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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 1, 2016 1:30pm-3:31pm EDT

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mexico is going, into the future. there is still, is it still midnight? i do not know if it is midnight, maybe it is almost host: what led to the darkness? guest: many factors led to darkness. was in 2001ey wone mexico for the first time experienced a government that came in and that led to a vacuum, a power vacuum where basically, drug cartels who not often but they really operate one-on-one, corruption with federal authorities. many of these cartels became the king pins not just of the drug
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trade, but everything the government does. they took over police departments and newsrooms and city government. i would not go as far as to say mexico is a failed state. it is clearly not. i think there are regions across mexico, where you can certainly say it is very close to a failed region. host: alfredo corchado is a correspondent for the dallas morning news as well. covering mexico and the two countries for many years. mr. corchado, what do the cartels want? guest: i always think of it as, it is not that it is different from starbucks. they want clients. they want profit. they know there is a big demand for illegal drugs. consumption is huge. the u.s. market represents the
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biggest market in the world. they want new markets. they want to be able to penetrate the united states and be in as many places -- there is a joke, the fedex model. you get the drugs from colombia, peru, bolivia. 24 hours later, they are somewhere in the streets of new york, washington, dallas, and phoenix. they want to be able to continue to make a profit. host: how do they get it across? guest: corruption. i think mexico's biggest challenge, biggest problem, aside from building strong rule of law institutions, the impunity rate in new mexico is more than 98%. it means if you kill someone or commit a murder or commit a crime, oftentimes, there is a 98% chance you will get away with it. if you have that much corruption, it is easy to buy
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authorities to bring the drugs into the united states. there is also corruption on the u.s. side of the border. it is something we oftentimes overlooked. there are gangs and networks. we are not talking about one major cartel. we are talking about cartels that are huge conglomerates. they had ties across the world. it is a vast network that people take the drugs to different cities throughout the world. in london, france, spain, italy, on and on. host: if the united states were able to put up a wall where you are sitting now and across the southern texas border, would that stop it? guest: i have done stories in mexico. i remember clearly one time when i was at a bar in northern mexico when they were waiting for congress to debate and talk
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about building more walls. walls.ing more smugglers were able to raise their glasses and salute to the men and women back in congress and say you are helping us and making us much more profitable. anytime united states tries to make things tougher for immigrants, the only people who benefit from this are the smugglers themselves. people have to find new ways to as long as you have demand for labor, as long as you have the actual drug, you will have mexicans trying to get across. to is ag to remember is migration from south to north, historic lows. tell yourter, i can't the number of cities i visited, places like san diego, other philadelphia,
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california, washington, where people begin to ask me where are the mexicans? they're are not seeing as many mexicans coming across, so they are beginning to see a labor shortage in parts of the united states. sunday, for all the talk of rapists and murderers coming across the border, i think willcan businessman seriously miss the mexican worker. host: good morning, go ahead. caller: i am calling to say mexico is playing the mess out of americans. the cartel runs our city now. they kill more people with their drugs than the terrorists will ever do. as you said, they are taking our jobs. my daughter last summer tried to get a job at mcdonald's. they are all taken up.
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she cannot even get a summer job. mexico is making a mess out of the united states? i think that is what he said. he went on to say the cartels are controlling our town. u.s.hey controlling on the desperate showing on the u.s. side of the border? >> i would say they have a huge presence and they work hand-in-hand with american operatives, people who operate in the united dates. drugs do not magically appear on the u.s. side. withwork hand-in-hand americans or canadians. combination, cooperation to try to make sure they get across the united states.
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2015 for number for border protection, this is the they reportedures to worth about 170 $2 billion, a 49% increase over 2014. 153 pounds of marijuana, cocaine, and over 5000 pounds of methamphetamines. as well as heroine, 1000 pounds, 9 million in undeclared currency , firearms and over 7000 rounds of ammunition. that is what they were able to seize. how frequent is it happening on the border that those cartels are attempting to and succeeding in getting drugs across the border? >> we do not know. they say they only see so much
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and only so much gets across. we have been covering the border and we hear those numbers again. we hear something surprising. people will tell you, the number -- marijuana going across the border is declining. it is so much better that they are moving marijuana to some cities like monterey and mexico city. demand on both sides of the border. it also tells me maybe the jug policy in the united states is not working and you have to also deal with consumers, you have to deal with demand. judge have to curse in the end, they are smart is this men looking to see what sells, what can they get across, who is consuming what, where are they consuming it, how do they get it there and they work hand-in-hand. host: maryland, sharon, it is
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your turn. good morning. are you with us? caller: good morning. thank you for having me on. thatically wanted to say as an american born and raised, it truly should be some kind of immigration reform because i work with a lot of a diverse culture and i see how hard they work every day. the team has an mexicans come over and take stuff from us. i do not believe that is true. i think they literally cram up in an apartment. saving their money, going out there and buying the house, buying the stuff and whatever
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they need to buy. back and they say no, when in reality, they work for less than nothing. if the shoe fits, wear it. if you feel that you do not judge people like that, then you do not have anything to worry about. i am telling you i am seeing as an american. guest: mexico is trying to do more to keep people in mexico. i often wonder, there is so much of the u.s. president throughout we talk about more peaceful and more prosperity throughout the country, you have people trying to do something, people who do not want to
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migrate in the united states. wonder why people can't foreign companies pay more wages so we do stay back in and not go to the united states and not be humiliated by the u.s., whether it is lawmakers for those who feel they are taking their jobs away. i cannot tell you the number of times i've been to mexico where people say, the last thing i want to do is be separated from my family, especially now when the border is so tenuous as it is so difficult to come back and forth in the late 1980's and the late 1990's. you are not just dealing with the demand-side, mexican attitude throughout mexico. is much more dangerous
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when the cartel has taken over and many drug routes to get across, much more expensive to do that. i want to agree with sharon in that often times, they are doing jobs that americans do not want to do and often times come you go to regions in the united states where there is a legitimate complaint that the job went south and people are making low wages compared to what they were making. host: we are talking with alfredo corchado joining us from laredo, texas. taking your phone calls this morning. a lot of construction going on. the bridges are being constructed. for: bridge one used to be passenger vehicles.
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they have made it now so it will be just for pedestrians and that is the work they are doing and that is a work you hear there. florida, good morning, go ahead. caller: good morning. look at the facts. we know a lot of the border states are at ridiculous levels. say what you want about the jobs and people don't want to do it but as americans, we going to walmart and everywhere we go and most of our jobs are held by mexican-americans or undocumented mexicans. it is more of an economic issue. everyone wants to keep labeling it racist and that is not what it is. it is the fact that it is putting h amend us economic burden on the american taxpayer. , what isredo corchado
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the drive for message citizens to try and come here and risk passage to cross illegally into the country? better jobs and better wages. if they are mexican-americans, they are paying taxes. many illegal immigrants and that paying taxes or they take money away from border security. i get it, it is a very difficult in the united states. people are asking where to this -- where do they come from? it is a fact of life. there is a lot of legal ,igration and places that again, traveling the border in many of these communities, 89% of the communities are made up yetesidence in mexico, and we are in some of the safest communities anywhere in the united states just on the u.s.
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side of the border. these are some of the safest communities. if immigrants are taking over -- trying toates, cover the story and trying to listen to the questions with all the construction going on. we will muddle through. hosea in california. jose in california. caller: america is a rich country. why can't they pay people a decent wage. if they did that, they would not want to come over the border. why can't they do anything? are they power it -- powerless to protect the people getting killed at the border? why are they powerless against the cartels.
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is the mexican government week? no one mentions with the mexican government is doing for these people. that is a good point from modesto. not just toquestion the mexican government but also again, companies pay her dwight do they pay such low wages? that will be more of an issue. there are places where they are building airplanes and computers. there are mexican high-tech areas here. question that keeps coming. as far as the corruption, that is the key. the corruption is so embedded into the system. it has been virtually impossible for the mexican government to try to take cartels on.
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it is a war within the government. the corruption is so deep within the government, that both sides are worrying one-on-one inside, you know you, you talk about what does this cartel the want to or who is helping them? it is often times people higher up in the government. the good news for me is i also see the best of mexicans, people who continue to believe in a better mexico, people who are creating societies to i've had to keep the government accountable and hold it accountable. , butll not be a quick fix it is something that we are beginning to see the effects. city,s the most dangerous some say around the world. crime hasty where
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come down and you see a greater role and members of the societies playing a role, trying to hold people accountable. host: mike next in pittsburgh. good morning. i think a lot of people have misdirected anger. most american people are just upset about the state of our own economy. ultimately, we need to have better relationships with some kind of stable mexican government if we could ever move forward. host: ok. what are our relations like, diplomatic, i guess? between the united states and mexico? caller: -- guest: i think if you talk to
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both sides, they will put on a smile and say cooperation, cooperation. aalso think there is a bit of cooperation and the current , promise a lot of reforms. he pushed a lot of reforms across. the questions about some of the kidnapping, murder said 43 all of that hurts the narrative the president is trying to make. that has really hurt him, members of the administration. it is that much more yesterday. hip.re tied at the share a 2000 mile border. you cannot make mexico
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disappear. you have to work together to make mexico a more profit -- prosperous and safer place. that will help not just the u.s. but the entire north america. a more vibrant region. just like in the border. it is something that has to move beyond the border. people can talk about trade and , we are in laredo seeing a lot of jobs. i have also been to michigan and you see the impact. i do not think they have really found the sweet spot of both countries. when we were in texas back in april, we spoke with a democrat there about the community. he said it is safe in the town of laredo and it is a misperception that the border towns are not. >> a lot of people think the border is not safe. and there are a
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lot of statistics to show that. on the mexican side, there are security issues. careful wheno be we cross. it depends when. the border normally is not as safe as other parts of mexico. like anything else, we need to ask. in youris happening sister town, as it has been called? >> it is said to say, but there is cartel activity. well.ing activity as it appears the rule of law has and to a major
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extent, frankly, the laws are not necessarily enforced and it is difficult to determine who is the guy and who is the bad guy, so to speak. host: we are live from laredo, texas. alfredo corchado is joining us from the pedestrian bridge in texas, right across the river is mexico. the mayor talk about the cartel. we talk about the jugs. the smuggling of humans, why have the cartels moved? during the height of the central american crisis -- and that crisis has not left. it is still there, still a lot comingg americans through texas and increasingly through arizona and even california.
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we saw how in parts of texas, some cartels were focus a lot more than they were, smuggling people, young children, then they were with drugs. it is all about profit. a cartels became that much more powerful in the early over all of took the smuggling routes. it used to be when i was a kid growing up, we knew who the smuggler was. a neighbor orly who knew someone. there was a family connection. a sense of trust. nowadays, when people cross the often, individuals too lead to disastrous consequences. the smuggler's head essentially taken over the route from -- crossre the ones who people into the united states.
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often times, not just -- the human toll. good morning, an immigrant. caller: we have to also look to place the blame for corporations because they want to make profits. we decide to play mexico. it is not the mexican's fault. they are just trying to eat like people who came from europe. research's it more and place the brett -- place the blame properly. thanks. host: ok p are good morning. caller: good morning, c-span. you are great. i want to ask his opinion of legalizing say just marijuana. what would that do to the power of the cartels?
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training their money. guest: i think we have already seen that. and otheregalized states legalized marijuana. an impact in the sense that there are more people now focused on even cocaine, i think cocaine is making a comeback. -- you live ingo a country where the rule of law is so weak, impunity is so high, they will find the weeks of -- the weak spot and take advantage of that. if they decided the mexicans were illegal, i would say been cookies because they are making america to obese or something like that, they will smuggle them across. anything they can get away with
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an companies that are weak institutions, they will try. when hot --ed in pockets of colorado make their way across the border, the other , kidnappings and extortions. criminal organizations and reaches just like the one right across new mexico, whatever. the mayor was saying earlier, , looking at a poll some key issues like security. every community we visit along
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the border talks about how safe their community is. it is backed up by facts. some of the safest communities along the border and some of the most troubling communities on the new mexican side. good morning, nancy, california. caller: claimant for a while that laredo is a safe place. , one of themhe cia says it is a lie and the other one says misleading at best. as far as coming here for a better life, that is not true. 72% of them are on welfare. destroyedcompletely the opportunity and development. the unemployment is over 50%. they are sending them over here
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for the world bank and honest economist. the economy would collapse if they do not have the people -- sending money back there. second-highest source of revenue. host: we believe it at that. guest: -- host: we will leave it at that. guest: there was some mexican human rights activist and democratic activist who talked building a wall to keep mexicans in mexico so they could a betterhelp hold country. that has been talked about before. there is not much i can say other than what i repeated earlier. i think a lot of mexicans would rather stay in mexico and tried a living there. if both sides made sure wages were higher and people could , thelly make a living
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mexicans i talked to him that i know in the united states, yes. you have some very hard-working people who are trying to make a living by leaving mexico behind and try to help their children make a better life. case.as the case in my host: ok, go ahead. caller: thank you. the problem here are ethics and morals. the problem with white, euro americans is greed. greed is number one. and you stop the problem. mexicans come here to work. that is all it is. we will hear from michael
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in texas. good morning. caller: i just want to talk command in the united .tates we have got to make country happy to live in their skin otherwise the cartel will keep going. host: illinois, good morning. caller: good morning. when i was a kid in illinois, i had to fight to work because the mexicans were blessed in, given in, given aussed place to stay. i was grateful to get that job. i could get on because of all
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of the immigrants that were buss ed in. today, my kids are home builders. their jobs are down and it is because of the illegals that are here. guest: you hear that story often times. i hope we get a hold of libya at some point. anecdotes that somewhere mexicans that came here, because there is demand. both types of stories, obviously, the jones would like to know a lot more. if they could, if given the chance, more mexicans would stay in mexico and that is what we're seeing now. saying --
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buses are leaving empty. people have said enough, we have -- we are being humiliated. it is that much more difficult to get across and more dangerous to get across and it is not worth it. there will come a day when americans will ask what happens to the country. they need new blood, they are not here. where did america turn to? chuck in virginia, good morning. you are on the air. these people coming over one hard work was being done, they keep talking for theey want to come better life of their children. people over here, whatever
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happened to all those children in the middle east? the illegal immigration business , fighting illegal immigration? i do not know how to answer that question. i mean i can -- again, i can talk about my personal story. she was able to sacrifice everything she loved to give a better life. i think we have done well. for millions of families, who lived on the same thing, who have contributed to the success of the united dates. most of the stories i hear are andt people contributing loving the united states and loving new mexico and being able to find a place that they can
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improve. one thing why it is fascinating to be on the border is you talk to people because they have seen what they have done on the other side of the border. the governmentf and a help of the system that worked and laws that work and the rules that work, institutions that work, they have been able to build strong communities on the border. it is some of the most impoverished communities because of low wages, because of education issues. brush mexicans in general as taking everybody's jobs and doing these things, i think that is a generalization. diane, good morning to you. caller: i am calling because i wanted to comment about the jobs . i think america -- americans are
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for a rude awakening. here,xicans come over there is nothing but mexicans there on the job. they tell you if you do not sit -- getting hit on the job, they havens feel like something taken away. host: that is diane's's opinion. jeff, what do you think about immigration in the country? illegal immigrants coming in from mexico are putting a multimillion dollar burden on our health care system. ,o to the l.a. county hospital the memorial hospital, the county hospital in ucla torrance, uc irvine, and any
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emergency hospital in america, they get free health care and americans go to mexico. they do not get free health care. they get put in jail. in mexico,illegal you will get harassed, you get a full run around. host: respond to that last part of what he had to say. guest: i missed the last part. host: he was saying if you are an american a you going to mexico illegally, you have to pay bribes, you get harassed. well, unfortunately, that is true. biggest, the sadness i hear from americans is they cannot travel really throughout the country because you have to
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pay so many brides. a lot of americans come to mexico because of easy health care. they say it will keep americans from coming in and taking advantage of the health care and education system. you talk to americans and they say, this is the best health care in the world. it is very affordable and very cheap. a bigger of arrival of americans -- host: tourism, it happens right over your shoulder. guest: it is a big business in. -- business. exactly. some of the areas, it is really
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the way to go for them. and incredible job of luring people to come across. host: california, good morning. first of all, i am not against people coming here. i think they should be allowed to and they should do it the right way. have a mexico should minimum wage. i do not blame them. there are no jobs here. they need them wage. host: ok p are we are short on time. guest: they do have a minimum wage. four dollars or five dollars a day depending fluctuation. that is really low. week.$70 per there are entire families who live up to that.
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i think it is a question of corporations making that commitment to try to pay up, to try to help mexico's wages so people do not have to move. you see less people dreaming of migrating. i'm goinglk about was to get to the united states. you do not hear those stories anymore. people want to stay in mexico and make a living but they want their own government, the mexican government, to be able to help them realize their dreams. they want the u.s. government and u.s. residents, u.s. citizens, the world, to help get the house together. i was thinking, it has much more of an impact, if people outside
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ofnew mexico, instead pointing the finger at a corrupt company, they take action and try to help mexicans build the country. pressure the authorities to find solutions and find justice for their own people. caller: could he explain what all of these nationalistic that want the europeans out of the south west, when he talks about helping mexico, they have been around longer than texas. why don't they become a little more like texas? host: ok. back in the 1960's and
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1970's, it was at one point a to retain what mexico lost in the united states. it is a movement that is not that relevant in today's conversation. the poll we are doing, we are talking about one community where people feel as much a part of mexico as they do the united states and vice versa. see their really futures are dependent on one another in order to succeed and prosper. rick is in texas, good morning. caller: thank you. i have a comment. it is simply this. my wife came here in the country legally not just to get a better life, because if you want to, as
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everyone knows, you should fight for your rights and they believe mexico's where they want to be, fight for the rights, as the forefathers have done here as american citizens do here. did here legally as my wife , work hard, earn your citizenship, and work in the nation to become a better citizen and help others become better citizens. jim in florida, good morning to you. are you there? arizona.to bob in i used to offload work in mexico. when i was down there, the u.s. bussed people in prayer you go down to tijuana and you do not just see americans but
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from all over the world. the trouble is it is so low they cannot afford to buy a car. out, they did not want to come to america. phd's.s had blaminged we should be corporations. host: can you take that point? i talked about that earlier. it is not just to blame the mexicans, but really just the to pony up more, to pay more and put it bluntly. a point. caller made mexicans need to do the data their own thing. on the bloodshed we see in mexico is people coming together
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from all walks of life, the business corporations who are together building a civil society to hold the government accountable. there is a piece of legislation being debated now to force legislators to disclose conflict of interest and how much they pay, to try to hold them and be much more responsive. host: howard, illinois, you are on the air. alfredo, i am a researcher in diction. you are a brave man. has anyone tried to kill you? it is too early in the morning to talk about death threats.
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that is what led to "midnight in mexico," recounting an incident where a powerful -- right across the border here in laredo believed i was giving too much information or was too close for comfort. threat -- three names came up and i was one of them. temporarily leave mexico for a time and let me write my book. it is very important to say, compared with my situation, i was able to leave mexico and find protection. as a u.s. citizen, i have the protection my colleagues do not have. right across the border, colleagues will openly self-centered -- self censor
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themselves. decided to not say anything or do anything. i am not braver or more courageous. think i have more protection and i try to take advantage of that. educate.ue to try to host: you can read reporting if you go to the dallas news website. charleston, s.c., a native, good morning. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. say i: i was calling to was raised in laredo, texas. my entire family still lives there. guest: it is a beautiful city. caller: it is beautiful and i was just there in 2014 to visit my family.
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about all of these comments that it is mexicans, it is not just mexicans. here in south carolina, a professional spanish interpreter, a lot of the families are from the honduras, andemala, they come here they speak dialects, which i am not familiar with. but this is what i do as a professional interpreter. i wish they would stop saying mexicans, because it is not just mexicans. everybody. it is not just latin countries, but other countries. everyone wants to come to the united states for the american dream. cuban's right there at the border, they are seeing a big uptick in the amount of cubans traveling through mexico on the way to the united states. guest: right.
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we are seeing different parts of the border. it is always one region. area.o has become a big it is never-ending. it is always the gateway to a better life. they reinvent people and i think that is what a lot continue to do. is is my colleagues that presidential campaign time. .ou see the phone numbers go up i am not surprised that once again, the border becomes that of often times miscommunication and misunderstandings. my pause to c-span for dedicating and educating about john --er for those who
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do not know about the region. it is a region i feel is isolated and misunderstood that also a region, a lot of people love the border. i am a border resident and i the border has defined me in better ways, it has made me a bilingual person. helpe my reporting can become a bridge between two countries to try to educate both sides. that on then find dow's website and the book, "midnight in mexico." thank you for joining us live there from laredo, texas. guest: my pleasure. thank you very much. host: we will continue to be like tomorrow from laredo, texas. we will be at the world trade crosswere 6000 trucks
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every day to come to the united states. antoniotalk to the san trade reporter. and bob, the state director for the texas fair trade coalition, about the north american free trade agreement. naftarea often called it is often called. that does it for today's washington journal. we want to thank the city of laredo. the mayor's office and very helpful to c-span2 allow us bring you guests live from the radio so that you could get perspective on the .round in a border town i also want to thank all of our guests for joining us. reminder, this morning's
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"washington journal" program from laredo, texas will rear at 9:00 featuring brandon darby, editor for breitbart texas, talking about immigration. lma, about deportation, and the interview you just heard with alfredo cortright, examining the impact of the cartels. you also saw a preview there to tomorrow's program, thursday, once again, live from laredo. here is a video preview as well. >> i have approximately seven years of being a truck driver. how long does the process take to be able to drive these trucks? you are talking about three months of training before you can make any trip. >> how many trips do you do approximately? >> approximately two roundtrips,
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which is equivalent to four boxes daily. >> four boxes, what does that mean? process, i do two imports and two export daily. >> tell me about a typical day on the road, what time do you begin, what time do you finish? approximately 8:00 a.m. and usually end about 11:00 laredo.nuevo i get my truck, check off my seals, head to the mexican customs to process. if i get a green light, i continue my route. customs,rived at u.s. i show my documentation, my visa , if i cross to the south, obviously, i show my visa and fast card. then if the official decides and
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lets me know if i continue straight, if i got a green light, or if i go through. it all depends on where the official sends me. for example, today, i got an intensive search. well, that is the process sometimes. i have to go through the spectrum rent and x-rays and then continue on to laredo, texas. >> what is your salary? is approximately, as a truck driver, between 4500 pesos to 6000 pesos weekly. >> how much is that is dollars? >> we are talking $300 to $400 a week. only for the essentials. it is not a high or low salary, but we survived on what iron -- survive on what i earn. mortgage,to pay my
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obviously, we don't live look sure risley, but we also don't live too bad. what i earn is enough to survive. >> how long was your journey to the united states? >> from saturday until today, cuba to cancun, cancun to monterey, monterey to laredo. >> why come through the laredo border? >> because it has always been mentioned back home. >> what documents do you have with you? >> my passport. >> just your cuban passport? what other documents do you fill it once you are here, what do they ask? >> money, things i have with me. >> you came along? >> alone. >> do you have family in laredo
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or anywhere else in the u.s.? >> dallas, texas/ >> are you headed to dallas? >> yes, with my brother. >> do you plan to stay in the united states for good? >> yes. >> what are the reasons you left cuba? >> financial reasons. >> is it too expensive, or exactly why? >> everything is too expensive there and the salary is low. >> do you leave behind a job or a family in cuba? family, allehind my my family, my daughters, my wife, and my brother. established in the united states, do you plan on bringing your family from cuba? >> if god allows it. >> washington journal back of
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the border tomorrow live at laredo, focusing on trade, local reporter, congressman henry cuellar will look at nafta and the trade deals impact on jobs in southern texas and mexico. of course, your phone calls, facebook comments, and tweets. ahead this afternoon, president obama is in elkhart, indiana today. he will talk about the role of the economy in the presidential campaign. we will have that for you live. it's expected to begin a little 1 -- a little over one hour from now. we will take your comments after that. ahead of those remarks, julie hirschfield davis tweets -- again, live coverage at 3:30 or so. i think today, we come in effect, catch up to the 20th century.
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we have been the invisible half of the congress the past seven years. we have watched our house colleagues with interest, at least i have an interest. and the tv coverage of members of our colleagues in the house. >> as the u.s. senate comes out of the communications dark ages, we create another historic moment in the relationship between congress and technological advancements in communications through radio and television. >> 50 years ago, our executive branch began appearing on television. today marks the first time when our legislative ranch in its entirety will appear on a medium of communication through which most americans get their information about what our government and our country does. televising of senate chamber proceedings also represents a wide and warranted policy. broadcast media coverage recognizes the basic right and
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the need of the citizens of our nation to know that business of their government. thursday, c-span marks the 30th anniversary of our line gavel-to-gavel senate floor coverage. special program includes key moments from the senate floor over the past 30 years. >> i would show to you the body of evidence from this question, do you trust william jefferson clinton? >> we have just witnessed something that has never before happened in all of senate history, a change of power during a session of congress. >> what the american people still done hundreds -- understand in the bill, and there are three areas in the bill that in the next five years will put the of everybody's health care. >> interviews with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> i am sure i have made many mistakes, but voting against having c-span in the chambers
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was one of them. >> watched 30 years of the u.s. senate on television, beginning thursday on c-span. to see more of our 30 years of coverage in the senate on c-span2, go to www.c-span.org. a staff sergeant serving in afghanistan from 2003 2 2011. he is the first living person since the vietnam war to receive the medal of honor. he told his story to the conference in colorado springs in february. >> this is a very interesting from the -- place for me to stand. i can honestly say i'm a product of my environment. i grew up in cedar rapids, iowa, the second-largest city in iowa.
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my folks were very supportive. they took me by the behind when i needed to and they grabbed the reins when i need to slow down and they scolded me when i did the wrong things. i was a pretty excited young man. i cannot say i was the most excited about school but i was very excited about life. growing up, life was really good. i had every freedom that every american enjoyed at my fingertips and the got to enjoy them. my parents do not lock their doors to their house because people will not come in of they are not welcome. this is where i grew up. i said i was not a big steadier were big on school. one day i was in school and might like change forever. i was a junior in high school and it was early morning and they were doing the viscosity of liquids. i was not hang attention. someone came to the classroom door and they said turn on the tv a plane just fluent tape holding in new york.
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-- a plane just flew into a building in new york. we don't get to watch tv in the middle of chemistry class but the teacher agreed. before she did, my mind, had this small plane in some big building as a crazy accident. when we turned on the tv, it was not a small plane. it was a huge plane and it was at terrible accident. as we watched the second plane came in. it became apparent that this was not an accident. this was a planned attack on the american way of life, not against our military but on our citizens, on our civilians going about life in america. it affected me because we are not looking for a fight. we are looking to live and love. i got so worked up that i called my mom and i told her that i think i need to quit school and joined the united states army. it was a pearl harbor type of
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moment and this is what i felt drawn towards. my mother said, absolutely not. you will finish high school. you cannot drop out of high school and joined the army. i said i've got one year and i can do this. this idea of going out of my comfort zone to do something for others, set to say, -- sad to say it became about me and what i will do and what will we do and how can i have on and when do i have to work. it stopped being about other people. thinking of the military, that thought slipped away. there is not an egg military presence in iowa. my junior year finished and my senior year came and i was almost done. life was still very good for me. i headed job, i was a sandwich artist i worked at subway. not my career but it was a job and a put money in my pocket and i was happy. one night and this radio
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commercial came on and said, and down and see a recruiter and get a free t-shirt. i am mopping the floor atomic clock at night so of course i want a free t-shirt. that did not sound like a bad deal. i know they will try to sell me something but i came for the t-shirt and i have to keep my eye on the prize. the recruiter said something to me that i did not fully understand. he said it simply. he said you are an 18-year-old able-bodied male everything you have been given in this life has been given to you freely but it did not come for free. it costs someone else. to truly be part of this country and make a tangible difference in the country that gave you everything, join the united states army. whoo, those were heavy words and i said stick with that, you will get tons of people but i just came for the t-shirt. [laughter] i almost fell for it.
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you had me there for a moment. he said to take this test to verify your skills and weaknesses. at that time, my folks were on my back about sat's and not just working at subway but making something of my life and something for others to enjoy as well. i took this long test in the outcome doesn't really matter. about 10 days later, they came back and said that i could do anything i wanted in the united states army has enlisted personnel. no one ever told me that before. you can do anything you want as long as you review what you did and make it better. go ahead and do whatever you want. it never starts that way. i started thinking, this is true. everything i have has been given to me. i have not earned any of this because i was lucky to be born in america and lucky enough to have supportive parents and that's why i have everything. i'm not responsible for any of my successes. they haven't given to me.
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i decided to join the united states army. four years sounded like a legit amount of time. i thought i will join the army. they asked what i wanted to do. son of a gun, i did not know there were options. i thought they give you a job. i tried to think quick. if you don't know what you are talking about, they will take advantage of you and sell you something you don't want to buy so say something smart quick. i'm thinking and thinking and there is a parachute hanging from the ceiling of the recruiter's office and i said i want to jump out of a plane. they said it's extra money. that's exactly what i wanted to do. i wanted job of the bonus. they said that's not an actual -- career choice. what do you really want to do? i don't know. drink, swear, fight bad guys and jump out of a plane and leave iowa. say no more, they said that's an
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actual job, it's called airborne infantry. you will love it, trust me. [laughter] i joined. i joined a country at war. we were in our iraq and afghanistan and i knew i joined airborne infantry and they would send me to war. that's what i came here to do. i showed up to basic training ready to learn to kick indoors and fight bad guys and shoot guns. that's not what you learn first. there is the yelling and chaos they bring to you to show you off. first and that happened to me in basic training after the push-ups and being yelled at was i got a best friend. i know that because the drill sergeant said you two are best friends. don't leave each other's sides. i was 18 years old. i have three best friends in my life and it took me five minutes to get a new one. gibson and i being best friends, i get paid for my mistakes. gibson did not pay for his mistakes, i did.
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he was not senior to me and i was not senior to him. we were equal and everything except if i did something wrong, he had to do push-ups. if he did something wrong, i had to do push-ups. we look out for each other out of self reservation. what he did mattered much to me because i was going to get messed up it was wrong. we started caring for each other. that took like one day. my first met gibson, he was from a haitian family from miami, florida and had gold teeth and i did not understand what he was saying. i said i don't know what you are saying. i said that's not english. [laughter] he set i've never met anyone like you. i said this will be an interesting partnership. we became friends in a day. over the course of 14 weeks, we became best friends and relied on each other and were better together. we understood that no matter how
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great i was, i was better than i was when i was with gibson and he was better with me and the team was better as a whole. at the end of basic training, we went our separate ways. the military build people up and they send them all over the place to love other people somewhere else. he went on to fort riley, kansas and i went to air force school. it is super simple. once you jump out of a plane, i promise you you will hit the ground. hopefully the parachute opens and it's relatively soft but it's all guaranteed once you step out that door, you're going down. there is still something in you. the only reason we jump out of a plane in combat is because the ground is not secure. that is the airborne mission is to secure the field so not everyone has to jump out of a plane in chaos. that's what we were training to do. once that light turns green, the
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first cover will go and the second jumper will go in jumping at at 1000 feet you recognize people on the ground and we have a gun strapped to our leg in a parachute owner akin no matter how afraid we are come as long as a person in front of us goes, we will go. then the person behind us will go because it's about bringing the team with us. you're only as strong as the team that lands on the ground. if you've don't you battle the plane, you're not part of that. no matter what, i don't know what's going on out the door but as long as that person goes, i'm going and they're going and we will be there. airborne school finished up and i thought i'm going to iraq for sure. i went to vincenzo, italy. not iraq. i was not sure about this place. i set i'm ready to fight bad guys and change the outcome of this war. i showed up to help. one of my very first leaders, not a boss but a leader said we as americans do not fight because we hate what lies in front of us.
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as americans, we fight because we love the light behind us and would love our homes and her way of life and that's why we go over there and fight and don't let the fight come here. that's why we fight, not out of anger or hatred but out of love and caring and compassion. that's different than what i thought it was joining. i showed up and i said i said i'm still ready to fight. at this time 2004, there are very first countries you can go to to find hardened infantrymen between the ages of 18-23. this was the group that jumped into iraq. they spent a year in combat and came back and i was telling them about how cool i wasn't ready i was to go. it took guidance from people who have been there and done that to remy -- to remy in. -- to rain me in. it was an awkward conversation to have with your new boss, he said i will work you harder than everyone else and it's not because i hate you.
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i will work you longer not because i dislike your family but it's because i want you to be the best you can be an without me pushing you further than you're willing to go, it will not happen. it sounded terrible. he set i'm going to work harder and longer than everyone and he says it's in my best interest. i did not see it playing out that way. he did much of say it, he proved it every single day. no matter when i showed up to work on he was already there. when i went home from work, he was still there. when i went for a run, we would be doing physical training. we were in a group of 35 people and he looked at the group and he was in charge of eight of us. what are you guys doing for pt today? we will run and do push-ups and go to the gym. he looked at us and he said we are going to arrive 500 -- five miles and two 400 push-ups until
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exhaustion. that could be forever if it takes you that long to get exhausted. we could have done one more mile or one more push up or one more set up and we would have done all -- more than them there it we could have won the war but he wanted a show us how much we could go be -- above and beyond. one of the things is exhaustion. if you go to the gym and you lift weights and you work until exhaustion, it's not a 300 pound weight the comes crashing down your chest. it's like 45 pounds. you're just stuck under and you're worried of anyone else has seen it. it's about the person to your left and you're right. no matter how much weight it is if it's 300 pounds or five pounds, if you can't do it, you can't do it and that's why we have a team. the person to the left and the right can lift that are off your chest and help you out.
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its commitment them as long as we are there, we will be better. then we went to war. i can honestly say that short of my children's birth, i have never been more excited for anything in my entire life. i was going to go into something for the country that gave me everything. i was going to get a chance to prove it tangible difference to the country that gave me everything. we showed up to this place called balo about 55 kilometers from any other americans in the low valley with no running water or electricity and we were told that would be our home for the next year. we would build wells and build schools and we would tell them we've were here to make the lives better and hopefully a year we go by and we would leave the place that are than when we arrived. in that year, we never dug a well, we never built a school. we got shot at every single day in the spring, summer, and fall. we came there to fight had guys so that was ok. about a month and a half in, we went out on patrol 10 kilometers away over two mountain ranges.
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we did not have vehicles. if it was important, we would have a helicopter. if it wasn't, we would just walk. it was a walk to contact. you walk until someone dislikes you and then they shoot you and that becomes the bad guys and you should've the bad guy and that's another day of work. we walked 10 kilometers. we were caring 120 pounds worth of year and medical's of prize -- supplies. we got out 10 kilometers and no one shot at us. that was fine with us. we turned around and walked home. as we got ready to turn around and walk home, we got hit right to -- one enemy fighting position with two people in it.
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they shot down on us straight down the mountain. barberette was our boss and he made the decision. he made the decision to turn us up toward the enemy and charge the enemy's position and close the distance even though they had a superior position. we eliminated the enemy threat. we were going to insert their bodies and find out why they hated us so much. we did not start this fight. this could have been better if they did not do anything but they could not help themselves. we got about 15 meters below the fighting position and the other side of the valley, maybe a hundred meters, they opened up on us. we were on a steep grade on the side of the mountain. no cover, no concealment and they were opening up on us. the only thing we could do was
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what we just did, close the distance with the enemy and shoot akin hopefully they would stop shooting at us and this would all be over. we do a bounding overwatch. there were two of us in our group of eight that carried that gun and six people would run while the two of us which shoot and the two of us would run while the six of them which shoot and we continued to close distance on the enemy. we got close down to the bottom of the mountain. it was the first cover i had been behind. i could not be shot by all its and i got down and started shooting and might be miller comes up to me and i looked at him i said i've got the big gun and i'm shooting, you have to keep on running. i said this is my rock. he took off running. we had been in combat for a month and been shot at every day for 30 days. i had seen it before. i felt like the bullets were pretty close but who knows? when miller ran out from behind a rock, i watched the bullets chase his feet and missed him by six inches. that's where the smoke -- the dust was popping up. i was scared for him.
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i started getting scared for myself. i had to come out from behind his rock. because they were going, i would go but not because i'm strong or brave because i don't want to let the team down. i took off running from behind my rock. i was running down the hill and it felt like something at my leg. my left leg went behind my right and i am tumbling head over heels down the side of the mountain. all i could think is that i was 19 years old and i'm in combat and i just got shot. i'd did what i thought i should do and i informed everyone i got shot. it probably wasn't cool but i said i got shot. as i said this, i am trying to feel my leg and no blood. my arms are bleeding and my head hurt my leg was not bleeding. i started hoping no one heard me. i don't know about your friends, but you say something that's not to smart, they remember forever and they hold it against you as
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often as they can. if you say you got shot in combat and you did not get shot, they will never let you forget it. [laughter] it was embarrassing. we continue to fight up the helen by the time he got there, we dropped some big tom's from ac-1390. no enemies, we had not been awake for 24 hours and we did not physically push the limit for 24 hours and we were still 10 kilometers from home. we had him most no ammunition and very little water. we had almost no food and everyone seemed fairly fine but we're in the middle about dennis dan. we had so much allocated in iraq that we were eight guys in the middle of the mountains in afghanistan. we started getting that feeling like knowing cares about me. i got that boo-boo face and started feeling for myself and my leg hurt my hottie was cramping. we were looking at another 12 hour walk that. -- walk back. we call it a goblight, the c-130 has a life that lights up one square kilometer.
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in night vision you can see it perfectly in our worlds lit up. we were feeling alone and sorry for ourselves. i realize there were 13 people 36 thousand people above me watching every sad step i took in making sure i made it home ok. the idea of the bigger picture, just because they don't stand here left and right does not mean you'd don't have the same goals. it was the folks upstairs. in this case. we got back from this and after that, we had to get checked out. our medic with dock lemon, six feet 4, 250 pounds, solid muscle. it's tough to go to him and say that everything hurts. i'm try to tell him what hurts and he is checking out my body gets down to my leg and he goes do, you have a hole in your leg. what he suppose that's from? he's a big man and he starts squeezing the calf.
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he starts poking it with his big fingers. he squeezes out a piece of a bolt that bounced off the ground. it looked like a cigarette turn on my leg. he said that the purple heart. we will send you back so take a shower and hang out. i was excited because it sounded great. i hung out for 10 days. i took showers. there were 300 people on this basin at did not have running water but had elevated water. it was awesome. i ate ice cream in the shower and i just got shot and my mom's not around so ice cream and showers are awesome. about seven days of this, i see all these helicopters coming in. i'm getting antsy in my leg is fine and i decided they probably want me going to check out
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what's going on. all i saw was they looked like cheerleaders wearing dresses and camelot -- camouflage vest i thought it was hallucinating. i had to walk closer. it was the denver bronco cheerleaders. [laughter] i live in colorado so i'm not saying that's the reason but it did not hurt. july 10, the denver bronco cheerleaders went to this random no one cared base in afghanistan with 300 people because it's not that no one cares. everyone cares and they wanted to show report. -- support. they could be anywhere else in the world. they came for us because they cared. it does not take camouflage and guns to show your support. it takes showing you care to show your support and that comes differently from everyone. after that, i was excited to get out to the guys and tell them. they haven't seen a woman in two months. they did not take a shower and i
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spent 10 days in the shower. i told them my story of the shower in the cheerleaders and ice cream. they were unimpressed. my buddies were disappointe that they were not with me. i saw something in them. they had become better. they were faster and stronger and the way we reacted and the way they reacted when something happened had changed. as fast as life changes and keep up, war is a million times faster. all the bad decisions are no longer around to make bad decisions. the decisions or no more decisions to be made. if you get into a group and you cannot spot the weakest link in the group, it's probably you. i felt that in my heart and that
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puts them in danger for us -- for me not being as good as i could be. we had a mud hut and we had razor wire. it slows people down enough to take good shot. we needed more. we did not have the ability to give ourselves more. we had hescos which is a wire cage with a mesh netting and you fill it up with dirt and it stopped bullets and grenades. there was a convoy of 12 vehicles the travel 55 kilometers where vehicles of never been in the history of afghanistan to drop this offer us. they dropped it off and they realized all we had was bad food and warm water and they turned around and left. they got about one kilometer away in the lead vehicle got hit by an improvised explosive device in the four gentlemen were killed instantly and the gunner was shot off of the top. it was bad business. we went out to go pick up pieces of friends. i had never seen a young dead american soldier.
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i have seen a lot of dead people at this point. i had never seen anyone that looks like me. i never saw the biggest and best and strongest and least selfish people in my life be reduced to a mass. - mess. it affected me, it hurt. you don't look both ways when you cross the street and you die but you just die sometimes in war and have no one to blame. we cannot accuse people for things they have not done. we either saw you do it and you have to pay the price or just have to pick up pieces. that is war. we did, we just pick the pieces. the next week, we went after a high-value target. we asked them politely to come out of the house with her hands up and i chose not to. they came out shooting.
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we eliminated all the enemy that came out of the house. in that time, our lieutenant was shot in the face and killed. now i had seen more death in one week and i had at my entire life previously. i got sad again. that feeling of being 19 and being indestructible turned into this dirt valley as the last place i might ever see a no one cared. it was a leader of mine again that took time out of his life to care for me. barberette was our father figure but our mom was nicholas post. he cared about us completely. he cared about our families who he would never meet. he's never going to see my family but he cared about our brothers and sisters and girlfriends and what was happening at home and our life affected him because he knew that we were only as good as all
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of us can be. they are all your family and that involves everything that does not just happen in combat. he said look, i will make you a promise, the sun will come up tomorrow, i promise you. whether you are i will see it, the sun is coming up tomorrow. all you need to know is that you gave 100% every chance you had in upon your last breath, five minutes or five days or five years, down the road, long as you gave everything you had when it was your chance to give it to you have no regrets and it will never be held against you. i did not find the most positive speech but i understood. that is life. that is how we live our lives now. hopefully, it does not have to be combat. it takes a lifetime to be your best. we should try every single day. my checklist is to wake up and make the bed and try 100%. we need to do that as soon as possible every single day in a refill today, that's ok because the sun will come up tomorrow and god willing, we will be lucky enough to get a chance to try all over again and be better
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than the day before. we left afghanistan after that year. i figured with the year of training at your combat and your training, i had less than a year left and i thought they would not send me so i am free to go. i am back in italy having the time of my life and working out at the gym and nine months later, my buddy comes up to me, arthur brown from northern california and he has a stupid smile on his face. he asked if i read the newspaper. i'm ready for it. he said we're not going to iraq for 12 months. will go to afghanistan. bummer for you guys. we will go for 15 months, not 12. he said the stop movement is in effect. if you are to go somewhere else, you're not only will stay here and we will deploy again together. i had a buddy going to alaska and hawaii and i just heard they
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are not going anywhere but afghanistan. i felt bad for my buddies. if the military deems you keen to central, they don't have to let you out of your contract. they will call you back but if you're still there, they just won't let you go. son of a gun, right there, the first contract ever signed in my life is with the united states army in the first contract where i fulfilled my side of the contract and then felt cheated from them was the contract i signed with the government. -- with the united states government. i wasn't going to go after school or hanger with my girlfriend. i was not going back to the states, was going to afghanistan are going now as a leader of men. i had three guides in my charge -- three guys my charge. i've got to implement the same
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way i learned from post and barberette. follow me, i will show you, that's what leaders do. they don't send people to do things that leaders don't do. the leaders better do them than the people they are trying to show. i had to do that. it was one of the most proud time to say that i had to teach a these guys and prepare them for war. then we left 15 months, we were in the northeast corner of afghanistan. we put in 135 american troops there with no running water or electricity. our job again was to interact with the general populace and
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built schools and make friends. again, we made no friends and doug no wells and build no schools. we thought people every chance they fought us. it happened to be every single day. we had been there for a couple of months, about five months and we did a mission called rock avalanche. we were going to bring 1000 people into the valley and go places we hadn't been and we got shot at every day and there is almost 200 people in the valley. on a daily basis, about 1/10 of them are shooting at us and we have to walk by them with a smile on her face. we have to hope they don't shoot at us. it was all chaos. we were in several gunfights throughout the day in the night. the next day, we saw the enemy go into a house after they got them shooting we dropped bombs on the house. on the house. they brought out women and children from the house after it was bombed. the people declared jihad on us. they said they were at war with us. that's ok because i'm sure they were not being honest with us and now they were telling us the truth that they hate us. they continue to fight and we did. we had maybe 5-8 guys they carried rigor guns. the shots they made count and they do it quietly and professionally.
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they are the sneakiest. the position was taken and their bodies were cleared. in that time, our scout team leader was killed. this man could bench 350 pounds and do a five minute mile. he was smart and cool and we all wanted to be like him and he was killed. if they can take our best, that puts that seed of doubt where you stand. following day, went to get our stuff. back we could not get our buddies back but we got our stuff back. we took a gun that shot 240 rounds per minute. our entire tactics had to change because we lost our night vision goggles. we had these beacons that blanks of the helicopters and planes can see us so our guys can recognize the leaders and can see where everyone goes in the night. we had to stop that.
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our job the following day was to set up over walks. we set of 400 meters over the village and a group of 18 went into the village to see what information that you get from the villagers. about 400 meters up the mountain from us, there was another group of 18 and they took the high ground so no one had the high ground on us. we stayed there all day, maybe 14 hours. we got nothing. it was time to walk back to our mud huts and chalk it up to a day. we walked herself into a place we could not walk out. we thrive in chaos. we don't want to set a pattern or let them know what we will do. we want them to think we are crazy. we walked ourselves into a place we could not walk out of the same way we went in. we walked in a single file line 10-15 meters between people. we walked about 300 meters from where we sat all day. in an instant, my entire world exploded.
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i had already been in maybe 300 gunfights the year prior. i have never seen a gunfight quite like. this the enemy head is from 15 hiding positions 30 meters away. we had no cover, no concealment. within the first couple of seconds, 16 of 18 people were shot. my first responsibility was to my men, and i looked at two of them i dropped down to the ground and casey had that gun that shoots 1000 rounds per minute and he never once got down. he started shooting. i promise you that did not benefit him. he had three feet of flame coming out of his gun. he had nothing to get behind but as long as they put their heads down, their bullets are not on us. casey did that and clary was right next to them lobbing grenades.
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because we train them, we had never been in this position before but we were prepared if this were to happen. i cannot people -- tell people what to do because they were already doing them. i had to do the next thing on the checklist. i looked toward my leader and as i look at him, his head snapped in his body dropped to the ground. i was overcome with every emotion you can imagine. that was that i ran to him to grab his recent was but he did not get shot at them more and as i ran toward his body, i got shot in the chest but the plate stopped it. the rocket launcher over my shoulder got shot. now i cannot shoot it or set it down. there is a whole inside of the rocket launcher so i could not shoot it. i got togalardo and i was hit from the north. the enemy was shooting from the
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west. there were two more guys from the north. i knew i got hit from the north and i knew were came from but there was nothing i could do. my mind was on getting gallardo back and as i dragged him back, he came to. the bullet ricocheted off his helmet and did not go through when he was out the whole time i dragged him and the second he came to, the first words out of his mouth, were throw grenades. the first words out of my mouth when i took a ricochet to the calf is i got shot. leaders do not care about himself. we were on his mind conscious or unconscious the whole time. i had grenades so i started throwing grenades. we had to throw the grenades behind the enemy. we cannot just throw it on top of them. as i threw the grenades, kept running, there is no reason to stop. i had three and i threw my last. one guy was shot twice in the
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chest and twice in the leg. it's important we get that a gun going. i went over to pick up the gun next to the wounded and before you do that, gallardo had already popped up and chased after me and he was there. because of training, i knew everything was ok because he was there. he gave us the skills of be the best he could and he's the one that knows everything. now that he is there, check that box because that's taking care of. i continued to run to the north. i got to where there is one more guy and i could not find him. two months before, brennan should have been out of the army and he got shot in his left leg in the same spot i got but his was clean through. they could not figure out who was shooting at us, we could not at the medevac helicopter to pick him up. so he had a liaison patrol and
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walked to a safe distance of the helicopter could pick him up after being shot in the leg. i said i hope you meet cheerleaders and have ice cream and take tons of showers. don't worry about us, we will be fine and he left. two days later after he left the valley, this black hawk helicopter comes in and we are excited. whatever that helicopter had, we didn't have and it would be better than what we did have so it would be awesome. the helicopter landed in only one thing came off, the dude with a big pack and he walked with a limp. i knew was brennan. i was so disappointed. i said what's the deal? all he said to me was the showers were making them lazy and the ice cream was making them fat. that made me feel pretty darn small hanging out for 10 days with a ricochet in my legs. i can't take that back so i have to be within the rest of the time.
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our standard operating procedure book in a near ambush situation, you charge you shoot them and they shoot you. 75% casualty rate is acceptable. that stings when you are reading it and it's worse when all those guys have first, middle, last names and families is not just the name of your friend. brennan charge the ambush my because that's what had to be done. i did not, i went after him not to be left behind. i got about 30 meters. the enemy ambush line was to my left and i was in this no man's land. i was not shooting so i was able to move quickly and quietly through the darkness. they used tracers and they were the target and i was not. i got to a flat part of the ridge and there is no bushes or anything on it and i could see two people, i had my night vision goggles up. i could see two people carry one person away.
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i did not understand. they cap running after him. as i got closer, i realized what i was seeing. i was seeing to enemies carrying way my best friend. i did exactly what i signed up to do in the basement of lindale mall. i destroyed the enemies of the united states in close combat. that's what i signed up for and that's exactly what i did. i destroyed the enemy and grabbed my that he and took off running back in the direction i came. at that point, the enemy ambush line started to break down and they retreated down the backside of the mountain. we had two apache attack helicopters above it because of the close proximity and we could not use their beacons to identify ourselves to them, they could not shoot. we would all get shot if they
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started shooting. we started retreating down the backside of the mountain and they created the space we needed and they went to work on them. as far as i know, no enemy survived the ambush line. i was working on brennan and called from medic three times in my entire life and i truly needed medical assistance. 2 times, i have watched medics come through bullets and explosives. it's true how they come to through to save us pretty i needed one this night but no medic was coming. i did not know that our medic was shot and killed in first couple of seconds of the ambush. as i was working on brennan who was shot seven times missing a piece of his jaw that he was still alive and talking.
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all of a sudden, a man named brothers who volunteered for this n missio who was a nurse, he was in the group above us 400 meters up the mountain. that means the second they watch the world exploded in us, they ran into harm's way no because it in a fit of them but because they knew they could assist us and it would make us better. he started giving brennan a tracheotomy on the side of the mountain. as he was doing this, we don't carry body bags. it's bad to carry your own casket with you. we carry ponchos they keep you out of the rain. you can use it to carry people. we were working on brennan and a poncho with the body showed up. and then another. . and then another. there were 18 of us on the mountain i see four of them with hotties in them in my that he brennan is dying a front of me. we started to get the medevac and we took their night vision goggles and 16 out of 18 people were shot and a bullet resistance place. they are not bullet proof. some of these guys that were not shot, we were taking her place to run up on the helicopter and get them out of there.
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we had about a 2.5 hour walk back to the mud hut and as we started walking back, we had had 350 rounds and rocket launchers and grenades and five days later, i had three different guns on me none of which were my own and no rocket launcher and probably 10 grenades and i had extra plates. i could feel the weight, the loss, the burden in which these men carried in it was not because they were not having fun. wasn't because they were tired and want to go home. it wasn't because they didn't want to do it anymore, it was because they used every single tomorrow they would have so we can live today and it was now her job to do it they were going to do. we just didn't have them in our lives anymore. we walked back and after something like this, we have to learn what caused this. how could we have done it better? what scenario led to this?
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we write these sworn statements and we call them after action reviews. on the following day, my company commander came up to me and said i want to let you know that i put in gallardo for the silver star. i looked at him and i said i am proud of you. i think he is the man and we would not be where we are without is quick inking and actions and everything you put on the line for us. he said i want you to know that i put you in for the congressional medal of honor. i have never heard such rude words to me before or since. words don't bother me. i'm an easy going guy. those words cut to my core. it was the saddest, meanest thing i ever heard anyone say. i just lost to my friends that. day sergeant brennan died in surgery and mendoza died on the mountain and the other four were going to live but were not going to come back to us.
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they wanted to put a metal on my chest? i told my company commander, very choice were you should never say to your losses boss. -- your boss's boss. it was guy talk. that was july 27, 2007 and we did not leave that valley until july 29, 2009 -- 2008. and we left. we went back to italy. that was five years on a four-year contract and a new i was done with the military because they could not keep me anymore. i got back to italy and i was approached again not by a boss but by a leader. he came to me and he told me that this happens. .
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the army will take care of you. i'm a sucker for a good time. i get into trouble sometimes. as long as i can stay in italy and stay with these people that i truly believe in making the world a better place, i would be happy to stay in the army. i told him that so i got a stay. something strange happened, they gave me a cell phone and a desk in a computer in the give me 43 wives and 63 children were my new responsibility. i had their families. all those going to war. they sent 134 young men back into combat in afghanistan. they left one and that was me. i don't do things i am not good at. you will not see me enter a spelling bee. i am awful. i thought i was a good warrior and i thought i have proven myself in combat. i thought i proved exactly what they wanted and they left me and put me with the women and the children. it hurt my feelings. nine months of doing this, my problems don't happen at 11:00 in the morning. mine happen at 11:00 at night.
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i cannot see it too much longer. on september 9, 2010, my desk phone rang. i picked it up and it was some kernel at the pentagon. he wanted me to verify who i was with my social security number. . sure. he told me that at 1705 that this desk phone would ring again tomorrow but don't tell anyone about the conversation and don't let anyone else pick up the phone. i said roger, sir, ok. i got married to my life -- to my wife in the last year and i went home and i told my wife that i think tomorrow i will get arrested at work. [laughter] [laughter] can you come with me to work? i don't know what excuse to make because i don't think i did anything wrong. the kernel at the pentagon does not call staff sergeants in italy. i dated my wife for five years and she never went to work with me.
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i did not want her to know i was that for a duck to. on that day, she came in. at 1705, the phone rang and i picked it up and was kernel at the pentagon again. i verify my so security number on the phone clicked and it was the secretary of the white house something. what a silly name to call yourself. i can only think of one white house and they are not calling me. the phone clicked and it was the president of the united states. i wish i could tell you some classy conversation we had. . i don't remember because my heart was pounding pretty hard and i was super excited i was not going to jail. i was squeezing my wife's hand and there was a pause, i don't know if there was a question but what do you say to the president of the united states?
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i gave him a roger, mr. president. he went on talking. he said i would be the first congressional medal of honor recipient since vietnam. the phone call is over and i set the phone down. this job that i had 443 wives and safety for children was only 135 guys were the families. there were four other guys are did my same job and we share the same office. when i looked up, all four of them were staring at me and about 55 guys preparing to go to afghanistan were looking at me like i was a silly gopof. my buddy said, mr. president, are you for real. everyone is in afghanistan without access to a telephone. i think that was probably 15 seconds after the resident told me not to tell anyone. i only told 59 people. i'm usually better at keeping
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secrets. but i did say that. in the video, you saw a gentle man stand up at the white house and those are my guys that i was on the mountainside with that night. that is the environment i grew up in. america is the environment i grew up in. you were the people in track with me that create the environment i grew up with and it's hard for me to take responsibility because i'm a product of this environment, the product of the great people behind me. they give me the guidance to continue to do what we do to make the world a better place every single day. i want to say that i stand here humbled, one of many, this metal is not mine. they put it around my neck but this metal is not sal giunto's.
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as ours. it represents sacrifice and service and it's not about what happened in combat. not about just what happened yesterday in combat. there are so many great deeds that happen across america every single day. that does not represent the ones that wear it, it represents those who deserve it and don't have the chance to wear it, the unsung heroes. when everyone was standing up, the military service does not all look alike off -- or fit together but that's what makes america great. in support of the military where people do, every single person in this room was standing or trying to stand or about to stand. that is one of the most impressive things. i have been to 55 countries in the world. this is probably the only one that answer would've gone over like that it would not just happen here. it would happen across the united states because that's what we are. we are the american people, the
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difference makers, we have to go above and beyond every single day and it we don't do our best, it will soon not be the greatest country in the world and that's why it's worth fighting. we love it so it's not because we want to change it or hate it. my time is short but it's an honor to be around all of you. i will stick around after this have lunch and hang out. i'm a friendly guy and i am not anything great. i'm a simple product of my environment and being an average american is one of the best things we could all be. thank you for your time. i have been talking my whole life area [applause] people started to listen about five years ago so this is special, i appreciate it and thank you for your support and god bless america. [applause] >> i'd like to talk to you a little bit later. nice meeting you. >> thank you very much, home run. [applause] >> headline of the wall street
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journal, obama to lay out campaign choices, and the speech to begin shortly. the president is expected to would continuet the economy's momentum and job contrast between the parties economic policies. president obama returns to indiana and we are going live --re shortly to show you community high school. it was seven years ago, february 2009, president obama made his first visit to this very location. back then he was promoting the stimulus, the legislation that the congress at the time -- the economic stimulus. he's going to talk about the economy, going to talk about the campaign. we are going to ask you afterwards which party is better for the economy. president expected in 10 minutes or so, so we will have live coverage whenever it gets underway. president donald trump has --
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senator from alabama as his security advisor. he addressed the graduates at the university of alabama in huntsville. we'll show you that as much as getsn until the president underway shortly. >> thank you very much, i'm excited to be here today, a fabulous crowd and these great graduates. thank you for your exceptional leadership to this university for the last five years. i'm going to talk about it because i think it is really an extraordinary, exceptional thing. and congratulations to the class of 2016. today is your day of celebration and you have earned it. congratulations to your family and friends who helped make this day possible.
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you earned your diploma and a very special environment, the isater huntsville area matched by very few places on this earth. i would like to talk about it a little bit. " from a man with men's of influence on the university, a member of considerable influence on huntsville. the father ofrse the american space program. dr. fawn braun -- dr. von braun was noted as the first -- only the right brothers got more votes. visionary, the products of his vision can be seen everywhere. he and his german colleagues helped create the huntsville
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symphony orchestra, the space , he said "is a dress opportunity goes where the best people go, and the best people go where education go. to make on full more attractive to technical and scientific people across the country and to -- to furtherelop develop the people we have here, the academic research and ."abama must be improved he envisioned, he stated "if i produce the number one football team and the nation and the number one rocket and missile center, we can just a surly -- just as surely establish the number one education center for space and rocket technology if we put our minds to it."
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uh is not number one quite yet -- you a h is not -- uah is not number one quite yet. when compared with similar sized uah right to number one in research expenditure in the nation. uah is -- as a matter of fact, several sources including the brookings institution have pointed out that uah it's on average are the best paid graduates of any alabama university. and among the top 2% of the nation. good news indeed, graduates. enrollment growth is outstanding. it got my attention. have enjoyed watching higher
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education and alabama over a number of years. but i doubt there a single major university in the country that can match what he and his team are doing. they set a record for enrollment with a free 5% increase in the freshman class area the average a ct score went up. freshman class. the average a ct score -- average act score went up. the chargers are charging. great days lie ahead. of how a good college education benefits students. students live here. they bring money with them.
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then there is a salary of faculty and staff. at the leadership that faculty ,rovides around the region public schools, churches, health care, businesses, it and riches -- it enriches the entire community. and certainly the greater huntsville area workforce is exceptional. huntsville is one of the highest concentration of phd, and forbes magazine calls huntsville one of the top 10 smartest cities in the world, which isn't a bad compliment. an analysis released just yesterday, huntsville was named the number one place in the country for stem graduates. i know you are glad to hear that.
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science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. the technology that is so embedded in the u.s. army, all here. the advance companies, world-class companies here in large numbers. you can be sure that senator shelby and die, congressman brooks, and the entire delegation understand just how important you are to this region and the entire nation. recently named uah as the seventh most underrated college in america.
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it will not remain underappreciated any longer. all this has been done and i have to say in the face of the , we need toit remember that a good university, particularly a good research university, has the potential to lift the entire states in ways that may not have been done in any other way. i think it is really fabulous in so many ways. the tradition is to say a few things to the graduates before they leave. you who don't have a job -- onall of this online c-span.org. we will take you to indiana

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