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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  June 8, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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of the well bore and the casings down there. if you exert pressure on that, you would force oil out into the formation or the strata and have it come up to the seafloor. you want to produce the oil for safety and containment reasons. >> should they have to forfeit that oil? >> that is above my pay grade. >> they are the responsible party. they're going to bear the cost for exactly what the admiral is describing. i think those costs are likely to greatly exceed what the oil that is recouped is sold all -- sold for on the market. they ran for -- on response and recovery, there will be penalties that will be involved in this, and the many billions of dollars. >> back to the skimmers three people are asking where the skimmers. >> we're doing a national inventory right now. skimmers are now -- the quantity of demand, and we're looking at the national inventory. we may have to make a decision
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to move skimmers from some part of the united states and basically accept the risk that if there is an event there to bring them here, and we're having that discussion right now. .
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>> our goal is to find out. grow the next day and it may move around. it is a model of the gulf. it is pixels on the screen and data going down the column. and that's happening now. you put it in a computer and come up with a data model. that's what is going on. >> big large plumes? >> it hasn't beep established by testing. we understand there's densities down there. as she said, they haven't been characterized yet. that's why there's sampling. >> there's conflicting reports about birds covered in oil as far as texas. >> i haven't seen that report but we'll check on that. >> following up on the issue over the weekend, it would, the clean-up could take months. i talked to groups this morning that say that's a pipe dream.
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they believe based on the valdez situation, it could be three, four, five years, or more than that that clean-up will be going on? do you disagree with that? >> maybe it is the way it is characterizedized. long-term issues will be years. i separated out two different functions -- functions. >> i have no argument with that. >> when we were down there with the president, we got shots of work crews on the beaches. there's rules they could work 20 minutes in every hour. and we stood down the peach and we could not get a shot of anybody working in the hour. we were on the beach and i know people in grand isles are irrate. let us do it. why the rules? would you oppose people -- is
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there a way for the people that live there and let them do it. >> we have a program qualified responders. we bring them in and teach them to do tasks. it is driving up and down the beach and raking and removing debris. a number of states put then out to work there. i don't know about the particulars of your situation, that's available. >> are you aware -- is there really as we were told a 20-minute limit? >> not me personally. we'll get the information. >> anybody that deals with contacting substance as the admiral said there's a training program that is involved we're taking worker health seriously. we don't want to find weeks and months and years later we didn't put enough safeguard in in the front end to insure the safety of those that are contracted or
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volunteer to help. >> we want them to be integrated in our response and we contacted osha. >> the containment cap is putting out more than the ship is able to carry. and there's another ship being brought in. why is this just being done? expr one step behind? >> they're not at a rate -- they could be spooling it up and there could be a vessel. >> is that why they didn't close the valve they didn't want to -- >> as i understand it also, there are, there's concern about hydrates. there's concern about pressure. this is a delicate cap. we want to ramp this up so this is a solution that we could work with for weeks and months and don't -- don't do something too rapidly to cause something
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tragic to happen. >> they started a production platform in anticipation they would replace this with a higher capacity platform. it is a large ship and some are coming as far as the north sea to bring in the mat forms that are floating that could do this at a much larger rate. >> and they consistently underestimated the amount of the flow, the know rate. the government doesn't seem to know it. why is this so difficult? >> frankly, b.p. is not doing estimates on flow rate. we established our own group and it is independent. those estimates i gave you are estimates that we're doing. they could do it good they want. we want the american people to understand that flow rates are developed under models. that's governmental with third parties. i think there's a lot of talk about transparency. you need to be assured we're doing this and we're -- >> we talked about here, chip, the amount of oil that heaks
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will help determine the -- the fine that b.p. incurs. while our interest relies on capping the well, we would never ask b.p. to tell us how much oil they think has leaked in order for us to determine the compensation and penalty that is to be derived from it. understanding that again the flow-rate technical group was stood up and as the admiral said countless times, a response was not dictated upon a flow mechanism. but the group was set up because when he a -- hold on. we had a better idea and could use better equipment, nasa equipment. equipment from all over to get as best an estimate as we could for an event that is happening five -- 5,000 feet below the surface of the water. the analogy somebody used to me was we're trying to measure
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5,000 feet below the surface. the amount of material that is coming up if you were to shake a coke can. now, that's not a perfect analogy because most coke cans are 12 ounces and you know the amount. the flow rate technical group is going back and looking at the information we have now. the information posts a sheer cut and whether the admiral says we could get a closer range as to quhapped. >> there was a time when you were saying that the flow rate wasn't serble because you were planning for the worst case scenario but there's examples. -- but it is relevant as to how much you could capture and whether top kill -- >> at one point in the response, we said, it is time to get a better estimate because we need to know the amount of oil discharged only for the purposes of what falls on it and overall impact. you're right.
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in -- in the beginning it wasn't quite as required in terms of timeliness but has to be done. that's the reason we're doing it. do you question whether b.p. has resources to bring to this when they filed the application for the drilling permit? >> are you talking for the drilling permit for the original well? >> uh-huh. >> we have exceeded the assets for the response. we far exceeded because of the breadth, it is from florida to port st. joe. it is more than in the plan. >> b.p. -- b.p. brought all they said they would. >> yeah, the resources in the plan were brought to bear. that's correct. >> anything right now that b.p. is not doing that you would like to see them doing? >> we like them to get better at claims. and 24r -- there are two issues with claims, one is timeliness. they made things fairly easy.
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if you show up with a w-2 form or evidence of employment, they're starting to make partial claims and we need to get that route -- routine. and we have somebody on my staff to have a meeting with b.p. there's a second larger issue that the they identified to the president and the governor of alabama indicated to me. that's the business of putting claims in. seafood manufacturing plants and so forth. those are -- those claims are processed in a different way and require different documentation. it requires information about the business themselves. that appears to be cumbersome. we're going to have a meeting with british petroleum and simplify it. they don't have a history of coming and doing that work. they brought in contractors and adjusters. we think they need to do that better and quicker. >> we heard this as the admiral
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said on friday, both with elected officials and when we met with fishermen and we met with seafood processors who -- who are going through this process. we have -- we have set up as we talk about on friday, if you go to disaster assistance.gov, there's a large icon for people to go to if they're having difficulty getting claims adjudicate bid b.p. there's an official through fema that tworks with the national incident commander to insure this process is moving along as quickly as it needs to. we have got problems with as the admiral said major claims being paid and -- different -- different things along the route. a processor said, we -- we catch
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the shrimp and then freeze it. while the processor may not be seeing a lessoning in the output based on what they had caught previously, obviously because -- because a huge portion of the gulf is closed to commercial fishing, more shrimp is not come in. that back end of that process is ending, while if you just simi looked at the business, the sheer output would not necessarily look different. so those are things that we're asking b.p. to work through. it is something that the president -- >> the best example. the president and i met with local leaders and had lunch with them as a marine operator. having maybe 10% of the boats tied up than normal this time of year and all of the associated support for that. the food and local businesses being used for meals and that kind of stuff. that's very complex. we got to get to the bottom of this and make sure the folks have access to the claims process.
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>> even in the economics chain eligible for reimbursement. if you provide food, is it all the way down? >> you're asking questions we never had to answer in an oil spill this large. that's what we're working through this week. tracy, we brought her over here with us on the national command staff and she's coordinated that for us. we're delving into that this week. >> you said when the second platform arrives they'll be able to contain about 20,000 barrels of oil. >> produce 20,000. >> did that mean when you look at the two models that you're expecting it to be closer to the 25,000 barrels of oil? >> we have that capacity. we haven't established the flow rate. we're trying to get the exact numbers. >> it could end up being higher than 25,000? >> we're dealing with the residual oil until we get the
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larger production platform i talked. >> 25 is before the shear and we'll increase it by 20%. >> the flow rate group is as i understand it going through the larger flow rate as well as trying to hone in on what we think we might have seen in terms of increased capacity after the shear cut. >> we're not trying to low ball or high ball. we need to tell you that. >> 20,000 barrels of oil per day once the second platform? >> that's anticipated to be replaced by a larger platform in several weeks. >> and how often do you speak to tony hayward? >> as often as i need to, either hayward or dudley. i would say daily or multiple times in the day. >> have you brought up the claims issues? >> yes. >> what is their response? >> they're looking for input and direction. they want to do this right. it is not a core competency of
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b.p., we need to give them help and guidance. that's what we're doing. >> the meeting you're having there week, will that be with tony hayward? >> no the person that runs claims processing. if i need to meet with him. myself and tracy. >> when you speak to them, do you trust the information they're giving you? >> i get this question all the time. i'm not sure it is a matter of trust. we're working together, it is cooperative. we try to create unity of effort. if i ask them for information, i get it, if i think i need more, i go back and ask them, if there's an ambiguityity, i go back and i say i can't go on until i know this. >> we're asking if and will be asking for greater transparency on the claims process. trying to shorten the window for what b.p. is legally required to do in filling the claims but in
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having, a broader understanding of -- through transparency about what what has yet to be fulfilled. >> we're arguing with a personally identifiable information. there are privacy issues and fection finding claims. it is how you manage the process, and we want to get it right. >> disperseants. catch us up on what you're using and what is the environmental feel you have? secondly on the sand berms in louisiana? do you have two up or where are we in that process? are they being contemplated along the possible spill target areas as the spill continues? lastly, you said you would look into the issue whether or not b.p. held or would withhold video early on from the disaster from public relief? >> i think we issued a statement on that. i don't think there's an indication we did do that. my -- my press assistant can
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make it available to you. go back. i forgot the first question. disperseants. we reached the 1 million gallon threshold. it is sheer magnitude. i have had frequent contact with lisa jackson on this. the overall approach is to minimize the amount of disperseants being used on the surface because they're not as effective as the others. they go on top of the oil and you get less effect because there's oil. if the oil is several inches deep, they react on the top and you need to mix it up and emulsify it. we applied it with a wand at the point of discharge. there's a better mixing already. much more effective at much lower rate. our general strategy is to use subsea disfirstants and minimize the amount needed for safety and accident circumstances. i'll give you one, if you saw we
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did video out there. in the background one of the off-shore supply vehicles was spraying water all around. that was to put down compounds that were coming up out of the oil that was around the ship that was producing. there actually was a threat to personal safety and health there on those vapors. disperseants put those down. you rather use water, there may be times that you use disperseants to reduce those vapors. those are the types of things we would talk about. they give us a plan and e.p.a. is aware of that. our on-scene coordinator is trying to reduce that. we need to use those in judicious amounts. sand berms, at this point the president made the decision last week, we authorized six segments
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presented by the corps of engineers. i understand they have funny mechanisms in place. the real issue right now is available at barges. the barges are starting to work right away. i can -- i can verify this for you. i believe the first place that will work is around the chand here islands because the sand source is close enough to get to work right away. when you go to the west of the mississippi river, they'll take sand from offshore and deposit it on the seabed and retransmit it to make the berms on the island. that's much longer process. i talked with the head of the corps of engineers about their able to free up barges from other projects. and they're looking nationally at the dredge capacity. it is a matter of finding the dredge capacity. they'll have to take sand and move it close to shore and move it again. if they come up against a capacity problem, in drenls, we
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could do something called a waiver of the jones act which allows us to bring dredges in. that would be -- i would consider that only as a last last gap that may be needed. i don't think we're there. and louisiana has not told me that yet. >> if i'm not mistaken, each night the fax sheet contains an updated number in the amount of surface and subsea disperseants used so, so people -- people should be able to track each day how much is there. >> on the claims process, what role is the government playing or could they play and for in and manage it for and with b.p. on royalties, is p.p. committed to paying royalties on the oil collective. >> i'm not sure of the royalty issue. >> let me check on that. >> on the claims process, what we're trying to do is create independent teams for every state. and so, facilitate them and the
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state gets the vames process and identify problems and move ahead. there's a fairly novel idea being approached in alabama, that's training national guardsmen and assist folk in claims. you have a multiplier effect. that's discussed today between tracy wearing and the folks if policeman. we'll have teams in every state. we want to get to these folks. some folks are sitting back and think it won't work. those folks got to know they put in the claims, they're going to get paid and we need to help them understand that and how to do it. >> cheryl? >> over the weekend, tony hayward said the b.p. was not prepared for the spill of this. the coast guard is the frontline agency, what about the coast guard, did you discount the possibility of a major blowout in the gulf? >> no, we anticipated that could happen. in april of 2002, we ran an exercise on an offshore oil core
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about 90 miles west of where this happened. we had a similar event but it was shallower water. i was the commander of that. we ran it out of the superdome and we have known about them and planned for them. what made this one different is the amount of area this oil is covering and the breadth from central louisiana clear over to this point port st. joe. i don't think we ever envisioned it would get that far and have the requirement to have so many resources over such a wide area. you think of an oil slick coming in at mass. you think of the valdez. that's what is different. if anything is taxing the resource it is the breadth of the oil. i don't think that was anticipated in any plans. >> any reason why that wasn't anticipated? never happened before? >> what you do some in a response plan, you come up with
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a worst case and you identify resource that is could be brought to the scene in terms of stemming and berming areas. those were identified. but if you have to replicate that, across the entire gulf, you start multiplying the resource requirements and that's something we probably need to look at as a commission takes a look at the response. i don't think it was any kind of lack of duty or anything like that, i think it was a peculiar set of circumstances that frankly weren't anticipated and i think they'll have to be anticipated in the future. >> we said this before. the last time you saw a spill of this magnitude was off the gulf of mexico in 1979, the president asked the commission and the interior to insure that -- that we're taking all precautions and all possible scenarios into account. it is probably safe to say if something doesn't happen since 1979, you take your eye off that.
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>> i think -- i think we need to be totally transparent and learn as much as we can from this thing. i think even is on board with that. there's something we could do better in the future and change our response plan, we need to do that. >> personally, you have become the face of the spill over the last week and a half. i can't imagine that is how you expected to end your career. i told somebody i'm failing to get fired. yeah, i didn't anticipate this would happen at the end of my career. i'm honored to be asked to do this. it is not easy, it is complex. it is one of the hardest things i had to deal with but clearly we need unity of evident and that has to happen, what makes the spill different and i hear talk. let's bring in d.o.d. and things like that. when you have a military operation, you're operating under the title 10 and there's a chain of command clear to the president. in this one, we different
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cabinet departments with roles and responsibilities and mission that is they're required to conduct out there. the real goal in this environment and in any incident is unity of effort and not command. that's what we're trying to achieve, people have stake holders and responsibilities. there's the responsibility between fish and wildlife and noah. fish and wildlife has eveninging dangered species and noah is responsible for fisheries. they both have equitys in the gulf and the question is how do you create unity of effort. that's a challenge. >> on your public responsibilities doing briefing such as this, do they take away from the incident commanders. >> this is always a very valuable practice. >> sort of a softball, mark. on the skimming and shoreline, you say the boom isn't a silver bullet, where is the -- how many skimmers are actually out there
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now close enough to shore to be doing good? and are there really no other higher techniques to -- to -- to protect the shore hein other than the booms? are there new technologies that haven't been tried in past spills. >> we have a separate team that is looking at tech noles. we're actually evaluating those. there are very different types of skimming capability. and there -- some are effective in different parts of the water. the question is getting the right skimmer for the oil you want to recover and the depth of water and where it is at. they're different than what you do in five or six feet in the back bay. you have skimming systems that are drums, and the oil sticks to it and they role up and scrape off and they continue to capture it. there's some systems where you'll have a boom with a pocket at the end. you carry the oil and evacuate it out. there's systems that actually, they'll take a circle and dop it below the surface of the water and have the oil flow into it.
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they recover it and pump it out. there's stuff out this. what we have to do is match the quantity of skimmers with the vessels we got. that's how the characterization of this response has changed. we're having to adapt with it. >> that has been hard to get in close enough to protect the -- i think we're all going over. >> the best thing to do is get the vessels of opportunity. they have boats that could operate there and match the right skimmer to them. that's the process that we're going through right now. >> all right. >> you mentioned vessels of at some point were not on hand until recently, the additional platforms go to the way to the site. the systems are being set up and finalized. could you address the perception that is -- as vanna put t the response has consistently been a couple of steps behind. >> i think we're adapting to an enemy that changes. the nature of the spill a has changed continuously since day one. we had oil one spot. this has been aggravated and as the spill changed our responses
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have to change. for instance, oil or hurricanes and weather are ago gnostic to boundaries between states. all of our response and organization of structure is by states and our cap the port zones. so the difference between incident command at home and mobile is the labor that divides louisiana and mississippi. you talk about an artificial boundary. we have to adapt. as this gets broad and goes across different jurisdictions we have to change the command and control structure and adapt. you could say there's a lateancy period. we're trying to adapt and learn from a spill that never happened pf in this country. are you taking other questions now? >> we can take them now. >> you said you pished an order that journalists will have ungettered access to the disaster site.
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what are you going to do for b.p. for preventing journalists from getting access? prior to now and going forward? >> if we have to we could issue an administrative order. if they violate it there's statutes associated with it. i put out a general guidance, there's two reason that is media should be prohit -- prohibited from an area, it is safety. other than we're put nothing restrictions on access. we can't tell somebody to talk to somebody if they don't want to. but my policy is -- unless it is a security or safety reason, there's no restriction on access. >> and that's the number one. if b.p. calculates keeping journalists away from oily burns than whatever down the road -- >> give me, somebody would have to give me a specifics of an incident. >> and they told me to go away. >> hypothetical, if you give me the facts i'll react. >> and they can't talk.
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>> if you talk -- they're not permitted. >> i'll have a call with tony hayward. >> and the director james cameron said he offered to help film the -- the site, the disaster site and b.p. told him no. what he says is that currently, the video stream we have, the only video we have, imans of the leak are controlled by what he characterized as criminal. doesn't he have a point that it is worth risk to have somebody other than b.p. provide images of the leak? >> i know maine he met with lisa scrg. i would make this observation and i talked to mr. cameron myself. all of the video that is coming out of the operation right now from the vehicles is available. we have, we made that available, actually, there was some concern, we started the top kill process that may put too much pressure on the operators and b.p. wanted a delayed broadcast
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to remove that risk in the control room and it was decided, after a conversation with -- between myself and tony hayward that the need for transparency overwhelmed whatever risk there may be. they're conducting what they would call simultaneous operations. and within a qug square mile area, within the well head and reiser pipe, you could have 14 and 20 r.o.v.'s. the need to keep them for safety reasons. we had to stop and reinsert the tool, the reason for that the r.o.v.'s were working the tube bumped into each other. it caused the tube to be dislodged. there's an issue about density and the number of r.o.v.'s. i appreciate mr. cameron's comments but putting another one down there may increase the risk to the operation and there are a number of them operating down
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there. does the president have a reaction over -- about the remarks from friday? >> i have not spoken with him directly. i would say this, about tommy, i think those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. i think she should and has apologized. obviously those remarks are -- do not reflect certainly the opinion of, i assume most of the people in here and -- certainly not of the administration. on the issue of disaggregation, which i think means breaking up. >> simple sailor talk. not too simple family broadcast. >> does that make it more difficult? >> yeah.
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it plakes it more difficult but when it comes to shore, it is not a mass, or huge impact in one place. there's oil in the water, and nothing but bad happens. but it does lesson the impact where it comes ashore. it is not coming ashore in mass but at different places. >> and it is increasing the -- vastly the complexity of the response. >> it naturally occurring or is the disperseant add to that. it is all above. and there may have been mechanical skimming and disperseants being applied. the oil went this way and some went that way. and you have currents moving it around and title currents as well. depending on when the oil came to the surface under what environmental conditions could have created a small batch of oil, and moved it one direction and then another one another direction. that's what we're dealing with. >> and on balance, the use of disperseants worth while even though it breaks it up and makes it harder to skim or stop in
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different places. >> i believe there's enough concern as we approach the million gallon mark and specifically from lisa jackson and others regarding the unknown implications of that amount of disperseants, out of caution we may need it from time to time, we need to have a minimum amount of disperseants only when the most appropriate and we need to use them to create a effect and disperse it at the site of the leak. >> have you used them on the surface? >> yes. >> and the effect that went for a much greater in the reduction of the volume is -- has been several weeks old. steven. >> given the delicacy of the containment cap solution, are you confident it would remain effect in the month that is it will take to dig the wells? and what kind of maint espn is done down there. would there ever. would a scenario can ever rise
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where it might be. you may have to stop producing the oil to fix the oil upgrade or whatever? >> i don't think we should ever be comfortable with the containment operation. we ought to watch it closely. we ought to be ruthless in oversight of b.p. once we know what the flow rate is and we need to understand completely that if we severe weather in the form of a hurricane, there may be times when we have to disconnect that operation and reestablish it and during that time, we'll have oil coming to the surface again. that's the reason i said, this is a long campaign and we're going to be dealing with this oil for the foreseeable future. >> and questions. one, has b.p. consulted with the british government on issues of reinforcing the british military in an effort to help and if so what was said? i would say i have no contact with the british government per se but we have looked at foreign
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officers of assistance. we have taken boom and skimming capability and accepted that. b.p. made a number of purchases overseas, especially the middle east, they have the equipment and it is flown in. and i'm adding to the military. and we had canadian forces down that have beep ply flying missions with the aircraft. there's a lot of international outreach but nothing direct. >> and what about the british government can, especially since b.p. is based over there. why not? >> we could reach out and contact. anybody that brings to the fight, we'll consider it. i have no problem with that. >> and you're talking about optimizing production, what about lessoning weight? is it coast effective to recycle some of the wasted well that has been spilled and -- how -- go ahead. >> almost all of the recovered oil is recycled one way or the other, with the exception, if it
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is contaminated sand or debris, that actually in some cases can be oily waste or hazardous waste and it is treated according to guidelines. lisa jackson been out and locked. we went to facilities to make sure how they're handling the waste. it has to be disposed up at places. those are following the guidelines. >> marshland oil and reeds. >> anything that got oil on it, it buc becomes, it has to be disposed of in accordance with federal haw. it is not cost effective to do that? >> some is done through incineration. if it could be reclimbed, that happens. it gets to the point where it is just debris, then we dispose of that according to federal guidelines. e.p.a. is consulting with us and making sure of that. we go out and visit the federal sites, one thing we look at is waste disopposal and decontam
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mation and every base has a station ready for boom or boots or clothing, when you go in this, it is put into a tank and the oil is decanted and recycled. >> sam and enthen we should go to this meeting. >> just a quick question. can you discuss the benefits in the shortcomings going forward of requiring oil companies to drill relief wells simultaneously to the production of pill. would that have helped in the current situation, had b.p. actually had that up on line before the spill took place? >> i have not had that discussion. i think that would be a legitimate point to be raised and put in front of the commission as they do their work. >> that would fall under i think sam, the reg tear framework that the commission will evaluate in order to determine the best way to operate this in a fail safe atmosphere moving forward. >> thanks.
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>> president obama says his administration is focusing on including the claims process for those affected by the oil spill. he spoke briefly with reporters after a cabinet meeting. >> we wanted to make sure there
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was clarity about the coming months. we have reports from the scientists that the top cap mechanism is beginning to capture some of the oil. we're still trying to get a better determination as to how much it is capturing and we're pushing b.p. very hard to make sure that all of the facilities are available so that as the oil is being captured, it is also -- it is also being separated properly, that there are -- that there are recept calc for the oil to go and that we have thought through continuously in case there's an emergency or a hurricane so that -- these mechanisms are -- are not disrupt add that there's a lot of redid you understandency built in. but here's what we know. even if we're successful in containing some or much of this oil, we're not going to get this problem completely solved until we have the relief well completed.
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that's going to take a couple of more months. we know there's a hot of oil that has been release add there's going to be more oil released no matter how successful this containment effort is. that's why it is so important for us to continue to put every asset that we have, boom, skimmers, and vessels, hiring local folks and -- local fishermen with their facilities and equiping them with skimmers and get every asset we have out there to make sure we're minimizing the oil that is coming to shore. now there are a number of other issues that were raised during the meeting that i want to touch on. number one, when i was down in the gulf on friday meeting with fishermen and small business owners, what is cheer is that the economic impact of this disaster is going to be substantial and it is going to be ongoing. and -- as i said, on friday, i want to repeat, i do not want to see b.p. nickel and diming these
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businesses that are having a very tough time. we have got the s.b.a. in this helping to provide help. and we have the department of commerce preparing and documenting the daniel they're experiencing. what we need is b.p. being quick and responsive to the needs of these local communities. we have a -- individuals are sao assigned to ride herd on b.p. to make sure that's happening. we want the people this charge of b.p.'s claims process to meet with us on a regular basis. we're going to insist that money flows quickly in a timely basis so you don't have a -- a shrimp processor or a fisherman that is going out of business before b.p. can make up its mind as to whether or not it is going to pay out. that's one of our top priorities because we know that no matter how successful we are over the next few weeks in -- in -- some
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of the containment efforts, the daniels are still going to be there. and the second thing that we talked about quite a bit is the issue of -- the issue of the health of work wars are out there, dealing with this spill. and so far we have seen that on shore, we're not seeing huge elevations in -- in toxins in the air or in the water. and -- but that may not be the case out where people are actually doing the work. we have got to make sure that -- that we're providing all of the protection that is are necessary. we put processes in place to make sure that workers out there are getting the equipment and the training they need to protect themselves and their health. but this is something that we're going to have to continue to monitor because there's workers out that increasingly we're starting to get individuals who may not be experienced in oil clean-up because we're trying to
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get a all hands on deck process and we got to make sure they're protected. obviously, we're also monitoring carefully the people who are not working oult there and that's where the environmental protection agency is doing constant monitoring of the air and the water quality and we're also doing testing on the seafood to make sure that -- make sure toxins aren't introduced into the overall population. couple of other points i want to make, doctor from n.o.a. talked about competing a scientific conference to make sure on i haves like the plume reported in the news and -- other questions about how large is this? what kind of damage do we anticipate? that we full transparency and the information is out there and it is subject to scientific review so that nobody has any surprises. what we're -- we're going to continue to strive for is
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complete transappearance so that as we get information, public gets information and academics and scientists get this information. this is going to be a fluid and evolving process. let me make a final point. i think this was something that was emphasized by everybody here and something that i wanted to -- to say to the american people. this will be contained. it may take time. it is going to take a whole lot of effort. there's going to be damage done to the -- to the gulf coast and there's economic damages and we got to make sure b.p. is responsible for and -- but the one thing i'm confident about is that -- as we have before, we will get through this crisis. one of the things that i wanted to make sure we understand is that -- not only are we going to control the damages to the gulf
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coast, but we want to actually use this as an at some point to reexamine and work with states and local communities to -- to restore the coast in ways that, that -- actually enhance the livelihoods and the quality of life for people in that area. it is going to take time. it is not going to be easy. and -- you know, this is a resilient ecosystem. these are resilient people. i talked to them and they have gone through all kinds of stuff oaf the last 50, 100 years. they bounce back. and they're going to bounce back this time. they're going to need help from the entire country. they need contant -- conattention from thed a stration and they're going to get it. we're confident we'll get past this immediate crisis but we'll focus our attention on making
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sure that the coast fully recovers and that eventually it comes back even stronger than it was before the crisis. all right, thank you so much. >> president obama holds a town hall meeting with senior citizens in wheaton maryland tomorrow to discuss the health care bill and efforts to combat scams and fraud. in -- in advance of the first mailing of rebate checks. the $250 rebates are first in the series of measures to close the, so called doughnut hole so medicare part d recipients have full prescription drug coverage. seniors across the country will be able to participate by phone. live coverage tuesday at 11:40 a.m. eastern time on c-span and c-span radio. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captions performed by the national captioning institute]
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[applause] >> welcome to america's future now. [applause] you're over here. are you? you here? >> are you over there? one way name cards. my name is robert and i direct the campaign for america's future. i welcome you to washington. this has been a city of great heat and big storms recently. and i'm not talking about the weather. and we need you to turn up the heat a little bit more. [applause] you will be over 1 now, people
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-- 1,000 people strong, you come from over 30 states. you come from across the progressive tribes of the progressive movement. we come together at a critical time. it is a little more than a year into the obama and little less than six months from the elections and in a midst of a battle about the direction of this country. 24 million people still unemployed but action on jobs is stalled in the congress. and bipartisan majority in the senate just proved billions in emergency spending for the war in afghanistan and derailed the measure that would have stopped the layoff of 300,000 teachers. across the country. the haunting calamity of the gulf of mexico exposes the work we have yet to do on climate change. wall street reform is headed to a conference committee this week as we meet. and today the campaign for america's future will join with
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move on and credo and open left to present a petition of 50,000 americans, calling on chairman barney frank to fulfill his promise to televise the conference proceedings. we want to bring the wall street lobbyist out of the cloakrooms and into the light of day. now posters talk about an enthusiasm gap. the tea party right is said to be on the march. and independents are increasingly skeptical. the rising electorate you all, the young single women, minorities, and the core obama base has been hit hardest by the recession and is said to be disengaged. if conservatives make dramatic gains this fall as is now predicted all progress will be harder in a country that cannot afford not to make progress. the perpetually canned john boehner and the minority leader
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in the house and the man who would be speaker made clear the threat at the end of the health care debate, roll that tape if you will. ♪ ♪ [unintelligible] ♪ yes, we can ♪ yes, we can ♪ yes, we can but it'll be up to us. let's remember who we are. when conservatives controlled everything in the city, we started these conferences.
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we planted a flag against karl rove who claimed conservatives would have a permanent majority for a generation and we helped forge the majority that brought change to the country. we built the anti-war movement that gave democrats their voice on iraq. and we later mobilized the members in large numbers to challenge an economics that worked only for a few. the progressives virtually invented the blog to challenge the right and the mainstream media. we built the coalition that topped -- stopped bush when he wanted to privatize social security and press the positive agenda from health care to the energy that galvanized voters. our success inspired a senator from illinois to run for the presidency. he in turn inspired us to help turn out voters in record numbers. we are the change. [applause]
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this president was elected with a mandate and a cascading crisis that requires fundamental change. and over the last months, months in which much of the progressive community has thrown itself into the efforts of the reform agenda. we had kshable success. the largest recovery plan in history. the first comprehensive reform since medicare and the largest increase in student aid since the g.i. bill at the end of world war ii. the most extensive wall street reform since the great depression. this is the greatest flurry of reform in over 50 years. and yet, through it, we have grown more dissatisfied. and for good reason. the catastrophe that was inherited was far greater than any feared. the reforms insufficient to the cause. the recovery plan stopped the economic down -- the free fall but was too small to put people
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to work. the health care reforms will extend coverage to millions but the insurance and drug companies kept their grip on their privileges. wall street reform will leave the big banks more consen straighted than ever. even stoubt aid was overwhelmed by the soaring tuition increases and severe cuts in colleges across the country. wall street was rescued main street is still struggling. so what happened? how did this take place? well, a new generation has been introduced to the legislative process in its full and debauched glory. and with remarkable discipline, republicans chose obstruction over cooperation and in a time of national crisis. more importantly corporate interests. the banks deployed over 70
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former lechters and 1400 former staffers to -- to influence wall street reform. their equal opportunity employers, dick gephardt and trent lot and dick army, punitive leader of the tea party right 0 all on the bank payroll where they're lobbying. the white house has been an uncertain trumpet. the administration reforms were too often timid and too readily compromised along the way. too often the challenge to entrench interests was muted in the seven for the deal. the obama presidency like any reform presidency has sparked a rabid reaction on the extreme right. but with progressives, in -- enmeshed in the legislative battle and the president reluctant to draw clear differences, the full populism,
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the fake populism of the right gained greater transaction than it might otherwise have gotten. folks aimed public anger not onthe conservative policy that is caused the crisis but on the administration's efforts to staunch it. now those lunatics are taking over the republican asylum. the r.n.c. briefing portrays speaker pelosi as cruel la deville and obama as a white-faced joker. and newt gingrich, ever team pratt a man of ideas rushes a book out indicting the secular socialist obama machine. even the button down president of the american enterprise institute, the thing tank of the fortune 500 warn that is if obama succeeds, america will cease to be a free enterprise nation. this is needed by the right to distract from the bankruptcy of their own ideas.
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masi in west virginia, b.p. in the gulf. and the big banks on wall street. we have seen the terrible toll of conservative misrule. and the cronyism, the scorn for government, the roll back of regulation, the core rungs of regulatory agencies and the case of the mineral management services literally in bed with the companies they were supposed to police. conservatives had their way and they got it wrong. and americans are paying the price. the drill baby drill crowd sun apologetic. the right seeks to return to power with the same ideas, and the same policies that drove us off the cliff. >> there is no chance of that. but we, we will have to fight. they can succeed only if we step aside. so the question isn't what they do, it is what we do. we have to revive an independent movement, the energy and actism that reformed the majority in
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the first place. that means we have to stop waiting for obama. we have to stop taking the president's temperature. we have to stop being critics and analysts and being actors woons more. means taking the battle of ideas to the right and taking on conservatives in both parties and reminding them of the temper of this activist base. those standing in the way must understand there are no free passes. tomorrow in arkansas we'll see a primary challenge to blanch lincoln. waver whatever happens -- whatever happens. this is a challenge that progressives like you and i and others have launched. and the messages have been sent and received. woe must expand this capacity to hold legislators accountable and to recruit and support progressive champions. history doesn't repeat itself mark twain once wrote but sometimes it rhymes. and flstg -- there's one lesson
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that can be drawn from history. that's progressive movements must organize independently of democratic administrations to effect change. [applause] martin luther king jr. supported johnson and worked closely with him on civil rights legislation. but johnson went to king in 1965 and told him to shut the administrations -- demonstrations. king could no more do that even if he wanted to. he went to selma and the confrontation electrified the nation and six months later the voting rights act was passed into law. . . obama, w l than the bank's expected because demonstrators showed up. the public was to big banks,
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investigators expos their crimes and polish, and progressives inde and outsi the congress push for reforms that the of ministration didot dare and vision. immigration reform got put back on the agenda not because that latinos have allies in the white house but because the right to movement brought tens of thousands of people to washington and reminded politicians of the benefits of action and the caucus -- and the causes of inaction. we are headed into a fierce battle in the next years, a battle over priorities. we face a budget deficit and a yawning domestic investment deficit in everything from education to 21st century infrastructure, to new energy, and simple clean water. a country that continues to squander cullions of dollars in wars abroad while failing to provide every child the nutrition, education, and health
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care will have the country approaching spiritual death. the first year of reform and reaction has made our task clear spirit we have to clean up the elections, challenge mobilized monday with mobilized people, d change the course here in washington. power concedes nothing without a demand. it never has and never will. we must issue the demand. we must build the demand. we must drive the demand we are the change and we have the power. [applause] let me introduce to you a natural phenomenon. arianna huffington is the offer of two books and the number --
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and the mother of two daughters. she runs the huffington post. it is now the second-largest political website on the internet, trailing only ""the new york times." in 2009 [applause] the financial times named her one of the 50 people who shaped that decade. that was when she was just warming up. [laughter] she has a new book coming out this year warning america about its course toward becoming a ird world nation. arianna huffington. [applause]
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he was going to be in charge of changing our financial system, the feeding special interests in washington, ending on necessary wars, congratulations, it has worked out great. [laughter] i am just kidding because we realize that surprising as is to hear about, electing barack obama which many of you thought worked -- was hard to do, amazing though it was and continues to become a was the easy part. the hard work remains to be
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done. if we have learned one thing of the last year-and-a-half, we have learned that democracy is not a spectator sport. the other think we have learned is that bipartisanship is not the way to fundantal change. [applause] so far, bipartisanship has brought us a long string of catastrophe. it has brought us the freedom from the burden of an affordab public option which is fantastic, isn't it? it has also brought us an ongoing war in afghanistan which is depleting our treasury and bring death to many of our sons and daughters. that is what bipartisanship has brought us so far. [applause]
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we are also seeing by partisanship in relation to offshore drilling washing up on the shores of louisiana. every day, we see more pictures of pelicans and dolphins covered in bipartisanship. [laughter] i have always loved in my adopted country the spirit of optimism. the american spirit of optimism and the optimism of greece blends well together. the reason why i am warning about america becoming a third world country is because optimism is not enough. we also need to move at the warning light on our ntional- board. it is flashing red.
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one in five americans is unemployed, underemployed, or just plain out of work. one in nine families cannot make the minimum payment on their credit cards. one in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. one in eight americans is on food stamps. more than 120,000 families per month are filing for bankruptcy. at the same time, you have 45 states that have had families reduce. [unintelligible] we bailed out a i g 4100 -- 4 $780 billion.
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-- for $180 billion. why is in the greater urgency coming out of washington? os0qtwhen walt it was in troubl, they all came together over the weekend. -- when wall street was in trouble, they all came together over the weekend and a stable street. why cannot we do the same thing now to save main street? [applause] conary to what the republicans are saying, there is no question that the stimulus bill did it take the edge off. the british prime minister said you cannot jump across a chasm in two jobs. you have to do it in one. the stimulus bill was one job. it was not enough and we are seeing the result of that everywhere. again and again, were being told that jobs is next. we have heard that many times.
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after we do finance reform, after we do health care, jobs is next. i have this nightmare in which i am stuck in a forest and i cannot find my way out. that is how i see this illusion about jobs is next. it is not. another warning sign that we're becoming a poor world nation is that trials of dollars we continue to spend fighting a necessary wars. weare building ever more powerful weapons while people here are doing without. [applause] civilizations' dies from suicide not for murder. our future is dependent on the choices we make and that things we value. we hear talk in washington about downsizing and deficit- reduction, but very little about the $160 billion we're
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spending in 2010 to fight wars of choice in afghanistan and iraq. this is not about ignoring the threat for national security guard this is not about pacifism. this is precisely about what one illinois state senator said in 2002 when he said," i do not oppose all wars, i just oppose some wars." [applause] rectly, the joint chiefs of staff told an afghan leader that the upsurge in kandahar will reduce corruption and make local government work and provide jobs. it is like a bad joke. the good news is the obama administration is wrapping up a multi billion dollar program, but we create a host of new jobs
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for the bad news is we have to move to kandahar to apply. [laughter] this is not about right versus left. you have the catonstitute agreeing that escalating in afghanistan was not the right move. this is the right kind of partisanship -- the right kind of bipartisanship. throughout history, every major historical achievement whether it was the emancipation proclamation, the 19th amendment, so security, medicare, was not achieved by stating the difference. abraham lincoln did not bring a return to get -- did not bring everybody together and suggest we free the slaves half the time.
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that would not have worked very well. right now, we are seeing the unfortunate reality. if you have driven a school bus into a ditch, you should not be given another boss. we are seeing many corporations being given more buses including halliburton. [applause] after evidence that it had defrauded the american taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars in iran, they were there cementing the well in the gulf. this is what normally happens in thd world banana republics.
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incompetents and corruption are rewarded. it is clear that hope is not enough. what we need is hope 2.0 which means taking matters into our own hands. if the government is not going to shrink the big banks and a taxpayer will remain on call, we can't change that and take our money out of the big banks and put them into community banks and credit unions. it has been happening. [applause] 2 million people have moved their money. $5 billion haseen moved from the big banks. if you are running a union or you know people who run unions, have them move their money. if you run a state or a city or
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county, have them move their money. they will understand that. that is how we will change the world, one action at a time. let me wrap things up. i am getting all might signs here. [laughter] let me wrap up by saying that at the moment, president obama says that we find ourselves at a rare point where the size and scope of the challenges before as require that we make a renewed promise. the question and this is and we have to make is will we see a place where economic opportunity will be real for everyone? willoughby just for t economic elite? will it be a place where transparency rains and back room deals are banished from balsa power? will it be a place where a main
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street replaces wall street as the center of the economic universe? that is where hope 2.0 needs to date. hopefully, america can be trusted to do the right thing after has exhausted all other possibilities. [laughter] we have exhausted all our possibilities trying to do the right bank. thank you. [applause] >> and the stern is in --andy stir in is an organizer and strategist and thinker. he is the president americas, that means he is retired, of the 2.2 million person service employees international union, seiu, the fastest-growing union in the country. he joined as a social service
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worker in 1973. he rose to become an organizing director and was elected president first 1996. he led them to play a significant role in building the progress of infrastructure that helped to transform our debate over the last years. in the 2008 elections, seiu motor rapidly and in big fashion to a like the young senator barack obama. she has recently been named to the president's national commission on fiscal responsibility p. heill lead the debate that will dominate our politics over the next few years over the priorities we take and the choices we make if we get a reovery and we began to get our fiscal balance back in order. andy stern. [applause] >> thank you.
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good morning. good morning. that's better. first of all, before i begin, i think we owe a round of applause and more than that, a heartfelt thanks to bob and roger and the campaign for america'suture. when the lights were very dark in washington, d.c. and someone had to stand up, they did, they have, and they continue to do it. thank you bob, thank you campaign. thank you roger. [applause] i want to make five simple points this morning. first of all, i love this country and i am a true over- the-top believer in the american dream. secondly, this is not our fathers or grandfathers economy. in fact, this is the third economic revolution in world history. 3, in global economies countries are teams.
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team usa lacks a growth-oriented long-term fiscal irresponsible economic plan. four is when we spent too much time writing and worrying and wining and not winning people. ., \e, students workers pay the price. we have to remember how we achieve change in our country. sometimes in the midst of these conferences d analyses and debate and criticism, progressives forget to say what i know underlines the most fundamental reason for our activism. that is that we love this country. i happen to think america is a gift. the greatest gift is that people come here from all over the world like my grandfather. all he ever expected from america was that he would work
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really hard. all he ever hoped for was that his work would be rewarded. what my grandfather dreamed about and so many other people, immigrants and native-born that we all know, was that his children would lead a better life than he did. that is the unique and special and once in during american dream. today, 79% of all parentsay their children and grandchildren will not lead a better life than their parents. that is not the america we want. that is not the america we need. that is why we need a new 21st century economic plan. [applause] this is not our fathers or grandfathers economy. we are as far to date from the new deal as the new deal was from the civil war. we cannot drive into the future
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looking in the rearview mirror. progressives need to learn and ilt in the past, but have the wisdom and strategy and the courage that bob talked about to build a new future. our country today is living through the most snificant economic revolution the history of the world. there has only been for economic revolutions, the agricultural took 3000 years. the industrial took 300 years. this revolution, this profound moment of change that makes the hobbling to imposed -- the huffington post the second most red website in the country, as we go to a different comic, this revolution will only take 30 years. no single generation of people have ever witnessed this must
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change in a single lifetime. american people sense the change. they know something is different. they are in search of a new pathway forward. as we witness in the absence of a sensible and realistic way forward, people, even like us, resist the future or try to turn back the clock to days that are long gone. america needs a 21st century economic plan because we now know the american financial plan has failed and should never be revived worshiping the market ain. it has failed. america needs help. [applause] team usa, our red white and blue team, now faces, and you can choose your favorite adjective, a challenging, ruinous, irresponsible, unsustainable, disastrous, greed or japan-like
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future. it is fair to say that team usa has no this bill is responsible forward-looking economic plan. progressi cannot shy away from this or pierre or think it is politically incorrect to want a fiscally responsible future for our country. the disaster we now face and the deficits we now confront are all a result of a broader economic crisis. it would be insane to imagine not stimulating the economy and fight for wage and job growth. in the long run, analysis of the problem is no substitution for action. things were pretty bad for workers before the economic crisis during the jobless decade at a time when the gap between the rich and the rest of the
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population grew so wide and fast. regardless of how we got here, the challenge of this decade, i believe for progressives, is to craft a 21st century a fiscally responsible economic plan that produces wage growth and job growth, particularly in the private sector, that makes long- term investment in education infrastructure, clean energy research and jobs and produces for america a budget that has spending for discretionary and entitlements aligned with revenues to reduce deficits to a level that is prudent and progressive. that will be the debate in the next several years. i just want to say that when we sit on the sidelines and do not have a plan and the crisis hits, poor people and students and working people pay the price. look at california, look at greece, look at the million state workers have lost their
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jobs and the people in the 99th week of unemployment and beyond. when we do not act, when we do not have a plan and the crisis hurts, it is not the eli or the corporations or the rich and powerful or politician that pay the price. it is us and the people whom we serve. change is not a spectator sport. americans seemed to believe, and i want to use a sailboat metaphor. we believe that sometimes we just select the right leader and put his hand on the tiller as we did with president obama. but we thought he would steer the country in the right direction. we all know at if you have a sailboat and you have to hand on the tiller, and there is no wind, you can push the tiller back and forth as much and as hard as you want.
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you will ly go in circles. it is the wins that fills the sales and allows the capt. to str. i happened to grow up when the winds of change were blowing rapidly. john lewis and people on now to this day had courage to create the winds of change that lyndon johnson in to replace he never thought he would go. it was the writings of betty friedan and gloria steinem and the marches for equal rights that motivated women to stand up for themselves and their homes and their families and again in. it was anti-war students, stonewall riots, ralph nader of van and elizabeth warrenton now, environmentalctivists of dan, muckraking journalists and blotters now. ordinary people with -- are the
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wind of change. not all lobbyists on k street, not the politicians up on the hill, it is people, it is us that are the winds of change. that is what we learned in the battle for health care reform. when will it lead and stand up to whomever it may be, we can win. our futures is not a matter of chance. it is a matter of choice. let's have the courage to std up and hold accountable the big insurance companies, the big banks, senators from arkansas, ttat congressman from new york and north carolina. let's have higher expectations for our leaders whether they are in the state house or the white house. margaret mead once said, "never in doubt -- never doubt that small group of committed people contains the world." that is the only thing that ever happens. on my desk is a plaque that says," the best way to predict
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the world is to help create a." let's lift our boys and use our leadership and let us be the winds of change that ad america in a different direction. if not us, then who? if not now in america, then went? thank you very much. [applause] >> i saved the dynamo for last. he is the chief executive officer for green for all. it is an extraordinary organization. they ensure that we capture a leading role in the green industrial revolution that will transform the world, but the people in this country who got locked out of the last
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industrial revolution will have a seat at the table in this one. he ishe perfect leader for this effort. she knows how to inspire and enough to -- how to do the hard work -- comes out of the afl- cio labor counsel in the silicon valley. she has moved green for all into a central position in the debate to run energy reform. [applause] >> i have to tell you that wenwn i got a request to be somewhere on my birthday, i was like, "tl them no." when i heard was, i said without question i want to be there. thank you and happy birthy. [applause]
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the reason i wanted to be here is because i consider this room the church of change. i thought what better place to be on my birthday then in a room full activists who have a vision for our lives can be better. on like others, i have a very selfish reason for joining this movement. i did not join this motion because i woke up and realized other people deserve a better life. i grew up in a small town. it was voted the worst place to live in the bay area. it has the privilege of being between a shell refinery and anheuser-busch. when i was growing up, the doctor said to my mom that we need to mow. i had as an allergies. my mom was plotting how would
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take toilet paper from the doctors rest room so we would have told the paper at the idea that we would get up and know so we could have an environment that i will not have asthma and allergies was beyond our own beliefs. i am here because i want kids like me to think they have better options. i have three nieces or seven, nine, and the 11 and i am here on their behalf. i have a sister who is an added. they have a father just get out of jail. it is important they play an important part of my life. my mom and i have submitted responsibilities for them as we watched my sister grow. my mom was on publi assistance, their mom is on public assistance, and they brought in a community that did not have many choices and statistics tell us they too will be on public assistance the reason i am here is to talk about our rights as movement. our rights as movement is a
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movement that says the girl these are better. [applause] we say they believe a future as bright as someone who grow up in a community that have better opportunities. the reason i am at the church of change today is because i want you all, as you gulfport, to know the story of shall maimar jasmine, and leila. we have a moment that is ready for change and a movement that is not. we have a movement that has not realize that what this movement is. i thought about what we are. we believe a coalition of working-class white men and people of culture and environment are capable of change? we recognize his honor in being
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a call minor in west virginia. we recognize the need of a coal miner and a black woman witching -- working at chevron's richmond have the same agenda and we need to focus their needs. that is who we are. i come out of the labor a moment so i am used to people yelling at me. [laughter] members, politicians, it does not hurt my feelings. glenn that started talking about me and i was asked if i was angry. i told him we have a pt to take over this country. absolutely, we do. [applause] it is not a hidden agenda. it is and ed agenda that says all people deserve high quality and white call miners in west virginia and black women i richmond, calif. want the same thing. what they want is for us to divide ourselves.
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they want us to say that one is better than another. we say it is immigration vs column writing. we say no because our vision of america has all of us, not some of us, when we think about what green is, it is green for all and not for some. that is the difference. i thought about how we make this happen. we have made some mistakes. we thought an election was a victory. we forgot that candidates do not deliver change. they become part of the system. we are the people that hold them accountable for us to not recognize that while i voted for barack obama and i would again, he is not enough. if we do not push him to say that the handling of bp has been atrocious at best and we don't say it does not mean we don't support him, it means we recognize that people like my nieces are not getting their eds met. we don't mean to discredit
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leadership, we want to raise our expectations. what is important is that we all people at the center of our agenda and the quality of life of our families must get better. we have to be vigilant. when people hear us, i want people to know that there is no person or institution more important than the people of louisiana at this moment. the vietnamese fishermen who have not had their claims met, where were about them. when bp is processing one- reclines per hour and the fishermen wait all day to have their claims heard, it is not appropriate that we will not rest and this movement will raise their voices. that is our polk desperate our church of change said it is not [applause] i believe in the president but i believe and the needs that people of the gulf coast fought for. i believe that if we do not hold
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them accountable, no one else will. when i look at things like what is happening with bp, i think what we have not said is that if a foreign country came in and did that, it would be seen as an act of war. because there are private contractors, is a mistake and deplorable and on american. if we do not say they are not right and we are wrong. this room is wrong. i want us to be able to learn a lesson and keep our focus and i want to think about holding people accountable, even people we love. then, i want to play team sports. we sometimes think we are playing individual sports. we discussed on the climate bell and we felt like rock stars. what i forgot is that we need our futures and our success to be intertwined. the more people whose success depends on us, the more likely
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people will root for us. what we have to be ableto say is that when one of those wins, all of us wince. the people at the core of our mission and the core of our agenda, we are vigilant on their behalf. the only people we serve are those people. the reason i believe in green jobs -- when i firsteard about them in the labor movement, it sounds like a puzzle. -- it sounds like hustle. the beauty of green jobs is it allows us to bring people together and meet everyone's needs. it allows us to honor tho who work in the labor movement to bring environmentalist in and a whole group of people together. that is what glam beck is afraid of. -- that is what glen beck is
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afraid of. bp as an example of what is wrong. i came back from the gulf and i have been angry ever since. it represes the past economy. it was an economy that had a cozy relationship between industry a government agencies that were responsible for regulating. we did not create this problem. the bush administration said the interest of the oil companies is in our best interest. that is not what is good for america. bp said they are be on petroleum. what they didt shut down production of a u.s. factory in march of this year. 400 workers lost their jobs at bp. they said that they are the new companfor petroleum because they want solar wind and power but they shut down the onl factory in the country that did that. bp is not right for taking jobs
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from american workers. it is the american worker that will become the future endangered species. the americ worker who can support themselves, who can take care of themselves. what we have to do as a movement is we have to be ready for our moment. 11 people died in west virginia because they wanted to support their families. it is un-american. no people should have to put their lives at risk if they want to support their families. those folks have to know that this progress of the open is on their side. we need to be clear that we do not need an expansion of offshore drilling. we need a bill that punishes polluters and create incentives for clean energy. we cannot afford to distracted. we will not be distracted. we will halt any person regardless of where they are accountable. we believe in the president of recognize our success is
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measured by the quality of life improvement and that is our only measure back. we will do it collectively and with a team. the difference between us a bobby jim doyle is that he says he is outraged but he still says -- bobby jindal, but he still says drill, baby drill. i was in a meeting where someone said we have to think about how to talk about this-friendly. we have to think about how to do it differently. we cannot be the movement that says drill, baby drug. we are outraged. we have to be the moment that says comprehensive clean energy legislation looks different because it keeps the most of vulnerable americans safe. the reason i am here and i think my grandmother is because i believe that my niece's have a moment and i need you to be ready. i need our open to be strong and i want us to be bld and i want
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us to say that this is our country and we are true patriots and we kicked at the foundation for the american worker an american child and no movement or person is more important than the american worker and the future of this country. thank you. [applause] >> are you all warmed up? [laughter] we will do something very different. we will ask you to get a box lunch and engaging in a discussion about progressives and -- in the obama age. we will have a debate first and engage you at your tables.
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we will ask you to lay out your hopes and fears and concerns and how we go forward. thank you very much. the co-director of the campaign for america's future. [applause] >> god afternoon. have you had enough to eat? i want to thank -- this will not be the only time we will think the members of local 25 of unite for taking care of us today at this hotel. [applause] thanks for lunch. on behalf of all of our partners, i want to welcome you to america as a future now. as you well know, this
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conference used to be called take back america. for many years now everyone of you in this audience has been working hard to take back america from the special interests. we also helped to develop a progressive agenda that barack obama ran on and one on in 2008. -- and won on in 2008. here is the question for debate, how is it going? after three years of trial and error, what do we say about the evolving relationship between barack obama and the progressive movement? we have invited to smart leaders -- two smart leaders to have a friendly debate about lessons that should have been learned. then, everyone in the audience gets to participate as well. some of us thought this would be
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easier than it actually has been. obama won with a huge mandate for change, and strong majorities in the congress ndidate obama's agenda was our agenda. we all know that power concedes nothing without a fht, and the special interests mobilize to stop progressive change. even the phrase take back america has now been appropriated by the keyarty reactionaries. they are the shock troops protecting corporate power against any kind of rorm. who do not get me wrong, we have accomplished a lot. -- do not get me wrong, we ha accomplished a lot working with barack obama's, but as many speakers have said, the corporate interests have put their stamp on are every bit 3 install on other priorities.
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we confronted the worst economic crisis and are longtime -- lifetime, and prevented another great depression, but with unemployment still obscenely high, too many in congress are giving up on job creation for budget cutting. you can say the same about every one of the fights we have been engaged in. two years ago our friend robert cutlener wrote a book called " obama's challenge." it is the idea that barack obama coming to power in the moment of crisis would be a transformational time. progressives know we need a powerful moment, but many the heart of hearts hope that barack obama would leave that movement to stand up to the corporate interests.
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faleery sumners, d timothy geithner, and rahm emanuel do not see themselves as part of the movement, and we often see them as part of the problem. i urge you all to read his newest book, "a presidency in peril." here is the question is for debate, is this obama's problem or is it ours? what can present rigid what can progressives do to mak sure that -- what can progressives do to make sure president obama does what is necessary, and how do we make sure that the guys behind obama on the cover of the latest book you not botched the opportunity for a new american renaissance of a better future for all americans? to give you our first
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perspective on this, let me introduce d'arcy burnearcey bne she ran for congress and 2008 from washington state, and while she was doing that she organized 58 other house and senate candidates to campaign for responsible plan to end the war in iraq. that was unveiled at this congress. twplays and central -- she plays an essential role in helping the progressive caucus because there are real force for change. please welcome her. [applause] >> when i was approached about talking about this, i thought i really have the ec side of the debate, saying that progressives have to do what
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ever it takes to make this president do the right thing. and having listened to the panel of people that preceded peake, i continue to think i have the ec side in this crowd. i am not here just to make you comfortable in feeling like you are already doing all the things you need to be doing, and that we as a movement are on e side of the angels because we are not doing enough. last summer bill clinton was a keynote speaker. he was in the middle of a speech about how everyone there should support the health care bill regardless of what was in it because it was so important to the obama presidency. in the middle of the speech when he was saying we should not be picky at the details, someone stood up in the crowd and
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demanded that he answer a question about "do not ask, do not tell." his response was to say that the reason he had made "do not ask, do not tell" the policy was because progresses had not been there to pressure him to do the right thing. he was getting so much pressure from the right and no pressure from a left that he felt like he did not have any choice because he did not have the back of he needed from the movement caught -- back up he needed from the movement. our country was founded on the radical proposition of a government by the people. one of the underlying assumptions is that we will have an adversarial system in which you will have an aggressive
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advocates from both side of any debate fully engaged in the fight. theeway that congress approaches their fight is all about that at the serial system. and-- adversarial system. we are not advocating for our side the way that they're right is advocating for their spirit and i sit in offices of members of congress and listen as a phone calls come in, and there will be 10 tea party phone calls to everyone of hours. the right has built this infrastructure that provides information to members of congress through lobbyists and think tanks. we have not done enough to counter that.
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we have a president who was fundamentally a consensus builder. there are times when being a consensus builder is very constructive thing. we need to ask ourselves what choices are we giving him for where to build a consensus when we do not fully come to the table. when the choice is between what the blue dogs once and the republicans want, we have a problem. that has been far too often the case. it is not our job to make this president or his administration coortable. [applause] it is our job to make them do the right thing, even when that
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is extremely uncomfortable for them there are two very distinct ways that the obama presidency can be undermined. one of those ways is the way the republicans do it, by trying to keep the administration from accomplishing anything, but the other equally important way to undermine the presidency is to let them do the wrong things. when shhe, a re weeks before the oilpill, called for offshore drilling -- by allowing that to happen, quite frankly the environmental community did him in a tremendous disservice. [applause] now, i am sure this ds not apply to anybody in this room, but there are a lot of people in washington, d.c., who tnk that it is more important to get
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invited to white house cocktail parties the and it is to actually call this administration accountable. you will be glad to note that there are those us who hav not been invited to any of this cocktail partiesnd do not plan to be, because this is not a spectator sport. we as a movement have our hearts and the right place -- in the right place, but far too many of us after the election in 2008, there were far too many of us who said our job is done, our job is not done. and this is going to be as frustrating fight. it isn't hiring fight. it is an uncomfortable fight for everyone who was involvvd. -- it is a tiring fight. i have a 7-year-old son, henry,
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and every night i go home to him and had to answer to him for what kind of a country it is we are building. have i done everything i could to make sure that what was happening in washington was the right thing, even when it was uncomfortable for me, even when i kiss off my friends. have i done everything i could? we were talking about the third economic revolution. i agree completely. we are in the state at tremendous transition in terms of how economies and societies function. i take partial responsibility. but that change has a natural tendency to have well and power ecru in the hands of a very small number of people, and right now the fact that progressives have not fully engad in the fight is
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accelerating thaprocess. barack obama is right about a lot of things, but i will tell you something he is wrong about -- the corporate problem is the right solution. [applause] if we as populists do not counter that, who will? we had a revolution to escape the idea of hereditary aristocracy, to found a country in which in theory all persons are created equal, and i wonder every day, the reason i go to work, whether we can preserve that? what is this idea t of governmet by the people and for the people can be preserved? that is our job and the job at the people in this room.
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it is really true, if we do not do it, who will? we have to make him. e best thing we can do to support barack obama is to make him do the right thing. [applause] >> thank you. now i am proud to introduce the winner of last year's citizen leadership award and. [applause] as you all know, she is the executive director for the center of community change -- he is the executive director for the center of community change. and he is an organizer.
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he is also an electoral -- and intellectual. he has are real power to bear in the fit for health care reform, jbs, racial justice, and you know the big march down on the mall on immigration reform? she was at the lead. please welcome hi [applause] >> fir, i want to sithink you to roger and -- to say thank you to roger and bob. [applause] i also want to appreciate darcey who is a magnificent leader in this progressive movement. i thought about this debate, and reflected on the fact that i
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have been arrested at the white house for criticizing the administration for the lack of leadership on immigration reform. i have been an early in a consistent critic for the white house on that figure to articulate a big enough and bold in a solution to our country's unemployment crisis, especially in communities of color, and i wondered if they might be thinking over as 1600 pennsylvania avenue, is this the best they could come up with to defend us? we agreed pretty much across the board. i want to make a couple of points that i hope will be provocative. first, we have achieved much more in the last 18 months and progressives typically give ourselves credit for. the change is woefully inadequate given the level of
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cris that our country faces in the scale of e crisis that the world, france, but we do ourselves a deep disservice by failing to acknowledge the magnitude of our accomplishments. second, the important question before us in the time we're abt to enter is not what the obama administration does or does n do, it is whether we can mount and create and inspire the kind of a movement that can create a cycle of transform it prressive change in this country. the key difference between the 1930's an 1960's, areas in which we want to express its gains, and the 1970's an 1990's, years of enormous disappointment leading to a conservative backlash, was not so much whether we had better leaders in the white house, it was that we had stronger, more vibrant
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social movements on the outside. whether president obama turns into a transformative the leader, or a disappointing leader like bill clinton or jimmy carter is only partly about how you response to the crisis our country faces. it is mostly about what we do. let me pick up the first point about what we have achieved. i confessed to feeling somewhat puzzled about how much we have collectively accomplish in the progressive movement and how badly many of us feel about it. if you think back, what is the policy scorecard during the last 18 months? we have achieved legislation to cover million additional kids with health insurance, including 400,000 legal immigrants. the economic recovery package, bill is in sufficient -- bill insufficient and lot large enough.
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we achieve health care reform that extends coverage to more than a 4 million people and proves basic protections against insurance company abuses. this has been a progressive dream for over a century, and we finally have won it. it also represents a major step against inequality in our country, and will make a huge difference in the lives of the poorest people in the country. we seem to be poised to win financial reform legislation. each of these wins has significant disappointments, but let's keep in mind when we consider the disappointments that the aero a change in the country has been going in the wrong direction for a very long time. not just during the bush years, but also the clinton years, which brought as well the reform, nafta, and punitive crime and distribution bills.
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it is true that there have been a lot of major disappointments. the failure of major of legislation. the employee free choice act. four major public jobs initiatives to address the unemployment rises in the country. the fact that even with the most major environmental crisis of our lifetime congress continues to snooze on energy and climate change legislation. all of this is a disappointment, and i completely agree with darcey that when the administration fails to lead or maintains policies from the last administration that we have an obligation to speak up, speak loudly, and be critical. i would said the defensiveness of the administration aboutthe critiques they have received
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from a progressive community has portrayed a poor understandg of the importance of the independent movements to achieving anything significant in our country. if you believe my arguments that the change we have achieved is larger than it appears, it is also true that we have a big challenge ahead of us. the issue in my view is not mainlyresident obama, it is us. the central election of american history is that it takes a big, vibrant social movements to get anything major accomplish. abolition, women's suffrage, none of those victories were fast or easy wins. none of them were delivered on a silver platter by aingle political leader. it required passion and power and intensity from below, in each case over many decades.
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the problem is that in this time we have not seen enough progress of mass movements. there have been some very encouraging signs of life with demonstration and wall street and washington and all over the country, but it is te that the largest populist uprising on economic issues in the country, the most ovisible, have been on the right and not left. that is a problem we have to take responsibiiity for an assault. i want to give an historil example to illustrate the points i am making. and when he was senate majority leader, lyndon johnson did everything in its power to water down six the civil rights act of 1957. he cowtown to the seventh southern democrats. -- southern democrats.
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costs fast forward to the 1960 -- he roused congress and the country to action in the famous speech where he reaffirmed we shall overcome. that speech would never have been delivered unless there had been a civil rights movement that had made the moral case and force the country to take a hard look in the mirror. presidents do not create more wrote urgency's, social movements do. the progressive movement in my view has a lot to learn from today's emigrants right movement. this year alone more than 1 billion people have marched in cities around the country demanding justice, demanding an immigration reform bill and demanding the president stopped deporting half the million hard- working families each year. there has been no wave of civil
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disobedience, resolutions around the country. therhas been direct action at the white house. i was arrested on may 1. some of the marginal people in our society have the courage to go into the streets and take action and put their bodies on the line and demand change. that is what it is going to take to keep progressive momentum going over the next few years across a range of issues that we care about. last point. i'd think it is critical that progressives have a sober and realistic view of the nation we live in. i remember in all of the festivities when the president was inaugurated, the sense of euphoria you felt in washington and all over the country. it was justified, but the problem is that the election of
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the president was interpreted as a sweeping mandate for fraud and progressive change in the country. i do not think it was. i think represented a rejection of failed policies and bankruptcy-of and openness to something different but the country is still significantly divided and there are large numbers of people who hold what appear to us to be very contradictory opinions who are up for grabs. that is why organizing and recruiting new people to our movent, not just mobilizing existing active this is the critical ingredient that will determine whether or not we win the future. progressives who think the country rion who think it is only banker on politicians are in our way have one point of view. -- pgressives who think it is only one view of a politician have one point of view. we celebrate victories along the
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way, even as we acknowledge how much further we have to go. thank you very meant. -- very much. [applause] >> i am going to give both debaters two nutes toome of. >> everything he said. [applause] [laughter] >> it iit is clear te elections of 2008 were not sufficient given the crises we face. and there is a very large sets of very important problems, but underlying it all is this tremendous transition in the way the country and the economy
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operates, and everything tt implies. we will make the world knew in our lifetime. there are not that many generations of people who have an opportunity to do that. we do not have a choice about whether we will do it or not. the only choice that we have is whether we are going to engage inand light so the world that we create is one in which every child has a better chance at life than what their parents did or one in which we have a new aristocracy and everyone else is trying to figure out when congress is less rigid going to let their unemployment benefits expire again. that is the choice that we have. i completely agree that we have got to create a real movement in this country. it is not enough for us to
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elect one man and expecting to fix it. it is our job. [applause] >> everything she said. it is turning out not to be a very exciting debate. [laughter] the only thing i would put into the mix is that we're probably entering a time now where it was no longer be possible to win legislative policy changes without winning the argument in the country. my own view is that on health care reform and on the recovery package we won the policy, we lost the argument. those things are still things we can influence in terms of how they play out in the coming months, but that is not likely to be the case with smaller majorities in the house and the senate and a resurgent conservative movement in the country. it is incumbent upon us to win
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the argument and build the power that it will take to winhe next transformative changes in the country. this second point i would make briefly is that it really does matter what we fight for. our job is not to come up with the piece of legislation that can get the 60 votes in the senate and ompia snowe is not the test of what is moral legislation in this country. our job is to make the moral case in the country for what is right thing to do and to build a constituency that can move the goalposts in the country. [applause] hollen > now we are going tot everyone involved. to manage the next process i want to collop gloria cottall ua
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totten. they are really a grassroots operation. gloria lead us to the next level. [applause] >> thank you. this is your chance to get involved. i will hava hard time calling unpeople because of the with the likes are. we will spend the next 20 minutes having discussion at your table about this great debate. you guys should have been more controversial. is it us or is it him? that is the key question. 15 or 20 minutes. then we will take your comments
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and questions and have an interactive discussion from the floor.
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the greato the next level by [inaudible] >> i think it is a pretty clear that mr. barack obama is compromised on everything that is progressive and even sabotages progress of things like single payer health care. he also sabotaged glass- steagall, which would have been an intervention into wall street. he is bought and paid for by wall street and not doing anything about british petroleum. i ink is apparent that if he is not going to do anything to expropriate the british on this to are polluting our golf, he should just step down. thank you. -- polluting our gulf, he should
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just sat down. >> i am with people for the american way. i agree with our panelists as we talk about the progressive movement stepping up to the plate to polish politicians to do what we want them to do. too often, we rely on them stepping in and making the right decisions based on what our needs are instead of making sure we build the type of infrastructure necessary to publish and take the momentum from great election cycles and acally having infrastructure on the ground where people can plug in, use the of light -- use the energy they had during the election cycle tmake sure our voices are heard. also to push republican legislators to do th thingwe need to do for them to be successful. a lot of what ha happened during this administration is
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there has been a lot of right wing obstruction. making sure we have boots on the ground in those districts and communities where we have republicans representing in making sure we hold them accountable to things like immigration reform and other issues that are backlogged. give some of our democratic friends some backbone in order to move forward. >> thank you very much for the generous mention of the books. i have to say people are much more eager to read and buy a book that is selling cautious hope than one that is selling benevolent exasperation. the first ok did much better
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than the second, though it is not over. le me try to respond to something that was said earlier. why, given that obama has accomplished so much, do we feel so bad? i think the answer is the piecemeal things he has accomplished do not add up to a sustainable winning politics. everybody in this room and millions of her people are working their hearts out to build a movement. but you cannot build a movement between now and november. if he does not do more on jobs and mortgage relief, and full of things that affect regular people where they live, it all goes down the drain in the midterm. then the moment is loss and crazies takeover. that's why we feel so bad. the tight low -- a tight rope that some of a progressives what
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is as follows -- we criticize tim geithner, the oil companies, wall street, everybody but obama. because we feel a little bit do you see about criticizing obama. -- feel a -- goosey about criticizing obama. we play an inside game and outside game and don't have that right yet. we have to hold this administration accountable big- time not just for peace deal things but deliver -- but to liver a politics thais sustainable so that it does not get short circuit in before it has a chance to get started. we have to redouble our efforts to rebuild a movement. if you look things a the past 50 years where we have made progress, gay-rights, won's rights, civil rights, the rights for disabled people, every one of those was the result of a movement. if you look at the areas wre we have gone backwards, economic
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justice, that's the one where we did not build a strong of movement, notwithstanding the heroism of the labor movement. my only conclusion from that is that as powerful as racism was and as powerful as sexism was and as powerful as contempt for gays and lesbians was, wall street is even more powerful and we have to be stronger than wall street. we have to tell it like it is with our president. [applause] >> let's go over here. >> i am representing the gathering for justice. all lot of the work we do in the communities we work with are really below the grassroots, non-traditional leaders, undocumented mothers in arizona, the recent parolee or the young person in juvenile hall. all of these people are doing social justice work and might not look like a campaign, but
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might be in the relationship their building in the neighborhood, in the mother's circle or the youth group. my question to the room is how do we include those peopl in this conversation? how can there voice come into this boys of policy and business suits? the work is happening on the grassroots, but how do they hold obama accountable? the gap is so wide that as people are not being seen and the voices are not being heard. how do we bring tha into this room and hold obama accountable? [applause] >> i am proved that green is green. i am out in the field in texas and nevada and oregon bringing brainpower on line to serve america. i'm putting money into clean oil, raising alg
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i'm working hard on what we call the tent millennium of man and it's time we start restoring this planet. it is up and running and has been up a couple of months. you can get on the site and learn about real green thing that are creating jobs and people are having success across the country. but there is more to it. bill, as to style a opposed to the comments that this movement would not be the place create a legislation, we want a bottoms up bill that by the end of this year will restore ecosystems, the forrsts, rangelands, and restore our grid so we can get green power instead of relying on a coal and gas.
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we want to run a campaign that will put the bill into law pad a lot of land and spend money on restoring the oceans, restoring the eco in the economy. that is the basis of that word -- it means ecology and that's the natural resources is so degraded that it's hardly useful. we look forward to working with you on that and thank you very much for your efforts. >> >> i am with beyond nuclear, which is an advocacy group. that is beyond nuclear, not beyond petroleum, don't throw me out of the country at. what i would like to know, being a group that does actually call our congress people, some of whom are not very evolved and it seems like a very few tile occupation. i'm sitting next to somebody who has to call cantor, so you can
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now imagine what kind of thing goes job that is. i would love to hear some more specifics, not just about what we should do. a lot of us are aware but what we should do, but how to do it? my issue is anti-nuclear. we have mr. emmanuel and people like that surrounding obama and we try to get into energy planning meetings and everything possible and the door is basically closed. they do not want to hear from us and it's not what they want to hear. i would love to hear more about the movement building ideas that can create change on the ground and will make people in congress feel uncomfortable because they want to keep their jobs and will let obama hear from us in a way that is not blocked by his many advisers, none of them agree with us. [applause]
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>> i am with american income life and want to speak briefly about corporate interests. i represent the corporate interest. it may not be the one you are thinking, it may not be wall street or the fact had bankers, but there are so many progressive companies who believe in the social contract who want to respect workers' rights to organize and who believe in economic justice and shared prosperity. i would challenge this group to systematically make and start to include progressive businesses at a local level, a regional level come and at a national level to be partners in the conversation with our progress of partners. i say that because we have money and you have people. together, it is what will win
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the nversation in america. i look at financi reform and employee free choice as to examples. when we spoke out and organize 1700 businesses to speak out, it changed the conversation with main street alliance and the shared prosperity spoke out in the chamber and said consumer finance protection agency does not harm small business, it changes the conversation. as we build capacity to win the conversation in our neighborhoods at a local and state level, and then went policy battles at a national level, we cannot do it without a business with of reason and responsible corporate partners. i would challenge the progressive movement to start to include it systematically, not only for our money, but for our voice and sharing that with you. >> thank you for your leadership
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in that sector. >> i'm from the nationa community reinvestment coalition. sometimes it feels like we're concerned about pop culture but we spend all our time talking about celebrities. from awhat i took away conversation -- our orientation is a much toward the white house and those in power with good reason we forget to actually go where culture is being created. we would be talking about these things if we were into pop culture. much of th conversation at our table focused on how do you play the inside game and the outside game but also how do you move away from whiping votes around a particular piece of legislation, which i think many organizations get caught in the trap of and set out a clear vision and set
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of principles around which you are going to compare any piece of legislation that comes along? i would say that around financial reform and economic justice matters, we one part of the policy and i think we still have the opportunity to win the debate and continue to win the debate. thanks to bob cutler has been working on this issue for many years, that'an area where progressives can continue to put a lot of energy d emphasis and still win the fight. >> thank you. that gives you the last word. thank you, evyone. we're going to go almost immediately into the next session. i will ask you to hold your seats and we will bring the panelists up and i will do it quick introduction. i'm sure you will be excited to hear what they have to say.
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>> several of the regional actors so we've got a rich set speakers today. we will go ia slightly different order than the bio in front of you. we will first hear from second from michele dunne and henri barkey. you have their biographies in front of you. so i will be verbrief. tared is joining us at carnegie for a few months. she's a "new york times" correspondent in gaza and she's worked for the international crisis group.
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while serving here at the middle east program at carnegie she's a fellow as well so we should acknowledge the foundation for making her visit here possible and it couldn't have come at a better time to inform discussions here in washington. the second speaker is mhele dunne. michele is an editor of the air reform bulletin. her interest in american policy towards the israeli-palestine conflict goes back some time. at least a decade and a half when she was serving in the u.s. consulate in jet stream. -- jerusalem. our third speaker is henri barkey who has a unique position here a few years ago at carnegie. there was -- we invented the category of nonresident associate, which i serve. henri, as i understand is the
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first resident/nonresident associate. that is to say he is a nonresident associate who has an office here. and as you can tell, he wears many other hats as well. so i think he must be a resident/nonresident in many different institutions from a position at lehigh university. so we will go in the order that i just mentioned. >> thank you so much for coming. i would say that o element to bear in mind when it comes to the flotilla attack is the use of violence. and the use of violence has both in service. to drive attention and this time it's the violence and this time by israel.
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and it brought gaza into the service. i've been here for a month now and i've been talking to different grou. of course, on the impact of the siege on gaza. and the reaction was always -- the policy of the siege is working and e policy -- it's working. in the direction of weakening hamas, putting pressure hamas. hamas lacks cash. that's what i heard. hamas is losing popularity. to some extent, that was right. to some extent hamas lacked the cash but they found ways out. and they found way out through coming out with revenues on the ground and also investing on real estate and on the tunnels. and at the same time, the popularity of hamas has been, of course, affected before, of course, the flotilla attack. it has been affected when it
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comes to only the silent majority. but we have the fatah supporters and the hamas supporters are still there but when dos to the silent majorities it's divided. some -- there's segment within the silent majority that believes in hamas. and still hamas is still not gin the chance. the world is punishing hamas and another segment that is sick of hamas and they believe hamas cannot govern. and why don't they go back to -- to -- to the work as a resistance movement. and another signal within the silent majority that was -- that believes that way, they are both sick of fatah and hamas. t the sad part for them there's no alternative. and the impact of the siege has not encouraged an alternative on the ground on gaza. so, you know, and right now the
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thing is that the policymakers tend to ignore that hamas is in control of gaza, period. hamas has managed to come out with a security establishment. that is very strong. that will make them able to play with that guard, that card. that is, you know, gaza. that they are in control of gaza. so the deadly flotia attack came out and it's kind of like a boost for mas. the morale is high when you talk to the leaders this week. if you compare, you know -- i talked to them from time to time. so two weeks ago they were like, you know, there was no way out for them but still, you know, they say, you know, we are in control of gaza. we'll never let that go. something will happen. and when you talk to them in person,hey will say -- you talk to them politics and what's the way out for you? and they will always say, god is with us.
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and this time and for them didn't wtell you on the phone like today. god is with us. and that came from god according to them. but it's from israel. and it was really a free present from israel to hamas. the morale is really unbelievable how theyeel very powerful and back to the circle again. so like let me talk about the situation on the ground in gaza. the siege is intentionally producing another reality. producing two entities. that is the west bank by itself and that is gaza. and if we talk about the west bank, you know, the american administration is intentionally strengthening its wds coming out with, you know, the economy,
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freedom of movemen for the people living in the west bank, education opportunities, access. and then i was talking to someone, you know, who lives in gaza through the west bank he said you cannot believe it. you have cement everywhere in the west bank. and the prices are really unbelievable in comparison to gaza because in gaza they get the cement but it's through the tunnels. but it's very, very expensive. so the entity in the west nk is completely different fr gaza. what's the international community? what is the american administration is producing by its support to this policy? another reality that is really dark. being a witness of gaza history. and it's unbelievable howou can observe how the middle class is vanishing completely due to this picy. not only the middle. -- middle class.
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it's like -- the education is going down. i mean, like you have a school which is different but it's unbelievable how, you know, people are -- you know, tend to forget and the international community tends to forget that there e governmental schools in gaza. and these governmental schools now, of course, they go under the government of hamas, therefore, you don't support them. but what are you producing? it's also like people are -- you know, like why this class of population to pay the price? why to create the division again when it comes even to education. the sad part when it comes to education, you have the p.a. -- the p.a. asking the governmental employees in gaza to stay home. it was very shocking that the p.a. asked the teachers in gaza to stay home.
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and not to go to schools in order to put pressure on hamas. in order to -- for hamas to be weakened and feel in governance. but to fill the gap, hamas came out with an idea that helped them also by employingheir own supporters as teachers. but the sad part, who's paying the price? their students. because these teachers are not alified. they're very young. newly graduated from islamic university. they don't have a background in education. they don't have the experience that teachers -- the p.a. teachers used to have. the p.a. teachers are paid to stay home. so in a way this policy is producing a generation that is extremely dependent -- you know, this sector of governmental employees haven't worked with -- they're working in the health or education sector or you name it.
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they are asked to stay home and being paid by the donors. it doesn't make sense. you are intentionally producing a population that is extremely dependent. that is not created anymore. that they are staying home for three years now. so when it comes to the health also, it's, of course, hamas-appointed people, of course, but they are not that qualified. but people are so happy because they can observe that there is no corruption within the health sector. that the medicine is right there. there is no black market within the -- when it comes to the health. as it used to be under fatah. so at the same time, due to the closure, many people who are in need for medical treatment are not allowed to leave. many like hundreds of people are really like in pain. i don't know the exact number.
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but a number died due to not being able to get treatment abroad. they used to go to egypt for treatment or jordan in israel or the west bank. now it's so hard for many to go through these borders. and it's really americans who make it unless you have access the p.a. can help somehow some cases. when it comes to the economy, it's -- the formal economy has vanished completely. and the informal economy is of emerging. that is the tunnel and they are reallyike playing a role in keeping the situation alive in gaza. with the tunnels, i'm not talking about the humanitarian. i'm talking about that through the tunnels, people came out with the creative ways to -- to activate the private sector, you know, like the young people are investing a lot.
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but the tunnels have brought something that is a new class. you know, you havehe middle class vanished completely and then a new class that has emerged. and that is hamas. so the elite of the place now are the hamas or any businessman that is affiliated with hamas somehow. when it comes to the young generation, no future. and that is the dark side of the siege. because what's happening, you know, like if you heard t news, you know, from time to time you hear about small radical groups emerging in gaza and hamas is taking control by putting them in jail or by -- last summer they killed the leader of one of the group that is extreme. that is extreme. and this is what's happening. if you leave gaza as it is and if the policy to continue as it is, you know, what do you expect? where is the young generation to go? so some them can afford in
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school but the risk will be outside of schools and those studying in universities in gaza, they will have no jobs. so where to go as a joining? -- young? some young need to feel powerful and they go to these small groups and they join hamas if they agree with hamas. if they don't agree hamas, they go to groups to revenge hamas. it's a dark reality for the young generation because they are paying heavily. when it comes to fatah, there is no fatah leadership in gaza. you know, the supporters are still there. but all fatah leaders escape gaza before the civil war. so you have fatah supporters but there's an absence of leadership so you cannot count on somethi when it comes to fatah on the ground. the question here, who's going to employ the flotilla attack to their advantage? if we talk about the u.s. administration, can they push
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israel so hard to come out with a peace agreement? to come out with -- you know, to go backnto negiation and to turn it into a reality? or, you know -- or to fail and what will be the outcome for the region for everyone that israel is above the law? and then when it comes to israel, i would say -- is israel still interested in the vision of pushing gaza into, you know, egypt? because there is this line within the hard line in israel that is not with a two-state solution. that is happy with that kind of situation. hamas will be pushed to egypt. or maybe, you know -- maybe this is wishful thinking, but i was thinking, you know, israel needs to improve its image, you know, internationally and maybe they will go ahead and, you know, offer something when it comes to
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a palestinian state. so that can maybe do something to the image of israel. when it comes to fatah, the question what will he be offered this week during his visit? if he's offered nothing, it's the end as the leader. like he has nothing to offer. and bear in mind fatah was the party that promised its people for a palestinian state. it wasn't hamas. hamas never promised its people that i will get you that palestinian state in negotiations. hamas has always been critical of negotiations. they always say negotiations for the sake of negotiations and that is fatah. and that's the mindset of hamas. and hamas promised people all the time, it's this sentence that we will never surrender. and that's the only thing they promised their people. but they never promised them for a palestinian state through a negotiation. so they will end up nothing with
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the failure. the question also when it comes to hamas, how hamas employs this -- you know, the flotilla attack to its advantage? once, you know, the flotilla attack, the question is what will hamas will be doing on the ground? and maybe like they will be motivated to increase the pressure on egypt, to keep that -- to keep that crossing open. and also they will go and there was someone within hamas who said we may aim f peaceful demonstrations at a checkpoint and also -- the question that will really like, of course, affect egypt because egypt has opened that crossing not -- not as a political offer to hamas. it was -- it's to ease the
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pressure because they didn't want the opposition, the muslim brotheood, to invade on that. so immediately they opened. and i think it was a good idea. but what if they close the border next week? what will hamas do? when it comes to falad. the situation in west bank is working but when it comes to falaad. he has no political party behind him. there's a division within fatah. there are those who are not happy with him. and that can, you know, hinder his -- his option towards creating a different option. the weakness when it comes to this option you know how can you exclude gaza from that. excluding gaza, you know, to put pressure on hamas. that is the idea. but at the same time, how can you -- if you think in the long
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term, how can you implent the peace process? whatever agreements you will come out, if you are creating two entity. you know is the goal to create a palestinian state in the west bank? what about gaza? in the end you will need to engage gaza but by leaving gaza for a long time you are contributing to create a different reality. and i think it will be hard to deal with or to engage. last thing i would like to add is like what's happening -- like who is in crisis right now? of course, the american administration is, you know, i would say in a crisis when it comes to this. also israel and fatah and fayaad and also hamas. where are they going from here? but when it comes to arab countries, you know, also you have turkey who has immersed as a non-arab country that is pro-palestinian. that is proinjustice.
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and that has embarrassed all the arab countries. and i mean here egypt, jordan, saudi arabia. and, of course, others. and you know they are all viewed as forces that are in for the siege. and that is the sad reality. like it's obvious for the children, all these parties are witnesses. they contributed to that. if we want to discuss the way out, i think one must consider the irresponsibility. what will be the outcome? and it's very important to bear in mind that the failure of the peace process has led to the immersions of hamas. and i was -- i think education, focusing on the young generation is something. but also reconciliation. because it's a national demand. the u.s. administration must give the green light not only to egypt to go ahead with the reconciliation talks but also to
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fatah, to go ahead with it because it's important. if you in the future want to implement a peace process, you need one party, one entity, not two entities. i will always -- also talk about the private sector and how it's important. if the international community, if israel and the u.s. administration to it allow, for example, concession material in gaza immediately one-third of the population will beorking. so one-third of the population will be busy. will have a goal on daily basis. so i will stop here. >> thank you very much. you had two constructive suggestions at the end about national reconciliation and about sort of revising the gaza community. until that point what i was hearing was everybody is in crisis, israel, arab states and
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so on. but if everybody is in crisis, michele, can you help us get out? >> sure, nathan, no problem. good morning. well, i think that -- what tagreed said goes into what i want to know. i want to focus a little bi more on u.s. policy and focus on a specific area that i think the united states needs to address. of course, if we look at, you know, what the united states wants to do to promote the chances of a two-state solution, there are lot of differing areas and a number of different things. i want to talk about the issue of the palestinian situation and palestinian politics and that's what this paper that you had on your chairs is about. you know, everyone is now saying the situation in gaza is of unsustainable. i mean, you know, the u.s. administration and so forth is saying that.
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but i think most of that talk focuses on the humanitarian situation and the economic situation. i want to speak a little bit more about the political situation because i also think that the approach the united states has been taking to the internal palestinian political situation is not sustainable. and that this recent crisis -- i think that was clear even before this flotilla crisis but it just highlights it all the more. so i quite agree with tagreed if the united states really does want to foster a two-state nation and an independent palestinian state as part of a two-state solution living in peace side-by-side along with israel has been u.s. policy explicitly since 2002. and, of course, in a way implicitly long before that. i think this is going to require as taghreed said, a resumption
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of palestinian internal politics, electoral politics. so what are the reasons behind this? first of all, i think she illustrated amply the failure of starving hamas out of existence or out of relevance. she also hinted at the kind of lack of a mandate that president abbas now faces as head of the palestinian authority. and his inability to make concessions and negotiate effectively which is due partly, you know, to the weakness of his base of support. as you know, his electoral mandate has long run out. and the palestinian authority is effectively in control of only a small part othe west bank. let's not forget that. it's not as though they're controlling the entire west bank. only area a of the west bank.
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and, of course, none of gaza. and we see that -- it's been very difficult for president abbas to be flexible. to back down from any demds that he might have made regarding conditions f negotiations and he has had t resort to the arab league for permission to participate in proximity talks and all of these are indications of his weakness. also the reform program presented by prime minister salem fayaad for the west bank, i think it a laudable program. i appreciate the can-do spirit of the program and i think the contents of the program is very good. ...
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the point is, how can they be building the institutions of a future palestinian state if they cannot pass the law? if they cannot legislate and if they have to do everything by decree. add all these are very vulnerable to being overturned, if and when the palestinian legislative council will meet again. the plc cannot meet u
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and there can be no meeting ntil hamas and some tfatah reconcile. disagreement between fatah and hamas that keeps them from meeting at this point. this paper sends a bit of time tracing sort of 20 years of u.s. policy on palestinian politics. of course, the episode after the 2006 elections and had the united states treated the palestinian authority headed by hamas after the elections, that's for a well-known but i try in the paper o go into the period much before that. because i really think this goes back at least 20 years, through the 1990s, that the united states has thought at first times to ignore, frustrate, postpone or manipulate palestinian intern politics. now, i've survey not saying that all of the problems in
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palestinian politics are the fault of the united sttes. certainly palestinians themselves bear plenty of the blame. israel and other outside acors have also been very much at work in manipulating palestinian politics. but since i'm an american skull and i want to focus on u.s. policy, i focused to insert tracing from the early 199 to the present, many of the steps that i think united states has taken. that has been very damaging in terms of building, helping to encourage the creation of palestinian institutions that can serve as the basis for a state. and i wanted to do that because obviously, i want to recommend a change. i want to recommend a ifferent u.s. approach. and i thought it was important to show how the approach that we have been taking repeatedly has been damaging. so what do i want to recommend
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that we do differently? first of all, i'm in avor of the united states pursuing a israeli-palestinian negotiations, pursuing directive israeli negotiations. but i also think we really should do what we can to encourage serious institution building for a palestinian state. and what i mean by that is, as i said, supporting the palestinian politics, moving away from this approach that the u.s. has long taken. and that i as a former u.s. diplomat saw this from the inside, and ws part of this, that we consistently were always after a breakthrough in negotiations, the thing at the moment that we hope is right around the corner. and because of that we don't want inconvenient palestinian politics to get in the way. and so, you know, we need to get away, as i said, from an
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approach of constantly postponing or manipulate political outcomes in order to serve short-term needs of the negotiating process. i do agree with taghreed that we should be signaling support for reconciliation. i'm not in favor of the united states engaging hamas directly. especially while that ornization is to, you know, explicitly espouse armed struggle against is a. so i'm not really, i think there could be a lot of negative result of the united states to engage in hamas directly, but i do think we should get out of the way of internal palestinian negotiations, as taghreed said we should be kind of removing the excuse that i think we're currently providing for fatah to remain isolated, trimming extremely dependent on u.s. and european support and always diplomaticinancial, et cetera, and to work out the problems, kind of side the palestinian
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house which will probably need working out some kind of a power-sharing arrangement. it might not, it might or might t be something full enough to be called reconciliation, but obviously we have seen several versions of this. most recently the egyptian draft agreement that was on the table last fall, and that the united states discouraged. and so they would probably work out some kind of internal power-sharing arrangement and pave the way for new palestinian elections. that will mean, i think, that the united states has to think about and has to discuss with israel, and also our quartet partners, how we could work with and give assistance to a palestinian authority that might include hamas in some capacity. there are a number of different models. we saw one with the mecca agreement from several years ago that we rejected. and i think that the conditions
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that we have set to the quartet and through u.s. legislation and so forth are probably going to need to be simplified in order to be, in order to be workable. but i do think it's realistic that we could say that, given, we would work with a palestinian authority that would continue to prevent violence as the current palestinian authority in the west bank is doing. and also that would allow the plo which is negotiating party to negotiate with israel. and i do think those are conditions that could be realistic and could come out of some sort of a fatah-hamas ending. >> thank you very much, michele. and let me remind people here there is a full paper that is available here that i got to see a sneak preview of and i very much bring it to your attention.
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we heard taghreed say that hamas was expecting an act of god and i guess a question for you is turkish born policy a form of divine intervention? [laughter] >> you can recast the question if you need to. >> and what would happen if i were to say yes? [laughter] >> good morning, everybody, and thank u for coming. what i would do is focus on the turkish-american relations and wind is into what this means in terms of the peace process, and also in terms of the future of relations in the region. what i would like to do is basically say first of all, turkish israeli israelis and is on the way to deep freeze, but now after the flotilla crisis i think they have been transformed
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radically. and they have not become essentially relations between two hostile countries. and when you look at coming from turkey and the way the turkish reacted, you would think that turkey has replaced, i don't know, greece and all the other turkish former enemes, i'm commissar israel has replaced, turkey has become the new enemy. so is this really new in what is going on? what i would argue that the turkish approach has been changing in recent years. and usually people have described this to the 2008, 2000 gaza war. if you remember at the time, the turks were conduing secret negotiations between the series.
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he comes back four days later, he launches operation in gaza. and for ever would put a great deal of stake in those secret negotiations, this was a slap in the face and he ecame really personal for him. and we saw the ramifications of that with the famous incident between him and others. so this is what people ascribe the changes to. but i would argue that actually, it's more complex tn this. but it is a larger ga at hand. and the larger game is that turkey has decided to become a very important international player. it wants in the words of its foreign policy minister, it wants to be a central power. it wants to use its strategic location, its economic powers, its the 17th largest economy
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in the world. it is also a very dynamic economy. turkish kurds are being sought after everywhere, especially in the region, in the balkans, et cetera. and also use cycle and cultural connection. the fact is key and it sees that inheritance is such as a positive, positive one. and also the cultural connection, i.e. the fact that turkey is a muslim country and it is also a muslim country that is part of the west, a member of nato. they wanted to use its attribut to make turkey far more important internationally. it is true that in the past when you look at turkish foreign policy it always used to punch way, way up before it's weight.
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and the akp governing party has always wanted to change this to and it goes back to akp's incidences incidences. this is not sething specific to akp, but akp who participate in other governments always had these ideas. but the one on stated factor here is also that the akp sees that the united states is weak, at least in the region is much weaker. that, in fact, we look at the syrian negotiations that they started, those were a large measure the result of the vacuum that was createdby the bush administration followed the iraq invasion, and the angst it created in the region so the turks essentially stepped in to that void. but with the gaza operation -- i'm sorry, with the collapse of the syrian negotiations the
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turks essentially change tactics. in the meantime they also decided they have are rebuild some of you we say steps to become more influential in the region. they opened, they have aggressively courted the region, countries all over will, not just in the middle east and the caucus of the balkans. they have a member of the u.n. security council for the first time in 60 years. a member of the g20. one can go down the list of all the show is a diplomatic chips then the king laid over the years whh makes them obviously far more effective as a power. but i actually think what really happened after the gaza war was that they decided, especially after the incident when it resonated so positively for him, both in the region and at home, that he was going to use in many ways israel, if you want
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whipping boy, to push for his, push turkey's image and push turkeys, the new foreign policy. and if you look at almost every foreign policy species has given, i should say almost, every single foreign policy speeches given he has heart and gaza and hard on, really critical of israel. the way in which no other said, no other israeli leader has done. and in the process, he has essentially, he has been very resourceful, and he has appropriated the most important cause of the palestinian issue. and as taghreed said he puts all the other countries teaching. in the last few years he has done more in terms of isolating israel internationally than all the other arab leaders put together. so in that sense, the action to him, his close the most popular leader today, but he also has
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done something else, which we tend to lose track of. as the discussions on iran heeded up, the sanions, whether not they were a cheating, et cetera. turkey has stepped to get into the breach this time calling of course with the deal two weeks ago. but in reality, again, if you look at these foreign policy speeches and what he's been saying, iran is not the problem. iran nuclear problem, nuclear program is not a product as the iranians assured them, president ahmadinejad has told of he iranian nuclear program is peaceful and, therefore, it is peaceful. and so the problem is not iran, and the problem -- it is as nuclear weapons. he has really pushed on this over and over and over.
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but at the same time it's not just rhetoric. both in the conference and also on the nuclear summit tha president obama held in april, this issue has come up. this is another issue that he has to soe extent from the egyptians be on the forefront of this issue. so to add on, the issue is the fact that israel has nuclear weapons. and it is not in that sense obfuscating the debate that is going on both in terms of sanctions whether or not iran is a member of in pt is cheating or not. the new committee problem in the region amittedly. the egyptians have been sing this for a long time, but they're not the only country with nuclear weapons. in fact, you have pakistan. they are not members of npt.
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not only have nuclear weapons, they have tested them and deployed them. which is something the israelis have not done. so why focus only on israel? why not also say that pakistan's and indis also get rid of their nuclear weapons? so you see no a complete shift in turkish policy on this issue. so where does this take us in terms of the united states and turkey? before say that this is also very important, the other dimension of turkish foreign policy. and that is its domestic politics. the domestic policy. yes, the major aim of the government is to make turkey a power of consequence. they really have some people as a exaggerated, but they have this viion that by 2023 to be one of the top 10 economic
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powers in the world, and again in the words of, they want to determine the order. so they want to be the power in the middle east. so went so far as they are supporting the iranian, it's very interesting combination. because they're standing up to israelis, standing up to the united states on the iranian issue that they become if you want this dominant sunni power in the region. suny private talk to anybody, not so much these days because of the flotilla crisis, but still protects the region against foreign influences. but it is also important to understand domestic politics. for the first time in turkish politics except for the cyprus
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politics of 1974, foreign policy as a domestic issue. domest politics plays very, very well. and in this particular case, the flotilla crisis plays even better. i mean, it is much bigger than the other crisis. there's no question that the akp is going to use this and going to run very much in the coming elections. there are elections due by jul july 2011, but the akp had already gone into election mode some three months ago. when you talk to akp mp's, they were all telling me that they had been given the go head to start campaigning for the 2011 elections. so this is definitely ask -- playing exceedingly well. there's almo no criticism of
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the government policy in turkey. that will come up in the question and answer period. there are two other aspects that we tend to also not see. one is it is a major diversion from the kurdish problem in turkey. i mean, one thing, for example, this week and there were enormous demonstration in the southeast where, even before the demonstrators got home, they were met by security forces in a very violent way with pepper gas. mp's who went to talk to the security forces were not even allowed to come near, and for any of the pepper spray. them hundreds and hundreds of kurdish activists being jailed. people being, i mean, there's a serious crisis in turkey for the government which had announced a kurdish opening but backtracked because our reaction in some turkish quarters. this is a very convenient, i
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wouldn't say, it helps them. i'm not saying they created this crisis, but it definitely helps them. finally, in terms of domestic politics. given the akp, there was a very serious clash potentially looming between the akp andhe constitutional court. i does have the constitutional court which had been considering maybe to ban the party or ban some of its politicians, it tried this in 2007 and eight. it backfired. but there were serious talk that this may be in the offing again, especially before the new elections. there's also a referendum for constitutional changes hat akp is pushing. so there is no way that the constitutional court will be able to stand up to the akp. so in a way this also helps the akp to solidify its position at home.
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so it is a win-win for them at every level, except. an exception i think is the united states. i'm sometimes amused when i read commentaries that turkey is showing independence from the united states, turkey is finally standing up to deny states and so on and so forth. i mean, this is so far from reality. the turks have always been with us. anthey have never, they have never sat down or stood up and salute whenever we've asked them something. and so i think what hard. turkish-american diplomacy on issues, the kurds democracy, greece, cyprus and iraq, although iraq they change the policy now, used to be very, very hard and difficult set of issues on which we had to negotiate and butt heads. but the difference is that
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previous turkish foreign policy was in many ways very now, very i would say -- they didn't care about the rest of the world. they only cared about those specific issues that affected of an effective domestically. now that you have a government has iternational ambitions, the clashes are much more evident. but it isn't because the turks are standing up to the united states. it's because they've shifted their foreign policy. their ambitions have changed. this can create problems. it will create problems because when you look at the reaction in turkey with the flotilla crisis against the united states, the mood in turkey is i have rarely seen it to be so foul a minute
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respect. in many ways, i think there is a danger that the tur are going to lose control over the narrative. and that will make u.s. turkish relations even worse. but remove the flotilla crisis is actually the icing on the cake. the real probably going united states and turkey was really about iran. was really about tehran, brazil, turkey deal. but it's also the fact because they're both coming up in u.n. security council and the turk are probably going to vote against the sanctions. and for the united states, i don't want to go in to what really happened in terms of who's right and who's wrong in terms of the brazil turkey toronto, but it is probable, anger with u.s. administration, turkey's efforts and especially upcoming vote. so in this mood and in this, if
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the turks vote no now or managed to scuttle one what or the other, t whole vote at u.n. security council, the damage to u.s. turkish relations is going to be long lasting. by that i mean, and in some ways it may actually be lack of better word, good. in what way? at me, i think we also need to change our policy. we have always been, because we have always tried to satisfy them and all the issues whether pp k., armenian quest, cyprus. we've gone out of the way even though they don't miss a thing a to be that w, we have diverging interest. we have common interest i think we should pursue our common interest. we have divergent interests i think we should push for our interests and take the turks
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into consolation. but they're not. and, finally, in terms of the peace process, this is really about the peace process, this panel. if turkey now is a dominant power in the region come if turkey decides to take a very active role in the peace process and in the process actually become, and it has associate itself with hamas, one of the things were forgetting, the turks haven't decided clearly with hamas. wouldn't talk about the wide maybe later on. so now you have a very powerful active player, which is going to be pushing, she we say the hamas life. and you see there being part of the final solution. and so you have, you have a powerful regional actor that can
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exercise a great deal of influence that and to what extent will it affect and i will leave it to taghreed to answer, effective peace process. thank you. >> all right. thank you very much. let me switch hats very briefly here from moderator to discuss it. and they we will open it up for questions. a discuss agenda has three jobs. the first is to be brief and that can do. the second is sort of issue some pleasant platitudes describing the presentations as rich and nuanced. and that i can do because the presentations were rich and nuanced. and the third is to criticize him for not say what the discussant would have said had the discuss it have been saying. that is hard and it's hard for distant reason to let me turn first to mitchellmichee's paper and into doug and then henry's paper. i can do it from michele because when i listen to her paper and what a reader paper, by one, is yeah, what she said.
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that's it. i think it lays out very clearly both a good historical retrospective how we got to where we were and lays out an interesting, a difficult but interesting altrnative. and one in which i would endorse. with regard to taghreed, what we there's all sorts of details and analysis that we did know but that we need to factor into our thinking. adders like the crisis, what's happening in the health sector and so forth and so on. from henri, were not used to having to think in terms of okay, what is the relationship between what's going on in gaza and the upcoming turkish election. that's the kind of thinking which we're not used to doing. i think that when it comes to ar-israeli peace process
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issues in washington, we tend to fall a little bit into the trap of looking at our feet. and we kind of know vaguely where we want to go but the question is okay, abbas s coming to town, how does what is happening over the last week of fact in very short termways. and what we're hearing about from all three presentations is something a little bit more in terms of long-term analysis. it doesn't make the problems any easier to solve. but i reminded of an and now she that i might make would e a situation where in that to the situation we're in an iraq policy, say, a decade ago. where we had a policy come and again, you can hear the same kinds of terms that it's unsustainable. there are certain things that we had a policy in iraq and a decade ago that was leading to a series of changes in iraq, not exactly what we want. we're not getting regime change in iraq.
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but on the other hand, we had no clear alternative. it was also leading to some regional changes and sort of the regional ground of that policy was shifting. but in a day-to-day basis, the policy was sustainable from one day to the next. and ultimately, therefore, whatever you think about what the bush administration did in iraq in 2003, it was not present with a set of attractive policy options for the lg-term. the mess in iraq was a long time in making because of a series of incremental stepy-step decisions that have been made basically back to 1991. and i don't know whether the three presenters would agree, but i am hearing something that seems a little bit akin to that situation. none of the three presenters are saying that the fundamental american go when it comes to the american policy towards peace process sponsoring a two-state solution is misguided. but their single, look at the
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horizon, look at what's happening in the region, and the region is shifting in some ways that will make passionate that it the united states is pursuing that kind of policy, we'll have to take into account. . . we talk about how we got into this, with these short-term decisions. and also, the recommendation that we look up a little bit, and perhaps, not necessarily go to the different horizon, but at least be a little bit more aware of the stumbling block that will be confronting us very soon.
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we have about a half hour for questions and if it is ok, i would like to take two or three at that time. if your question or comment is directed to the particular panelist, please say so. if you can wait for the microphone? >> i am curious about what can be offered to make him look like a viable leader. and also, on the role of turkey, the you see a role for them in the reconciliation process? should the united states be encouraging them, to channel the new ambition? >> we will take a couple more of these. >> marina wi the carnegie endowment.
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>> my question is for ari. turkish foreign policy is presented as -- government andhe policies is presented is the policy of a particular government. to what extent is it -- is this new sort of this more ambitious policy? is this more the policy of the gross power essentially which we can expect to continue no matter who wins the next elections? >> right in front after here. -- over here. >> i'm a freelance journalist. my question is to mr. henri barkey. as turkey assumes this prominent position in the region, is it likely -- is there likely to be
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increased tensions with saudi arabia and egypt, the traditional leaders of that part of theorld? and my second question is on turkey. i suppose, the current government is removed either by vote or by a military coup, are we likely to see a dramatic change back to the old policy of israel? thank you. >> thank you. we've got three questioners, five questions, four of those questions were about turkey. this is unusual. so let me first -- why don't we first turn to henri because most of them is for you and then turn to taghreed and michele. >> michele, i think on the reconciliation process, i'm not sure abbas -- and i will actually leave it to taghreed to answer that question. the turks would probably say, yes, they want to help and they would like to participate. sometimes there's not a crisis in the world they don't think they can resolve so why avoid this one?
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[laughter] >> but i don't know how abbas would react. i think this is a policy question. maria, is this a policy of a particular government? i'll be an economist and say yes and no. it is the policy of the government in the sense that this particular government, it does come from -- shall we say history of villains of anti-jewish sentiment. after all all these people were taught by probably turkish antisemetic leaders who saw the world completely divided into -- into two. certainly there is a history.
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but in turkey, two things are important on this. one is the turks in general are not very well disposed of foreigners. but most important on the policy issue irrespective of who weighs in the political spectrum, the palestinian issue was always very, very, very popular. so if you're a secularist or a centrist, it doesn't matter. what has changed, however, with this government is the emphasis on hamas. whereas, for a lot of turks, hamas -- i should say for a segment of the turkish population, hamas is -- not because of itsiolence. its islamic inheritance. yes, turkey has evolved. turkey is different. and some of the ideas are
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actually ideas of the former prime minister who was talking about the zero problem, neighborhood policy way before came on the scene. yes, turkey would still be much more assertive. i mean, they've learned that being an important international player -- it plays well at home. so if you had a different government, there's not going to be a coup now. but if a government comes to power -- if the akp loses, which i think is not in the cards for a long time mes, the feeling will definitely change. there isn't much sentiment in the other parties against him. this kind of vehemence that you see. the turkish government is leaking and obfuscating the
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facts. thenterior of the military office says those who released from the boat, they were tortured. yoknow, and he says this as an official person without proof, without anything. so i think it is a product. will it go back to the old relations as you asked, i think it's going to take a long time. even if there's a government change. if there's no -- ultimately akp will lose power i think at some point. but i would see for the time being, for the next 10 years with the last set of relations between turkey and israel, if there's a government change it will be the next fe years. they will not go back for the last five years. that's for sure. turkey will become a much more important power. and i think its economic prowess
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is very important. part of the turkish government -- is also driven by economics. they are pushing for markets everywhere. so that's not going to change. as a result of it, yes, turkey will be a much more active power but it will not take this kind of -- shall we say, a lack of better world belcose position on these issues. on egypt and saudi arabia, look, the egyptians and the saudis must be fuming at the moment. they were fuming before. i mean, you saw during the gaza crisis they tried to get out the egyptians out of the way but the egyptians won out butt took a lot of hard work to do it. and the turks -- the turks also --he way in which they are kind of lking at all the other arab countries, they are riding a wave of south
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righteousness and popularity. they think they are superior to all these arab leaders et cetera and they can go over their head. i don't know what the arab world can do at the moment. the arab leaders can do at the moment but i think in a black book somebody is writing something and there's going to be a price to pay for it, too. there's no weakness -- there's no appearance of weakness in a turkish reaction and that's why it's hard for them to react. >> i would disagree when it comes to -- what you mentioned that turkey took the side of hamas in the reconciliation talks. turkey was very interested to be engaged in the u.s. reconciliation talks. the administration didn't let them because they didn't want to embarrass egypt. because egypt wanted to take that role. and at the same time, you know,
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i think -- what is missing in, you know -- you know, today is a fair media. and we have to admit that turkey now is viewed in the region but only in the middle east, you know, that turkish flags are raised in afghanistan and the american administration and they must employ that fact, you know, turkey is viewed to be a realist on the ground in the middle east. i'm talking about the people here. they view turkey as a party that is realizing and recognizing the facts on the ground. not ignoring. not marginalizing. i think when it came to the talks between hamas and fatah, fatah didn't like the fact that turkey, you knowwill play a role because fatah has no agenda when it comes to taking sides -- taking the side of fatah. so that's why they were not encouraged by fatah.
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so the american administration listened to fatah and listened to egypt, therefore, they know -- when it comes to abu mazen. i think -- i mean, the guy is really like paying the price, you know? he's been paying the price throughout like since his -- since, you know, won the presidency. i mean, like he offered a lot. and for him it's negotiations and he promised the people and so far he gets nothing. what to offer abu mazen is miracle. something people can have. i think it's wishful thinking. i don't think the government of israel will approve. i think maybe they will come out with an area to be included, you know, back to oslo model. okay. let's work -- let's pretend that it's oslo.
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and give more areas for the p.a. to control. it's not disillusion. i think what is needed is a political solution. i'm really very pessimistic, you know, to what extent the american administration will help abu mazen at this stage. >> so regarding what obama can offer abu mazen, well, i think that the expansion of palestinian p.a. authority into the other areas, into area b and so forth would be support for that, explicit support for that. and working with the israelis on that while it isn't the answer, it would be better, you know, than the package of confidence-building measures, lifting some road blockages, releasing a few prisoners, you know, this kind of thing. so there are, you know, certain things that obviously if president obama wants to offer them to president abbas he's got to get them first from netanyahu.
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there's what obama himself can offer and, of course, this was discussed even before this gaza flotilla, would heint at some kind of possible new u.s. initiative. that assuming the proximity talks don't succeed in yielding meaningful progress and leading into direct talks, which is the goal at the moment, that obama might consider launching some kind of new u.s. initiative further articulating how the u.s. sees a two-state solution and so forth. but i think that is something that can probably only be hinted at this point. my guess is if president abbas wants that from the united states he's going to hav to wait another 5, 6 months at least for that. privately, though, i do think that obama should be talking to president abbas about the need to get the west bank and gaza back together. and, you know, as we've said,
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the need to somehow encourage him to get the palestinian house in order. briefly on the question of turkey as a mediator, i don't think the egyptians are going to give up that role easily. they consider it critical for them. with gaza on their bder and i saw this morning that the secretary-general of the arab legal will be going to gaza to try to pick up the threads on reconciliation. of course, you know, the arab league means egypt. egypt is going to try to find a new angle into this. >> for another round of questions. where do we start here. [inaudible] >> get the mic. >> phil wilcox, the president of the foundation for middle east peace. let's go back to the closure in light of the flotilla crisis. which everyone says is no longer sustainable. there's ven some voices in israel who are saying that.
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suppose the u.s. work to change its policy and become much more aggressive with the government of israel, and succeeded in persuading israel to lift the closure, what would be the consequences of this for internal palestinian politics is in front would there be a clearer beneficiary on the hamas side or the fatah side? assuming that the u.s. were to change its policy, i suppose, it's likely abu mazen would agree and become an advocate of the lifting of the gaza closure in a way much more emphatic than he has been in the past. michele and taghreed, could you discuss that? >> we'll go over to this side over here. >> dan litman, freelance writer.
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this is for taghreed, if say hamas was treated like any government entity in the world equally and gaza was given all the freedoms, open borders just like any country, can you make a little prediction of what politically, economically and spiritually also that gaza would look like in a few years? in other words, would it be a stable, growing company or would it still be racked with dissension and violence? >> in the back. yeah. >> yes, hi. joyce with the newspaper. my question for the gentleman who was speaking on turkey. i'm wondering why you're framing this as a u.s.-turkey sort of crisis. i mean, the turkish foreign minister yesterday was clear in his remarks on cnn. he sort of welcomed the u.s.
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response and made it clear that this is an issue between, you know, israel and turkey. also, can the u.s. deal with this like it deals with other allies. saudi and qatar doesn't get along but u.s. is friends with both of them. >> why don't we go in reverse order. these questions were more on the palestinian side. michele and taghreed. >> to fill wilcox's question, i actually think is -- it's problematic to lift the closure and open gazap completely while it's still under complete hamas authory. where there's no palestinian authority presence at the borders. and so forth, you know, in effect moving down the road of
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recognizing gaza as a separate entity under hamas authority and so forth. so, you know, this is one of the reasons why i think that while there obviously needs to beyou know, some greater opening to relieve the pressure and so forth, that this is one of the reasons why it's imperative to press for a palestinian reconciliation at this point. >> i mean, like the question, who will benefit if it cease to be lifted? like all the policymakers, like i'm talking about the american administration, like these things that hamaso benefit, of course, hamas will benefit if the siege to be lifted. right now -- hamas is benefiting, too. with the siege or without the siege. hamas is in control of gaza. hamas has a security apparatus
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that is extremely strong. hamas has -- has been taking care of its supporters. by the siege. hamas has increased its supporters, you know, they're employing them and they are listening to their needs or whatever. this is like -- we have to take this into consideration. that hamas is the elite of the place. and who is -- who's going to benefit if the siege is to be lifted? mainly the people. i mean, like it's unlievable -- y're talking about, you know, a collective punishment that is imposed on the people of gaza. why to pay the price. why the young generation to pay the price? and then everybody is scared. it's among the young people who want to be al-qaeda. hello. they have not been out of gaza their entire life. there's no education there. no opportunities for them. so they feel like that life is meaningless. they have no goal in life.
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so where to go? i mean, like and with the failure of the peace process, with the failure of policy. that aims to the creation of a palestinian state, hamased has emerged and the second in de-fatahas the model and study how israel indirectly de hamas come out to the service. you know, they really indirectly helped hamas. i was a tv reporter at the time. i remember i used to do my tv reporting like 2 minutes of reporting. and all of the elements of my story would be on hamas. you know, because they made the news. israel killed them. israel made them heroes. israel made them like whatever -- they have become martyrs and that's on the ground. we cannot stay blind. we have to realize that, you know, what are these policies aiming us to?
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intentionally the american administration, israel, you know, key, you know, arab countrs are invoed with this siege. and i think something has to come out, okay, everybody is scared. of course, hamas will benefit if the siege is lifted. we have to understand it's international legitimacy and at the same time, of course, you know, they will never -- one thing to consider also, they will never agree to go into another elections, another round of elections unless they show their supporters a year of governance with the absence of the siege. and that's, of crse, a fact. but at the same time, you know, we cannot exclude the fact that they are benefiting out, you know, a lot. like right now. and also wn it comes to the west bank, everybody thinks the west bank is ramallah. ramallah is becoming like, wow, the place. the economy is flourishing, business or whatever. they get there are villages.
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ramallah is one city but it's not the west bank. you cannot exclude the villages around. and there are many voices that are suppressed in the west bank. sort of i mean, like that you have to consider. and then ifamas -- i mean, like hamas is a reality on the ground. and the failure of the policy made them a reality. and every day they are becoming -- you know, like they are shaping that reality and with the creation of another entity in gaza that is different from the west bank, that entity will be hamas. hamas is in control. and with poverty, people at the end, okay, they are coping but at the same time at the end they will say hamas is in power. in that place, you kno in that jail so, therefore, i will listen to the guy. you know, in the church. it's commonsense. i wish the unity government worked. think the unity government like the mecca agreement worked out, that the international community held with that.
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you know, but i don't like to talk about the past. but i think we should move into the national demand. that is reconciliation between fatah and hamas. and at the same time, the peace process because you cannot work on one excluding the other. >> when i was trying to suggest you used the expression that it's the icing on the cake in terms of the turkish american relations. the problem between turkey and america is iran. it is not so much -- and i still think it has made american decision-makers a little bit -- they were a little shocked by the reaction of turkey if you remember. this is on 9/11.
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and there's been no -- to the exnt that the flotilla was also encouraged by the leaders of the movement that organizes and two other political parties in turkey as they were leaving. saying they were the ones to help us put this together. in a way, this was an unnecessary view of the american leadership. and unnecessary provocation. you know, they bungled the aid but clearly there was -- it inflamed the situation at the time when all the american relations were on the very difficult trajectory because of iran. and you don't underestimate how iran is important to the u.s. at the moment. i mean, i think i mean, what the turks have failed to understand is that for the u.s., iran at
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the moment is a strategic issue. and on an issue of this importance for the turks as a nato member to go on in the united states d try to protect iranians is thought very -- it aggravates the situation. >> let me sal the microphone just to make one brief comment about sort of the long-term argument that i was making that comes out of t views here. in terms of lifting the siege of gaza, to me the question of, you know, who would benefit becomes very different. or the answer becomes very different depending on the times of the circumstances. and it is no secret in policy circles that the siege was not leading to the policy results that were expected from it. nobody -- nobody would -- i shouldn't say nobody. but i think that was fairly widely acknowledged for the last year or so.
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if you're going to end it you end it on your terms or time. or you wait until there's a crisis. and right now it's a propaganda victory for hamas, turkish public opinion is now directly engaged. it's a far messier situation. you do it six months ago, you would ve -- again, you would have confronted a very difficult -- a very different set of circumstances. you do it as part of the negotiations again, very different set of circumstances. we've got time for perhaps two very brief or one long-winded question. [laughr] >> in the very back. >> i'll try not to be long-winded. thank you. i'm from voice of america. what practical steps can be taken to lift the siege in gaza and ensure that israel s its security needs met and that no weapons are smuggled in with the humanitarian aid? and what, if anything, can be done to legitimatize the israeli
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investigation into the flotilla incident so that the results would be accepted by the international community? >> i'll count that as a brief question and take a second one from up here? >> ted pfeiffer, u.s. institute of peace. i'm still tryg to get a sense of where hamas thinks it's going. it is holding onto gaza. it wants to retain control of gaza without the siege to demonstrate it can re. it's prepared to go into elections. it's not prepared to give up control of gaza. it's prepared to take as much as what it had in the last election so more. so where, in fact, does it see itself going other than divine intervention? and how will that help us two or three years down the road? >> why don't we turn -- the
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final comments to taghreed, michele and then henri. >> where hamas is going, as i said hamas' main objective is one that is international legitimacy. they want to be engaged, of course. and o interesting interview i conducted with in syria. i started to remember what he said. he said we are willing like all three years we are willing at this stage to be partner in that -- whatever in the peace process, whatever. they won't cause any distraction to any peace agreement if obam to go ahead with any. that is i think really their main objective is objectivity. is international legitimacy. and i would say that they will do a l to achieve that. this is their main goal.
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the situation is really scary. and there are, you know, voices within hamas that are extreme, of course. but one thing to consider, one element to consider, is those in control, those that are now in control, with hamas and syria, whether hamas and syria or the west bank are, you know -- are people that you can talk to. you can discuss in politics, they believe in elections. they believe in all of that. so i think it's worth it to consider it. i don't know how. that's the question. because it's very hard. you know, they are very persistent on not recognizing israel, of cours and not to renounce, you know, violence. and not acts of the previous agreements, you know, that's -- these conditions are not accepted by hamas. and when you talk to them, it's like, yokn

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