tv Headline News RT August 30, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm EDT
coming up on r t the u.s. government inches closer to military action in syria while the obama administration pushes forward the international community is urging caution and restraint more on the growing tensions up ahead. the waters of california santa barbara coast tightest secret for years now there's been offshore fracking even though there are no regulations and the coast was once trashed by an oil spill we'll tell you more coming up. pay raises and bonuses are usually the rewards for doing good work but that's not the case for many of the nation's top c.e.o.'s especially at a time of growing wealth inequality more on that later in today show.
it's friday august thirtieth four pm in washington d.c. i'm meghan lopez and you are watching r t well we begin this afternoon in syria president obama and his cabinet are still deliberating on whether or not the u.s. should become a military militarily involved in syria and if so to what extent earlier this afternoon secretary of state john kerry addressed the public reiterating administration rhetoric against president bashar al assad and his military's alleged use of chemical weapons listen to our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away that's not what this is about our concern with the cause of the defense she was people of syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world. it
is also a profoundly about who we are we are the united states of america. we are the country that has tried not only successfully but always tried to honor a set of universal values around which we have organized our lives and our aspirations now kerry went on to say that the precedent that the international community sets in syria now will dictate how future regimes around the world treat their people but as of right now president obama says no final decision has been made i have said before and i meant what i said that. the world has an obligation to make sure that we've made the norm against you. know what. i have not made a final decision about various factions that might be taken to help or that north. meanwhile a new n.b.c.
poll says that eighty percent of americans believe president obama should seek congressional approval before making any decision on whether or not to intervene and former congressman dennis kucinich tweeted recently quote u.k. votes no on syria attack barack obama you said potest can't unilaterally ask attack don't betray constitution no war on syria also out today the obama administration released documents supporting al a geisha is that assad's regime was responsible for the chemical attacks that killed some one thousand four hundred twenty nine civilians including four hundred twenty six children and sickened over three thousand six hundred people earlier today i was joined by phyllis bennis she is the director of the new internationalism project at the institute for policy studies and i started off by asking her whether the impassioned speeches by kerry and obama earlier this afternoon constituted a declaration of war. actually not i was afraid it might be that but i think
they're actually being a bit cocky cautious seeing both the public opposition which is depending which poll you read somewhere between fifty to sixty to even almost close to seventy percent opposition at various points congressional unease because he's not consulting with congress and the international opposition with the brits pulling out so all of this i think is making the obama administration more cautious than they might have been the report that came out today is also not nearly as definitive as secretary kerry's passion would have indicated what they basically say is that they are confident they have high confidence that the syrian government carried out the attack that the possibility that it was the opposition they say is highly unlikely that's a vast difference than saying it's absolute it's a slam dunk if we want to use the term so i think they are being very cautious here the memory of ten years ago when barack obama was one of so many people who said that this was a dumb war it was a war based on lies that has to be sitting very heavily on them right now and
they're not the only ones out of express this type of caution the u.k. parliament has also been expressing this type of caution saying that they do not want to get involved with a very narrow float and also nato has said that it will not take part in the strikes so talk about how that changes the dynamic here this changes the political dynamic enormously it does not change the legal reality we should recognize that with or without the brits with or without nato with or without the french a u.s. strike would be illegal under international law because international law which is vague about all kinds of things is very clear on one question when is the use of force legal and it's you it's legal only in two very narrow instances one is immediate self-defense that's not an issue here the u.s. has not been attacked and even the obama administration is not claiming that the other is if the security council acknowledges and agrees and indorse is the use of military force that hasn't happened. no it's not going to happen russia and china
have made clear they would veto so in this situation any other use of force would be illegal we hear discussion of the so-called kosovo model the kosovo precedent of one thousand nine hundred nine the problem is they could use that they could reference that and say well we'll do what we did in kosovo the problem was what they did in kosovo was illegal they said we can't get security council permission because we know that russia will will veto so we want to ask the security council instead we'll ask the nato high command the problem is the nato. that decision nato is a military institution you ask them and they're going to say sure we need military force but that's like the hammer in the nail if you're a hammer everything looks like a nail if you're in nato everything looks like it requires military intervention international law doesn't say you have to get permission from the security council unless you don't and then you can get permission from london or from nato or from somebody else you can't do that and we're also hearing that same rhetoric from
former president jimmy carter i want to bring up a quote that he said today and then i'll go ahead and get your opinion on it he said quote a punitive military response without a u.n. security council mandate or brand support from nato and the arab league would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war it will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence now what do you make of that analysis well i think it's a very important analysis i agree with every bit of it except when he said it would be illegal in less they had either the security council or widespread popular support and the arab league widespread popular support in the arab league don't cut it it's only the security council that is authorized to give that permission and i think that president carter knows that i'm guessing that was a slip but his assessment of what would be the impact i think is very important it will not protect syrians from any kind of future attack it will not bring the end
of war closer what we need right now is not more militarization but less militarization and more talking we saw in the first months of the negotiation efforts that russia pulled back russia said our side is losing so we don't want to talk right now that led to the collapse of the first effort in the second effort the u.s. is now saying our side is losing so we don't want to talk now the problem is both sides need to talk we need russia and the u.s. talking to each other and both of them need to bring their junior partners along so russia needs to be there with iran and syria and iraq. the u.s. needs to be there with saudi arabia and qatar and turkey and jordan and they need to come together and say we are going to force our respective sides of the civil war to come together there are five wars being waged in syria right now only one of them the civil war the others are regional wars and global wars and religious wars and they're all being fought to the last syrian it's crucial that we keep in mind what's happening to the people of syria through all this more bombing from the
united states is not going to make it better it's going to make it worse and one of the really interesting things that came out last year in the midst of the libyan crisis was general martin dempsey saying that libya and syria are two fundamentally different things and the way that we approach those countries because they are so fundamentally different i want to play a clip from martin dempsey talking one year ago and then we'll talk about that in terms of today. you believe if you needed to you could militarily intervene in syria in the same way you did libya not the same way we did in libya i mean seriously a very different challenge it's a different challenge as you describe it geographically it's a different challenge in terms of the capability of the syrian military they are very capable they have a very sophisticated integrated air defense system for example they have chemical and biological weapons now they haven't demonstrated any interest or any intent to use those but it is a very different military problem
a very different military problem indeed whether that was a year ago or today that fact still stands the other fact that stands today that didn't stand a year ago is that one hundred thousand people are dead can you talk about this and what he said and whether the u.s. is still taking these differences between libya and syria into context here i'm afraid the u.s. is not taking into context those differences and i'm afraid that the notion of one hundred thousand dead syrians more than a third of them civilians is not the primary question on the agenda the primary question seems to be political and that's a serious problem what we're looking at is and general dempsey was absolutely right it's fine for president obama or anybody else in the administration to say this is not about regime change libya wasn't about regime change until it was this is not about a major intervention this is only a narrow set of surgical strikes well that's fine until they retaliate and then what happens you know imagine if there's a small surgical strike against syria and syria then retaliates against a u.s.
base in one of the neighboring countries against israel against a u.s. plane against who knows what do we really think the u.s. is then going to sit back and say well no we said that this was only a one off we're not going to respond that pulls the u.n. in sorry that pulls the u.s. when the u.n. is being excluded that pulls the u.s. directly into a civil war with great. great danger for the region for the world absolutely phyllis we have so many things coming out right now so many different parts of information that we're only starting to put this bigger picture together and i appreciate you coming in and helping us build that narrative phyllis bennis director of the new internationalism project at the institute for policy studies thank you so much thank you while one of the obama administration official after another comes out to speak against the syrian government america's greatest ally great britain is not on board with the idea of using military force in syria
yesterday the british parliament narrowly voted down a measure to support the military action two hundred eighty five to two hundred seventy two this despite british foreign minister william hague pushing for intervention on the other hand french president francois hollande spoke out in support in strong support a military action in syria today so let's take a quick look at where the global community stacks up when it comes to the question of intervention right now the u.s. saudi arabia turkey and france have shown strong support for military action on the other end of the spectrum china russia germany and iran are all against foreign intervention and britain stands somewhere in the middle with prime minister david cameron saying that he will respect the outcome of parliament's vote for a broader aspect on the international community and how they are responding in response to the crisis in syria our colleagues in moscow spoke with former first sea lord and security minister lord allen west here's what he had to say. i was
very concerned a couple of days ago when i came back into this country to find that we seem to be on a course to go straight down the track of military action the danger with saying we're going to use a limited surgical strike is all my experience of wars and i've been in them and in the lead up to them and i've been running them and things is to find that you have a lot of unintended consequences you think you're just going to do one little thing but actually things then happen and expand the nations like the u.s. and the u.k. and france and turkey need to be very very careful about what action they take we need to be very clear what is it we actually want to achieve what is the end state we want we need to have in place mechanisms militarily to ensure that things don't go beyond a certain degree but i'm not at all convinced that attack would actually help the condition of the people within within syria we've seen what happened in iraq you know we've seen what's happened in afghanistan i have no doubt that the al qaeda
group and there are a very large group i'm afraid in the opposition funded by people who haven't thought through what this really means would be delighted if america and britain and turkey and france attacked they would be delighted by it but that doesn't mean they like us and they want to actually have they oppose us and would like to do is farm but in a temporary basis that would suit them so we need to be very very careful how we actually act that's certainly true that was former first seal lord and security minister laura allen west. fracking offshore and out of sight that's exactly what big oil companies have been doing off the coast of one californian city hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of drilling thousands of feet down into the earth's shell formation and injecting liquids into the ground at higher pressure in order to cross and cause the rock to crack and natural gas to be released the use of this method has been contentious in communities across the u.s. and drilling for oil has been particularly. controversial in california where
a nine hundred sixty nine spill off of the santa barbara coast led to repeated drilling bans arctic correspondent ramon glendower takes a closer look at fracking happening in this coastal town and at the revival of a campaign to stop it missile between majestic mountains and historically notion center barbara's a quite city with spanish influence in a west coast spirit just miles from the historic franciscan mission oil rigs dock the coastline these waters could become the next frontier in fracking these companies are actually experiments right now to that reporter mike ludwig that's in government documents that show fracking has been used to prospect for oil in federal waters off santa barbara just this year and the regulators approved another fraction of or in the channel and any government documents show that it's happened at least eleven other times since the nineteen nineties surprise
state lawmakers have called for a federal investigation the california independent petroleum association claims fracking is being used on shore millions of times and has a strong safety record environmentalist disagree fracking is an inherently dangerous technology and really what we're talking about today is only existed for the last time to fifteen years so this is an entirely new generation of drilling oil and natural gas extraction oil companies like decorum but no go set their sights on the senate barbara channel which was also the site of a catastrophic oil spill back in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine two hundred thousand gallons of crude spread across the channel and on to the nearby beaches the black mass killed thousands of animals and sparked the modern environmental movement walking down this and the paradise it's difficult to believe that this. used to be covered in black sludge and that this beach was littered with dying and oily birds decades after the infamous santa barbara oil spill this pristine piece
of coastline is once again the focus of some controversial extraction methods for i can involve pumping water sand and chemicals into undersea shale and sent formations some of the fracking fluid is treated and dumped in the ocean under existing law we don't know what those chemicals are because of what's called trade secrets which is basically their secret sauce confidential business information brian said he is an attorney for the environmental defense center he worries that short term memories will lead to repeated disasters and with the deepwater horizon spill just two years ago ago now a similar situation where the federal government gave exemptions from environmental on alice's and so we're very concerned that with officer fracking it's history repeating itself right right that you got a. grassroots activists have been successful in pushing for fracking bans in several minutes a pallies across california but oil natural gas companies are anxious to tap into what may be
a massive amount of shale oil shale play extends into the ocean and its past in the future that in fact he who successful the santa barbara channel other places and more companies going to want to use the technology i had to get this oil in the monterey shale that's not always successful using traditional technology the monterey shale is of that formation that goes from california central valley and extends offshore energy insiders believe it could contain billions of barrels of oil even if we frac all the natural gas and oil that we have in the united states right now we're talking about thirty to forty years and that we're going to be fairly rational your own gas industry argues california will benefit from the jobs that could come from an oil boom. meantime environmentalist will keep telling them to frack off this tony. instead of barbara california. there are the people who are bailed out booted from their jobs or busted for
financial fraud but still c.e.o.'s are among the highest earning people in america despite their job performance that is a new report released by the institute for policy studies discovered that forty percent of the top earning c.e.o.'s in the past twenty years have had serious performance issues the report found that forty percent of all top honors were fired or forced to retire but don't worry about them the average severance package was about forty seven point seven million dollars another twenty two percent of those people ran companies that needed to be eventually bailed out to break down the numbers zoe carpenter is a reporter for the nation and she joins me now zoe let's start off with your article you wrote an article on this very issue and in it you said quote one of the great american delusions is mediocracy the idea that everyone competes on an even playing field and then gets whatever they deserve can you elaborate on what you meant by that. sure so part of the american dream is this idea that everyone no
matter where they come from or who they are or their parents are work hard and succeed and therefore the corollary is that if you have succeeded and if you're at the upper echelons of the corporate class we would expect that you would be among the best in the brightest or at the very least that you would be good at your job and i think what this new report shows is that that's not always the case now is that we there is an argument that's often called the trickle down economics effect the trickle down effect it's not just that middle class and the poor are better off when the wealthy or doing well but i want to i have a chart pull up here this chart shows that c.e.o. compensation has jumped get this eight hundred seventy six percent since one thousand nine hundred seventy eight while worker compensation has only grown by about five point four percent so given this latest this latest report as well as the chart that we just showed you think that trickle down economic argument still works. i think it's been clearly pretty clearly debunked by now you know we we've
seen that that executive pay has gone back up to record levels since the economic crisis in two thousand and eight and meanwhile wages haven't picked up we still have americans living in poverty and that number is rising levels of extreme poverty are rising so these great gains at the top this tremendous wealth has not no it is not trickle down and something also to mention is that in june the bureau of labor statistics reported that hourly wages fell three point eight percent during the first quarter of two thousand and thirteen that's the lowest drop since the labor bureau started collecting this data in one thousand and forty seven meanwhile the stock exchange commission all time high so how can we account for this disparity of all time highs verses the ads on unaccounted for low. i think there are a lot of pressures to increase corporate pay and meanwhile there are not as many pressures to increase our really wages or to increase benefits for workers one of
these incentives that's driving high compensation rates is a tax loophole that allows companies to deduct unlimited amounts for performance based pay and that often comes in the form of stock options so companies actually pay lower taxes if they compensate their c.e.o.'s at a higher level and meanwhile we're having a discussion about cutting the social safety net and that we can't afford that so those two things don't really square very well with each other and just to play devil's advocate zoe we often hear the argument on wall street that executive pay needs to be high in order to attract top talent you would assume that that would be true but do you think that that that this report that just came out complicates that there are to it certainly does this so-called top talent is not performing very well so what are we paying for it's pretty shocking to see how many of the names that are on this list of the top twenty five highest paid executives were also. partly they were involved in partly responsible for the financial crisis and
finally what do you think the take away lesson is from here because obviously it's not just big bank c.e.o.'s that are that are doing this it's a lot of different corporate c.e.o.'s so what should the average american make of all of these numbers. i think i think they should they should really take away the message that we need to have some checks on excessive excessive pay while at the same time support for living wages there are checks out there the dodd frank act has a few measures that are our laws they just need to be enforced and regulators have been dragging their feet one of those would be to disclose this the pe ratios between what c.e.o.'s make and what their average employees make and that would make this problem a lot more transparent right now i don't think it's necessarily always in the news and that's something that the dodd frank that was signed three years ago by
president obama was promising but the f.c.c. has yet to actually offer that type of information in terms of employer see play eat c.e.o. disparities. reporter for the nation thank you so much for breaking down some of those numbers for us thanks for having me meanwhile here in the nation's capital a committee has been formed to make a bid for the d.c. region to host the two thousand and twenty four summer olympic games if d.c. were to win the bid it would be the first american location to host the summer olympics since atlanta in one thousand nine hundred six the group behind the push is called d.c. twenty twenty four and they are claiming that d.c. would be the best place to host the olympics because of its reputation for heightened security of course meaning that there would be no need to worry about public safety but economically speaking would hosting the olympics actually help the districts the economy or to correspondent liz wall has more. it's the u.s. capitol attracts millions of tourists each year well d.c.
is known for its politics monuments and museums but there is one thing a one washington based group says is missing washington d.c. is the only world couple to never host an olympic games all the major capitals in the world we feel like this is the right time for d.c. in. the district is among the cities bidding to host the twenty twenty four olympic games hosting the olympics has historically been a point of pride it gets the international spotlight and the hope is that it will generate big bucks and i think it would it would entice people to come here to need boosting the economy i mean three cities are is already very good here but it's going to be bringing a different kind of tourism here but hosting the olympics comes with a big price the group taking on the bed estimates it will cost three to six billion dollars elsewhere
a cost several times that and the host city usually spends much more than planned i don't know whether the economics work out those that's a little more difficult to know i think it probably be a mere minute and a week long believe me or simply because of the congestion that we have already that there is. infrastructure issues security will be horatio reading this in brazil people have taken to the streets in protest of the investment into the two thousand and sixteen games in rio de janeiro while social programs suffer and poverty runs rampant and those skeptical that host cities reap economic fortunes point to the past beijing spent an estimated forty billion dollars to put on the games in two thousand and eight with little pay off the two thousand and four athens games is believed to have led to greece's ongoing debt crisis many buildings constructed. for the games now abandoned and decaying asked if this could be
a preview for d.c. organizers say i don't worry about it i know exactly what you're talking about but that is not at all what we're planning on doing if you look at something someplace like sochi or someplace like beijing they built all new facilities in order to host the games the costs were astronomical all the plan to see was a existing sports venues in washington d.c. as much as possible like the horizon center here downtown under the plan venues like the nationals ballpark would be used including the arenas in the nearby areas of baltimore maryland and northern virginia financially rewarding or not d.c. faces a lot of competition but cities from coast to coast bidding for the glory to host the games in washington liz wall are. all right that does it for now for more on the stories we cover and go to youtube dot com forward slash our to america and