tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current May 2, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
that is, i guess not newt. time for you to clean up and go home. the sheriff of wall street, governor eliot spitzer is next with view point. stay right here. the sheriff is coming. ♪ >> good evening i'm eliot spitzer. this is viewpoint. two statements came out of kabul in the past 24 hours. one from president obama. the other from the taliban. the president claims al-qaida was near defeat and announced a partnership with the afghan government and president karzai. the troops will stay in afghanistan until 2024. he told the troops. >> there is going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead.
but there's a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you've made. the sacrifices now of a decade and a new greatest generation. >> but less than two hours after the president left for washington the taliban sent what it described as a message to the president. suicide-bombers killed at least eight people and wounded 17 more in an attack on a residential compound in kabul used by foreigners. u.s. ambassador ryan crocker insisted that the president had never been at risk and i quote. while we regret the loss of life this was not militarily significant. if this is the best they can do, they are not winning this war. others see it differently. for more who see another decade of afghanistan. i'm joined by peter galbraith, a former u.s. ambassador in
croatia and second highest angelling u.n. diplomat in afghanistan who helped expose widespread fraud in that country's 2009 election. now serving as a democrat state senator in vermont. hello. >> should we be there for another decade? >> i don't think so. we will have been there twice as long as the soviets. they were there for a decade. we'll be there for two decades. what are we going to accomplish? the war has not gone well. the taliban insurgency is clearly stronger in 2012 than it was in 2001. we're supporting a government in kabul that is no way worthy of the support or saveses that we're making. it's corrupt, ineffective and illegitimate. many of the people associated with it, many of the power
brokers are also collaborating with the tall on at the expense of the coalition. it's very unclear what we're going to accomplish by another ten-year commitment. >> doesn't that sound to me as though the president persuaded--you let me begin with the first principle. the president seemed to say with some clarity that was missing in the past that al-qaida was enemy number one and we've made significant progress in destroying the fundamental structure of al-qaida. do you agree with the president about that articulation of objective number one and whether we've been successful. >> i agree with both of those a assertions, but since 2002 they've had very little to do with afghanistan. we killed osama bin laden deep inside pakistan, and alqaida
operatives, for example behind the christmas day bombing and several other attempted attacks were coming out of yemen and mostly the way we've succeeded in thwarting al-qaida is through enhanced security and better intelligence. if we look at the record of the last ten years there has been nothing that has come out of afghanistan that has been related to al-qaida. so i agree with this assessment. i think he has been very successful. successful in the way that the previous administration was not but it has nothing to do with afghanistan. >> that's the critical point from my perspective. as with you i agree that al-qaida is the enemy. we've made enormous movement in destroying al-qaida. the president tries to bridge that by saying we must push back against the taliban in afghanistan. how do you assess the taliban's
strength in afghanistan and whether they will under any circumstances be a meaningful partner in peace in afghanistan? >> well, the first point is that the taliban believe they are winning, and i think there is some good reason to believe that is true. first, for them, winning means not being destroyed. yes, they have been pushed out of province and they are disoperational there, but they're operating elsewhere. and one of the tests of success is not where is the taliban physically present. the test of success is once we have pulled out will they still be gone? there is no reason to believe that at all. and in addition what we hear from the pentagon continually no matter what the news is, it's always good news. so the taliban stage a very sophisticated attack in the heart of kabul and that is good
news because of the afghan security forces demonstrateed they could respond to it. the number of taliban attacks are up around the country and that's a good sign because it's a sign that we and the afghans are engaging them. i can promise you if the number of taliban attack has declined over recent years that also would be good news because that would be a sign that they're weakening. the real test is there an afghan partner with local officials that is capable of holding the loyalty of the population because it requires law and order and that does not exist. >> i could not agree more with it. there is an orwellian nature to the reports of afghanistan as there used to be with respect to vietnam. explodeing bombs immediately after the president left almost
to send a message saying, we know you were here. we were not going to disrupt your press conference but we're showing you that we hold this territory. do you think that they were sending that type of message? >> of course they were sending that kind of message. i presume that the operational security for the president's visit was sufficient that they did not find out about it in advance. it may be beyond their capabilities to have done something about it, but it is a sign that things are not going well that the president's visit could not be announced in advance. when he goes to other countries there is a lot of advanced publicity. you don't sneak off in the middle of the night and land and don't tell anybody that you are there until you are there. this is more or less exactly the same way in which george bush would make his visits to iraq. so none of this is a sign of success. the taliban demonstrated that they're still an important factor. >> if you had to predict what do you think happened internally in
afghanistan after 2014 when most of our troops are gone, the residual presence we have i gather will be reasonably restrained. military camps will not be going out on missions to ensure security. who happens domestically, who carries the political strain, and does corruption fester and does the political infrastructure fall apart? >> well, one of the features of the argument that what we're doing isn't working is that if we withdraw the situation is not going to be appreciably worse. i think that is the case. americans talk about afghans as if they were a single people. but the reality is that the taliban are in movement. this is the ethnic group in the south and the east. it's only about 45% of the population. the taliban has little or no support among the other ethnic groups who are better armed better organized actually.
so when we withdraw i imagine the situation will be very similar to what it is now, that is to say the they will control the north. the taliban will control the south and the east. they control the second city kandahar. they may be able to take it over completely. they can't take the capitol and the stalemate we've seen will likely continue. meanwhile, our troops will be there engaged in training missions for police and military that are not working. we've spent billions of dollars trying to train an afghan police force. their raw material is not very promising, basically illiterate villagers, some percentage are drug addicted who go through very short training courses. but even if we could train them more effectively and we can
train them in policing skills but we can't train them to be honest. they're referred to as a criminal syndicate. that's the nature of our partner. it is in many ways a criminal syndicate. >> ambassador galbraith not necessarily an affirmative take on where we are in afghanistan but an important conversation. we look forward to you joining us in the future. >> well, i hope so. i hope there will be better news, but i don't think that will be the case. >> thank you sir. >> thank you. >> for more on the military situation on the ground and the politics surrounding the president's announcement i'm joined by jon soltz co-funder and chairman of the vote yet.org and a veteran of two tours of duty in iraq. many thanks for your time tonight. do you share his skepticism about our ability to control and dictate an outcome internal to
afghanistan? >> i agree with a lot of what he said. some i don't agree with. he's an ambassador and i'm military officer. i look at this differently. i never supported the president putting extra troops in afghanistan. >> speak to the surge. >> look, the speech yesterday he talks about 2014. 2014 can go either way. it depends on what happens. when i was in iraq in december, they believe they want to extend the forces there. if there is a small footprint of the troops left after 2014, a package that could conduct the types of missions we did in afghanistan. the pakistanan attack on bin laden started in pakistan. there is no guarantee that we'll get that. if it's a adviser role it's much more complicated. there is a stalemate in afghanistan. this summer the president will start an offensive. i think there is a concern that we push the afghan army further into the east where they do have control. they don't have control in kabul. they can blow up whatever they
want there but they don't control the terrain. everything is posturing. the decisive battle will be when we leave and if they hold up. >> who is the enemy? and that i think dictates then what our strategy. if it's al-qaida, then you seem to be saying the smaller footprint in afghanistan permits us to readate out and hit al-qaida wherever they need to be. that you're with. >> that's the whole point of this debate and conversation. the reason we never supported the surge in afghanistan is because of the taliban. the president has been very successful in pakistan with the drones. but the war in afghanistan is different. it's a taliban war against the government. and so our mission on the ground as a military is to get the afghan military sustainable where they can defeat the taliban. that's the battle. >> to reduce this to a context where most of us can get our arms around this. if we focus on the fact that
al-qaida is the enemy and we use co-op forces, and go wherever we need to go, then that could win. but if we try to base more against the taliban. >> how do you ask an american kid out in the village. it's based on the fact that we're going to put u.s. forces in the terrain and then bring the afghan military in to hold it. how do you ask an american to do that when the president car sigh say he does not want u.s. forces out in his village. the president has guys out there exposed to combat where we really don't have a guarantee that this foreign government is our partner. >> the piece of this that confuses us and the way we've been having conversation, and i hope it's a reality but we have taken it as a given that al-qaida and taliban are separate and distinct. is there an enter relationship thereinterrelationshipthere that we
can't defeat al-qaida until we defeat the taliban. >> it's a global movement. the attacks, the underwear bomber, that came out of yemen. so when you talk about al-qaida it's much broader. you can argue the taliban relationship with al-qaida, but it's all about a war of the mission returns. what can we legitimately i chief in afghanistan? we argue in the military we need to switch right now to an advise-train-assist mission. we don't need our guys being killed if they project further are we putting the afghan army in a position that they can't hold that terrain once we leave. they have bad logistics systems. they can't hold the terrain. we're in a fight to win against the taliban but that may not be our objective as a nation. >> the president said yesterday that taliban should be a partner in peace. >> if that's the argument then we shouldn't go further this summer. we should hold the afghan army where they are and if the taliban come to fight them when
we leave in 2014 then they'll be successful. >> help me understand one point of confusion that has bothered me since the beginning of this engagement in afghanistan. the afghan people defeated sequentially every empire in history. why do we continually say we have to teach them out to fight. do they not know how to fight or do they not have the will to fight against our chosen enemy. >> it's a political problem. the places we have right now are the urban centers. these are people who are more used to government. if go out into the rural villages we're going to go back in places where we left. those people, some of them still think that the russian army is still in afghanistan. there are no road networks people don't realize how poor this country is. that is a complicated question. the tribesmen don't have relationships in the outer places where we push to. it's a different relationship. you can't look at afghanistan as aasa state.
>> reduce this to simple terms. you do not want u.s. troops fighting in limited areas past 2014. >> 2014 should only be a very specific mission. if we have forces on the ground, it should only be al-qaida mission. we should advise the afghan army and not go on an offensive that could get more u.s. forces killed for a mission that would cause afghan to lose their position with the taliban. >> jon soltz thank you for your time and your service. newt gringrich drops out of the race plus 2012 news that actual matters. if you have an opinion, you >>eliot spitzer takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now.
>> you can't say republicans didn't warn us about the menacing peril of voter proud which brings us cautiously to the number of the day. 93. that's the age of viviette applewhite who won't be able to vote courtesy of strict voter i.d. legislation voted in law by governor john corbett. although she marched with dr. martin luther king jr. during the civil rights movement worked as a ship builder in world war ii she will be barred from the election without photo i.d. she never learned how to drive so she doesn't have a driver's license, and her only photo i.d. disappeared when her purse was stolen years ago. so she won't be able to cast her vote. applewhite is not alone. over five million voting age americans lack the identification needed to cast
ballots in 2012. minorities students, the elderly and the poor are disproportionately kept from the polls by these laws. probably what republicans wanted when they aligned corporate sponsor groups to draft these bills. too bad viviette applewhite, she has very, very excited about that and very proud of that. >>beltway politics from inside the loop. >>we tackle the big issues here in our nation's capital, around the country and around the globe. >>dc columnist and four time emmy winner bill press opens current's morning news block. >>we'll do our best to carry the flag from 6 to 9 every morning. >>liberal and proud of it. >> mitt romney apparently forgot he was the nominee of the republican party.
he believed he could hire an openly gay man. he was wrong. richard grenell was hired to be a spokesman for mitt romney. he was immediately attacked from the religious right because mr. grenell is openly gay. bras of the outcry in the two weeks that he was there, he was never used in the capacity for which he was hired. yesterday mr. grenell stepped down writing i quote my ability to vehicle clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper partisan discussion of personal circumstance that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. the question i need answered is in 2012 someone can't be hired because he's gay? really? come on. this is america. where have we gone? how horrendous is this? joining me is republican strategist and former mccain
adviser, ford o'connell and here new york democrat strategist and president of whitman insight strategyies. i just don't get it. >> well, we know that's not true. there is a lot of gay republicans, and i definitely think from a 30,000-foot perspective this doesn't look good for team romney but there seems to be a lot more variables at play than gay politics. there are reporters at work at the u.n. and off colored twitter feed. i think it will blow over but it doesn't look good for team romney now. >> i'm trying to be nights to you and i want to be a friend. but you say it's not true. it is true. they fired him because he's gay. it looks bad from 30,000 feet.
it looks bad from five feet, ground zero. i don't get it. i don't see how they dig themselves out of it. bernard, let me turn fire on you. this is two weeks after the president refuses to sign an executive order protection for an open contractor. is this open season on the gay community? what is happening here from our two parties. >> what it really puts focus on in dozens of states across the country a man or woman who is openly gay can be fired for nothing but being openly gay. that's why we need the non-discrimination which nearly passed the senate 15 years ago and yet has to bring the force of vote. >> bernard, you're right. we need that statute to be passed, but the president could have signed an executive order extending that protection to a huge swath of the american public and he refused. i'm seeing spinelessness on the
part of the president. i'm seeing spinelessness on the part of mitt romney. tell me if i'm wrong about this, but it seems to me that he could have pulled a jujitsu stood up and looked at the theological right of the republican party and say i believe in civil rights. why didn't mitt romney as a matter of practical politics embrace this moment to stand for something? >> i think because of the other variables in play. go proud agrees with you that he could have made this stand but it seems there are a lot of variables in play. if you make this stand you got to make sure you got the right situation. i agree with you. this is campaign politics at its finest. but we know several people within the presidential campaign have been fired for any little thing out there. i hear what you're saying because we know there are a lot of gay republican who is served campaigns and administrations quite proudly. >> if you can ease someone out
quietly and then that's the way you do it. but when you know this will be a lightening rod issue where he moves to the right to satisfy the theological right of the party then he does himself political harm and intellectual harm, i don't think that is what mitt romney means. >> i think this appointment was a train wreck from the beginning. the fact that he appointed the guy, i give him credit for that. but the inability to deal with the far right and then they did not defend him or make his case, i think it's extraordinary and i think it feeds the notion that mitt romney is a flip flopper on issues from abortion to gay rights and then take this guy who had terrible relations with the press and to say he was the most dishonest spokesperson they have ever worked with. if a guy can't run a campaign, how do we expect him--
>> bernard, you made my point for me. you said he had terrible relationships at the u.n. when he was a spokesman and that was under the bush administration. team romney is trying to cut ties with the bush administration. >> i think bernard made a critical point. the lack of foresight in gaining this out the chess game that was going to result from the hiring is what i think most people could look to as the longer term measure of the romney campaign until now has been swift of foot in the way it handles these things. newt gringrich is gone. does anybody care? does anybody remember in 24 hours? ford, is this the last of newt? can we finally sweep him in the dust bin of history? >> no, i think newt gringrich still has a role to play in this election. mitt romney needs some attack dogs and surrogates particularly on issues like energy and hispanic. newt gringrich has a keen knack
for taking complex ideas and turning them into palpable kool-aid for voters to digest. newt gringrich has a role to play especially since team romney will play this down. >> newt gringrich is like a bad cold that you can't get rid of. the fact that he was still in the race, i was like, really? he was announcing that he was going to get out. then holds the announcement, and then announces the following week that he was going to get out. he shot to the top of the list because the republican party had absolutely no love for mitt romney. the reason why he got there was because herman cain i am imloaded. >> no, he got there because he was the best debater and the anti-romney voting block. >> no-- >> one at a time. >> go ahead, bernard. >> i think it's one of the last men standing. the fact that rick santorum and newt gringrich refused to endorse the republican nominee spokes volumes that the
republicans will have pulling out voters. >> i disagree with you there. >> we all know that mitt romney got this nomination, he was the only one who could keep chugging forward in the finish line. and it was his for the taking but he's a weather vane, no one knows, and we don't know what he standards for on any given day. until he shows the willpower and backbone to stand for something nobody is going to trust him. ford o'connell and bernard whitman, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you eliot. >> reminding the people theyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy [ train whistle blows ] [ ball hitting paddle ] [ orbit girl ] don't let food hang around. yeah! [ orbit trumpet ] clean it up with orbit! [ orbit glint ] fabulous! for a good clean feeling. ♪ eat, drink, chew orbit! ♪ and everyone likes 50% more cash -- well, except her. no!
[ mocking tone ] i'm ms. brown. i'm soooo chocolatey. i'm giving away money to make people like me-eee -- is what he said. and i was like "you watch your mouth. she's my friend." friend is a strong word. [ male announcer ] chocolate just got more irresistible. find the all brown bag and you could win! >> coming up i've said it before. the occupy movement needs focus. thanks to the sec they now have some. but first jimmy fallon says goodbye to newt gringrich and seth meyers is says goodbye to
his friendship with donald trump. when it doesn't fit anywhere else we put it in the viewfinder. ♪ >> tonight we'll be taking a look at the pros and cons of newt gringrich dropping out of the race. pro, he decided to stop running for president in 2012. con, he decided to stop running for exercise in 1971. pro, newt gringrich said he might be interested in some kind of role in the romney administration. con, it's a buttered roll. pro, he looks like a team player for conceding defeat to mitt romney. con, he also looks like susan boyle. >> he has his deal with comedy central and they got a guy who imitates me pretty well. he has an anger translator named luther. >> i thought it was a good time to reach out to the entertainment industry. >> i need money! i am running for president of
the united states against a damn billionaire, y'all. >> this is the finest meter we can find. >> he's not. >> republicans you're annoying by the arrogance and bragadoccio of a wartime president. do you think he's unfairly belittling his opponents? i have a question, are you on crack! are you aware that we're able to store and recall past events as they recall. >> jimmy kimmel was the correspondence. >> yes, it was great. great job. >> now the previous year it was you. >> the down side for me i lost a dear friend in donald trump. we were really very close. >> what did you think of jimming kimmel. >> i thought he was much better than seth meyers. >> the good news there is no one more hilarious. >> it is obvious you tan alive.
>> yes, i do. >> would you say you tan too much? >> no, i love to tan. >> unbelievable. derivatives, compliance officers >>the dominoes are starting to fall. (vo) former two term governor, jennifer granholm, is politically direct on current tv >> what should women be doing? >> electing women to office. [ man ] gillette wanted to see how far one proglide cartridge could go. so they sent me around the world to find out. i learned a few things along the way. first impressions do matter. fear is your enemy... and your friend. laughter needs no translation. never say no to a gift. one world. 5 weeks. the only thing that didn't change was my razor. [ male announcer ] up to 5 weeks of comfortable shaves with one proglide cartridge. great things start with gillette.
tewary. alexis, let me start with you first. >> sure. >> how were you inside the belly of the beast as it were, end up on occupy. >> no one goes to wall street to do anything other than to make money. i felt like i could do more with my life than to make wealthy people more wealthy. i first looked at occupy wall street with skepticism, but then i had to go down and show my support. >> and then akshat, being in high finance you sympathyed withsympathizedwith them? >> my understanding of the law movemented me to get involved with the occupy sec. as an administrative lawyer i understand that the average
person can get involved if they want to. unfortunately the average person does not know that. i want to combine the two and utilize the energy of occupy wall street and get something good done through the process. >> explain to me how you view yourself strategically. you're not out in the park or walking through the streets. how do you use the levers of influence differently? what is your game plan? >> well, we do believe in direct democracy through protest and action as well. we certainly don't want to throw the rest of occupy under the bus in that regard. both of us were involved in the protests yesterday and others as well. that said, we do feel that occupy could be--increase it's effectiveness by utilizing the processes that do exist in the framework for regulation. >> tell us what that means? i'm going to hold something up. this is a document that you submitted to the sec. only a lawyer or a geek, if i
can use that word, maybe i'm one of them. could appreciate reading this. this is a comment about the vocal rule where you said it needs to be strengthened and the push back against the investment banks who trite to weaken it, they were wrong and you took a more populous position. this is one of the work product of what you guys have done. explain to me what this is? it's 300 pages. explain to me what it is and how it will make a difference. >> this is a comment that we issued back in february. it says that the big banks can no longer propriety trade or gamble. they're required by law to solicit public comment. even though this is not glass eagle it's the closest thing that we had back on the table. >> for one second you're using language maybe the three of us get but the vocal rule said that the banks that have a federal guarantee behind them could not use taxpayer money to gamble
like a casino in the to come market. glass eagle is the new deal that separated commercial and investment banking that gave us 50 and 60 years of financial stability. it was revealed then we have the cataclysm of '08. >> yes, i couldn't have said it better. there are a lot of signs. if you go down to liberty square, mayday bring back glass eagle. the vocal rule came out last october. akshat approached me. he said this is a great opportunity. let's write a letter and make it as strong as we can. we knew on the other side were the banks fighting tooth and nails with the full force of their lobbyists and they'll try to water this down. >> i was in politics for some time. bring this back. it's hard to believe that people will storm the ram marts with that as a slogan but it's important. do you think what you are doing can be the infrastructure of the
next occupy. it's diffused and hard to see what will happen tomorrow and the day after, is operating within the legal framework bringing these protests in the form of paper thoughtful, well argued documents can that provide the next chapter even? >> any time any of the agencies federal agencies passes or tries to imminent a substantive implement a substantive regulation, it has to have comment from the public. we would love for other occupiers to get involved in the areas that interest them, whether it's environment or anything else, and they can do that. that's just one avenue through the regulatory process. but again occupy is a very vast movement. a lot of people with a lot of different interests. >> it's a diversity of tactics and this is fitting into a large
diversity of tactic. >> i'm going to analogize ralph nadar who brought us through grassroots activism and the notoriety when g.m. tried to unearth his private life. but then what did he was used the america in this matter that mechanism that you're talking about testimony through the legal framework that had enormous success creating a civil rights movement. i think this is a brilliant tactic. you have these skills. i hope you continue with this. >> we thank you and we certainly will. for the time being the vocal rule still has to be implemented by the regulators. there are rumble rumblings in congress as bankers and republicans try to repeal it, but the fight needs to be fought. >> thank you. two could you founders of occupy
sec. alexis goldstein and akshat tewary thank you to be being here. >> thank you for having our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to >>we will not settle for the easy answers. battle speech right? may i? [ horse neighs ] for too long, people have settled for single miles. with the capital one venture card you'll earn double miles on every purchase, every day! [ visigoths cheer ] hawaii, here we come. [ alec ] so sign up today for a venture card at capitalone.com. and start earning double. [ all ] double miles! [ brays ] what's in your wallet? can you play games on that? not on the runway. no.
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any planned medical or dental procedures and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. pradaxa is progress. having afib not caused by a heart valve problem increases your risk of stroke. ask your doctor if you can reduce your risk with pradaxa. >> coming up how much power do shareholders really have? but first let's visit "the war room" and check in with jennifer granholm. what's on top tonight? >> we're putting republican extremism under "the war room" microscope. and these days there is very little daylight between extremism and anything else the party does. we're going to focus on how the g.o.p. is dealing with gays, guns nuns, and the economy. recent developments on all fronts to show how of touch the
republican party has become. we have a great lineup of guests guests. it's all coming up at the top of the hour, eliot. >> sounds fantastic. to say extremist republicans is almost redundant. the whole party has moved so far to the we have a big, big hour and the how are you ever going to solve the problem if you don't look at all of the pieces? >>tv and radio talk show host stephanie miller rounds out current's morning news block. >>you're welcome current tv audience for the visual candy. >>sharp tongue, quick whit and above all, politically direct. >>you just think there is no low they won't go to. oh, no. if al gore's watching today... 65 we're the idea nobody wants to hear. until the truth reveals itself.
and there's only one place you'll find us. ♪ >> still to come, executive pay continues to rise. can and should shareholders do anything about it? but first here is my view. rains keep saying there is no war on women, but boy do they make it hard to believe them. just yesterday the texas attorney general greg abbott desperate to cut off money for women health services compared planned to a terrorist organization. you heard me right. a former state court judge went to court to keep state and
medicaid dollars from going to eight planned parenthood sites in texas. none of which performed abortions or abortion services. about aside the heinous nature of the metaphor what is going on here. planned parenthood centers provide preventive medicine and comply with all of texas' own rules to participate in the state women health program. the statement leaves the nation in a number of uninsured and where one in four women have no health insurance the texas a.g. is making sure that women can't get preventive care? even said he would rather shut down the entire women's health program than allow planned parenthood to get any funding. let's call this what it is. the theological republican right on a crusade to keep women from
getting any of the health services that they need or entitled to under the law. spokesmen try to walk back the stupidity of his own metaphor after he used it. if the leadership 69 republican party really wants to us believe there is no war on women somebody has to stand up and disavow the substantial and the rhetoric put forward [ female announcer ] e-trade technology can help make you a better investor.
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and non-binding victory for the little guy. the question then became would this lead to larger victories and reforms down the road. stephen davidoff is skeptical citing the fact that the first year of the existence of say on pay provisions executive compensation still increased over 12%. while it might make corporate governance activists and the occupy wall street movement happier to think these events are a sign of change, these protests are more likely to dissipate once the media attention surrounding them dies down. joining us now is stephen david davidoff,ings writer for "the new york times" deal book blog and professor of law at finance for ohio state university. thank you for joining us. you don't think it will continue forward, why not. >> we see big headlines.
we see the front line but behind the scenes we have companies who are paying extremely large amounts. >> the shareholders affirmative affirmatively stood up and said no, is limited. you could count it on one hand whereas 12 terrors increases of ceo pay shows that the tide has not turned. >> absolutely. 30 companies their shareholders disapproved executive compensation. that means there are over 1,000 companies or 2,000 companies who whose shareholders did approve it. >> you could focus on citigroup and barclays the ahead line stories across the board things are not changing. the critical argument that you made towards the end of your article is shareholders--the good news the liquidity of the capital market is if they don't
like the company they sell. no one goes to the effort and using their shareholder power and using it. how do we change that? >> i don't think we can change it. i think it's sad and depressing, but frankly shareholders themselves, they want to sell. they want to make money. whereas ceos control the company. they're going to continue to operate it, and they have the biggest interest to pay themselves that money. until the government gets serious about i am positiving caps or firm limits we're just not going to go anywhere, eliot. >> i always looked in my examination of corporate governance and said shareholders shareholders, the mutual funds the pension funds, those who are supposed to have longer time horizon and of necessity participants in the market and even if they're selling ibm they're buying cisco, could we persuade them to use that longer time horizon to begin to get more active? >> you have the key there.
if the government won't come in, and they don't seem to be interested in doing it. it's the vanguards of the world who have to stand up. they don't seem to be doing so. we're talking about 30 companies where they voted no on say on pay. so far this year four companies including citigroup. the institutional investors are just not acting. >> i've always felt for instance, for the mutual funds who want to be designated as 401k recipients by the companies themselves they're hesitant to act adverse to the ceos but nonetheless we need to persuade institutional investors that their interest is reigning in ceo compensation that has gotten completely out of control. one of the frustrations that i've had in all the work that i had as attorney general prosecuting we could not persuade those institutional shareholders to do anything differently. have you had conversation with them on this issue? >> i have, i've spoken at conferences.
i speak to managers directly. you know, they just want to make money for their shareholders, they don't want to take excessive risk. going in and agitating for change on compensation is too much risk. it's too much hassle. they would rather not be in the competency peeks the citigroups of the world. they would rather sell and move on. that culture has not changed yet. >> what you're highlighting is as i said, the good news, there is liquidity. when you don't like it, you can sell. "exit voice and loyalty" said if you can exit, you do it. to use voice incurs cost. or say nothing and do nothing we have unfortunately too much exit and too much loyalty not enough voice and i'm not sure that i see an answer to it. >> well, shame is certainly not working. we're paying excessive amounts. they're being disclosed. there is not a big change in
compensation practices. the only bright hope and i don't want to make anyone too depressed are the activist hedge funds. they do come in and take risks. that's one area we can encourage. those institutions do seem to care about executive pay. >> right, i think what you're saying is very interesting. hedge funds in the past couple of years has upon portrayed as a parasitic capitalism where they jump in and have momentarily gain but i agree with you the bill akmans who use their capital invest in companies and do thing differently. do you think there could be a resurgent of shareholder power? >> they can but it's up to us. the focus of citigroup is great but we need to convince the share holders and convince the federal government it is just not right to pay your ceo $49 million in a single year. until we