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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  April 24, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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x, they are lying to you. those people do pay taxes. it's time for the rich to pay their fair share. "young turks." go watch eliot spitzer with "viewpoint" next. ♪ [ theme music ] ♪ good evening, i'm eliot spitzer. this is "viewpoint." president obama and mitt romney fight for the youth vote. republican legislators want to suppress suppress voting rights. president obama dominated the youth vote in 2008, and he bid for it again today. the president told students at the university of north carolina that he and first lady michelle obama finally paid off their student eight years ago and urged congress to extending the low student loan rates through 2012. >> five years ago congress cut
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the rate on federal student loans in half. that was a good thing to do. but on july 1st, a little over two months from now, that rate cut expires. and in congress does nothing, the interest rates on those loans will double overnight. so stopping this from happening should be a no-brainer. >> obama's presumption gop rival said monday he too favored extending the rate cut but offered a different take. >> i think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they are really thinking about what is in the best interest of the country and what is in their interest. voters age 18 to 29 prefer mr. obama to mr. rommy. but fewer than half of the
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registered voters say they do not plan to vote. so far 81,000 fewer florida ans have registered compared to this time four years ago. and there are republican primary primaries tonight, but nobody seems to care. it's a it's a pleasure to welcome back magazine" and author of a powerful opinion piece in today's "washington post," a vote for universal registration. katrina, who is trying to suppress the volt, and why? >> this should not be a partson issue, it would be a pro-democracy issue. >> i got to interrupt -- >> it shouldn't be. i began my column pointing out this should be a pro-democracy issue, but there is one party working to suppress the vote and it is the republican party.
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and in legislatures around the country, 34 have passed bills that would make it tough for 5 million people -- eligible voters to vote. why? because the republicans look out at this country, see a country shifting in important democratic ways, and the population they are pushing hard to suppress are african-americans, latinos, and the elderly. >> there is a group called the american legislative exchange council -- >> alec. >> the sweet name alec but it is a group of corporate-funded conservative legislatures funded by the koch brothers, and by major corporations. and they have taken lobbying as a template. in florida you have the league of women voters.
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a transpartisan group. rocked the vote have pulled out of that state because of limitations on early voting and the ability to register the groups i have suggested -- >> the new goods is in the past couple of weeks there has been a gas roots uprising against alec because the behavior has been revealed. but i want to dig down deeper how and what would these bills require? >> many leaders have said this is perhaps the most targeting assault on voting rights since jim crow. it's like the poll tax in some cases. people -- they demand vote of government inviter id. millions of americans do not have it, and 11% of those who don't are poor african american the most vulnerable
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constituencies. they argue without these photo ids, we're at risk of voter fraud. someone once said that you are more likely to be hit by lightning -- >> this is the issue i stumble over. when i was attorney general of new york after the 2000 florida debacle, we did a substantial investigation of what transpired here in new york. the process for voting was not perfect. but voter fraud hardly ever occurs. it's almost a de minimis issue. am i wrong about this? >> you are absolutely right. the great fraud is we have been told this is a problem. there are a series of simple reforms this country could take. 70 million people eligible voters are not voting. we preach democracy when we need
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universal voter registration same day -- >> we suggested same day registration, because where it is implemented there is no fraud attached. where you have voting by mail you increase participation, why don't we do that? >> well, there is an effort on the part of one party to keep people from voting. why? because they see in the new voters people who are not going to vote for them. but i would also point out something interesting, i wrote in the column, if you look at the numbers, you see a new kind of inequality. households with income under $25,000 are less likely to vote -- >> and that has a political impact -- >> of course as you can -- so i think -- all i would say is i think prodemocracy people who care about the future of this
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country should work hard for the reforms that would improve our -- michael walden said that universal voter registration could potentially be as important as the voting rights act of 1965. >> he is exactly right. there is a ravenous talk on the part of alec and others for this voter limb limblimb -- limitation -- >> they want deregulation in areas where it would benefit the very richest. but when it comes to the vulnerable people in this country, they hate government so much, they don't see it as a check on the power of corporations. so look at a mitt romney who is now going out -- we're now
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seeing the romney pivot. the etch-a-sketch romney. we all knew it would come. we're going to witness, i think mitt romney walk into a trap. if he is coming out for cutting interest rates on student loans while his party is opposing that very move, or violence against women act -- his party is opposing it. where is he going to stan. and the paycheck equal pay for women where is he going to stand -- >> he is creating a situation where there will be significant tension between his drive to the middle and the constructional stacis on the far right. last night i talked about student debt as the next tsunami. at a different level, though, isn't there something a little
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bit tawdry when a candidate goes in front of a group of students and said i'm going to keep your rates low. >> there is an elite consensus in this country which is one we can't afford. but president obama is at least talking about jobs. he has been consistent on talking about real opportunity, not mitt romney opportunity. >> right. >> and he is consistent about this fair share, fair shot but what he is proposing is not at the scale -- when you have state universities which need the support and investment, they are dying. >> a couple of things are converging. you have the interest rate on student debt, and two, default rates increasing and 50% unemployment or underemployment of kids coming out of college. all of this is a long-term
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crisis, and we haven't confronted the issue how do you pay for higher education lorj term. >> that's right. >> social security a report came out they will run out of funs in 2030. what is your response to that? and remember the group that pout this report is bipartisan. >> yeah -- we talked about it social security is not in crisis. it does not relate to our deficit. it is funded differently. with a few modest adjustments like lifting the cap so that the wealthier pay more -- >> i want to explain this you and i who -- for -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> they don't get taxed -- they don't contribute after that level. so if you lifted it it would benefit social security. >> and you could balance the
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books -- >> yes for decades out. social security is the best anti-poverty program we have. it is a measure of how effective government can be and it is one which with a few tweaks can be resolved and solved. medicare is an issue. the cost could be solved if we reign in the for-profit -- >> medicare we'll discuss another day. but i want to discuss social security. do you know what the average monthly paycheck is? >> it is very small -- >> about $1,100. >> it keeps people from tipping into poverty especially women. i disagree that president obama is doing micro, i think he is continuing to speak in brood economic terms to women in this country. but we should be having a different conversation in this country. we should talk about how he
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expand and strengthen social security and retirement security. this was an elite report. the elite believes you need to deal with social security as a crisis, when in fact millions want this government to deal with jobs and the economy -- >> i don't fault the report. what i fault is the take away from it, where the media starts screaming crisis, whereas you point south the answers are easy and fair. lift the cap. social security is critical and easy to fix, and we should remove it from that fear mongering that drives the massive argument on the other side to cut the taxes and squeeze the anti-poverty program -- >> but you'll hear about it in this campaign in fear-mongering magazine" and author of a
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powerful opinion piece in today's "washington post," a vote for universal registration, as always wonderful to have you here on this program. >> thank you. >> not so slick, the first charges brought in the bp oil spill coming up next on "viewpoint." politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now.
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it has been over two years since the largest environmental disaster in u.s. history killed 11 men dumped billions of gallons of oil, and threatened to kill off wildlife in the gulf region. which brings us to the number of the day. one. the number of criminal charges filed against bp today. according to the justice
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department mix deleted ones of text messages. one day after the blowout mix told his supervisor that it ranged from quote: >> and he indicated that depreciation top kill wouldn't work because and i quote too much flow rate. bp estimates place the flow rate at only 5,000 barrels of oil a day. horizon," also the founder and editor over at "the daily hurricane." thank for your time tonight. >> great to be with you eliot. >> remind us -- explain to us again the import of the flow rate. what it means, and compare the numbers in these emails to what bp was saying at the time. >> well, i got to tell you,
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eliot this is probably the most explosive story we have had since the blowout itself. we now -- at least the fbi alleged that bp knew what the flow rate of the well was, and they knew it was far higher than what the public estimates were. the one you mentioned that if the flow rate was over 15 billion a day they knew the top kill wouldn't work. and they went through that procedure anyway. and the most important thing probably is liability and damages were determined by the number of barrels that the well flowed into the water. bp never actually measured the flow of the well during that three-month period. it was all by estimates. some of us believe they didn't measure it intentionally and underestimated the flow of the
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well for months even for years. we now know it is much much higher than the flow they are saying. >> at that level the damages to be assessed now will be much greater, and this proves they knew it, but it also reflects on what they did and didn't know at the time for them to have acted as they did, perhaps opens them up to all sorts of other charges in terms of negligence and misbehavior, does it not? >> it's very serious, eliot. the one thing that people probably don't remember on april 22nd, when the rig actually sank bp told the coast guard that the well had stopped flowing. that day before this engineer estimated the well could be flowing as much as 138,000 barrels of oil a day. it seems if these allegations
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are true, bp knew the information they were giving to the government coast guard and the american people was false. >> it's certainly an enormous problem. i'll throw one on top of it which is the problems with the sec, because they were making public comments about the fact that the top kill as you alluded to earlier, could succeed, and even after they had been told that the flow was in success of 15,000 gallons per day -- or that's the rate. they were saying 60 to 70% top kill would succeed when they knew it couldn't succeed. so they have got all sorts of securities violations on top of this. and that has another huge financial impact on the company. >> it is a very, very serious. that maximum rate of 15,000 barrels a day -- most of us in the industry knew it was flowing much greater than what they were saying.
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now that we know that they knew -- or at least by these allegations that they knew, and they were trying to keep the stock price up, that is a serious, serious charge. >> we are now harking back. do you believe that bp is a different company in any way shape or form today? >> you know, on the outside, it -- all of the public appearance and the advertisements, they are trying to appear that they are different. but the problem with a company this large is that you have to change the culture top down, or shock the culture into changing. based on everything that i have seen in houston where i'm exposed to bp and what i see in the industry and their operations, even though they are trying to change it's very very difficult and that probably hasn't been as much change as any of us would like to see. >> real quick. do you believe a criminal case
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against the senior official would change the company more than any of the financial fined imposed so far? >> i think absolutely. when we talked last friday i told you i wasn't sure that charges would come and all of a sudden, boom. so i think now if there were criminal charges of a senior executive, then i think bp would have to face the music and change the culture. >> i hate to say it but i agree with you, the only thing that will change it criminal cases against the folks top. bob cavnar, author of "disaster on the horizon," also the founder and editor over at "the daily hurricane," my things for your incite. >> great to be with you. thank you. >> the reemergence of occupy wall street much to the chagrin of wells fargo.
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i know this stuff and i love it and i try to bring that to the show. shareholders of the world, unite. you have nothing to lose but your shackles. occupy wall street enters a new stage. calling themselves 99% power,
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this coalition of community and environmental groups say they are planning over 200 nationwide actions over the next few months including today's protest of wells fargo annual shareholder meeting. tomorrow they have a similar protest planned at general electric, and just the idea of this demonstration seems to have already gotten the attention of general election. andrew williams writing in a statement to huff, and i quote: joining me now "rolling stone" contributing editor matt taibbi associate at the episcopal church of st. john the evangelist in san francisco, father richard smith. father smith, let me begin with you, you were there today, but as i understand it were not permitted in even though you, a shareholder.
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do you know why not? >> we were told that there were simply too many people already in the room, and that it had reached the maximum capacity. we had been standing there for a couple of hours. some of our people had been standing there for a lot longer than i had. and we were all turned away. we found out many people were secretly shuttled into a restaurant next door, and brought in through a secret entrance. when we discovered this and tried to enter through that end trans, we were turned away so they started filtering anybody who might look like a protester out. even though he had our shares in hand and had every legal right to be there. >> between the collar and your demeanor i'm amazed they wouldn't let you in. [ laughter ] >> what drew you to this protest. what do you want wells fargo to do? >> take responsibility for the
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pain and damage they have caused to so many people across the country, including in my own community. the devastation not just from foreclosure, but also from their funding of detention centers that house undocumented workers, the abuses that have gone on in there, the rapes, people told to eat out of the trash cans denied medical attention, the list goes on and on and on and it's time for wells fargo to take responsibility for this damage. >> matt, let me turn to you, you are one of my favorite writers about corporate corruption and the lack of ethics in the board room. i have heard father smith's materials and who admissions jump out at me. reduce the principals on mortgages that are outstanding, and two, get dollars out of politics. is shareholder power and is using shareholder power the
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smart next step in the lever we can use? >> i think it has to be because the government can't doing the job. and they are not doing the job we need them to do. i think shareholders obviously are only going to care about the bottom line. but the bottom line with these companies is that fraud and poor corporate government just don't pay. and i think shareholders are going to realize that and start to make demands of these corrupt executives like citigroup did the other day. >> we have reference points to suggest shareholders are waking up. citigroup's shareholders shareholders -- standing up. we don't want corporate money flowing into these corporate entitities. can shareholders say we just want you to do your job? father would you be supportive
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of that. if shareholdered were presented with an option to save the companies, just get out of that business? >> yes, absolutely. this is not appropriate for a bank like wells fargo, here we in california we are attempting to address the actions the banks have taken. stop bank rolling all of these politicians that are trying to deprive people of their rights. >> and might not this be the answer to citizens united. >> i think a lot of the shareholders realize that political contributions are actually the only sound business decision that these companies can make because a lot of them are so inefficient and so bad at what they are supposed to do, that the only way they are
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really surviving is bailout assistance. so in a cynical kind of way that's their business model. >> i think that's exactly right. many of these companies have survived because of the sus ta nans, but we own these companies. and by we i mean the mutual funds the 401k pension money. it is public money, and if we could organize that public voice our shares can go to these corporations and get corporate money out of politics. that should be the next occupy wall street step. >> that's already happening. because of the imminent downgrades of some of the companies, they are going to stop doing business with some of these banks because it is just too risky. i think that will start happening with a lot of these institutional investors, unions
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mutual funds, and they will start pulling their money. >> father i think you can be such a powerful voice. when you have the religious community saying it's ethics 101 and our money. is that the next brewing step? >> you mean in terms of our -- looking at it from the standpoint of values? >> and also that we as owners in companies want them to act in a way that reflects who we are and what we stand for? >> exactly. all of these horrific things that have happened in the last few years, these happened because of conscious decisions that were made in corporation board rooms. they are decisions that do not reflect the values of the american people. and it's time for the american people to take back control of these corporations. >> i think jay jamie diamond who
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said this just happens every now and again. it is decisions made by ceos and those beneath them to create this. a priest associate at the episcopal church of st. john the evangelist in san francisco, father richard smith, thank you both for being here tonight. herman cain is talking to aliens, and the view is finder is next. ♪ ♪ so, this is delicious okay... is this where we're at now we don't care anymore? we just eat whatever tastes good? excuse me? [ man ] like these sweet honey clusters they're awesome so no way they're good for you. but i guess that's okay right? actually there's a half a day's worth of fiber in every ... why stop at cereal? ya know? cancel the gym membership. bring on the pork chops and the hot fudge. fantastic. are you done sweetie? yea [ male announcer ] fiber beyond
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attack on women that perhaps the majority of the population woke up? >> idaho is not known as approaching act i.v. you had hundreds of women show up, thousands signed petitions. they made their voices heard. what happens is that now, the legislators are running scared. very similar laws have passed quietly in other states for the past 10 years, really in the past two years have intensified. pennsylvania a similar law was shelved, idaho this proved to be political poison. women are paying attention and having their voices heard. >> thanks for coming in. >> the aclu considers a demand that to get a job you have to let an employer open your private mail, the senate wants
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to make it illegal to hand over a password to your facebook account. still to come if the supreme court gets politicized, should it be attacked politically? but first chris christie says sign nora mitt romney says bonjour, and bill o'reilly learns how to twitter. when it doesn't fit anywhere else, we put it in the view finer. >> citizens of earth -- >> the last vacation we had there walking around the city of paris --
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>> i'm not sure if you celebrated earth day, but i did by firing up the 60,000 btu, grilling burgers and then going for long drives in think gas-guzzling suv. >> the president of -- >> i twitter britt britt hume. >> you don't twitter me you tweet me. >> the president's exact quote was i wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. >> i have to say she was a little goofy. >> i did go and look it up. >> for a man who's title a speaker, you don't speak very often. >> women are superior -- guys!
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guys! >> i'm sorry i almost threw up on tv. >> this is not something that i use every day. it is gone again. >> obama saying the rich don't pay their taxes [ censor bleep ] and i voted for the guy and i'm a democrat. what a [ censor bleep ]. >> according to arizona law any woman who is not presently min minstrating is pregnant. so congratulations nana. >> i love mitt romney showing his down home real person persona discussing his vacation in paris. spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the
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it's common political wisdom that you don't go to war with people who wear black robes, ministers, and especially justices. you lose the fight, and it makes you look bad. and surely president obama does not wrablt to look bad. but a fas knew article makes the case that the president should do just the opposite. take the supreme court head on. call them what they are, political animals. joining me now is legal fellow with the new america foundation and a scholar with the center for internet and society at stanford law school and the author of why obama should run against the supreme court which appears in the current issue of "the atlantic." thank you for joining me. >> thank you, elliot. >> the last president i know who really went to war with the supreme court, and even he
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didn't win. explain your thesis to me. >> i think fdr actually did win in one way. barack obama himself invoked fdr. he said it hasn't been since 1930 when a supreme court was striking down economic regulation like the health care mandate. what he meant was for 30 years, the conservative supreme court was striking down child labor regulations, maximum hour regulations, minimum wage laws. it was a very conservative supreme court and fdr proposed judicial reform. in the constitution [ inaudible ] appointed justices and what he proposed was one of the five votes switched -- >> marvin you are correct that he won because of the supreme court -- the switch to save time -- but he lost politically. this the context of this
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campaign, this court is still an institution somewhat popular. it has an approval rating that exceeds that of congress. how do you think politically the president can run against annenty that is viewed as the voice of our nation. >> barack obama has to make the case. the reason half of the americans support the supreme court because they know nothing about it. there are five very conservative justices. they don't know that these five conservatives vote consistently with corporations against your ability to bring claims for employment discrimination class action. if you want to blame anyone for the fact that congress is corrupt, it's the supreme court which has repeatedly struck down any attempt by congress or the states to get money out of
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politics, and if barack obama wants to to set a clear distinction, he wants the young people to go out and vote. he should say look at my justices and look at the ones that romney would appoint. >> i certainly agree with you about the cases you are referencing in bush v gore in particular, but the interesting thing is that even with that foundation, the public looks to the supreme court with a certain reverence and i think with the health care case approaching a decision certainly will be rendered by the july 4th weekend. if the supreme court affirms the health care statute, the president in that case would not want to run against the court, unless i'm missing something. >> well, i think the reason why we regard them with reverence, and they have dropped 15 percentage points in support. we have reverence because people
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aren't willing to attack them. other presidents have run against them. this was something conservatives do all the time. conservatives know there's a political power to running against the supreme court, and the actual -- there might actually be something at steak eliot, it's possible one of the justices steps down in the next four years. it might be a liberal justice, in which case i think roe v wade is gone. barack obama explained that to the public, i think he would have a better shot than he does now of getting the supreme court -- >> i agree with your analytical critique of the importance of the issue, and what is at stake here. where i'm not sure i'm persuaded
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yet if it is a good political move at this point. i'm not sure the president could even win the political battle tagging this as a political decision rather than as a juris prudence one. i'm not sure i agree as a political matter. >> on the political matter, i think he should focus on the cases that are clearly unpopular, citizens united that whole line of cases that make our democracy far more corrupt. those cases have an 80% disapproval rating. as we watch all of the hate ads being run every day, funded by super pacs as we see this i think people will be more sympathetic to obama pointing the finger and saying the people
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to blame are those five justices. if you want more corrupt politics keep voting for people who appoint them. >> it's a fascinating argument. i'm not sure we'll get to test your theory but it would the new america foundation and a scholar with the center for internet and society at stanford law school, thank you for being here tonight. >> thank you so much eliot. is the logic of conservative justice infallible? they definitely think so, i don't. me and stephanie miller in the morning what a way to start the day.
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what makes sam adams boston lager great is as simple as abc. a, the appearance. amber. [ jim ] b, balance. sam adams has malt sweetness hoppy bitterness. [ jim ] c, complexity. pine notes grapefruit notes. only believe your own pallet. go taste them. it wasn't me. it was everyone else. so says james murdoch who is back on the stand today. but first let's go to "the war room" with jennifer grandholm. good evening, governor what is on the show tonight.
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>> eliot, thanks, we are continuing the great job that you and cenk have been doing in covering today's occupy wall street protests. we were there, and we'll speak with one of the leaders of the group right here in the studio who marched on wells fargo headquarters, and get to a view from the ground. but education was a key issue on the campaign trail tonight, and we have the former chancer will of the d.c. school district. she'll be here in studio. that and a whole lot more. >> fascinating. i love these wells fargo protests. more "viewpoint" coming up next. blatant. >>and above all... and there's only once place you'll find us. >>weeknights on current tv.
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♪ still to come james murdoch points fingers anywhere but at himself. one of the things i love about the conservative wing of the supreme court is their self proclaimed ability to understand exactly what the founding fathers wanted. they manage to peer through the centuries and grasp the precise limits of the founding father's power even when it relates to things in technologies that didn't exist 200 years ago. clear, irrefutable and
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infallible, their only problem is that ere now and then facts get in the way. john adams said facts are stubborn things. how often have you heard them and their allies claim it's never been done before and therefore, it would be unconstitutional? well, here is the fact, as revealed in a new republic article and then here on the show last week by the professor that same john adams signed into law an individual mandate relating to health kash. it had almost exactly the same set of obligations as the current bill before the supreme court. and there were others one even mandated that every man buy a gun. so much for saying congress can't require us to participate in some form of commerce. so the originalists on the court arer refutably and complete wrong. but the issue goes way beyond
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this one case. it reveals the flaw in the entire originalist argument. the conservative wing has imposed its own world view. when we actually found out what the founders did think, as here, it turns out they were settle jk pragmatic, avoided bars understood change was inevitable and therefore government would have to adpapt. they wanted the experimentation. here is the irony, true originally. does reflect the desires of the foubers, and those were that we be smart and nuanced. that is what smart government is all about. that's my view.
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the buck stops here is phrase commonly used to significant anify taking responsibility. and it has been use famously by presidents, but it apparently did not make it across the pond. james murdoch was grilled for over two hours about his knowledge of the phone-hacking practices, and james knew exactly who was at fault. all of the people below him. >> i think it's self-evident that in hindsight in knowing what we know now, whatever controls were in place failed to create sufficient transparency around those issues. i wasn't in the business of
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deciding what to put in the newspapers. so it was there, and i was given assurances by them that sometimes proved to be wrong. >> joining me now is yinka adegoke, media corespondent for reuters. thank you for being here. this is classic stone walling. does james murdoch survive this pretense he didn't know. >> he is basically going down the same road that he did last year, which was -- as you said earlier, to say i didn't know what my direct reports were up to. does he survive? there are a lot of questions about that as to how much longer he can continue with this strategy of stone walling. there are lots of doubts that he will survive in the way that would have been hoped he would. i.e., to make over the company some day from his father. so he might survive but maybe not in the manner --
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>> another dimension ruped today with new allegations of email evidence between a very close relationship of the news people and the camron's office. where they seemed to be bartering and saying hey we're going to do you some favors because you are the murdoches. >> this is what all of the british papers are going with tomorrow. their time. uk time. this -- i think, you know, no one is naive not to think they are always in politics. but these emails seem to reveal a closeness which bearing in mind these are meant to be newspapers that are meant to keep a check -- >> right. >> here they are completely in cahoots. >> yeah, and the minister who was put in charge to make
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judgments here he is going back and forth as though they are on the same team. >> absolutely. there is 163 pages put out today. you have got to sense really that news corp was on [ inaudible ] assault strategy. >> uh-huh. >> if we're going to go down you know, you are going to go down with us. so it's really a -- it looks very bad for the government certainly looks bad for mr. jamie hunt. >> and cameron came out in support of his minister this evening, but it looks like the minister was a wholly owned subsidy of the murdoches. they certainly owned the minister who would make the judgment. >> absolutely. as someone else put it to me today. if you think about a judge in a court in any country, if you thought a judge could -- if you saw these kind of emails and
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description of conversations between a judge and someone they were meant to rule over -- >> the judge would be recused and there would be criminal investigations. >> absolutely. >> rupert testifies tomorrow. the heavens will decent on him about his relationships with cameron, i presume. >> it will. but rupert's unpredictable quantity. i think he'll be very aggressive and stan up for himself and not for the company. >> okay. we have ten seconds. against the backdrop of wal-mart does news corp have a problem? >> it's not quite clear yet. the fbi has looked at this but they have not started a full
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