tv Headline News RT August 30, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm 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 post 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 tonight's show.
it's friday august thirtieth eight pm in washington d.c. and lopez and you are watching r.t. we begin our newscast tonight in syria president obama and his cabinet are still deliberating on whether or not the u.s. should become militarily involved in syria and if so to what extent earlier today secretary of state john kerry addressed the public reiterating administration rhetoric against president bashar al assad and his military is alleged use of chemical weapons listen to our concern is not just about some far off. oceans away that's not what this is about our concern with the claws of the defenseless people of syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world. it is also profoundly about who we are.
we are the united states of america. we are the country that has tried not always 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 precedents 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 force 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 decisions on whether or not to intervene and former congressman dennis kucinich tweeted quote u.k. votes no on syria attack barack obama you said potest can't unilaterally attack don't betray constitution no war on syria also out today the obama administration released documents supporting allegations that assad's regime was responsible for the chemical attacks that killed some fourteen hundred twenty nine civilians including four hundred twenty six children that same attack sickened over three thousand six hundred people earlier today i spoke with phyllis bennis she's the director of the internationalism project at the institute for policy studies and i started off by asking her whether the impassioned speeches by kerry and president obama constituted a declaration of war actually not i was a pretty it might be that but i think they're actually being a bit cocky cautious seen both the public. the 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 vote and also now have 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 endorsers the use of military force that hasn't happened we know it's not going to happen russia and china have made clear they would veto so in this situation any other use of. it
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 high command isn't authorized to make 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 and they'll if you're nato everything looks like it requires military intervention international law doesn't say you have to get permission from the security council in which 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 and he said quote a punitive military response without a u.n. security council mandate or brown 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 military.
zation 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 us 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 us 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're 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 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 that 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 with a 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 but while one obama administration official after another comes out to speak out against the syrian government america's greatest ally 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 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 the french president francois hollande spoke out today in strong support of international military action 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 on the other end of the spectrum china russia germany and the iran are all against this type of military action and britain stand 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 how the international community is responding to the crisis in syria our colleagues over in moscow spoke with former first sea lord and secretary minister lord allen west here's what he had to say. i was very concerned 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 in expands 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 an 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 and i have no doubt that the al qaeda group and there are very large groups i'm afraid in the opposition founded by people who haven't thought through what this really means would be delighted if
america and britain and france attacked they would be delighted by it but that doesn't mean they like us and they want to actually they oppose us and would like to do islam but in a temporary bases that would suit them so we need to be very very careful how we actually act that's that's certainly true that was former first thing lord and security minister lord allen west. fracking offshore and out of scientists 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 rock shale formation and then injecting fluids into the ground at high pressure in order to cause that rock to crack or fracture and natural gas will then 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 the santa barbara coast led to repeated
drilling bans arctic correspondent ramona leno takes a closer look at fracking happening in this coastal town and the revival of a campaign to stop it missile between majestic mountains and historically an ocean center barbara's a quiet city with spanish influence in a west coast spirit just miles from the historic franciscan mission oil rigs to the coastline these waters could become the next frontier in fracking east of the knees are actually experiments right now through 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. or in the channel and government documents show that it's happened at least eleven other times since the nineteen ninety s. 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 de cordova no go set their sights on the senate barbara channel which was also the site of a catastrophic oil spill back in one hundred sixty 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 sand 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 analysis and so we're very concerned that with offshore fracking it's history repeating itself right right that i think was a. grassroots activists have been successful in pushing for fracking bans in several minutes a pelleas across california but oil and natural gas companies are anxious to tap into what may be a massive amount of shale oil shale play extends into the ocean and it's possible in the future that in fact he could successful in santa barbara channel other
places and more companies going to want to use the technology i had to get this oil in the mine or a shell that's not always accessible using traditional technology the monterey shells 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 scrap all the natural gas and oil that we have in united states right now we're talking about thirty to forty years and that we're going to be fairly rapid the oil and gas industry argues california will benefit from the jobs that could come from an oil boom. meantime environmentalist will keep selling them to frack off this tiny stretch of paradise in santa barbara california . r t. all right well they were the people who were bailed out booted out or just busted for financial fraud but still c.e.o. . are among the highest earning people in america despite their job performance
a new report released by the institute for policy studies discovered that forty percent of the top earning the c.e.o.'s in the past twenty years have had serious job performance issues they report found that fourteen percent of all top honors were fired or forced to retire but don't worry about them the average severance severance package was around forty four forty seven point seven million dollars another twenty two percent actually ran the companies that needed to be bailed out to break down the numbers i was joined earlier by zoe carpenter she's a reporter for the nation and i began by asking her about the concept of metric prosody in america. 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 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 you know it has not trickled 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 an all time high so how can we account for this disparity of all time highs. 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 hourly 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 an unlimited amount 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 narrative 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.
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 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 well the more we know the more we realize
we don't know what the american public just learning about the u.s. drone strikes concerns about potential abuses have increased these concerns include sheer lack of transparency about the strikes and also the innocent lives lost overseas and other issues with drone strikes we'll likely amass over time for more on that the residents lori her finest. the opposition to drones is pretty vocal and large but there is also a quieter smaller opposition to drones that exist turns out air force pilots are anti drone or at least they want to be the ones to fly them according to
a new report by colonel bradley hoagland the air force can't get enough volunteers for the drone pilot training program one reason for that is that the hours are really long for a drone pilot there just aren't enough of them for the drones we have and we keep getting more drones so the hours keep getting longer some surveillance drones required round the clock shifts between drone pilot exhausted and also with no time for additional training or education that makes it harder for them to advance in their careers they see up to thirteen percent lower promotion rate to the rank of major than other officers. drone operators all have college degrees since the air force only commissioned officers to fly drones so being a drone operator is kind of a dull long hours dead end job choice but more than that drone operators
also experience clinical distress unlike fighter pilots who drop their farms and then fly away drone pilot actually watch hours and hours of close of video of people killed by their strikes the irony is that even though the drone pilot is remote they just leave. damage they inflict directly whereas the fighter pilot who is actually there only has a remote idea of the people they've just killed drone pilots get to see in a vivid detail the people and property they've just destroyed who wants to sign up for that in the air force today on the aircraft systems and remotely piloted aircraft conduct over five hundred missions a year ninety six percent rise since two thousand and nine in the ninety's there were about fifty drone pilots today there are over thirteen hundred and the air
force foresees that number steadily increasing so the air force is going to have to come up with some incentive to get more people decide that for the job if they could only figure out how to get rid of that hole killing innocent people they might just have a winning sales pitch tonight let's talk about that by following me on twitter at the resident. well you know that saying that men are from mars and women are from venus it turns out that we all might be from the red planet new research introduced at a global geochemistry meeting in italy earlier this week supports the idea that billions of years ago mars was a better place to form the building blocks of life on earth for years scientists have question how atoms first came together on prehistoric earth to form the three components of life are in a d.n.a.
and proteins are in a is thought to be the first of these components to appear and is created by templating atoms at the crystalline surfaces of minerals now according to professor steven benner who presented the theory ancient or did not have enough oxygen to support the amounts of these minerals needed to. form r.n.a. but mars did then or goes on to suggest that once the r.n.a. was created on mars it was transported to earth on me or ice eventually leading to the creation of life right here on earth so the next time you see a u.f.o. in the sky don't worry it might just be your cousin popping in to say hello and that's going to do it for now for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r.t. america and check out our web site r.t. dot com slash usa and don't forget to follow me on twitter as meghan underscore lopez stay tuned as larry king now is at nine pm tonight special guests will be the