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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 3, 2015 7:45am-10:01am EDT

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job. i would not want to be a state patrols man and walk up to the car every day. it's a whole lot different than step out of the car, sir. it's rampant. host: jim has this point saying white folks are the enemy quoting a previous caller. therein lies the race problem in america. boehner says the president needs to step up the vote to get trade bills. this is a 12-nation trade deal that the nation and the republicans are pushing for. the problem is will he get democrats in the house of representatives? the house remains a big question mark. the full story available online at alice joining us from new haven connecticut. good morning.
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caller: yes, i would like to say that we need to keep the conversation and its context. and the context is right now is that the state who has the power to exercise violence against individuals. in this case, we're talking about black men. we need to keep it in the context. it has nothing to do right now with poverty which is a side issue that we can have. we can also have a side issue about black men committing crimes with each other because there's no phenomenon called black-on-black crime. because when it happens in sandy hook in connecticut, when it happened at the movie theater in ohio, you never heard the media once say white-on-white crime. all crimes happen within its own demographics. so therefore, the issue is how are these white officers are going to be trained to deal with young black men?
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you live all your life ok? you live all your life listening to the negative stereotypes the bias, the bigotry against this class of people, in this case african-americans, and how you expect an officer with 24 -- i mean, maybe 48 hours of training, if thashts that you're going to eradicate decades of hearing all these negatives against black people? so i would like to say let's keep it within the context of the conversation. and i would like to touch a little more thing with the lady that said she can get a job anywhere. the problem with america that i see is you allow those to integrate in the 1960's but you will never allow us to assimilate. that's the issue at hand. host: well, jobs is the issue the bill points out on our twitter saying frankly given what's going on in baltimore
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you can count on corporations big and small and smaller staying away, referring to jobs. the national "journal" writing about marilyn mosby who is the attorney who announced the indictment of those six baltimore police officers on friday saying the wrongful death like gray is not an abstract issue. when she was growing up in boston mosby's 17-year-old cousin was shot to death by another teenager after being mistaken for a drug deerment mosby also happens to be a proud descendent on a long line of law enforcements. marilyn mosby's comments drew a stark contrast to her part. demographics are important here. mosby is young, black, and female. the other prosecutor is middle age, white and male.
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last call is i.j. you get the last word. good morning. caller: this is jack. host: ok. well, jack, go ahead. we have i.j. on the screen. good morning. ok. go ahead. you're on the air. sorry about that. caller: ok. i'm a black man who is in his 1960's and while i'm saddened about what happened in baltimore the last week or so it's nothing new. i think like most people, black people respect the law. but they also want law enforcement to respect them. you know, they take an oath to serve and protect the people. doesn't matter what community you live in or what your socioeconomic condition might be. people want to be respected. while we are appalled with some of the things that happened in
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baltimore, it's not new. it's been an issue in our nation for a very long time. if you take a look at -- and, you know, i tend to want to go back in history a lot of times. and i've kind of graph tornado back to the passage of the 13th amendment when black people were freed in this country and what happened over a century that we've had to battle through as a race. host: thank you. jan has this point. too bad we need body cameras to make people behave civilly to one another. from the cover story of the "new york times" sunday magazine, in
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coated we trust. looking at technology and how it's up ended our economy. can technology save it? and he has been on the air longer than johnny carson on late night television. and "the new york times" arts and leisure page calling it a night as david letterman prepares to step down at the end of this month. we will continue the conversation coming up in a couple of minutes as we turn our attention to the crime bill and more details on the legislation passed by bill clinton back in 1994. and salaries stinson will be with us later to talk about guantanamo. coming up on "newsmakers" is the chair of the house arms attorney. mac thornbury the republican from texas. here's a portion of it.
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mac: there's not much support for what the president asked for. can there be an expectation against isis? so, i think we need to try. it is our job under the constitution. in addition to that, we have a moral obligation to the men and women we send out on these dangerous missions to have the full cloak of constitutional authority and moral backing of the country in supporting their missions. singh we have a responsibility to try. i had some conversations today about maybe next steps going forward and i want to try to contribute to that debate as i say, even though it doesn't technically come out of our committee. >> what are those next steps? >> to see if there's an authorization of the military force that would work in the field that could get the support of republicans and democrats
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enough to pass in the house and in the senate so there's a couple that have been introduced. there may be more discussions about that. i can't tell you all the steps in the legislative process. it is my opinion however, that we need to really try to do this for the reasons that we've just been talking about. it's our job under the constitution. >> how do you think it should be drafted? mac drl i'm working on that. and part of the question is what you include. we probably don't have time to get into all of this but we still operate under a 2001 aumf that was drafted just a few days after 911. does that really fit isis? not to mention al qaeda in yemen? i have my doubts. so my preference is to try to clean this up in a way that makes sense. i don't know what the administration's opinion on that
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would be or even many of my colleagues. host: congressman mac thornbury is our guest. we hope you tune in. went to welcome nick cole auburn -mallory. what was significant about that bill? nicole: it was a response to what lawmakers thought were concerns from the community. the crack cancer epidemic was rampant at that time and lawmakers were hearing from constituents that they wanted to have something done in their neighborhood and their communities. they wanted them to be safer. they wanted to stop the gang violence. and this was the response by
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lawmakers. we now know 20 years later that it wasn't the correct response, that it helped to fuel this issue of mass incarceration that we're now dealing with. but at that time, lawmakers thought that was the way to insure that communities were made sear. host: "the washington post" had a piece called unwinding the drug war. and it's taking a look at the dramatic increase in the number of senior citizens now being incarcerated and the price it has on america's penal system. and you can see some of these inmates now well into their 1970's and 1980's all us a direct result of what happened in 1994 and 1995. nicole: and that's one of the big problems with what happened then with that lock them up mentality with lawmakers at that time. and it really impacted a large swath of the community, steve. it took heads of households away
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from the communities. it meant there were fewer dollars in households and communities to keep them strong. and for many of these senior citizens, compassionate release is something that advocates often seek to get some of these people out of jail when they are no longer of harm to themselves or to the community as a way to save dollars and as a way to say we need to allow people once they pay their dote get back into the community and become engaged citizens again. but we're not doing that so much. and we're frankly spending and wasting a lot of dollars by keeping these non-violent offenders behind bars. host: it accounts for 6.5% of those inmates and now in excess of 10.5%. you can see a decrease among
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that age group. nicole: well again i think we need to look at the restructuring. this speaks to that issue. one of the things that's going on in congress now is that legislation, looking how we restructure sentencing. that was one of the big issues with the crime bill of 1994. it made it possible for very draconian sentencing laws to be put in place and that's one of the reasons why we have senior citizens that are still in prison after serving long term for many of them for what we know are low-level non-violent crimes. so, what lawmakers are doing right now is looking at how do we change the sentencing structure? how do we make it more fair? not that we change it so that people who commit crimes who deserve to go to jail done go to jail. certainly, we all want safe streets. we all think that when one commit the crime, we should pay their debt. but we have to make sure that is
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balance and fair. and the fact that we have so many seniors still in prison speaks to the fact that what we did in 1994 creating the draconian sentencing structure leaves us in a position where we have too many people in jails and states and the federal government are spending too much money on incarceration. here's what bill clinton had to say when he signed the bill. bill clinton: in the last 25 years, half a million americans have been killed by other americans. and for 25 years, crime has been a hot political issue used too often to divide us while the system makes excuses for not punishing criminals and doing the job.
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instead of being used to prevent crime, punish criminals and restore a sense of safety and security to the american people. for the last six years, children have become the most likely victims of violent crime and it's most likely perpetrators. and for six years, washington debated a crime bill without action. -- while more and more people died and more and more children became criminals. and fore closed the productive life for themselves. nicole: so what has -- host: so what has nicole us a tin-hillary? nicole: well we have data. there's research that shows that at the time the crime bill was
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enacted, crime was already starting to go down in major metropolitan areas across the country and what we now see on why the crime rate declined, what we see is this effort to incarcerate so many americans really is not the reason why we have crime rates going down. there are a myriad of reasons. the economy changing have a lot to do with it. the aging population. there are several factors and i think lawmakers see that. they also now see that states in the federal government are spending exorbitant amounts of money to jail americans and we're taking money away from communities, from schools and again, the citizens are saying we want you to stop doing this. we want to use money in what is that we think make our communities safe and productive at the same time. and lawmakers are starting to see the writing on that wall and they're responding to that. host: and yet gun violence
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continues to increase. this is the cover story called the true cost of gun violence. -- the total annual cost of gun violence in the u.s., almost $230 billion. nicole: these numbers are startling. and they're of concern to all of us. americans and lawmakers alike have got to be concerned with our moneys and our dollars and how they're being spent. one of the things that the brennan center has proposed is something we call success oriented funding and that concept says that we have to tie federal dollars that go to law enforcement to ensuring that we have the right outcomes. again, one of the fbts of the 1994 crime bill is that a great deal of money was put into law enforcement but not into making communities better.
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but we are saying that if you tie those dollars to ensuring that we are looking at things like ending racial despair this or cutting racial despair this, that if you are incentivizing law enforcement in a way to make the community safer and cut down on things like racial despair this that that is a better way to spend money. are we addressing the twin goals of making our community safer, but also ensuring that we're treating people in a fair and equitable way. host: we are talking with nicole austin-hillary. she is the director and counselor for the brennan center at n.y.u., a graduate of howard university and she also earns her degree in carnegie mellon university. i want to show you what hillary
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clinton said in an interview back in 1994. the notion of three strikes and you're out, that became the mantra of the 1994 crime bill debate. has that worked? nicole: it really hasn't worked. the problem with three strikes was that it was so rigid. we got to the point after the 1994 crime bill where we were not looking at individual circumstances. we were not looking at individual crimes. we were trying to use a broad brush to say this is how we're going to treat everyone regardless of circumstances, regardless of the crime, regardless if it was violent or non-sexrinalt that was part of the problem. you can't use a one-size fits all approach to deal with the criminal justice and that's what i think lawmakers are starting to see right now. that we have to have nuances. we have to have various options to look at each individual, each individual crime and to determine what is the best way
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to deal with this? slowest mental health issues. but if we're notting at those issues are and looking at is there an alternative touchdown characterization ration that might be a better option for this person, then we're missing the mark. host: we welcome your calls and comments. you can also join us on facebook at i want to go to a conversation that we had in the then first lady in 1994 as bill clinton was signing into law, the crime bill.
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>> what happens next? hillary clinton: we keep going. with respect to the crime bill, as more americans focus on the fact that this bill would put more police on the streets, would have locked up violent offenders so they never could get out again would have given more prison construction money available to the states and as well as the federal governments. but also would have dealt with prevention giving young people something to say yes to. it's a very well thought out crime bill that is both smart and tough. i think americans are going to say why these political gains? why are we once again letting certain special interests call the shots in washington? and we will eventually get a good crime bill like the president has proposed. it'll just take a little longer than it should have. host: later in the years the president signing the bill into law. but she spoke very different saying basically, we need to rethink in part, our criminal justice system.
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how long we incarcerate our prisoners and how we deal with criminals at different levels. guest: earlier this week, she contribute tooned essay to a book at the brennan center that we call the solutions book where many of the individuals running for president or that we assume will run for president have contributed essays on what they think is the way to address our crugs -- criminal justice system to reform it. that we have to start looking at some other option for how we make our criminal justice system work better. and we need to look at ways to make our community sear. one of the things she's calling for is making better use of federal dollars. again, trying to connect the
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dots between how money is used in giving to law enforcement and what we are expecting from law enforcement in terms of how they use those dollars. are those dollars cutting down the racial disparity? are those dollars being used to create alternatives to incarceration? and she also recognizes that there is a link between thesea conian laws that were put in place in 1994 and what is existing in many of our communities across the country where communities are feeling economic depravity and feeling like they don't have those opportunities because so many of those neighbors in their opportunities have been locked up. host: we will go to c. fwrfment pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning. i am in a very bad situation. it's not me. it's my son. he's been held for 90 days in the philadelphia house of corrections. he was picked up on a bus when he came to see his gad de aza
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who was hospitalized. he came to see his father on the way home he had an open bottle of alcohol. and he was picked up. and my son is a longtime drunk. he's had pronlts he was in an accident in 1993 and was in a coma. i think it injured his cerebral cortex. and the problem is it sounds like a minor offense, but he had a warrant in 2006 in burks county pennsylvania. and another one from wisconsin in 2007. these are all d.u.i. offenses. but they're warrants so he's being held as a fugitive from justice. and there's -- they tell me to get a lawyer, but which jurisdiction should i get a lawyer they're telling him he's going to be extradited in
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wisconsin. wisconsin told me they were going to pick him up in burks county, potato. . burks county told me they didn't even know he was in jail. so, i don't know what to do. so, what's answer? host: have you talked to your son? caller: he told me not to go. he's lost 15 pounds. he will probably lose his job because he works in renovations. this is the season when they have a lot of work. nobody can bail him out because the warrant from the other state precludes that. he's being detained. and so what can i do? host: thank you for the call. nicole austin-hillary. guest: well, first, c.b., let me just say that i sympathize with what you're going through. i know it's very difficult when you have a family member who is engaged from the legal system. what i will say is this.
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and i think this speaks to the need for us to make sure that everyone in this country has a right to council. this is something that's very important to the brennan center and to many other advocates on the ground. i would suggest that you try to reach out to some of your local legal aid organizations. i don't know what your financial circumstances or situation but i think that is a good place to start. they can help to provide advice in terms of where you might be able to seek some legal council to help you sort out the various issues involving your son. but, again that's one of the reasons i became lawyer is to help individual. lawyers, that's our job. that's what we're here for is to provide some direction. i suggest you contact one of those agencies in your area of pennsylvania. host: our next caller is from newport news, virginia, republican line. steve, good morning. welcome to the conversation. caller: good morning. thank you. my question has to do with are
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there any bills right now that are in legislation to reduce the sentence for criminals in the federal system that are non-violent? i'm not talking about just drug offenses i'm talking about -- well extortion or whatever bad -- insider trading. are there any bills to reduce sentencing for these people who are in their 50's and 60's that are in prison, first-time offense. and as you said, there's an overcrowding situation in the prison system. i was wondering is there any bills that i could follow on and see what i could do to help with this system? >> thank you, steve. guest: steve, thank you for that question. there is, in fact, a great deal of effort going on now in congress to try to reform the criminal justice system. there is a bill called the smarter sentencing act. it is a bipartisan bill that has been introduced in the senate.
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and that bill looks at how we need to change and update our sentencing structure. now, whether there is a bill that specifically focuses just on more white collar crimes as you've talked about, that, i'm not aware of. i think the effort is to focus overall on the problems with our sentencing laws and our sentencing structures. but i would urge you to start looking at the smarter sentencing act and there are some other bills when you do research on the smarter sentencing act, you will see other legislation that's being introduced. a great deal of this legislation hasn't been introduced in a bipartisan way. if you go to congressional quarterly online or, which is the online system provided by congress, you can get information on those bills. host: we're talking at a crime bill in 1994. 21 years later, has it worked?
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raymond from oxen hill, maryland, independent line with our guest nicole austin-hillary, from n.y.u. good morning raymond. caller: good morning. how are you? i'm watching you here. my complents and i'm referencing crime versus the black culture. i do believe that black culture has something to do with it. because if you look at certain crimes with the exception of a lot of white collar crimes blacks seem to exceed in these crimes. and it's because of the culture. they let their culture degrade to that point. whites have changed their culture. if you look at whites going back let's say, 1800, 1,700 up to date, the culture has changed. we need to change. i've changed. you know when i was a kid and i'm 65 years old. when i was a kid, i was afraid on getting indicating on the
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white side of town because i was scared. today in my age i don't want to have be caughting in the black side of town. i don't want to get shot. i don't want to get robbed and hurt. so i think the culture has looked at itself and say why do we have the highest rates of aids? why do have the highest number of crime in prison? is there something we're doing? let's change what we're doing and get a clear picture. host: thank you for the call. we'll get a response. guest: one thing that i would point out is we have to be very careful about statistics. it is actually not correct that the majority of crimes in this country are committed by african-americans. i would urge individuals as they look at the criminal justice system to look at the data. african-americans are not the majority of the population and crimes span from white collar crimes all the way to low-level crimes to violent crimes.
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and i think frankly, there's enough crime to go around that people in many backgrounds and racial groups are responsible for. second, we have to look at the fact that there are things within our justice system that has made it harder for certain groups to accept the criminal justice system. one of the things that we have been talking an this week and really over the last several months as we look at ferguson, as we look at new york and as we look at now, baltimore. and when you look the d.o.j.'s reports on ferguson, in some instances, there are specific and proactive efforts by some law enforcement agencies to target african-american communities. that's what we saw in the report that the d.o.j. did on ferguson. certainly, this is not happening across the country. i would say it's not happening in a large majority of law
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agencies across the country. across the country, we are working hard and doing a good job and trying our best to do a good job. but in those places where they're not, we know there has been an effort afoot to target certain communities, black and brown communities and we cannot overlook that. we have to address those things and those are some of the reasons why we see perhaps more in the news, more in the media, about crimes that are being committed in some of these communities. and we have to look at the economics that impact the communities and may make it harder for people to get steady jobs to get the kind of education that they need in order to take part in our legitimate american communities. so i think it's very unfair and very difficult to difficult say one race of people or one culture of people is responsible for so many bad apples and they have to change these acts on their own. yes, we all have personal
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responsibility but so does our justice system have the responsibility to treat us. host: and you made the point on the website where bill clinton last october, of course of 2014 saying since the crime bill was passed, the government spent $9 billion on prisons across the country. let's go to rick from annapolis. go ahead rick. caller: good morning, ms. hillary. let me tell you the situation of why it's never going to change in the future concerning black people. in 1968, we had the riots. and baltimore chicago l.a., jacksonville. all the major cities, the poor
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blacks burned their own house. so what happened in -- in 1968, we set up hud. they brought in f.h.a. to justify it. and here's what happened. in 98% of american people, including yourself don't know what i'm about to say. a small group got together and went around the country in every major city in the worst sections of the city and bought land. cheap. and then they financed and develop these multi-family housing projects in baltimore and every city and concentrated these poor blacks. in 1968 1969, 1970. and for the last 60 years they've been in these hellhole
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projects, the worst school systems, no transportations, no jobs and here, generation after generation. and now these poor black guys that we look at and say oh, they're rioting again. they have no chance to -- 98% -- yeah. there's a few that got out like yourself that got educated and so forth. we're talking 1% or what have you. host: rick, thank you for the call. to his point, how do we get to the core issue as he talk about jobs and education and that's are creating this culture of criminal defenders? guest: i started to talk about this earlier steve. we have to invest in our communities. and rick, good morning to you and thank you for your call. one of the things, again, that is an outgrowth of this mass incarceration system is that
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when individuals are being released from jail, they are dealing with myriad collateral consequences. that's one of the things that we have to address as we look at how do we reform the criminal justice system? we still in our society make it difficult for individuals who have been incarcerated to get jobs once they're released to get education, to get housing. we say that we are a nation of second chances where when individuals pay their debt to society, we want them to rezpweage with our community and become upstanding citizens again but we make that so difficult for those who have been incarcerated and in addition to those economic issues, we also in many states make it difficult for them to re-engage in our democracy by giving them the right to vote. we have got to start addressing not simply what we do with people who commit crimes in this country but what we do with those individuals once they have
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paid their debt to society and we are asking them to come back to our communities, to be upstanding and law abiding and to not commit crimes again. we have to give them fair housing opportunity, opportunities to vote and be a part of our democracy. i think that has got to be part of what who focus on as we look at reforming our criminal justice system. and again, the other issue that rick brought up, i could come back and you and i could have a different system about economic and race and how that has impacted the black and brown in our country. host: about how $130 million has been spent in west obama over the last 30 years and why that money hasn't provided greater results. but to his point and also as he was making his comment sandy sent this in. is it true that blacks disproportionately commit violent crimes? guest: i'm not a statistician.
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there are individuals that are. i will not try to put a number ointment but i will say this. this idea that african-americans are the main bad actors within our criminal justice system is simply not true. again, if you look at statistics, there are bad actors in all racial and ethnic groups. i think part of what has happened in the united states is that there is a disproportion that focuses on what it's happening and it gives the impression to americans that this is where the problem lies and the only people in this country that are committing crimes are black and brown people. and that's simply not true. one of our earlier callers asked about white collar crimes. well, the media and you know, advocacy groups, they don't spend a lot of time talking
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about individuals who engage in white collar crimes. perhaps it's not sexy enough. perhaps it's not interesting enough. but there is crime going on in various areas. and disparticipationly focus on the african-american community i think, leads us down a slippery slope and leads us to some incorrect assumption and information. host: we will go to ray from pleasant v.c.u., tennessee. good morning. republican line. caller: good morning. yes. i had a statement about incarceration. the lady there talking about not locking people whoup are doing the crime. i don't care if they are black, white, brown they need to be locked up when they fit the crime. when they lock them up, don't let the lay around, lift weights, watch tv.
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have a work program where they can get throughout and work and they repay part of the money that cost to keep them incarcerated. guest: ray, you've actually made some very important points. number one, we agree with you at the brennan stir center and at many other advocacy organizations that an individual should be given an opportunity once incarcerated to improve themselves. that is what our criminal justice system in the united states is supposed to be about. it's supposed to be about making people pay for their crimes. let's be clear. those ouches on both sides of the aisle, whether you're a republican or democrat, i think we all equally agree that if there are people in our communities who are committing crimes, who are making our communities dangerous, they should pay their debt to
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society. no one is saying that people should go free when they're committing crimes. that's not the issue. what we are saying is the way in which we are sentencing individuals, the ways in which we are asking the individuals to pay their debts to society should be fair and equitable and should make sense. that is what so much of this sentencing reform is about. it is not about letting people who commit crime go scot-free. but we should be thinking about what do we do with individuals once they are in jail? if you look back over the last 20 to 30 years our prison systems offered many more opportunities for individuals to improve themselves when they were in jail. there were far more libraries in jails and prisons throughout this country. we should be looking at what opportunities are we providing for individuals to become better educated, to become better citizens when they are locked up? to that once they return to our communities, they have the opportunities to be law-abiding
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productive citizens. and that has to go hand in hand again with us dealing with these collateral opportunities. none of us, i think steve myself, or a caller, would have an easy time if we were put in jail for numbers of years without any opportunities if we then had to come out and go to someone offering housing and say to them give me an opportunity. if we can't show that we've had the training, we've had proper opportunities. let's give individuals the training and the opportunity so they can be law abiding and productive members of our community. host: which goes back to the earlier point about this cycle, about how that poverty continues to repeat itself because if you're out of prison don't have the skills, you often turn to crime again simply to survive. guest: certainly, there are some
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individuals who perhaps find themselves in a situation where they feel they don't have options. and that can leave people to many different roads to take. but certainly, we have to recognize in this country that in the african-american community, if you look statistically, the options for good education again, going back to our public school system, the opportunities for good job because businesses are invested in communities those have an impact. it is in many ways, not fair for us to expect people to be productive citizens and to really engage and roll up their sleeves, to work hard if we're not providing opportunities. we have to provide opportunities. you cannot expect individuals to live in a productive way if you're not giving them the opportunity to do so. good education, good housing and opportunities to good jobs. host: a comment from jan. and you can join in. a lot of people weighing in on
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our twitter page page. maybe we should have sensible laws. i don't like spending tax money locking up people for petty crime. let's go to katie in texas. caller: good morning. my question is we're talking about us being a nation of laws but it appears as if we set up two different nations because we have immigration laws where people who are in our country illegally are able to do things and get exonerated to a certain degree through no fall of their own. but our citizenry of being forced to go through the whole rigorous of the crime and the three strikes you're out and how did that disparity come about? i'll take my comment off the air. guest: i'm not an expert on immigration laws and it's not an issue that we spend -- that we focus on at the brennan center. so i don't have that i'm in the
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best position to address these issues. what i will say is this. i think we all agree across this nation, all individuals who come to the united states and those of us who are born here feels like this is a land of opportunity. we all want want opportunities and we should be treated fairly and equally. we need to be treated in a way we all feel is fair and provides opportunity. host: and another comment from our viewer weigh in on our discussion with nicole austin-hillary saying american greed provides the fuel for many of our problems. why is it adored -- ignored so often? guest: that is an interesting comment particularly so many candidates are gearing up to run for the office of president in 2016. i think that brings us to the
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issue of economic inequality. i think that is going to be a huge issue as many americans feel as though we don't have a level playing field when it comes to money and wealth and power. i think we are going to go as a nation begin to address those issues. when we talk about the 1% and the 99%, those issues are important. when we talk about americans feeling like they do not have opportunity and they don't have a piece of the american dream that deals with the issue of income and whether we all have fair opportunity to make the kind of income that allows us to take care of our families and provide educational opportunities and a good future for our families. this caller touches on that. it is something they will have to pay was attention to is the
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candidate to gear up for the election. host: hillary clinton's speech at columbia university is on our website. warren in tennessee, good morning to you. caller: my question is what do you do with these people when you release them? the opportunities are not there. you fill out a job application you check the box, and that is the end of your application. once you get in the system, you are disenfranchised. you cannot vote, your job opportunities diminish. host: someone suggested taking that line item on any application out. is that reasonable and feasible? caller: it is reasonable and feasible, but when you fill out an application and your work history as a 25-year gap in it that is a clear indication.
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host: what do you think can be done to better train those inmates that no they will be released at some point? caller: there is nothing you can do. once the person starts the criminal justice system, it is pretty much a done deal. host: agree or disagree? guest: i disagree. we talked about this a little earlier in our conversation that there are things that can be done within our jails and prisons. training programs can be put in place. educational programs can be put in place. some of the people will eventually leave there and they will be better trained and will have skills such that they can contribute to our economy and to the job market. i agree with our caller that the effort known as ban the box that
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the employers have to get to a point where they are holding against individuals the fact that they have served time in prison and jail. there are some exceptions. if the crime he committed has some direct link to the type of job you're applying for, then perhaps it may make sense for employers to look into that and to think about whether that might have some bearing on the job you are being asked to do. when there is no direct connection, innocently unfair for employers to say to individuals who have paid their debt to society to say they will not have an opportunity. this is a chance for the president to talk to corporate america and really engage them and how they can play a part in providing more opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. i think that coupled with improving job skills training and educational opportunities in our jails and prisons will be
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the way we address this problem. host: from pennsylvania pat's next. thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. one of the earlier colors observed that in the courtroom people who are represented well -- poor people go to prison or jail. i had a recent experience of a friend being incarcerated at the george hill correctional institution in pennsylvania. this for-profit system is torture for these people and for the ones who love them. it is pure torture. constant weighaits. you're on the floor, no b no
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bedding. whether it was run by counting employees, it was totally different. people are being driven insane. people who have to stay there week after week while their loved ones try to scrape up my money, it is horrendous. thank you. guest: i certainly empathize with this caller. two points i want to make. we talked about the importance of defense within the criminal justice system. one of the things the caller talked about was having lawyers. when former attorney general holder came to office, one of the things he made a priority was improving our defense system in the country. that is something i am hopeful that loretta lynch will be
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equally adamant about. we have to ensure we are providing legal representation for the poor. that is an important way to level the playing field when individuals become engaged in the criminal justice system. the idea of a for-profit justice system is something talked about within the advocacy community. we have to make sure we are not incentivizing bad practices. we are not saying corporations and industries that it is better for you to jail as many people as possible and provide these prisons than it is to provide opportunities to improve these individuals and make them better outstanding citizens and citizens that have opportunity. there is a disconnect and that will have to be a part of the conversation as we move forward. host: we continue this conversation on our twitter page
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. you can get more information online at brennance guest: thank you for having me on today. host: we will turn our attention to guantanamo bay and the debate that is now back in the house of representatives of the should it remain open or should a close -- or should it close? later in the program, campaign finance issues. but first, a reminder that on c-span 2's book tv, we traveled to topeka, kansas. at 2:00 eastern time on c-span2 a look into the inside of the kansas state capital. here's a preview. >> when you are in the capital we have the dome tour.
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you can go to the top of the building. we are taller than the nations capital by about 18 feet. we are one of the few capitals and maybe the only one that can go to what we can consider our seventh floor. not many go to the very top. we go to the top and we can go outside on the balcony. you can see about 40 miles. it is a beautiful view the matter what the season. is open to the public. when you come to the rotunda you see the dutiful and are -- you see the beautiful stone and you look up. you think you see the top but there is 75 feet above that. it is a great tour. it is not enforced marched to the top, it is a fun event. if you are scared, we do not make you go all the way to the top.
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>> our local content vehicles on the road and we shine a light on topeka, kansas. you can check out all of our schedule information any time online at we hope you tune in. charles stimson served as the secretary of defense for the bush administration. thank you for being with us. guest: thank for having me. host: the debate is back on guantanamo bay. the president wants to shut it down. why should it stay open? guest: i think it is the president's prerogative to decide where to keep detainees. from guantanamo has been a political football for the
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democratic party. it is back in the news. i am more concerned as a military officer of the capacity to detain the enemy during wartime as opposed to the zip code. republicans and i bipartisan group of democrats believe gitmo must serve its purpose. this is the reason they put roadblocks in law in 2010 for this president to not close as quickly as he wants to. host: we have facilities like the one in colorado. why not put them there? when we have to keep them at this particular location along the cuban coast? guest: i don't think anyone says that if we brought them to colorado or somewhere else that there will be a risk they will bust out of prison. our federal bureau of prisons do a good job keeping people securely detained for the
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duration of the sentencing. that is not the issue. the issue is whether or not you pick them up from guantanamo with a have no other constitutional right including immigration rights. if you pick them up and put them somewhere in the u.s., what additional rights and privileges would accrue to them? congress a few years ago said we know you want to close it, do a detailed legal analysis and send it to us an answer that question. they sent a letter back to congress about a year later and it didn't satisfy a lot of people. the answer essentially was our immigration laws are pretty strong, and we think they would knock it additional rights. host: as far as the debate over a bill that would provide funding for military construction for the v.a., we
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will hear from jerry nadler of new york. let us for some numbers on the screen to tell you where guantanamo bay is. 122 inmates in that facility. of the 645 have been relocated 431 were sent to five other countries. 15 countries received between five and 15 detainees. 30 countries received five detainees are less -- or less. guest: it is interesting to put the 779 total detainees into context. since 9/11, we have detained over 100,000 terrorist detainees. the vast majority, 75,000 or so, have been in iraq. now a mere 122 in guantanamo.
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there is none in iraq or afghanistan. that shows by their very numbers, we have released 99.99% of detainees at the end of the conflict or during the conflict, which is unique to war. typically when hostility and scum you do a transfer. this is a different kind of war. everybody realized that. this is why during wartime, we have a transferring or releasing detainees back on the battlefield. host: here is jerry nadler this past week on the house for. that on the house floor. >> this amendment would strike section 512 of the bill which prohibits the use of funds to construct or expend any facility in the u.s. to house any individual detained at a detention facility. this section is designed to prevent the closure of
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guantanamo. we're still holding 122 people in guantanamo. 57 of whom have been cleared for release. to have been found guilty of nothing. they are believed to be guilty of nothing. and they have been judged to not pose any danger. nonetheless, they are not released. by what right do we continue to imprison them? as for the detainees who have not been released, we will continue to hold them in guantanamo indefinitely. we don't know whether these people are enemy soldiers or not or are guilty of anything or not. some of them may be, and some of them probably are not. those facts must be determined in a fair proceeding of some sort. at guantanamo, there are no proceedings. the military tribunal process at guantanamo has been in a complete standstill for years. we cannot hold civilian trials at guantanamo. we are holding people for no
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purpose with no proceedings, no hearings, no opportunity to determine their guilt or innocence. we are holding them essentially forever. host: jerry nadler, a democrat from new york. and here is a headline. >> in guantanamo bay, we have about 120 prisoners at the preison. among those of the facility are college and from it -- khalid sheikh muhammad. he gruesomely executed some high-value --
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many in the prison our yemeni. we cannot send them back to yemen. it is clear that many of these prisoners are very difficult to try and too dangerous to release. host: guantanamo remains open but you heard both sides of the argument. guest: i don't do politics. are just to policy -- i just do policy. i will address jerry now there's -- jerrold nadler's comments. it is interesting you juxtaposed the segment with the one before. a sixth amendment right to a speedy trial and amendment number eight -- the body of law
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that applies to the detainees at guantanamo is not criminal law. it is the law of armed conflict, the geneva convention. you can detain the enemy without a trial for the duration of hostility. when he says they have no process, that is factually incorrect. the supreme court ruled in 2008 that those detainees at gitmo have the constitutional right to pursue their cases in federal district court in washington. they have done that. the court has upheld many of the detentions. has refused to grant their risk for habeas corpus. they had more of a thorough process than the prisoners in the history of the world. it is a unique conflicts. when congressman dent makes us comments, yes the high-value detainees that were brought to
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guantanamo in 2006, i was involved in that transfer. even this administration has deemed 33 of the 122 detainees to be the so-called forever prisoners, the people who will remain in military custody whether they are at gitmo or somewhere else. host: let us bring our viewers and listeners in on the conversation. our guest is charles stimson. he is a graduate of george mason university. also attended harvard university. we will go to chat from augusta, georgia. the morning. -- good morning. caller: i just have two things to say. i wanted to say and don't believe that we should be detaining people indefinitely without trial. anywhere in the world for any reason. we should be figuring out what
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we are going to do with these people. secondly, i wanted to ask about the influence of money to the defense department. it is my understanding we have the largest budget for defense of all the countries in the world. if you look at some of the major powers and combine their cost for defense, all of those that even measure hours. i wanted to ask what is the influence for that into the sustained war that we are in in the u.s.? do you think maybe we should reassess that? guest: let me take those questions in reverse order briefly. our defense budget, the topline budget request was upped by the house armed services committee. i think it is $500 billion or $600 billion. chat is right in the sense that our budget is larger than the next 2, 3, or four countries
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combined. as to his first point that we should not be indefinitely detaining anybody without trial that is true in a criminal context. that is exactly what our criminal law for bits. -- law forbids. the law of war is different. the geneva convention allows for the detention of enemies during wartime because we are in a state of armed conflict. the fact that we do not know when the war will end does not change the body of law that applies and doesn't change the calculus that the commander in chief and chief executive can decide who to detain as long as they are an enemy combatant and how long they are detained. nobody is saying you can detain people indefinitely. they are only saying even militarily attain the for the duration of hostilities. host: dwight is next from illinois on the democrats line.
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thatgood morning. caller: i was calling about the conflict earlier. you fail to mention that the government is taking some of the equation. is a thin line between abuse and discipline -- there is a thin line between abuse and discipline. host: did you want to respond? guest: i think this has to go with the previous segment. host: we will go to west palm beach, florida. caller: good morning. i absolutely believe it should remain open. terrorists are evil murderers. when he took after them, incarcerate them in gitmo. we need to get information from
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them so we can stop more terrorist acts. my main question to mr. stimson is that it appears that barack obama is very compassionate to terrorists. it is just obvious. it was outrageous to me. can you please explain to me why it seems he has so much compassion for terrorist. thank you. guest: i have no idea why he feels the way he does. i take him at his word that he wants to close it. remember in the last two years of the bush administration that president bush said he wanted to move to close gitmo. i conducted the first class of study of how to do that if the president said close the facility. it was during the first two years of the obama
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administration that democrats controlled the house and senate. that was the best window for the president to make good on his campaign promise to close guantanamo. political power is evanescent. it is like mercury or sand in your fingers. if you don't use it, it goes away. because he didn't politically forced the issue when his own party was in charge of the house and senate, he was not able to do it. her point about it should remain open, that is why a lot of people on the hill think including members of the democratic caucus. in 2010, a year after obama was elected, that the democratically controlled house and senate passed restrictions on this administration from transferring detainees to the u.s. and from building or improving facilities here in the u.s. to house guantanamo attorneys.
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-- guantanamo detainees. a lot of people believe exactly what lisa thinks. host: i realize you do policy not politics, but as you look at the? -- but if you look at the question mark we have with cuba how does this factor? guest: i wrote about that on our blog called daily signal. i traced the history of the base which goes back to 1903.the base has served a variety of critical and strategic missions throughout history of its existence. there are five provisions in the lease. it was signed into law as a result of a congressional act. it was a training place for our military in world war i and the run up to world war ii. it was a staging area for the bay of pigs invasion. is served a critical component
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of our counter drug case. if you read the comments from the assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, he said it would be a mistake for us to include any mention of returning to base to the cuban government. on castro came to power in 1958 he always wanted the base back. we always said no. when the detention mission goes away, we need to retain database for whatever other strategic needs we have in that hemisphere. the original lease we have to pay in gold and unfortunately that was not the commodity we used. we used a check.
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it was a $5,000 check a year. host: we will go to chris in brooklyn, new york. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i am an attorney, and i worked on a project for the aclu called the twitcher database. it is essentially the government documents on the arrest detention and interrogation of those in guantanamo. i am very middle of the road. these guys have not gotten the military tribunal. the obama administration does not want them to go before because they will be executed. guest: to have an eight military commission convictions.
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several have been overturned. the military commissions act of 2006 and then 2009 had material support for terrorism as a crime . the appellate courts here so that is not a traditional crime so that conviction had to be overturned. there are seven more detainees facing military commission now. five high detainees involved in the 9/11 attacks. the bomber of the uss cole also. i would expect there will be other commissions cases. the bali bomber has not been brought to justice. and will say to the caller's
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point that when i have to go to geneva before the u.n. convention against torture -- the u.n. committee against torture in 2006, we reported out on all the court marshals against u.s. service personnel and administrative actions taken against u.s. service personnel who committed crimes or abused detainees. the numbers were pretty high. it show that we take detainee abuse seriously in the department of defense. we help people accountable. we are about dozens of court marshals and administered of actions against people who abused detainees. abuse is wrong. diodod for them accountable. host: our topic is guantanamo bay.
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our guest is charles stimson. bill from san antonio, the morning. caller: thank you for c-span. mr. stimson my question is that you keep saying we are bound by the law of war. this country never declared war. our congress is too cowardly to stand up and do something. they want whichever president it is to take all the weight of declaring a war . as far as the geneva convention, seems to me like there was a call to use the geneva convention as toilet paper. have a good day. guest: i have been on your morning show talking about how
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our country has only declared five times and article gives the congress power to declare war but the president as power -- the power as commander-in-chief to declare war. out of all those wars, there have been over 40 some authorizations for the use of military force. over the last couple of three decades, bill, it has been not a custom for countries to declare war anymore because of the change international law. now it is more the habit and customer countries to use their domestic legislative body to authorize the use of military force which is the same legal effect as a declaration of war. it was a disaster, a crime and it was the defense department that outed themselves by those pictures. all those pictures are not in the public domain but many are. people were prosecuted for the
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crimes of the committed against those detainees and that took place in iraq and spills over to the whole discussion of the it will and detainees as it should because again, when people commit crimes against anybody, they should be held accountable. host: from louisiana independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i watch you every morning and i never get a chance to colin. host: we are delighted to hear from you. don't be a stranger. caller: i won't. i'm 82 years old and i would like to mention this gentleman just mentioned president obama having the democratic party two years and did not do anything to fix his campaign problem. do you remember the meltdown with the banks at that time?
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gitmo --how long have these prisoners been over there without a trial and during world war ii, here in louisiana, they had german prisoners stationed on the lakefront out in new orleans, louisiana and it did not take 14 years to clear those of german prisons out there. what is taking so long with girmotmo? host: you are shaking your head. guest: glad she called in. let me take her points in the order she asked them. when president obama took office, there were a number of things that he promised and things he had to do. first, in the first wiki sign that executive order order the closure of guantanamo within a
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year and that is not the only thing he had on his plate. what the president spent his political capital on, as anna mae has pointed out, the bailout, obamacare and those remain lives the president put his capital in the first year of his presidency. when i did this classified study on how to close guantanamo, and a may, i divided up how you do it in four buckets, legal, logistical, political, diplomatic. you have to use all four of those tools available to the executive branch to close gitmo and to her point, he had other things he was working on. she is also right that during world war ii, we had over 400,000 nazi pows housed in the united states in various states, including louisiana, which i learned from her call.
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those individuals were not given a lawyer. they were not given trials. because the law of war applied. the fact that world war ii ended when it did, we did not know when it would end. my dad served in world war ii in the pacific in the navy. we did not know when it would end, but it didn't. the first detainees were picked up around october of 2001. detainees were first brought in afghanistan. the first were brought the second week of january 2000 and two -- january 2002. many of them arrived the first or second year of guantanamo's existence. host: our guest is a seat -- senior legal fellow and has a number of essays available online at heritage.orb.g. you can also follow him at cu llystimson on twitter. host: we will go to leo, good
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morning. let sound like you are listening on c-span radio. we welcome you. caller: yes, how are you, sir? host: good, thank you. caller: [indiscernible] we see most of that continues to tighten in the united states and i'm not just tried to get across the reason, but we need to go beyond the terrorists and look into why the united states is confident about them and i believe it has to do something with the middle east. at the same time, we support them suppressing their own
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people. [indiscernible] these are things that are resentment for the population -- [indiscernible] host: leo tell us about yourself. where are you from? caller: i'm from liberia. host: how long have you been in the united states? caller: 10 years. host: why did you come here? caller: i came to america actually to advance my skills in security. host: two are for the call, leo. we will get a response. guest: a complicated place.
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leo put his finger on it. we have ongoing relationships with countries including saudi arabia, kuwait qatar pakistan, yemen -- to the extent it even exists today -- and we have detainees from those countries at guantanamo. the populations of guantanamo detainees were afghans, it yemenis, saudi arabians. of the remaining detainees, the vast majority of them are from yemen. some number of them have been triggered -- cleared or transferred. it would be reckless to transfer them back to yemen because it is in chaos today. you see it on the front page of the newspaper every week. a threat of what leo is also suggesting is that yes, the world is a complicated place. the relations we have with those countries are strained, frankly.
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at least they were years ago because of the existence of guantanamo bay. what i have found through my staff who negotiate transfers with these countries and just from working in the government and out of the government is that behind the scenes, a lot of these countries will play, look, we know they are terrorists and need to be detained, but publicly, we have to decry the public -- the existence of guantanamo. but it does exist. host: paul is next, michigan. good morning, independent line. caller: good morning, how are you? host: fine, thank you. caller: one of the things that fails to get mentioned is a always mention that president obama had the majority and the congress, but what is failed to be mentioned is how many times the republicans used the filibuster. this president has been disrespected more than any president we have ever had and obviously, you know, that is
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because of racism. host: why do you say racism paul? caller: well, uhh i understand that during -- when president obama was inaugurated his first time, there were a group of republicans that got together mitch mcconnell being one of them, eric canton, paul ryan and several others, and they decided to make president obama a one term president. uhh, he has reached out to them several times to get slapped in the face. i don't know why he did not call out the dudes in congress. they still do nothing. one of the reasons we have all these problems in the middle east is because our government
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covets their natural resources. host: we will get a response. guest: i don't think the opposition to closing guantanamo has anything to do with racism. because if that logic were true, and yes, there are races who are white, there are races who are black, there are races of every color in the world and racism is bad, we can establish that of trent -- -- upfront -- but we -- but it was democrats who controlled the senate who passed the law that the president reluctantly signed saying you cannot spend money, taxpayer money, to bring these detainees to the united states and you can't spend taxpayer money to upgrade or by any facilities, remember the thomson, illinois correction facility that people were looking out to house guantanamo detainees. you can't spend tax money for
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the purpose of moving guantanamo detainees there. so that logic applied and that would mean the democrats, who voted for that, are racist because they are against the policy. this is a policy thing. this is a policy debate. people have strong feelings about it and they will continue to have strong feelings about it long after guantanamo is over. host: next is mike from north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen. host: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: mr. stimson, three points and questions. number 1 -- live from the very beginning -- and we know the power in this modern age of media and social media -- is guantanamo bay or to the detention facility there, is it right or is it correct to call it a prison or a war camp like we have called these types of cancer in the past? you addressed the point of
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declaring war to another caller and we really have not done that except five times, but we have engaged our military like 40 or sometimes. the president bush did get congressional approval to go into iraq and to go into afghanistan to pursue enemies of the united states that were raging war against us, so why from the very beginning to we now call it what it was? because that does have a certain connotation as opposed to detention facility or these nebulous liberal type terms that lead people to believe that this was a criminal prosecution and that leads me to the -- host: mike, stay on the line. we will get a response and follow-up. guest: great first question. it is actually a legal term. prisoner of war is a legal status people achieve, earn under a few conditions. one, they have to fight for a country, mike, that signed and ratified -- a high contracting
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party to the geneva convention. two, if they are fighting for a country that is a high contract party or parties of the geneva convention, as long as they follow the law of war during a period of armed conflict carried their arms openly fighting with an emblem and following chain of command wearing uniforms, if captured and they did not commit a war crime during the conflict, a qualified for prisoner of war status. it is illegal status -- it is a legal status. if you don't fight for a country, and al qaeda did not you all the -- you automatically cannot beat the pow if captured. you are an off-line combatant. if the bush administration tried to call it a pow camp, people would say ehhh, you're going to get them the rights and privileges of a pa lw -- of a pow. host: mike, follow-up. caller: i appreciate that.
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maybe in a pr sense it would have been cleared up the other. the follow-up question to that is, obviously, president obama is being criticized from the left mostly for his use of drones. we can argue debate effective not effective, whatever, but this is also led to a debate whether if we tried to capture more of these combat tends or terrorists -- combatants or terrorists waging war against us and allies are interested in the middle east, maybe we could gather -- of the criticism is we are trying to do too much electronically without boots on the ground, so to stay, not war boots but intelligence gathering boots on the ground. if we captured more combatants and try to -- i don't want to torture them, i don't want to bring in the international loss but just try to gather more intel to try and help us, i don't know when this war for
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lack of a better term. what is your opinion on that? guest: dead men tell no tales and you can get intelligence out of the mouth of a dead man. you can get intelligence from whatever they had on the person if it still exists, etc. it is important, mike, to understand why the geneva conventions and the law of war developed the way it did. it developed the way it did to allow because it is a safe alternative to killing people. it shortened scores because you deprive the enemy of war fighters and a humane alternative to droning killing them by any other means. insofar as the drone debate goes, it is important to distinguish between use of a particular weapon platform and policy because we are in no law of armed conflict, a law of war. you can use various means as long as they are lawful and drones have taken on a life of their own in public debate but
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they are just a more precise way of targeting the enemy in ways that we have not had technologically for decades. host: bill from illinois is next. good morning we are talking about guantanamo bay and our guest is charles stimson, the former deputy defense secretary in the bush administration. caller: good morning and thank you, c-span. mine is more of a comment than a question. in the 1980's, i worked for security for a resort area in the outlands of san paolo, brazil. i was offered a job by supposedly two cia operatives that were there working security and they gave me five choices of other guantanamo-type resins. -- prisons that they wanted me to work security for. i just wanted the american people to know that guantanamo is not the only prison and if you follow the money of the
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pentagon, you can see where these countries are. host: response? guest: guantanamo as a naval station existed in that 1980's, but people forget to -- and bill, this may come to news to you if you don't know it, in the 1990's during the bill clinton presidency, guantanamo was the -- established as a detention facility. it was established as a detention facility back then because there were proximately 75,000 political refugees from the islands on all sorts of floats and got the heck out of their bad situation. they were gathered up and brought to guantanamo, where they established a tent city. in any city of 75,000 people, you will have some bad apples and indeed, there were some criminals. the commander of south, and the gtf commander down at gitmo established a small and contemporary -- and temporary
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prison facility called camp x-ray. it existed way before the obama -- which administration came to power and some of those detainees, steve, actually challenge their detention in federal district court in washington. the federal district court said, nope, you are not part of american soil. i don't know whether those two dudes who were cia or faking it and i don't know anything about that situation -- [laughter] sounds a little sketchy to me maybe they were and maybe they weren't. the detentions facility started in the 1990's at guantanamo by the clinton administration. host: from mississippi, independent line. caller: thank you. i have listened to the guest explain about prisoners of war and declarations, but i am still unclear, and please, help me understand why there is no
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declaration of war? host: getting a little bit of feedback and i'm going to cut you off but we got the essence of the question. why no declaration of war? it looks a congress is not going to give the president the authority he is asking for. guest: right. and i don't want to put all your viewers back to sleep on this beautiful sunday morning in washington but it is a fact that we declared war last time we declared war was world war ii and since then, with the exception of vietnam, every major conference we have engaged in we have had an authorization for use of military force since world war ii. that is because international law has changed. international law has changed and the declarations of war would not cover non--state
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actors. in other words, people not fighting on the behalf of countries. authorization for use of military force was a legislative vehicle for addressing situations like this particular one. host: our guest is a charles stimson as the former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the george w. bush administration. again, you can follow him on twitter at cullystimson and read his work online at thank you. guest: thank you for having me steve. host: how much money with the presidential candidates raise? hillary clinton hoping to raise as much as $2 billion. meredith mcgehee will be joining us to talk about campaign finance laws, what is on the books and what can we expect in 2016? you are watching and listening to "washington journal" on this sunday morning. we welcome our viewers on c-span
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radio and we are back in a moment. ♪ >> remarkable partnerships iconic women. their stories in "first ladies" the book. >> she did save the portrait of washington which was one of the inks that endeared her to the entire nation. >> what frances was staying, what she was doing, what she look like, who she was seen, that was going to help sell papers. >> how do you do that? and she did it. >> she exerted enormous influence because she would move a mountain to make sure that her husband was protected. >> first ladies, now a book,
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published by public affairs. looking inside the personal life of every first lady lady in american history. based on original interviews from c-span's "first ladies" series. when about their lives ambitions, families, and unique partnerships with the presidential spouses. "first ladies, presidential historians on the 45 iconic american women" filled with fascinating stories of women who survived this gurney of the white house, sometimes at a great personal cost often changing history. c-span's "first ladies" is an inspiring read now available as a hardcover or e-book through your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. >> tonight on c-span's "q&a," "washington post" walter pincus on the situation in the middle east and his and -- his opinion of the invasion in iraq in 2003. >> i think one of the things
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about the bush administration and probably who never claimed to be an expert on the middle east or on iraq and proved it, and history has proved it. is that we look at things from our own point of view and get deceived by them. we can go back to vietnam as a great example of the first time we sort of did it openly, but we have a history of trying to think other people are like us who want our standards and the world is different. particularly, in the middle east, it is totally a different culture. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a." >> "washington journal" continues. host: we welcome meredith mcgehee, a policy director for the campaign legal center which is what? guest: nonpartisan nonprofit
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representing the public interest to strengthen our democracy. host: we have the creation of the federal election commission, candidates beginning with jimmy carter and gerald ford to accepted funds and that worked fairly well until 2004 and significant change in 2008 with barack obama. what happened in those ensuing years? guest: i like to compare to a car that needs maintenance. by 1976 version of the car -- if you buy a 1976 version of a car, never take it in for maintenance coming get it updated, make sure the system is working, it is the price of 20 years or 30 years later the system is out of date. really what happened despite 2008, through a series of efforts in congress to block any updates, the amount of money that were provided to the candidate were too low and there had been efforts to make the amounts of money given to the candidates reasonable for the kind of racist that now exist
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and they were all blocked. so you have a system that made no sense for most of the candidates to go into. host: hillary clinton expected to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion and the republican nominee expected to reach the same levels. that does not begin to account outside special interest money that will be flooding into the system for both democrats and republicans, some including hillary clinton and calling for a constitutional amendment to block some of these donors. is that even viable? guest: well, the election we are looking at in 2016 may cost as much as $10 billion. the best estimates in the last presidential election were about $6 billion. this effort toward constitutional and is understandable given the majority in the court and what they have said over the last several decisions they have made. it is an understandable reaction. but i think many chemical the constitutional amendment and say, one, it is fairly
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systematic. it is not going to happen. particularly with this congress. a lot of times, people forget that if you look at the language the actual language talking about expenditures and media exemption would not even cover what citizens united, the group, actually did. for me, i look at this situation and i think the call for a constitutional amendment by a politician is kind of an easy out. is -- host: is money free speech? guest: look, we've got to have a decision and conversation about this nationally. we have had five members of the supreme court who are basically saying that. i think according to the polling, many americans, the majority of americans who basically disagree with that. they say the ability to express yourself and have the ability to go and put your message out there is one thing. whether or not you have the money to buy the biggest
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megaphone is a different question. i really think that this court in saying that these are the same as really undermined the fundamental principle of democracy. all they say, it has applications for speech about your ability to get the word out , but what it sets up is a system in which billion errors have -- billionaires have much more speech than average americans. this country was founded on this notion that if -- i will take an old example, ross perot walks into the voting booth and he has one vote. i walk into the voting booth and i have one vote. regardless of economic status. i think we have now reached a point where this political system is so far tilted and in favor of those who have the money that this notion of speech equaling money is a very dangerous kind of way for this democracy to proceed. host: that is a headline on friday from "the wall street journal."
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other liberal activist trying to help democrats or the coat others and special interest -- koch brothers and special interest. they are taking on a competitive role but they are not allowed to coordinate with the candidate. my question is is that in with a wink and a nod? guest: it's beyond a wink and a nod. the way the federal election commission has interpreted what constitutes coordination has meant that you can get away with an amazing amount. we saw this in the last election. in this notion that the super pac's are operating independently is a farce. we have seen reports where mr. bush, jeb bush, is talking about there is a whole plan in place to use of the super pac to run much of his campaign operation. we have candidates that pretend that they are not coordinating with the super pac, but the
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american people know it's a farce, the candidates know it's a farce, and i think most importantly, what you have is a system that is pushing average americans out of the system. this is not a system that encourages more and more individuals to get involved. it is a system in which those who have not just large amounts of money, huge amounts of money are really going to be able to dominate the choices. yes, we will all go in the voting booths if we choose to go vote but they determine what the election is about, the ability to spend this money determines but we talk about. the subject that we talk about in this election, and in the end, that is really going to influence a lot of how the election for the comes out. host: some background on our guest, meredith mcgehee with the campaign legal center, a former peace corps volunteer in west africa, a veteran of capitol hill, and formally with common cause and the past president of the alliance for better keep
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campaigns. our phone lines are open, 202 is the area code. host: 202-748-8000 line for democrats. 202-748-8001 line for republicans. prudence is joining us on the democrats line from utah. caller: since we seem to be failing in so many ways trying to organize ourselves the way we used to be organized, perhaps, we should cut out the middlemen. i am not sure that -- why don't we just let the superrich via among each other and whoever gives the country the most money would have to cough it up to the country and let them run things. we can't do worse than we are doing now, can we? [laughter] host: thank you for the call. guest: i think one of the things
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that has happened in our system, this is a system that turns off the average american. a bucket recently came out written by the weekly standard called -- and he makes a fascinating point. when the founding fathers got together all those years in go to talk about this country's jackpot about this -- talk about this country, they spent months and months talking about the processes of government, not policy. because as madison put it, they had the great concerns about factions. i think what we now have gone is a system in which the factions meaning in many cases those who really have the money, are really controlling the process. this is not just about being a good government question, a group who question this is fundamental about how a democracy works. and about how the united states will continue to be a vibrant system. when you essentially have a
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system that either financially excludes the vast majority -- we are talking the 1% of the 1% to a controlling it, and you have more than 99% of americans who realistically feel like they are not even a part of the process. that undermines that kind of fundamental strength of a democratic system. host: one of our viewers saying i don't expect that congress or the supreme court to do anything about campaign finance reform. share your thoughts at c-span wj. david, virginia, good morning. caller: good morning, how are you, sir? host: we are fine, sir. we are with meredith mcgehee of the campaign center. caller: yes, i have a comment but first off, i will start with saying to meredith that i agree with her completely.
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this tsunami of money coming in from one or two very rich families or groups is alluding our entire system of campaign finance. it's just really ruining the whole system, you know? i gave, you know, a couple thousand dollars to one of the parties over the course of the last election, but how can that compete with somebody who can give for or 50 or $60 million out of top? guest: that's exactly the point that so many americans feel like they really don't have a role to
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play in the process until the very end. in many cases, they feel they don't even want to go vote because they feel it has been decided. i want to be very clear that i think you have to look at what is going on, not the conservative or right versus left or progressive perspective. this is really a question on how you conceptualize the american democracy. is this a system in which you have this farce about being independent if you are a super pac or a dark money group versus a system in which there is really hierarchy and at the top of that hierarchy really should not be the -- really should be the candidate. those are the ones that should be heard in this race. i think we have a system right now where the super pac's are not totally independent. they are closely aligned. we really need to find two really key issues here. one is, how do you restore
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candidate to the top of that hierarchy? that is who the citizens here from first and foremost. it does not mean you don't have other voices, but there is a hierarchy to make sure that the person walking into the voting booth those for whom they are voting and why. they can make up their own mind. the second is that you have a democracy in which there are new incentives and more robust incentives or average americans both to give money and for candidates to pursue money that is not just billionaires. those who don't issues are something we need to grapple with and i want to be clear, i don't expect this congress to do anything, but that does not mean there are not things that can't be done. there are quite a number of policy proposals pending at agencies across the government. at the federal election commission, the federal communication commission which actually controls whether or not citizens can see who is sponsoring the political ads that are coming across the living rooms. you have the securities commission they have a proposal pending about whether or not
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shareholders of corporations have the right to have information about how the corporation of which they are a shareholder expense of the political money. these are all things that are pending right now. there is a negative order that has been proposed at one point by the white house about government-run -- contractors and their ability to pay so i really want to emphasize that we are not in a now or nothing constitutional amendment or congress is hopeless -- there are lots of things that could be done. they are not going to make magic laws to make the system perfect, but they can make improvements and i think it is really important to be realized that there is change that can start to turn the state a little bit. host: we are talking about finance campaign -- campaign finance laws and another comment on our page from twitter, nobody changed the rules, those with the most money wins.
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speaking of elections, there is one in great britain thursday, election day which we will be following on the c-span networks. polls showing it to be close and i mention that because our next call is from great britain. good morning and good at -- that afternoon to you. caller: good afternoon, how are you doing? host: fine, thank you. caller: excellent, excellent. look, as you know, we've got an election on tuesday -- on thursday. we are in need of some sort of cooperation between these parties, etc. to give you something just because you are talking about your own campaign finance elections. for example, we've got 72 billion people and we do an election in four months of around $500 million. india has a population of about 1.2 billion people and it does it with the same scale.
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slightly increase at around $750 million. you've got a population of about a hundred 75 million and you do it with the securities budgets etc. and on what parties spend. around $20 billion. now, how do you expect the montecito last if you are talking about those sorts of amounts of money because it means -- expect the democracy to last if you are talking about those sorts of amounts of money because you are talking about the scopes of going forward in the election. to give you examples, my country and india for comparison. host: thank you for the call. guest: in my view, the amount of money, shocking as it may be, is not the issue. there are two dubbed issues i think are the most important. one is, where is the money coming from? this is really the fundamental question here. not the fact that there is a lot
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of money. the sources of the money that comes into the election are often very interested sources meaning that they really have something they want from the candidates and from the government. the other side of the large amounts of money better spent in america's election is where does all that money go? the best guesses, and i say that because the reporting is pretty inadequate about where all that money goes is really influenced, believe it or not, by television. and when you say television, not just buying time, paying the consultants, doing the polling to figure out what the issue should be, doing focus groups. all of this money that is flowing into the system, a surprising amount of it is simply turned around and pumped not only into television but to broadcast television. even though broadcast television share of the market is shrinking, it still is a lot of what is controlling the spending and being really driving the costs.
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every once in a while, i think it is important to step back and say, yes, 6 billion or 10 billion sounds like a lot of money, but what are the incentives or people to get that money? what are the sources of the candidates have to go to? how much time to the candidates have to spend raising all that money? we have seen reports with the new member of congress coming in when they get their training about how to be an effective member of congress. they are sometimes spending on a eight hour day, at least half of that day dialing for dollars. that is not doing the public's business. and the people that are giving, sometimes they are giving because they think they might get the access and influence that the supreme court unfortunately, has said is constitutional. most of the time, they also have the concern that this is illegal shakedown. if i don't get, what is going to happen? you have this very interesting dynamic between what many people talk about legalized bribery and
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the other side of that is the legalized shakedown of i better give so my company or my industry or my interest is not get hurt. host: you are saying a comment -- you are saying that and a comment from another person no successful business person makes an investment without expecting a return. guest: absolutely. obvious he come i don't agree with the citizens united decision and the notion that they equated corporations with individuals and it's more complex than that. probably the most concerning part of that decision and it was recently reiterated in different words was this notion that the buying and selling of influence is perfectly fine. there was just another recent supreme court decision that came out this past week in which the chief justice wrote, that it is expected for a politician to be responsive to their donors. i just find that shocking. he of course goes around and
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finds it if you are a judge that is not acceptable. but, i think most americans are pretty outraged at this notion of seeing politics and seeing their elected officials somewhat like a vending machine. you put money in and you expect something in return. it's not just good government. host: agree with you saying you are spot on with your comment and you blow me down with the truth. wow. bill is next. from pennsylvania, good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to call in and express my concern that the campaign finance laws that we have at the very beginning have destroyed by making direct contributions and almost impossible. at the same time opening opening the political system to
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candidates to have vast amounts of money because they have no system, no group to whom to make their pitch and gain support. guest: well, i would note on the political parties having robust political parties -- many people see value in that. this is always a tough question in that in some states, you can go and see the political party and part of the problem in the system, some states like illinois or new york have had a history of where the political parties at the state level have been somewhat problematic. but stay in ethical terms. on the other side, i would note that after the mccain-feingold bill passed in 2002 also known as the bipartisan campaign reform act and everyone said it would be the death of the parties, in fact, contributions to parties increased significantly. a lot of that money did not just
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disappear out of the system. you want robust parties. at the same time, we need to make sure that the parties don't become, like in some of these states, where they foster this kind of honest graft if you will. so we need to have robust parties and the truth is, post -citizens united, there is no logical sense after that decision for anyone to spend time really going to the party because the courts between that decision and another decision called speech now and essentially set up the super pac system, all the incentives now are to either go to the super pac's and can give unlimited money and they can spend unlimited money not just give -- just knock it directly to a candidate or you can give it to a money group. if you are a smart corporate executive it probably makes more sense because then you can give to the dark money group and nobody knows you have used your corporate funds to give to that
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group and you get no blowback from the public from the right nor the left. we have a system of unaccountable money. we have a system that is now giving the playing field over to the 1% of the 1% and i think a few weeks ago there was an article in "the washington post" in which a blender who had raised in the hundreds of dollars -- hundreds of thousands of dollars was lamenting that she was no longer important to the candidate because she cannot deliver millions. she only delivered hundreds of thousands. it was a sad commentary on where the system currently is. host: we should point out examples on both sides of the aisle, a piece by ken vogel at focused on the koch brothers. a memo outlines their plans for 2016 and begins with the following --
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ira is next from west palm beach florida. host: on the line for independent with meredith mcgehee. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, you are on the air. caller: yes, i heard you all say that with these campaign funds we get no blowback from the public the right or the left correct? guest: for the dark money groups, right. caller: right, but the question i have is, if you have given under a small business huh? under the small business and you are giving, you still have a limit of what you can give. guest: when it comes to a dark money group or super pac, there is no limit on how much you can give. there are limits on how much you can give directly to a candidate. super pacs cannot give directly to a candidate nor can a dark
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money group. then you have the old-fashioned and traditional political action committee or pack which can give 5002 at candidate for the primary and 5000 for the general. -- $5,000 to a candidate and $5,000 for the general. what now seems almost kind of genteel about, $2700 for most americans is a heck of a lot of a lot of money, much less to a politician. we have a system now in which there are very few incentives to give directly to the candidates. and all the incentives to get to the super pac or to the dark money group. for the candidates, they are left in the world where they are going to move their political operatives to the super pac ride which they have done. and this is happening, as you noted, not a republican versus democrat issue. this is the way the system is right now. host: "huffington post was quote
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writing about the well-known bundler. he is launching his own effort to defeat the denier candidates. the focus of climate change which is first and foremost with tom stier. that story available online at huffington jerry from huntington beach california. good morning. caller: good morning. getting campaign-finance reform to the congress is difficult, but there is one thing that they could do and they should do. that would be to eliminate the electoral college direct boat -- direct vote. that would increase the number of people participating because people not just don't even bother. the state is going to go one way or the other and they don't vote. we have other benefits but i realize that is difficult. i don't know why it is so difficult? we should be able to do the right thing and do away with electoral college and there would be camping reforms that would make sense.
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thank you. host: thank you for the call. is this something you have studied? guest: there are a number of proposals out there on how to change the process to either make it at the presidential level the system more responsible to congressional level. for example, limiting the left war college is one possibility discussed. another that has gone more and more discussion is redistricting. the concern that voters should be choosing their politicians and politicians not choosing their voters. which is really what happens now with gerrymandering. i think all of these issues about trying to find a way to make the system more responsive to the voters were worthy of time considerations. my problem with some of these, and as i said, they really should get a lot of attention and a lot of discussion, is that as long as you have a system for which the candidates have their a few incentives to go and talk
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to the average voters, not only talk to them but to see them as the source of their ability to win or lose elections then they will go and do this kind of what i called the queen elizabeth wave where they go and have this patina that they are engaged with regular people. it is the people bringing in millions of dollars that they are really going to listen to and spend their time with. whether it is the electoral college reform, redistricting reform, these are the proposals for changing how you aggregate the votes. i think all of these in a system that is not working, they are very serious consideration. we really have to try and figure out a way as citizens to demand from our candidates and politicians that they begin to react, respond more and have
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more incentive to look at the candidates. i want to emphasize, you know, this is not simply congress is hopeless, let's give up. there are many different lovers here -- levers here for us to focus on and things that can be done. it may be incremental, they may not be pulled the exciting, but that is under the work of government. the work of government is only responsive when the people start saying to their elected officials, hey, we really hate the system. we don't like the way this is going. and a lot of consultants in washington, a lot of the political operatives, pretty much bank on the fact that they are going to turn off the vast majority of the american people. and that means that the small believes who pretty much stay engaged in the process get to control what goes on. there is almost -- you can look at this process to say there are so many incentives to exclude the vast majority of the american people that it really has to take this robust kind of
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citizenship, if you will, to go back in and say, wait a minute. if you think of benjamin franklin when you walked out of the end of all of the discussions of the founding of the country and they said, what happened? and he said, a republic, if you can keep it. that is the stage we are at. host: a suggestion in a tweet saying but about limiting the election into six months divided in half or three months for primaries and three months for the general? you can share your thoughts at c-span wj. let's go to sharon it next in oregon, republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. my hero in washington, d.c., was senator tom coburn. senator tom coburn said, no one should be in the house of representatives more than three terms. no one should be in the senate more than two terms.
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read his book and listen to senator tom coburn. the problem is being an elected person in washington, d.c., is their business. they are well paid. some of them are extremely good. i watch c-span every day. it is my absolute favorite show because it is educational and learning. but again, being a politician, being a representative or a senator in washington, d.c., you are well paid, it is big money. not only that, my hero also was william glasser. we are into power, we are into making the big money, we are into making the salaries, and yes, it is very sad. but again, read senator tom coburn's book and find out what he said. he did not just late the republican side. he was a man who listened to everybody and stood up for what
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he felt was right for the common people of the united states. thank you for listening to me this morning. host: sharon, you might have seen the interview we conducted with senator coburn before he stepped down this past year. it is part of our "q&a" program but if you go into the video library, he talks about the issues you pointed out. guest: i had an opportunity to meet with senator coburn when he was here. we were talking about many of these issues on how the system was broken. i have to tell you, i can argue square and round. there are days when i very much believe in term limits when i see entrenched power and i see the lengths to which it seems some in washington are just determined to hang on. the other side of it, i see to some degree what has happened in california, where they have implemented term limits. when you have this turn through the legislature, you find that it does not empower some of the
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staff that are not elected, but also the lobbyists who are there. the turnover in the legislature is seen, but the lobbyists remain. the new legislator comes in and they don't know a lot about the issue and they have to turn to the experts. in many cases, those experts are the lobbyists. as they say, i am sympathetic and i want to go back again to the founding fathers. one of the things he said about madison on a particular set about this, he said he did not think politicians were any worse than the rest of us. in fact, he thought they were exactly like the rest of us. and he understood that there was not going to be this kind of magical power that once someone got elected into office, they were going to somehow become above it all. they are going to be just like the rest of us, and that is why it was -- and that is why it was so appointed to have processes in place that understood the dynamic.
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you get into power, people like power. once you have it, it is hard to give it up. that does not mean that person is unusually bad, it means it is a pretty typical reaction. that is why i think it is so important that we kind of start aging these changes that we need to make in the system because i think there is a pretty universal agreement that the system is working. host: jane responding to the previous caller saying the following -- without tom coburn as president, america does not have a chance in hell. we will go to mimi on the democrat line. caller: good morning to you both. can you hear me? host: we sure can. caller: i think you probably have answered some of what i wanted to ask as you have been speaking this morning. to those that don't understand politics and those who don't vote, can you explain in simple terms when i heard last night on tv. the numbers that were passed up the hind this thing that was
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happening in baltimore. the disparity between income and security, etc., etc. this has to be a major effect that has taken on people of color or poverty or that live in poverty because they don't have money to make contributions. a lot of folks -- i have a poor white side to my family and a poor black side in my family and i see what's happening on both sides. host: thank you. we are short on time and we will get a response. guest: i think is a very much a minute -- a very legitimate and real concern. when you have able feeling alienated from their elected officials. when you have people feeling like they have no power, eight is not a good dynamic for a healthy system.
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the income inequality issue is exacerbated by the campaign-finance system because if you look right now when we are talking about the 1% of the 1%, it kind of goes back to that old line of, he who pays the piper calls the tune. we have a system right now where the people who are paying the piper are the 1% of the 1%. that is not going to create a very healthy dynamic. which it you need all the resources to participate. the more people who feel alienated, the more they are cynical, the more they are apathetic, the more they turn away from the system because they feel like the system is not responsive to them. host: more information available online at the website our guest meredith mcgehee, thank you. we will continue the conversation tomorrow morning and how slow --.
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some of the issues of how so that got -- the economy report in the first quarter. tenant mac to talk about the patriot act and $110 billion that's how much has been spent to rebuild afghanistan. the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction will be with us to break down your money. that is tomorrow morning on c-span's "washington journal." "newsmakers" is coming up next. be sure to check out "q&a." "petite -- "book tv on c-span2 and american history to be on c-span3. have a great weekend. ♪
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>> here on c-span this morning, "newsmakers" is next with representative mac thornberry from texas. that is followed by a supreme court argument on same-sex marriage. then coverage of the capitol hill gyro copter incident. susan: our guest this morning on "newsmakers" is mac thornberry of texas. this week, as committee chairman, he presided over the review of the 2016 different budget, $612 billion including $9 million on war funding in an 18 hour marathon session. thank you for being with us this week. have you heard wendy bill will go to the floor? rep. thornberry: i think i


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