tv Washington Journal CSPAN June 12, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT
all parts of the country for the first time since the recession began. and later, the author of "how soccer explains the world." wournl is next. host: russian president medvedev will visit with president obama. he plans to speak with david cameron today about the b.p. cameron today about the b.p. oil spill. "the washington post" notes that president obama has not addressed the nation from the oval office. according to scott shane at the "new york times," on the front page today, president obama's prosecution of leaks to the media has already outdone every previous president. we'll read more from this article in a bit, but for the next 45 minutes, in light of that, we want to talk to you and get your thoughts on how much secrecy is needed in a
democracy. there are three lines you can contribute to today. only do so if you haven't called in the last 30 minutes. 202-737-0001 for republicans. 202-737-0002 for democrats. 202-628-0505 for independents. of course, there are two other ways you can contribute this morning if you want. eleccronically, if you follow us on twitter, and we invite you to do so, twitter.com is the website. our address is cspanwj. you can also send us an email. as promised, here's the front page of the "new york times" this morning. obama steps up the prosecution of media leaks. this is scott shane writing, saying that, hired in 2001 by the national security agency to help catch up with the email and cell phone revolution, thomas drake became convinced that the government's eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars
on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative. he took his concerns everywhere inside the secret world, with bosses, to the agency's inspector general, to the defense department's inspector general, and to the congressional intelligence committee. but he felt his message was not getting through, so he contacted a reporter for the "baltimore sun." today, because of that decision, mr. drake, 53, a veteran intelligence bureaucrat who collected early computers, faces years in prison on 10 felony charges involving the mishandling of classified information and the obstruction of justice. the indictment was the latest evidence that the obama administration is proving more aggressive than the bush administration on seeking to punish unauthorized leaks to the press. in 17 months in office, president obama has already president obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leaked prosecution. this administration has taken actions that might have provoked criticism for his predecessor, george w. bush, who was often in public fights with the press. with that as a bit of context
to our discussion today, we're to our discussion today, we're interested in finding out from you how much secrecy is in a democracy and to whaa extent should be done to protect that secrecy. again, three lines. 202-737-0001 for republicans. 202-737-0002 for democrats. and it's 628-0205 for independents. again, that area code is 202. and you can also follow us on twitter at cspanwj is the email. first up, independent line, go ahead. caller: hello. good morning, i'm a nervous first-time caller, so i just have a question about secrecy and security. and considering the "sportscenter" of our relationship with israel, i'm wondering what the american people would think and why is it that we haven't heard very much about alleged or the
military base in israel paid for snths a rather large facility by the united states. i'll take my comments off the air. host: kenwood, louisiana. brittany, go ahead. caller: hi. how are you? host: fine. thank you. what do you think about the need for secrecy in light of prosecutions that the president has for media leaks? caller: i think that that situation should be taught -- hello? host: go ahead. caller: i think that that situation should be more kept for the american people. host: why so? caller: well, because there is a lot of different kinds of -- there's a lot of different kind of secrecy about what is in a
democracy. host: so should it be prosecuted by law then? caller: i think it should be done by law, but i do believe that if there is secrecy in one way or another way, there's a prosecution that needs to know what the leaks are, not by what the secrecy itself is, but what the law for the persons that need to have the secrecy to need to have the secrecy to know what the rights that the need to know. host: missoula, montana. ivan on our democrats line. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: good morning. haven't talked to you guys since reagan's funeral, so i'm since reagan's funeral, so i'm overdue. as far as prosecuting leaks, i think they should only prosecute republicans, buzz they're the ones that need it the most. host: why not someone within the administration, like the front page of the "new york times" talked about? caller: well, i'm sorry.
i miss that had part of t. i dent expect to get on this quick, so i'm probably sounding more like a republican. i really don't have an answer for you there, because i didn't hear that. host: well, the context is this white house has already done other white houses, and the idea that if someone from within one of the agencies or spread some type of information that's meant to be secret to the media, that the white house is very active in prosecuting this legally, and probably -- according to the "new york times," has done so more than any other previous administration, and so in light administration, and so in light of that, we wanted to see, you know, the need for secrecy in a democracy and how much is needed. paller: well, this expertise they're using in prosecuting the leaks there, if they could gather all that together and plug that big leak down there in the gulf, i think they'd all be a lot happier. host: rome, wyoming, is next, on our independent line. gene, go ahead. caller: yeah, hey, how you doing this morning? it's actually rollins, wyoming.
it's kind of a funky little republican more or less town in wyoming. i would advise anybody from michigan not to bother to move to. anybody, i read a really interesting book about 10 years ago, published in 2000 by jim mars. some people may know his name. and it's called "rules by secrecy." a very interesting read for anybody out there who is interested about the general topic of secrecy. i think that there's a great wrong history of secrecy that has gone back many thousands of years, and actually, mars' thesis in the books, what he writes in the end is that perhaps we, the human race, are not really anything but ruled by a secrecy that is -- that has so many layers that we will never penetrate through all of them. and he, of course, calls for a
truthful dialogue at the end of the book. and indeed, we see that now in and indeed, we see that now in our entire culture, everything that's happened, everything is shrouded in secrecy and nobody can quite tell the truth. what do you think about that? host: let me ask you a question then n. light of what you said, if something that secret makes it to the media and is put out to the public discussion, so to speak, should that be prosecuted as far as -- should the white house prosecute that? caller: no, no, i don't think it has anything to do with republicans or democrats. i don't think it really has anything to do with prosecution. ads mars points out in his book, it has everything to do with freeing your mind instead, so to speak. the problem in our democracy now, or what is actually truly a republic, is that the literacy has disappeared, almost completely disappeared from our culture. everybody's concerned with the next baseball game, racetrack
event, football super bowl, etc., etc., and there really is, in our culture, a disappearing sense, i think. free your mind instead. host: so should information should the american public have to classify, whatever it is, how you want to find information, especially the workings of government? caller: i think we have just about everything we need. you have to look behind -- as you points out in the book, it's all in front of us. everything that is the secrecy that we're talking about is actually right there in front of our eyes, but can we open our eye toss actuaaly see that? host: ventura, california, republican line. david, go ahead. caller: yes, hello. i'm very happy to have gotten
through, and i -- i was called for jury duty, and i went to -- i had dodged my jury duty on several occasions, and i went for jury duty. host: let me stop you there and ask you about how much secrecy is needed in a democracy. caller: well, this is -- this gets to the core of the matter. the heart of our justice is in our jury system. host: i'm going to stop you there. let me read more from this article in the "new york times." it says mr. obama began his presidency with a pledge of transparency. his aides have warned more recently of a crackdown on leakers. in a november speech, the top lawyer for the intelligence agencies, robert litt, declue
cried "leaks of classified information that have caused specific and identifiable losses of intelligence capabilities." he promised in the action, in the coming months. prosecution like those of mr. drake, the f.b.i. translator, shamai lebowitz, and the army analyst who has not yet been analyst who has not yet been charged, have only a handful of presidents in american history. among them are the cases of daniel ellsberg, a defense department consultant who gave the pentagon papers to the times in 1971, and samuel morrison, the navy analyst who passed satellite photographs to jane's defense week until 1984. pnder president bush, no one was convicted for disclosing secrets directly to the press. but lawrence franklin, a defense department official, served 10 months of home arrest for sharing information. and i. lewis libby, top aide to and i. lewis libby, top aide to mr. cheney, was convicted of perjury for lying about his statements to the journalists
about an undercover c.i.a. officer. buffalo, new york, up next on our democrats line. caller: hey, how are you? host: fine, thanks. caller: first off, i'm not a caller: first off, i'm not a democrat. i'm actual until new york state. we have a very, very good system of voting called fusion voting. my only three choices are democrats, republican, independent, i guess i got to go with democrat. however, i do believe our democracy is safeguarded for such an event like this, for a leak, and i believe that corporations, especially the news corporation, since they pay for attorneys, for a variety of reporters who may know something they're not supposed to. i do believe our system had safeguarded. i do not believe that mr. obama should be cracking down on this. i believe it's a matter of life
and death, and it's going to undermine our intelligence capability. maybe somebody should go to jail of course but other than that, i'm a firm believer in free speech, and i believe that our system safeguards against it, and news corporations hire attorneys ffr this person who does not have to disclose their source, if you know what i mean. host: helen off of twitter adds this this morning, that it is possible to rule through consent of the people when they don't know what's consent-filled. columbus, mississippi, you're up next on our republican line. robert, good morning. caller: good morning. how are you doing? host: fine, thank you. caller: i think the way the media is this day and time, it's hard to keep anything a secret. i think if there's a lot of money changing hands sometimes between the media, giving money to people get information and, you know, you can't keep a secret that way for sure. host: what do you think about the prosecution aspect from the
white house? caller: well, if you catch somebody doing something illegal, it sounds like a bribe to me. i think they should go to jail or they should suffer the consequences for their actions. host: how much secrecy is needed in a democracy? we'll continue on with this topic, but we'll get to other stories in the papers this morning. this is "the washington post," and it's the politics section.
host: the it's an important and significant thing, we'll do it at some point. the paper also has a blurb, inquirer" this morning, but it talks about the visit between president obama and russian president medvedev. it will take place on june 24 at the white house. it's part of a three-day u.s. visit by the russian leader to focus on trade and eeonomic development. both governments announced this on friday. back to our question about how much secrecy is needed in a democracy. california on our independent line. joy, good morning. caller: good morning. host: how are you? caller: i'm good. how are you? host: fine, thank you. host: fine, thank you. go ahead. caller: yeah, i believe there should be secrecy in a
democracy. i mean, how else are you going to protect our sit zens and our men and women in the service? i mean, you know, i a nephew of mine who was over there and almost lost his mind because he wasn't protected well enough. now you've got this oil spill, and the government's not doing anything. they're not doing things to make them pay for it, yoo know? he's got people that are in, you know, that are in, you know, safe houses and stuff, and the media leaks it, and yeah, i think they should go to jail, and i think they should fight because we're trying to save our citizens of the united states. host: joe this morning from twitter. from personal experience, most secrecy in government is to hide things from our own
people, not the enemy, he finishes off. and again, you can contribute on twitter if you follow us on cspanwj. again, that's off of twitter.com. green bay, wisconsin, thanks for waiting on our republican line. john, go ahead. john, how are you? caller: yes, i am. yeah, i totally agree with the aspect of our government totally prosecuting these police, absolutely. if our elected officials are slipping this information to the public, yes, they should be prosecuted totally. host: what about the sensitive nature? caller: well, i can't say that. the american public -- look, the american public -- look, that's why we have leaks. but i mean, you know, look at our government and our history. i mean, we've had some of the greatest officials in there and the administration, and now we have what we have today.
have what we have today. host: massachusetts on our democrats line. lloyd, you're on, sir. caller: should there be secrecy? host: well, how much secrecy is exactly how we're asking. how much secrecy in a democracy? caller: how much secrecy? just barely enough to go to the next day. look, we live in a democracy, and the bottom line is that citizens have to have the information to make the best decision in a democracy. that is what a democracy is all that is what a democracy is all about is being informed. by not being informed and actually by keeping secrets from congress, the foreign policy for our country since world war ii has been militaristic. and all of these things that have been happening, whether it's b.p. or vietnam or iraq, those things have been over secret actions by our
government that even most of congress has not been involved in and did not get information, like operation ajax with overtaking iran in 1984. so how much secrecy and how many people have died because of the secret bombings in pambodia? and b.p., the real criminals here is the secrecy, is actually the secrecy of our congress not, you know, making regulations that would prevent what is happening now, which is an absolute catastrophe. host: for everything you've said, what's the role then of prosecution for those involved in spreading this information to the press or by other means? caller: in the system that we have today, there's nothing more important than a free press.
so "leaks," i'm not quite sure. you would have to define leaks for me in a democracy. my right to know as a citizen is paramount over anything. and so should somebody be -- should somebody actually go to jail for telling the american public the truth? no way. host: and that was lloyd in massachusetts. in about 25 minutes from now, some of you have mentioned b.p. this morning. we're going to talk with this author, charles wohlforth. he wrote a book called "the nature of nature." environmental in nature, as you can gather from the title, but parts of the reason we've asked him on is he was one of the reporters during the exxon valdez about 20 years ago, and we're asking him to talk and at least share his thoughts looking at this current situation in the gulf and from experiences that he learned while covering that incident.
so that will come up in about so that will come up in about 25 minutes from now. until then, our discussions turn to secrecy in a democracy and questions specifically how much. the "new york times" has an article looking at prosecutions article looking at prosecutions by the white house of leaks to media of sensitive information, making the case that this current white house has surpassed others as far as prosecution of media leaks goes. this is scott shane if you want to read it right now or later on today, either by paper or at nytimes.com. waco, texas, on our democrats line. george, good morning. caller: good morning, sir. i think that the title of your show is really apropos, because the fact of the matter is your show itself proves that any american can call in and speak
to the whole nation, and if there is a secret like that, the cat can be let out of the bag real quickly. so the ddmocracy and the speech we have here is just wonderful. i wanted to say one more thing. speaking of leaks, a friend of mine is an engineer on oil wells. and he said that the quickest way to bring that leak in the gulf to fruition would be in other words, putting a bomb down there of some type to close that well head. he said they have done that many, many times, and yet it's never been brought up. i think it might be something for people to think about, just a good explosion will close up any well head.
one quick thought as far as people who leak, as far as our weapons to other countries should be treated much moreeas traders. thank you so much for c-span. good day, sir. host: two things in the papers this morning about the secretary of state, hillary clinton. the first is from the author of "power rules." in 2009, he was a former official at the state and defense departments, and he also currently serves as president amer cuss at the council for formal relations. he makes the case for the current secretary of state for defense secretary. he writes that here's how and why it could happen. step one may come in a year or is when the defense secretary, robert gates, retires as clouds darken over afghanistan and iraq and cutting military spending. mr. gates has mr. obama credibility on national security, which was why he was security, which was why he was asked to stay after 20908
election. he goes on to say that -- a profile of secretary clinton, this is call "traveling saleswoman." some of the things the author writes occur in the first column as far as quotes she has from an interview that she granted to the financial times. she says, "we now havv a case to make, and it is not just the
case that is made to the president or the prime minister or the foreign minister or an ambassador," she tells in an interview. she goes on to say -- host: we continue on with jacksonville, florida, on our republican line. margaret, thanks for waiting. caller: thank you for having me. i think the topic really should be more about honoring confidentiality in government.
it's what it sounds like you're talking about here. people who have access to classified material actually have signed a pledge that says that they won't disclose what they've learned, and i think the penalty should be the same as for treason. when you have information that could be damaging to our country as a whole and you disclose it, then you've committed three son. secrecy, on the other hand, such as hiding crimes or misdeeds of some sort, that's a whole different issue, and i'm a little confused as to what you're talking about here. but secrecy of hiding crimes should be prosecuted as well as the crimes should be prosecuted. but i believe the failure to honor your word which says you won't give away secrets that could harm our country or sailors on the sea, those things, the giving away of confidential information that degrades the security of our country, is, in my book, treason. thank you for taking my call. host: peter on our you understand penalty line from los angeles, go ahead.
caller: hi. i'd like to thank c-span for such a provocative morning call-in. was curious, can i ask you a question? host: go ahead. caller: i was just curious, how long do you think the american people have to wait until the one million documents about the finally released? host: don't know. caller: well, do you have an opinion? host: no, want right now. why do you think it's an important question to ask? president was killed how many years ago? and supposedly it was done by a lone gunman. however, we're not able to see the documents that the government has. i mean, assassination? do you really think that that secrecy is vital to national security? host: i'll turn it around on and you ask you the same question then. caller: i can't believe that there's any intelligence that
would be gained by our enemies that needs to be secret this many years after the assassination of a president. host: one more thought on -- let's turn it back to our question about really talking about prosecutions by the white house of release of information by the media. what do you think should happen? should these people be prosecuted? caller: i personally believe that, as a democracy, we should have the right to read all of those documents, and that no one should be prosecuted, and i encourage leaks to keep up their good work. host: we appreciate your comments this morning. gary ddncan said i see no problem leaking information to the public if their conscience so leads, but he should be willing to pay the piper. south carolina, democrats line. caller: yeah, hi.
are we talking about secrecy and democracy together? host: well, the idea in a democracy, how much access should we have to private or at least sensitive information? caller: well, you know, sensitive information, as far as going with the pentagon and so forth, you know, i mean, yes, some of that needs to probably be held in private and not gven to america. but we are in a democracy, and a democracy is defined as, you know, a country, a government that is ruled by the people and for the people. so things that are very important to us and that we need to know, i think secrecy should not even be an idea in democracy. now, discretion, yeah, sure, ok? but secrecy, no, not at all, because i don't think the founding fathers wanted anything kept from us, because we are the government.
you know, we need to know. we need to know so that we can make the right decisions, so that when it comes up to the next election, we can make the right votes and put the right people in there. and i just, you know, i just can't believe that secrecy and democracy are being put in the same word here or the same sentence. but, you know, as far as going back to talking about leaking stuff to the press, think about, you know, the karl rove incident or dick cheney, you know, letting out his secrets, which ended up in the death of a c.i.a. agent, the c.i.a. agent. i mane, come on, you know? host: the top republican on the financial services committee is on the conference committee that's going to meet to craft a financial regulation bill that was meeting with this past week
. in his talk with reporters, a question and answer session, one of the things they talked about was about republicans who voted against the financial regulation bill, and if there would be repercussions. caller: in 2008 when i'm voted for the first tarp -- and i voted against the other one, but, you know, people in my district were saying 99-1, you know, i'm opposed to this. and i voted for it because i felt like it was necessary. but it was a near-death experience, i can tell you that, you know, it was a gift that keeps on giving. i just got paths my primary. and it was 76% of the vote. so i think senator shelby, who did not vote for it, and he said it was a terrible mistake,
was running side by side, and we ran within four percentage points, and i had a candidate that spent money and did ads, so i think the american people, to a certain extent, said maybe it was necessary at that time, but never again. and that's what i think. host: more that have conversation will come your way tomorrow right after this program. you can watch it at 10:00 on the morning and see it again at 6:00 in the evening on our main channel, c-span. independent line, brian, albany, new york. caller: hi. i'd like to say thank you for having me on today. first of all, to address this, if the normal media -- if the modern media, like the big seven news networks, if they're out and they're not showing it to the public, then somebody's got to do it. i mean, we ran into this kind of issue back during world war ii, and f.d.r. himself decided to show, there's grainy footage of what was going on, and it actually boosted morale, boosted concern for the war
effort. people wanted to participate more, to buy more war bonds, etc. obviously we're in a financial crisis, and it seems the majority of our infrastructure is based on war. it just seems that after 4.6 billion years swirling around the solar system that we're headed in the wrong direction. everything that our government is spending money on, this is devoid of our essence. i don't know. i'm just very offended, the fact that our country would support torture now, if torture was right, why didn't we do it during world war ii? host: lawrence, kansas, republican line, karen. caller: hello. host: hello. caller: hey, we're not a democracy. we're a republic. host: and how much secrecy is needed in the republic?
caller: who knows? host: why do you say that? caller: i don't know. i'm 61. i don't think i have a clue what's going on in this world. host: so do you think more information should be releesed via leaks to the public? caller: sure. host: ok. we'll leave it there. the "wall street journal" this morning, a story about the defense industry, and this is nathan hodge writing about under the headline, defense industry is bracing for cuts. mr. hodge writes that, speaking thursday morning at a credit swiss defense symposium, frank kendall, the deputy chief, said we're going to see gradual drawdowns in investment accounts.
host: atlanta, democrats line. gene, this morning. caller: hey. how are you this morning? host: i am good this morning. caller: well, good t. sounds like we need to have some sort of whistle blower just like we had in the corporate world with the government world, because anything can get slapped with a label state secret. but if you're exposing
corruption, that's one thing f. you're exposing troop movement it is or something like that, that's totally different. i'm a government official, and i want to just hide something and i slap state secret on it, it's actually me being corrupt, then there needs to be some sort of mechanism where someone can say, ok, if i'm not making it through channels to get this corruption exposed, then i have to do it myself, and a court should operate through that. i mean, that's what i would think. because yeah, the government can say anything is a state secret, and we've had more secrets in certain administrations and we've had fewer secrets in other administrations. so, you know, we can't operate with whatever i say is a state secret if i'm a government official, all the sudden gets clamped, and i can do under that umbrella just about anything i want to do. there has to be some way of exposing my corruption in the person who exposes it, that's
the -- am i doing something to expose something wrong or am i just trying to give out information which truly is, should be secretive? there's no need to know for whatever information, whatever there is, like a troop movement situation. host: bethesda, maryland, you're up next on our republican line. chris. caller: good morning. you know what i love about the "washington journal"? this is not about the gentleman that was just on before me, so i want to make that clear. one of your callers sounded like they've been up all night slamming beers. the princess who called in talking about treason clearly hasn't read the constitution, because she doesn't know what treason is. just like michael savage. and i am a republican. i'm a right-winger, but, you know, you got to get your facts right. and the gentleman who called in about the kennedy assassination papers, i'm 100% in his corner. more information is there.
host: when information gets out via a leak, what should be done to the leaker? caller: depends on what the information is. depends on what the leaker's obligations were, what papers did they sign. host: spokane, washington, good morning. joe on our independent line. caller: hey, good morning to you. i have a question and i have a comment. and basically, my comment is, first of all, we're not living in a democracy. we're living in an oligarchy and a military industrial complex, and in the kind of situation that we're in right now as we're headed for this one-world government that's coming and you hear about them talking couldn't co constantly about international cooperation, international cooperation, i don't really know where we go from here, because they need to keep so many secrets at this point to keep the masses from kind of seeing what they're doing. and then my question is, why is
there this kind of media blackout and secrecy in a democracy regarding the gulf? why are they telling people to keep going down to the gulf for tourism when there are reports circulating right now that we may have tapped into a mud volcano in the gulf? i want your viewers to look it up a term, which is abiotic oil, which is where you drill extremely far into the core, almost not into the core of the earth, but down through the crust, to near the mantle. and, you know, i would really like to know why there's such media blackout regarding what i believe to be a secret and movements done there for possible evacuations. host: oceanside, california. linda on our republican line.
caller: yes, good day. i have three comments. one is on the article you read about the military airplanes, they want to cut back the military support, air settlement for that. i'm against that, because afghanistan is a mountainous terrain. there should be no air support -pof any kind. it will cost military lives. air support would probably save their lives. so i wouldn't cut back there. politically, we need trance pearns a. we need openness. but militarily, there should be secrecy. if a football game is on sunday night and you know the other team's strategy, you can counter it. we at this present time have probably stealth terrorism in our country just sitting there waiting to attack all our people. if we're sitting there exposing where our troops exactly reside, what they exactly are doing, what do you think that's going to do to our country? that exposes us to having all of our military wiped out, and we're going to be in trouble.
on secrecy, and anybody that violates that, any reporters that ask nosy questions that endanger our troops and our + country should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for treason and anybody else that's doing it. you can talk about the military and uplift them about where they're going, what they're doing, but leave out the special information of where they're located, what exactly type of equipment they're using. they're giving away stuff like the actual airplanes that are being flown and what they can do and what they can't do. we don't need to know that as a nation. yes, we need to know our troops are being taken care of, but we don't need to know what exactly our airplanes are doing, stuff like that. that exposes us. that's like a football coach giving away his game plan. host: michael from massachusetts, democrats line. you're next. caller: how's it going? host: well, thank you. caller: good, i'd just like to mention the federalist papers,
which i just reread. the principal arguments in the federalist papers was the limits of power of the executive branch in that the executive branch just carry out the wishes of congress, not their own agendas. also, they shouldn't have a standing army specifically for this reason, because it creates entangling alliances, like our schizophrenic alliance with saudi arabia and israel. that being said, i'd like to also mention that jury service is the only democratic institution, and i hope all you listeners enthusiastically support their jury service. thank you. caller: one more call from madison, connecticut, on our republican line. go ahead. caaler: good morning. what an honor. first of all, technical note. they changed the channel here in our system in bran ford, connecticut, and you folks are being overmodulated, so your audio is a big mess, so just like to make that moat.
i called to differ with a government worker. we have an experience here in connecticut where the whistle blowing division has total secrecy, even to the extent that the victims themselves cannot get any cases, and our cases are protecting the interest of nursing home, going on for seven years, no accountability. so i have to differ with your previous caller, and god bless, host: that's the last call we'll take on this topic. our next topic will concern ourselves with the oil spill, but this time from the perspective from a reporter for the "anchorage daily news" who writes about the exxon valdez and writes about some of the other experiences with "the fate of nature: rediscovering our ability to rescue the earth." charles wohlforth will join us. to whet your appetite, we've had individualographies down in the gulf region getting slices
of life stemming from the oil spill, and in this piece you're going see, you're going to get a tour of a dutch skimmer. this is what b.p. is using, amongst other technologies, to help in the clean-up process. in this piece, you'll hear from a midshipman, and you'll also hear from a coast guard representative.
>> these systems allow us to do that, collect more oil, keep oil off the shore. if we can minimize impact, shoreline impact, impact of marshes, impact this, that's what we want to do. maximize that effort. this technology is just another set of those resources that we want to bring on board and collect as much as possible. >> "washington journal" continues. host: as promised, charles wohlforth, the author of "the nature of nature," a life long alaskan, that she? guest: that's right. host: what did you do for the
"anchorage daily news"? guest: well, i still live in alaska. he was a cub reporter in 1989, sort of got deployed to the oil spill and was fortunate or unfortunate to be the first reporter on the beach when the oil hit shore. and then kind of didn't leave and kept covering that story, and that sort of developed into my career as an author. host: from your experiences in covering the oil spill, are there parallels that you see then that you can parlay now to what's going on currently in the gulf? guest: yeah, without question. a lot of the veermental and techniccl aspects are obviously different, because you're dealing with a much warmer environment and oil that's being released much farther off shore and at the bottom of the ocean. but in terms of the way we're responding to it, unfortunately, it seems just shockingly similar, and a lot. causes seem very similar. the mistakes that are being made, sadly, are really a replay, and people have been
through it and feel heart-sick that we seemed to have learned so little in 20 years. host: as far as what's similar, can you offer spsks about what you've seen then and what you're seeing now? guest: well, first, the lack of preparation, the inadequate contingency planning, the seemingginability to get organized and figure out what was happening. the failure in washington to really come to grips with what a big deal it was, how important it was at first. this is all going on through the attempts by the oil company to sort of control the image and shut down information, scientists being muzzled. the focus of response, and then just the basic fact, which i don't think will ever be changed, which is when you lose this amount of oil in the ocean , it's hopeless. i mean, there are no good decisions once the oil is in the water. you really can't clean it up, and yet there's a need on the part of the oil industry and the government officials
involved to deny that and to act like they can clean it up, or if that they can, it's because of a specific problem rather than own the to come to facts that these accidents are going to happen, and when they do, they're catastrophic. to you have to look at where do we drill, where do we not drill? that again is sort of the dynamic being played out once again. host: as far as what you say about once soil in the water, what he wants the condition of the area that was affected by the valdez to date? guest: well, if you were to go there on vacation, you would look at it and say, my gosh, this is the most beautiful place i've ever seen, there's so much wildlife, how could anything bad have happened sneer but if you went with a native elder or an old timer and looked at it, they would say, wow, there's not as much wildlife as i remember when i was young. and one reason for that is that there's still oil in some of the beaches. it's still leaching out toxins, which are holding down he reproduction growth of some organisms. and one of the largest and most
important fish species has never returned, which is the herring. it was a big fishery there and is a keystone species in terms of the food web. still don't know why it hasn't come back. scientists are still puzzled over it. another failure of the system is that we didn't do the science early on to figure out now how to get the heavying back or what happened to them. host: "the fate of nature" is the book. you can ask questions about his experiences on one of three lines this morning. 202-737-0 01 for republican. 202-737-0 0 for democrats. 202-628-0205 for independents. firstname.lastname@example.org is our email address. and if you want to send a comment via twitter, you can do so at cspanwj off of twitter.com. you wrote the book about the valdez experience and exxon's role in it. i want to get you to respond to
this. you had wrote that, "exxon's clean-up did little to reduce the spill's cost. the real world exxon wasn't a god, and its money and technology werr impotent to diminish the cause. i think you referred to it a little bit on what you're saying, but can you expand on that, what you're saying now as far as the gulf is concerned? guest: right. well, we have the sense with our technology, and we have amazing technology to get oil out of the ground that we can fix problems when they occur. everybody's heart is broke whn they see these animals dying and the people in the gulf of mexico suffering. but one of the things that i think is very easy to forget from the perspective of our ordinary lives or certainly washington is that the scale of this is just enormous. there's nothing we deal with technological that will covers that amount of air n. that sense, it's just very simple. you can't pick up the amount of
oil that's spread across the same area as a state. in exxon valdez's case, it was 11 million gallons, maybe more, some people say, spread over 1,000 miles of shoreline, kept washing off, kept coming back. there's simple knoll way to have that much equipment out there to pick it all up. then you get into the desire to be aggressive and continue working on it and not give up and appear so that you can drill next time so show you're able to deal with it. in the case of the exxon valdez, that led to more and nor aggressive techniques. to really damage the sub strait animals could come back on, killing all the animals on the shoreline, and then changing the way that sediments were organized with this hot water, high pressure treatment, which could be, you know, generations, many generations before it returns to the way it was.
so this is the problem. we know how to make the mess, but we don't know how to fix nature. host: as far as the coast guard techniques, you had said that there were mistakes made back then and still now. can you kind of grade, i guess, or at least rate the coast guard's performance to date, especial until light of what you said about what they did 20 years ago? i know they're two different circumstances going on. guest: well, the problem is the coast guard, i admire greatly. i'm a bolter, and i'mmglad to know they're ready to rescue me. they kind of remind me of firefighters in that way. they're can-do guys. but they're put in an impossible situation, which is nominally in charge, but it's not their resources. they have to ask the oip company to do each thing that needs to be done, so they have to create a positive relationship between the coast guard commander and the oil industry folks. and that's the situation they're continually defending the oil industry and defending pheir own actions and creating
this impression that they're on the oil industry's side. and i don't think it works. if i were the king, i would say as soon as an accident this size happens, there ought to be some kind of law that allows the coast guard to seize the assets in that area so that they can truly be in command, and they're beholden to begging the oil industry for support. when there's a discussion about taking this spill in the gulf of mexico, the admiral allen said, well, we can't take -- we don't have any resources to deal with it, we can't take it over. the same thing was true in valdez. host: british petroleum's performance in this? guest: really, really disappointing. you know, going back to the fact that the spill took place, it seems to show a pattern. you know, they had the refinery fire in texas, which killed all those people. they were convicted, the
company was a convicted felon at the time they had the spill on the north slope, which shut down the alaska pipeline. and then this one. in each instance, we don't know all the facts yet, but seems to be an instance of cutting costs at the expense of safety. then when the spill hit, it's as if no one ever thought there could be a spill, and so it's improvisation, one thing after another. again, very similar to exxon valdez, where, you know, i remember the president of exxon shipping saying three days after the spill saying, well, we're on the ground now, we've just gotten here, we're going to get to work. and then that night there was a storm that blew the oil through all of prince william sound. so, you know, if you're going to be serious about this, you really have to invest money in it, you have to build new technology, you have to be ready, and i think you have to have local people who have knowledge, who have some oversight and have some expertise to be watching over these activities and creating some vigilance, but the
government proved they can't handle it. host: first call is from st. louis, missouri. gerald on our independent line. thanks for waiting. go ahead. caller: yes. i'd like to ask your guest his thoughts on goldman sachs and b.p.'s c.e.o. selling stock days before the oil accident happened. guest: i help heard that one. i think for all of the -- i hadn't heard that one. i think for all of the incompetence and errors and inability to deal with this, it's the last thing that i think they would want to have happen. so it's hard for me to believe that they would sort of be aware that it was going to happen or a conspiracy theory on those lines. i don't think i buy that. host: los angeles, california, republican line. robert, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for the call. i have a few quick questions that seem really obvious to me that have not been asked. what is b.p. going to do with
the oil that they recovered, still? and what do we do with waste management with the snoil once you ccpture it, skim it? that's my question today. thanks for c-span. guest: good question. i'm now speaking from media reports that i've heard that there's discussions of using the recovered oil, that is the oil that's being captured ads it comes out of the pipe, that oil is usable and should be able to be refined and sold, and there's some discussion that i heard about it being used for, you know, for restoration, those funds being used in some way for a positive way for the gulf of mexico n. terms of oil that's being skimmed from the water, it's not usable. it's he mulls fewed. what happens is the water emulsifies the oil, and get this gooes stuff that's of no use to anyone. and i think that has to be disposed of hazardous waste materials.
it can be incinerated, buried, but i don't think it's of any use to anyone. typically, it's a very, very good oil spill recovery in a big catastrophic oil spill if you get as much as 10% back. or less was actually recovered. and i would expect it would be much less than this oil spill because of the sheer magnitude of it and how far it spreads. host: a question off of twitter. this is doug, since we all need cheap and abundant energy, should we all be on the oil industry's side? guest: well, i'm not ready to be on the -- you know, i adopt pick sides in this. in the book, i really, i try to say over and over again, i don't think there's good guys and bad guys in this, because it's a fact we use oil, and it's a fact that we have these corporations that we allow to be enormous, and their behavior is pretty predictable in light of what they are and how they are, and the same behavior is
repeated. their ability to capture government regulators and get them to do what they want them to is pretty predictable. it's happened over and over again. so what i try to do in the book is take it back to a systemic level. we need to think about the materialistic and energy-intensive lifestyle that is we live. rather than boycotting b.p., you know, go buy a hybrid car. that's how you deal with it. .
i'm not only grateful for this gattedsering but touched and either a little bit surprised. my daughter who is now 26 was, she was around 16 or so died. you and all your closest male friends should form a club and you would hold one meeting a year that all of you would refuse to attend. but if the meeting were in a place like this it would be
hard tohouse us out of there. as zachary said, my book is called, my new book is called the unwanted sound of everything we want. which is something of a mouthful for a title. so the subtitle is very simple and direct a book about noise. and noise is a very topcal subject, a subject that i believe is right for our time and for severing reasons none of which i'm going to mention right now because i want to leave shy people something for question and answer if they would like. but it's also a very ancient subject. i think most of you here are familiar with the story of noa and the ark in the hee brew bible and some of you may also bible and some of you may also know that that story has a predecessor and so scholars would say a source in a book
called bp a crime against nature. she follows up by saying, can they make this right? guest: i think, i almost answered that second one already. i don't think bp can make it right. i think we need to think how we can make it right. one of the really wise people after the exxon valid yizz spill said getting this restor ration money instead of spending it on projects that probably aren't going to be that effective in the environment, we should send it on science education for kids. because an oil spill like this is not a unique incident that's happening all by itself. it's more a symptom to its relationship to the environment. we're spilling oil from our cars all the time. fossil fuels are damaging the environment all the time. climate change is always going on. now we sort of see it in its full uglyness. what are we going to do about it? are we going to pass a few
incremental laws that will lose their effectiveness over the years or are we going to think about changing the way we li and how we relate to the environment? >> host: as we're currently discussing an energy bill, are there indication that might shade how this bill might shake out? guest: i really hope so and i think it's a question -- the mood of the country right now is very, very strong and i've been doing varioos talk shows and people are extraordinarily angry. and i just would hope that that kind of message would get throw congress and that people here in washington will hear it and act. because i think that there is -- the exxon valdez in a sense was a huge cultural moment, something like 98% of americans knew about the oil spill and how bad it was. and it really wasn't taken advantage of. the laws that were passed were not big enough for the moment. and in fact, one of the laws
and in fact, one of the laws that passed ironically was that 75 million liability cap which is now protecting bp. so i hope that there's leadership and certainly i'm not the first one to call for it to say this is our environmental 9/11. now is the time to really pull together and do something big. host: a followup question to your thoughts on localities. guest: well, you know, from a guest: well, you know, from a technical standpoint, the wells that are beyond the territorial waters of the state, those muns generally go to the federal government. and there is sharing and there's discussion of that in congress. i in fact would take it down below the level of the states. in alaskk, the people in prince william sound wanted to protect prince william sound the
fishermen in the arctic, the eesski mows have sued to stop that shell drilling while the state government became deeply corrupted by the oil industry. and the oil industry is sort of one of the most corrupting industries of all the industries in our economy. and if you now look at louisiana and alaska as being two of the states that have traditionally have the worst corruption, they are two of the biggest oil producing states in the country. so i pull it down to the people who live on the coast as has happened in prince william sound where we have an organization that can do some oversight. that's what i would like to see, is not at the state level but at the local level. host: our next guest, john on our independent line. caller: sir, i was wondering if you can give an update if the people of prince edward soundr did collect any of the $5
billion awarded to them by the courts. the last time i read an article , the sound had been devasted with alcoholism, a lot of domestic violence. in fact, the guy leading the cause commiited suicide. that was an article i read several years ago. then i read a disturbing one more recently that that $5 billion had been whittled down to in the millions. and what is the state of the people of prince edwards sound at this point in terms of jobs and livelihood? could you do you have any information on that? guest: i wrote about that in my book, the fate of nature, and have also kind of updated it on my website which is fate of nature.com. some articles that i have written. it's a terribly sad story, especially the community of
cordova. there was a sosheyolings who went and did psychological studies of that community and how it changed over time and found it devastating sige lockcal impact from the whole community. and he actually in these new mexicocal measures of stress, he found levels of stress that were similar to when you lose a family member from people who are going through this. and, yes, there were suicides. the mayor of the town committed suicide and it went on and on. and from the monetary standpoint there was a lot of energy and a lot of money spent in that first summer of 19 89. but when the media attention left, the money stopped flowing. and exxon adopted, instead of a and exxon adopted, instead of a payout loss of money attitude, adopted an attitude of fight every lawsuit to the last possible appeal. so in 1994, the civil litigants, the people who were affected by this spill, there
were 30,000 of them won a $5 billion against exxon. exxon was able to appeal that through many, many levels up and down the federal court kicking it back to the judge, going up, going back down again. until last year. so 20 years after the oil spill . and then the u.s. supreme court, to my view, officially arbitrarily reduced it to $500 million. by the time the judgment was actually paid out, more than 20% of the victims had died. and others obviously had gone on with their lives and many of them of the 30,000 received token amounts of money. even before that, i was in a restaurant in the town of cordova and was talking to someone about this and a fisherman came up to me and said, "tell people don't sue. squst just go on with your
live. because they've been sitting there essentially a generation waiting for their money. and even before the suit was completed they said exxon had won because if you have to wait 20 years, it's meaningless. host: here's the cover of the book, the fate of nature. the guest has written "the whale and a super computer" what is that about? guest: it's about climate change in the arctic and the way that eesski mows and scientistses are responding to it up there. host: you talked about workers that were hired by exxon at the time to help with the cleanup. could you tell a little bit about how that was done and the effect on the community it had? and if there's some parallels that we see from the workers down in the gulf? guest: well, this is one of the thing that is you really wouldn't expect, that along with an oil spill comes a money spill. these billions that are being spent to do cleanup will create a short-term economic boom in the area. and that was very true in
alaska where there's not that many people and a lot of money being spent. so actually, alaska economy had been in a deep recession and the oil spill pulled it out of a recession because so many money was being spent. if you go into a community and there's one person who lost his livelihood and his best friend because of this is making a killing, you create stresses in this community. and that's one of the main things that happened to these towns that broke them apart. friendships were lost. and exxon had the strategy of hiring every boat available. and we and the journalists believe it's because they didn't want to get out there and see the oil. it was extremely difficult to charter a boat because capoon had chartrd them all. a lot were sitting them out there got doing a thing. and they were paying these guys $5,000 a day plus expenses for months on end. so if you owned a boat, you could end up putting your kids
through college or paying for your retirement. host: without the boat having to threef slip. guest: without having to do a thing. host: sbloo where another guy because of a sense of right and wrong decided not to take that kind of charter gets nothing. so these conflicts because of these two become very intense. so the scientists from the university of southern alabama who studied cordova and studied those people, he lives 300 yards from the gulf of mexico in alabama and he is counseling people down there and he is saying his number one message is stick together. because the thing is going to divide people, turn them against each other. they need to support each other and they need to try to be empowered, not to feel helpless and to get out there and clean their own waters and take control. because that's what's going to kind of keep them psychologically whole. host: kevin from houston. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a two-part question. isn't there a -- if there's a
line that's weak? and what do you think engineers were doing when the pipeline exploded? host: i didn't hear the first part of the question. caller: isn't there a valve that detects if there's a problem with a piping line? caller: yes. the -- i'm not an expert on this deep water drilling but i've read as much about it as i can. it's a very complex and touchy process when you're completing one of these wells. you've got this mud which is heavy which is holding down the oil and you've got to keep that pressure enough to keep the oil coming up while you're cementing the line and putting a cap on it that will keep it from exploding. what i understand is that the mud was removed prematurely essentially because they're essentially because they're trying to hurry up and finish the job, and that sounds like it was one of the primary
causes of the blow youout. now there's also the blowout preventor which is supposed to shut it off when there's an accident. that can be activated manually and then there's also an automatic activation, which is from equipment that's required in europe which for whatever reason i've been told because it's too expensive, half a million dollars, is not required here. in any event, it obviously didn't work. there's a lot of discussion about why it didn't work. but it seems that that was really the only line of defense, which to me is inadequate when you're dealing with this kind of risk, you need more than one -- you need a fail-safe system, which has a fail-safe system, which has more than one line of defense. i would like to see two wells drilling at a minimum, blowout preventers. if one goes, you can immediately intercept that we will and block it. it can be expensive but not as expensive as now.
host: the president is expected to talk to bp next week. anything we can learn from history? we don't know -- the we know the nature of the discussion. we don't know what's going to happen. is there anything that can help us understand what happens next week? guest: well, the president has the opportunity to take this out of history, take it out of the pattern and make new history with it. the past pattern has been not necessarily a clusive one but a coice dents of ins rest. it was the first president bush it was the first president bush in 19 89 and an intent to appear outraged and appear to mirror the public sentiment and then get beyond to the next issue. i hope very strongly that's not where president obama is going with this.
there's been a lot of there's been a lot of discussion about getting bp to defer dividend, which is something that at least inflicts some economic punishment on the company because it caused their stock prices to drop dramatically. i am skeptical that the legal system will be able to meet out a punishment that is large enough to threaten their existence financially. the company is too large and there is no history of our legal system imposing a punishment of that size. the company is essentially too big to punish. so the only way to really hit them where it hurts is to think about what future drilling is going to happen, what kind of laws we're going to put in place, what kind of oversight we're going to put in place that would make their work more expensive and safer. host: for the folks at home, we've set up a special site on our website. it's this oil spill, with a lot
of this information and otter resources for you as you comprehend what's going on, at least look at the legislative and regulatory aspects of it. and that will give you information that you need as you look at that. our next call, tennessee, republican line. jim. go ahead. caller: you're not an environment list. most are democrats. and what they're trying, what they've done over the last 40 years is use the environmental movement to weaken the industrial system in the united states so they can win elections. that's what they're all about. i know who you voted for. i know who you've contributed to. you've never done anything for republicans, never done anything for conservatives. why is it always environmentists the radicals are always in the same part, always spouting the same crap, antibusiness, antiindustrialization. they've got more cars around
washington, d.c. they've got all the big cars in the suburbs and then they drive the little cheap cars so the employees think they're saving. you burn more gasoline than anybody else. it's all -- well, it's not all politics. it's 90% politics. host: we'll let our guest respond. guest: you know, i don't think the democrats necessarily like what i have to say, either, because i think a lot of the problem is power that is centralized, organizations that are too big. but you know, what i guess i disagree with the tea partiers or where you're coming from, i don't think the government is too big. i think the corporations are too big. and i would like to see real people be able to be able to control their own destiny in local areas. but, you know, you can read my book. i am a democrat. i used to be in office. i was in my town council in anchorage. so, you know, if you disagree
with me, that's fine. host: oregon, independent line. kate. caller: good morning, gentlemen. i guess my question is, well, first i want to say i agree, i first i want to say i agree, i don't think that financially we can hurt bp. obviously, $87 million in fines wasn't enough to do it. but don't you think that by removing their charter to practice business in the united states might not be a good place to start? guest: well, that is certainly the kind of thing that would have a dramatic and severe impact on a company like bp. and when the exxon valdez happened in alaska, the people in the community said can't we just get rid of exxon? can't we get them out of prince william sound? and that was viewed to be impossible or to be much too large of a task. and all they did was get that -- congress actually passed the
law saying that ship couldn't come in any longer. one of the things that i believe is that when we bring control of these issues down to local people, they really should have the ability to decide who comes in and works in their waters, who drills in their waters. nationally, we feel bad about the oil spill, but we're going to move on. we're really not paying a big price other than the emotional price of seing the dead animals. but the people down there, they have all the risk on the line. they should be the ones who really make the decision about what happens in their waters. it's signing the decision with the risk. so we get the oil, they pay the price. i don't think that's right. host: baltimore, maryland. terry on democrats line. caller: good morning. from an economic standpoint, i from an economic standpoint, i am an unemployed for the past two years.
as bp so powerful and so strong? i mean, i have some connections in the has mat and they're just not hiring. i would like to know what the heck that is all about. i sent off an e-mail to the white house and i never got a response back. guest: so in other words hiring people to work on the cleanup. i can't answer that question. from what i hear, it sounds like there's a lot of people on the payroll down there but i don't know the details about that. host: does exxon still have any direct involvement on prince william sound? guest: exxon is a third owner of the oil fields. so the oil that's going through prince william sound is still there. they've never had much of a presence in alaska as a company and they are not really responsible for the oil, you know, the oil spill preparations that are in prince william sound which are very, very extensive now. host: georgia. republican line.
caller: yes. can you tell me, i was listening to some of the other news programs this morning. has fema been called in or has this been called a disaster? guest: not that i have heard. but, again, it's a little bit outside of my expertise. so i can't give you a real good answer on that. host: do you have a followup question? caller: yes. i was just quite astonished on this other news program that that hasn't happened yet. host: well, there's certainly people down there who are suffering in terms of economic loss because of their businesses, not having customers or they're not being able to fish. you know, being suddenly unemployed and so forth. it turns out it's really hard to deal with those problems. i'll give you an example. in alaska, where you had fishermen who suddenly couldn't fish, the way fishing industry works is that the captain sells the fish and then he shares a
share of his catch with the crew members. well, a lot of captains got paid as if they had been fishing that summer when they couldn't fish. but then they hadn't hired any crew members. so they had no one to share the crew member shares with. and all the those folks who normally would have worked as crew got nothing. it's a similar situation if you have a moatle. now there's no one staying in the motel and you've laid off all your workers. and then you're able to win a settlement from exxon. the mo at the time owner gets the money but the chambermade doesn't. she was never hired. so it's not possible economically to make people whole. once the economic system is broken apart, it's another thing you can't fix beeause those relationships, those those relationships, those people hiring didn't happen. host: richmond, virginia. on with charles. guest: good morning. caller: good morning.
you're correct. local government is theebest way to go. that's the way the founding fathers started the country. the least power should be in the federal government and there should be more power given to the governors in the area of the gulf to oversee what's happening. but my point is i look at but my point is i look at there's been innovators that have been on tv showing how they can clean up and separate the oil from the water. they've notified the government and just like with governor jindle, they've gotten no response. so this leads me to the question that i'm going to ask you about. earlier in president obama's administration, rahm emanuel said do not leave a crisis go to waste. a good crisis go to waste. i look at this and see the disaster that's going to come disaster that's going to come economically and environmentally. it is the best thing for
president obama to be able to pass his cap and trade. so why would he want to pass cap and trade? because chicago climate exchange is an orgation is -- carbon offset company that was started by the -- that was helped started by the joyce foundation through barack obama. goldman saction has a financial interest in it, al gore, franklin rains bought four different patents to be used. so that the money can be redistributed to the emerald cities. which is a joe rogers organization. now, i know this sounds conconspiracyy. host: in the interest of time, if you had a specific question. caller: isn't it very interesting that people are begging to help out down there and they get absolutely no response?
guest: it's very similar to the exxon valdez where the state officials were on top aad really angry and wanted action fast and the federal officials and the oil industry took a long time to get ramped up and to deal with that. but one of the problems that you have to recognize is that there's this crisis situation down there. they're not prepared. they've got to find offices, they've got to get set up. and then you've got all these inventors, some of them probably have good ideas, most whom have crazy ideas. the time to sift through the inventions was before the oil spill happened. once you're in the middle of a crisis, you can't take the time to decide, figure out what's going to work and work all that out. out. and one of the tragedies of this is that the oil industry spends virtually nothing on oil spill cleanup. it's an area, it's a back water in the industry and the technology that they use is the
same technology that they had 20 years ago and that hadn't changed much from the previous 20 years. we really should have a scientific institute dedicated to this and funded by the oil industry so that when the next spill comes, as it will, we at least have the best technology as we could. we have separated the good ideas from the bad ones. host: one more call, alexandria, minnesota. g ahead. caller: yes. i have a question for our guest. actually, perhaps two. one of the things about wind energy. i live in the state of minnesota and wind energy is a big thing out here. in some areas. and now we have cities that are passing moratoriums on wind energy towers and generators because of a number of concerns
they have, noise, birds in the towers. and it just seems to me that if you're an environmentist you've got to be complaining about something all the time. they're not satisfied. what about the kennedys and the wind generators out in the bay there? you know. they're democrats. they're environmentists. they're all for the environment but not in my back yard. guest: well, here's where i disagree. i think not in my backyard is sort of the core function of democracy. if you don't care about what's happening in your backyard, you happening in your backyard, you really don't care about what's happening in society and in your community as a whole. so i think the solution to these issues has got to be fine grained. we need o think about everybody in our society has to think about where their energy is coming from and having the least impact on the environment.
and then they have to make the call as to whether they want to do it with wind, it's local, or hydro or whatever method they're going to use. they all have tradeoffs and those need to be made on a local basis. and as soon as you say not in my back yard aund discount their concerns, you've essentially disempowered them and taken them out of the equation. so that's where i would dispute the caller. and i think you said that's the last call. i welcome more questions on my web site. host: one more question for you. this is off of twitter. someone talked about health issues. guest: there'' a variety of them. i have confidence that the seafood people are going to keep the seafood healthy and if people become concerned about seafood and stop eating it, then that is sort of a secondary really bad effect on that industry and those people. so they need to keep oil out of
the human food chain. and i'm sure they will and they that in alaska. ucceeded with the other is the effect on workers in alaska they were given no respirators, no kind of protective gear of any kind. of protective gear of any kind. there were long-term health complaints which were pretty serious, never really resolved. po the workers need to be protected. and then, finally, i guess there's a concern about people getting into the oil or i've heard people concerned about is the oil going to come down in the rain? i'm not too concerned about those things. i think people are smar enough if they see oil they're not going to get into it. guest: host: what is your web site? host: what is your web site? guest: fate of nature.com. host: thanks for your time. guest: my pleasure. host: don't forget, next tuesday it is when bp executives will be questioned
by the house subcommittee by the energy and environment. you can see that live on c-span next tuesday at 9:30 in the morning. coming up next, the economy, the release of what is known as the beige book shows what's happening around the country as far as things along the line of homes and auto sales.
host: our guest with the associate press, writes about economic issues. there's something called a beige book. guest: eist a good snapshot of the economy all across the america, it's an attempt by the federal reserve to sort of do what journalists do and talk to people on the front lines of the economy, sort of the
proverbial main street, talk to retailers, manufacturers, people in all different lines of business and see what they say about how the economy is doing. and so sort of get beyond what an economist in an academic setting might think. host: so as the reserve looks at the economic picture, 12 sections of the country they focus on. is that right? guest: right. so each of the 12 federal reserve banks, the regional banks in the 12 sections of the country go out and do this kind of checking around with aneck dotes. they check with their business context, they do it about every eight weeks. and so it's a broad cross-section. it's the whole country from the coast to middle america, upper northwest, all that. everywhere in between. host: so that boils down into a regular report. what does this last report generally say about the condition of the economy? guest: this one was the first since the recession began in late 2007 to find that the recovery is pretty much spreading to all of the 12
districts across is the country. now, a few months ago they found it spread to most of them but this was the first clean sweep where every district said they were seeing some signs of modest recovery. the key word is modest. no one is getting too excited. employment is still a problem. unemployment is still high. and there are only scattered reports of anyone doing extra hiring. but they found increases in manufacturing, some more consumer spending, businesses were spending a bit more. tourism was a little better. a lot of these are little anecdotal things. they found more ticket sales on broodway and new york. things like that. some more vacation bookings over the memorial day weekend than the previous year. so it waws broadly encouraging report, although again still modest and with the job picture still somewhat of a weak spot. host: let's talk about some of host: let's talk about some of the specific found generally overall. what about home sales? guest: we're seeing a general
positive thing, because this report covered the end of the tax credit that the federal government has put out there. so a lot of the regions found some real gang buster home sales and i think thast part of the pooitive nature of the report. but the concern is that this tax credit the federal government has offered, $8,000 to first-time home buyers expired april 30th and this report covered most of may. so there was some sign of a dropoff after that tax credit. but we'll see the real impact of that in the coming months. so that's a bit of a cautionary note that that a good sign in home sales but we'll have to see how this plays out. host: as far as categories are, host: as far as categories are, as far as signs of -- are any of those cattgories affected by stimulus spending at all? guest: not as heavily construction, some of the construction. there was some reports of infrastructure spending dropping off. but that was pretty minor.
there wasn't a lot of explicit stimulus beyond the housing. there wasn't a lot of explicit mention beyond the housing portion. host: as far as just to let our viewers into it. if you want to ask our guest questions, now is your time to do so. the numbers are on the bottom of your screen. one of the things that i saw as far as certain sectors is the things, durable goods. things, durable goods. one of them, do automobiles fall into that category? guest: sure host: how are we looking. guest: that did well also. the auto sector we heard so much certainly last year when
they went into bankruptcy. but things are looking better, a lot better relatively speaking. the sales are up. so what the beige book found is a lot of auto parts manufacturers in some cases had trouble keeping up with demand. auto sales are a still a lot lower than they were before the recession. but there were definitely reports of increased production, sales were up in a lot of places, and in some cases reports of auto parts makers and auto companies either hiring a few people or just calling back a few of the folks that they had to lay off. host: if the federal reserve looks at these sectors and sace things are improving, how do you square that with what papers are saying? guest: that was a bit of a sign of things maybe slowing a bit in may, late -- that was
definitely disappointing report to a lot of people i think and caught some people by surprise. there were some signs in the beige book which covered all of april and most of may that things maybe were slowing a little bit last month. but the that also reflects the fact that the economy is not out of the woods. people are still concerned about how things will perform when the stimulus continues to fade. we know that housing tax credit has gone away as of april 30th. there are other generally speaking people expect the stimulus spending to peter out in the second half of this year. so the question of how the economy will do without all some support is still alive question. host: we hear a term called consumer confidence. does that play into what the beige book is showing as far as how confident a consumer is about how the economy is as a whole? guest: we saw some of that and it was a mixed report. consumers were spending more
but a lot on essentials and not so much on the discretionary items or the fun stuff. you know, big screen tvs and so forth. so i think you saw some of that sense of uncertainty that i think is out there both for consumers and for businesses. there's been other reports of for example businesses hoarding a lot of the cash that they have and keeping a lot of cash on their profits because they're still wanting to see how things go and not yet ready to commit to maybe expanding a factory or hiring more people, the thing that is would cost money. so they're sort of holding on to their cash. host: our guest with us until 9:15 to take your questions. the lines will be on your screen if you want to participate. new york, you were up first. on our democrat's line. go ahead. caller: good morning. i have a question that may appear somewhat simplistic. but i wish the guest would make an attempt to explain it. now, we have a common economy
shared by all of us. it affects all of us. and we know, here's the sophomoric part. we know there's a class that holds the most influence and they are the minority. what are the actual components? it's not easy to explain, that maintain that disability for the minority of people to hold the most influence on an economy that affects and is shared by many? and most of us do not have that effect that that minority that class holds the most influence. what are the key components? one quick example would be most people, average people, would benefit from an electric powered lawn mower even and they're hard to find with gas mowers breaking down and not be ing most efficient. why is it most don't have that much influence over an economy that affects us all? guest: i think what you're getting at is certainly that there's some differences between consumer spending and
other things among different levels of income and wealth. so that is actually one interesting thing that we're seeing recently that those who are that are showing signs of spending a little more that perhaps middle or lower income folks. and as far as why that is, it's a complicated question. certainly there are still issues out there of who owns stocks, you know, shares of stocks in u.s. companies. so, for example, earlier this year when and late last year when the stock market was doing really well, i think you saw probably more of that division where perhaps people who had a lot of stockholderors were able maybe felt wealthier and were able to spend more. now the stock market hasn't done so well and that's raised concerns that may be another reason why we saw yesterday the report of consumer spending being down because of the troubles in the stock market. host: another question we hear
about it being down but an i pad goes for sale and people make a run for it. does that suggest to you economically that at least maybe to the caller's point that there's only a certain amount of people who can cash into that? or that we're becooing looser in our spending habits? guest: i think it suggests a little loosening up. even in that report that shows consumer spend wugs down, i think stores saw some positive sales. so overall it's probably a sign of positive some willingness on the part of people to buy some of the new gadgets. and it would be hard i don't think if you're -- this is guessing a bit on my part. but if you're an apple of micro sovet you probably don't get the sales they want to selling to a thin slice. you need to get some of that, the meat and potatoes of the middle class to be buying your products as well. host: west plains, missouri. good morning to joe on our republican line. caller: good morning. here's my economic condition.
i had to retire because 2009 was very bad for construction workers. and my complaint is the way they compile the percentage of unemployment. a whole lot of us retired. we didn't get another job. and supposedly the rate is 9.8. i think it's closer to 20% in this country. just because we get off the unemployment line doesn't mean we found a job. a whole lot of us had to retire early and being penalized with our pension. and that's my economic condition. i think the unemployment rate is way higher than 9.8. thank you. host: that's a good question. guest: that's totally true. a lot of people agree with that and are in that situation. technically, if unemployment rate is 9.7. but pretty much what you said. and but now keep in mind, even that's very high historically.
that's near the 26-year high of 10.1%. so either way, it's a huge number. thrazz lot of people in a lot of pain and the economy is not gotten back to where it's creating many jobs. but there is the labor department does count some of what you're talking about there. there's a figure that a lot of people call the underemployment rate which includes people that have sort of given up looking, technically, what's called leaving the labor force. you're not out looking for a job. and that number is 16.6%. so closer to the 20 that you talked about. in some regions it's even higher. there's no question that some of the harder hit states, michigan, california, some of the others were definitely when you look at that alternative measure were near the 20% that you're talking about. there's been some slight improvement recently, but it's a big problem and there's no question when the elections come around in november of this year that that's even with some
signs of the economy improving that this high unemployment rate can be the big problem for any probably the democrats certainly and other incumbents. host: does the report take a snapshot of wages? guest: the feddreport does look at wages a little bit and says that, if memory serves, they're slightly up but not much. there were some signs that a few companies that not only had laid people off but companies had put wage freezes, stop giving wages, stopped 401(k) matching, there were some reports around the country that they had started to give raises again and let loose a little bit on that. the wages also were really slow throughout the recession or they were flat, hardly any increases. that's some signs of that loosening in the past few months. but that's another hole people need to climb out of. host: naples, florida. gerald on our independent line. guest: good morning. i'm asking a question about right down and run down the
general distress of banks. i have a list here of wells fargo, gold man sax, morgan stanley, jp morgan, u.s. bank, bank of america. citigroup, others. are these banks in danger of rolling over and dying on us? would you answer that for me, please. and i will hang up and listen to your answer. thank you. guest: thanks for the question. thanks for the question. i don't know if i am a total banking expert and i don't know all of those. i mean, i'm familiar with most of them. i think the best answer to the question is, you know, on the one hand they are many of them still are probably struggling with some commercial real estate loans. there was some mention of that in the feds report that that is still potentially an issue for some big banks and even some of the smaller ones. on the other hand, what we saw with the bank bailout is that the government has put its weight behind particularly
larger banks. and so it's hard. they have almost said that they are not going to let them fail. so i flight now the government is selling its share in city group slowly but surely. i think recently sold a lot of shares. so i think that's a sign that they feel like city group is the getting back on their own two feet. but it's not an easy time for banks right now. host: respond to this. to the degree you can. there's a story in the "wall street journal" that talks about the corporate tax rate. and this is efforts by legislation. it says that some changes farde by democrats have been inserted into a -- put into a jobs. it would increase -- talk about how that shakes out
within an industry. guest: it would probably be a minor benefit in terms of the domestic tax breaks. the tax increase on the foreign income has been an issue hah that has been around for a while. and the argument i think from some democrats is that it helps, it encourages companies to keep money overseas and that by fixing the tax on it that it would encourage them to bring the money back here. so it combowled a modest benefit. probably not large enough to make a huge difference. but i think that represents an effort by democrats in congress do to do something for jobs and the economy at a time when people are worried about the deficit. so it's not as big a spending bill as maybe it would be otherwise given the concerns about the large deficits we have. host: so this wouldn't necessarily force a corporation to turn its interest more domestically than internationally? guest: well, i think the hope is that they would encourage them to bring some of their profits back home. that some that they earn
overseas to return them back to the united states. so that could be a small benefit. but i mean, i think the 14 it's not a huge -- 14 billion is certainly real money. but compared to some of the tax cuts or stimulus that we've had in the past it's relatively smaller effort. host: bend, oregon. democrats line. go ahead. caller: thanks for c-span. i wanted to ask a question about the marginal tax rate. i have seen statistics that during eisenhower administration the marginal tax rate was up to 91%. and during the bush administration was down 36%, as low as 36%. i'm wondering why there isn't more concern about the tax rate different shl, you know, during the cold war as now.
and basically, why the american people aren't more concerned about the tax rate. with the most rich people in this country. and what that can be done. guest: thanks for the question. that's certainly more of a political question but yeah. i've seen some of the same numbers. i think those numbers are right and i think some people might raise questions about how many wealthier people, when the tax rates were 90%, what did they do to hide their income or shift it somewhere else. so, but under current law, the schedule is that some of the bush tax cuts would expire and the top rate would rise back up at the beginning of next year, i think closer to 40%. and then you, but again, you get into sort of the political question, does that lower rate 40% compared to 90 eeb courage more economic activity, more
envestment. but on the other hand, it's true that as we face huge deficits, some would certainly point to the fact that the tax rate on the richest americans is lower than it was in the 50s and 60s. host: christopher rugaber, talking about the economic condition. caller: thank you for having me on. i think that many people ignore who the real enemy is in this world. it's the japanese. the japanese have destroyed our steel industry, our aut motive industry, our electronics industry. they do so by subsidizing the corporations. they don't charge corporate taxes. so that means they don't have to pay any taxes to tokyo. unlike washington, that gets our corporations taxes. japanese companies are destroying america. they employ people for $10 an hour to assemble to its.
glass and the paint are really the only things made in america. the fittings. people have got to wake up and start buying american again. we've destroyed the motor cycle industry. you may not know this, harleys are made in china. they're assembled out in the united states. when will americans stop doing this to america? it's like you've got this desire to shoot yourself in the foot. that's why it's so hard to buy american. but i find people that don't want to buy american, that are anti-american. and they are american. figure that one out. it's just mind blowing thing. we're going to be like the british. destroy our own empire. we pretty much already have. guest: well, japan has had some of its own problems recently. and a lot of attention recently, as you probably -- you mentioned china. a lot of attention has shifted to china. there is some growing concern i've seen recently among u.s.
businesses about how china a is doing things with their currency and some recent move to sort of encourage the development of chinese industry, potentially at the expense of foreign industry. i mean, manufacturing in the united states has picked up in recent months. it was hurt very much in the recession. you have seen some improvement in autos and steel production. but it's a good question. i think some people in the aftermath of the recession are looking more at the idea of making sure that we are producing here in the united states. there is a goal on the part of the obama administration to double exports in the next five years. that's going to be a very hard target. but if we were able to do thaa that might go some way to restoring production in the united states. host: you said aftermath of the recession. is there another dip in the recession or double dip? what's the reality? guest: well, the reality is it's a real concern and you
hear estimates of 30% possibility or around that level. i mean, would tend to think it's less likely. but there's a real risk as we get into the second hart half of the year that the high unemployment that we have, the housing market being weak. and we have to see how that does without the tax credit. some of the other stimulus going away. the economy s sort of on life support in a lot of ways in terms of we've seen some improvement but it's with all this government help and the low interest rates from the federal reserve that they're at record low levels. so there is a concern that there would be a double dip. and the people who sort of officially date recessions haven't actually saad that it's over yet. so i think because there would still be signs of weakness out there. host: mir mar beach, florida. next is on our independent line. kiveragets thanks. i just got one question basically about the what happened with the stock market
about six weeks ago or whatever that thousand point drop or whatever it is. what i understand is -- don't understand is a trillion dollars changed hands. was that trillion dollars in fees was it part of the stock? and who received most of that money? was it the upper 1% sf or the small investors making any money? or did the $1 trillion just evaporate? guest: you're talking about the flash crash as you called it. a thousand point zrop in whatever it was. the trillion dollar figure, i guess that was the estimate of the losses or the change in value. i'm not sure that ended up in the hands of other people. a lot of those trades were canceled. i think a lot of the stock exchanges tried to cancel those trades because in some cases the prices were considered, i think, the idea was the prices were sort of inaccurate. i'm sure it was not fees.
i think it was in the change in the value. at one point procketor and gamble shares were trading around a penny. and i know some hedge funds made some money and then some lost the money when the trades were canceled. so i think that's where you saw some of the money going. i don't know, a small investor who might have been able to buy at a penny and then somehow sell later would have made some money. i don't know how many were able to do that given how fast everything happened. and a lot of the trades were canceled. so i'm not sure $1 trillion change ds hands. but that's stl being investigated. from what i understand it, we still don't know the full cause. . .
caller: i am always amazed at how many crackpots listen to your show and call in. from an economist background, do you think we will rebound to the levels that we were at before the great recession, and where do you see us in the next five to 20 years? where will the growth occur? g, it is a good question. i think we will come back. forecasting this kind of thing is hard. a lot of economists did not forecast good depth of the great recession. what we are seeing is a slow recovery. economists expect that when it comes to jobs -- we started to gains come back, but the most
common estimates are that it will take until 2015 or later before we have the same number of jobs we had before the recession. some research has been done that has found that after a meltdown like we had, where credit was tight, and people were nervous about borrowing, it takes even longer than other recessions. it looks to be a very long recovery. as far as where the jobs come from, that is hard to forecast. something i read somewhere is that back in 1992, when bill clinton had been elected, they spoke about where the jobs would come from, and no one mentioned the internet. it was stowed in its infancy. people did not anticipate what would happen. there is some talk of the
health-care field growing. you see new fields like nanotechnology and other areas. people talk about clean energy. it is hard to see if that will replace the jobs we have lost. host: as far as the beige book is concerned, how often are the reports donned? guest: they are done every eight weeks. you get a running sense of how things compaae over the previous year and a few months ago. host: where does the information come from? who do they talk to? guest: they talk to business executives, front-line retailers and banks. i believe most of the reserve banks in the 12 districts have stables of the folks they speak to.
hotel operators, tourism -- all kinds of folks. host: the next call is from kansas. the democrats' line. caller: i have a few depressing statistics. i think it goes to the trickle down economy. in 2007, the richest 400 american families had an average income of $345 million each. their income tax rate was slashed from an average of 29.4% to 16.6%, allowing them to pay only halffthe rate of their chauffeurs and gardeners. this is a profound inequity. this is a depression for most people in kansas. i am in the medical field. i am a nurse. they are slashing budgets all
over the place. my facility alone had $80,000 a month cut off because of the cuts in medicare. how will anything recover? guest: right. your experience shows that even if there is slow growth, that there is still a lot of pain. compared to other recoveries, this one is fairly slow. if you go back to the early 1980's, the average growth after that was around 7% or 9%. this time, we saw growth of only 3% in the first quarter of this year. definitely a lot of pain still out there. some of that is in state and local governments. as far as taxes, things like capital gains taxes on stock
profits are pretty much -- are much lower than income taxes. much lower than income taxes. that is one reason why you see lower taxes on some of that income. guest: grand isle, louisiana. republican line. see, i am sure every average citizen is aware of what is going on in the gulf. ecologically, we are sure about what the consequences will be. so many people died do not live here are on aware -- so many people that do not live here, are not aware of what the worsens. impact will be deficit i would like to hear people with knowledge and experience address that issue more clearly, so that other americans can fully understand what this moratorium on deep-water
economy, as well as the damage to the seafood industry. thank you. guest: it is a good question. the pictures we are seeing are certainly pretty terrible. the statistics i have seen, are a littte less depressing -- it is hard to say this in the middle of this disaster -- there is no question the fishing industry is getting hammered. there is some top over -- there is some talk that over time, a disaster may not have as much of an impact as you would think. in the beige book report, they talk about seeing some sort of cancellation in hotels. that certainly would have an economic impact.
at the same time, some of the+ rooms are being taken by people cleaning up the spill and national guard folks. that lessens the paint a little bit. some industries, like fishing, are expected to be hurt pretty badly. oil is a different issue. some of the beige book report found that most other oil production is continuing. there has been the announcement of the moratorium. some economists have argued about the impact. the moratorium, from what i understand, is fairly limited. there is a legitimate concern, going forward, what will happen to drilling in the aftermath? will there be more moratoriums or other restrictions? that could impact the oil industry.
there are reasons to keep our fingers crossed that the impact may not be as bad as we feared. the impact of katrina was not as bad as you would think. guest: west virginia. independent line. see, i have been reading lately -- caller: i have been reading lately about labor unrest in china. how do you think that will effect the economy here, long- term? guest: it could be a great thing for a lot of reasons. it could lead to higher pay for people in china. i think i have been reading some of the same things. people are talking about the younger chinese who do not have as much experience with the poverty the country has had in the past.
they are requiring more. it will probably play out over time. you are seeing small indications of companies bringing production back over here. at the same time, you are same companies that might simply move to another country, perhaps the vietnam, or some places where manufacturing is trying to open up. the real results could be that they could buy more, including buying more from the united states. china has spent on the boosting exports, if they increase their own consumption, they could buy more from us. host: we heard about the impact of the state taxes.
guest: the state taxes, if i recall, they come back in 2011. this would be one of the bush tax cuts that go away. i have not heard of that as an economic problem in the short- term. the bigger concern -- generally speaking, you do not want to raise taxes in the weak economy, but i have not mentioned -- heard state taxes mentioned as a problem. host: republican new-line, texas -- line, texas. caller: our problem is we have so many illegal aliens working in these factories. they went and bust 50 simoleons out of dallas.
i had two daughters they're trying to get a job. they would not let them fill out the paperwork. i called all of the state of texas. the state rep fired all of them. i found out they are bringing them back in, two and three at the time. guest: immigration is an issue people are concerned about. it is not something i am an expert in. expert in. i have not heard from economists saying that it is a cost of the recession, or anything like that. you can have economic growth and immigration. i think we had that in the 1990's. there is no question people are concerned, and it is something politicians will deal witt. host: one more call from reno,
nevada. caller: i have a couple of comments. everyone should buy a u.s.-made product. how will trickle-down economics work with foreign products? will we just sell cell phone and work at 7-eleven? host: give us a snapshot of the economic situation in reno, nevada. nevada. caller: most of my friends are unemployed. i am in construction. we are not doing too many construction jobs. it is mainly electric jobs. i cannot emphasize -- check the label. you can buy a tape measure made in the usa, rather than one that
is made in china. you have to check the label. check the label. check the label. host: what about residential homes? caller: why would you want to build a home? there are plenty available. there is no need to build houses in nevada. guest: you certainly hear that nevada has been one of the hardest hit by the housing bust. it is good to hear there is some construction work. whether or not to buy american, it is an important emotional issue. there are good opinions on both sides. there are some benefits to having lower-end work done outside of the united states.
there are companies that have added jobs overseas and in the united states over the years. certainly, as the caller said, people can check the label. host: what is the next economic data that people should be looking for? guest: the next employment report will be important, in early july, when we get a sense of whether or not we are creating jobs. there were a couple of good reports in march and april -- we saw a private sector growth and temporary jobs. in may, we had a fairly disappointing job report, where private job creation had slowed quite a bit. i think people will be looking closely at the next employment report to see if we can get a
job creation back on track. host: christopher river -- christopher ritter, thank you. our next guest will be a franklin foer, to take a look at the world cup. we will be right back. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. [applause] >> 23 years ago, president reagan spoke those words. watch the entire speech today on american history television, on
c-span3. this weekend, the chicago fest,ne printer's row lit including your calls for wes moore, scott turow, another call -- other authors. >> with the confirmation hearing for elena kagan coming up later this month, this sunday, c-span taaes you inside of the supreme court. hear directly from the justices as they provide insight about the court, the building, and its history. that is this sunday, 6:30 p.m. eastern. >> the democrats had run the congress for 40 years. a certain level of corruption had taken hold. it is ironic that years later, i would be a face of a similar
type of corruption to a whole different group of people. ♪ buring down theehouse ♪ sunday, on c-span. >> ""washington journal"" continues. host: our next guest this franklin foer, who wrote a book about how soccer changes the world. are there political implications for soccer? guest: always. politicians have tried to attach themselves to it. when you are sponsoring or hosting a world cup, a tremendous amount of prestige accrues. this is something that gets back
to mussolini, who understood that attaching himself to be an italian national team would be of great political benefit. any savvy politician will try to make the most out of it. it was true for mussolini. germany used a world cup to reintegrate themselves into the community of world nations after world war two. and the last world cup, germans were able to do express themselves in a nationalistic way without apology. there are all sorts of the implications and ramifications. host: how does it compare to the olympics? guest: alembics are certainly festivals' of nationalism. festivals' of nationalism. -- olympics are certainly festivals of nationalism. world cups tenn to be more intense.
here, you have 32 teams, as opposed to individuals, that go out as proxies' for their nations, going to war on behalf for -- of their nation. host: as far as this year, what is the importance of south africa? guest: it is the first world cup on the african continent. the south africans working on hosting this event. they have emerged from apartheid. they are trying to make a statement that they can be competitive. the transition away from apartheid has only made the country the country's strong. -- the country stronger. the opening ceremony was a genuinely moving moment.
these people are really proud of what they have done. they have made a tremendous investment. if they can pull it off, it will feel tremendous. host: what are the political messages? are they delivered by the athletes, themselves, or are there other ways of delivering political messages? guest: let's start with the games. there is always a political subtext. often times, colonizers nations are playing their former colonies. spain will be playing july and honduras. the political subtext is obvious. today, we are playing england. you might not think of this as political, but look at the history. we used to be a colony.
we fought a revolution. we have a special relationship with england, where we emerged as the more powerful player. england has always come to soccer as one of the few areas where they still had superiority. they treat our soccer team by condescending. if we were able to beat them, it would have enormous psychic revelations for the english mind. host: our guest will be with us for the remainder of the show. he is with "and the new republic." guest: there are a lot of great writers that came to me, and say they are obsessive about the game. there is something about the game that lends itself to fawn,
good writing. i am going to be wonky for a moment. when you write about baseball or football, you have a set language that easily explains what happened in the game. with soccer, there is more of a challenge. there are not statistics you can go to to explain what happens. there are not a lot of set place where the language is obvious. to evoke how a goal is scored, where explain the course of play, you need to have certain riding gifts. we have used novelists from around the world, and around the world, and journalists, from around the world, who had joined together to write about this because it is a lot of fun.
house putd the white out that the vice president met with the feed the president. -- fifa president. gee, i saw joe biden watching the met -- guest: i saw joe biden watching the match. he seemed interested. i think there is soccer diplomacy. i think it is significant that the obama administration sent joseph biden to show that we get the significance. you can argue that it is part and parcel to their broader engagement strategy. host: have passed the administration's done this -- administration's done this?
guest: i think that they have, but i am not entirely sure. host: what are you looking for in the political frame? what are you expecting? guest: i am really interested in how south africa is able to pull this off. that question looms over all of these other questions. last week, there was a stampede that was held in a friendly match outside of johannesburg. that is really the biggest thing. there are other little subplots. north korea has a team that is plain. they have not had a team for several decades. du can see how they are put -- you can see how they are played it at home and abroad.
-- playing that it at home and abroad. there are all sorts of a sub- dramas. brazil is blamed portugal. -- is play in portugal. -- playing against portugal. there are all sorts of brazilian-born players that portugal is able to bring over to brazil. phe story continues. host: the first call if the independent line. caller: i am a big d.c. united supporter. i got my first taste of football when i was stationed in germany. we got playing with some mexican friends of mine. i am a rabid supporter.
go manchester united. i cannot wait to see what i cannot wait to see what happens between the u.s. and england. it will be a full-on war. to you think that soccer or football, excuse me, will ever catch on in america like it has in the european countries? my son is 10. he plays. i see a lot more of that. 10 years ago, you did not see that around here. this is in west virginia. it is starting to catch on. do you think it will surpass baseball or even get to the status of american football? i also saw you on the bbc world news. i cannot wait for it.
u.s.-england. guest: thank you. i think it is interesting what he is saying about west virginia and the way the game has taken off. for a long time, it was housed within a yuppie ghetto. it keeps expanding out of that. suburbs are so diverse now. that is part of it. the game has spread in a way that you cannot demographically pinned it down. the big question, which is will this game ever reach the level of baseball or football, i do not know the answer. it might be a way off in history. it has that kind of potential. a lot of trends are on its side. this world cup is a big moment for the game.
espn has invested so many resources in making this a big deal. if there is one entity that gets the american male, it is espn. host: democrats line. pam. caller: i am at the absolute opposite end. i think this is a total waste of time for c-span. the american male, as you just referred to, needs to sit back and let us talk about things of consequence. i could not care less who wins what ever contest this is. i hope c-span in the next five or 10 minutes goes back to talking about things that i care
about. thank you. guest: can i justify this? this is a big deal to everyone on this planet. this is what the world is investing its self yen for the next month. -- itself in for the next month. in order to understand the world, to have some part in this global conversation, you need to pay attention. not to mention that it is filled with political ramifications, and it is a massive economic moment. south africa's gdp will jump about one percentage point, thank you to the world cup. it is about all of these other sorts of things. it also happens to be a lot of
fun ann a great game. i know times are tough. play and leisure and activities are important to understand -- activities are important to understand. host: "the wall street journal" writes about the political aspects. guest: right. this goes to the interesting history of sports in south africa. viewers of a recent movie will know that rugby was the support
of white africa, and soccer was the sport of black africa. there is that subtext. we should not place too much emphasis on the ability of the event to heal wounds in the society. as the last caller noted, this is just a game. even though it has symbolic importance, the issues on the table are just too ig to disappear in the course of one great month-long festival of soccer. host: what are the issues that are important? guest: there are all sorts of lingering issues from apartheid. especially, now, you have resentment in both directions. you might call it black nationalism rising. you have the same response in
the white community, where there is still a lot of racial resentment that is very much unresolved. is not to mention the economic issues. the south african invested millions of dollars in building stadiums. the government is run by a black middle class and upper class that has tremendous economical and political power. they have decided this is the most important investment. you have a lot of poverty in the country. a lot of poor people are uuset that these temples were built as opposed to clinics or schools. host: is there key leadership that grew up playing soccer? guest: that is right.
in the prisons, there were prison weeks that were of huge psychic importance. -- leagues that were of a huge psychic importance. host: south korea one two-zero. caller: franklin foer, i read your book a couple of years ago. i've loved it. i think you are hitting on a number of issues, politically and philosophically. i grew up playing soccer. i played it in college. i have coached at the college level. i think you share in science that are important for sports fans and people of interest beyond that. i looked at your writing online.
i am very intrigued. there is a sense in which the bloggers are almost riding as it soccer has arrived -- are almost writing as if soccer has arrived in the united states. from the perspective of someone that has played soccer all of his life, it still seems to be an argument about legitimacy. the attention espn has given it is noticeable and appreciated. i was listening to sports radio in boston, and i feel that there is some fair criticism that the standard sports fan in america can make. for example, i read an article in the "new york times.
it said cheers in the world. my response was, you cannot hear the cheers. if i am a sports fan, and i am thinkinggabout the nba finals and the stanley cup playoffs, and i'd turn it over to uruguay- france, and i see the lack of scoring. guest: thank you. please. i am tivo-ing the argentine he mentioned the horns. they give you an amazing
headache. this is an issue where there is political subtext. these courts are blown by south african masses. the world governing body of soccer has been reluctant to intervene. they are worried about it seemed like they are colonialist it or that they are being condescending to the south african fans that made this an integral part of their culture of fandom. they give me a headache, to be quite honest. he mentioned the year why-france game, -- the iroquois-france game, which was a snooze there. when you play 63 games over the course of a tournament, you will get bad games. it is inevitable. it happens in the n.c.a.a. tournament, as well. it is a monnh-long deal.
hold tight. hold tight. host: california. sam. caller: as a nationalized american, south asian descent, i have a question about the political aspect. i dialed in a light to the program. -- lead to the program. -- late to the program. honduras-portugal, i would be interested to learn if there were larger issues. go to the first point. the issue of football as opposed
to the soccer, -- americans have always referred to the game as soccer which grows out of the association football. it was contracted. it was contracted down to soccer in the same way that breakfast gets contract down. he mentioned the soccer or which is the subject of a fantastic book about a war fought between in guatemala and honduras, or else salvador and honduras. it is not fresh in my mind. i do remember that there was a game that was and proximate
cause for the war. there was all -- there was much deeper issues that were going on th. the game, while a great source of passion, it did not spark enough passion to spark a war. host: joe, atlanta. caller: soccer is not just a game. it is much more than that. forget about the war. i think it has been used as a tool. if we go to war in iraq, and defeat saddam hussein, only about 5% of the world knows about it. soccer is played in the most remote jungles and villages of the world. by bringing the world cup in to
the united states, you will have children in very remote states thinking that the united states won the world cup. it is a good feeling. we can actually do something that they appreciate. believe me, that is very important. guest: i think that ngo's certainly understand soccer. the u.s. military understands3 when we invaded iraq, we distributed soccer balls. i think the idea that we are going to win this world cup is one that i want to believe in with my mind and heart, unfortunately, i think we are still a ways away.
host: there is a post about the u.s. bid to get the world cup. arizona is in contention to bee the host city. at the same time, they are dealing with the immigration law. guest: one of our bloggers had an interview. we put together a bid to host the world cup. one of the cities would be phoenix, arizona. there is some anxiety that the arizona immigration law will be a hindrance. bill clinton is in south africa making the case for the united states did. a lot of other figures from corporate america and political america have gotten behind the bid. michael bloomberg is playing a
big role. host: do you think the u.s. has a shot? guest: i do. the u.s. is the market soccer is trying to crack. they figure the world cup is the best way. it worked in 1994, the last world cup that we hosted. one of the pre conditions was that we would launch a domestic soccer league. it has been tremendously valuable to the game. it has produced some of our best players. host: calif., drew. caller: soccer is a great+ game, but your guest has failed to mention that south africa has a
serious problem with child sex slavery. it is a significant issue. it is true that this opportunity for the world cup in south africa is a moment to reflect on all of the progress south africa has made in getting rid of apartheid, but my comment is that while it has great political implications, the guest is missing the larger picture. south africa's leadership, largely, middle class africans, but they are putting corporate -- they are putting corporate interest above the people. there has to be away. housing, education, it has not
improved that much. i think that during this time that we are there, having a great time, it would be a great opportunity to reflect continuing the stuff to help the people there. guest: that is a great point. i think he is right in his critique of the south african a leak. there are key social issues that they have neglected. aids, for awhile, was an issue that was neglected. with soccer, there is a dark side to the game. one of the things that i get into in my book is the way that the global soccer economy exploits africa. africa produces some of the best players, yet it does not have a very strong domestic soccer
leagues. the federations that run the national program are also kind of corrupt. it is one of the reasons why africa has not won a world cup yet. the coach of the ivory coast was just hired in may. most of the other coaches have been working with their team for several years. you cannot win a tournament if you are thrown together like that. the other point is that african players are exploited by european clubs in that all african kids that are any good want to play for a major european team. that is what they watch. you have a lot of agents that sweep through africa. they signed contracts with all of these kids. a lot of these agents are
pretty unsavory characters. they throo these kids into europe, and a lot of them just do not have the skills or the cultural ability to match with these clubs, and then, they get abandoned in europe. there are thousands of african kids that are homeless, subject to child prostitution, because unscrupulous agents have tossed them into europe, and caused their dreams to come crashing down. host: our independent line. george, washington, d.c. caller: just a couple of comments that i want to make -- i think the world is shifting at this time. looking at the games themselves, south korea defeated greece 2-0.
france could not beat uruguay. that tells us something. the world is shifting. this is a very big boost for africa. i lived in africa. i know this is a very, very, very important issue. for the first timee africa is given the opportunity to host the world cup. i hope the olympic games will be next. the implication of not hosting these games speaks to a lack of infrastructure. someone made mention of sex slaves. that and -- that exist in the u.s..
the corporate interests? it is good that some of them left when mandela took power. host: thank you, color. guest: he is right. this is what -- thank you, caller. guest: he is right. it is a message that we think you can't do it. he mentioned that the world is -- he read that you can add to it. he mentioned that the world is changing. there is a movement toward parity in international soccer that is probably reflective of a broader international trends. the game was dominated by europe, and, then, these two latin american power's, and yet the last world cup, teams from
turkey and korea have made it to the semifinals. you have a situation where almost any team can play another team. the size of nations still matters. slovenia, which is the smallest team in the tournament, has a population of two million. they do not have the athletes to draw from. when they play a countryylike england or the united states, they could still tied a country like that, but anything can happen. host: there is a political cartoon in "the financial times ." guest: that is one of the fascinating sub-primaries. the british are not so happy
that the obama administration is starting to kick bp. the economic significance of bp to the british economy is a tremendous. they do not like the fact that we are pressing beat pete -- bp in the way that we are pressing them. host: republican line, eric. caller: franklln, i listened to that caller from new york who trashed soccer, asking what is the need and then she continued to say we need to focus and worry about the economy. i do not think that were really gets anything done. during any depression, most people are looking for entertainment.
i think soccer really provides that diversion. also, i think that soccer is great for diplomacy. in and of itself, it really does help joined countries. i know there can be flights that could develop -- fights that could divide countries, like north and south korea, if those two play each other, you hope that stays calm. other countries that are looking to reach out to each other, it could create a diplomatic moment. i am a big fan of the english league soccer. i saw on the bbc website a few months ago that you had problems with english fans being attacked
when they go to scotland to watch matches. i was wondering if that was still a problem. thank you, a very much. guest: fans get drunk. fans fight. it happens in all sports. it certainly happens a lot in soccer. i do not think scottish fans beating up english fans is reflective of any broad trend. english fans tend to attract a fair amount of violence, and perpetrate a fair amount of violence historically. host: is it true that this is the most watched sporting event? guest: easily. even in this country, the world cup final france-italy, did a
better number on abc than the nba finals did. it is a global game. even in this country even in this country, all lot of people pay attention -- even in this country, a lot of people pay+ attention. host: sean. caller: i think democrats seem to be more open to international soccer, then republicans. particularly, in the south, i hear a lot of animus toward the world cup. it is akin to the hatred of the u.n.. a lot of republicans do not like the united nations, and also, because urban areas tend to be more democratic. uc soccer to be more popular there. do you believe that is true?
guest: i had a chapter in my book about how soccer explains u.s. culture war. you do have a certain divide between people that are engaged with the global economy and the world more broadly, before whom it is a natural thing to embrace soccer. you have the other side that does not like the united nations, they believed in american exceptional ism, with a religious fervor, and is scared of globalization. that tends to inform their views about emigration and trade, and alas, soccer. host: one more call. democrats line. sandra.
caller: i am calling to let you know that there are women that are great fans. i am one of them. it is not just for men in the world or in the u.s. p wanted to make a comment about advertising, and how that influences what americans see. there are not the kind of pauses to provide advertising. i wonder if that hinders the ability of soccer to make it in the u.s., and how is it that other countries actually finance their soccer if it is not through television advertising? could you tell us anything about that? guest: that is an excellent point about women. my daughters are dressed up in there is usa jersey's this morning. morning. they are in a world cup frenzy themselves.
there is still a lot of advertising money and surrounding the game. if you have advertising before matches, in the middle of matches, after matches, and then a lot of advertising that is tethered to specific players and the spectacle itself -- believe me, there is no shortage of advertising attached to this world cup. that is why espn is spending so much money to promote the whole thing. the fact that the game goes on for a 45-minute blocks, is that inconsistent with the american attention span? i would argue that it is not. i do think soccer has never tips built into it. we had a great -- soccer has great narratives built into it.
we had a great post about this. ryder was arguing with his friend about music. he wanted to buy he or vouchers from classical music -- overtures from classical music, instead of listening to an entire piece of music from start to finish. it is a different mindset. you have to invest yourself in following the entire merit of line all the way through. -- the entire narrative line all the way through. it takes more patience than watching a youtube clip. there is a fair amount of education, or not even education -- in order to complexities of the game, and the complexities of the game, and