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tv   Breaking the Set  RT  July 22, 2013 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT

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you live on one hundred thirty three bucks a month for food i should try it because you know how fabulous and like i got so many i mean. i know that i'm slightly really messed up. in the old story so closely. it's. the worst for the little thing the white house chief of a. radio guy and four minutes from the. globe are about to produce never seen anything like this i'm still. on the break in this set and that in mind well a recent study on climate change reveals that the quarrel in australia's great
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barrier reef will start disintegrating within the next hundred years of temperatures continue to increase now in case you didn't know the great barrier reef is the world's biggest network of coral in the largest structure of living organisms on earth it's been labelled as one of the planet's seven natural wonders and deserve protection and respect from humanity but if climate change doesn't succeed in destroying the great reef and next century the us military probably well it turns out the last week the military dropped four and nerve oms on the reef during an exercise gone horribly wrong as part of a joint military training venture between australia and the us in which two fighter pilots were running low on fuel and they couldn't land at the bombs on board so what do they do they drop them on one of the world's most important ecological preserves of course australian senator low resul waters weighed in on the incident and asked have we gone completely mad is this how we look after our world heritage area letting a foreign power drop bombs on it apparently yes and look let's just say hypothetically
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that maybe these unarmed bombers weighing four thousand pounds didn't actually harm and in the course. marine life they were dropped on why in the first place is the u.s. military conducting exercises near important environmental habitat that should be safeguarded also what is the next time the bombs aren't inert the bottom line is that our military is totally out of control and if you want to protect the environment sort of bombing it and join me and let's break the set. of the. ever seen anything like. last week detroit became the largest city in u.s. history to file for bankruptcy the city's appointed emergency manager kevyn orr formally sought federal bankruptcy court protection after deeming it a last resort to restore detroit's financial stability and the move came with the full support of michigan governor rick snyder who defended the decision by citing the shocking statistics that have come to define the economically downtrodden city
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unemployment has nearly tripled since two thousand and is now more than double the national average public services are also severely under resourced to traders wait on average an hour for the police respond to a nine eleven call and forty percent of the city's street lights a bit out of commission since earlier this year but despite this looming reality filing for bankruptcy isn't a move welcomed by all doing so will put the pensions of thirty thousand detroit city workers in jeopardy and it's because of this that a michigan judge has put the filing on a hold asserting that bankruptcy would violate the state's rules against tampering with retiree benefits so here to give some insight on how detroit came to be one of those the longer the economic economies are in the country and what can be done moving forward i'm joined now by richard wolfe professor emeritus of economics at university of massachusetts and bob english producer of artes prime interest thank you both for joining me joe it's good to be here again so richard let's start with you where would you say its most appropriate to place the blame for
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a city that's now twenty billion dollars in debt. well i think we have to remember that what is happening to do. roy is not very different from what of afflicts cleveland camden new jersey and literally dozens of other american cities we also have to remember that detroit and these other cities have been in economic distress and declining for decades at least thirty years so what we're seeing now is really only one late act in a long running drama and i think the most important thing for americans to recognize is that this is a failure of our economic system this was a great city detroit one of the greatest in one nine hundred fifty eight at one point eight million people today it has seven hundred thousand the majority of detroit's people left a city that could not function detroit was also the place where the motown sound came from something that shaped world music all of this is been destroyed and it's
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a catastrophe and the worst of it is three or four years ago when things were bleak in this country that the depth of our current crisis of two out thousand eight and nine the federal government used all of our taxpayer money to bail out the car companies of detroit all of them one way or another but it never bailed out the people of detroit and now it is telling them not only that it's not going to bail them out but that they're going to try to revive this city by not paying thirty thousand people's pensions pensions they paid into pension they go to the goshen with the city and honesty and this is the most grotesque process imaginable for coping with a system failure or bob do you agree that that what we're seeing right now in detroit and detroit is really just systemic and inherent in the economic. system gets a microcosm for what's going on here in the u.s. and unfortunately too many promises were made and there has to be a cleansing that bankruptcy is
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a process by which new investments will be brought into detroit it's unfortunate that these pensioners are going to lose a lot of. maybe all of their savings that were promised to them but there's really no way out of this what are you going to get the federal reserve to bail them out we have bigger cities is riskier like chicago they're get that are going to have to be dealt with so this is a microcosm of what's going on and it's a very important precedent oh richard let's let's go on to a lot of people say that a contributing factor to the mess is because the unions in detroit are too strong i mean what's your response to that analysis well the the sheer magnitude of detroit's problems couldn't possibly by any reasonable calculus and i'm a professional economist be laid at the feet of the pensioners it is in fact a grotesque misunderstanding of how this city got into its problems to blame the unions and now to take away the money of the pensioners which really isn't relevant to to the union question at all none of the biggest problem is this over thirty or forty or fifty years the basic decisions about detroit were made in the boardrooms
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of general motors ford and chrysler a tiny group of people the major shareholders and the board of directors made decisions those decisions were disasters they failed in their competition with other car companies around the world that's why we drive toyotas and all the rest then they made another failed decision they didn't understand the need to develop fuel efficient engines the way our competitors did and having failed to compete they decided finally that the way to make more money when you didn't technologically manage it was to move production out of the united states to mexico to canada and eventually to places as far away as china that's why detroit is in disaster those were the big decisions that shape that city's life and what we did four years ago was bail out the companies that brought the dilemma and what we're doing with bankruptcy now is saying we're going to recoup those losses by sticking
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it to the working people of that city the unfair. this of this is a testimony to us system that not only doesn't work but tries to solve its problems on the backs of the people it has victimized well it's certainly a travesty to say the least that they're going after the pensions of these people that have invested in them to pour their entire lives and livelihoods richard and bob you mentioned that you know it's absurd it's an absurd insinuation to even suggest that we should bail out a city but why bail out corporations and not cities i'm completely in agreement with richard here i think i don't believe that corporations should be belittled and unfortunately the federal reserve did that and the federal government did with chrysler and g.m. and a very bad precedent was with chrysler where there was a negotiation made for the united automobile workers and they got actually more money than they were supposed to instead of detroit teachers and so there is already a bad president said that we're going to throw contract law out of the window and
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any bailout mechanism is just it's just preposterous because it's going to end when we have interest rates rising it just it's not sustainable unfortunately but what about the city same what about us i mean how is it possible that you're bailing out your cronies on wall street and giving you know a i.g. chrysler exactly davidson caterpillar a lot of it and not us well it's a situation but we can't bail out everybody ability to have to stop period it's unfortunate that that happened but they just have to stop because we don't have the money anymore richard we're going to say. two things first we do have the money it's just a question of whether we have the political will to go after it we have the greatest inequality this country has seen in at least half a century probably more we have unspeakable wealth accumulating at one pole and the disasters of detroit at the other you know when you bail out the biggest banks and large corporations you speak what is used to be called trickle down economics you argue that it will benefit the people at the bottom while it never did but here's
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an alternative let's call it trickle up economics you. help the people at the bottom and you hope that the purchases they make will produce profits if you like for business but it will go from the bottom up at least that way you're democratic you're helping the majority of the people what we have done is bailed out those at the top and suddenly discovered after we've done it that there's not enough money to bail out anybody else this isn't serious as an economic analysis and it is a travesty on the most basic elements of social justice bob we're talking about tax revenue here he just writes a really good point i mean would it be the best interest of the city to bail arms are of the federal going to bail the city out to make sure that you don't have a city full of unemployed workers so this just gets to the argument of moral hazard and this it sets a terrible precedent the federal government is borrowing at two point five percent interest rates for ten years in the past it's been as high as twenty percent when i
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don't think the money is there we can't sustain our deficit we can't tax everybody out of existence now the wealth disparity is because of the system that we have and i think we should fix that system but arbitrarily giving or reassigning money from one clause to another is just another problem but yeah i mean i think that the system that we have in place is definitely not apt to divvy it up properly i mean as richard saying i mean clearly there are some really basic problems inherent within the system richard what do we do from here i mean they've they've ruled that this is potentially unconstitutional to declare bankruptcy what's what's left i mean how can we deal with this debt and other subsequent cities that are dealing with the same problems well you know the argument that we can't assign wealth from rich to poor forgets conveniently that over the last thirty five years we've conveniently assigned it the other way we have moved the wealth out of the hands of the mass of people into the hands of the top let me remind you that in the bailout of of general motors and chrysler the deal that was made created what's called a to wage
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a two wage tier system in in the automobile industry the old workers who are there all along keep. getting there twenty eight twenty nine dollars an hour all new hires can be paid as little as fourteen and fifteen dollars an hour that's an arrangement that is profitable for the oil companies but guarantees that detroit can never come back because i'm fourteen dollars an hour we're talking up poverty levels this city into the indefinite future these are arrangements that have been made continued to be made we have to decide whether the velayat the village will be of our society the cohesiveness of our community can withstand the already lead distributed wealth and income to the top that we have been encouraging and pursuing for thirty five years these are the fruits of the collapse of the cities of that policy and if we don't reverse them we will not get the cities out of collapse we are building a social explosion in this country by creating these kinds of disparities between
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rich and poor and i just want to end with you we've got a thirty seconds left but what would you do to get a trade out of this mess with richard we need to end these corporate is fascist structures where people are the elites are just profiting off of the backs of the poor how do you do that overnight i don't know but unfortunately in the meantime we do need these bankruptcies and look at the liquid ation processes to pursued well i think all of us can agree that that something is very inherently the system that were so much richard wolffe marriages of economics and. prime interest. we're taking a quick break as it's still ahead we'll talk about the latest on afghanistan if not for the next and i said. pretty tough stuff in the field that we won't find it here if you're looking for relevant stories you need perspective from top of my scans all right.
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already tense relationship is growing worse between the u.s. and afghanistan seven from america's poorly arranged peace talks with the taliban last month afghan president hamid karzai is now accusing the u.s. of plotting taliban leaders to divide the country and as a result karzai suspended negotiations to keep u.s. troops there beyond two thousand and fourteen karzai allegations are putting added strain on the relationship between afghanistan and pakistan as well officials in pakistan stressed that peace and security in their country is contingent on peace and security in afghanistan which prompted the pakistani government to send an envoy to help open peace talks so is
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a regional peace. given the heightened tensions and what will the future hold for afghans we discuss all this and more i'm joined now by matt southworth legislative associate at the friends committee on national legislation sorry thank you for joining me thank you for having me so matt you served in the army in iraq and then also have been to afghanistan multiple times what you experience so that moving from being a soldier to a peace lobbyist yeah it was quite the transition and i can't say that i had a moment but became really clear to me after serving my tour in iraq that the reasons we had been given for initially invading iraq were very far from far afield from the experiences we were having on the ground what it really came down to is. detaining and adversely affecting innocent people people caught in the middle and it just wasn't to my mind within the moral standing of this country and you know as i just mentioned in the intro is that karzai is now basically accusing the u.s. of working with the taliban and it's basically been said that the only way to move
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forward of peace talks is to have the taliban included what do you think's going to happen i mean what does it take to get this process moving forward of karzai is kind of putting his foot down one of the us really fumbled on this one you know opening the the office in doha and really essentially giving the taliban the world stage with apparently. not consulting cars i or having them included the karzai government clued in this was really a very big misstep a misstep because the u.s. really doesn't have a role in afghan political talks the u.s. can create space the u.s. can make a space space of the table but also merely afghans have to decide the political future of their country right i mean i was surprised actually when i read this i thought about cars i was involved in the process of removing ourselves let's talk of the deadline decided for twenty fourteen because another i remember from earlier this year is that there was actually a strategic pact between cars i think of this region and obama to actually keep
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troops there for a longer what would it troop presence look like beyond this twenty fourteen deadline everyone would love to know and looting afghans and made the biggest problem we've had right now is the complete lack of transparency by the obama administration and the military as to what their long term intentions in afghanistan are you know this was tried in iraq in two thousand and eleven. and the you know secretary defense league that maybe they needed ten thousand troops to keep iraq stable and to keep iraq secure and in the end the iraqis said no get out of the country wasn't the obama administration and sort of the decided to leave it was the iraqis that decided it was time for the u.s. to leave the question in afghanistan a slightly different. there's talk about nine bases there's talk about the long term troop presence and what those troops will do the reality is that u.s. troops have no role in afghanistan's future afghan political problems cannot be solved by u.s. troops so the sooner u.s. troops leave the better does on one hand invite foreign interference in some ways
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from pakistan and others but the reality is these political issues and political problems are for afghans to solve not for troops i want to get into afghanistan stability in the future once troops are removed in a second but i wanted to actually talk about this report that i read very shocking report that talks about one hundred eight thousand private contractors i mean we're talking about amount out well i mean almost two to one ratio of contractors and soldiers here do you know what they're doing there because this report can't seem to figure it out well contractors play a variety of roles some of them are foreign contractors some of them are hired afghan contractors some of them do various types of infrastructure building and peace and stability operations and so on the reality is that there's a tremendous amount of abuse and waste there the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction gear and cigar respectively have been working to expose
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a lot of this corruption this ways this fraud abuse for years of course they're constantly stonewalled in fact. mandy ends in september the former inspector general stuart bowen just testified for in front of the house foreign affairs committee for the final time a couple weeks ago and and said the u.s. taxpayers would reap about one point six billion dollars in benefits from audits and the the agency would receive about three hundred million dollars in reclaimed monies monies that were embezzled and so on there's a tremendous amount of waste and fraud and abuse going on in contracting and there are other broader implications as well i mean it just pains me to hear something about what the true. going through and hearing this i never wasteful spending and i want to talk about speaking of ways that i want to put up a couple interesting projects that we just found out about thirty four million dollars building a military headquarters that will never be used seven hundred eighty million dollars for counter-narcotics aircraft there's a shortage of afghan pilots actually to maintain these aircrafts thirty three
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hundred sixty million dollars given to taliban and affiliates of al qaeda over the last decade i mean good god how is it possible that war funds are so poorly mismanaged here i mean it's just the natural thing you see in a war that funds are inevitably mismanaged i mean corruption and waste and fraud seem to be the only and evitable thing about war war itself is not inevitable but during war these things seem to be inevitable i'll tell you right now there is an effort by members of the government oversight reform committee stockman congressman stockman and congressman watts and they're trying to bring a little bit more transparency to these overseas contingency operations as they're known this year for the fiscal year thirteen fourteen rather budget we're talking about eighty eight point five or eighty five point five billion dollars. billion with a b. so a lot of money and with a lack of oversight we're really worried my organization the friends committee is really really worried that we're going to have
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a lot of money be embezzled and be wasted. places like detroit are going under you know they're absolutely awful and you know you mentioned before about afghanistan kind of being able to sustain their own livelihoods their own future having withdrawal of these troops and really leaving the future of afghanistan up to the people but would it be able to survive i mean without the u.s. now financially back with more pain i mean indebted to the country for decades the world bank has said over ninety percent of afghan g.d.p. is dependent on foreign aid dollars i mean what we really need is an economic transition plan because essentially the u.s. military is poised to leave with the u.s. military the. here it is so too will u.s. dollars and international dollars leave the reality there as you can manage the decrease we need to see a decrease because we've been throwing money into afghanistan and wasteful ways for far too long if we can manage that decrease if we can see the decrease come down in a reasonable way and
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a way that's really including afghans and afghan priorities this could make sense for the long term future of afghanistan our fear is that you know the administration has really put no economic transition in place and as you withdraw troops so too will dollars be withdrawn and you have exaggerated wondered and i wanted to just follow up on you were saying that of course the future they have and i think that is going to be put in the hands of the people but james dobbins the u.s. envoy to afghanistan just said unlike iraq the afghans need us to stay most afghans want us to stay and we are promised to stay i mean what interests are keeping u.s. troops there what was this war really about we have about thirty seconds left that's it well let's distinguish stay i mean the u.s. troops should stay u.s. does have interests in afghanistan the long term for the interests of the afghan people and so on that is not a military interest we can help to stand shoulder to shoulder with afghans help them moving forward in a way that is transparent and has adequate oversight but it definitely who is the united states to work together with afghans moving forward and not in the
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militarized way right absolutely thank you so much for coming on you breaking some of this down south work legislative program associate i've seen it. this weekend an important pioneer in the field of journalism has died thomas she was ninety two years old and spent sixty two years of her life holding politicians feet to the fire thomas was the first female the national press club and the first female member and president of the white house correspondents association in her tenure she covered the administration. of eleven u.s. presidents from kennedy to obama asking the difficult questions that you els there to. hear you know how the confusion and fear. the prime time will be. more carrots and miscalculate
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and. how to you know any money that could have gone you know i have no knowledge of your decision to invade iraq to get the thousands still to their actions in iraq you know i didn't want. then women is going to get out of afghanistan and they are continuing to kill and die there what is to really give us this bush is to if we don't go there they'll all come here yeah but helen thomas was not only known for a candid line of interrogations at white house press briefings she also routinely tore down the country to stress the importance and true role before the state and a piece commemorating her legacy ralph nader writes quote you spoke about the responsibility of journalists to hold politicians responsible with tough probing questions that are asked repeatedly until they either answer to the politicians unmasked as an unaccountable coward and in fact here she is criticizing the media servitude in the wake of the iraq war. this car obviously gave up its only
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weapon which is skepticism they played ball they went along with everything the white house said. even before nine eleven go into the press room that almost day one when president bush took over and all of a sudden aba the blue no reason said hussein this is on the radar screen it's good to know that someone in the press was speaking out against the veil of lies now in the wake of her passing the mainstream media is glorifying her legacy and rightly so however important remember that the corporate press was instrumental in bringing down her distinguished career in two thousand and ten after thomas made a controversial statement about israel. and israel risk to everybody today because of the day i left the palace remember these people are occupied. and it's their. chairman that wishes to go to work for their own home well after this incident she
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was fired from her snooze papers and mired in negative press for weeks there she is talking to soledad o'brien about what happened and why. do you think that you made a mistake and to be fired. why do you think they fired you don't touch the third rail which is israel and never mention israel maybe at me called get me a medic here job now yes helen thomas being of lebanese descent had strong opinions about israel and was one of the only reporters to not shy away from speaking out against the occupation of palestine but her candor and honesty was a hallmark of her legacy thomas paved the way for countless female journalists to continue to challenge authority and ask the right questions often the most difficult of times you know some people have speculated that if thomas was really making that much of an impact the powers that be would not let her in the door in the first place but it's unquestionable that she served as a thorn in the side of every president she spoke unrelentless truth to power in
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a rigged game and since she started that game is changed now it's nearly impossible to get in the door if you don't play by the rules so indeed helen will be missed or perhaps the real tragedy here is that that will never be another helen thomas the one and only white house trailblazer. i've seen the perception of the cross many times it doesn't matter if there's snow a heat wave or hail storms people keep going i don't expect anything just one i told myself i keep on going as long as my heart told me to that's all i wanted to the moment. i have sinned so. i'm carrying these sayings on my shoulder.
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do you want me to put a bandage here you know that's fine a lot of people were so exhausted they could barely walk their feet hurt and some of them stated we will bring you back to eat three to want to keep going i don't know what tomorrow will bring. let me let me respond will let me ask you a point. on this network it's worth reading the big we have our knives out. to do this sorry we're just bad staying there for gary the story will be about it we talk about surveillance me.
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your boss the i just stood up and went. i didn't expect anything i just want what i told myself that i would keep going as long as my heart told me to follow the people and that was always wanted to found moment which. is but though i felt something i want to tell my future children about justice i still don't know what it was maybe i'll understand it later i just was sitting in crying yesterday i can't explain it borders i felt a lot here i was even a little scared by it all i remember one morning in the village of boulder it was three am and it seemed like people were coming up from the grass lots of them gathering with icons in their hands and moving forward a real sense of the russian spirit all moving together it was an amazing feeling much was.

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