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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  May 3, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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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. abblind dissident, a daring escape, a high-speed chase, it's the actual series of event that lead chinese activist chen guangcheng to his current situation sitting in a hospital
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in beijing. he is a self taught legal scholar who challenged abuses under china's one child policy after successfully seeking refuge, after a change of heart and claims his family had been threatened chen now says he wants to come to the us. he manage to place a call to a congressional hearing to convey his desire through a translate for. >> i want to meet with secretary clinton. i hope i can get more help from her. i also want to thank her face-to-face. >> clinton is currently in china, engaging in high-level economic talks between the two nations, but did indirectly address the situation. >> as part of our dialogue the
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united states raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedom. >> here to unravel this mystery, is former assistant secretary of state for pubic affairs under president obama, p.j. crowley. thank you so much for your time tonight. >> good evening, eliot. >> help me out here i have been reading these stories as they have been emerging. explain to me -- who is mr. chen and why is the entire world focused on him? is he that important? was he that fundamental of civil rights voice in china. >> well, you gave a pretty good synopsis of what he is trying to do what makes him unusual as an activist in china who has come to the attention and not positively so the chinese government is actually his instinct was to find a way to
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continue his activism while staying in china. the united states has a long history of -- of bringing activists from china, safe passage in asylum in the united states so this was potentially a revolutionary situation. unfortunately china has reverted back to form. they have been cracking down on dissidents for a number of years since the beijing olympics. they don't want to see a beijing spring, and it has been a very tough time for mr. chen and other activists. he was able to evade house arrest as a blind activist. extraordinary gesture of her rowism. >> the gesture really is something straight out of a hollywood script. you read the stories and say this doesn't happen in the real
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world. apparently it does. was there some sense that he could do this at the very moment that this summit was about to take place -- or not a summit i guess the president is there, but secretary clinton would be in china, did he understand he would become a much greater focal point because of the timing? >> certainly that has been the net effect. you have china works hard to try to maintain reasonable relations to the united states but strategic and economic dialogue touches on the full range of issues, and what is a thickening relationship between the united states and china. issues of the economy. issues of regional security as well as human rights so certainly he has dropped into you know, this situation. china is also very sensitive
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because it began a transition. so all of this ads up to a particularly sensitivity on behalf of china. the united states has tried to negotiate in good faith the state department legal advisor, the assistant secretary for the region, and the ambassador all put in a great number of hours with mr. chen to try to negotiate in line with his wishes. >> before a bilateral meeting of this sort, there is a careful choreography that has been worked out. yet as you pointed out there are so many other aspects to this relationship and now human rights has become the focal point of this issue. when you are at the state department how would you try to craft a statement about human rights that would demonstrate our concern, our desire to see china continue on a path towards
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expanding human rights without unsettling what is now a very different dynamic that exists 20 years ago? how do you orchestrate that from your perspective? >> sure. and there's a careful balance here. and certainly hilary clinton put down a very public marker that the chen case was very important to the united states so you do make the public affirmation of the importance of human rights and the need for china to continue to elevate itself performance. what is crucial here is that there has to be a respectful conversation in the context of china. that's the -- generally the approach that gets the greatest return. china doesn't respond well to strong public soap box kind of statements. they -- if the united states shows respect in terms of negotiating good faith.
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that's hugely the conditions under which china will be in a better position to respond. >> public shaming has not been an effective way to persuade the chinese government to lessen it restricts within it's boundaries. the issue was when mr. chen was in the u.s. embassy, arguably we had certain leverage. we would say we're keeping him and we will bring him to the united states. once he agreed to leave and stay in china, but he is in chinese custody at a hospital what leverage and capacity do we have to change the terms of the bargain and say now we want him to be granted asylum? >> in these kinds of situations there are legal protocols. the ambassador on multiple occasions tried to clarify and make sure the united states was negotiating with china in line with mr. chen's wishes.
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he did not declare asylum when he was in the embassy. at this point, obviously, he called him dramatically to the congressional hearing today. you know we actually have some experience with this. there have been lots of cases where we have successfully negotiated this. the limelight actually works in mr. chen's favor. the chinese zealously guard their public perception. my instinct is after a period of time they will probably be willing to settle this but on chinese terms. >> more likely to settle after that spotlight as shifted to other issues but will not be viewed as a defeat for them at an emotional level. mr. chen's capacity to understand how he could control the international media.
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the entire world is watching him as he holds two super powers in his arms. i don't think i have ever seen any individual so successfully navigate through the thicket of everything else that is going on in the world. what do you think happens next? will he end up staying in china or do you think he comes to the united states at the engineer of the day. >> obviously at the end of the day it is up to him. he seems to have shifted his position from wanting to stay in china to now recognizing the risk he thought he could manage is now untenable. he is absolutely effectively commanding the global stage, and i think this is going to help him in the long run as long as that spotlight stays on him, as long as he is able to stay visible and communicate, i think he stands a very very good chance of being able to convince authorities to let him go.
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>> you know the state department inside out. i hope that is correct. one additional question maybe a tougher one, does what he has done help other december december -- dissidents in china? or does the government say now we're going to clamp down and be tougher are respect to other dissidents? >> unfortunately, i think, eliot, you have put the head on the nail. this is going to be costly, the chinese will be looking for those who clearly helped mr. chen get from house arrest to beijing. some of them have already disappeared, and once they resolve this case not only in terms of how he escaped -- so chinese officials themselveses will be liable here as well but there will be an additional craft out on those who have had association with mr. chen over the years.
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>> this is one of the most fascinating issues. china terrified of a beijing spring. p.j. crowley, thank you so much for your time and wisdom the gavin newsom show is a search engine for solutions and that's the focus. we want to focus on solutions and ways of bringing people together. collective action is the only way we're going to solve the world's great vexing problems.
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coming up climbing the bp ladder, who is next to be indicted. but first, ann romney's wardrobe, and george w. bush's second career. when it doesn't fit anywhere else we put it in the viewfinder. ♪
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>> i'm asked sometimes is mitt romney conservative enough? and my answer is simple -- his record is so bad, he has so clearly a moderate he has done so many things that are indefensible. >> mitt romney can he beat obama? >> no, because his policy is the basis of obamacare. >> we must select mitt romney as the next president of the united states. [ applause ] >> now politics is underway. >> the silk shirt, part of the summer collection and the shirt is available to anyone for a near $990. >> as you know mitt romney is mormon. no, that's actually -- that's kind of unnecessary. he's mormon. [ thunder clap ] >> there's nothing frightening -- there's nothing frightening about him being a
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mormon -- [ angels singing. ] >> you have overcorrected. >> this is a christian nation. our money says in god we trust, and when congress passes a law, it is nothing short of a miracle. >> we're on a break with congress for 5.5 weeks. >> i thought you were going to say 5.5 years. i have been watching. >> he is an actor, where do i know him from. that guy. >> oh yeah -- this guy, what is he -- what is he from? >> he was on criminal minds. >> rollins didn't kill kyle but you know who did. >> i believe in justice not revenge. >> i think you left our son's body in the woods. >> wow that's a great actor. ♪ >> actually he was a great actor. a bp engineer charged where destroying information after the
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first crimina if you have an opinion, you better back it up. >>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. [ bob cannon ] samuel adams summer ale is a flavorful wheat beer. it has a very nice spice note. [ jim koch ] it has a little lemon zest and a historic brewing spice called grains of paradise. -it's citrusy. -lemony. sam adams summer ale it totally reminds you of summer, you know? fun... indulgence... one square inch of bliss. hershey's bliss.
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corporate cover up week. first wal-mart then news corp now bp. two weeks ago we saw the first criminal charges in the justice department's probe into the worst environmental disaster in u.s. history. the former mix who was in court again today maintaining his innocent. joining us now to tell us why this is the first
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oil industry veteran who is author of "disaster on the horizon" and founder and editor of "the daily hurricane." bob, thanks for coming back and spending time with us again. is there any question in your mind that senior executives at bp knew that the order of magnitude of oil gushing into the gulf was far greater than they were admitting to the public? >> eliot, there's no doubt. the one thing that is important to understand about the oil and gas industry when there's a major event is that after knowing if there are any injuries or casualties the next thing the chief executive officer wants to know are -- executive wants to know is how bad was the damage. so i have no doubt in my mind that the bp executives new the numbers that the engineer kurt mix was putting out. kurt mix's emails early on why
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is that so important in terms of both the damages that can be paid, the environmental damage and how you address the magnitude and how you fix it. tell us why that volume number is so critical. >> the volume number is critical at the time of the incident to scale the response. if -- i believe that if the u.s. government knew the well was flowing over 100,000 barrels a day, rather than 1,000 barrels a day, i think the response would have been much much more aggressive. at the time i was very concerned that the government was sitting back letting bp run the response when in fact they should have been much more active. after the incident of course the amount of barrels of oil put into the water determined the amount of the fine itself and that could be over $4,000 per barrel if negligence was found to be in effect at the time of the spill. >> putting the money damages
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aside, would the executives you think then probably believe don't tell everybody how bad this is we'll be able to fix it and they may never find out. we can do what we got to do and if we don't tell them they will never know? >> i think that's probably the case. the -- there's no rational reason for an executive to understate an obvious number unless he thinks that that -- that number won't get out the public. what i think might have happened here and i believe happened was that because they had a blowout preventer on the ocean floor that is accessible through remote vehicles on the ocean floor, i think they actually believed they were going to get it shut in within a day or so so rather than scare the public or put the real number out there, they just decided at first to say the well was not flowing, and when it was obvious that was not true they just put
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a really low number, thinking they were going to get the well shut in before anybody could see it. >> when the camera was lowered down the public was able to see the quantity of the flow and suddenly bp said oops i guess so. then they were caught red handed. >> that's exactly. but bp never has admitted that the well flowed more than 5,000 barrels a day. and i think that's something that is -- what the justice department is focused on now. how high up did the executives know that that volume was that large. >> the email trains will be followed very aggressively. how widespread do you think it is that this sort of understatement occurred when there is some sort of failure in deep sea drilling or anywhere
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else? >> the rules offshore are very very strict for spills. most observed spills though are on the surface. the only time you know you have a spill or leak down below is either with remote operated vehicles that they use with cameras or through the pressures of the well itself. i think it's pretty unusual for someone to under-state or not report oil is in the water, because the penalties can be pretty severe. >> just a couple of seconds left, your understanding of the facts, your prediction, will we see senior bp executives indicted as part of this ongoing criminal conduct? >> i believe so. they didn't do this big of an investigation to arrest one staff engineer. they are after the higher ups. i watched the whole enron debacle unfold years ago. the justice department first
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went affaloer-level employs, and eventually the chairman was walked into the courthouse in >> bob cavnar, and 30-year oil industry veteran who is author of "disaster on the horizon" and founder and editor of "the daily hurricane", thank you so much for your time tonight. >> thank you eliot. 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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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 this is your brain, this is your brain on football lots of questions coming up. but first let's check in with jennifer grandholm in "the war room." jennifer what have you got tonight? >> you know we're all about the campaign, and tonight we're all about wild-cards in "the war room," and that means that the campaigns have had to deal with a bunch of unexpected events on a daily basis. the obama administration got one today when the chinese dissident changed his mind and wants to come to the u.s. we'll get a bit of a political
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perspective on the controversy and get a view from inside obama's war room we'll have that story and a bunch of smart, intelligent guests at the top of the hour. >> campaigns don't go exactly how they with are laid jennifer granholm is politically direct on current tv. >>the dominoes are starting to fall. (vo) granholm is live in the war room. >> what should women be doing? >> electing women to office. (vo) she's a political trailblazer. >>republicans of course didn't let facts get in the way of spin. >>do it, for america. the gavin newsom show is a search engine for solutions and that's the focus. we want to focus on solutions and ways of bringing people together. collective action is the only way we're going to solve the
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world's great vexing problems. still to come the death of junior seau and what it could mean for the future of the nfl. but first here is my view why is the federal government spending so much time pursuing roger clemens of steroid use while they seem totally incapable of prosecuting those whoer to chewed detainees or committed vast fraud on wall street. the answer could become clear. jose rodriguez, former director of the cia's clandestine service has been promoting a book in which he makes the case for torture. it's time to put on our big boy pants is how he puts it. but he also says he can't be prosecuted in connection with torture because he had been
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given a memo from the justice department's office of legal counsel stating that what he did wasn't torture anyway. common sense, law treaties notwithstanding. so far the obama administration has refused to prosecute anybody who got that memo and relied on it. latest this past week a court noticed that the man who wrote that memo can't be sued because again the answer was not quote clearly established when the memo was written. both of these outcomes way seem wrong on the surface, but the reasoning of the courts may not be crazy. why? because when things get dicey you can have a lawyer write a memo giving advice that what you are doing might be okay. this clever two-step process allows everybody to skate away scot-free. this is the roll lawyers are
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playing these days they have become what i call facilitators creating paper trails that let their clients act under cover of protection. for every so-called torture memo, there are thousands of memos saying that corporate transactions are legal. written by pliable and well-paid lawyers. there is an answer. hold the facilitators the lawyers to a higher standard. creating wiggle room for bad actors isn't what the legal profession is supposed to be about. letting people off the hook isn't what our law is supposed to be used for. it's time to put laws as they were
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etch-a-sketch candidate, an image where romney is anti gas. in 2012 alone. go to our website, current.com. up next it's out to the campaign trail. a
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surprising new poll, and that's next right here inside "the war room." every play is like going to a violent car crash that's how
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players and scientists describe professional football. junior seau's death was officially ruled a suicide today. this comes as players sue the nfl. his death mirrors that of dave duerson last year who shot himself in the chest requesting that his brain be studied by scientists to see what pro football had done to them. dave duerson is one of many players who has been diagnosed with a brain disease called cte. joining me now is
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dr. julian bailes, a former nfl team physician and director of the brain injury research institute. thank you to both of you. this is obviously just such a horrifying series of incidents. it brings to a head quite literally what has been an issue for a long time. do you think the nfl has known for years that this sort of impact on the brain can cause this sort of emotional crisis leading to suicide. >> one of dr. bale's colleagues discovered or he was the first doctor, the first scientist to link repeated blows to the head to cte, and the nfl shot him down for a long time. they asked the pier review journal retract the article. i think they did a lot of back spin on this for a long time. >> what is the nfl afraid of why would they not want people to understand what is at one level common sense, commence sense
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dictates that blows to the head would have some significant impact. and why has the nfl been so recall trant? >> for every guy you have like junior seau and dave duerson there are dozens of guys who are suffering silently at home. they are unable to work. they are in chronic pain. they are suffering from depression. the life of a former football player is not glamorous. >> and the average life span of the professional is four years. you go in and get beaten up and leave with trauma. doctor what can you tell us about the link between what a football player goes through on the playing field and the sorts of behavioral and emotional problems that we are seeing play out in this tragedy of the suicide? >> well this is an evolving science and body of knowledge. i think it has been said in the
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last decade we know more than we ever knew before about the science of concussion. the only know cause of this is constant blows where the diagnosis of concussion has or hasn't been discovered. >> and i think you said something there -- i think i discerned it. it may not be that it is the magnitude of the blow it may not be that one big hit as much as the repetitive hits that linemen go through time and time again that leads to this problem, is that correct, doctor? >> that's my opinion. and i think the work of our work and others has lead me to believe more and more that it's a dosed response it's sort of like how many sun burns did you get when you were younger increases your chance of having skin cancer, and i think that's
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probably what we're looking at now as one of the main factors. >> michael if this is in fact a consequence of repetition rather than that one huge blow changing the rules a little bit really won't solve the problem, and i think that may be the nfl's problem. how do you create a rule structure without eliminating all contact, this is football this is the nfl, and maintain the nature of the sport without leading to this horrendous medical impact? >> i don't know if you can. people like to see the vie loans of the nfl. i think what the nfl can do is do a better job of tracking and treating guys after they leave the league. >> doctor is there any way to understand the degree to which somebody has already been impacted by a sequence of hits? in other words would they do a test on a lineman and say it has
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only be two years, but you need to step out because we can see the damage to your brain? >> there currently is not a test to know except after death at autopsy. but to answer your other question, i think we'll be facing the reality that we have to take the head hits out of the game. and having linemen have this gratuitous constant ubiquitous head contact is going to have to change. i think we ought to get linemen out of the three-point stance. >> was a soccer player can you take head hits out of the game? >> people keep proposing that, but a lot of players are opposed to that. i think it would fundamentally change the nature of the game. i'm not sure you can have football as we know it now, and not have head -- maybe one thing they could do is just take helmets away. >> i would hate to see what that
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looks like. let me raise maybe even a tougher issue, how does this compare to high school and college? what does the accretion of hits do for so many of the kids playing the sport. >> junior seau played 20 years in the nfl, three years college, four years high school youth football. he was at a maximum exposure at or near 30 years. so i think it doesn't occur until you have a lot of years, and the nfl has born the brunt of it but maybe some of the younger years of that contact doesn't add up as well. >> michael let me ask you this there are lawsuits pending against the nfl. does the nfl worry about its liability? is this a financial issue they are worried about or more worried about what the sport looks like because as the doctor said we're going to have to
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eliminate the three-point stance and the head hits all together. >> a little bit of both. there is also an image here. couple this with saints the bounty gate. americans like fairness. we want guys to be treated well after they play you know, and give their bodies up fore the sport. >> poem like violence. is this issue necessarily now an issue for hockey boxing or any other sport where there are blows to the head? >> absolutely. every contact sport even military concussions realize the emerging sign show there may be potential problems. >> all right. we'll watch and see what happens to one of america's favorite past times, w
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