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tv   [untitled]    August 16, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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i'm sam sacks in for tom hartman in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture. this morning ecuador announced that it would grant joining us on political asylum the only problem u.k. won't let him leave beyond a songes fate what kind of ramifications will this saga have on journalism and whistleblowers in particular around the world also a century ago americans gain the right to directly elect their senators through the seventeenth amendment and set of state legislatures doing the job for them but now republicans want to strip us of that right to what's their grand scheme here and
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mitt romney has a ton of character flaws but tying a dog to the roof of a car yeah i'd say that tops them all well this insane lapse in judgment by romney hurt him in november and it was one band trying to make sure that happens because solly of debo joins me later in the show. and we begin tonight with julian a song he was ecuador's foreign minister ricardo patino announcing this morning that his nation will grant a song political asylum. to the ecuadorian government but also to the code you play is defending its political right to protect the signs. and we have the say that to grant political asylum to him the u.k. government should respect the decision of the observer any governmental body. my son she's been holed up in the ecuadorian embassy for about two months called the
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decision a significant victory but it comes with a price tag of damage international relations between ecuador on one side and the u.k. in sweden in the united states on the other side on wednesday night the british government threatened to ecuador warning that should asylum be granted to astonish the british government reserves the right to storm the ecuadorian embassy in london which is sovereign territory and arrest a son and they've since walked back that threat following a harsh rebuke of it by ecuador but the u.k. isn't backing down on its promise to extradite a song to sweden after the announcement in ecuador british foreign secretary william hague announced that the u.k. will not grant asylum a songe safe passage out of the country to ecuador and the moment of songe steps foot outside the embassy and on the streets of london he will be arrested and extradited to sweden so tonight a son's remains in london secretary an embassy perhaps entertaining some creative ideas on how to slip by british police and escape off to ecuador and you might
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remember a songe fled to the embassy back in june once it became clear that he cannot save himself from extradition to sweden working within british courts he's wanted in sweden for questioning regarding allegations of sexual assault but it's long been speculated that the real reason sweden wants songe is to eventually extradite him to the united states we could face charges of espionage and treason related to his work at wiki leaks and the release of hundreds of thousands of state department cables last year that was the basis of a songes appeal for asylum and it was on this basis that ecuador granted that asylum but here is some really important things you have to know about this case and how it's gotten to this point one julian is songe has not been charged with any crime in sweden he's wanted for questioning regarding sexual assault allegations but again he's not facing any charges for any crimes. to assad has made himself available in london to meet with swedish investigators to answer those questions
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regarding the sexual assault allegations but sweden has refused to meet with him and three assad has offered to go to stockholm and again answer questions on these allegations as long as he receives a guarantee that he will not be extradited to the united states that guarantee cannot be made by sweden or the united states. those three facts played a big role in ecuador's decision to grant a song asylum an asylum that both the british and swedish government seem prepared to reject in a slap in the face of international law so this story is now bigger than just the fate of julian a song and now has international implications and it also has implications for the future of free information activism journalism and whistleblower protections to speak to those issues i'm now joined by justin roddick national security and human rights director at the government accountability project and also the author of the book traitor the whistleblower in the american taliban justly welcome back to the
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show thank you for good to have you on so first on asylum being granted this was really pretty much an easy decision by ecuador wasn't it. you know i think simply not an easy decision but based on i was in there in terms of my file in criteria i think this was an easy decision politically i think it was a very difficult and balrog and incredibly courageous decision by ecuador to grant asylum hate i mean clearly assad's fit the criteria which is the kind of the criteria the main three criteria are valid fear of political persecution for protected categories including political opinion and three d. an ability of the government to stop that so clearly assigns met those criteria but for a little country like ecuador to be able to stand up against the pressure coming from the u.k. and the u.s. is quite extraordinary exactly yeah i should have said it was an easy decision it
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was a very brave hard decision to make but strictly based on the criteria i mean it seems like a definitely the right call isn't. for mr putin knows announcement today he referenced how he tried to work with sweden he tried to work with the u.k. and he reached out to the united states even and basically didn't get anywhere with them. doesn't that suggest. that is songes fears that this is what was going on the whole time they wanted to get him to sweden to get him to the united states of it eventually doesn't that kind of prove the point and i think it definitely validates that he had a well founded fear of political persecution because he made himself available for questioning which which is what sweden said it wanted but what many believe to be a pretext to get him extradited over there to be extradited to the u.s. . so i think it very much proves the point and the fact that the u.k. stood poised to invade the embassy at one point would have been such an extreme
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unprecedented. in in history. as such an extreme act i mean the world was watching maybe the u.s. was not watching in the mainstream media but the world was with certainly watching this drama unfold absolutely and called this is significant victory and i don't think he's talking about his own fate that this was a significant victory this is a significant victory it seems for the work he's doing which has has been questioned here in the united states as enemy of the state has been question is a traitor and yet here we have a country that's standing up to it what does this decision by a court order mean for the future of whistleblowers like people you've represented people like you and who are working to have free information about those hard to know about i mean it definitely was a victory for free speech and for a free press and in in ecuador and as articulated by ricardo.
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he said weakly leaks is a populist share it is a news outlet something that the mainstream media in the u.s. says argued against them and only the same thing as the new york times essentially yes and they have constantly tried to differentiate themselves. mainstream media from julian a songe i think what they what they fail to realize is that if if a songe and or wiki leaks goes down domino effect new york times this next and everybody else is reprint of this so-called useless information from wiki leaks but it was a huge victory for free speech and at the same time though i don't know how it bodes for whistleblowers because part of the decision again is articulated by a putin yo was and looking at how bradley manning was being treated in the us
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number one looking at the war on with full blowers going on in the us number two and number three looking at the general anti leak hysteria that is currently sweeping our nation and then threatening anti leak legislation that would be quite draconian so this is definitely interesting timing here we have someone seeking asylum from western countries that could be a sign of a changing changing world right there yes absolutely thanks for coming on thank you so much back in two thousand and ten when it sounds really achieve notoriety for his work at wiki leaks tom connected the mission of science is on with the fight against corporate power take a look. looking at his writings it's clear what motivates a songe in two thousand and seven he wrote a piece in titled the end i had what of america in which he examined corporate structure and how it is intrinsically authoritarian his piece is even more poignant
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after the supreme court's citizens united decision that pretty much and our government over to corporate rule in a songes words that corporate rule looks like this these are the characteristics of a corporation suffrage the right to vote does not exist except for land holders shareholders and even their voting power is in proportion to their ownership. all executive power flows from a central committee female representation is almost unknown there's no divisions of powers there's no fourth a state no press there are no juries and innocence is not presume failure to submit to any order can result in instant exile there is no freedom of speech no fright of association love is forbidden without state approval it's starting to sound like you know somebody from our distant past the economy is centrally planned
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there is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communications this is cya is heavily regulated and this regulation is in force to the great degree many employees are told when where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet this is corporate america we're talking about there is almost no transparency and something like the freedom of information act is unimaginable the corporate state this state has one party opposition groups unions are banned surveilled or marginalized whenever and wherever possible. this is the path our country is on as corporations play a bigger and bigger role in politics thanks to our supreme court and this is what jewel in a songe is standing up against it's the secret see that exists within corporate rule it's the threat to democracy is the threat to freedom a songes the world's whistleblower an occupation that used to be respected and
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applauded in america there haven't been adversarial journalists of this country since woodward and bernstein and jack anderson back in the seventy's whatever happens to a son whatever the end game is the can of worms is already open copy cat sites are popping up around the globe secrets revealed from south america to africa so even if he's picked up by interpol and rots in prison or simply spends the rest of his life jumping around the globe out of such wiki leaks has changed the way the world works for all the corporations and governments if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about but for everyone else the secrets will be revealed transparency now rules the day as a sign she was self has stated the aim of wiki leaks is to achieve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency and i support his endeavor. coming out before the seventeenth amendment was ratified in one nine hundred thirteen voters didn't elect senators state legislatures chose them a century later republicans are saying we should do away with the seventeenth
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amendment and have states two senators once again so just what the heck are these right wingers up here now. pepper spray that just burns your eyes right right i mean it's like a derivative of actual pepper it's a food product essentially. this is much stronger than anything it's the biologics italy's is thousands of times was stronger than any one of the ever put you know. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else and you hear or see some other part of it and realized everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harvey welcome to the big picture.
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into the only military mechanisms that do not work to bring justice or accountability. i have every right to know what my government should do if you want to know why i pay taxes. but i would characterize obama as a charismatic version of american exceptionalism. i'm
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learning this. in november voters at least those who haven't been disenfranchised by republican back voter id laws will have the polls to select a new president of the united states but that's not all the entire house of representatives is up for re-election as well as our thirty three united states senators well actually if it were up to a growing number of republicans voters wouldn't have a say in those thirty three senate elections that might sound a little strange but in fact prior to the ratification of the seventeenth amendment in one thousand and thirteen voters didn't have a say in who their senator was instead powerful state legislatures appointed senators to go to washington that's how things worked from the ratification of our constitution all the way up until about one hundred years ago only after the seventeenth amendment was ratified which allowed for direct election of united
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states senators by we the people did we all actually have a say in who represents us in the upper chamber and now strangely a lot of republicans are saying that amendment was a bad idea and we should go back to the old days when senators were elected without elections joining me now to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on here is alex cites walt political staff writer at salon whose latest article is on this very topic alex welcome back to the show thanks for having me so who's been coming out against the seventeenth amendment now and i guess the big question is why. yeah i mean this is lame it's been kind of floating around in the fringe for most fifty years starting with the john birch society back in the one nine hundred sixty s. but then like a lot of those kinds of ideas they became somewhat mainstream with the tea party and now we have a surprisingly large number of senate candidates who kind of want to invalidate their own senatorial election jeff flake was
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a congressman in arizona pete hoekstra another congressman in michigan these guys are all running for the senate now at todd akin running in missouri another congressman they've all come out and said that things were better before the seventeenth amendment when state legislatures elected people elected senators directly and there's been other people antonin scalia the supreme court justice has also voiced some support here along with rick perry who has lots of wonderful views on the constitution and i think this is this new wave is kind of about the tea party you know revisionist history and this kind of fetishisation of the founding fathers and going back to how things were ignoring all the problems that there were in the original constitution and the original founders ideas yeah it seems strange that you're going to be running for senate trying to get votes by telling people they should have a right to vote for you but you can't i just understand the way the tea party operates but we've seen with the tea party this same sort of thing we've seen in trying to repeal the sixteenth amendment for income taxes the fourteenth amendment
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for the people the. immigration assault and her babies or whatever they call them. what's the overarching goal here is this to make it i mean human kind of i think into that in your article you say something like it's much easier for the wealthy to bribe a handful of state legislators than it is to try and bribe an entire electorate is that kind of what's going on here. yeah well so what they say is the purpose is that this is all about states' rights you know of course conservatives love states' rights and they idea is that if you let state legislatures elect senators then the senators will be more beholden to the interests of the states they'll be you know they'll have to go back to the states and the their their bosses will be in the state government so they'll be more responsive to the direct needs of the state they won't go to washington and kind of forget about what's going on at home but the huge problem with this whether these tea party people who are supporting this realize this and this is actually out here motive or not i won't say but before the
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seventeenth amendment there was rampant corruption in the election of senators i mean the whole reason that we have the seventy the moment is not because it was undemocratic before hand it certainly was because the corruption was so out of control with bribery and you know all kinds of terrible things going on that there was this uprising and people said we can't support this because if you think about it the cost per vote ratio that you have to do if you want to influence an election is so much smaller you now only need to reach a handful of state lawmakers instead of trying to run ads and reach every voter in the state i mean so there was you know outright corruption in the most obvious and base terms there were completely unqualified people being elect to the senate basically corporate tools you know people who are elected sent to washington specifically to do the bidding of corporations so whether they realize it or not i mean that's the kind of thing that we would be looking at if we actually got rid of
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the seventeenth amendment you know you related story about grover cleveland when he was woken up by his wife and said there's burglars in the house he's like no they're all in the senate. does do you see a connection here between this call for repealing the seventeenth amendment and the voter id laws that are going on around the country. yeah i think there definitely is something a kind of common strain there in a move towards an undemocratic of the lower case not as in the party but an undemocratic push you know it's this kind of notion that i think you see bubbling up in some tea party circles even of lawmakers want to say if you go to tea party rallies you talk to people as i have it's right the underneath the surface which is kind of the idea that people who don't pay taxes who receive government benefits they aren't full citizens they don't really deserve you know full representation and there's no there's no really right to vote unfortunately that we that we've been guaranteed to try and remedy these problems but we're fresh out of time alex thanks a lot for coming on thanks. now say what you want about the similarities between
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both republicans and democrats there are a lot but republicans are the only ones coming out and saying that the people shouldn't have a say in who their senators are but that's not the only difference here is tom state. given the amount of corporate money is flowing through the hands of both republicans and democrats it's really easy to think of the two parties as one of the same the story line is that they're both bought out and working for the corporations it's a talking point that's repeated by numerous politicians and political commentators these days. republicans and democrats aren't much different but i don't see any difference between the leadership of the two parties one of the widely perceived differences between the two parties was just an illusion both. parties or corporate parties just read the newspapers you see that both parties have run this country into the ground apparently none of these people have ever heard of the progressive caucus which has about one hundred democratic members in the house and plus this
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week the texas democratic party released its official two thousand and twelve party platform and last month the iowa republican party released its official two thousand and twelve party platform and look at these two platforms there's only one conclusion you can draw there are still massive differences between republicans and democrats exhibit a the iowa republican party their platform includes a requirement for future presidential candidates to prove that they are natural born citizens playing courtesy of the burgers the complete rejection of global warming courtesy of the oil barons want to keep polluting our skies the total a limitation of the departments of agriculture education homeland security housing health and human services energy interior labor and gummer's the t.s.a. the e.p.a. the f.d.a. the a.t.f. the n.e.a. courtesy of the iran libertarian whack a doodle zx who support by corporate fat cats instead of our country being run by
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the will of we the people another platform is an end to the federal income tax courtesy of rich guys like the koch brothers mitt romney who want you and me to pay the entire cost of running our government and opposition to hate crimes laws courtesy the far right who want to demonize gays african-americans and latinos they have more stand your ground shoot first laws courtesy of gun sellers like wal-mart who want legal cover when one of their guns is used to murder a member of your family. they want to reject a rejection of multicultural teaching in our schools courtesy of those like pat buchanan who believe that only white european history has any significance they want the promotion of creationism over evolution in our schools courtesy again of the religious right who thinks the earth is only five thousand years old they want to outlaw pornography again courtesy of you know who they want to outlaw abortion the elimination of the minimum wage laws courtesy the corporations who want to
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bring the slave labor they currently exploiting asia right here to america these are just a few of the things that the iowa republican party stands for in addition to flipping their stars upside down now let's take a look at exhibit b. the texas democratic party with their star right side up and their platform which includes full support of public education raising teacher pay and force include class size limits because democrats know that teachers are just as important they're more important to our community than banks toure's and that our young people represent our nation's most important of infrastructure our intellectual infrastructure the democratic party of texas platform also includes the creation of a regulated and therefore sound banking system making housing health care and college affordable again for the middle class promoting public sector workers like teachers cops and firefighters strengthening medicare medicaid and social security
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putting an end to tax breaks for job outsourcers like mitt romney's bain capital investing in new infrastructure a living wage for all workers including health and retirement benefits a progressive income tax and assertion that health care is a right not a privilege support for a woman's right to choose support for stem cell research and the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana just like tobacco and alcohol so look at these two platforms. how can anybody say there's possibly say there's no difference between republicans and democrats republicans want to outlaw pornography democrats want to legalize marijuana republicans want to get rid of the minimum wage democrats want everyone to receive at least a living wage republicans want to deny global warming and teach creationism in our schools democrats want to move forward with stem cell research and help us again graduate world class scientists republicans want to throw women in jail who get
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raped and want an abortion democrats want to support a woman's right to choose republicans want fat cats to pay no income taxes whatsoever democrats want rich people to pay more and working people to pay less republicans want more shoot first laws democrats believe health care is a basic human right and more so by human right than gun ownership the point is it's easy to get frustrated in even despair over our nation's current two party system is true corporations have far too much influence in both but there are still monumental differences between the two parties with one party the republicans try to take america back to the days of the puritans the witch burnings and feudalism and the other party the democrats trying to move the nation forward with science equal rights for all and a strong social safety net just a little something to think about with the elections just a few months away. now
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time for a little potty talk a poll of the most embarrassing town names in england is out and unfortunately the residence of sugar to mars to hold rating for all the wrong reasons the small town in the south west of england topped the poll and has been the butt of jokes for decades but the residents of sugar ten have no reason to bomb around because there are many other towns in england with just is interesting of names for instance just down the road from sugar ten is the pill valley it's the village of scratchy bottom and as you move across the country you'll pass through the lovely town of crops. now back in the shitter ten residents seem to be embracing their newfound popularity and even buying a marble slab and proudly engraving it with sugar to put it at the entrance to the town and other news residents of blue ball and intercourse pennsylvania are saying
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hey don't forget about us.
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lauren lister. just put a picture of me when i was like nine years old a good job a true. incessant get of friends that i love driving hip hop music and. he was kind of a yesterday. i'm very.


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