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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 1, 2013 7:00am-10:01am EDT

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. and as part of our spotlight on magazine series, we will discuss ted conover's discussion on the meat industry. "washington journal" is next. >> good morning and welcome to ""washington journal," as wednesday, the first day of may, 2013. president obama marked the of 100 day of his second term where he fielded questions on topics from syria to guantanamo bay to the health care law. we want to hear what you think of his second term so far. the numbers to call are on your screen.
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you can also find us online or in thes a tweet or conversation on facebook. you can also e-mail us at journal lots of coverage of president press conference.
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host: looking at some of the other headlines -- it is day 100 and president obama's second term -- let's listen to present obama respond to that question. [video clip] youru are 100 days into second term. on the gun bill, you put everything into a to get it passed and it didn't. congress has ignored your efforts to get them to undo these sequestered cuts. there was even a billion
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threaten to veto that that 92 democrats in the house voting yes. my question is -- do you have the juice get the rest of your agenda through this congress? >> if you put it that way, jonathan, maybe i should just pack up and go home. goll-ee. as mark twain said -- more -- rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point. we understand that we are a divided government right now. republicans control the house of representatives. in the senate, this habit of requiring 60 votes or even the most modest piece of legislation has gummed up the works there. it comes as no surprise to the american people but also members of congress that right now
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things are pretty dysfunctional on capitol hill. despite that, i am confident that there are a range of things we can get done. i feel confident that the bipartisan work that has been done immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the senate and house and gets on my desk. that will be an historic achievement. i have been very complimentary of the efforts of both republicans and democrats in those efforts. host: president obama speaking at his press conference yesterday. what do you think of his second term thus far, he is 100 days in. the headlines focus on a range of issues the president had addressed -- some otherat headlines --
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other newspapers covering these stories. all these issues were addressed at yesterday's press conference. we see job approval ratings from gallup where they have a daily tracking poll of the public opinion of president obama and you can see where it is right now. in the month of april, rounded out average approval at 50%. it has changed from early in his second term through the present. the first caller is carmen, in hamilton, montana, independent
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line. think: good morning, i mr. obama is a pretty good president. there are some things i wish he had not gone along with but it is a plain fact that republicans, especially the t party, are totally racist and i cannot stand to see a black man on the white house. it is a sad state of affairs because this is 2013. people are still stuck and hate mode mostly it's the republicans. bloomington, ill., a republican caller. caller: i believe that the president demonstrated at his news conference yesterday that he is -- has dug been in several of his positions. guantanamo bay is one of them.
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to his answer to mr. henry - i believe, as an important question about ben gauzy which is an issue that is not going to go away. he just treated it quite diffident. was disingenuous. the hearings will commence on the eighth of may. the committee chaired by congressman beryl ice of ofifornia -- darrel issa california. it was stated last week by congressman goudy a south carolina, a very capable congressman, a former prosecutor, that those hearings will be explosive. they should be because this as an explosive issue that will not
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go away and hillary clinton will never be president because of it, i believe. that is for another day. i feel very strongly about the bad guys -- benghazi issue and the president is trying to sweep it under the rug as he is wont to do with so many issues that he wants to go away and he continues to revisit the issues that he has already been defeated in. guantanamo bay is one of them. host: let's look at these issues -- this is the exchange between ed henry and the president. ed henry said people have been blocked from coming forward.
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our carl are also talked about guantanamo that. our caller also talked about guantanamo bay. let's listen to the president talking about guantanamo bay. . [video clip] >> i think it is critical for us to understand that guantanamo is not necessary to keep america safe. it is expensive.
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it is inefficient. it hurts us in terms of our international standing. it lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts. it is a recruitment tool for extremists. it needs to be closed. congress determined they would not let us close it. areite the fact that there a number of folks who are currently in guantanamo would the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country, i will go back at this. i have asked my team to review everything that is currently being done in guantanamo, everything we can do administratively and i will be engaged with congress to try to make the case that this is not something that is in the best interest of the american people.
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from our next caller is connecticut, independent line. caller: good morning, i'm not a democrat or republican. barack obama is a disaster. obama care could be a disaster. a left-wing is socialist central planner. everything he does is a failure. you've got the democratic party and barack obama trying to perpetrate the biggest political fraud on the american people in the history of this country global warming and climate change -- we just had the coldest april temperatures on record. change, itlimate changes by the minute and by the day. host:
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some comments have come into was on facebook -- you can share your comments on our facebook page. our next caller is from massachusetts, democrats line. tv down. you are on the air. let's move on to scott, illinois, republican. caller: thank you for taking my call. i think the president has a
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disconnect. i don't think he understands their people hurting for jobs out here. agenda, ifis nasa neil armstrong was in the white house, that would have generated jobs. he was trying to tell the president that and the president does not get it. , probablynt is down to a horrible level. illinois. no one seems to be talking about that. i don't know what the answer is best forn wanting the the american people, creating roads, bridges, whatever it takes to generate jobs. this president just is not doing that. host: do you have more confidence in members of congress and a delegation from
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illinois? inler: i have confidence some of the senate members, some of the -- i do have confidence in them. i believe they can do positive things that they are just not reaching the people. that is the saddest thing. people need to have an agenda thehave a future and, if president does not set the agenda, then people have to fall on their own beliefs and ideas. the president has to stand up and the presidential. if he doesn't, then people have to fall of what they believe is right. host: here is a comment on twitter --
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atlanta, ga., a democrat, hi. doing a i believe barack great job with the republican criticism and gridlock. the problem is not the executive or judicial branch, it is the congressional branch. host: what in particular do you like about what the president is doing? is that his style or his agenda items? caller: it is his stance and emigration. i think people need to stop thinking of immigration as being a negative for the u.s.. it is more positive. ost: ok"politico"wrote about immigration as a component of the issues president obama addressed yesterday.
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ouroln, neb., on independent line, good morning. caller: i am not to approve an of obama. right now, we have seen two mass shootings. we are questioning both of these individuals mental stability and we understand there is mental illness out there. the problem i see is that he is not showing leadership even with obama care because when you look at the registry -- i went through and looked at the insurance plan -- those of us
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with mental illnesses are required to pay up to 50% of that medical care, not just like a regular elements. the president needs to spearhead was going on with mental health care. , not just obama care. he has not said in a thing about this. i don't approve, thank you. host: miami, fla., a democrat, go ahead. caller: he reminds me of the same person that jackie robinson was. like jack robinson, the first black baseball player, he is the first black president and he is going for the same thing. -- i am a black man, come on. people are not stupid. he's supposed to be a statesman to represent the people.
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host: what do you think about the president's agenda and what he is doing in office? caller: he is trying to do the best he can. he cannot reach out -- i have reached out to other white american people and they keep slapping my hand down, i cannot be their friend. he cannot forces friendship. he cannot force is love. he tries. all black america and other ethnic groups are seeing what what america really is. he is jackie robinson. he is going through the same thing jackie robinson is -- went through. i am 62. when we first change the laws for civil rights, many people still looked at me strangely when i sat in a restaurant. they knew i was there legally but they stared at me and thought i was not supposed to be here. they always talk about the constitution.
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constitution, we had to fight. it was not given to us. we had to fight for the constitution. they are supposed to be christians and adhere to the golden rule. love your neighbor like yourself. host: this is from twitter -- we are asking you what you think of president obama's second term so far. he hit the 100 denmark yesterday. -- he had paid 100-day mark. yesterday maryland, republican, go ahead. caller: i don't think he is doing a wonderful job but i root for him. i think the reason he is messing up is that he keeps causing
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division when he calls out for republicans not realizing that half of his country is republican. he separates and divides. he tries to drive a wedge between democrats and republicans which is already there. what he needs to be doing is to be the unifier and he cannot do it for some reason. i was just listening to his speech this morning. he was just talking about guantanamo bay. he blamed republicans for that and call them out for being political as if the democrats are not political. everybody is political. this is politics. i think is -- adding he is a divider and he does not understand that. host: let's listen to the president talking about sequestration, the automatic spending cuts that kicked in this year and also what kind of relationship he is trying to forge a senate source. [video clip] >> it is true that a sequester
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is in place right now and is damaging our economy, hurting our people. we need to lift it. what is clear is that the only way we can let did is we do a bigger deal that meets the test of lowering our deficit and growing our economy at the same time and that will require some compromise on the part of both democrats and republicans. i have had some good conversations with republican senators so far. those conversations are continuing. i think there is a genuine desire of many of their parts to move past not only sequester but washington dysfunction. whether we can get it done are not, we will see. host: president obama --
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what is your opinion? south carolina, a democrat, hi. pretty good morning, a lady. are you from alaska originally? host: guest: i lived there for awhile. my republican friends -- i believe the reason
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why our president appears to be irrelevant is because the right- wing radio has done nothing but try to make every move he has done to be irrelevant. i am personally calling because i am outraged about gitmo. it should be closed. i could not believe when they were going to have the trials of these guys from gitmo in new york and they said they could not do that. i wrote to chuck schumer. y mom and dad lived in rome, new york. try theseease, let's people and close gitmo. what a waste of money and all
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those poor people have been there forever. they did not do nothing. plenty of them are starting themselves because they cannot take it anymore. let's just have some reason and get this thing sorted out. host: here's coverage of president obama's comments on guantanamo --
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there are some op-ed pieces about this. other editorial paces, looking at the president's first 100 days and his comments yesterday. from "the washington times "--
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commentaryhe section. what are your thoughts, north carolina, good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. not a lot -- i therstand the excuses are nell's by which we build failure. this man has significant problems that really should not be his. the house is against them, the republican party in general is against him. he attempted to do a lot of things that would benefit everyone. he wanted to help kids in school so they could have a future and benefit society and themselves. he got accused of partisan
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politics. bug on his leg in a got a letter from animal rights activists. he attempted to do something with health care. other countries are dealing with the with less money because they have a social structure and social programs surrounding the health care. we cannot really do that because in the united states, the patriot act, national state registry, the division of europe -- motor vehicles, you name it. here, in the united states, we are supposedly civilized and we have more prisoners here than anywhere else in the world. host: from twitter --
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empire, alabama, republican is next. caller: thank you for taking my call. president may be can do better this time. everybody is always bringing up him being black. i was glad when he got in there and i am white. it seems like people forget his mother was white and she carried him for nine months. on the immigration part, i would be -- he is trying to get a couple out of the country that came here from germany for religious reasons. because their children were going to be taken away for home
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schooling. he is trying to get them sent back. i cannot understand that when he lets all these others come in and we don't know who's in here. we do know these people and that is basically what i have to said. i like him as a person. we should pray for our president. should give him the right advice. go to dayton, ohio, on the democrats' line. caller: how are you doing? me, personally, i am very proud of him. we forget where we were heading before he was elected. headed -- the problems
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we are hearing about happens before he came in. he saved us from a lot of things. he stood up for a lot of rights for a lot of people who never had a voice. he is their voice. i have family abroad and i have been all over. mess, headed wereat are behind. -- for all of our great mass, we the rest of the world. -- for all of our great mas- greatness, if you come to dayton, ohio, is not safe to go anywhere. getting robbed and murdered everywhere.
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we've got congress fighting for their own interests. contractors toesswe try to send build up other countries that we are fighting. we are here in america getting killed and uneducated. it is a big mess. we need to bring our attention home and i love him for that and i pray for him. host: have you been watching the president's comments on syria and what the u.s. reaction is there? personally,, tome, i am hoping [indiscernible] to a lot of people, that is heavy business and we have learned from afghanistan. we can only talk. and armgo in there
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rebels, if we do anything with that, it can come back and bite us. it really can't. . we cannot go around making promises. that's how i feel host: let's look at a headline from "usa today" -- president talking about the question of the use of chemical weapon -- weapons. [video clip] >> as i said, trying to bring about a solution in sight of syria -- there are options available to me that are on the shelf right now that we have not deployed. that is a spectrum of options. i asked as last year, the pentagon, our military, our
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intelligence officials to prepare for me what options might be available. i will not go into the details of what those options might be an clearly, that would be escalation in our view of the of theto the security international community, our allies, and the united states. that means that there are some options we might not otherwise exercise that we would strongly consider. host: president obama speaking yesterday on syria and here are some headlines --
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we will talk more about this in about 50 minutes with nicholas who served in the state department under george w. bush. -- in about 15 minutes. let's hear from jody in corning, iowa, on our independent line. you know,od morning, president obama had such an opportunity for the african americans to come out as a true leader, an american because his mother was white, to actually be and i am soder disappointed. ben carson believes in our constitution and our bill of rights. he believes in the american people and the spirit. and withpart of bush mr. obama now, you know, it is
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like they are trying to cover up the whole benghazi thing, the bombing -- why is homeland security wanting to buy 270 million bullets? why? there is so much murder and mayhem going on and basically it is the gags. look at chicago. a normal u.s. american is trying to protect their family and he is not allowed to have a gun. but all the gangs and drug dealers are allowed to have a gun. the same thing the earlier caller said. in ohio, people are not allowed to have them to protect themselves. i wish -- we just need to pray for our country because the agenda of they have got and the way they changing oure it, educational system, we are
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learning more about communism except about how wonderful america is -- he had a wonderful opportunity host: i'm not sure what you're talking about communism. caller: in the new education, they are teaching about socialism, communism. host: think that is part of an agenda? caller: yes. host: let's go to "the washington times." on friday, the president will go to a bilateral meeting in mexico city with the mexican president.
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tweets -of energy, ken another comment coming into this from twitter --
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let's hear from our next caller, will get to lou in pennsylvania are independent line. caller: good morning, i think the president has failed in fixing our economy. until our economy is fixed, and the government gets out of debt, the future for any government program is probably not good in the long term. feel his first term was pretty much of a failure, and listening to him yesterday, i did not really care much of an agenda for his second term that would help the economy. a lot of his social agendas, but i think until the economy is fixed, they should probably set in the back of the burner and we should take care of getting jobs for the american
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people host: greenbelt, maryland, a democrat. caller: hello. greta, i think the president is doing -- doing a fantastic job. i am a ph.d. scientist and studied in germany. they know exactly what this president is going through. you are a professional person yourself and what the president is confronting is a failure of congress. i have never seen so much hatred in my life in this country. it is revealing because of this president. what we have to do is ask people in this country -- this is a powerful nation. we need to go back to the polls
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once again about 18 months from now. there'll be another primary. we need to do it again because we have seen what happened on the presidential election. i think this president has done a fantastic job. host: let's look at an election unfolded in massachusetts. this is the front page of "the boston globe." ou can see congressman markey the republican gabriel gomez. we will watch that massachusetts senate election.
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looking at some other stories in the news -- white house officials have said this is the man the president plans to nominate to head the federal communications commission. looking at a couple of other stories and news -- gun control is something our callers have brought up and receive a couple of stories about new hampshire senator kelly i got to, from "the washington post."
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"the new york times"soak covered her time in her home state. a couple of other stories in the news -- here is another story from "the washington times." a couple of other political story is unfolding -- says nornor of virginia special favors were given to a company. the fbi is investigating contributions from ceo to family.
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we also see a story from maryland looking at the leadership there. the headline says the scandal could wound the governor o'malley. these are politicians with perhaps aspirations of other offices. we will be watching those stories. we are talking to you about your view of president obama's second term. let's get to the catskills, new york, republican line. caller: i was going to comment on the middle east. wants to closee guantanamo bay is got backfire. what is going on in the middle
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east with a iran and israel, egypt, the moslem brotherhood syria, is turning into a tinderbox. israel will do something with iran soon and we will need that prison opened. host: troy, alabama, independent line. confused ande get they need to go back to school. with people'sicks minds the way you screen calls. if you look at what the president said yesterday, you look at article one of the constitution, section 7 -- it will explain to the job of the president and the congress. the congress is supposed to come up with devyn and the president is supposed to sign the bills. if the house and senate did their job, they are not doing it and they are embarrassing
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america. they don't know anything. all your callers don't know anything. you'll find the right answers if you read and you will see the truth. all these commentators don't know anything. the people no more than they do. you have a gun bill that was to the people want passed in congress did what they did, that is not the president's fault. host: this is from twitter -- new haven, conn., a democrat -- caller: thanks for taking my call. i am and a nursing home right now. a nursing home right now. when i was in sixth grade, i was andn opera called "ahmal
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the night visitors." i played a crippled boy who gives his crutch to three kings to get to the christ child. the daughter -- the son of osama bin laden was shot in the legs of the irony release struck me. killings as opposed to bringing people to justice strikes me as the main president obama hypocrisy. many are worried about his stance on food. really think he has to change his tune on that if he wants to get his gun legislation passed. he has to remember that the
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majority of people are not democrats [indiscernible] the areo] host: starting to lose you. he said most people are not democrats are republicans but independence. this is from twitter -- illinois, go ahead, sharon. caller: i think the president has done a wonderful job. i think the press by begins in a harder time. when i watch c-span, i see the real story. instead of lessening what the press has to say. the caller before the last one, as far as people need to look further into the press. president obama is definitely trying to help with mental health care would be affordable
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care act. -- with the affordable care act. there are a few key points and mental health issues and he has done a great job with that as well as gun-control, trying to pass it through. i support obama on that. i think he has done a great job. i think he gets a bad rap sometimes. i love him. i would vote for him again if there were three terms. host: i wanted to mention some things -- here is a letter from retired colonel larsen. he has issued a statement. onregards his appearance "washington journal" he discussed the boston bombings.
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he said all terrorists are not all muslims. and mention thea other errors in this segment i appeared. petaologies for saying stead of alf. we'll continue our conversation about president obama looking at syria. the president called chemical weapons in syria and game changer but what should happen next? nicholas burns served at the state department under george w. bush and he will give us his and later on, joan walsh on how president obama is pushing his agenda through congress. we will be right back. ♪ she was anow that
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invalid when she got to the white desperate people think she did not participate much. that is not true. she was very involved she set up her own bedroom upstairs across from the president's office, basically. she was always able to hear what was going on. was very active and read daily newspapers. she brought different points of view to the president and was able to calm him down and she was the grandmother of the house taking care of her daughters and grandchildren. >> our conversation on el;iza johnson is available on our website ladies. us in this curved wall, is the decision theater. that is a place where a group of friends can come together and go in and strutted decisions that
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george made, the financial crisis, the surge in iraq, hurricane katrina, afghanistan and get the information he was then he the time and was prodded by the press as to what he would decide. it did not reinforce his decision but it shows what he was faced with, the information he had at the time and shows what he did and puts people in his shoes to see if that's what they would have done if they were president. it also gives people an idea of what it is like to be president and to have those sorts of serious decisions. all the decisions come to the desk of the president of united states. >> join former first lady laura bush for a tour of the new george w. bush library and
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museum. that is tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. [video clip] " continues. is ouricholas burns guest. thank you for being with us. guest: great to be with you. host: he is also with the harvard kennedy school of diplomacy and international policy. we want to talk about what is happening in syria. "washington post said"as -- give us a sense of where things are at right now and if they are inching forward, is anything changing at this moment? guest: it looks like the obama administration is now considering greater u.s. military assistance from syrian -- for syrian rebels but that does not mean the united states will put american troops on the ground. there is no agreement for that whatsoever. might the united states
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transforms to the rebel forces fighting the syrian dick taylor, assad. the war is in its second year. 80,000 people have been killed. there are more than 1.4 million syria andhat left have gone to iraq, jordan, and turkey and an equal number or greater number of refugees inside the country that lost their homes and living in tent cities and lost their jobs. it is a very difficult humanitarian situation. is using government conventional forces, fighter aircraft, artillery, against civilian populations and their allegations in the last week by the united states and israel and france and britain is that assad now used chemical weapons against his own population. that is illegal in international law. the situation is getting more and more intense. the united states has now goingedly considering
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beyond where we have gone and that would be, possibly, to arm the syrian rebel opposition. you did a recent piece that ran in "the boston globe." what are the options on the table? guest: the united states first and foremost has provided a lot of humanitarian assistance, money to support the refugees, to build tent cities and provide water and food to people who are hurting and that is in the american tradition. thing we can do. the second is to give greater syrian opposition forces. these of the people who have come out of their homes and communities and the last two years to fight the assad regime
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to form these irregular militia groups. arms will be a big question. some people worry if we provide arms, they might fall into the wrong handsto form these irregua groups. some of them are quite moderate and some of them are quite radical. the administration has tried to get support only to the moderate groups. that is an option for the administration. whether we should provide like . offshoot al qaeda group. the president has been president and patient and i agree with him. this is a very difficult issue. i think the stakes for us are very high. if we don't act to do more for the rebel opposition, there is a likelihood that assad survive and the war will continue and more people will be killed and the possibility that the war could spread into lebanon and iraq and jordan and neighboring countries. we don't want to see that. the calculation is that if we do provide more lethal than the size of support to the opposition groups, it may be
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of poweron drive assad and bring the war to a close. that is the press -- that the decision the president has to make and it is now aa difficult because of the accusation of chemical weapons. that is a very serious violation of international law and we don't want to see the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world, especially in the middle east, which is so turbulent and bloody. the stakes are high and the president needs to make a big decision. it brings us back to the fact that we are a world leader and "provide the most vigorous and aggressive support to pull the rest of the world together to support these rebels. there's a big spotlight on the obama administration. according to the press, the president is rethinking his decision and may be inching toward more legal support. host: if you want to call, here are the numbers.
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listen to president obama at yesterday's press conference about this issue. [video clip] >> as i said, we are already invested in trying to bring about a solution in sight of syria. obviously, there are options that are available to me that are on the shelves right now, that we have not deployed. that is a spectrum of options. askedly as last year, i the pentagon, our military, our intelligence officials to prepare for me what options might be available. i will not going to the details of what those options might be but clearly, that would be an escalation, in our view, of the threat to the security of the
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international community, our allies, and the united states and that means that there are some options we might not otherwise exercise that we would strongly consider. host: president obama speaking yesterday -- upi as a story -- nicholas burns, what would arming look like? guest: the rebel forces grew out of their communities, people from all walks of life took up arms when their communities were attacked by the assad regime two years ago said they are not well-trade. they're not well-arms. we're talking about providing light arms, may be anti aircraft material to the rebels. assad has control of the skies.
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they have been bombing civilian ever of its indiscriminately for well over a year. this is a brutal warfare. we would give them arms of this happens. to defend themselves and take the fight to be assad regime. is a big step because the united states has tried to stay disengaged and not put ourselves in the metal. beyond this, you've got all the other arab countries in transformation from egypt, which is now undergoing a tremendous political and economic crisis, to libya where we lost our ambassador, chris stevens last september in benghazi. that country is in the middle of a revolution. yemen is in great turmoil. the administration has to calculate that we cannot be everywhere. we cannot fight everybody's battles. where is the most important for the united states to be an increasingly, given the humanitarian crisis, and given the apparent use of chemical weapons, we need to be more actively involved in syria in order to limit the possibility
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of further war. i think that is where the washington discussion in congress and the ministration is now headed. host: let's go to buffalo, n.y., a democrat blind. caller: were you the undersecretary of the state during the bush administration? caller: were you under secretary of state during the bush administration? guest: yes, i was. i was a career official. i also served in the clinton administration. i was an intern in the carter administration. did you ever explained to the president what the heart of secretary and violence is? i do not think the president was aware of a sunni, and what the are. of the conflicts
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this is lack of knowledge. also, these countries were created by the british and the french after world war i when they defeated the ottoman empire, and they created the countries for their own self interests. it paid no attention to tribal alliances. product -- problems almost immediately. iraq was never a nationstate. i am looking for you to impart knowledge, not to get generalities. the is the heart of problem? what is the cause of the --blem question mark make problem? make the american people understand this is religion. host: let's get a response. guest: you make some good points. i disagree with some. one of the principal causes, not the only one, is religious
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differences. you have had a faction of shia islam led by the assad family that has been in control of syria. the majority of the population is sunni muslim. you are seeing a battle between the majority sunni muslim population, and on the other side, the loi, the kurds, the business community -- it has a sense of religious conflict, but it goes beyond that. there is no question that ideology in place. russia andies to iran. the sunni population does not have those relationships. where i disagree is i am not sure if you are referring to president obama or president bush, but these are intelligent
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men and they know that difference between sunni islam -- president bush was involved in the middle east, and president obama inherited those wars. whether you are a democrat or republican, we have had smart people in office. i disagree with you on that point. host: nicholas burns, either comparisons between how the obama administration is approaching syria and how the bush administration approached iraq? are there similarities? there aret: similarities because american interests tend to continue from one administration to the next. that was true in my career. president obama, when he ran for the senate and the two times he
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clearr president, he was that the united states had to be careful about getting into land wars in the middle east. he brought us out of iraq and is on a path for afghanistan, and you saw him yesterday on the question of chemical weapons, there are some that want him to leap into the war and use force against the side, but the president has said we have to and be suree facts of what we mean and what we say. that was part of the problem in 2003. it we said one of the justifications for the war in iraq was the presence of weapons of mass destruction, and it turned out while they had been there in the 1990's, they were no longer there in 2003. , inink president obama is
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, to be patient, prudent and cautious. let's establish all of the facts before we launch another military adventure in the middle east. even if the president decides to act, he could arm syrian rebels, but i do not think he will put american troops in syria. host: nicholas burns served as undersecretary for political affairs in the, to be patient, prudent and cautious. let's establish all of the facts before we launch another military george w. bush administration. he was career foreign service for 27 years. he was also the u.s. ambassador , and servedgreece on the national security council at the white house. he is now at the harvard kennedy school, a professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics and directs the future of diplomacy project and is faculty chair for programs on the middle east,
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india and south asia. don. centreville, virginia. you are on. caller: good morning, mr. burns. i must disagree with you on your response to the previous caller. i spent a big portion of my life in egypt, and i was shocked, dismayed, frustrated and disappointed by the response of the current administration to the so-called revolution in egypt. it is said that people that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat mistakes. that is what is happening now. this administration lacks a basic understanding of the makeup of the people in the middle east. i agree that president obama is a highly intelligent man, and president bush was a highly intelligent man, but the makeup of the people, and the way older
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and younger generations think seems to be hard for this administration to grab. look at where egypt is now -- under the control of a gang of the muslim brotherhood. --er the resolution hosnition happen, mubarak, who was an ally of the united states, was thrown to the curb because people took out to the streets in egypt. a big portion of the people that moved to the streets were made of hamas and the gangs coming from the west bank. host: let's give ambassador burns a chance to respond. guest: thank you. i will have to disagree with the first thing you say. we have a lot of smart people in washington. sometimes the government does
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not function very well, though we had smart, sophisticated people who understand the middle east. people who spend their entire lives training for this. i would not want you to think that we are unaware of basic realities. i think we are. we can differ about policy. i happen to think that the arab revolution that began in cairo tyree ore square in -- square, these were difficult issues for president obama and he has done well in responding. hosni mubarakat was an ally of the united states, but he clearly lost credibility in egypt and control of the streets when you saw well more than one million people on a daily basis in the streets. it was a difficult decision for
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president obama to cut loose our ties with him and throw support for the young people in the streets. what is now challenging for us is the muslim brotherhood supported government is in power. they have not performed well in cairo. they have mistreated the liberal, secular opposition and not make good decisions in terms of economic reform. a lot of us are concerned about basic stability in egypt. it is a keystone country in the middle east, the largest country, a trendsetter. if the revolution does not do well, it will have a profound impact on other countries. we have to hope egypt can write itself, and the united states can support it if we can. bill askswitter, about the role of egypt in syria -- egypt has the biggest and strongest military in the
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region, let them handle the mess and then mark says turkey and jordan have a major role to play in the situation. explain what is happening there. guest: one of the reasons why syria is so important is where it is located. i do not think you will see egypt take on a major role. egypt is imploding on the weight of its own problems, but the twitter response was correct in that surrounding countries are involved. jordan has been inundated with refugees from syria. in iraq, which is very unstable and violent, is also being affected, and turkey, a very strong country, is one of the leaders in responding to this crisis, supporting the opposition and opposing aside. -- bashir al-assad. as the u.s. thinks about what we ought to do, we can rely on the sport -- on the support of
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.urkey, qatar, saudi arabia we are not going to be alone on , but it is important for us to lead and it is in our interests to help stabilize this key country in the heart of the arab world. host: jamie. woodstock, georgia, go ahead. good morning. i am a long-time watcher, first time caller. as far as backing the rebels, in the 1970's the united states backed saddam hussein, who was a rebel at the time. binhe late 1980s, we back laden as a cia informant to give us information on the middle east. the syrian rebels right now have an alliance with al qaeda after a 12-year war and we're going to
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start backing them. whatever is going on over there -- i think that the american toernment owes the people speak the truth, and this has been going on through history. you have gaddafi that we back, noriega that we back, and i will take my answer off the air, hopefully truthful one. thank you very much. guest: thank you for your comments and questions. where i agree is we do need a national conversation about this. i do not think there is a prospect of the united states getting involved on the ground in another big war. we just had to really will big ones in iraq and afghanistan, but we certainly need to talk to the people more about why it
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is important for the united states to continue to lead in the world. why in the 21st century, where we are so much more integrated, why it is in our interest. thee i disagree with you is united states never supported saddam hussein when he was in power. certainly never supported osama bin laden. we never supported noriega in panama. the new york in " a poll is showing an isolationist streak in america. --e arson details from them here are some details from the poll.
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say no. , the u.s. has a responsibility in syria now. it says that those that are following the news closely are far more likely to think the u.s. has a responsibility to get involved there and nearly half of the group thinks the united states has a responsibility, but about the they do not.hink frompand on that, we have twitter -- even if they are chemical weapons, how do we know who set them off or if we will install a better regime, and joyce says what about the stakes for the u.s.? we do not know who these people are. guest: those are tough questions that the united states will have to answer. i am not surprised by the whole
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that you quoted from from "the new york times." we have a lot of people hurting at home. we had this major effort in iraq and afghanistan where hundreds of thousands of troops have served with great valor and the country does not want to leap into another foreign adventure that i certainly understand that. on the other hand, our interests are at stake. a lot of our jobs depend on how successful we are overseas. we have an alliance system in europe, a nato alliance, we to abandon those people. isolationism has been in american history since the founding of our republic. we go back and forth from withdrawing from the world to engaging in the world. in the 21st-century first century we have to be committed to lead and be involved in the world because any other stance
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in the united states, to pull back, he would be a recipe for failure -- economic and political failure. we have to be involved. where your callers, and the people on twitter, where they are right to be asking the tough questions is we cannot be involved everywhere. we have to pick and choose. i already said that i think president obama's caution has now theht here, but events in syria are spinning out of control. millions are suffering. the world leader, the united states, has to organize the rest of the world to at least get them economic assistance and maybe arm the rebels to this ofd -- to speed the end this ugly war that the assad government started. host: eugene robinson had a "iece in "the washington post
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called "stay out of syria." if wed -- host: that is liberal columnist eugene robinson. is there a point no return? guest: there is. the problem with terry intervention and we have -- military intervention, and i think winston churchill said this, once you start a war, you do not know where it is going to end. that is a problem for president obama. the administration had a lot of
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smart people. i think there is a way to fund humanitarian support, to provide ,egal arms for the opposition all of that, but not be drawn into a land war. we were able to intervene in bosnia and kosovo and essentially use air power to end big wars. we only put troops on the ground after the wars ended after we in bothther peace places. that was resident clinton's administration, and it was done well and effectively. that is a possible model for president obama to look at. host: nicholas burns, the harvard kennedy school. lily is our next caller. california. democrat line.
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--k out good morning caller: good morning. i do disagree with you on your stance on the u.s. getting involved in syria. you say that we can fund the rebels. who are the rebels? how do we know the rebels we assist will not later turned against us as did the people in afghanistan where we provided them missiles? gasndly, with respect to being used, i employ you to look at japan where terrorists commuter trains and look at what the affect was there. a fox analyst had observed , and thehout a mask on
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next day the hospital staff had masks on and they even put something on the patient. i do not believe the united states should borrow funds from china to pay for weapons to give to the rebels, and not fund social security, which i am on, and do not want to see that cut. host: tali, billy. touching on that -- thank you, lily. twitter, as china agreed to lend us money? guest: i do not think china interference in international affairs. good questions a
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on who we will help, and this is my president obama has been prudent and has hesitated. we need to make sure we can find rebel groups in syria that we believe, should they take power , they will not be adversaries. they will be moderate groups that essentially want to build a democratic government. we do not want it to go to an al qaeda offshoot. alre is a group that are qaeda-affiliated, and we would not want to see them in power. can the united states and turkey and jordan arrange arms transfers only to the good guys? that is difficult, and that is why the president has hesitated. you are right to raise the problem of the japanese group that launched a chemical weapons attack in the tokyo subway 20 years ago in 1993.
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these chemical weapons are so dangerous and the president spoke to this in his press conference yesterday -- we need to be careful to do everything we can to see that they are not used again. that is another reason why i believe we ought to be more to make sureia they cannot use chemical weapons because the president around the world is dangerous. host: nicholas burns, former undersecretary of state. jim. republican, georgia. good morning. no insult to anyone in washington, d.c., and i am not a obama supporter, but let's go back through history. intelligent people gave us korea, vietnam, 60,000 people killed, not including civilians. the cold war. trillions of dollars wasted. when will we keep our nose out
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of other peoples business? those people are religious fanatics. point iell, sir, the was trying to make earlier, as i said, i have served in both republican and democratic administrations. people in washington are trying to do their best. they are well-meaning, intelligent, and they are trying to serve the american people well. these are tough questions that you race, going from wars in korea and vietnam to more recent wars. we had a big national debate when i was young over vietnam. we certainly had a debate over whether it was right for us to go into iraq. i would say we have to be skeptical about the use of force. we cannot shoot and ask questions later and we have to be tough-minded and ask the right questions before we get into a conflict,, but i would
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not agree that the united states should just stay home because there are times where we have to do the right thing and help people in distress. i mentioned before, in the clinton administration, there was a huge humanitarian crisis in bosnia and kosovo, and americans were skeptical that we should go in, but we went in, , andlives, stop two wars we did not lose a great number of american soldiers. i would grant you that iraq and afghanistan have set a different tone because they have been so costly in terms of human life and have dragged on so long -- we are still in afghanistan. we have to be judicious about the use of force on the but we also have to lead,.
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i am in favor of american engagement with the world because that is in the interest of our own country at our jobs are at stake. our young kids have to compete to preserve american jobs against competition from the rest of the world. we have to help allies survived and countries in great distress. host: nicholas burns joins us from boston at the harvard kennedy school. here is a recent pc did for "the boston globe." "syria is melting away." he writes -- here is a tweet from becky -- if iran and syria are allies, could ran perceive u.s. intervention in syria as an attack on irani am in favor of n engagement and retaliate? ,uest: they might not like it they will oppose a we do, but
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they will not see it as an attack. iran is a difficult, brutal regime, but it is a rational government and it will not take us on because we are a lot stronger. that is a different issue on what we should do to stop them from becoming a nuclear weapons power, but one of the reasons there is a benefit to support rebels in syria would be to decrease terrain in influence in the arab -- or rainy and influence in the arab world. , california. democrats line. caller: i actually agree with one of the republicans that should nothat we have to fight these fights alone. we should have more help from our allies. i disagree that we have to be
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the leaders of this -- these conflict. another point i would like to and is in regard to iraq, you can find it on youtube, john mccain said we would be in and out of their in six months and here we are. and i will get off the line, is that mr. burns made the comment that both president obama and president bush were both intelligent man. as i am concerned, bush could not put a complete sentence together. thank you for letting me talk. would just say it is where would agree with you is not on your last comment, but your first comment. we should not try to act alone in the world. we are the world leader, the
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most powerful country militarily and economically, yet we need to have other countries help us. if we send rebels -- weapons to opposition forces, we will have help and i would agree -- share the responsibility, ask other countries to step up and paid for a lot of this. i think some of the arab on is allwill pay appropriate. we are the world leader. no country approaches us in our. -- power. because of that position, we have a responsibility to the rest of the world, and as i said before, it is in our interest to be active in the rest of the world. i try not to be partisan. i support president obama. i must say i served president bush. he is a good man.
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he is someone who wants the best for our country. i think it is important to be fair to people. whether you agree with president bush or not, he is a good person and he is very smart. host: mont vernon, illinois, robert is on our republican line. caller: i had a comment that i feel that the reason we are all of theseand threats against us is because we are sticking our nose in businesses that do not need to be stuck into, and the people we are killing, the innocent people, they grieve the same way we do, and they will retaliate. host: ok, robert. nicholas burns, danger on either front -- anger at the u.s. or other nations for not getting
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involved or for getting involved. guest: the first thing to remember is we have a lot of friends in the world. some of the people that have been bombing us, let's take 9/11, that was osama bin laden and al qaeda. we were right to strike back against them in afghanistan in october, 2001. i live in cambridge, massachusetts, and right across the river, two weeks ago, we had a bombing. the two young men who are alleged to have carried out these bombings, they went to school and live just about one mile from the studio. from what we know about them and why they undertook this terrible action, i do not recognize any legitimacy in what they did, and nobody in boston or around the country does. these were young men with evil in their hearts, and they chose to set off bombs in crowded
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places and to maim little kids and innocent people. the united states needs to stand up against that kind of terrorism. we are not the cause of it. we did not bring this upon ourselves. we did not do anything to promote such action in the hearts of those awol young men in came -- two young men in cambridge, massachusetts. i am not ready to blame the united it's because we are active around the world. i do not think that is an excuse to take up arms. now we have the right to put trial andsarnaev on a right to convict him. we had a right to go after al qaeda for the damage they .nflicted on us on 9/11 host: nicholas burns and 27
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years in foreign service and it was under secretary for political affairs under the george w. bush administration and he is now at the harvard kennedy school. thank you for joining us this morning. you go thank you. a pleasure to -- guest: thank you. a pleasure to be on the show. host: coming up next, the president passed 100 days of his second term and joan walsh of salon will explain how he is doing. the recent cover story on the u.s. meat industry. first an update from c-span radio. >> as the president marks his 100th day in office, he is filling out his cabinet with another appointment expected today, north carolina democrat mel wants who will be nominated to head the federal financing agency.
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is thentative watt second major charlotte politician chosen in recent days, following the nomination post ofny fox to the transportation secretary. you can hear this nomination at 2:15 pm eastern time on c-span radio. a race for the u.s. senate seat between ms. gomez and commerce and markey for the seat held by john kerry before he came -- became secretary of state. should -- lawt the anniversary.
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this white marble statute of president lincoln was initially unveiled in 1868, three years after he was killed. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> the intelligentsia is german by this certainty that religion and reason are in different is driven by this certainty that religion and reason are in different boxes, that science and religion are at war with each other. someone that is rational is not religious, or someone that is religious is not rational. comic itself, is the ultimate irrational idea -- this, itself, is the ultimate irrational idea. religion underpinned science and
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reason. >> author, scientist and winner of the orwell prize for journalism, melanie phillips takes your calls, comments and noon eastern on c-span two. "washington journal" continues. host: joan walsh is editor at large at salon and author of the book "what is the matter with white people?" president obama marked 100 days of his second term and we see headlines like this one. president obama says "i am still relevant." is he finding his voice having an effective audience? how would you rate how he has done on the big issues? pre-k's i give him -- >> --
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guest: i give him a b. we focus on the president and act like he has magic powers. a tough he has congress to work with, and the republicans in particular and democrats are to blame at times, too, have devoted themselves to not working with him. a lot of people thought he should have done more on the gun control will. i do not know he had it in his power to move those last six votes on either side. i am more critical on the sequester. newt: on gun control, then " york times" is sending reporters up to kelly ayotte where she is drawing supporters and detractors for her vote
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against the gun control bill. "the wallheadline in street journal." "theou watching -- washington post e are you watching what is happening? guest: very closely. she is in a purple state, so she needs to look to her right, and also to democrats and women. she was just reelected. she could have taken more courageous votes. this is what advocates need to do, and this is what pro--gun control people have failed to do. what happened to her, that town hall, it is very unusual for to dol advocates something that confrontational, but that is what you will see
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going forward because there are people activated and mobilized and there is also some money behind them. she is becoming the poster child for someone that voted the wrong way and did not look at the entirety of her constituency. host: our guest had this recent case. giffords is a fighter, and the nra will be sorry." you write that it is a law of nature, when democrats run away from legacy, the publicans run far to the right. what should democrats including president obama be doing? guest: i think they need to recognize that a law of nature. the president admits he made mistakes in his first term, winning a decisive election and a post-partisan message. he got independent voters and some republicans.
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how he was aabout force of nature that could change the way politics work. clearly it was not going to happen. it -- he tried to make part of leading us to compromise, and it took too long to realize that was not going to work. i think democrats, even on the gun bill, they threw out -- harry reid tossed aside dianne feinstein to her great chagrin. you never see a senator so publicly said. without using the assault weapons ban is a big stick to let techcrunch x be the middle ground. instead, -- background checks to be the middle ground. i do not know -- think they know
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how to play the inside-outside game, or playing tough for a while and proving you will not negotiate with yourself and give everything away. host: is the issue dead right now? you write the nra will be sorry. guest: they will be sorry. i do not know that it is dead in this term. there is a determination to bring this back. who has actually seen his approval rate go up since his leadership on this in pennsylvania, another purple state -- people are encouraged by the reaction. i saw a certain amount of sadness in gabby giffords and i felt sadness that people were not outraged enough by her shooting and the killing of .hose people in tucson, arizona it took newtown, connecticut,
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and the people that are engaged are not going away. host: joan walsh is our guest. if you would like to join the conversation -- of thealso the author book that came out last year " what is the matter with white people? it is newly out in paperback. you mentioned sequestration. fix to the a aviation industry -- issue. blinked first" is the way politico reported it. what are the credits and the president doing right and wrong in your opinion? guest: this is where i am critical. there is hand wringing in the white house where they say we
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will not waste political capital. if he had said hang tough, i do not want nancy pelosi, maxine waters -- people that voted for this fix, people like are really -- a black bar -- people like barbara lee. they have been saying no to little fixes. we will have a big fix, not let the powerful people get their fix. i know that it hurts. we are not going to let people who fly feel no pain while we are kicking kids out of head start. this is where democrats do not stand up for their own constituencies and do not have a strategy. it is entirely predictable. it was electable when the debt
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ceiling compromise was announced back in -- predictable when the debt ceiling compromise was announced back in 2011. i think this is going to be painful, but the way to prevail is not to compromise on every single thing. said he did not like it but would sign it. done this, he could have made a point that we are all in this together. it was a stupid idea and we have to fix it. host: npr reported yesterday that the sequester has put some needing housing aid back to square one. ?uest: can you imagine people wait for vouchers, a ticket to a little bit of stability. it is already a tough process,
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and then you get it, and it is taken away from you. lotteries to take kids out of head start -- i do not think we understand how fragile the system is, yet we are putting away at a -- cutting away at it even as it is so tiny. also, down the road there will be job losses. democrats never adequately explained the role of government in setting the preconditions for the rise of the middle class in the 1950's, the 1960 plus in the 1970's. the republicans like to say government cannot create jobs. look around us. washington, d.c., as one of the lowest unemployment rates. washington creates jobs. , public, firefighters safety workers -- they are crucial to us, and democrats
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allowed this to happen without adequately defending the positive role of government and that is too often the case. host: joan walsh of salon. matt, the story a, new york. democrats line. , new york. emma crestline. -- democrats line. could you explain why austerity could benefit the republicans? i understand list by your own bootstraps, that these policies tend to be damaging, and how do they profit or benefit from it? guest: it is probably grabbing the commons, leaving things open to privatization. we have seen this in the uk. it often costs more once we have privatized something. we see it over and over. it is also that they have sold
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this tax cut message for so long, it does not matter that it did not work under reagan or bush. we have eight years of testing the notion that if you let rich people keyboard of their money they will create jobs and lift all boats. we saw the opposite of that. the clinton tax rates were more conducive to a strong recon -- economy. they have been looking at grover , andist for the origin they have to continue to insist that revenue is never the answer and cuts are always the answer. i talk about this in my book. they demonize people that rely on government and people who rely on government did not realize they're talking about them. in the 1960s, the 1970s, in the
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1980s, the welfare queens were not them, but now some of them are the welfare queens. , but foring a while now republicans are pulling a fast one with his argument. host: republican caller. florida. caller: thank you. for full disclosure, i was a democrat for almost 20 years, voted for obama the first time, send saw he was a complete fraud. i am now a ron paul republican. the republicans were stonewalling obama, but i will remind you that they passed the health care bill that was somewhat bipartisan. , having a very low unemployment rate, it is called bureaucratic red tape. that is the reason why there is
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an climate in washington, d.c., -- employment in washington, d.c., the civil servants, but that is not my main issue. my main issue is this policy with the gun control with kelly ayotte, she did not vote sincerely against her constituents. she voted for the constitution. the constitution lists rights not given from government. they are unalienable. the government cannot take those away. any rights that are not listed are mine as well. we do not live in a democracy. we live in a representative republic where the minority is protected. host: you brought up a lot of issues. gun control, health care law, and bureaucratic red tape. nost: the president got help in the end from
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republicans on the health-care law, but the democrats held together and were able to pass it. on the second amendment, the cleare court has been that we have the capacity to regulate guns clear that we have the capacity to regulate guns, but the question is how. it is an unalienable right, but it is not a right that cannot be regulated. there is a lot of misinformation host: you mentioned your book.
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our last caller was a ron paul supporter. how does that fit into your analysis, when caller say i am not really a democrat, i am sort of a republican. guest: one thing that the caller said that was interesting is that obama has continued a lot of the policy of the bush administration and that is true. he. our last caller was a ron paul supporter. how does that fit into your analysis, when caller say i am not really a democrat, i am sort of a republican. guest: one thing that the caller said that was interesting is that obama has continued a lot of the policy of the bush administration and that is true. he has disappointed both liberals and conservatives with some of the civil liberties and national security houses. there are some ron paul supporters that think gun contrl being unconstitutional. the supreme court has weighed in over and over again. that is not the case. he was too easy on the banks. progressives agree on that point, too, and starting in the 1980's, democrats ran away from their legacy as people that and soldhe little guy out to big business. low unemployment in washington is also the result of the scandal of lobbying money and ,ow it washes in on both sides and the revolving door where people get richer leaving congress, whether they are immigrants or republicans, to go out -- democrats or republicans , to go out and lobbying industry. , how much twitter
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waste and fraud is in the government budget and was there a plan to reduce it before sequestration question mark would it have happened -- sequestration? would it have happened? guest: this president has reduced discretionary spending, taking out medicare and defense , and reduced it to the level of dwight eisenhower had it is .ower -- eisenhower it is lower now than it ever was. he has had big spending on war. he put the words on the budget. the bush-cheney administration did a lot of that off the budget, and he had a terrible recession to cope with. of course there is waste and fraud, but the idea that democrats do not care about that, bill clinton left us a surplus. emma kratz tend to do better at -- democrats tend to do better at cutting the budget that
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republicans do, yet that is information people cling to. host: joan walsh joins us from she is editor at large. she joined in 1998 as the first full-time news editor. you can also catch her on msnbc doing political analysis. her background includes time as a freelancer and business owner. she has also been a columnist for "the san francisco magazine ." jill, ohio. independent line. caller: i do not know where to start. to your last point about this administration being fiscally responsible, why is that word out -- that he is a tax and spend liberal, or a socialist or a canyon -- it is insane.
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i think president obama has done a lot as a president. cashual pay for equal pay for equal work by women is important. pay for equal work by women is important. health care is important. in the free nations world have democracy, except us. it is missing. and, we killed bin laden. this is a president that is good and cares about people, yet everything on the right is, i will say it again, insane, denying reality. guest: i have to agree with you way too much. .here was a concerted effort the president came in, very popular, and he wanted to reach
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across the aisle. no matter what people say now, that he should be drinking water with mitch mcconnell, but he withut -- drinking more mitch mcconnell, but he did put his hand across the aisle. he said the only way we win is said thech mcconnell only way we win is by depriving him. -- what they succeeded in doing is tarnishing his reputation, and the leadership did not do this, but they tolerated this. the talk that he was a muslim, a canyon, a socialist, not eligible for the presidency. that is lunacy. the idea that mitch mcconnell, john boehner, or made romney romneyot do -- mitt
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would not do, what john mccain would do, and say no, ma'am, he is a christian and he is one of us. they tolerated it because it benefited them. you saw the president struggle with older white voters, who they scared the heck out of and it worked to a degree but he still want. host: little neck, new york. mike. republican. caller: i am a moderate .epublican, a dying breed i find that nowadays progressives and conservatives are reaching more for big ideas and big changes that tend to alienate someone like me who is a centrist, and traditionally in
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american politics, especially when it comes to presidential campaigns, the president's going to the edges to get their basis, and when it comes to the general election, they go to the middle to get folks like me who wants government and regulations, and also the freedom and republican would want. not only with president obama, it also with president bush, have pushed away from the political argument completely because there is no place for someone that reaches into both sides. speaking on the progressive agenda, why do progressives continue to do this when the republicans become poster children for evaluating anyone that does not go into their -- alienating anyone that does not go into their agenda. why do progressives not use this
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as an opportunity to get people in the center that are not going to the voting booths anymore had -- anymore. host: we will get a response from joan walsh, but how does this play out, who do you end up supporting? caller: as it comes to federal elections, i become less interested because both candidates are so far away from me that i do not feel like i have an impact and i tend to become an independent that votes for a minority party just to give them the percentage to , as them federal funding opposed to either party coming to the ideas that i hold. host: ok. let's get a response from joan walsh. it is interesting. i grew up on long island, an oceanside, and i have republican
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relatives and i have heard the same thing. they democrats left them, and now they feel the republicans are leaving them. it is hard because they're used to be that variety of northeastern republican. and withr rockefeller, that in of republican becoming kind of extinct, you still have chris christie, a couple of them, but even chris christie has moved further to the right on some things. there is very little moderation in the party. there are very few people that look to the middle, whose constituencies are in the middle and can bridge those gaps. host: warrington, pennsylvania, democratic caller. debbie. caller: why do you think democrats in the senate put up with harry reid? he had a chance to change the filibuster rule, he played loose
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with the gun regulations. is there any reason we put up with him? he is from a small state, a more conservative state, and he is very concerned, like everybody else is, i guess, with making sure he wins his elections. why do we put up with it? guest: i am not in the senate, so i cannot say for sure, but other names are floated, and they end up being more divisive. a read becomes a consensus candidate. i was critical of him. he has worked closely with the nra. bettergotten somewhat since newtown, connecticut, but he is still trying to thread the needle and not completely , so hee the nra disrespected senator dianne feinstein and her legislation. by alluded to the real push
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some to reform the filibuster rule and get us back to the democracy role, away from the 60 vote threshold, and he flubbed it. e had a we too talk around why we lose, but we didn't actually lose worked against us. and so i'm by myself very disappointed with harry reid, but i don't have a vote up there. there's only so much i can do. host: joan walsh with salon, where she's editor at large. here's one of her recent pieces, adam lanza versus the knock-off jihadists. nd in it, she writes --
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host: why do you think that is, and what conclusions do you draw? guest: well, i think once you designate something terrorism and, you know, a pressure cooker bomb is terrorism, but automatic weapons in a first grade terrorism isn't terrorism, you just -- the narrative shifts. i know that reporters -- i got some pushback on twitter around that piece, respectful, but, you know, reporters tried really hard to get the lanza story. but another thing i write about in my piece is their wealth shielded them. in some ways, sadly, nance alanza's wealth in the end may have done her in, because she consistently pulled out of the community. she pulled her son out of every school. she home schooled him. she did not avail herself of the agencies that might have helped her. whereas, you know, the tsarnaevs seemed to have been known to every, you know, public safety welfare agency. they lived in a very dense working-class neighborhood where people knew their business, literally, the auto
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business was outside on the street sometimes. so, again, it's not a media conspiracy, but i do think that the wealth and privilege of the lanzas versus the conditions of the lives of the tsarnaevs create this amazing contrast in what we know about both families. host: let's go to tail has a, florida on our independent line. hi. caller: good morning. how are you? host: great. caller: wonderful. a couple of points, while i've been listening this morning to ms. walsh. one, -- host: well, i think we lost her. try to call us back to see if you can get on the line again. i don't know how we got cut off. connie, michigan, republican. hi, connie. caller: i had questions about when you stated -- ms. walsh stated -- about the republicans didn't help with the healthcare law. unfortunately, i was bedridden during those, and i watched all those. and time after time the republicans tried to put amendments through in the house
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and the senate, and they were stonewalled by the democrats, and that's when i turned republican. i was an independent, and as president did balance the budget, as far as g.d.p. spending, but the debt was still high, the ratio was high, and i think the american people need to understand that, our debt is huge with every president, but yes, they can balance the budget on the g.d.p. spending, but it has nothing to do with the overall debt. so i think both parties are at fault when it comes to that, but they were literally stonewalked when i had to watch all those damn meetings. i think this needs to be on both sides and not just aiming at all the mud at the republicans. thank you. guest: thank you. i have to beg to differ on that point, because i wrote a story about it at the time. the democrats accepted
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something like between 160 and 170 republican amendments when the bill was in its key senate committees. they accepted amendments to change the bill that in some ways watered it down, and then they never got the republican votes. so the amendment process worked, but the process worked, ok, we're going to take your 160 amendments and vote for it, yes? no, that didn't work. host: el paso, texas, democrats line. caller: hi, good morning. ms. walsh, i was wondering, in regards to all the problems america faces, the failure to rein in some of the practices f the bigger banks, income inequality, the needless parts of defense spending, the corrosive influence of money in politics, and the out of control costs of higher education, to say nothing of the failure of public education to really educate new generations of students, in
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regards to all these difficulties, and a apologize, this is another question, but is the american experiment over ? is it too much of a problem for, you know, any one administration or even suck siff administrations to fix? guest: well, it is too big for one administration, but successive administrations can make a lot of progress. as the previous caller said from ohio, this president has accomplished a great deal. it's not nearly enough, and too often it was watered down, whether by his own advisors or by listening to republicans who were not populists and were protecting banks or insurance companies. that's problematic, but this isn't over. we all get discouraged, but i think, you know, every few generations, people -- we wring our hands, whether it's people, progressive people or sometimes it's conservatives, you know, pat buchanan a few years ago told us america is over, because the white majority is
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disappearing. bill o'reilly thinks america is over, because traditional white america, the traditional white establishment is gone. america is changing. it's transforming. its racial mix is unprecedented. some of our problems have been because of that, and conservative white people not seeing a place for them. what i try to do in my book is show conservative white people how to be part of this mixed america that it's becoming. these are tough things that we face at every juncture in our future, and we always do the right thing eventually. and we will -- we will gradually solve these problems, but we will not make as much progress in these few terms as the obama administration as i would have hoped, or as he would have hoped, i'm sure. host: the new book is "what's the matter with white people: finding our way in the next america." it came out in hardcover last year. you share some of your own personal experiences, your family history, where you come from. how much of your job at salon
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and when you come on shows like this is about sharing that personal experience and not just doing sort of the journalism? guest: it's a really interesting question, because when a found myself doing when i was first on msnbc was sort of playing the role of -- i was cast as the san francisco liberal, but then hosts would find out i'm an irish catholic from long island, you know, with cousins who are cops and uncles who are firefighters, and i really saw the way our political process defines somebody like me as, i don't know, living on a commune, raised, you know, raised collectively or something, not part of the american mainstream. there's been a really ripple narrative about democrats that casts us aside, and that when even conservative hosts or even people like pat buchanan were confronted by somebody like me, i am irish catholic, die love my family, but i am a progressive, it was hard for them to pigeonhole me, and could argue from a place of compassion to republicans who
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feel differently, but strength that i'm just a patriotic, american, and i deprom a strong, rich, progressive tradition, you know, catholic social teaching tradition that i was not going to be sort of defined out of the america mainstream by conservatives who say no, that's our purview, you're over there. host: you have 8,000 followers on twitter -- 88,000 follow others twitter. how often do you tweet, and how critical is that to the work you do and so salon's role? is how we've known it, the website. how is this, social media, part of that mission? guest: it's very important. salon has a great social media presence, and i tweet too much. i officially dedeclared this morning, i tweet too much. i tweeted about my dog, the san francisco giants, and politics. and i love it. i've developed a really great following, and i engage my following, and i was having a conversation with someone yesterday who was defending me
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and saying i get a lot of guts, but the vast majority of what i get is support and humor. and so i think it's important, because i think people can feel alienated and people can feel like their voices aren't heard, but twitter is a democrat tiesing process. i've never met david ox he willrod, but every once in a while he'll tweet at me. i don't want to overestimate the power that it gives the average person. many people people are still disenfranchised, but there's something cool about seeing people responding to you and giving you thoughts that you thought you hadn't had, and i really value it. host: let's go to wf our followers on twitter, boring file clerk writes in and asked, was it wise to focus on passing obamacare when the president should have started fixing the economy first? guest: i think i'm not going to second-guess him on that, because i think he thought it was part of fixing the economy. the explosion of our health costs are killing the economy. we saw it in the auto restructuring, you know, we're
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spending -- the car companies are spending more on health insurance than on a lot of other things. i think he believes that he had one shot at something big and that that was the one thing he could do to make a long-term change that would long-term benefit the economy, but it had political costs. he didn't keep communicating about why it was central to the economy, one thing. and second, i think he could have been doing and talking more about jobs while he got that done. so i don't think it was executed perfectly, but i absolutely defend the decision to do it. host: erin, you're on with joan walsh, democrats line. go ahead. caller: well, i asked that question earlier. host: oh, i'm sorry, aaron. caller: no, it's fine. host: you're still on the line. what's your followup? anything else you want to add? caller: yes, i really appreciate your answer, saying that it's good that we internalize these things, and we can discuss it. and i was glad to hear that.
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we can come forward in the end and make something of all these problems. guest: we always do. caller: maybe not at once, but through a successive series of administrations. host: all right. let's go to harold in westwood, new jersey, republicans line. hi, harold. caller: hi, joan, good morning. good morning to all. you're optimistic. however, we started talking about our president. he has rated himself. he rated himself as an income. you rated himself as a b. i have 12 grandchildren, and what they have enormous college loans. they have no jobs. i looked around. people are suffering right and left. we give a lot of money to the united nations. we give a lot of money to planned parenthood. the united nations should be handling syria. we should not be handling syria. we should not be giving our money to them unless they can do that job. as far as the republicans go,
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they tried to work with this man. o'connell said, why will obama not be like clinton was? if obama would work with the republicans, he then said he could be successful. he said if obama did not work with the republicans, that he should be a one-term president. i would give him an f, and i would give you an f, because you gave him a b. he is a total failure. host: all right, let's get a response, harold. guest: well, harold, i'm glad you're not grading me or the president. i certainly appreciate what you said about student loans. i think it's a tragedy. but, you know, this goes back to a lot of what i talk about in the book. we used to be an opportunity society. we thought it was a good thing to build public universities and make it possible for young people to go to college. in california, where i live, most of the time the university of california system was free
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until ronald reagan imposed tuition. it's been a republican decision to cut back on the money that we're putting in public universities and to really make it more of something only for the wealthy. we have decided that students need loans for tuition as opposed to subsidizing it through the public university system, which when i went to the university of wisconsin, it was $350 a semester. i'm not that old, you know? and so i really don't think you can blame all that on the democrats by any means. host: let's hear from a democrat, this one in south carolina. robert, hi. caller: hi. good morning. host: good morning. caller: i'm a real admirer of salon and also joan walsh. my question is, you know, the total hypocrisy that is evident in today's world and same world, has to do with the fact that there's so much concern about the deaths in syria, and
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mccain calling it shameful and so forth. but we've had an equal number of deaths in this country every year from lack of any realistic gun control laws. and in fact, since 1980, there have been over a million deaths, and this is a problem that could be resolved, and yet nothing is done. but all of this concern is for the people being killed in syria. do you have any comment on this hypocrisy? guest: well, it is hypocrisy, and i also think what you're seeing is, you know, throughout my lifetime and even before, the republicans really had an edge on national security. they were the more hawkish party. they were trusted to keep us safe. you know, they blamed the democrats for "losing vietnam." they blame them for losing china, going back to the 1940's and 1950's. and so, what i see in this rising hawkishness on the right is an attempt to take away the advantage -- president obama absolutely nirlingtsized that
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advantage in 2012. he had the edge on national security, maybe for the first time as a democrat. and so, a lot of this war mongering is really to say, hey, you think this guy kept you safe? he didn't. and there's this murder in libya and now we've got this situation in syria, and this desire to have us intervening in places that will ultimately make us less safe. so that's the one thing on the syria-libya side. on the gun side, we talked about this before. the democrats gave up this issue. they stopped fighting. they stopped playing. they walked off the field for the most part. and it's going to take a lot of time to change the equation and to have the kinds of thinking that you're setting out, that we think that it's an entire number of deaths in syria, but it's a tolerable number of deaths in the united states to guns that, yes, we don't want any -- any american to die of terrorism, but we tolerate 30,000 people dying of gun violence every year. the situation in our inner city
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communities is shameful. the blood in the streets is a shame, and a scandal, but we tolerate that because they're not our kids and we don't see it. that's the way we're going to learn to talk about this, and that's the way we're going to win over the long haul. but it's a long haul. host: lawyer anyone scranton, pennsylvania, republican, go ahead. caller: hi, thank you for taking the call. thank you for c-span. i love what you do. i just agree with one comment, and that would be that, you know, big business is in bed with the government, and it makes me sick to see what's happening. and, you know, with other callers that have been calling in, i would lake to know your comments on -- i would like to know your comments on how people call america a tell increase it is not. it is a republic, and it is a constitutional republic. host: we're almost out of time, lori. guest: you know, certainly i understand that legally, but i think the resonance of the term
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democracy is that it is one person, one vote, and theoretically at least we can each change this country's future with our votes. it doesn't always happen. it's not always easy. but that is what we are, and that's what matters to most americans. and so, you know, i think people -- people on both sides seem really kind of discouraged right now, which is a little bit sad to me. but, you know, we go in and out of periods of feeling very optimistic and having a period, and then we look at what we've done and what we haven't done, and we sit back and take stock. we'll move forward again. host: joan walsher her book is "what's the matter with white people." she's the editor at large at salon. you can find her writing at thanks so much. guest: thanks for having me. host: coming up next -- our spotlight on magazine segment looks at a piece in "harper's magazine" on the u.s. meat
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industry. ted conover will discuss what goes on at meat processing plants. but first, an update from c-span radio. >> it's 9:17 a.m. eastern. a private survey company finds u.s. companies added the fewest jobs in seven months in march. payroll process or a.d.p. says private employers added just 119,000 jobs last month, hiring in march slower than first thought. manufacturers cut 10,000 jobs, while construction firms added 15,000. it's may day, and one immigrant rights group says this is the day "the invisible become visible." thousands of people in cities across the country are expected to rally today for immigration reform. the rallies coming two weeks after the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the senate that would put millions of people in the u.s. illegally on the path to u.s. ate zenship. -- u.s. citizenship. at least two people are dead and an undetermined number
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injured after a bomb exploded today in a busy shopping area in the capital of doing stan. a spokesman had no details on the force or construction of the bomb, but it's home to the parents of the suspects in last month's boston marathon bombing. and those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> behind this wall is the theater, and that's a place where a class or a group of friends who come together can go in and study the decisions that george made, on the financial crisis, on the surge in iraq, hurricane katrina, afghanistan, and get the information that he was given at the time, and then be sort of prodded by the press, like, what are you going to decide? what are you going to do? does it reinforce his decision? it shows people what he was faced with. the information that he had at
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the time, why he chose what he did, and then just puts people in his shoes to see if that's what they would have gotten if they had been president. i think it also gives people an idea what it's like to be president and to have those sort of, really, world, you know, serious decisions to make. but all the decisions that come to the desk of the president of the united states, and in fact, nearly every big problem does come to the desk of the president of the united states. >> join former first lady laura bush for a tour of the new george w. bush library and museum tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> "wall street journal" continues. -- "washington journal" continues. host: this week's spotlight on magazine segment looks at harper's magazine, the "the way of all flesh." its author, ted conover, joins us from new york city this morning. thanks for being with us.
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and start us off by telling us, how and why did you decide to do this piece? guest: always been interested in places i wasn't supposed to go, i guess. my last book for which i'm well known was about working in a prison for a year. and it just struck me, as a journalist, we should be talking about places like that, and i feel the same way about the origin of the food i eat. i'm a meat eater. there's a lot of attention on meat lately. and i thought the best way to take a look inside a slaughterhouse for an extended period of time would be to become an inspector. host: you talk about participatory journalism and the cover of this story says "under cover," it describes your reporting as being undercover. but in the article, you declare it to be embedded. what's the difference? guest: well, there's a couple of levels here. one is that federal -- usda meat inspectors are, by law,
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embedded in every slaughterhouse. the slaughterhouse can't operate without federal inspectors present. so they have to give them space in the factory. they gave us parking places. i had a locker room inside the cargill meat solutions factory in nebraska, along with my cohort, a federal inspector. ut on another level, i am -- i'm embeding myself with those inspectors, without them knowing that my goal is to write about what life is like in there. so there's a couple of layers to that. host: ted conover, before we get more into the piece itself, how did it work for you to get in there, and did you become really part of the team of usda inspectors that was doing the day-to-day work in the slaughterhouse? guest: yeah, exactly, that was my goal. it took me two years to do it, because it wasn't that hard to qualify. you can either get this job by
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experience. most people in it have worked in the meat industry. a lot of them on the line or in quality assurance in a big plant. you can also get it by having a four-year college degree with enough math and science. i applied. they told me i lacked some of the math i thought i had, so i took a long-distance learning course. i got four credits. and a couple of years later, there i was out in nebraska. so, yes, i had a badge. i was a federal meat inspector. there was nothing pretend about it. i was fully devoted to the job. it was required -- it required all my attention, especially in the early days, when there's so much to learn. i mean, meat inspectors don't just look. in the beef plant, they use knives and a hook to cut into pieces of meat to look for disease. so it's very participatory, and it's especially demanding, especially at the beginning. host: you mentioned that the plant you worked in was owned
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by cargill. they have pushed back the lincoln journal star in nebraska, they say that cargill is calling it a fable-like tale. what it is your response to their concerns? guest: well, it's kind of a funny way to put it. this is a 14,000-word piece. they picked up on a couple of tiny factual inaccuracies. but the funny thing about their response is they likened it to the jungle, which is, of course, the powerful novel that got meat inspections started in this country. i was very flattered. none of us can hope to have that kind of power with our writing these days. within a few weeks of the publication, congress had established a federal meat inspection in this country. that was an incredible and sudden reform.
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these days, it wasn't like that at all. i wasn't going after the industry. you know, i wasn't targeting cargill in any way. i didn't see a single rat in the factory. i did not see anybody fall into a grinding machine. you know, as in the jungle. but what i saw was the way industrial slaughter works, the way you can run more than 5,000 head of cattle through a factory in a day and turn them into meat. the ingenious machines that help get that done, the huge corps of workers, mostly latin america, who use knives all day, you know, and get what they consider a fair wage, but at a huge cost to their health, a lot of them. there's an awful lot of repetitive stress injury in these places. i suffered it myself.
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even though my job wasn't as intensely about cutting as theirs, i got little breaks during the day, and i got to change positions, because we rotate our posts as we cut into different parts of the animal during the day. the regular workers don't get to do that. anyway, i wanted that kind of overview. i wanted to have, you know, a stake in the whole -- pardon me, in the whole process. i didn't just want to be a casual observer. i wanted to get my hands dirty. host: our guest, ted conover, a ontributor to "harper's" magazine. he has an article about a industrial slaughterhouse. here are the numbers to call. democrats, 202-585-3880. republicans, 202-585-3881. and independents, 202-585-3882. ted conover, give us a sense of the scale of the plans. you mentioned how many head of cattle can come in. who owns these plants, more
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generally, and where are they in the country? guest: sure, so most of the nation's beef plants are in that part of the midwest where there are cattle. northern nebraska, texas, out there, and the companies are names you're familiar with. cargill is one of them. tyson, you know, they're big corporations mostly, and there's also some smaller players as well, like kosher meat plants in hastings, nebraska, there's one of those. so this happens on various scales, but usually they're giant, multinational corporations that run these plants. the industry shifted from major cities like chicago to smaller american towns in the middle of the last century. i think largely due to the rise
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of highways and truck transportation, which was able to move cattle in the ways trains had before. you didn't need the rail heads in chicago to get the cattle there. you could use trucks to get them anywhere. so there's towns like skylar, which have, you know, for many, many years, been mostly caucasian and english speaking. in the last 20, 25 years, there's a whole group of towns like this that have become largely latino as the wage for meat work fell. so there's been a profound demographic change in the country's midsection, as well as the typical meat factory worker has changed. most of the inspectors i worked with were people who had grown up out there. they were mostly white. though on the day i started, a mexican american woman also started. so i was able to get her perspective on the whole thing as well. host: our first caller is
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william in jacksonville, florida, independent line. you're on with ted conover. caller: thank you very much. i appreciate you taking my call. i saw a documentary that basically covers a lot of the areas that this gentleman is talking about. it was called "food inc.." my question is simple -- was there any validity to that? what you're saying sounds very familiar to what you're explaining to everybody as well as our meat source and our food source, that basically four major conglomerates control basically all of our food source. what was your take in your piece, and was it similar to that documentary in regards to validity? thank you. guest: i did watch that documentary, but it was more than a year ago, so i can't remember everything about it. but i am fairly sure that what i saw stands up to my own experience and to other scrutiny. yeah, that's kind of the way food is made in this country. i remember as i flew out to omaha early on, i sat next to a
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cargill employee who worked in a soft division. as you know, it is a very big company. he said to me that one out of three products in the supermarket is involved with cargill and one way or another. that said, if you wanted to go see how your meat was made, i would say lots of luck. these plants are surrounded by barbed wire. they are extremely secure. cameras all around and cameras inside. everything i did on the job could have been watched by
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someone and plant management. those of video feeds are available at company headquarters in kansas. a lot of surveillance. a lot of secrecy over how meat is made. i do not think it is justifiable. i pray to keep -- i know a journalist will make their way out as we're working our way in. there is a whole set of laws out there. the goal is to try to stop the hidden camera videos from animal rights activists that make the meat industry look so bad. i was afraid those laws were going to make it impossible to do my job as a journalist. nebraska has not passed one yet. attitude ofre is an
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fear about what is going on there. i think they should be more open. >> our guest has a cover story in "harpers." the way of all flesh. undercover in a slaughterhouse. he writes a companion piece to this about how he did his reporting. here is that. ofng undercover in the age agriculture had lost. frank tweets in, have always said you do not need the fda, it does make it so that any citizen can view any food establishment during business hours. >> i kind of like that idea -- guest: i kind of like that idea. fat chance of happening, but i do not see why it should not. it gives the sense there is something shameful going on. i appreciate the process of killing animals is not
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attractive. there is a lot of blood involved. a lot of things that if you are not used to turn your stomach the first time you see them. one of my job post was of this roundtable where all of the organs that would drop out of the body cavity would pass in front of inspectors. right after lunch to have to stand at that table and watch these steaming piles of organs is not easy. it makes you think hard about this whole process. the first, and online ask me why i have not become a begin as a result of this. result of this. i certainly understand people who do, but fortunately or unfortunately i like meat too much. but i want to eat meat that will not make me sick. there are things that happen in the factories that give cause
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for concern. when and how is the meat inspected? guest: sure. at the plant where i worked one of the veterinarian to run the detail of inspectors with that the animals -- looks at the animals when they're ripe. they arrive 40 at a time. they get unloaded, weighed in weight and corrals for their turn in the not box. box. the knock this will reduce anxiety. told me inere spanish that it smelled so bad because they do not want to die. i do not know if that is true or not. most animals do not want to do -- want to die but that is what they're there for.
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once they get inside, the first team of inspectors looks at heads and tongs. looking at live notes for infections. signs of tv. b. nodes for at lymph infections. cattle over 30 years of age bse.dered at risk for i am afraid i ever got what it stands for. we checked various parts of the animal at various stages of its disassembly, if you will. then, of different team of inspectors a few days later grades of meat. that is a different process. there will put a usda stamp on it as it is about to leave the factory. other meat then gets tested by grinding plants.
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that is a different kind of inspection. we look for things like excreta ingesta,t the -- or things that tau would in just. obviously they're full of bacteria. quality control is really important at that stage to keep the meat clean. later on bacterial logical testing is important to make sure there are not bacteria and the ground meat that is going out to consumers. mount pleasant, mich.. independent line. question abouta the integrity of the journalism you are being involved in. doesn'teemed like --- it seem like a violation of
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privacy? it kind of seems like howard stern, kind of. undercover reporting, to me, is a last resort. for journalists it is a nuclear option because some degree of deception is involved. it is different in every case. every journalist in every situation is different and should be judged differently. the first test is the subject important enough to justify an undercover investigation? of meat,he production something we can put in our body with potentially fatal consequences, rarely, think of this, but that is a possibility. on additivesfocus to our food and antibiotic used in the raising of cattle, this is a very important issue. it passed that test for me.
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is there a way might -- way i could get the same story by not going undercover? that is the way i could get the next question. i do not think so. i would never be able to do the job myself. the last question is privacy. i changed the names of everybody at work with. with.orked some of them say silly things. i did not want them to suffer personal humiliation because of that. it it will put your mind at ease, let me just say i found the inspectors be conscientious and hard working. i am not caroled how -- that my editors were that i arrived at that conclusion, but i felt part of the process that had integrity.
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fortunately i did not have to write about the people i work with. the only thing i did not like is conditions that led my arm swollen and fingertips number and my hand unable to pick up my socks by the end of the second week as my palm was so sore. next call. am ar: my question is i meat cutter and i know where i live here in maryland we have different meats like angus meets and regular.
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it is about integrity. people say they are selling things that are simply no kind of drugs put into the week. we put in a black stripe for and is and richard for usda choice. is usda choice. it is really up to the meat cutter. host: before you get off the line, tell us more about how long you have worked in the industry. the you have any of those repetitive motion injuries? >> i started in 1988. i started as a meat wrapper.
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i have issues with carpal tunnel. my concern is the company i work for is building a new facility in pennsylvania. at the end of the year we did not know if we will have jobs but everything is being pre- packaged. i just wondered about the integrity. guest: it sounds like he basis choices that would affect his personal integrity for how different meats are labeled. there is a gift -- defining line between meats.
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what this points to is the key role of federal inspection. earlier this year there was a fear that funding cuts would shut down the factories across the country for about 11 days because there would not be enough money to pay the inspectors. passed awhole congress law that allowed the usda shuffle -- to shuffled funds of the plants would not have to shut down. meat inspection falls in the same category of air traffic control, national defence -- these are things you have to have a government to do. no matter what some people think, when it comes to greeting meet -- grading meat, certifying the wholesomeness or what was put in, if government will not
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do it, i am not sure who is. the way it works in a factory is quality-control is done partly by inspectors. the with the inspectors are helping the meat company by checking. the meat companies do their own checking on top of that. inspectors have a fantastic power, which is to actually -- other workers do, too but infections can stop -- inspectors can stop the line. on a park is one day. my co-workers saw a live bird dropped onto the floor and put dropped onto the floor and put back on to the table in a contaminated states. and a young animal.
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meat that might have problems with neurological issues. that could have gotten an if my companion had not pressed the red button. i think americans need this done the in the production of our meat to ensure there is integrity and the idea of a company could do it without an inspection is kind of scary. i set up a google alert for every time the usda does a recall. it is constant. all year long. it is often little companies. the ones that should worry us contaminated meat, it is not
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fully cooked can kill you. i have a friend in upstate new york who ate -- whose wife ate undercooked chicken from what he believes is the pain that she got in her stomach and other parts of her body soon after eating that, she said i did not need any attention, i am strong, this will go away. it did not go away and killed her. 3000 people per year are thought to die from food borne illness. conover, a job as a usda inspector at the nebraska slaughterhouse. at least one federal program one -- was able to eat -- beat it. the sequester was supposed to be a budget cut you could not beat. three weeks in the agricultural department food inspectors were
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part of a spending bill the president signed to get out of the sequester. the program got $55 million in new money. the sequester was supposed to take that away. looking more at the question of inspection, he writes the usda is responsible for overseeing the slaughter house operations, employing 7500 inspectors throughout the country. and the food and drug administration is responsible for most other areas. fresh produce. the u.s. favors is the fda. here is the budget request for fiscal year 2011. over $22 billion. there is the breakdown for money for federal food safety inspection and inspection at the state level, and also at the
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international level. from thethis differ fbi? in the simplest terms the usda monitors the killing of animals. the fda monitors seafood, it ise, processed foods this bifurcated responsibility for the food supply that is being modernized and brought up to date. the fda has gotten the most attention in terms of legislation, food modernization act, which is being slowed down by the sequester, is intended to increase inspection of the increased proportion of the food that originates overseas. 80-90% of our seafood comes from
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other countries. 20-30% of the produce. it was not all inspected the way we would have expected things the way we do it it here. the government is a bit behind in doing those kinds of inspections. that is a scary thing. just in a very small nut shell, that is the difference. feet of water is fda. poultry, pork and beef production is usda. is fda.t butter host: here is the difference between the fda requested budget. $4.7 billion. 1.5 billion would go to implementation of the food safety modernization act. and the other monetary breakdowns. mark is our next calller in arizona on the independent line. caller: thank you for c-span.
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i am glad i got on this morning. caller: i have a strong concern laws.e baghdad -- ag gag weyou mentioned yourself, need undercover people to go in and see if the animals are being treated humanely. we also need people to fight for the gestation cages to be changed and things along that line. i think it is horrible they're not on the making it illegal for the people to go in but attacking organizations such as cruelty for animals are going and having their people go in. they're calling them eco terrorists. i think it is out of control. agree the opposite should happen, that there should be more openness and the ability to see how the animals are givend and how they are
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to us for consumption. tell you a story about that? while i was waiting to get tired, i called the founder of mercy for animals who had just produced another stomach-turning video showing abuse of animals. was and i saidi how do you choose the plants where you send your people to do the hidden videos? i said you pick the most notorious once? he said no, we send people wherever we can get tired and we have found abuse that every single place we work. thate no way of verifying that is true, but i do not doubt it. areink these practices endemic to agriculture. management is officially against abuse.
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educated people are against abuse but we hire people and put them in super difficult jobs with little supervision, and not all of them feel the same way we do. the way ourselves do or should about animals. thus, the hidden videos of chickens being lapped against walls and dairy cows hit with canes to get them to move even though they have broken legs. you can go online and just cannot believe what you are seeing. i want to say though that this is not -- i think the attitude way ofanimals is not the the mainstream, even an agricultural america. one day in the break room in nebraska i was looking at the omaha paper with my fellow inspectors and there is an article about the latest mercy for animals video. my supervisor went on line, and
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we all gathered around a computer to watch it. it was awful what the animals were going through at the hands of the workers. the inspectors all thought so. none of them said that is b.s. or noise about nothing. people said that should never happen, how can that be allowed to happen? so these humane treatment laws represent a reasonable consensus of how americans think animal should be treated. it does not like city people vs. country people. country people feel the same way. in these environments that things can happen. 30's to the oversight and openness. needs to be oversight and openness. that is whyeets in
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only order be from amish farmers that i know. is from grass-k fed, free range cows. you talk about the conversations that go on at the plants among some of the workers. they do perceive this divide. you write that one of your colleagues said she was bothered by the fact that urban consumers with little knowledge of animal husbandry could influence the whole economy simply by hopping on some political correct bandwagon in terms of labeling. what did you learn about labeling and what those mean as consumers go to the store? guest: the most extreme example of that is the so-called pink slime products. that is the phrase used by a usda scientists to describe this product. this is made from parts of a cow that could only debate
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oblique be called me to -- debateably called meat. iss got a lot of publicity being served in school lunches. suffered nebraska because jobs disappeared. slime, thefor pink demand and strong for it drastically. people that my supervising veterinarian who lost their jobs. he was angry about that. he said this is one of the cleanest thing that comes out of the factory because it has been subjected to pneumonia and other things. in his opinion this was wisteria triumphing over reason in regards to what we put in our god -- bodies for food. define differing opinions about
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that. canada will not allow meat products treated with ammonia because of safety concerns. america seems to allow a lot of other things that country's do not. such as the sub-therapeutic use of the levels of antibiotics as cattle are growing up. as they are fed these, even though they're not sick, it helps them grow. there is a lot of concern this weakens the drugs, which are such an amazing -- which are so important to human health that it weakens them when we get sick. you find a lot of differences of onnion about this, depending what part of the country you live in and how connected to the industry you are. host: trying to get more calls than in the last few minutes we have left. jack in georgia. caller: good morning.
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thank you for taking my call. first of all, i salute this gentleman for appearing on your program. i think right now it probably did not take the courage it took years ago if you would have attempted this, god knows what would have happened. there would be ramifications that would have followed him through the streets wherever he goes. the problem as i see it is that the laws written in the books by -- introduced in the past of the legislative power are not stringent enough. you why.ll anything goes in america today. this wonderful country we all share allows perpetrators, especially in the industry.
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who knows but the people who are at the head of the table, the kind of meat we are eating. thank you for taking my call. i grew up on an animal feeding operation. at any one time we had 6500 pigs. we were typically a better grow worse than the rest. than the rest. if the pig is being treated for drugs they only have to be off of that drug for 30 days before slaughter. i was wondering if you had seen a claim and sick animals coming
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in and being slaughtered and the rules are and standards are for that. also, i think the laws are being pushed because the people really knew how animals are treated and groaned and slaughtered, i think things would quickly change. thank you for taking my call. unfortunately i was posted inside the floor on the kill floor, which is a football-sized fruit were animals on a hoax make their way slowly around being disassembled. just outside the room is where the cattle would arrive. i started around dawn. the cattle have been arriving all night to get ready for their trip to the chain. i did not get to see them, but i veterinarian i work for have high standards and would never allow a down cal to go -- cow to go up that ramp. disturbingyou see
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things inside. ast the day i was on livers, i reached for it i saw what looked to be my dog after a bath. i said what is that? people around me chuckle. it was a fetus. supposedly the pepper slaughtered have not had calves, but that is not always the case. a lot of times you see all whole uterus with a fetus inside go by several times per day. their blood is collected by use for laboratories and is quite valuable. there's something pretty upsetting about that. scientista political called every 12 seconds describes cattle occasionally
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where he worked in nebraska having their babies while they waited to go in for slaughter, which messes up the whole process, as you can imagine. that seems kind of disturbing, and you like to and especially it was weird because i was in a part of the country where you still see billboards where aborted human fetuses sometimes on the highway. to see that just in front of me inside the factory was upsetting in a way i would never have expected. you get out of the habit of meat unless you are a farm area, and you realize that lives, something important --an animal's


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