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tv   Panel Discussion  CSPAN  December 23, 2013 4:00am-5:16am EST

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>> looked at the united states 60 years of john kennedy and dallas the american people don't believe if there was the single shooter. >> host: we now know he was shot but there was an investigation. we don't even know to what that's true. but thousands of regulation
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and one of the most amazing coincidences in pakistan a man who was at the exact same place of a speech was actually shot and killed by supposedly a lone gunman. the individual was shot several times it even though he was subdued by the crowd and take it away they shot him six times. see you would never know who
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was behind it to. so today there is speculation of the 56 years before because of id honor of that private mr.. because i found it interesting and they are assassinated to take to the military hospital if they try to receive him and revive him successfully but 20 years later the doctor there receives benazir bow
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-- benazir bhutto. lot of coincidences'. >> host: with that we will wrap up. thank you very much for joy to be here tonight. year, jeremy
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hill, dirty wars. >> a break to welcome you here this morning to miami books are international. those of you joining us to chapman center in the lou harrison and absurd as a volunteer for many, many years. it's happy anniversary to the 30 years here in our community. [applause] we are very grateful to art software in particular, american airlines and always shall. i'd also like to recognize the friends of the fair, many who are here in our first couple of rows. thank you so much for your generosity in support. we look forward to your continuing to be a friend for many, many years.
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miami book fair international and miami dade college work hand-in-hand to bring this book fair to us every year. it's a wonderful, cultural affair that thousands and thousands of fairgoers are enriched by each and every year. thank you all. come in, have a seat. as you now, our sessions are being streamed live by c-span. please help us keep this they are going for another 30 years. we usually ask you to turn off your cell phones, but we are going to ask you keep them on and take the nod and make a donation if you're selling high. 30-dollar donation to recognize 30 years book here has been at this end to see what tax mbsi to
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41444, we would be most grateful for your generosity and support. at this time, as some of you are still getting seated, i would like to bring to the podium someone who might follow introductions of our author. his name is mr. robert weisberg, a longtime civil rights attorney here in our community. mr. weisberg? [applause] been a good morning. it's a real honor to be here today is to be able to introduce george packer, jeremy scahill and dan balz. [applause] going to server does do a quick
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little introduction of each of them right up front and then we can get charity. george is on the end of the table is a longtime staff writer for "the new yorker" magazine. his 2005 book, decide date on american iraq based on event that led up to 2003 invasion of iraq and what happened afterwards was recognized for "the new york times" book review of hong kong bucks were cloaked about your church is also the author of novels in the play betrayal powertrain off-broadway for five months in 2008 and will tell an award for outstanding play. this year, church of the faithful book is published: this book in large part details narratives from various people in describing how institutions of the country of change in the
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late 1970s to the president and how that is impacted americans. in preparing for this, i looked at what individuals, authors, others had said about "the unwinding" and prominent and accomplish others have described "the unwinding" as original comment i said, courageous, essential, unique, irresistible, extraordinary, gorgeous, exurban comella gave him a sweeping, powerful. i could go on, but you get the point. this past wednesday church was awarded the national book award for 2013 for nonfiction. [applause] for those of you don't mind the national book award is described as a book that the oscars consumes. next to georges jeremy -- >> i have to follow that?
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[laughter] >> jeremy scahill this investigative journalist. jeremy has been a long-time contributor to the new program democracy now and correspondent for the nation magazine. as a journalist, jeremy is reported from all over the world, including afghanistan, iraq, somalia, yemen and the former lucas audio. he has twice won the prestigious george polk award for and reporting. in 1998 for his investigation in the chevron corp.'s role in the killing of two nigerians and environmental activist and in 2008 for his "new york times" best-selling book, blackwater, the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army, which exposes the private military contractor blackwater. jeremy's investigative work has led several congressional hearings and is also resulted in jeremy testifying before
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congress on u.s. covert military actions. jeremy's newest book, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield" is a monumental book which takes the reader inside u.s. military covert action, worldwide and the consequences of those actions. "dirty wars" has also been made into a documentary which jeremy cowrote, produced in a rebate. jeremy frequently appears on various public affairs programs, public affairs programs, just as rachel nadeau, another's. [applause] next to me right here is dan balz. dan is chief correspondent at the "washington post." he has served as the paper's national editor, political editor, white house correspondent and southwest
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correspondent. dan is co-author of 96 title storming the gates, protest politics republican revival. in 2009, didn't cowrote with the late hans in the bestseller, the battle for america 2008 paris of an extraordinary election about the 2008 presidential election. and this year, dan wrote the book "collision 2012: election in america". "collision 2012" provides incredibly detailed, rich insight into both the election campaign and makes for fascinating reading. in 2011, dean received the white house course on its association or miss but the word for deadline presidency and national press club award for political analysis. dan is a regular panelist on washington week in the daily run down and a frequent guest on
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other public affairs shows. please join me in welcoming george, jeremy indiana. [applause] >> so, we are going to do a little curly mouth. quite soon we can turn it over and get it going both ways. the year 2008 came up in each of the introduction and he was then i began to think about a book that would try to understand what happened that year with these huge pillars of american -- the economy and our society collapsing. from automakers to banks, housing market, commercial and investment banks and in a sense, the political system which
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seemed to be on the cusp of a new era of reform with the rise of barack obama had a thing proved more illusory than real. i had just come back uncovering the iraq war for several years. the failure to american institutions was on my mind before that. i wanted to see how the lives of people at home or effect did by these forces. the more i thought about it, i realized this is really the story of my adult life. this doesn't go back to 2006 or 9/11 or even the clinton years. this is a generation long trajectory that led to the epic events of 2008. there are a number of phenomenon that he can around the late
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70s that have been made things shaping our lives from wage stagnation in the middle-class to deindustrialization of the outsourcing of manufacturing, the decline of labor unions, information technology and the consumer internet and consumer computers. political polarization and the return of the republican party towards the extreme right. along with that, the ability of washington to really function as it did when i was younger. above all, the rest of inequality, which all of these first is have contributed to economic inequality cosigning paradoxically with greater social equality. more groups included in american life. more stratification along class lines. so this is a big, big story. there's many good books from
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which i learned a lot attracted historically, politically and policy, economically. i tried it first to add my own version of those books is a pile and quickly grew exhausted with the thought of it because it's such a huge topic. i have big ambitions. to write a big ambitious book, you need to find a small way into a tiered you can't take it on whole or also drown in it. so over the course of the next two years after to disney, i began to travel around the country and made americans in different ways. sometimes serendipity, sometimes through design, his lies were part of a story, who were sort of on the receiving end of debate global and national forces and decisions because these are not just blind forces.
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these are political decision-making power centers like wall street and washington that have created the greatest inequality we've seen in a hundred years. the moment of clarity came when i read i don't have to write a big history. i can tell the stories of these people. dean price in the piedmont region of north carolina, a truckstop entrepreneur who had a sheen of gas station and fast food joints that began to crumble with the financial crisis in the recession in turn for salvation, almost religious salvation to the fallow tobacco fields all around him and began to see canola as the answer, which could create bio diesel fuel instead of imported oil, which made it impossible for him to compete with the big chain and also the oil thrown out at night by all the barbecue joints that could also be turned into
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bio diesel. tammy thomas who is a lifelong assembly line worker in youngstown ohio, while that figure is in a death spiral. faster and larger magic in some ways than detroit as a result of the death of the steel industry. the pillars of the society that depended on it. her job went overseas just issues getting close to her retirement and she remade herself as a community organizer right at the moment the community organizer became famous as a presidential candidate. just comment and who is a lifelong washington operative, which some like a fate worse than death and in some ways the days, but in fact, his career is tremendously eliminating and showing forces that have shaped washington over the course of this generation long history.
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he went from being an idealistic army be to a rather cynical obvious, we realize the real game is in lobbying and did very well out of it and with the financial crisis, saw all that was wrong with that money in washington kind of coming back to haunt him and all of a sudden he went back into government to try to enact real wall street reform legislation in the senate as the chief of staff to the senator who took a wait-and-see. that didn't work out, but the effort is golf was worth recording. these people had crossed my radar and became the protagonists of what became the unwinding. the hard part was to figure out how all this fits together. there's the whole story of tampa, florida, not far from here. it is huge rises of this housing
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machine of growth monster and then total collapse. almost overnight you could see it like the looney tunes are going out into midair, thinking the housing market is still holding it up and then collapsed. sit tampa stories the big part of it. there's also a silicon valley aspect of the book because you have to look at silicon valley has this weird anomalous success story in the middle of so much trouble. in addition and forgive me, but i had a lot of material to corel. there's 10 famous americans whose stories i wanted to tell because i wanted this to be mostly from the bottom-up. you also have to look at the tops of society to understand the people in forces that shaped these years. newt gingrich represents politics. demott represents business. robert rubin financed oprah winfrey and her team them and
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on. at a certain moment, as the deadline was looming, i had to figure out, what is all this? i've got more than i can handle and jeremy absher had moments of truth along the same line. it's called overreporting and you have to do it. if you are efficient, it means you are not deep enough into the story. you have to lose yourself for a while. and i was lost. but then i begin to think there must be a way to tell these stories without conventional forms because what i had was too unconventional to say. and i looked back in literary history to one of my favorite works of american fiction, the u.s.a. trilogy for a guide to how to tell a big historical story. his trilogies about the first three decades. to do it in the way through people's lives. that gave me the confidence that
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you could create something coherent out of all of this polyphony. it's a very kaleidoscopic work. so when you read "the unwinding" as they hope you're well, you leave them for a while. you need newt gingrich all of a sudden. his presence might seem odd at first and then you begin to see this is the late 70s and early 80s. here is newt gingrich who maybe did more than anyone to create the toxic political role that we live in. you then go back to one of the care received that before and so on and it takes you 35 years through their life stories and the largest story of america to reach the present. i can't say it's a story of shining success because it not, but i don't think it's depressing in the sense that these people have tremendous
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energy, humor, creativity, a kind of growing object to be about themselves, which is coming in now, the only benefit to getting older. it is i have to say kind of middle-aged story. obvious people come from. worn around the late 50s or 60s and i needed that because i needed their lives to carry the weight of all that history that you can send the late 70s and leads to the present. so that gives you a brief mouth of "the unwinding." i'm going to turn it over to jeremy and then we can do the questions. [applause] >> did you interview newt gingrich? >> i am new to the tampa convention last year and had one question for him. he is at the vips did not have
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the benefit. >> transition from it into serious journalism. [laughter] you know, when newt gingrich as speaker of the house, he would hold his daily speakers briefing that i believe with erudite c-span. he canceled it eventually because amy goodman, my mentor from democracy now confronted him on live national television about his purported use of the word to describe hillary clinton, who at the time was the first lady. the "washington post" did a piece on it and the catalyst gingrich can't ditch bitch comment. we are in a moment right now, not just in this country, but globally where there's an emerging war against journalists in an country is there's a
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direct work and struggle us. in mexico, almost every week journalists are gunned down, either by narco cartels or by force is associated with mexican government. there are several dozen journalists missing right now and area. austin tice, a young american who went to georgetown law school and was a marine who then went on to be quite a good reporter for mcclatchy newspaper has been missing for over a year. james foley and other independent reporters just passed the one-year anniversary of his eduction somewhere in syria. journalists are regularly murdered in amalia. in yemen. i tell the story of my book. there is a german missing of the della hershiser a, who is the first journalist in the world to report that the obama admitted duchenne had initiated a bombing campaign in yemen. in december 2009, president
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obama authorize the cruise missile straight on what he was told was not paid a training facility in the village of how much of the end that there was a target that the joint special operations command, the elite units of the u.s. military, the people that killed osama bin laden trek to senior al qaeda figure to this particular place and there was a training camp there. of course obama and his administration began expanding the use of what the nice drum, but they didn't have any drugs available for the operation because they were being used in pakistan at the time. so the author is to cruise missile strike. these cluster bombs, which are basically like flying landmines. i first saw the aftermath of the cluster bomb attack in yugoslavia in 1999 during the nato air war over kosovo over the issue of kosovo. the niche marketplace in serbia
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was hit by cluster bombs that around and people were shopping at the green market. i went there in the aftermath of that inside human beings shredded in the ground by these weapons in most countries in the world agree they should be banned in the united states continues to use them. for the launch cruise missiles and cluster bombs on what they believe is an al qaeda training facility. the yemeni government issues a press release the next day, saying that its forces had carried out a series of strikes against al qaeda targets in that they killed 34 al qaeda militants. the united states sends a note of congratulations to the yemeni government and directed all inquiries from reporters to the yemeni government. this reporter went to that village with tribal leaders who had gone there and took photographs and video of a
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plainly looks like a massacre. there were three dozen women and children that were killed in that operation. there are 14 women and 21 children to be precise. there is still no clarity on who the ultimate target was not operation or if anyone from al qaeda was even there. but when he took these photographs, he also was able to discover parts of the missiles manufactured by general dynamics and said they did the united states. we ultimately went in films as ourselves and interview people who survived. when amnesty international got a hold of those photographs, they had munitions experts look at the end determine there is no on earth that is a yemeni military action had to be the united states. this yemeni journalists began
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talking about a covert u.s. war in yemen early on in the thomas administration and he was writing information was published in the "washington post" and broadcast by nbc news. he was on al jazeera regularly. in the course of doing his reporting, he was subject it off the streets one day and taken to a political security organization holding so in yemen and was savagely beaten and driven and tossed on the street with a warning that if he didn't stop talking about the u.s. bombing in yemen in this particular i think you he did was incredibly brave thing it was the right thing for him to do. he went straight from the beating he received to the studio said the news organization and went on the air and said i was subject to a yemeni intelligence operatives and they beat me and threaten me and told me if i didn't not talking about this they would be imprisoned for good and i'm
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going to continue reporting on this. he continued to receive threat and eventually his home was raided in the middle of the night. in front of his children, he was snatched by commandos and disappeared for 34 days. eventually he was brought into a political court in yemen to sit before a tribunal in a process that was developed specifically to prosecute journalists are activists who committed crimes against the dictatorship who was a u.s. client basically at that time. he was charged with being a facilitator for al qaeda and propagandist for al qaeda and they fabricated all sorts of evidence against him. every major media freedom organization in the world in several major international human rights organizations condemned his prosecution, condemned his trial and condemned the court where he was prosecuted as a total sham and
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he was ultimately sentenced to five years in prison. he was in prison for about three years. i started reporting on a story and i went and investigated on the ground and interviewed also said people who knew him and i read every possible article i could read him. this yemeni journalist puts to shame the reporters who sit in the front row at the white house press briefings. [applause] he was an actual independent journalist are the reason i say that is his. he was interviewing leaders of al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, dangerous individuals. at one point, one of the major bomb makers who was believed to have been the person that came up at the end were bound to elegy. he meets with him and he has been put on a suicide vest see what it feels like. they were joking they were going to detonate it with him. he writes about the senate peace. he did multiple interviews upon
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where i'll ask you, but you mom who left the united seats in the tm and it started creating videos and was fascinated to number 20 lebanon director or some president obama. if i were working for u.s. intelligence, i would want to journalists like that interviewing al qaeda figures. you have to understand who the enemy has. if you perceive the sinister enemies, you want more information, not less. the point in getting at is he was not a terrorist. he was not an al qaeda facilitator. he was critical of al qaeda as an organization, but he was fascinated by george is talking about getting lost. he was fascinated with this movement of people and who they were. the individuals who run it. how did they end up becoming leaders of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula? fischler hsiung told an english language and yet he was facilitating a process for those of us in the last could have a
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deeper understanding of the figures were being told we have to be frightened about in our nightmares every night double blow up airliners or attack our embassies or try to go after public transportation systems. he gets sentenced to five years in prison. there's a huge outcry in yemen itself and tribal leaders to basically control the politics in yemen forced to get peter to issue a pardon and he drives a pardon in the yemeni news agency does a story saying ali abdullah saleh and his generosity. that day, the dictator gehman receives a phone call from the white house. not from some underling staffer at the national security council, not from a senior adviser to the president. not from john brennan who's in charge of the drug war and counterterrorism program, but from president obama personally. president obama held that the
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interview had that the united states, which is a major funder of humans counterterrorism operation in the yemenis listen to, that the united gates is deeply concerned about reports that this individual is going to be released from prison and a dictator gehman rips up the pardon and he remained in prison because of the direct intervention of the nobel peace prize winning constitutional lawyer who said he was going to run the most transparent of minutes richeson history and be a friend to journalism. he kept by his intervention a yemeni journalist in prison for over a year more because of his direct intervention. when i called the white house and state department and spoke to the national security council spokespeople, i asked them to produce one shred of evidence that he had anything to do a terrorist that other than reporting on it. they would comment. they said they stand by their position and want them kept in
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prison. he remains there for three years and was eventually released about three months ago. he is still under a state of the fault house arrest in yemen right now. he cannot leave the capitol. he is not allowed to have a passport. i'm going on with iona craig reporter to geneva to receive a human rights award on his behalf because he's not allowed to have a travel document right now. so when you look at this one story in the intervention of the leader of the free world is weak on the specific case of the new look at crack of whistleblowers and egregious use of the espionage act to go after individuals who are providing information to journalists or the public, people like thomas street who worked at the embassy for decades and did what they claimed they wanted edward snowden to do, which is not take documents to hong kong and give them to journalists, the collector chain of command if
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you think abuses taking place. thomas did that and they still went after him and try to ruin him as a person. thomas trick works at an apple store now. he was air force mma career imbues himself as a deeply patriotic american, a career staffer at the national security agency. they went after him for doing exactly what they set edward snowden should not. he watched that and did what they watched to the nsa guy. they try to destroy him. these are the people targeted at the same time that donald rumsfeld and josé rodriguez to brand the program are on a book tour. that says a lot to me about the priorities in our society. the stories i try to tell him "dirty wars" are the people caught in the middle of the work, but also the men and women passed by the president of the united states is hunting down people who've been declared
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enemies of america and also telling the story of the movement like al-shabaab and amalia are al qaeda and the arabian tenants who benefit from the perception that u.s. is a gratuitous enemy and uses drones with impunity and will assassinate their church at the crime away from any declared battlefield. unless you believe in bizarre interpretations of the authorization for use of military force for justification for a war on the world. it's been 12 years 9/11. i was sitting on people come you should go back and watch the speech that representative barbara lee of california gave him the original blank check was written for the bush administration's global war because she was the only member of congress that voted again the authorization for the use of military force. she was trembling. she was receiving threats at the time. she got up and said we cannot become the very first they
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claimed to be against in the world. i fear we are throwing our values out the door by granting the president this kind of sweeping authority. if you remember what it is safe in the direct aftermath of 9/11, the climate that existed for her to do is incredibly brave. history has vindicated her. at president obama second and maturation, much of the media focus was about the beyoncé lip-synching michelle obama's bang. the president obama said in that beach, we cannot and do not want to exist in a perpetual state of war but there has to be an end to this at some point. that day he authorized it drove strike in yemen and they're creating the disposition matrix, an algorithm to ensure the assassination will remain a central component of what is called the u.s. national security policy. at the end of the day, we reach a point in some countries we reached a point where we are creating more new enemies than we are killing actual
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terrorists. it's not that states don't have a right to defend themselves. it's abrogation of former three-time. like minority report with tom cruise or recategorize people after they've killed them even if we have no idea what their identities are. president obama when he talked about 600 days after i were a lucky was killed, president obama finally admitted publicly the u.s. had in fact killed anwar a lackey. on that day, his frustration for papers defending the idea that al-awlaki was like a sniper and if we didn't take him out, innocents are going to die. in this particular case, they had been under surveillance in a village with 10 houses. and yet they've redefined what the definition of imminent is and in this department of justice white papers basically
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anyone involved with anyone we think is the terrace represents a permanent and iterate and it appeared of course one person has the right to take out a sniper. they try to take them alive. few people in the world would dispute that. the same is true if there's in a plot to blow up something and you have to take this personnel. most reasonable people agree that such an event. we are engaged in preemptive strikes. you don't need to get an indictment against a sniper is pointing a weapon at a bunch of innocent people. but why did they never eat an indictment of anwar a lucky for the crimes they alleged he was involved with when they start to put him on the kill list two and half years before they killed him. to me, the question of the assassination program, drone strikes, nsa surveillance is not so much who is anwar al-awlaki, it is to where we have a society? how we treat the most represents a bowl of our citizens says a
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lot about who we are as a society. when a president like president obama who campaigned on the idea he was going to be a transformative figure, that he was owing to reverse the direction bush and cheney had taken the country and, when he is assuming almost emperor like authorities to decide who lives and dies around the world, americans are not americans. that's dangerous for future. if it's a frightening precedent. we are at the moment now are the congressional approval rating is about 11%. i think the vast majority of americans are completely angry with those who represent them are supposed to be representing them in washington. the nature of our partisan politics in this country is completely bankrupt. at the end of the day, the premier issue in our society, no matter what your priorities are, whether it's access to women's reproductive health care for
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immigration or the war or the environment, it all comes back to the insane amount of control over political process. it's a legalized form of corruption and bribery. until we confront the unrealized ill-natured beneficiaries of what is called the war on terror are big corporations, nothing will ever fundamentally change in our society. with that, i will tell you i give razor blades out with my book. anyway, thank you very much for having me here. [applause] >> during the introductions, somebody made reference to the kinds of place is that both george and jeremy have reported from, exotic and dangerous places. i spent most of my time in places like des moines, iowa and charleston, south carolina and
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other strange places like that covering campaigns. the segue from there to here is an interesting one to me. that is jordan and jeremy have both played out serious problems that this country is facing and has space for some time. the question is, to what extent is the political system capable of confronting those in dealing with those? as god said, i wrote a book with haynes johnson about the 2008 campaign. that was, as everybody can remember, a unique campaign, an historic campaign because of the election of the first african american in the country's history. it seemed to be a special moment as george indicated that there was this feeling that in one way or another, because of expectations about obama and because of the kind of
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aspirational message that he carried through that campaign, that we might be at a point where the political system could turn from the kind of politics we have seen through the bush administration and back into the clinton is ration. the polarization and often gridlock and break through that. when i decided to try to hook about 2012, one of my biggest concerns was he always toured with the very rich story and a pretty clear story to tell the rise of what haynes and i caught the most unlikely presidential prospect in the history of the country and how he got to where he had been to the oval office. my fear was the 2012 campaign but never produced anything as compelling as what we went through in 2008. in going through it, there were moments when it was obviously bizarre.
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the whole republican nomination process was as my friend and colleague david merrin is that cried out for hunter thompson two, poet. it is obviously a much different campaigned in 2008. farmer negative, not aspirational in the least. the campaign about some very big issues that was in fact in very small ways. neither candidate take engrossed in the moment of the challenges the country was facing. so when i got done with the reporting and was beginning to put the narrative together to tell the story, the conclusion i came to us in many ways 2012 is a more important election in 2008. more important not because it solved the problems. like the contrary. but it told us much more about
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who we are as a country and where we are as a country and by the politics of the country are in a sense frozen in the polarized as they are. jeremy is talking about things that most of us knew nothing about. i was writing a story about something that everybody knew everything about. when you write about a presidential campaign, you are covering territory that is very well trod a people like me on a daily basis, chewed over and talk about on cable television ad nauseam. the challenge in trying to tell the story of a campaign that's been told and retold so many times is to try to get behind it, get beneath it and get above it. my approach on this list to try to tell the story in two ways. the first is to try and tell it from the inside out. no matter how much we know in
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real time in presidential campaigns, there is a lot we don't know. it is one of the things i learned in my brief time covering the white house back in the first bush administration. my colleague covering the white house was a woman named and every who most you have ever heard of, but was perhaps the best white house reporter in the modern history of white house coverage. she died of cancer at too young age, but she was 18 nations vacuum cleaner if a reporter, who gave feedster every administration she covered. one other thing she she said to me as i was coming on to work with pairwise the reality is we only know about 10% of what going on at any given day and our goal is to get 20% or 30% or 40%. there's so little you know. it's the same in presidential campaigns. there's a lot that goes on beneath the decision-making and
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debates and choices that the candidates the next task have to make. part of the goal of telling the book is to pack events we watched in real time pulled them apart and put them back together in a multi-carat weight to give some context. one of the ways i try to do that was to spend as much time as i could getting people in real-time to talk about events that going on. i did a number of interviews for the book that were embargoed until the book came out, which is a little tricky when you report a real time for the washington post, but nonetheless quite doable. another thing i try to do was to the extent possible get the voices of candidates into it because my feeling is unless you have a sense of how they actually see the campaigns and again sometimes in real-time if not afterwards, that there is some a mistake. we talk about what candidates are talking about are doing ours in without ever having any real
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wonders they have what they are actually thinking. among those who agree to talk in real time was newt gingrich, who approached me. i said to his staff back in the summer or late spring of 2011 that i wanted to sit down with him with some frequency. he came up to me at a dinner one night and he said to me, i'm ready to do this he said. i've got it all figured out. not just the campaign, but the next eight years. within three weeks, his campaign imploded as we all remember and went through several rebirths. but finally imploded to the end. i was able to give governor romney a talk at some length after the fact which frankly surprised me because losing candidate often don't want to be prodded and poked by reporters after a bruising campaign because they know the questions are mostly why did they run such a bad campaign and why didn't you do this?
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he was interesting in two ways. one was to acknowledge some of the -- he had about whether he was the right candidate to be the republican nominee and said to somebody like jeb bush decided to run he might not have run. i think when he saw the field as it actually assembled and included herman cain and michele bachmann, he decided he was probably the cost of that field and probably better able to take on the president than anybody else. he also acknowledged she had real doubts about whether he fit within the new republican party. the party taken over the house of representatives in 2010 that it shifted to the right, that was then much more dominated by the tea party and had then. he struggled with that up until the time he became a formal candidate as to whether he could get past some of those obstacles. this is the republican obviously
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a southern-based party. he's a northerner. it's an evangelical base party. he's mormon. it's a very conservative party in the nominating process in his conservative from massachusetts, which is different than being a conservative for texas for example. so he talked about that. the most interesting part was when we got to the 47% comment that everybody knows about it was a crippling moment. i don't think it was a decisive moment in the campaign, but a crippling moment because it crystallized the argument that the obama campaign has been making about him, that he was a wealthy plutocrats who is out of touch with ordinary americans and did not understand the lives of any of the kinds of people george reported on in the unwinding. when we talked about this time i said to him -- he said but i was trying to save the country is
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polarized. 47% will vote for me in 47% will vote for the president and there's nothing i can do to get them. i said the use of these are people who feel completely dependent and feel government owes them something and they will never take control of their own minds. he said i didn't say that. he jumped up and we were in his home outside of boston. he jumped up and went to the kitchen counter where it was charging, unplugged it, pulled it over and said anything was because i knew we were going to talk about this. he went through the house. nothing which contradicted what i said because the video that was released by david coyner met jones made public showed what he had said. people had read the transcript annuity said. he could not bring himself to acknowledge he said that. my take away from out was whatever had come out of his mouth, he did not want to
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believe reflected the real mitt romney. yet as we know it was a crisp glycine moment that in fact created a blockage. i think in the end, there is probably no way he could win the campaign. this certainly after that event that made it much more difficult. i tried repeatedly to get president obama to agree to do an interview for the book. yet unto interviews for 2008 a and one in particular was a very, very rich interview in which he talked about his philosophy of leadership in how he'd been guided by lincoln on that. i wanted to sit down with them, not to go through that mr. john at any given moment or why he did so badly in the first debate. i had to say what asked him about that, but am i to get him to reflect more on where the country was after his reelection and what he had taken away because he can be quite thoughtful about it. the white house declined all my
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requests. he made a decision that they made a decision to not purchase paid in any of the books going on to cover the 2012 election. if there's one whole, i'm sure there's many holes in the book. if the absence of his voice in the book and i regret that. the other way i tried to tell the story is the outside man, rather than the inside out. the inside out story can tell us about who we are as the country and about the politics of the country. when you think about all the energy we put into this decision for this debate for this decisive moment for this episode to try and talk about what is the fact in the course of the campaign, which are important and deserve attention, we forget larger forces that determine the outcome of campaign and tell us
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about who we are. i thought there were three big factories that i wanted to bring to light in helping to tell the story. one obviously is the economy. there were a couple aspects of this. one is simply the political question of the economy appeared with the economy just good enough to allow president obama to win reelection or was it just bad enough to make it almost impossible for him to win the election? economy obviously was not good at 2011 and 2012. the soldier then at "the new york times" wrote an article with the famous headline a year before the election called his obama toast? in which he talked about the various economic paths the country might take in prospects or a promise reelection. political scientists monocles
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delivered whether obama was guaranteed election or defeat as a result of the economy. in the end, what we saw was the president was able to turn the cam pain from a referendum on people's attitudes about the economy at that moment, how they felt about their own lives and how they felt about his stewardship of the economy and turn the election debate into a choice of which of the two candidates individual voters that would do a better job for them in the future. which of these candidates understood your life that are then the other? it was an important strategic department. the other aspect about the economy is the degree to which with all the focus on the middle class in terms of messaging, hunkered over the focus was on the middle class in terms of a. this is an area i think if there
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was negligence on the part of both candidates, it was their inability to rise to the moment, to come forward with some fresh ideas, some new ideas. the kinds of problems george has described in the book have been with us for a long time. if there is a solutions, somebody would have promoted then and put them into place. the political system has insofar incapable of even coming to any real debate or discussion about them. that's one fact here. a second factor is changing america. the new america we are in, and america we see and change over a period of several decades, one that is more diverse, one that is tolerant, one in which the share of the white vote to clients with each presidential election. the share of the white vote is still the dominant share of the electorate on any given presidential election date. but it is kicked down from
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roughly 89 or 80% in 1982 now 72% in the last election. the degree to which the republicans awoke after election day and discovered they had a problem with hispanic voters was in some ways astonishing because it is a problem sitting out there looming for many, many years that occasionally they have done well. jeb bush did pretty well down here at the hispanic vote. his brother did well in texas in his reelection campaign. monica says the basis, if not then well with hispanics and they do very, very badly with african-americans. as long as the country is changing, that creates a head when he can the republican party and trying to win presidential elections. that was an important fact or that the obama campaign understood throughout 2011 and 2012 in the romney campaign
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either didn't want to accept or didn't believe. it's hard to know which was the case. in any case, this is a problem that hurt them badly. the third big fat, which we followed it to this morning is the red-blue divide, the polarization that country is in. we talk about red america and blue america in some ways and clichéd terms. in fact, red america has gotten louder and blue america has gotten bluer. the number of states closely divided in this past election was a handful. only force teeth with a margin of the erie was five points or fewer. if you go back to previous elections come and this is historic low. what we've seen this many states are no longer competitive in presidential races. they are either very poor very red. we know in many ways the degree to which as many people look at the opposition, people are no
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more -- people don't feel any more positive about their own political party. if you much were negative about their political party. as i asked republicans that romney rallies are democrats at obama rallies, what's the consequence of this election? what is at stake? what you think happens if your candidate loses? the answers were almost always apocalyptic. particularly among republicans. their fear was that barack obama was selected to a second term, the america that they knew and cherished would go out the window, would cease to exist. many democrats i talked to felt that if romney were good and republicans continue to hold the house of representatives at the progress the country had made over the last 30 or 40 years would be routed, reversed and we would go back to a different kind of america. it's that kind of country we now live in politically. if you look at 2012, you can see
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a straight line from that campaign to where we are today, to everything we've seen over the last few months with the government shutdown, the nuclear option which is put through in the senate. we are in a period of depolarization. campaigns in the sense the longer resolve those differences. used to think we would have a campaign comes big-screen presidential campaign designed to answer and resolve some of the differences and that voters to push the country in a clear direction. what we saw after 2012 was that didn't happen, that the lines had been so hardened through the course of the campaign in part because of the way our modern campaigns are now waged in the negativity and demonization that goes on that it makes it impossible for either side to begin to come together after those campaigns. so for the time being, i think what we saw in 2012 is the future of elections in this
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country, which is the basis for the subtitle of my book. people asked me if it got around to talk about the book, is there a way out? is there an easy way out? there obviously is not an easy way out. the only way out is it will come from the voters and at this point, voters are almost tribal and their allegiances to republican party or democratic party. a lot of people call themselves independents. i don't know what it would prompt that were forced out. we are likely to kind of stay in this period of gridlock in stasis at the national level. so, thank you. [applause] >> thank you. at some time now for questions. i has to get behind the microphone and make your
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questions short so we can deal with as many as we possibly can. yes, sir. >> of a dress to me to explain the difference between the bush cheney approach to plan extraconstitutional foreign activities and the obama approach. >> first of all, you know, people sort of vast, is obama worse than bush? let's remember here that under bush and cheney was like murder inc. you actually have players in the white house to be at the geneva is quaint and you have these black sights were set up in the reverse engineering of what was called the seer program survived if they race to escape which was established by the u.s. military to prepare american soldiers for torture at the hands of a lawless enemy. the reverse engineer the program and start to use them prisoners they were interrogating.
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in answering your question, i don't want to understate in any way how reprehensible the policies of the bush and cheney error were. .. and they paint a picture for obama of a world where there are hundreds if not thousands of concurrent threats against american interests, against
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indices, against aircraft, against tourists. and in a unified voice said to obama if you don't continue these programs, in fact if you don't expand our authorities in certain regions of the world like the arabian peninsula in east africa we will get hit again and we could get hit on the american homeland. you have political advisors like axelrod and rahm emanuel -- i'm not saying they didn't care about whether they would be a terrorist attack but there iraq concern was are we going to have a second term. obama want to get away from large-scale military deployment outside of his initial search in afghanistan but in general wanted to move away from that. and i think it became very appealing to the idea that you of these incredibly trained forces that are able to operate discreetly, the blast radius of a hellfire missile fired from a predator drone is much smaller than the blast radius of other platforms out there. i think potentially they adopted
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a posture they're going to wage an aggressive, preemptive campaign using drones and small footprint military operations. at the same time obama's on to these executive orders very early on in his administration and wants guantánamo shut, he wants to dispel the blacks i. he says publicly and then leon panetta says we are out of the business of running secret prisons. so what obama did was go back to what was the clinton era perspective on condition and detention of prisoners in sort of the asymmetric battlefield, and when the guantánamo problem arose and guantánamo of course women's open and there are prisoners on hunger strike and people who have been cleared for release were still rotting away, obama did know what to do with people they would get on the battlefield. in large part of the focus, they didn't want to put them in guantánamo for all sorts of reasons, a large part of the focus became killed rather than kill or capture. so i would say that a lot of
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what obama has done and his team has done is to rebrand the bush era programs or to tweak them a slightly because i feel sometimes we're watching obama debate him -- his former self when he gives major addresses on ashes to to do. you flashes of the men who clearly is incredibly uncomfortable with the role he is having to play in the world and then you have this guy who was putting a stamp of legitimacy on actions that a lot of liberals would be calling for impeachment over if a republican had won in '08 or 2012. i would say that obama's team perceive it as a smarter war, they killed bin laden and his it would lead to subject american personnel to been killed in doing this. we can use technologies. at the end of the day, and i think we won't be able to analyze this for a decade, my sense is we're creating a ground war for pretty serious blowback. and i think part of the message that's been sent whether true or not, to large sections of the most moral is it doesn't much matter who the president of the
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kind is because a guy like obama what do the things that he's done. [applause] >> i have a question. would you say patriotism -- [inaudible] and number two, are you aware why obama breached from his promises? was from some global finance is? >> i would be very curious to hear george's take on this. >> patriotism from a virtue did you ask? >> in the snowden case. with the snowden issue. >> you could answer it in a general sense.
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>> has patriotism trumped a virtue? that so big. those are two such big things, and what's the relationship to each other? i mean, i have to don't think there's much patriotism in this country. in the sense that very few people are willing to sacrifice very much. in a sense, the story of the unwinding is the story of certain virtues that were probably more on her to end the breach the existence a generation ago. i at least have hocrisy served a purpose been. are no longer even considered virtues like self-restraint, like paying taxes. like serving the country, which we pay a lot of lip service to but there's a wonderful book about soldiers coming back from the iraq war with a devastating title thank you for your service, which is essentially the way we fall off our consciousness with the terrible
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hardships and pain that has been inflicted on these people who served in those wars. so patriotism -- it is still the last refuge of a scoundrel as samuel johnson said, and when you think about what it really means, giving up something for the common good, i don't see it very much in evidence, especially at the levels of our deletes. virtue, you know, there's always a shortage of virtue. [laughter] [applause] >> and why did obama reneged on -- >> pass the microphone to the next person. i'll answer your question. just briefly on that, i do believe that there some conspiracy that has taken control of barack obama mentoring and candidate still. on the guantánamo issue, first
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of all a lot of the criticism of obama from liberals is disingenuous. because obama largely telegraphed his passive. if you bother do anything other than just watch his stump speech. if you lay out who he chose to be around him advising them on the core issues, if you look at what his actual policy positions were, he largely has done what he said he's going to do on the areas of a cover on characters and their ethical of people projected onto him an image that they wanted to see any. but he generally has been consistent in being a pretty hawkish democratic president and the democratic president and the other on the campaign show that was going to be true. if you look beyond the stump speech. the guantánamo issue, big part of it is they didn't spend a lot of political capital on a. all of these other guys were on that team to close guantánamo quietly left the white house. and h it became a total non-isse but republicans also were blocking the funding. so it's more comfortable to think part of it was they were fighting other battles and obama
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didn't want to allocate his political capital to fighting that battle, which i think was wrong at the end of the day but i do think it's more confiscated and some has threatened them in the oval office that if he doesn't do this easily to get bumped off by the cia. >> my question is for jeremy scahill as will, the previous question is, regarding especially in your remarks are expressed a lot of frustration and like you appeal to liberals to look past their concerned with things like abortion, and really focus on some of the issues like the drone strikes and so forth and the abuse of power that we are discussing with regard, not just drone strikes that there has been so much discussion about the issue of massive surveillance and so forth. issues that liberals were very
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gung ho about going after bush on and that we don't hear anything so much about. how do you think company, i feel like it's a question how the media frames the issue year after you if you focus on the social issues. how do you feel the media may be partially responsible for the fact that again, the democrats get a pass on some of these issues? >> well, first of all, i wasn't saying people should look past their concerned about abortion or other issues. the point i was making was that whatever issue you are concerned about, i think you can draw a direct line back to the structure of our political system and the role of corporations. that was the point i was making about that. i think you watch cable news, and i know dan and i are on regular. i'm still shocked msnbc lets the author airways. i criticize him and say it looks like state media and that the
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coverage of democrat national convention look like one big obama for america meet up. fox news is a parody of itself. cellulite doesn't need to make fun of fox news because you can watch the real thing and it's much more letters than any actor. [laughter] you turn on fox and it's like it's a world where barack obama is a scary black marxist manchurian candidate who wants to resurrect mousy time and put them in the oval office. and been seen and it's just -- there's been some fantastic reporting from major corporate news organizations and i think those of us competitive as all the time, bash the corporate media write large. i recognize some the best reporters in the world work for publications like the new york times or the "washington post," but the problem i think is that there seems to be the default position that journalists have to prescribe what i think is a totally bold shared interpretation of objectivity. i don't think there is such a thing as objectivity in journalism. it's a fabricated construct.
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we are not robots. [applause] the final thing i'll say about this is the most important thing to me in journalism, transparency, accuracy and are you providing a public service. and i think that in the culture of twitter in instagram, god forbid if anybody uses snap chat, that it's like we're in a ritalin society were having has to be done in 140 characters. the kind of pieces that george writes for these deep, involved, long pieces that are telling very complicated stories. if we lose that in our society they would lose something that is such an important part of the democratic process, which is we have to provide information that is detailed and nuanced to a public so they can make an informed decision and i think we run the risk of losing that if we don't forget new ways to respond in support long form investigative journalism. [applause]
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>> to each of you, you feel america, our empire is kind of having entered a new gilded age cut each in your own way. and dysfunctional, destructive, self-destructive. is it perhaps beyond the point that it can correct itself, safer huge social movements that force it to change? and it correct itself? that would be my question to each of you. >> well, i mean, it depends on how you defined correcting itself. if you are looking for the congress to correct itself, it's not going to happen for the foreseeable future. in terms of a big social movement doing it, there's nothing on the horizon that


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