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tv   The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann  RT  December 26, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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i. think that's pretty. overplayed though if you. did you know the price is the only industry specifically mention in the constitution. that's because a free and open press is critical to our democracy shrek help us. will. never go on i'm sorry and on this show we were revealed the picture of what's actually going now and we go beyond identifying the problem to try to rational debate real discussion critical issues facing our families are you ready to join the movement then welcome to the big picture.
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for three nights special edition of conversations with great minds i'm speaking with someone who's been working in green development issues since the one nine hundred seventy s. he helped build america's first solar village bill bakker is the executive director of the presidential climate action project and a senior associate at natural capitalism solutions he spent fifteen years at the u.s. department of energy and mission to his work at the climate action project he's also a member of mikhail gorbachev's climate change task force and then advisor to the environmental and energy study institute here in washington d.c. william joins us now from denver colorado go back or welcome to the program. thank you very much glad to be here thanks for joining us let's start out with you what got you interested in climate science sustainable. well you mentioned part of my resume goes back to the late one nine hundred seventy s. when i was a newspaper publisher in a small was council town that was flooded there will be ten years or so with
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a major major flood like we've seen lately around here in colorado and there is one to build a living for three and a half million dollars around this. and then i proposed in my capacity as editor that we spend the money instead to move the town to higher ground so we'd never have to ask for federal assistance again in the townspeople this is after the arab oil embargoes of the one nine hundred seventy s. said well we're doing it by the way build a solar village and so basically they did seventy five percent or so of their heating energy comes from passive solar systems which is no mean feat of a cold weather state like wisconsin so that got to be very interested in community sustainability and alternative energy and those kinds of things while that's a markable story so about solutions if you could write the world's policies we're going to start comes to confronting one which. you know. i think i'd start where it's happening right now and that's the community in the state level in some cases the regional level we've been disappointed by the
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international politicians they have the national policy makers who have been able to resolve their differences about this and time is growing very very sure as you mentioned this is the biggest crisis that humanity the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. interesting to me the first president of the united states where we heard about this problem was lyndon johnson in one nine hundred sixty five he was advised by his private is science advisers that exactly what's happening now would happen and successive presidents and congresses have not really confronted this issue the way they should and in my view president obama is the last president with the chance to confront this problem in a way that bay held off the worst of the of the damage and one of the solutions to carbon change that's been proposed is a carbon tax what's your take on that. well i think what's at the root of the idea for a carbon tax and cap and trade which we heard about in two thousand and nine is the idea to begin pricing carbon and what that means is that right now we use an old
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math in our energy system where the cost of technology is really not reflected in the price we pay. it doesn't count the people who get sick or the children who get as but in coal pollution it doesn't count the cost of defending the persian gulf oil fields it doesn't cost the cost of climate change and all the damages we're seeing manifest right now so what the government has to do i think is is to make cost equal price and the idea of a carbon tax is one way to do that it's a way to internalize what has been what they call the externalized cost so that the marketplace which is really really flawed can begin to give us good signals about what various choices cost to the energy field and if we did that things like solar wind geothermal would be slow. cost effective and cost competitive than they are today so arguably you're making the conservative argument that the
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that a genuine free market in quotes should exist because right now the actual cost of carbon is not being paid by the people who are producing the carbon. i don't think there can be such a thing or ever has been such a thing as a free market. but i think it could be a hell of a lot better than it is in bringing this pricing equation into balance using the new math where we call it the full life cycle costs of a choice or any other product for that matter is the way we need to fix the choices the american people make are there are other solutions for climate change that would suggest there's a zillion solutions. one of them is to. is the passive for example a national renewable energy portfolio standard which is something that president obama's proposed that hasn't passed and that would duplicate what thirty seven states in the united states now have done basically a requirement that a certain percentage of the electricity generated in that state come from renewable
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resources interestingly that has been a controversial policy there's been a movement to try to get those thirty seven states to repeal those. laws. in the last legislative session earlier this year there were one hundred twenty six bills to modify these renewable energy portfolio standards and not one of them passed in fact four states created new standards so i think we're seeing at the state level the kind of action we need to. also through building codes at the state level through utility regulation through transportation planning many of the things that states and localities do that they have the power to make changes that will reduce carbon emissions and help us use leader energy. what do you what's your take on the geo engineering solutions sequester ation sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. spraying titanium dioxide in the atmosphere to reflect the sun etc etc . well you know my thought is that you can't always count on good technologies to
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compensate for bad behavior. kind of a skeptic on carbon capture and sequestration that stalled right now it's not progressing and what people don't talk about. the cost of of that that's added to our energy from coal when you try to sequester the carbon is the property rights issues and the liability issues in the. backyard by backyard issues that are going to pop up because we're talking about vast areas of land under which we would sequester those carbon terms of geoengineering those good sensible she wouldn't be doing in silly do engineering the sensible kind is forestation the reforestation for example we're planting things that actually sequester carbon or soil management in a way that allows our soils which they want to do to sequester carbon but when you're talking about a scheme to deploy mirrors into space to reflect the sun or to see the oceans with iron not knowing what the consequences of that would be i think it's an exciting
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field for engineers but i don't think it's the way we did it we can go we shouldn't go we don't need the unintended consequences and if we've learned anything from climate change is that we. i really don't understand the natural systems we keep trying to manipulate so i don't think the solution is the loop manipulate the more i think it's to back up in the stand that we depend on these natural systems especially the life support systems and we need to modify our behavior to collaborate with them and certainly not to destroy them can you dig a little deeper into that whole. carbon capture by biology system whether it's reforestation. stopping the deforestation particularly of our or very very wild areas the rain forest or not and and the difference between. soil that is that has been factory farmed heavily chemical ised and soil that is organically farmed and that's that's rich in nutrients and apparently rich in
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carbon what tell us about this. well i think you hit at the you know the organically rich soils the healthy soils sequester more carbon than the ones that have been needed fertile with effect by monoculture and so on but also how we total soils determines how well they keep that carbon within them so if we fill them frequently and disturb will tend to release or. forestation is a well known way to the natural system to sequester carbon and other plant material is as well so as you know there's a big movement the international level to save the rain forest for example to prevent them from being clear cut for farming or burnt down for farming and ranching. forest those are areas that have been so those are the natural ways to collaborate with nature to do compensate for some of our energy use isn't one of the principal pressures that's driving both deforestation and. high tech agriculture for lack of
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a better phrase population. i don't think is in question about that you know we've all heard about the food. vs fuel controversy about whether growing crops to produce energy like corn or feed stocks that are a little bit more benign where they still proper and result in. hunger in higher food prices there are ways i think to make those two goals compatible one of them is and i hope i mean it's even a question here but one of them is. being researched very heavily right now it's called so you know if the ball or cellulose of soils would go up at all where we're using corn stover crops. waste in effect that can't be grown for food to produce ethanol for transportation and other uses so there are ways to do it with nine. uses of plant materials and in some cases we did leave where they are so they can sequester carbon it's always struck me that. the way that the
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plants capture sunlight you know from from this giant fusion reactor ninety three million miles away is basically by looking at the sun and converting that that sunlight into three fourths of this is converting it into something that is store. in this case cellulose by and large. and that solar panels whether it's p. p.v. or whether it's you know using it for for heat like your village did back in the seventy's or basically doing the same thing plants do that scene strikes me as a member as a marketing message as a as a bumper sticker that could really really go viral and something that probably ninety five percent of people it's never occurred to them oh let's just imitate plants do what they do you know any thoughts on that a and on and b. and how we're marketing alternative or or energy is in ways that may be more or less effective than for example that name. though your is
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a good very interesting question then my answer is going to. solve earth speed or some such thing because basically we do need to. from. a society that receives energy captures it from the ground it is a bit of masculine energy. where we have sort of a force out of the. mind and so on when we have. a need to learn to receive and it isn't a struggle to get it. before the industrial age because technology forget about it and compensate for things we used to get. so yeah there's a huge fundamental paradigm shift to happen in the world producing energy and it involves involves simply receiving what's there it's interesting you mention the ninety three million miles i'm always. amused by the argument that coal is going to
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be used inevitably because it's cheap and abundant but the cheapest abundant energy we have three billion dollars away it's delivered in eight minutes we've got a seven billion year supply that doesn't cost that. i'm not sure why we don't think of it that way and it seems it seems so common sense and so straightforward and like something that perhaps some sort of a political or ecological marketing campaign could be built on more conversations of great minds with bill back right at this point. is the media leave us so we leave the baby. out of the scene bush and secure the. party there's. no one is there with the guests that deserve
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answers from. politics. plus the new alert. scared me a little bit. there is breaking news tonight and we are continuing to follow the breaking news. alexander's family cry tears of joy and a great thing that had read dark and a court of law found alive there's a story. playing out in real life. and
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welcome back to this special edition of conversations with great minds speaking william bakker executive director of the presidential climate action project bill given your go to the dio e. what are the biggest challenges in your mind in getting government and policy to align itself with something that's going to say people say save the world i'd say save our species. one having been a bureaucrat for fifteen years. is that the bureaucracy is a very slow moving ship we hear about this image all the time but essentially we've got a government in the economy that has been built for a carbon era and we need to rebuild government and rebuild the economy for
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a post carbon era carbon free so there's tremendous under the hood just need to be believed in how government operates the biggest sort of institutional inertia issue . the biggest barrier is money from fossil energy industries i want to defend their market share which i considered industries walking but they've got tremendous assets underground that they want to be able to mine and sell. to elaborate on that a few minutes but. about one hundred thirty one hundred sixty members of congress have received millions and millions of dollars this session from those corporate interests fossil fuel interests and the interesting thing to me is that the dichotomy the gulf we see in washington about energy fossil versus renewable doesn't exist outside the beltway you know when george mason university did a couple of polls last april and one of them found that eighty six percent of the american people across party lines want renewable energy and they want to pretty
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quick they also did a poll just of republicans and republican leaning independents and they found that seventy seven percent of them want renewable energy and seventy percent of that segment wants it immediately so i don't know if people think about themselves li's leaves you know in the photosynthesis process but they get it somehow maybe it's the energy independence angle you know the fact that they're self-sufficient i don't know but i think out here people get it and the president's challenge is the mobilize those opinion polls and turn them into votes and turn them into action of the community on the personal level and one of the things we're recommending to president obama and his administration right now to get outside the beltway mobilize the american people the present goods only elected official elected by all of the american people he's responsible to all of us. purging him to get out there and help rally the public to get behind and the vote in favor of renewable energy
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he said to remind you about those who want to bring out of the ground the resources that they played claim to monetise at their balance sheets. we've recently seen science and bill mckibben who. many of your listeners and viewers know. it was the first to bring this to public attention but several years ago there was a scientific study with twenty or thirty if it was twenty six actually the world's top scientists and they determined that we have a carbon budget and that we we've used much of that budget up and in fact two thirds of the fossil energy proven reserves around the world have to stay underground we can't pick them up and still save ourselves from the worst consequences of climate change the international energy agency now is confirmed out and says the same thing that we have to leave those resources in the ground now those are assets trillions of dollars of assets that the possibility companies used to evaluate their worth in the stock market and so on so the fact that we need to straddle them leave them underground is not going over well in those industries but
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in fact if we want to head off the worst uncontrollable from climate change that's what we have to do shouldn't that also cause us to prioritize even if we force their prioritization with tax policy for example. which of the fossil fuels we take out first i mean there's there's a whole lot of damage associated for example with current tar sands oil all of the brothers apparently are going to make a hundred billion dollars just themselves in profit if the whole keystone x.l. for works vs there are other ways of you know with some of the lighter crudes and just natural gas although i suppose we're going to be fracking all day long but . it's not a strong argument for prioritizing which of the fossil fuels we use and how and when and where the absolutely is because some are dirtier than others coal being one of the dirtiest but. what we're getting the tar sands oil that people want to
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bring down from canada also is one of the filthiest energy intensive and most water intensive forms of energy we do need to prioritize them and i think when the president talks about an all of the all of the above energy. policy is dead wrong it's really a political ploy we need a best of the above energy policy and we need to determine what's best by this full cost accounting where we. wait the water consumption the carbon emissions the embedded energy in the energy product and so on to figure out the ones that have the most benefits at least cost the environmental and economic and social standpoint and if we do that it doesn't become a political question anymore it's almost formulated it's an imperial question of what most benefit society at least pause and in that proposition renewable energy and energy efficiency especially would win every time he said that eighty six percent of americans want renewable energies and i remember back in ninety eight that project for new american century published
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a rather famous paper in which they said they wanted to invade iraq and they wanted to get the oil for iraq and have a u.s. footprint right in the middle of the middle east and they said it would take a pro harbor like event to make that happen george w. bush clearly saw such an event in nine eleven and used it leverage it to invade iraq. could it be that it's going to take some sort of pearl harbor you talked earlier about our economy you know the ship of state moves slowly and but the ship of state did not move slowly in one thousand nine hundred two we mobilize really really rapidly after pearl harbor and we mobilized a really really rapidly after nine eleven the defense budget right now is three times what it was in one thousand nine hundred seventy is there is there a common pearl harbor event is it possible for us to take the next katrina and and. market is the wrong word but you know help people understand that the pearl harbor event is happening right now what are your thoughts at all. it's almost like
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a pearl harbor event with one japanese or half of the time rather than a fleet of them going in the harbor it's a slow moving crisis which is beginning to manifest the worry of those. ways it may be that there will be a critical mass of these disasters that wake people up in where they mandate that the politicians deal with this and they begin to deal with their own lives by the way or it may be something where it's the old frog in the gradually heated water image where it's happening so gradually that people don't really accept it as a crisis now what we need in you drew this analogy is a world war two type effort the danger is that where people get involved with victory gardens and all this kind of thing a lot of people talk about we need a moon shot all we have to do when president kennedy put that challenge before us is pay or taxes and watch t.v. we want something totally different than that where everybody's involved. but the danger with climate change what makes it
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a uniquely threatening problem is that by the time people understand it's a crisis they're willing to get rid of the do the change public policy pay a little more for energy by the time that happens it may be too late when things get that bad it's likely the climate the climate change will beyond our ability to to affect that and control it so i know one of the things that we might talk about is whether we can prevent climate change we can't it's already happening and there is a great deal of damage already in the pipeline the question now is twofold whether we can reduce the amount of damage in the future and secondly how we adapt to were just to the damage that's already coming our way. to that point can you speak to the issue of tipping points what they are and which ones we know we've already passed which ones we might pass what the consequences of them will be when and where they might be happening in water the different areas where there are tipping points whether it's carbon dioxide or methane or other greenhouse gases etc.
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well i think the tipping points in my understanding involve large systems that suddenly become self perpetual. problems what they call positive feedback loops which is a kind of confusing term but the belting of the ice sheets is one of those certainly the warming in the calcification of the oceans i know you talk to joe about that there's another one but tipping points are basically when we get to a point of no return and more than that a point where there's a feedback loop where nature is making the problem worse than the example we hear all the time on the ice sheet melting is that ice reflect sunlight prevents some of that global warming of the trapping of peak when it melts the ocean is much darker than it absorbs that heat and contributes to global warming so basically what's happening is that for one reason or another we're destroying systems that regulated the hospitality of this planet for the arts and we're changing all that right now this could be quite
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a different planet the question is how far we're going to let that go. you started your career in journalism what's your assessment of how the media in the united states and around the world is dealing with climate change. you know well you know the crazy thing of course it was drummed into me when i was a print journalist of about balanced reporting. what we need is proportionate reporting what happens is that there is a very small minority of of scientists who disagree with the ninety seven percent who say this is real this is human caused this is coming in the media or you know especially journalists i guess maybe broadcast to have decided that fairness is to give those people the very small minority equal time to the ninety seven percent in that creates the illusion that there's a real healthy debate here with half of the world believing it to have and that's certainly not the case so what i'd love to see is proportion of reporting give that to the dissenters of the deniers there are three percent but make it out as it
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really is that ninety percent ninety seven percent i'm sorry of this climate science community absolutely concur that we have climate change it's real it's anthropogenic the words human caused. and it's underway right now i've seen a couple of major websites of how come out and said we're no longer giving space to climate deniers and we're considering climate denial commentaries as basically spam and we're just deleting the los angeles times probably the most famous of the mainstream media that's doing that. within the hour are we looking at the beginning of a trend. well i hope so it seems to me that the culture and in terms of reporting. better practice i think the public needs to get an accurate message not only about what's happening but the what the experts tell us and by the way in a way feel compelled to tell you this but one of the things i think is the biggest waste of time is for those of us who are not scientists to argue about the sun we
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need to leave the science to the scientists will we need to talk about is risk assessment the risk prevention we need to have a plan a change like a risk issue the way we do when we buy auto insurance or health insurance we hope you will never happen but it could and we protect ourselves against that from a government standpoint this is a risk management issue. and it's not a matter of scientific debate for us is for the scientists right so it's time for us to start attending to things like policy and you know what what we can do to really make this happen bill back or it's been such a pleasure to have you with us tonight thank you so much for joining is my pleasure thank you very much. to see this in other conversations with great minds go to our website at conversations with bronze dot com. is the media leave us so we leave that maybe. privacy motion security or your party
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there's a bill. for suze that no one is asking would be guests they deserve answers from it's all politics only one of our team. i know c.n.n. the m s n b c news have taken some slightly but the fact is i admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be accurate the truth. that was funny but it's closer to the truth and might think. it's because one whole attention and the mainstream media works side by side the joke is actually on here. ok. and our teen years we have a different pretty good because the news of the world just is not this funny
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i'm not laughing dammit i'm not. ok i've. got a set of jokes i will hand over the stuff that i've got to. cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want.
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welcome to the special thursday edition of conversations of great minds with tim carpenter tim is the cofounder and national director of progressive democrats were america he graduated from cal state university fullerton with bachelor's degrees and history and political science and when you keep organizing for the presidential campaigns of reverend jesse jackson and governor jerry brown and served as deputy national campaign manager in the coup soonish for president campaign back in two thousand and four in two thousand and seven tim was named progressive activist of the year by the nation magazine and recently here in washington d.c. was honored by a number of members of congress including john conyers and. ellison
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and others. joins us from. amherst massachusetts tim for the we've got a problem with the video feed the cameras way into tight on you so we're just going take your audio for a minute but first of all walk in the program. take someone here if you look at the video that we're here because we got audio there you go thank you. thank you my just to tell whoever's there if they can just pull the camera back i think that's that's the problem. that's not the problem never mind. so our guys are talking to each other so anyway let me start with you what first of all what got you into your radar and what got you what brought me to politics is what got me in politics well i guess the honest answer would be my sixth grade done it seems to scream school i was part of a group of at the time misfits who weren't cooperating during seventy three and so we were corralled and take it into a sister paulette's room where she organized
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a sit to do. it work and part of the busy work we keep working on political campaigns we drew names out of a hat and i was fortunate in one nine hundred seventy i to the name of john tani who at the time was running for the house of representatives in riverside county he was a disciple of the kennedy clan and was running for congress had i pulled is the amount of how did we were to volunteer and work on that campaign and i would say tom quite honestly that was my introduction to electoral politics and he has so you've seen it from the inside and from the outside. yeah no i definitely started on the inside as a result of that after i got my name onto a number of lists the not legit one nine hundred seventy two i had a chance meeting with you or humphrey or i asked my father why were most of our friends working for george mcgovern at the time i enjoyed meeting hubert humphrey but wondered a lot more about george mcgovern and i think that was really the seven all event for me at twelve years old living in orange county california behind the orange
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curtain not a great progressive the house should i begin very involved in george mcgovern's campaign and in fact on election night my father allowed me to cut school so that i could walk free seats and that was a real introduction for me because i could understand why a two o'clock everybody was giving up the george mcgovern had lost so we have you walked our precincts so that began my fight never to give up until all the ballots are counted and cast and that was said november of one hundred seventy two with george mcgovern's campaign to begin to take the democratic party back for the peace and justice movement so i think quite honestly that's where this road began where i find myself tonight you have been in this for for basically or always. yeah i think that's when you look back on it now forty seven years and one nine hundred seventy two is quite a memory seventy two led to jerry brown in one nine hundred seventy four that was his first race for governor in california and that was a wonderful experience to be part of a charlie brown's campaign and worked very closely and his administration as far as
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a youth activist jury reached out involved us a very much once he was elected. that led to the campaign in one thousand nine hundred eighty six of tom hayden who at that time was mr outside coming from the outside to the inside the author of the poor here on statement by s.c.s. and part of chicago and tom was really my mentor beginning in seventy six while he lost that campaign he formed an organization called the campaign for economic democracy and that's really where my political teeth were caught in california working at the grassroots level both inside and outside the democratic party to bring about social change that's remarkable and then to progressive democrats of america that start. well i know we only have a couple of minutes i'll try to fast forward a little bit seventy six gave way to a lot of outside work i was very active at the time in the catholic worker community and we did a lot of outside work calling for the redirection of military spending to meet human needs turning the reagan military build up in the early eighty's we spent a lot of time and front of rockwell international northrop
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a lot of the military contractors calling on them to redirect their military spending so that was a lot of outside work in the early eighty's and during that time spending a lot of time in jail talking with my friends i became apparent that we weren't quite succeeding in our efforts to redirect military spending it was time to work a little more on the inside i tell the story quite often of trying the short straw when my friend sent me to washington as an idealistic twenty two year old it was my mr smith goes to washington moment with a stack of leaflets leaflet in the halls of congress read a chance meeting which on conyers and it was congressman conyers in one thousand nine hundred one who said that we need help on the outside we're here in washington fighting the good fight against a regular ministration but we need you to take your our message back home and organize in your local community center there that was one thousand nine hundred one and we fast forward to two thousand and four when i called congressman conyers back again and by chance to ask him if he would be with us when he launched progressive democrats of america at roxbury the last day that the democrats met in two thousand and four and we nominated john kerry and john conyers was there and
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that was the launch for president. across america was a long road but it made a lot of sense working both inside and outside of congress to bring about change and being part of the social movement we were the electoral arm it was great to have congressman conyers with us to help us to bring out a connection together in two thousand and four two thousand eight hundred sixty two thousand and four for roxbury two thousand he was back again s.p.d. grew and continues to grow and we've been at every national convention since that's extraordinary now there's no actual connection between progressive democrats of america p.t. america dot org and the democratic party right now legal connection you guys are not part of the party you don't you know dance with the party is a necessary no that's that's fair to say we certainly did for yourselves as the insurgents were the first historically that are like your uncle that shows up at thanksgiving dinner at the democratic party for the most part we just assume not see this but we're the insurgents who are the ones working at the grassroots level to ensure that the democratic party gets back to its progressive roots that f.d.r.
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promised us what it comes to social security health care for all that's what we're about we were both inside and outside the party we're very active in the party we run to be delegates at the state county level we think it's imperative that as local activists just as the chief baggers have taken on the republican party we have progressive democrats have the same challenge we have to hold our party accountable we do that by running at the center of committees and fight to actually running on these issues whether be as candidates ourself in central committee or more importantly to elect a progressive democratic majority i tell you we do that tom we got a lot of work to do so that's our job both electing local activists to move the party in its platform first it's about the ideas and then to track the candidates around on those issues and that's that's great are you familiar with the concord projects you tube videos in the d.v.d.'s that they were passed you know back in two thousand and nine two thousand town about how to run for precinct committee chair and how the precinct committee person was actually more powerful than the president as states in aggregate because they write the platforms and they determine who gets
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to be in the primary and all that kind of stuff. people need to remember that this is the place where we as christians activists can't compete on an actual even footing i was citizens united disparate hard to get to megaphone it's hard to compete in the money game but it's a grassroots level working at the central committee level working as you said it's concord laid out we could run local activists and we can push a platform to our liking just in tucson to lopez to the progressive democrats in tucson just succeeded in passing resolutions in support of stopping the fast tracking of the transpacific partnership which you were just talking about in support of single payer health care it's time that we move beyond this whole discussion on whether or not the computer is working or how the affordable care act will work in reality twenty seven million people will be without health care once this is fully implemented so we're pushing at the grassroots level that's the model we use push these resolutions through hold the party accountable from california to tucson about it she says whether it be the robin hood tax getting out of
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afghanistan redirecting military spending the christers are very much with this what's lacking is a political will in washington to move these directions and that's the work of pedia and i mean concord was teaching tea party folks how to take over the republican party and they succeeded i mean that's that was the election two thousand and ten and they did this and absolutely and that's what you guys are doing the democratic party tim to to bring it up to the moment and then after the break i want to get back into politics but just since we're talking about you personally you're facing right now probably your most difficult battle with cancer . can you tell us hey i was. sure in may of ninety one i was diagnosed simple a good melanoma at the time say street level four is very very lucky thirty one years ago i put the cancer behind me and quite successful up until may of this year which i was dealt another. streak of bad luck to melanoma spafford and it's
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unfortunate that it's back to the degree that it was had in may i. i was told of this year that i had very little chance really to fight it at this time but given my track record of putting cancer on hold for thirty one years we're back here again in may i was told if i didn't get a bridge drug i'd be trouble in august and here we are december so yeah tom i'm trying his best i can to deal with the reality that i've been diagnosed both with terminal cancer and make sure and in twenty fourteen that we elect oppressive democratic majority so it's a question of balancing two right now and so far so good. you know there are some people who suggest that if you have a mission that you're passionate about that you push through even health crises skew think that's helping. you think there's a fine balance and i also was diagnosed when i was twelve years old working in the george mcgovern campaign with what's called a closing spondylitis that's why tonight many viewers me wonder what's with that guy snack on my next fusing my spines fuse and i lost my left eye a long time ago so i've dealt with chronic pain chronic diseases for some time and
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i found that the best medicine is to get out roll up your sleeves and get involved rather than roll back and roll back into your bed and that's what i'm going to continue to do here with the news that i was given we just met as you know on wednesday we had the best progressive roundtable we've ever had with p.t.a. inside the halls of washington at the rayburn building on thursday you're with this one congressman mcgovern and he tells her with this and p.t.a. leadership just spent this past weekend we're trying to do something that's never done been done before how does an organization that's in its ninth year having its best year organize itself so that the director can step back a deal with a terminal disease and at the same time move the organization forward and and we're doing that in pedia and i think the people have been supportive and the most important thing is that we're looking forward i'm going to give it my best shot i'm going to continue to fight every day of my life and bring this work forward and i'm going to prepare for the news of cancer just as i live each day in the belief that we can continue to make a difference and that's what's nice about i thank you for that opportunity to have
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this discussion. we have just a little less than that before the break what is p.t.a. going to do in the post. world. well it's a good question we met this week and first we had to figure out whether or not there was going to even be a p.d.f. for subsets of the to assume that many of the people who have laid down their lives have been a part of this move the disc community for the last nine years and want to do that again i was blown away and all honored that over twenty activists our leadership from across the country came together here and in western massachusetts to have that discussion and we've decided collectively we're going to move forward we're not quite sure yet how we're going to move forward but the core team is committed andrea miller who serves as our future rector is going to continue to work with me hand in hand with connor who serves also as part of our national team and and we've decided with everybody across the country our state leadership there that we're going to continue to organize and mobilize are on to something we'll continue this p.d.s. ones we can both supportively this work of working inside and outside the democratic
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party will continue under what name we don't know but p.d. certainly for a while yeah it's absolutely vital and anything that i can do to be a part of that and to help you know calm and more conversations of great minds and to her credit but. this is a media lead us so we leave them to be. the same motions to the. your party there's a poll. questions that no one is asking with the guests that you deserve answers from it's all on politicking only on our t.v. . wealthy british style is not.
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the time to write for. markets why not. come to. find out what's really happening to the global economy with mike's cause or for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune into cons a report on r t i am at. this site i think corporation kind of can. do and the bank i think it's all been all about money and fast like that for a politician quite a lot and. that. there is just too much. today's by. that.
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welcome back to our special conversations with great minds with tim carbon or tim is the co-founder and national director of progressive democrats of america p d america dot org was a key organizer for the presidential campaigns of over jesse jackson governor jerry brown served as a deputy national campaign manager of the senate for president campaign in two thousand and four in two thousand and seven tim was named progressive activist of the year by the nation magazine let's get back to it tim there's there's been if we can wax philosophical for a moment here there are there is been two there have been two story lines that have gone through american politics. one that i think is embrace by most people is the great man theory of history that franklin roosevelt for example just to use his presidency as an example we could we could there's a very good case to be made for lincoln and for jefferson being the same that he
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was just the right guy at the right time he was the man who was going to save america he he had the right collection of experience and advisors on and therefore and he was virtually deified my god my grandfather was you know just absolutely you know f.d.r. was a god you couldn't speak ill of him and for my grandfather although my father was the opposite politically and then there's another story line which says that no it's not the man who makes or the woman who makes change happen in a political environment it's the times it's the circumstances that f.d.r. the the real story of f.d.r. these folks would argue instead of the great man theory of of politics it was a great time theory of politics the real story of f.d.r. is that he was a rich kid rich guy who had come from a rich family who had been governor of what was the most corrupt state in the entire united states to york state and had presided over a lot of that corruption came into the white house out of play. on a on
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a campaign that had very little ambition associated with it it was mostly incremental change let's keep doing what her herbert hoover has been doing but once he got into the white house you he had occupy a movement that was spread literally the you know the bonus army from the front door of the white house down to the potomac river he had a third of the country. you know the whole thing and and the times pushed him to become what he became i'm curious your thoughts on those two narratives of how history happens and how political change or is it just. one of the school that f.d.r. was a good listener as well if you read arthur slush and you're in the history of f.d.r. when the progressive community can do in his first term and said what they needed it was f.d.r. who challenged progressive community and said go out make me do it and if you compare his first state of the union address to his last one his fourth address you see far out for he move whether it be so security and social safety net that begin to i am of the school that it's the people that make the president whether what
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time it is wherever we find ourselves it's when we organize and we mobilize and history shows me that when a group of women gathered inside of falls and eight hundred forty nine with elizabeth said and susie b. anthony that they weren't given much chance in their life time that they were going to see women get the chance to vote so regardless of what time they found themselves they set the moral compass and set about on a journey to bring about the women's right to vote it wasn't tell the women were pounding at the gates of the white house during president wilson that we ultimately got that side to get the social movements working both inside and outside i think we've done a good job thanks to howard zinn in telling the story of the outside movement but i do think historically we have some storytelling to do i think one of the pieces that's been lost that i think tom hayden is probably one of the best authors of this is how we as part of the larger social movement have impacted inside and i you know i begin with susan b. anthony and with elizabeth he said and we can fast forward to nine hundred fifty six when rosa parks said in the front of a bus and said i'm simply not going to move anymore and the young minister dr king
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begin what became of the civil rights movement as we know it today and it was through that effort that in one nine hundred sixty three sixty four sixty five the civil rights movement grew and why dr king ultimately was in the rose garden with president johnson to sign the civil rights and the voting rights act so it's the social movements working in concert with those inside the system that also will bring about that change who thought that a southern president under lyndon johnson would do that but between the assassination of john f. kennedy in the civil rights movement on that pressure and then fly. only i would end with the anti-war movement when buddhist monks started to self in your late under offices robert mcnamara a young activist began to gather at the pentagon as early as sixty three and sixty four was not lead to bell labs or get others to cut the purse strings and did all this i think it's a combination of the two it's what we do as activists what we do as citizens to move our president regardless of what time we find ourselves so also we bring about that change and that's why i'm so water to be part of progressive democrats of
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america and be part of that social movement so what do you say to those people. either a who are waiting for the messiah you know they're there they are the people who thought that oh we elected president obama and he campaigned as we're dresses everything's going to change we can go back to sleep or we can go back to to work or you know pass the bog or the or the to the gin martini or whatever a or b. those people who say well you know we try to go out in the streets in ways we showed up to occupy wall street and you know the cops beat us up and you know screw that. well we again. broke obama sent me a note on. his record are some of our work but we have no illusions that he's a progressive don't look for the messiah as they often say in the buddhist community to kill the buddha when you see that we've got to take it upon ourselves it's our responsibility we've got to roll up our sleeves and get out there and make a difference i would argue that one of the reasons that occupy stalled was there
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were no demands occupy did a tremendous job and educated to mobilizing the outside piece what it lacks was that insight peace and we'd like to provide that and link up best with the occupy movement we tried to do that i don't think we've heard certainly the last of the occupy movement in the great work that they did on the education work that they did but i think one of the flaws of the occupy movement was no demand and i don't think we're going to ever see that again but out of that movement has begun the robin hood tax we're beginning for the first time just as those young activists gathered at wall street two years ago to call it accountability wall street we're seeing legislative action demands put on the inside to bring about the fundamental change in occupy called for to take care of the ninety nine percent versus the one percent it's time that we tax wall street to bring about the three hundred sixty billion dollars revenue that we need to begin to rebuild main street so i say don't look for the messiah i say get whether deep progressive democrats of america whether it be democratic socials of america whether p.d.f. a move on whatever it is there's certainly a number of organizations out there to be a part of but the most important thing is to roll up your sleeves shed the out with
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the of the believe that you can make a difference because as margaret mead said a small group of people working together. can bring about change in the end that's who does it so certainly by no means so look for that messiah if by chance we find a good politician by all means we'll do everything we can to help him but the barber leaves or the jim mcgovern son fortunately there aren't two hundred forty one of them yet so we've got a lot of work to do and and p.t.a. has been doing an amazing job with that work can you give us just a quick recap of what you consider to be the major accomplishments of p.t.a. the metrics that might cause somebody to go oh i should take this group seriously. well i think the first thing is to understand about progressive democrats america what makes us different as we said from the outset we're part of a larger social movement we understand the work both inside and outside to bring that social heat inside the democratic party it's very difficult when you're a minority within a minority of which p.d.'s were the progressive wing of the progressive caucus the democrats are organized in washington by caucuses democrats make up what's called
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the progressive caucus the congressional process where half of caucus over seventy two members but in reality there's only about ten or fifteen of those members are really making a difference so we're part of a minority within a minority so given that it's difficult sometimes to measure victories but for me it's easy because i'm always looking at the world how full the glass how full there's been a lot of victories in our work when the president gave up it abandon the fight for single payer we never gave up and now here we are going through an incredible odyssey of the affordable care act the public option and all of that and we're right back to where we started bernie sanders has reintroduced single payer legislation jim mcdermott has introduced single payer legislation to help us to move single payer at the state level were part of that effort congressman conyers has never given up on single payer six seventy six were part of that fight so by being part of p.v.a. you're part of the solution i think the major victory and what little time we have tonight on that i think will demonstrate to people where we're you are honestly making a difference is when you look at syria here we are tonight there are no bombs dropped
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on damascus right now diplomacy is working and i would argue that it's a result of grassroots organization. it's stopping this president from moving us into another illegal unjustified war when it came about in syria if you remember the night before the president gave his speech on the tuesday on that monday night over two hundred thirty five vigils were held across this country where grassroots activists said no and were we as progressive democrats of america worked on the inside with alan grayson and barbara lee a small minority at the time mark polk at that said no war to clone the sea is the only way to go and check p.v. for the first time in our history we were able to gather enough details and dimes to put an eight thousand dollar ad inside roll call to say no bombing diplomacy and here we are tonight so i would say that's the major victory and finally the fight on snap and food stamps here in massachusetts i'm fortunate i have jim mcgovern as my congress member he's led to fight to restate the bodies that are being cut from food stamps that's a fight to the democratic party leadership gave up on and it's true the leadership
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of jim mcgovern that's fight continues and we're proud to be part of that of p.d. and finally tom i do beg your victories every day by the community in which you work by being part of that change setting that up at the end being a part of real change we're winning every day p.v.a. numerically in our numbers are growing every day we come to washington as part of our roundtable discussion with activists and with congress members from around the country and the numbers are growing and finally the last thing i would leave you with on how we're growing and decrease every month the third wednesday of every month today we delivered one hundred twenty two letters to members of congress by the end of this week we have delivered over two hundred seventy letters last month we delivered two hundred fifty this is a case where grassroots activists are taking our message directly to the members of congress we don't have to go through any still tours we don't have to spend any money we don't have to worry about whether or not citizens united will be overturned we as activists and we as citizens can go to our members of congress every month and as we do that in p.t.a. those numbers are growing i would claim it out to be a major victory of engagement and making about real change. what we just have one
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minute left him what do you see as is there is there a singular issues. that define. is this or is it the movement that defines where we need to go for wealth it's the movement to defines and for me there is fundamentally right now i'm in a fight myself i'm in a health crisis like myself and dr king warned us a long time ago when you continue to spend more money on the military at the cost of your human agenda you're going to risperdal doubt that i think that's where we are right now we have a community just got done voting in congress another eighty one billion dollars into afghanistan is unconscionable that money's got to be redirected we put on a bumper sticker health care are not worth fair but it's much deeper than that it's a political philosophy that believes that people matter over the military just are complex and that people can make a difference to move their government to meet human needs and ultimately p.t.a. was founded on that belief that over time we've got to overturn what we see as the status quo today and get our government back to work for main street and for those that so desperately need whether it be a safety net health care or food stamps we've got to get focused on what's most
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important and that's to realize that government is our friend that's what we're about and i think it's right for the chance to dialogue with you absolutely brilliant thank you ted it's an honor and a genuine honor to be talking thank you. thank you tom tim carpenter for more information progressive democrats of america go to p.t. america dot org and see this in other conversations in great minds go to our website at conversations with great minds to.
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put on your poster on the election. you know. a pleasure to have you with us here on our team today.
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that was a new alert animation scripts scare me a little. there is breaking news tonight and they are continuing to follow the breaking news. alexander's family cry tears of the wife great things that had. their core a wall around alive is a story made for a movie is playing out in real life. the cool.
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from j.f.k. is assassination to nine eleven the famously infamous a fascinating look inside the history of instant change then shaped america truly off is the blues i'll take you on the big schools who tour inside the nation's newseum in washington d.c. all next on politics with larry. welcome to politicking with larry king what a special show we have here today we have a tour of the incredible newseum in washington d.c. kavita rose will be my partner on this tour she is the vice president of exhibits certain.


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