that are part of the affordable care act and has provided in supplementary material an alternative projection that has the sgr replaced by the medical economic index and the gradual phase out to provide payments that is included in the affordable care act. and the result of that is that there is a substantial difference in the long run outlook for medicare. if we are not able to adhere to these fiscal disciplines that the congress has enacted over the course of the past few years. so on that happy note, let me
stop. >> thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> we're almost out of time. but why don't we take about two or three questions for dr. rice -- reischauer and chuck. while somebody is getting the microphone, any questions? i just want to make sure that you know how valuable that summary document is that's put out with the trustees report. in some sense, you don't need to mess with the trustees, just make that better. don't let me reporters see the trustees reporter. >> yes, i'm robert. i'm a consulting actuary, i found both presentations very excellent. i had a specific question for dr. reischauer, why do you think the media suppressed the name of mr. foster during the health care debate? i think he was hardly ever heard from at all.
it was really kind of, i found it kind of almost somewhere, you know, a little bit of sin. >> i think chuck wants to answer that question. [laughter] >> explaining media choices. no, i'm staying away from that. >> okay. we have another question over there. >> i've an insurance advisor. i'm seeing medicare advantage being more and more popular with middle and lower income people. high numbers of people in them reports being happy with them. yet it appears that, you know, these plans that are trying to exert managed health care on this population are being subject to additional scrutiny and, you know, the funding support towards them seems to be questionable from year to year. could you comment on that?
>> is this -- is it possible? >> yeah, that's kind of question that we take our public trustees had often put it aside. and as a former member of the medicare payment advisory commission, i'll put that cap on. you know, it is still true after the reforms that medicare advantage plans are being paid more than would -- it would cost the government if their members were participating in traditional fee for service medicare. and, you know, i think a level playing field is the right way to go. unless you can show convincing evidence that the outcomes that are associated with medicare advantage plans are superior.
and then we would have, i think, properly, a national debate on whether excess payments or additional bonuses which there are now in the law through the medicare advantage plan should come out of lower performing fee for service services. >> thank you. >> any other -- yes. mark, why don't you have the last word here? >> and the last panel, there was a presentation about social security and the point was made that of current generation of retirees or people approaching retirement basically had gotten away with avoiding reform. not having their taxes raised, because it would have been appropriate because in 1990 and then every year since then, the
trustee report indicated there's been a problem. of course they are still around. and the question is, and this is something which you've stated in your presentation, it was very difficult to make changes for current retirees. but is that really the case or is that -- can that be truly maintained going forward? >> well, first of all, i agree with your analytical point which is that the way things look now, we're not heading towards the future ofic -- of equitable generational treatment in social security. look at the relationship between contributions and benefits for different generations, we've already postponed reforms to the point where younger generations are going to be treated much worse than the generations before them. that's one of the bad consequences of delay. as for the question of how long
we can maintain this idea that people who had previously retired should be held harmless, my views on this are evolving. if you were to ask me about six months ago, i would have given you and did give the view that that is going to be an enduring political ethic. and as time goes on, the bounce of any ultimate changes for social security are going to tilt more and more to the tax increase side because of this desire on both sides of the aisle not to affect people already in retirement. but if we continue to delay fiscal repairs, i'm not sure if that holds true forever. i think we ultimately get to a place, we are rapidly approaching a place where it is simply too heavy of a lift to repair the social security's finances within it's
self-financing structure. we are already past the point where we have a 75 year shortfall that's bigger than we've ever saw before. if we were to delay ten years more, we would be at a point where the changes that you'd have to make in the short term are already several times larger to ensure self-financing. if that happens, then i think the risk increases that you don't have a self-finance social security system, that you have a system that is subsidized to a degree from the general revenue pool. at that point, i think a considerable political barrier to changes in benefits already on the roll disapierce. -- disappears. a lot of that comes from a separate funding structure. >> thank you. >> could i just add a footnote? >> yes. >> the exception to affecting people who had already retired, of course, was the subjecting of benefit income to taxation. and, you know, that's still out
there. there's still possibilities there. >> and the six month delay in the cola in 1983. >> yeah. >> so thank you both. thank you both. thank you very much. so will the people who are on the next panel please come up? [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> republican presidential candidates will be at the iowa state fair this week. and you can see live coverage thursday morning at 11:30 with remarks by mitt romney and michele bachmann, and friday morning at 11:00 with herman
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american history. >> follow us on twitter. >> and join us on facebook. >> it's washington your way. >> created by cable and provided as a public service. >> i'm not for changing the system just so we can feel good by having voter turnout which may ultimately approximate when they have in australia, which about 97%. the fact is voter turnout per se doesn't mean much in the health of the democracy. some of the most vicious dictatorships in the world get voter turnouts of 95 to 99% when they hold elections. >> voting is a responsible act, and for whatever reason i'm uninformed, i haven't had the time and so on, i should not be coerced to make a decision which is life and death. it would be immoral to do that. >> today and tomorrow on c-span, ralph nader and the center for study on responsive law hosts a series of debates. monday the pros and cons of
mandatory voting. tuesday professors from georgetown and the university of massachusetts on taxes tock trades, derivatives and currencies. today on 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. next british journalist discuss the antigovernment protest in syria. the 90-minute program was posted by the london based frontline club, a charitity -- charity organization that promotes independent. >> we have a lot to cover. i'm not going to say much at all. expect to encourage you this is your meeting. if you are not getting a briefing or hearing the other say, please say early. don't wait until 8:25 and say you were disappointed.
say it at 7:02. i've sat in too many audiences bored. we want to discuss this properly, you tells us where you want us to do. we do tend to keep our discussion in full areas. we'll end with predictions. but the three other ones are update on the situation on the ground, the protest and the regime. those are our topics. welcome, everybody. could i ask you, panelist, please, to introduce yourself and would you give us in a statement that is short your question or your briefing for us tonight, the thing that you most want us to know at this critical time, starting with you, malik. >> thank you. i'm malik al. abdeh i'm with a barada tv based
in london. i'd like to frame the debate in the way that i think is more accurate and best reflects the reality on the ground. >> which is? >> which is not it's a struggle between opposition and the government, but between the desire for democracy and a dictatorship that doesn't want democracy to flourish. >> sue? i'm sue lloyd-roberts, i was the first broadcaster to get into syria after the trouble began. >> can you hear? >> no. >> sorry, i'm sue lloyd-roberts. i think i was the first broadcast journalist to get into syria about a month ago after the troubles began. i agree with malik, i'm not going off of the subject, but what i want like to talk about is point that burmese monk said,
can any revolutionary movement, any people succeed when the government shows an insatiable and consistent appetite for firing on and murdering it's own poem? >> daniel. >> i'm daniel pye, i'm a freelance journalist. i was deputy editor of current affairs. >> can you speak -- sorry. >> do we have any system at all? if so, let's put it to use. >> i'll speak up. i worked as a freelance journalist in syria. i arrived on sunday. i arrived in damascus in mid february. i guess my -- what i would like to talk about is the growing movement in syria. >> speak up please. >> the growing movement in syria, which maybe disorganized and chaotic and have many different elements to it.
but there is a movement of people that i think people all over the world should listen to and do everything they can to understand. >> ammar? >> i'm ammar waqqaf, i came from damascus ten days ago. i present the point of view that the best way forward for syria is to keep the government and have a change from within. my message for today that so far the mediawork of the problem has intensified it. the one sided stroke excitement -- the one-sided views stroke excitement of the media and has sent the wrong messages to demonstrators, and now the syrian government, even though it has many points to declare, it cannot give to to everybody out in the world. this is what i'd like to talk
about today. >> christopher? >> i'm christopher, i'm the syria analyst for the intelligence unit. i also recently completed the phd which looks at national identity in syria. and that involved me living in syria for two years. i can talk a bit about the economy -- economic situation later on if people want to. which can probably be better summarized at absolutely dire, but i'd actually sort of the point i'd really like to raise to the floor is about the issue of sectarianism in syria. my research actually -- many people would suggest that it's not prominent. but i'm worried about recent reports i've heard of attacks on different groups, particularly homes, and i would like to raise that point. >> right. we are coming to you straight after this question to the panel. would the two journalist give you the best that you have as an
update? if any of you are logged into the news, there's a security council meeting going on if you have an update, give it to us, or if you see any other social media reporting during the meeting. sue and daniel, don't go on, tell us what's happening in the situations? >> the last few days, the army and regime have fought back. they estimate 140 fatalities. it became a little enclave, before the army decided to move in. ramadan was always going to be an explosive month for syria. as you probably know in syria, you can be arrested if a group of people meet in a public place which is why during ramadan when thousands go to mosque routinely every day, it was going to be a
chance to focus political dissent and set us demonstrations. that is what has happened. they were waiting. they retaliated in a brutal way. >> i was in hamas last week. and at that time, it was -- really? >> i'm going to have to give you a microphone. >> okay. >> we want to hear you, daniel. we'll give you the audience microphone. the more you speak, the less they can. use it very close. please go on. >> okay. >> start again. >> i was in hamas last week. at the time it was still part of this enclave that you could call it. there was no security on the streets, no military, no police. and when i arrived into the city, the streets were i say being controlled, but they were full of young kids with the
barricade, staning in the street, and mostly they were carrying sticks and so on. they were very young kids, most of them teenagers, and we traveled around the city and i saw no evidence of violence, no evidence of weapons, although i know there are weapons, and there are weapons all over syria. it's very easy to get ahold of guns and ammunitions, people haven't used them. or in very few occasions people have used weapons. i know there's an armed position. but the situation there now is i'm amazed by the restraint that the people in so many places who have faced military, faced security, faced torture, and have not -- have not carried out a full interaction. >> malik, what moment is this?
in the syrian uprising, what moment is the hammer tank put down? >> i think we are in the first week. if the regime remerges, stronger than now, we could see the beginnings of a civil war in syria. because the slogan from the beginning of the revolution was the slogan was death over indignity. people would rather die than continue to live under. i think this is the majority. if they know things go back to the way they were, they would all be arrested. there was a network of
informants. however, after ramadan, if the regime is visibly weakened, then i think we could well spell the end -- the beginning of the end. so the next three weeks will be crucial. >> we're coming to your predictions at the end of the evening. chris phillips, do you agree the whole arab springs is condensed into three weeks in syria? we'll know if the uprising succeeds within three weeks? >> i wouldn't agree with that. malik was a gentlist there. i wouldn't say, the syria uprising is certain at a key juncture. this is the moment that the gloves have come off. there's no pretend that bashar is some kind of character. he's clearly been involved and willing to use force. the one thing that i would say
is that in order for civil war to break out, you need to have another side, you need to have people that are actually fighting back. one the reasons i understand that the pro sort of peaceful movement is taking that slogan is because they know full well that if they ever give the regime a genuine opportunity to crush for justification, they will be smashed. they will be absolutely crushed. not like in libya you've had large segments of the military switch sides to fight against them. civil war is a bit of an exaggeration. >> we're in the area of discussion which we should update the situation on the ground. i will come back to that. yourself, your update on the situation on the ground. you said you don't have a change of regime. what the critical nature of the times right now in your eyes? >> what is happening now is that the situation as malik
described, it's not going to wait until ramadan ended. that is why the regime has toughened up. if it hasn't, the other side is going to take matters into their own hands. syrian society is very much polarized. what i have seen in damascus in the last ten days, well, since i visited a couple of weeks back is myself during the 1980s. growing up, idolizing the president and military. that's how the die hard supporters of the government are being at the moment. this is not good for a democratic future into syria. but the general feeling is that there is sectarian problems, there are sectarian problems. my cousins live at the forefront on the frontline in hims. and they have a sectarian
problem, they told me the people in the streets do not listen to the wise people of the other majority or the other, you know, well the sunni people. >> do you think the regime is right to toughen up now? >> if it doesn't, then people will take matters into their own hands. >> so that's a yes. >> it is a yes, yes. >> right. so we're coming to you. anybody at the audience want to come? you don't have to at the moment -- good, fine. yes to you. madam, if you'd like to use the microphone. this is about the update on the ground. >> hi, i'm an journalist based in london. if you had many hours or facebook pages, i can say that first i did not fight one single sectarian slogan in facebook and web pages developed by syrian activist talking about civil war. you need to have two parts
equally armed. what we say now is the regime empowered by extreme force and people, civilians, fighting against it. i think that any kind of performance coming from asset regime is just now enough to what happened just in passing. >> what is your update? what is happening? is it three weeks to decide the future? >> no one can say that we know what will happen. the future is very bleak. we don't know what will happen. and i don't think that three weeks will be -- will see the end of it in three weeks. i don't think that's realistic. >> how do you characterize the situation on the ground now as a journalist? what do you say is happening? >> i think unless we have media covering what's going on really, we cannot say what's going on. we don't know. we just rely on youtube, on propaganda, sent by the media regime. we don't know what's going on. >> well, first of all, slogans of sectarian nature were there
from day one. to the grave and christians, they were woman for pleasure. there has been many, seen that, heard that, and if they are not reported to you, i don't know who your sources are. second, a lebanese colleague of yours went to hamas just like, you know, and he said this is the kandahar of syria. you are reporting this. i go back to my main point. the media is not reporting. >> how can we if we're not invited in? >> come bbc journalist did go in, didn't they? >> not by invitation. >> i fully agree. >> we've been asking to go in for eight months. >> when sue went in, she posed as a student of history. [laughter] >> i mean i can tell you a little bit about this. >> no, thank you for giving your
views. it's largely your fault, malik. >> that's not true. i haven't come across any sectarian slogans, certainly the people that he's thought really and referring to, and let's be honest, it was a sunni majority in syria. that's simply not true. ors half of them would not be in power if the sunni majority in syria were really that sectarian people. in fact, i do remind you when 1971 and president visited, they slaughtered sheep, something like 30 sheep for the president there is in syria a sectarian feeling. that's put that one side. the professors have been key not to avoid anything which maybe interpreted as sectarian. they know this is counterproductive. i'm very dished by called hamas the kandahar of syria. to me, it's appears that you are
the one employs the language when you described a majority sunni town or city with a population of 800,000 as being kandahar. even afghanistan is not being bombarded that the forces are bombarded hamah. >> have you given us the briefing? do any of you on the panel want to move on from anything on another part of the country, refugees, we wanted to know your updates. have you missed an important point? i'll come to new a second. have you, sue? >> yeah. >> i have. >> mention one of them. >> the sectarianism in the country, i have heard sectarian slogans at demonstrations, anti-regime demonstrations, they are maybe perhaps one person in a crowd, you know, shout something. everybody else says, no, this is not we're about. we're here as one people against
the regime. and this is a widespread feeling. ingly just add to that that i think when we're talking about the visions in syria, you've got to look at the different divisions, a lot of them are economic as well as they are sort of sectarian. for example, my update is such are speaking to various people from homes recently. in the sectarian violence took place there, and in the neighbors. recent immigration to the city were involved. there wasn't the establishment that had been there for a lock time. it was a small segment of a economic look at society. that analysis is off when you look at the situation. >> let's move on. you've explained the civil war in moving way. you don't want to change, the rest of you do want change. we're going to come to the regime in a moment. now we'll pick up with the
protesters. you've been living in damascus as a westerners. who do you think the protesters are? who has the right to tell us who they are? >> i'll answer the second part. the only people who have the right to determine who are the protesters are the protesters themselves. as i mentioned before, it's a very disorganized movement. there are many different actors and people involved. groups who have linked within networks of syria. there are also these local coordination committees who over the last few months have become more organized, but began a very desperate groups of mostly young men. you know, there's a women's movement and an entire spectrum. >> would you add anything? >> moving to discontent. i'd like to make one basic point
that was a year or two ago, you can't forget the demographic of syria. indeed, much of the middle east. we're talking about the population under 30. so many people that i spoke to with the deep frustration with status quo, corruption, houses, jobs, without knowing the right people. they get very, very impatient with the governments paranoia of always blaming israel and outside forces. i was told time and time ago, the discontent every day in light. >> how did these groups communicate? in egypt there was less use of the social networks that was
al-jazeera english. how are they communicates? >> they use social networks, twitter, they also use simple moves of communication arraigning in coffee shop speaking. there's really very many way. i can tell you there is no in this organization. >> what would you add? >> one the reasons that i hear is it's not a top down revolution at all. two words that i'll say, civil society. i mean the civil society is emerging. the you'll groups and coordination groups and council, these are used groups which have emerged in syria, first of all at the neighbor and village and hooked up with other neighbors. now may are organizing themselves on a city wide or even a providence wide level, now even on a national level.
you got the youth, womens groups that have been active. and of the most active figure heads in soar ya at the moment, she's a woman, fidel, she's from hamah, she's a women, and human rights activist, also a women. it's a diverse mix. i would say it all comes under the banner of civil society versus the militarized society of the baath party. that's how i would describe it at the moment? >> to free people against a militarized society? >> absolutely. >> ammar? >> well, there are a few groups on the same time at the streets. you have the protesters that they have for dignity reasons. we do not want to bribe the policeman.
we want economic opportunities with regard to economics, and we don't like the tycoons eating everything. you have these factions. you have another faction that influenced, i think, from the outside. with regard to the familiar faction, it's not completely infamous. you know, it has a certain, you know, on the ground presence. but, for example, when i was in damascus a couple of weeks back, a taxi driver said we were going to this restaurant in battuma. the taxi driver said done you think this is provocative some people are dying and other peoples celebrating in the streets? i said, yes, well, some of those people would see you getting out in the streets all the time seeking to confront that much. you know, at the end of this, we
might not get any democracy all of it at all. he said, what do you want us to do? leave the country to ahmadinejad of lebanon? you have the people who suddenly are thinking about the sunni-shiite regional conflict, rather than a syrian issue, which is as sue rightfully said, there's a sort of dignity. there's also an economic problem. a lot of youngsters cannot find a job. if i'm a good engineer, it doesn't moon i'll have an opportunity to express my engineering skills. i will have to befriend someone. >> are you saying people are dying because they want the engineers. >> no, what i'm saying is that a lot of young men are feeling
frustrated? >> they are putting their lives on the line. >> they want regime change. >> of course, they are. how do change the regime is the question. do you change it from inside, without blood shed, do you overthrow it and risk an all out problem, that's the whole thing. >> well, there is blood shed. this is not going to stop. >> you ain't seen nothing yet if you think this is blood shed. >> the question from the audience is what do you know that we don't know. >> i know what people tell me and probably better tell you, what people tell me, they are afraid in their houses from their one person in the demonstration that shouts, and that cannot be, you know, ended. >> coming to the audience in a moment, you daniel, then you. >> i wanted to follow up on what you said. i think in syria, the biggest -- the most devicive force in terms of sectarianism is the regime.
i think for 40 years, they have used the difference sectors in syria as a strategic game. look at the makeup of every cabinet. there's always one person from tartuswhims, they use it. >> i spent last week in beirut where i had -- >> use the microphone. point it right at your mouth. >> i had interesting conversations with close leadership also assad hariri, also hezbollah and hamas. my impression -- what i heard gave me the impression who was going on in syria is not going to remain contained within the borders of syria.
as it aggregates, it will spread out and eventually the key on the side of the turks in the north of syria and iran to protect it's own courts from the infection will have to come in and it will grow up into a confrontation. >> okay. one more thing. i read this slogan, christians to beirut, i read it in the "new york times" three weeks ago. and it was -- and they reported as it was heard in homes. >> okay. now our friend here saying that this is the -- protesters in syria are proxy fighters. do you want to comment on that? we'll take other comments from the audience. >> my experience in beirut was that the syrians who had fled were having a very uncomfortable
time. the anti-regime, freedom seekers as you'd like to call them, knocks in the door at night. they were being intimidated and rounded up. i don't know where this is going to end. could i pass the gone? >> we, we're going to move on a bit. what do they want? you said who they are. who do they want? >> well, the -- it's funny. now what people before the slogan was people wanted the regime. now people are saying we want the downfall of the president. precisely because of the point that ammar raised. some oppositionist are being clever in the way they use language and even the regime itself. they are saying we can change the regime. but essentially, keep the existing power structure, but maybe curve some of the excesses of the forces and make cosmetic
changes and co. -- co-op part of the conversation and this was the road map that was uncovered by, you know, ian black and the guardian. so there's this idea that the regime can stay in place and we can make certain changes and life can go on. i don't think this is very realistic prospect. you know, you mention ahmadinejad and east hezbollah. when they have had east hezbollh thrown down their face, i think people have a right to say, you know, our tormenter, why is hezbollah lebanese who claims to be fighting israel popping up? it's very natural for people to -- for there to be a natural reaction against these people. but on a wider issue, the syrian
regime has gained the of legitimacy from aboard. it doesn't having internal, it's not economically elected. i guess it's been assigning yourself with powerful forces. so it's very natural. now that the regime is in trouble, it will call on these external forces, iran and east side bow ya, -- and hezbollah to save it. it's hezbollah fighters, iranian revolutionary guards who will be fighting if the regime ever reaches the level where it's existence is a threat. >> they are claiming this already. >> i never claimed it. >> the revolution is already claiming. >> some people have suggested it. i haven't suggested it. >> i also asked what do the protesters want, what do you want? >> i want to end of bashar regime. he needs to go. there's a whole very morally
corrupt regime. >> to you, after you. the question is what do the protesters want? >> i think they made a very fair point in highlights there's been a snowball effect. people initially wanted reform and have moved on. but i think actually a key point is being missed here. which isn't about necessarily who's on the street, it's about who's not on the street. and that's about, you know, there are key segments of society, and key geographic call regions which is absolutely key. which i'm not joining in, and that is the question that they have to ask. until that happens, until those key groups, especially, for example, the sunni merchant, urban middle class. until they join, they cannot succeed. >> that's the key question. >> what's your answer? >> why are they not joining it?
they don't want to be the winner. we don't want to be in power. but we don't think the opposition is doing to win. until we are convinced that bashar is going to go. >> talk about the protesters. the key question that i think to talk about is whether the forces are loyal. there are three options of what would happen. one is that the regimes as was mentioned, there would be a huge crackdown and terrify people in submission. the other would cause people to have harm, and the other is they will refuse to chair and there will be some level of deflection. the biggest lesson in the countries where there has been some form of revolution to date and has been because of the top level and the regimes they were built. that hasn't happened yet in yemen or the countries in some form of other on the civil conflict.
that's the key. how many protections? we've heard about 100 people. some things have been in turkey. that's interesting about whether or not syria will be next. >> right. can any of you give us a briefing? >> and the soldier, i would say after we came out of syria and he made exactly this point, he left when he would no longer obey the order to discriminate on the women and children. i think the problem like we saw in the scale in egypt, there has been the senior officers, i believe, who have deflected as of yet. am i right or wrong on this? >> >> there is actually -- >> peek up please. >> there was a colonel from england, which is close which were towns that were hit very badly. and in may, i believe, and colonel there had affected about one month ago. he's now calling for an organization to be set up within
a parallel army called the syria free army. who knows if it will gain weight. the >> the military regime was designed to be two parts. they separated the powers, they have different spy agencies. they placed people local to the regime normally by family in high positions. which means the chances of those officers defecting is far more diminished than on the bottom level. what is interesting about how the army has been diploid is so far the regime has largely be using the group for the division of the guard which is controlled by michelle's brother. they are fearly loyal and will fight until the death. they are being used in the
widespread massacres. what's interesting if you get multiple uprising where the broader army will be able to stay loyal across the board, other than the limited very loyal divisions. >> thanks, just picking up on the point of deflections which we have clearly seen in many different governments around the world and many others. just to say that in terms of international reaction, which has still been too little, bun the things which can happen and hasn't happened is the court and one the many decision that is come out is the sense of people on the top my or can endue course be held responsible. that's a very important signal. >> when i cover countries, i cover sudan. believe me, the referral has made no difference whatsoever. >> okay.
in terms of discussion, if i can ask you, in egypt, the received wisdom is that the military did not shoot on the people. in syria, they are. are they right to be shooting on the people? >> i would like to comment first. >> no, will you just answer my question? >> yeah, i will. when you are shot at, you shoot back. in my visit to syria, i visited the hospital. there were people lying there being shot. now the opposition say they are shooting each other. they know they are not. and somebody else from the demonstrations is shooting at them. they will shoot back. it's all over them. i'll shoot back. >> if the army is shooting on their own people, do they have the right. >> they are not shoot, the opposition and army and security forces shooting at each other. that's absurd. somebody is shooting on the army. we have 1/3 of the casualties. when the conflict started, it started with banyas with an
ambush on the army. on my way, i still can see, you are all invited. you can still see machine gun posts on the bridges where the ambush took place. >> i don't agree with that at pall. i think there's overwhelming video evidence for the deliberate killing of innocent people. women and children. yesterday i saw that we on the tv were at the video of, i think it was a 10-year-old girl in hamah who was shot dead. it's the reality. this is what's happening in syria. and it's shot out in the videos and the child and the man would likely. i think that's a very unlikely
>> i can't give you an update for what was shown on state tv which was so pompous. that was reported by the bcc that it had not been shown. we'll move on to the regime now. can i ask you, sue, it's common in meeting, in fact, to talk about the family running everything. who are the regime, and how wrong is it to narrow it down to family? >> i think all i would add is how disappointing the assad family and british educated and his wife have been with the promise of reform which they came in with, and this is something i heard time and time again when the demonstrations started in april, people had confidence in this man. people had optimism and he was like the old god of politicians and it's wrong to think this protest is in new one.
they really believed in a spring and change in syria. what happened? what wrupted him? -- corrupted him? he's so weak he could not stand up to the more absolutists of many of his family. huge disappointment. this accelerated the protest. the protest started off by addressing bashar assad, and when he didn't, this accelerated the protest. >> the leader of the regime the weakest point of the regime? >> it's a question about who is the leader of the regime, and because, to me, it's more akin to a mafia family. you might have one person as a figure head, but nobody really knows. nobody really knows if bashar is calling the shots or if it's decisions made among the small
group, the national leadership that includes members of the assad family and its associates or if it's wider than that or the man at the top himself. >> just a couple of points. the regime, the king of senior dare -- jordan or something he's a prisoner in his father's prison. whether he's note stronger than the regime at the moment and pick up on the mafia family idea, there was a link with the family because he was a brother who was not supposed to take over, and the question is he afraid or increasingly fido, but is he stronger than family, or is the family stronger than him? >> it's interesting the notion of being held captive in the prison of his father's making. bashar made an effort to remake part of that prison, but in reality it's not better than the
one he inherited. effectively ruled using sort of three different scales within syria. the baath party and the armed force security services. now, when bashar took over and within that, there was opportunity for other people and how they have been manipulated by the regime and while dominated, it was possible for others to exist within that. what bashar did is narrowed that down, hallowed out the party, and it might as well not exist anymore. it's just a talking show. even more than before merged the sect and security armed forces together which is now at the base of the regime so much whereas before it was wrong to say it was just the assad family. now, i think the mafia story is more accurate which is that, you know, it is totally dependent on the assad extended family and the various clans surrounding
that group. there are one of two exceptions, but not that many. one more thing about bashar, the reformers turning out. it's possible he was overwhelmed, but i add this, bashar is not a politician. he had no training. he's an on the tom tryst. he went through the process of the various cues of the 60s and 70s to learn how to rule, but bashar just inherited power. this is the first major crisis on his soil that he suffered and he baffled and proved he's a very weak man not able to control the situation and leave. >> you're nodding, but who runs the army? in egypt, no regime in egypt survived without army support since 1925. in syria, who runs the army? >> the army is run in reality by one who is bashar's brother-in-law.
there are other people who are roles, but when they call the shots, it's those two people. >> i would actually agree apart from the correlation. i would actually agree with you. in a sense when president came to power, he came with his own teeth, and they made a sort of change at the time. when bashar came to power, his father's theme was still in power, and they did not listen to his father even anymore, and one of them is glowsly related, and it is very hard to do change. i can tell you that. when there is amass of people, and when you say "regime" you can go from the top primary position to the, you know, lowest level. >> you agree he was a prisoner in his father's regime? >> anyone would have been a prisoner in his father's regime. >> and you? >> i want to ask why should
bashar and others, ect., stay in power? anyone can reason, at least five, if you can. [laughter] >> i can give you 10 # ,000. >> that's something the regime made up. >> one of the reasons and this was touched by chris, actually, they have taken to the streets once in the 21st of june when 8 or 9 million people went to the streets in support of the president, about 70 or 80% of the electorat. it's not because they like them, but because they cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. that's the point. we cannot see -- i'm pro-regime change, picked up regime change from inside because i cannot see any other way. same way in which you tell me these are the end products.
all they are key simple questions. >> i don't think that answered the question really. >> i am, with regime, staying as it is for the transitional period in which there will be change. >> [inaudible] . >> no, but having mentioned that, i think the way things are going because i have seen it with my own eyes because of the polarization of the society it may well go to 40 years if it goes into one winner and one loser. >> from the government? >> would you like to comment, and we'll get back to the audience? >> very briefly. one of the most popular chance in syria which means god course your soul. people are cursing him, and he's been dead for 11 years. it's the first time any popular revolution where people curse someone who died 11 years prior. people know the problem in syria
is not assad as an individual who might be a very charming man. you never know. it's the system he decided to live with and continue, and actually kill so far 2,000 people to maintain. the problem in syria is the system. now, i've -- something else explains why there's few fee directions or diplomatic defects stayed in their job unlike libya where it happened quickly. assad had a golden rule which anyone who was loyal to him and the regime, he was loyal to that person, so that -- if you're a minister in hama government, you can be defense minister for 30 years, and that's what happened. people who have been corrupted into the government, and have relatives they know they will
not lose their job. most likely, they will not lose their job. they are quite comfortable, you know, public sector job. they will lose it if there was a democracy precisely because two-thirds of the people because they are ineffective and not contributing to the economy. people remain loyal to the government for a variety of reasons, and you have people who on the one hand should be militiamen if you like and on the other extreme there's islamic scholars who are loyal to the president and said it's okay to bow down to the president, and it's a wide spector of people who have been with the regime. >> coming to you next -- is it possible assad will leave syria? >> no. certain from someone who came from hama part of a movement there and the widespread feeling among the people that runs the
country is not bashar and not even just the family, but what they call a counsel made up of representatives of the major clan and ones who decide the fate of the country. >> what part of the regime should the entire assad family be blown up on a fishing boat? what comes next. there's panels and we have an opposition regime fighting the cause, but they are desperate, not organized, not coordinated, there's not a process we saw in libya and right to recognize the council and different question for another time, but there's a process that should the regime fall, and that is an argument to justify the preservation of the current syria regime, but that vacuum that follows is a very dangerous space, so what follows the regime? >> would you like to comment on this, starting with you, daniel? >> yeah. i think this is an idea which i think from the beginning was put out there that, you know, what
help is the regime? you know, one of the things the regime bases itself on is its strong position and say it is like -- has grown roots throughout all sectors of society. nothing goes on in syria without touching the regime, some corruption, something, and that, i think, most of the protesters that i know that i spoke to have had enough, and they don't have -- to be honest, most people say they don't have time to think about what will come after, and they are willing to try that than risk keeping this regime for another 40 years. >> i've been impressed based on democracy that you can already see in syria during the protest, the local coordination committees at the ground level. a lot of syria is proud of what they have achieved so far. you describe the scene in hama, is it true that it's left to be
collected by the protesters in order to confirm the myth they are armed and they are the ones they are violence and a message was sent out by the local coordination committees don't touch them because it creates a situation and gives you a reputation that you don't want or need, and give them a chance. haven't had much experience in the democratic process, but it could be a bottom-up process of what they're seeing. >> what happens next? what would replace the regime? >> most important it's hard to answer the question, and until you find out how the regime falls, and one thing that's difficult to work out is what is the mechanism by which this regime goes? i heard members of the opposition say they are trying hard to separate the army from the security forces, and encouraging members of the army, the chief of staff to stage acoo, and there's a staff situation where you have the
armed forces trying to work out a transition, but in reality trying to protect as much of the old regime assets as possible. if, on the other hand, if that doesn't happen, it's hard to see how the regime is dislodged other than confrontation or civil unrest that goes on for a very long time at which point who is left standing calls the shots, but don't underestimate the ability for a conflict to completely change the original intentions and aims and objectives of the people taking part in it. >> we've heard that from pro-democracy voices in egypt they have not got their democracy either because there's another army person in a nice uniform, and no women. what about you? >> well, it's silly to have a democracy for awhile until it's destroyed in 1958. >> what could place the regime? >> what could replace the regime is the democracy in the 40s and 50s. it's a case of game-on from that
theory. like the side the ree engineering of civil society, i think you'll have an alliance between businessmen on the one hand, clerics on the other, and politicians. >> who could lead and replace assad? who could lead? >> name you some names of people i think are worthy of becoming president at the moment, but i think there will be free and fair elections and the next president of syria will be elected fairly. >> i think we're very much occupied with three or four people of the top of the regime, but they are not the regime. the regime is hundreds of thousands of people. that's why it's very hard to change, and if you kill the president and the president's brother and the head of the military service, you know, that's not changing the regime. the regime will remain. >> you think the regime has a capability to administer an
ininternal pouch or is it too late for that? >> would you take that, then? >> it happened before, and after hama and after the events in the early 80s, the several top members of the government began to back off from what had been done in hama, and they were tricked and sent from a diplomatic mission abroad, and since then, they had to live in exile. it's possible by this stage, i think, this is highly unlikely. >> i think you've been misinformed on this one. >>hamad remains vice president until 2005. he was not sent on a diplomatic mission before. he only effected after the assassination. you may continue. >> misinformed? >> yes, you were. >> perhaps i got the name wrong. >> perhaps you have.
>> check out the international responses being mixed or incoherent, what is it in the panel's view that the international community should be doing and what is it that the regime is most afraid of the international community doing? >> sorry, taking the second part of the question only keeping it in theme, but the lack of intervention comes later. the second part of it, what is the regime most fearful of? would you like to tackle this? >> i have a question because i think -- >> you can answer that question, but not at this moment. >> all right. >> the regime fears most of all -- well, first of all, the regime knows the west is not involved with syria because there's nothing left fighting for, but they are most afraid of turkey. bashar made a strategic error embracing turkey ten years ago and basically invited turkey into syria to set up their factories and employee thousands
of citizens of syria. we invested in you, you have to do what we say or take us on board which so far he hasn't done, and turkey is a very powerful country, and i'm very sure it's hard to get involved, but they can sweep the syria army in a matter of days. >> israel is always the big enemy. in terms of what the government is afraid of in terms of outside influences. i hear time and time again it's israel who is stroking the fire of this content. >> we demonstrate other groups and demonstrated outside the acl. we said the way to tackle the syria issue is not sanctions, but about engagement. with regards to israel itself is actually a key point in this, not only to forbid nato from coming in. it's not that syria doesn't have
oil or anything, but cannot attract nato people to come in. that is an element, indeed, and i agree on that one, but actually israel is the other element because if cornered, the regime may be feared to, you know, mess up with israel a little bit, and nobody -- nobody wants that. >> what does the regime fear? >> israel is not the enemy, but a great friend to the regime. if israel didn't exist, the regime couldn't stay in power. it is the excuse for everything. the damascus spring in 2001 was finished, you know, when israel marched into the west bank. you know, it is -- it was a god send and kept them in power, and they call and say, you know, and they complain and sort of protesters complained that bashar is a rabbit and never does anything and it really is a
huge benefit to have israel there. if it was not there, but would not have the raid, but what they are afraid of is, yes, i agree with turkey from a military perspective, but they are really afraid of the syria people in hama and central damascus because they would not be able to contain it. >> it's the second time you caught our attention on this. you're saying that big undersided middle, that's what the -- that's what -- >> it's a deep assent syria lives in damascus. there's small protests there so far. that's the tipping point. if you get the people out, day in, day out, whatever, the point made before about the ability for the armed forces to contain it, that's too great a number to suppress. >> quickly come on the damascus level because i hear it over and over again. first of all, central damascus damascus is not where people
live. obviously there's not demonstrations in those areas especially in the villages because no one dares go to the areas. because they have moved to the suburbs and places like duma and places like that, that's where the original demonstrations, would have been the central damascus 40 years august, but the most convincing case i've heard ring have not been major demonstrations is simply because the private sector is considerably larger than any other province or city in syria, and the businessmen who employee thousands of people have benefited from the regimes that had this impact with the regime, and the regime will give them a lot of business in a sense for their loyalty, and a lot of
people who would have demonstrated would lose their job. >> i think about what you say with damascus and what struck me on thursday night is they had a virtual shut down of the satellites and the city itself, and they can't move. there's record blocks, army, soldier, and police roadblocks in order to prevent what they do dread which is a demonstration the size of the tahir square. >> just an open question. syria is part of a chain that goeses from algeria to iran, and another important link in the chain is libya and gadhafi's favorite son. if libya falls, nobody said how that impacts syria. would it lose some kind of support? would that affect it in any way? there's clearly a three-legged stool principle if libya goes from the equation, could that affect the regime? would that weaken it? does anyone think about that? >> i think it would be a
psychological defeat, but i don't think it would be anything -- it would be something which was use the by the opposition, but i don't think it would be a physical defeat, no. >> other part of the room here, give them the microphone. >> how is the economy doing? the food and the fuel supply? >> okay. well, the question was the economy, the food and the fuel supply, and where in the section transitioning from the regime to the future, but you keep mentioning the economy. would you like to give us a briefing? the economy is not in very good shape at the moment, you're seeing a lot -- i summarize it's not in good shape, but not as bad as people are making out. the opposition likes to give a narrative of the economy's collapsing, days from money running out, people are taking all their cash, converting it into dollars, running to lebanon, and it will devalue and everything will collapse. in reality, that's not
happening. you are seeing a decline in economic activity, obviously, especially in places where there are protests, but also in in damascus where there's not many protests. people are not, you know, they're not going to buy a mother -- mecedes, so consumption is down, but oil prices are through the roof. about 15 #% of the gdp comes from oil, it's exported, they make money from that, and agriculture having a very bad couple of years with drought has picked up. that's still working. they are trading with turkey, still trading with iraq. it's important and nobody talks about iraq and 20% of the exports go to iraq, and iraq just agreed to give discounted 10,000 barrels of discounted oil
to syria. the economy is looking bad and worse in years, but not as bad as it is made out. >> what you're telling us in different ways, i learn something new every time, but how many of us in the room new facts about the oil? you at the back -- >> yes, sir, one point and one question. the point is there's 9 million people demonstrating carrying out pro-regime demonstrations. i can honestly tell you if you guarantee half the degree of safety to anti-regime protests, you would see more people demonstrating against the government inside the center of damascus. in terns of the question linking the economy and point players, there's rumors about the house and the saudi government on one side of the fence one day and switching the other day. i wonder if the panel can help us here. >> okay. phillip? >> yeah, it's typical for saudi
arabia to sit on the fence. i wish they were still on the fence, but many, many saudi friends have told me they are with the people, but they are actually with bashar. the problem the saudi people face if the regime falls, people will then be thinking, okay, who is next? democracy in saudi, let women drive in saudi, so that's why the saudis are reluctant to see him fall, and the saudis are the guardians of the arab system, this is a wonderful system that you don't get involved in the nationing arabs' internal affairs. people can be butchered next door, just look the other way. this is our system, and we are proud of the system because it cecht them in power and kept their influence steady over the years, and that's why they don't
want bashar to fall. >> okay. now going to talk about possible outcomes, but let's just go around the room. i mentioned at the gipping if you are missing things or came into the room hoping to hear something, let's do that now, get it cleared up, and then possible outcomes. your questions first, then you in the middle there, then you at the back. >> yeah, i have a question relating to the future what happens if the regime does fall. is there an educational movement within the protest to educate people about democracy and how it works? i'm asking because i know in yemen where the protesters are still camped out, every single day there's pro-democracy seminars, education of women, there are ill literal women learning how to read, learning how democracy works, and there is this kind of constant education happening which never occurred before. is there that kind of movement in syria, or is it much too difficult for them to gather and educate people in that way?
>> daniel? >> i think it's far too difficult, and there is, like i say, it's a very disorganized movement and very desperate, and in terms of traveling in the country, it's very difficult, but this is the strength of the movement, you know? it's -- although there's a lack of education, but there's an understanding of what, of how to do things, it's almost as if there isn't the need for educational programs. people run away. >> anyone on the panel have an update of anything taking place here in the u.k.? two months ago bbc and other organizations were reporting protesters outside the syria embassy were photographed by people inside the embassy and the families were being forced to disassociate themselves and were intimidated back here so people here on syria scholarships or visas known to
people here would be, you know, they would turn down the protests. >> anyone want to comment straight away on that? i hope it's relative to the discussion. >> [inaudible] the foreign offices say they can't do anything unless protesters involve going to the police and people are nervous about gong to the police and it's a deadlock at the moment. >> can you give us your briefing and remind us if you protested outside the syria embassy, what happened to the photographs? >> people told me that they were protesting outside the embassy, had pictures taken, video, and people received ano , ma'am nows phone calls, visited houses, and relatives are in syria and a sinister development had happened with their family and telling them get your people in london to lay off. it's a clear attempt by members of the embassy to stop people in the u.k. where they have the freedom to protest here, to stop people doing that. >> what do you make of this?
>> we did a report, but i wonder if anyone who obviously has links within syria knows whether anyone had repercussions of their family within the country? >> [inaudible] >> what about scholarships and travel visas and travel bonds, has that been put into effect yet? >> i don't know. >> would the panel just answer this question. moving on to you in a moment. anything to add on this the question of photography? >> i think this particular matter was very much exaggerated. actually we understand, and the problem is you are not hearing the other voice. that's the problem. the people who were claimed to have visited someone, they were, you know, outside the syria embassy and there's two demonstrations. one pro and one against, and the
pro ones, the police participating in this, is always subject to intimidation. we got one here who was threatened in front of the embassy of slaughter, he's part of the place you. you have another whose family was visited late at night just before the demonstration and they wrote something about it. we are the ones being photographed all the time. yes, perhaps, but when those people visited the other people, you know, and that was interpreted as threatening, they were just visiting them to calm things down. i know these people personally. >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> going back to the home country? >> we heard you, and we're going to hear from malik now on this matter. >> [inaudible] >> well, i think he's a diplomat ic and that happens in all embassies.
>> [inaudible] >> is there someone at the british embassy at damascus who works? >> he doesn't intimidate -- >> i don't think he stepped out of the embassy because i never saw him. >> this question is obviously one very detailed accusation about the regime's behavior of people living in our city. we're moving around the audience, and i remind you don't be disappointed. you in the back. >> how financial solvent the regime is and secondly, what financial support do the actual prozesters have and where do they get financing from? >> okay. a brief answer. >> again, better shape than we think, but they are losing money quite rapidly mostly because they are way overbudget themselves by promising government employees who make up about a fifth of all employees a 20% pay increase during demonstrations which is foolish. they will run out of money, and if they do, they can't pay the
security forces who are doing the butchering, but it's expected that the allies, particularly iran, will offer short term loans or aid in order to cover that deficit. >> can we take it that the protesters don't have money? they are not being funded. >> i would delegate that to the guys that have actually been there. i wouldn't want to comment on that. >> no, you vice president. speak up. >> [inaudible] >> where do the protesters get financing? >> to the streets, and sometimes i heard from protesters when i asked the questioningses, the journal -- questions, the journalists ask what can the west or civil society do? don't interfere because that's playing into the government's hand and it's pair --
paranoia and they say stay away. we'll deal with it. the american and french ambassadors attended protests in hama was was brave or a good idea, but others say no, it was one goal and it allowed the regime to say, look, you're inspired by america and a form of colonial power, so it's a tricky one. >> back to the economic situation. can anybody comment on how the rest of the economy is being affected by what must be a reduction in economic output, and, of course, the complete collapse of tourism, a major source of income to syria. can anybody comment on what the position of the economy is at the moment? >> yeah, i mean, i just want to add, but i totally agree. the economy is in better shape than perceived, but it's running out of money actually. the problem that we have is that
the internal economy, which he has not touched on, is suffering as well. hama and after the 21st of june demonstrations, pro-government situations in hama, they were called dogs and so op, and they are refusing to go to the city and there's barricades checking where are you. if you're from the city, you come in, if you're not, you're not. people are trying to take exams, and people are inside the city, and the shopkeepers are not sending to the outside of the city. >> you in the back and then the front. >> just wondering when you said that you have notçó seen nothing yet, i mean, that brought to mine the 1982 massacre, and is that what you're referring to? how likely is it that we heard the government --
[inaudible] >> i think to the contrary the army has been very surgical this time around. >> political? >> surgical this time around compared to what happened in 1982. they have better intelligence on the ground -- >> what do you think? >> is it a surgical army? >> it doesn't seem like one. >> they have tanks in hama shooting on people. what don't you want to comment on? >> compared to 1982 they were shooting in. i mean, i suppose we agree. i mean, it seems pretty unpleas cant, but i suppose what i'm asking is do you think the government could go further, and just, in fact, withdrawal from the city and shed it from outside and have that situation? >> what i meant -- >> you have to be brief. >> what i meant is not what the government could do more, but if it develops, you have not seen
nothing yet. >> do you think it's a surgical army response? >> not at all, but i do agree the army has not released its full potential on civil population. they could do a lot more damage, and i think they're mapping to fight to the death base they know -- because they know as well as the iran knows because they know if the regime falls, that there will be, you know, similar revolution to paraphrase against a morally corrupt system, and to be able to uproot this system is a big task, and many, many more people will die i'm sure, but i think eventually the syria people will be victorious. >> let's move on to possible outcomes in the final 10 minutes. >> it's a question for everyone here really. the people who want to show
solidarity somehow with democracy protesters in syria beside going to the embassy here, i'd be grateful to hear if there's networks we can join in this country of people campaigning or doing anything at all to show solidarity. >> thank you for your question which leads to the judgment ever what international reactions are, so let's ask questions on the possible outcomes. is there going to be no western intervention in syria? anyone on the pam wish to disagree with that statement in right. anyone in the audience want to predict western intervention or is it a room full of people saying there ain't going to be any, right. you put your hand up. are you predicting there's we were intervention? >> it cannot mean always europe. turkey is in the middle and can be a question, and there's a strong, in my opinion, turkey might to a level intervene on the north part of syria. >> i'm not being rude, but go
on. what do you know about? is it because of the refugees crossing there that have to make some response in that part, or is it to make a change in syria you're predicting? >> it will not be entirely for the benefit of the serian people. governments don't work that way. their people first, and then how they can prop themselves up at the same time. we have the issue of a lot of refugees in that part of syria, so there's pressure on turkey to intervene, but let's not forget the factor of the turk irk position on the turkey-syria border. they don't want trouble spilling over into its borders, and that's why they could intervene. >> panel, do you have possible outcomes at the conclusions and then back to the audience. sue, do you have a time scale? >> i'm depressed. people talk like they don't want outside intervention because it plays into the government's game. we see largely up equipped
unarmed protest movement, a government who is prepared to routelessly put it down, and it's op one side and the others have nothing to fight back on. i'm depress the. i didn't think that would be the outcome of most of the room. >> do you think more skirmishes in which civilians are killed surgical or a blood-shedding military? >> the government showed no appetite to change or willingness to budge. people say there have been so many killed now, we are not going back. it is stalemated, and it's a bloody stalemate and there's not an outcome we want to welcome in 5-10 years time. >> a prediction from the floor? yes, sir, you have the microphone. you can also ask a question. >> ye, in terms of possible change, it's bad news and the opposition is not organized or united, the military is loyal.
bashar with the family or even a thousand strong executives. if there is a weak link and any prospect for change? where is that going to come from? >> [inaudible] >> well, i think obviously i'd hate to predict, but i'll try. i'll say that -- two possible outcomes, first one would be for the government, the regime to hit a deal with certain elements of the opposition, and for those oppositions to try to convince the streets that if you continue protesting, everyone will be a loser, so let's calm down, go home, and build on the concessions of the government gives you. this is one scenario, and i know there's opposition leaders in syria willing to use this idea. whether there's people in syria
is a different issue, but the other scenario is a low larry king live civil -- low level where civil fight back against army forces, and i suspect many will be killed, civilians and members of the security forces. it's similar to what happened in syria in the 1980s when people rose up. you had people carrying out hit and run attacks against the army and security forces. the only difference is in the 1980s, the people were carrying out attacks were isolated from the general population, but now they have the full support of the general population, and it's extremely difficult for the army which is in syria 300,000 strong, it's hard for that army to remain cohesive if that happens. >> we have audience members if turkey crosses the border, do you think that might happen? >> well, turkey, look around and obviously turkey wantings to be
part of the big game in the middle east, and you can see iran is supporting assad and if he is the winner out of this revolution failing and sac is still in place, iran will be strengthened and turkey is weaker. they have an interest of overthrowing assad at some stage, maybe not now, but in the future. there is a historical parallel that syria was governed by a man for a long time and there was bad rulers, military elite who did a bad job of administering the country and the opposition came in and chopped them up. >> daniel, chris, and your own possible outcomes. >> first outcome is civil war potentially, and sooner rather than later i feel just from my experience, and i think that's the definition of sense, civil war is up likely in with the way the army is arranged.
we could see an insurgency that could last a long time, and that could happen fairly soon. again, perhaps the current situation could continue for some time, i think, and -- >> phillip? >> yeah, i think i'm a pessimist on this one. i don't think that this is leading to anywhere easy. there will be a winner and loser at the end of the day. i agree with malik that, you know, an underground movement could well develop, but at the end of the day what people feel on my side at least is that the president and the government will do some sort of political solution by which they appease the majority of the people. >> i hate to join the course of pessimism, but i also forecast not a great situation. i think that this unfortunately has a lot further to go.
i actually think that for all the talk of surgical army tactics and things, there's clearly been a decision to limit the number of people killed each day to reach a point that the international community can stomach, and that's up fortunate, and what we've seen so far will continue for a long time. the protesters will grow, but won't reach a critical mass. i'm hopeful that after a long period of time, six months or so, there will be some kind of internal coo where they can decapitate the assad and other members of the alawite elite and others can take droll and sell that. the problem with the opposition, of course, is they are effectively leaderless and local committees based on reaming are going to need to be sold to deal, and that's going to be very, very difficult. >> can you characterize your
position of surgical and bloodthirsty. you're applying killing as a daily limit. is that your word? >> there's clearly been -- the regime are not stupid as a lot of people make out. they are aware of international opinion. they are also aware of how many gadhafi killed and the fear of another sort of, you know, a massacre turned very quickly. there is precision there on quotas and numbers of people seen as stomachble for the international community. >> back to the audience who has nod asked a question or made a statement. you don't have a microphone. we're going to give you one. >> [inaudible] >> yes, you do. people are watching all over the world. >> i have a question for mr. malik. the army and who support them
how they employed to take it, and all these men who they control in the demonstration as the mafia, and the second thing, one more question, how many percentage they are so far up to five -- [inaudible] how many they counted and if we -- [inaudible] >> thank you. that's a lot to get through, but 2 million people, not many protesters. do you want to comment briefly? >> i mean, last friday estimates were about 3 million protesters. 3 million out of 24 million who risk their lives to demonstrate. that's impressive, but the easy answer to your question would be to hold a free and fair election with international supervision, and let's just settle this using an electionment i think that's the best thing to do. >> okay. look, it's 25 past 8. i said you could ask this lady a
question. you can after the panel. >> [inaudible] >> oh, i'm sorry. there will be time. we heard a great deal from the panel. assad is a weak leader. iraq is selling discounted oil. turkey may cross the border. the protesters are desperate, but determined. we heard prodictions of status quo, and i hope we have a full airing in the room. i thank you for your role in the audience an the panel briefing us and helping us inch further in understanding the situation. thank you all very much indeed. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
the health of the democracy. some of the most vicious dictatorships in the world get voter turn out of 95%-99% when they hold elections. >> voting is a responsible act and i'm informed, have not had the time and so on, i should not be forced to make a decision which is life and death for many people. it would be immoral to do that. >> today and tomorrow on c-span,ed study for responsive law host a series of debates looking at controversial topics. monday, the pros and cons of voting with aei and the competitive enterprise institute and tews professors from georgetown and university of massachusetts on taxes stock trades, derivatives, and on today and tuesday at 6 p.m. eastern.
>> a senate subcommittee on homeland security and governmental affairs held a hearing to examine the federal leasing process and whether it's an first time use of taxpayer dollars. according to government data, federal agencies occupy over 635 million scare feet of leased building space domestically in fiscal year 2009. this hearing is just under two hours. >> good afternoon, everyone. on behalf the senator brown and myself, welcome to today's hearing. i was listening to senator brown that we may be the only hearing in the senate today.
i don't know, but the others are dropping like flies. you see the two of us here, we are serious about saving money, and we are for our country, but we are glad that our witnesses could be here today. today we're going to examine the challenges our federal government faces managing its real property and in particular its relicense on space leased from the private sector to satisfy long-term real estate needs. i just addressed a group over in the house side a little why ago, and they come from the accounting industry, the auditing industry, and they do a lot of work as a firm to support the gao's efforts with respect to high-risk list, high risk for using a lot of money, taxpayer money, but we have had a number of hearings in the past about a
real estate high risk and how literally thousands of pieces of property sit around that the federal government owns that we pay utilities for, may want naps and security for that we have to get rid of. there's something else we spend money for and gao is riding for this a couple years, and we have a lot of agencies that lease space for years. in some cases for decades, and they'd salve a lot of money up stead of leasing, we buy the stuff. there is a lot of instances where it makes sense to lease like the census office. it doesn't make sense to buy the pieces of property that's used once every ten years, but that's a little of a background here, but there's a general consensus that our federal government has to get smarter about the ways we manage our buildings and land. presidents in both parties now have made doing so a top
management priority and with concerns over the implication of our deficit and gnarl debt, eliminating waste, achieving cost savings in this area is a top priority for us, and i hope for the rest of the colleagues in the house and administration rmt between 2001 and 2009, we ran up much debt as we did in the first 208 years of our nation's history. last year may be the largest budget deficit in our nation's history. with us here in washington are united in the desire to find a solution to the nation's fiscal problems. we face an ocean of red ink as far as the eye can see after enactment of the spending cuts in the legislation to raise the country's debt ceiling. a wide variety of ideas have been put forward on how to reduce the budget deficit and widdle down our debt. last fall the majority of the bipartisan deficit commission cohaired by a former senator
from wyoming and chief of staff to then former president bill clinton provided us with a road map to reduce accumulated federal deficits over the next decade by some $4 trillion and at the same time getting reform of the een titlement programs, tax reform, a comprehensive approach and would actually now just be a deal, it would have been a solution to the challenge that we face, and their work is reenforced by the gang of six, three democrats three republicans, and unfortunately, in my view, the president filed too late as it turns out, and the leaders of the house, senate, democrat, and republican didn't follow it at all, and that's a sad thing, i think, for this country, but as a result we settledded for a bill that does little to tackle our long term
financial challenges, and it was a deal, not a solution, and not a good deal as far as i'm concerned. it only addresses the symptoms of the nation's fiscal ailments specifically the debt ceiling, but failed to cure the disease of debt and deficits, and we put off tomorrow, later this year, early next year what we should have been doing right now. how many times do you want us to remember now and my staff feels that way, but i'll say it for as long as i'm here. americans believe us here in washington are not taking the difficult steps needed to put us back on the right track and given the last few weeks, it's easy to see where they feel that way. managing the tax dollars they een trust us with and look at decisions made in recent years and also the poor management across government and question whether the culture here is broken. they request whether we're
people making the tough decisions that american families make with their own budgets, and i don't blame folks for being spectacle in the rates we've seen in recent months and days. now more than ever, we have to establish a different culture here in washington and we need to move to a culture of spend thrift to a culture of thrift. this shift must involve looking in every nook and cranny of the federal government and asking this question about all kinds of programs, domestic, discretionary, entitlement programs and how do wet get a better result for less money or same amount of money? when it comes to property management, we can get better results and save money. federal property management has been in the high risk list since january of 2003. in part due to significant amounts of excess property. this problem is coupled with the
fact that federal agencies depend on costly, too often depend on costly leased space to meet new space requirements but ownership has been more cost effective over time, not always, but oftentimes. the most recent data available shows federal agencies possess more than 45,000 underutilized buildings totaling 345 million square feet in space. this costs nearly $1.7 billion annually to secure and maintain. tixing that problem doesn't balance the budget, but it's a great step in the right direction. gao told us that we've been too relint on leasing since 2008gsa has leased more property than it owns, and in 201 # 1, the agency spends over $5 billion to house federal employees in 184 million square feet of private office space. in addition, while gsa is a
central leasing agent for the federal government and responsible for managing and obtaining space for agencies, many agencies obtained their own leasing authority, and in doing so have chosen not to take advantage of gsa's expertise in real estate. given the agencies lack experience in performing lease procurements, they often bind the government into costly, long-term lease obligations that result in millions of dollars in additional costs to the federal government. actually, tens of millions, maybe even hups of millions of extra dollars in costs. for example, the u.s. security exchange commission, we know this all too well, but it's an agency granted independent leasing authority along with other agencies. in july 2010, the commission entered into a sole source lease for 900,000 square feet, a privately owned building called the constitution center in washington and that cost taxpayers $566 million over ten years, and although there's
independent leasing authority for more than 20 years, the commission's inspector general found the agency still lacks adequate policies and procedures for managing its leasing actionings. in fact, this was the second time within the past five years in which the fcc was involved in an unnecessarily expensive leasing arrangement. unfortunately, this is not the only agency that operates this way. similarly in 2006, the fbi executed a 30-year operating lease to house employees in its chicago field office that cost an estimated $40 million more than construction over a 30-year period. fortunately, both congress and the obama administration are united in addressing these issues. the president's latest budget included recommendation to form a civilian property realignment board to review the property port foe owe and rid of those deemed in excess in an expedited