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tv   [untitled]    April 19, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT

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well i'm john berman in washington d.c. and here is what's coming up tonight on the big picture. come september there's a good chance our government might shut down and believe it or not this is not republicans threatening the shutdown so who is and how might a shutdown one month before the election affect who wins the white house also two years after the b.p. oil disaster our worst nightmares may be coming true with iowa's strength and all those crabs being plucked from the gulf on a daily basis just how concerned should americans consume ors be and wall street's negligence has bankrupted americans increase the number of almost and destroy the
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lives of the most vulnerable among us one of the some of the more grisly and sickening details the great closure crisis. you need to know this now is president obama threatening a government shutdown house republicans are raking a deal reached between congress and the white house over spending levels for next year's budget last year to avert a government shutdown both sides agreed to set funding for discretionary spending and just about a trillion dollars but now under pressure from the tea party republicans in the house are trying to cut deeper and paul ryan's budget pledge to gut social welfare programs and cut destroy discretionary spending well below that one trillion mark that have been agreed upon in response the white house warned republicans on wednesday that if they don't hold up to their end of the bargain president's going to veto any spending bills coming out of congress spending bills. it improved the
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government will shut down in september just before the election this is the first time that a government shutdown has loomed since republicans took control the house last year they took the government to the brink of a shutdown several times on the watch president obama blink and give into their demands this time the president says he's not going he and if the government shuts down it will be the republicans he says who are to blame so is he right in this calculation what would be the consequences of a government shutdown just before the election joining me now to offer his take on this is john nichols washington correspondent for the nation magazine and author of the book uprising john welcome it's good to be with you thanks for joining us this could be a replay of something that happened back in the ninety's during the clinton administration can he explain what that was played out and what the consequences were. absolutely newt gingrich came to power nine hundred ninety four on the wave of a so-called republican revolution republicans got control of the house and the
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senate for the first time in generations and they felt that they were incredibly empowered in fact if you went across the country and looked at at the real vote margins it was only a handful of votes that actually put them into this strong position gingrich overplayed his hand he believed that he could put president clinton in a corner and frankly president clinton let himself be put in a little bit of a corner and then pushed back what alternately played out was a situation where gingrich was horribly embarrassed looked to be both strategically and economically unsound and it really laid the groundwork for president clinton's reelection by a pretty comfortable margin in one nine hundred ninety six so this was two years into. the first two years of the clinton ministration we're now in the first three years of the first obama administration do you think that this might be a repeat of batter are the circumstances dramatically different in some way. i
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think the circumstances are somewhat different first the democrats do have control of the senate stronger position and that's that is a distinction but also on the other side the tea party is a much more well defined and well funded conservative movement and then what you had back in the mid one nine hundred ninety s. remember in the mid one nine hundred ninety s. you get again rich in the mix but you also had someone like bob dole there was a very different republican party then so you really end up in a situation now where the lines are much more clearly drawn but the end of the story might well be quite similar if they did might even be a dramatically better story for progressives because one of the things that president obama has to do if he is not only to be reelected but to be reelected with a congress that might actually support him is to make much clearer lines of distinction
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between the republican and democratic parties if the president holds firm on this and really does say look i'm not going to i'm not going to do any more cuts we have to deal but more importantly these cuts do severe damage to america both economically and socially if you really hits that hard he has the possibility of creating a political moment not unlike what you saw with say franklin roosevelt and nine hundred thirty six people really had a clear choice and they chose government i hope president obama does that although i will tell you he does have a history of blinking if you were to blink on something like this i think it could be very destructive not only to him politically but to the democratic party you know although on the other hand if he has willing strategically in the past so the republicans thought he was playing checkers and all along he's been playing chess waiting for this final you know so we're. really impressed on the other hand i'm not holding my breath what was in this deal that the republicans are
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breaking or threatening to break and the is you know so important the president's going to shut down the government over. well it actually is and it does get to some moral issues here paul ryan is absolutely passionate about deconstructing the new deal this isn't about spending your budgets this is about taking apart programs and in the house a committee just to give you one example yesterday there was a vote to literally got out food stamp programs to do huge damage to millions of american children you know kids who only want to have a decent meal and so there's some pretty draconian stuff going on all in the name of suppose that fiscal responsibility or a stereotype and these are the sorts of things that as you spread it out across the whole of the budget you start to get to some pretty serious issues we always talk about medicare medicaid social security the three tripwires but in reality there's an awful lot of other this so-called discretionary spending that goes through
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incredibly vital programs that really maintain the social safety net nationally you know what why are the republicans playing it out this way is this because john boehner lost control of the party in which he party has run amok or as paul ryan now become the default leader of the tea party and you know being an animated by there goes to. the and ryan rand. in many ways i think you're right of both fronts and there's no doubt that john boehner has lost control of the party he has he's merely a figurehead who you know kind of stays around because they can't agree on anybody else paul ryan is the dominant player and intriguingly enough he has sort of this love relationship with mitt romney they've they've gotten very very close politically and so that puts new pressure on all sorts of republican players if romney really is bought into the ryan budget and if romney's going to run on this thing then republicans in congress have to follow ryan not some sort of moderate or
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even reasonable approach and it's. in many ways mitt romney becomes a player in all of this by extension and extension of course paul ryan who is literally on t.v. almost every day spouting a fantasy about fiscal issues but a fantasy that has become so dominant within the republican party that i honestly do believe there are many republican members of congress who think they have to do this you know news coming out of vermont today and the state legislature passed a resolution for a constitutional amendment that. not only would overturn citizens united but say that money is property not speech and that corporations are not people vermont is the first state to really go to the whole nine yards to say both their corporations are not people and that money is property not speech hello to other states and so the corporations are people to quote the vice president how much of a b.f.d.
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is this i think it's a pretty big deal and this states of new mexico and hawaii have also weighed in as you say vermont's gone further but what's wonderful about vermont and the thing we shouldn't lose sight of is the reason the vermont legislature is going to such a clear position on this issue of money in politics is because people organized at the grassroots more than sixty vermont towns voted in march in favor of resolution saying that citizens united needed to be overturned that created a grassroots movement that fed up through the legislature there's an effort across the country now to get thousands of american communities to step up on this issue and i think what's happened in vermont is a good indication that when we pass these resolutions at the local level if we do it at a critical mass we can get state legislatures to start to move and that's what we're going to have to do starts at the grassroots loose in the states but this pressure has got to go on congress and washington to begin to dismantle what is to my mind the most destructive of all supreme court decisions in modern times and that is the
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citizens united ruling absolutely so well said john in fifteen seconds as the wisconsin recall going. it's going pretty well mainly because we keep finding out that scott walker is in more and more trouble with a john doe investigation into criminal corruption in his former office as well as in his campaign turns out he's now hired his campaign and hired four different law firms spending the better part of two hundred thousand dollars hiring former prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers it's a big deal john nichols thank you so much for being with us thanks for that great to see you assuming the republicans don't budge and the president holds true his threat and the government does shut down in september then the blame game is going to begin and the side on which the blame falls will likely be settled on television in fact mostly it'll probably be settled on the sunday morning shows that the politicians and strategists go on to put out the talking points which could be bad
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news for president obama there's a reason for this every year a new study comes out of the conservative out about the conservative slant on the sunday morning talk shows most recent one just came out this week it's from fairness and accuracy in reporting fair and the organization looked at the four big sunday shows meet the press face the nation this week on a.b.c. and fox's fox news sunday and welfare found was that the four shows are quote fair extraordinarily friendly terrain for the right of the one on one interviews that they had of these four shows seventy percent of them featured republicans one hundred sixty six republicans just seventy democrats with panel interviews it was the same story conservatives two hundred eighty two appearances one hundred sixty four right by democrats so what exactly is this liberal slant in the media. outside of maybe this show i don't want to mention the horsepower of five so called news
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with murdoch's billions behind it conservatives dominate the sunday shows and the weekend cable news shows is just it's flat out real fair also found that beyond politics there's also a sex race on the sunday shows when twenty nine percent of the guests are women eleven percent were african-american three percent was you know eighty five percent of us are white so even though president obama is white and it would be the republicans responsible for a shutdown he could lose the spin war is the media reporting the news the facts are over now it's the talking heads in the media and that could be a problem for the president. after the break two years after the b.p. oil disaster i was shrimp deformed crabs and lesions covered fish are routinely being pulled out of the gulf with forty percent of all the seafood caught in the continental united states coming from the gulf of mexico how screwed are american seafood lovers.
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if you just put a picture of the medieval nose like nine years old on that you know lived through. i think that's an amateur get a sense that i was trapped because he's sick and. he was kind of yesterday. i'm very aware of the world without its place. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for lengthly you think you understand it and then you live something else here's you some other part of it and realized everything you thought
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you knew you don't know i'm sorry welcome to the big picture.
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if you lie seafood you're screwed friday marks the two year anniversary of the b.p. oil spill in the gulf b.p. was who you think everything is just fine in the gulf of mexico. blanchard for an isle beach is the waters open for everyone to enjoy. and the economy is showing progress with many areas of the gulf coast have made this experience even believe. i was born here i'm still here and so is b.p. we're committed to the goal for everyone who loves in everyone who calls the home front fortunately a fish aren't quite as happy to call the gulf now two years later a long lasting consequences scientists feared most. it's coming to the surface scientists studying marine life in the gulf of mexico are discovering awara mean rates of deformities in fish shrimp crabs and other marine life that includes iowa
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shrimp fish with using sores and crabs without claws it's like a mad scientists playpen scientists are also concerned about the leading coral in the area between the toxic crude gushed out of the well for three straight months and the dispersal chemicals that were dumped into the water to break up the oil it's no wonder that marine life has mutated as marine scientist dr jim collins said in an interview with al jazeera in my twenty years working on red snapper looking at somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand fish i've never seen anything like this right now forty percent of all the seafood caught in the gut and united states comes from the gulf of mexico so this is a very serious problem for more on that here's miles grant reporter and blogger with the national wildlife federation. thanks i mean thanks for joining us what's your initial reaction to these stories of deformed animals coming out of the gulf you know there's certainly a garment i think the number one thing is that we just don't have enough data this point and the problem is a lot of it is being kept under wraps right now through the legal concerns there is
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that the natural resources damage assessment which is part of the government assessing what went wrong after an incident like this but really at the national wildlife federation litigation shouldn't stand in the way of the public getting the facts of what's going on in the gulf so i think our scientists tell us you can't take anecdotes and you know multiply that you that it's data but it is alarming you know the regulators tell us that the seafood is safe i certainly wouldn't gulf seafood myself but guess what i don't have to swim in the gulf every day and we're seeing really troubling things out of dolphins out of kili fish that are little minnows that live in the marshes that you know bigger fish need to eat a little fish to survive and those little fish are in trouble that could mean trouble for the whole ecosystem well the whole food chain and guess who's at the top with us right. now this is incredible. what is the story with the bottle nosed dolphins you mentioned. what's going on absolutely and you know it really frustrates me when people say that this hasn't been the catastrophe that was predicted or i think like that look i was in the gulf right after the oil spill happened we were coming back from the slick and i looked over the side of the boat
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and they were dolphins swimming alongside us and one of them suddenly turned and was swimming on its back and i i realized it was turning to look at me and i think any death of a bottlenose dolphin is tragic and i think you know people say oh it's not so bad you know i hear these are mammals his brains are almost as large and complex as ours and tom they trust us they come right up to the boat if you're swimming they'll come right up to you and what have we done to pay them back you know not only this disaster but congress has turned their back on the gulf two years later they haven't passed any response legislation in the senate added on the store after gulf restoration bill on the transportation bill to house hasn't done anything i think you know if you are looking for evidence that this congress is bought and paid for by big oil and i wouldn't say that literally but if you were looking for evidence you'd start here that they haven't passed restoration legislation which is remarkable b.p. was also responsible for cleaning up after the exxon build these disaster even those are spilled and they just totally blew that beyond the ecological devastation
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there are a lot of people around the gulf who are financially you know this large consequences and b.p. in the meantime is making big profits they continue to make big profits. what hope is there any of these folks are going to get financial settlements from b.p. i understand that there was a settlement in the last couple days was announced for a reason there's been some word of what a settlement might look like but look b.p. turned out twenty five billion dollars profit last year a billion with a b. you know i think any settlement has to take into account how much they're cashing in on some really reckless grilling practices that they've used out there you know i think you look at that lask of the prince william sound exxon valdez wasn't until twenty years later that those victims finally got their settlement exxon drag out that litigation and something like a fifth of. victims of that spill didn't live to see the settlement we certainly don't want to see that repeated in the gulf of mexico so i think you know we need a speedy settlement but we need one that's fair and one that b.p.
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can certainly afford i'm going to say when i see those b.p. commercials about everything's fine down here i think of the mayor in jaws remember you know i am going to make. this go back to the water but. it's really remarkable we have talked about what's happened in the in the lower end of the middle the food chain. that that region the gulf region just a little north of where water is downwind from the big oil refineries in the eastern end of texas in the western and louisiana and has been referred to for decades as cancer alley because when they refine the fuels you know they refine oil they dump the stuff into the air and people downwind for several hundred miles you know just cities devastated with cancers. it's the same. is there going to be are there any leading indicators that there is going to be a human health problem as
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a consequence of this again you know i was down there i went out on the oil slick and it was just amazing that you know a boat going twenty miles an hour and we went for an hour before we got to the people at horizon site where those eleven workers died but anybody who's down there would tell you worse than the oil was the dispersant those chemicals that they were dumping to try to sink the oil to the bottom and they were terribly effective as the pictures of the coral at the bottom of the gulf show but i think you know you don't just have to worry about oil you have to worry about those long term effects of those dispersants but i think when you look back to prince william sound and i think unfortunately when we see all these troubling signs out of the gulf where more and more reminded of prince william sound where you know and again when we people say it's not a catastrophe yet the herring in prince william sound didn't collapse until four years after the exxon valdez you know it takes a long time the bay open in alaska absolutely so for a couple years people thought they might pull through then when the herring collapse you know the orca had nothing to eat the salmon struggled you know sea
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otters seals have struggled to recover even to this day and the herring population were twenty three years later and herring population still has not shown any sign of recovery so a lot of those fishermen are out of business i think health impacts might be a small part of this but the economic impacts are really the thing that you know the elephant in the room that we're worried about so the senate has it has said you know we'll do something the house is refusing to do anything are there any organized political efforts what do you focus away from so many of the national wildlife federation is worried about the gulf coast time before the b.p. oil spill motion the board about it now it was losing a football field worth of wetlands every thirty eight minutes you go down there there are two different maps on the walls and a lot of the fishing lodges there was before katrina and after katrina it literally changed the map so it was in trouble before it's our top priority right now to get the restore act passed and i think and your viewers at home should be. outraged that congress hasn't acted because of the restoration from katrina restoration from the from the oil spill or both i mean they went back and rebuild the levees but
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what lands are gone they have not come back and it but what lands have degraded even since last year that we've gone back to some mangrove islands where brown pelicans and that's where you know the fish lay their eggs in the in the reeds and they're just gone and if you go out you walk in the market right now i want to know you're hearing if you go on everything's fine you go out and walk in the marshes up our new orleans right now and the oil will bubble up to the surface and there's not much you can do thanks a lot for being with us rob what we can do is we have to tell people about it we can wake people up make them active we actually might be seen something bigger in the gulf of mexico that has poisoned waters and bizarre in life we can be seen evolution play out right in front of our eyes here's the big picture classical evolutionary theory is really made up of variations on what's called a lot of gradualism another is a gradual changes and in file in one of the one of the part of the you know kingdom order or whatever small incremental changes over time for example you have you know
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a shrimp that. doesn't go. with the regs and with not so many legs and with no legs with no eyes and stuff like this the consequences of the constant mutation of d.n.a. generation after generation some of these mutations being useful and adaptive most of them ending up in the mutated organism dying some of these are normal mutations sometimes they're actually caused by a need to generate things like chemicals radiation or viruses light sensitive skin cells for example become the basis for a more focused light sensing cell cluster eventually this becomes a light sensing organ eventually develops focusing mechanisms becomes an eye but what prompts the changes from one adaptation to the next what is it that drives over you know that actual hey it's a new species it's the ability to thrive better in the. the fossil record shows that most major changes happen to rapidly not gradually and set about
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in one thousand fifty four ernst meyer proposed what he called genetic revolutions stephen jay gould developed this in to be punctuated equilibrium theory in one hundred seventy two both of them suggested essentially the species maintain stay since for a long period of time and then suddenly made changes richard dawkins on this show last year suggested this wasn't so much happening in the mid range of the species in environment but out on the fringes where there were the variations are more dramatic and where they're interacting with differences in the environment there's still a lot of variations debate around this theory and the others that have come off it but we may be seeing a kind of instant validation of the game played right now in the gulf of mexico over millions of years shrimp in their predecessors evolve but those eye balls and eye sockets which lead right into the brain through the optic nerves are not made out of the heavy chip in the body armor that surrounds most of the shrimp so
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suddenly the water they lived in was filled with something really caustic. and suddenly. say b.p.'s oil and then the dispersant that made the oil even more caustic and poisonous to fragile things like eyeballs the shrimp with eyes would be wiped out but out of hundreds of millions of shrimps maybe thousands of mutants some without tails some without legs some of the. you know there's all these different variations which have. some are going to die some are adaptive mutations but when the water becomes toxic to eyeballs. then who is adaptive suddenly the ones best adapted to surviving reproducing are the ones that don't have eyes and follow a new species is born al-jazeera reported the tracy cubans and her husband mike roberts commercial fisheries from a barter arena louisiana are finding i was shrimp he said at the height of the last white shrimp season in september one of our friends caught four hundred pounds of these this is what the cubans told elves there while showing
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a sample of the island shrimp according to cubans at least fifty percent of the shrimp caught in that period in that bay popular swimming area that was heavily impacted by b.p.'s or oil of dispersants were eyeless akins added disturbingly not only this from black eyes they even lack ice sockets as the last kick of mother nature mother nature kicks back it's time to rethink that whole drill baby drill thing. coming up after the break poverty suicide and murder go through the grisly details of wall street's ongoing crimes against the american working class next.
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week we just put a picture of me when i was like nine years old on the tell the truth. i have a confession i am an old get of friends that i like rap and hip hop music and i'm pretty sure. that he was kind of yesterday. i'm very proud of the role without you it's played. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for lengthly you think you understand it and then he lives something else and you hear see some other part of it and realize that everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harpur welcome to the big picture.
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