tv U.S. Senate CSPAN February 19, 2010 12:00pm-5:00pm EST
can go back to doing other things. and the reality is, groups like galen institute were left with insufficient funding and no political interest in actually solving the problem so that it wouldn't come back again. it is extremely important that no matter what happens in the congress, win or lose to defeat this thing on our, we continue with support of 10, the pacific research institute, with the national center for policy, cato, heritage, all of the groups that have wonderful ideas to see their policies through, continue with things like the healthcare ballot initiatives that are so important to reserving our freedom. the third and final thing is this. this is the harbinger of an ethical moment. this is the thought beyond healthcare, but it matters for 2010 and it matters for the type of the country we're going to have that independents and women were not on the table and 2009. but they are now.
we are at a time, i believe, where there is manifest disgust with what is now apparent of seven years of big government. people understand the overreaching, the mismanagement, the false promise of security that leads to dependency, the bankruptcy that we are seeing in various government programs that we cannot fund and that are delivering care that is not what is promised that there's a story yesterday about how medicaid is going to be cutting services. they promise but they cannot deliver, and they tie us down. we, the people i believe are ready for a 21st century world in which the leviathan is rolled back, where liberty and general compassion and the american people to make their own good choices is restored, and we need your help to a congress that because the company said we can't just have conservatives, we need is independents and those women understanding what
we promised. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, heather. wonderful. dr. eric novack. [applause] >> thank you. thank you grace marie turner i'm forever in debt to you and so many other people for helping get to the point where it is today. i have been extremely fortunate over the last 23 years because i've been able to take care of patients starting at 17, going forward. i have worked doing 911 and and good service in big cities. i volunteered and homeless clinics during the aids epidemic in san francisco. i have worked at va hospitals that i've worked at community hospitals. i have worked out, centers, san francisco and seattle, and i've got an orthopedic surgeon in the phoenix area. and it became clear to me just like i'm sure it is clear to you that the healthcare system that we have is unsustainable over
the long-term. some might say it is unsustainable even over the short term. and that we need healthcare reform. what if they did become clear to me back in 2006, that unless we act and we act decisively, to protect the rights of patients and families to be ultimately in control of their own health and healthcare decisions, that would healthcare reforms, those rights would be lost. if we have learned anything over the last 10 months, is that unfortunate that was absolutely right. because what's been going on in watching 10 since march is not a healthcare bill. it is a bill that is fundamentally takes away the rights of stations and families to make health and healthcare decisions and will be transferring that power either to washington or some private company bureaucrat, pretty much anybody but patients and families. so with that premise, and 2006, i work with a group of really
smart people, and we came up with what's known as the health care freedom act. and it is based upon two printable. number one, if a healthcare service is legal, no one, public or private, should ever be able to take away your right to spend your own money to get access to that care. [applause] >> you do not have to be wealthy. to want to get a second opinion for your child. and you don't have to be wealthy to want to get that extra tests as you can sleep well at night. and that right must be protected. the second right, you should not be forced to participate in any healthcare system or plan in which you do not want to participate. [applause] >> you have to remember, it isn't of the front page of the
benefit that your site onto when you join up with these plants. it is that you are signing on to the rules, regulations and restrictions that will ultimately control the healthcare that you have access to. and when the case of medicare, for example, there's only about 130,000 pages of regulations to keep an eye on. and that number will only grow. so we worked hard, we went out and got 330,000 signatures in the state of arizona and got a cause additional amendment on the ballot for november 2008. we pull up the first slide, please. this is what the health care freedom act look like in november of 2008. we were outspent five to one. winner former governor, now director of homeland security, on the radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week, saying not nice things about his. we had a campaign funded completely by health insurance companies with government contracts to fund against us.
in arizona, which is a small state, 1.6 million pieces of direct mail against us were sent in five weeks. at the end of that, not a good election cycle, you may remember, we lost by less than one half of 1%. we went back to the drawing board. we met with all the stakeholders. we try to answer their concerns. and now we can say i'm a 14 months later, this is what the map looks like for the health care freedom act around the country. [applause] >> 37 states have either filed announced their intentions to file, or in some fashion actually passed versions of the bill. if your state is in, you have to go home because you have a lot of work to do. [laughter] >> you need to get your state
legislators to introduce a version of the health care freedom act into your state legislatures. it is critically important that we get all state legislators on the record about whether or not they want to take away the right of americans to be able to spend their own money on healthcare. we need all state legislators on record. if they're willing to say if you don't buy health insurance, we will penalize you, we will tax you, we will find you, even if the reason why you didn't purchase it is because you can't afford it. we cannot let this happen. in arizona and read you will see that we have been referred to the ballot every single republican in the state legislature of arizona in june vote to put this on the ballot. and every democrat opposed it. i guarantee you, that a key monthly, allow the democrats want to go back. so we are in red. in blue, the state of virginia, which passed this as a law, not
constitutional, within the last two weeks. [applause] >> and governor mcdonald said he will sign it. you can see the green states, we have passed one of the two houses. one of the two chambers in the state legislators. the brown ones we're trying to make some headway in. the purple ones we have passed at least the senate, at least one committee i got full chamber votes. we have made unbelievable progress. we cannot let up on this. after the vote in the virginia house, the "washington post" ran a story about this. and democratic representative jerry conley was asked is this going to make an impact on what you think about federal legislation. to paraphrase because my time is running out, his answer was absolutely. we can make a difference at the state level. we can do it. we have a lot more work to do. on just each and every state. a we need the help of every
single person out here and all the people you know. we need healthcare reform. we do. when president obama says we need healthcare reform to make it more accessible, more affordable, and to increase quality, everybody in the room would raise their hand and say this is a good idea. the reality of course is what we have seen in watching 10 is that $600 million of lobbying money was a pretty good effort to buy 16 of the u.s. economy and one out of every eight jobs. it's been unbelievable privilege over the last three years to work on health care freedom act and see what it has come. and there are so many people have been a part of it as well. but we can't win without you. freedom does not have a union. and we need all of you working together for it. thank you all. to learn more about it, the websites are up on the screen there, and thank you for listening to me today. [applause] >> thank you, dr. novack.
dr. hal scherz. >> thank you, grace-marie, for the very nice introduction, and good afternoon, everybody. don't let this white coats we. i am a real doctor. not one of the rose garden make-believe ones. [applause] >> i'm a full-time pediatric urologist, and operate on about 600 children every year. ic patients every day. i hear what they want. i listen to their concerns. i also know what most doctors think and what they want. so i'd like to give you an insiders view into doctors minds and share the thoughts of my patience with you which are probably similar to your thoughts. almost all of my patients like the healthcare that they now receive. they are most concerned about is cost and access. they are confused by what they hear, and terrified by what they think may happen.
i take two minutes with most of my patients, the parents of my patience, and ask them at the end of the visit if they would mind if i spent two minutes speaking about healthcare reform with them. [applause] >> most to say yes, and thank me for doing this. they wonder what i think. they are looking at me for some direction. they are looking for a glimmer of hope, but mostly they are worried about what things will be like for their children. i tell them what i think, in what we believe that docs for patient care, the group that i founded and now had. i say that the solutions to healthcare should be targeted and do not require blowing up the medical system. attempt to do this are blatant attempt to control the sector of the economy. we believe healthcare has three,
lowering cost, improving access and tort reform. it's like a three-legged stool. if you don't address all three legs, then the stool collapses. [applause] >> initiatives such as allowing people to purchase health insurance over the internet and across state lines, lowers prices through competition. health savings account make patients better consumers of healthcare resources and better shoppers. [applause] >> i would not be opposed to a more transparent system, one where doctors and hospitals are required to post their fees to allow people to be better shoppers. [applause] >> people who are too poor to afford healthcare insurance should get a helping hand in the form of vouchers that enable them to purchase it from one of the more than 1300 insurance companies that now operate. we don't need another one.
[applause] >> people who wish to purchase their own insurance should receive the same tax treatment as businesses, and this would uncouple insurance from the workplace and make it portable. [applause] >> high-risk pools in each state need to be established as a safety valve for those who have high risk and costly medical conditions, because nobody should go bankrupt because of their health. [applause] >> no healthcare reform plan can succeed though without addressing the crushing effect of medical liability on doctors. two to $400 billion a year is wasted because of this. patients are entitled to collect damages if they are injured, but the lottery by ambulance chasers has got to stop. [applause]
>> i have a friend who is a heart surgeon in cheyenne, wyoming, who works have time to kessy cannot afford his quarter of a million dollar medical malpractice premium. so he splits of this policy with his partner, and each works half-time. not because they want to, but because they have to. and this is wrong. why not take malpractice out of the civil system. issue no fault insurance, maybe put these cases into specialty courts. that's where they belong. this is the inside scoop into what doctors believe. unfortunately, we have not been heard from. the reasons are many and complex. but the ama, contrary to popular belief, does not speak for doctors. [applause] >> only 17 percent of doctors in this country belong to this organization, and the number is dropping like a rock. what's worse is that they have a
tremendous conflict of interest when they claim to represent doctors, but instead are more interested in protecting their 75 million-dollar annual gift from the federal government in the form of a monopoly over the medical codes that every doctor and hospital use every day if they hope to get paid. [applause] >> and this is why, my friends, we formed docs for patient care. is to give doctors the voice they need but don't have. it is to look out for you, the patient. it's to tell the public things that my patients are asking, and that all of you are probably wondering and you want to hear about from your doctors. let me tell you something she might not know. things like varied deep within a senate bill, the one that president obama wants to work off and will not trash, it compels doctors to follow regulations written by the secretary of hhs, or else we
cannot contract with insurance companies. so that means that if we don't comply to these of federal regulations, we cannot take care of patients. this is wrong. this is dangerous. we want you to know what some republicans, even are saying in the spirit of compromise and bipartisanship. they are saying some things. things like cutting cause in the medical system are possible by adopting pay for performance. and it sounds like a great idea on the surface, until you are seriously ill mother can't find a doctor to take care of her because the doctor can't risk having heard not do well and show up on his report card. these are bad ideas. bad for doctors and worse for you, the patients. [applause] >> doctors like us believe in responsible healthcare reform, but we must be at the table to
help design it. so here's what you can do. go to your doctor and ask them if you can have two minutes of his time to discuss healthcare reform. tell him about docs for patient care and urge them to join us. that is. do it for your sake. there are cards that been given out here that you can pick up and you can nominate your doctor to us and we also want you to join us and be part of docs for patient care. and remember, that doctors don't take care of republicans or democrats. we take care of patients. and all of us will be one, someday. [applause] >> and finally, at docs for patient care, at docs for patient care it's not about right or left. it's about right or wrong. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. scherz.
>> thank you very much and thanks for being here. by the way, the acu this is the 37th annual cpac. summon was quoted yesterday, it was their first cpac. they called it the biggest and baddest gathering of political conservatives in the country. [applause] >> i concur with that and some resent what you have been to more than one, jim? i've been to all 37 of them, and god willing, i will be your next year. [applause] >> i have to tell you something. everybody knows about the healthcare issue and what needs to be done and everybody is doing a good job that i have to tell you one thing. i want to mention the aarp. people talk about that. i was out in little rock, arkansas, recently doing a tour and somebody took me into a crowd of a bunch of seniors and
said jim is head of a senior citizens group, but i thought i was going to be attacked that they said the aarp? i said no. so i had to come up with a counter of that. the aarp. [applause] >> the association against a retired persons. and i will take, they have a skim on seniors. they are a fortune 500 insurance conglomerate. that is i would be if they do it on their own nickel, but i've got to tires something, i can top you. the aarp received 89.5 million, one year, the highlight receive, they received over a billion dollars of our tax dollars. we don't at a 60 plus, we are selling and philosophy. it is called conservatism. limited government, less government. [applause] >> and the aarp quite frankly
has been out there for 40 some years, and i started the 60 plus, 17 years ago to counter. and there are so many differences between us. levy making healthcare just real quickly. first do no harm to a system that has worked so well for so many for so long. [applause] >> clearly, it needs reform but let me say, going back to my favorite topic right now, the aarp, they make millions and that's fine. they promote liberalism, big government. their spokesman, a guy they tout is harry belafonte. [booing] >> is a great entertainer, don't get me wrong buddy comes from a hard left position that a lot of the aarp number's when they find that out, they have been buying products and they didn't realize some of the conservatives, they are upset about that our spokesman at 60 plus association you have made have heard of
them, legendary entertainer, pat boone. [applause] >> and i've got to take, let me give a little commercially on pat boone for a second. this rascal, this son of a gun is 75, going on 76. he is still out there. he was just out with governor huckabee. but pat boone is the original american idol. he won the arthur godfrey show, talent show, some of you seniors will remember that. he was 20 years old and didn't have a nickel to his name. let me tell you what a great american this guy is an stood by his principles for over 50 years. 55 now, in show business. they came to and want to stray pat boone show. they said we've got a sponsor for you. lincoln and mike and he says what's that? it's a great. and he says no, i don't smoke. well, ronald reagan does. ronald reagan -- chesterfield
back in those days. god bless and. anyhow, pat boone said no, i don't want to do that. i too many young people looking up to me. i don't smoke and i don't want to do it. they came back to and said, tattoo, how about anheuser-busch? what's that? its beer. everybody is doing it, pat. even hard liquor. pat said no, i'm sorry i don't want to do that either. pat, you have a dime to name. everybody does this. sorry, i pat boone. i'm not going to do. they came back later and said pat, do you have anything against chevrolet automobiles? [laughter] >> it became the pat boone chevy show, great success back in those days. pat is their spokesman now about 10 years. let me tell you, a lot of people think the entertainers, they want donations or they want you to donate to the cause. pat boone does this, he's a believer. i used to read on my pronounce pat boone, there's a donation
here, we have voluntary donations. we do not get tax dollars from the government. [applause] >> the government, i'm sorry. the taxpayer, excuse me. but i will do something, pat has been donating to us for years. i met him a few times and i said pat, we would be honor to be our spokesman. and he said jim, now that i admit i am 60 plus, i would be honored. [laughter] >> so he has been there with us the whole time. let me point out another thing. heather mentioned all these great ad and rate a spot. we have been doing a lot of television ads, television commercials around the country talking about seniors being betrayed by the massive cuts to medicare. don't get me wrong. whether you are for medicare or against medicare, it has been the law of the land for 45 years that seniors have paid their dues into that system. they don't need to be sure change now. i worked on capitol hill when the past 45 years ago.
and so it needs reforming and has to be done, but seniors are on the march. they are angry. and let me close on this before i show you this commercial. i've been saying since last, nancy pelosi said last july, no, we didn't get passed but what about august? bashes another month. guess what, in august there was an uprising around the country by a lot of seniors. there are an awful lot of you young folks out there. so we said, seniors are on the march. i've been saying for a while now, there is a tsunami, a senior citizen tsunami headed towards capitol hill. and unless it's outside your going to see a lot of politicians looking for a new line of work, november. [applause] >> i think it came ashore and came ashore unexpectedly and massachusetts a couple of weeks ago. but look, i would like to show this commercial now.
congressman earl pomeroy out of north dakota. so if you could show that, please. >> cuts in medicare 400 billion. raises taxes on small business, killing jobs and makes insurance you have cost more. earl pomeroy voted for this bill. how can we saddle our children and grandchildren with these huge deficits? >> i don't want the government to the my doctor. >> congressman pomeroy, you have betrayed us by voting to cut 400 billion for medicare. >> north dakota seniors will not forget. [applause] >> thank you. congressman pomeroy held a press conference out there and he said this is very intense political, and he said i've got to be honest with you, he said i couldn't watch football on sunday without the 60 plus association add coming on saying i was betraying seniors.
he has been, i will tell you what, i'm afraid he is in deep trouble come november. [applause] >> i see my time is up. i thank you most sincerely for yours. thank you. [applause] >> thank you to our terrific panel. we have five remaining for one or two questions everybody wants to come up to the microphone. in the questions for a panelist? i see somebody heading to the microphone. >> go ahead. >> as a young person in the crowd, i am extremely worried about the massive trillions upon trillions of dollars of medicare and medicaid spending. i mean, you say is that cutting these programs, but you're bankrupting my generation. how are we going to solve this problem? >> one person to take that question. >> we have a lot spending issues in this country.
it's not just social security. it's not just medicare. we have a president that is growing a budget that is only 1.6 trillion in the red going forward. so there are significant problems. they do need to be addressed, but we need an adult conversation about how to address these things going forward. and i would pause it to you just as one person to say him as jim mentioned, it is difficult to promise somebody a benefit, begin to offer it and then pull it away. it is much like was done during the reagan era where part of the compromise actually progressively advance of the eligibility age to add solvency. we may need to do those sorts of things. so somebody who's not quite there yet either, not quite as young as you, we do have issues but i think what's important and the most important thing actually is that you answer me other young people are here today to become act and become part of that dialogue because there is no way that we can get to the right answer for this
country going forward and less we have all americans of all ages involved in the dialogue. [applause] >> and there are ways to use market forces and consumer choice to get to solutions. but it will require a different vision that we see in the current congress. yes, ma'am. >> this question is for the two doctors. what i've heard so far is keeping healthcare in the private sector. i haven't heard anyone look at the percentage of dollars spent on insurance administration and doctor's office, back office clerical help that takes a bite out of our healthcare dollars. the american health insurers association estimates that 26 percent of all healthcare dollars go to administration.
my question to you, and then 14 percent of doctors office goes to a and administration and the doctors office of the third party reimbursement system. would you be willing to come up with a proposal that makes it a two-party payment system so that doctors don't waste their time and their energies and their proceeds on insurance reimbursement clinical issues, and put all their time and energy to seeing more patients and streamlining it with hhs? >> thank you very much for your question. dr. scherz, would you like to start? >> insurance companies are big problems for physicians, and we certainly would like to streamline it and take care of those issues that face of doctors. we want to spend as much time as we can with our patients. but i think that the solution, again, is going to be market driven. that's the best way to get cost,
economies of scale, get costs down. there needs to be some insurance reform him and that's certainly part of the problem, but we're not going to be able to change the entire system overnight. what we need to really do, again, is work on the market issues and market reforms to put patients and doctors in charge of the solution and not the government. >> and i would just add very quickly, it's an important point that we can talk about% and numbers, but there certainly inefficiencies in the system. we need healthcare reform. nobody doubts that. . .
but they have been excluded from the dialogue for health care reform, do we expect that the reforms that are going to come out of washington are actually going to in any good way address the needs of the american people? i would venture to say no. again, i would make the case that starting with the health care freedom act all around the country, number one, no mandates, means they can not pass this comprehensive government takeover of our health and health care. that's number one. number two, we need to all be active and make decisions and to get involved in the discussion about addressing things like insurance companies who do bad things, and doctors who do bad things and hospitals who do bad things. we can all work on this
together. there are solutions out there. they generally, would begin with reducing the perverse incentive that government has put on health care over the last 40 plus years, not adding on new layers. >> thank you very much. thanks for join egg moo -- me and thanks your panel. ♪ . >> welcome to the stage, scott hammond. >> how is everybody doing? >> i was just backstage with congresswoman michele bachmann. she is fired up to get out here! [applause] >> at this point we are going to leave our coverage of the conservative political action conference continues over on our companion network, c-span. coming up if you just heard momentarily littlely, woman
michele bachmann of minnesota and former attorney general john ashcroft and moving over to c-span. our cppac coverage continues, concludes tomorrow with live remarks from former house speaker newt gingrich at 2:00 p.m. eastern. that will be followed later in the day with comments from radio and "fox news" host glenn beck at 6:00 eastern. both of those speeches live on saturday on c-span. this afternoon, president obama takes part in a town hall meeting in las vegas. he will be speaking to residents of nevada about job creation and the u.s. economy. joining the president, senate majority leader harry reid. that gets underway 1:00 p.m., about 25 minutes from now here on c-span2.
>> town hall meeting with president obama at top of the hour 1:00 p.m. yesterday vice president joe biden gave remarks on the administration nuclear security agenda. he is introduced by the secretary of defense robert gates. this runs 25 minutes. [applause] >> please be seated. it is an honor to be here
today at this esteemed institution, and before going on i would like to acknowledge the presence this afternoon of two special guests. nobel laureate and secretary of energy, dr. steven chu, and vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, former commander of chief command, commander general james cartwright. [applause] to the community thank you for all you do in your service to our country and to students in particular, i wish you the best as you prepare to take on important leadership positions. i know you're really here to listen to what the vice president has to say so i will be very brief. the topic of the vice president's address, the role and future of nuclear weapons is one absolutely critical to america's national security and strategic strength. president obama has helped focus our attention on the challenges of reducing
nuclear dangers and taking concrete steps toward the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. at the same time, as he and the vice president have said, as long as nuclear weapons are required to deter aggression and defend our country and our allies, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal. before coming, becoming vice president, mr. biden served for 36 years in the united states senate, representing the state of delaware. during his time in the senate he served as chairman of the judiciary and foreign relations committees. over his career he established a reputation as being one of america's foremost experts on international affairs. as vice president, he has provided exemplary leadership on issues relating to proliferation, deterrents and the state of our nuclear enterprise. we are honored that he has come to ndu to share his thoughts on such an important topic. it is my personal honor and pleasure to introduce the
vice president of the united states. joseph r. biden, jr. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you all very much it's an honor to be here and an honor to be introduced by bob gates. ladies and gentlemen, secretaries gates and chu, general cartwright, undersecretary talk cher and admiral, vice admiral rondo, members of the armed service, students, thank you all for coming. quite frankly this speech was a collaborative document. bob gates could deliver this speech. general cartwright could deliver this speech and probably do it better than i will but, the fact of the matter is that at its founding, former secretary of war gave this campus a mission. that is the very essence of
our national defense. he said, and i quote, not to promote war but preserve peace by intelligent and adequate preparation to repel aggression. that's what this is all about. that's what i think this speech is about quite frankly. for more than a century you and your predecessors have heeded that call. there are fewer contributions of that would be greater than any citizen could make than to aspire to meet the goal of this university. many, many statements, statesmen have walked to this campus and pronounced statesman better than i have. [laughter] i told you bob could give this speech better. many statesmen have walked this campus, including our own administration's outstanding national security advisor, general jones. you taught him well.
folks, george cannon, scholar and diplomat lectured here at the national war college in the late '40s. just back from moskow then in a small office not very far from here he developed the doctrine of containment that guided a generation of cold war foreign policy some of the issues that arose during that time seem like very distant memories now. as a matter of fact, i see some old colleagues in the senate foreign relations committeeses days when i got there, as a 29-year-old kid. some of them seem very distant. the topic i came to discuss with you today, the challenge posed by nuclear weapons continues to demand our urgent attention just as it did immediately after the war. last april in prague the president laid out his vision for protecting our country from nuclear threats. he made clear that we will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons while retaining a safe, secure and effective arsenal as long as we still
need it. we will work to strengthen our nuclear non-proliferation treaty. we'll also do everything in our power to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists and also to states that don't already possess them. you know, it is very easy to recognize the threat posed by nuclear terrorism but we must not underestimate how proliferation, to a state could be destablizing for an entire region, regions critical to us, to our security and may very well prompt the neighbors in that region to feel that they have to garner nuclear weapons themselves. our agenda is based on a clear-eyed assessment of our national interests. we've long relied upon nuclear weapons to deter potential adversaries but now, as our technology improved, we're developing non-nuclear ways to
accomplish the same objectives. the quadrennial defense review and ballistic missile defense review which secretary gates released two weeks ago presented a plan to further strengthen our preeminent conventional forces so they can defend our nation and our allies in the future. capabilities like an z rl warheads with worldwide reach, and others that are developing, being developed will enable us to reduce the role of nuclear weapons as other nuclear powers begin to draw down even further just as we wish to do. with these modern capabilities even with deep nuclear reductions we will remain undeniably strong, in a position to defend our interests against all, all of our enemies. as we've said many times, the spread of nuclear weapons is the great threat facing the country and i
would argue facing humanity. and that is why we're working both to stop their proliferation and, and, eventually, to eliminate them. but until that date comes we have to do everything in our power to maintain our arsenal and make sure it's reliable. at the vanguard of this effort alongside our military are our nuclear weapons laboratories. true national treasures that deserve our full support. their invaluable contributions range from building the world's fastest super computers to developing cleaner fuels to surveying the heavens with robotic telescopes. but the labs are best known, they're best known for the work they do to secure our country. time and again we've asked our labs to meet our most urgent strategic needs and time and again, time and again they have delivered. in 1939 as fascism began its
march across europe, asia and africa, albert einstein warned president roosevelt that the nazis were racing to build a weapon, the likes of which the world had never seen. in the southwest desert under the leadership of robert oppenheimer, physicianist of los alamo won that race and literally changed the course of history. in albuquerque soon after second world war and became the premier facility for developing non-nuclear components ever our nuclear arsenal. a few years later the institution became lawrence livermore in california. during the arms race that followed the korean war it designed and developed warheads to keep your nuclear capabilities second to none. these examples and many others i could name illustrate everyone in this room, what everyone in this room knows, but many in our country do not know, that
the past century's defining conflicts were decided not just in the battlefield but in classrooms and laboratory. as air force general hap arnold, an aviation pioneer whose vision helped shape the national war college once argued, he said the first world war was decided by braun. the second world war by logistics. the third world war will be different he predicted. it will be won by brains. well general arnold got it almost right. great minds like cannon and oppenheimer helped win the cold war and prevent a third world war all together. during the cold war we tested nuclear weapons in our atmosphere, underwater and underground to confirm that they worked before deploying them into to evaluate more advanced concepts as well. but explosive testing damaged our health, disrupted our environment, and set back our non-proliferation agenda.
18 years ago george h.w. bush, president bush, signed the nuclear testing moratorium enacted by congress which is in place to this very day. under that moratorium, our laboratories have maintained our arsenals through what is known as you all know, but the public doesn't know the phrase, are stockpile stewardship program. they're able to do that without underground testing using techniques that are successful as they are cutting-edge. today, the directors of the nuclear laboratories, all of with whom i had a chance to meet, tell me and the president and all of us that they have, that they have a deeper understanding of our arsenal from stockpile stewardship than they ever had when testing was commonplace. let me repeat that. our labs know more about our arsenal today than when they were able to explode weapons
at our facilities on a regular basis. with our support, the labs can anticipate potential problems and reduce their impact on the arsenal. unfortunately, during the last decade our nuclear complex and experts were neglected and underfunded. tight budgets fors more than 2,000 employees ad los alamos and lawrence livermore to lose their jobs. between 2006 and 2008, including highly skilled scientists and engineers. some of the facilities, used to handle uranium and plutonium date back to the days when great powers were lead by harry truman, winston churchhill and joesph stalin. the signs of age and decay are becoming more apparent every day and because we recognized these changes, in december, secretary chu and i met with the white house with the head of all three
weapons laboratories. they described the dangerous impact these budgetary pressures were having on the ability to manage our arsenal without testing. they say that the situation is literally a threat to our national security. and president obama, secretary chu and i all agreed. that's why earlier this month we announced a new budget that reversed the last decade of dangerous decline. it devotes $7 billion to maintaining our nuclear stockpile and modernizing our nuclear infrastructure. to put that into perspective, that is 624 million more than congress approved last year, and an increase of $5 billion over the next five years. even in these tight fiscal times we will commit the resources needed to require, and that are required to maintain our security interests. this investment is not only consistent with a
non-proliferation agenda, we argue it is essential to pursue a non-proliferation agenda. guaranteeing our stockpile coupled with broader research and development efforts, allows us to pursue deeper nuclear reductions without in any way compromising our security. as our conventional capabilities improve, we're going to continue to reduce our reliability on nuclear weapons. we'll be able to continue to reduce our reliability on nuclear weapons. responsible disarmament requires, requires, versatile specialists who are able to manage the process. the skilled technicians who look after our arsenal today are the ones who will safely dismantle it tomorrow. and the chemist who understand how plutonium how to develop forensic to track nuclear materials and catch those trafficking in it. our goal, our goal of a world without nuclear
weapons has been endorsed by leading voice in both parties. those include two former secretaries of state, and in republican administration, henry kissinger and george shultz, president obama, excuse me, president clinton's secretary of defense, bill perry and my friend and former colleague, sam nunn, for years the democratic chairman of the senate armed services committee. together these four statesmen called for eliminating nuclear weapons and called it a bold initiative consistent with america's moral heritage. during the 2008 presidential campaign both president obama and my friend john mccain, senator mccain supported the same objective. folks, we're going to continue to build support for this emerging bipartisan consensus like the one around the containment of soviet expansion that george cannon aspired. toward that end we worked
tirelessly to implement the president's prague agenda. in september, the president shared an historic meeting with the u.n. security council which unanimously embraced the key elements that the president laid out in his vision in prague. as i speak, u.s. and russian negotiators are completing an agreement that will reduce strategic weapons to their lowest levels in decades. you they, it's verification measures are going to provide confidence that the terms of that agreement are going to be met. these reductions will, will be conducted transparently and they will be predictable. a new start treaty will promote strategic stability and bolster the global effort to prevent proliferation by showing that the world's leading nuclear powers are committed to reducinging their arsenal and will build momentum for
the collaboration with russia on strengthing the global consensus that nations who violate the npt's obligations should be held accountable. this strategy is already yielding results. we have tightened sanctions on north korea's proliferation activities through the most restrictive u.n. security council resolution to date. in the international community is enforcing those sanctions as we speak. and now we're working with our international partners to insure that iran also faces real consequences for failing to meet its obligations. in the meantime, we are completing a governmentwide review of our nuclear posture. but already our budget, our budget proposals reflect some of the key priorities, including increased funding for our nuclear complex, a commitment to sustain our heavy bombers and land and sea-based missile
capabilities under, under a new start agreement. as congress requested and as secretary gates, with secretary gates's full support, this review has been a full inneragency partnership. another way of saying it to the average citizen out there, everybody is on the same page. everybody's on the same page. we believe we've developed a broad and deep consensus on the importance of the president's agenda, and the steps that have to be taken to achieve that agenda. the results will be presented to congress and they will be presented soon. in april the president is also going to host a national security summit to advance his goals of securing all vulnerable nuclear material within four years. there's a lot of it out there. it's a very high priority. we can not wait. we can not wait for an act of nuclear terrorism before coming together to share the best practices, and raise
security standards, and we will seek firm commitments from our partners to do just that in april. in may, we will participate in the non-proliferation treaty review conference. we are rallying support for stronger measures to strengthen inspection and to punish cheaters. you know the treaty had a basic bargain -- >> part of vice president's comments yesterday. we'll going to leave those recorded comments and take you live now to las vegas. a town hall meeting with president obama. he is being introduced, preceded here by majority leader harry reid of the senate. live coverage from green valley high school in henderson, nevada on c-span2. >> he has a superb mind. he's a calm, deliberatetive man, who's a peacemaker both here ad home and around the
world. one of the things i admire as much as anything about this man is his family. he cares about his wife, michelle, our first lady. [applause] and those two beautiful girls, and he understands how important education is. he struggled through his education. he understands how people now are struggling to be educated, and he is aware of this. every time he looks at one of those beautiful girls of his, he understands that education is a priority in this administration. [applause] barack obama as a candidate for president of the united states came to nevada 22 times during the election. [applause]
every time he came to nevada, he told the people of nevada whether it was in elco or reno or las vegas or henderson, or wherever in nevada, i will stop yucca mountain. [applause] and i appreciate very much all the lines written about harry reid stopping it yuk ma mountain. everyone listened. yucca mountain was stopped because barack obama kept his word. yucca mountain is gone. [applause] only i can appreciate what an honor it is for me. someone born 60 miles away from here in that little house we were raised in, to be able to introduce to you the president of the united states, barack obama. [cheers and applause]
[cheers and applause] i love you back. [applause] we've got some special guests here. everybody is a special guest but i just want to acknowledge a few folks here. secretary of state ross miller in the house? [applause] two outstanding members of congress, representative shelley berkley. [applause] and your own deena -- [applause] senate majority leader, steen ven horsford [applause] we've got state assembly majority leader. [applause] clark county commissioner
chairman, rory reed. [cheers and applause] henderson mayor andy hathman [applause] former governor bob miller. [cheers and applause] we've got first, can everybody give a huge round of applause for tina long for the great introduction of harry reid. [cheers and applause] green valley high school principal jeff horn. [cheers and applause] there you go. pump it up. [cheers and applause] yes.
obviously not exam time yet. [laughter] gets a standing "o". the green valley high school marching band that played at my inauguration. give them a big round of applause. [cheers and applause] they played viva las vegas. at the reviewing stand. they did. and, finally, he may have already been acknowledged. i want to make special acknowledgement to -- north las vegas fire department, just returned from 14 days in haiti, giving medical assistance to orphans injured in the quake. thank you. [applause]
we're proud of you. thank you. now, it's good to be back in nevada. good to be back in vegas. good to be back in henderson. and good to be with my good friend, your great senator, harry reid. [cheers and applause] i understand henderson is where harry went to school as a boy and fought in the ring as an amateur boxer. looking at harry you wouldn't say that -- [laughter] i mean, let's face it, you
know. [laughter] but i can personally attest that harry reid is one of the toughest people i know. he does not give up. he knows what he cares about. he knows what he believes in. and he is willing to fight for it. and sometimes he takes his licks but he gets back up. harry reid has never stopped fighting. he hasn't stopped fighting for henderson. he hasn't stopped fighting for nevada. he has not stop fighting for the united states of america and middle class families all across this country that need a fair shake. [applause] i'm looking forward to hearing what's on your minds and trying to answer a few questions, but, before i do, let me say a few words about,
situation that folks are facing right now. harry is not one for sugarcoating things. i don't know if you noticed that. he is kind of a blunt guy. neither am i. these are tough times. when president kennedy was here, he called henderson a city of destiny because he saw its potential as las vegas grew. but for too long i know many of you have felt like your destiny has been slipping beyond your control. you don't need me to tell you that. all of you in some way have felt this recession. you felt it in the tourism and hospitality industry. you felt it in the construction industry. unemployment rate here is 13%, which is the second highest in the nation. foreclosures are also among the highest. home values have fallen by almost anyplace else.
[cheers and applause] when my administration took office, our immediate mission was quick. we need to stop the great recession from turning into a great depression. and economists knows that's a real possibility. that meant that we had to make some decisions swiftly, boldly and not always popular, but decisions that were necessary. it wasn't a time for satisfying the politics of the moment, it
wasn't time for just playing to the cameras. it was time for doing what was right. that's why we helped stablize our financial system. not because we felt any compassion for big banks. but because not doing so would have endangered the savings and dreams of millions more americans. and, by the way, i was committed that taxpayers were going to provide temporary assistance to keep our financial system afloat, then it actually had to be temporary. i was determined to get back every single dime. and we are well on our way to doing that. getting back every single dime from those banks. [applause] in fact, one battle we're having right now is we think the largest banks should be assessed a fee so that taxpayers are held
harmless for the assistance you've given. [applause] as you might imagine, the banks are not enthusiastic about that. and it won't surprise you to learn that they've got a few friends in congress who are willing to go along. but you know harry reid's not one of those folks who are willing to go along. we're gonna get your money back because harry reid's gonna make sure you get your money back. [applause] we helped shore up the american auto industry. that wasn't popular. i understood why. folks felt like these companies should reap the consequences of bad management decisions in the past, just like any other company would. but if we had let gm and chrysler go under, there would have been hundreds of thousands of hard-working americans that paid the price. not the companies themselves, but suppliers and dealers all across the country.
so we told them, if you're willing to take the top and painful steps that are needed for you to become more competitive, then we're willing to invest in your future. and as a result, auto production in the united states of america is up 69% from the first three months of 2009. [applause] gm's ceo recently said that the company would repay $6.7 billion in loan from taxpayers, with interest, by june of this year. [applause] one thing you need to know, the steps taken to shore up the banks and the autos, they have nothing to do with the recovery act. those were separate. we had to do those as emergency measures. and i just want to point this out. harry reid, he's got his pollsteres.
i have got my pollsters. we knew that this wasn't going to be popular. but we did it because it was the right thing to do. it's also why we passed the recovery act. now, a lot of people think that the stimulus package, recovery act, if you'd listen on television, you'd think that's all about giving banks money. that has nothing to do with the banks. the other week i saw a poll that said americans, they don't like the recovery act, they just like all the individual parts of the recovery act. [laughter] and the reason is they think the recovery act is for banks and auto companies. when you ask folks about what was actually in the recovery act, they think it's full of good ideas. like tax cuts, like infrastructure investment, like unemployment relief. that's what the recovery act was.
it was tax cuts for small business owners and 95% of you, you may not have noticed. 95% of you got a tax cut. because of harry reid and because of the recovery act. [applause] 1 million people, 1 million people in the state of nevada. we have expanded unemployment insurance at a time when it was absolutely vital for people, as they were trying to stay afloat. more than -- more than 250,000 of your members, of your neighbors. there were jobs for construction workers and jobs for cops and fire men, jobs for almost 2,000 education professional right here in nevada pitchn't talked to the principal, but i guarantee if we would have seen some very difficult decisions having to be made about maintaining teachers right here at green valley, if it hadn't
been for the help that harry reid provided last year. [applause] you would have seen the very tough choices. all of this, from the tax cuts to the unemployment insurance, to the jobs, that was only possible because of harry's leadership. and as a result, our economy is growing again. almost 2 million americans who would otherwise be unemployed are working right now because of what harry reid did. we're no longer staring into an economic abyss. because of what harry reid helped to do. now, he and i both know that's little comfort to the 7 million americans who lost their job in this recession. it's little comfort to homeowners who are facing foreclosure, step declines in their home values, or the students who are having to delay their college plans because they can't afford it, or older folks who are postponing retirement. that's why i'm not gonna rest.
that's why we're not done. that's why harry reid isn't going to rest until all of america is working again. until dream of homeownership is secure once again and until our economy is benefitting, not just wall street, but benefitting hard-working nevada families, benefitting the middle class, benefitting americans all across this great country of ours. that's what we are aiming to do. [applause] now, i said before that the way i measure our economy's strength, the way you measure it, is by whether jobs and wages and incomes are growing. the other way we measure is by whether families have a roof over their heads, whether folks are living out that american dream of owning a home. that dream's been jeopardized in this recession for a lot of people.
especially right here in nevada. now, part of it was -- i have got to be blunt here. part of it was because too many lenders were focused on making a quick buck instead of acting responsibly. [applause] and if we're honest, too many borrowers acted irresponsibly at certain points, taking out mortgages they knew they couldn't afford. [applause] and what happened was the regulators in washington and legislators too often turned a blind eye to the excesses and the failures on wall street that fed a housing bubble. [applause] and now that that bubble's burst, it's left devastation that we're still grappling with today. now, government has a responsibility to help deal with this problem. government can't solve this problem alone. we got to be honest about that.
government alone can't solve this problem. and it shouldn't. but government can make a difference. it can't stop every foreclosure, and tax dollars shouldn't be used to reward the very irresponsible lenders and borrowers who helped brynn about the housing crisis. but what we can do is help families who have done everything right stay in their homes whenever possible. what we can do is stablize the housing market, so that home values can begin rising again. and that's why we're buying up vacant homes and converting them into affordable housing. creating jobs, stemming our housing crisis, growing the local economy. [applause] that's why last year we put a tax credit worth thousands of dollars in the pocket of 1.4 million americans to help them buy their first home. first-time homebuyer credit. that's why we're offering over 1 million struggling homeowners lower monthly payments through our loan modification
initiative. that's why today, thanks to the leadership of harry reid, i'm announcing a $1.5 billion fund for housing finance agencies in the states hardest hit by this housing crisis. and that means here in nevada. [cheers and applause] right here in nevada. for you. so, this fund's gonna help out of work homeowners avoid preventible foreclosures. they'll help homeowners find a way to pay their mortgages that work for both the borrowers and the lenders alike. it will help folks who have taken out a second mortgage modify their loans. so, yes, we need to strengthen our housing market. and we need to focus on job creation, getting our economy
moving again. one last thing i want to be clear about. we can do all those things, dealing with some of the emergency crisis and still fall behind in the 21st century in this global commishieconomy, un recommit ourselves to solving some of the long-term problems that have been with us for years. we got to recognize, just like earlier generations, that our future is what we make of itself, and unless we give everything we've got to securing america's success in the 21st century, our children aren't going to have the same opportunities. i have traveled a lot over the last year, all over the world. i have got to tell you, countries like china, they're competing to win. there's nothing wrong with that. we want china to succeed. they've got a lot of poverty, much more poverty than we have here. it's good for their stability if they're doing well. but, i don't know about you. i don't intend to exceed the 21st century to anyone else.
america is not a nation that follows. america leads. that's what i intend for us to do once again. [cheers and applause] america leads. what does it mean to lead? it means countries that have educated today will outperform us tomorrow. that means america has to lead in education. that's why -- [applause] that's why we're working with educators to transform our schools and make college more aed toable and prepare our kids for science and engineering and technical degrees. because those are going to be the jobs of the future. and because the future belongs to countries that create the jobs of tomorrow, we've got to lead in energy. that's why we're investing in companies right here in nevada and across this nation that produce solar power, wind power,
the smart energy efficient electric grids, investments that are giving rise to clean energy economy. it's vital that we do that. our nation can't lead, we can't prosper, if we've got a broken down health care system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the americans. [applause] we can't squander the opportunity to reform our health care system to make it work for everybody. [cheers and applause] that's why this coming week, i'm going to be meeting and harry's going to be meeting with both chambers. we're going to move forward, the democratic proposal, we hope the
republicans have one, too. and we'll sit down and let's hammer it out. we'll go section by section. 'cause america can't solve our economic problems unless we tackle some of these structural problems. and america can't lead -- we can't succeed unless we're also getting a handle on our debt. we've got to confront this fiscal crisis that has been brewing for years. that's why we're cutting what we don't need to pay for what we do. that's why i signed a law that says americans should pay as we go and live within our means. [applause] that's why -- that's why yesterday i announced a bipartisan fiscal commission that will help us meet our fiscal challenges once and for all. fiscal responsibility, clean energy, a world class education,
a health care system that works, an economy that lifts up all our citizens. that's how america can lead. that's how the future will be won. with all of us coming together to win it. democrats and republicans alike. and independents. with all the petty partisanship and game play in washington, i know sometimes you guys can feel pretty frustrated. i know it can be easy to despair about whether we, as a nation, can come together anymore. but, for those who wonder if america can unite, just come to henderson. if you think about it, this is a town founded during world war ii to supply metal for guns, to free the world from tyranny. this is a town, it wasn't built by liberals or conservatives. it was built by americans, by patriots who rallied around a common purpose in an hour of peace.
i'm certain that if we can reclaim in this country the spirit of unity that built henderson, nevada, all those years ago, that we can build cities and destinies across this country and the future will belong to the united states of america. thank you. god bless you. god bless the united states of america! thank you. [cheers and applause] >> all right. everybody sit down. here's where i'm on the hot seat, so i got to take off my jacket and answer some questions. everybody sit down.
all right. some of you have been to town halls before, so this is pretty straight forward. we've got people in the audience with mics. just raise your hand. we're gonna go girl, boy, girl, boy, make sure it's fair. i'm gonna try to take as many questions as i can in the time remaining. and when you -- before you answer your question, if you can introduce yourself, so that we know who you are. and try to make your question relatively brief so that we can get in as many as possible. all right? as i said, we're gonna go girl, boy, girl, boy. young lady right there. yes? >> thank you, president obama. in nevada -- >> what's your name? >> my name is florence jamison. >> how are you florence? >> i'm terrific. >> great. >> in nevada we have the second
highest number of medically uninsured, about 325,000 uninsured. more than five working adults are colleagues who are dying each week because of no access to health care. i am the founder of volunteers in medicine southern nevada, a free clinic which has been set up to help our sick and dying. there are hundreds of caring ne veda ns that have rallied like a corps of angels to come and provide free health care for their struggling neighbors. housekeepers, operators, receptionists, eligibility workers, social workers, nurses, doctors. in your health reform bill, you have a provision to protect the federally funded subsidized community clinics. it is not clear if they are going to cover the free clinics where volunteers throughout the community have rallied to give support to their struggling
neighbors in their great time of need. can you help us with that? >> well, thank you, first of all, for the great work that you guys are doing. [applause] we appreciate that. if you're like a lot of free clinics across the country, i know you're getting overwhelmed, because the need is so great. the bill that harry an i have been working on would provide assistance to a whole range of community-based efforts, preventive care, wellness care, which is absolutely vital, not only for the people who are receiving services at clinics like yours, but also for reducing the cost of health care overall. because the more the people have access to preventive care, the less likely they are to go to the emergency room when things are already out of hand.
now, let me just speak more broadly about health care. we're going to have a meeting with the republicans, as i said, next week. i have got to admit that this has been an issue that i was warned i shouldn't take on. no, no. i mean, seriously. when i first came in and harry was part of some of these conversations, there were a lot of political advisers who said, look, health care is just too hard, it's just too complicated. everybody says in theory that they want to reform the health care system, but because it's complicated, once you start putting a bill together, you get all kinds of criticism. the insurance lobby will spend millions of dollars on advertising and tv, scaring the heck out of everybody, your poll numbers will go down, and you're
not gonna get a lot of cooperation from the other side. that was the warning. plus, because the economy's bad, a lot of people are already feeling kind of anxious and so they're thinking, gosh, we had to do, you know, all that stuff to fix the financial system, we had to do the stuff to fix the autos, we had this big recovery package, the deficits are going up, partly because tax revenue's not coming in and we're having to spend more on unemployment insurance and things like that. this is probably not the time to be too ambitious. so i want to explain to everybody why i decided to take it on. first of all, i decided to take it on because i get a letter or two or five every day from people who have lost their job and in some way they don't have health insurance, somebody in
the family gets sick and they lose their house. they're solid middle class folks until they lost their job and low and behold they discovered they couldn't get coverage because something had happened to them before. maybe a woman had breast cancer, and it was okay as long as she had her employer based health care. but once she lost her job and tried to get health care, couldn't get it. i have looked too many parents in the eye who say our children have these chronic diseases and we found out that our insurance only covered us up to a certain amount and then they hit a cap and afterwards, we had to hold bake sales and our neighbors had to raise money just to make sure that our kids would live. too many stories like that. so that was the main reason that i said we had to take it on. but the second reason was because even if you got health insurance, what's happened to your premiums lately?
look, if this is a reppi ivpivp representative sample i'm assuming 85% of you have health care. some of you are getting it through your jobs. some of you are still buying it individually. or small business owner and you're purchasing it. no matter what your situation, i guarantee you, your costs have gone up at least double digits over the last year. they have doubled over the last decade. and they're gonna more than double over the next decade if we don't do anything. so even if you're lucky enough to have health care, it is digging deeper and deeper into your pocket. they just had -- some of you saw the news. for people who don't have insurance through a big employer, the individual market, in california, one of the biggest insurance providers,
anthem blue cross, just announced that they were gonna raise rates on these folks by 30 -- up to 39%. up to 39%. that's the future. that's the future, henderson. that's gonna be one of the main things that helps bankrupt local school districts. because all these teacher, all these employees, those health care costs go up. universities, those young people who are about to go to college, the part of the reason tuition is going up is because every employee at the university, their health care costs are going up. and that gets passed on to you. and finally, the third reason that we had to take this on. is because the deficit and the debt that you hear everybody
getting in a 'tis si abo about, properly so, the vast majority of our long-term debt is driven by medicare and medicade. it's driven by our rising health care costs. nothing comes close. you could eliminate every earmark, you could eliminate foreign aid, you could eliminate all that stuff. it would amount to about 5% of the budget. most of it is health care cost. as the population gets older, they use more health care, that drives it up even faster. and pretty soon, pretty soon is entire federal budget is going to be gobbled up by these rising health care costs. you're already seeing it at the state level here in nevada, right? what's happening with medicade? the governor starting to talk about having to cut all kinds of aspects of medicade buftz because of the cost. so here's my point. we can't wait to reform the health care system.
it is vital for our economy. [applause] it is vital for our economy to change how health care works in this country. it's vital. [applause] now, having said all that, the people who were giving me advice at the beginning of the year were right. health care has been knocking me around pretty good. it's been knocking harry around pretty good. harry has shown extraordinary courage because he said, do you know what, barack? we're gonna get this done. i know it's costing me politically, but it's important. it's the right thing to do. that's what he's been saying consistently. and i'm proud of him for it. so let me just very quickly, let me describe what it is that we have proposed, and i'm waiting
to see what the republicans propose in turn. there's been a lot of misinformation here. what we have said is this. if you have health insurance, we are gonna pass a series of health reforms so that the insurance companies have to treat you fairly. it's very straightforward. that they can't prevent you from getting health insurance because of a preexisting condition. that they can't put a lifetime cap so in the fine print it turns out that you're not fully covered. so there are a whole series of insurance reforms. that's number one. number two, we've got a whole series of cost controls. so what we're saying is, for example, that every insurer, they've got to spend the vast majority of your premiums on actual care, as opposed to profits and overhead. [applause] we're saying that we've got to get out some of the waste and
abuse, including subsidies to insurance companies in the medicare system that run in the tens of billions of dollars every year. that's not a good use of your taxpayer dollars. and we're working to improve wellness and prevention, as i said before, so that people aren't going to the emergency room for care. now, the third thing, and the thing that's most controversial, sadly, is what we're also saying is we've got to make sure that everybody can have access to coverage. and the way we do that, we set up something called an exchange where essentially individuals and small businesses who aren't getting a good deal because they don't have the same negotiating power as the big companies when it comes to the insurance markets. they can pull, just like members of congress and federal employees do in their health care plan, they can pull so that now they've got the purchasing power of 1 million people behind
them, and they can get a better deal. that can lower their cost and give subsidies for working families who can't afford it even with lower premium costs. [applause] so, i want everybody, pay attention neck thursday when we have this health care summit. you may not want to watch all sick -- six or eight hours of it. you have things to do. pay attention to what this debate is about. there's been so much talk about death panels and adding to the deficit and this and that and the other. pay attention. because this is -- what we're proposing has nothing to do with a government takeover of health care. most of you would have the exact same health care that you've got right now. but you would be more protected and more secure. if you don't have health care, you'd have a chance of getting health care. and by the way, it would actually save us money in the the long term because all those
wasteful dollars that we're spending right now, the experts estimate we'd save $1 trillion by passing it. noushg i thi think it's the rig thing to do. the republicans say they've got a better way of doing it. so, i want them to put it on the table. you know, because, as i told them a while back, look, i'm not -- i'm not an unreasonable guy. if you show me that you can do the things we just talked about, protect people from insurance problems, make sure that the costs are controlled and people who don't have health insurance are covered, and you can do it cheaper than me, why wouldn't i do that? i'll just grab your idea and say, great, and take all the credit. i'd be happy to do it. [applause] so show me what you got.
but don't let the american people go another year, another ten years, another 20 years without health insurance reform in this country. all right. okay. it's a gentle man's turn. it's a man's turn. this guy over here. this guy with the beard. >> thank you, mr. president. ben burrows from jonesboro, arkansas. >> what are you doing in vegas? >> everybody comes to vegas. >> that's what i'm talking about. everybody comes to vegas! yeah. [cheers and applause] here's my only question, ben. have you spent some money here in vegas? >> oh, yes, sir. >> he says yes, sir. >> yes, sir. >> he's spending some money here in vegas. that's good. we like to see that.
what's your question? >> well, sir, i'm reasonably familiar with the current an proposed legislature as applies to dentistry and the oral health. my question is what's your vision for how the industry will fit into your larger frame work for health care reform. >> well, you know, are you a dentist yourself? >> yes, sir. somebody has a heart attack you better still call 911. just a dentist. >> now, it is interesting that you raise this. it turns out, this is serious, that dental hygiene is actually very important for keeping your heart healthy. >> absolutely. >> turns out that heart disease can be triggered when you've got gum disease. so everybody floss. that's my first -- am i right? you gotta floss. it is my hope that we can include dental care in the various proposals that we're
putting forward. dental and vision care are very important. now, i'll tell you that some folks will say we can't afford it. some states in the medicade program cover dental. some states don't. at minimum, at minimum, i think it's very important that we've got dental care for our kids. because -- what happens is that -- [applause] if we can keep our children's teeth healthy, and usually that means they've got healthy teeth as adults. and if not, oftentimes that actually distracts them and prevents them from learning because, you know, both dental and eye care, a lot of kids end up being distracted. they can't read the blackboard. they've got a cavity that's been untreated. it's a huge problem. so, i would like to see dental care covered. i will tell you that some folks are gonna say we can't afford
it. at minimum, i'd like to see that our children have the care that they need. [applause] all right. >> can i say one more thing, sir? i think most of us in dent tiftry think health care is the primary need here and children as well. so we would think if you could take care of health care first and death dentistry. more important to take care of the health care first. >> i appreciate that. thank you. okay. it's a young lady's turn. all right. all right. so hard to choose. okay. i'll call on this young lady back here. right over here. yes, you. [laughter] all right. we got to get the young man with the mic over to you.
>> thank you, mr. president. thank god for this opportunity. i realize that insurance and medical care has been a major issue. this is my problem. i work for united airlines for nearly 30 years. i was severely injured during flight. have a workman's comp case that has fallen on deaf ears. the conflict in the city with lawyers and the doctors and this whole problem has drove my life really to almost not having a life at all. i don't know where else to turn. i don't know who el to talk to about the problem. i have written you letters. i have written letters to many of the senators here in las vegas. i have talked to the doctors. i have done everything i know how to do. but i am a widow with a special needs child. i lived in the house that i live in for 19 years. my house is in foreclosure. i have disability insurance. i have the social security disability. that disability tells me, your
insurance is not accepted here. i can't get the medical help that i need to get better. i'd love to be a flight atte attendant for you on u.s. one. >> well, look, in terms of your specific issue, come see harry reid and harry reid will see if he can help you out here. all right. [applause] workman's comp is generally a state issue as opposed to a federal issue, so -- but harry, you know, he's got a few connections here in nevada. i suspect that he can help out. but, you know, look, to the larger point, there are a lot more people who are actually going on disability right now, partly because job opportunities have shrunk. and that's why it's so important for us to really focus on jobs.
now, if you were listening to the republicans, you'd think that last year we weren't paying any attention to jobs. that we were just kind of -- i don't know what we were doing, harry. i guess we were just sitting around. the truth is that everything we did last year was designed around how do we break the back of the recession and move the economic recovery forward in order to promote job growth? you can't have job growth if the economy is contracting by 6%. because businesses look and say nobody's spending money, we got no customers, we can't hire. so the first thing we have to do is make sure companies were starting to make a profit again and the economy is growing. we are now in that position because of the work harry did, and these two outstanding members of congress did. congress woman berkley and titus. the economy is now growing again, but here's the challenge
that we've got. the challenge we have is that after they laid off 8 million people, now they're growing with fewer people. so they're making profits, but they haven't started hiring yet. our challenge is how do we get businesses to start hiring again? now, some of the jobs, i'll be honest with you, are probably not gonna come back. and the reason is because people have installed new technologies, or set up new systems where they can do more with fewer workers. that's why it's so important for us to invest in new industries and new technologies pip eel give you an example. we were talking about autos before. do you know that before the recovery act was passed, the united states was producing about 2% of the advance batteries that are used in the clean cars, these electric cars.
we were producing 2% of the batteries, less than 2%. what we did as part of the recovery act was invest in developing plants for battery production here in the united states. and do you know that in 18 months, we will have the capacity to produce 20% of the advance batteries around the world. and by 2015, we'll have the capacity to produce 40% of the batteries around the world. we've created an entire new industry. an entire new industry has been created here in the united states that can produce jobs. so we've got to constantly look for those opportunities in solar, in wind, and in other high-tech areas, because that's going to be the future. the more people have work available to them, you know, there's just a virtuous cycle that happens.
when people go to work, they feel good. their health is better. their kids do better in school. right? they've got money to spend. they come to vegas. [cheers and applause] right? tourism industry starts taking off. so we're gonna be putting -- harry and i are working now on a jobs package for this year that's designed -- it's no longer designed to grow the economy. now it's designed to give incentives to businesses who are now making a profit, to start hiring again. and to help small businesses get loans. because a lot of small businesses are still having trouble getting loans from banks, even if they see an opportunity for business growth. and we want to make sure they've got access to capital. all right. it's a guy's turn. all right. i'm gonna call on this guy, even
though he's got a cubs jacket on. everybody knows i'm a white sox fan. okay. i'm gonna -- just to show that i'm unbiased. i'm calling on a cubs fan. >> you're not a cubs hater. >> that's right. >> before i ask my question, i want to say something. i'm enrolled in a medicare advantage plan. i understand that my plans will be cut with health reform. i'm all for it. >> how about that? before you ask your actual question, let me just make this point. we're not actually eliminating medicare advantage. what medicare advantage is, is basically the previous administration had this idea, instead of traditional medicare, let's contract out to insurance companies to manage the medicare program and the insurance companies can then kind of package and pool providers and dental care, eye wear or what have you and just, it's a one
stop shop for seniors. now, in theory, that sounds like a pretty good idea except, if you might imagine, if the insurance companies are involved, that means they've got to make a profit. and what happened was, they didn't bid out competitively for the medicare advantage program. these insurance companies were just getting a sweet deal. all we've been saying is let's make sure there's a competitive bidding process and that we are getting the absolute best bargain. but i appreciate your larger concern, which is, let's make sure that everybody has access to health care and traditional medicare, by the way, is a great deal. everybody who's in it is happy with it. >> i'd like to introduce myself. my name is norman. i live in north las vegas. i'm retired. and my question is about social security. >> are you a former chicagoan. >> yes, sir. >> where are you from? >> shomburg. >> fantastic.
weather is a little bit better here, i got to admit. >> we can visit snow here. >> exactly. all right. go ahead. >> my question is about social security. now, i know there's a lot of myths out there and i know you can disspell them. i saw an interview on "meet the press" with alan greenspan, who was on the social security commission in the 80s. tim russert asked him specifically what about the crisis in social security. alan greenspan's response was there is no crisis in social security, it's a payroll tax issue. can you comment on that? >> yes. here's the situation with social security. it is actually true that social security is not in crisis the way our health care system is in crisis. i mean, when you think about the big entitlement programs, you've got social security, medicare, medicade. these are the big programs that take up a huge portion of the federal budget. social security is in the best shape of any of these because
the cost of social security just goes up with ordinary inflation. where as health care costs are going up much faster than inflation. it is true that if we continue on the current path with social security, if we did nothing on social security, that at a certain point, in maybe 20 years or so, what would happen is that you start seeing less money coming in to the payroll tax, because the population's getting older, so you've got fewer workers, and more people are collecting social security, so more money is going out. and so the trust fund starts dropping. and if we did nothing, then somewhere around 2040, what would happen, lot of the young people who would start collecting social security around then would find they only got 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they were gonna get. everybody with me so far?
all right. so, slowly we're running out of money, but the fixes that are required for social security are not huge the way they are with medicare. medicare, that is a real problem. if we don't get a handle on it, it will bankrupt us. with social security, we could make adjustments to the payroll tax. for example, i'll just give you one example. right now your social security, your payroll tax is capped at $109,000. so, what that means is that -- how many people -- i don't mean to pry into your business, but how many people here make less than $109,000 every year? all right. pretty rich audience. lot of people kept their hands down. i'm impressed. what it means is basically for
95% of americans, they pay -- every dollar you earn, you pay into the payroll tax. but think about that other 5% that's making more than $109,000 a year. warren buffett, he pays a payroll tax on the first $109,000 he makes and then for the other $10 billion, he doesn't pay payroll tax. somebody said what? yeah, that's right. that's the way it works. so what we said is, well, don't we -- doesn't it make sense to maybe have that payroll tax cut off at a higher level? or have people -- maybe you hold people harmless until they make $250,000 a year, but between $250,000 and $1 million or something, they start paying payroll tax again.
just to make sure that the fund overall is solvent. so that would just be one example. that's not the only way of fixing it. but if you made a slight adjustment like that, then social security would be there well into the future. and it would be fine. all right? [applause] okay. it's a woman's turn. you know, i'm gonna go back here. nobody -- these folks haven't had a chance here. i'm gonna let you use my mic. you'll give it back, right? >> my name is peggy and i am a native ne veda n. grew up in boulder city. few of us here. known this great guy harry all my life. and my question, which is near and dear to my heart, and there's a few of my coworkers working on television and a few here, is we want to know what is
going to be done for tourism in nevada, particularly airlines. i am a u.s. airways employee who has been fur lowed for 17 months. they furloughed 500 more just on the 14th. so there's many, many of us now on the unemployment rolls. and we want to see what's going to happen to bring our jobs back to las vegas. [applause] >> first of all, obviously tourism is directly connected to the state of the economy as a whole. if people have disposable income, then they're gonna travel. and if they're gonna travel and have fun, they're gonna come to las vegas. right? [applause] but, on the other hand, if times are tight, they're having trouble paying the bills, making the mortgage, etc, that means
tourism declines. so everything we're doing in terms of improving the economy as a whole will start improving tourism. but what is also true is that we can take some particular steps to help to encourage the tourism industry and harry, before we came out, was talking about a bipartisan tourism promotion travel promotion act. harry, i'm gonna give the mic to harry. ha harry, duo you want to talk abot what would be in the act? >> we're going to try to take that up neck week. it will save half a billion dollars over ten years and creates tens of thousands of jobs. we're the on country in the world, major country in the world, that doesn't promote itself. you'll see on tv, jamaica does, new zealand does, australia does, south africa does, but not the united states. we hope within two or three months we will be promoting ourselves. [cheers and applause]
>> that's the kind of leadership that harry's showing. let me make one last point about airlines in particular. there are two things that we can really do to help improve the airline industry. the first is on energy. part of the reason that airlines are getting squeezed all the time is because their fuel costs are huge. that's the single biggest problem for most airlines is fuel costs that sky rocket, or are unpredictable. and so if we've got a smart energy policy that is encouraging the use of electric cars and improving gas mileage and making sure that we're looking at alternative fuels like biofuels that can be used for trucks. all those things will help to reduce our dependence on foreign
oil and as a consequence, will, over time, stablize fuel prices in a way that is very helpful to the airlines. the second thing that we need to do is we've got to upgrade our air traffic control system which is a little creeky. one of the -- don't worry. it's safe to travel. i'm not -- i don't want anybody to think, man, it's creaky, that doesn't sound good. what it is is, is that because we don't use the latest technologies, a lot of times the holding patterns for planes, how many planes can land safely at the same time, all those things are reduced, the efficiency of the overall system is reduced because we're not using the best technologies available. if we can upgrade those technologies, then we could reduce delays, we could reduce cancellations, we could reduce
the amount of time that it takes when there's bad weather for planes to land. and all that would also help improve profitability in the airlines industry, which in turn would mean that they would be able to hire more workers and provide outstanding customer service. okay? all right. it's a gentleman's turn. this guy right here. he's a big guy. he stood up. he stood up, i thought man, that's a big gieshg i better call on him. say you're big, too. i agree. i'm not saying you're not big. >> thank you, mr. president. my name is dr. misoko. i'm originally from france, actually africa, moved to france, and now i'm here in america because i believe -- i still believe that america is country of the american dream, and i came here, i'm a scientist, renewable energy.
i came because i feel that america can become the first country for clean energy. one of the comments i wanted to make coming from europe, where carbon is regulated. i see first hand, i have a company in france, also, that regulations work. it creates jobs. my company has been growing 30% every year in france for the past two years. and i really want to see that happen here. i think that even if you don't believe in climate change, there's biproducts that are also, the country is going to advance technology wise, we're going to become once again like we were with the space industry, the most advanced technology country in the world. so i really want to see this regulations happen because it's gonna help all of us in the clean energy business. >> okay. let me just talk about -- this
is -- you know, when the conservatives, you know, have their conventions and they yell at me and say how terrible i am, along with health care, this is the other thing that they usually point out. which is that, you know, if the president wants to create this cap and trade system and it's going to be a job killer, it's one more step in the government takeover of the american economy. so, this is a good place for me to maybe just spend a little time talking about energy and climate change. first of all, we just got five feet of snow in washington and so everybody's like, a lot of the people who are opponents of climate change, they say see, look at that, there's all that snow on the ground, you know? this doesn't mean anything.
i want to just be clear that the science of climate change doesn't mean that every place is getting warmer. it means the planet as a whole is getting warmer. but what it may mean is, for example, vancouver, which is supposed to be getting snow during the olympics, suddenly is at 55 degrees and dallas, suddenly is getting 7 inches of snow. the idea is that as the planet as a whole gets warmer, you start seeing changing weather patterns, and that creates more violent storm systems, more unpredictable weather, so any single place might end up being warmer, another place might end up being cooler. might end up being more precipitation in the air, more monsoons, more hurricanes, more tornados, more drought in some places, floods in other places. so i just -- that's one aspect of the science that i think
everybody should understand. that's point number one. point number two, the best way for us to unleash the free market, the best way for us to unleash the free market and capitalism and innovation and dymamism in the energy sector is for us to fully take into account all the costs that go into producing energy and using energy. :
and all these companies start coming up with new technologies that make your cars more fuel-efficient. ultimately you end up seeing jobs and businesses thriving in response to the regulation that's been put there. now that's one way to regulated is to just to tell people you have to produce more energy efficient cars. another way of doing it is just to send a price signal. you say it's going to be more expensive for you if you got it best fuel-efficient car. well, that's the only idea that we're trying to talk about when it comes to these greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. if we say that the pollution that's been sent into the atmosphere has a cost to all of
us in some cases the air we breathe that's causing asthma in some cases because it's housing climate change. we just want you to take into account those cost and price energy accordingly. and that means like ringlike wind energy become more appealing than outproduce those pollutants. and other sources of energy become less appealing because they do produce those pollutants. the idea has become that if we put a price on these carbon, then maybe that would be a way that companies would all respond and start inventing new things that would make our planet cleaner. that's the whole idea. now the last point in going to make on this, what is true is that a lot of us depend on dirty sources of energy. and a lot of us depend on really
an efficient cars and buildings et cetera. and so there's got to be a transition. we're not going to suddenly get all her energy from wind or all her energy from sun because we just don't have the technology to do it. the lowly should be doing is planning over the next 20, 30 years, to move in that direction. but for countries like china are doing. that's a countries like france are doing. that's a countries all across europe are doing and all across asia are doing. we don't want to be left behind. were the only ones who have kind of missed the boat. so we are still using 20th century technologies and everybody else is producing 21st century technologies. look what happened with the card. we started getting our clock waned when consumers decided they wanted a cleaner car and suddenly everybody was buying their cars from japan or now south korea. and we want to make sure that
that doesn't happen when it comes to wind turbines. when it comes to solar energy, et cetera. so the ideas that are being talked about is how do we provide more incentive for clean energy companies like yours to operate profitably in overtime, how do we start shifting away from less efficient ways of using energy. that's a pretty straightforward thing to do. there's nothing radical about it. it is true though that it's not going to happen overnight. it's going to take some time. and we're still going to be getting our electricity from coal. we're still going to be getting electricity from nuclear energy. we're still going to be getting electricity and power from natural gas and other traditional sources. we just want to make sure that we're also moving into the future even as we do so. and i think that we can. [applause] i think i've got time for one more question. all right, this is the last question. last question. if the ladies turn.
all right, everybody is pointing at her. right up there. right there. i couldn't call on anybody. you know i love everybody here. >> good morning, mr. president. my name is terry wright and i teach math right here at green valley high school. [cheers and applause] and my mom is right behind you in the top row. >> where his mom? mom, raise your hand. hi, mom. what a very young looking mom. >> thank you good i question is this and i'm speaking on behalf of all of us that teachers appear. when you were a freshman in high school specifically, did you have math homework every night and if you did, did you do it? [laughter] >> the answer is yes and
sometimes. [laughter] the first of all, let me thank you for being a math teacher because we need more math teachers. we need more science teachers. [applause] we need more teachers generally who are enthusiastic about their work and their job here so thanks to all the teachers here. we love teachers. [cheers and applause] all right. now, we are actually unfortunately our students are falling behind in math and science internationally. we used to rank at the top and now we are sorted in the middle of the pack when it comes to math and science performance. this is why one of the things that i've been emphasizing this year, and this actually hasn't been subject to a lot of
controversy. this is an area where we've been able to get good cooperation between democrats and republicans, is promoting math, science, education, promoting technology education. the more that we are moving our young people into these areas, the better off this economy is going to be. because that means we're producing engineers in the we're producing scientists, we're producing computer programmers. so we want to make sure that we are recruiting more math teachers. we are creating more science teachers. we want all outstanding teachers to be getting higher pay. [cheers and applause] we want -- we want to make sure that there is constant professional development when it comes to the teaching profession, so that, you know, if you had the best way of
teaching math five years ago, it might not be the best way of teaching math five years from now. and so you should be able to go back and constantly sharpen your skills. to the students, i want to say this, we are doing a lot of work on education reform. we are doing a lot to bring in new teachers, to improve classrooms, to make sure that they are all connect ed to the internet, to make sure that college is more affordable. [applause] but, let me just say that it won't make any difference of our students are working on little bit harder. now, i'm not saying all of you are working hard. and many hundred sure many of you are working very, very hard. because malia and sasha always taught me how hard they're working. but i really do think we are
going to have to emphasize in the next decade that we are competing around the world and america will continue to be number one as long as we are just as hungry as other countries. so, if -- if our kids are spending all the time playing video games and somebody else's kids are getting the math and science skills to invent video games -- [laughter] we're not going going to be number one. it's as simple as that. so, you know, they need to turn off the tv, put the video games away, buckle down on your work, making sure that parents are checking their kids homework and talking to their teachers, being
up. this weekend can gormley. on afterwards, part of c-span 2's booktv weekend. >> now brigadier general jonathan vance talked about canada's role in the war in afghanistan. until recently, general vance was commander of the joint task force and conduct our province. this is just over 90 minutes. >> good morning. welcome to the atlantic council. my name is damon wilson and i'm the vice president and director of the international security program here at the council. i'm delighted to welcome you to this installment to the nato foreign of brigadier general john earl vance. joint task force to and a heart.
i want to underscore just for a moment how this event today fits into our programming here at the atlantic council in for quick ways. first is the focus of the council's been putting on afghanistan afghanistan. as many of you know the council spoke of pretty strongly on the issue of afghanistan in early 2008 when then chairman general jim jones issued a report on saving afghanistan an appeal in the plan for urgent action. it's a report that came out to have an impact on the debate here in the united states and out of focus our political discourse on the fact that we were not succeeding in afghanistan and needed to be double or efforts. we followed up by work by putting out comparable report on pakistan, following through with the creation of an actual south asia center, but my colleague susan awad. this fits in a second way to increasingly put a highlight on canada's role within the alliance, especially in
afghanistan. with the minister of defense who's been among the leaders of nato defense ministers on this issue, canada has raised its profile in many of the nato alliance issues, whether it's the strategic concept, hosting the halifax born or afghanistan itself eared at the council, we have the pleasure to be able to host to the canadian chief of defense staff, general matan check last september. read a fascinating discussion on how canadian armed forces are transformed for peacekeepers to already becoming war fighters. canada has been involved in afghanistan since shortly after 9/11 first as a coalition partner during freedom. and from 2003 as a nato ally and a major contributor to the national security systems force. canada has posted 3000 soldiers to put in afghanistan, mostly in the south, in the pivotal south. this contribution makes canada one of the largest troop contributors. canadian forces will be lead elements of the offensive in
kandahar province this spring along the lines of the operation unfolding and how man's now. canadian forces have been engaged in heavy fighting in afghanistan, particularly in 2006 during operation medusa and today about another 140 canadian soldiers have died making it one of the heaviest toll is among the access numbers in comparison to their forces deployed. against this backdrop, canadian forces in afghanistan with the political deadline of december 2011, something we may have a chance to talk about today. this event is also part of a potter discussion without the council called the nato foreign. and i curated only last year, the nato foreign is quickly emerging as a transatlantic community is one of the premier venues for discussion, debate and analysis relating to the alliance. it began with senator richard lugar, nato secretary who inoculated the forum last fall with major policy speeches on the future of the alliance on afghanistan, the strategic concept, national security adviser, jim james, atlantic council chuck hagel and brats
grow crops also participated in foreign. the form is continued to highlight major leaders from across the line to the canadian foreign minister nato's role in southeast europe. in two weeks will be hosting the danish defense minister to talk about strategic concept and alliance capabilities. so we're delighted to have general vance joined the ranks of this distinguished group. this nato foreign has been generally sponsored by the ba systems. this event today as part of the council suffered to bring voices from the field to help inform the washington policy debate. particularly, voices from the field of our coalition partners, our nato allies to identify with us. there's been an unfortunate narrative in washington, focused on the american leadership and role in afghanistan. sometimes overshadowing into the detriment of the world that our coalition forces have played. to that end, the council is try to be a platform bringing voices from the field to inform this
debate here, ranging from dutch prt commanders in afghanistan, general lewin who is the commander of command south in afghanistan, general david mcneill, commander of isaf, general kiernan, then commander of isaf. in addition to a whole host of political leaders hosted by south asia center comer range and from presidential candidate and former finance minister ashcraft miami. so today we are very pleased to host brigadier general vance, one of canada's leaders counterinsurgency practitioners, a war fighter, trainer, development specialist. in one of the interviews i read before this event today, he referred to himself as the chief cheerleader to achieve mourner to a coach to a general manager. general vance is an entity officer by trade. he has experience having deployed in human cooperations in 1994. he deployed in support of a
scene of the canadian contribution to isaf in 2003. he took command of the first canadian mechanized brigade group in 2006 and still task force kandahar the canadian headquarters for canadian coalition military operations in kandahar province. it comprised about 2800 american soldiers and airmen and soldiers, also includes about a thousand u.s. soldiers. he deployed to afghanistan in the wake of the manley report, the demand of new assets for canadian forces in afghanistan, transvaal telecaster is, unmanned drones. and at the time of a dramatic surge in experts into that region as well. we're also pleased to host the general because he is a tracker to being thoughtful and out spoken on the challenges of fighting and coalitions. thank you for joining us today. we look forward to your frank outspoken comments again today. general, the podium is yours. [applause]
>> well, what a pleasure it is for me to be here with you today. i've been on about a month on speaking tour so far since returning from afghanistan. and it's a pleasure for me to see and witness a higher minded debate amongst organizations such as the atlantic council, thoughtful work being done to look at afghanistan. it is indeed a thinking person's game. but we are trying to accomplish in afghanistan, does not fit within the norms of warfare is, most of our societies don't. so i'm grateful for the invitation and very proud to represent those soldiers, sailors, airmen and women who served in task force kandahar both american, native and british as well because we have them under command as well. i'm going to tell you a story today really but i know uses powerpoint to assist me, that really describes the afghan mission as i thought for my spot
in kandahar. how it evolved in 2009 and there are some thematic that are critical in terms how i describe this story. one is when did we really start prosecuting this work correctly? when were we adequately resourced to do it? when did we start during counterinsurgency transitioning from the days in post 9/11, where we were really in a counterterrorism type of operation. and i will also speak to our public is receiving this program and the challenges with trying to have forces conducting such complex operations as counterinsurgency turnover may be our publics are not really any position to to understand it or be adequately involved in the debate, such that those who are not responsibility for the words of the other can affect that debate very negatively. i have a short video, it's a little hearts and minds video
that we like to show and dedicated to my soldiers and one we lost on the third of july. it's about four minutes long. and i've got a 30 minute presentation assisted with powerpoint to talk about kandahar in 2009. before you begin i'd like to introduce to very important people to me. first is my command sergeant. please welcome him. he got me alive and kept me sane. and captain darcy hadden who is my chief of civil affairs. good to have them. [applause] so without further ado, can we roll the faces of afghanistan, 2009.
>> well, thanks very much. if we can just turn the presentation now. the troops chose that song on purpose, have a little faith. have a little faith in them, have a little faith in this enterprise that we are undertaking and particularly as we look at 2009 in. if we can get the presentation appear will -- there we are. i'm going to talk to you about operations in kandahar in 2009. and i believe that much of what i know that my what translates on the ground in my experience translates well to central helmand, basically the south, not necessarily to the rest of afghanistan. but the themes account. in the counterinsurgency teams are enduring and would certainly imagine resonate with general mcchrystal sees the challenges elsewhere in the province. but there are of course differences in the tribal and
political makeup as you move around the country as changes also are evident in the enemy forces. next slide please. okay, so i start by showing a map of kandahar province. kandahar province is a great big plays, larger than the province of nova scotia in canada. and what i think is really essential to understand about the war in afghanistan, is there in my mind it divides itself up into about three broad periods. the first. is that immediate time after 9/11 to about 2006, where the operations in afghanistan started off as that to design to oppose the taliban regime and deal with the al qaeda threat. that was a counterterrorist strike. i mean, you could quibble about terminology. but ultimately it was an act against the export towards
terrorism. and what happened between 2001 and 2006 is in insurgency emerged and grew strong. and we still to this day but with some of the effects of that period of time. when we arrived in a country, to start conduct and counterterrorism operations and cannot predict that an insurgency will ensue. perhaps some of the very partners that you make early on in operations really end up being a disadvantage to you later on as an insurgency breaks out and perhaps we can talk about that during the question period. it suffice to say that first period was relatively small force is designed to conduct counterterrorist operations, with the afghanistan regime and the al qaeda threat. underresourced for counterinsurgency for sure and
indeed when we started counterinsurgency operations versus woodward and counterterrorist pipes operations is up for debate. the second age, 2006 until 2009 was a period when window was an insurgency appeared were to conduct counterinsurgency operations. every commander who worked in afghanistan during that period of time to what the right thing to do less, but we didn't have the resources to do it. particularly in the south. kandahar province, the size of a province of nova scotia had one, effectively one battalion in it. 1.5 million people, between 1.5 and 1.8 million people, afghans. an insurgency that was growing in strength and one battalion to try and see to the security element of the equation of the counterinsurgency fight. impossible to do. and so, that resulted in the
canadian forces in kandahar having to deal with the most emergent critical threats for any day, which produced combat. and it produced a three-year period of combat where there were very few results from -- that were positive effects that resulted from that period of combat. we were not able to take a battle and turn it into a changed environment, with the social, political, economic fabric of communities would start to recover because we were too small and the enemy, though not likely to win, was certainly, you know, had our daily attention. i remember as i was preparing for this operation and work at the naval post graduate school in monterey and a gathering of academics that knew a lot about afghanistan. and one of them, you know, put his arm around me. he's a fairly senior fellow and
often briefed the state department. he put his arm around me and said son, you got two jobs. don't lose the city and don't lose the airfield until the big boys decide what's really going to happen here. and i took that to heart. i have to tell you. when we arrived in 2009, we were entirely underresourced and have been for a long time, through nobody's fault, but it's just the way it was. would have, should've, could've. i suppose we could have looked back and said it could've been counterinsurgency from the beginning. so in 2009, the realities were that we were dealing handily with insurgents, the military aspect and were losing ground in the insurgency. we didn't lose. but we weren't winning. next slide. the strategic context, and i will summarize here is important.
in 2009, we were in severe stagnation stalemate both in the minds of afghans in the mind of our own population, certainly in canada. we hadn't translated military action, the loss of blood and treasure into something positive on the ground. and so, you know, we were in some trouble. we also have, for canada, indications is going to be the end of the commitment. so there was a time factor as well. so this period demanded transition and we needed to change operations very quickly. resource limitations were going to change. obama had been elected. the previous administration had but one surgeon, was going to arrive during the tour and obama had been elected and critical to the equation, was the change focus of the u.s. administration from exclusively focusing on iraq with afghanistan as an effort to a more determined focus on afghanistan.
and i was, really marks the third age. 2009 until whenever is inadequately resourced both on the military and civilians during period, with the alliance will be able to do all of the right things both informs and sectoral reform and in terms of military condition so that afghanistan can begin to recover. and for those three distinct ages that that third age started, as we arrived. we could foresee it. and what i'm telling you, the story and telling you is really what we were perceiving before we arrived. and i'll tell you what we did about it. kandahar city was becoming vitally important. we knew that. kandahar city and the environments. and it was very plain to us that
as a shifted from iraq to afghanistan it was going to tighten down on kandahar. because essentially it's the epicenter of the insurgency. i don't quibble at all about the resources to homeland or kandahar. clearly the vital round is here in kandahar. and as i taken some kandahar, and is at the international community sites to discover really what the challenges where they are, it would become the report card of the alliance in terms of its operations. success or failure in kandahar is success or failure in the mission broadly speaking. next slide. for me as a commander, about to land in kandahar, some military factors were uppermost in my mind. time and sources available were the most important. as i said before, were deftly running out of time.
the afghan and canadian and indeed other domestic populations were growing weary of a lack of definitive tangible results. and i think it's astronomic in warfare that one must protect through positive results, the opinion of the population. we were quitting ourselves well in battle but we were translating battle into something that meant something. we had no evidence of forward momentum in something as complex as a counterinsurgency. forces available were going to change. we had for the longest time, could not achieve the counterinsurgency effect is so critical in this fight. but indeed we're about to be reinforced. we had been reinforced with an infantry battalion early or late in 2008, which put essentially doubled the canadian capacity. but were sent to get far more sources into kandahar.
the insurgency therefore was being defeated every day billets fairly, get the insurgency spread through the insidious fear that essentially froze that population into inaction. they couldn't commit. there was only enough military force to achieve combat victory and their lives were changing. with your family and kandahar, hearing about the billions of dollars that are pouring into kabul and the aspirations of the international community as stated time and time again, but you were seeing it in your hometown. you're like in a population that here's a government program, but you're not getting any other. we all do without. in fact, many of the dynamics that occur in afghanistan, we can relate to at a community level. and i are polar government efforts, those usaid, see dad,
state department, although civilian actors have been brought into kandahar in afghanistan. we're working very hard. talented, dedicated, hard-working people. but the results of their work were not producing tangible change for communities either. no community could feel that some of the parts of international engagement. and therefore, we producing. or we weren't winning. it's a fine line, i know. next slide. i want to tell you just a little bit about the insurgency. militarily, they are not a particularly good insurgency in my mind. and that's not just because i thought them, but on a historical plane, they will stand out as a really great insurgency. militarily, they are marginally effective weird they use some weapons to affect including improvising explosive devices. but they have some great advantages, safe havens, they've
actually worked in the population to keep a population more or less intransigent or incapable of committing. spreading fear in someone. you know, there are, they certainly remain good at that. they've got a serious problem and that it remained quite content with this high-minded intimidation. they don't have a plan that would take them to the next step. what would happen if in fact their violence was to result in them having some elements of power. we don't have a message. they're not attracting the population. this is not a populist movement. about 5% of the population and kandahar provinces ideologically aligned with the taliban. the vast majority are simply frozen into inaction, unable to commit. and the taliban and therefore have a problem because they've got no plan. they've got no platform. it would attract the population to say hey let's choose them. the party had their go animus
virtue projected. not a popular movement. so they were a spoiler. and that's key to understanding the dynamic when you start making your military plans. next slide. a simple view of the insurgency would show you that on the ground-based age, they manage their resources on a such that they threaten to isolate the city of kandahar. they operate from the north, the south, and largely in the west. to try and strangle the city, threatened the seat of power, threaten afghan security forces. you know, discredit government. discredit the alliance effort. and this is -- it's impossible to deal with if you're not large enough. they've got a decent afghan army and almost an afghan police
force that on any given day causes more problems sometimes than it's worth. all of these dynamics at play allow a certain freedom of movement of the taliban. although on many occasions we beat them to a standstill militarily. again, it wasn't translating. what is absolutely essential to understand, and kandahar, is where does the population live? at the counterinsurgency is about population, you must know the population is. and that fight shows you that 85% of the population in kandahar province lives in or within 40 kilometers of kandahar city. we fought for three years while west of that in central bari in western pants wake as that's where the greatest permissions wise. they were preparing themselves to operate against a population. but in the course of that three years, the population became more and more advanced. that middle period.population was undermined. so we knew that that population
needed to be serviced. and i want to tell you, you know, my sort of homegrown view of how -- what is our counterinsurgency fight? what does it feel like? imagine a community at risk. we've got them in north america. communities that severe risk where you have or lack of fracturing authority structure, a lack of education, getting his son, drugs, disenfranchised youth, lack of prospects for the future, desperate poverty. we have communities like that in canada and indeed in the united states. throw into that mix a heavily armed bike gang that would stop you from doing anything about that, that would prevent you physically from extending the government services or any benevolent acts to that community, just so you put bad. and go fix that fast.
go deal with that quickly. surrounded by a thousand other communities at risk in a country at risk and that of 15,000 kilometers away and go deal with that quickly. that's what we're dealing with here. this is as much about the social, political and economic fabric of this country as it is in terms of the fight, as it is about the taliban. the taliban eisai are a spoiler and can prevent the achievement of this repair, this recovery, these communities. the life expectancy in kandahar province is 46 years of age. this country has been at war or been in a period of conflict for about 33 years, almost everybody alive in kandahar province has been doing nothing but surviving their entire lives. and in that, environment, your loyalty structure starts to change. your lawyer to you to yourself,
your family, your sub tribe, your tribe and your business before you are loyal or able to be loyal to any sense of national or provincial level aspirations were agendas. this population has been rather damaged on every level. look at the united nations and in season and where afghanistan sits on that. bottom of the pile. and so, it's not an armed struggle alone. i love it when people tell me well, general, it's not going to be won by military alone. well hell, that's our doctrine. of course it's not. it is preparing those communities and in those communities living in that 85% of the population that really need to be the focus of our effort. next slide. i'm not going to try to make you all experts about counterinsurgency today. this is general vance is simple view of how this works. suffice to say that if you want to move from a failed state with
an externally enabled insurgency through to something that is stable enough to allow adequate government services to extend with population, then there are a lot of people at play. there are a lot of factors whose effects must be marshaled in the wind and working together in harmony such that you can actually produce some elements of human security and stability. now, i've like to tell you i learned something about security, the word security. it's not a good word. we use it all the time and i think we understand that, but it's not a particularly useful word in the counterinsurgency environment. because a sort of point to one facet of the challenge. i found in kandahar province of the provision of security is elusive. it doesn't really exist and it can be easily compromised. security at the end of a gun isn't security at all. it's defense.
and no communities particularly impressed when they have to be defended. if your hometown was being defended by your police, then i daresay you're not living in a great hometown. afghans think the same way. if they have to be defended, if there's nothing that happens beyond armed defense, is a problem for them. so what we determined was that she needed to move very, very quickly from a sense of military security into something resembling stability. and stability can only be brought to bear if you have all of those factors, afghan government, international government and police, ngos, all of those people that can bring to bear the tools, the expertise and the funds that will allow for the repair of the social, political and economic fabric that is so vital. and when you do that, that community starts to get involved. they don't get involved in armed
defense or quote security, unquote. but they do get involved and stability. when they have a vested interest in their town, when they start to see that it's worth their while and the risk to get involved, to be employed, to work with government, to take advantage of the international community's aspirations about how things can improve. then they start to get involved in what we would call that one dimensional aspect of security. they start to call in. hey, there's a guy in my backyard with a gun and i don't know who he is. they phone in, there's an ied on the road right there. and communities involved motivated in their own destiny, in partnership with their government and the alliance forces for as long as we are there, our communities double-digit the insurgency and there's no other way. next slide.
so we learned that battlefield success does not equal mission success. populations only celebrate result. i mean, certainly in canada we don't celebrate the battle of the many rich because we dealt handily with an armed threat on this alien. we celebrated vimy ridge because it was the beginning of the bertha videsh and standing on its own two feet in the world. none of us celebrate d-day because of the slaughter that occurred on the beaches where we won that day. we celebrate d-day because it was the beginning of the liberation of europe. no population celebrates battle for three years we sat and only had really battled to celebrate. yes, there were some incremental improvements in some sectoral reforms, but she really couldn't feel it. there was no counterinsurgency is so complex that community at risk contact. where do you show the high points of success in unraveling
the challenges of a damaged community? how do you population to celebrate that likely would celebrate in linear warfare? you know, when you're defeating an army, you question whether i made in the population who thought. you crossed iran today. if you like you're winning. well there's nothing inherent in a counterinsurgency that necessarily makes you feel like you're winning. so we had to think about that. how do you engage your own populations in a deep populations of the insurgency to recognize success and effectiveness themselves and it either politically or materially on the ground. it is true and were further that we attack and defend on the ground. the center of gravity that we are servicing, or attacking if you will, is the population in kandahar or in afghanistan. that which we are defending and
it's true in almost every aspect of warfare is your own population. to protect your population motivation, public will and understanding of the environment. and in my view, we have failed in this regard. we have failed badly. our populations do not understand the sport. they don't understand counterinsurgency. and to the extent that public policy options begin to close, population disengaged or uninformed or seen only one small side of the equation will not be engaged in a to commit to the long-term or to the death and detail that you needed to be engaged in. and so, we needed in 2002 transition such that battlefield success was not although we were trying to celebrate. that we were trying to celebrate something became as close as possible to the liberation of a town in holland in the second
world war. we had to get something along those lines were populations that they could really start to understand what was going on. next slide. so you know, despite previous to this of the map, you know you had a lot of red vines. this is how i kind of looked at kandahar on any given day. it's where i was going to hold the population. where were we going to build and where would we use military force, tet offensive for selectively to achieve a fax that would protect that which we are trying to build and hold. next slide. the intent therefore for my headquarters and the teams we went in was to stabilize. that was the new policy word by the way. it's not easy to enter in a stabilization because it demands action on multiple partners that are not as severely a gust in getting military or cd something. but it had to be combined together. so stabilize and protect the ovulation and disrupt using
military forces by exception when we needed to. and i assure you there was unfortunately lots of them because the 2009 was also an age where everybody was trying harder, including the enemy. the efforts to discredit the election. on the day, it would have been a disaster had we left the taliban as they prepared for that day. also key, was to concentrate, not only get more forces and resources, but select and actually put our area of operations onto the population. so that is a subset of the province within 30 or 40 commenters of the city. eastern barony and patch weight, critical, they may not know all of these areas intimately, but i can tell you that that public and shape there, i know it looks kind of like a human organ of some sort, but it contains about
85% of that 1.5, 1.8 million people. that's what needed to be serviced. concentrate our efforts they are, at least to get some traction. next slide good huge challenges. rapid effects, coordinating military and civilian activities, ngos. i mean, there's lots of ngos, god love them, they do amazing work. but they're not necessarily easily aligned with military activity. their ideological differences. there are programming differences. there's ways of looking at the terrain in kandahar that varied between actors. but you need an element of decision in harmony as you try to unravel something as complex as the social ills that we set some of these communities. and you can't do it alone. annie's to be in partnership with the military.
also, most agencies, civilian agencies of government do not have at their disposal. i mean, they've got bright people, two minus operations but they don't necessarily have the tools that allows them to produce tangible, tactical effects. state departments, aid agencies and so one are necessarily designed to work at that very point to produce tactical effects. ..
to say in this week is an understatement, of course, not only is it week but is, it's corrupt but in this environment of survival mode that i describe to earlier, the powerful act in that environment. >> selfishly. they do act selfishly. bear out with themselves whether business. for their families and in this environment it is such that governance sometimes can't extend because the very actors who you have extended governance would perform those benevolent axe for the population, they bought were downed.
and so there are so many facets to the threats against the population, some of them armed and dangerous like the taliban and others are more insidious embedded in the population. afghan governance suffers from a lack of ability to extend because much of the white-collar capacity that turns ideas into action has disappeared from afghanistan, it's either play the in the face of enemy activity and lives in the diaspora, or it died off. so to take a good idea for the mayor of kandahar city who is a good man to say i need to do this coming to get that to happen there is a physical absence of capacity. you need to address that. and i would say here that i found from my perch in kandahar
that the canadian perception of the complex cities in the ambitions of what we're doing were seriously out of step with what was actually on the ground, seriously out of step. which is dangerous of course, and those people who are not accountable would throw things into the mix, throw ideas into the mix that would confuse our population. what are you here when you can be here? why do this when you could do that? without any idea of what they're talking about. and so the challenges for us are to try and that we start to address that iconic image that fits in canadians mind about this mission, that ramp ceremony as a soldier coming home in a casket on an airplane. i am deeply grateful that my nation mourns every time a soldier in the eyes. and i'm deeply grateful for how
well we treat our fallen warriors and families, but we have made 140 deaths into such a monumental number without anything else to celebrate. that's what people focus on, the iconic image of the mission is to change or needed to in 2009 from us appearing as victims' to producing an effect on the ground. that liberation of the town hall scenario that canadians celebrate so the calculus that everybody goes through is it worth it? is at least well informed. now, most of that was what you're thinking before we read in the end of the thing about worker is you've got to get specific at some point as all of that theory we had to come up with a how and where. have you really do this?
most of our doctrine manuals talk about principles and so on how you really do it? and this is where the village operations came from. some may be aware of them. it's a fairly straightforward situation. the population was in the towns and cities in counterinsurgency needed to be present in the cities and towns and a barbara balance between urban and rural towns and urban centers and so on. and in the sensitivity of the tribal masks and the durability factor in you can pick your towns and pick your target areas and this is what we did. it's a fairly straightforward idea, infinitely complex in execution and doesn't always work out well. we make mistakes but when you start to invest yourself into a population they are a little more forgiving and they develop partnerships with use of the
help you along. the stabilization, the first town south of kandahar city, the seat of district government, badly damaged through many years of warfare still prefer soviet artillery around the town. and what was really required was a good study and analysis before we went in and fraud -- thought approach, detailed consultation with all actors, political and non-governmental. and then on the day moved through the town such that you can assure yourself there are no armed threats present and there weren't because we told them we were coming like there done. tell the taliban you're coming they will stay and fight, they are afraid and don't stand with allies with afghan forces. they sprinkle a few ied's ran in the population tells you were there are because u-shaped in retirement, you give them an
indication of what you are all about and for the first time they start to seem with something other than warfare. i maintain that canada's greatest of tgi asset in this fight by far is the smiling canadian soldier who had a river that walks up to a tribal elder or village councilor from shakes his hand and says i'm here to stay in than going to help you. and he brings in -- use at the tip of a spear of all those good things that can happen in a town. prepare the infrastructure. and it's not us doing it, we set conditions for the afghans to do it themselves. employment, microbe economy starts to bounce back in kids go to school. they can get their polio vaccinations. the medical clinic opens up. and as that starts to happen and when the environment to improve such that non-government actors say we can go there now.
the u.n. shows up, the marquee ngos with the expertise in the deep pockets to show up. and that talent and the towns that followed mr. to invest in this. yes, there are setbacks, yes, the enemy can attack us and, in fact, the taliban heat this because they got nothing to counter it. there is no counter narrative and when they attacked this there are cutting off their nose to spite your face. they have difficulty is one with attacking this on a straight military perspective. just like you can't win if you don't do this use to attack it. in the past year's problems in this ladies and gentlemen is the essence of what john a crystal has been speaking have and what the intent for the operations in central helmets are right now and this will grow in the future in kandahar. it grows fast.
way up in the upper right-hand corner is were the town is an eager to other villages rapidly and its inhofe galvanizing influence population going seeing some of the perks so this is what you are about. is not just an empire in my backyard, there's more to this. there are at the government showing happen and it starts to become exciting. and you need help little excitement. winning a counter insurgency is very much like making political excitement occur, people have had to get motivated. and the groom more. taking a town one of the most difficult challenges was one of these towns year. on the day the villagers welcome to the unity in and show them were the ied's war and said let's get to work. next slide. so simply speaking in this contest more force available to us we were able to visualize
this and this is what we thought of when we were going into afghanistan. you have to start somewhere so we meet the village in pashtuns and a gross very quickly and a gross of more and you back to do some shaping, the u.s. forces came and allow us to concentrate and to a shipping operations to a custom the population to the responsibilities and obligations to be involved in this and pretty soon you get back. now just imagine the hand that green and meaning starting to stabilize and imagine that occurring in the city in the environs to the north and to the west. that in my opinion is our strategic deliverable. stabilizing definite to stabilizing trend in 85 percent of the population and we want to do that by 2011. that's what we've got to try and achieve. that's consistent certainly with
general mccrystal and joe rodriguez, our military obligations. set conditions, and they won't be done from a stabilizing and stabilized. upward trends, positive movement, doing the right things and all actors firing on all cylinders, afghan government performing. and the population starts to come along. and that is really what we are attempting to achieve and that it can grow with more horses, and future operations later this spring and summer. will solidify that and perhaps be able to expand. next slide. these -- the presentation on the slide, the single most persistent threat to success in afghanistan will be the afghan people and their government,
themselves. it's not that they don't deserve to win. don't deserve to have a country that works. but remember that shatter society, that skew the loyalty structure and add to the mix is always a powerful actors and i and years of warfare where we have been producing results and the skepticism that could arise from that. one that affects the public mind. when will they commits and how will they do so? let's not forget that this population adequately motivated can do pretty much whatever it wants from its getting it motivated. a fairly small group talent's as the law and order party motivated in population and written themselves in the mou hotjobs been in a short time. this population and apparently motivated themselves of this minister who with allied
support. afghan government responsibilities and nongovernment responsibilities and societal obligations to each other motivate them to achieve that. i always send off on this friday ied's, you're familiar with the ied term ever arise explosive device, is what kills our soldiers the most. we have suffered a lot of casualties, not exclusively but a lot. the ied is the weapon of the insurgency. it's their artillery. it is their mind. it is just the weapon. it is easy to make and widespread. i can tell you that to the defeat of the ied is not an arms race type environment where you try and find better methods to detect them or try yourself from this explosion, yes, you have to
do that and the defeat of it will be led insurgency is defeated. the population will defeat the ied. the population sees them buried, the population knows when they're being made, it's really about the population. ied use like crime who can happen but a population adequately engaged, your towns are safer you live and not because of the police, it's because of you. you pick up the fun and say there somebody doing this. that's what needs to happen in afghanistan. ladies and gentleman, thank you very much for your attention. [applause] >> general, thank you very much for that outstanding presentation discussion. i thank you put a lot of important issues on the table and it got under 30 minutes and
then lied to get into conversation drawing for representation and bring in colleagues from the audience so that we can have a a real discussion but i wanted to, first of all, some key things the impression you left on me and some key things they said. we didn't lose but we weren't winning. success or failure in kandahar or with the mission, battles have victories but no evidence of the taliban as a spoiler with no plan in i like that. the challenge of aligning ngos with the military, and the challenge of changing the iconic image of the mission from one of victims to success to impact the calculation was it worth it. you put a lot of issues that i hope it can work through but i want to kick off our conversation by asking one question about the collision perspective and one from the afghan perspective. he said that one of the most powerful tools was the canadian
soldier walking into the village smile on his face saying i'm here to say. one of the things -- >> and i'm going to help. >> exactly -- one of the things we had to tans to chat about before the session was the perception on the ground by villagers and afghanistan of our resolve and are we there to stay, given the announcement of the u.s. surge, the context of the date july 2011 where we begin to draw down, obviously cemetery gates and others explain what that day does not mean, obviously canadian forces have this december 2011 data also looming over the horizon. how has the debate back in our capital translated to a perception on the ground in afghanistan in terms of our resolve to stay to remain in the fight in how does that impact their cooperation with the coalition? >> that's a great pressure
because it was remarkable to me how well informed a lot of the afghans were. certainly some of the itinerant who are farmers and so on, perhaps orrin well as inform but they share information and are well aware of the tensions and even more astute very capable in this information and ran into of the taliban themselves with no even better so they can spread words to the population. i think more hopeful and sometimes to give them credit or at least positive about our engagement. a little more trusting. they don't necessarily commit until they see the results, but 18 months is a fairly lengthy time. i would tell you that from when
we would speak to them it is not that the alliance is all the sudden going to disappear for example in 2011, but there needs to be a time where afghans start to manage this themselves. remember that time when the population actually written themselves in the mujahadeen and you can't subcontract success to somebody else in this environment. it can just do the job of the army or the police or ministry of interior, it's everybody together that can deal with this. by 2011 and beyond they can do it, we'll play? and they will do if they are motivated. there is a fine balance i think to been sought here between never ending by attrition and the level we are at and this is a discussion you have to have them because at some point they need to take it over. it's interesting that you ask
them to you want this. of course, not we'd rather you not have to be here is the answer. in most television programs will cut off at the know, we don't want you here, but if you listen to the rest of the sentence you rather you not have to be here and we're glad you're here right now looking for to departure when we can manage ourselves. nothing is said so simply as a sound bite. yet we try in sound bite its back in on compounds so i think they deeply appreciate that which is being -- and then looking for to the day when they can take over so an unending commitment i think would be wrong as well as. >> before i open up to the audience i just wanted to follow-up with the question on the afghan perspective. you concluded your presentation referring to one of the greatest threats to remain with the lack of effective government and you
talk about this in your talk about how obviously your operation in your troops are breeding conditions for others to commend whether international ngos but particular afghan institutions. there's been a focus of discussion and concern about the role of afghan ministries and government and being able to pick up that part of the equation. how did you see this zero winding up your tour in kandahar? given that part of the success and the ability to withdraw successfully of as afghans picking up the burden and responsibility. how -- would you see coming have of kabul verse is coming out of provincial authorities in kandahar and what does that suggest in terms of afghans playing that role? there was a strategy presented for a tenure from work hitting at exactly this issue that the afghans have to pick up and
leave this process yet i think in many of our capitals debate as it unfolds is still is concern about corruption and lack of an eye to governance from the personalities involved in the process. what you take away from your experience in kandahar and had uc the complex for success stepping into that role? >> i see it's entirely of cost -- possible to occur. we did see a local level religion district level the recuperation of governments. in that i think and to the tactical level should be able to sponsor that. whether or not at industries have the capacity to extend the the sherrif physical capacity is something that the canadian government activities are working on, build capacity.
but whether are not able to egil advantage, full responsibility for the the nature of the insurgency as it is today and their four-star to campaign in adequately along these multiple lines of every that need to occur in an insurgency, remains to be seen. it is an emergency continues to be dealt with as such, they've got an enormous problem, rebuilding their government and their country of the same time as dealing with an emergency that our nations would have difficulty dealing with in our midst so it's a monumental effort and i believe that they absolutely have the desire. they lack the capacity. there are some mechanical blockages i think in their society with some of the powerful actors to act selfishly first. whether that manifest itself in corruption or just bad business.
that is to be dealt with for sure. it's a portion of the equation that needs to be dealt with. and ultimately i think it comes down to motivation. if they are truly motivated, at all levels of government and society, they can deal with the. i'm optimistic that it can have been. at a realistic as well. >> let me bring members of the audience in, we've got questions. let's start with the front row pin who has a microphone? >> think a ranch for a fascinating presentation. there's been a certain amount of talk around here -- roger, former diplomat member of the council. there's been a certain amount of talk around here about the desirability of working with their call of regional leaders, sometimes known as warlords and
other terminology, to sort of a give them an incentive perhaps even monetary incentive to work with us. in other words, to have them be agents for change as you can buy them but you can rent them for a while. and i just wonder if what you think of as a kind of strategy? >> to extend the analogy i don't think renting is a long-term answer to anything. whether in his home ownership were dealing with a war. interesting, sometimes you have to partner with those who are able, those who are able have survival skills that lasted the multi generations and those arriving skills and not necessarily the lavalin to a benign in the eyes of the rest of the population. this would characterize the partnerships with one in the
early days in post 9/11. you've got to get some things down so you do with the most able. there are not to manifestly bad people. but they've been shaped by their environment. i think it is important that we focus our efforts on the legitimate institutions of government both official and tribal. help them prepare their side of fabric as they would have it done. and aid them in we're we deal with the powerful people, she but such that they don't exceed cultural norms and this is what has happened across the country. that some of the most powerful and perhaps most selfish have exceeded cultural norms so the society is recoiling. there is an element of an how they do business that will always be present but if you are
constantly exceeding control norms of the population is getting material benefits or support, none of the bottom of the u.s. indices, then the population is essentially despondent and not in revolt and so you have to manage those relationships carefully and we tried to appear in on any given day sometimes you need those powerful actors alive and sometimes they do. over time i think it is up to afghans and it is the president and his regime and that means to manage how they work with them. the unofficial the powerful actors. just like we do in our societies. >> am going to turn with are calling with a lot of experience. >> i'm christina from the sunday times of london but i've been reporting since '87 when the russians are there. as interested in your
presentation, it was fascinating and i was intrigued when you said you saw in the third current stage that the coalition is adequately there because even with the surgeon announced by obama there will be 140,000 troops which the russians have at most. other military commanders i know who have been serving in afghanistan say they think to deal with the town and they would need 500,000. so it was centuries by that and i also you said that the taliban don't have a message. the son of the problems that we underestimated the taliban and until now that they've actually been much more effective than we give credit to and in that context you talked, you didn't mention pakistan, but you talk about the advantages that have at having a safe haven. when you talk about motivating the population to rise up against the taliban in a way that they did with the mujahadeen, that happen and i
was there when it happened very much because they have pakistan's support behind them. this case it's is the other side. so if you comment on those things. thanks. >> where to start practice when she asked me a hard question perhaps [laughter] i honestly believe that to working with troop figures as been a game. i trust general mccrystal, his opinion on a point forces. given x number of soldiers you need to use a calling techniques fuhrer number come in different techniques, a lot of times people will quote to that larger and bigger if you are strictly going to militarily deal with the taliban. if your strategy is really one
massive switches you are on your own, your military alliance annual crush the taliban, i come from a school where the taliban will remain irrelevant over time through the population. and you don't necessarily best creative irrelevance by putting just more soldiers on the ground. there are part of the equation, it's necessary, more critical are their own soldiers to afghan security forces and the evidence to rehabilitate them. and so i believe that too i certainly, of this question and from the ankle of what technique would i use with those forces. in an air-conditioned centers and this is what the soviets didn't do necessarily. they weren't for the rehabilitation of society and all of this dimension. so they didn't necessarily uniformly used the techniques and i really only have expertise
in this -- there may be differences to this equation it elsewhere in the country in the east and the north. but i know in the south technique matters and no amount of force it used exclusively will solve this problem because even if you did delete the taliban militarily you still got this badly damaged fractured and society. that would be raipur other incidents used to come in. so i think that is most critical. ..
so we are not to ever underestimate that. i do believe that it is central to the equation and that ultimately as has been mentioned many times that of the regional approach but essential. she got to start somewhere. so we started in a town and maybe the alliance astarte afghanistan destabilize that. and stabilize the critically important parts of the population. i firmly believe that there will be an element of insurgency in afghanistan probably forever,
like there isn't some modern european states. and as if we have dealt with elsewhere in the world. it is our critically relevant it is harmful to the population that a country remains on the bottom of the u.n. embassies forever. that's how i look at it. good question, though. >> is there someone on the side of the room i can bring in. i guess we'll stick over here, right here in the corner. >> thank you, general for your talk in your service and kandahar. i think the momentum has turned around there. i'm carl forsberg. you have said the counterinsurgency tactics as opposed to just the strategy. certitude on this governance issue of it, i'm wondering if you can address or to the actual tactics when it comes to managing relationships with some of the figures you alluded to people like karzai or doors
lock, how does one go about sorted restraining these figures, restraining some of the worst abuses and actually turning them into forces for good, forces for soda are broad strategic goals. it's been a great question, carl. i've read your work and i think you and i would agree on most things. the actual methodology i found is first of all you need to work at all levels all at once. so from the president in palestine to the living room there needs to be consistent effort oil parties engaged. the public policy, at the national level, down to the province, down to redistrict into a town in the aspirations come in there for the expression of government need to be consistent. and so there a role to play by coming out, military and nonmilitary act or to help draw
down, forcing some respect, coerce moral suasion if necessary, to bring something, particularly his critical activities, health and education and so on, bring them to bear where we can create legitimately create the situations. so it's not an easy thing because i can say hey, we are ready. but if someone does know you're not, or the administrator pulses were not going to show because were still afraid. so you got to get over this one-sided view of title spaces as the military guy. and say we need to buy and from everybody and so it needs to be stable. then, when you start to create a stable environment, then it's working tirelessly in their civilian political officers and develop and officers worked tirelessly to draw down, to put
government services when they have to be, either through mentoring or three sponsoring activities here at all give you an example. there was something critical. i think it was on the 25th of august after we had been working in this verse district for a while, it unanimous left kandahar city for the first time in about two years in which the district center and sponsored a significant meeting of ngos and government actors to say let's get to work here. the secret is to make it or to sponsor conditions for the indigenous governance of people to deal with it. because we can possibly engineer their government. we can show them the practices, but we can't do it for them. we just need to spark them to do it. and carl, i think the advantage to work at all levels all at once, particularly done at the grassroots level are, like in the village, said she bypassed a
lot of the potential corruption. it's direct injection of funds and activities at the lowest level. and you are cautious about where and who you contract with to help get things done. ideally, your using local capacity. and so, if you're working at the lowest level and it starts to work, the population access it and is happy and it starts to grow, then those who would try to forward it by perhaps being corrupt in their midst will stand out to the population, but also to us. and that certainly gives us the opportunity then to follow up. and so we would. >> you had mentioned the civilian side of the equation and i think your tenure in afghanistan was marked with an increase in assets coming
into -- the >> and u.s. >> are given the dramatic mismatch and resources and the disparity in resources, do you feel is part of the process unfolding right now that our civilian agencies across the alliance are coming in an incredible way to be able to back up what's happening with the military surge? >> yeah, that's a good question. i wouldn't try to describe it around the word credible because it absolutely is credible. it's more, do you have the capability? when you're training and development of his or officer, you're not necessarily thinking of them working, you know, their knowledge and achievement effects in a dusty little compound somewhere in kandahar. do not necessarily training. but they learn quickly, they're dedicated, intelligent, and they understand what needs to have been. so the first and most important thing is that it's a team. it's a military come civilian team that has to produce combined effects.
now that's not necessarily uniformly agreed upon. it's my view, but there are some people that have kind of ideological differences about this. but, so be it. the fact is that the team results are the ones that are far more enduring and sophisticated with just one sort of element at a time. and as i said, it cannot be linear. so they have the actual toolset to do something of immediate tangible value and yes they do. usaid, for example, has got the opposite transmissions with rapid funding available to it. to start addressing, it's not fairly nationbuilding level of engagement, but in that community, what the infrastructure like a how is the health? why is the health bad? so because of that stagnant one. with the cultural economic one, how is it broken? there some things you can do in a future month that actually can turn things around locally.
now that might be a happy little town in an otherwise have been the district so you have to work at all levels. i think there needs to be engagement at all levels. so you got sectoral reform, political reform, activities at the national level that don't trickle down necessarily to make families happy. but they are vitally important. so you also have to work at that low level and try to connect all of these stovepipes. and ideally you prevent them from becoming totally stove piped at the same time. so i believe that they are credible. i think many civilians that are by his understand very quickly that although they may come with a mandate, and there war in that war needs to be one or at least stabilize to the extent that some of those other larger national nation-to-nation engagement can actually bear fruit. so are you there is a civilian
is part of the counterinsurgency effort or is it they are to try and build afghanistan. and the answer is yes, you are. >> yes. all right, given our timeless try to collect two less questions. maybe the gentleman in the front. >> yes, tip o'neill famously said all politics is local and in my experience local politics in kandahar is tribal politics. how were you able to deal with this without either undercutting governmental authority or giving the television leverage through tribal rivalries, to use that effectively. >> let's go ahead and collect the question if you can. in the far back, please. this will be your last win here and then. >> yes, sir. paul kalas, i spent 2005, 2006
working with canadians and the kandahar. he talked about center gravity in the population, the afghan population that made center gravity. it seemed like there was a second and that is the western democratic population. it is a racist insight. how fast can we get our job done there to outpace the dissatisfaction that is growing even as we announced the surge, we are polls and that most americans now are dissatisfied, tired of the campaign there. so that seems -- and i agree with you, it seems like the perception in the last is terribly mismatched with what's going on on the ground. and so, how do we do that? what kind of information operations do we need to make sure that we have support and
civil option because the second that support is not there, the plug gets yanked. >> of the great question, paul. and i will try to address it in part. i will start by saying we have somewhat failed in this regard. but i don't think uni, certainly in uniform are not in the business of convincing population. we need to make sure the truth is being seen, that the population is able to digest and debate using facts. using that which is truthful. sure ideology comes to bear, baggage, but ultimately certainly the population we come from are pretty smart. and given the fact, given transparency and so on, they generally don't make up their mind.
and whatever their minors, so be it. so i don't think we have to be in a mode where we are trying to as a military force convince our populations of what the validity of what we're doing. we just need to make certain. we need to be part of a larger machine that makes sure the population is well-informed. and my fear is that the population have not been well-informed. not necessarily on the specifics of this mission. now, what we need to make sure of, you and i am the military side is we need to be very careful and understand during those periods of time, like when they beat out with in the 06209. when there was an economy of force effort globally where we were in we knew we were under resource to achieve permanent effect, where military force can only achieve so much until the situation changed.
that honest dialogue with their populations occurred, but was also interspersed with hey here's a success, here's a success, we beat them today, you know, we did some wrecks and mortar work over here today and we were generally saying, yeah, it's successful and were going in the right direction. we are on track. and i don't know if there was anastomotic on track for success or real permanent sustainable types of, such that the population could really perceive it. so it's just words. and in a war of words, the other guy has got words, too. and he can discredit everything you say and he's good at it. and not just the taliban, but also our own internal divisive voices that would say, you know, that would describe the situation completely
differently, simply because they are getting airtime. you know, it happened. so population is very important which is a great segue to your question because the population is wildly fractured your opinion, it's a constellation of different. you've got tribes, you got businesses, you've got legitimate, you got official government, you've got family. it's just like here. but it is there. and tribal groupings perhaps replaced by some other loyalties structures in our own country but nonetheless, they exist and they are very, very tight. they need to be involved, but there's not usually as fractious as you described. there is not a challenge between tribe and the legitimate government. it certainly doesn't manifest itself every day that way. tribes need to be empowered and supported to do the things that they're very good at. there is a remarkable low-level
conflict resolution system that exists in the past two and culture. they are very good at sorting out what some things that would probably go to civil litigation in our societies are very good at sorting out with satisfactory results, culturally acceptable results across the board. a lot of those, those are tribal issues, those are insular dell with by the family. it's not challenging government. it's a part of that. and what we also need to recognize his government as the one i see it isn't necessarily government as they see it. we cannot use our land selectively on this population. silica and tried to go okay i understand not. and this is what our jeffersonian statement looks like inside look at government and that's not working. you have to recognize that it's going to create a whole that works for them. and our obligation is to make
certain we provide them the support to do that. and we make lots of mistakes. we talked the wrong people, you know, we say that doesn't look right, do it this way. we do make mistakes that we learn. and when you are doing something that involves that some of the parts of all of your ambition together, you're willing to forgive a little bit. okay, we made a mistake there. sorry. let's try it your way. it is a very personal, close-up type of the conflict. and all parties have a right to be involved. including the tribes. >> general, thank you very much. i know we've got a series of additional questions out there, but i want to respect everyone's time. it just shows the interest in this issue. we began the forum with a speech by nato secretary-general who made a passionate defense of the alliance's role at a time of some americans are questioning
the ally commitment to the fight. so were so delighted to be able to continue using these forums and post altair military commander coming out of the field in the south of afghanistan to deal to offer your insights, your perspective at a time in our alliance is engaged in a serious and transport. thank you for your insights in her presentation. pleasure to have you. >> same year. thank you. [applause] sound
>> in 1963, the u.s. supreme court overturned the felony conviction of clarence earl gideon after he was denied a request for free legal counsel. the court ruled that state courts are required under the sixth amendment to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who can't afford it. now a justice department meeting on the current state of the public defender system call with remarks from attorney general, eric holder. this is an hour 45 minutes. >> morning. welcome to washington d.c. we are here gathered to have another conversation about energy defense. i'm so pleased to see so many friends in so many people who are involved in this issue. many of you may recall that some of us met here in washington at the behest of attorney general janet reno back in 1899 and again in 2009. and here we are having this next meeting in 2010 because of the support of our new attorney
general, eric holder, who will be introduced shortly by lloyd robinson. a couple things to welcome you here. it's been a long time since we had a gathering like this. and i hope that we can use this occasion as the attorney general has had to talk seriously about the issue of energy defense, not just in terms of what is happening today for what it means for us going forward. and i bring my own history. many of you may know i started my career here about 32 years ago with the d.c. public defender service. in 1978 we were talking about this issue of energy defense and we were celebrating 25 years of cases like gideon andrzej called. and now here we are 50 years later from those decisions talking about what it means to do about energy defense in the 21st century and i hope you'll hear two things. one, the attorney general has made clear to me that this is not our last, but her first meeting to talk about these issues. as you know he has been involved with this very seriously.
[applause] i don't want somebody to be upset, the department of justice did pay for 200 people, public defenders from every state and representatives from every state, and making sure their 200 people here. they are here at the generosity for every state to be represented in this forum, unlike some of the others. [applause] eyebrow, just as a memento, to people like norm last night and steve bright and others, remember the 1999, two dozen books. i have been here. the good news, we made a little bit of progress because of the institute that i now direct the charles hamilton universal just will have all the information on these. everyone should have a thumb drive. we have all the attorney general speeches that is given on this issue. we have documents from energy defense communities around the country. we hope we have computers here
that you add additional material from what's going on in your office around. here's a way with your very fine then you can take back new and improved innovative reforms that are critical to an energy defense community. and i hope that each one of you has one of these. on the one side the local houston institute for race and justice which i directed on the other said the department of justice on energy defense. if you have only remarks on one side, you've got the wrong thumb drive, you got a blank one. that one belongs to my office. if you have a blank some drive, give it back you'd will give you one loaded with all the material that's important. so why is this important in the year 2010? we have more people without lawyers. we have more people in jail. we have more lawyers without resources and we have more challenges. we have the results of the great work of people like perry scheck, computer neufeld, to find hundreds of people who have been appointed lawyers, taken to
trial, convicted and sentenced him in some cases to die, who are particularly innocent and wrongfully charged. that the change was made from 1999 and tell the year 2010. we have not been able to celebrate a fact that there is a gideon koren and reiko in the 20th century. the case that he gives us hold constants we can make a difference. our work today is to do with the lawyers did in jvm and start from the ground, to start talking about energy defense and start making sure whether to send iowa or ohio or mississippi or tennessee or massachusetts or new york with the district of columbia that every client of ls to effectively represent him or her ineffable be doing today. judges are here, prosecutors are here, public interest organizations are here. we have a phenomenal group of people who have done incredible work. in order to get us kicked off, we're going to have laurie robinson was been with us from the very beginning.
and if you remember that lori has been involved in camilla justice in matters for more than three decades. she was working with attorney general reno in the 1993 she served as the assistant attorney general in the office of justice programs and she also held convened in 1999 program that was very instrumental in the 2000 program i mentioned earlier. she's done a tremendous job making sure the energy defense is on the radar. she also, without the fancy guests, made it possible to have it possible to have this at harvard before the reno administration left washington. and we are very fortunate that when this idea was mentioned, the attorney general agrees immediate and laurie has been organizing with people like marlene beckmann and others. and we are here because of the leadership of someone who for decades has been a warrior in the interest that energy. please welcome to the podium to introduce our attorney general, laurie robinson.
[applause] >> thank you, thank you so much. and before going forward, i want to just recognize charles ogletree. when he said about three decades since he observed at pbs, you know, i was thinking i've known you about two decades. and then you talked about the three decades that i've been working in the field and you had to really read that in, didn't you? last it has been three decades charles ogletree that you have been out there toiling in the field and making a mark. and you have become an icon in working in this field. and the work you have done. and i want you to stand up and be recognized for what you have
done. [applause] [applause] and we are so incredibly fortunate to have him over these next two days as the moderator for this event. and let me welcome all of you on behalf of the department of justice and on behalf of the office of justice programs, to what i think will be, i hope will be, a landmark symposium. i'm excited about the next two days. i think we have a great program and i think we have a superb lineup of speakers and presenters. i think we have a great opportunity here to share ideas, to share information and to really make a great contribution to getting work done in an area
where a great deal of work has to be done. and i have to admit that i have some sense of déjà vu here. charles alluded to the fact that we were here originally 11 years ago, back in the reno days. we were in fact year in this very same hotel, the mayflower. many of you were here. and we were here for a second energy defense conference the following year. in fact my principal assistant deputy journal mary lou leary, who is here with us today was leading a jp at that time. and of course our keynote speaker, eric holder, with deputy attorney general at that time. so all of this is looking at a familiar to me. and this is an issue i have to tell you, which i feel very passionately about. in my many years in the criminal
justice field, i have certainly observed that the criminal justice system only works well when every part of it is working effectively. and that's why addressing this crisis is a critical, critical, important thing, not only to me, that to this attorney general and to this department of justice. and we know that after the two conferences, back in 1999, and in 2000, at the department of justice went silent on this issue for many years. it went silent until eric holder resurrect did it as a priority last year. but fortunately, many of you kept the ball rolling.
you kept doing outstanding work in your state and in your communities. and i want to stay thank you for the progress that you kept under way. you kept those wheels in motion. and i'm so pleased to see the number of people who are here, not just interested in the topic, but committed to creating real change. ms charles ogletree said, we have defenders here from every state and we have been here from some of the territories from across the pacific ocean, in fact. we're also extremely pleased that we have in addition to defenders, we have other leaders here from other parts of the system. and we have representation not only from criminal justice, but from juvenile justice systems, which i think is very important. [applause]
in your presence here, speaks volumes about your commitment. as i'm sure you've noticed when you go outside, this is not the ideal time of year to be in washington. that white stuff out on the mall is not the dropping from the cherry trees. but you came here, everyone of you because you recognized that a strong public defense bar is vital to a legitimate system of justice in the united states of america. the idea behind these two days is to build on that energy and interest, to create coalitions of stakeholders that can in effect lasting change in your jurisdictions. and i hope that you see the symposium is more than just a chance to share knowledge. and i think is important, but an opportunity to really change the way that we do business in your communities as far as justice in america is concerned.
now before i move on to introduce our keynote speaker, i really do need to thank some of the people who were instrumental in planning this symposium. first of all, i want to thank my counsel, marlene beckmann. marlene, why don't you stand up. [applause] marlene was the organizer in chief. she spent just indispensable more broadly as an advisor to me and marlene, i don't know what i would do without you. i also want to recognize the sixth zero jp staff who did the bulk of the work here. if they can stand as any man, during banks, eileen carey, kathy roscoe, elaine snyder, danica sarvis kid and linda truitt. [applause] and there were a host of others
outside ojp who were on the planning committee, too. and i can't recognize them all individually but i'd like to recognize collectively all of those both inside and outside ojp who were on the planning committee. if all of you could collectively stand up, let's give them a round of applause. [applause] we also had significant partners that nla da, the president and ceo joanne wallace, the director of defender legal services, richard bowman, both of them close partners with doj and instrumental in organizing this event. if they would both stand. [applause] and likewise, if patty. would stand, paddy was very instrumental as the director of the national juvenile defender
center. paddy's work has been critical in improving the state of juvenile defense. and i think we owe her tremendous thanks in spotlighting the needs of juvenile defendants. [applause] and finally, i want to thank my colleagues, jim burch, the acting director of the bureau of justice assistance and just float kautsky, acting administrator of the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. many people think ojp only supports prosecution and law enforcement. but these two individuals have gone out of their way, including in recent years and the last administration to look for ways to support public defense.
in this symposium happened because they found the resources to bring you well together. now you should know that the guy sitting over here has the power, but these guys have the money. [laughter] would they please stand. [laughter] [applause] now that we now turn to introduce the guy who does have the power. i am so very pleased that the attorney general was able to be here this morning to help open this important event. i'm sure you've all know that eric holder has spent his career in public service. he began his career at the justice department in the public
integrity section of the criminal division. he later served as the superior court judge here in d.c. and then returned to the department of justice as u.s. attorney in the district. while in that position, he had the benefit of good tutelage, joanne wallace, was head of the public defender service at the time. and i suspect that anything that eric holder didn't grasp intuitively, joanne was there to offer guidance. [laughter] eric coulter knows the importance of the three legged stool. he knows the courts can't run without a strong defense as well as prosecution. he carried those beliefs into his role as deputy attorney general, when he held duke to launch the department of defense initiative back under janet reno and the night the 90's. and he certainly brought that
attention and interest when he returned to the department last year. you can rest assured that you have a resolute champion and eric holder. so please welcome the attorney general of the united states of america. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. as i could say it's good to see while here except i can't see with all these bright lights. i was in detroit yesterday and we had substantially more snow here than in the midwest. if you know anything about washington d.c., two or three inches is something that we can't handle. we've got two or three feet here now so it's an amazing thing you were always a label to daycare.
i thank you for getting her great transportation system and joining us for this important conference. out of thank you, laurie. it's a pleasure to join you in welcoming our participants. now many have traveled small across the country to be aired and i want to thank each and everyone of you for your engagement, for your service to your communities and are your commitment to the principles that define who we are and who we can be as a nation. for well over two centuries now, we have the people have been striving to build a more perfect union. an america that lives up to the vision of our founders. a country where the words of our constitution can finally reach the full measure of their intent. it is no less than this ongoing work, the fulfillment of our constitution that brings us together today. now i'm here to discuss the responsibility that we are stewards of our nation's
criminal justice system all share. a responsibility to ensure that the fairness and integrity of the system is paramount. i would argue that our criminal justice system is one of the most distinctive aspects of our national character. i would also argue that it is one of the most praiseworthy. now, that said, we must face the facts. in the facts prove that we have a very serious problem on our hands. nearly half a century has passed since the supreme court decision in gideon v. wainwright. the court followed with other decisions recognizing the right to counsel and juvenile in misdemeanor cases. today, despite the decades have gone by, these cases have yet to be fully translated into reality. that is a fact. but you alerting of this. all of you have read the reports another few know of the data. in many of you have learnt this truth and the hardest of ways,
by experiencing it on the ground. you've seen how into many of our counties and into many of our communities, some people accused of crimes, including juveniles, they never, they never have a lawyer, either entirely or during a critical stage of proceedings against them. in fact, juveniles sometimes waived their right to counsel without ever speaking to an attorney to help them understand what it is they are giving out. this is simply unacceptable. and our courts except these waivers. meanwhile, recent reports evaluating state public defense system are replete with examples of defendants who have languished in jail for weeks, or even months before counsel was appointed teared up when players are provided to the poor, too often they cannot represent their clients properly due to
insufficient resources and inadequate oversight. that is without the building blocks of a well functioning public defender system. the type of system set forth in the ten principles of the american bar association and the national juvenile defender center. now as we all know, public defender programs are too many times underfunded, too often defenders carry huge caseload that make it difficult if not impossible for them to fulfill their legal and ethical responsibilities to their clients. lawyers parade under these caseloads often can't interview there clients properly, can file appropriate notions, can't conduct backed investigations or spare the time needed to ask and apply for additional grant funding. in the problem is more about anything than just resources. it on parts of the country, the primary institutions for the delivery of defense to the poor, i'm talking about basic public
defender system, simply do not exist. i continue to believe that if our fellow citizens know about the extent of this problem, they would be as troubled as you and i. public education about this issue is critical. from an equal justice is denied, we all lose. now as a prosecutor and a former judge, i know that the fundamental integrity of our criminal justice system and our faith in it depends on effective representation on both sides. and i recognize that some may perceive the goals of those who represent our federal, state, and local governments and goals of those who represent the accused as forever at odds. i reject that premise. [applause] although -- although they may stand on different sides of an argument, different sides of a
courtroom, the prosecution and the defense can and must share the same objective. not victory, but justice. otherwise, we are left to wonder if justice is truly being done, and left to wonder if our faith in ourselves and in our system is misplaced. the problems in a criminal defense system are just morally untenable. they are also economically unsustainable. every taxpayer should be seriously concerned about the systemic cost of an adequate defense for the poor. when the justice system fails to get it right, the first time, we all pay off in four years or new filings, retrials him and appeals. poor systems of defense do not make economic sense. so, where do we go from here? i want to speak with you clearly and honestly about this. in the last year, i have thought about, i have studied, and i have discussed the current crisis in our criminal defense
system. what i've learned and what i know for sure is that there are no easy solutions. no single institution, not the federal government, not the department of justice, not a single state can solve the problem on its own. progress can only come from a sustained commitment to collaboration with diverse partners. now i expect every person in this room to play a role in advancing the cause of justice, yes, everyone. and yes i say this with the knowledge that we have some unlikely targets among us. some might wonder what the united states attorney general is doing a conference, largely about the defense of poor people received in state and in local courts. likewise, many of you, the local officials, budget officers and prosecutors gathered here today, have not traditionally been engaged in discussions about the right to counsel. but all of us should share these concerns. it must be the concern of every
person who works on behalf of the public good and in the pursuit of justice. that's what this conference is all about, expanding and improving this work. learning from the judgment, recruiting new partners, and making sure that for a criminal defense community, government is viewed as an ally, not as an adversary. in particular, i think our common work must have three areas of focus. you know, i've touched on each one of these goals over the last year, but all of them i think are worth mentioning here again today. first, we must commit to an ongoing dialogue about these issues. we need partners of the federal, state and local levels, both within and outside of government to be involved. by sharing information and by working together, i believe that we can build on the good work that has gone into developing model standards for our public defense systems. second, we must raise awareness about what we're up against.
as americans understand how some of their fellow citizens experience criminal justice system, they will be shocked, they will be angry, feelings that i hoped would compel them to become advocates for change and always in our work. third, we must expand the role of the public defender. we must encourage defenders to seek solutions beyond our courtrooms and ensure that they're involved in shaping policies that will empower the communities that they serve. now i'm committed to making sure that public defenders are at the table when we meet with other stakeholders in the criminal justice system. i charge the department leadership with pulling on our component to include members of the public defense is done in a range of meanings. we will also involve the defenders and conferences, application review panels, and other venues where public defense perspire at can be valuable. and it should not go without saying, every state, every state
should have a public defender system. every state. [applause] in all of this, i stand with you and with anyone who is committed to ensuring the sixth amendment right to counsel. it is as basic as that. laster when i became attorney general, i took an oath to support him to defend the constitution of the united states of america. i also made a promise, a promise to the citizens they serve and the colleagues i work alongside. a promise to guard the rights of all americans and make certain that in this country, the indigent are not invisible. so let me assure you today that this is not a passing issue for this department of justice. i have asked the entire department of justice, in my office, and laurie robinson and
in components as diverse as the office of legal policy in the criminal division, to focus on indigent defense issues with a sense of urgency and commitment to implementing the solutions that we need. in the coming weeks, we'll take concrete steps to make access to justice a permanent part of the work of the department of justice. with a focus effort by a leadership offices to make sure they get the attention they deserve. governments must be a part of the solution, not simply by acting as a convener, but also serving as a collaborator. once again, we stand at the beginning of a new decade. we must seize this opportunity to return to the police that guided our nation's founding and to renew the strength of our justice system. i have every expectation that our criminal defense system can and will be a source of tremendous national pride. and i know that achieving this requires the best lead as a
profession and a people have to offer. i pledge my own best efforts. in today, i ask you for yours. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> many thanks to attorney general holder and we will follow upon those ideas and suggestions that he made today. and i think marlene will make sure that his remarks today are also included in our files, right. we'll have them available to you so you can have them. our membership by we spoke at the naacp is that the department
of justice civil rights division's back and we are open for business. so tom perez, we will be looking to bring you some business. i want to go through a few administrative things before introducing the next panel which will sort of set the tone for the sessions later today. first, some of the logistics thing -- the workshops are going to take place on all three levels of the hotel here. there are signs to direct you and they are staff members as well. there is a map of the hotel and the serials you received when you apply. there is coffee here and on the second floor. and the promenade area, there are some reference tables and you should all stop by during the course of these two days. staff from the national commit criminal justice association will talk to you from this the zoning about the funding in your state and representatives from several state agencies will presenting later today during
the plenary and tomorrow morning's workshops. after the first set of workshops, there is going to be a working lunch. and we ask that when you go to this lunch today, said with the other representatives from your state, whether you like them or not. we want you to say what the people from your state on all right. every table has the name of the state or territory. pleased at that table. we'll be asking you to participate in facilitated state delegation discussions at those tables and more directions on this will be provided after lunch. and after other people from the various state thursday to, we're asking others from the federal government to take the remaining seats. that's that the government is the stepchild of this. you get the open seat if there is one. so keep that in mind. and now for the plenary session that will be really terrific with all these great folks i want you to see. laurie is going to leave it. i thank you laurie robinson for making this happen over these 11
years. [applause] to moderate this first panel on the current crisis in the criminal indigent defense system, we have joyce wallace who is the national legal aid and defender association. she also serves as director and deputy director of the d.c. public defender service here in washington d.c. she also serves as a coordinated juvenile service program in representing adults and juveniles in many cases and also was one of the deputy directors of the appellate divisions of pvs. she also clerked in the courts for judge mary johnson level, is your friend of mine. she's also the founder of the american council of chief defenders, the national defender of leadership institute and the district of the columbia appellate here to she graduated from nyu law school and a zealous advocate for the poor.
please welcome to the podium, joann wallace. [applause] and the panelists can come up now, too. joann will introduce you. >> good morning. boy, the attorney general is absolutely right. you can't see a thing from up here. as our panelists are getting seated, i'd like to just take a moment and two e-echo the sentiments expressed earlier and to think attorney general holder for his remarks and for this conference and laurie robinson and all the department of justice staff who have made it possible. chief defenders from all across the country have told us that the information in the influence that the earlier conferences had
played more significant factors in their ability to improve defense in their jurisdictions. and they are very excited to have this opportunity to come back to washington. so thank you. now i had the pleasure of introducing our very distinguished panel. i will tell you that because of time, i will be very brief and the introduction. i will not do their couple expertise and accomplishments just this. am i apologize in advance for that. and i ask you to please refer to your program booklet because inarguable find more in their bio. so if i can't starting to my immediate left, please welcome justice, michael cherry. justice jerry was the dark clark county and has been a member of the nevada supreme court since 2006. going further, professor norman
lefstein, professor norman lefstein served in the school of law until 2002 and chair of the indiana public defense commissioned until 2007. to his left is avis buchanan. she is currently the director of a d.c. public defender service and has been since 2004 and previously served as the agency's deputy director for two years. to her left is senator lydia jackson, who is a member of the louisiana state, louisiana senate and has been since 2005. senator jackson previously served a term as a representative in louisiana. and then to her left, nancy diehl has been and was a member of the wayne county prosecutor's office for 28 years. her last position there until she retired last year, 2009, was as trial chief.
so please welcome our panel. thank you for being here. [applause] so most of us have either seen firsthand or read about what happens when there is incompetent counsel. we've witnessed it, we've read the stories, we've heard the stories about people like eddie joe lloyd, who served 17 years for a client that he didn't commit in michigan. or people like roberta miranda in nevada. i've been practicing that. mr. miranda was assigned a fresh out of law school attorney for a murder charge. after serving 14 years for the crime, he was exonerated and was successful in the lawsuit of achieving a 5 million-dollar verdict against clark county for wrongful conviction. but are the stories that we see
and hear and read about anomalies or do they really represent what's happening in the system across the country today. professor lefstein, what is the state of indigent defense? >> absolutely. >> that's a broad question. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i'm glad to undertake an answer to the question. in fact, it was agreed upon that i would post talk about what has transpired since the conference is in 1999 and 2000 also talk about the state of indigent defense. it's an unenviable facts because i was supposed to do all of that and no more than ten minutes. references were made to the
conference is in 1999 and 2000, but i wanted to remind everyone what was said after those conferences were completed. they were summaries of the conferences that were published. and in the 1999 executive summary, it was written that overall, despite programs, or progress i should say, in many jurisdictions, indigent defense in the united states today is in a chronic state of crises. following the 2000 program, there was a similar executive summary issued respect dean the collective judgment of those who attended and what the summary said was indigent defendants frequently do not receive effective counsel as guaranteed by the u.s. constitution. instead, they are assigned and competent, overworked or underfunded defenders who simply cannot do their jobs.
far too many jurisdictions like the financial capital or political will to provide adequate funding, staffing and access to technology. so what us changed since 1999 and 2000? are the summary statements from the conference is tan and 11 years ago is still an accurate portrayal of what we have in the united states today? well, there have been a number of changes among the states. to be sure, there has been a lot of legislation passed. since the year 2000. since that time, nine states have organized their defense services on a statewide basis. are 28 states that organize their defense services statewide, which provides a measure of independence, and there are now 28 states, not
always the same 28 states, but almost always the same 28, that provide funding entirely from a statewide level and most observers i think agree that the likelihood is more uniform and effective defense services are provided if you have statewide organization and statewide funding. but it's also, i think, fair to say, that's not always the case. and i think it also needs to be noted that these reforms, these legislative changes have not always been all that successful.
>> the total amount of money now being spent on public defense in the united states is clearly increased since the year 2000. the best estimates available suggest that in fiscal year 2002, state and local government spent approximately $2.8 billion on public defense. in fiscal year 2005, the sum was up to 3.5 billion, and the best estimate is that for fiscal yea 2008, state and local governments were spending approximately $4.3 billion. on public defense in the united states. all of that is good news, but frankly, it doesn't tell us anything about the state of indigent defense in the united states of america today. and the truth of the matter is, as the attorney general's
comments suggested, the state of indigent defense in the united states is in terrible shape. and the constitution's sixth amendment right to counsel, both in criminal and juvenile courts, is repeatedly violated every day in this country. to the detriment of our clients, to the fairness of the justice systems, and frankly, to the very legitimacy of criminal and juvenile courts. and what's worse is its deteriorating. because state and local governments who fund indigent defense are faced with enormous financial problems. after all, is there any item in the budget that is easier to cut or reduce then funding for lawyers who represent criminals or juvenile delinquency? it's also important to note as i suggested a moment ago that some of those legislative reforms have been incredibly unsuccessful. the situation in georgia,
perhaps best illustrates the point, because even the new legislation was passed in 2003 and was heralded as a great improvement, the system has been severely underfunded, and today in georgia, just as in the past, defendants still are effectively denied the right to counsel and all kinds of cases, including capital cases which remained still a problem throughout the country. of course, there are a few bright spots and there are some programs that are doing well but are even models for the nation. and there are thousands of committed defenders and private lawyers, but they struggle under incredible difficulties. does they are underfunded and simply don't have the support necessary to do their jobs adequately. the increases that have occurred in public defense funding, however much we may be pleased with them, collectively, the system is still woefully
underfunded. and the two national reports that were issued in 2009, one with which i was involved, justice denied issued under the auspices of the constitution project, and the national legal aid and defender association, made the point i think well, as did a report issued in 2009 by the national association of criminal defense lawyers that focused on misdemeanor courts throughout the country. but besides the lack of funding, there are problems with an insufficient independence, because you have political and judicial overreaching of the defense function, and especially in the lower courts in this country and the attorney general hit upon the point, oftentimes persons are not effectively offered counsel. they are inadequate advice of the right to counsel, and all manner of waivers of counsel are accepted, when they would never
withstand constitutional scrutiny if they were ever to be reviewed by an appellate court. the manifestations of inadequate funding are unpleasant reminders of just how far we have to go in reforming indigent defense in this country. not only is it a lack of support services investigators and experts, but it is truly a situation where the caseloads are crushing. and they are easily, in my opinion, the worst manifestation of what happened in the united states. i received an e-mail server years ago and some you heard me tell the story of a lawyer who was serving as a public defender in a northeastern city. you didn't know me, but he knew i had written on this subject and he said, i've got 325 misdemeanor and felony cases. i'm supposed to be handling all of these simultaneously, i can't do it. and because of that, people are
going to jail. well, i told him what he needed to do, including talking to the head of the program. he did that and ahead of the program told him, we do triage representation in this jurisdiction. that's what you're supposed to do. and if you can't do it, we will hire somebody else. and if you file a motion, which somehow seeks release, then you will in effect impugn this program, and we will fire you. well, that's a story may be unusual, only in the sense that the defender was willing to protest. because of the fast food would have defenders are not willing to do it, and the vast majority of heads of programs, of various kinds, have not been able for a variety of reasons, to bring to the attention of the course of the enormous problems that they face. to put it bluntly, because of
excessive caseloads, not only are the rights of defendants he wrote it, and the sixth amendment undermined, but rules of professional conduct are violated daily as we tolerate a kind of second rate legal representation in the united states that is a shame for the american legal profession. it is true, there have been some efforts of litigation and will will be explored in workshops following this plenary session, but for the most part the litigation, however important it has been, and i do think it's important, it has certainly brought a very mixed results at some defenders, very few defenders, have sought to withdraw from cases or stop appointments, notably in arizona, tennessee, and in miami. and there's also been efforts made at systemic litigation. and of those, too, have languished in the courts, perhaps with the single recent
example where significant result was received in montana where it brought about a legislative change to a lawsuit brought by the american civil liberties union. the reality is some doubt, i think, in the report that i worked on with bob spangenberg, justice denied, america's continuing neglect of our constitutional right to counsel. here is what we said in our executive summary. today in criminal and juvenile proceedings in state courts, sometimes counsel is not provided at all, and it often is applied in ways that make a mockery of the great promise of the gideon decision. due to funding shortfalls, excessive caseloads and a host of other problems, many citizens are truly failing. and the country's current fiscal crisis, indigent defense funding may be further curtailed.
and the risk of convicting innocent persons will be greater than ever. although troubles and indigent defense have long existed, the call for reform has never been more urgent. yes, it is fair to say the crisis that was written about following the 1999 symposium continues. nearly 50 years after gideon as professor ogletree suggested, progress has been made, but we still have a long, long way to go. the battle for the sixth amendment is by no means one. [applause] >> quite an enlightened. but as professor lefstein said, progress is being made here justice cherry, the nevada judiciary has played a key leadership role in some sweeping reforms in your state. can you tell us about that?
>> well, thank you for giving me the opportunity talk about what's happening in my state of nevada. i've been -- i grew up in saint louis, but moved out to las vegas in 1970 after i graduated from washington university of law school in saint louis and have been there now for four years, except for the three years i've been living in carson city. i don't live in carson city. i exist in carson city. i am a recovering special fund or who actually ran for an elected judgeship in 1998 and actually one. even though there was at first published about that i'd let everybody go even though my name wasn't joe. i served eight years on the district court bench, and then in 2006, had this vision that want to be supreme court justice and i can tell you all, watch out what you wish for, you may get it. i'm not only read, i ran
unopposed by been on the supreme court now for three years. in the early '70s, i was clark county public defender. i work my way up to assistant public defender where i was in charge of like 25 attorneys. phil collins hear from the public defender's office have over 100 attorneys. so that shows the growth of our state and especially indigent defense. my supreme court consists of seven justices, two females, five males. we have a very diverse group of women african-american, a basque, a jew, a mormon, so we have a diverse think that going to go not diverse about, ideally one on the supreme court a. i never tried a case as a lawyer. a criminal case. so it makes a quite different when i say it's a little different when you're representing a defendant, other than sensing a defendant. because six of the seven of us were trial judges. we now have a lady on the court who comes from private practice
which is really unusual. we do not have an intermediate appellate court. so it back we cannot even call it intermediate because it is on the ballot in november. it's got a very slim and none chance to pass although it is fail before but our legislature has passed it twice and hopefully will have a court of appeals. there's only 11 states without a court of appeals and of course we're one of them. in 2007, when i first became a member of the supreme court, the chief justice was william maupin that serve as a public defender with me in the '70s. and in fact, i took into his first murder trial which he actually one. and so we had a good friendship and he knew my background as a public defender, special defends attorney over the years. two things happened that you heard about the miranda case. i'm very fully with the miranda case because in postconviction relief my partner went to the district court judge and said i need some investigative fees, about 2500. the district judges are, i don't
have the money i can't give it to you. when the case got into federal court, a young lady who's a criminal defense attorney got $100,000 to even go to cuba to interview witnesses. and this was a person who not only was not guilty, he was innocent completely innocent. and he spent all those years on death row. and i guess the most interesting thing is the county got slapped with about a $5 million lawsuit, and i mentioned phil kohn, the public defender now that he wasn't at that time. at that time they didn't allow brand-new attorneys baby public defenders to do murder cases. not anymore, not under his regime. they have a burger king. so 2007, the chief justice bill maupin decide to create the indigent defense commission. and one of the reasons is the review journal, our paper in las vegas which is probably the only paper right now, that's published, had had an exposé on what we called the conflict attorneys. those were people who were
appointed to represent indigent defendants, and when there is conflict with the public defender's office. and it was -- the judges were pointing friends and relatives and wasn't working out very well. so this exposé was brought to the attention of the chief justice, and he decided between them randy case with a big verdict and the exposé on contract attorneys that changes need to be made. and i threw myself on the grenade there. i said though, i'd like to be chairman of this commission. because i think it the best background for indigent defense anyone at and pointed me. he's now that the court. is retired and it is back in private practice. so we started in 2007 with the indigent defense commission, and the first mistake i made of course was i did not include prosecutors and some rural judges, which was a big mistake. and after we came up with some subcommittees, it was determined
that i need to start over. and we did things and prosecutors who have been heavily involved and we couldn't have accomplished what we accomplished to date without the prosecutors. and it could the rural judges. so there are two major counties, washoe county which is we know. about over 300,000 people, and clark county which is las vegas, over 2 million people. over 2 million people. and it we have the rural areas where we have combined judicial districts, even though there are 17 counties. the judicial dishes are combined in each judicial district has about two district court judges. washoe has 14, 16 district court judges and las vegas will be having 50 -- 52 district court judges in 2011. what we first looked at is the performance standards. once we included district attorneys and rural folks to participate in the indigent defense commission, we got some things accomplished.
and even though we had some resistance from the counties, and i could never accomplish what i accomplished without to county manager's. jeff wells from clark county and john from winnipeg who took this isn't even though things were real that in real, things are real bad in las vegas as you all know. our legislation is going into special session on february 23 with a $1 billion deficit. they were able to do some things for the indigent defense and a give them a lot of credit. because they put their jobs and their necks on the line by doing that. but, of course, the one thing that backs up the indigent defense commission is a thing called the sixth amendment. and where you have and not to count about competent counsel. we were able to pass performance standards that even though my fellow jurists on the supreme court really had never represented indigent defendants. they have since a lot of them. they went ahead and even though there were some resistance on instituting the performance standards, we did institute them
and now we are doing training sessions on performance standards. the next thing we wanted to do was caseload standards. and i had the greatest assistance from david carroll from nlada, national legal -- nlada, national legal and defender association but i couldn't have done it without him. he was recommended to me by our executive director of the aclu in clark county, and he really gave me insight into this whole issue of indigent defense and how to hammer it through a court order, rather than through legislation. we would have loved to handle this through legislation but you got to understand in nevada, we still have that small statement out of even though we are eight largest event. our legislature meets every other year and it is a citizen legislature. of course, they have to balance the budget. so one of the things the legislature did over the years is kept on coming to state public defenders budget so that it became really am not anti-as far as indigent defense. represents just a couple of
counties. most of the counties have gone to public defender or contract system. we next decided to look in the case is and has caused real problems are real fighting between district attorneys, public defenders, criminal defense bar, contract attorneys, county managers, and so we had bob spangenberg to report. and unfortunately, he did not make recommendations as to what the caseload standards -- a student, was what the caseload for an washoe washoe and in clark county. this was a great thing that we did. quezon city in both these counties. but we were unable to really use that report to our benefit so we are we doing it again. so my commission is going to be meeting on april 26. when we meet we do video so you can participate from carson city, las vegas, or reno. and they get a pretty good turnout because we're going to be talking about caseload
standards and where we go from here. as to how. now just recently i was approached by some members of the public defenders, that decided that maybe caseload standard of 214 not murder, non-class a felonies would be appropriate. and the former chief justice who is now just another associate justice, associate chief justice decide we need to do more study on this. so we're going to continue to study. one of the things we accomplished was with the appointment of contract attorneys, where they have conflict. were able to establish conflicts office in las vegas and by former public defender and former d.a., at a conflict office in washoe. we can't do it in rural's because in the rural areas you have to big attorneys to take criminal appointments. so we really left it to the judges in the rural areas to handle that situation the best they can.
so we were able to establish both this conflict offices. they have tried to institute some training programs. they do stringent studies of these attorneys who apply. one of the things in clark county, and i was a contract attorney for a number of years, they used to have a stipend of 3000 a month through jeff wells from clark and were able to raise that stipend to $4500 a month. to represent conflict -- conflict defendants. and also, if they wanted to trial they got paid hourly. so we had a number of people consider the economic times in las vegas, although ours is still doing very well to have a number of applicants. so that system is still in its infant stages but we are hoping that it brings a bit of results. i will do next time they go and interview some of the defendants in jail how they like their conflict attorneys. we do have a special public defender in las vegas. it was the first special public
defender. phil kohn was a sick one. a guy named a shoot ya. and that office doesn't do the work, but it also only does murder cases. and so have the to public defender offices there. and we have a public defender in an alternate public defender and reno. we would like to better fund the special -- the state public defender, but that doesn't seem possible. i'm going to be around you for the next couple days. i was a law clerk or the equal employment opportunity commission in 1968 when they had resurrection city and all the things that were going on here. with the johnson administration. i'm glad to be back. my son is a press secretary for our congresswoman, but unfortunately he is not here in washington. he lives in washington. his dad here because a guy named obama is going to be in las vegas i guess to apologize about making fun of our city where you go and blow all your money.
[laughter] >> so he won't be here. i want to thank you for this opportunity. i'm hoping we can get some question and answers session so we can talk more about the indigent defense commission. i'm excited to participate in this. sunday we would like to have an oversight committee, commission that would look over indigent defense. but at the economic things, at least are going to las vegas and reno and blow your money, we won't be able to do that because we've got a billion dollar deficit. so thank you for this opportunity to talk about indigent defense. [applause] >> thank you, justice cherry. senator jackson, louisiana took a different road to reform. can you talk about that for us, please? >> sure, good morning. i think perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from the louisiana experience is not the new structure or the new funding, but it is the process
that it took to bend the political will of the state. in 2005, speaking to a joint session of the louisiana legislature, our didn't chief justice said to us, it is never a popular political position to spend money on what some people see as a social program for criminals. well, here we sit in 2010. we are still not indigent defense is still not popular. but we have an estate as red as louisiana is, made significant process, progress. and i think the important lessons to learn are, what did it take to move the ball further down the field? what did it take to begin to resolve the tremendous turf battles that exist. and what were the political dynamics that lead to progress?
i think that i started in this because i was the only nonlawyer in the legislature who had a little sense of justice and fairness, but who didn't know enough to know what i was getting into. [laughter] >> it probably should have been a significant clue that in 2003, when we began the reform process with the creation of a bipartisan, broad base, task force for blue ribbon task force commissioned, that there were probably 50 different drafts of a concurrent resolution. that should have been a key indicator that this was not going to be an easy process down the road to reform. but louisiana did come together, starting with that blue ribbon
commission, which really was the precursor for the broad-based legislative initiatives that followed. but that commission was a place where, at least all of the players gathered together in one forum to discuss differences, and to at least begin to build a constituency for a not very popular public policy initiative. and in louisiana, the turf battles were legendary. it was probably the only political issue that i could choose at the time where there was no identified constituency in support. even the people who should have been in support, the private bar, the public defenders, were fighting each other. and the only real people who want a change and cry for reform
were the people in jail, who couldn't vote, which is always really a big motivation for politicians like myself. [laughter] >> and while we didn't transform indigent defense to a public -- a popular policy notion, i think we did make significant reforms to principled, practical public policy decisions. principled because fundamental to this discussion with those democratic values of equality, justice and fairness. and that overarching theme really was the rallying cry around which we organized legislative support and community support. practical because we are politicians. we are faced, as the judge
talked about, with all those dynamics of the balancing budgets, this year louisiana, too, has about a billion dollar deficit. but the reform process made a realistic political choices. recognizing that change would not come overnight. and education of legislators was the very critical aspect of reform. we were guided by a more engaged bar association during this process, and certainly our friends, the great carpetbaggers of information, certainly help level the playing field and louisiana. and we did a number of things in reform, in the reform process, i think, that surprised legislators and help garner for support. we pressed for an information
driven reform. we didn't ask for a whole lot of money at the onset. we asked for increased oversight for central authority for more stable and predictable funding revenues. but we did that with a request or reporting, caseload data, to make the case for later funding request. i think that that request for information that we propose incremental changes was a real road map to our successful reform efforts. we started this process in 2003. in 2005, we introduced the bill that let everybody that had a fight fight. . . oversight authority in louisiana, with some