tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN February 4, 2011 6:30pm-11:00pm EST
many organizations have submitted testimony and we will add it to the california project to the record. the california attorney general, legal scholars agree with the constitutionality of the act, small business majority, constitution action center, the national senior citizens law center, and the center for american progress action fund. it is placed in the record. it is possible the written questions may come your way in the next weaker to which we hope you would respond to in a timely fashion. again, thank you very much. the senate -- is hearings stands adjourned. >> as a citizen, may i say that what the senate has shown in this committee and -- it has shown our government at its best. and it was a privilege to participate in it. >> thank you. ." host
"q and a" and prime minister's questions. you can watch all our programming at c-span.org. a public service, created by america's cable companies. >> stephen harper met with obama today. he and the president held a joint news conference, talking about energy, border security, and trade. obama spoke about the relationship with u.s. and canada. >> canada is our largest trading aprtner and the top -- partner and the top exporter, bringing
several thousand jobs here. we're working to create jobs for both of our people. first, we have agreed to managing our share of the responsibilities. this goes beyond the border. that means working more closely to increase security with better screening and new technology, information sharing among law enforcement, and identifying threats early. and improving the free flow of goods and people. with over $1 billion every single day, proper border management is important for my goal of doubling the u.s. exports. i thank you for your leadership and commitment to reaching this agreement. we have directed the team stood creating an action plan to move quickly, and i am, that we will get this done to enhance our prosperity.
we have a new effort to get rid of the outdated regulations, that stifle trade and job creation. with the reviews i had last month we need to strike the right balance. we have to make this less expensive for americans and canadians to do business, such as in the auto industry. and the new council will help make this happen. and third, we described the long range of ways to affect trade and investment, with the steps canada can take to increase property rates. including in afghanistan, where our forces are working together. as we agreed with our coalitions
in nato in lisbon, we will begin this year and canada's contribution will be critical to achieving this mission to keep both of our country is safe. finally, we discussed our commitment with our partners and i thanked the prime and it -- i appreciate the opinion of the prime minister -- >> the canadian prime minister was urging the u.s. officials to approve of an oil pipeline to the u.s. gulf coast and said that his country was a neighbor that posed no threat to america. and you can see all of this tonight at 8:00 eastern. later on tonight, sarah palin is the featured speaker in the opening banquet, marking the 100th anniversary of the birthday of president ronald
reagan. we will have coverage of her remarks at 8:00 pacific. and dick cheney is the speaker at the closing banquet. this is saturday at 10:15 eastern. >> the environment of politics has come apart. this is polluted and destroyed and violent. >> on sunday, hubert h. humphrey: art of the possible. >> everybdoy remembers him as licking johnson's boots. people didn't know the pressures he was under. >> q and a. sunday night at 8:00 on c -span.
>> a discussion on the fcc's opinion on net neutrality. this was to provide equal access to networks. it included representatives from at and t, comcast -- and it is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> we are all here on time and i appreciate this. this panel is entitled, broadband policy. and what is next after this decision? in a moment, i will introduce the distinguished panelists, but i think i will begin by reading something from the advisory letter.
am i pronouncing this correctly? >> i have not been there in a very long time. >> i just called this myself, the blair newsletter, and this was easier to pronounce. i understand that he is no longer there, but i want to read from the most recent advisory that i received. looking forward to the tech policy and the organization, we see 2011 as less volatile than 2010, especially at the federal communications position -- and
the unveiling of the national broadband plan, the reclassification of that neutrality and the midterm election results will be tough to repeat. the significant issues have been planted, on net neutrality and nbc for the enforcement. and we should expect the unexpected, with new merger activity. the fcc will basically pick up where it left off, before entering the reclassification, with the intricacies of this review. i think that when i saw this, this rang true in terms of what i would be talking about today.
now, i am certain that we will have discussions about net neutrality for certain. i also think that we will be focusing on -- in this decision, on some of these issues that are now coming forward. i just want to read a short excerpt from something that was published earlier this week as i was thinking about the conference and where things stand in the aftermath of net neutrality and comcast. and the merger opinion. faced with a choice, the agency continues to choose to regulate communications and information service providers under these
standards, rather than rely to the discipline. we are invoking the language at the heart of this regulatory paradigm. public interest and reasonable fairness, and acting under the guise of reasonableness, and under the public interest and so forth, this exercise is the regulatory power in the name of insuring their competition. and leveling the playing field. and picking the marketplace winners and losers. i went on to say later on, in my
view, there are distinctly free market oriented solutions that should be brought to bear in resolving each of these policy issues, but i recognize that there are other views as well. today, i am is certain that we will hear a range of these views, which is what i want to hear, and so we will go ahead and get this going. i am going to introduce. you have your brochure, and everything that you were wanting to know about the panel. there may be of little bit more in the biography. i will give you their current titles, for the audience on c- span. c-span audience and i will introduce them in the order that i want them to speak. we will have time for questions
and answers. so have in mind your questions. a, so have in mind your questions as they go along. and i'm going to enforce that as they know. the only exception to the alphabetical order rule is blair levin, who as commissioner baker noted was executive directorf the national broadband plan, i'm going to have him speak last after he hears what the other -- so he can hear what the other panelis have to say. our first speaker this morning is going to be jonathan baker. jonathan is chief economist at the fcc. he's also a professor of law at the american university, washington college of law where he teaches courses primarily in the areas of antitrust and economic regulation.
next will be jeffrey campbell. jeff is senior director technology and trade policy. let me make sure i get that right. senior director technology and trade policy and government affairs at cisco. he's responsible for developing and implementing it's worldwide public policy agenda on telecommunications and technology issues. following jeff will be james cicconi. jim is senior executive vice president external and legislative affairs at at&t. jim is responsible for at&t's public policy organization and he served in this capacity since november 2005. so i'm going to skip over blair
for a moment, and next we'll hear from joe waz. joe, as all of you know, is senior vice president of external affairs in public policy counsel at comcast. joe has primary responsibility for the public policy activities of comcast, icluding working with the government -- excuse me, the corporations, federal government affairs, law state, local government relations and public relations professionals. some of you might not know that earlier in his career, joe was a member of nader's raiders when he worked for ralph nader. joe, it's not often you're on a panel that we proceed alphabetically and someone follows you, but that's the case
today. i'm fortunate again to have christopher yoo, who, by the way, is a member of the free state foundation's board of academic advisers. aside from that, perhaps more importantly than that, in his view, his professor of law and communications at the university of pennsylvania law school, where he's also director of the center for technology, innovation and competition, and then finally, we have blair levin. blair is presently a communications and society fellow at the aspen institute and need i repeat, once more, that blair is -- was the executive director at the commission leading that team of hundreds that developed the national broadband plan.
you may have noticed blair is also going to be on the next panel. that means he's getting paid double for doing this today, but i should hasten to add that two times zero is still zero. okay. so with that, we're going to get started, and we'll hear first from jonathan baker. >> thank you, randy, and good morning. i am speaking for myself this morning and not necessarily for e federal communications commission or any commissioner. and i'd like to talk about merger review at the fcc because a merger proceeding can be a vehicle for implementing broadband policy which is what our panel is about. i would like to use the recent comcast-nbc universal
transaction as an example to address some of the concerns i've heard raised about the way the fcc approaches mergers. to remind you first about the transaction itself, comcast is the nation's largest cable operator and internet service provider and it has an interest in a number of cable networks including regional sports networks. nbc universal owns broadcast networks and cable networks and a film studio. the transaction was technically a programming joint venture. it was reviewed by two agencies, the federal communications commission and the justice department, and was allowed to proceed by both with cditions. at both agencies, the major competition concern was the risk that comcast would exploit its control of more programming to harm competing video programming distributors, including nascent online rivals and create market power for its cable systems.
i've heard people question about concur enforcement by the way fcc reviews communications mergers currently with an antitrust agency, either the justice department as in the comcast-nbc-universal matter. i've worked at all three of those agencies over the course of my caer and i can talk about the benefits of multiple agency review from that experience. the economists at the fcc think about economics the same way as the economists at the antitrust agencies, but the fcc may look at competition issues in a merger differently from an antitrust enforcer for other reasons. one reason is their complementary expertise. they major in competitive analysis, the fcc majors in communications policy. the fcc can take a longer view in evaluating potential
competition particularly. working together as the fcc and the justice department did in reviewing the comcast-nbc-universal transaction makes both agencies more effective. we conducted what was probably the most coordinated communications review ever in between agencies without imposing greater costs on the parties or delaying the process. some critics of concur enforcement point to antitrust review as the gold standard for competition enforcement. if that's the test, it's hard to complain about the competition conditions in the fcc's-comcast universal order because there's little difference between them and the conditions worked out by the justice department. i also heard concerns about the conditions that the fcc imposed to ensure that mergers promote the public interest. let me explain why the competition conditions were necessary in the come taft-nbc-universal case.
this transaction was primarily vertical between a video distributor and a major programming supplier. some people say that if a transaction is primarily vertical, there can't be a competition problem, so competition enforcers should wave it through. this idea is jobbing on two counts. most importantly, the premise of the theory, the idea that vertic trances are incompetitive is incorrect. the antitrust enforcement agencies have recognized that vertical mergers can harm competition byex clues or horizontal coordination. these possibilities are discussed in the merger guidelines issued by the justice department more than a quarter century ago during the reagan administration tt are still in force. if a transaction is primarily vertical and those aspects are ignored, it can still create competition problems.
the comcast transaction is a case in point because it wasn't a cable operator acquiring a program supplier, it acquired programming from both firms. the fcc was concerned that this horizontal aspect could lead to higher programming prices. some people have questioned why the open internet conditions at the fcc imposed are related to the transaction. those conditions address a specific competitive problem. comcast's ability and incentive to exclude unaffiliated internet, video programming in an online world in order to benefit affiliated programming. exclusionary conduct like this is routinely analyzed in the antitrust review and it was identified in the fcc's open internet order as a justification for those rules. not surprisingly, the justice department, the agency that's the competition policy specialist had the same concerns and adopted the same redy. finally, i'd like to address the concern that the fcc's condition prevent merging firms from
obtaining efficiencies. that is false with respect to the universal transaction. in formulating conditions, the fcc work with comcast not to weaken the conditions but to avoid unnecessarily comcast's business objectives. after the order was issued, cohen stated publicly, i don't think any of the conditions is particularly restrictive. i take that to mean he thinks the order addresses the fcc's concerns without making it difficult for comcast to act consiste with the public interest. now, the fcc takes seriously its obligation to assure mergers promote the public interest. in the comcast-nbc-universal order, the commission concluded that the conditions it adopted would mitigate harms to competition, promote broadban adoption among underserved communities, enhanced broadband access to schools and libraries.
no responsible agency can simply assume that every communications merger proposed in the free market is beneficial as some critics seem to want the fcc to do. instead the fcc evaluates the effects on competition and imposes conditions as needed to ensure that communications industry mergers serve the public. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, john. i noticed you used the word early in your talk nascent, i think, particularly in the context of the comcast merger review, you know, at some point, it struck me how often thatord began to be used, usually in the context of the online video market. i forget, the fanascent online
video market. i think it overtook echo system, it was a close race, but it may have overtaken echo system as the word for the telecom world this year. >> jeff, you're next. >> it's nice that at least the commission we won't be talking about that net neutrality issue for a little while here and may be can start focusing on the national broadband plan. i would open by looking at an observation made by a wise man seating two seats to my left here when i came to talk to him once on the national broadband plan, he observed probably very accurately, that, you know, here you ar coming in to see me, and you know, you love 90% of what's going to be in the national broadband plan and you hate 10% of it and you're here to beat me up about the 10% you don't like. it was true then and unfortunately, blair, since this is the free state foundation
conference where we are concerned about overregulation by the government, i'm going to focus again on the 10% a little you bit here today. in particular, i wanted to focus on the commission's proposal to significantly change the structure of the set top box market through creating a system that they are calling the all vid device. this is meant to be a replacement for the current cable card system which the commission has put into place some time ago in order to encourage the retail ailability of set top boxes and other such devices. in the five minutes that i have left, i'm going to try and address quickly what i think are sort of the four fallacies that are underpinning this policy that the commission is moving forward. the first fallacy is that there is not sufficient competition in the set top box market.
i think this fallacy is largely predicated on the fact that there isn't a lot of retail sales of set tops today because consumers haven't chosen to go through the retail market, but the reality for actual competition among the box makers is that competition has flourished because othe implementation of the cable card system. you only need to go and look at the series of waivers that all the manufacturers ask the commission to do for dta devices that the commission did grant wisely. and you can see that there are a lae number of companies that are engaged in producing set top boxes in the country today, including significant producers from japan, korea and china as well as se domestic manufacturers as well, and if you look at the average selling prices of set top boxes over the past few years, you'll see that it is on a continuing glide path downward which is another dication of a fairly
competitive box market. you know, 're seeing the major cable providers are getting boxes from multiple suppliers in a marketplace. so the second fallacy thathe coission is relying on and pushes its all vid proposal is that consumers should purchase set top boxes. this is an affirmative good and thiss something we should have. i think there's a couple of things that are missing in the analysis here. the first is that therere major benefits to leasing boxes in this kind of world. the first is it requires no outlay of money at the beginning. you don't have to go buy a $500 tvo. the second is your protected in your investment in the event that happened to me last december, my noncisco set top box crapped out in the middle of the football season, i called
comcast, joe, and i had a new box and it cost me nothing. that was great. it was probably warranted by the other manufacturer, so it probably didn't cost joe either, but the point is that i didn't have to go out and buy, it was clearly beyond a consumer warranty period and i didn't have to go buy a new one. the other thing is when you change services, when you want to upgrade to a better servi or new service, you don't have to throw -- buy a $300 box, throw it away and buy a $400 new box. instead, comcast will swap out for me. i may pay more on the lease for a better box, but i'm not stuck with the past purchase that goes with me. to look at this a litt more clearly, if you look at the cell phone market, which is the market that the commission kept pointing to, look at the cell phone market full of innovation and the set top mart doest have it.
even the cell phone industry doesn't operate on a purchased model. u go and buyour cell phone, but you're really not paying the cell phone, you're half buying and and half leasing it. you're getting a contract with it. it's a perfectly good way of doing this. consumers are not interested in the huge outlay of the high costs of the equipment right up front and are interested in paying for it more over time. the third fallacy is the fact that there's not enough innovation in the set top market. looking at an industry where it wasn't that long ago we had 60 channels of analog tv coming at us and where we are today with digital, with hd, with dvrs, and more recently, when we look at some of the offerings that are coming out like tv anywhere and xfinity and fios, we're seeing a
lot of innovation happen. last month cisco announced a newark tur that we're providing in the space that will allow all deo sources to be operated through a service that is both cloud based and transport based that would completely open up this market and eventually onvyiate the need for having set top boxes and running it through soft clients and software. i hope the commission is looking at these changes that have been occurring even recently you in this area as they go forward on this proceeding. the last fallacy is i think the biggest one, is the commission has chosen a hardware solution for this problem. they created a device, an all vid box that every multi channel provider is going to have to provide that is going to be limited functionality and do certain things. the problem with the solution is that it's a hardware solution in
a world that's about to become a software world. we're going to force these hardware boxes in pertuity at least for ten years which is perpetuity in the commission's world, in order to create the market structure that we think is best at a time when we're really moving to ft clies, where you're going to be able to run your video programming from your ipador pc or on your mobile phone through soft clients and soft solutions that will be open and competitive. so i think that if you you look at the realities of the marketplace versus even where we were two years ago -- year and a half ago, two years ago, when the commission started looking at this, there are drastic changes that have occurr. hopefully the commission is keeping up with the technological changes and is going to adopt a more market based solution that is going to allow for greater innovation
with more consumer choice. >> thank you very much, jeff. it will be interestin to see whether blair, now that he's over at the aspen institute, whether perhaps you persuaded him about those last -- that 10%. let me just say two quick things. i mentioned the audience that we want to have questions from them which of course we're going to have, but i want to invite the panelist, please, i want them to react when we go through these initial presentations to their fellow panelists if they have reactions, so keep that in mind. then the other thing i wanted to remind you of, we have a hash tag for twitter for the conference that's on the back of your brochure, fsf-fef 4 conference. if you decide you want to tweet about something that's going on. with that, jim.
>> thank you, randy. really pleased to be invited here today. in fact, i can't tell you how pleased. for five years i've been waiting to be invited to be on a panel that is entitled what comes after net neutrality. actually, i think we can all agree that the net neutrality debate which has consumed most of the last two years has been both exhaustive and also exhausting. it's really sucked all the oxygen out of the room. it's a shame in many ways because it's been focused on a hypothetical problem and we have real problems out there. you know, i think with net neutrality behind us now, i think it does give us an opportunity to deal with some of these real problems. blair pointed a numb of them out in the national broadband plan, one from spectrum. i know you're going to be
dealing with that in the subsequent panel. i think the other one, even though it makes many of our eyes glaze over is the challenge of reforming universal service and intercarrier compensation services that underpin much of our communication system in this country today. in fact, i think the national broadband plan itself challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about regulation and universal service in this country. reforming usf and intercarrier comp is going to be extremely difficult. i think everybody understands that, but the plan itself made clear that what many people have been saying for a long time is very true. if we're going to get serious about 100% broadband in this country, if we truly believe that broadband is going to be the economic driver that takes ushrough the 21st century and beyond which i happen to believe, then we have to reform those policies that currently are in the way of achieving this goal of 100% broadband.
in order to succeed in this journey, i think there needs to be jeemt on where exactly we're going and what the goal of 100% broadband entails. i look out there and see a wor where, if we're successful, everybody in america who wants one, will have a broadband connection. voice and video will be one of many applications simply ride on a broadband pipe. in fact, that's true of many americans today. you know, if we're serious about this goal, it will be true of everyone. we should be funding most efficient technology to do this if we're going to have a universal service system devoted to broadband. we have to make certain that we're reful and rational with consumer and taxpayer dollars there, as commissioner baker and randy pointed out, that factor, a contribution factor goes in everybody's bill is up to 15.5%. we should only be funding areas where there's been a market
failure. and broadband can't be deployed with private investment alone. specifically, we should not be using public dollars to compete with a company or a technolo that is deploying adequate broadband without public funds. we can't afford to support two networks. if we want to support broadband, we must be willing to let the public switch telephone network go away. that means removing the regulatory barriers that are today designed to prevent that very thing from occurring. i'm talking about things like carrier of last resort regulation, cost of service and local voice regulation. broadband today is an interstate information service. we all know that. it's not regulated by 50 state commissions and it has to remain that way. we have to confront the questions in that statement. i don't think any of this is controversial to the participants who have engaged in this debate for the past ten years. each of these concepts have been
put forth in the national broadband plan relead by the fcc last ear. great work that blair spearheaded. it's going to require robust conversation. if the fcc dsn't do that in its meeting next week, i fear it's a lost opportunity. if we have disagreement on these points like whether the states will have regulatory authority over broadband in the future, then i think we nd to have that discussion sooner rather than later. let's be clear. this transition is already occurring. three weeks ago the fcc released its local competition report for 2009. th data is already a year old. it showed that between 2000 and 2009, incumbent switched access lines shrun from 181 million to 107 million, that's a 40% reduction. the real shocker is over the past two years, that reducti has excel rated to over 9% on an
annualized basis. if the decline last year in 2010 remained constant with the prior two year, we're already below 100 miion legacy access lines in this country. on top of that, a recent poll showed that around 27% of americans have cut the cordon tierl, dropping wired phones and going to wireless only. that's a fact that the fcc's wireless buru stubbornly refuses to take into account when they're regulating wire line companies. while end user revenues associated with those lines is disappearing, the cost of maintaining those lines, the legacy billing and provisioning systems around those lines doesn'tgo away when the customer goes away. ant kuwaited regulations require that we continue to incur these costs, continue to maintain these lines, whether people are using them or not or in fact whether they'll ever use them or not. when we get down to it 50 or 60 million access lines, i suspect,
in fact i posit that we won't be able to afford to support the pstn any longer, let alone the public switch network and an emerging broadband infrastructure. the time to act is now. we must have the coverage and foresight to clearly define our objectives in the end state we envision. only if we do that can we then move to the next set of much harder choices that will need to be made. i feel the frc can start that process next week. we don't know where you're going, it's awfully hard to get there. >> thank you very much, jim. next we're going to hear from joe. you may recall that we had one of those high wind warnings a couple weeks go. we have had several here in washington due to the -- some of them due to the storms, but the
one a couple weeks ago, it was the day that the comcast-nbcu merger was approved byhe commission. it was later determined that that was just joe exhale iing un iladelphia. so that's why that one was shorter lived. joe, the floors yours? >> thanks, randy. i think i'm going to let that exhalation be my comment on the whole transaction today. we're delighted to be done. we're delighted to have it closed. we're delighted to be moving forward and creating a company that we're extremely proud of that we really do think is going to accelerate the anytime anywhere digital future that americans are looking for. in a competitive and innovative marketplace. as to the trance, i'm going to watch the shuttle clock fly over my head back and forth. as for me, i'm glad that we're moving forward. what i would like to do today is take a bit of a step back from
the immediate policy issues and talk about the policy process. the fact that, if there's anything we're learning along the way, it's that we really don't have the right statutes, the right laws, the right institutions and processes for an internet age. we have statutes that were written when -- for technologies that came into the market when our parents or as i look around this room, in some cases our grandparents were children. we have agency jurisdictions that fail to account for the fundamental different intections amo players in a layered internet. we don't think consistently about what openness means when we're talking about networks or applications or operating systems. we don't think consistently about privacy concerns as they cut across these various categories and various players and the internet echo system. we have processes and procedures that depend too much on predescriptive rules and the adversarial process. we don't defer to the other
system jim just told us. wooil i' while i'll be talking about these issues, i wanted to take a couple minutes to talk about how we can improve the legal and institutional context in which these issues get framed and addressed. it's time for more experimentation to break us out of the old paradigms. let me make my point for two issues, broadband adoption, which is the center piece of the broadband plan that blair led and internet openness. on broadband adoption, as jim indicated, we're trying to find our way ouof a failed inefficient system to promote universal service and we need to address not just rural issues but also the urban poor.
some would have us bloat and patch the existing subsidy system. we do need to approach this. our company is about to try to approach with regard to low income populations something called the comcast broadband opportunity program or cbop which is a fairly catchy acronym. >> who told you that, joe? >> my son. >> our nbcu transaction, in it we said that the goal was to accelerate the anytime anywhere digital future. as we spoke to the fcc out the trance, we were reminded that the future is not necessarily within everyone's reach, so we took on the responsibilities of devicing a plan to expand broadband adoption and we call it cbop. there's three parts. the focus community is households in which a child eligible for for a free lunch under the national student lunch
program resides. and we're taking a three pronged approach to promoting adoption in those households by aoffering a reduced price broadband connection for 9.95 a month, by offering equipment for $150 or less. we're looking for good equipment that family want to use in that price point and to promote digital literacy. what we really learn is just talking about price is not enough when you're talking about broadband adoption. price of broadband is a barrier for perhaps 7% of the u.s. population. 35% of americans aren't connected but 15% of those say the cost of a broadband subscription is the main barrier to adoption, that gets you down to somewhere in the 6-7% range saying cost alone is a barrier. what research shows is there are multiple barriers to adoption.
blair's reportefers to this. a lot of research john horrigan has done. lack of digital relevance and cost of equipment. we said let's come up with a plan to tax as many of these barriers as we can. we think the program we're developing and we'll implement for the first time will become an important new test ground. it will lead to new strategies than merely arguing about the price of broadband or the subsidy dollarship from carrier a to carrier b. we've received calls from other isps saying we would like to know more about it and may want to build on it. we hope the technology community as well will step up and do their part to make this work. in this program, we hope we ght have the seeds of a new cost effective approach to
broadband adoption one that was developed in a policy conversation rather than a government mandate which i think is an important point. let me turn briefly now to an open internet policy. after many years of political and legal wrangling, we have fcc rules on the books. how long they remain there will be up to the courts. my company said the rules do reflect the way we run our business. we're prepared to abide by them and we committed to do that in the fcc transaction review. how these rules get implemented will matter. that brings us to a process point. if internet openness issues and network management issues are to be determined exclusively through the filing of complaintses with the fcc and through the adversarial process, i'm concerned the lengthy, all encompassing politically ly process behind the adoption of the rules will be extended for years to come with further diversion of attention and resources from key national goals from the national broadband plan. we need better approaches.
we need institutions that are as modern and innovative as the internet itself. i'm pleased to be involved with such an institution, something called the broadband internet technology group or b tag. i'm not sure if it's as catchy. let me try to summarize what this thing is. during our bid dispute three years ago now, we learned about something that our engineers knew well but our policy team did not know as well, that the internet community today has incredibly successful consensus based mechanisms for related issues. the internet engineering task force, if you're not familiar with it on wick paidia, is one of these mechanisms, it brings together thousands of engineers from all over the globe several times a year and lets anyone tee up questions for discussion. the give and take is invaluable. we've played a major role there over the years. it was through the ietf that we
pest tested the propositions behind the fair sha network administration. what is braet great is the engineers succeed in leaving their doing mattic biases at the door. coming out of round tables a couple years ago, a cross section of players from all elements of the internet community developed a program to dom esty indicate the ietf creating an analogious organization at home. we have daryl hatfield to serve as our leader. the same kind of fact based engineer driven consensus driven that the ietf has with expedited time lines. b tag's technical working group will meet for the first time next month with a terrific
group, equipment providers and public knowledge and center of democracy technology are all participants. i hope we'll soon have proof that this kind of work can work to bring more clarity to issues. i was at a meeting -- >> joe, one minute frks we could. >> i'll wrap it up. i was at a meeting last year when an administration official, not one who used to runilicon flat irons by the way, referred to ietf as a near mirulous institution. we hope to replicate that near miraculous institution and we hope that policy makers will watch us carefully. to supple it up, as we rethink our statutory and institutional frameworks we have to be open to more experimentation and innovation as these two examples suggest. those are the characteristics, experimentation and innovation that made the internet amazing. i think they can help to make better public policy too.
thanks. >> thank you, joe. next we're going to turn to professor yoo, also from the city of brotherly love. chris? >> thank you very much. i don't mind going at the end, because it is the reality of alphabetical order, it's what i'm used to living with. it allows me to make a small point which i sometimes make which is there is -- despite whatever you try, there is no such thing as a neutral principle. there are systemic bses in everything you pick. you will naturally pick alphabetical order if you choose to try to avoid offending anyone. i guarantee you there is a consistent bias inherent in that that can be predicted. i say that as a riff, but things like first in, first out, all theifferent routing schemes that we perceive as being neutral actually have understandable predictable biases against certain types of applications, the speed at which they start, how longhey run.
one of the parts of the research i'm doing is studying that, something that engineers understand very well, that have percolated very little into policy debates as they exist today. going on to the topic of today, as jim liked the idea we're talking about network neutrality, that comes after network neutrality, i'm here to discuss what comes after network neutrality i unfortunately a ttle bit more network neutrality. we have two major issues brewing. the first is a fight over jurisdiction and the other is a fight over enforcement. i would like to tlk briefly about each one. jurisdiction, the big fight will happen in the courts. the d.c. circuit has ruled that it's not necessarily going to happen there because the comcast decision came down -- was issued by the d.c. circuit. they'll have a mechanism for deciding which venue will be resolved and address that issue. the interesting question is on
the substance than on the venue as commissioner baker said. what's interesting is different people will have different opinions whethey read the order. my own take on it is the fcc discussion of jurisdiction does not sound confident. in fact, they cite a large number of provisions that they potentially support their position. someone once told me, i you used to work in a company and i had someone come in and said i have four great ideas for you. my boss said what you are really saying is you don't have a single good idea and you have a bunch of krd ideas. section 06, title 47 ofhe u.s. code, it's been stated by commissioner baker and mcdowell in their dissenting opinions, it is intended to be a did he regulating provision. they believe it will be hard to turn that into a instituting
regulation. that will be up to the courts. the final venue here will be congress. as i said last year in the conference, i think we can take a great less frn the history of the cable instry, which is the last time we got a new major technology, tried to shoe horn it to the existing categories ven to us by the communations act of 1934. all of you know the history. weried to use ancillary jurisdiction. we had a series of supreme court decisions saying the fcc can do it, can't do it, congress finally decided we need a regulatory regime that instead of being determined by how a series of categories designed for a fferent technology, many decades ago accidentally fall in a particular technology, we need to think about how we should regulate this. congress eventually stepped in about '84 and gave us a framework. i think that's a useful model. i think it will lead to better results. what's interesting is how
complicated that has become. i think we have missed a tremdous opportunity about a year ago for a congressional solution. since that time -- that point, house democrats had weighed in against the network neutrality proposal about 70 some had written a letter to the commission, to the chairman. a bunch of state representatives overwhelmingly democratic had opposed it. there seemed to be room for nonpartisan discussion. mayors came in. right now, we have had a very different election. we have a tea party contingent of the republican party which is made opposing network neutrality a major pa of their agenda. and in the winds of this, we have a president who's now stated p aaring back regulations a goal across the board. the problem is giving his commitments in the administration, i don't expect that commitment to extend to network neutrality.
i'm not optimistic about a short term solution based on the waxman proposal which was widely received, but was considered a useful starting point was basically a nonstarter partly because of the timing of the elections but also because of how the politics have changed. the second part of this is enforcement. actually, the order attempts to provide guidance, but it actually is very ambiguous in a lot of different ways. for example, the content industry was probably heightened in the initial proposal, they said part of the management would be cushing illegal piracy of content. the order did somethingery strange. it took that language ou of the specific definition of reasonable network management but qualified it by saying but nothing in this order changes the copyright laws and stand in the way of soone who wants to curb illegal piracy.
everybody is left scratching eir heads. reasonable network management is you can't block access to legal content. we're left trying to figure out, they didn't remove it from the definition for no reason, but we're left with ambiguous clues about what you can do. there's wonderful ambiguities about whether they say there's a real harm. they use the term proph ylactic. they talk about who bears the burden of proof. i favor a case byase approach. the burden of prove lays on the complaintant. they make -- they start off saying the burden of proof sits on the complainant, but if they make a prima facie showing, the burden shifts to the broadband access provider to show their actions are reasonable, which is a very different thing than
saying the plaintiff bears the burden of proof throughout e proceeding. why is that a problem? ambiguous practices abt which we have no data which means new practices are often going to run directly afoul, because once the prima facie showing has been made and the burden shifts, the broadband provider is going to try to prove something in which no data exists. the idea of protecting innovation are very fluential. i'll give you two examples that are happening right now. as most people probably know, there is a dispute going on between comcast and level three. comcast and level three cdn, content distribution network had a peering network. level thee is the primary distribution networkor netflix. the economics changed. comcast attempted to shift from a peering arrangement to a transit arrangement. there was claimed foul as the network neutrality violation.
i do not know any of the private details. many people say how do i know? what do i know? estimates suggest that netflix is 20% of all network traffic. it's a large provider. some estimates suggest that the change of adoption of netflix will increase the flows going through level three cdns byive times. i don't know the details of the agreement. any peering agreement that i know of, one side othe flow ineases by five times the underlying, it's no longer a piering agreement and it's likely to change. it doesn't top the ambigui and the enforcement mechanisms for ople raising concerns. a number of voices raised concerns. it causes a tremendous drag in what's going to change in the relationships. the second thing that's in the news right now is metro pcs. one of the struggling -- not one of the big four largest wireless providers, they're attempting to
scale up. they missed 3g and move from 1g to lte. they have a system where they used on their 1g system, they were able to put youtube because of consumer demand by changing flash into a different protocol called rtsp. they're willing to do that tony provider that provides their content in flash, right now, you cannot get all video content on their network because of the way the limitations of the 1g network. they carry that to the 4g platform because they have all these problems with dual function phones because basically they're not completely built out in 4g, sometimes you're in a 1g cell or 4g cell. they have a huge problem. they don't want you clipping out of service based on what city you're iand you have to keep track of all that. this is something that's a natural technical fix for a wireless carrier that has very limit eed bandwidth.
they stand ready to do this with other people providing in terms of flash. the question is do they have to support other video encoding systems, side flash, it's hanging over them and caused a tremendous problem. it's one of the reasons they are challenging this. >> christopher take about another minute. i have to have you wrap up. >> these are the questions. i mean, we have these questions about how these things are going to be enforced. in fact the one thing that bothers me most about the order is the notion about -- there's a threat in there about hostility towards practices that will let broadband access providers generate more revenue. the reality is, i think jim is correct that one of the down sideof the network neutrality debate has distracted us from the broadband plan. the filings from the state reps make it clear there's a deep linkage between the two. i'll throw a couple facts at you. the lowest, most conservative estimate for building out 100 million megabytes is $350
billion. that was government funding. i know of no proposals on that scale, the smaller ones, on that scale, there's going to have to be some form of revenue enhancement. i'm worried about the language of the order standing in the way of that. to me the wonderful example of this is the difference between fios. one used a heavily managed solution, one used a big pipe solution. price tag difference, $24 billion versus $7 billion. that's a technical choice, economic choice which they're finding out in the marketplace. wall street has been on both sides of thatfight. what i would suggest is in fact, yes, buildout is the most important thing, but there is an effect of how we implement the open internet rules that will have a direct effect on which practices we can use to make that buildout which will have a direct impact on the cost, whice
cost, which will have a direct impact on the extent of whether it is successful. >> thank you very much, christopher. i made a note here on my piece of paper that next year you're going to go first. it is going to be a nonneutral decision that i've made. okay. next we're going to turn to blair. i'm going to hold him to the same time limit. i just want to say, with respect to lair, jeff said, i thi that you agreed with about 90% of the content of the broadband plan, just disagreed with about 10% of that. and that made me think of my relationship with blair when honestly i don't think i, you know, approach agreeing with him 90% of the time, but i do agree with him -- i do agree wth him on many things. we have known each other for a very long time. and i've always appreciated having him come to free state
foundation events and i think we're good examples, blair, of, you know, what they talk about a lot in washington these days where you don't agree on everything. but nevertheless can talk about these things in a way that hopefully is useful to people. so with that, proceed. >> does anyone in this room think it is a good idea to ever have the government use its power to assess consurs to subsidize a private company and assure that company's permanent profitability? anybody want to raise their hand? okay. that's what we do today. we spend billions and billions and billions of dollars doing that. it is called rate of retur regulation. and the resultf that means that in some parts of rural america we collectively pa the price of creating a maserati for which that private company offers a mercedes, which because
of the subsidy they can do it -- offer it at a price of a chevy. that's what we do for about half of rural america. the other half of rural america we say, walk. okay? it is really dumb. it is really stupid. we have been doing it for years. it is wasteful. mo of you have been conservatives and will find this to be offensive. i also find it as a liberal democrat iind it offensive there are millions of people who can't affd broadband who are paying so that bill gates in his second home can get that subsidy. i find that offensive. so i spent a lot of the last fall going to various meetings of rural phone companies. i owe it to them and the team that i work with to explain what we did and why we said that's a bad idea, we ought to change it. there is obviously a lot of transitional issues. we ought to chge it. i'm sitting ere and i'm listening to them come back at me with basically arguments like we need the money, we need more money, we should tax google. if anybody anywhere has 100
megabits per second, we deserve the same thing and you should subsidize it for us. as i'm sitting there, i'm thinking where the heck is rob mcdowell. rob mcdowell writes wonderful pieces on net neutrality and other places in "the wall stree journal," free markets, we have to get rid of these rules, we have to understand economics and all this. and i'm sure he will come here today standing behind -- from th banner talking about free markets and, sure, like every other fcc commissioner will talk about the bloated and wasteful universal service fund but he's never to my knowledge said we need to get rid of rate of return regulation. now, i don't know what you would call rate of return regulation. you cannot call it capitalism. i'm not saying it is socialism. though i would say that certainly carl marx would agree with rob mcdowell's acquiescence in the passage of billions and billions of dollars on rate of return regulation. and probably, well, i'm certain
it is ue that under stalin and russia telephone system was built under rate of return regulation, and also interesting to note that rate of return regulation really gained prominence during the woodrow wilson administration. you guys obviously don't listen to glenn beck enough. but my point is we need a principled conservative to point out. it should not be my job. that's not really my job. i'm willing, by the way, i go to liberal think tanks, i'm doing one on monday and they'll say things like we should send $300 billion and i'll point out to them that's not really progressive at all since it will come on the backs of people and cause rates to go up by 30 bucks a month. the other day, a reporter, lovely guy, very,ery concerned about this, wrote me and said i've done a lot of studies and discovered poor people pay a higher percentage of their income for broadband. that's outrageous. i said, well, they also pay a higher percentage of their income for, i don't know, energy, food, water, everything. i will take on the burden of
talking to my progressive friends to try to have a rational debate. but i really would like it if i could get a little backup here. if rob mcdowell would finally become a principled conservative and say, unequivocally, i think rate of return regulation, again, we caargue about the transition out, we need to end it and we need to end it in a foreseeable ture, along a clear path. yes, i am stating it. i would like to ask you, randy, to ask rob two questions. number one, does he think it is appropriate to ever have the government use its power to assess to guarantee the permanent profitability of a private company? and secondly, if you would please be so kind as to ask him, is there a limit to how much we should spend per year to subsidize a line. we don't have that limit toy, it is certainly something that i believe we should have. now, let me just close, i going to be quicker than everyone else, close by saying
that we identified lots of gaps for our country in the broadband plan. three are very effective by universal service, the unserved, the adoptio gap and institutional gap, which i think becomes more and more important over time, public institutions lacking in sufficient speeds which are very different tan what you would want for residential. in looking at all of that, i think is important to remember the wisdom. by the way, a bonus question if you wouldn't mind asking rob, what did the kansas-nebraska petition which the commission passed giving more regulatory authority to the states, what broadband gap was that designed to help us solve? >> i thought initially you were going to ask about the kansas-nebraska law of 1854 and i was really -- >> if you give me a couple of extra minutes, i'll work it in. i am mystified by that, like, why they were doing that.
i'm just saying it was an odd kind of movement. but you can ask him that. here's the thing. peter drugger, the great business visionary said the danger in times is not the turbulence, it is to act with yesterday's logic. and the problem we have is that we are constantly acting with yesterday's logic as to all kinds of things. and joe talked about it. but let me just close by saying i really agree with jim cicconi. i think we did a pretty good job of identifyinghe end point that we have to -- have to achieve, which is fundamentally about 100% broadband everywhere in the country, having everyone on it, and then working backwards from there to what do we need to do to change that? in some ways i wish we had been stronger in articulating that vision. but i couldn't agree more that that's really the job of this commission, articulate that vision, be very clear about it, work backwards, have a plan. you will, of course, course
correct. let me just say quickly that my favorite line -- >> quickly. >> -- in the plan is the opening line of chapter 17 on implementation, this plan is in beta and always will be. you have to adjust facts as they change. but the important thing is set that vision, be clear about it, and start in a far, faster and more passionate way to get to that broadband future. thank you. >> blair, thank you very much. if blair thinks that he's going to get paid more by now giving me questions to ask commissioner mcdowell, he's probably -- he's probably wrong about that. but, you know, i do appreciate him plugging the lunch. i'm not sure whether you linked commissioner mcdowell to stalin, but i think you did. i think you did. so i may have to -- i may have to ask him about that or get you to do it. but actually this gives me an opportunity to say quicy, a lot of you have come in since i did the initial welcome this
morning. we were concerned about getting everyone into the first amendment room with all of the registrants that we had and for some of you out there who are my good friends, possibly may have even discouraged you from eating as opposed to just standing up, but we have alleviated all of that. we're now going to be in the ballroom and that works better as well for c-span. so there is no -- absolutely no problem. i want all of you to come for lunch and, you know, i don't know whether i'm actually going to -- myself, link commissioner mcdowell to stalin personally, but i guarantee you we're going to have really a good conversation. it is going to be interesting and enjoyable. blair was actually the first -- when we did the first annual conference, he was the first
person that i interviewed. i think he can vouch that we had -- we had a good conversation then and fun and it is going to be -- >> talked a lot about stalin. i don't remember, but anyway it was good. we're going to have a good one today. so now with that, what i want to do is open it up for questions and we have got -- questions from the audience and then we can have questions among the panelists well. and so you can line up at the mikes. i think what i'll do, just because i promised the panel, if anyone on the panel, after hearing the remarks of the others, john or anyone else, if you want to ask a question of your panelist or if you want to react to something, i'll let you do that first and then we'll intersperse those matters with
questions from the floor. anyone want to say anything? okay. let's go right to questions from the floor. if you'll please identify yourself by name and the ganization that you're with, and, remember, we want to have questions more than statements here. >> no problem. i have a question for you. hi, eliza with politico. for those of us not as expert on these issues, could you just briefly lay out in layman's terms what rate of regulation is. >> it mean if a company spends money on various capital expenditures, gives the bill to the government, says please give me my money back us a rate of return, which i believe if i call correctly is 11 1/4. i read a recent report that said jim's company -- it costs the capital about 8%. so we're paying a lot of -- let's put it this way, if
anybody would offer me a guaranteed 11 1/2 -- i would put all my money there right away. >> just to juxtapose numbers and, by the way, almost everything blair said, that's within that totally within the 60% or whatever that i agree with him on. but keep in mind that the universal service tax that results from all of those things that he was talking about, understand legally it is not a tax, but the effect of it is, is i think now 15% or close there to. i think john had a comment. >> a quick academic qualification about rate of return regulation. of course wasteful subsidies are something we all want to oppose, that's essentially what blair is saying and i'm not trying quarrel with that. as a matter of history, the point of rate of return
regulation isn't to subsidize, you know, high cost activities. the reason that it was introduced historically is we had phone companies, electricity companies, water companies that we thought were natural monopolies and would only have one firm because of the high fixed costs and very low incremental costs of production. and if another firm tried to enter, the first firm would try to undercut it and force it out and we would be left with one firm that could charge very high prices to consumers but with freedom from competition. one can imagine a variety of solutions to that, government ownership or the like with u.s. historically chose is to allow private firms to own natural monopolies but protect consumers and assure enough return for investment by just capping the rates. and so ntional monopoly regulation was the solution, i'm
sorry, rate of return regulation was a solution to the natural monopoly problem. over time we have learned to try and -- to tweak this. we have introduced price caps as a way of improving on the way natural monopoly regulations historically run. but the basic idea of it was to protect consumers in settings where there would be one firm that would charge a high price, not to subsidize inefficient companies which is -- which is blair's concern here. >> my real concern, look, i, of course, was kidding about stalin, just to be clear as well as woodrow wilson and i hold nothing personally against rob. well, not exactly, he went to duke, i really hold that against him. >> we'll get into that later. >> but the point is, that is an historical answer. we cannot act with yesterday's logic. we have a coletely different situation there. none of the companies, i want to be clear, they're good people, they're trying to do a job for their communities, i don't object to that. but we have a system, which,
like i said, makes us pay for a maserati, we get the mercedes, they subsidize it for the cos of a chevy, we're subsidizing it and the rest of rural america has to walk. that's stupid. weot to change it. >> okay. >> blair, his point is that the world is different, the natural monopoly world and the core cutting world doesn't exist anymore. the problem is the old justifications that have been put together with rate averaging and other institutions that are going to be the drag, and that if we make a change, there will be winners and losers. the problem is getting all of that sorted out and it has become a political coalition among the losers because someone's rates are going to go up who are getting subsidized by a cross subsidy aside from the direct subsidy. >> a question from the floor. go ahead, please. >> john with tech net and i worked with the national broadband plan with blair. i have a question that i think ties together two sentiments expressed in the morning, one by joe waz and one by commissioner baker. and they seem to be talking
effectively about institutional failure and not market failure and joe talking about a need for the reform, regulatory processes and commissioner baker even seemingly in favor of planning. i'm wondering if anybody on the panehas ideas on what changes to the instituonal apparas are needed to have more effective policy. >> i will make one quick comment at the risk of disagreeing with joe. there is a tendency to romanticize other institutions. those of us in the room mostly know the fcc. there is a big spate of writing among some fcc scholars that look at the patent ofce and think that would be great, let's become more like the tent offices and they're saying, what, are you nuts. and the patent office is saying that fcc is a great institution, why don't we make the patent office more like the fcc. if you talk to engineers, which it is has been very consensus
driven, but as the community has changed, people think it is very dysfunctional. is as phied, consensus doesn't work when there is so much hetergeneity. there is no magic design or we would have found it a long time ago. we have this unruly workable sort of muddling through approach about trying tolay off different institutional strengs against each other. >> all right, jim had a commt. >> yeah. in practical terms, i think it is asking a lot to ask any bureaucratic entity to reform itself or to reconsider, you know, the core fundamentals of its existence. i mean, institutions just don't do that. that's why the congress actually, you know, has responsibility here. it created the agency. it wrote the law s under which t operates. if there is going to be a fundamental re-examination of the mission and the role of the
fcc going forward, it has to come from the congress. and i can give you two quick examples. one of them with respect to jonathan goes to merger review. i certainly understand his defense of the way the commission goes about this today. i think the fundamental question is why the telecommunications industry almost uniquely has to go throu two merger reviews to consummate a transaction. you know, in virtually every other industry in america, if you pass the antitrust review, which is in essence a competition review, then you can go ahead and close that transaction. so why we have this extra bar of an fcc approval, which fundamentally stifles economic activity is a question the congress ought to be asking. i think another played itself out recently in the city of phoenix. qwest applied rightly for relief of regulatory obligations there on the basis that the markets
esseially is competitive now. they have lost about a quarter of lines to wireless only, as almost all of us have and they have lost about half of what remains to t cable company in terms of voice service. and the wire line bureau in examining their forbearance petition essentially declined to consider wireless substitution, which honestly is truly unfathomable and ignores all logic. it is acting as if the only competition possible is a wire line to wire line and then in its decision, it essentially said qwest is going to remain highly regulated in the phoenix market and the cable companies that compete against them are not going to be regulated at all and we're going to ignorehe fact that customers of both are free to drop wire line entirely and use wireless. this makes no sense.
we can't expect the wire line bureau itself to reach a conclusion that in essence raises questions about its own relevance going forward. this is something that the congress has to do, i think, or at least the five commissioners that govern the agency. >> thank you, jim. now we just have timeor one more question and then we're going to have to end the session. but, you know, it is fair to say i do have now several more questions for commissioner mcdowell that probably were better than the ones that i had originally thought of myself. this has been useful. steve, it is just a question, 're going to do it very quickly because promised our moderator that we're going to get the next panel up and running on time as well. >> steve, efras communications. i want to wrap up a few things with a simple question. do you think the commission can be adult enough, even in a small way to look at a piece of its
rules and say, you know, that doesn't make any sense anymore. congress, you ought to change this? jonathan gave a great demonstration of that, i think, when he said, well, we looked at it and they looked at it, we came to the same conclusions they did, we came to the same rules that they did, except we had 500 pages instead of 200 pages and two sets of lawyers instead of one set of lawyers. so when is it that the commission becomes adult enough as jeff pointed out with regard to the allvid proceeding where you have rules from 15 years ago, we all know the world has changed, blair says you've got to adjust to change, instead of going on with more rules, does anybody think the commission could be adult enough to just go back to congress and say, that one little provision on regulating or creating electronics we should get rid of? >> what we're going to do is i can let everyone respond, but only if you do it really quickly and then we have the panel on
spectrum. so very quickly, if you wuld like to respond, you can. >> look, i think they can be responsible enough to do those things. i think a lot of the statutes that we're talkinabout here give the commission flexibility in many areas. and so, you know, in the past, the commission has certainly acted flexibly with statutory requirements based upon the markets they're in. it is a dual responsibility here. and in the case of the set top boxing, they're living under a statute from 1996 when we had anal cable. and so there is a responsibility in the congress to recognize some of these old statutes shouldn't just be left on the shelf, they should get rid of them or update them properly. >> i think in the instance of this particular statute there is actually -- i'm not sure if you mentioned this -- there is built into the statute a sunset provision, i think, which would actually -- that's pretty unusual, of course, in these types of statutes. i assume it was put there so the commission could make a decision
itself tt times have changed. okay. jim. >> of course i can be adult enough. i think it is just a matter of will. i think the president of the united stateis actually giving them the perfect charge to go ahead and do that. with his executive order. you kn, they recently received a letter from the u.s. chamber of commerce calling on them to voluntarily do the same thing that president obama hasrdered every other government agency to do. and they ought to do that. >> okay. john, want to make a remark? >> a brief comment. the commission has, in the past, exercised its authority to forebearrom regulation when it is not appropriate. so the commission has a good record of doing just what you say, of deciding where regulation is appropriate and exercising it and thinking hard about where not to regulate. i see no reason why the commission won't continue to do that going forward. >> okay. just time for one more.
joe, did you want to say something? this will wrap it up. >> sure. the fcc is under a biannual review obligation which they kicked off for communication -- for tecommunications. i think they're under a quadrennial review for media and broadcast rules. they have to get the notion it is a perennial view, something that should be ongoing and the agency should be open to it. probably no better time than now to show that they're committed to it. as bill canard was when he undertook the top to bottom review. >> okay, well, i'm sure the audience agrees with me that this was an absolutely terrific panel. i ho they'll join me in thanking you for that. now, i'm going to ask the next panel to immediately come up and assemble and we're going to get started and then at 12:30, we're going to move to the lunch session.
johnson's boots and did not have a mind of his own. people did not understand the pressure he was under. >> "q & a" sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. >> i will not make age an issue of this campaign. i will not exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. [laughter] >> on the 100th anniversary of his birth, look at the life of ronald reagan in the c-span.org video library. "washington journal," watch in
the mornings. you can watch our programming any time at c-span.org. it is searchable on our c- span.org library. >> c-span is a private, nonprofit company created by eight the television cable industry. tonight, president obama and stephen harper speak to reporters at a joint news conference. also, a discussion on unrest in egypt and tunisia. we will have a discussion with robert mcdowell on that policy. sarah palin at a banquet commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of
ronald reagan. >> president obama today said that he has warned accosting mubarak against using tactics like suppression, of violence, and cutting off communications. he condemned the violence of recent days aimed at foreign tourists and the media. this is about 25 minutes. >> please be seated. i am pleased to welcome stephen
harper back to the white house to reaffirm the friendship between united states and canada. the united states and canada are not simply allies, not simply neighbors. we are woven together like perhaps no other two countries in the world. we are bound together by our society's, our economies, our families. it is my brother-in-law's birthday today and i have to call him. and our many meetings together. i have come to value his candor and his focus on getting results for the two countries and to meeting global challenges. i have not yet had the pleasure of seeing him and his band jam to the rolling stones. i am told that his videos have become a sensation on youtube. we have had a very successful day. our focus has been on how we
increase jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border. canada is our largest trading partner and our top destination for exports. today, we have agreed to several important steps to increase trade, improve our competitiveness, and create jobs for both people. first, helping our been shared responsibility is not just at the border, but elsewhere. this includes better screening, new technologies, and information sharing among law- enforcement and identifying new threats early. it also finds ways to identify the free flow of goods and people. with over a billion of it -- billion dollars in trade crossing the border each day, it is important for our competitiveness and for my goal of doubling of u.s. exports.
i thank you for your commitment to reaching this agreement. we want to develop an action plan for moving forward quickly. i am confident that we will get this done so are shared border enhances prosperity. second, launching a new effort to get rid of the outdated regulations that stifle trade. like the government-wide review i ordered last month. we have to protect our public health and safety and make it easier and less expensive for americans and canadians to trade and do business. for example, in the auto industry. what we have done today will help make that happen. we discussed a wide range of ways to promote trade and investment from clean energy partnerships to the strengths that canada can take to strengthen intellectual property rights. we discuss challenges including afghanistan, where our forces
service and sacrifice together. i want to thank prime minister harper for canada's decision to shift the focus on training afghan forces. the transfer -- transition to afghan need for security will begin this year. this will be critical to achieving that mission and keeping both of our country is safe. we discussed our shared commitment to progress with their partners in the americas. i especially appreciate the prime minister's perspective on the region as we go to central and south america next month. let me close by saying a few words about egypt. we are monitoring this situation closely. i will make just a few points. we continue to be crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis.
in recent days, we have seen violence and harassment at the rock on the streets of egypt. they violate international norms. we are sending a strong unequivocal message, attacks on reporters are unacceptable. attacks on human rights activists are unacceptable. attacks on peaceful protesters are unacceptable. the egyptian government has a right to -- as a responsibility to protect the rights of its people. those demonstrating have a right to do so peacefully. the issue in egypt will not be solved through violence or suppression. we are encouraged by the restraint that was shown today. we hope that it continues. the future of egypt will be determined by its people. it is also clear that there needs to be a transition process
that begins now. the transition must initiate a process that respects the universal rights of the egyptian people and needs to free and fair elections. the details of this election will be worked out by egyptians. my understanding is that some discussions have begun. we are consulting with than egypt and the international community to communicate our strong belief that this must be meaningful. it must include a broad representation of the egyptian opposition. this transition must address the it legitimate grievances of those seeking a better future. we want to see this moment of turmoil turn into a moment of opportunity. the entire world is watching. what we will work for is a future where all of egyptian society sees is that opportunity. right now, a great an ancient civilization is going through a
time of tumult and transformation. even in a time of great challenges and great uncertainty, i am confident that the egyptian people can shape the future that they deserve. they will continue to have a strong friend and partner in the united states of america. mr. prime minister. >> thank you for your partnership. your friendship, both personally and nationally. [speaking french] i will repeat that today. president obama and i are issuing a declaration on our border. it is much more than that.
it is a declaration on our relationship. over the past 200 years, our two countries have developed the closest, warmest, most integrated and successful relationship in the world. we are partners, and neighbors, allies, and true friends. in an age of expanding opportunities and great neighbors, we share fundamental interests and values should just as we face, and challenges and threats. at the core of this relationship is the largest bilateral trading relationship in history. since the signing of the canada- u.s. free trade agreement, that partnership has grown spectacularly. not only is the u.s. canada's major export market. canada is the largest u.s. export market. larger than mexico, japan, then
all of the countries in the european union combined. 8 million jobs added to the united states are supported by your trade in canada. it is the most secure and stable and friendly as supplier of all of america's purchases, energy. it is in both of our interests to make sure that our common border remains open and efficient. it is just as critical that it remains secure in the hands of the vigilant and dedicated. we must ensure that in your shot and bureaucratic sclerosis do not stop the flow of goods and services across the border. we must up our game to counter those seeking to harm us. i say us. a threat to the united states is a threat to canada. to our trade, our interests, our values, our common civilization.
canada has no friends among america's enemies and america has done a better friend than canada. what we are issuing today finds new ways to exclude terrorists that are a threat to our people. it commits us to find ways to eliminate regulatory barriers across travel. simpler rules be to lower costs for businesses and consumers and will lead to more jobs. shared information, a joint planning, compatible procedures and joint technology are all tools. they make an effective the risk- management that will allow us to accelerate the jim demint flows goods and people between our countries while strengthening our physical security and economic compact -- economic competitiveness. we should have a north american
perimeter, not to replace or eliminate the border. but to streamline and decongest it. this declaration marks the start of this endeavor, not the end. these are two countries that are sovereign and able to act on their own when we so choose. while a boat -- bordered defines two peoples, it need not defined them. canadians and americans have bore witness to this for almost two centuries. at home and abroad, this is the example that we seek to demonstrate for all others. >> we have time for a couple of questions. >> thank you very much, mr. president. is it conceivable to you that a process of democratic reform can begin in egypt while president mubarak remains in power or do
you think is stepping aside is needed for this to begin? role asdiscuss canada's a secure source for oil for the united states? did you received any assurances that america looks keenly on a pipeline to the gulf coast. >> i have had two conversations with president mubarak. each time i have emphasized the fact that the future of egypt is going to be in the hands of the egyptians. it is not us who will determine that future. i have also said that in light of what has happened over the last two weeks, going back to the old ways is not going to work. suppression is not going to work.
engaging in violence is not going to work. attempting to shut down information flows is not going to work. in order for each to have a bright future, the only thing that will work is moving it an orderly transition process that begins right now and in cages all of the parties that leads to democratic practices, a fair and free elections and a representative government that is responsible to the grievances of the egyptian people. i believe that president mubarak cares about his country. he is proud, but he is also a patriot. what i have suggested to him is that he needs to consult with those who are around him in to government. he needs to listen to what is being voiced by the egyptian people. and make a judgment about a
pathway for word that is orderly and a path that is meaningful and serious. he has already said that he is not going to run for reelection. this is somebody that has been in power for a very long time in egypt. having made that psychological break, that decision that he will not be running again, it is most important for him to ask himself and the egyptian government to ask itself and the opposition to ask itself, how do we make that transition affective and a lasting and legitimate? that is not a decision that the united states makes or any country outside of each it makes. what we can do is affirmed the core principles that are going to be involved in that transition. if you end up having just gestures towards the opposition,
but it leads to a continuing suppression of the opposition, that is not going to work. if you have the pretense of reform, but not real reform, that is not going to be effective. once the president himself announced that he was not going to be running again, that his term was up relatively shortly, the key question he should be asking themselves is, how do i leave a legacy behind in which egypt is able to get through this transformative period? i hope that he will make the right decision. >> you asked me about the question of energy. we did discuss the matter that he raised. let me just say that. it is clear to anyone who understands this issue that the
need of the united states for fossil fuels far in excess of its abilities to create such energy will be the reality for some time to come. the choice the united states faces in all of these matters is whether to increase its capacity, to accept such energy from the most secure, most able, and friendliest location attica possibly get that energy, which is canada, or from other places that are not as secure are friendly to the values of the united states. >> prime minister, can you enter this in english and french? canadians will be asking how much of our sovereignty and privacy rights will be given up to have more open borders an integrated economy. i wanted to ask you about egypt as well, whether you think
president mubarak should be stepping down sooner and whether that will help the transition? on the sovereignty issue, you can answer, but you do not have to speak in french. >> thank you. i love french. i am just not very capable of speaking it. >> on the question of sovereignty, this declaration is not about sovereignty. we are sovereign countries that have the capacity to act as we choose to act. we are choosing to act in a sovereign way that serves canada's interest. it is in canada's interest to work with our partners in the united states to ensure that our borders are secure and ensure that we can trade and travel across them as safely and openly as possible within the context of our different laws. that is what we are trying to
achieve here. there are shared security threats that are very similar on both sides of the border. we share an integrated economic space where it does not make sense to constantly check the same cargo over and over again. weekend decongest the border. if we can harmonize regulations in ways that will avoid unnecessarily -- unnecessary duplication, these are things that we need to do. that is what this is about. it is about the safety of canadians and creating jobs and economic growth for the canadian economy. i will do french and then i will come back to egypt. [speaking french]
transition is occurring and will occur in egypt. the question is, what kind of transition this will be and how it will lead? it is up to the egyptian people to decide who will govern them. we want to lean towards a future that is not simply more democratic, but a future where that democracy is guided by such values as non-violence, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities and religious minorities. [speaking french]
any countries on earth. we have this border that benefits when it is open. the free flow of goods and services result in huge economic benefits for both sides. the goal here is to make sure that we are coordinated closely and as we are taking steps and measures to ensure both of openness and security, that we are doing so in ways that enhances the relationship instead of creating tension in the relationship. we are confident that we are going to be able to achieve that. we have made progress on very specific issues. we are trying to look at this in a more comprehensive fashion so it is not just border security
issue. i have great confidence that prime minister harper is going to be very protective of certain core values of canada just as i would be protective of core values of the united states. those will not always match up perfectly. i agree even more with his answer in french. thank you very much, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> c-span is a private, nonprofit company created in 1979 as a public service. coming up next, a discussion on unrest in egypt and tunisia. then, a discussion with robert mcdowell on broadband policy. 2008 vice-presidential nominee sarah palin at a banquet for the 100th anniversary of the birth of ronald reagan. tomorrow, and dick cheney is the featured speaker at the closing banquet of the 100th anniversary of the birthday of ronald reagan. watch our coverage at 10:15 eastern on c-span. on television, on radio, and online, c-span, bringing public
affairs to you, created by cable, it is washington your way. >> former u.s. ambassador to egypt edward walker said today that president mubarak lost control of the army and could not maintain stability in the country. this chap was hosted by the middle east institute. it is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning, i am kate seelye.
we have been watching it interesting events unfold on the ground. we have the current protests in tahrir square, the results remain to be seeing. we are watching a non- ideologically driven people's movement with all of the pitfalls. they are overthrowing the shackles of fear after living under decades of autocracy. we can and we do deserve a democracy. we are capable of democracy. the view has been to believe that if you give arabs their freedom or if they are about to have their freedom, they would not choose in ideological groups like hamas or hezbollah. i believe that if they are able to gain democratic reforms,
hamas and al qaeda would lose. with us are two middle east experts. ambassadors alan goulty and edward walker that between them have more than 60 years of experience working on the ground and in the field. pretty remarkable. you put it together. these are experts who speak arabic. you look at the region beyond the narrow prism of national security interests, a prospective lacking that for too long in policy circles. they will give insight in what is unfolding and what the -- what steps the european community can take to guide the perilous process. there is a lot at stake and a lot to be worried about. the protesters in egypt are not going home.
what can the u.s. and europe do, given their close ties to mubarak and other leaders, south to help encourage constructive change in the region. ambassador goulty will start by looking at events in tunisia. he has spent in both locations. from 2004-2008, he served as ambassador to tunisia. before that, and he served as ambassador to sudan. he is currently at non-residents senior scholar at the woodrow wilson center and teaches at georgetown. edward walker will be focusing on egypt where he served as ambassador from 1994-1997. he has also served as ambassador to israel and the united arab emirates. i should know that he knows it
tunisia. he was also president of the middle east institute and teaches global politics ed hamilton college. it is an honor to have both of you with us today. it is going to be a very interesting program. we will leave a lot of room and time for questions. we will begin by inviting the embassador goulty to the podium. >> thank you very much for that generous introduction. i am only sorry that i left my frame behind so that the it shared experience would not be visible. who would have thought that events in tunisia would have attracted such a large crowd? who would have thought that all of this activity and activism which sparked by it -- would be sparked by a revolution in
tunisia a dent -- from the suicide of a man in a small town. why did we not see it coming? perhaps you did see it coming. let's see a quick show of hands who last november sought a revolution coming in tunisia. mine is not up. when we arrived in 2004, it took my wife, who was a train political analyst, about six weeks to ask, when is this place going to blow? that was a question. it was not a question of if. people have the analysis, broadly speaking, right. we could see the poverty in remote corners. we could see the unemployment. the young men doing nothing in cafes and on the streets. we knew about the denial of free speech.
we were all too familiar with police harassment. we were aware of the corruption of the family of banli and his wife. we saw the good things on the other side. standard economic growth rate. we saw the gradual development of industry exporting to europe. we allow that to wait too much in the equation. -- weigh too much in the equation. the regime seemed too confident. i cannot tell you how often they said, but do not talk to me about human-rights. we are all two nations and we understand. you do not understand that the opposition are basically all terrorists. those are a couple of assertions
that we should have challenged more vigorously. all of this came down to the position that the safe prediction for an ambassador or pundit or journalist that things would go on tomorrow much as they did today. more of the same is always a safe prediction. it put me in good stead for four years in tunisia. the suicide of mohamed, it touched some of the tunisian nerves. it invoked the poverty, the petty harassment by the police, which seems to have been the last straw. that is something that from the heart that the two nations could react to. it is interesting that they reacted across the country. not only the impoverished
internal towns. let's take a quick look at the lessons for dictators from his attempt to cope with this. kit is a dictator's tool and what other -- what might other dictators seized on to dampen down protests in their own countries? benali tried to put himself on the side of the victims. he tried promises. i recall one promise of an incredible number of new jobs to be created. they had not been created since 1987. it was mostly improbable that they would be created now. he tried dispersing the government. incidently, getting brett -- getting rid of the strong man interior. that is being tried in egypt and
jordan. he offered to stand down at the end of his term in 2014. this was a particularly bogus offer. under the constitution, he could not have stood again anyway. the two nations saw through that. -- tunisians saw through that. he could have used the use of force. we see that in egypt and sudan. we saw that the army did not obey orders to open fire. all of these tools, in the case of tunisia, this is a lesson that dictators elsewhere may learn, were taken as signs of weakness and encouraged the protests rather than the reverse. even so, why did he flee so
quickly? why was the change so sudden? there were three main causes. the first was that the army would not connived in a policy of repression. second, he was probably genuinely surprised and taken aback and did not know what to do, i will not say for the best, but to survive. i do believe it is a case of the emperor had no clothes. his advisers did not tell him of the resentment on the streets and the act it -- of the activities of his wife and family. and the stifling of anything approaching free expression in the media have the effect of not only removing a possible safety valve come but also of depriving to himself of a bit of a warning. there were no op-ed people
saying how unpopular the regime was. finally, i think the family lost their nerve and wanted to get out with their gains while they could. it does not look like they're getting away with that, given the measures taken. i think that was probably a factor. on the other hand, we have the protesters. do we learn from tunisia by their tool kit? not very much. the initial demand was to kill the ruler and get rid of the ruler. that is widespread. the second command in tunisia was to say no to the replacement government. there were too many holders -- holdovers from those close to the dictator. that come up for the moment,
seems to have satisfied the protests. friends there tell us that the situation is calm. there is sporadic trouble. police are off the streets. there are no roadblocks in tunis. there is a new government that is composed of an extremely competent people. they have grasped the situation and are beginning to tackle the situation with a commendable energy. one thing that has dramatically changed is that there is now a full briefing on tunisian cabinet meetings. we know what the government is discussing. it is quite an impressive list. they are starting to help the poorest by instituting an
unemployment benefit. they want to take over half of the private sector that was controlled by benali's family. they wanted to look into the excesses' committee during the disturbances, to investigate past corruption, and to lead in the reform process. they have taken decisions to adhere to the international human rights conventions that tunisia has not yet accepted and to review the reservations that tunisia has expressed to others. they have taken measures to allow the interim president to issue laws by decree, which the cabinet has the effect of bypassing the two-chamber national assembly, which is still controlled by partisans of the rcd and presumably has some
interest in maintaining the old status quo. that is not very democratic. as long as it is expedient for the short term, it seems to be a good thing. among the laws that are being reviewed, which need to be amended by this process, there are those on political parties, on association, on the press, and on terrorism. the broad underpinning of the approach. the key elements of the repressive regime. part of this is to prepare for new elections. i would be cautiously optimistic at this stage that they will succeed in this process. there can be in tunisia, a free
and fair elections. what i cannot tell you is who is going to win them. one of the lessons for all of us that the safe prediction that tomorrow will be like today is not only not safe in tunisia, but also across the region. you can identify two or three broad groups, partisans of the regime. the ruling party claimed it two million adherents out of a population of 10.5 million. there are an enormous number of police, when hundred 30,000 or so, and security people, -- 130,000 or so, and security people, all of whom have relatives. it will not be time for a witch hunt. the second element of the opposition, the human-rights activists, the trade unionists, who have been unable to have a
grass you -- a grass-roots organization, but are trying to come together and develop a program. and eventually to identify one or possibly more presidential candidates. then there are the islamists, who did not play much of a part in the street protests, the so- called jasmine revolution. they are not claiming to have done so. their leader is back from britain. and professing that the party excepts the marriage of islam and western values and will not seek an islamic regime in tunisia, which would be unpopular with large segments of the population. it is too soon to predict the outcome. there will certainly be
elections. i am not sure that we are yet able to draw all of the lessons we should from this experience. making a general point, that is that we should not take at face se regimes tells us. we should put ourselves in positions to make our own judgments. we have to get out from behind the 10-foot walls that surround embassies and talk to the people that do not get the raw material on which to base an assessment without going out to seek it. it means talking to opposition parties, to civil society, where you can find civil society elements, as well as to the government.
it does mean, in my view, that we should be talking to the islamists. it is a weakness of our system that in order to blockade or not to infuriate benali, we did not officially have any contact with him during his 18 years in london. we can see elsewhere that the failure to engage with hamas once they had won an election that we concluded was free and fair has not done us any favors in palestine or in the middle east more widely. as to what should happen now, i think in respect to the judge -- tunisia, a measure of modesty and discretion is in order.
some of the eu states were among the biggest backers. the tear gas grenades are stamped, made in the u.s. we cannot be seen it too quickly to abandon our friends. yet, we want to position ourselves with the forces of democracy and so on. quiet support to a democratic civil society forces in the region seems to be desirable. in tunisia, it is already happening. we must be prepared to do this on the economic side. with free trade agreements. a lot of the motivation for these protests is economic. people who are not well paid. they see the prices of food and the fuel going through the roof.
after finding themselves much well off -- much less well off. the original bargain was eat and shut up. as long as the original economy hell, that work. now it seems to be speak up and tighten your belts. now we need to help the belt- tightening process. helpless of all society encourage new investment, preferential access to our markets and to discretion and modesty. how that will translate to other parts of the middle east, especially egypt, i leave to ned. >> thanks very much, ambassador goulty. [applause] >> thank you, a very much.
what he has said about tunisia can be applied to egypt as well. not all of it, but most of it. i would agree that you cannot take at face value what these regimes tell you. i am not sure we took at face value what our intelligence agencies told us. they were as surprised as i was by the events in tunis. egypt has been waiting to blow for some time. tunis seem to be a little bit more placid. the standard of living egypt.s higher than the basic institutions of government are not there. they have disappeared. you still have your state enterprises, you still have your internal security police, although they are not on the
streets at the moment. you have a very substantial military force and a very powerful military force. the vast bureaucracy continues to maintain the functions of the state. a little bit ave hiccup here and there. the economy is not doing so well. everybody is in place. you have not had a complete disappearance of the structure that was in place before. in terms of who is controlling what, that is up in the air. mubarak still controls the internal security apparatus. with what is going on on the streets, the indication is that he does not control them like before. his control over the national democratic party is still
strong. the way that they were pulled out into the streets. the ndp is history. new forces will have to come out to take its place. he controls the ndp and its infrastructure. he brings people out in elections to by the vote. the vote cost 50 pounds in egypt. that is $8.60 per pound per vote. he does not have absolute control over the military. that is a key change. the military may or may not obey his orders. they have made it very clear that they are not going to confront the crowd. they are not going to shoot the egyptians. this is the traditional position of the egyptian military. its primary interest is state.
it is loyal to the state, not to an individual. it is also to the army. it is very clear that any kind of taking on a crowd and shooting people in the streets will be destructive, maybe even the conclusion of the army's place in society. the army has an important place in society. it is highly respected. it has a long history of doing things that the egyptian people support. it does not have a history of suppressing egyptians. that was always taken by the black-coated groups. mubarak is still being challenged by the revolution. it is not going anywhere. it is out in tahrir square. he has taken a lesson from
benali. it is the wrong lesson. he has taken the lesson that if you leave, you are seen to be a coward. mubarak is anything but a coward. this is a military man. he loves his country. he has done a great many things for his country in the past. in my view, he has lost touch in the last five years or so. we use to reach out to people to get opinions to get a sense of what the people were thinking. the circle around him has gotten tighter and tighter. they have insulated him from the people. maybe his age is beginning to have an impact as well. he is not walking out the door tomorrow. he is determined, and he believes that if he leaves, egypt will collapse and go into
chaos. this is not some figment of his imagination. he believes this very intensely. he believes he can help egypt come out of this chaos. he endowed suleiman with the power to succeed him. he has been in the intelligence school for decades. he does not represent the army directly. he was considered to be taken because of his long service under mubarak. the popular mood did not really accept him as an alternative. he was initially rebuffed by the muslim brotherhood. he was rebuffed by the opposition. some of that opposition appears to be disappearing at this point. there are more and more people that are willing to talk to him or through him with the regime in hopes that he can persuade
mubarak to take the message and to leave. the position seemed to be moderating. the muslim brotherhood has been saying the right things. it is not exactly a revolutionary organization. it is a state organization run by old men like me and not really interested in rebellion or revolution. it wants to have a part in what ever comes in the future. i think it is a mistake to believe the threats of mubarak and some others that the muslim brotherhood is the same thing virtually as inviting osama bin laden. the brotherhood is no longer, i think it was, a revolutionary organization. it is not to say that it is not religious.
they can live in a context of a multi-faction governance without challenging the ultimate situation in egypt. they have opened the door in any event. they have one really serious problem for taking over. all of these comparisons to iran in 1979 are not really taking a hard look at, what is the situation in egypt? egypt is not iran. there is no ayatollah waiting to bring his ideology and his charisma to the people to galvanize them and bring them to the egyptian masses. there is no equivalent that can galvanize or bring about a
coherent opposition to mubarak. i do not think that the people who tried to wave the flag that you have got to do something to save mubarak, because otherwise we are going to get the islamic fundamentalists in egypt, it is not going to happen. look at the way the military is handling this. it is treading a very careful path. it has been out and around the crowd. it has not suppressed the demonstrations. it has retained its virginity in the overall complexion of what will come next. it has taken a enough of a position so that the crowd wellcome's it still. they do not revile it.
they do not throw stones at it. the minister of defense waded into the crowd yesterday and was welcomed by the proud. i think the military is very clearly part of the solution to the problem. i am quite sure that suleiman does not want to be president. in all of my contacts with him, that does not seem to be his style. he is happy to be in the background. always happy to be a loyal participant in running the state, but not a leader or trying to take that position over himself. another's wife would shoot him at if she saw him try to take that job. she serves a great breakfast. she does not want him to be president of egypt.
it is not an easy job and it is not a thankful job, as you can see. the reception of the military still seems to be solid. they still have that position that they can influence the future. our secretary of defense and our military figures, people who have worked with the egyptians for years have been in constant contact. the relationship has been so tight and the friendship has been so tight that we have very good access to the military. not so with the internal military forces. that is where we have our primary support. i do not worry about the future if there is -- they have -- if have a place in whatever comes next. the administration is being careful most of the time. they do not want to get out in front of the egyptians.
they stumbled in their initial reactions to these events. there was no excuse for the vice president to die that mubarak was a dictator. it was strange that the secretary of state was suggesting that this was a stable regime. most governments, and i have spent in one for a long time, are not that responsive to events. it takes them a while to figaro what is going on and where things are going. they understand that it is not possible for mubarak to put the genie back in the box. he has to leave. it is not just mubarak. there has to be constitutional changes, it has to have political changes, it has to have a new political structure. it will take some time.
transition will take some time. the trick is to find a way to get action quickly enough so that the people will find it credible. that is what was wrong with the way that mubarak reacted. he said some of the right things. i am not going to run for reelection. my son is not going to run for reelection. nobody believes him. he has lost credibility with the vast majority of egyptians. until you actually change the constitution, until you disband the ndp, everything will go back to the way it was. they are very much afraid that when mubarak's game plan was to wait this thing out, just to stand pat, do not get too excited, do not actually confront the crowds and create a civil war. do not show weakness.
stand by your guns and it will disappear. these people will get tired. they will get hungry. back, he should take a look at what has belote did in lebanon. how many months was thatthe egye ability to sustain this operation so long as they have the army in a position where it is not going to go in with tanks. mubarak is wrong if he thinks this is just going to go away and he will step in and restore his position. in reality, the future will be defined by the military more than by anybody. it is not a dictatorial kind of group. it is a traditional military
leadership. they have a strong sentiments of loyalty and patriotism. they have fought wars for israel, against israel, and for egypt. they have died for egypt. they will be sustained as a group. i do not believe they have ambitions to take over the country in a military dictatorship. it is not their style. they do not strike me as being built that way. statements have done very little to assuage the demands of the crowds. his statements to christy haniaa amanpour -- a friend told me it
was typical dictator [bleep]. [laughter] he said a few things that could be interpreted as being a new, but nothing definitive. the way back for him was left open. in addition to this, most of the people i talked to are absolutely convinced that it was mubarak who put the thugs out into the streets and the camels out into the streets. there were vicious attacks against the crowds and vicious attacks against the media as if they can close down the media. these guys must never have heard of [unintelligible] you cannot control it anymore. i am quite sure that the crowds can find its way of realm censorship.
-- find its way around sister ship. the real problems i see the egyptians facing is that mubarak's departure will not create one job. it will not put bread on anybody's table. it will not lower the rate of inflation. problems in egypt are fundamental or systemic. they are certainly a part of mubarak as a symbol of problems. but you cannot solve them by elimination of one man. it will take more work and more time to start to show real improvement. the first thing people have to do is restore the confidence of the economy and the future of egypt. you have got moodys downgrading egypt to negative.
the estimates for the demonstrations are costing egypt $310 million every day. the estimate of growth has been revised from 3.7% to 5.3% due to the instability. these figures will make it even harder to provide jobs or direct investment and the kind of stability people really want to have in egypt. the new crowd coming in as a huge job. first of all, to restore confidence in the community. if it comes in with an anti- business agenda, everyone will suffer. i had the strong impression -- the military as more companies
and factories than any other sector of the economy. they are not exactly immune to what business requires. they may be immune to the kind of legal structure needed to encourage it. in the short-term, there can be shortages. there will be other problems that will come up. i think the military is in a good position to provide stockpiles that are available to take care of these shortages. that will play to their strength. it will also play, however, to the strength of the muslim brotherhood to has a structure capable of providing priest -- resources to the poorest people. the estimates of the brotherhood's and packed under the worst possible terms probably run around 40% of the
boat. that seems to be exaggerated. the figures i have heard or about 20%. it all depends on how this thing comes out in the end. mind you, egypt is a very religious society. it is not a theocracy in any sense of the word. but egyptians are pious. i reset pupil of egyptians highlighted the fact that 85% of the population has a positive view of is long's influence on politics. only 22% had 8-8 v. they want as long engaged in the policy. however, 61% of the population are somewhat or very concerned about islamic extremism in egypt. they want the pious form of
islam. they want to feel that their religion is a constructive, not destructive. what about the impact on other arab cities? we sell the sport live from tunisia to egypt -- we salt the spark fly from tunisia to egypt. certainly, it will fly elsewhere. it is, to my view, somewhat exaggerated. the conditions are different in each of the countries involved. saudi arabia and the gulf states can take care of short-term shortages or concerns of the population. they can in some senses by their way out, but they are not unpopular to start with. no one is calling for the head of the king of saudi arabia. the popularity factor -- jordan is certainly more verbal -- more
vulnerable. peking has fired the principal target of the content -- the king has fired the principal target of the discontent. the king is not as popular as the used to be, but he still has stature. the jordanians do not want to throw away the symbol of the monarchies. most of us need to understand that if they can what to avoid the chaos in egypt, they have to have that simple. i do not see a revolution in jordan, although the jordanians will pay a lot more attention to creating jobs and other things. that could be a good thing. anchor was certainly directed at the former prime minister and
the new prime minister seems to have a better standing with the populace. algeria and libya, syria -- these guys have no compunction about using military force to stop people. if mubarak had had the ability to command the army to go in and shoot those protesters from the beginning, he probably could have put this down very quickly. he did not had that ability because the army would not do it. there is a difference between the army in egypt, which is of the people and believes it is of the people, and the algerian army to as a long experience of doing things to its own people. the example of egypt is not
going to spread like prairie fire throughout the middle east. the key is to try and help shape the nature of that fire in egypt itself. foreigners have to be very careful. the egyptian military does not like people telling it what to do, particularly how to run their country. the egyptian people do not like foreigners telling people what to do. they feel empowered now more than ever before. they feel they have the ability to shape their own future. this is extraordinary. it is what the most hopeful things to come out of this. people sitting in the square, helping each other, standing watch at night. one of my friends takes is a cricket bat out every night and stands guard. it is not a weapon of choice for me, but you might prefer
that one. [laughter] >> we used them in beirut. [laughter] >> it is a sense of accomplishment. that is a very important thing. we get it. we never thought we could do it, but we did it. president obama did it. it is not his -- hosni mubarak who did it -- we the people did it. that feeling is profoundly important for the future of egypt. if the egyptians take charge of their own future and take responsibility for their own problems, there is a much better chance that we will all be able to work together to solve those problems. i do not see how this situation comes out in the final analysis. i certainly hope it comes out well. there are some hopeful signs at this point.
the egyptians seem poised to take charge of their own destiny. that is a great thing. [applause] >> thank you very much. all right. now, time for questions. i will take the parodic did of the floor to start. there is a lot to think about and talk about. a question for both ambassadors -- you mentioned that mubarak will not step down. he is a stubborn man, yet the protesters say they will not leave until he does. the muslim brotherhood say they will not back off until mubarak steps down. how do you see this impasse being sold? alan, if you could bring your diplomatic expertise to bear on something we talked about -- the
role we are playing in the egyptian crisis, what are the dangers of being seen as intervening or interfering? what balance does the u.s. and europe need to follow as they died mubarak and other leaders towards making reforms? -- as they guide mubarak and other leaders towards making reforms? >> mubarak has said he will die on egyptian soil. i do not think that is him saying he will commit suicide. i think the generals have concluded there is no other alternative. the trick is to find an honorable way out.
he is a symbol of the state. people have a sense that you do not want to embarrass him work diminish him in any way. you do not want to see him running for cover. a nice retirement makes sense. a lifetime entitlement, if you will, some kind of honorary position or so on -- an honorable way al is what they have to find. >> ambassador goulty? >> it is clear that most western leaders are encouraging mubarak to step down. the trick for them is to do it in such a way he does not look like -- it does not look like american or western
interference and it does not dismay friends of the west and elsewhere, not just in the middle east, to think that we abandon our friends when they get into difficulties. there is a national expectation and international expectation that governments will do something and say something. the european union was supposed to be saying something this afternoon. i have not yet heard what it is. the question is to go beyond went mubarak should go -- what happens next? it would be a minor miracle at the tunisian experience so far is replicated in egypt with a competent government taking steps to do things to meet the grievances of the people and the aspirations of the people. in egypt you have a big question mark -- will the army
really want, if they take over, -- if you look at the demonstrators, you'll see most of them are young. if you look at the egyptian leadership, they are old enough to be the protester's grandparents. there used to be a joke that you could not be an approved leader of an opposition party unless you were old. it is becoming harder and harder to meet the qualification. [laughter] the muslim brotherhood leadership is also old. i ask myself, if mubarak wet, the next administration -- will there be more demands to get rid of the old figures from the previous regime? we saw this in tunis.
>> we have a question here in the front. wait for the microphone please. >> thank you very much for your views on tunisia and egypt. for ambassador goulty, there is no european union in the middle east. this is why we know that the you place a very important role in eastern europe, but we have egypt surrounded by dictatorships like libya. that puts a tunisian democracy in a very dangerous place. i would like to hear your view on the factors in tunisia. we do not know until now the
outcome of the constitutional reform. with my contacts in tunisia, the -- they want to change the system to be like the uk or turkey. i think that would make more problems for the tunisian parliament. [unintelligible] that will lead to an interference from other neighbors. >> thank you. let's take another question. we have a lady in the back. >> i am a photographer.
my question is how big of a role do our feelings here in the u.s. -- i mean, our government -- does israel play? i do feel that we have been a little bit slow getting on board supporting the egyptian people because we are concerned with israel and its cancer -- and its security and what israel wants. a lot of people probably know that sadat was loved by a lot of their own people. jazeera was going to release some papers to show what was really going on. >> thank you very much.
>> the need for the people -- the general people as opposed to the government's wishes and where they should stand. >> be what the tunisia question? -- do you want the tunisia question? >> i was hoping to be relieved. [laughter] thank you for your questions. i think the european -- european union is present in tunisia and egypt. we have agreements that offer the prospect of opening wider markets to both countries. with regards to possible libyan and algerian interference in tunisia, it is possible. tunis is very careful to be balancing -- it is a small country caught between two big
and unpredictable countries. certainly they have enough problems at home not to take on the lot in tunisia. as regards changes in the political system, it is too early to say. the british system of two parties. it is not clear where the two parties are coming from in tunisia. what is clear is that political reform will be actively discussed and the opposition will be seeking to organize and build support. as regards the question on israel, let me say very briefly that there is no doubt that sentiment on the street is more hostile to israel than almost all arab governments. i remember a tunisian minister saying to me -- you have to
realize that our foreign policy is deeply unpopular in regards to israel. that is one estes of the tunisian minister understanding of what is being said on the streets. >> there is no question that israel is not the most popular institution anywhere in the arab world, but particularly not in egypt. egypt has a long history of being disappointed by israel. everybody talks about the peace and held that disappointed israelis. the egyptians were equally disappointed. it was the opening for the past resolution of the palestinian situation. they were discouraged. shortly after the treaty with egypt, you had the invasion of lebanon.
egyptians have good reason to have lost confidence that the peace treaty was a great for them. the one exception to that is the military. the military thinks it is a great peace treaty. it has relieved -- people think of it as relieving israel of threat, the egyptians think a bit as relieving it of a threat from israel. they fought several wars with israel. this was an opportunity to recover the suez canal, which is a big money earner. it gave them the oil fields. it gave them a tourist mecca. half of the tourist sites are owned by ex military people. so long as the military is involved, i do not see any effort to undo that treaty. that treaty is pretty
substantial. it has survived incredible stresses. as the population reacted to israeli actions. that is not to say that israel cannot help the process. as a new government forms -- i am sure one will form. if there is a way that israel can open up the dialogue with the palestinians, that will help. it will give people in the region encouragement. it does not mean they have to give away the store, but it does mean they have to be reasonable in terms of listening to other positions and making compromises where compromises can be made. that is what happened at camp david. it was coming together to find common interests. there are plenty of common interest between the israeli people and the egyptian people. i think and i hope that this
will not mark a substantial change in the overall relationship. i do not think the egyptian people are going to embrace israel tomorrow. it is not what to happen, but israel, thus far, has played this thing very well. that is unusual. [laughter] they have kept their mouths shut. they have let it go. they had been watching carefully and they are certainly making contingency plans and everything else. i think they have done a very smart thing in the way they have managed this. prime minister netanyahu has given the egyptians freedom to make their own choices and to move forward without having to react to outside pressures and reactions. we have been less sensitive than the israelis, actually.
some of the things that we have said. >> great. we will take a couple more questions. >> thank you. i have two quick questions. the first one deals with what was just said. there does not seem to be a spokesman do scenes to be generally accepted by the rebellious people. since the army, as you say, has spent behaving so well, do you not they from the point of view of what you just said about israel and the fact that the army is quite respected and pleased by the general revolutionaries, that someone in the military might be the proper spokesman for the revolution? my second question has to do with economic development in egypt. i have heard that china, for one, is going to build some dams
in the upper region, not in egypt itself, but the further reaches of the nile. if they were to be built, they would deprive it of its major resource becky's the country fertile. >> thank you. >> thanks to both of you for a very insightful and sober evaluation. i am particularly glad that you emphasized the constructive role the moderate islamist are likely to play. i am not particularly a fan. i teach israeli studies at the university of maryland, but i
think they absolutely have to be part and it has to be accepted by the u.s. and the west. my question is, do you think this perception is gaining any ground in this country and europe given the demonization of all islamists in the last 10 and work years -- 10 and more years? if we attempt to keep the brotherhood out of the process, it will do ourselves and egypt a lot of damage. briefly, do you think omar suleiman will be allowed and it
is he able to play a role like in reining in aev repressive regime? >> i think the mood in this country is getting more sophisticated. it is not there, yet. i think people can distinguish between good muslims and that muslims, if you will. i think there has been a lot of work done by the administration to highlight that. not everybody is osama bin laden just because they have an islamic faith. i think most people in this country now understand that. i do not see die-hard opposition
to having the muslim brotherhood playing a part in the egyptian government. after all, we have accepted that in jordan for years. the muslim brotherhood is part of the assembly. it has been elected. it is true in a couple of other places. i do not think the problem will be our people. at onto this the fact that now you have one of the leaders joining the crowd in the square . i cannot remember his name. he has been the spokesman and as suddenly resigned his position to join the people in tahir square. i think that is a stunning
statement. it also will help relieve this edge of fear about the muslim brotherhood or islamic fundamentalism. i think that is one of the key things. the nile and china building dams -- i had been told by military that then each iegypt military would not accept that because egypt cannot accept change in its proportion of the nile waters. this is an existential problems for egypt. this is not one where the military as a lot of flexibility or feels a lot of flexibility. that is why we need to focus on -- there is still time and lots of negotiations about this. there has been no real breakthrough on this subject. suleiman will play a role, there
is no question about it. he is a very impressive died. he is very -- he is a very impressive guy. he is very close to our intelligence agencies. he is very bright and moderate in his views. i think he will play a role, but he will probably not play the pivotal role because that will come out of the regular army itself. we do not even know all the players there. >> alan, do you want to address the question of the muslim brotherhood? >> the political correctness in this town -- i have dealt a lot with sudan. i would just comment a little bit. yes, there are plans for the chinese to build dams. one of them is already under
construction. yes, it will lead to an additional loss of water through evaporation. it is not at all an environment where someone was to create a large, flat surface for water to be evaporated. nevertheless, it is true that under the existing nile waters agreement, sudan does not use its full quota. i do not take quite such a tragic view. egypt will make a huge fuss if it does not receive its full quota, but there is no reason to suppose that will not happen. the greater threat, in my view, is further upstream if the ethiopians start banning and taking a lot more water. on a moderate islam, i agree
with the company we have just heard. i think it is for you to tell me whether the idea of talking to moderates is gaining ground. i see some pretty vigorous expression of opinion in the editorial pages of the post. i think it will be a major mistake for the west to start interfering in other people's newly democratic policies to try to influence the victory of one party or another or to demonize one party rather than another. if the two nations and egyptians and others choose to elect islamist to their governments, we will have to find a way of dealing effectively with the results. that is what we do in jordan and morocco. >> great. let's take three more questions.
we have a fellow in the back with a blue and white shirt. the fellow behind him and then david. >> i am with the international council with relief studies. imagine that the muslim brotherhood has the infrastructure to deal with shortages should they occur in egypt. do they have the motivation to see that coming and what would be the effect on their power within the electorate? >> i cannot keep these questions in line. i things it is important to make the distinction. they have the resources to alleviate the problems from a small sector of society, not society as a whole. they do not have those kinds of resources. their trademark is to go out into poorer sectors of the
economy and make the difference, the add-on to what the government already does. they get credit for doing so. i would suspect under the circumstances they would do the same thing. but they cannot replace the government stores or supplies. they cannot replace the distribution system of the army. it will give them a little boost, but it will not be major revolutionary change. >> david? >> i think the first statement that sounded to me like they -- like a u.s. government inspired statement was like senator kerry in the new york times. i thought that was probably what we were telling the egyptians privately. that was that president mubarak , you can really serve your country like the good nationalist that you are by
stepping aside gracefully. the stepping aside gracefully, is that the kind of formula that could include going to where he was spending a lot of time and just retiring even if he keeps the title of president? would that satisfy, do you think, the obama administration? would it satisfy the leaders of the egyptian opposition? would it be the sort of thing the egyptian army would like to see happen? >> i do not think it would satisfy the opposition. the opposition has been that everything on its ability to change the regime. that means getting rid of mubarak. he is a symbol of all sorts of things. he has been unfairly characterized in many cases.
he is a symbol of oppression. he is a symbol of secret police. he is a symbol of torture. the is a symbol of deprivation, although i do not think that is his fault. there is no way that can be accommodated within any structure you might imagine. that does not mean that he could not retire and give up the presidency and let someone else take it over. he could be treated with reverence and deference and so on. everybody could go down there and paid him homage. the constitution has to be changed. he has to be changed. there has to be political parties established. a whole series of events have to take place. >> thank you. there is a question in the back. >> i am with the national democratic institute. i was wondering in terms of
possible names for the army who might be possible successors to mubarak, do any of you gentlemen have any at directions which the chief of staff for the military? what can you tell us about his possible presidential aspirations or anything about him? thank you. >> one of the problems with dealing with the egyptian military when you are an ambassador, you deal with them through the top man. when i talk to the military, i talked to the leader. the way the egyptian system works, they never open their mouths. they listened and you then they make their points behind the scenes. they do not do it in public. there is none of this public scrabbling that we do so readily in this country.
there needs to be a voice to represent a consensus. my experience with the egyptian military is that they are very professional. they are very loyal. they are nationalists in the sense that they want to do the right thing for egypt. they have been loyal to mubarak as president, but as president, not as a man. that is the distinction one has to keep in mind. i have confidence that coming up to the system -- he is of that mold and will be an asset for the egyptians as we move forward. >> do we had a tunisia question? if not -- there is a gentleman back here. that is all right. we do not have seemed to -- we do not seem to have any tunisia questions. >> we need you on a microphone.
we have a lot of cameras in the room. >> i offer an opportunity for penance. do you gentlemen wish to confess that you made errors during your tenure as in egypt or tunisia? is there anything you might have done differently during your time there? >> good question. >> there is always stuck you can do differently. the question is what you are putting your emphasis on and the priorities you face at any given time. we have had a lot of dealings with egypt over a long period of time. we have as some successful dealings, such as the peace treaty with israel. we have helped develop a military that is modern and professional. it is actually standing in the streets now as a moderating
force in this crisis. i think they have taken a very responsible role. while i argue that this a ministration should not take credit for things like that, it still has something to do with the communications and we have had and the training we have had of the military. if it is a force for good, we have had a part in that. we also, while i was in egypt, was pressing the concept of economic reform, reform of the legal structure, trying to enhance the businesses. we thought that was the important thing to do. did we do enough for democratic institution building? no. there was a bit of that in the first four years of the bush a administration. i thought it was fairly productive. indeed, a number of the non- governmental institutions in
egypt at the time felt empowered because of the position the bush administration was taken. -- was taking. it did not survive into the obama administration, although he tried to reignite that feeling in his speech in cairo. it was not really geared towards democracy. if we did make a mistake, i think it largely dealt with the fact that our programs while they were geared towards building institutions of democracy, maybe they were not aggressive enough. we were too easily dissuaded from events like changing the social welfare system and how non-governmental organizations are accredited and so on. we could have done more that way, but i am rather proud of
the way we handle our relationship with egypt up till now. >> alan? >> i think i would have preferred david's question. [laughter] when kate was sending me about this event, i said why do you not get david to do it? he is the real tunisian expert. i am sorry we had not had that exchange. i do not really do confessions. [laughter] i suppose it i am not very proud that now of efforts that were not successful to get closer to the pretty awful ben ali family. they were aloof and i got nowhere with them, although i did have a famous dinner that
was described in one of those cables that was leaked. [laughter] i do have regrets, though. regrets, really, that we were not able despite considerable effort either on the european side or bilaterally to have more impact on the petty abuses that once all two-out tunisia -- the restrictions on freedom of speech, the u. n meeting, for example, that was called off because opposition people had been invited to attend. it was suddenly announced that the hotel air-conditioning had failed. an important meeting could not be held in that hotel and no other hotel in the country was
available on short notice. there were things like that that we could not be more vocal about. i do not think it would have done much good. it might have caught short our stay in tunis and enabled us to settle rather earlier back in washington. i do not think it would have made much difference, but i do regret it. the other thing i do regret on a more personal level, the society -- it was possible to have a debate around the table with people from the opposition and government together. in tunis, we felt it was not possible. on every occasion which i to set one up, the guest would inquire who else was coming. if government people were coming, the opposition people would not because they would not be able to speak freely without
fear of repercussions. on the other side, if the government people heard an oppositionist had been invited, they were afraid of being rebuked and discredited from within their own system. that is a measure of the system we live under and i regret it. the it does seem, now, that in regions of all sorts, from all walks of life, are relishing a free press and the ability to talk freely. that is a good thing. >> it is important to remember that if you are the president of the country like tunisia or egypt, you develop a very thin skin. you do not appreciate it when foreigners criticize you. you certainly do not appreciate it when embassadors criticize you. the bottom line is if you were publicly engaged in criticism of mubarak, you would not have been
in egypt for very long. you would not have been kicked out because of the relationship with the u.s., but you never get in the door again. what is the point of being an ambassador if you cannot get in the door? we have to lead it to the administration to make the outrageous statements that drive mubarak nuts. [laughter] or two senators schumer. it is a healthy part of our system. >> i am afraid we are out of time. i want to thank our panelists for their insights and observations. thank you, you all. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> tonight, former alaskan palin, liveaarah at 11:00 p.m. eastern here on c- span. our coverage of the young america's foundation continues tomorrow night with former vice president dick cheney. he is the closing speak here at this banquet marking the 100th anniversary of president ronald reagan thursday. that is live at 10:15 eastern here on c-span. >> listen to historic supreme
court cases on c-span radio. saturday, from 2003, the fair housing act, racial discrimination, and liability. >> the complaint says that he should be liable as an individual because the old the corporation. he should also be liable because he was the officer on record. >> listen to the argument on c- span radio. you can listen online at c- spanradio.org. >> the federal communications commissioner says the recent decision on next neutrality would likely go down in flames. this is part of a day-long conference on broadband policy. it is almost one hour.
>> i want to welcome our c-span audience. we are glad c-span is with us today. we thank them for that. i am please to have with me the sec commissioner, robert mcdowell. i will give the formal introduction in just a few minutes. if he were with us this morning, we had meredith baker give the keynote address. it is nice to have the commissioner with us as a book and. i recognize a lot of the audience members from the last two conferences.
commissioner mcdowell mentioned this morning that this is the third annual conference. i have no compunction with using the word "annual." it now has a wing of permanence. we had the past fcc chair. he was on the verge of becoming the broadband czar, the executive director of the national broadband plan. last year we had in your chair the current fcc chief of staff. i was very honored to have both of those gentlemen. we had great conversations. many of you can attest to that.
this is really a step up the ladder for us to hand an fcc commissioner with us. which do not agree? -- would you not agree? [laughter] always talking about that earlier. you may have to wait a little while longer. by the way, now that you had been on the commission for -- coming years that you've been on it? >> about four and a half. >> which you have rather been broadband czar, the fcc chief of staff, or a commissioner? >> i think the other two are thankless jobs. i would rather be commissioner. >> that was a little bit tongue
in cheek. we are going to get serious about the job of commissioner shortly. we probably ought to tell the audience right away -- i think i alluded to this earlier -- for those who are uninitiated, we are both graduates of duke university. >> i have my duke notebook here today. blair liked it very much. he said his daughter there. >> we may have to put eight spectrum cap on the number of references to blair. we are still under the limit right now. >> blair, blair, blair, blair. [laughter] >> we are at the limit. you graduated cum laude.
i did not do that, at i am sorry to say. my wife is in the audience. she was phi beta kappa. >> she should be up here in the chair, then. [laughter] >> nevertheless, i am a fellow duke alum. i think that trumps cum laude. i want you to be nice today and i want you to answer all my questions. >> i am always nice. >> everyone in the audience has the official brochure where we have your official biography. i just want to mention a couple of points and we will get right onto it. the commissioner was first
appointed to his seat on the fcc by president george w. bush in 2006. he was reappointed to the commission in 2009 by president barack obama. that means your term runs through 2014. quite correct. >> previously, the commissioner was senior vice president with a telecommunications association and was responsible for advocacy efforts in the white house. the served on the board of directors of north american billing and collection, incorporated. >> keep going. i love details. you are going to bolster c- span's ratings. [laughter] i am a member of triple a. [laughter]
the american automobile association periods >> what i want to do today is talk about some of the current, hot topic policy issues on a substantive basis. i also want to talk about how the agency goes about its work. we did some of both of those things this morning. on the latter part of that, how the agency goes about its work, we want to talk about how the commission functions or whether there will be some institutional changes you might recommend and so forth. let's talk about the process issues first. then you will also talk substance. let's do it that way.
you served as a commissioner. foreseeay, i can't scenarios where you could be chairman before -- i can't foresee scenarios where you could be chairman before -- i can foresee scenarios where you could be chairman before blair. you served under two different chairmen. how do their different leadership styles effect healthy -- of that help the commission operates on a day-to-day basis? also, in terms of how it deals with some of the big issues like net neutrality or the comcast merger? let's talk about the leadership
style of chairman and held that affects the way the commission operates. >> i did an interesting project for danny standard organizational behavior class that studied the different personalities of each commissioner and chairman and seek out that information with this outcome, productivity, and all the rest. we have had different people at the helm. a lot of different personalities and different philosophies. i will talk about what currently went on today. in very high on the chairman. i look forward to agreeing with them on a lot of things. what most people do not know about the fcc, over 90% of what we vote on is not only
bipartisan, but is unanimous. most of the attention is on the 10%. my very first auction as a commissioner -- action as a commissioner was a vote that never came to materialize. after a few weeks of deliberation, i sided with the pins -- with the conclusion and i had decided to oppose that initiative. we arrived at the same destination by different paths. we could talk about issue by issue, but day-to-day management of the commission does not necessarily always involve commissioners. the chairman is working with the organization that has up to 1800 people.
there is a lot that goes on dead does not necessarily directly affect the commissioners. it depends on the issue. >> in 1999, before you arrived, the chairman of the commission was president clinton's appointee. shortly before he departed, he issued a strategic plan for the commission. it was titled, at a new sec for the 21st century. -- fcc for the 21st century. i just want to read you -- this was the beginning of the strategic plan. i apologize for those who were here last year. i read from less planet -- i read from this plan last year. i may keep doing yet until
someone gets the message of there. i thought it was important. in five years, we expect u.s. communication markets to be characterized predominately by vigorous competition that will greatly reduce the need for direct regulation. the advent of internet based and to the military -- technology driven services will continue to erode the regulatory distinctions. as a result, over the next five years, the fcc must wisely transition transition -- must wisely transition. it will be very different in both structure and mission. i was around, unfortunately or
fortunately, in 1979, in 1999, 1989. i have to say that i do not think that it is fundamentally very different in structure and mission now than it was in any of those times. i know there has been changes. i know the offices have been moved. there has been some consolidation. despite the development of competition that was predicted, it seems to me that he was off in terms of this prediction about the fcc as an institution changing. i would like to know whether you agree with me or disagree. tell us if he think the fcc should be changed as an
institution. >> first of all, any major changes have to come from congress. >> i appreciate that. >> when he started the enforcement euro, chairman martin started be homeland security bureau, those did help streamline some functions. overall, we reinvented government starting in 1993. government has only gotten bigger. it has not been reinvented. there are very large slow-moving institutions are in washington. it is hard to pass legislation affecting agencies. it took something like 9/11 for there to be the creation of the department of homeland security. it is hard to do that.
we still have a fairly statutory is construct. it is up to congress to change that. it is up to us to try to adapt as best as we can provide some of those have been renamed and there is a lot more cross connect and crosstalk within the agency's then maybe there was in 1999. when he became active chairmen in january of 2009, a santa may very long detailed letter -- i sent him a very long detailed lecture. i sent him the same letter with a few revisions. it outlined some suggestions. if you really wanted to be fundamentally different, congress has to do that.
>> i understand that. fundamentally different, congress has to act. >> let's put that aside. i understand that. i understand you're not the chairman, but you wrote those letters just to put a point on it, if you would, just tell us a couple of ways that if you could change it that you would change it, even including what congress ought to do, and just put a point on it and be bodacious here. you're among friends here. >> just among us and c-span's cameras aren't on, right? >> right. >> there's been a lot of debate to what long-term communications regulation looked like and i subscribe to the philosophy that competition sub plants the need for regulation. so there is no, as i said before, no federal clothing commission and the other fcc because the clothing market presumably is competitive, right? so you want to adopt policies
that promote competition and there's been debate and it's health toe have this debate every time an fcc reauthorization bill comes before congress and even when they're not before congress to talk about should some of the policy decisions actually come from the executive branch. should there be an assistant secretary for communications and that sort of thing. should the fcc be more of an enforcement agency in an adjudicatory body. those are all good questions to ask and as we continue to look at markets where there are bottlenecks and do they actually need government intervention to pry them open, then we can look at it from a general competition law perspective rather than just the regulatory law perspective. so those are issues which i think are health toe discuss before congress and should be aired out, but as we sort of pointed out, it takes decades to get major reform and probably the last major reform in the fcc
is when they went from seven commissioners down to five and that was the extent of it and that was 30 years ago. >> i mentioned that i was doingtelcom policy in 1979, but when you said decades that begins to worry me a little bit about the future here and whether i'll be around for that. >> eat right and exercise. >> let's put a further point on this. you mentioned executive branch agencies and that was something to be looked at in the mix and how they relate, but just so everyone appreciates what we're talking about, the fcc is one of those so-called independent regulatory agencies. it's a multi-member commission with bipartisan membership and staggered terms. of course, all those features, as you know, were part of the progressive era, sort of a new
deal construct, ideal construct for the creation of these so-called independent regulatory agencies that would make decisions and maybe i'm simplifying a little bit, in that these agencies would be largely insulated from politics because of their structure and that their decisions would be guided by the expertise of the commissioners and the staff. now that's what we have. i'm not going to ask you if it's a good or bad thing initially, but describe for us so you can help us understand, what's the mixture of politics and expertise ordinarily in the -- excuse me, an fcc decision making or put it another way, if
the fcc is an independent agency as i described, how does politics intrude in your decision making? >> well, so for those watching on c-span who may not know, we are all appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. we are appointed by a politician and we're confirmed by 100 others in the senate, so there's politics there. pol it ticks does create public policy. politics can have a dirty connotation, but at the end of the day the root definition of politics is a good one. >> you should have a fixed term, just so we can be clear. the president can't dismiss you because he disagrees with one of your decisions. >> exactly. >> or congress can't as well. >> that actually helps tremendously. so we have a fixed term, but we can only be removed from office by impeachment from the senate and thankfully that hasn't happened yet, so that does give you a certain amount of autonomy. congress can pass legislation
and the president can sign it to make us do something or prevent us from doing something. they can restruck our budget to keep us from pursuing a certain goal and politics is always there. we can be called up to capitol hill before relevant committees and be browbeaten and people can complain and voice to us and that's a healthy part of the process. sure, it's political for all those reasons, but there is that degree of insulation from it as well. everything we do is ultimately public. our decisions are written and available to the public and available to appeal to the court so there are a lot of checks and balances so the commission can do what it's not authorized to do. so there are building blocks for the basic foundation of the system is in place and it's again going back to that matter
of how do different personalities shape the philosophies and that ultimately is what decides how each commission acts and how it produces a public policy. >> okay. that's an excellent segway into my next question about the reference to how different philosophies shape different decisions. maybe before i ask the next question i have in mind, let me just -- and i think you did this a little bit before, but this will lead in to the discussion of all the substantive topics we want to talk about. just how do you know? you said you relied on competition, i think, as a guide in making decisions. am i correct? >> that's the goal. >> so let's look at the markets and see what's competitive and see if there's market failures and see if there are bottlenecks. >> i guess the economists out
there, you actually got the fcc's chief economist here in the audience with us, jonathan baker. so my question is how do you know when a market is sufficiently competitive that you don't want to regulate it? >> well, maybe it's a little bit like an obscenity when you see it. i don't think there's going to be a strict test. it's going to be -- every situation's going to be unique. you look at the facts of each situation and you follow the laws to what you're empowered to do as an agency, but look for concentrations of market power and abuses of those power, and of that power and if you need a remedy to fix it and make it narrowly tailored and make it sunseted and go from there. so you have to take each case as it comes to you on its own facts. >> okay. i just want to remind the audience for those of you that weren't with us this morning that we want to have questions in this session as we did
throughout the morning session. so as we're having our conversation, if you think of questions, keep them in mind and you'll have an -- we are going to have an opportunity to have a q & a. so i invite you to do that. okay, your last answer leads me to this question. when chairman jankowski came in, he had data decision making -- it had a nice ring to it, beta-driven decision making and in fact, he repeated it so much it became what i might call a mantra, almost. so, you know, a lot of data comes in to the commission, of course, as we all know. so here's my question. you and chairman jankowski, you
hopefully have the same data, but that leads him to come to a very different conclusion than you do on certain issues, say net neutrality when you're looking, presumably, at the same data and i mean, that's puzzling to me if you have a beta-driven commission, except if you take into account the regulatory philosophy must matter, i guess. how do you bring together those two ideas and talk about how they lead you to reach a different decision from your fellow commissioners. >> it was probably like any other collaborative policy-making body whether it's congressor a panel of judges and other agencies. so your philosophy will have a lot to do of how you look at the facts and also you have to look at the law.
so when in doubt, read the statute and that was always a helpful place to start. look at the court cases that might govern that particular area as well, and go from there. it could be that you completely agree with the policy outcome, but we currently look at the statutory authority to do so and the courts may have said otherwise. >> those are pieces of data that probably everyone -- you know, the statute is the statute. the court decision, you might agree on, but talk about it a little bit in terms of -- i'm thinking more of market data or, you know, pertence in about the future or whatever. sort of that type of fact all material that the commission considers in making decisions. >> it could be that sometimes the commissioner or chairman, they come in with the agenda and they look for facts to help support that agenda.
>> there are other times when there's a new issue brought to their attention and they'll open the record and they'll balance the facts. it's hard to set aside the premis and we'll set aside the statute in the courts and that's what gets the commission in trouble on appeal and i try to make sure that i'm as faithful to that as i can be. >> okay. so let's move into our discussion of some of the substantive issues because i think we've got an appreciation of how you approach decisions and your philosophy and, surprise, surprise, the first issue i want to talk about is net neutrality. i mean, frankly, i've been talking about net neutrality for maybe seven or eight years and i don't see any reason to stop right now right at this moment, even though i know the commission has just reached a decision, but now, everyone in the audience, i'm sure, in this
audience has read your 33-page dissent to the commission's net neutrality decision, maybe even memorized parts of it, for all i know. >> hopefully not. >> but let's talk about it. just to set the stage, you called the fcc's action, quote, one of the darkest days in recent fcc history. now, do you really believe that or were you just taking poetic license for dramatic effect after just having quoted shakespeare before that? >> well, when you're writing a 30-page dissent with 30 footnotes, you have to put something in there to keep the reader's attention. a little bit of rhetoric doesn't hurt any now and then, so -- >> i want to quote again from your decision and obviously have
no fear. we're not going have time to explore all 33 pages, but -- and of course, a lot of it turned on the -- on your analysis of the commission's legal authority with which you disagreed with the majority and the commission had authority to promulgate these rules. we may talk a little bit about that, but put that aside. i just want to give you a quote and then just ask you to explain because i think this quote gets to the nub of the matter perhaps. commissioner mcdowell said, quote, using these new rules as a weapon, politically favored companies will be able to pressure their political appointees to regulate their rivals to gain competitive advantages. litigation will subplant litigation, instead of reinvesting in tomorrow's technologies, precious capital will be committed to pay
lawyers' fees. the internet regulatory arbitrage has donned, closed quote. that's a pretty stiff charge. >> the donning thing does indicate the darkest day of the year part, doesn't it? so -- sorry about that. >> i thought it was all just part of the poetry myself, but anyway, i thought that gets to the -- i know there are a lot of different ways to think about it, but that gets to the nub of the matter. so just take a couple of minutes to explain what troubled you so much about the commission's decision, again, and just put aside for now the question of the legal authority which we appreciate. >> i can't, you know. >> let me just ask. we'll get it out because -- even assuming you reached the conclusion that the commission had authority to do what it
wanted to do under your reading of this statute, would you have been fine with the regulations that were promulgated? >> let me go back to the first part of your question, which is the most frequent requests sometimes we get at the commission from industry players was please regulate my arrival. >> my arrival's running too fast. could you please slow him or her down? and the legal analysis of -- >> they don't say it quite that way, right? >> they don't come out and say it. >> they usually say we need a level playing field. >> well, there are lots of ways to say it, i guess, but that's at the essence of a lot of requests that we get. this will actually help consumers if you wing late my arrival,et ra, but it comes in the competitive marketplace, so it wouldn't be a rival. part of the concern with the legal analysis is there is no limiting principle in the
majority's order from december 21st, no limiting principle on the commission's authority to regulate. so if it's truly unlimited power to the point that the commission has the authority to limit rates, terms and conditions which the commission has already been on record that title one gives the commission that authority, then there's no end. so it just takes three votes to determine the basis of the, mran complaint. so what we're doing is opening up the commission for a new tool with the competitive strategy and where it is knocking the stuffing out of each other in the marketplace and the competitive marketplace. now you're coming to the government to help pick the winner or a loser, and that -- that is troubling, and i'm not sure -- i know that the order is not going to stand on appeal. we can talk more about that in a
minute, but that uncertainty that's injected now into the marketplace is all rolled into that quote that you were in. i have a concern over that uncertainty. >> and maybe this is part of the same thing you're talking about, but let me just ask and have you elaborate. the commission seemed to place an awful lot of emphasis on the purpose of the rule was to protect -- what it called edge providers, meaning application and content providers rather than network providers. i mean, it drew that distinction and there was a lot of talk about how the -- how one of the chief purposes of the rule was to make sure that the edge
providers are protected so they can innovate, but i want to ask you what you think about this distension between the edge providers and the network providers and you know, number one, is it a durable distinction at all and does it make sense? >> i don't think it is a durable distinction. let me outline the profile of the company for you that i'm thinking of. >> it has thousands of miles of fiber optic connectivity. it's got hundreds, if not thousands of servers and soft switches. it offers video, voice and data services. is that company, a, at&t, b, microsoft, c verizon, d, google? >> the answer is it's all of the above. so as consumers are demanding and the marketplace is demanding more convergence of technology,
i think the law has to respond in kind. now one can make the argument that the difference there is two of those companies have last model facilities. well, since i've been at the fcc and we've been working hard to have more last-mile competition, whether it's our december of '06 video franchise order to make it easier to get competitive fiber into the ground, whether it's trying to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband which is the fastest growing segment of the broadband market, whether it's our white spaces, proceeding which started under chairman michael powell and all of those try to inject more competition in the last mile. so that you could have more market players there in the last mile due to distinctions with the edge provider and a core provider is that's already an antiquated concept. i put out there that that concept was becoming antiquated. >> okay. i want to move on to a legal
question which is this. i argued myself for about five years that the net neutrality regulations that were being considered could well violate the first amendment rights of the information providers themselves. i have to say not that many people have listened to me as i've made that argument, but maybe you'll be more persuasive. the commission majority seems to accept the notion which i think is upside down that government-enforced net neutrality mandates promotes free speech values and therefore they're consistent with the first amendment. if you think that's wrong, just explain briefly why. >> there's a lot there. i think it is upside down. first of all, as a threshold matter, we need to understand the bill of rights was created as a bull work to protect
individual rights against intrusion of government. it is not designed to strengthen the power of government. it -- the bill of rights was constructed to contain the power of government. so what's sensitive is let's look at the fact all situation of the internet right now which is the internet is open and freedom-enhancing now and has been since it was privatized, right? freedom of expression really abounds. it is really sort of a libertarian heaven, in that regard. when we look around the globe the concern is not with private sector mischief, with the internet. it is with government meddling with the internet and egypt being the most current example of that, right? so when you give the government more control over internet network management or call it
what you will there are countries across the globe, be it egypt or saudi arabia, or china or iran or others all in the name of serving the public interest are trying to justify more control over the internet. there is a ben phied movement afoot which is gaining momentum for the u.n. to establish an overarching international regulatory body that would have sway over internet governance, domain names and network management and all the rest. so once we sort of dloos rube con into the idea of more government intervention in this space, you start to lose the moral high ground. we then put ourselves into position as saying, no, no, no, other country that's acting badly, don't have the government intervene in that way. have the government intervene this way rather than starting at the very premise which was a
fundamental hallmark of the clinton/gore administration to say the government should not be involved with these things to begin with. we should continue to let mooez bottom up, internet governance groups that are non-governmental in nature and are multifaceted and the multistakeholders running them to manage these issues. we can rely on competition law, antitrust law, section 2 of the sherman act, section 5 of the federal trade commission act and others that would address and remedy every single part of the parade of horribles that comes up, that's brought up by net neutrality advocates. so, you know, back to the first amendment, i did include a section on that in my dissent, on the back of the dissent because they did not address constitutional issues either if they can help it, but it is there and freedom of expression abounds on the internet and continues to do so. what we need is more competition and not more regulation.
>> okay. you and i are on the same page on that and maybe we'll convince even more people. now, i want to move -- we're just going to touch on a few more issues and then i'm going to open it up to the audience, and, you know, as the network anchors like to say this will move closer to the lightning round. it never seems to work there, but we're going to try and see whether we have any questions, but i wanted to talk about universal service and a carrier compensation reform. >> have they served the coffee yet? >> yeah, but our c-span audience. we did talk about that. >> it's after lunch. >> understands all the ins and outs of that. here is my question. you and i know, probably 90% of the people in this room would
agree that reforming universal service regime and associated inner carrier compensation regime, the way the telephone companies pay each other for interconnection, it's long overdue. without going into details or subsidies that exist in the system intended for universal voice telephone service, which has now been achieved as nearly as it can be, but the money is still being collected. by the way, customers see on the bill 15% universal service fees, so there's a real impact for the subsidies. my question is this, without going in -- because i don't think we have time to talk about the way it should be reform with that much precision and all that. sort of goes back to my question earlier about the fcc and its
role. this should have been done long ago. how come it hasn't been done before? i think this was frankly -- and this will be the last time i'm sure his name will be mentioned but it was sort of in this context our friend was saying he could sure use the help of free market conservatives like you and others to really get out front on this issue. >> so your question really is a compound question there, counselor. it really is why hasn't the commission received universal reform. in the fall of '08, we were very close to deciding a lot of the
thornier issues. by the way, for the folks watching at home universal service is an $8.8 billion a year subsidy program, one of the largest subsidy programs administered by the federal government. it's money that doesn't go through the treasury as maybe farm subsidies do, it's one kind of telecook user subsidizing another kind of telecom user. we were close in the fall of '08 resolving the issue. two republicans, two democrats, i was one of them, commissioner was another. the two of us were on the commission. we agreed in principal if not detail. it didn't happen. you'd have to ask the chairman at the time as to why that is. >> did you ask him? >> i was there.
>> what did he say? >> i didn't have an answer. we got to deadlines that moved out until the end of the term. that was that. that was a missed opportunity. that's a good question." it does become a political issue. it's an independent agency. that's our job. congress is set up with the house, primarily urban and suburban in nature and the senate that's more responsive to rur rural. so the house represents nature payors. the senate represents, generally speaking, the net recipients of universal service. it's very hard for congress to actually act on this. it's hard to get any kind of bill to compromise. it will be 15 years old on
tuesday. it gives us great leeway. it's ambiguous in the classic chevron deference kind of way. it's the purpose of ab independent agency to try to do the right thing and tat arrows if necessary. so that's our job. we should go forward. i'm hopeful we can rekindle the spirit of '08. we've had many conversations about just that and i'm very optimistic we can go forward. having said all that, we're in sunshine, the sunshine period right now. that's a blackout period. because it's washington we call it a sunshine period. i can't get in the details of that item. >> okay. i'm going to ask if anyone has questions for commissioner mcdowell. why don't you proceed to the
micro phone and line up. we can get to those in just a moment. the comcast nbc universal merger, the fcc just approved that a couple weeks ago. there was a year long review at the fcc. >> just under a year. >> just under a year. the commission approved it but did so with 33 pages. or thereabouts conditions they attached to the merger. you and commissioner baker issued a statement, concurred in the merger but expressed concerns about the process and the decision. can you just briefly explain
what your concerns were about the way the commission handled that merger? >> i've expressed concerns about other marriagers as well, xm, sirius, some others. we have a vague and broad duty. we only have jurisdiction if there's transfer of a license, wireless license. so that broad standard can encompass, interpret as being different from the antitrust review, either done by the department of justice or federal trade commission, depending who has the possession arrow at that point. so i subscribe to the philosophy we really should only look at specific harms produced by the merger, whatever merger it might be. what can we do to cure those harms, assuming we can. if we can, we attach limited
conditions that cure those harms and move on. my concern with that particular merger order as we lay out the joint statement with commissioner baker is there were a lot of conditions and upfront concessions that really had nothing to do with the merger. they might be noble goals, good corporate citizenship but nothing to do with the merger. extending broadband, very noble. did it have to become something a matter of law which was essentially a vertical merger. you had a distributor of content buying a producer of content. and so over the years, i think the commission more and more has been looking to resolve or achieve other ends, garner support for items on a personal agenda or political agenda when
merging comes come before the commission and are vulnerable. they need them to go through. it's become a cost doing business for those companies. if you want to enact policies, then go ahead and open rule making. let's do it that way. >> by the way, i agree entirely with that explanation. okay. we're going to open it up to questions now. we're going to follow the rule we've had throughout the day. i appreciate your just asking a question in the form of a question and we're going to try and roll through a few of these. and identify yourself, please. >> hi, eliza from pol"politico, can you respond to rate of return, regulations and explain
your position on it. >> you're over the blair limit by my tally, so we're locked out. actually, i didn't hear what he had to say. >> he has essentially sed rate of return, rate of regulations, if i understand correctly as they apply to the rural tell co and usf is a form of corporate subsidies we should no longer be tolerating and a free market republican like yourself needs to get behind that. will you do that? >> before you answer, i believe to be fair he said if you don't do that, then you're putting yourself in the company of stalin and and woodrow wilson. i don't know which one of those you wouldn't want to be in the company of. that's the way he put it. i think this will be an answer that makes some news on friday
afternoon. >> the stalin comparison. i get that a lot, randy bolshevik ties. this red and blue is a bipartisan tie. >> blair, how does it feel to be talked about like you're not in the room. first of all, let's put all options on the table. where did you go, eliza? you're typing. want me to speak slowly so you can trans scribe this. let's, apostrophe s, put all options on the table. put your name on it. we're in sunshine, blackout. so i can't go into details with regard to tuesday but there will be ample opportunity, i think, perhaps to mr. levin's delight
to comment on many ideas just such as that. let's put everything on the table and let's work together to try to achieve the best result. >> next question, please. >> this was in some of the questions. for those who haven't read your opinion, i just wanted to ask, does the government have the authority to regulate the internet? and if so, where does that authority come from and what is it? >> that's a broad question. certainly there's criminal acts -- you mean the government or just the fcc. just the fcc. the government does this authority with criminal things going on. as we come up to the anniversary of the telecom act, internet is
mentioned in that act a few times. not a lot but a few. i think when congress did not act to explicitly give authority for the regulation of internet network management, that was evident the bept of section is deregulatory. 706 has been used most recently in the internet network management order of december 21st to justify those regulations. i think it's clear from the language and the legislative history and judicial interpretation of it that does not give the commission the authority the majority was seeking. so i think the commission is hard pressed to find the authority to support its rules. >> okay. the this will be the last question, because i promised commissioner mcdowell that we would end at 2:00.
under fcc, tom, we're still close, so we're going to do that. >> the clock stopped. >> lynn, identify yourself and i get the last question. >> no pressure. this is the last question. >> assuming that the fcc -- >> and you can't include the initials b.l. >> i'm going to not mention the gentleman sitting over here. >> okay. >> assuming the order adopted in december is ever published in the federal register. >> a little sarcasm there. >> in the interim before a court rules on it, what would your position be on anyone who challenges someone under that order? would you treat the order as being in effect and interpret the order, or would you be more inclined to say this order should not exist and i'm just doing to vote against anybody who complains under it? >> excellent question, actually. it's a very good question. you've covered me since i got to the commission. i think you'll know until a
court says we don't have the authority to do that or strikes it down or stays it, i think there's a better than average chance it could be stayed if a party moves for that, that that is the rule on the books. and you know, we will have complaints before us, i'm sure. and we'll look at those complaints case by case as the chairman has outlined. but at the end of the day, i think the order goes down in flames. >> that was a very good last question, by the way, so congratulations. >> how many times do you get congratulated for a question like that. >> for doing your job? >> i think that all of you will agree this was a terrific conversation. each year we seem to have a conversation at this conference that gets better and better.
i want to thank commissioner mcdowell for coming over. >> thank you for having me. >> before we give you your round of applause i have a free state foundation coaster i'd like to give you. >> good. >> commissioner baker took hers this morning so i'm presuming there's no issue. i told her if the general counsel happens to rule that this is impermissible under any or all of commissioner's rules, i'm sure you could donate it to the cafeteria downstairs. i do want to take it as a token of our appreciation and thanks for coming. >> thank you, randy. >> so with that i want to thank the audience for coming. again, once more want to thank c-span for being with us. we will consider the conference adjourned. thank you.
>> thank you very mu >> you are looking at one of the meeting rooms where former alaska governor sarah palin will be the keynote speaker tonight at this event honoring the former president ronald reagan. it is one of several events being hosted this weekend. to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the former president's birth. he gave in support of republican presidential nominee barry goldwater. we will be bringing her remarks live from santa barbara as soon as the speeches did under way. in the meantime, let's take a look at statements from earlier today. several senators made statements about the commemoration.
>> the sinnett will proceed to morning business until 3:00. senators are permitted to speak for 10 minutes each. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, there are many of us who will come to the floor this afternoon to pay tribute to one of the great presidents in american history and many of us will recollect times and experiences and contacts we had with president reagan and the way he inspired us personally as well as a nation. wh i was a prisoner of war in north vietnam, the vietnamese
went to great lengths to restrict the news from home to the statements and activities of prominent opponents of the war vietnam. they wanted us to believe that america had forgotten us. they never mentioned ronald reagan to us or played his speeches over the camp loud speakers. no matter. we knew about him. new additions to our ranks told us how the governor and mrs. reagan were committed to our liberation and our cause. when we came home, all of u were eager to meet the reagans, to thank them for their concern. but more than gratitude drew us to them. we were drawn to them because they were among the few prominent americans who didn't subscribe to the then-fashionable notion that america had entered her inevitable decline.
we prisoners of w came home to a country that had lost a war and the best sense of itself, a county beset by social and economic problems. assassinations, riots, scandals, contempt for political, relious and educational institutions gave the appearance that we had become a dysfunctional society. patriotism was sneered at. the military scorned. and the world anticipated the collapse of our global influen influence. the great, robust, confident republic that had given its name to the last century seemed exhausted. ronald reagan believed differently. he possessed an unshakeable faith in america's greatness, past and future, that proved more durable than the prevailing political sentiments of the
time. and his confidence was a tonic to men who had come home eager to put the war behind us and for the country to do likewise. our country has a long and honorable history. a lost war or any other calamity should not destroy our confidence or weaken our purpo purpose. we were a good nation before vietnam and we are a good country after vietnam. in all of history, you can't find a better one. ofhat ronald reagan was supremely confident and he became president to prove it. his was a faith that shouted at tyrants to "tear down this wal wall." such faith, such patriotm requires a great deal of love to profess, and i will always revere him for it.
when walls were all i had for a world, i learned about a man whose love of freedom gave me hope in a desolate place. his faith honored us as it honored all americans, as it has honored all freedom-loving people. let us honor his memory especially today by holding his faith as our own and let us, too, tear down walls to freedom. that is what americans do when they believe in themselves. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding ficer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and would note that i was honored to be able to hear senator mccain's comments on ronald reagan.
this sunday is, indeed, the 100th anniversary of his birth. it was an opportunity for the whole -- it's an opportunity for the whole nation to honor the memory of a man who honored us with his leadership. the 1980's were a -- in the 1980's, we were a weakened country. inflation and uneloyment were in double digits, the hostage crisis in iran dragged on with no end in sight, our standing abroad was waning and so, too, was our military strength. challenges at home were answered with one failed washington program after another. we had lost confidence in our future and, really, the principle -- and in the principles that made us exceptional. ronald reagan changed that. part of that change began with 12 simple but crucialords: vernment is not the solution
to our problems. government is the problem. and it is a big part of our problem. he stirred the passions of our country, revitalizing not only our economy but our identity and confidence as free people. what some have called the reagan revolution he called the great rediscovery. he instilled us with a new confidence in our future and in america's role as the last, best hope of mankind. his achievements are well-known but they bear repeating. working with paul coale -- paul volcker, chairman of the federal reserve, he entaind inflation, which was depriving americans of their life savings. it was a tough course, a tough road, but he saw it through, he stayed on the course and we we stronger as a result and we needed to get on a tough- we need to get on a tough road and
stay the course today. he lowered taxes dramatically, including a reductionn the top rate from nearly 80%, and he ined in a runaway bureaucracy that had trapped innovation and pructivity in a labyrinth of regulation and red tape. his faith in the free market was not misplaced. it rewarded us. he created 20 million new jobs, grew our gross national product by 26% and began the longest peacetime boom in our history. conditions improved for americans in every walk of life. the net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 rose by 27%. reagan's stunning success debunked everyyth of those who believed a government -- a bigger government is more compassiate and can do more
for more people. the growth and potential productivity of the private sector is what has made america the most prosperous nation. and this success at home was matched by his success abroad. he defended our principles and our way of life with clarity, confidence, and vigor. his policies brought down the soviet empire. "mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall." still resonates in our minds. and it liberated untold millio millions. now today, more than 20 years after reagan left office, we find ourselves facing many of the same challenges: a sagging economy, a growing government, and a diminished standing in the world. mr. sessions: we would be vie we to remember the lessons of that era -- peace through strength,, prosperity through freedom. he understood that our future greatness lies in the same place
it always has, through our pioneering, restless, enterprising spirit that is filled with ambition and excitement and a deep sense of honor and decency that defines who we are as a people and who we will be tonal. in -- who we will be tomorrow. in president reagan's farewell address, he urged a word of caution. if we forget what committee did, we -- what we did, we won't know who we are. i am warning of an eradication of that, of the american nearm y that would result ultimately in an erosion of the american spirit, he said. so we face a daunting and dening challenges of our time, and as we do so, i hope we'll look back to the leadership he provided. mr. president, just on a personal note, i was tremendously honored to have been aointed united states attorney in the southern district of alabama by president
reagan in 1981. it was an office that i had served as an assistant in a number of years before. and to be able to come back and to lead that office was such a personal thrill. and, you know, the president didn't givee any directions exactly what we were to do but i absolutely knew -- and i've often said it's a great example of true leadership -- i knew exactly what he wanted me to do. and i gathered the staff, many of whom i'd worked for from years before, and used these words. i said, president reagan sent me here to prosecute criminals and protect the united states treasury. and i believe that's what he d did. i believe that was implicit in his campan, his consistent leadership, that he believed in law and order and efficiency and he wanted us to fight corruption
and to try to help produce a more efficient government. i remember in those days that we went to a united states attorneys conference that i attended with my good friend, recently the deputy attorney general of the united states, larry thompson, and we would share rooms on the trips to save money because we knew and believed president reagan wanted us to save money and that we were -- our spending was out of control and we had a serious financial problem. our budgets were frozen but we worked harder and we produced more. that can be done today. this wining -- whining that we can't reduce spending, and many times they define reducing spending is a reduction of the projected rate of growth. it's not even a reduction -- a reduction of current level of spending. these kind of