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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 13, 2015 10:00am-10:31am EST

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workers. host: tom, we are going to apologize again but gary says via twitter, my brother works at boeing and they use a lot of h-1 workers. the unions have been late to the dance to protect american workers. two articles from the "washington times" that may be of interest to you. just going to point it out quickly. their lead editorial, choosing a president by man national park plays. sentially is -- president by man -- manipulation. and next president could appoint up to four high court justices might be of interest. both articles are from the "washington times." reminder every weekend c-span2, book tv on the weekend. there's the website. one of the features this weekend is patrick kennedy talking about his addiction and his family. and american history tv is every weekend on c-span3. and there's their website. you can find all american
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history for 48 hours. thanks for being with us. enjoy your weekend. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> look at what's ahead today across the c-span networks. join us in a half-hour for the florida republican party sunshine summit. the first of two days featuring most of the mangor republican presidential candidates. today we'll hear from marko rubio, ted cruz, jeb bush, donald trump, ben carson, and others and our live coverage picks up this morning at 10:30 eastern. on c-span3, a discussion on defense department acquisitions, best practices, and ways to improve purchasing for the
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pentagon hosted by the lexington institute at noon eastern. also today a look at the criminal justice system, topics include the use of force among law enforcement officers from the federalist society. that's live at 12:15 eastern on our companion network, c-span2. ahead of the paris climate talks, energy secretary earnest moniz will talk about climate change issues. that's live at 2:30 this afternoon. also on c-span2. >> signature feature of c-span2's book tv is our coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with nonfix author talks, interviews, and viewer call in segments. coming up book tv will be live from the 3 nd annual miami book fair. our coverage starts on saturday, november 21, at 10:00 a.m. eastern. authors include representative john lewis, discussing his book "march" book two. a live call in with "wall street journal" columnist and author
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peggy noonan who talks about the book "the time of our lives." judeth miller joins us to discuss the book, "the story, a reporter's journey." and ted koppel on his book, "lights out, a cyberattack, a nation unprepared, surviving the aftermath." on sunday speak with the authors live. first p.j. o'rourke takes your calls on his book, thrown under the omnibus. then msnbc host will take calls about her book, "fracture, barack obama, the clintons, and racial divide." join us live from miami on c-span2's book tv starting november 21. be sure to follow and tweet us your questions at book tv and at c-span on twitter. >> full day of "road to the white house coverage" coming up in about 25 minutes. the republican party's sunshine summit in florida. ahead of that a discussion on campaign finance from this morning's "washington journal." continues. host: joining us on "washington
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journal" is lawrence lessig, a professor at the harvard law school and former democratic presidential candidate as well. before we get into your issue of campaign finance reform, you probably heard the first segment this morning talking about the issue of race on college campuses. you teach at harvard. what is your take of what is going on it happening at the university of missouri? guest: i think it is a of the systemic inequality institutionalized that has spread throughout our society. my campaign was targeting a very specific substantiation of that in the way that we have allowed representative democracy to become radically unequal. there is no equality in our representative democracy and that manifests itself throughout our political and social system. i think this is the critical issue that we have to find a way to rally political support to a
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firm the equality of citizens, which has manifested the inequality throughout our society. host: how and why to do run for president -- did you run for president? guest: i think we have at the core of our democracy a failed institution, the institution to the right over there, congress . noled in the sense that it longer represents the people and it's no longer representative because of the way that we fund campaigns and the way of political generator mandrake -- gerrymandering creates radical inequality and polarization inside of the house. the system that we have allowed not aelop has produced democracy, not even a government that can function. my concern was that, even though candidates of my party were talking about the influence of money in politics, nobody was talking about how we could fix this crippled and corrupted congress. and that we needed to fix it
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first if we had any chance to do the things they were talking about. what i wanted to do in the spring of this improbable campaign was to come and a very short time, get to the level that would allow me to be in those debates. in those debates, make this issue the central issue that the democrat party would see. host: campaign finance reform. guest: that is the way it was framed and that means i did not do a good job. i care about the fact that we do not have her present of democracy. the way that we fund campaigns is a critical part of why we do not have a representative democracy. the idea that 158 families have given half of the money that has been contributed in this political cycle so far is a measure of inequality and unrepresentative nests in our political system. it is not just that. it is also the way that we allocate power in the house of representatives. it is the way that we suppress the ability of people to vote through voter i.d. systems. it is also the way in which we
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no longer live up to the standard of a representative democracy that respects the equality of citizens. host: at what point did this inequality occur? was it written in the constitution or the last 20 years? historyo, america has a of striving for equality in so many dimensions, but what is so striking is that the framers of our constitution were obviously not aware of the needs for racial inequality. they certainly did not even understand the need for sexy quality. they would not even have known what sexual orientation equality was. the framers of our constitution were very sensitive to the basic equality of citizens. when matters to describe the government that the constitution would create, we would have a congress that would be "dependent on the people alone." describing that exquisite dependence on the people, he said other people, he meant "not
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the rich more than the poor." their consumption of the republic and representative democracy they were creating is that it would have a basic equality of citizenship. we have allowed to happen -- and primarily in the last 20 years -- is the evolution of all sorts of inequality in the basic way in which our government functions. the consequence of that is a corrupted and crippled institution of congress. we have all these presidential candidates running for president promising the moon as if we lived in a dictatorship where the president just got to say, yeah, we're going to have a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care will be passed. we will take on the banks and break them up. what you know and what we know is that we do not get change unless we get congress to enact it. we will not get congress to as congress isg focused obsessively as they are right now i'm what they need to do to raise the money they need
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to get back into power or so long as they come from these incredibly polarized gerrymandered districts, which forced them to be sensitive to the extremes in our political system as opposed to representative of the average american. host: why were you not allowed to participate in the democratic debates? guest: i do not know. we launched our campaign against a background of a promised by the chair of the democratic national committee that the rules for getting into the bates -- the debates were 1% and three national polls six weeks before the debate. we were told those rules repeatedly were not going to change. the firstmake that in debate. the pollsters would not include my name in the polls. they ran a piece of how they included the names of the polls that i would've qualified. fine, i did not make the first debate. we got to the second debate and it was pretty clear that we were going to qualify. a monmouth poll came out at 1%. nbc had a poll at 1%.
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quinn a pack had a poll at 1%. the three that would've counted all have me at 1%. before id of the week withdrew, the democratic national committee contacted our campaign to say it was not three polls within six weeks. it was three walls at least six weeks before the debate, which meant i would not have qualified. when i said i cannot have run because of this change, there was all sorts of outrage because of that. cbs modify the rule again and said it was not 1% in three 1%ls, it was greater than in three polls. the goalposts were moved. had they not been moved, i would not be here in washington today. i would be in iowa today preparing for the debate tomorrow. host: our guest is lawrence lessig, professor of law at harvard and former democratic presence of candidate. the numbers are going to be up on the screen if you want to participate in this conversation about campaign on its reform.
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it is about what he calls inequality in our political system and in representation and some of the other issues in the political arena. let us begin with a call from jack in maryland on the democrats line. go ahead. caller: good morning. thank you for the effort of the guest. what a noble idea to get the money out of politics. it could just be doing so much good elsewhere. , in thethat as well as backdrop of things, so much that is wrong with the government hinges on the majority versus the minority and the shortsightedness of things. it seeks an impartial rules committee that says eight years from now when we do not know who is going to be in power, who is going to have this way, let us write a set of rules that would be fair and get rid of things like unrelated amendments to
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bills, forcing thousand page bills through in one or two days, to filibuster if something passes one house and it's not even brought to a vote in another house. it can be so fair. and a leanne wood look at the system, especially -- in a an a leanne wood look of a system where there's so much money influencing officials. host: got your point. guest: i think the point about short-term is really important. this is a city where elections are basically every two years. that is what defines the control of congress. what has happened is that campaign time has evolved from basically six months before the election to 24/7 from one election to the next. no longer is there actually a time when congress gets the govern perpetually. congress is getting to run for
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reelection. they are in this mode, this constant, permanent war mode where to raise money they spend all their time calling donors. the estimates at the academy say it's anywhere between 30% and 70% of their time raising money. when they are raising money like that, what they're doing is calling out the other side as being the devil. what you spent all your time referring to the other side as the devil, it is hard to turn around and work with those people to get anything done. i think the critical thing that we have got to begin to focus on and your idea of let us set the rules for eight years down the road is how do we begin to get people who can think about what makes sense for america rather than what makes sense for my party to get control of congress in the next two years? host: the sea of tranquility tweets into you "in history, when has that ever been a equality? equality is only achieved with a planet of clients.
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difference is the beauty of life." that is a tweet. if you cannot get through on the phone lines and you want to tweet, at c-span wj is the twitter address. to commentuld love on that. it's a really important distinction. when i'm talking about equality, i'm talking about equality of citizens. that idea is different from the idea that we are equal in our abilities, equal in our wealth, equal inour prospects, absolute opportunity. we have all sorts of inequality in society and some of that inequality we should celebrate. we should celebrate the inequality that comes from hard work. that is all fine. our ideal, the ideal of her present of democracy is the ideal of the quality of citizens. people should be equal before the law. people should be treated equally. in my view, i'm obsessed with the quality not because dusty
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equality because i'm inegalitarian could i believe in it and i think it is important. the reason i care about equality is that the corruption we have in our system right now is the product of the inequality in our system right now. a we could create representative democracy again, one where congress was not obsessed the tiniest fraction of the 1% cared about, the funders of their campaigns, we could begin to have a government that could work again. i care about equality because you quality is the cure for the disease of our government and the disease of our government is the cronyism that comes with the corruption of this political system. host: eric is calling in from arizona on our independent line. what would you like to ask lawrence lessig? caller: i've a question in a couple of comments. ae question is -- this is not democracy. it is a constitutional republic. if you so worried about the
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individual, that is why the forebears native -- named it a constitutional republic. i'm curious about what he think the benjamin franklin. thank you. guest: i borrowed benjamin franklin's glasses. admirer of frankel could let us tear up this issue of democracy versus republican the framers gave us a republic. they gave us a representative democracy. it is one kind of democracy like a red apple is one kind of apple. when people refer to america as a democracy, they should not leave that america is a direct democracy could i think would be a disaster to have a direct democracy. i believe in a representative democracy. and i say we do not have the democracy the framers intended, i mean that we do not have a representative democracy. in this democracy, citizens are not equal. they are not equal in the 345 districts in the house where seats are saved seats where the
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majority party basically controls that seat whether it is a democrat or republican seat. 89 million americans have no effective representation in those districts because they know that their views could never matter to the representatives the cosa happened to be from the minority party. the political gerrymandering creates one dimension of this inequality and the way that we raise campaign funds is another. these are inequalities that means we do not have a representative democracy, which means we do not have a republic anymore. that is why my book is titled "republic lost." host: this book is brand-new? guest: it first came out in 2011 and i rewrote 70% of it that just came out last month. host: still the same name? guest: it is the corruption of equality the 2016 edition. host: john on a republican line. caller: mr. lessig, my question to you is how are we going to stop this knowing that the obama
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administration stop the keystone pipeline, not knowing that warned gave millions and millions of dollars toward the administration? called therailroad santa fe railroad that comes from canada all the way down to texas. to that oil is being pushed the railroad. that is why the keystone pipeline was stopped. there are other congressmen in washington that are taking money from terrorist groups. there is one terrorist group in pennsylvania. the only reason i know that is because they grew up not too far from that area. how are you going to stop the corruption that is getting worse and worse throughout the united states and throughout washington itself? guest: it's a great question because it brings out exactly the problem with the current system that we have got right now. right now whenever you see a decision you disagree with, the first thing we run to is that
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they must have made that decision because of the money. i do not and know exactly why a obama made the decision that he did about the keystone pipeline. fair toit is completely point out that whatever financial interest might have benefited the democrats when he made that decision. the same thing the other way around. the point is that we have a system where we have no reason to believe that the decisions are being made in the interest of america as a whole. we have every reason to believe that the decisions are being made to benefit the funders that is exactly what donald trump's point was in the second republican debate when he stood up and said i own all the people and i own you people because i've given you money and i know you will return the favor in exchange. he told us that the system is like as if we needed donald trump to tell us that. the point is that we all believe that this government is corrupted. these politicians are bought. until we change the way that we fund campaigns, that believe will not change. if that belief does not change,
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then whatever government does, we have no reason to get engaged democratically to respond to it. we just sit back and are cynical way on a couch and say that is just politicians behaving the way politicians always behave. host: are any of the candidates speaking to you as far as the issues go? is bernie sanders out there? democratsryone at the -- hillary, burning, and martin o'malley -- have on their websites and in their policy which ificies, enacted, would address this problem could the problem is not that they do not believe in the policies. the problem is that they are not out there explaining to the american people this is what we have to do first. it is just not credible to talk about breaking up the banks when wall street and the financial industry is the number one conservator to congressional campaigns. times"the new york reviewed the health care proposals of different candidates and talk about bernie sanders's single-payer health
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care system, they were so derisive of what this proposal was that they were not given a paragraph's consideration. not because it was a bad idea, but it was industry opposition that would be so overwhelming that would never have any chance of getting anywhere. if that is true, why does industry opposition matter so much? it only matters because of the money industry puts into the system. so until we find a way to address that fundamental corruption, we cannot begin to do the things that democrats are talking about. we democrats are the party of yes in this debate. we are trying to bring about changes. if you want to keep the status quo and things not to be reformed at all, this is a pretty good system for producing that because stalemate and veto is the default way the system works. host: lawrence lessig interned with both -- or was a clerk i should say with both justice scalia and with richard pozen
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and the seventh district in a graduate of the university of chicago. some would say those are rather conservative rituals. guest: they are. i had the honor of working for pozen are and scalia as their liberal representatives. scalia at the time would have a liberal clerk. everyone else would beat up on. i was the person in the chamber charged with making the argument from the other side. the great thing about clerking at the supreme court though is percent to 70% of those cases are unanimous decisions. most of it has no political flavor at all. most end up with the right answer. host: do the other justices did that? do they also look for an opposing view? guest: when i clerk, it was a rare thing for a judge to do that. i'm not sure what justice scalia's current practices. most of the other chambers were
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unified in their positions. host: we have this tweet from dfw librarian. sner. know judge po please comment on his recent doubts that 14 commitment really conveys birthright citizenship." guest: there is no doubt my mind that it conveys birthright citizenship. ithink there's no doubt that is a completely destructive debate to be having right now. in my view, america is filled with americans who deserve to be citizens and we ought to be talking about the fastest way that we can move the hard-working americans in society to becoming citizens. birthright is one way. i think we have to talk about other ways, too. host: tim is in ohio, a democrat. caller: good morning. the citizenss united decision of the supreme court is the law of the land.
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paying --all be shouldn't we all be paying off of the same tax schedule corporations and individuals the same? i will wait for my answer. thank you. guest: it is a great question. it brings out the fundamental protest in american history, which is no taxation without representation. that was the original birth of the tea party in boston, of course. that was the protest against the british tea tax. principle, you might say, in a world where so much corporate money is driving political decisions, should produce a response for citizens to say why should i be paying taxes and a system where i am not fairly representated? indeed, some conservatives in the reform movement, a guy named bush's pater, george
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ethics are, and now professor of law at minnesota, has proposed a system to change the way that campaigns are funded, giving everybody a $200 voucher to fund campaigns. the name of the proposal is no taxation without representation act. his basic argument is that in this system, representatives are responding to their funders of campaigns. so long as american citizens are not the funders of campaigns, we will not be represented. the only way that we could be represented is if we were funders of campaigns and we should not have to pay taxes until we are represented. in austin,ard is an o texas. you are armed with lawrence lessig. retired history teacher. what bothers me right now is we no longer have a government of and by and for the people.
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it is for the corporations. the people we are copying are the people in 1930's in germany that set up a system very similar to ours now for the corporations ran that country. they started killing off the retarded people. innow put mentally ill prisons. they lived off of whatever they could. they were hungry. they did them under. and then they came after the jews. that the christian people of the united states are starting to get their christianity and direction of hate towards others. host: that is rich in austin. any comment for him? guest: we need historians in this debate because it is
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important to remember that what we look back as fascism had really too important strands in it. one part is the racism that eventually manifested itself into the holocaust. as richard reminds us, many other people were targeted by fascists as well. the other part of fascism is corporatism and governments were governance was turned over to private corporations. it was a part of fascism that america toyed with as well in the first new deal of the united states. it was a similar model of turning over much of the regulatory structure of the recovery act to private corporations and private unions that would collude to write the rules that would make sense as they saw it for our future. that part of the new deal was struck down by the supreme court rightfully so.
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we should remember that any time we are tempted to turn government power over to private interests, private interest will overwhelm the government. they will steer government power and direction that will benefit them. that is what is called cronyism. cronyism, i think, is a perfectly apt way to describe the corruption inside of our government right now. politicians are so dependent on campaign funds that they would do anything they can to make sure that their funders are happy. what that means is that the business model of corporations in america increasingly includes how do we come to washington and get special favors from washington to benefit ourselves so that we could increase our profit margins substantially rather than spending our time figure out how to build a new widget or better product that americans want to buy? that cycle, the economy of influence, that we have allowed to develop is something we have
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seen historically throughout our past, but it seems we have never learned from that passed and built protections into the system to avoid repeating itself. you seen this call from jonathan bernstein from bloomberg. " lessig never gave anyone reason to believe he belonged in the major candidate category. he did not have conventional qualifications for the job and made no pretense of interest in being president. there is no reason party should elevate issue activism to the national debate platform." guest: in the democratic party, as in the republican party, there is a fundamental fight about whether insiders should control or whether we should allow outsiders in. of course, the perspective that i wanted to bring to this was not just one issue. ands not like it came in talked about climate change is the most important issue or
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economic equality is the most important issue. my point was that none of the issues that anybody was talking about had any hope of progress until we address this fundamental issue first. not to say that requires i call important, the most most powerful people on the inside, lake congress. -- like congress. the sailed institution in our government is congress. if you depend on the insider to make that point it is never going to be made. if we were in a completely well functioning democracy where the system was actually working and people were actually being represented, i would be in the school that says let's just let the politicians deal with this. let's let them solve the problem. but we are in a system where the politicians cannot cure themselves, and what we need in that is an outsider who steps up and says, here is how we ed


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