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tv   The Dylan Ratigan Show  MSNBC  September 12, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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individual, but a man with the heart of a hero and a terrific rugby player too. thank you very much for watching. dylan ratigan's here, ready to take us forward. dylan, what's on? >> some very interesting things, actually, martin. and it's nice to see you. i know we joke around a lot in this little window, but in truth, some new information is being brought to light about saudi connections to terror funding that go back to evidence that was withheld from the 9/11 commission at the time of the inquiry. saudi families in california, saudi families in florida. so it will be interesting to see after ten years on whether the identity of those hijackers and the source of the funding of those hijackers ultimately reveals itself. do you think we'll ever know the truth? >> i think if there's anyone who can chase it down, it's you, dylan. and when it comes to money and sourcing, you know that game better than anyone else. but that's a remarkable revelation, and if we can get to the bottom of that, that will be tremendous. >> i think we benefit that
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through the journalism of anthony somers, who just identified these families. they'll join us in just a second. thank you, martin. well, remembrance and speculation, as our nation honors the victims of september 11th and once again mourns their passing. new questions emerging about who we really can trust. good monday afternoon to you, i am dylan ratigan in new york. and today, the ground zero memorial officially opened to the public. tonight, congress will gather on the steps of the capitol, just as they did after the attacks. and while the psychological scars do remain, so too do questions, too many and too abundant, about the actions of our government both before and
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after the attacks. you and i both know there's been a lot of conspiracy talk about 9/11 over the past decade, but there is one theory that has hard evidence to back it up. it involves the saudi royal family. an unrelated saudi family connected to it, a quick getaway, a secret investigation that no one, not congress, not the 9/11 commission, no one knew about, was never introduced into the research field until now, it was mentioned on this program first on friday. i wanted to amplify it today, as our lead. with us to expand, former senator bob graham, who co-chaired the congressional 9/11 inquiry, which sent its report to the 9/11 commission. he was ultimately forced to write this book, which i suggest you read. it's called "keys to the kingdom." it was written as a fiction to avoid being forced through intelligence and security forces to redact his saudi concerns to connections to terrorist funding.
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joining us from friday, the man who broke the story of the never-reported saudi family in florida tied to the terrorists, anthony somers. his recently published book, "tlech "the eleventh day," it is a pleasure to welcome both of them back to this program. please clarify what exactly you discovered and why it's relevant. >> in a nutshell, i was following up a lead that i had during the writing of "the eleventh day," but could only write a little on. after the book was published last week, i got to florida and located the counterterrorism agent who explained to me that there was a major investigation that involved very much the fbi, which has been completely concealed. the investigation concerned a saudi can couple who lived in a gated couple near sarasota who left just two weeks before 9/11, leaving their house as if they'd
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just gone out to get the groceries or go to a movie. they'd completely abandoned it, leaving a newly bought pt cruiser in the drive, cars in the driveway. >> what's the relevancy of a given saudi family being home or not? >> because when the fbi investigated, according to multiple sources, including my counterterrorism agent, they found that the phone records, when analyzed, and most important, the gate records at the gated community -- >> physical visitors? >> yes. of cars that had come and gone and had to say who they were going to see. >> understood. >> that they photographed their registration plates, took their names in some cases, and discovered from these sources that three of the pilot hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks had all been in touch with the soaudis at that house. >> was there evidence that that family had any relationship to the administration or government of saudi arabia? >> the wife -- there was a couple, and the wife of the couple talked extensively to a
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neighbor, saying that they were very important people in saudi arabia, and they were connected to the royal family. >> congressman graham, the information that we just heard, there's another family, i understand, in california, that had association with the terrorists themselves. this information about saudi families in america was not included or revealed to you at the time of your inquiry, is that correct? >> that's correct, dylan. actually, in san diego, there was a man and a circle of his friends. the man was described by the fbi as being a saudi agent. his purpose in san diego was to monitor saudi students to assure that they weren't plotting to overthrow the monarchy. but in january of 2000. he got a second assignment, which was to provide protection for two saudis who had just
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entered the country. he was encouraged to invite them to come to san diego. they did. he provided them money, a place to live, flight lessons, and an infrastructure of muslims in san diego to give them protection and anonymity. these two individuals were on the plane that flew into the pentagon. >> the two individuals -- >> in california. >> -- that were the host family in california perished on the pentagon airplane, is that correct? >> no, no. the two saudis who had entered the country -- >> but where are the families? >> and then the -- well, that's similar to the situation in sarasota. shortly before september 11th, with the man, the agent, whose name is omar byumi and his family left san diego and went to birmingham, england, where
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they -- he was allegedly going to be a student. they stayed there for a few weeks and then left and went back to saudi arabia. >> but was any of the information at the time of the 9/11 inquiry that you ran or that you cochaired, excuse me, or the 9/11 commission, which then took the input from your inquiry and then was drafted through the white house under president george w. bush that was published, did either of those documents, the research document that you who chaired or the published document that resulted from that research after editing include references or interviews with either of the saudi families in question that were clearly associated with the terrorists? >> as to sarasota, no. as to san diego, yes, but not because the fbi gave us the information. we had a very curious and effective investigator who found all this information about how
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two of the future hijackers had been invited to and sheltered in san diego. >> at the end of the day, anthony, we know 15 of the 19 hijackers were of saudi arabian decent. we know that osama bin laden was a member and inherited a portion of the oil money of the saudi royal family and explicitly argued for a wealth transfer in that nation, as a robinho hood like figure of the impoverished of saudi arabia early on. and now we have all these other relationships. but the american people have never been given a clear resolution of the america/saudi arabia/osama bin laden relationship and instead have been focused, obviously, and been told to focus, on afghanistan and iraq. that has always confused me. do you have any understanding as to why it is we cannot get an explicit res resolution of the obvious association between saudi arabia and these terrorists? >> one can speculate as to the reason as to why president bush
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wanted the the saudi information covered up. the reason, i think, is that the oil connection proved more important than finding out the truth about 9/11. but what's important now is that what we know has been redacted, has been withheld, should be released. >> and this is where i want to end it. there is more information available about what the relationships are. so we're not all subjected to my idle speculation or anybody else's, senator graham, tell us what information is that actually exists and how we might acquire it? >> well, one, in the final report of the congressional inquiry, there was a chapter which primarily related to the saudi role of 9/11 that was totally censured. every word of the chapter has been withheld from the public. some of the other questions that we ought to be asking is, if we know that the saudi who is lived in san diego and now apparently in sarasota, received substantial assistance, what about the saudis who lived in
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phoenix, arizona, or arlington, virginia, or patterson, new jersey, or delray beach, florida, which were other major sites of extended hijacker residence. what was happening in those places? >> and you're saying you believe that the information exists in either redacted fbi documents or censured documents to answer those questions? >> yes. i believe that these are questions for which there are definitive answers, but the american people and largely their elected representatives have been denied that information. >> and who has the power to release that information and what can an average citizen do to encourage the increased visibility that we might all benefit from? >> the president of the united states, and i have called his terrorism adviser, laid out what we now know as to what occurred in sarasota and urged him to pursue an investigation of these
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matters, both in sarasota and elsewhere, where there are unanswered questions, and then hopefully release that information to the american people. >> well, you have my assurance, both of you, that i'll maintain my attention and my spotlight on this subject. i hope that both of you will keep me apprised of the progress, and please let us know if there's anything we can do journalistically to rattle the government cage, as it were, to see if we can get a little more information off the tree to see what we're actually dealing with. congratulations to you on the book, and thank you, senator graham, for continuing to be such a vigilant and focused voice on this critical american issue. thank you, sir. >> thank you, dylan. coming up here in just a second -- actually, before we do that, i want to get you a little bit more information on the whole saudi thing. it's on dylanratigan.com. it's a podcast conversation that goes into some of the more details of the saudi connections not just in the middle east with
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the united states, but in relationship to places like iran. rayva baala does a very simple, very easy to understand job that you can relisten to and all the rest of it. it's in detail on the saudi royal family and their expanding power base in that region. you can, of course, always join us digitally, anytime on twitter or facebook. and i do hope you'll stick around this afternoon on tvland. coming up here, the president pushing for his jobs bill today. we do have a congressman with a competing jobs plan that promises to bring back more than $1 trillion from overseas. certainly bigger numbers than the president's talking, but do they do the things we need? and speaking of spending, why is the defense department back -- or excuse me, fighting back when it comes to sharing cuts? our specialist, joe sestak on offense. plus, don't adjust -- >> -- lose not one package. >> yeah! >> an awesome new remote control
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i'm standing with construction workers. we've got roads that need work all over the country, our highways are backed up with traffic, our airports are clogged, and there are millions of unemployed construction workers who can rebuild them. so let's pass this bill. >> president obama in the rose garden this morning on the margins, looking to create employment, although it's not clear that we're looking to create jobs that solve america's problems, no matter where you
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look these days. his plan, $477 billion, it is unclear not only whether the president's plan will do those things, but there are a string of plans out there and our next guest says his plan will at least address our infrastructure problems. he says this is not instead of the president's plan, but in addition to. joining us now, democratic congressman greg meek from new york. and congress mman meeks, before start peppering you with questions on a monday afternoon, tell us what you're thinking. >> i'm thinking about putting americans back to work and i'm thinking about our crumbling infrastructure so we are able to compete with countries all over the globe. and the best way to do that, in which we did back in the '50s and the '40s, is which he developed infrastructure. our trains need to be revitalized, our airports, our highways. so we need to do that. that help puts folks back to work. it helps people particular who may not have a college diploma. if you look at the unemployment
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numbers, you find it gets higher with individuals who do not have a college diploma or high school diploma. >> let's stop there. we'll get into how you want to do that in a second. but the scale of what you're talking about is something that will cost millions of dollars. >> it costs money. >> the reason i bring it up, is not because you want to spend a lot of money, but is to contextualize the american jobs problem for our audience and our ourself, which is we need tens of millions of dollars in america in health care, in energy, in infrastructure. so while a few thousand or a few hundred thousand jobs may be politically appealing, it doesn't solve the problem. infrastructure, at least, acknowledges the size of the challenge. fair? >> fair, absolutely. >> so how are you going to come up with a few trillion dollars? >> that's where my bill specifically deals with infrastructure, and there is over $1 trillion that the major companies, major corporations have overseas that have not been repatriated back here to the united states of america, because they don't want to pay
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the 35% tax. so for one year, we figured out that we can do, if we give them an opportunity to bring that money back onshore, and instead of paying 35%, they pay 15%. this gives them the incentive to bring the money back onshore. and 15% of over $1 trillion is $180 billion that the government can put into our coffers, just for infrastructure alone, and it also leaves other money that the corporations can utilize to create other jobs. >> got it. >> and it's budget neutral. >> listen, to me, it's a creative idea, it's an interesting idea. i'm sure it will provoke and irritate a wide variety of people, which probably means it's a worthwhile idea worth debating. i guess my primary question on job creation, period, whether it's repatriating foreign profits, whether it's spending government money, whatever, there's a lot of great ideas out there, as i'm sure you know, as to how to bring money into
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through short periods of time, whether it's through the tax code or through spending, but if you do not have a banking system with capital requirements that actually has an incentive for the banks to create value, aren't you just pouring money into a bucket with a hole in it? in other words, there is a core issue, which is, we have a $600 trillion swaps market that is not a place where capital is required. it does not have transparency, and that is the foundation of our financial system. and as such, we have all this demand. tax the rich, repatriate profits, cut spending. there are a lot of things, some are great ideas, some are terrible, but all of them fail to acknowledge the hole in the bucket. does that make sense? >> i hear what you're saying. and what we try to do in large part with the dodd/frank bill is make sure we fix those dshs. >> but the problem is it did not put the $600 trillion swaps market on an exchange, which is only way you can get the
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visibility to see what's basically online gaming and what is actually end users. and there was an explicit decision by the treasury department and by a series of senators to block the provision that would put the swaps market on an exchange, which is really central to the entire banking system. >> well, i think what the dodd/frank bill did is, it put a position into law. and now what we're waiting for is the treasury and others to come up with the rules and regulations. and i think that that has to happen, and i think that we've got more transparency in the market than we've ever had before. that, you know, we're trying to make sure that we don't have too big to fail, that we can -- >> i know that those are the words -- those are the words, the banks are bigger than they've ever been and the swaps market is still in the dark. so i appreciate the sentiment and i believe your personal intention is probably aligned with mine, but -- and i appreciate your effort on jobs. i don't want to distract, because you bring up a very good point, and there are too many points here, but i appreciate your effort on jobs and i bring to your attention the need to continue to work on banking,
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specifically with capital requirements in the swaps market. >> well, we will continue to focus on it. but, again, we don't have -- the american people, the american worker, the president said, does not have the time to wait -- >> no kidding, which is why they should fix -- which is why i wish they would fix the banking system. >> and you can create jobs. >> the jobs you're creating now are basically just pouring money into a bucket with a giant hole in it, which helps the politicians keep their jobs, keeps the wheels spinning, but it doesn't solve our problems. i want to get the panel in, but i appreciate your time today, congre congressman, thank you. >> thank you. >> our monday megapanel is here. sam seeder, joy lynn web wesh and the nation's ari berman all here with us. you have a for specific issue with this, a very specific plan, which i want to get to in a second. i have an issue with a broader series of plans, the president's plan, the republicans' plans, congressman meeks' plan.
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hold on a second, you're being paid off by the banks and then you're telling me you want to do some sort of cover-up scheme, whether it's a stimulus spending or a tax dodge, whatever it is, as opposed to dealing with the underlying problem. am i too critical in that? i know i'm critical, but am i missing something? >> i think you're making a good point, which is we have these huge problems right now, dylan, and washington is basically playing small ball. even the president's plan, the most optimistic scenario says it's going to create 2 million jobs. we have a much greater need for jobs and we have to think about not those jobs just temporarily, but in the long-term, what's the future going to look like? >> what does america do and what is america's principle as expressed through tax code, trade and banking policy, which then precipitates over other thing that happens. >> but that's your political system. it always favors incremental reform. it's got all those checks and balances in place. it means extremes on other side can never get everything -- >> we have had restructuring. we have had major restructuring in this country in the past. granted, it has been after war,
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typically, as opposed to a situation like this. you've been champing at the bit here. >> this isn't a question of extremes of left and right. this is a question of money dominating our politics. >> how so? in this instance, how? we all get it broadly, if you're watching this show, everybody gets it. in this jobs debate -- >> -- people -- let's talk about this tax repatriation for a moment. the idea that you could defer taxes that you repatriate to this country was given to the corporations as a tax break during the eisenhower administration. >> say that again. >> in other words, it used to be, if you make profits -- you're an american company and make profits overseas, you have to pay taxes at the end of the year. >> up until when? >> when the eisenhower administration wanted to promote -- >> global development. they wanted me, dylan ratigan incorporated, to invest in china, so they said to me, you don't have to pay -- >> you get a tax deferral until you bring it back. >> dylan, you don't have to pay for your taxes in china when you
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bring it back. >> and you get a tax credit for anything you bring back here. there's no double taxation, that's lie. >> dylan decides, hang on, i'm making all this money in china, what the heck am i going to bring it back to new york for. because they'll tax me. >> there's a reason why you want to bring it back to new york, you want to pay your shareholders and your ceo -- >> they're long the stock in china, baby. >> they would have some, or we wouldn't be hearing anything about these tax repatriations. >> fair enough. what's your point? >> when you repatriate this and give them a tax break, you're saying, here's the game, wait another six or eight years, you'll get one of these tax repatriations -- >> you're saying they're holding them hostage? you feel held hostage. >> they do not create jobs. >> they would if it was an infrastructure -- money can do anything you want. >> they don't use that money -- >> they may not want to, but what congressman meeks is saying. >> if he really wants to do infrastructure, you know what he can say, let's repeal the idea you can defer payments on your taxes. >> it sounds like you're up the
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debate, however. >> slightly. >> the panel stays. sam seder making it spicy on a monday afternoon. next here, the military on defense. our specialist today, former congressman and three-star admiral, joe sestak, asks why we continue to spend hundreds of billions overseas and so little here at home. . [ groans ] you okay?
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well, everyone knows military efforts are ramped up substantially in this country after 9/11. what many americans do not know is not only is defense spending up 40% over the last ten years off of a huge base of before, by the way, that 40% number does not count the cost of the war in
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iraq and afghanistan. still, defense secretary leon panetta fighting back against proposed military cuts, saying they would, quote, hollow out national defense, and thus can't be a part of the debt reduction. so are americans expected to continue dying in too extremely costly war efforts while back at home we're struggling with a lack of jobs and investment in the united states? that's supposed to make us more secure? joining us now, former representative and three-star admiral, joe sestak, who's got some serious questions about panetta's statements, and admiral, where would you point us? >> well, first i think secretary of defense panetta has to answer the question, what do you base your assertion on? since 1993, the size of our military force has been based almost exclusively on fighting two major wars simultaneously. one in iraq and one in korea. general powell chairman of the joint chief of staffs
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established this policy. one of those wars is over, almost, iraq. and over the last ten years, two chairman of the joint chiefs of staff have said that although the army could not meet its commitment for the war planned to defend south korea, the army place could be taken by the navy and the air force with their new technology. so what is the metric that he's using for the future to say the size of our force is to be the same has it has been when two wars, which had changed dramatically and one is gone, has determined our size? i think that's a defining question. along that line, my concern has been, as a warrior who really does want to have a strong military that can decisively win, are we really building the wrong military? one based upon size as the metric of how good you are, how many ships, how many brigades,
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other than capability to know where the adversary is, like bin laden, and to have the ability and speed to respond very rapidly. i think we're caught up of a defense industrial complex of which congress is implicit that's building platforms less good for our warriors of the future. >> first of all, i couldn't agree more, honestly, with your assessment, having much less information than you do, and i see the panel around the table nodding. i admire you for forcing a conversation that i think has been desperately, is desperately overdue, and i'm sorry, emma jean, go ahead. >> i was actually going to ask a question about nato. all nato countries are supposed to spend 2% of their gdp on defense. the only apart from the u.s. doing that at the moment are the uk and greece. america spends around 4.7% of gdp on defense. my question is, have the other nato countries perhaps cut too much? and would you like to see america cut its spending on defense to save 2% of gdp? >> well, i think the other countries in nato have certainly cut too much, but at the end of
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the day, having been at the national security council for president clinton as a director of defense policy, it comes down to what our national interests are. to my mind, nato has for far too long been a political alliance, not a military one. and you could see that they were just about out of gas, as they were coming out of august into september in order to sustain the libyan operation. now, for the united states, i think that we could have a much better military, more effective, if we were more efficient in what we were doing. let me give you an example. when i ran the navy's $70 billion warfare programs, i was surprised at what we did not tell congress, and that was, what is the confidence factor that we have in the pricing of our systems? for example, in 2008, we told congress a new aircraft carrier would cost $11 billion. the confidence factor of that being the right price was below 50%. so what i'm asking for is the
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same type of accountability that we demand of our warrior forward fighting, taking care of his troops underneath him or her. back here, and making sure that the money is used well. so i think that before secretary of defense panetta says, whoa, we can't give anymore, now, wait a moment. you've got some questions to answer, under this tyranny of optimism that the defense establishment has of unrequited funding no matter what. because accountability's what's needed right now for the best of our warriors, and for our concern here at home, debt reduction. >> you think you have some insight into the political machinery that is helping to perpetuate the toxic system that the admiral is discussing, correct? >> congressman, i'm curious, as you know, there's defense bases in every industrial complex. the industrial complex has been very shrewd about perpetuating the need for this sort of spending all across the country. how do you marshal your
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colleagues in the pentagon and in congress to actually take on the military industrial complex that you spoke of head on? >> and to elaborate, how are all of those payoffs not a fundamentally short-term bribes to the politicians in those districts with the threat of taking away jobs in a given election if they cut? with >> as i alluded to earlier in this conversation, congress is very implicit in this problem. people go to the armed services committee because, yes, they care about defense, but they really care about that shipbuilding base right there at home. what you need is to start artick lating, as general powell did after the cold war, that we are going to end up hollowing our forces with platforms that don't have the capability within them to search, to find, to get the knowledge in order to apply force. let me give you an example. submarines, they cost $2 billion a piece. china already has almost twice as many as we do. do we just build more $2 billion
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submarines? or a netted sensor system that sits out there, quietly listening at all times, listens to everything underneath the water in the western pacific, sends a signal up to a drone, that if you had to drop a torpedo, that it would go over and drop it. however, i'll never forget when i proposed that as a three-star admiral to congress, and a wonderful senator, where submarines are built in his home state said to me several years later, when he came to campaign for me, and i love the man said, hey, joe, i still remember you, you're the admiral that advocated cutting my submarine force. we need to understand that people understand the real metric of the future for our ability to be the best in the world in military, to defend us, is not capacity. it's no longer numbers. it really is the capability coming from sensors, coming from the ability to switch information back and forth. and i think you would have a more efficient, you know, and
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effective military with even putting less into it. and the kind of ship-building program that we had proposed back in 2005 that actually sits in congress said not 316 ships, 250 would be sufficient if you put sufficient into the sensors that we can to find the adversa adversary. >> the beautiful thing -- i would almost argue, the metaphor you're arguing works in almost everything. we could spend less and get more in health care, spend more and guess less in defense. we just need the willingness to break through the financial grip on congress of the disruption of short-term revenues. very quickly? >> admiral, if you could, do you have a sense, when you talk about that idea that we're not really getting value for the buck, can you have a sense of what that proportion is? i mean, how much of our defense budget is a function of this relationship -- >> of these distortions. >> and how much is a function of what we really need? >> in 2008, for the 2008 programs that congress had -- that the defense department had
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proposed and congress approved, they had cost overruns of $300 billion. now, mind you many of these -- over 25 of these programs broke the cost estimate, major warfare programs, broke the cost estimate of what this -- our defense department had forwarded to congress. remember, the confidence factors were often below 50%. but there's no harm, no foul. instead of saying, i'm not going to prove the program until you have an 80% or 90% confidence factor, and then if it breaks it, you tell me where you're going to take the money, we don't have that tongue suppresser for accountable discipline. and the warrior and our economy, i believe, suffer for that. >> admiral, as you may or may not know, i recently engaged in a conversation with a man named jimmy williams, who's one of the top lobbyists down in d.c. firmly believes that lobbying is good and getting the money out of lobbying is necessary so you can have policy advocacy without financial dependency. do you think it's possible to
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reform the defense system if we don't ultimately pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics? >> you would -- look, i don't think we should mess around with our constitution for that. but i will say this. if you had public financings of campaign, you would resolve 85, 90% of all the problems in politics, where people are doing things for the right thing, not to hold on to their job. >> admiral, thank you very much for your time and for educating us and our audience this afternoon. we really appreciate it. >> good to be with you, dylan. thank you. >> joe sestak, and thanks as well to our panel. not a ton of oxygen for you guys, but a pile of content. that was a pretty powerful interview. >> another point, getting money out of politics and solving a lot of our political problems just by that one step. >> it's the beginning of having the debate that i think everybody would like to have, in a way that has a little more sincerity. >> we can always dream. >> well, i think we can actually do it. no one can do it. we can do it. >> the four of us can do it. >> along with a few hundred
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i just need help. i have like so much stuff to do. i have too many kids and no freaking help. >> my friends joke about all the drama i have with the nannies. i don't know, i'm just perfect and i expect my nannies to be perfect, i guess. >> it seems there's no getting away from those pesky reality stars these days. and being a real housewife or a "jersey shore" cast member, we all have that one celebrity who really gets under our skin. so if they're here to stay, we need a way to protect ourselves, right? well, there's an inventive solution from video producer matt richardson. he's created a remote control that automatically mutes your tv whenever a word like, oh, i
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don't know, "kardashian" appears in the closed captioning. it's called the "enough already," and if you're technologically gifted or desperate enough to silence those guys once and for all, you can build yourself one using your online instructions. now, because closed captioning isn't always realtime, this isn't a perfect solution, but the designer of the remote says he experienced silent bliss for that 30 seconds that didn't have him hearing about kim kardashian. sounds like a great idea to me, until ratigan starts showing up in the closed captioning. coming up, our friend torre here to tell us about his new book and what it means to be black in the age of president obama. it's the only complete multivitamin with ginkgo to support memory and concentration. plus vitamin d to help maintain healthy blood pressure. [ bat cracks ] that's a hit. one a day men's. and i was a pack-a-day smoker for 25 years. i do remember sitting down with my boys,
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common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. ♪ my benjamin, he helped me with the countdown. "5 days, mom. 10 days, mom." i think after 30 days he got tired of counting! [ male announcer ] ask your doctor about chantix. over 7 million people have gotten a prescription. learn how you can save money and get terms and conditions at chantix.com. learn how you can save money and get terms and conditions sun life financialrating should be famous.d bad, we're working on it. so you're seriously proposing we change our name to sun life valley. do we still get to go skiing? sooner or later, you'll know our name. sun life financial.
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somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america,
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we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers. well, our nest guest has written for everyone from "the new york times" to "rolling stone," but he's at his best when he's writing for you, the reader. his most recent publication swats away the idea of post-racialism. joining us today our friend, our neighbor, and a man whose book we want to help him sell, because we like him, toure, "who's afraid of post-blackness?" i want to talk to you about the title. what is post-blackness? >> it's the idea that a black person is rooted in what it means to be black, but not --
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>> who defines what it means to be black? >> well, i think everybody defined it for themselves. skip gates talks about this in his harvard class about black identity. that there's 40 million black people, so there's 40 million ways to be black. >> but you're saying post-blackness is in some ways a deviation from convention or tradition in urban and black communities? >> it's in some minds, there may be a sort of vision of blackness that's the way jesse jackson, pam grier. >> the way cultural or athletic icons have represented it in recent years. >> these icons of blackness that are representing in a classic, proud way. and that's beautiful. and i love them and they're my icons too. but i want to say, hey, everybody's black. it's not a religion you can be thrown out of, it's an identity you can shape in any way you want. it's portable. >> it's a biological structure. >> it goes skydiving, it goes to the ballet. >> it's a skin color? >> yeah. we look at someone like clarence
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thomas, we want to throw him out of the race. >> so post-blackness recent cultural norms of blackness as perceived by some group of people, we don't know -- them. whoever they are. >> right. identity cops who want to say, you're not black. >> nobody's ever said that to me. >> the beginning of this book for me, i was in college, i was living in the black house where three people lived. i was an african-american studies major, my girlfriend was a black med school student. i was running this paper that i started. and even still, this black guy said to me, shut up, toure, you ain't black. >> why did he say that? >> because i wasn't living exactly the way he wanted to. maybe i spoke not black enough for him or walked the wrong way for him. >> maybe he just didn't like you. >> maybe he just didn't like me. >> maybe that was his way of saying, i don't like you. >> absolutely, maybe it was that. but the flimsiest felonies that people want to fling at you saying, you're not black. >> i want to move on, who's
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afraid of it? some black people are afraid of it? >> i think so. >> some white people are afraid of it? what is the danger of the fear of post-blackness? which is the point of the book. >> that you can do anything or be any person. i talk about going skydiving. i went skydiving, black people told me on the way, black people don't do that. i did it, jumped out of the plane and had the most spiritual experience of my life and felt like, this must be a god. that's what i needed to do to feel like, there must be a god. and if i hadn't done that, because black people don't do that, i would have missed out on a chance i needed to grow as a human being. >> and take advantage of your potential of a human. whether you're blackness, whiteness, blueness, redness. and blackness, uniquely in america, has a specific, huge burden associated withit. slavery, all this that continues to roll various degrees through the society in different ways. you're saying, screw it.
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>> there's a full buffet of life. i want us to take advantage of all of that. >> i could not agree with that more. we're not realizing our potential, we're not living, and i think you're a crusader for that very cause. toure, who's afraid of post-blackness, check it out. there it is. we'll be seeing more of him. i'm going to be at your book party tomorrow night out in brooklyn. >> now a million people are going to come. >> i haven't been there in like a year. i left there like a year ago and swore i would never go back. >> i was announcing it on twitter and now you put it on tv. >> i had a terrible break up, said, i'm leaving this danged borough. that will bring at least two more attendees. coming up on hardball, chris matthews asks who president obama would want to run against. if only life was that easy. but first, kelly goth with a rant about what the president has in common with tennis legend, arthur ash. and a choice. take advil now and maybe up to four in a day. or choose aleve and two pills for a day free of pain.
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way to go, coach. ♪
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well, it's monday, which means it's keli goff's turn to rant and here she is. >> hey, dylan. everybody's a critic when you're president. some people don't like your politics, others don't like your policies, some people don't like your personality. then there are plenty who don't like any of the above. but few presidents have faced as much criticism as the current one has for one personality trait in particular, not being angry enough. president obama received so much criticism for failing to appear angry enough early enough following the gulf coast oil spill that an entire column was devoted to how many washington pundits were angry with him for not being sufficiently angry. bill maher even joked that he had hoped the president would act more "black," which
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apparently from his vantage point involves flashing a gun during disagreements. i've never tried it, but perhaps bill's friends and i are different. when the president said he was looking for whose ass to kick during an interview about the disaster, some accused president obama of unpresidential-like behavior. now with the jobs crisis escalating, so are the calls for the president to show more anger. but what many of his critics fail to understand is there are limitations to how far anger will actually take you, particularly when you are black. t the stereotype of the angry dangerous black person is so embedded in pop culture that it's a stereotype that those of us in the public eye find ourselves constantly fighting. case in point, days ago the drudge report sparked an outcry when it had a photo of first lady michelle obama playing tennis. right around the time this photo appeared, i happened to conduct
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an interview with the widow of tennis legend arthur ash, the first african-american man and american period to win the u.s. open. she mentioned that she has long seen similarities between president obama and her late husband. one of the main similarities, their temperaments. mrs. ash noted that her husband was constantly criticized for not being militant enough during the civil rights move and dawn of the black power era, but she said he let his racket speak for him. because of that, she pointed out that when he went on to open doors for players like the williams sisters, the main stadium of the u.s. open is named in his honor. to mrs. ashe's point, anger certainly has its place, but as serena williams learned the hard way at the 2009 u.s. open and again this year, it's very rarely well received on the court, particularly if you are black. president obama clearly knows that, so on the court, or rather, arena of politics, he appears to be following arthur
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ashe's example. it remains to be seen if it will pay off in the long run, but let's at least give him the space to let his racket, or rather, his policy and his pen do the talking in the meantime. >> now, i totally agree with what you're saying, and i think that the debate about whether obama should be angry or should not be angry misses the point. quite honestly, for me, the debate is to whether obama is a black man or not a black man misses the point. the job is to be the president of the united states of america. the united states of america has no capital requirements in its banking system. it has rigged trading agreements with the entire world. it has a tax code that is for sale through special interests in the congress. and i think the expectation is, whoever is the president, we would like for you to address the dysfunctional systems of america and money and politics. do you think i'm missing that? that the base frustration, people are aware that the military spends a bunch of money and is not giving us what we need. that health care spends a bunch of money and not giving us what

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