tv Cross Talk RT January 1, 2014 10:29am-11:01am EST
hello and welcome to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle ringing in the new year in this edition of crossfire as we ask what is in store as we start two thousand and fourteen and what could make this year different and even better from the year that has passed who should we keep our eye on and what story should we be following. to cross out what to expect in the new year i'm joined by my guest in washington kelly vlahos she's a journalist and antiwar dot com we also have medea benjamin she's a code founder of code pink an author of drone warfare and we also have kayla williams she is author of the book love my rifle more than you young and female in the u.s. army and she's also a truman national security project well all right crosstalk rules in effect and happy new year to you all right kelly i'm going to give you an opportunity you probably never never get again on global television it's two thousand and fourteen
we've just gotten started we did a program on two thousand and thirteen all three of you are pretty pessimistic ok there are a couple of bright spots but now we're in the new year so kelly give me your which is crazy as it may sound for two thousand and fourteen go ahead. well i don't know how crazy it is but what i wish right you know right off the bat is i want to know what's going on in afghanistan you know we left two thousand and thirteen with a very uncertain picture about whether or not president hamann karzai was going to allow troops to stay in that country are u.s. troops and nato troops to stay in that country there's a number of sticking points in terms of getting a deal meanwhile we have tens of thousands of troops still there bases equipment obligations we have an entire army that the afghan army that the united states has
helped train we don't know what the fate of that military is going to be without the assistance of the united states we don't know what the fate of the afghan people are going to be you know my gut is that if we if no deal is struck and we leave precipitous lee the entire country could fall right back into some terrible violence and chaos and political uncertainty so as an american i'd like to know what's going to go on in afghanistan from here on i am tired of this cloudy picture of where my money is going you know where our efforts have gone for the last twelve years what our veterans have fought for died for have been injured for i want to know and i think that the obama administration has sort of dropped the ball in two thousand and thirteen and it's about time for them to step up and make this another make our foreign policy in this area a priority ok but do you can i guess what yours might be your wish and if your national convention being the use of drones is it close to your wish. that sounds
great peter and i would add to that since the last year ended with a strike in yemen and a wedding party that we also have obama apologizing to the innocent people that we've killed and saying that he will not allow drone strikes to be used again ok that's a good one all right well how about you what is your wish for two thousand and fourteen and i guess i mean be imaginative ok let's you know this is you know we're just a few days into the year so no one can say we're wrong go ahead my wish is for significant change on our investments in fighting climate change i would love to see a manhattan project level effort or a race to the moon level efforts to increase carbon capture technology to decrease carbon emissions to improve batteries so that wind and solar power can can be more reliable instead of only intermittent and to really put
a massive amount of effort into addressing this as much as i care very very deeply about veterans which is my core issue really if we do not address climate change this is going to be a human crisis that will affect the entire globe kelly how about another wish like the maybe just a short break from the gridlock in washington to get something done for the american people because of the the program we did earlier in two thousand and thirteen the cutting of food stamps for poor families here you know maybe you know the you know we could see some kind of enlightenment in washington that you know you have to have a healthy population to to move forward here i mean. can congress ever be different i don't know go ahead. i don't know i mean if you are going to talk crazy out talk real crazy and i think that i would like to see an entire overhaul of the health care the new health care law and not from a republican perspective in which i would just want to get rid of. obamacare as it
stands i would like to see and over all of obamacare and perhaps the direction of maybe single payer i mean i think that's what most americans are men and many americans wanted in the first place and all of the compromises and all of the politics over health care and the new health care law have created a monster in which nobody is happy the libertarians are happy the folks who are looking for a single payer and looking for affordable health care access for all americans aren't happy nobody is happy i'm not happy i think americans are looking at the future of health care and they're saying oh my god i'm not going to be able to afford prescription and surgeries and treatments and my old age my children aren't going to be able to afford health care when they get married and they start families i think i think washington has created a mess and if i could have my way the whole thing would be scrapped and start from the beginning with with the american people and affordable access to health care in
mind ok that's a very good which we do you know how about you know we can go international relations here how high on the list for your wish list if we see a meaningful agreement with iran. well it's absolutely essential and let me link into it kelly said because i think i can find places where we can save a lot of money to put into a really good health care system in the in the united states and that would be to have the zero option in afghanistan bring all the troops back home to have a agreement with iran as you say to start bringing back the soldiers from the eight hundred plus military bases we have all over the world that would be a wonderful thing for twenty fourteen to see some of those bases started to close down and we would find ourselves suddenly with many billions of dollars that we can invest in our health care system ok you want to add on to any of those. i would actually love to see a resurgent labor movement around the world we've seen hints it last year in two
thousand and thirteen here in america with wal-mart workers fast food workers starting to lobby for living wages washington as we've discussed seems totally gridlocked i don't necessarily think that we are going to see higher. minimum wage nationwide but we have individual cities me as a palate is who are raising the minimum wage across the country and if we can i believe very strongly in having a social safety net and want that to be preserved but it's also tremendously important for wages to increase because so many of the people that are taking advantage of the social safety net are workers they are paid so poorly that they have to be on food stamps or accept other public assistance just to make ends meet and if we want to truly improve everything it would be tremendously helpful to get them living wages let's see this going on around the world and have a real improvement in and improving workers' wages and start to chip away at the
atrocious gap between the rich and the poor you know kelly i agree with that this was what was going to be my next question here is that i would like to see two thousand and fourteen be the year that where the average american under waves the cost of what i call the american empire and what it's done for social services for the average american because they're way out of whack in hope maybe two thousand and fourteen would be greater awareness that it cost a lot of money to have eight hundred bases around the world. absolutely and i you know i and i think that we've talked about this before i think that there's been a growing awareness at least among the american people and their elected representatives that this trillion dollar war that we have waged over the last twelve years has cost us not only money but but american lives and with costs that are going to be projected way off into the future considering the veterans that are
coming home with these horrendous injuries so i think we're we're finally aware that we've been pouring money into a black hole when it comes to our wars we see no return whether it be in iraq or in afghanistan in terms of making our country safer or liberating people overseas and so i think there's an awareness that we need to scale back on our wars there's also an awareness that on one hand our republican mostly republican members of congress have been telling us that we've had to feed this war beast for the last twelve years to trust them with our our money where they're putting it overseas but on the other hand we can't have. a minimal federal minimum wage that is a modern and is a living wage for all americans that we can have accessible health care for all americans that we can't have the social safety net including employment benefits
extended so i think american people are looking and they're looking they're going wait a minute i poured all this money and all my tax to payer dollars into a war that's given us nothing but pain and suffering but on the other hand you're telling me that we have to cut food stamps we can't get affordable health care you know what's that what's the deal here and i think worth we're seeing some of that reflected in the politics and washington it might be slow but i think that we're going to see more of that in two thousand and fourteen. because it seems like so much of politics is just corporate politics i mean you pay to play and the people that we're talking about on this program don't have the money to pay to play. yes and with the recent decision by the supreme court that allowed even more money to flow into elections i am not very hopeful that that's going to change in two thousand and fourteen i would love to see some some serious changes to the u.s.
electoral system to reduce gerrymandering to maybe bring in alternative voting systems to make third party candidates more viable and some way to limit the amount of money that flows into elections and politics so that we could have people have more of a voice in our elections instead of the outsized. role that corporations and that the very wealthy can play at this point in time for it i have to jump in you're going to get it was a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the new year state or. leave the legal.
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news recently she. is a. welcome back to cross talk where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing what to expect in the year two thousand and fourteen. ok kilogram will go back to you in this month here in january there is the expectation it leaves but there will be geneva two that mean meaning negotiations over ending hopefully the civil. war in syria and everything that we know to date
is that one party might show up the bad guy according to the washington consensus mr assad i wouldn't say use a great guy but there's the other bad guys in the in this situation have almost no interest whatsoever in talking they just want to continue the war any optimism that two thousand and fourteen may see the end of this really truly horrific civil war i can't see any optimism of peter i think the time has come and gone for the united states to at least act as a good faith. negotiator a leader and that in this conflict that i see that you know in reading in recent in recent days and weeks that the that the the democracy movement that was a kernel of the revolution there in syria has pretty much been wiped out and overtaken by extremist factions regional fighting us interests
interest throughout the middle east meddling and i think that unfortunately it's a syrian people that are suffering. and during a most terrible winter and poverty and in refugee camps and i don't see that the obama administration has shown any diplomatic leadership in this conflict and i think that their time has come and gone so it is just a matter of watching these horrendous. developments unfold we do it i'll be very utopian here i would like to do this program one year from now except for a little beyond december thirty first and i would really love to say you know folks it was the year of diplomacy would you institutionalize me for saying the. the year of no i when i would join you peter i think we we're we're seeing the diplomacy in the case of iran and hopefully that will move forward and will be able
to hold back those regressive elements in the u.s. congress that don't want to plough mysie and then i think in terms of syria there's going to have to be a lot of efforts and diplomacy whether they'll be successful who knows and in my little way i'm joining with women's groups from around the world we're going to be at the talks in switzerland in january hundreds of us surrounding the building and saying we want a ceasefire we want women at the table because if there's going to be diplomacy there's got to be women at the table and we want a massive amount of humanitarian aid which should go with the diplomacy so yes i wouldn't institutionalize you peter i would be right with you saying twenty fourteen must be the year of diplomacy going away and on that i mean could we see more diplomacy because iowa express my own personal opinion here is that i've often wondered why over the last twelve years we have
a secretary of state because these people are secretaries of war and i just think that again my expressing my own personal opinion here is that the u.s. has kind of gotten out of practice and trying to look at using diplomatic terms to start to start resolving issues because i think we've all agreed on this program as a lot of people in the u.s. and in the western world in general just had enough of these interventions because they never turn out the way you expect and if you started diplomacy a little bit earlier in the game it might alter a possible outcome so diplomacy. god willing i hope so i would love to see this be the year of diplomacy it's going be really interesting to see how kerry does as secretary of state throughout the year i think that with the new president of iran we have an opening there too to pursue diplomatic engagement that we certainly didn't under and really hopeful that we can make some progress there. don't know
what's going to happen obviously in syria but the progress on chemical weapons i think is at least some small hint of progress and that's encouraging and exciting as well to find you know any way that we can move forward on the diplomatic front i mean you've seen over the past decade even very senior military commanders in the united states say you know we need to have more funding going to the state department usa id you do not need to have or want to have your military taking the lead in so many of these arenas that's why we have a state department so let's give them more of their due and let them play the role that they are exist a play where a well said kelly but then that's to pessimistic. because we must talk about it we have to talk about israel palestine we talk about diplomacy your reading my mind how do you do it how do you do that how do you do that's where thousands of miles apart you keep reading my mind that's where i want to go next so go ahead palestine
. well unfortunately unless the united states starts doing something to say to the israeli government you cannot continue with these settlement expansion if you expect there's going to be any possibility of negotiations the u.s. has not been willing to do that and so i see that well kerry has been successful in the case of iran moving forward nothing seems to be coming out of the israel palestine and as we are in this new year we should look at this tragedy in gaza where people are suffering from the cold they're walking in sewer they don't have electricity their lives are so miserable and we really have to figure out a way that we become real brokers in the issue of israel palestine not continue to be on the side of the repression of the israeli government carol you know one of my great hopes for two thousand and fourteen that everyone every day goes to antiwar dot com and read the wonderful work of yourself and your colleagues because
everything that we just heard about palestine that's mike my first stop every single morning is to go to antiwar dot com and i read those stories about god i read those stories about settlements obviously there are other places to go but that's my first stop so what my on my wish list is that everybody every day goes the antiwar dot com and gives us a little bit of money too. i'm not going to disagree with you there but i would like to just go back for a second. the idea that the united states is out of practice when it comes to diplomacy and kayla had brought up the fact that the military should not be in charge of diplomacy that were there should be more money and more efforts put in and poured into the state department you know the problem is that the military took control over diplomacy during the war for the last ten years or so there were massive battles on capitol hill over funding for the state department and the state
department lost every single one so to say that somehow that the military never wanted this job and that the military is fighting for the state department. to get more money and to and to take on these roles more forcibly seems a little is the is a little facetious you know i think that the ten years were lost in terms of the state department you know honing its goals at the policy and i think that secretary of state kerry is is doing a yeoman's effort in terms of trying to regain some of that ground and i see him doing an exceptional job with the iranian negotiation negotiations unfortunately capitol hill the entire congress seems to be working against him and i think that says just as much about you know how the state department's been treated over the years as it does with the obama administration has lost the ability or seems to not have not really had the ability to cultivate you know
allies in congress so that these sort of loggerheads don't occur when we have we're on the cusp of a real breakthrough and i think that the congress might be in a position to scuttle it in two thousand and fourteen unfortunately if i go back to you and want you to be one of the things my international friends have to say to me is that he personally don't like mr obama and the. the term that they usually use is empty suits you know who is this guy do you think he's going to get a second wind in two thousand and fourteen i mean he had a very bad or not very good two thousand and thirteen and we're going to see a peacemaker. i think kerry's doing a much better job certainly than hillary clinton did in even try to do whether this will rebound and make obama look like a peacemaker and i don't know i think it's going to be another tough year for him or what do you think a tough year for the president. unfortunately i think he's tried too much to be
a peacemaker since he took office that he's right and negotiate with people who are not interested in negotiating back with him. really to me is appear that the that the republicans are not at all interested in compromise and he has continued to try and try and try to compromise and it hasn't gotten us anywhere. i think if if the democrats can retake the house there's a chance that this can change but you know at the beginning of his presidency obama had both houses and still wasn't able to accomplish as much as many of us had hoped legislatively so i'm not sure that we're going to see change but i'm going to hold out hope that if the american people step up and make real efforts to contact their elected officials and to vote their conscience is that hopefully we can see some real change but not going to hold my breath on that one kelly will get i'm going to end the program on you here give us the best thing that could possibly happen in
two thousand and fourteen and maybe it's even for you personally just give me some optimism here like i said we do this program three times a week and usually it's depressing go ahead. i think the best thing that could possibly happen in two thousand and fourteen is that we have greater transparency and to the government surveillance programs which have been intruding on americans and foreign individuals privacy over the last twelve years and i think the best thing that could happen is that we have a full out debate transparency into that issue as soon as possible our achille have to jump in we're brought out of time but we ended on a very optimistic point many thanks so i guess in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember proper. unilever's legal. fees are.
a bit of a. molo obviously we should be quite concerned about a lot of the recent revelations about spying and so forth the internet remains the most powerful tool for the spread of freedom in the world today. on their way to antarctica the crew of the i can to make sure that a face many challenges. here you have to look out for yourself crashing on to rocks trapped in pack ice in extreme conditions and the thing can happen and dr who always comes up with surprises you have to keep your eyes open because if there's always something going wrong the ship carries huge reserves of water food fuel as well as helicopters and people able to survive extreme conditions they're ready for
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it's twenty fourteen everywhere and the new years enjoyed a spectacle crossed the globe with crowds of revenues ringing in a time zone by times. president putin visits the city of volgograd mourning the victims of successive suicide bombings after a pledge to fight terror until the end in his new year address. it welcomes twenty fourteen and a new currency but many of the crisis battered euro will turn out well. just over a month before the winter games started salt she would report from the city preparing to host the olympics and allow its guests.