tv Washington Journal CSPAN April 24, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
fuse of the week with phillip klein and adam serwer. --. ♪ >> good morning and thank you for joining us on "washington journal" is easter sunday, april 24, 2011. for the next three or, we will take your calls and talk about topics in the news. congress is out again this coming week so we thought we would take this opportunity to talk with our international callers and get their thoughts on president obama's first two years in office and how he is being perceived as an international leader.
for the first segment, we want to hear from international callers only. 001 is the country code for the u.s., 202-737-0001 if you live in the uk. let us know how you think president obama is doing as an international leader. 001 is the country code and 202-737-0002 for all other countries. that is just for this first segment of "washington journal" want to hear from international callers only. this is the lead story this morning in "the washington post" as well as in the " the new york times." the africa bureau chief for the new york post joins us now from nairobi. can you tell us what the leader
of yemen agreed to? guest: the president has agreed to step down from power in exchange for immunity for himself and his family from potential prosecution for crimes and corruption charges. basically, if the agreement is finalized, he would step down within 30 days. host: who did make the agreement with? guest: it was basically a proposal that was made by the arab neighbors of yemen including saudi arabia. he has agreed to this. this agrees with the political opposition in yemen. the problem is is that while the and many opposition have agreed in theory to this deal, they still have some reservations.
the fact that the president would not step down for one month, an interim government would be formed part of the opposition wants the president to step down before the creation of this interim coalition government. host: do you have reporters on the ground in yemen right now? guest: right now, we have a freelance journalist who we have been using on the ground in yemen. host: has been the reaction by the opposition to this? guest: the opposition is planning a counter proposal as of now. in theory, they have agreed to most aspects of this proposal, but the main bone of contention is that they want the president to step down before the creation of this interim government. --y also don't want apparently the parliament has
the ability to reject or accept the president's resignation and they don't want that to happen either. they want to see the president stepped down right away and then move forward with the creation of this interim government. the big question is whether or not the yemen streets will agree to this great many activists who spearheaded the populist uprising in late january, they don't want to give the president any sort of immunity. they want him to face potential trial for alleged crimes including the death of 52 protesters killed on a single day in march. host: on the streets, what has been the reaction to the u.s. role or non-role to this situation in yemen? guest: on the street there is
anger at u.s. policy. any of the activists i interviewed said the u.s. should take a stronger public stance against the president. they would like to see the same sort of a firm stance the u.s. has taken in egypt and libya. to be fair, the u.s. is pushing behind the scenes for a peaceful transfer of power. the activists are saying that the president only understands firm public statements and especially one coming from the united states, its key ally, would go a long way to lush green in a new and more democratic order in yemen. host: you are the washington bureau chief for "the washington post, "we thank you for joining us.
for the next 40 minutes or so during this first segment, we want to hear from international callers only. we want to get your view on president obama as an international leader. 202 is the area code. if you live in the u.k., 737- 0001. all other countries, if you call from2 outside the u.s.from02- 737-0002 is the number for you to call. we will leave the numbers up there. sometimes it takes allowed to get this segment started but it is usually very interesting when we hear from international callers. this is the area and a huffington column this morning in the huffington post.
capability to work with others internationally. even with libya and stuff like that, we canadians, and europe and all over the west, we have plans and strategies to fix these things. it is like the u.s. is abandoning us. in economical terms, we have so much oil that we would like to provide the united states and president obama is just sitting around and thinking about it. you guys need a president who takes action. host: is the situation with steven harper now in canada? caller: the election is in full swing. i am voting for steven harper. we are afraid of a hung
parliament. it is almost like we are voting for the lesser of two evils. that is how canadians feel right now. we don't particularly -- i think stephen harper has a 45% approval rating. the majority of canadians don't want the coalition government. that is why he is ahead in the polls. host: thank you for calling in from toronto. the phone numbers are on your screen this is this"politico" this morning.
host: on the front page of "the new york post" -- here are the phone numbers to call if you are international. if we don't get the international callers, we will open it up to domestic lines. usually get a flood of the international callers. maybe easter sunday is the problem. this is on the front page of "the washington post."
host: our next call comes from west africa. caller: good morning. i believe president obama is doing a wonderful job. i also think that he needs to communicate more on the number of jobs that are being created and also how many people are getting their homes back. i think that is where the deficit is, it is a communication deficit host: how are you watchingthe "washington journal" this morning? caller: voa.
host: what do you do in west africa? caller: i am at the university. i wish i could have an opportunity to share my experiences with americans but so far no one has invited me. host: no one has invited you? caller: i would like to share my experiences. west africa is such an interesting place right now. imagine what is going on in nigeria and the ivory coast and here in beneen. we had a peaceful elections a couple of weeks ago. our president was reelected for a second term in office. i have many stories to tell but unfortunately, no university is inviting me up there. host: we have not heard about the west african election because it went quietly. caller: yes, nigeria had
sporadic scenes of violence in the north. also, the ivory coast is very difficult right now. on the other hand, we are a smaller country where we conduct things peacefully. the whole outlook is not bleak. there are bright spots. the university community could develop more interest in west africa because we have cash deposits and mineral resources. gold is being exploited in san. senegal. west africa could replace some of the middle eastern countries in terms of supplying the u.s. with oil supplies.
host: thank you for calling in and thank you for watching c- span. our next call comes from warren in british columbia, canada. caller: i love your station and i watch a lot and it is a wonderful thing host: do you watch it via satellite? caller: yes. presidential is doing the best he can under difficult circumstances. i think your country, this is one person speaking by talking to a number of people, i think it has been viewed better in the last few years. that is about all i have to said. i think the country is fortunate to have him. you're asking about mr. harper. i would like to disagree with
the earlier caller. he does not have a 45% lead. it is roughly 35%. host: i think he said approval rating. caller: he might have said that but in the election in about eight days' time, in the polls, i don't think he will get a majority. there has been some interesting things with the new democratic party happening right now. it is an interesting time up here. host: how would you describe u.s.-canadian relations right now? caller: i think they are reasonably good. yeah, i can't think of another way to describe at the moment. i think they are reasonably healthy. in the post-9/11 world, it was -- it is different than what we used to know as far as coming and returning to your country and the same for you folks.
host: senator collins is the first gop senator to oppose the paul ryan budget proposal. -- she said friday she will not support the 2012 budget passed by the house last week. she doesn't support congressman rinds plan but at least he had the courage to put forth a plan that significantly reduced the debt. all right, we will open up the phone lines. cause parliament is out, we are not on the part run the -- on the bbc parliament channel as we usually are on sundays. people in the u.k. are not seeing us as they normally do. we want to open it up and we
that comes from a republican strategist. kingston, jamaica, you are on the line. how is obama doing is a -- an international leader? caller: i think he is doing quite well. what is unfortunate, from my perspective, is that he does not seem to be getting a lot of support. he is perceived as weak. the fact is that many people, the rest of the world perceives americans as quite pushy on many fronts. here is somebody who is willing to work with other people and it is perceived as weak. i don't see that as week.
i see that as leadership. i figured that the criticism he gets is unwarranted. it doesn't seem to be in a way to try to support him. it looks as not supportive from where we said. sit. host: houri watching c-span this morning? caller: cable. host: next call. caller: they never give credit to an individual. i think the uprising in the middle east is because americans picked a president they wanted and they want to pick a president. the fact that there is only one michael jordan, oprah winfrey,
abraham lincoln, and even ronald reagan and there will be only one barack obama. this country needs him. they never give him credit. for two years, the democrats and obama wanted 60 votes. i look in the mirror and i don't blame them. you give him 60 votes that guantanamo bay will close. the truth will come out. thank you, cspan. host: boston, larry and our republican line. caller: given the hand the president obama was dealt, he has done a fantastic job. he has brought a different perspective to the office and he is willing to make compromise.
he is not bull-headed. i think the world looks at us in a more favorable light. i like the fact that he is willing to compromise and make deals that are doable. given the hand that he was dealt, he has done a fantastic job and in 2012, he has my vote, thank you. host: houston, a texas, independent line, good morning. caller: i concur with the rest of the previous speakers. i think he is doing a fantastic job given some of the economic and international constraints. i and some kinds concerned about his position about his position
on africa where i am from. he is not pushing as hard as possible for promoting democracy as he has been in egypt. i come from ethiopia and we have a dictator. many of the countries have dictators. i think he could be a force for change. the demand is that there should be ruled law, transparency for the continent of africa to emerge as a viable continent politically and economically. host: we have not heard much about ethiopia. are you hearing about any unrest in the nation? caller: the guy, the courage to dictator is very, very intelligent. in his ability to be merciless.
come next month, he will be in power for 20 years ruling with the barrel of a gun and making tribal divisions. we have an apartheid system of its own volition. he is trying to proclaim because he is using the leverage. when i went to school, i went to alabama. george wallace used to play the black-and-white to stay in power. this guy is doing the same thing. we have a problem in ethiopia in bringing a coalition of the people, because they are pressed, he is pitting them
against each other. it is taking longer. the entire continent is taking longer than north africa which is more developed. the boiling point is coming. the question is how to get there. ethiopia is in the process of organizing. host: we will leave it there. catherine from washington, d.c., on our democratic line. caller: i think obama is doing a great job. he has to face a really, really right wing industrial complex. i think he is doing great and i appreciate him despite the fact that i'm a liberal. i am really pretty conservative.
obama is really stuck many times. and you so much. host: richard, republican, woodbury heights, new jersey, good morning. caller:caller: hello, how are y? i think the international community thinks he is doing a good job. i do not think he is doing a good job for america. the reason i think that way is -- the guy is very articulate. obama is much more articulate than bush. but when we had bush, we were a stronger presence in the world. in other words, no one could really intimidate us. i think we are open to intimidation right now. i think we are open to a situation where we could easily be bested. i think a lot of the rest of the countries, many of the countries
in the world are doing better, but we're not. and i think that says something to how we're doing. in other words, as an international leader, it might be great for the other nations, but it is not so hot for us. we still have high unemployment rates. we're still not getting the exports done. you're still not getting manufacturing back to where it needs to be. it is great that he comes off to the world as better, but to the u.s., he has a long way to go. i think he needs to focus here. host: thank you. jackie, how is president obama and doing as an international leader? -- i was president obama doing -- how is president obama and doing as an international
leader? caller: i read the 9/11 commission report. it has a lot to do with our international policies. i encourage everybody to go online and read it, especially the recommendations and conclusions. in the report, the talk about why so many people in the middle east are so angry -- they talk about why so many people in the middle east are so angry with us. firstly, our support for dictators in that part of the world. there is a shift in that going on. no. two, support for israel matter what they do. numbre three -- number three was are military bases in that part of the world and how it changes the dynamics in that part of the country. host: can you tie that into president obama's leadership?
caller: some of it is how he is doing overseas -- host: we will leave it there. how is president obama doing as an international leader? caller: he is doing great. he is doing very good. the united states had a tarnished reputation after being police for years around the world. he had to come in the end -- being bullies for years around the world. he had to come in and repair that reputation. if people no longer do you, we may not want to do you harm. you have to go from the beginning to try to get people to understand what american values are all about, that america is really all about doing good, and that being a great nation, at the same time, recognizing the other greatness in other nations.
that is in "the hill" this morning. next call is lucy in boca raton, florida. what do you think about president obama as an international leader? caller: i think he is the worst president we ever had. let's take libya for example. he has not really laid out his plan as to what we're doing in libya. the relation ship with israel is horrible. we do not have the relationship that we used to have, even under president clinton. we had a good relationship with them. this president does not seem to want to recognize them. if they defend themselves, he is not going to stand by them. never mind that he has been a terrible precedent here domestically.
unemployment is still 8%. we have a crisis right now in st. louis and japan. he is not bothering to travel to any of these places where people have been devastated by these natural disasters. i cannot really say anything good about the guy. it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. if he was hispanic, i would probably say the same thing. i happen to be hispanic. i did not good thing for him in the beginning. i have no intention of reelecting him. host: that was lucy on our republican line. this tweet -- from bwahh. ben, you are on the "washington journal." what you think about president obama as an international leader?
caller: i think he is a good international president, just not a good united states president. he has done nothing for the poor. we have no jobs in the united states. yet they say we have plenty of jobs. unemployment has jumped. food prices are high. gas prices are exploding. and electricity bills, i went from $125 per month to 3 minutes $76 per month on my electric. that is what you have for president. for power to him. -- more power to him. host: from politico --
here is the cover story in "the new york times" magazine for their sunday edition. "why she went." this is a picture of the president and his mother. this is an excerpt from a the about president obama -- about this is an excerpt -- this is an excerpt from a new biography about president obama. ruekaiay? caller: i'm calling to make a comment on president obama as an international leader. i think he is an excellent domestic and international
leader. i say this because, if you remember when he went to cairo and gave that speech, i think that was a catalyst to what has been going on, the uprising in revolution occurring in the mideast today. i strongly believe that speech given the current inspired many of the members of the audience -- gave it in cairo inspired many of the members of the audience to rise up. carolina,ufort, south susan, a republican. caller: i would like to say that i do not see president obama being a leader at all. if anything, i think he is a reactionary. he just reacts to whatever is going on in countries worldwide. he is really not out there doing anything to support these
hickory, north carolina, judy. how is the president doing as an internationally there? caller: he is failing to pass a by other countries and neglecting the united states -- to pacify other countries and neglecting the needs of the united states. host: can you give us an example? caller: he is permitting brazil to do offshore drilling in the united states, as well as having facilities to store that oil,
and not letting our own golf companies drill there -- gulf companies drill tehre. -- there. it's just atrocious. caller: i would like to join in with the majority of people who have called in. i think president obama is the most wonderful president we have ever had and maybe never will have. host: why? caller: i think he is just what this country and the world means as far as being reasonable. have you seen any of the signs in some of those protests overseas? they say, "yes, we can, too." he has shown the world that the whole world can be better. i think he is wonderful. host: from "politico" --
the republicans without blind hatred of our president. any president in the history of this country has greeted the queen of england has bowed. but the fact that this president has done so with other leaders -- the tea party patrons oppose cutting medicare, anything that -- they have their so-called virtuous fight against waste, fraud, and abuse. where the hell were the tea party patriots when bush led us into war and a consequent and
it is like to document the life of a president -- white house photographers and discuss what it is like to document the life of a president. he says, today, the ipod mini is no more. no! ve!'t take it away, ste what are you doing? i give you the ipod nano. [laughter] >> mike daisey comments on the world as he sees it. his latest, the agony and ecstasy of steve jobs. >> my monologue comes out of my obsession. >> find out more tonight on c- span's "q&a." . you can download podcasts of
"q&a"' online. >> may 1, "indepth," your questions for tibor machan, whose books include "the promise of liberty." he will take your calls, e- mails, and tweets live on may 1. >> "washington journal" continues. host: adam serwer with the "american prospect" magazine. what is your perspective of obama as an international leader? guest: i think the president has done a pretty good job of juggling an extremely difficult set of circumstances. the upheaval in the arab world is something that any president from any party would have
difficulty juggling, and i think he has handled it pretty well. he helped -- he leveraged u.s. influence over the egyptian military to prevent them from firing on protesters in the tower square -- in tahrir square. added been my decision, i probably would not have intervened -- had it been my decision, i probably would not have intervened in libya. he has done a good job of not getting in the way of democratic movements in the middle east. some countries have done better job than others. for the most part, the president has done a fairly decent job of asserting himself as an international leader. host: fill of klein of the -- philippe klein -- philip klein of the "d.c. examiner," same
question. guest: it is too early to say that relative stability now is indicative of what the situation will be a few months from now. we do not know what type of influence the muslim brotherhood will have on other groups. it is premature to say. as for libya, i think he has had this odd, halfway strategy. he wanted to be seen to do something to intervene, yet he did not want to get too involved because he was worried about being perceived as bush and being the sort of ugly american that get involved in all of these incidents everywhere. he is very reticent about the use of u.s. power and global leadership. as a result, he did this sort of nato-type thing. at the end of the day, you need u.s. firepower to be able to do
anything. now it is not clear what is going on there. we do not even know who the rebels are anyway. we do not know who we are assisting. he says he wants gaddafi gone, but what happens if he is not? there is no clear answer. that is a difficult situation. on syria, you have another situation where a sod is using violence against protesters -- assad is using violence against protesters. other than releasing statements, obama is not doing anything with regard to syria. what is the logic or rationale? why libya and not syria? it is an erratic and muddled strategy. adam serwer, are
these losses for us? guest: one problem is that the u.s. has been -- al-qaeda, as long as extremists have a political theory -- islamist extremists have a political theory that the only way to get rid of dictators is through violence. indonesia's bank and egypt -- in tunisia and egypt, you saw leaders being removed by peaceful, non-violent protests. it removes something that also helps fuel terror. he might act in our interest when we want him to, but he also helps create a climate that islamist extremism can grow in. i think it is -- in these
countries, it is really difficult for the u.s. to dictate the outcome. what happens in these countries is largely not based on what the u.s. says or does, but on the internal political dynamic of these countries. in egypt and tunisia, our military refused -- the military refused to act rally on behalf of their leaders. in both cases, the leaders -- in syria and libya, military is willing to massacre as told. there is a much greater scale of death. the key factor has not necessarily been the interference of the united states, but whether or night -- not the security forces decided to act.
we cannot dictate the outcome by simply wanting something to be a certain way or by saying strong words. host: let's move on to another topic before we go to calls. please allow 30 days between your calls. the debt limit. we are about to hit it. politically, who does this issue benefit? guest: i am not sure who would necessarily benefits. i had a piece out this week in which i tried to get out of the political back-and-forth that is going on in washington. i spoke to a lot of investors. asked how markets are reacting to this. if you talk to investors, they say this is political theater. one trader says, if you look at where bond yields are trading, they are trading below, which suggests that nobody in the bond
market thinks there is a realistic chance that the debt limit is not going to be raised at some point to accommodate future debt payments. there is potentially a risk for republicans. i think that republicans may have made a mistake by building the debt limit up too much, sort of giving false hope. at the end of the day, at some point, republicans are going to raise the debt limit. other than a few exceptions, generally, if you look at the language of republican leaders, it says they will raise it. they just want something real on spending and deficit reduction. given that -- obama knows that they do not want to not raise the debt limit. it is unlikely that he will make a major concession. as a result, republicans may
come out of this with another disappointment to their base. ultimately, a lot of conservatives felt that boehner is sort of over promised and under delivered on the deal to avert the government shut down. so things were going to move to battles over the debt limit. he sort of disappointed again. that would be two events where those promises -- the reality did not live up to the rhetoric. guest: i have the opposite impression. i think the democrats have handled this badly for the same reason that you noted. the debt limit has to be raised. the obama administration is negotiating with republicans about what they will get in order to raise it. i do not understand why the administration is negotiating to begin with. democrats tried to remove the debt limit a few decades ago. we're but someone's --
republicans brought it back when they took the house. they wanted something to hold over the democrats. it has worked well. in terms of over-promising, that is very possible. for now, i think it is the democrats who played this extremely poorly. los >> our guests -- host: our guests are adam serwer and philip klein. first call for our gusts. -- guests. john, you are on the air. caller: i need to be there with you, because i can b.s. with the best of them.
we should not be in the middle east. these people leave their and come here and cannot even build a mosque. as far as the economy, america is not broke. it is all b.s. it is greed versus greed. for example, every time the gas price rises, they should rise the cost of living or pay me more money. every time we want to get into conflict -- i guarantee you, if we start drafting people, we will get out of all of these conflicts. if gas prices of penny and we have to pay every employee more money, gas prices will come down. we have no gas situation. it is speculators sitting there with computers. host: we have a lot on the
table. thank you for calling in. guest: i think on gas prices, you have a multitude of factors. the events in the middle east. one issue is the improvement in the global economy. what happens is, when the economy gets better, people are consuming more energy. that typically drives up prices. you also have a situation in terms of the decrease in domestic drilling, which is also a factor. it is not just about one factor. it is a multitude of factors that are combining. host: adam serwer, this article in the "politico," mitt romney tops weak barack obama in new
hampshire, poll shows. caller: romney has an obvious obama care problem. is massachusetts plan is similar to the plan the president passed -- his massachusetts plan is similar to the plan the president passed. host: steve brill, florida, john -- sebring, florida, john. caller: we're supporting every one of the international countries with american tax payer dollars. as far as the oil prices, people cannot even afford to get to work and he will not do anything about it. they had 400 violations before these wells blew up in the gulf and the federal government would
not shut them down. it is not really bp's fault. as far as the debt, raising the debt limit, you cannot keep on giving all these people all these freebies and them not working and give them everything and then blame it on the rich people for not paying taxes. you cannot pay 42 cents out of every dollar for interest on that money. you are bankrupt. host: adam serwer? caller: i do not know what to say about people getting freebies. i think there is a misperception that there are a lot of people living off the federal government's largess. the biggest driver of costs in terms of the welfare state is rising medical stocks, -- medical costs and that is and that the affordable care act attempted to reduce. there is no reason to believe that we cannot raise taxes a
little bit, bring them back to clinton-error rates, when the economy -- clinton-era rates, when the economy was booming. true that ank it's lot of people are getting a free ride from the federal government. if you look at tax statistics, some 40% of americans do not pay income tax. you have a growing percentage of the public that our net takers from the government. that is, they receive more government benefits than they pay out in taxes. our current entitlement and retirement system is far too generous for what we can afford going forward. the question is, you know, modestly higher taxes are not going to solve the problem. if you just want to raise taxes, to accommodate our obligations,
is everyone going to pay twice as much as they pay now so that we can keep the benefits as generous as they are? what are the economic effects if everyone had to pay twice as high taxes? ultimately, you have to adjust these programs and modernize these programs so that they can grow to sustainable rates that we can actually afford, so that future generations can have some semblance of these programs and not have to face the situation of either having a drastic or massive tax hikes that will crush economic growth. guest: when he says modernizing the program, he is talking about drastic benefit cuts. you have a deficit, after eight years of republicans cutting taxes and starting wars, a huge deficit. as a result, they're saying we need to cut medical benefits to
the poor and elderly. i do not think that is how you do it. a significant driver of our deficit is the current recession. also, the fact that we're spending all of this money on wars in libya, afghanistan, iraq. it is just a serious, manipulative thing to say that -- we need to shift the cost of medical care to the elderly, rather than being more responsible about how we use our money. guest: in response to that, when you talk about the debt and deficit, you have to talk about two things. you can talk about the immediate issues we're facing in the long term issues. when you talk about the immediate coming up if you want to talk about war, not even getting into the -- about the
immediate, if you want to talk about war, not even getting into the international debate, you can look at the economic downturn and explain why we're facing such deficits are now. it is not difficult to unusually face very severe deficits. during world war ii, our level of debt and deficit as a percentage of the economy are higher -- were higher than what we are experiencing now. a long-term deficit and that is the growth of the entitlement -- the long term growth in the deficit is because of entitlements. the cbo estimates for the year 2000, a time when we're running a surplus, for a multitude of reasons, the economy doing well, because we thought it was the end of history and we did not have to worry about the rest of the world, we have the so-called
peace dividend. we've cut defense spending. we had surpluses. even then, if you look at what bo wass saying, -- cd saying, they said we would have much higher spending. we knew that this problem was coming. when you look at the long-term problem, social security, medicare, medicaid, the obama care, which i mentioned as a trend to reduce costs, it is drastically adding to our burden. it is adding more subsidies and more people to the rules of -- roles of people who are receiving care from the
government. this idea that somehow you about health care to 30 million people and that you are going to somehow reduce spending by doing that -- it just does not add up. you can increase taxes, as they have done, but the problem is -- the medicare, for instance, the obama administration cut medicare in order to finance the health care law. those medicare cuts could otherwise be available to sort of reduced our debt burden with medicare, but, instead, he used that money to give out a new entitlement. another example -- on the tax side, a lot of people were talking about, what kind of tax revenue can we come up with? during the election, one of obama's ideas for helping to save social security was to
raise the payroll tax on people earning over $200,000. the problem is, he already did that to pay for obama care. there is an almost 1% increase on those income levels to pay for obama care. liberals will tell you that cbo says that obama care reduces the deficit. there is a lot of shifting around in the numbers. even if you take that at face value, the problem is that you are using medicare costs and tax increases to pay for trillions of new spending. those medicare cuts and tax increases are no longer available for debt reduction. host: that was philip klein. now adam serwer. caller: phil cites the cbo numbers and says the affordable care act does not save money. the cbo says that it does.
it shifts health care costs so that, by 2030, seniors would be paying 70% of their premiums. they're making you spend more money. the problem is that americans have this perception that somebody else is getting a free ride from the federal government. when you talk about cutting spending, it is very popular, because people assume that somewhere someone else is living high off the hog. you talk about cutting medicare, medicaid, social security -- which is not a significant driver of deficit, and people tell you know, i do not want to touch that or privatize that or turn it into a voucher program. you have all of this general language about how somebody else is getting a free lunch. in reality, individual government programs are things that people like and do not want
to mess with. guest: if you are benefiting from medicare, who would want anything to change? you have a generous system and you're getting benefits you did not really pay into. host: does this have to change? for some of your age, my age? guest: for current retirees or those people near retirement, there is not as much time for them to adjust to whatever changes we need to make to the medicare system. and younger,years we will have a new system. for people at or near retirement, we will keep the same system. the problem is that younger americans are getting a raw deal. young americans are currently paying to give these generous benefits to senior citizens who
are receiving far more than they actually paid into these programs. the programs are not going to be there when we grow up. basically, it is not a question of whether we reduce spending on these programs. it is how we reduce spending on these programs. right now, we have a contrast in visions. we have president obama's approach which he unveiled the, which is to increase this independent payment advisory board. his approach says, look, why don't we get a panel of experts together and they can determine what the most efficient way is to spend the money and where we should cut payment rates and what are the most effective treatments and so forth. lets bolt out the money that way -- let's dole out the money that way. it will mean payment cuts.
the cms says 20% of hospitals could close because of this. there could be worse benefits under the plan. the ryan approach says, let's put the money in the hands of seniors. instead of saying why doesn't the federal government determine the best way to save the money, it's, let's individuals decide. there are multiple reasons for that. what's good for the "average patient" may not be good for any given patient. that is why it is much better to have a system that is rooted around the individual. the other thing that has not been said about the rights and
benefits, the way they are given is that people -- the rise in -- that, theeneiftfits is way they're given, people who are poor and sicker would receive more subsidies than people who are not. the medical inflation idea is that, if you put the hands of purchasing power into individuals and we have an actual consumer market for health care, like we do for all sorts of other things in america, because we are consumer-based economy, that will lead to lower prices and contain health care inflation. it is a contrasting visions. the government setting prices or individuals trying to economize. guest: do you want private companies to leave the elderly high and dry, or do you want the government to pay for health
care for the least profitable segment of the population? the fact is that old people tend to be sicker than everyone else and they're expensive to take care of. as a result, they're not very profitable for insurance companies. because of that, under the ryan plan, we do not even know if ryan -- if private insurance companies would insure these people. the ryan act is appealing the obacma care act. it is the most expensive, least profitable population to ensure, and that is why we have medicare in the first place. it is difficult to ensure all people -- insure old people. there is reason to believe that the ryan plan would result in people going without care because it is either too
expensive -- they are either too expensive to consist -- to insure or the market is too expensive. host: vermont, richard, independent. thanks for holding. caller: thanks for taking my call. mr. serwer made the observation that the movement in egypt was peaceful and democratic. as i recall, the television news seemed to show an awful lot of violence and violent protests. i have read that hundreds of coptic christians were killed during the uprising. it is difficult for me to say that is peaceful or democratic. regarding taxes -- he repeats the myth that tax cuts somehow
cost the money thus -- cost the country money. the revenue generated went up to 20 $500 billion in 2008, according to the office of mud -- $20.5 billion in 2008. serwer?r. w guest: taxes do cost money. they will cost you programs that you like. guest: to the person who is receiving more money in their paycheck because they're paying less taxes, i would argue that is a saving to the taxpayer. when you talk about costs, the presumption is that all of the
money is the federal government money to start with. i like to think that the money is ultimately generated by individuals. if they are paying less money to the federal government, that is a savings. host: adam serwer, this tweet from mike freeman. or disagree? guest: i think it is very possible for the president to lose the election, particularly if unemployment has not gone down significantly by 2012 or is not going down fast enough. it is right that the united states political system has a very strong status quo bias built into congress, built into our government institutions. it is extremely difficult to
create radical change. for the most part, that is to the benefit of the system itself because it prevents one single party from unilaterally changing everything about the country any time they happen to win a landslide election. i think the tweeter is correct that you do need a landslide to make some big, serious changes, but i do not think he is correct that it is impossible for the president to lose. host: richard, good morning. \ caller: i have three things i would like to bring up. i voted for president obama, but i will never vote for him again. i thought he would give us out of the middle east like he said. instead, he sent more troops. now he will have less involved in libya. we have spent all of these billions of dollars. the other thing is banks -- our financial institutions got us
into the mess that we're in financially, and they have not done anything. the banks are back into the unregulated derivatives markets. they never corrected that. our oil prices are going sky- high. that is due to speculation in the futures markets, which was deregulated under bush in 2001, which created and run and we know where that went-- enron and we know where that went. why can we not regulate these markets and let oil prices be dictated by the cost at the wellhead -- well head, not by speculators? host: thank you. philip klein, mideast oil anand banks. guest: he was a democrat who voted for obama and now he is frustrated because obama did not
deliver. it gets to one of the problems why obama will have a difficult reelection. not that republicans have a good candidate, obviously. it is more complicated than that. one problem is, when you are running for office without much of the governing record, as obama did, it is easy, through rhetoric, to convince a wide swath the people that you're with them. that is one of the ways that obama was able to cobble together this coalition of independents and liberals and make them both feel that he was sort of one of them. however, once you are in the office, you have to start making actual decisions one way or the other, and that is when you start is a. -- when you start disappointing people. i did not think democrats are
selling going to vote for republicans -- do not think democrats are suddenly going to vote for republicans. compared to 2008, it is he not going to be able to get the same surge in voter turnout, the young voters doing as much as they were for him in that first time? that is one of the big question. if you saw his announcement video that he released a few weeks ago, particle -- part of it was just trying to get people excited, trying to recreate, reproduce this magic. it is more difficult when people have seen what you have done. guantanamo bay remains open. ksm is being tried in military tribunal. we're still in iraq, afghanistan, intervening in libya, so for. guest: i think the president
will have a difficult time recreating the same kind of enthusiasm. you can only be the first major black candidate running for president once. ultimately -- i think it still depends on the economy, but as he will have an easier time than phil is suggesting. one thing that will make it easier is the ryan budget. it is such mantises of what liberals and democrats believe the country believe -- such as an antithesis -- it is such an antithesis of what liberals and democrats believe the country needs. they do not love to see the entire welfare state destroyed, should the republicans did not want to see the entire welfare
state destroyed, -- they do not want to see the entire welfare state destroyed, should the republicans win the election. guest: if you look at early 2010 and obama speaking at this early house retreat, he picked on paul ryan's proposals and went back and forth with him. people like me were paying attention to paul ryan and his road map for america's future, the predecessor to his current budget. at elevated into the national conversation -- that elevated it into the national conversation. republicans -- and they have been wanting to get republicans to embrace this. you talk big about spending, but he will not sign on to big changes about the entitlement system -- you will not sign on
to big changes about the entitlement system. now they have. democrats are hoping they can use the old playbook, just talk about republicans wanting to kill granny. we do not know if that is going to work this time because there is a greater consciousness of the magnitude of our debt crisis. if you look at "the new york times," and others, it shows a plurality of people supporting the ryan proposal. it showed a willingness and understanding that we need to make changes to medicare to reduce the deficit. there were other numbers that could be interpreted the other way. i am not saying it is a clear win for the ryan plan. regardless of how it shapes up politically, the bottom line is you have to try it. the responsible thing is that we
have to recognize that we have to be something about our entitlements. everyone understands that they cannot stay as they are. we have to make changes. it is just a question of what changes. we have to have this debate at some point. alternately, if the american people want to pay drastically higher taxes, rather than sacrificing any of the current benefits, and republicans lose that debate, then sovi be it, but you have to have the argument. republicans could be rewarded for having serious proposals, whereas obama is playing games and is not really getting serious. guest: the ryan plan is not a serious and if you are talking about the deficit. it is serious about abolishing medicare, medicaid, destroying american welfare. it is not serious about the deficit. it cut taxes on the highest earners.
if you're serious about the deficit, you do not do that. the debate is not between someone who says, republicans are saying cut spending and irresponsible and democrats who are saying let's not cut spending and raise taxes dramatically. democrats are saying, let's do some spending cuts and raise some taxes. republicans are saying no tax raises ever. let's cut taxes on the highest earners and then shift the cost of doing that on to the people who are least vulnerable in our society. that is the debate. i do not think that is responsible. it mystifies me that cutting taxes on rich people in order to raise them on everyone else is considered a responsible way to handle the that this. it is not -- handle the deficit. it is not. people understand this proposal is not popular. you have to call it "serious flaws " in order to give it the
veneer of something that has to be done -- "serious" in order to give it the veneer of something that has to be done. host: this is from "the washington post." it is by lori montgomery, talking about the bipartisan committee for responsible federal budget. this morning, in "the new york times." sterling, virginia, you are on with philip klein and adam serwer on the "washington journal." caller: thank you very much. i am sure that my teabag -- or friends or well-
intentioned in that they do not want to raise the -debt raise- are -- are well-intentioned in that they do not want to raise the debt limit. they think they're doing something good for the country, but it is really costing everybody. host: are oil prices going to hurt president obama politically? cguest: yes. for the first time in a long time, the polls show a softening in the obama support among liberals and democrats. i think the reason is the pain at the pump. it is one of the most visceral, immediate feelings -- costs and that people feel it in their wallet. when they do, they get angry with the president who was in the office. host: botyh of our guests have master's degrees from columbia
university. caller: good morning. i think people will be surprised by the enthusiasm that people like me have in the upcoming election -- i mean people who are not ideologically-driven, but look for common sense, pragmatic people to vote for. that is why i voted for obama in the past election and why i plan to vote for him in the next one. when i look at the alternatives, i am not seeing that pragmatism. you were talking about the republicans having leverage in the conversation about raising the debt limit. i do not see them having any leverage. each republican voted for the ryan budget. if you look at those numbers, you have to raise the debt limit to cover those numbers. in effect, they have already voted to do so. people who are not ideologically driven understand that barack
obama is one man. there are 535 other elected officials in washington, d.c., whom nobody seems to be holding responsible to solve our country's problems. host: what is your enthusiasm level for obama? caller: i am confident about him. there are doing back-and-forth but not making a move to solve the problem. they are continuously running to raise money for reelection on issues but not wanting to address the issues. what i love about president obama is that he is a man who wants to address the issues. host: we are going to leave it there. philip klein, what is your enthusiasm level for the republicans? guest: there is no candidate that lights a fire under conservatives right now. that is the biggest question.
you have to have two things to defeat a sitting president. one is a flammable sitting president. i think obama is. the other thing is that you have to have a strong canada. -- you have to have a vulnerable sitting president. in 2004, people were growing weary of president bush. he barely got elected. he won a very close election the first time around. with the iraqi war, he was starting to grow unpopular. he was unbeatable beatable in 2004. bush ended up getting reelected. if the republicans have a lousy kennedy, obama could get reelected even if he has a lot of vulnerability. -- if the republicans have a lousy candidate, obama could get reelected even if he has a lot
of vulnerability. the candidates who would excite people more are not ready yet. people
like bobby jindal, chris christi, marco rubio -- some of the younger candidates that people really like, they are not going to run in 2012. you are left with a combination of retreads from 2008 and people who are novelty type candidates. then you have a few people trying to compete in terms of taking a shot at it. host: this is a tweets about killing the filibuster. guest: i am against ending the filibuster.
the way the government was set up, you can go back and read the federalist papers on this. the
founders were very worried about the tyranny of the majority. that is the idea that due to some sweeping social movement, to get into power and address some short-term issue, all the sudden you can make drastic changes. they wanted to make it difficult to make very drastic changes. at some point, there were frustrations when bush was in office. democrats were holding a lot of well qualified candidates to the supreme court because of filibusters. social security reform could not win with 55 votes in the senate. that was frustrating. at the end of the day, it is
supposed to be difficult to make drastic changes. we're not a parliamentary system. we're not europe. guest: the founders wanted to create a system where it would be difficult to make radical changes. what is interesting is the filibuster is not in the constitution. they created the system without a filibuster. we do not need the filibuster to have the system. the filibuster allows the minority to abuse its power in a way that is counter-productive. republicans were frustrated with the filibuster during the bush years. the use of the filibuster with republicans in the senate has skyrocketed. it has gotten to a point where the obama administration judicial nominees, if you used to hear about an up or down vote. you do not hear it from republicans who have made it so
that this administration has confirmed the fewest judicial nominees of any other president. it is ridiculous. if the founders of wanted the filibuster, they would have included it. they did not because they knew we did not need it. guest: even though it was not in the constitution, it was a convention. there used to be a filibuster in the house of representatives. host: the next call comes from arkansas, don is on the -- no longer with us. we will move on to arizona, a republican. caller: i have a couple of comments. i would like to ask a question. you made the statement about romney beating obama in new hampshire. mr. serwer said he had obamacare. nobody ever talks about mr.
romney saving the salt lake olympics. we would have been humiliated. it would have gone under. the president could not get the olympics to come. they talk about romney flip- floping. we have a president at flip- flops more than anyone. why are the mainstream media not up in arms about the gas prices like they beat up bush and cheney? why are you not screening about -- screaming about the gas prices? please answer that. guest: i tried to express myself without screaming. host: did you scream during the bush and mr. sheen? guest: no, but i was fairly young and not working in the media at the time. caller: i have a few things to
say. on the ryan plan for a reduction of the deficit, i now only drink bottled water. i know how much pollution was done in this area previously by industry. i own a house and business. when workers compensation when i owned the business with 14%. my unemployment insurance was 5% of payroll. my property taxes are 25% of my gross. my sales tax is 9%. i am 52. i have worked 37 years now i am being told that they're going to renig on the contract ahead with the government about medicare, social security, and
all of these benefits that i have paid into for all these years. the republican ryan plan wants to negate that with the contracts. i cannot see how they have a legal leg to stand on. guest: the problem is that it is not a choice between the ryan plan and everything stays the same. unfortunately, the way the retirement system was designed, it offered too generous benefits. even without the ryan plan if you put that completely on the side and say let's continue things on current trajectory, we're going to have massive medicare cuts. either way, benefits are going to be cut. the problem is people are comparing the ryan plan or any
proposed changes to medico -- medicare versus the status quo, the mythical fantasy land where we could keep on going the way we are forever. the benefits are going to have to go anyway. they are not going to be as generous as they are now. the question is whether we want to do it in a rational way where we can modernize the system and give more choices to individuals over the top of health care they want -- or do we want to go in a different direction where a panel of 15 people are making decisions for the rest of the country. that is the question. it is not a question of the status quo or benefit cuts. i feel for the caller. unfortunately, politicians for generations have not wanted to deal with the problem. the over-promised what we could deliver to retirees and the
numbers simply do not add up. host: mary is a democrat. you are on the "washington journal." caller: i am worried. if you privatize medicare, people have to make choices they have not had to make before. usually if you worked, the decision of coverage is between two or three different levels of coverage. now if you privatize it and people have to make all of these decisions across the board about coverage, we are not equipped or knowledgeable enough -- especially senior citizens. i work in the field. many senior citizens do not understand their coverage or what they're paying for. i am worried that people are going to end up paying a lot of money for coverage that does not cover what they need instead of having something across the
board where people are covered for many things that under commercial insurance is not even covered. guest: there is no question that if you abolish medicare and replace it with a voucher system, you put people at risk of not being able to pay for the health care they need. this is why we have medicare in the first place. we have it because it is a difficult population to take care of. leaving them on the mercy of the market did not work. what ryan is proposing is to go back to the system. the subsidized vouchers do not grow at the rate required for people to cover health care costs. we are saying to people that they are out of luck. this the we want to take care costs in the system. the choice is not between the ryan plan or going bankrupt. both proposals make cuts.
one proposal makes cuts without asking the wealthiest to sacrifice anything. it cuts taxes for them. that is not a reasonable approach. guest: the thing is that people make decisions all the time about things they do not know that much about. people who buy cars are not automotive experts preferr. people who buy televisions are not electronics experts. what we have is an actual consumer market where people can make choices. they decide what kind of television or car that they want. there is "consumer reports" and a multitude of websites. in the health care market, people do not know how much things cost. someone else is picking up the
bill. imagine if you walked into best buy and there were no prices on everything. you knew someone else was going to pay for whatever you bought. who would come out with a 14- inch tv? that is what we have in the health care system. that is why health care prices are so high. people perceive that the employer or the government are picking up the tab. guest: this is the fundamental difference between the way conservatives and liberals look at health care. not everybody is going to need a car. not everybody is going to need a nice tv. everyone gets sick. because of the inevitability of that, if you have a system that makes sure that getting old and sick does not mean you are left by the wayside and abandoned and
unable to pay for your basic health. host: how is john boehner doing? guest: a lot of people seem to have underestimated him. he has a difficult job. he has ideologically strident caucus. he has managed them fairly well. so far, he has met the ideological tests placed before him. he has not made any major mistakes. guest: on one hand, he has avoided being demonized the way newt gingrich was. that has been helpful. on the flip side, his overselling of the initial deal to avert the government shut down -- while he was able to get the ultimate deal, it may hurt him down the road by engendering some distrust among conservatives. host: we have to leave it there.
we are out of time. philip klein and adam serwer, thank you for being with us this easter morning. coming up, a roundtable discussion with two egyptian women. we will be talking about political unrest in egypt and the wider middle east. >> let's meet one of the top winners of this year's student cam competition. students were asked to produce a video to help them better understand the rules of federal government. today, we go to racine, wisconsin, to talk to our second prize winner, madison richards. how are you doing? >> i am good. how are you? >> i am well. >> when i was first research and all the different topics and options, we were looking for something that had clear sides
for both points of view. we got interested in the second amendment and wanted to know more about how it affected wisconsin and the rest of the united states. >> how do people in your town view the second amendment? >> they are very different. everyone really enjoy hunting. they like the option to carry a gun. in the city, it is even more varied. you may think it is a safety issue or will cause more problems. >> you said that the interpretation of the gun laws is not black and white. what do you mean by that? >> we are saying there are clearly two sides to interpret the second amendment. both sides have a viable points.
fans do kill people, but they also save people. gu -- guns do kill people, but they also say people. there was no black and white. it was in between. situational, it very. situationally, it varied. >> we were looking for people familiar with the issue and to have an opinion. we were looking for anyone knowledgeable on the issue to express their point of view it and help to support one of the sides. >> in the documentary, you shoot a real gun. why did you put that in the
documentary? >> we chose to put that in the documentary because we hoped others would gain insights we got. we wanted to try to know what it would be like to shoot again. we knew that guns were powerful. by shooting one, we did gain more insight. we were amazed by the power and how terrifying it was to shoot them. >> what are the gun laws in wisconsin wisconsin has one is called open carry. you can carry it as long as it is not concealed and others can see it. >> we learned more about the different production aspects of the documentary. we learned more about the topic itself. we learned about the wisconsin law is and how it connected to the federal government and the second amendment. >> madison, thank you for talking with us today.
here's a brief portion of madison's documentary. >> when the authorities cannot protect you, they have no business and no authority trying to deny you the right to protect yourself. >> do you feel safer carrying a handgun? >> yes, i do. as a woman, i am the weaker target than any other man would be. with a handgun, and would be able to defend myself easier. >> obviously, an offender would not bother trying to rob you. >> my research shows these gun freak zones are magnets -- these
gun-free zones are magnets for incidents. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we're pleased to welcome to the table two egyptian women here on fellowships. they were in egypt and during the tahrir square uprising. we want to talk about their experience and what they see for the future of egypt. we're going to start by introducing you to mirette bahgat. she is with the atlas corps as is may kosba. may, what are you doing in washington? guest: we are on scholarship with the atlas corps. we are serving with the public policy organization.
host: what are you learning? guest: we're learning whatever we can get our hands on. i have a chance to share my experience in my field with the organization i am serving with. i have been learning about policy-making, advocacy lobbying, networking. a big thing in this city is networking, meeting people, discussions. host: are you finding that what you are learning here will translate back in egypt or is similar to the way business is done in egypt? guest: it is not the same way. there are many differences here. i like the approach. there are things we may not replicate it should inspire us to create a subtle network in
the country. host: mirette bahgat, what are you working on? guest: i am working on civic enterprises. i am focusing on educational public policies and international service. i am learning a lot. i was working also on education back in egypt. for me, it is useful to be working on the educational policies here in the u.s. i am learning a lot. it is quite different from egypt in the way civil society is cooperating with the government. this was not the case in egypt. i hope this will be the case in the future. host: what surprised you the most about your experience in washington? i know you have only been here about a month. guest: part of my experience here is about my professional career.
another part is i am personally interested in the culture. whenever i go to any country, i am very much focused on the culture. i have been learning a lot about the american culture since i came here. we had so many stereotypes before i came. the stereotypes are being -- host: what is one stereotype that seems true? guest: that seems true -- americans are about action, not talking too much. host: what about you? what stereotypes have you found to be true? guest: i would have to agree with that. i came here in 2009. my first impression was that i kept looking for excitement. you expect hollywood everywhere. i kept looking for that. when i came here the second time, i realized that was not
the case. people are very hard-working and focused on what they are going to do. host: we will put the numbers on the screen. if you like to dial in and talk to our two guests from egypt, we will learn where they were during the tahrir square uprising began on january 25. where were you on january 25? guest: was online in cairo with facebook and twitter. i am not really a demonstrative tight. -- type. no one ever believed this many people would be on the streets. in the beginning, it was very interesting. the videos have people protesting. they were uncivilized and in power in. -- they worked civilized in the
videos were civilized and empowering. host: how was your connection question and did you lose your internet connection? guest: on the 29th, the internet connection was cut off. american friends recommended building up proxy servers to work through. the connection was dead completely. we stayed like that for a few days. host: was that a scary feeling? guest: it was not just the internet. he was everything except for the land line phones. host: president mubarak was probably president for your entire life. were you ever a supporter of his? are you a supporter of his? guest: never. i can give you a good example. after graduation -- i have
studied accounting. i thought the best thing to do was to work for the tax department. i decided not to do that anymore. i did not support the government. i would never work in a government entity. three years later, i joined the non-profit sector because of my feelings about the government. host: where were you on january 25? guest: i was at work with a nonprofit organization. on january 25, i did not have much faith in the protests. i did not believe they would escalate. we had protests before in the streets. they would end up only having tens of people. they would be caught by the police and jailed. on the 25th, i did not believe
the protests would be this large in number and escalate this quickly. host: did you go down to tahrir square? guest: i went in the second week. the first week, i was in trauma because of what was happening. all of the events were escalating very fast. i felt traumatized. i did not know if this was for the good or bad of the country in the first week. thatbecause of the fothugs came around in different neighborhoods in cairo. for us, it was very frightening to go in the streets for the first week. host: there was an article in the thursday "washington post" saying some egyptians fear withe lifting of emergency law. he was talking about the
christians and muslim brotherhood and other groups that are fearful of the emergency law being lifted because of potential anarchy. guest: me and may were having this conversation yesterday. we come from very different the cross. she is muslim and i am christian. it is interesting to hear both sides of the issue specifically. we were talking about criminalizing all kinds of strikes because they stopped the government from doing his work. i did not agree with this law because sometimes strikes lead to chaos in the country, but it the same time it is the only way nnel their to challe thei voices. you will not consider the issue unless people are able to go
into the streets and talk freely about the issue. guest: i believe that banning strikes and demonstrations is disastrous. we had been calling to lift the emergency law because they could literally stop people in the streets, jail them, and kill them. i believe this should be an emergency situation and it should be lifted. i am optimistic about the approach. they have been listening to the people and communicating with them. i believe it should be lifted. host: may kosba and mirette bahgat are our guests. they're both from cairo. we've been talking about what
they're doing on january 25. if you would like to talk to them, we will put the phone numbers on the screen. we begin with butch from jackson, wyoming. caller: hello, ladies. i would like to know what advantage to this revolution has given to women in the political system. are you going to have a voice? when are you people going to realize that religion is going to drag you down to secure a drug anybody else down? host: women and religion. mirette? guest: concerning the voice of women and whether they played a role in the revolution, this was the first time in egypt where you could find women in
the front lines during the uprising. usually you would find women in the back because men would not allow them to be in the front lines. this was the first protest in the streets where you would find women on the front lines facing all the gun shots. host: i think his question was going to now that this happened, are women going to have a larger role? i think that is where the caller was going. guest: women have been working hard in the past decade and even before the revolution they have been speaking out for different mediums. it was not just on line. it was offline as well. the revolution is a catalyst for everyone. we have freedom of speech. i believe this is a turning point in egyptian history for everyone, not just women. i believe women are smart enough in the country to make the best
use of the situation. tahrir square had a great spirit between men and women. i think women have a lot of work to do in the next few years. i am not sure about religion yet. host: the caller basically said, when are countries such as egypt -- i think he was referring to muslim countries, that is my guess. he said that religion is going to drag you down. that is what he said. guest: egypt is a very religious country since the pharoahs. it is hard to let go of tradition. people are discussing the separation of church and state. is it. for the country and this
generation? -- is a good for the country and this generation? this is a debate where i am not clear yet. i have not made up my mind about the separation of state and religion were not. host: may, your a muslim. mirette, you are a christian. guest: we are a religious country. it is not just on the muslim side. it is on the christian side. we had some christians who were afraid of having a different country. people are asking for real democracy. with leave the choice for the majority of people. -- we would leave the choice for the majority people. we would not say we have democracy and then force people to a secular country while the
majority of egyptians are religious. we are asking for now is real democracy. later on, people will decide how they want the country to be. host: our next call comes from the dearborn heights, michigan. bob is on the republican line. caller: young ladies, congratulations. i hope this turns out well for egypt and the greater middle east. what can you tell me about the worries you may have regarding al qaeda? tired of hearing about al qaeda and the threat to the world. i wondered what you may have heard and what you may cents. congratulations. guest: this is something
everyone has been talking about. i am not a fortune teller. i cannot tell how things will be in egypt. i said before and will say it now. acada.ll afraid of i know they give us a bad name -- we're all afraid of al qaeda. i know they give us a that may run the world. that is for any terrorist organization. it is pointless to keep thinking about that. if you keep thinking of them as a threat it gives it energy. they're going to get stronger just thinking of them. we have changes on the ground
now. we have to keep making gains as much as possible for the democracy that we all aspire to achieve in the future. host: may kosba, what are one of the stereotypes that did not prove true when you came to the united states? guest: it is hard to tell. this is my second visit. one of the things on my list is another is a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be an arab, moslem, middle eastern, north african. i am an egyptian. i am a north african. i am a muslim, but it does not mean i am an arab. in arab does not mean you are muslim. -- being arab does not mean you are muslim. i hope i will have the chance to talk to as many people as
possible to help their misunderstanding about being a muslim. it is funny. we need to be more engaged. i would like to see myself portrayed better. arabs like movies here. we would like to see ourselves in better shape. host: the next call is from florida. caller: good morning, ladies and gentleman. we have been regaled over time with stories of discrimination against coptic christians during the revolution in the square. we have heard nt-semitic slurs -- anti-semitic slurs. we witnessed laura logan being
sexually attacked. within moments of the revolution, we saw an iranian gunboat floating through the suez canal on the way to syria. there are questions about lifting the blockade with gossip. host: what would you like our guests to respond to? caller: i would like them to address the fact we saw an iranian revolution in 1979 and 1980 that turned into an islamist state. we're seeing turkey turning into an islamic state. i would like to know what they feel is the prospect for egypt remaining in democratic, secular society as well as government. guest: i am going to answer the about theof th discrimination to the coptic christians during the tahrir square protest. this was not the case during the
protests. what we have seen for the first time in the egyptian streets is that priests were in the streets. they were singing national songs. people were behind them. currently, there are protests in upper egypt because of the appointment of a christian governor. we have seen many muslims that oppose the appointment. this is one of the problems in egypt that we need to address. of course there is discrimination. i would not say this goes all over egypt. in cairo, we see people standing hand in hand. we have seen this image of what in tahrir square. the problem of discrimination more in upper egypt because this area it is
ignored by the government. people there are close from other communities. these protests have pointed out a real problem that needs to be addressed now. guest: he brought up too many points. they were interesting. at this point, we cannot tell what will happen in the future. i can assure you that egypt is not iran or syria or anybody else. we have our history. the concept is different. people have been calling for civil rights and justice. we have chronic unemployment. i hope we will be different from iran. we're working on this. everybody has been working on this. we note the scenarios are here and there. -- we know that these scenarios are here and there. on the sexual harassment of the u.s. reporter, [unintelligible]
we realize we still have issues. we're working on these issues. it is not over yet. host: what is your biggest fear for the future? guest: that we do not get democracy. guest: the elections are so soon. people who ignited the revolution are not yet politically ready. we are afraid of having the more experienced, the religious groups dominated the parliament. host: what has happened to the state media in egypt? guest: i have been disconnected from the state media since i came here. during the revolution, we had a bad performance. they're not telling the news the way it should be. -- they were not telling the news the way it should be.
the listing of people demonstrating were actually spies. -- they were saying people demonstrating were actually spies. they were same people outside were helping the government. i took training on advocacy and awareness. i think the media it should be it.king on hos host: you both speak beautiful english. it is not your first language is it? guest: thank you. it is not my first language. it was taught in the private schools. my father is a dentist. guest: my father is a journalist. he works in saudi arabia. host: the next call is from san francisco. caller: the previous caller alluded to the ignorance in this country regarding arabs,
moslems, the islamic state. the fear is palpable. i hope you do educate my fellow citizens. do you trust the egyptian military to honor what i hope as a representative democracy? do you trust they will give up power? what do you want from the united states government in supporting your burgeoning democracy? guest: regarding the stereotypes against islam, a kind of forget the question again. host: he was hoping that you do get out and educate americans about muslims. then he asked about the military. guest: that is right. i have to trust the military at some point. the military has been trying to get stability on the streets.
we would like them to help us through this process. i hope they stick to that part. i believe they will do that. i do not know what will happen in the future. so far, they are trying to guide us through the process. as far as what we need from the u.s., i believe we need since thursday. need sincerity. we need people to not be afraid of change in the country. the u.s. has helped us a lot in the past decades with money, social assistance, wisdom, and everything. the kind of relationship we would like to have with the u.s. is that we want a people relationship. in the past, it was only politicians.
one of the reasons the revolution started is because egyptians had been humiliated across the universe. we want to change that. we want to correct that. we want you to understand how important changes in the country. we want you to not be afraid. we want your assistance, not just financially. we want investments. we want investments in the youth. we want contrcultural exchange programs for youth to learn about the cultures. guest: concerning the military, i feel they're trying to get everything stable and then get back to allow for elections to have democracy. i agree very much with the caller about the way -- the
perceptions about muslims and islam. we have the same problem in egypt. we have communities isolated from each other. the christian community is very much isolated from the muslim community. we have stereotypes about each other. we are in the same boat now. we have the same requests to have some channels of communication, at least to understand each other and stop saying these are the enemies and they persecute us. eventually, we are all egyptians. host: the next call is from michigan. brian is a republican. caller: good morning. i spent some brief time in saudi arabia and bahrain years ago.
if we were to put big pressure on saudi arabia for women's rights, would there be a domino effect? how would that help you in egypt? the only pressure we seem to be able to put in the middle east seems to be with money, with oil obviously. we do not speak too harshly about saudi arabia. we hope there are things behind the scenes. is it time to bring it out into the open about the lousy women's rights in saudi arabia? host: we got the point. may kosba? guest: i do not read much about saudi arabia and bahrain. it is one of those countries where nobody knows what is going on. as for saudi arabia, i believe there is a movement.
there was a book written by a saudi girl. it was translated into english. i go to saudi. i have been going there for 20 years. i read the book. i was struck by the amount of things i never knew even though i go there every year. this book was an eye opening experience. people are speaking out. the girl was put in trouble for publishing the book. she is not allowed to enter saudi arabia. this morning, i checked the news. women in saudi arabia are pushing for voting. they want to vote. that is a good step. what happened in egypt and
tunisia is now taking over the middle east. i hope to u.s. addresses -- you talked about oil. we have to balance that and help people to speak out and get ready to be. host: may, did you change your parents when you went to saudi arabia? did you cover up? guest: it depends on where you are. it has become more liberated than in the past. they have the black dress that covers them from the shoulders of. it depends on where you are going. i see many americans working. i have never been to other parts except mac debt and medina -- mecca and medina. they are very tolerant there. host: the next call comes from dallas. scott is on the independent
line. caller: you said we are a people of action. we are not. we just voted for president obama who was supposed to change things. he has the same policies as bush. we have no control over our country. y'all did rise of. you put your lives on the line. we have yet to do it. we are dominated by our military, too. we cannot change the military budget even though we're talking about cutting social security and all of this stuff. i do not know that we have much to offer you. we have a bigger pie, but we're just as corrupt and out of control. host: we got that point. how is president obama perceived in egypt? guest: the problem is that during the revolution, america was not accepted by the majority
of egyptians. host: with the perceived our position to be? -- what did you perceive our position to be? guest: it was not clear to me. at one point, there was support for the mubarak regime. at the of the time, there was no support. for me, it was not clear. host: how was former president bush perceived? you are laughing. guest: the war in iraq and afghanistan, i believe president perspective ofs president bush was not as good as obama. when president obama came to power, people in my region were hopeful. right now there is little disappointment. things have not quite changed.
it is not so different. i heard a comment from somebody that now we miss president bush. president bush made sure that democracy was growing. the current administration is not giving much attention to that. there was an article about that the year ago or something. president obama has not given much attention to democracy. this was proven during the revolution. the state department's statements were not very supportive. he was like they wanted to be on our side but did not want to lose an ally. for people on the street, if you have to support western values -- even in egypt. caller: you sort of touched on
-- the reason i called is a wanted to complement these women on their command of the english language. i only wish that our foreign diplomatic corps, the active people, not the translators -- i wish hillary clinton had a command of arabic similar to these young people's command of the english language. incidently, i think you are doing a splendid job moderating this conversation. the gentleman from texas that decried america's actions, so to speak -- i agree with the young women. i think americans are people of action. even though our political process does not reflect that particularly -- we are being sold a bill of goods by obama. politics aside, i just wanted to
tell these young women that they are very educational to us. thank you. host: thank you for that nice call for our guests, mirette bahgat and may kosba. john from cincinnati is on the republican line. caller: i had a question about how they feel about israel. i know mubarak was instrumental in brokering peace plans. he was concerned about the security of israel. how do they feel the new government will implement security for israel? these are close neighbors. host: may, we will start with you. guest: when you talk a lot israel, you have to be careful what you say. israel right now, i believe the
existing government in cairo is smart enough to take care of the situation. egyptians have not been concerned -- we're not going to touch the tree, basically. my main concern is that we have is great right to stay peaceful with israel. since the revolution started, they have been worried about that. they keep bringing it up since the revolution started. there's no point to doing that. we're not focused on anything except having a democratic government. i believe military and interim government are smart. they're dealing with the situation well, i think. guest: security in the middle east will affect security in israel. it is very important to keep the security. at the same time, egypt has been
always seen as responsible for advocating for palestinian rights. this is also a very important issue that i hope the new government will focus on. host: where were you on february 11, the day president mubarak resigned? guest: i was at home. to tell you the truth, i did not have the same happy feelings as other people. i had feelings of relief, but i was also worried. i did not know where we were going. after, i felt more happier when the prime minister resigned. he was appointed by mubarak. at this time, i felt we were really moving towards hearing people's voices. we were afraid so much of having
the military ruling the country. i did not know at this time how the military would be acting, whether it would be achieving what the revolution was asking for. when the prime minister resigned and the military appointed the prime minister chosen by the people, the new prime minister was in tahrir square during the revolution. at this point, i felt even more happier than when mubarak resigned. guest: i was at home. i was tweeting and facebooking. i saw them on tv for a few minutes announcing it. i wondered if it was true. i did not believe it. president mubarak gave three speeches before that. when he aired it, i thought it was not happening. i got phone calls from my cousin, my friends to celebrate.
we celebrated on the streets. that was really exciting. it was not over. we knew he was in the government. it didwe wanted him to step down because it did not make sense for mubarak to step down and for him to not. i believe he should be on trial right now. for decades, we were humiliated. a lot of people died. people can talk about sayid and others. they are not the only ones. other people were in prison, tortured, killed for no reason. there are other social issues.
thousands of egyptians have died because of the system being so dysfunctional. it did not value the lives of the people. people have lived in decades under poverty and unemployment. i have friends who literally told me they did not want to the egyptian anymore. they said if they could get another passport, they would tear the egyptian passport apart. trialed fore ch that. host: do you know where he is now? guest: he is in the hospital.
if he is proven guilty for killing people in tahrir square -- host: is he in cairo? guest: i think he was transferred to a military hospital. host: knoxville, tenn., melissa. caller: thank you so much for coming on the program. this has been very educational. my caller: at what point did you change your mind and what changed your mind and gave it occurs to participate? guest: actually, for the first week, i was so confused from what was happening. i could not even make the decision to go into the street. that is especially because the egyptian media was portraying the events as very bloody and the streets.
in the second week, i have lots of anger inside of me because i was not participating in what was happening. i was dreaming of this point for years and years. i was telling myself that when this happens, i should participate. this was the point in the second week where i decided to go and see what was happening. host: we have a few minutes left with our two guests from egypt. democrats' line, you are on the air. caller: do you think they should open the rapa crossing and have the guards have the ability to defend themselves? host: he asked something about a crossing. i'm assuming it is a crossing from egypt into gaza strip? guest: yes.
host: the all so wide to know if people in the gaza strip should be able to defend themselves. the third one was about aljazeera. during the revolution, aljazeera is on a lot of the cable companies here in america. that is where many people were getting their middle east news. guest: i am not an expert on palestinian-israeli issues. logically, if you are talking about two hours, two people, if my power outclasses her power, she should get the support to be able to communicate on the same level. i don't understand how americans operate and how the media portrays the struggled in gaza strip right now.
israel is only a couple of hours away from where i live. we had been in touch with whatever was going on there. the palestinians have been suffering for so long. we don't have to go for the massacres and the killings of palestinians of the past few years. we have to understand the situation in the gaza strip and how palestinians are suffering under the israelis. occupation. aljazeera, to me, has done a great job during the revolution. i could only watch what was happening in tahrir square over aljazeera. i had a hard time knowing what was going on because no one would cover the news. i would jump around the channels with cnn and a few other u.s. channels.
host: did the majority of egyptians have access to cnn and aljazeera? guest: would not say the majority. we have a high percentage of egyptians under the poverty line. we would not expect that this group would have cable. most of the people who could afford to have cable, aljazeera is very popular. it is one of the most popular channels during the revolution. host: emporia, kansas, republican, good morning. caller: how're you? i have had the luxury of having been on the middle east for the last four years several times, once in egypt and in turkey and i spent some time in israel. we would agree to disagree about israel.
i don't think we would make any progress on that ground. in terms of egypt, having been there, i understand why the revolution happened if i lived under those type of circumstances, i would have been in the street sooner than most egyptians had. i am an older american. we have been for all these things in my lifetime. i have seen the rise of nasir and the 1967 war. my appetite is much less than it was before. i say that if you cannot fix it, it is not my place to fix it. i want to pull away and whatever happens happens. i am tired of it. i'm tired of it -- a people expecting americans to broker a peace and thinking that americans have to fix everything, particularly american politicians. host: thank you. guest: we are tired for you
also. i keep thinking of the amount of money put into egypt and i feel so bad. i believe americans are filing their tax is now. it hurts me because when i think of it, a lot of money. that i have worked for goes to somewhere. i expect the money that is put into my country makes it ever to my country but that doesn't make any difference, you should stop doing it. i do not expect to be manipulating you. i don't want the debate between americans and egyptians to keep going on. the u.s. is doing it for u.s. interests and they will be involved in every decision and the country or in the world. we would like to have the discussion to go on and the advisers and people who have good connections can come in and advise the people to fix the
political situation in egypt and work together. host: california, are democrats line, good morning. caller: good morning ga and. . the issue in egypt, i am stating that united states will be involved whether it be good, bad because it is for the benefit of us all. egypt is a very important democratic, historical [inaudible] so many people don't have a definition in debt to describe how apportioned to egypt is to the economy, to the whole world.
as for obama being blamed for ,omeone else's luggage president bush for example, should not be justified. he should not take licks for someone else's debt. guest: i don't think obama was blamed for anything that happened but it might have been because of over-expectations in the middle east for what obama would be doing. we have a part to be blamed for. as the last speaker said, sometimes you have internal issues that you are expecting other countries to come and salt. we had internal issues and we were expecting the u.s. to come
and solve our issues and this never happened. i guess it was part of it. it was over-expectations from the middle east specifically egypt that the u.s. would take a more positive stand in solving our local issues. we were the ones who were supposed to solve it. after the egyptians took a stand, we are expecting more. it is not only about financial support from the u.s., but it is more technical support. this is a very new thing for egypt to be moving towards democracy. the most important country that could help us even with expertise is the u.s. host: last call for our guests, chicago, go ahead. caller: we in america are with you.
i want to know when they rapa crossing will be open. i want to know whether the people in the muslim world want to know that israel did 9/11. host: is that a common perception that 9/11 was backed by israel? we get those calls from time to time. was that a perception? guest: we have every possible scenario for 9/11 that people talk about. some people think it is backed by israel. this is one of the things that people think of. they think it is an inside job. host: i wouldn't say most people think that. guest: regarding the conflict in the arab world between israel and the arab world, this is a thing that people think of. recently, think -- people think
more like americans. they think it is an american inside job. host: our guests are here from cairo, serving with the atlas corp as follows. this is the final question. ask your guest to direct our viewers to sources where they believe honest accounting in e events happens. what is a good source in your view? guest: i do not want to advocate for a certain thing. everybody has an agenda. for most egyptians, aljazeera has been one of the sources that has done a good job. guest: i would follow up with the egyptian news. we have a newspaper. host: could you spell that? guest: elmasry elyoun.
m. put that on the screen. guest: you can google that. host: what does this mean? guest: it means he egyptians today. host: we are pleased to have you both here with us. we appreciate you being on the show. we have 20 minutes left this morning. on thursday, we had a caller who called in who was a doctor from philadelphia. his name was damian and he said
something about baby boomers living in the sweet spot of history. here is the phone call and this is what we will talk about after we come back. host: that was damian in philadelphia talking about the baby boomers and the sweet spot of said -- history. do you agree or disagree? the fall numbers are on your screen -- the telephone numbers are on your screen. we will be right back.
♪ >> this weekend on cspan 3, through a series of 14 paintings, artist mark widell takes us back to the 19th century white house and we look at the constitutional effect of the presidential election of 1800 between thomas jefferson and john adams and white house photographers and what is like to document all life of the presidency. get the complete weekend schedule at c-span.org/history. >> today, the ipodmini is no
more. noo!!!!! i give you the ipod nano. [laughter] >> in his monologue, mike daizey comments on the world as he sees it. a look said steve jobs and apple at america's love technology bet all my monologues come out of my obsession, they spring out of the obsession and they are in collision with one another. >> find out tonight on c-span "q &a." you can also download a podcast. it is available online at c- span.org/podcast. >> may 1, your questions for a chapman university professor and co-founder of reason magazine. his books include "private rice" and public aleutians.
he will take your calls, e- mails, and tweets live sunday, may 1 at noon eastern on c-span 2. >> "washington journal"continue host: we are back live. damian called in thursday on the show and said baby boomers are living in the sweet spot of history. we want to find out if you agree or disagree with that statement 202-737-0002 if you agree and 202-737-0001 if you disagree. >> the baby boomers paid into the system but they don't want to cut anything. they are the one that spent all the money. they are the one that burned up all the natural resources and fossil fuel. they lived in the sweet spot of american history. host: bethlehem, pa., do you
disagree? caller: morning, i disagree. i had a small garment factory at one time and this was shut down as a result of the republican propaganda moving our business is overseas. this doctor needs to take a closer look. what we pay for drugs in this country is outrageous compared to other countries. it is the same all the way down the line. we're paying just as much as anyone else or probably more. he needs to take a look at how they control doctors in germany and have a better understanding of what he is getting away with in the united states. host: northport, fla., do you agree? caller: for the most part i do. we have expanded government and regulations so much in this country over the last 40 years
or so that i don't -- i think we have a growing problem. it was easier to grow our economy and that time. because like he said, the gentleman used on a factory. things were on board at that point and where we are now, we are almost strangling business to the point where we cannot grow to keep up with these entitlements. host: this tweet cavemen -- savannah, ga., you disagree? caller: yes, i do. i used to teach in philadelphia. in philadelphia, you have a variety of people that come into this country and they want the same thing, to better their conditions.
that is what the baby boomers are really not getting enough of learning in that respect it. ive. at one time, we did not want children to speak their native language when they come from other countries. re speakids of thei languages from all over the world. they could be three or four year-old kids and they could speak three or four different languages. they used to tell us how to communicate. you want the people here, let them bring something, learn what they got -- host: we will leave it there. here is another tweet -- atlantic city, you agree?
caller: yes, we are doing well. it is the sweet spot as far as we can relate to as what history is. it will get sweeter through technology. the technology revolution -- host: was referring to all the benefits -- he was referring to that all the benefits all the baby boomers have like medicare and medicaid and a lot of social programs that cost money. i think that is where he was going. caller: that is a materialistic thing. if you get on a spiritual level of where we are in america, we are into what is going on everywhere like never before. there's a tidal wave no matter what the subject matter. i think we are braver of a country that just to let madison
get in the way of bringing the whole country down. technology will take care of that, too. host: that andrews, on our disagree line. -- that an rouge -- baton rouge, you disagree? caller: we made sacrifices to make the situation the way it is. now the selfish ingrates are looking at what we did and trying to back off. they are only interested in what they can do for themselves and that is creating the problem now. host: arcadia, calif., you agree? caller: i absolutely agree. there are so many programs and entitlements that have been created that are completely unsustainable, obviously. the arithmetic never ended up in the beginning. they certainly got their benefits from the social
security program. i will not be able to take advantage of this in 20 years. it will not be there. it will not exist. money that was taken from may was basically embezzled, the biggest ponzi scheme in history. i will develop my properties and raped the benefits from the chinese money that is coming over here. becauseon't realize their heads are buried in the sand and i would suspect that in 50 years, this will be enough -- this will not be the united states of america, it will be the united states of china. host: here's another tweet -- connecticut, what do you think? caller: it is not the fault of the baby boomers. it is a sweet spot in history but congress did this behind closed doors, making deals with.
big with it is not the fault of the baby boomers. congress did it and they stole from the trust, social security. they created the problems in the united states. we did not know what was going on in congress when they were doing best behind closed doors. the internet and the kids today will clean this mess up big time. don't blame it on the boomers. it was congress that stole from us. host: ronnie, you agree with our caller? caller: to follow up, the baby boomers elected that congress that they did not pay attention to. the baby boomers elected them. i have said this for years. you will have generational warfare. it will not be all-out battle but we have to look a baby boomers and look at the
greatest generation and a sacrifice. the baby boomers had an easy ride throughout history. they had great ideas like welfare and entitlement programs, but little thought on how to keep them going for the future. we can even look at social issues now. i am 45 years old. i remember growing up and on the weekends, stores were closed, markets were closed but with the baby boomers, wanting everything now, we are living in a 24 hour -- 24-7 lifestyle which takes away from society. that is because of the baby boomers greed, that instant gratification. that they installed on society. dadmian is spot on. he's got it. host: our next call comes from
and the tet in santa barbara, calif., good morning. caller: i agree with the caller who said the baby boomers created this wonderful sweet spot. host: don't look at the television. we are listening to you. you sound great. caller: the man that said that the baby boomers created this abundance that they supposedly enjoy, that is true. the baby boomers benefit with technology. steve jobs and bill gates are all baby boomers. you can take a look at bush and clinton. one eliminated the deficit and the other created a huge one. they both are baby boomers.
i was born in the same year. 1946, we were the first line of baby boomers and now they are talking about eliminating our social security as we turn 65 this year. i turned 65 by the end of the year and most likely, they will have raised the social security. this is something we supported in the previous generations by our contributions for medicare and everything. now they will take it away from us who earned it and created wealth all over the world for japan and all these countries that have benefited from the inventions that our country made. because we have a little bit more of a lack of discipline in our children, they are much more creative and a continuously are creating -- and they continuously are greeting wonderful inventions that will continue to do so. host: thank you for calling in
from santa barbara, anita. built in fairfax, va., you agree? caller: i definitely agree only because i believe i may be one of these baby boomers. host: when were you born? caller: i was born in 1947. host: you were one of the original ones. caller: i believe the benefits or for us because the state's were doing things that they should have been doing for their people. host: you are calling on the agreed line. caller: it was a sweet spot. there wouldn't be social security and things like that. would be available for other
people. host: do you think baby boomers have contributed to the economic situation we are in today? caller: absolutely. as far as innovation? host: as far as fiscal crisis or national debt? caller: oh, no, i believe we have to be careful with that. if anything, we have had something to do with making it better. host: what kind of work do you do? caller: i am retired, i used to teach and i used to drive a taxi cab in d.c. host: king george, va., you disagree? caller: i kind of disagree and agree at the same time. i think we have been really blessed as a generation. there is no denying that. right now, and they are trying to call social security and entitlement.
-- an entitlement. until recently, such as security has not contributed one penny to the deficit. in fact, social security has decreased the deficit and now they are calling it a problem. it is a problem in the future because they took the money. in order to solve the problem, we have to solve what caused the deficit. social security did not cause the deficit. we need to solve the problem that caused the deficit. host: are you a baby boomer? caller: yes, i was born in 1956. host: decatur, mississippi, last call. inc.iinc. agree and i