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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  June 2, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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>> an american soldier back in u.s. hands five years after the taliban captured him. we'll ask another american kept hostage by the taliban if the u.s. gave up too much to get him back. are wealthy americans taking control away from the republican and democratic parties when it comes for a run to the white house. and why the f.d.a. is slow to clear a drug that is supposed to help women with sexual
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dysfunction. who describes what you eat - how food trends get started. hello i'm antonio mora. welcome to "consider this". here is more on what's ahead. >> a good day. >> the only american prisoner of war in afghanistan is now free. president obama announces the release of army sergeant bowe bergdahl after five years of captivity. >> to get him back the u.s. exchanged five taliban prisoners held at guantanamo bay. >> i'll see you soon. >> close-water battle. some of the fierce fighting. >> russia called an emergency meeting of the u.n. security council. >> the base is on fire. >> did you know there was 25 approved sexual dysfunction drugs for men. guess how many for women - zero. >> the little pink pill, known as viagra for women.
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>> the first of its kind. we begin with the release of u.s. army sergeant bowe bergdahl after five years in the hands of the taliban consist deal that made it possible. the five members of the taliban released in exchange for bowe bergdahl arrived in qatar. the five had been labelled by the pentagon in the past as highly dangerous to the security of the u.s. and its allies if released. critics argue the price for bowe bergdahl is too high, and question the decision to break a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. >> house committee chairman says the white house made a mistake. >> the number one way that al qaeda raises money is by ransom. >> taliban leader who has not been seen or heard from in 10 years made a celebratory statement saying in a letter "i
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extend heart-felt congratulations to the community for this victory." bowe bergdahl is getting medical attention in germany, members of his battalion in germany are raising questions of whether he's a hero or a murderer, responsible for the deaths of those that died trying to find him. secretary of defense chuck hagel says questions about the circumstances of bowe bergdahl's capture will be dealt with later. >> we needed to get him out of there. david rhode, investigative reporter for reuters and new york "the times" report hold by the taliban, and author of "beyond war - reimagining american influence in a new middle east", and brigadier general mark kimmitt, former assistant secretary of state for political military affairs. good to have you both. david you have a unique
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perspective. let's start with the positive side. you have been in touch with his family. what are they going through? >> i assume they are eleeted. not many minister knew about the case before. if you mentioned the name berg last week people didn't know or care. the bergdahls were concerned he'd been forgotten. they went public a little bit and went behind the scenes. >> you respect old captive only 7 months - i say that loosely because it must have seemed like an eternity for you - what do you think is happening to him right now in germany. >> first, it's a very different situation. i don't want to pretend to understand what he was going through. i was held a tenth of the time. i think he's elated. there was an episode that he broke down in tears in the
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helicopter when he realised he was with american soldiers. >> what about the whole thing about his english, that he may not be able to speak english. >> i don't find it surprising. i spoke pash tea to my captives. there has been other cases. none of this is surprising to me. i was lucky, i had a brave afghan journalist that helped me escape. and he and i spoke english. bowe bergdahl was alone without a single english speak are around him. i'm not surprised that he may have language issues. >> let's talk about the negative side of this. there has been a reaction about whether the unpaid too big a press, and let's start with the members of his battalion who say he's a deserter responsible for the deaths of people that went out to find him and ended up getting killed. >> i find this the most
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troubling aspect. this is a schooledier who walked off his post. left his post behind, left his buddies and weapons behind. there needs to be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. i think secretary hagel has it right. let's get him home and reintegrated. let's look at the circumstance before too long, and find out what happened here. >> does the fact even if he were a deserter, does it matter because who knows what his psychological condition was, is there a difference in this case if he was a p.o.w., if he was a hostage? >> i think it makes a big difference to the families whose sons died searching for him in an attempt to bring him home. >> that's a good point. we know there are other americans held across the middle east. does it make a difference. should we make the same kind of
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effort for other americans who might have been in different rolls in those places. obviously he and other military members are putting their lives on the line. >> it's a terrible thing, the loss of those lives. both families don't know what happened or why he left the base, what he was thinking, was there an afghan convincing him. i know i felt guilt. i know he's been suffering for the last five years, you know, for the mistake, if he did walk off the base. it's not that he lives happily ever after. he will carry the deaths of those service members with him, this exchange with him for the rest of his life. i let him come back and have a thorough having. let's hear what bow has to say about what happened. in terms of a precedent set. there's a broader problem, and a mention of ransom's being paid. the united states doesn't pay ransom, britain doesn't pay
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ransom, european countries do. israel exchanged 1,000 prisoners years ago for one sergeant. there's no unified we were approach to how you deal with militants when they kidnap people, and the families, when this happens, they don't know how to respond, there's a large issue. i hope instead of criticising bowe bergdahl, there'll be an effort to have a yup fied policy -- unified policy. >> what about the negotiation, is too big a deal made of that. in reality if we don't pay ransom, the reality is we do negotiate with terrorists as do other nations? >> the reality is the point. although we do have a policy of not investigating with terrorists, history indicates ors. we wouldn't have had a reverend and others return from lebanon, unless a deal was cut.
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michael dewar apt would not be back from somalia if we had not netted the return -- negotiate the -- negotiated. it would be better if the return of bowe bergdahl had not come at a high price that five high valued terrorists were returned to the battlefield, potentially. nonetheless we have to ensure that every soldier knows, that we send into battle. that we'll do everything we can. >> what do you say to mike rogers who said, in effect, that we are setting a price by doing the negotiation, that we are endangering americans by doing so, by giving up high value detainees like the five men. >> this may be the first time in the last five years that i disagree with congressman rogers, i appreciate the intellect and trust the
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instinct. in this case we have not seen an historical pattern of after negotiating with terrorists to bring people back, that there has been an uptake in the number of kidnapping and quid pro quo. while i believe there's a danger of that, the historical record of kidnapping american soldiers, in the aftermath of a situation such as this bears weight. >> the reality is they know getting an american soldier is a valuable target. we see omar celebrating this. was it too high a price. these guys were among the worse detainees of guantanamo. powerful people. >> they are powerful people in the taliban movement. we made a decision to leave afghanistan. we are pulling the troops out. this arrangement is that they'll be held for a year in qatar. they'll not be a threat to
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american soldiers if they return to the field in afghanistan, there'll be few, and then no soldiers in afghanistan. if we want the war in afghanistan to end, you have a prisoner exchange. where we going to keep the five in quaum after the war ended. there's 12 afghans sitting in guantanamo bay. it's a bigger debate. if we end the war in taliban, there's a prisoner exchange. there's a lot of questions about this. if we are concerned about the guys being free in afghanistan, why are we pulling out the troops. >> are you comfortable to have the men in qatar for a year. do you think they'll not ever be operational again? >> i disagree with the last assertion that this is a consequence of the ending of the war. prisoner exchanges are normally held after the settlement of a conflict. there's no indication that the
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taliban will not continue to fight. in fact, i expect them to fight after departure of american soldiers. if nothing else, afghan partners are at risk. i'm concerned even though qatar should be applauded. i hope they follow up and keep the prisoners under control. we don't want the operational leaders on the battlefield. >> it's an important story on many levels. good to have you ear. a major fight broke out in ukraine. one of the biggest battles between the ukranian forces and pro-russian separatists. hundreds attacked the border guards for command of a district border control headquarters near luhansk. five separatists were killed, eight wounded and seven border guards. al jazeera correspondent david chater came under fire as he
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reported at the scene. >> reporter: there's a fears fire fight, explosions, a mortar round. if you make out that that is the base on fire. [ gunfire ] fortunately david chater escaped unhurt. i'm joined from washington d.c. from former ambassador to ukraine, vice president for the middle east and africa for the u.s. institute of peace. he was in ukraine at the end of may as an observer for the country's election. good to see you. last week ukraine's president-elect petero poroshenko said ukraine would crush the separatist. it doesn't seem that the forces are capable of doing that. from this incident and others, it seems that the pro-russian forces are not backing down. >> it appears that the support from russia for the separatists continues. it's due to the support implied
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and explicit from the russians, that they continue to keep up the fight. if vladimir putin were to say torp that this should -- tomorrow that this should stop, the borders should close and the separatists should lay down their arms. it would disappearing. >> there are reports that arms are crossing the border, and it's a long border. ukranian government spokes person told the reporters that a separatist is trying to take control of the border so they have an easier time to get reinforcements of russian men and arms. what does that suggest to you about russia's intentions notwithstanding moscow adds public climbs that it wnts the violence to end? >> it's clear that the russians would like to destabilize ukraine. it appears as if they have withdrawn their troops from the border, suggesting that they don't intend to send tanks and planes and artillery across the
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border, but intend to disrupt and destabilize the government and people and kill ukranian people. this is their intent to disrupt and disorganise. >> they are moving on diplomatic fronts. sergei lavrov said he'd submit a draft to the u.n. security council, calling for an end to the fighting saying that peaceful civilians are copping more. it seems the russian line is that the ukrainians are mainly responsible for the violence. do you think that there's - that a civil war could break out. some of the fighting today was as intense as anything we have seen. >> it was very intense. i wouldn't say civil war. i would say a war coming across the border. mr lavrov does not distinguish himself on speaking the truth about what is going on in
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ukraine. he denied, and vladimir putin denied there were russian troops. only later for vladimir putin to admit that there were. it is true that the ukranian military is fighting the well-armed russian armed separatists in luhansk and donetsk. >> russia's gazprom energy firm said on monday that it would extend the period ukraine has until june 9th to resolve the conflict over unpaid gas bills. they threatened to cut supplies. is russia doing a good cop, bad cop thing with gazprom being the good cop. >> i believe that the ukrainians are playing this right. they are resisting the unwarranted price increases that the russians tried to impose, and good cop, bad cop, maybe it's confusion,
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maybe it's not knowing what the russians want to accomplish. >> on the bad cop side moscow warned n.a.t.o. on monday that it could pull out of its partnership for peace and take measures of a military character if n.a.t.o. makes a major deployment to central and eastern europe, is that a message meant for president obama, heading to france, belgium and poland? >> i think pam area is not very worried about the russian military action. what he is worried about is the russians having moved into a sovereign state, having annexed a portion of a sovereign state on the border. not just barack obama, the western world, with the exception of the russians and the chinese, and the u.n. secretary general assembly. the world united against the
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actions. >> president vladimir putin and president obama will be in paris on thursday for separate meetings, and will take part in d-day observations, marking the 70th anniversary of the normandy landings on friday. do you think they'll meet, if they do, could personal contact make a difference. >> i doubt it. they don't have a good relationship president obama and vladimir putin. we have clear demands, which is for vladimir putin to tone down, pull back, stop the support for the separatists in eastern ukraine. if that were to happen, if vladimir putin were to indicate that that would happen, and would be willing to talk about removing the troops from crimea, the west would be willing to talk to him. >> a series of worrisome incidents in ukraine almost every day. good of you to join us for our insight.
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>> now an update on our al jazeera colleagues held in gaol. the trial of peter greste, mohamed fadel fahmy and baher mohamed was adjourned until thursday. the move comes after a judge in cairo denied bail for a 10th time. the three al jazeera staffers have been held since late december on a variety of charms, including endangering national security. after cross-examination on sunday, several key witnesses for the prosecution said they were unsure if the journalists were guilty, contradicting statements made in writing. the family of a fourth journalist abdullah al-shami says he's been transferred to an undisclosed prison. the 26-year-old has been on a hunger strike for 130 days and lost a third of his body weight. al jazeera maintains the innocence of all four and calls the charges baseless. the network continues to demand his release. coming up, the e.p.a. proposes changes to air pollution. backers say it's about saving
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the environment and air pollution. is the proposal dead on arrival. >> the 2008 may be the last to use grass route founding - are we seeing a privatisation of the run for presidency. what do you think?
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president obama's big carbon-cutting energy bill died
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in the democratic controlled senate in 2010 when the votes were not there to push it through. now the president is hoping some of those provisions will take effect through an e.p.a. regulation. the white house is calling for cutting carbon dioxide emissions through power plants by 30% by the year 2030. most of the that has to be done sooner. 25% by 2020. opponents are lining up to call the proposals job killers, that will have little or no effect on the environment. >> for more i'm joined by washington d.c. director of the energy slogan, a nonprofit group describing itself as the citizen's voice. the president's climate plan that the senate wouldn't pass was supposed to cut emissions by 83% by 2050. the counter goals are models. how big a step is this from an
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environmental perspective? >> it's an important first step. it's a modest proposal and scaled back from the legislative one. when you take a regulatory approach, you need to take a more cautious first step. you have to remember the greenhouse gas rule has a companion piece, and they are finalised and implemented for greenhouse gas emissions over tail pipe emissions for automobile. when you put them together over the transportation sector, over the power plant sector, 40% of emissions, transportation 33%, you have a bigger footprint of regulatory approach to deal with a vast majority of america's energy-related green house gas emissions and that will be critical as the united states goes forward and talks to other
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countries about reviving international binding greenhouse gas emission reduction treaty. i think this is going to comprise a big u.s. offer that will be useful in getting support from china, europe and other parts of the world. >> the baseline is 2005. haven't we made progress towards the goals. >> we have. since 2005 emissions reductions have gone down 15% for the power plant sector because of decreased economic activity asserted with the 2009 financial crisis and the resulting economic harm. you also have robust fuel switching where we have had a huge number of coal-fire power plants switch over to natural gas as natural gas has become cost competitive, and it's also much lower in emissions.
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we had a huge new outlay of renewables, wind and solar, and big achievements in energy efficient see. we have achieved 15% reduction before the plan is implemented. we are halfway to the finish line. >> this will hit coal-fired plants and states that have a lot of coal power. the u.s. chamber of commerce released a study saying between now and 2030, the president's proposals cut-gross domestic product by 51 million a year, eliminate 224,000 jobs, slash disposable income by $586 billion, while driving up electricity costs for consumers by 289 million. if they were in the ballpark it doesn't sound great. >> they are not in the ballpark, the chamber of commerce struck
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out. the analysis assumed a 42% reduction. this is 30%. assuming that they got the reduction number right, the maths is wrong. when you look at the details of the e.p.a. proposal, remember the chambers analysis was done before the e.p.a. proposal to economic. when i look at the details of e.p.a. proposal, they kicked to the states all the heavy lifting in terms of how you design a plan. and the epa is not going to acquire states to close coal-fire power plants as a condition of meeting reductions. rather it will say "listen, you can offset emissions from investing in efficiency and deployment of renewables and transmission and distribution line upgrades so you don't have
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as much electricity costs", especially when you focus on energy efficiency, it has the effect of lowering consumer bills. the chamber of commerce put out a hit piece to scare people by taking the worse case scenario. it's factually inaccurate. >> while there'll be costs, there'll be health benefits, we'll save more in the health benefits than we will in the costs. politically republicans are lining up against the measures. speaker of the house john boehner put out a statement saying: senator majority leader mitch mcconnell said this:. >> this is the single worse blow to kentucky's economy in modern times. nothing else even comes close to what this regulation will do to our state and its ability to
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compete. >> it's not just republicans, coal state democrats are coming out against the plan. alison grimes, his opponent included. there's a bunch of states depending on coal. do you think in an election year this is dead on arrival? >> no, because first of all congress cannot unilaterally stop this. they don't have the votes. the e.p.a. rule is mandated by the supreme court. in 2007 the supreme court ruled that it must regulate gas emissions. if president obama did not unveil the proposal, he would be in violation of the law, and congress does not have the votes to override the law. this is an important statute, and what is important to note is a lot of electric you tilties in the front lines of working it implement the law, they have
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come out and said decent things about the law. they have said that they are willing to work with the states. that no stakeholder recognised the e.p.a., a plan to work together and collaborate on a reasonable solution. then you have the political actors who seek to provide folks and use it as a spring board to attack regguallations broadly. what senator mitch mcconnell said is false. it's not an attack on coal, it's in the marketplace lopping before the rules. >> there's a bunch of lawsuits threatened and a lot of talk. this will be app ongoing battle that we'll say on top of. tyson, from public citizens, a pleasure to have you with us. >> can a hand full of superrich
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donors decide who end up getting elected to the highest political offices. the 2012 election may have been a tipping point in the evolution of political parties losing control of choosing candidates and setting the agenda. what is in if for the richest americans and what are the implications in the shift for the political landscape for upcoming elections. we are joined by kevin vogel, reporter for politico. and author of a book. sh . >> good to have you with us. a lot of them using anecdotes as you go through, and you start in seattle. >> big party with big-money people, including bill gates and steve balmer of microscost, and president obama quoted as saying "i may be the last presidential candidate to win the way i won."
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he's saying given the new environment in political contributions, that there's no way that a grass roots politician could win again. >> that seems to be the suggestion. it's interesting to look at the difference between 2008 when he was the grass roots candidate and seemed to spark a revolution in donations, where they could overpower big donations. what happened in 2008 and 2012 was a decision allowing unlimited spending by rich individuals, corporations and unions. in 2012 it's a different story where president obama accorded the wealthy donors. >> you are not terribly gentle on the president. you refer to him as a big sinic. >> he came up. his identity was interwoven with the idea of changing the way it
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works. i'm talking about going back to the '90s. this was a signature issue, getting big money out of politics, a huge disappointment for the folks that believed in that, seeing him as a champion in 2012 playing the superpack game, going and schmoozing with the donors. he said i can't unilaterally disarm. for them, it's of little context. >> can't there be grassroots - are you shut off if you don't have the big money and will it get you elected. we saw big money candidates fail. mitt romney one, rick perry when he was at his height. he was one that brought the money in. had a gap on the campaign trial. the last port of the question is key. >> can big money buy the election. we have not seen always the candidate with the biggest
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donation. i think we are getting to that point where if we don't have some big donors or super pack support, you will probably not be a factor in the game to begin with. >> you bring up 2012 and gingrich was in the game longer than he would have been because he had a massive infusion of money in big-money guy in vegas. >> and it's arguable that maybe the big money spent by sheldon hamilton, supporting newt gingrich hurt mitt romney, by allowing the primary to go longer than it should have. and weakening mitt romney against barack obama. whether it delivered a result, it had an effect. >> how different is it. you bring up history, bringing
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up a number of people, so there's always been big money behind candidates. >> i think the biggest change now it that you see the migration of the money and the power outside of the political party system. always in the past. the establishment of one party or the other had a semblance of control over how the money would get spent, which issues and can't dates would emerge with the support of the big money behind it. now a single donor, with a big enough check can throw it into chaos and help a candidate win, or hurt a candidate who does win a nomination, and we see it impacting governing as well. it's not just the elections. look no further than a shutdown in 2013, when john boehner was unable to bring his party and conference along because of all the trappings. >> you look into the psychology of the big money guys, and why
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they are doing it, and in some cases it is phillo soficcal choices where they believe in something and they want a certain issue dealt with in a certain way. you think there are aspects of ego. >> ego, where the folks thing by virtue of having done a good job, making so much funny, that the same aptitude can be directed towards politics, and they think "i figured out oil refining and hedge funds, there's no reason i can't spend a lot of money in pol tickets and gain that system. there's an element of a personnel financial interest where some folks support candidates or policies that help the bottom line. it's tough to figure out what is the true motivating impacts. >> you have $2.5 billion as part of the title, and the relevance is that is the outside money, as opposed to 1.6 billion through the parties. you say that's the first time it
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happened, the outside money overwhelmed the party's influence. >> the party lost control of this. you see them doing different things. looking forward to 2016. the republicans were helped and hurt most by the big money. they are trying to find a way to give the party back control. >> na is the big question going forward. who will get the big money. with hillary clinton being the democratic candidate, it might be the democrats. >> that's right. the right is out of power. the party without the white house is the one struggling for its identity, so this is a pleas in the new political system big donors and checks can have an impact shaping what the party cares about. coming up 2016, the democrats will be without someone at the top of the ticket, and there'll be a battle. hillary clinton, of course, has big donors behind here, but all it takes is the equivalent of a
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sheldon addle son to support an elizabeth warren or howard deer or a liberal progressive darling, an anti-hillary clinton, and all best-laid plans of democratic party and those supporting hillary go out the window. >> you have all sorts of interesting adventures on the trail of big donor events. good to see you. thank you very much. the book is "big money", and it's out this week. straight ahead, is the f.d.a. dragging its feet on a female version of viagra. and raking raking in a tril profits - why are they not hiring. we go from one trendy food to another. why do foods like kale come out of nowhere and are suddenly everywhere?
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plus culinary and craft-brew creations building a billion dollar industry.
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is the f.d.a. standing in the way of the sexual satisfaction of some women? the food and drug administration blocked a bid to begin marketing a drug that is meant to treat low female sexual desire. some women's groups are furious citing the f.d.a.'s approval for two dozen drugs for males, but approved none for women. 43% of women experience a form of sexual dysfunction, compared to 31% of men. is sexism at play.
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dr adrian joins us from washington d.c. a physicians and director of the medical center's farmed out, focussing on research and education on pharmaceutical practices. you heard the arguments. dozens of variations on drugs that deal with male sex drive. none for women. the f.d.a. is led by a woman. what do you say of women's groups accusing the f.d.a. of being sexist? >> it's misleading. there are six drugs for men. it's not sexist for the f.d.a. to refuse to approve a drug that it does not consider safe or effective enough. we don't want different standard for drugs for women. while there are women's groups that complained to the f.d.a. others support the f.d.a. there are women's groups that don't take money from pharmaceutical companies, that
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said that the f.d.a. made the right decision. also, some of the drugs - most of the drugs that are taken by men are taken right before sex. we are talking about a drug for women that would be taken every day, and we don't know what the long-term effects are. >> there's no long-term studies about it. want the disorder that is argued, the company is saying that there is low sexual drive in women, that it's a real thing, a real disorder. >> there are certainly women who experience changes in sex drive, and that can have to do with a lot of things, including over work or undersupportive partner or any number of things. sex drive is not the same every day. it's not the same from woman to woman. there are women that welcome a drug ta would increase -- that would increase sexual desire, but there has not been a drug developed that really does that
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very well. >> why is that so difficult. we see it with men, they are the drugs that deal with erectile dysfunction. then you have testosterone functions that increase if levels of hormones have dropped as they get older. >> men are simpler in this area. if you increase blood flow in me, they're there. in women, to no one's surprise are more complicated in this report. what about the company's claims that the pills are effective, that the pink pills increase sexual desire in 50% of women who take it, that it doubled the chances of having a satisfactory sexual experience. if anything the drug is minimally effective. essentially it was invented by pharmaceutical companies. >> it's an invented position and doesn't appear in the dsm
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manual. the manual of psychiatric disorders. it's not there. >> why has there been a strong rehabilitation from some doctors who argued that it is a real disorder. >> well, in most cases this is not a medical disorder. s is it something that people want to take a drug for over a period of time when a change in life circumstances might be the best prescription. this is part of the medicalizing of what can be normal changes in life or variations among different individuals. >> you think the marketing of this is behind why many physicians are supporting this drug? >> well, i think we need to make is distinction between physicians paid by
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pharmaceutical companies and those that are not. there has been efforts because this is not the first drug to have failed to achieve f.d.a. approval for increasing female libido. but there has been effort to, for example, educate doctors through edu kaghts and the use of key -- education or key opinion pieces to convince them that it is a real and tragic condition that needs to be treated with medication. >> you brought up the side effects. what about the argument that the side effects are not so bad, and that if this does hep some women why not approve it so those women have a comment of using it and approving what the issue is. >> the drug can cause nausea and sedation. men women in the clinical trials dropped out because of side effects. if it's effective, it's
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minimally effective. it has to be taken every day. for those that say it's sexist, i would say it's not feminist to want to have a different storned for drugs for women and drugs for men. we want all the drugs approved by the f.d.a. to be safe and effective for the conditions they are meant to treat. >> debate will continue. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, from cupcakes to bacon. who decides what foods become hot. we look at taste payingers. >> first the fortune 500 lists are out. the most popular will surprise you. our data dive is next.
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>> today's data dive cashes in on the fortune 500, the definitive power ranking of american corporations ranged on revenue and sales. automobiles drove the top 10, six are car companies or those that produce the gas. g.m.'s recall has not hurt sales. april showed a 7% jump over last year. ford's profits jumped 26% in the
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last first call year. apple edged into the top five, the top tech firm. warren buffet's company edged up. wal-mart and exxonmobile dominated. wal-mart has been at the top since the turn of the century, raking in there 476 billion in sales, including 16 billion in profit. the most profitable company is fanny mae, shy of $84 billion, a 67% profit margin. an improved housing market head the government-sponsored mortgage giant quadruple profits in a year. the forward un 500 -- fortune 500s were up 22% from 2012. despite the profits employment in the 500 companies barely moved. c.e.o.s say they are spending less because of an uncertain
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economy. fortune says it's a political fight, the white house urging them to spend more. google topped the list of best companies, but 4th in revenues. yar how dropped out -- 46th in revenues. yahoo! dropped out. facebook had $1.5 billion in profits. not bad for a company around 10 years. coming up, how do some foods suddenly get trendy and who decides what foodsened up on your plate -- foods end up on your plate? >> this, is what we.
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>> al jazeera america. have you wondered why we choose to eat what we do. have you eaten more cupcakes in the last decade or did you drink a kale smoothy because someone swore it tasted good and was good for you.
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do you like bacon? if you answered yes, you may have fallen victim to a food trend. how do the food fads get started. who gets to decide what foods will be the next big thing. joining us is david sax a specialised writer and author of a book "the taste makers - why we are crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondu". great to have you with us. growing up i had a cupcake at a party. i wouldn't have imagined stores that only sold cupcake. your book begins with a "sex in the city" tour bus and a stop is a cake shop and you blame "sex in the city" for setting off the trend. i live in miami. there are two cupcake only stores within a mile of my
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house. all because of a tv show? >> well, i think it was a trifecta of 21st century phenomenon. "sex in the city" was the beat of the butter cream wing. you have two powerful factors coming in, allowing that to happen. one was september 11th. this was a time when americans were turning to comfort food generally as a trend - fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, gourmet grilled cheese sandwi sandwich sandwiches, and the cupcake. what could give you a great amount of joy than eating a cupcake as a child. it coincided with the rise of the internet, food blocks, facebook and twitter, when someone opened a bakery when people started lovers, or shared a recipe. now they did it with the rest of
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the world. quickly you saw the cupcake phenomenon grow from a phenomenon in new york to several that came out of that bakery to a national phenomenon that happened to cities over the united states. and now to something that is in every city in the world. i bet you didn't know there are cup cakery stores devoted to cup case, which is a word, in lahore, pakistan, and paraguay. in some of the most, you know, unexpected places on earth, where they don't have apple stores but have cup cakes. >> lots of trend. who are the mostly people who determine how these trends begin. who are, to use the title of your book, the taste makers? >> i think trends almost always start with entrepreneurs. they could be chefs, farmers,
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people starting a packaged food business, a line of cookies or packaged drinks, they tend to be small. it's rare that it's big business chains and restaurant chance doing that, starting strents because they are risk -- trend, because they are risk adverse. it's like silicon valley, you have people with an idea and you say let's make interesting cupcakes and combine it with a croissant. there's another level of taste makers that take the trends, which may be small, local fads, things generating press and attention, and bring them to the wider audience. they inflate them so they trickle to the mass market. >> a lot of it is trickle down. that it starts from, you know, celebrities, a chef, somebody
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who has an appearance on the internet or in the media, the food channel all different ways you can do it. you bring up an example of bacon, and it was bottom up. >> yes, it can happen the other way, it's rare. the bacon trend was interesting. the pork industry in the late 1990s, and early 2000s pushed the consumption of bacon to big restaurant chains, like burger king, windies and denages, because the low-flat trend so hurt port belly prices that the pig producing abouted them to do something to help them sell bacon. they developed a pre-cooked round bacon that could be put on burgers and sandwiches that was easier and cheeper than them cooking bacon, it's greasy and messy. so those burgers and sandwiches kicked off a wakon trend which went the other way, went to
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high-end restaurants with cooks using more bacon, and putting bacon into desserts and icream. there's a bacon lip gloss and a bacon coffin, costing $3,000. i believe the company made three our four. someone is buried in bacon. you mentioned it could have consequences that are not outlines good, that anti-oxidents are are 100 million business. >> most health trends are benign, if not beneficial, they introduce us to new tastes, flavours, cultures and ideas. health and diet trends have an edge to them. to sum up what you said. there was a product called 7-up. they had 7-up anti-ochl dent cherry and another berry
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flavour. this is a regular can of 7-up, sugar water, fat and sugar, with a bit of fruit juice in it. because they were dark fruits and anti-oxidents give it their pigment, they thought they could call it anti-coxy dent cherry. there were probably people buying it and thinking it made them healthier, because they read antioxidants would help with, who knows. cancer, weight loss - whatever it was. the line between a beneficial health ingredient or health trend and snake oil is thin. food companies walk over it too often. a lot of caution there. >> it's led to dietary voices and restrictions that made modern eating a complicated thing, and it's really fascinating about how the foods, trends start. again, the book is taste makers.
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great to have you with us. thank you. the show may be over, but the conversation continues on the website. or facebook or google+. we'll see you next time. >> hi everyone, this is aljazeen siegenthaler in new york. talk of war, high praise or high price. the deal with the taliban to free a u.s. soldier and what you need to know about the five prisoners release. dangerous high, colorado's booming i business faces a backlash. legalizing marijuana. police drones fighting crime but at what cost? the eye in the sky at what