tv Washington Journal CSPAN June 1, 2012 7:00am-9:00am EDT
chabot from ohio. he'll discuss how he feels the u.s. and the international community should respond to the situation in syria. host: gorning, it's friday, june 1, 2012. you're watching c-span's "washington journal." we're here for two hours this morning. house of representatives in early to work on spending legislation. later on, we'll have two members of congress at the table here. john larson, democrat from connecticut, the democratic caucus chairman, and steve chabot, a congressman, republican congressman from ohio, a member of the foreign affairs subcommittee and chairs its subcommittee on middle east and south asia. he'll be here to talk about syria and the continuing bloodshed there.
we're going to start on obama orders fed up wave of sign air tax against iran. it is about the worm. you remember that being reported about years ago. we're going to ask you about the use of cyberattacks as a weapon and whether or not you believe it's a legitimate tool for the united states and what its pluses and minuses are. our phone lines are open for you to join in. republicans, 202-737-0002. democrats, 202-737-0001. independents, 202-628-0205. tweet us, @cspanwj. or comment on our facebook page. we're going to tell you about this story that's get ago loss of discussion in the "new york times" and all across the
internet. people are beginning to report it and comment on it. this is a photograph, and the author is mr. sanger, chief washington correspondent of the "new york times," and he has a book that's about to be released next week. the reporting for today's story comes from his work on that book. let me show you the story on the front page we're talking about. david sanger, the byline, and here's a bit of how it begins.
host: later on, it says this account of the effort to undermine the iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former iranian -- excuse me, american, european, and israeli officials involved with the program, as well as a range of outside experts. host: i want to show you one paragraph inside to get you thinking about this to join our conversation. mr. obama, according to participants in many of the situation room meetings on olympic games -- again, the code name for this -- was acutely aware that with every
attack he was pushing the united states into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940's or intercontinental missiles in the 1950's and of drones in the past decade. host: that's some of the crux of the reporting by david sanger. our question, should the united states use sign air tax as the weapon? what are the pluses and minuses? what are the ethics tv? we'd like to hear what you think about that. while we're waiting for calls, tweets, and facebook posts and email, lots of ways to be involved, we're going catch up with yesterday's big political story, and that was the verdict in the john edwards trial, federal trial on campaign-related charges. in federal court in north carolina, amanda becker is on
the line with us. what's next with regard to the prosecution? what are their options when the jury was dead locked on most of the charges in this case? >> caller: hi, gorge. the justice department's option at this point would be to start an entirely new trial for the five counts on which the jury was deadlocked. they acquitted him on one count of campaign finance allegations. there are five other, and other are conspiracy and making false statements to the government, which would have been filing false campaign reports. host: a question that i have about this is really about the justice department and its political investigation unit. most famously in recent was their unsuccessful prosecution against ted stevens, because it ended up with reprimands for people in his department. where does this leave d.o.j. in its pursuit of political corruption? caller: not in a good place,
according to legal experts that i've spoken to. of course, the justice department's public sbreg sit section yesterday said this case is indicative of their overall success rate. you notice there's many other prosecutions that just aren't gathering the national attention that these two have, but it was just last week that the department revealed that two of the prosecutors handling -- who handled the stevens case are actually going to be suspended without pay. this is kind of just one in a string of two cases involving u.s. senators. of course, by the time edwards engaged in these campaign finance issues, he was running for president, but these are two kind of cases that they pursued on what experts thought were, you know, kind of shaky legal theories at best. and in one, there was prosectorial misconduct and it was completely derailed. in this case, there was a mistrial, and they would have to pursue the whole thing again. host: any sense of how much this prosecution effort cost? caller: i haven't seen any figures about that, actually. i mean, this was several years
in the making now. it was a seven-week trial. the jury deliberated for nine days. these cases have a lot of work on the front end in terms of investigation and gathering all the information, getting the documents, deposing witnesses. so, while i haven't seen any figures, these are certainly expensive cases to pursue, and that's one of the criticisms i've seen. a few months ago after he was indicted -- and i'm speaking about edwards again -- you even saw good government groups kind of slamming the justice department for pursuing this because they felt that it was going to be a hard case to win, and more resources could be used more effective until clear-cut cases. >> any indications from former senator edwards' statement yesterday outside the courthouse about what his future might be? >> i wouldn't say he said anything about his future. he has maintained all along he did something wrong, but it was not illegal, and, you know, he
praised the justice system for what he said was the outcome that should have happened and said he knew who was responsible at the end of the day, which was him, and that i think he was going to try to move on with his life. host: thanks very much, amanda becker, reporting about this, available online at "roll call," setting the stage for what might be next for federal prosecutors if they decide to continue to pursue on the mistrial and most of the charges in their edwards case. "new york post" has this headline. we showed you all of the other newspaper reporting, all front page. "new york post" has this headline, big front-page picture, still guilty of being a cheating, lying, disgraceful, husband, father, and human being after his acquittal on one charge and mistrial on the others. let's get our question this morning, and it's about the use of sign air tax as weapons. want to show you some of the reporting already coming out of the "new york times" story on the internet. here is a quick roundup with a google search of other stories coming out.
confirmed, u.s.-israel lost control of it. obama order, sped up wave of cyberattacks. a publication called the verge, u.s. ordered stuxnet sign air tack against iran. administration officials say stuxnet was america's first cyberweapon. "new york times" has an illustration, and we're going to ask our camera folks to look at this administration while we goin listen to your telephone calls, and this is a graphic that goes through the steps of how the sign air tack program worked, and if we can get close and go around the circle, if that's possible. i'm challenging your skills this morning. first up, salt lake city, utah. joe is a republican there. caller: good morning. host: good morning, sir. caller: i think on this cybernet thing, that they need
to be going all out on this because, unfortunately, what the american people don't realize, we liberated -- we liberated the world, world war ii, and we think that everybody 's our benefactors, but the problem is that since the computer age has come in, you can be in a room in nigeria or you can be a look in a third-world country and still affect somebody's life here in america. so these terrorists are going all out with this, and this is part of the problem. we've jeopardized all our security and all our ingenuity. these people have robbed from us now, and they can sabotage us. what the american people need to realize, this war is still going on between good and evil around the world, and these people are using these computers now to get at us and disrupt our commerce and
everything else. so absolutely the united states should -- and all these computer geeks and geniuses should be -- we are still at war with islam. they need to be, you know, organized to fight this, and i think this is a good thing that they should do to protect the american people. host: thank you. jake is a democrat in new york city. good morning, jake. you're on. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span. i hope joe in utah is sitting down because i'm a democrat, and i agree with him. you know, i think that we have to keep up with the technology, and really, the former caller stole some of my thunder. but if you don't keep up with the technology, they will. host: can i put another article in front of you to get your reaction? this is from reuters yesterday.
here's what it says, global fraintrurkt is more vulnerable than ever in an escalating cyberwar thanks to sons of stuxnet, electronic missiles, which can be created from the virus designed to sabotage iran's nuclear program. it suggests here that stuxnet really showed people you can do this. that's the problem. i cannot imagine any government not developing it, said eric burns, after stuxnet had been released. the code was out there allowing people then to take it and manipulate it for their own purposes. caller: i feel our government and businesses and individuals in our country should have a back door in the event of some kind of a sabotage that we can revert back and be able to handle our affairs, not the
old-fashioned way, but the way that we're just coming out of, paperwork, we ought to be able to revert back and carry on our affairs in the event of an attack. i know that i can. host: thanks, jake, very much. from twitter, as stuxnet shows, there's too high a risk of blowback from cyberattacks. focus on cyberdefense. next comment comes from fairview, tennessee. good morning, nick. caller: yes, about this john edwards thing. i got two points to make. what's the big deal? i mean, debauchery, corruption, and criminality are the hallmarks of the democratic party. clinton was a perjurer, rapist, sexual predatorism, and second point is so what if he was
convicted? like bill clinton gave, oh, what's his name? the name escapes me, one of the biggest tax cheats in american history who gave a lot of phone to the d.n.c., gave him a pardon and the terrorists, the puerto rico terrorists, and mel reynolds, a pedestrian owe file, gave him a pardon, so if edwards was convicted, then all they have to do is wait a little while and you can get a pardon from obama. host: all right, thanks. taking us in a different direction this morning. we're talking about cyberattacks. phoenix, my answer to today's question, hell, no, america. next subpoena long beach, california. this is randy, republican. caller: yes, hello. i watch c-span all the time. nice to see you, susan. i know the oversight committee
just started on homeland security. and what i understand is we're having serious trouble with us being attacked here in the united states by estonia and china, maybe russia, because they've done so. and, you know, to the point where the government is actually believing that they should share the grid because they could have is he viewer problems in the very near future. that's all i can say about it. host: thanks very much. next up is a call from new york city. craig is a democrat there. good morning, craig. caller: good morning, sue. i'd like to say compared to other attacks the united states could send to iran, cyberattack
is pretty benign. if i'm an iranian scientist, i wouldn't want them attacking some magnetic bomb to the back of my car killing me. it's only a small deterrent, because it just slows them down. but once the genie is out of the bottle, now it's just out there. people are going to eventually get to the goal that they're trying to do, but this buys time. and it kills less people than a straight forward attack would do. host: thank you, sir. appreciate it. next up is oklahoma as we talk about sign air tax and whether or not the united states should be using them as a weapon. next is james, republican in oklahoma. go ahead, please. caller: yeah, this technology they got now, these attacks, everybody knows that they can put a virus in anything, and they found out our government is doing it, which they already have now, they can turn that
around on us and attack our own energies. like our electrical grid and everything. just now that the world knows about it, they can turn that around and attack us. therefore, what do you say about it? caller: i just don't like the idea of them doing it, everybody finding out they're doing it. it's like the nuclear bomb now. when the russians got it, everybody got scared, and it turned back on us. host: thanks very much. as this program originated in the bush administration, you know from reporting the bushes were invited back to the white house yesterday for the unveiling of the presidential portrait. we'll listen to a call and show you a clip from yesterday's events at the white house. let's listen to winston-salem, north carolina, calvin is an independent there. go ahead, calvin. caller: good morning, susan. thank you for taking my call, and thank you for c-span.
i was watching c-span yesterday and saw a rare show of unity between democrats and republicans of the intelligence committee. and i say that first, because i believe the program originated during the bush administration, i think the democrats and republicans, our government, in essence, has information about cyberattacks and what have you that we in the general public are not aware of. that's probably why there wasn't the unity that doesn't exist. that having been said, i think we should be able to use it. just like 9/11, there's things going on behind the scenes we're not aware of, and in a lot of cases we need to be proactive react reactive in terms of protecting our national security. i think it's something that should be on the table as an option for president obama in any future leaders of our country as well. host: on twitter, like any conventional warfare defines
sign air tack, one country could set up, another country be aware, umming may accuse the wrong country. let's look at what happened yesterday in the white house. a caller talked about unity. there was a moment of unity in the white house yesterday when two former presidents, bush 43 and bush 41, and their families, key people from the administration returned to the white house, the obama white house, for the unveiling of the official bush portraits of the president and first lady. let's take a look at a little of that. >> on behalf of the american people, i want to thank most sincerely president and mrs. bush for their extraordinary service to our country. >> mr. president, thank you for your warm hospitality. thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging. laura and i are honored to be here. mr. vice president, thank you for coming. we're overwhelmed by your
hospitality, and thank you for feeding the bush family, all 14 members of us here. host: lots of coverage of that ceremony yesterday. for example, "washington post," here's a look at the first lady, former first lady's portrait. both of them done by the same painter. and if you want a closer look at them, they are posted online at whitehouse.gov. we're talking about the united states' use of cyberattacks. david sanger, "new york times'" chief washington correspondent narcotics new book coming out next week, reported on in the "new york times" today, suggests the obama administration picked up on a bush administration initiative and sped it up, a wave of cyberattacks against iran's nuclear program. next is a call from savannah, georgia. willie is a democrat. go ahead, please. caller: good morning. host: good morning, sir. caller: good to see you on the program again. i enjoyed the segment from president obama and president bush yesterday, very exciting.
but the cyberattack that's taking place now, i think it serves a purpose, young men and women won't be going to wall, and it saved lives. i don't know if it's a full attack, but it will slow down the roipians in their quest to have a weapon, so i think that this program that president barack obama adopted from president bush, i think it's something that will deter and help out young men and women who have to go to war and face the ability of coming back to the family with one arm or one leg. and you have other means of making other countries, i think it's great. and i want to thank c-span to this program this morning.
it's always enjoyable. i watch it often. thank you so much for your program. host: thanks so much, william, appreciate you watching along with people in savannah. clinton township, michigan, is up next. dorothy is a republican there. you're on, dorothy. go ahead. caller: good morning, susan. how are you? host: fine, thanks. caller: george bush, although in the end he turned my stomach, but i always loved his sensitive side. another guy, i believe he might have been a caller from tennessee, spoke about how they could take out grids and whatever. i read an article about a flame virus that could basically just like destroy anything anywhere in the world. i don't think it's a good idea. and another thing, it's pretty ironic that right now in chantilly, virginia, they're talking about this internet and having to have i.d.'s, and most
likely the cybersecurity stuff. i don't understand how the mainstream media isn't reporting on this, because alternative media, they're all over it, and they're talking about the cybersecurity right now in chantilly, virginia. host: thanks, dorothy. she mentions the flame, which is another cyberweapon that's in the news right now. david sanger writes about it in his piece this morning. he writes -- host: this was an initiative of the bush administration. mr. sanger writes --
host: it became known to the world as the stuxnet worm as it escaped iran's computers. oklahoma city, oklahoma, up next. gordon is a democrat there. you're on. host: hi. i believe that we should use any weapons that are available, including cyberattacks. i'm really against this idea of trying to fight a clean war. the world is a pretty nasty place, and some of the people that are in it are pretty bad, and whatever it takes to get the job done, i'm all for it. host: next up is baltimore, sid, an independent. good morning. you're on the air. caller: hi, and thanks for c-span. this topic is not a new one,
even though the idea of cyberwarfare is a new concept. i'd like to point out that war pare is as old as humanity, and even older than that, because there are other species that do engage on warfare. with every advance, with every step in warfare, with every new development that's developed, there's always a counter advance, a counter invention. i mean, at first we had sharp sticks and someone invented a shield. then somebody figured out how to way to shoot the sharp sticks above the yield, you know, the arrow, and so on and so forth. and so this is nothing new. also, it's important to note that when technology is first introduced, it is nowhere near as pervasive as it is down the
line. in other words, when the technology is new, it hasn't really pervaded society so much, and that's when people are most worried about it, ironically. later on, as it becomes more and more of a part of daily life, household technology, so to speak, that some people worry the least about it. this is just the fear of the unknown, the fear of something new, uncertainty. that word, uncertainty, has been thrown around a lot this morning, and understandably so. but i'd like to just point out that this is just one more step in the natural progression of warfare that has endured over the last, you know, 10 to 20 millennia at least and that, you know, even when the train, the locomotive was invented, there were a number of scientists that said that, you know, if the human body
traveled more than, i don't know, 50 miles an hour or whatever it was, that it would explode, the bones would shatter and so forth. host: sid, thanks. we get your point about the continuing development of weapons over the course of humanity. on twitter, if sign air tax on iran's computer infrastructure or any country prevents our troopers from dying in a war, use it. next up, joe, a republican. good morning, joe, you're on. caller: yes, good morning. i'm not opposed to cyber counterattacks. however, i must say, we must respect our anglo-american legal tradition, which is based on common law, which is case by case, and i think we must approve case by case, clear and present danger. unless we can establish that, i think we should refrain from it. but if a case can be made, i think it is justifiable.
host: thanks, joe. let's check in with our facebook viewers and see what they're saying about this. why is this question written in the future tense? they've been doing this for a while. the question is, why are we so naive in thinking they have not fired back? should they, no, but they are already are doing it and have been for years. and paul martin, why stoop to lower levels? we are already dismantling thousands of atomic bombs, if we already haven't. we should be an example for the world. besides, sign air tax will not kill humanity, it will just disrupt it. it seems kind of sinking to a lower level if the united states did that. we spend thousands of dollars in cybersecurity, so why stoop to lower levels? next is a call from detroit. this is frederick, who's a democrat there. good morning, frederick. you're on. caller: good morning. i'm an i.t. security student, and being i have that kind of training, this is a very big topic in a lot of our classes.
stuxnet was like a heat-seeking missile. it had one target, and it was very good at what it did. and things that are built like that are like -- it's like open pandora's box. it can be closed again. so, if it's already going on, you have to continue on -- if we put it away now, somebody else will develop the ability to stop them from using it. host: let me understand your argument. so stuxnet actually escaped beyond iran, which is why the world became aware of it, and some reporting suggests then that people were able to begin cracking the code and then develop it from there. with that in mind, tell me how that fits into your analysis. caller: because of that is why we have to keep along this line, because they crack that code. now they know how it works. they can build bigger and better things. that's a program. so you can imagine what they have now.
you can imagine what they have now. host: so, are you suggesting we should increase our defenses or do you like the offensive use of cyberattacks? caller: the best offense is a good -- the best defense is a good offense. you're going to have a weapon, and this is proven throughout history, that people with a better weapons always were winners in any war, and that's how, you know, the world has taken over, basically people with a better weapon could outfight the people with sticks and series and shields, as my friend was saying a little while ago. now that we opened that pandora box, you can't put it back in. host: thanks very much. next is a call from rochester, new york, this is bob, who is an independent there. hi, bob, you're on. caller: i just don't know why my fellow americans are getting suckered in this, designed to be for our enemy, of course.
they'll probably just use the cyberattack on americans. iran is not the problem here. it's a history of iran, b.p. messed them up when iran nationalized the oil fields. they're the world. we are just the forerunners in a globalist front is what this is. people are being suckered into that, this is going to be used against iran. it's mind-boggling how people can't catch on to this. host: back to our facebook group. here's a few more comments. it's not wise to start using attacks in cyberspace, where a similar response might call the u.s. much bigger damages. attacking a country which has no developed electronic infrastructure, compared to attacking the online payment system in the u.s., which country will lose more, what do
you think? larry howl on facebook writes this, don't even get started. leave it alone. we the people who can least afford it will end up seclude. if the government wants to do something beneficial and invest in technology to track down hackers who like to play and jail them for 20 years. it would only take a few and the rest would get the message. one more, michael binder writes, we have been in cyberwar with china and iran for quite some time. this is not likely to end soon. as long as people on both sides are lazy enough to keep critical systems reachable through the internet rather than through a closed and dedicated system, they are asking for trouble. the best cyberwar is a system where the public face and private machine controls never touch. ventura, california, up next as we talk about cyberattacks, based on david sanger's reporting in the "new york times" this morning. the obama administration stepped up a bush administration program using cyberattacks against iran.
california, republican, good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. i agree with the last caller you had from rochester, whatever, about the builders and all that. when are people going to wake up and understand that, you know, we don't need the government involved in every possible aspect of our lives to fight terrorism which is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors anyway, and that's another war that we cannot possibly win, so it's just one that we can perpetuate for -- basically until -- for our own safety, they have taken away every one of our rights and our sovereignty and our controlling rule of this country and turned it into a government --
authoritarian government or whatever, you know? that's all i have, thanks. host: ok, thanks very much n. 10 minutes, we'll be joined by congressman john larson, talk about the economy, the approach to the u.s. debt, the debate over the debt ceiling. let me put one economic article, "usa today," federal workers numbers decline, slight drop, a huge shift from recent expansion. here's what denis reports. the federal government has started to trim its workforce, ending several years of explosive and controversial growth that came at a time when private companies and state and local governments slashed jobs. host: next is a call from california. this is diane, a democrat there. good morning.
caller: good morning. how are you? host: fine, thank you. caller: when you started out your issue here this morning, the question on cybercriminals or cyberterrorism, the first thing that came to my mind was secretary michael chert off, -- chertoff, who was before many hearings in the senate, rempsed a program they had way back in 2005, and just six points that he had put in the topics were specific, so he brought up cyberterrorism many, many years ago. i have been predicting our grid would be hacked into for many years, reference the cyberterrorism, and i believe that we have many, many different incidents that are not recognized as such,
interpreted in a dempt way. bit anyhow, going to secretary chertoff's topic as prepared in this report with a critical infrastructure protection program, and it was actually -- it was moderated by the senior fellow of the c.i.p. program, and he put -- let's see, the agenda was catastrophic events, transportation security, border security, financial and human resource management and represents, you know, the recognition from the base from its work from the priorities driven, but anyhow, he had spoke about it, and i think that this is something that's been going on for a long time, susan. it's not something that's just
come to fruition here, that david sanger brought on the front page of the "new york times." i mean, this has been going on for years. host: ok, thank you. the president in the use of this, obama, nuclear program without dropping a single bomb or a soldier dying, obama is a real american hero. and back to facebook, this comment from keenan, who writes, make cyberlove, not cyberwar. next is a call from indiana. caller: thank you, cable, for c-span, and thank you, c-span, for being c-span. i'm going to have a bumper sticker mentality about this. i'm more worried about us. recently i think russia brought estonia to its knees. the russians are very, very, very good with cyberwar.
the book, i can't think of the name of it, it's been on c-span many times, chronicles how our security is really basically in the hands of the commercial providers, and the government is still the only thing suited to protect us, because, again, if we look at how it affects us tremendously, thank you very much for c-span. host: thanks for watching, john, appreciate it. on twitter, we should hire the hackers to work against cyberattacks. this is the debate in congress over student loan programs, july 1 deadline when the rates are set to increase. g.o.p. makes new offer on student loans. we'll learn more when we talk to john larson in just a few minutes. next up is a call from summerville, new york. richard is a republican there. good morning, richard. you're on the air. caller: yes, good morning.
the stuxnet worm, we overthrew it and put the sha of iran in. they've been warning us about this for the last, what, 20 years, all this preemptive warfare you got to make friends with. you got them right down the street meeting with alex jones over here, chantilly, virginia, at the westgate marriott. you got to get a c-span crew over there. these are people set up world government in our own country. it's treason. hillary paid a $300,000 fine for meeting -- there's no real news. nobody is watching what's really going on, but i really appreciate you for c-span, and thank you. host: thank you, sir.
appreciate it. writes, agree with the facebook poster, we have a lot to lose from cyberwar, but it's still better than killing people. this story in the "financial times" this morning, the new battle plan to track criticism, military doctrine, focusing on asia pacific, seen as overly provocative. new u.s. battle guidelines partly designed to counter the military challenge from china, are tracking criticism at home and abroad as being unnecessarily provocative as one of washington's strongest partners. host: next, cyberattacks as a weapon. buffalo, missouri, a democrat there. dean, sorry, a democrat. good morning.
caller: good morning. susan, boy, first ring i got through to you. host: you still there? rape russia went into afghanistan and got -- caller: russia went into afghanistan and got their tail whipped. we went into vietnam, and i don't think anybody considers we won that one. that's not always true, because we had spare weapons. but i want to talk to john on the next segment, but i got through so quick. i got a deal from the american community survey from the department of commerce, u.s. census. and this form here, it looks to me like it's racial profiling. they are asking questions and so many questions. i called them yesterday and told them i wouldn't be participating because i filled out the census, and my
situation has not changed. but it says on the envelope, under penalty of law, this must be filled out. host: i'm going stop you, because best thing is to call the congressman's office if you're concerned about it. we got just a couple of minutes left. atlanta, georgia, is up next. this is michael, who is on the line. he's an independent. go ahead, please. caller: yeah, my main thing, u.s. foreign policy on cyberattacks, it helps eliminate key enemies, going to make us -- i mean, -- not sending troops for conflicts, and we do it in a high-tech way, i think that's a great
idea to post-technology. host: thank you, michael, from atlanta. one less name on the presidential campaign trail. buddy romer made it official he was ending his presidential bid. this is this morning's "new york times" -- i'm sorry, "washington post." buddy roemer has ended his presidential campaign. host: on cyberattacks, our last call is from water. craig is a democrat there. good morning, craig. caller: hi. my name is actually greg. host: well, good morning, and welcome, greg. caller: i understand that there's a problem with cyberattacks security in the
whole country, but 25 states in particular, where a bunch of criminals have attacked my city, county, and state, and for some reason, we got the federal government here, the healthcare authority denying me transportation to medical appointments because i'm disabled, and it seems to be the republicans that do the attacking, not the chinese. but the cyberattacks, being a regular thing for disabled people to have a cell phone, i can't seem to get a ride to a doctor, and i didn't have a problem six months ago, but these people that do the attacking, it's not just the chinese. these are federally protected communication devices and so anybody doing at tax with those devices or anything else, cable box, home telephone or computer is breaking the law. host: last word on this, thank you so much. the story is in the "new york times." you can find it online.
obama order sped up wave of cyberattacks. david sanger is the author of the piece, and he has a new book coming out due out next week. we're going to take a quick break. we have two members of congress on our shorter program this morning, just two hours today. coming up next, congressman john larson of connecticut. and later on, congressman steve chabot of ohio. we'll be right back. >> here's a look at books being publish this had week. obama's secret wars and
surprising use of american power, david sanger analyzes how the obama administration has handled new foreign threats. in "the great destroyer," barack obama's war on the republic, political commentator david limbaugh presents his thoughts on president obama's first term in office. a columnist for the "new york times" examines the political influence texas has on the united states in "as texas goes: how the lone star state hijacked the american agenda." political columnist and lawyer recounts the history of the gay rights movement in "victory: the triumphant gay revolution, how a despised minority pushback beat death, found love, and changed america for everyone." former member of the maryland house of delegates presents a memoir of his father, sargent shriver, founder of the peace corps in, "a good man." there's a comprehensive account
of world war ii in "the second world war." in chris christie, a journalist explore the life and career of the new jersey governor. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on book tv and on booktv.org. each sunday evening at 7:30, now through labor day weekend, american history tv features our series, "the contenders," 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost, but changed political history. this sunday, the great compromiser, henry clay. >> his famous comment, i think it still speaks to us. it's a clarion call to people whatever we're doing, whether here in politics or something else, is to do the right thing. it has been said, in a sense, that politicians need to remember the country and
sacrifice. >> we visit the largest city in kansas, american history tv, this weekend on c-span3. "washington journal" continues. host: we're very pleased to have back on the "washington journal" program this morning, john larson, democrat of connecticut. mr. larson is the democratic caucus chairman, so puts him right in the middle of democratic caucus policy and strategy. he's also a member of the ways and means committee, the tax writing committee in congress. thanks for being here. i want to show you some economic headlines this morning. this is in the "washington times," slower markets for housing, jobs, and stocks. "usa today," sentiment has changed as dow plunges 6.2% in may. also "usa today," reports signal labor market is listless. "new york times," data suggests tepid outlook ahead of jobs report. also "new york times" -- well, that's europe, we'll let that
go. "the wall street journal," the new fear gauge, treasury yield, investors embrace other havens to try to hold their cash. doesn't sound very good this morning in the economy. guest: well, it certainly isn't the kind of news you want to wake up to, and yet, clearly you would hope that congress would take action on it. the president has had a plan before the united states congress, and this president hasn't even been given the courtesy in the house of representatives of having his plan taken up. again, at the state of the union back in january, the president asked to bring his program forward, most recently has given a check list to congress, clearly starting with infrastructure and a congress that can't en get its act together with a transportation bill, which typically, susan, as you know, has been bipartisanly passed for years, but nothing is being done. some, as we're well into it with memorial day usually -- though june 20 is the summer
solstice, but memorial day kicks off the summer year, and, you know, these transportation jobs still aren't out there. it's not surprising on one hand. it's most unfortunate, i think the public is frustrated at the lack of initiative here in congress when we have so many millions of americans who are out of work and seeking it. host: well, i was about to show european headlines, because it looks like the state of the euro is being decided over, the tension in greece, and economic situation, europeans hedge their wets. they do something now. this is to save the euro. what are the lessons you think this country can draw from here? guest: well, i think the big lesson here is for the government to respond. rather than, again, if we're going to go through this playing chicken, you know, with falling off an economic cliff
over the debt ceiling, then i think that that's bad for the country. i think part of the headlines that you're reflecting is wall street's reaction to what the speaker said earlier, that we're going to have another debt ceiling of fight, which, of course, is a phony argument to begin with and brought the nation nearly to the precipice of default back in the summer, and we all saw what happened then. this isn't coming from us, this is coming from bloomberg and from "the wall street journal." this is just flat out bad policy. but the country expects us to be pulling together, focused on putting the nation back to work, irrespective of whether you like barack obama or his policies or not, do you like the american people enough to care about them, to put them back to work and let them find the simple dignity that comes from sitting across the table from their spouse and knowing that have a job and can provide
for them. and that's what's a thoroughly frustrating thing for us, especially when we know we have the capability. if we could act and move together as a congress, then i think the rest of the world would have an opportunity to take a look at where it should both park its money for investment and where the united states again would assume its leadership role, both in creating stability, but also economic job. >> when you say the regular, but you know there's a raging debate pushing for austerity measures, cutting the debt, and countries such as france, which are arguing for infrastructure, that mirrors the debate between these and the arts here in the country. tell me your philosophy about federal debt and how we should approach it right now. >> guest: here's my philosophy. it's not different than roosevelt and i think just a flat-out, common-sense approach that americans have.
job creation equals deficit reduction. more than a third of the deficit can be reduced if we took the unemployment numbers below 6%. how do you get there? you get there by investing in the american people. of course we want private sector jobs to be created, which, under the obama administration, have been created, more so than even during the bush administration, where they begun the great loss of jobs, both in the manufacturing sector and other jobs in general. but here is a time when you need your country to stand behind its people, not by way in terms of handing out unemployment check, but in terms of putting them back to work. very good principle that is make an awful lot of sense, and in doing so, we help deal with the deficit and get after some of our larger problems as we work our way through this recession. and instead, to your point, we end up with a tastes great,
less filling argument in congress. people are saying, well, gee, i understand the need for us to be austere and tighten our belts, but my god, we've got to go back to work as well. why is it we can't rebuild our roads and sewage systems? why can't we get broadband into our schools? why can't we put our trade industry back to work? why can't we make these investments? further, why can't we engage the private sector in this segment? there are bills that say, let's have an infrastructure bank where we get both private capital and private equity, augmenting what the government puts in as well, and taking a look at those jobs and big-time investment that is we need to make. we are not beyond a nation that still conti involve itself into what the great highway systems did. this is what we've done in the past. we're america, for god's sake. we can do this. and instead, you know, we find ourselves in the small, petty
games arguing back and forth over issues that really don't translate to much to somebody who's out of work. host: let's take a couple of calls, and then i want to take about the expansion of the bush tax cuts. let's hear from carl, a republican in west virginia. good morning, carl. you're on for congressman larson. caller: yes, sir. what i would like to say is, you know, you have half the country drawing a check from the government and the other half working to pay for these people's livelihood. how long can we survive at that rate, doing that? we're coming to the point where there's no incentive to people to get out and get a job, because they know the government's going to be there for them. you know, i worked till i was 72 years old, worked a job, but i look around me now, and i see my neighbors in their 40's and
50's applying for disability, social security, even though they're not disabled, and they hire a good lawyer, and bingo, they get a big check from the government and they're out here working on their house, doing farming work. you know, we're at a crossroads in this country. are we going to be the socialist country or be a capitalist country? host: thank you, carl. guest: well, thank you, carl, for that question, and i do think that people desperately want to find work. they want to get back and be involved. i know just having a daughter who graduated college, as well as the number of people that i meet back in my home state who are asking for work, looking for work. some of that work, certainly you want to come from the private sector. but some of the work in between, and i would agree with you, rather than having people
always be in a position where they're finding themselves turning to an unemployment check to get by, which becomes a necessity, both for them and our economy, we want to put them back to work. why not have programs that rebuild our infrastructure, that reinvest in our roads? we all need roads, bridges, sewage systems, schools, broad band, etc., just the conservation projects to conserve energy. george david, former c.e.o. of u.t.c., said this would put america to work forever, and it would have have the private sector involved, in everything from looking at how we save the heat that exits from our buildings, we got to get involved in boone pickens' idea for natural gas. these things, you know, have all been held up one way or the other from passage in the house of representatives or in the 6 0-vote in the senate. that's unfortunate. the public wants to see an end of it. you know, we're coming down to a point -- and susan, i hope we
get to talk about this too -- the end game here is really not the november election, but actually what will be on congress' plate, because everything has been kicked down the road because of an inability to make tough decisions, put the country back to work, and address these issues now. we're going to have the sunsetting of the tax cuts, the debt ceiling, the mets riks, the tax extenders, all coming down and seemingly little movement that's going to take place in the united states congress. this is what infuriates people. carl, i think we're hardly a socialist country, but i do think it's important that we have a safety net for people, especially social security and medicare and healthcare that doesn't leave people bankrupt and out of their homes.
host: the public welfare, that a number of people have called the armageddon by the press, will be facing a lame-dumb congress. guest: well, i think it should give everybody pause about a process that's gone on for two years that you hope something might be accomplished between november and january, as you point out in the lame duck. there is a hope that the virtue and hard work that could come from a nation pulling together and recognizing that there is a balance here and that there is nothing but negative about saying we have compromised, we have come to a decision that is in the best interest of the american people. the devil is in the details but i believe there is an opportunity for that to come together. if congress was doing its job,
it would be happening now. unfortunately, in the midst of a politically charged campaign where both sides are vying for power from pennsylvania avenue to both chambers of congress, what we see today is this blocking of all of the goals of the president of united states. therefore, it is a stalemate in congress and. host: good morning. caller: good morning. we are in north carolina and we love our country. i may vietnam vets. -- i am a vietnam vet. do you have a pen handy? can you walk -- can write down wall street journal, january 9,
it lists of the president's from truman all the way up to george w. bush 41. it lists their job creation and expansion and things like that. which political parties' economical philosophy is based on payroll expansion, percentage of jobs created and to be honest, it is democrats. they create over 20 million more jobs than republicans and that averages out to over 1 million per year and that averages out to 8.8% more per year. if you incorporate that into your political program in your campaign, perhaps america could get educated. disabled.hysically
the gentleman from west virginia has his opinion but apparent from his statement, he does not have any hidden disabilities and does not know what assisted devices they have which are two relevant factors the law has to cover that. thank god for america and you all keep up the good work. kickt: while i'd like to taken on the road with me. -- i would like to take him on the road with me. becker pointing that out as it relates to the economy. -- thank you for pointing that out as it relates to the economy. our current president is running into quite an optical in washington, d.c. in terms of getting anything that he would like to see passed. he still persists. i think that is why he has given congress a checklist to do. including stop sending jobs overseas, provide tax incentives for them to come home, help people lose mortgages are under
water and to have been able to make payments to have an opportunity and a fair chance to stay in their home and continue to make payment. ts, make sure we are employing our veterans first. we could begin with the house of representatives bring up the president's jobs bill that was introduced last september. all of these would go a long way to helping the country out. again, i believe that is what the nation needs for us to pull together. i think we can rally around the idea of a job. host: a viewer in north carolina has a different view guest: printing money does not create jobs. it is american ingenuity. it is american innovation.
it is hard work and labour that produces wealth. we certainly are not arguing differently. we just think you have to make investments in order to create wealth. investments have to be made and whether those investments are made, private-sector or whether they are government investments in their people and education system, in their infrastructure, roads and bridges. and also in health care and disease and science and innovation. these are the areas we would like to augment. relying on the private sector for innovation and small businesses where we know the great ladders of opportunity for most americans exist and where most job creation takes place. those americans all need an infrastructure starting basically with an education that
is sound and fundamental and gives them the tools "creativity and fosters the kind of growth we know will lead to jobs. we want people to be wildly successful. when know we live in an entrepreneurial time aren't the focus has to be on innovating in a global economy and people will take risk. with risk comes great reward. there's also the chance that people in that same kind of system might take excessive risk and people who work hard and play by the rules can get hurt. that is why we have developed a safety net and that's why we have social security and medicare and the affordable health care act eve. host: there has been a stalemate over the extension of the bush- year attacks rollback. nancy pelosi may proposal to raise its threshold from to enter $30,000 to $1 million.
speaker john bender reacted to that proposal. [video clip] >> i believe raising taxes is a big mistake. half of those who would get this higher tax are small-business people that are passed through entities. at a time when we're trying to help small businesses create jobs, this proposal would kill jobs. host: do you support nancy pelosi's $1 million threshold change? guest: i certainly do and i think nancy pelosi is making a valid point. when you contrast it with what john boehner says, it is okay to cut pell grants for students but no sacrifice has to be made by the wealthiest. since september 11, we have not prevailed upon the american people, except for the men and
women who are fighting our wars overseas, we have not prevailed upon the american people to make any sacrifice other than those who have been imposed by a difficult economy. the question is one of shared sacrifice and everybody stepping up to the plate. minimally, we should take all look at this time when several people have done extraordinarily well but perhaps they can signal that they can do a little bit more for the country. that is probably good segue for me to talk about an idea -- the president mentioned this in his speech in the state of the union. the men and women who serve our military and they have been the people we have called upon to sacrifice and they do so. it is an all-a volunteer
military. it was not always that way in the country. we have never been at a point in our history were both our wars were not paid for and have accumulated this national debt and that we seem to have stress and not have prevailed upon american citizens. we think we have a little bit of a bipartisan way to get people involved. i was going through my mother's letters that she and my father exchanged during the second world war and i noticed this stamp. host: there's a camera right here. guest: you will see on the stamp that is a 3 cent stamp and it says "win the war." along with collecting rags and papers and lead and glass and being able to buy war bonds, you could also buy a victory stamp. i noticed on my mother's letters that there would be more than one 3 cents stamp on it. she said we did what we could. it was extra.
it was not the postage itself. it was the extra money that went to help the war effort. i also noticed they had this first day issue that was on there. if you look at our work on this, i'm assuming it was done as part of the wpa project, but there is an elegant drawing draping two american flags. why not victory for veterans? a number of my colleagues and myself thought to come up with a concept for every american can participate. why not a 21 cents non-postal stamp that can provide what we provided citizens the opportunity during the second world war an opportunity to contribute 21 cents to the va,
7 cents to the post offices which could help rural post which is under fire, and 7 cents to retire the national debt. that is a small amount of money but not much different in retrospect than collecting newspapers, glass, lead, tin or whatever and going to cause in which we can try to appeal to the better angels of the country and certainly to a congress that should be focusing on what we can do to come together. i realize this is not any kind of panacea. i think it is a step that allows people to save that i can do my part no matter who you are. i can envision volunteer groups going to schools and schools or writing to veterans and other people. it will serve a dual purpose of per have to bring back cursive writing and having as involved as well. host: is a complicated by the fact that fewer people are
writing letters? guest: that's true but it is not a bad discipline or a bad thing to bring back. certainly, people around the holidays send an awful lot of letters. i'm sure people send a mouse as well but there's still something about a card or a letter, there's something more personable -- personal about your handwritten note. >host: so people would buy regular postage and add these? guest: exactly, it would be a supplement. host: let's get back to the phone calls. south dakota, an independent, go ahead. thank you. i am a registered republican but i'm pretty much an independent because i am disgusted with both
parties. this gentleman talks about bipartisanship. i think they should have done away with the two parties years ago. one party blames the other one. as far as jobs, i think we should have done away with an context 50 years ago. we are pricing ourselves out of the market. we should have done away with the income tax and not come up with all these spending programs that put us in debt and we should live within our means and we should not go to all these wars. i'm a world war two veteran. i was in the navy and i spent two years in the pacific theater. with all due respect, i am a critic of what is going on and the economy we've got and i
said when obama became president or before he became president, said diseconomy -- i said this economy is worse than everyone thinks. host: thank-you. guest: the economy was a lot worse off than people thought or had imagined. clearly, that has been problematic in terms of working our way through the worst recession since the great depression. i think for a number of americans, probably not yourself having served in world war two and perhaps have been alive during the great depression, you remember that that was the worst. in terms of its impact on people, for many people including myself in my lifetime, this is the worst economy we have seen. and yet there is a path forward here.
there is a path by both revitalizing our private sector and our great engines of growth and also by helping them by investing in the american people and helping the american people by putting them back to work. you will recall vividly that during the second world war when you're in the south pacific what people did. we had things like the cbc and wpa and people were out there earning a wage in helping rebuild the country. we also took on big projects whether it was immediately after the second world war in the truman and eisenhower administration's when we rebuild our entire infrastructure system and our transportation system for the country, we have to continue to make these investments. what we found while we have been bogged down in two words that are not paid for and accumulating greater debt, other nations, most notably some of
our competitors like india and china, have been invested in their infrastructure. we've got some more to do and we have to catch up. it is within our grasp. we are the greatest country on the face of the earth. i always remain optimistic even though going back to george washington, people had concerns about political parties. more often than not, they have become overly partisan and around the fringes and it has led to the public saying a pox on both your houses. get something done down there. i would argue that we have been working very hard on the democratic side to put forward a jobs agenda that will deal with the national deficit and put our people back to work and will invest in our people and help people struggling within their homes and provide education for
their students in a way that gives them a chance to become part of the economy and become the next in no better and become the next small businessman. let government provide the seed from the sprouts and be able to assist and help and let the great ingenuity and innovation of the american people takeover. host: this is from twitter -- guest: we need to build roads. we need to address our infrastructure but we also need to tackle regulation. it is a balance. when people say regulation, do they think there should be regulation on wall street? do they think there should be regulation with respect to the fda text should not take a look at what comes in from overseas and in china asse?
all levels of government i have been and whether it be local, state, or federal, you experience over-bureaucracy or over-regulation. you should attempt to try to streamline those and reinvented to make government more or as a fish and as you possibly can. but to throw the baby out with the bathwater and not to have a kind of regulation leads you back to the era of jim fisk and the gilded age which many would argue we experienced during 2008 and would suggest we need regulation like dodd-frank was able to achieve all but not totally implemented yet. host: let me bring you back to the debt limit. are you anticipating there will be a debate this summer even though the debt limit will be
reached six months or so from now? guest: it is a speech this debate and it is only brought up for messaging purposes. when you say debt ceiling or debt, we are not involved in profiles in courage in getting the work of the american people done. it is profiles in messaging. if the public equate debt with the debt ceiling, you can see how that can easily happen. they are asking why they are not doing something when in truth, is about whether the united states will default on its full faith and credit which has happened 17 times under ronald reagan where we dealt with the debt ceiling, eight times under george herbert walker bush, seven times under bill clinton, and six times i believe under george w. bush. it is always a good idea for the
government to be looking at what it can do to trim its debt. the best way to do is to roll up your sleeves and put the nation back to work, focus on the economy by putting the nation back to work three jobs. and not an argument that will lead us to this cliff again and send a bad signals across the globe in terms of whether america will default on its responsibility as opposed to sending the message that we are the soundest place in the world. we are the preeminent military, cultural, and economic leader in the world as demonstrated by our capability to stay together. if we do so, the rest of the world in this insecure time will be parking its money and its investment here which will further lead to jobs. host: we are looking toward a new jobs number that will be out and about 10 minutes. thanks to congressman john
a friendly man which he was but there's another side of him that want to be the best. he was obsessed with ratings and beating the huntley brinkley report every night. he is probably the fiercest competitor i have ever written about and i have written about presidents and generals and walter cronkite's desire to be the best was very pronounced. >> best selling author douglas brinkley on his new biography of walter cronkite, sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. spend the weekend in wichita, kan. with book-tv and american history tv saturday at noon eastern. we'll talk about american presidents and black entrepreneurs. we'll talk about the founding of beechcraft. also browse the rare book collection..
sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern on american history to become experienced early plains life in the cow town museum. also, two participants from the kansas civil-rights movement. set down for service in 1958 at the drugstore. once a month, the local content vehicle of cspan exports the history of literary life in cities across america. this weekend from wichita, kan. on c-span 2 m3. and 3. "washington journal" continues. host: our second and final test and the shorter program is congressman steve chabot. he chairs the foreign affairs subcommittee on the middle east and south asia and that puts him into the midst of the debate over syria. the news from syria looks increasingly violent. what should the u.s response be? should be.
host: guest: we have a brutal and repressive regime. assad has been as aggressive as his father. we estimate 13,000, mostly innocent people, mostly civilians killed thus far. this administration after 2000 deaths said he should be removed but we have not done anything significant about that. there have been some sanctions and what we need, i believe, is more of a coalition of the willing countries and the region that are willing to step forward with the united states to actually do something about removing this brutal regime. our response really has been to incursion on violence. that is greater except for the fact that the government under assad is not exercising nonviolence. they are killing their own people.
many senators are encouraging humanitarian safe zones where people can be protected or supplying weapons, ammunition and other supplies to the opposition. this is a particularly brutal regime. it is in the united states -- that should be our main driving force is what is in the national and strategic interest of this country. you have to look at the fact that syria has a critical ally, probably our biggest opposition, our greatest enemy on this earth and that is the iranian government. it is the way i ran exercises its influence in that part of the world as well as other areas around the world supply and groups like hezbollah and hamas and terrorist organizations.
this is an important part of the world. we should be focusing attention there and inaction is not working. host: be talked about a coalition of the willing. this is from "the washington post" - why has the edge ministration been unable to gather together western nations as we did with libya to approach this in a cooperative way? guest: one thing is it has been distracted. there is an election coming up in november and there is some willingness to act boldly. that is really what we need. we need a solid and bold action rather than relying on the un to do it. for months now, the obama administration has basically been waiting for kofi annan, the former secretary general of the un, to take action.
the actions of the un have been next to helpless. in the security council in the u. n, either russia or china can exercise veto power which they have done. essentially, the real shame here is that the united states and our ability to act is stifled by the lowest common denominator of either russia or china and neither one wants to act because syria is a very close ally of russia for a whole range of reasons and has been historically. the united states should not be in that position where we are dependent upon the russians to act in what is in the best interest of that region and what is in the best interest of the united states. host: our ambassador to the united nations is susan rice and here she is talking about her recent violence.
>> we certainly agree with kofi annan that this is a moment where we have reached the tipping point with the bands are the weekend being the most recent manifestation of that reality. i think we may be beginning to see the wheels coming off of this bus. that means that what happens next and the steps that are taken by the syrian authorities and by this council could well be a positive. as i said and our discussion, it is hard to see that there are any more than three potential outcomes at this stage. the political process which is so crucial to the success of any transition which is the purpose of the annan plan is supported by the ongoing and escalating an expanding violence perpetrated by the government and the reality that the opposition
cannot possibly be expected to come to the table while violence is intensifying and the government is lying about it. host: your reaction? guest: we cannot be dependent to the u.n., basically. this administration has been on fortunately in that position on many occasions. the u.n. is just not an institution which exercises world leadership. that is what is lacking here right now but chick-fil-a and syria. united states -- that is was lacking right here in the united states. we don't need american boots on the ground. every american would agree that we're pretty exhausted from iraq and afghanistan and we're not looking for another war. that is not was necessary here.
opprobrious diplomacy and the use of power the united states has but not using is the solution, i think. the of ministration bus for has not been willing to exercise the leadership in syria and that is why we see the killing going on and on from 2001-like agreed that asheer assad had to go. we had another 11,000 deaths since then. one was really brutal, 8 owe% women and children, civilians' eyes gouged out, throat slit. it's just horrific, but it's happening right now in this world. and right now this administration is just want exercising leadership. host: on twitter, are we hiding behind china and russia to justify our inaction in syria? guest: unfortunately i think that's what's happening. we're hiding behind the u.n.,
but china and russia, through their membership on the security council, we're one of five members of that security council that can veto essentially any action by the u.n., and right now, russia, because they're a close ally, and china, because they basically are opposed to the united states almost on every issue around the world, will almost on every occasion go in the opposite direction, and that's what they're doing here. host: troy, new york, joe, republican, good morning. caller: yes. i hope you bear with me just a little bit here. i very seldom get through. i don't think we should be involved with syria or any of those countries at all. it's like we haven't learned a single thing from way back to the korean war. all we do, in our soldiers get involved, is wind one our soldiers getting hurt, crippled, maimed, coming home with mental problems.
that's more of a burden on the united states. i can't see why should we get involved with syria. i do not agree with hillary clinton standing up saying gaddafi should be killed. we're not making any friends around the world with that kind of stuff, and i think we got enough problems right here at home. just let the united nations handle it. if everyone backed the united nations, then they could do their job. it's like a lot of times, when i listen to the united states or israel, they don't back the united nations at all. another thing i'm kind of curious with is what is the total reason why the united states is always backing israel? i mean, why do we always have to kiss israel? i just cannot understand this. i hope you excuse my language. guest: well, israel is clearly our closest ally in that important part of the world.
and i agree that we should be concentrating on domestic problems. god knows we've got a very tough economy here, unemployment far too high, and we understand the numbers are going to be coming out on that here shortly. so that is something to focus attention on. but there's no question that historically the united states has exercised a leadership role around the country. and one might think, well, why does syria really matter? it's on the other side of the world, why should we really care about that? you have 13,000 people that have been killed already, but how is that our problem? now you can make a humanitarian argument, and the united states traditionally has been a very strong humanitarian country with a few exceptions. you know, if you look at what happened, you know, in a couple of -- in africa some years ago, for example, where we didn't act and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives, but in syria, you have to look at the fact that syria is a very
close ally of iran. iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons. iran is the largest supporter of terrorist organizations around the globe. so, they operate through syria, and if this regime falls in syria, it clearly is a blow to iran, in the best interest of the united states, and thought an to the principal focus, humanitarian reasons, important, but the national security, the strategic interests of the united states ought to be number one. and they are present in syria. host: in fact, we do have the new jobs number. the economy added just 69,000 jobs in may, and the unemployment rate has picked up once again to 8.2%. guest: that's terrible news for the economy, particularly for folks that are out there struggling either to hold on to a job or to find a job. we're not adding the hundreds
of thousands of jobs that we really ought to be adding this late in a recession. the administration has been arguing we're coming out of the recession. unfortunately, we're clearly not. and i would argue that that unemployment number at 8.2%, it is picking up, but it's probably far worse than that. because what has happened is a lot of folks who used to work full-time are working part-time. there's a lot of folks that are underemployed, that have college degrees that, unfortunately, are in the fast food industry, for example, and that's very honorable work, but a lot of folks believe that if they've got a college degree, they ought to be doing better. and, unfortunately, a lot of folks have given up looking for work altogether. they've dropped out of the workforce completely. and if you look at those folks, if you took them into consideration, the unemployment rate would be far higher than even 8.2%. but the fact that it's going up from 8.1% to 8.2% is really,
really bad news. host: back to syria. "washington post" editorializes the u.s. should be more involved. u.s. actions far short of invasion could help prevent a regional conflagration. they differ from the ms. rice and the administration policy, saying that there are steps u.s. and its allies could take to head off a conflagration. first would be recruit a coalition of like-minded allies. we talked about that earlier. and then they write, a lesser option would be fothe united states to begin supplying opposition forces of its choosing with weapons and intelligence. guest: i don't find myself in a position where i'm agreeing with "the washington post" editorial too often, but in this case i agree with them. i think they're right. i think, for example, that we should be very involved in a coalition of the willing. we're not talking about u.s. boots on the ground, and that's why i want to stress that. we don't need to be involved there, putting our folks at risk, our men and women in
uniform at risk. but there are countries in the region, saudi arabia is an example, qatar is an example, many others who really believe that this is an exit yal issue in that part of the world, and action needs to be taken. and the fact is, if the u.n. doesn't lead that sort of action, it just doesn't happen. we may, as the administration has decided, punt it over to the u.n., but it's not happening. the people are still dying. assad is still in power. and if he prevails in this, it's going to send a terrible message, not only to that part of the world, but the whole world, that you can too this type of thing to your own people and get away with it. host: birmingham, alabama, james, democrat. caller: oh, yes, representative, are you aware that we have a serious conflict in chicago while the black kids are getting killed? also, you say we are broke, but any time you republicans want to go to war or whatever, you
put it on a credit card with george bush. you did not put it on the budget. and all that debt now is looking like it's president obama's. another thing, you were talking about jobs. you have not brought one job to your state. that's the reason why the unemployment right is going up. and the only way that the republicans have a chance of getting into office and winning is you destroyed the economy. you are talking about the debt ceiling, it was raised 12 times under ronald reagan. you people are trying to destroy this economy, because you hate president obama because he's a black man. thank you. guest: there's a lot in that. i don't think the last thing is even worth a comment. that's just not true. relative to debt, this administration has put huge amounts of debt -- president obama had said that he would slash the deficit by a half in his first term. unfortunately, he's more than doubled it, just the opposite of what he said he was going to
do. so there's much more debt that's been put on by, unfortunately, this administration than previous administrations. what the gentleman mentioned about chicago right now and the violence that's occurring there and the deaths and shootings, he's absolutely correct. it's been pretty tragic right now. it's something, of course, is a local issue. it's something the city of chicago needs to deal with. but this economy is a very, very rough economy. and this administration made a decision early on when they took over and when the democrats controlled over. they had the house and the senate and the presidency. they decided to pass a so-called economic stimulus package, which, let's face it, hasn't worked. it did stimulate one thing, and that's growth of government, but not jobs in the private sector. that's most unfortunate. and then the second step is to pass obamacare, so they really lost focus on the economy and getting people back to work and
put it on healthcare, really growing government. and then they passed this dodd-frank bill relative to banks and financial institutions. and unfortunately, what they've done is they have bureaucrats looking over the shoulders of so many banks across the country that they're not loaning money, so small businesses aren't able to get that money. you have a lot -- it's a lot tighter economy out there for small businesses, so they're not growing, creating jobs, and that's one of the reasons that the unemployment rate has stayed so high. host: a similar theme about paying for the cost of military action, from this viewer, more talk, more war talk. who are paying for these wars? guest: well, the american taxpayer pays for everything, whether it's wars as that individual mentioned, or whether it's domestic programs or anything else. you know, unfortunately, we're putting a lot of that debt on future generations, our kids
and our grand kids are going to pay more and more for this. you know, it's gotten -- the spending has gotten so out of control here in washington, that for every dollar that's spent, whether it's our military or wars or afghanistan or iraq or just maintaining our military, whether it's our national highway system, whether it's social security, whether it's medicare, all the money that's spent here in washington, d.c., 43 cents of every dollar now has to be borrowed. some of that money, a significant amount of that money, over a trillion dollars, has now been borrowed from china. we're talking about china as being one of the people, for example, that's able to stop our actions through the u.n. so, the countries that we're borrowing this money of to keep up this spending, unfortunately, some of these countries don't have u.s.'s best interests at heart. that's a very dangerous position us to put ourselves into. host: our twitter community is having a conversation about
syria. one viewer responding to another about the ethnic population in the country, saying assad is not a shia, he is an alawite. 23 million people, about the size of north dakota, 74% sunni muslim, 12% alawi, and that's the factions to which assad belongs, and 10% christian. youth unemployment in syria estimated to be about 20%. speaking of bashar assad, since the opposition against him seems to have so many different factions, and in some cases, i read the intelligence, we're not sure about arming because we don't know enough about them, what do we know about what might happen if the assad government falls? guest: that is an appropriate concern. it's something we ought to think about. libya is a good example. you know, when the administration decided to act in that case, they didn't have boots on the ground, although
we have other people that may well have been there, but it was basically an ar war, much handled by our nato allies. the concern was what happens next. and we're seeing some of that instability right now in libya. it isn't necessarily focused on in the news right now, but you don't want to get arms in the hands of those who may turn it on us or turn it on our allies, so that is a concern, and it is something for us to make sure that if we do supply the opposition to the assad regime, that we're not getting it into the hands of al qaeda-connected organizations or other terrorist groups. you can't be 100% sure about that. so, the people on the ground have to be very careful, and that's one of the reasons the administration has given us an excuse for not acting really at all. and i think, as i indicated, i think we should act, act appropriately, make sure that we maintain control over any weaponry that we would get into
that particular area. host: interesting story in "usa today" about a television channel that was created by a jordanian-american media entrepreneur who broadcast what has been happening in syria, and you can see the story here, broadcasters risk reporting on syrian rebellion. secret network counters regime story with video and stories from the war zone by citizen journalists who are supplying videotape and going on to syria's alshabab tv, which has become a prime mover on the news, quickly moving video from amateurs inside a war zone that journalists are largely unable to cover. this reporter is 28 years old. he was a successful news presenter in the u.a.e. when he was asked to leave his well paid job for the good of the cause. i didn't think twice, he said, i just came here to the arab capital that his colleagues request not be nad, because they worry about the long arm of the syrian secret service finding these people. guest: that's very interesting
and also very important, because repressive regimes historically try to crack down on information to the people that they're trying to suppress. we've seen that in china. we see to this day. that's why we have organizations like voice of america, radio for europe, radio free asia, and it sounds like this gentleman, this entrepreneur, is trying to do his part, and it's good to see things, you know, like that happen, try to get the message out to the repressed people. host: so next telephone call is from california. rocky, independent. good morning, sir. guest: good morning. i just have a couple of points i want to make about syria. number one, we can't afford to do anything in syria, ok? i keep hearing this, that our country is broke. we don't have the money. we can't do anything in syria. number two, nobody kills civilians like the united states. how many civilians did we kill in iraq to supposedly get rid
of this murderous bad leader, you know? us going in there, it's just going to kill more people, 13,000, that's bad. it is. but you know what? we killed a lot more than that in iraq. we got to stop doing this. i don't know why this representative is so bloodthirsty and just wants to kill people, but i'm tired of t. the united states should stand up for peace, not for killing. thank you. guest: we're trying to save lives, not kill people. right now, this brutal dictatorship, which has killed 13,000 recently, is going to kill a lot more than that if the world doesn't act. and the world isn't going to act unless the united states steps up and plays a leadership role. again, i want to emphasize, we're not talking about putting americans' boots on the ground. but people are dying right now. a lot of them are innocent civilians, women and children, and the regime is not going to
stop, particularly blood thirsty regime, and there have been others on this earth over the years. this is one of the most blood thirsty. now, relative to killing civilians in iraq, certainly some civilians did die, oftentimes and for the most part, terrorist elements. it was al qaeda, it was shia and sunni groups, al qaeda-type groups that were suicide bombers and a whole range of things. and this administration has used drones. we know that now. they're trying to target top officials. it's occurred in yemen, in pakistan, in afghanistan and other parts of the world. and sometimes there are civilians there. it can be family members and others, but they're targeting the top al qaeda officials that you won't otherwise -- taliban officials also -- that you're not otherwise able to get. but as far as attempting to kill civilians, that's just not the case. that's not the way the united
states operates. it doesn't now under this administration or under previous administrations. guest: next call from byron, who's watching us in canada. go ahead, please. caller: yeah, i've never heard so much bull extremity coming out of a guy's mouth than what's coming out of this fellow's mouth. that tv station you talked about, that alshabab or something, that's totally financed by the u.s. government. so don't get fooled by this kid from jordanian running this thing. it's financed by the american government. the second thing is these women and children that were killed, it's been proven by the u.n. now that it came out that the children and women killed at close range wasn't killed by artillery fire, but was killed by pistols and knives. so don't try to blame that on the assad regime. the other thing is, when you talk 13,000 people being slaughtered, how many of those are syrian soldiers and
military that's been killed by the rebels? the other thing is, if you want to stop the killing, get blackwater out of there. that's what's doing most of the killing over there. so, your phony -- host: we'll stop there. thanks. guest: that's just absurd, to say that it's blackwater killing everybody, that's just not accurate. and relative to people being killed, the gentleman was talking, i assume specifically about houla, this was -- there were people killed at close range. there were people also killed by artillery fire. that's basically the callous nature of the assad regime, where you have artillery used in civilian areas. a lot of people were killed, and then militia-type officials , it reminds me of the door fewer region, where the sudanese government would bomb from the air, either by helicopter or plane, and then
they would go in on either camel or horseback and kill women and children, rape, murder, just incredible what happened there. it's not necessarily the government troops, but it's their allies. it's their cohorts. and that's what happened, we believe, in houla, after the government artillery. you had locals connected with the government that went in with small arms and knives and then slaughtered innocent civilians. that's what happened. host: we have about eight minutes left in our segment this morning. next call from columbia, south carolina. maria is watching us there, republican. caller: yes, another thing, it's very curious that the opposition have heavy weapons right. seems to me like they provide
tools to those insurgents. it's a civil conflict. they have billed it as moral conflict to justify intervention and stabilize more the middle east as part of the road map regime change. this has to be stopped, because united states has to concentrate domestic issues and employment. host: thanks, marie a. she says this is really a civil conflict that has been built into a moral conflict. guest: well, i think it's both. she also mentioned about focusing on domestic problems, and i certainly agree with that. we're not talking about acting exclusively in syria to the detriment of action on our own economy. we certainly need to act on this economy. you know, unemployment is too high. this recession has dragged on
far too long, so there is action that needs to happen here. but that doesn't mean that we can't still be involved around the world, when it's in our national security interests. and most of the experts will tell you that syria is in our national security interest, and that's why i and john mccain on the republican side, joe lieberman on the democrat i had side and many others, believe that time for action is long overdue there. again, not american boots on the ground, but support for our allies in the region to help those that are trying to exercise the freedom and protect themselves against a vicious and brutal government. host: on twitter, the same day we got upset about syria's 10 dead kids, nato killed six in afghanistan. we're doing the same thing. it's just kept from us. guest: i don't think that's accurate as far as we're doing the same thing. there are on occasion civilian
deaths that occur whenever there's military action being taken, but the level of brutality on the part of the assad regime versus the occasional civilian due to, say, a drone where they're trying to take out a high-value al qaeda terrorist and perhaps someone in the neighborhood also is injured or killed, those are avoided when at all possible, but sometimes those types of things do happen. and this is one area the obama administration, where they have , i believe to their credit, exercised appropriate use of drone action overseas against high-value terrorist-type targets. it's one of the most successful things that they've been able to do. now, they followed in the footsteps of the previous administration who also used that, i believe in an appropriate level, but this is something i do believe the
administration deserves some credit for. host: next call is from lake charles, louisiana. francis is the democrat there. good morning, francis. caller: yes, good morning. representative, we're not interested in going to syria. and the country do not want to go to syria. we do not want to get involved in syria. we all know what's going on there. syria has to fight for their independence, and we don't know yet all there is to know about syria. and representative, if you're going to be on today talking about syria, you ought to -- you ought to be talking about what's happening to us here. you are not telling the truth about our debt and this
president and how much this president has cost us. you're not telling the truth about any of this business. and the truth of the matter is, you and your fellow republicans have caused a lot of pain in this country to the american people as far as jobs, jobs that we could be having, jobs that can be helping our economy and just on and on. and now you want to be concerned about syria? host: thank you. let's get a response. guest: just so that listeners and viewers out there may wonder why we're focused on syria, i'm the chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on the middle east and south asia. syria is within our jurisdiction and i was asked to come on the show and discuss syria. now, we can talk about the economy and a whole range of other things, but that's not what we were asked to come on the show about.
but since you raised the economy and joblessness and that sort of thing -- and a previous caller had actually also made the allegation that republicans hadn't passed any jobs bills, the fact is there are something like 30 bills in the house of representatives, the republicans are in the majority now that has been passed in this congress thus far. they go over to the democratic controlled senate and never see the light of day. you can't pass a bill unless the house and senate pass it, and then the president signs it into law or vetoes it, in which case you could have 2/3 of either house override t. but the fact is they have attempted to pass a number of jobs bills, not an overall, huge spending economic stimulus package type of thing, which was passed under this administration's first year, which i would argue
failed miserably. unemployment didn't come down, it actually went up, and we spent almost a trillion dollars in that effort. what republicans believe is that we need to get the government off the backs of small businesses across the country and, actually, 70% of the jobs historically in this country have been created not by the great big corporations, but by small businesses. but they just have so much government regulation, litigation, taxation, hanging over them, and a tough economy, and no prospects from this administration that things are going to improve that they're just not investing in creating jobs. that's what we need to do to get this economy moving again. and that ought to be our principal focus. but that doesn't mean because we have to pay attention here domestically that we ignore the other places around the world that our strategic and security interests are there.
we can't ignore those places. i would argue that syria is one of those places, and the administration is working on that. many people believe thus far, not particularly effectively, but it is an important part of the world, and i think we need to focus attention there also. host: next subpoena nashville, robert, independent. not too much time left. caller: yes, ma'am, good morning. mr. chairman, i wanted to be as polite as i can possibly be, about 80% of the american people don't care about syria. they didn't care about iraq, that we dropped a trillion and a half dollars in. we got 32 working military bases there in iraq now. you're looking at probably putting bases in syria if you ever get a foot hold there. i realize you want to leave a footprint in the middle east, but if you don't start leaving a footprint here in america, there's 40 people shot over the weekend in chicago.
chicago wasn't the only place. nashville, st. louis, houston, dallas, you pick one, they've all had murders, because people are out here starving and having to scramble, being thrown out of their houses and doing what they have to do to survive. so, if you're worried about syria, you're worried about the wrong people. and i got news for you -- your republican friends, when when they start losing their houses, they're going to change their vote. i wsh you'd change your mind about this and consider other options and start bringing the money back home instead of sending it over there. host: roberts, we've got to go if you want a response from the congressman. not much time left. guest: clearly you sense the frustration that the economy is so bad in this country and there's so many foreclosures and unemployment picked up today. there's violence in chicago and other cities around the country, and there's certainly a sense of that frustration here. my point would be that we do need to focus on those issues, and our principal concern ought to be here in the united st