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Is it possible, to totally bring about a mutation in what is?
To go into this question of bringing about a total revolution,
one must have an extraordinary sense of awareness.
The crisis especially now, is a crisis in consciousness.
A crisis that cannot anymore accept the old norms.
It seems to me, though man has cultivated the external world
and has more or less mastered it
Inwardly, he is still as he was.
We want happiness.
We do not want suffering.
Now we are actually creating more unnecessary suffering.
That "one-million dollars" will not bring inner peace.
This money brings more frustration, more suspicion, more anxiety
but people do not understand.
I see all this potential, and I see it squandered.
God damnit an entire generation pumping gas, and waiting tables.
...slaves with white collars.
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes
working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don't need.
We're the middle-children of history, man.
No purpose or place.
We have no great war... no great depression...
Our "great war" is the spiritual war.
Our "great depression", is our lives.
We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars...
...but we won't
and we're slowly learning that fact
and we're very, very pissed off.
Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo
When you're born in this world you're given a ticket to the freak-show
and when you're born in America you're given a front row seat.
Everybody's got a cellphone that'll make pancakes and rub their balls
so nobody want's to rock the boat. Nobody wants to change.
We're in a nice downward glide.
I call it "circling the drain".
I think we squandered great gifts. I think humans were given great, great gifts.
We polluted it with this STUFF...
...things, material goods, games, gizmos, toys, gadgets...
...having possessions
"He's got a bigger truck! Did you see his truck? It's bigger than mine! I'm gettin' a new truck!"
Part 1 - The Freakshow
"Here's a big truck! Oooh, I'm gettin that one! That's what, you got a video in there? DVD too?"
Hi Eric, thank you so much for being with us today.
Thanks for sliding on
We are here to talk to Eric about black-friday, it has come early this year.
- That's right. With the economy the way it is retailers are doing everything they can
to pry dollars out of reluctant customers hands.
So, you know this is a very important season to retailers it could be 25 to 40 percent of their years total sales.
So if they can expand the shopping season by a little bit, by advancing it...
Anything in this economy helps.
- Well I mean, at this point though last year people were pinching pennies just as much as this year
so why are we seeing this now?
- Well we're seeing it now because it's a way to expand the shopping season
and give retailers that many more chances to...
...you know, sink their hooks into you.
This is the world I grew up in.
Like many others I born with this bright, flashing, shiney promise shoved right in my face
that true happiness was just a credit card swipe away.
When I was a kid the world told me that the coolest kids wore the coolest sneakers.
When I got a little older it convinced me that my success was defined
by a college degree, and a job with benefits.
Today it reminds me endlessly that I should have another drink and buy a new car.
But I gotta tell you, the only real message I've heard through the noise
is that this world knows, better than I do
what's best for me.
>> It seems to me that most Americans have internalized the propaganda
that consumerism pummles and plies them with daily.
So, we internalize this system, we can't envisage anything different.
A number of people were speaking about, "Well why do people break windows and steal consumer goods?"
The poor have been pummeled with this propaganda.
What do you expect them to do, go out and loot a good job and good education?
>> Captain Capitalism! Wow!
What are you doing here?
>> I think the better questions son is, just what do you think YOU'RE doing here?
>> Putting money in my piggybank!
>> Crippling our nation by stagnating the economy and throwing us into another recession is more like it!
>> Hey girl! Can you say "bling-bling"?
>> Why do we consume to such a crazy level?
A level that the research shows over and over
is undermining our health, our societal well-being, and the environment.
We have to step back from before even starting this
to recognize that most of what we do, most of what we see as "normal"
is actually shaped by our cultural norms.
And unfortunately, where we are today is that culture has made Consumerism
feel "normal", or "natural".
So that watching 5 hours of television a day as a child
or drinking huge caffeinated beverages at 5 years old
as this picture here suggests
is ok... We don't even question it anymore.
You know, and a strong illustration of that for me is this series of pictures.
Now if you can't see, up at the top-right there's a little girl
surrounded by all of her pink toys.
This is a little Korean girl.
The artist actually was more interested in the genderfication process of children
Just look from how young we are brought into the consumer culture
where we define our well-being, our happiness, our leisure
through the stuff we have. Through the stuff that surrounds us.
And here's a picture of an American little girl
of course, with the princess outfit
which I've discovered from my own four nieces that... well, it's big business.
Disney makes multiple billions of dollars a year
selling their Disney princess fantasies to little girls.
So around the industrial world and increasingly in developing countries
consumerism, is becoming the default cultural pattern.
>> In the 1950s... late 50s, early 60s...
a bunch of advertising guys got together
in Madison avenue, and decided that what they were trying to do
was sell products to younger people
They thought "we should try and sell products to younger people because then they'll buy things their whole life."
So they'll try and sell them soft drinks, or bread, or cigars
or whatever the hell they were selling them, and they thought...
"We'll try and appeal to young people."
because the youth was the place where you were going to be able to sell things
and what happened was that, in a strange kind of quirk of fate
youth began to be celebrated by society
in a way that it had never been at any time in human history
because what used to be celebrated was experience and cleverness
but what happened was that what became valuable was youth
the quality of youth which made you a consumer
so what happened is that they started concentrating on all of these people
society started to turn on its head
because with the deification of youth...
Youth has a byproduct. The byproduct of youth is inexperience.
By the nature of having youth, you don't have any experience, you're too young to have it.
It became fashionable and desirable to be young and to be stupid!
And it started to be a fashion, and that grew, and that grew
and that grew, and that grew...
and now, that's what all the kids want to be.
and this terrible movement... nobody meant it!
>> Everytime that I open my mouth critically, with regards to this country
everytime I feel like I want to criticize this country
There's this little nagging voice in the back of my head that says...
"How dare you Paul. "
"Do you know how fat and lazy you are? Do you know how priviledged you are?"
"How dare you criticize this country."
"How dare you sit there, in your life of abject luxury and criticize this great country!"
"How dare you."
But you know what, ladies and gentlemen?
I cannot carry the torch anymore for this country.
America is not the "land of the free", nor is it the "home of the brave"...
It is neither of those things.
America is a country of aggressively ignorant fucking cowards.
People that are just willing to hand over their civil liberties
lock, stock and barrel
without even taking the time to inform themselves.
They're so stupid and so diluted
and so caught in the quagmire that is there empty info-tainment filled lives
that they just line up for somebody to tell them how they should feel.
The real problem is us. We're the problem
because we're too distracted by bullshit that's on the fucking T.V.
to stand up for what's in our best interests.
What's the answer to that? How do you stop that?
>> Individually, they earn about $12 a week in allowance.
But collectively, 8 to 12 year old kids in the U.S, 20 million strong
wield 43 billion dollars of their parents money in annual spending power
and they've got the stars to prove it.
>> What makes her a superstar on the launch-pad?
>> When she walked in and said, "Hi I'm Victoria Justice and I'm 12 years old."
I was like, "Alright, this kid has real charisma."
I'm thinking, "This is a kid I want to probably develop a T.V. show for. "
>> Do you want to be a movie star? Or, a singing star?
>> I wanna do both
>> You want it all.
>> I wanna do both. I want it all! Why not?
>> This season premiere got almost 9 million viewers
making it the highest rated season premiere in MTV's history.
Season 4 follows the cast as they head to their homeland, Italy
in what can only be described as the beginnings of a global takeover.
>> Can we get the Lindsey Lohan D.U.I. arrest out of the teleprompter
and put my script in it. Is that possible?
>> As to the charge of first degree murder...
Verdict as to count one, we the jury...
>> Press association is reporting that singer Amy Winehouse
has been found dead in her London apartment.
>> ...and I'm, I'm done with the Paris Hilton story.
>> In this country, being stupid is no longer considered to be a detriment.
Being stupid is considered to be a virtue in this country.
We reward the stupid in this country.
That's exactly the opposite thing that we should do.
There should be social pressure on people that are willfully ignorant
to not be stupid, and instead we reward people...
We reward stupidity in this country!
We reward people with multi-million dollar T.V. contracts
so that all the other stupid people can sit around and watch how stupid these people are.
It breaks my heart to see a place like this that has so much potential
absolutely fucking wasted.
>> But there's a reason. There's a reason.
There's a reason for this. There's a reason education sucks
and it's the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed.
Because the owners of this country don't want that.
I'm talking about the real owners now.
The real owners. The big wealthy business interests
that control things and make all the important decisions.
They own YOU.
They own everything.
They own and control the corporations, they've long since bought and paid for the senate
the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they've got the judges in their back pocket
and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear
They got you by the balls!
They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying.
Lobbying, to get what they want.
Well we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
But I'll tell you what they don't want.
They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking.
They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.
They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them.
That's against their interests.
That's right.
They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out
how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.
They don't want that. You know what they want?
They want obedient workers.
Obedient workers.
People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork,
and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs
with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime
and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it
and now they're coming for your Social Security money.
They want your fucking retirement money.
They want it back
so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.
And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you, sooner or later
because they own this fucking place.
It's a big club.
and you ain't in it!
Part 2 - The Big Club
>> Think stars are having all of the fun?
Uh... no.
>> No pressure tonight.
>> These days, nobodies making more and spending more
than the button-down badasses of Wall Street.
We'll tour the hedgerow mega-homes they're buying with all that hedge fund cash...
>> Wade Carrington's the largest estate in Grenitch, and it's 25 million dollars.
>> ...show you the insane mega-yachts and jumbo jets paid for with their mind-boggling bonuses...
>> I'm just wondering now, what do you need a commercial size airliner for?
>> ...and reveal how big name charities are just another excuse to flash their cash.
>> They raised in one night, 71 million dollars.
>> We are taking from working families who are struggling to survive
taking hundreds of billions of dollars, and giving it to millionaires and billionaires.
>> I think we have a class war.
I think Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats
they're very, very wealthy, they're rich and they're very powerful
are using the Republican party to actually escalate a war
against the poor and working class of all colors
but it's more a "class war" than a "civil war" that really has to do with
organized greed at the top, and disorganized poor and working people on the bottom.
>> We need to build a beautiful granite and bronze monument in our nation's capital
to honor American heros. Unsung American heros
and those unsung American heros are, the rich.
>> Many have jobs and work hard, yet they're struggling to survive.
Some people showing up at a homeless shelter in Woodland
don't necessarily fit the mold of your typical homeless person.
>> The shelter planned for an increase in homeless.
Just not this much, this fast.
She says the slow economy has put many in dire straits.
>> Try to imagine an America without rich people.
Rich people contribute a lot to this country.
They pay a disproportionate amount, for all sorts of things that help poor people
whether it's food, or whether it's medicine, or whether it's helping send other kids to college.
The rich do a lot of good.
>> And what's going on now is, there's this philosophical myth
that has been taking Washington by storm.
It's always been around but for some reason recently it's been inflamed.
That, somehow, if these companies that have shirked tax law
that have taken a lot of their money offshore so that profits can't even be judged
let alone taxed...
are somehow, if they get a lower tax rate, going to bring it all back
create more jobs and, I don't know, fire their accounting staffs and take back their loopholes.
>> Can you pin down exactly what would keep investors happy, make them feel more confident?
>> Uh, that's a tough one.
Um... see, I'm a trader. I don't really care about that kind of stuff.
I go with what the... if I see an oportunity to make money, I go with that.
So, for most traders it's not about... we don't really care that much how they're going to fix the economy
how they're going to fix the whole situation.
Our job is to make money from it.
If a man has an apartment, stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, we call him crazy.
If a woman has a trailer house, full of cats, we call her nuts.
But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation
we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they're role models. - B. Lester
>> The racking up of wealth... you would have thought the crisis would have stopped that
Actually more billionaires emerged in India last year, than ever!
The doubled last year.
The wealth of the rich in this country has accelerated
just last year.
What happened was that leading hedgefund owners got personal remunerations
of three billion dollars each
in one year.
Now, I thought it was obscene and insane a few years ago when they got 250 million.
But they're now hauling in three billion.
And as a famous statement, I think by Andrew Mellon, was way back...
"In a crisis" he said, "asset's return to their rightful owners"
i. e. him
And that in effect is the plug of the finacial world right now.
>> New Rule; Television networks have to stop making shows that try and put a happy ending
on America's enormous wealth disparity
and instead make a show called "Shine my Shoes, Fuckface".
Come on! This is America where the top 400 people have more money than
the bottom 150 million combined!
If ABC can make a show where millionaires give their money to poor people
Animal Planet can make a show where pigs grow wings and fly out of Donald Trump's ass.
>> Am I suppose to be honored?
>> America rich aren't giving you money, they're taking your money.
Between the years 1980 and 2005, 80% of all new income generated in this country
went to the richest 1%.
Let me put that in terms that even you fat-ass teabaggers can understand.
Say 100 Americans get together and order a 100 slice pizza.
The pizza arrives, they open the box
and the first guy takes 80 slices.
And if someone suggests, "Why don't you just take 79 slices?"
That's Socialism!
I know, I know, it's just a T.V. show.
But it does reinforce the stupid idea people have
that rich people would love us and share with us
if only they got to walk a mile in our cheap, plastic shoes.
But they're the reason the shoe factory moved to China.
We have this fantasy that our interests and the interest of the super-rich are the same.
Like, somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they'll explode
and the candy will rain down on the rest of us.
Like they're some kind of pińata of benevolence.
But here's the thing about a pińata, it doesn't open on it's own
you have to beat it with a stick.
>> The rich do a lot of good, and what I'm saying Bill
is they don't need to be vilified the way they are in America today.
>> This is Wall Street bitch, you don't belong here!
I'm your greatest fear!
The shit that you wish you could be, but are too weak to get here!
Is it starting to make sense? Is it starting to become clear?
>> Our financial market actively rewards being a giant cunt.
Like a radioactive Ann Coulter who's grown to Godzilla proportions.
Does that not freak anyone out?
>>... Pfizer sales reps promoted it illegally, for surgical pain in higher doses.
Uses the FDA had rejected due to safety concerns.
Doctors responded.
Instead of prescribing Ibuprofen at pennies a pill
they prescribed Bextra at nearly $3 a pill.
>> Sales were very good.
>> You might have heard of "The Yes Men"
They do social activism pranks on corporations.
For example, last week they announced that General Electric
which uses loopholes to avoid taxes
was going to give back the 3.2 billion dollars in refunds it got from the government
or another time they told the media that Dow Chemical
would finally be paying the victims of a massive chemical spill
millions of dollars in restitution.
Or another time they annouced that director Michael Bay
would be giving us all 2 hours of our lives back.
So after these hoaxes, the corporations have to come out and go
"Oh, actually... that good thing you heard about? Yeah, we're totally NOT doing that. No. Not at all. "
Now here's the interesting part. During the half hour when everyone thinks the hoax is true
the company's stock tumbles like crazy.
G.E. lost billions. Dow lost billions.
This means, we've created a system where companies get massively punished
for doing good things for humanity.
So if a corporation announces it will hostilely take over a 50 year old, locally owned company
and fire all their employees.
It's given the financial equivelant of a high-five and a reach-around.
If on the other hand it anounces it will give free AIDS medication
to the dying people of Ghana
then Wall Street knocks it unconscious and draws the word "queer" on its forehead.
>> In this grainy seminar video posted on the file sharing site YouTube
a Pittsburg lawfirm, on how to use loopholes
to ensure foreign workes can get the jobs instead of Americans.
>>... and our goal is clearly, NOT to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker.
>> Here's the thing. If Wall Street weren't around yet
would you create it to be this way?
Would you say, "Lets make a financial system wherein companies are rewarded"
"for being piping hot douche-holes."
"and if one of them does something good for humanity"
"we'll treat that with suspicion."
"You announced you're gonna pay the victims of a horrific oil spill?"
"What are you, Sean Penn?"
"You're a multi-national. You can't go around caring about people!"
"Could you imagine if every company did that?"
"The whole system would break down!"
"People would have food and clean water. There'd be fewer wars, death and hardship!"
"What kind of world that be!?"
"Not one I want MY trust-fund babies to grow up in... "
>> I'm Matthew Lesko and the government's giving away more money than ever before!
85 billion dollars, to help bank executives take a vacation!
25 billion dollars to make cars that people don't want to buy!
600 billion dollars to subsidise sub-prime lending practices
that got us in this mess in the first place!
Who cares about hyper-inflation, crippling debt
or a massive tax burden on your grand kids!
>> Jack Abramhoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time.
He was at the center of a massive scandal of brazen corruption and influence peddling.
As a Republican lobbyist starting in the mid 1990s
he became a master at showering gifts on lawmakers
in return for their votes on legislation and tax breaks
favorable to his clients.
He was so good at it, he took home 20 million dollars a year.
It all came crashing down 5 years ago when Jack Abramhoff pled guilty
to corrupting public officials, tax evasion, and fraud
and served three and a half years in prison.
Today he's a symbol of how money corrupts Washington.
In our interview tonight, he opens up his playbook for the first time
and explains exactly how he used his clients' money
to buy powerful friends and influence legislation.
>> I was actually thinking of writing a book, "The Idiot's Guide to Buying a Congressman"
as a way to put this all down, but...
First, I think most congressmen don't feel they're being bought.
Most congressmen I think can, in their own mind, justify the system.
>> Rationalize...
>> Rationalize it. And by the way we wanted, as lobbyists, for them to feel that way.
>> Abramhoff would provide freebees and gifts
looking for favors for his clients, in return.
He'd lavish certain congressmen and senators with access to private jets
and junkets to the world's great golf destinations like Saint Andrews in Scotland.
Free meals at his own upscale Washington restaurant
and access to the best tickets to all the areas sporting events
including two skyboxes at Washington Redskins games.
>> I spent over a million dollars a year on tickets to sporting events
and concerts and what-not at all the venues.
>> A million dollars?
>> Yea.
>> For the best seats?
>> THE best seats.
>> But the best way to get a congressional office to do his bidding, he says
was to offer a staffer a job that could triple his salary.
>> When we would become friendly with an office and they were important to us
and the Chief of Staff was a competent person
I would say, or my staff would say to him or her at some point
"You know, when you're done working on the hill"
"we'd very much like for you to consider coming to work for us."
Now the moment I said that to them, or any of our staff said that to them
That was it. We owned them.
>> You're asking me to trust the top one tenth of one percent of wage earners
and the politicians that they outright purchase
with stewardship of the economy.
You're asking me to trust them to run the economy in such a way that not only benefits them
but benefits me and everyone else besides.
>> How many congressional offices did you actually own?
>> We probably had very strong influence in
100 offices at a time.
>> Come on...
>> No
>> 100 offices?
>> In those days I would view that as a failure
because that leaves 335 offices that we didn't.
>> When Barack Obama and I were literally sitting at a desk in a high rise in Chicago
beginning to plan how we would try to get this economy out the ditch
the first guy I called, was Jon Corzine.
Jon Corzine - 54th Governor of New Jersey former CEO at Goldman Sachs and MF Global
Net Worth approximately $300 million.
>> These people have never given me any reason to trust them.
Use a little Google Fu, go and look up white collar corporate crime statistics
you know, from 1980 on.
These names show up over, and over, and over
and over again for the same shit.
Embezzlement, bribery of public officials, outright theft, tax evasion, misstatements of profits
and they do it again, and again, and again
and again, and pay billions of dollars in fines
and they do it again, and again, and again...
This is not just an isolated incident or two, this is a pattern.
This is a part of the way they do business.
Part of doing business in America, is breaking the law
over and over and over again...
and getting caught over and over and over again...
and you're asking me to trust these people.
>> I'm not here to talk about plans to deal with this till 2017.
I'm saying we've got a real problem
and I'm tired of Republicans and Democrats who either...
Republians who want to burn the place to the ground
and Democrats with all due respect, who want to offer a plan
that gets it through the end of their second term of their presidency
and then screws me and my kids when it's over.
And until we do that we have to deal with the extraction that is at foot
it is the reason the financial markets are behaving the way their behaving
that is a mathematical fact! This is not some opinion!
This is a mathematical fact!
Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the United States of America.
Democrats aren't dong it. Republicans are not doing it.
An entire integrated system; financial system, trading system, taxing system
that was created by both parties over a period of two decades
is at work on our entire country right now!
And we're sitting here arguing about whether we should do the four trillion dollar plan
that kicks the can down the road for the president for 2017
or burn the place to the ground.
>> At this point in history, you can no longer afford to live in blissful ignorance of the facts.
You can no longer afford to be wrong about this.
The decisions that these people make, the laws that these people break,
the money that these people extract from the global economy illegally
...and in some cases legally...
everything that they do affects every aspect of your life.
>>...and, you know the joke is if you want to talk to someone from Goldman Sachs
call the treasury department.
I mean, it's just staffed with people who are from Wall Street.
So, it's an area where they really do control both ends of the debate.
You don't really have much choice between the Republicans and Democrats.
You know, you get the Democrats in, you have as many people from Wall Street
as with the Republicans. Maybe more.
So it's certainly a very, very big problem.
>> Here's the way it works.
It's 10:14 PM, eastern time.
You're gonna get up at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow.
If the kids are sick, forget about it. I don't care.
Get somebody to take care of them.
That lousy commute that takes you an hour and a half...
Suck up and do it, don't give me any bologna.
Go to work at a job that you hate, but you're taking the job because you need the money
and your boss is a jerk, and you can't stand your coworkers
I don't wanna hear any complaining.
You have to stay late.
And then make that commute back.
And then feed your kids some garbage that you have that you call food.
And then call it a night and start the next day.
I don't want any back-talk but I want your money.
I'm gonna take your money, and I'm gonna give it to my friends!
>> There is a capacity to basically fire a politician
who disagrees with me by taking funding away from him.
People of the United States of America, your congress is bought!
Your congress is incapable of making legislation
on healthcare, banking, trade or taxes because if they do it
they will lose their political funding, and they won't do it!
And I won't have a country that is run by a bought-congress!
>> Why aren't we directly helping home owners with their debt burden?
Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy?
Is this the United States congress, or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs!?
>> My name is Mitch McConnell
My name is Boehner
My name is Bush
My name is Clinton
My name is Obama
My name is Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Dodd...
I'll tell you want to think, what to believe. You just turn over your money!
And I'm gonna give it to my buddy over there, Bernanke.
And he's gonna distribute it to all the banks and all the businesses
and all the hedge funds.
And they're gonna borrow billions and trillions at zero interest rate.
Part 3 - The Iron Fist
>> Does the government work for us or do we work for the government?
How has the United States changed from a humble, peaceful republic
into a police state?
Tonight, "Freedom vs. Security".
This past week the United States supreme court told police that
they could break down the door of your home if they smell what they think is
smoke from the use of Marijuana coming from inside.
Last week the Indiana supreme court told police in that state
that they can enter a private home even if they're not looking for evidence of a crime.
And yesterday the Justice Department revealed that
FBI and local police are executing "sneak and peek" warrants.
They break into your home, seize an item
and don't tell you that they've done this for over 18 months.
And they are doing this in ordinary criminal prosecutions
not just for the persuit of terrorists, as the law requires.
This is all about the slow loss of personal libery.
>> The number one priority of this government
and future governments
will be to protect the American people against terrorist attack.
>> After the events of 9/11, the Department of Justice
came to us in the congress and said...
"These terrorist succeeded, because we didn't have (we in the government)"
"did not have sufficient power to have stopped them"
"and we, therefore need the congress to pass legislation"
"correcting these deficiencies in previous law"
"and giving us (the government) more power."
>> So just 6 weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center
congress passed a new law called
"The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools"
"Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" act of 2001
The PATRIOT act.
Sure is the "Axis of Evil" for bad acronyms.
The PATRIOT act is, "An act to deter and punish terrorist acts"
"in the United States and around the world."
"to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools,"
"and for other purposes."
Other purposes?
>> Under the USA PATRIOT act, among other things
you can now have people who are tried on a military barge
off the coast, a U.S. military barge off our coast or some other country.
They could be tried by a military tribunal. We wouldn't know the charges against them
let alone the evidence
They could be convicted...
They could be sentanced to death by this military tribunal
and thrown overboard
and we wouldn't even know their names.
>> When the PATRIOT act was first sent to the congress by the Bush administration
it came with a request that we hold no hearings on it
so that there would be no public input
or public discourse.
>> Imagine if your family was awakened in the middle of the night
by a team of federal officers.
Well that's exactly what happened to a woman and her children
in Grandville county.
>> Amanda Lamb is in the news room joining us now
and Amanda, we understand that because
this case falls under the PATRIOT act
a lot of the usual rights for defendants, not available here.
>> That's right David. The PATRIOT act was created after 9/11.
It allows federal agents to investigate suspected cases of terrorism, swiftly
in order to better protect our country.
But one Grandville county mother says
it gives the federal government too much leeway.
Her son was taken into federal custody 2 months ago
she can't get him out, and she can't get any answers.
According to the United States government
this 10th grader who has never been in trouble with the law before
is now a suspected terrorist.
>> They said that he was being arrested for
making bomb threats.
>> Annette Lundeby told the officers that
someone stole her son's I.P. address
and used it to make crank calls through the internet
making it look like the calls had originated
from her home.
She says the FBI's extensive search of her home
turned up nothing.
>> Quitely and quickly, congress reauthorized
the PATRIOT act last week
just before ducking out for the holiday weekend.
The senate passed the bill, 72 to 23.
The house followed suit just hours later
passing it 250 to 153.
All in all, more than 80 Democrats supported the bill.
We're going to bring in Jeffery Rosen.
He's a law professor at George Washington University
he's also the legal affairs editor at the New Republic.
Jeffery, thanks so much for joining us, really appreciate it.
Let me start with that fundamental question.
Is there something significantly different about
this PATRIOT act as opposed to the one during the Bush years?
>> Absolutely not, in fact the three most controversial provisions of the PATRIOT act
were reauthorized with barely any debate.
These are the provisions that authorize roving wire-taps,
the infamous section 215
which allows the government to seize "any tangible thing"
data, cellphone records, what have you...
merely by saying that it's "relevant to a terrorism investigation".
And then finally, the secret national security letters
that also allow the government to seize any data
and if you receive this letter
you're not even allowed to mention it to anyone else
and an investigation in 2007 found
serious and wide-spread abuse of these letters.
It found there were 140,000 of them issued
between 2003 and 2005
many with people with no connection to terrorism.
These are very provisions that Harry Reid and
other Democrats properly denounced during the Bush years
and this past week as you said, with barely any debate
the same people just voted to reauthorize
these terrible provisions.
>> Government was giving us, kind of a running tally...
>> There have been a total of over 480 people
arrested or detained...
...we've arrested or detained, 614 persons...
...we've detained nearly 1000 individuals...
>> He swept broadly, he swept blindly
until the number was over 1000
and people started asking questions.
They said "How many of these 1000 people"
"have been charged with the crimes of September 11th?"
and the answer was zero.
Then people asked "Well, how many of these people, these suspected terroristists"
"have been charged with any crime related to terrorism?"
and the answer was zero.
Those were not good answers from the government's perspective
so what did the government do?
In early November it annouced
"We no longer will give out a daily tally."
"It's too difficult for us to give out a daily tally."
It wasn't difficult for them, when they thought
it sent the message that, "We're doing something to fight terrorism"
but when it started to send the message
"We're locking up lots of people who aren't even charged with terrorism"
they just stopped telling us how many people were detained.
>> Most congress members admit that
they never even read it.
>> It is an immutable law of the universe
that if you give government power
it uses it.
>> But in reality, our liberties have been on decline
from almost the moment of the conception of this great country.
The hateful "Alien and Sedition" acts, which criminalized free speech
that was critical of the government
were inacted in the 18th century by the same generation
indeed, in some cases the same people
who adopted the first admendment with its iconic language that
"congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech"
Those laws expired, when Jefferson refused to enforce them
but two generations later another president would argue
that he could arrest state officials and newspaper editors
with whom he had political differences
and two generations after that
the government enacted the espionage act of 1917
which made it a crime to speak out against World War 1
or to oppose the draft.
And two generations after that
F.D.R. arrested Japanese Americans and Italian Americans
just because of their nationalities
and the supreme court let them get away with it.
And two generations after that
the war on drugs was prosecuted
to distract us from the disaster in Vietnam
and the economic destruction brought about
by wage and price controls and the rejection of the gold standard.
Each of these assaults on freedom
used the previous assault as a legal justification.
>> The war in Iraq may be over
but America is still fighting its so-called "war on terror".
U.S. president Barack Obama says
he wouldn't block a new security bill, which for the first time
writes into law the indefinite detention
of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay
even American citizens.
>> It's very, very noxious...
Very, very reminiscent of the "Emergency Regulations"
introduced in Nazi Germany in 1933.
It goes way beyond the "War Powers" act
and it's meant to intimidate people
to make sure that people don't act up or speak out.
>> U.S. congress passed a bill
which repeals "Posse Comitatus"
which means, that we have now
institutionalized and codified marial law.
Right now, the battle against terrorism involves all of us.
Everybody in the country is a potential terrorist.
And the words that they used in there
to bring everybody in as a potential terrorist
is "any associated forces"
which means that if you happen to visit a website
or happen to attend a meeting...
happen to do one association
you can be accused of being a terrorist
and the bill says you have "no right to a lawyer".
And this president, just about a year ago announced
that some of these "bad people", even though they're American citizens
don't deserve even charges
that they can now be assassinated.
>> The vote was 93 to 7.
So only 7 senators object
to the literal evisceration of the fifth amendment.
>> Someone missing fingers on their hands, is a suspect.
Someone who has guns...
Somebody who has ammunition...
Someone who has more than 7 days of food in their house...
>> We're talking about the military arresting citizens
and then you disappear forever with no trial
for no reason.
And they say they can kill you if they want
and torture you
or have a military trial. Whatever they want.
I mean this is, this is...
This is the royal flush.
This is the "crčme de la crčme".
This is the Mike Tyson in his prime of boxers.
The Babe Ruth of Baseball.
You sit here and you look at this
and it is so mind blowing
and it's happened, and now they're just going to
slowly roll it out, and they'll use it on examples
of "turbaned brown people" so it'll be ok...
>> Radical change is immediately noticeable
not just when it is radical
but when it is disruptive.
But if it happens slowly, and in steps
if it happens in degrees
eventually the radical change will have happened
and we will not have noticed it at all.
>> The internet is one of the United States most robust
and growing industries.
It enables free and open communication among billions
and it's been the backbone of protests around the world.
But a new bill proposes we give the power to censor the internet
to the entertainment industry.
>> You got to care about this because SOPA is next.
It's coming. What that is, if you don't know
it's corporate censorship. That's what it is.
It means if they see fit the government can shut down your entire website.
because you have copyrighted material on it including links.
They can sue you. You will technically be a felon.
If your daughter posts a video of her lip-syncing
to Michael Jackson, or whatever
she can be sued for millions of dollars and is now a felon.
>> Federal law enforcement and national security
aiming to get new regulations
that would make it easier for them to wire-tap internet communications.
So that includes email, facebook, skype, and other sites
so how can the U.S. promote internet freedom in other countries
yet restrict those same freedoms here at home?
>> Some amongst those who had been campaigning against SOPA and PIPA
did not know the U.S. government already had the authority
to shut down entire websites, and in fact
has excersised that authority on numerous occasions.
Late last year, a number of nations signed a new global copyright agreement
known as "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement"
signatories include the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea
and 22 member states of the European Union.
>> The problem is that it's vauge enough
that abuses can happen.
>> These acts have potentially disastrous consequences
for things that we enjoy doing.
It's not just about taking down "rogue sites".
It has far more dangerous implications.
The fact of the matter is the vast majority of people debating it
have no idea what it is.
They don't have any idea how to use the internet, for one thing
They have freely admitted that!
It's like putting toddlers at the controls of a 747
but not just "a" 747...
...EVERY 747, 777, Airbus A320, every aircraft in the world.
Do you think that's a good idea?
>> NO!!
>> Now it's tempting to stop the story here
and conclude that the problem is that
lawmakers are either clueless or evil
or possibly evilly clueless
and just leave it there
which is not a very satisfying place to go
because it's fundamentally a council of dispair.
>> People who see nothing wrong with restricting internet freedoms
I don't think their primary interest right now is
being able to shut down access.
In fact, I think they actually like the idea of us using
as many social networks as possible.
Because what they want to do is, they want to eavesdrop.
Actually let people say as much as they want
then let us watch, let us collect it
and then let us do whatever we want with that information
whether that's indefinite detention
or whether that's shutting down websites
>> If there was trust throughout the system
ACTA wouldn't be scary.
There's no trust, that's why it's scary.
>> The preponents of SOPA, the "Motion Picture Association of America"
circulated a memo citing research that
SOPA would probably work
because it uses the same measures as are used in
and Uzbekistan...
These measures are effective in those countries
and so they would work in America too.
The fact that this will be a dismal failure over and over and over again
will just make them try harder at ineffective remedies.
>> And all these people that do not care
they say they don't care
well guess what, mush-head...
It's your fault we're in this predicament to begin with.
We can't afford to talk about football anymore, ok?
But you have to let them know, and they're going to start caring
when their wife dissappears
and their friends are gone
and their kid is a felon
and their business website was taken down...
They're going to care. This is something we have to care about.
We have to wake up.
>> It is an immutable law of the universe
that if you give government power
it uses it.
>> Wake up stupid, or your fucked!
>> Have you ever noticed
that the government always claims
that when it does these things, it does so in the name of
When is the last time you heard the government give
as a basis for its behavior
"personal freedom"?
Some will say "Come on Judge, this is America. We're free."
And I would say "There are none who are so enslaved..."
"...as those who falsely believe themselves to be free."
>> This is an open message to police
to the military
to TSA
Homeland Security
and to members of every other enforcement arm of the government.