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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  February 22, 2011 7:00am-9:59am EST

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irwin. bill gertz talks about the patriot act. and rebecca mackinnon looks at how social media impact for a policy. "washington journal" is next. ♪ ♪ host: speculations' continue over a possible government shut down next month when lawmakers return. the president continues to pitches jobs strategy to americans today. a university looks at the role of small businesses and winning the future initiative.
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unrest in libya dominates the newspapers this morning. we will begin their, and what it could mean for the american pocketbook. there headlines as unrest spreads, gas may hit $5. what is your reaction to this? what'll it mean for you if gas prices go to go up?
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joining us on the phones this morning is roblin with "bloomberg business
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week." how have the european markets reacted? guest: they are down. a flight toward government bonds. there is anticipation of more unrest from egypt and libya. host: what can we expect in the u.s. market? guest: the dow is well above 12,000. last year, the shock that no one expected was the sovereign debt crisis out of western europe. this year, it seems no -- nobody came into the new year expecting arab regimes could go this way. the worry is that in a time from a heightened process -- prices
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of commodities across the board, consumers are just now repairing their balance sheets. they may not be able to afford the prospect of $5 gasoline. host: here is the front page of a newspaper right now. why does $5 a gallon for gas american to the -- gas important to american? -- american people? guest: the $4 threshold gas prices made people think twice about taking trips. they are not following the north africans. the headline prices ended the
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gas prices are not far from breaking the $4 level again. that is something that consumers have to calculate in their consumer spending habits. host: what could happen to the u.s. economy if that happens? guest: they are not considering the process of inflation. they want to litigate the economy with asset prices. there is not any wage inflation per se. now you are seeing a producer price and certain commodities take flight. the price of corn, chocolate, things across the board. oil is such an integral commodity. it is the ultimate input for all of these. it is going to put a pressure on the other companies to figure out -- we have not had any pricing power, but we have seen this shock of potentially for dollar gasoline and higher
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diesel prices for our delivery drivers. how will we pass this on to consumers? we may have to take a hit in our profits will hurt. host: when the u.s. stock market opened this morning, what will you be looking for? guest: people are following the oil market more this morning. stocks can benefit from higher oil prices. exxon mobil and bp and took a huge jump over the weekend. we will see if traders take money out of u.s. stocks they have been bidding up and put them in the short-term safety of government bonds and move into gold. we want to closely monitor what is happening in libya. if there is any sign that the khadafy regime will lose its grip on power and this may ripple to the rest of the oil- producing complex.
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if we see any conflicts in kuwait or saudi arabia or more aggressive across the border there, that is where the oil market will start spiking. host: here is what the associated press is saying this morning. what does this mean economically? guest: libya is not a huge player economically in terms of international trade, especially that it has the largest oil reserves and africa. it makes good on its debt. that is what standard and poor's is trying to address out there. that is also another worry regarding the sovereign debt issue. the arabs taking over from government and investors worrying if those markets are not good for the market or if those bond markets -- there is no money -- no one at the top to
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make good on the debt. host: thanks for joining us early this morning to talk about this, roben. 47 billion in petroleum reserve a according to the "washington journal." the primary consumers are italy, germany, china, france, and spain. let's go to the phone lines. i will go to new orleans, an independent scholar, mike. the the -- independenc caller, mike. caller: this happened a couple
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of years ago. williams, who was very close to the top oil producers -- he was a preacher. he has been getting information from the top oil producers, the top leaders of the world, you might say. he predicted exactly what is going to happen. he was spot on the price of gas all the way. if you listen to alex jones today, lindsey williams will be on there today with ground breaking news about why this is happening and who is doing it. i would urge everybody, if they can, go to the internet or watch alex jones on the radio, to listen to lindsey williams today.
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it is very important to do it. he has been spot on in his predictions so far. it'll be interesting to see what he has to say about today. host: paul, from pittsburgh, your thoughts on this today. caller: this could not come at a worse time. our economy is so fragile. the cost of fuel impact our food and transportation. it is a nightmare. the sad thing is this country has not had an energy policy that works in our behalf for decades. at a time when we have known this, and every time this situation happens, the first thing congress does is a hall of the big ceo's of the oil companies and point fingers. i think that is to divert the attention away from their inability to cope with
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developing an energy policy. i think it is a tragedy, and it will really harm the country enormously. host: here is another headline. the light, sweet oil is the type most likely to be converted to gasoline and diesel fuel. more than 90 nations were to meet in saudi arabia today to discuss the curbing oil prices and inflection.
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uctions.x let's go to memphis, tenn., a democrat collar. -- caller. caller: this is a formula that
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was set up by the republicans. they wanted to plant this s eed. this is just a ploy to spread all of the money out in the united states. they need to go ahead with alternative fuel, and maybe we can solve this problem. we have been trying to solve this problem since jimmy carter. the republicans will not do anything with alternative fuel, because it would take money out of their pockets. to an independent in texas, greg. caller: i am afraid corporate america will not pass up this opportunity to milk the public and get what they want.
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i appreciate the previous for the input enlightening. that is kind of unusual lately. host: what if the gas hits $5? what does it mean for you? caller: i am a retired engineer. i have a certain amount of money stashed away. i try to live off of my social security and what little pension i have set aside. it will affect me as well as a group of senior citizens that i know. it is not very good news for them. and there are too many people that do not have a lot of elbows based on their finances. host: gary, oklahoma. caller: $5 gasoline in this country is absurd. we have known for the last 40
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years that we were going to have a problem with fuel sooner or later. we have natural gas available that we should have converted for automobiles. we have been using natural gas to run automobiles for 50 years. when i was just a boy, we ran tractors on this. the reason we do not do this is because of politics. we can blame congress. we put them in there. we have not sent them to washington to solve this problem. we could have, but we have not. we can blame our sales, however congressmen, every person in united states today for the problem we will face in the coming months ended the coming years, until we get serious about it. we have to decide it is something that must be done. our congressmen are willing to let the people of this country suffer because of politics.
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that is all i have to say. host: democratic line, for lauderdale. caller: -- fort lauderdale, florida. caller: it is shocking. to go to the alternative fuel is what we need to do. i think ever politicians are being nothing but lobbied and paid off by the oil industries. that is what is causing the whole problem. they are nothing more than being paid off. it is just like that guy that apologized to bp. they paid him $5 million. host: a little bit more about the oil industry in libya.
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fairfax, va., a republican.
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we are talking about this headline in "usa today." caller: thanks for taking my call. i am normally a pessimist when it comes to what is happening in the country. if we look at, this is a positive, and people start carpooling -- in washington, d.c., we have the worst traffic in the country, it would make the commute more pleasant. you could give it back to them by only using half of the fuel, and everybody is able to get to where they are going. i do not understand why conservation -- everybody is looking to we need alternate energy. what about the simple things you can do such as carpooling? turn a negative to positive, and
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basically spent in their eye with it. have a great day. host: the front page of the "financial times."
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here is inside the "new york times" this morning. if you see a significant rise in oil price for a long time, it will hurt in the american recovery that is still weak. california, tony, an independent. caller: i spoke to some friends of mine.
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they are reserves in alaska and off the coast of louisiana. they are reserves all over california. we have some accrued in california not being pumped. why don't we utilize our own resources instead of taking oil from other countries? we'll -- we need to realize we have a national reserve. we can feel american vehicles and to stop buying to the increased prices around the world. host: we go back to fort lauderdale, fla., a democrat. caller: this seems like another scare tactic. every time something sneezes, the oil prices go up. they find another way to gyp the people out of more and more money.
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summertime, when winter time, more money. holiday time, more money. they will be bragging about the fact that they have another jump in there prices that they give to their executives. it is becoming a real. we're going to see another year like we did last time. we will start complaining -- food, material, anything delivered, it will cost more money. everything did we use in our life -- it is going to be a domino effect. i hope it will not be as worse as it was before. host: here is the "financial times." it is the only newspaper this morning that has this story.
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here is the front page this morning of "roll call."
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majority leader harry reid will have his work cut out for him next week about balancing the competing demands of the caucus against the march 4 deadline to avert a government shutdown. dustin, fla., a republican. caller: thanks for taking my call. look around your house, about 90% of everything you see is made of petroleum products. the cost of everything is going to go up, and i think we will be all right. i think there is plenty of oil in the world. we do not need alternative fuel.
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your alternative energy cars do not work in the wintertime. the batteries do not work when it is cold. drill, baby, drill. caller, youendent schol are next. caller: they are handing out all of these big bonuses on wall street. the commodity traders speculate on the market. a more than speculate, but they influence the price and to drive up the price. that is why did they were given $5 billion bonuses this time of year. billion dollar bonuses, for driving up the price of oil, gas, and all of these commodities. the suggestion is, let the government tax these people at 75%. that will do two things. it will put money in our u.s. treasury, which we desperately need. it will stop these commodity
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traders. the guys on wall street, who do not own a price of oil, are raising the price of oil. you should be alerting the american people to this. host: a couple of emails for you. that is what we are going to be talking about around 7:45 a.m. eastern time. the saving trend is on the upswing, according to a couple of reports put out by neil irwin. we will speak to him about that coming up next in upper segment. here is something else a viewer said. also in other news this
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morning, there is a major election in chicago, as many of you may know. here is the "chicago sun-times." vote is their hedalin. -- headline. here is the ""chicago tribune"." rahm emanuel is on the ballot there. -- here is the "chicago tribune." rahm emanuel is on the ballot there. next caller. caller: a few weeks back, the whole united states was shot down, and the prices jumped up twice in one day in north carolina. i do not understand that. then they said they would not
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bring it in, because they do not know where to put it. then they jack the price is up. host: front page of the " washington post." there is not even a u.s. ambassador at the moment. the ambassador was called back after the extended confrontation in which he describes the gaddafi as is
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centric. -- eccentric. let's go back to the phone lines. what do you think about gas hitting $5 as libya unrest spreads? caller: first of all, a big problem is government regulation. how do the banks and wall street make all this money? it is manipulated in the house, senate, and the white house. it is the rules they lay out and how they allow these people to manipulate the money. the second thing is, in case anybody does not realize it, if we can cut out 50% of all of the oil that we import on the new methods to get the oil out of the ground in our own country -- where we are not sending hundreds of billions of dollars out of here. do you think for one damn
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minute that we would not have the gas if we use alternative fuel? host: what is the new technology you are referring to? caller: natural gas is the way of the future. 50% of everything you hear on environmental stuff is a lie and manipulation of the american people. people fall for it a day in and day out. i am tired of being manipulated. it is costing our country a lot of money. why cannot we go to natural gas? do you know how much money that brings adjust to the state of texas? it would bring in come into each state. we would not have the problems that we are having. we have an environmental policy that we are pumping more money
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into these in our middle policies. host: let's hear from a democrat in fort worth, texas. caller: some of what a caller made sense. what i see here is the democrats need to go after the democrats. the republicans need to go after republicans. i am not seeing the obama administration any different from the bush administration when it comes to these issues. we do need to drill. we talked about right after 9/11, and it would take about seven or 10 years to get things going. we could have had it going right now along with alternative energy. we could bring in the new and bring a mixture of things. when the democrats go after
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republicans and vice versa, nothing is going to get done. you have to go after -- some of these things are overregulated. all of the money that we use for subsidy for oil co why don't we use it to make it a temporary until we can go elsewhere? host: obama, who is abreast of events in libya, is considering all appropriate actions as the unrest continues.
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here is a foreign senior diplomat of the obama administration. they had no alternative to work with allies to pressure libya. we will go to chicago on the independent line. caller: i have a 40 years in this. i want to tell you all of the truth. write google fuel vaporizer and
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stan meyer and youtube that. write free energy device and steven mark, youtube also. i was involved with general motors a long time ago. i will tell you what is going on. the society of on of the engineers decided that gasoline -- we use fuel injection and it is 80% waisted. only fuel in a gas state can ignite. if you look at fuel vaporizers, there are over 3000 patents. the best was on a full-sized, bill running 125 miles per gallon -- automobile running 125 miles per gallon. [unintelligible] 700 miles per gallon water.
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a man who looked at this was murdered. host: tie this to what we are talking about. caller:i am. powered car.r- i will tell you what is happening. the automobile and oil companies are in this together. all of the atmospheric pollution goes up in the air, and we get sick. the oil companies finance all the pharmaceutical companies. they get as sick, and they make sure we die. the real value of all of this is it all comes together -- if anybody gets the king james bible, matthew. it is all leading up to the
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armageddon war. host: we will leave it there. here is a headline. "wallstreets streeand the journal." we want to show you the whole thing, less than 30 seconds what the colonel had to say yesterday. [speaking foregin language] , florida, a republican.
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caller: it is time that we get ourselves together. we need to stop blaming each other. it is our fault that we have been in this predicament for several years. it is time to stop pointing the finger and get together and put our minds together, our sciences and everything, do everything we can do to avoid this situation. america is a leading nation in so many aspects. we can overcome this if we just come together. host: timothy, a democratic line. caller: i had a comment for one of my fellow texas colin from san antonio. he said regulation is the problem -- calling from san antonio. he said regulation is the problem.
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environmentalism is rooted in science. oil is an international commodity and is fed through an international exchange. i think dictators in the middle east have seen what has happened in egypt and are not going to sit by. i think it is reason for them to not do anything to curtail the price of oil per barrel. if the price per barrel goes up, it makes the united states less likely to sit back and allow protests to disturb dictatorships in the middle east, such as in libya. asd for cities such tr tripoli, and cities that are
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basically lawless at the moment. in terms of commodities, they would not do anything to affect the price per barrel for oil, because the way that will operate in markets -- it has unparalleled capacity to make such markets just as volatile. it does not serve the far interest. i would say the lesson would be for right now, in the interest of democracy across the world, which is one thing we say we admire and revere in this country, we need to bear whatever sacrifice we would bear and also use it as an opportunity to get off fossil fuels as much as we can. host: here are the editorial pages this morning. also this morning, the editorial
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page of the "wall street journal" they say this. then here is the "financial times with their editorial-page.
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let's go to mississippi on the republican line. what are your thoughts on if gas prices get to $5 due to the libyan unrest, how it affects americans? caller: it will keep me from driving. i guess that is what they want anyway. i will get a bicycle. the governments are coming together to create chaos. does bring some order into the world. they are finally going to get their virtual cash and biochip everyone in america.
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they are already doing it in the hospitals. they are asking people if they want them to biochip their babies. host: "usa today " the editorial is about social security. if you are interested in that, in turn to the editorial page of "u.s. today" this morning. joining me on the phone is adam liptak talking about the headline he had in the paper last week about justice clarence thomas. today marks the fifth year that clarence thomas will have said
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nothing during an oral argument. guest: he has one more chance today. if he holds true to form, he will go five years without asking a single question from the bench. in the last 40 years, no justice has gone a single year much less five years without asking a single question. host: what is this matter? guest: it matters, because it gives you a sense that justice thomas is the only justice to decline to participate in what most justices think would be a very important way to get to the heart of the cases before them, to really prove the issues, to wrestle with the lawyers and to start a conversation among the justices that continues when they go to their private conference to vote on the case. host: is it a bad thing that he has not asked a question in five years?
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guest: it is a matter of opinion. every justice seems to take a different view. host: what to scholars and lawyers say about it? guest: they say it is with his uncompromising views of the law. he knows what he thinks. he is a hard to persuade. there does not seem to be anything a lawyer appearing before him can say to move him. he does not want to give the lawyer a chance to try to persuade him from the view that he walked into the court with. host: the supreme court returns today from its mid-winter break. today could be the five-year mark of justice thomas not asking a question. he has asked a question as a justice? guest: he is not particularly
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talkative, but over the years, he has asked some questions. in the cases that he chose to speak of, it seemed to be the things that would persuade his colleagues to go the other way. there was a case whether virginia could have a law regarding cars purring. -- car [unintelligible] ben he spokec -- roscross urning. host: from your report, be read that justice is received briefs before oral arguments. what is there to do than they have not already read about in the brief? guest: they try to follow up on
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a weak spots in the breeze, inconsistencies, things that troubled them, what one person on the other side could have. unless there is some back and forth, there is no point to oral arguments. host: let's listen to what clarence thomas told c-span when he sat down to discuss this issue. >> when i first came to the court, it was much quieter than it was -- is now. it was too quiet. i do not know. i liked it that way. it left a big gaps so that you could actually have a conversation. i think it is hard to have a conversation when nobody is listening. when you cannot complete sentences and in answers. perhaps that is a sudden thing. i do not know. i think we should allow people
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to complete their answers and thoughts and to continue their conversation. that coherence that you get from a conversation is far more helpful than the rapid-fire questions. i do not see how you can learn a whole lot in 50 questions in an hour. adap liptak, justice thomas called it a family feud during oral arguments. guest: he almost certainly has a point that other justices -- he is criticized as being too quiet. the other judges are known as being too talkative. on the other hand, he records the importance to conversation. he is not holding up to his end of the bargain. host: how does it correspond with oral arguments? guest: it is hard to say, because he does not talk. he is frequently the sole holder
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of a particular view. he will write an opinion only for himself. he will write often in a very sweeping, idiosyncratic way. he will raise a point that has never come up in arguments. it has not usually had the opportunity to be tested. host: the supreme court correspondent, adam liptak. thank you. let's get one more phone calls and hear regarding unrest spreads, gasoline could hit $5 bara gallon. caller: i was working in the oilfields back in the 1980's. there are so many oil wells that are capped off, not even being used.
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these?'t we uncap it is a money thing for the richer to get richer and the poor to get poorer. so security has not had an increase in the last few years. it costs more to live now than it did back then. host: we will talk about the u.s. economy coming up here next. in about 45 minutes, which b getz, frintheilbill "washington times." we will be right back. ♪ ♪
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>> si span's book, abraham lincoln, is a unique contemporary perspective on lincoln from several journalists and writers, from him being a sprinkle lawyer to our president during one of our nation's most troubled times. the publishers are offering to c-span viewers a copy for the special price of a $5 plus shipping and handling. go to c-span.org and use the promo code lincoln at checkout. >> i asked you to come here this evening so that we could
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immediately here a report from the secretary of state regarding the negotiations that have been going on from europe. >> you can look at this as a historical curiosity, or you can look at this as a forerunner of today's managed news. >> find something you did not know about the 43 men who served as president of the united states c-span video library. thousands of hours of president of programming, all free, on- line. watch what you want when you want. >> "washington journal" continues. host: neil irwin had this piece. that we read the lead paragraph here. -- let me read the paragraph here.
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how fast are americans moving? guest: probably not as far as they need to be in terms of increasing saving rates. there is real, measurable progress. the savings rate is over 5%. it is as high as it was in the 1990's, but not as high as it was in the 1980's. the savings rate is back up. it is a lot higher than it was a few years ago. host: could return to the 1980's, and where does it need to be for analysts to say we are in good shape? guest: nobody really knows where it is going to settle and what will be the new normal in terms of savings and debt levels. there has been a lot of progress compared to a few years ago. if we are going to go back to the 1980's level of savings, that is bad news for the economy
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over the next couple of years. people will increase their savings rather than spending that money. less spending means less jobs and less of everything. part of the reason the economy has been bad over the years is that people have been doing this kind of adjustment of their household balance sheets. the sooner they are done, the sooner the economy can improve. host: what does the current savings trend me for the sake of our economy today? guest: i speak to a lot of people who look at consumer debt levels. their intuition is that we are halfway through this. we may have another year of consumers readjusting, paying down debt, trying to get their finances in line. it sets the stage for a stronger growth in the years ahead when they are done. every dollar you are not -- you are saving, you are spending. once household balance sheets are back to normal, we can have a stronger expansion rather than
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the week when we have had. host: tell us what the factors involved are. guest: the best kind of adjustment is people have a big credit-card bill. they chip away at the balance over time. at the end of the process, they have less in debt than they had. another factor is people have defaulted on their loans. if the banks say we will not get paid back from this, we will write it down -- it does not create a new situation where people can spend. if you cannot pay your credit card bill or your mortgage, you probably will not help the economy move forward. host: let me show our viewers some of the charts included in your stories.
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it shows the percentage change from the second quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2010. you can see a decline of mortgage debt and credit card debt. auto loans down about 12%. student loans of about 18%. guest: student loans, the one dark spot in the story. tuition prices have kept rising as people go back to school. they have had less income, so they had to borrow money for schools. host: you referred to a study done by the federal reserve of new york. they look at whether consumers are really paying down the debt or defaulting. what did they find out? guest: there is defaulting going on, which is not good news for the long term. the good news is there is more
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than that. ginnie and people paying down debts. there is real -- a genuine people paying down debt. there is real progress being made. if you are a bank or lender, and suddenly you have to write down loans, it may make you less able to land to other people. the good news is less of a debt overhanging for that individual. the bad news is they were not paying their bills or they do not have a job. they are not likely to be a real growth engine. host: a republican in scranton, pennsylvania. caller: a pleasure to talk to you. what i find amazing is the markets say save, and on the other hand, the government says consumer. we are not producing anything
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anymore, because going to college makes you go $60,000 in debt, and then you do not become anything. people need to invest in themselves, get creative, create their own business, and produce. that is how america will flourish. guest: that is right. production -- when you have a job, you are producing in the making things. if you are going to make things, you need somebody else to buy it. the first part of output is consumption. the sooner we get through this process of people paying down debts and getting their savings rates to a sustainable level, consumers will start consuming again. businesses will start to expand into looking to invest.
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you need both sides of the coin for the economy to get moving. host: the jobless numbers come out every friday. talk to the caller who says we did not produce anything. what sector d.c. an increase in? -- do you see an increase in? guest: the manufacturing sector, was deep down in the recession. durable goods have come up. people say america does not make anything anymore. that is not true. we make a lot of stuff with fewer people than a few years ago. many sectors are doing ok. host: greensboro, n.c., independent color. calle -- caller. caller: i have not increased my
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savings because i am panel of my bills. as far as savings goes, i have a minimal amount saved, because i am productive. i can go out and work. as long as i am able to do that, i do not see the need to save. host: have you made it more of a priority in recent years to pay your bills? caller: that has always been my priority, not more or less now than earlier. that has always been a priority, because i have always had some form of a debt -- whether it is a car payment or a house payment. i have to go out and work to pay those debts. host: when we say u.s. dollars, we receive 1% interest, thanks to the federal reserve. energy rises up to 5%. why save?
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guest: there is an inflation- adjusted rate of return. people have invested in other forms of savings -- the stock market, more risky assets, they have gotten decent returns. the point is correct. interest rates are very low. if there is a little bit of inflation, you are losing money. a lot people do not understand what is meant by savings. you think of putting money in a mutual fund or a bank. the way economists think is different. it is more passive. if you have an income of $100, and you spend $95. you just saved $5. it is more residual. for the caller who says he does
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pay the bills, that is savings. if he is paying down debt, that shows up as savings. if you owe $10,000.10 month, and the next month you all $9,000, you have improved your situation. host: how is that tract? guest: the bureau of economic statistics pulls a lot of data from around the country. host: democratic caller, go ahead. caller: a lot of people have been saying we have been bailing out wall street. if we have not, we would be more peril. in terms of the economy getting
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better, we need to look at everything. we need to look at the money we spend overseas. we need to start cutting and reshuffling. if we do that, we will find that people will be more satisfied. the people in congress should, on the cobra like everyone else does, and retirement should be 10% more than what they make. it should not be higher than that. host: neil irwin. guest: with the wall street bailout, the impact of helping the stock market comeback, and the markets have been up a lot since the low in march, 2009, i do not think that was by design. if that was unexpected side effect. the main goal was to try to keep the lending and financial system from breaking down.
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you go from the stability of money to slow the the system, and they've learned to keep that from breaking down. the stock market has had some other benefits. on gdp, it is not just consumption. gdp numbers reflect all of that. consumption is about two-thirds of gross domestic product. there's also government spending and business investment. also, and net exports. those are actually extract it. -- extracted. economic statistics are not perfect, but the ones that people used to capture some of the things you are mentioning. .ost: this tweet
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guest: it is true that many of the wall street firms may not have been able to pay off debts if the financial bailout had not happened. which would have resulted in collapse, it is hard to know. there is a valid point. the big banks had liabilities backed up by the federal government and ordinary americans have not had the same benefits. host: donna, a republican in pittsburgh. caller: i do not think the american public is extremely well-educated in economics because they do not understand the cost of servicing debt. for example, if you pay $1,000 for something, and put it on a charge card, you have actually paid $1,200. in our parents' day, they
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always saved up to offset the payments, and keep them reasonable. now, everyone has everything right away, and a finance the full cost. i would like to know if your guest could comment on the cost of servicing the national debt, which is phenomenal what we could do with that money if we were not paid the cost of servicing debt $13 trillion. guest: two good points. on the first, there is the possibility that those who end copy and significant debt do not fully understand what they are getting into. we saw that when debt levels exploded. credit cards can have good benefits. if you are going along in your refrigerator breaks, and you need short-term cash, that is of
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great use of credit cards, and a great way to take advantage of that availability. and somebody is ready and 820 30,000 -- of 20,000, $30,000 debt and rolling over, that is a problem. all hallows make a lot of sense. if you are perpetually rolling over debt, it is not clear. some people in the past, and to some degree still are using that inappropriately given their financial situation. on the national debt, that is a valid point. what we will see is what taxpayers have to pay to maintain the service on existing debt will be high, and probably rising. interest rates will rise, which will make a real burden.
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host: barlow, a democrat in dallas, texas, good morning. caller: on the report, it does not say anything about it, leveled. you do not see what income level is doing that. host: let's talk about that. guest: that is a valid point. i am looking at the savings rate as a percentage of income. the trend with income declined a lot during the thick of the recession. it has been gradually coming back since then. personal income levels are rising a little bit month-by- month, but nothing to write home about. there is the question about when we will get real income increases. that is the ultimate measure of american prosperity.
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when we will have substantial increases, and what will have into savings levels, once that day arrives. >> the federal reserve bank of san francisco studied u.s. counties and how people took on that. what did they find in terms of areas that are doing the best? guest: they took u.s. counties and divided it were there were high levels and low levels. the companies are doing far better where there was less debt. if there is any doubt that household debt, and the overhang is a major factor in why the economy has been so weak, it is very clear that debt levels are closely correlated with economic growth. host: will the best indicator of our recovery be consumer spending one's savings levels
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get to a point where they bottom out -- is that what economists will be looking at next? guest: it is no single number. the broadest measure is gdp. we want that to rise that said, gdp is not what we are solving for. it is nice to have a strong gdp, because when there is strong in gdp, people have jobs, higher incomes. that is the goal, americans will be able to find jobs that serve their lifestyle. host: annapolis, add, on the independent line. caller: thank you for c-span. when i retired, i set myself up so i have no debt.
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i reserved my cash at that time in my home. then, i decided because of some fact that i would move my money into the bank. the bank does not pay any interest. and, they charge the fees which are in excess of the little bit of interest they give me. quite frankly, this year, i will move all of my money out of the stupid banks because they are not doing anything. i think there are a lot of people like that. host: where will you move it to? caller: i will move it back under my mattress. host: have you thought about gold? caller: if i see a good opportunity. host: neil irwin? guest: is part of the policies that the federal reserve are pursuing. it is true that retirees suffer
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as a result. it means you are not able to earn the interest rates you would normally get from a bank. the reason people do not put money under a mattress, is because it's something goes wrong, your bank -- your house its route, you are all of long -- you are out of luck. you might run to be cautious about leaving the bank system entirely. that said, the issue is exactly right. rates are very low. that encourages investment, but definitely retirees, and those with big savings suffer as a result. to lakeland,o florida. caller: i am really worried about journalists, economists, and political leaders not factory near peak oil and gas
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prices increases. in florida, our new governor wants to cancel the high-speed train because he does not think there will be enough riders. should there not be enough -- more talk about peak oil? where is that being factored in? host: neil irwin, can you speak to that? guest: hit is hard to know what the probability is that the scenario which it is hard to know what the probability that the scenario which the caller laid out is possible. it is not just the supply side. how much oil is left in the ground, although that is relevant. the other question is how rapidly due china, and other emerging nations, become more wealthy and grow? there are of 1 billion people in each china and india. first of all, it is
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mathematically impossible to them -- for them to get to the levels of energy consumption that we are used to in the united states. can there be a path for growth for those countries as they get wealthier that is more energy efficient? regardless, there is a possibility we will see the sun going rise in energy prices as long as there is strong -- see this strong rise in energy prices as long as there is strong growth. host: neil irwin is our guest. he wrote a piece for "the washington post" that the savings trend is on the optic. the consumer financial protection bureau is having a conference today, and the keynote speaker will be
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elizabeth warren, special advisor to the secretary of the treasury for bob consumer -- for the consumer protection bureau. she will talk about the one- year anniversary of the credit card act, outlining the priorities of her agency. we will have live courage of that started around 9:00 a.m.. neil irwin, what are you expecting to hear from them today? guest: this is an interesting agency. they were created in the dodd- frank act. they are just getting rolling. there are a lot of questions about how this bureau will work. they have some tricky things to juggle. they do not want to limit credit availability to watch, because they want people to be able to use a credit card when their car breaks down. they do not want days to stop
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extending credit entirely. on the other hand, there have been exported to of practices. people have been irresponsible. you also do not want to force to and people into the black market, whether it is literally loan sharks, or pawnshops. you want people to have access to credit, but in ways that do not leave them in bad shape for the walled term. try to double the budget juggle that would be a lot of term task -- trying to juggle that would be a long-term test. caller: i have a question. all of the savings is great, but what happens if the dollar gets effected by the oil trading, and the dollar collapses? what happens to all of those savings?
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guest: if the dollar were to decline a lot, most people are not expected a dollar collapse, as it is still the most liquid currency in the world and the currency people use when they want to find a safe haven. that does not seem to be changing anytime soon, but if your scenario were true, the main impact is it would make imports a lot more expensive. the price of oil would go op a lot. anything you bring in from abroad would certainly go up. for domestic industries, it would make the export levels competitive, and might lead to job creation. u.s. businesses would suddenly have an advantage. it is not something anyone wants to see. it would be bad for financial stability. at the same time, a moderate
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decline might help us with some jobless issues and things of the export side. caller: if the dollar collapses, what happens to people's savings? i see a spike in silver and metal going up. people are saving, but they could be sitting in metals, which do not lose their value. guest: first of all, that is not true. metals, gold, other precious metals -- if you bought in the the-1970's, and sold in late 1990's, you lost a lot of money. it can offer returns, but it comes at a risk. people should not assume that is a free lunch. what would happen to savings of the dollar declines? well, they would go a lot less far around the world, and a lot
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of goods would become more expensive. in terms of more domestic industries, not much would be changed. host: we are talking about american savings, but i also want to update the situation in libya. ap is reporting garments are scrambling to get citizens out of -- governments are scrambling to get citizens out of the country. vegas -- democratic line. caller: with regards to oil, here in las vegas, we are embracing solar power. that can make up for a lot of importing oil. also, i was wondering, mr. neil irwin, why are you not embracing the work of elisabeth warren --
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elizabeth warren who was working for the middle class, and finally, your opinion of paul krugman, and finally, suze or man. guest: i am not criticizing elizabeth warren. she is doing hard work to create this agency. all i'm saying is there are a number of trade-offs this agency will need to juggle. host: you were saying there are questions from others and criticism. guest: they do not exist yet. they have not done stopped yet. as they do, that will be the question -- how do they strike this line? host: they have one year to get this agency up and running
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backs -- running? guest: the question is the federal reserve. host: please explain the difference between big banks and local credit unions. guest: big banks are very large and have branches all over the world with $1 trillion in assets. all local credit union is a non- profit -- a local credit union t. a non-profit paren because they are not for- profit, a lot people find it more useful and pleasant. there are good vintages for the big banks. they have bigger bulls of -- that are good advantages for the big banks.
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they have bigger pools of money. host: mass., good morning. caller: one important factor that is left out of the discussion is what role the federal deficit has in private sector savings. the deeper the government goes into debt, the easier it is for the private sector to pay down debt. an example would be in december, everyone got a 2% tax cut. workers and an unemployed people now have extra money in their pocket, which they can choose to pay down debt, state, or consume. the treasury had to issue more debt the two sides are like mirror images. the deeper the government goes
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into debt, the more savings box private sector -- the more savings the private sector has. >> i think that as an important point. there is an aspect to which everyone can not do leverage at the same time. one person's savings is another person's investment. that is what banks do. if no one was borrowing money, that there would be a problem, but the government has soaked up some of the de leveraging. host: donald, michigan. go ahead. caller: until we get the country back to working, it will be hard for anyone to say. everything is going up. gas prices, food -- until we
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solve that problem, and get the country to work, we would not be able to save anything. host: our unemployment rate. guest: that is true. we are at a 9% unemployment rate. that is enormous. none of what items they should put a gloss on the fact that we have a terrible job market. flowing out of that is the true measure of whether the economy is where in needs to be. on unplowed as one of the biggest things hanging over -- are employed is one of the biggest things hanging over. host: republican, florida, go ahead. caller: good morning. basically, bought financial house in model we have today, is somewhat obsolete.
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the good news is that every senator or congressman will be receiving a new financial housing model, and without having to depend arm inflation, the savings for america of without regard to when inflation will be restored. there will be a new model. they will be able to take advantage of housing as a tool to work for them instead of against them. guest: i think the caller is referring to reform in the housing finance system. fannie and freddie mac were the government-sponsored mortgage companies that were dealt out. they were accounting for a huge percentage. they were not making mortgage loans these last couple of years. that is starting to change. the question is can a more
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sustainable housing system be better for the economy in the long run? one idea that is being tossed around as having minimal down payment requirements -- no more people putting 3% for law or 5% down. if i'm not sure how directly connected it is, but in the long run having a financial system that supports mortgage lending in a way that does not cost taxpayers a lot of money, and does not create incentives to run up prices of homes, would be a good thing. host: kevin, a democrat, woodbridge, virginia. caller: i understand why people are putting money under their mattresses. my wife and i believe in savings.
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why is it that we have to give the government a portion of savings as income? guest: the government charges income taxes. you made money. if to ask the question a different light, why would someone who makes $1,000 working in a factory have to pay taxes, while someone who makes $1,000 in interest, not have to pay? host: an independent in florida. good morning. caller: many americans do not know how to manage money. i have been working since i was 16 years old. i have noticed that people will buy the cup of coffee in the morning, and buy their lunch
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from a fast-food restaurant. for years, i have been the type of person who passes a lunch, i was the type of person who would deny myself things, buying store brands, yet i see people who know nothing about using coupons or mail-in rebates. i could have afforded to buy an expensive car, and i stuck with low-cost economy cars. americans are becoming less and less dependent on themselves. i have an advantage. if i can do most of my home and auto repairs. when i try to educate people, they throw their hands up. i am not talking about being able to overhaul your engine, performing basic maintenance. host: we will leave it there. neil irwin? guest: if you look at the amount of debt that people took out in the mid-2000's, some people knew
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what they were doing. it is clear a lot of people were getting in over their heads. there is a lot of blame to go around. people do have to look and say what is my position, what can i afford, and make decisions accordingly at the same time, banks were making from the loans they should not have made. -- crummy loans they should not have made. people living beyond their means, that is something people have to take responsibility for. host: one last call, nancy, panama city, you are on the air. caller: i have one question, and i agree with the last caller. my big question in listening to all of this economic stuff is,
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my no understanding is that when the banks foreclosed on a piece of property and are holding the real-estate loan, they are not paying taxes on those properties. when you buy a foreclosed property, you have to pay taxes. how much money do you think we would have now if the banks would pay the taxes on their real-estate? host: neil irwin, the she have that right? guest: they are supposed to pay taxes. i am sure there are cases where they do not. this is one of the structural issues on why the foreclosure crisis is so deep. there might be leans if the bank was not paying bills. there is crime, there is vandalism, problems with these
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houses, so one of the reasons the foreclosure crisis has been so bad is there are a lot of follow-on the facts. a -- in fact, that is why we will be happy when it gets down to a lower level. host: neil irwin, what will you be watching this week as far as the economy? guest: there is a trickle of data. there is always the thursday report, but no major releases this week. host: to read more of neil irwin, and go to "the washington post, ca." coming up, bill gertz of "the washington times" will be hard to talk about unrest in the middle east. here's a news update. >> it is half past the hour. tripoli's foreign minister is
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telling israel that rowland -- growing instability is making it imperative to resume stalled peace talks with the palestinians, same time is pressing, and those talks remain the core issue. the peace talks collapsed just weeks after they restarted in september because israel and the 810-month moratorium on settlement construction. israel's defence ministry says israel and the united states have. out successful tests -- have. out successful tests. it was the latest exercise in a series of successful tests that the israeli defense ministry says provides confidence to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.
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congressman charlie rangel is offering tax tips. the congressman has included what he calls the charlie rangel report, which features tax advice. charlie rangel was recently found guilty by his colleagues in the house of representatives of multiple ethics violations, including the family to pay taxes on his dominican the law. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs. every morning, it is "washington journal." we days, watch live coverage of the u.s. house, and weeknights, congressional hearings and policy forms. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview programs. on saturdays, "the communicator's." you can also watch our
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programming anytime pepper -- anytime at c-span.org. it is washington, your weight. -- your way. host: bill gertz is the geopolitical editor for "the washington times." the first page, moammar gadhafi uses bloody force. host: what is happening here, and how was the u.s. responding? guest: i would not like to be in the shoes of the cia director ticket -- director.
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political people are defecting. it is not clear whether he can hold onto power. it is also clear he has made a decision to use massive amounts of force. the death toll could be in the hundreds. whether he will continue in power is an open question. there were reports that he fled. there are reports said he had come output saying that he -- come out, saying he is still in power. he is a mercurial figure. he has been in power for 40 years. in my exposure to him, when i covered the 1988 bombing of the pan am jet over scotland that killed 270 people, that puts him in the category to me as an international criminal. the next big step was in 2003,
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when after the iraq war, he decided to give up his nuclear weapons program, designed to forestall international pressure on his regime. host: what has happened since then? what has the relationship that might with the united states -- been like with the united states? guest: the united states has taken a conciliatory approach. the calculation is it is a way to gain access to libyan oil, which is in growing demand. host: what would happen if moammar gadhafi were to relinquish power? who could step indexed guest: at this point, it would be an interim government, probably led by the military. with a number of these military defections, the united nations, they will look for some kind of
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political leadership to emerge. host: what do you make of the president not an effect on the situation in libya? his secretary of state of the clinton put out a statement, but did not go before the cameras. guest: the obama administration has taken a conciliatory approach. they should, in my view, have taken a more support approach for the democracy that will hopefully emerge. host: the influence of oil -- i have read we do not get that much oil from libya. guest: the hope is that oil companies have been anxious to normalize relations with libya after the episode in 2003 of d- nuclear is asian.
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then we also saw this case were the british government released but convicted lockerbie bomber. there were reports denied initially that this was somehow connected to britain pulled the desire to get more oil out of libya. -- britain's desire to get more oil out of libya. host: what will you be watching for as the story unfolds? guest: whether the libyan regime, under moammar gadhafi, will continue this use of force, and whether he can maintain his grip on power. the battles are shifting from the coastal city to tripoli, where the seat of power is currently. host: what do we know about his son? guest: he has been well known as a public spokesperson. the last we heard of him, he
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went on television and issued open threats to use violence and complete violence to the point where blood would flow in the streets, insisting that this regime would not give up power. host: "the baltimore sun" has this piece. host: basic consciousness has been backed, but that money has failed to lift many young people out of poverty, or provide decent schools, hospitals, or other institutions. if you look at libya by the numbers, the median age is about 24-years-old, of the gdp is
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around 13,000, and unemployment is 30%. guest: this is a scenario that is playing out for all the arab world. we are seeing that this is an amazing revolution that is taking place. he is now limited to libya. people are rising up, and they want freedom. we also saw there was unrest in china. there was an announcement that some organizations there were seeking to take to the streets, seeking democracy in china. of course, the chinese government has cracked down hard on those anticipated protests. host: also this morning, you have a story about egypt. what is the story about?
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guest: the egyptians are in a position where they have ousted their authoritarian leader and they have left themselves with a military government. how do you take lead to the next step? that is what the egyptians want, a democratic system. in the background as the moslem brotherhood, an islamist organization whose goals would be anything but democratic in my view. this is still unfolding story. host: what about bahrain, algeria, yemen? guest: the same story. regimes are facing popular unrest and demands for political liberation and democracy. billa we're talking with gertz, the editor at the local washington times -- at the "
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washington times." which area are you watching the most closely? guest: egypt is a huge position. has been one of the leading moderate arab states, a close ally of the u.s.. i think all eyes will be on egypt to read libya as well, again, because of the oil interests, and watching what is going on there. it will be an exciting few weeks. host: what does your gut tell you about moammar gadhafi giving up power? guest: i would not want to be in the shoes of the cia director trying to predict what is going to happen. if i were to guess, depending of the level of opposition, he will eventually step down and flee the country. host: alan, california, go ahead.
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caller: it is in the interest of the united states and the world to get rid of this ruthless dictator. the u.n. and the u.s. should push for a no-flight zone, so this dictator will not kill his own people. i am not sure if the world, the u.s., and the european union are doing everything in their power to help the peaceful protesters. also, a question, there are a lot of qualified libyans out there. you might want to mention the libyan -- you know the story. thank you. the world needs to pay attention to libya. this ruthless dictator will tell thousands more be -- before he dies or leaves the country. host: are you are originally
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from libya? caller: i lived there for decades. host: why did you leave? caller: political reasons. host: what does your gut tell you about whether colonel moammar gadhafi will step down? caller: he will not step down. one of the military officers has to take him out. the u.s. and european union have huge interests. this is the same guy who had agents killed the innocent people, sponsoring activities that killed innocent people. this is the worst dictator alive. no other nation should be paid more attention. host: when you say taken out, you mean killed?
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caller: the european union has more power, but the u.n. should declare a no-fly zone, so he will not the killing his people. guest: interesting idea of the no-fly zone. i am not sure the u.s., right now, with its military focused on iraq and afghanistan would do it. terms of areas of responsibility, in the past, the u.s. has urged the french military to take those kinds of steps, especially in the north african region. that would be one possibility. i am not sure the europeans will take that step of the intervention. host: we will go to sandusky, ohio, go ahead. caller: bill, i have a question -- do you think that the united
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states political power is undermined when there is talk of the european union taken a stronger stance than the u.s.? a more on local stance concerning the violence between israel and palestine? guest: the issue of soft and hard power is a question. if the secretary of state hillary clinton has made soft power when of the more central focuses of the said administration's policies. it is not exactly clear how that is to be implemented. our power, obviously we see in iraq and afghanistan. we are clearly running out of money to wage a those expensive conflict. certainly, they are needed to wage a war against terrorism. one of the things i have not seen on the soft our side is an ideological counter to radical political islam. this is what is really needed,
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and ultimately the long-term solution. i would like to see our government tried to do more things -- organizing moderate moslems, and get into the weeds of the issue of radical islamic extremism from biological perspective, as we did in the cold war, and were able to prevail. host: dayton, ohio, independent scholar -- independent color. -- caller. caller: what are the chances of the young people in israel over throwing benjamin netanyahu? guest: it is said difficult problem. all of ministrations have tried to come to terms with peace
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between israel and the palestinians. it is a difficult problem. i do not claim to have an answer. host: will go to south carolina, bill, a republican. go ahead. caller: first, i want to tell mr. gertz that i appreciate the reporting he has done over the years. what is his opinion of all of these revolutions going on in the muslim world -- if they will cause more dictator-anti- american governments to be formed? second, what you think about the reduction in oil supplies to the u.s. from the situation? our government, for many years, has done everything they can from -- to keep us from
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developing our own energy resources because of people that think it is environmentally bad. thank you for c-span. guest: to address the revolutions in the middle east, i have to say i have a somewhat pessimistic view that things will more than likely end up worse than they are better. i am hopeful there can be a replacement of some of these authoritarian regimes with pro- western, pro-democracy, pro- freedom regimes, but that said, the more organized political groupings are is lamas in character. that raises the specter -- islamist in character. that raises the specter of further radical regimes. you need to look at iran. everyone thought in the 1970's that the ayatollah would be a
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liberator for around. look at what we have got with a radical terrorist-supporting state. with the oil, that is a huge problem for the united states, as china is gobbling up increasing demand. there is no need for searching for alternative energy sources, and certainly not enough has been done. host: what is at the root of all of these revolutions? guest: i do not have a good answer for that. i think clearly the young people, the communications revolution, and specifically the social networking all lit -- outlets have given people a way to express their feelings. that is clearly one of the key elements -- this new social networking and communication revolution.
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host: is that difference, or do you see parallels with past revolutions? guest: clearly, in the past, there was any -- there was not anything like the type of communication you can have with hand-held devices, mobile phones, or getting misinformation out. things like twitter are able to quickly, in a very, very quick way, communicate things that will definitely be inspirational for people seeking to change the systems in their country. host: let's go to east hartford, connecticut, titus, a democratic caller. good morning. caller: as an african-american having lived here, not only in east hartford, but also in georgia, we have revolutions in this country better similar to
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those happening in the arab world. hours are more peaceful, but we were crushed heavily [unintelligible] as we migrated north, there was class racism. they are taking a page of what has happened here. we still do not have justice today. our government, our colonialism , help them to get there. where was the outrage when saddam hussein used? on his own people? -- used tear gas on his own people? guest: we have problems of racism in the past, and we were successfully able to overcome them.
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i do not see the analogy between those problems and what is going on in these states where there are of authoritarian, totalitarian systems. host: you mentioned twitter, and how that has effected the impact. there are a lot of tweets about this article. massachusetts, don is a republican. caller: a good morning. you our code into national and international intelligence. -- you are clued into national and international intelligence i am hoping there is a way to get ahold of some of moammar
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gadhafi records and intelligence files, primarily to find out what his role in saddam hussein's nuclear program was, and who was really behind the pan am bombing. any thoughts on that? guest: on the lockerbie bombing, that is an unresolved issue -- what was his role in that? obviously, two men were convicted. one was released on a bogus claim that he had a terminal illness. he has not died. host: he is in libya today, is that correct? guest: yes. i think that is outrageous. there are a lot of questions not answered about the libyan nuclear program. it was part of a covert network. we got a lot of things out of there. one of the things that came out was chinese-language documents
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on how to make a nuclear warhead. this was the proliferation from china to pakistan, which was then sent to tehran, and north korea. if there might be away that if this were to fall, there could be a windfall that would help to close a lot of the loops. host: in new york, ted , an independent scholar -- an independent caller. caller: [unintelligible] i see claims from zimbabwe. does he have any information about the role of foreigners in libya? moammar gadhafi is involved in a lot of saharan african countries.
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does this man have foreign armored groups? [unintelligible] it might go even deeper. my worry is there might be similar wars including ethicnics -- [unintelligible] there must be analysis of the neighboring countries. we cannot talk about libya, ignoring chad and other neighboring countries. host: where are you from originally? caller: i'm from ethiopia. host: ok.
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guest: regimes like the moammar gadhafi regime are very good at staying in power. the reason these mercenaries were brought in was to protect the regime and to protect moammar gadhafi. according to reports, a lot of these mercenaries have been involved in the shootings of innocent civilians. this is clearly something that will weigh heavily on the opposition forces. they will have to get to the bottom of it. in the weeks ahead, we will know for certain where they came from, according to neighboring states. host: we are showing new footage courtesy of al jazeera network from monday in libya. houston, go ahead. caller: i have heard a lot of cliches today about war on terrorism. you guys working in d.c.. the state department official
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testified to congress that this was the case let's just make this clear. at nuremberg, not everybody was a politician, or a soldier. there were radio announcers and journalists that help spread whatever lies hitler was spreading to keep his war machine fed and going. host: bill gertz, any thoughts? gee, i'm not clear what the statement was prepared -- guest: i'm not clear what the statement was. caller: right now we are in a civics class talking about whether we should help the people in libya or not. some people say it is not our
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problem. other people say since they are being hopelessly slaughter that we should help them. i money where your opinion is next guest: is a good question. it is the whole issue of when is intervention justified? if u.s. the communist regime in china, they would say never. obviously, -- if you ask the communist regime in china, they would say never. obviously, the united states felt that way whether or not -- that way. whether or not there will be intervention, we will see how that plays out. i would guess that the u.s. would lean on the french to do some intervention. host: the editorial pages in "the wall street journal" -- liberating libya is what they say.
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here is "the washington post." also, "the financial times" this morning. let's go to queens, new york. an independent scholar. -- an independent caller. caller: president mubarak has millions of assets in the united states. nobody is talking about this. i do not hear anyone talking about his money and what ever he owns here. could we put a spotlight on how much mubarak and other presidents like moammar gadhafi and other regimes, how much money they have in here, and what the united states is going to do about that? guest: that is a good question. i looked into this. i spoke to a former
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intelligence official will who -- who had reports that he had as much -- as much as $50 billion stashed away. the egyptian government has made requests for those funds to be frozen. i am told he might have as much as $10 billion somewhere in the world. that money belongs to the egyptian people. the same would be true of moammar gadhafi. he probably has large amounts of cash put away in swiss banks. i think it is incumbent upon the international community to put pressure on the banks to return that money to the libyan people. host: this is from the ap wire, reporting that fidel castro says the u.s. plans a nato guest: the military is clearly involved in major military operations winding down in iraq and ongoing in afghanistan.
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i do not there looking for any other military obligations at this point. host: this story from the ap wire says fidel castro says it is too early to criticize the libyan government. a u.s.-led invasion of the north african nation. guest: midst -- militarily, is it possible? you could send the marines in. that is a marine specially. the have been in tripoli before. we have heard some statements from the qaddafi regime indicating that any kind of intervention could lead to further terrorist attacks. we know that this is a regime that has used terrorism widely
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in the past. host: long island. anthony, democratic column. caller: thank you for the opportunity. i have a question for the guest and a request for c-span. this is about the wikileaks. do you feel that wikileaks are playing it to the fact that these people are reading have they have been played by their leaders and the world government that is infecting the pain that they feel? number two, for c-span, would you look closer at the wikileaks and the content with dan? they demonize juliana staunch -- but i feel what, has happened in the name of the u.s. is more dubious. the truth is now against the law. breaking the law, the truth insuring year and is being
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hidden. -- the truth is in there. scott ritter, the u.n. weapons inspector, was also be prosecuted for a sexy again go by saying there were no weapons of mass destruction. and now-- prosecuted for a sex scandal by saying there were no weapons of mass destruction. and now assange is happening the same thing. host: at 9:15, we will talk about the internet and wikileaks. guest: i have mixed feelings about the wikileaks. i think the releasing the cables were criminal in the sense that they reveal sources who provided information and are probably
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going to be killed or at least targeted. when it comes to the state department cables, that is a different story. the do provide a lot of inside information. one of the things that it shows is that our government has been very effective in a lot of its diplomacy. i think that is reflected in it some of these cables. from a news reporting standpoint, it is a very good news story and it has provided ala. host: here is "the washington times" editorial. they say the mideast uprising is not likely to bring western- style democracy. dennis in texas. go ahead/
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caller: i was wondering how you would place the importance of what it is that the people are actually a protest. largely in has been looked over the the people are not looking to oust their islamic regime, as we put it, because they are muslim. the have been that way for generations. they appreciate their religion and what has been passed down. i was wondering why do we feel that we are going in to help them establish democracy and help them bring in western culture and what not? that is not what we're doing. if we support the protests, we are supporting them to retain what it is that they want, what they have had. there are not trying to change
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religions. we are supposed to support democracy. guest: the caller makes a pretty good point. what are their protesting about? clearly, the young people involved wanted better life, they want a better economy. they want prosperity. i cannot think you're going to get those things with an authoritarian, islamist regime. that being said, often times in this part of the world, these types of political parties and be the most organized. what they are really looking for is the kind of freedom and system that is provided in the west. that is the model. they want to be both have jobs. they want to have a good education. i think this is one area where the west can help in shaping some of these post-authoritarian systems. host: congress recently passed an extension of the patriot act. what did they stand? what will the impact be?
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guest: this is an interesting debate. they passed a three-month measure on three elements of the patriot act relating to surveillance by authorities, counterterrorism surveillance. it has to do with basically roving wiretaps to be able to track terrorists duracell phones, a provision which was supposed to be able to go after individuals who may be terrorists but not maybe connected to another group. another area is also tangible items, areas where they can go in and get library records if they needed because of a terrorism investigation. we have had a breakdown of both republicans, primarily conservative government skeptic types come a tea party people vs. the liberal left politicians to have said they're not willing to give the government a blank
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check on security anymore and they wanted further debate. they want to extend it. they now have three months to look at it again before will, in late may. host: what will happen over the next three months? guest: there are some congressmen who say there -- they're not opposed to renewing the provisions because they have helped to stem terrorist attacks. what they want is better debate. again, this is an issue that in the past the government was given a blank check. from the financial side of things, they're now trying to extend that to some of the national security areas of the country. there's also a debate on defense spending which will be coming out. these are some of the issues that are now coming up from the last election. it was clear the american people voted that they wanted to restrain the government more than it has been. that will be part of the debate? host: why not make it permanent? guest: the left feels that it is
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somehow effort to civil liberties to have these provisions in place. they are concerned about spying on americans being unjustified. it is incumbent upon did penetration to make their case. they need to come out and say that the law enforcement go after terrorists. there are a number of plots to have been stopped. the number is 36 or so. it is a healthy debate. it is something that should take place. at the end the day when the facts are out, we will take a vote whether to extend the doorknob. host: what is the patriot act allow our government to do? guest: it was passed after the 9/11 attacks to try and find and stop terrorists from conducting fervor 911-style attacks. we have seen the improvements in airport security which is also a subject of debate, security screening.
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clearly, our domestic security definitely needs to be enhanced. it is not clear in the 11 years since 9/11 that we have made of the kinds of progress that we need to make. certainly, we have made progress and we have not had a major attack. on the other hand, the civil liberties people say, do we really need these kinds of restrictions the host: ax any data on how effective provisions of the patriot act have been to attract money used by terrorists? >> the treasury department has done a very good job in going around. this is come out in some of the wikileaks cables. the recent departure of storer -- stuart levy, the treasury department's key counter- terrorism official shows that the u.s. has made good progress after going funding from the
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terrorist groups. they have been using the cover of charities. they made pretty good progress and this is another story that the administration has not really lead for the american people. host: our next phone caller is from jason in london. caller: good morning. i was very disappointed to hear statements about the british parliament releasing the scottish tourist, or the relieve the british government. it was the scottish parliament that allowed this to happen under scottish law and it is not something most people in the u.k. would have sanctioned or agree with that they had a chance to vote on the subject. i think it is a fundamental difference to blanket the entire u.k. with a comment like that rather than a specific statement about the scottish parliament. host: before you go, can i ask about your reaction to others saying that europe needs to put
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pressure on libya? what are people talking about there? caller: it is a very, very dangerous situation for us to get in their politics. we can use things like the sanctions, but to talk about military intervention or anything like that, i think, is very dangerous talk. i say this having a nephew that is serving and has served in afghanistan. i do not want to see any more military actions taking place because it is questionable about the outcome of all of them. i think we have to be very careful. if the military interferes here were the u.s. or european affairs, there will be a kick back into the west. i hope that we can allow individual freedom to succeed here and prove that democracy in the end will win through. guest: i think the british government was conclusive.
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the british government should have intervened in the ever with possible to prevent the release. host: wyoming, robert, republican. caller: good morning. how're you doing this morning? on the oil situation, what is the problem with our own government taking care of our own americans about getting back on our own oil rigs and this administration that is in the opposition been held accountable for jobs on the oil rigs? guest: we discussed a little bit about the oil problem. the problem with oil is that we needed. if you wish to drive your car, we need oil. that has fueled our international policies to the point where we have to deal with countries of provide oil to us. host: it was part of the
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conversation earlier this morning. we talked about the sideline in early "usa today," that "if unrest spreads, gessler hit $5." -- gas will hit $5." guest: it is an unfortunate consequence of the unrest years seeing in the mideast. host: what did you find about iran hacking into the voa web site? guest: it is a group of the iranian cyber army. the defaced the website and as many as 93 other web sites. this comes as a reported last week that they have decided to end international shortwave radio broadcasting in to try now which will affect important areas especially western china and tibet. here we have a situation where they are switching to lanham
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broadcasting and their own web site was attacked and taken down. >> columbia, maryland. the democratic column. you are the last one for bill gertz of "the washington times." caller: i just want to make a statement to mr. gertz. every time you have a white male on, they do not seem to have empathy for other viewers such as immigrants. i know that we have a caller who stated something about america being a father for slavery. he automatically just said that down. i wish you'd have more commentators from different ethnic groups. this has been a complaint of mine to c-span. they are not the only experts on america. host: you know that we have a lot of different faces and voices on this program.
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if you look at "washington journal" in total, you would see that. if you want to watch past segments in interviews we have done here on "washington journal," you can use the video web site on c-span.org as well as all of the events that we cover. that is it for you, bill gertz, this morning. thank you for talking with us and we appreciate your time. the geopolitics editor of "the washington times." up next, the role of the internet in u.s. foreign policy. first, a news update. >> 16 past the hour. russian president dmitry medvedev speaking at a security meeting earlier today says he predicts the decades of instability in the arab world if protesters whom he called "fanatics" comes to power. no scenario will be permitted at home. president medvedev is a word is a contrast to the european union said that they deplore the
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violence and repression against the pro-democracy protesters. as the unrest in libya continues, oil markets are searching for a second day in reaction to the situation coming from the saudi arabian oil minister. they could him as saying, "the saudi arabian production capacity can help to compensate for any shortage in international supplies." saudi arabia is the defacto leader of the opec, and they currently produce about 8 million barrels per day. homeland security secretary to janet napolitano and attorney- general eric holder are expected to go to the funeral in the brownsville, texas, the federal agents killed in mexico. jamie zapata was killed in an ambush while on duty. one other agent was wounded. those are some of the latest
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headlines on c-span radio. >> the span networks provide coverage of politics, public affairs, non-fiction books from an american history. it is all available on television, radio, on line, and on social media networking sites. by their contents any time with the c-span video library. we take c-span on the road with our digital boss. bringing our resources to your neighborhood. washington your way. the c-span networks, now available in the more than 100 and in homes. created by cable and provided as a public service. >> "washington journal" continues. host: rebecca mackinnon is a senior fellow with the new america foundation. let's begin with the world being played in libya. guest: there are few foreign journalists in libya until yesterday when one the snuck
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into the country. the internet has been playing a key role in just getting information out. a lot of the video we have been seeing on television and tv stations have been getting this off of youtube which is just the result of people with cameras on the streets recording things come up loading would they have witnessed coming and getting it out. it is not clear how much role the internet will actually played in organizing anything in libya of which is different. certainly, there have been seeing things on al-jazeera and elsewhere and there are in people who are connected to have interactions with others around the region. it seems to be a much more deep- seated serratia-political said of a reasons -- says seo-
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political assets of regions. the tunisian did egyptians have gone ahead. it is time for us. host: what about the role of google? we saw them play their role in egypt. what do you make of that? guest: they have ordered with witter to create a service called -- with twitter where you cvaan call a number to recod a message and it will go out through twitter as a way to get the information out. they started in egypt right after they should down the internet. that is definitely going to be a conduit and when natural way that a couple of companies are trying to help people on the ground get the message out. host: secretary of state hillary clinton last week gave a speech
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about the role of the internet and how it influences foreign policy. i want to show our viewers which had to say when she describes the challenge of finding a proper measure of liberty and security on the internet. >> the first challenges achieving both liberty and security. liberty and security are often presented as equals and opposites. the more you have of one, the less you have of the other. in fact, i believe that they make each other possible. without security, liberty is fragile. without liberty, security is a precious. -- the impressive. we need not so much or so little as to endanger them. finding the proper measure for the internet is critical because the qualities that make the internet and force for unprecedented progress is its openness, the leveling effect,
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its reach from its speed. and also enables wrongdoing on an unprecedented scale. host: that the secretary of state on tuesday. wednesday, "usa today" had this headline. "should the internet have an off switch?" guest: this is an example of how even democracies are struggling,
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as the secretary alluded to, to find the right balance. there was a hearing in congress last week discussing what has become known as the kill switch bill which is actually called this -- cyber security freedom act. it would give the department homeland security the power to issue a decree that when the president declares a national cyber emergency the department of a homeland security can basically seize control over certain privately owned and operated telecommunications and internet services. this is, of course, unleashing a great deal of debate about to what extent do we want to give the government extra powers. the bill has been amended and there is actually now apparently in the section that says that the government does not have the authority to shut down the internet and to
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reiterate that this is not a kill switch bill. yet, at the same time there are still a lot of questions and civil liberties groups in this country about powers that the executive branch would be gaining to interfere with privately operated services without adequate judicial review. also the extent to which this may be an abrasion of the checks and balances and creating basically a more opaque kind of situation where the government can interfere with this layer of telecommunications on which we depend. could it be abused? host: we're talking with rebecca mackinnon from the american foundation. we have not seen a lot of to me it's coming out of the situation in libya because -- we have not seen a lot of tweets.
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you mentioned someone from cnn was able to sneak in. he said there are people threatening to cut off the export of oil from eastern libya. qaddafi -- if qaddafi does not stop the massacre. st. joseph, missouri. donald on the democratic line. go ahead. caller: this is -- this is just a point where the president of the united states, whether you like him or not, at his discretion for cundiff -- close down the freedom of speech and the media. this is ridiculous. this is completely anti- democratic and that is all i have to say. we cannot allow the president at his whim to close down the internet. that is terrible. host: rebecca? guest: this is part of the debate going on. what does internet freedom mean? what does it mean for the u.s. government to be coming out with
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the secretary of state's speech saying that internet freedom is something that the united states advocates globally. how do we make sure that we are actually being consistent. some people would say that internet freedom starts at home and that if we're going to be telling the rest of the world how they should be organizing their digital networks to have power over them than you should be able to use these networks even if the government's in power did not even like where they are saying. we need to be very careful that the ways in which we are setting up our regulations as we adjust to this new digital world, where there are genuine security issues that need to be dealt with that had we make sure we balance the need for security and with the need for liberty? that is at least as robust as the balances we found in our
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cyclical space. it really goes back to the debate between thomas jefferson and alexander hamilton before the country was founded. how you get the right balance between security and liberty? now that our allies have moved into this digital space, there are a lot of unanswered questions about how we get this right. i agree with the caller that if democracy do not get it right that it will be very difficult to expect anyone else to get it right. countries that have just changed governments, for them to set things up in a way that ensures that unpopular speech and the sense can be properly protected and not manipulated or shut down in some kind of insidious way. host: about the speech and hillary clinton gave about the internet and its role in foreign policy, what was notable from her speech last tuesday compared to one year ago darks guest: --
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to one year ago? guest: that was the first time that the u.s. government came out and said that internet freedom as part of human rights. the freedom to connect is part and parcel of the freedoms that should be guaranteed to all people on earth as part of the universal declaration of human rights, freedom of speech, assembly, and freedoms on the internet should be the same. that was an important point. the town is very different. at that point, google was just getting ready to move out of china. but the overtones of that speech, the town was much more cold war talking about firewalls and the curtain of control descending in much of the world, echoing churchill's ion curtain speech. this year, it was much more, i
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think, reflective. as saying we in the united states and not have all of the answers. she talked about wikileaks and the fact that yes, the u.s. government does not like wikileaks committed the same time, it should not prevent the u.s. from advocating internet freedom and also making clear that the u.s. government does not have all the answers and that there needs to be a global conversation about how we balance of liberties and security. and in a way, it was also an admission that the government's increasingly are not totally in control anymore. wikileaks is a great example where you have increasingly private groups use the internet to do good things and sometimes commit crimes and you're not sure if they're good or bad.
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increasingly, governments have to negotiate with these multinational companies, with these cross border networks, blogging, wikileaks, and so on and how you deal with this complex world and pointing a that we really all do need to work together. one of the things she also said in her speech, which i think is really true is she emphasized that the internet is a technology, whether it is used for good or bad depends on how we use it. also however will evolve in the future, whether it will evolve in a way they can be used to empower the power less and to gain greater justice or whether it will evolve in a way that is used irrepressibly depends on how each and every one of us engage with our technology, engage with the services that we
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use, and gauge with the governments that are trying to regulate it and make sure that it involves -- evolves in the direction that we believe search our rights and interests. host: rebecca mackinnon examines u.s. policy related to the agenda, human rights, and global internet freedom, co- founder of the global citizen media network and worked as a journalist for cnn in beijing serving as the correspondent from 1998-2001, then as the tokyo bureau chief from 2001- 2003. what is the state department doing to procter the internet, social media, in other countries? marked a budget do they have? are they using that money? the state department has $30 million -- guest: the state department has $30 million in earmarks to spend
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on organizations that are developing technologies that will help to promote internet freedom. there has been some controversy about how this money should be spent. so far, $5 million of the money has been spent. there are some in congress and elsewhere in washington who feel that this should be narrowly focused on a set of tools that are known as circumvention tools which basically means software and services that help you get around the internet blocks. in china, you cannot access facebook unless you access for these technologies because they have facebook block. there are some who believe that it should be focused and very specifically on that kind of tool. there are other people who feel it needs to be more broad because not only do we have a
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problem with internet censorship, but increasingly dissonance and activists are being subject to cyber attacks, aggressive surveillance, facing situations where their social media accounts get hacked by government agents. they need a much more wide set of technologies and training, manuals, things like that and protect yourself when you're online. when the state department and doing after a great deal of debate and controversy in washington over the past year was the side that they would take this for a whole range of different kinds of projects and technologies that would include circumvention tools but would also include training in technologies that would help activists in different parts of the world evade surveillance and protect themselves on-line and also get online if the kill
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switch gets him host:. houston, texas. independent college. go ahead. or is this from california? joe, go ahead. caller: think you're being fair about this. i like -- i would like to know if you could talk about the smokescreen they are using to implement these new rules on the freedom we have on the internet. it is already being monitored heavily by the military. can you talk about how the military is monitoring patriots and also how the new world order of the shadow government is trying to limit our freedom and turn us into china? guest: this is the thing. i think there's a great deal of distrust in this country about government is and is not doing. i think this is why as we go forward that it is just so important.
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we talk about the patriot act and there is a great deal of concern that this caller alludes to in the secret surveillance that has taken place. it was empowered by the patriot act and whether it is appropriate in a democracy and whether the executive branch, be it the military, homeland security, or any parts of the executive branch, whether there's sufficient oversight over when they do and the extent to which it may be a little bit out of hand. as the previous guest alluded to, there are people that we're seeing both on the left and right and most libertarians a growing concern for how do we make sure, especially now that we have fully entered into this age where we are so dependent on
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our telecommunications network, the internet, cell phones, etc. had we made sure that it is not used as an opaque extension of whoever happens to control the government at that particular point in time? obviously, our system is very different from china. i think it goes a long way before the united states gets turned into china. having lived a long time in china, i can certainly tell you that the differences here john and the fact we are even having this conversation on television is one example of how huge the difference is. if we were chinese people trying to do this on tv, it would not go well for us. the point is that democracy, as some people say, it is like a
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marriage. if he did not keep fighting for coming you lose it. you wake up one day and you realize it is dead. this is a why i think americans are recognizing that we need to do this and we are now in a new era were so much of reposits 6, so much of our freedoms depends on these digital technologies and we do not understand very well. it used to be that in order for the government to look in your mail that they needed a warrant. they needed to come in and look in your file cabinet and was very evasive. now it is very easy and we would not even notice what kinds of surveillance man and even be happening. it is extra important that we have this debate and that we really revisit how do we ensure that we will not be manipulated and we're going to be able to have an on manipulated,
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uncensored, and fearful democratic discourse to ensure that our democracy remains as healthy as possible. it is one of those things you have to keep revisiting never generation. host: republican in iowa. good morning. you are on the air, sir. caller: i am the single parents of a 10 year-old and i have a godsend. i work hard every day. i'm a truck driver. i really, really worried about what is going on. we are barely making it now. i work hard really every day. food prices are going sky-high. gas prices are sky-high. it will be hard to even the little loan keep strong in order to work.
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host: what is your concern and what does this have to do with the internet and foreign policy? caller: my concern is that if we keep up with the wars and helping all these guys out the we will not be able to survive on our own. host: just a reminder to turn your television down so we do not get that feed back. carbo, taxes. -- kerrville, texas. caller: i have a remark. my father was a first- generation army in the 1940's. we were river rats out in east texas. he taught me all that would crafting and he said that the internet is a military web. and he said were in operation have ever seen a web without a spider?
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if you look at the writings over the years, you have a "web of intrigue," "web of deception." my belief is we would reserve the right of our commander in chief to shut it down. host: what is the spider? caller: ourself entitled carnal nature. guest: there is a book that came out a couple of years ago which actually talks about how the internet has changed the nature of power not only governmental, but corporate and individual power. it used to be that in order to get something done you needed an organization that had a big head and it was not at all
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important. increasingly, in the internet age today, there's no had to cut off. you cut it in half and it would just grow back. we've seen this in the middle east with these leaderless movements going on the an google executive who helped organize the protest, he is it -- he was in jail for much of the time. we did not even know who he was or what he had done what it did not matter. it was this leaderless situation. mccullough talks about is really interesting in we have this creation crated by the u.s. military with a very hierarchal top-down organization. they created the internet so
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that communications could survive a nuclear attack and there is no centralized control. as a result, organizations that are being the most successful are increasingly ones they're much more distributive which is really, i think, scary for any organization be a business or a government that is used to operate in a certain way. host: democratic colleran fairfax county, virginia. caller: good morning, ladies. recently moved to a senior center. it is great in many ways but it is pre wired for cox cable and it's the only way for me to get internet. i recently got a digital television and i am amazed that
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i can get al-jazeera and world view over the airwaves. people in this area [inaudible] i am unable to watch the whole thing unfold on al-jazeera. as far as the internet, what we are seeing -- let me talk about the spider. it is the militias wealthy who do not care about the people and we are claiming that the maker going to inherit the earth in the form of mark zuckerberg and julian assange. host: what do you think? guest: the internet is a very
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disruptive technology. as the caller points out, it helps people to get around monopolies. a lot of people cannot get al- jazeera so the watch on the internet. there are these chokepoints over information and they are going away. the gentleman mentions mark zuckerberg and facebook. he has now become one of the titans himself. it is the interesting thing when you have people who are upstarts who then gave a great deal of power and are then running their own empires than how you make sure that they remain accountable to all the little people using their services? there is quite a lot of controversy right now about how
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facebook and forces some of their policies in that its terms of service required that you use a real name and a lot of activists in the middle east feel it is too dangerous to use their real name on their facebook accounts and they are getting deactivated. how do you navigate that? you have this governance problem in law enforcement problem just within facebook which has become a country unto itself and enforcing its own norms. how to make sure they benefit not only the american teenagers but also maximizes the benefit for the most vulnerable users without putting them in danger. >> secretary of state hillary clinton last week talking to companies like facebook. who was her audience? guest: there is a section in her speech directly to companies. her audience is very global.
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the state department made a huge effort to promote the speech for the embassies and to get people in the world to watch it. and was the american public. it was definitely the corporate world as well. there was a section in the speech where she talks about the need for technology companies to be responsible when it comes to human rights, privacy, and to ensure that they are maximizing human rights. there's a real problem when we saw google in china and rehearsing versions of this problem happening around the middle east and elsewhere. worry company goes into a country and they say in order to operate here you will do this, that, and the other thing. sometimes that includes the
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censorship of over dissonance, censoring political speech, and other things that are contrary to universally recognized rights. how company will navigate this is certainly a tough thing this afternoon. this is one of the many things i am involved with which is called the global network initiative. it is initiative involving companies, socially responsible investors, because there are a lot of people who want to invest their money in socially responsible companies that are respectful of these kinds of values. they went to work with companies to uphold basic principles and make sure that when they're doing business around the world that they are doing their best to avoid doing harm. >> to any of these big companies respond to the secretary's speech? guest: google, microsoft, and
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others are members of the global the merc initiative. i do not think i saw direct statements by them, but the global network initiative did issue a statement sort of echoing that it was a very good thing that the secretary called for companies to be socially responsible. i have not seen a direct response by facebook. facebook, again, is an interesting case because very clearly they have empowered a movement. that is very important and very exciting. they're absolutely to be commended for having enabled that. at the same time, there are still questions about privacy and other things and how to make sure that as they go forward that they're doing this in a
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way that does not inadvertently hurt activists. host: republican line, market, in pennsylvania. caller: does the president not have told executive orders in which she can take over communications, transportation, and things like that? host: rebecca? guest: again, this all kinds of comes down to the checks and balances a share. certainly, when you go to the kill switch bill which is being debated, the extent to which the president can take over certain things under certain circumstances is definitely, i think, a hotly debated right now. host: this the internet had an off switch? guest: it depends from country
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to country. in egypt, you have a situation where the internet is pretty centralized. it goes through a limited number of internet service providers and it is quite easy for the government to just tell all of these companies to shut it down. is much were distributed and centralized in the united states. it would probably be impossible for the u.s. government to completely shut down the internet here. although a would be possible certainly to shut it down in certain places, sir services, and that kind of thing. we are increasingly in a time where there is this kind of renegotiation going on about what kind of power is a proper for government to have, what powers are not appropriate? host: mike, a democrat, in san francisco.
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good morning. caller: good morning. i cannot believe i got through. i've been watching for years endemic first-time caller. it seems to me that whether they start out as humanitarian and whether it is facebook or whatever the new technology is coming the next thing that happened seems to be that the military or the government perhaps it into some kind of military function like a bomb or whenever. the criminals than turn it into a ponzi scheme and nowhere is the common good ever to exploit anything that comes from a. they think of your mission is knowledge, but the smarter we get it seems like the dumber we are. we can tax the rich. the billionaires' to have money, they say we need to cut services to the people who needed.
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host: the television on in the background is distracting so i will leave it there. guest: with the caller just said reminds me of a book that came out late last year by a columbia university law professor called "the master switch." he documents out over the past couple of hundred years every time we have a new technology coming out that people are logging that this is the most liberating thing and it will change everything -- lauding it will change everything. the telegraph, the telephone, television, film, and so on. he documents how overtime what happens with most technologies is the unregulated or monopolized and some combination
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of government regulation and a monopoly or commercialization and upturning the technology into less of a democratic thing did might otherwise have been. yet come at the same time, you still see all of these technologies having played a role in the civil liberties movements of their day. it is a very complicated picture, but i think what is really important here is that people who feel the way that the caller just does is to be active and be engaged. how important is it for us to nudges be passive and deterministic about technology -- for us to just be passive and deterministic. just to think that there is nothing that we can do. how technology evolves depends again on how we engage with it.
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it depends on how we engage as consumers, as voters. it depends on how we engage as we increasingly make our own content. we tinker with software and increasingly that is possible for individuals to do. we do have a role in shaping where things go. but it is important to try and be as active and engaged in pushing and speaking out when those of us who might feel, as the caller did, not to sit back and let things go the way you do not like to keep speaking of. that is important. that is why we have a democracy. host: in pittsburgh, pa., on the republican line. go ahead. caller: i grew up in an area where part of what we learned in school was about how things were so bad in the soviet union
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and everything. over the last 10 years, the rights have been slowly taken away and the government is more and more involving themselves in the personal life thousand individuals and how they conduct themselves their communications and everything. it seems to mean we are stripping away the freedoms and the younger generation does realize because they did not have the demon of the soviet union in their life and they are realizing how things in our country are slowly turning into that type of situation. host: rebecca mackinnon? guest: this is a huge debate, of course. what is the appropriate role for government? how much do we want government involved in our networks? to what extent do you allow
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companies to do whatever they want and to what extent the companies need to be regulated? this is a huge debate we have over neutrality and a full range of other issues. this is no longer a bipolar world and we no longer have communism versus capitalism. we have a range of different kinds of capitalism mixed in with various kinds of involvements in different countries. it is not like we have a really clear dichotomy between what we are avoiding. it is much more complicated. there is clearly no consensus in this country. what is important is that we need to be able to have a debate about this. we need to make sure that we have it in a way where both sides can be heard and we ensure that women process with enough
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tres to work for our businesses. the whole point of this country is that we have been raging back and forth about where in the program balances between government and private society since the very beginning and how big should government be or not and so on. that is kind of what we are about. what is important is that we insure that as our technical work network's move forward that our system is able to still have these debates in the people did not feel that their complete the disenfranchised on one side or the other. continue to move forward as a country. also, just to make sure that in the art telecommunications and
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networks the we do not have a situation where things get monopolized are manipulated in such a way that certain points of view that are non-violent still have a chance to be expressed and are not around town. again, it is tough. host: for our viewers interested in this debate, how they kick -- how can they read your ridings? guest: on twitter, my handle is rmack or you can google my full name, rebecca mackinnon, and you can get my blog and a number of other things. i have a book coming out in about a year. host: what will that be about? guest: is titled "can said the networks. and is about all of these things -- "consent of the
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networks." if we have the consent of the governed and we maintain that where we currently feel we have it, we also need consent of the networks and we need to make sure that our networks are run in such a way that is conducive to democratic debate. host: what is the name of your blog? guest: rconversations.blog.com. it is dormant at the moment because i'm trying to get my book written. host: we appreciate your time. that does it for today's "washington journal." [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]

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