'Liberal' Hollywood, War, & Prisons Driving Immigration Policy (The Point)


Uploaded by townsquare on 12.01.2012

Transcript:
Welcome to a new episode of The Point. We’ve got great panelists for you guys today. We’ve
got Rick Overton who is a comedian, an actor, an Emmy award winning writer recently seen
on tv shows like Chaos in the Office, movies like Bad Teacher and Cloverfield. We’ve
got Steve Ross who is chairman of the USC history department and he’s a Pulitzer nominated
author for Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics. That is a
fantastic book that is right here. And then Axel Caballero whose the founder and producer
of Cuentame, a brave new foundation campaign. In fact we have a clip from you guys. And
it’s an amazing clip on how anti-immigration laws are influenced by the private prison
industry. It’s fantastic. Other points we have for you today. Phil Donahue on the wars
and Crispin Glover on how Hollywood i way too corporate. Let’s get started with Phil
Donahue first. Hi I’m Phil Donahue and I’m very pleased to have this opportunity. We
continue to be a warrior nation. How many bombs are we gonna drop on how many countries?
You know if you drop a bomb on my house and you incinerate my family, there’s only a
few options I have. One I can drink and put funny things in my nose and die of depression.
I can join a peace group and travel the world in memory of the family I lost, encouraging
people to work for peace. There is a third option and that is I will spend the rest of
my life looking for you, you bastard. And when I find you, I will put a stake in your
heart and smile when you die a slow and painful death. We call this terrorism. You can’t
argue or ask what would cause somebody to knock down out towers. You can’t even talk
about this because it’s blaming the victim. So this is just one of the ways that war is
made so easy. You know Rick. I didn’t see that coming. He’s like oh you can join peace
groups or put a dagger through their heart. But you know but doesn’t he have a good
point that if somebody bombed your house, I mean what would be your reaction? We’re
the descendants of Oligargich abusers. We come from European abusive parents. And even
though you get into a wooden boat and you sailed away and you found this beautiful green
new land, it doesn’t mean you shucked all of your problems. You’ve still got a lot
of Stockholm in your system. And you’re gonna take on a lot of their abusive traits.
You know one trick for getting everything you want from that point on. Gun powder, the
only thing the other guy facing this way don’t have. I have the boom stick. That means you
gotta learn my language. The one with the gun figures out you don’t really have to
love me and you don’t have to agree. You have to nod and pretend to agree as long as
I’m holding the boom stick. And we’ve basically gotten everything in a bully mindset
because we had an advancement in weapons that they didn’t have. And it’s carried out
mindset right till today. You know it’s funny. There was a funny joke on Modern Family.
But theres something serious behind it as you were pointing out there Rick. A woman
who speaks Spanish on the show. You know, Gloria is it? The gorgeous one. She says how
come we all have to speak your language. And a old man who’s cranky walks in and says
yea, try winning a war. But it’s true you know. We’ve been fighting all these wars.
But at this point Steve I’m not sure what we’re fighting for anymore. One thing was
manifest destiny. Ok. We go conquer this land that we’re on. I get that. You’re right
or wrong, I get it. What the hell are we doing in Iraq? And now that we’re out what the
hell did we accomplish? That’s a good question. But where he let off with is the idea that
we’re a warrior nation. And that’s the key. So it doesn’t just start with Iraq.
It doesn’t start with Afghanistan. It doesn’t start with the first Gulf War. It starts with
the first settlers who were coming over and greeted by the Indians and what do we eventually
do. We destroy them. We have been a warrior nation since the beginning. This is in our
DNA. And some could argue we brought civilization across an uncivilized continent. But that’s
only if you take civilization as being what you consider it to be as opposed to what the
other civilizations are doing. I remember the stories about how you know guys come over
and call these Native Americans whether it was in South America or here in North America.
They call them savages and then cut off their heads. So wait. Which one’s the savage?
But at the same time, America Axel used to have a great side to it where we started the
United Nations. We started the idea of human rights. Now not us alone and there were many
people who participated in that. But that’s where the idea of American exceptionalism
came from. Because we did things that were not just in favor of our empire. Now you could
call it enlightened self interest but there was that positive side. I fell like we kept
only the bad side and really didn’t keep any of that good stuff anymore. Well I think
that essentially one thing that also exemplifies what America is about right now is the for
profit motive. I mean I think that that you know. How we’ve seen it for the past decade.
We’ve seen how contractors have really taken over even our basic decision making process.
And one of those decision making processes is to make war. And I think that that has
happened for the longest time. So when once we were fighting wars for a purpose. Now we’re
fighting wars for profit. And I think that when you have that, you lose basically all
motive. I actually wanna go to the second part of Phil Donahue’s video here and let’s
watch that. My documentary is titled Body of War. It’s available on Netflix. The film
looks at the life of a warrior turned anti-warrior. A midwest kid. Kansas City. Saw the president
on the pile. Wanted to go get the evil doers. Signed up nine thirteen. And he winds up in
Fort Hood and he wonders why he’s going to Iraq. He thought he was going to Afghanistan.
Too late now. He’s shot in this fight five days after he arrives in Iraq. He can’t
cough. He certainly can’t walk. Impotent prime of life male. People don’t see this
pain and that’s why we did this film. This is awful. This is the pain that’s being
sustained by thousands of families in this country and we never saw them. The president
said you can’t take pictures of the coffins and the whole press court said ok. This war
was uncovered and we’re still ignoring the people who made the sacrifice. So thank you
for giving me the opportunity to show you what we’ve done. So he talks about wounded
soldiers there and it’s a great point. In the Iraq war casualties were four thousand
four hundred eighty six dead but also thirty two thousand two hundred and twenty six that
were injured. And obviously a lot of those injures are very very serious. A lot of those
guys would have died in previous wars but we saved their lives. But twenty percent have
serious brain or spinal injuries. We’re not talking about psychological injuries.
We’re talking about actual physical brain and spinal injuries. Of the four thousand
four hundred eighty six that died, fifty four percent were under the age of twenty five
so we’re losing our young boys and girls. In Afghanistan one thousand eight hundred
and seventy three died. Fourteen thousand three hundred and forty two wounded. And then
of course is the cost of the war in terms of fortune which is nearly one point three
trillion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s just the cost up till now. So as
you look at this, who in their right mind thinks that this was worth it? Well you know
it gets to this idea of what does it mean to be a patriot. And in our country every
war we’ve had whenever anyone ha spoken out against the war at the very beginning,
they’re accused of being cowards. They’re accused of being unpatriotic. The patriotism
is following the flag where the president says we have to plant it. Whether he’s democrat
or republican. And we talk about honoring our warriors and yet in every single war,
those warriors we so call honor as they go off to war we do nothing for when they return
home. They come back and I would tell your audience if they’ve never seen it, I think
the most powerful film I’ve ever seen. I think frankly the best American film ever
made, The Best Years of our Lives. 1946. William Wyler. And it gets right to the heart of this
myth of the war in World War II. That if you remember, those of us who were in the Vietnam
generation. We talked about how we dishonored the soldiers unlike World War II where we
hailed them and they were great heroes. And yet what this film shows is, those people
coming back had fifteen minutes of public recognition and then they were forgotten.
They were tossed away. And if you had lost your arms, if you didn’t have a job anymore,
to hell with you. Figure it out on your own. So where’s the patriotism in that? Whether
it’s World War II, Vietnam or today. What do we do with our warriors? Let alone World
War I where they had to set up an encampment across from the White House and tried to get
paid on something they were promised. And then the army comes and clears them out from
in front of the White House. I mean it was a crime what happened to those guys after
World War I. And Rick it happens every time. And now all the Republicans are war mongering
on Iran. We gotta go to Iran. We gotta go to Iran. These guys that pretend to love their
soldiers, these commanders these officers, they love their soldiers the way a dog trainer
loves a greyhound. He loves you as long as you run to death on a track for him. They
love you the way a farmer loves a chicken. They love you for your purpose but not for
who you are and the definitions of words are being given up to people who are taking over.
A lot of this is redefinition of our language to us. They’re taking a word, remachining
it, putting it on a new show, and then feeding it back with a different meaning. So that
you remember you’re parents telling you that word but they’re giving you it’s
new description now. See I disagree with Rick on one point. I don’t think it’s the military
leaders who are driving that. I think it’s the politicians. You talk with most generals
to the extent that they will talk in the press. They never wanna got to war. They say war
is the last thing we wanna do. I meant to say people sent starting the wars. But I actually
disagree with you a little bit Steve because I think the generals have gotten corrupted.
I think they’re all waiting for their big fat pay check after they get out of service
which if they were good boys and girls and they played ball, they’re all gonna get
paid. If you weren’t then they’re not gonna pay you at Lockheed Martin and Boing
and all those places. Is it the politicians? Absolutely. But it’s all of them. I think
we should do a ten year lobbying ban or working in the defense industry for any general and
for any politician. Cause I think they’re all incredibly excited about wars now cause
everybody’s gonna get rich. You know that the annual amount of money we spend on air
conditioning alone in Iraq and Afghanistan per year was over twenty billion dollars.
Somebody gets rich off these wars. Am I making too much of it Axel or do you think that’s
one of the primary motivating factors? I think that is the primary motivating factor right
now. I mean the fact that you see war contractor lobbyists in the halls of Congress and going
directly and speaking to the legislators who actually legislate the war. I think that that’s
a sad place to begin with in the first place. And the sad thing about it more so if that
who are we putting now in the front line. We’re putting minorities of color. We’re
putting Latinos who have no opportunities right now. Who can’t go to school cause
can’t afford it. Who don’t have a job. Whose only source of income now is to go to
war. Whose only ability to have a life is to go to war. And we couldn’t even get the
Dream Act passed that if you’re willing to die for this country at least we’ll give
you citizenship after a whole bunch of years. No no. Even if you’re willing to die for
this country we don’t give a damn about you and we’re not gonna give you citizenship
anyway. It’s stunning. There’s another cost of war that doesn’t get factored in
which is the cost to what people wind up doing. What they become during war. As you were saying
Steve, as we’re rushing into war. Yeah let’s go. Fantastic. But they don’t think hey
you know what. War is hell. And later they’ll come turn around and go o well. What are you
gonna do. Of course that happens in war. Well then you shouldn’t have started it. Yea
well one of the things I tell my students when we talk about whether it’s the Revolutionary
War or whether it’s Vietnam or Iraq. When I ask them what are you willing to go to war
for. And they come up with abstractions. And then I tell them go to talk. And I often have
at least one or two vets in my classes now. And I say go and talk with a vet. Go and talk
with a parent who was in Vietnam. Go and talk with a grandparent in World War II. And here’s
what they’re gonna tell you. For all the hoopla that surrounds going to the war, you
will never be the same person when you come back. You will be a different person and not
in a positive way. Even if you come back with your arms and your legs and everything intact,
what does it do to a human being who is trying to kill somebody everyday and somebody else
is trying to kill them every single day. It changes who you are. It kills part of your
humanity. And you gotta ask what’s the cost. What’s the cost? What’s worth losing your
humanity for? We’re desensitizing folks already, especially our young folks that are
coming in and seeing this as a video game. Particularly with Latino kids, we see then
watching TV and then between TV they have these amazing spectacular ads about you know
Call of Duty type of style where you’re gonna just shoot the first person that you’re
gonna see. Where you’re gonna manage a drone from a particular remote location and be able
to get away with it. And then the reality is different. And they go and see the reality
and it breaks them and it breaks their families back at home as well. The suicide rate is
through the roof and it’s the other deaths of the soldiers that we never hear about.
But it’s through the roof. It is almost matching in surpassing the other number. Perhaps
it has passed the other number now. Their suicide rate is so substantial and it’s
because you go to where your rules that you’ve been bred and trained on are ok and acceptable
to a place where none of your rules are acceptable when you’re in traffic. And the gear slam
makes you realize, it makes them realize that they don’t fit here anymore. And they don’t
feel like there’s another place aside from going back to hell, where do you go. That
to me is the great curse of it. The great hell of it is this training with no retraining.
And my last point on this is guys we haven’t even talked about yet. The hundred fifty thousand
to a million Iraqis that were killed in that war. You know the people that we dropped the
bombs on. And that’s another of course enormous tragedy of these wars. Whatever you do, do
not let them take us to Iran. Alright. When we come back Crispin Glover is going to make
a very interesting point about how Hollywood is way too corporate.
We’re back on The Point. Now we’re gonna get a very interesting point by Crispin Glover
who of course was one of the stars of Back to the Future and Charlie’s Angels. He’s
been in a great number of movies. Let’s see his take on Hollywood. Hello my name’s
Crispin Glover and my point of discussion is that I feel the United States is the most
well propagandized culture there has been. And when I say propagandized, i mean in the
sense that there is a negative aspect to films, media, academia, politics that people are
not realizing is not serving them well. Wherein there are either metaphorical or direct points
that are being made which really may not serve the people that are actually enjoying those
films. What does it mean when there are films that deal with aliens as in outer space aliens
being killed. Is there a direct analysis or is there a metaphorical analysis of what that
actually means. Does it mean that people that are watching the film are more comfortable
with US government killing alien people as opposed to outer space aliens? I turn around
with my own films. I address this issue and I’ve had the experience where people get
upset when these kinds of things are though about because people don’t like to feel
like their media is not serving what their genuine benefits would be. So that’s my
point. And CrispinGlover.com is where people can find out about where I tour and show my
films so thank you. Alright. So Crispin’s a little trippy ok, and i wanna talk about
his alien point in a second. But I like that he’s out there challenging people to think
in a different way. But let’s start with the idea that conservatives always say Hollywood
is way too liberal. Steve you wrote a whole book about it, Hollywood Left and Right. So
does Crispin have a point there about how corporate Hollywood is? He gives us two points
which strike me as so obvious that why are we discussing it. Hollywood is corporate and
that film can desensitize people. That seems to me the take. Well Hollywood was corporate
starting in earnest around 1914 when businesses, and particularly when the one percent of the
financial institutions, we’ve got a ninety nine percenter here, began to realize that
this new industry that was working largely for immigrants and blue collar people was
actually making a ton of money. And that’s when you’ve got the first corporate bonds
being floated by Wall Street. And between 1914 and 1918 you had a huge amount of money
coming in from Wall Street. And in return, places like AT&T, American Sugar, DuPont,
all demanded General Motors put in tons of money and they all demanded seats on the corporate
boards of these studios. So Hollywood’s been corporate all these years. How it’s
just multinational corporate as opposed to just locally controlled corporate. So what’s
new there? It’s a money making business. It’s not a conscious raising business. I
hear you on that but I think a great majority of Americans don’t see it that way at all.
The conservatives won. If you ask people is Hollywood corporate or liberal, I bet at least
eighty percent say liberal. Well here’s the two things I found in my book Hollywood
Left and Right. The first is even though the Hollywood left has been more numerous and
visible, the Hollywood right has had a much greater impact on American political life,
changing the very nature of our state, of our government. Undermining the New Deal and
creating a very different America. And the second thing is, conservatives will always
tell you Hollywood has always been the bastions of liberals. In fact, it’s the conservatives.
It’s Louis B. Mayer at MGM. It’s the Hollywood Republicans in the right who fashioned the
first permanent relationship between a studio and a party. And starting in 1928, he turns
MGM into a publicity wing of the Republican party. The liberals have never had that kind
of long term impact in the industry. And then Roger Ales takes over from there at some point.
Of course not directly afterwards. Well actually there’s a trajectory because Louis B. Mayer
turns MGM into a training ground for the Republicans. And eventually you can see a trajectory from
Louis B. Mayer to his protégée George Murphy. Murphy’s protégée is Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s
protégée of sorts is Charlton Heston. And then you can leap up to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This is a Hollywood political right that has a tougher political backbone than anything
on the Hollywood left. And we didn’t get a Sean Penn or Susan Serandon as president.
We did get Ronald Reagan as president. And we had a Senator Murphy and a governor Schwarzenegger.
That’s right. Not Rick you’re in Hollywood. You work in Hollywood. What’s your experience?
How do you green light Battleship? Ok? Who green lights that. Who says yes. That’s
a game I played as a child. You sunk my battleship. Bam. Go. Spend millions of dollars to make
this. O man. And that must be the liberal media that made all the G.I. Joe movies and
everything. Here’s something interesting. I wanna just pose this. Remember when a hero
saved other people? That was a hero in film. Here’s the insidious way they’ve snuck
their crap in here. Now a hero has killers chasing him. So he gets in his car and drives
the wrong way into oncoming traffic to get away from the killers. This is just the little
right wing way of getting into your mind. No you just simply save yourself. Because
all those vans that are flipping and crashing to get out of his way. There’s a family
in that van. We never touch or address that. It’s like the movie Ronin. Everyone’s
crashing and dying while you save yourself. I had never though of it that way. That’s
the modern hero and that’s the sneaky little way they put it in. And Rick makes a great
point. Who’s the guy who’s gonna make the decision on whether your gonna make the
movie or not? The money guy. Of course. And to Steve’s point, huge corporations own
these studios now. It’s not anybody who’s a liberal. It’s these giant corporations
making these decisions. Absolutely. And we’re already seeing they’re definitely not changing
any of their ways. SOPA which is a huge element of this discussion, particularly the Stop
Online Piracy Act. I mean it just fits into that model that is like any particular thing
that would challenge the studios just like the internet could challenge the studios in
the type of content that is produced by individuals and not by conglomerates. They don’t want
anything to do with it because they know there’s the money there. Well on the other hand though,
we make fun of Fox News for saying the Muppets are politicized and all that stuff. But look,
there are liberal filmmakers that are very powerful. You look at Avatar, a clearly liberal
movie. Come on. We gotta call it what it is. Does anybody disagree? I think it is. Well
Avatar may be a liberal movie but James Cameron is no liberal. James Cameron made a very conservative
film Titanic which passed as a liberal movie. Why is it conservative? I’ll tell you why.
I did an op-ed piece years ago for the LA Times and I wrote that if you were to take
a movie audience from the 1920’s, drop them into a theatre, and show them Titanic and
said who directed that. They’d say Cecil B. DeMille. Because it’s exactly what DeMille
sly conservatism that passes as liberalism. Here you get Jack, the working class kid who
wins the love of Rose. And you have that one scene on that Titanic where they put him up
in a tuxedo and he goes down. And we see how much smarter he is than any of the rich guys.
And then we have the shots underneath of the Irish dancing their jigs. And what’s the
message in the film? That the working class given an opportunity are the equal of the
elite. And that they actually have more fun. And that they are in many ways the moral superior
except they ask you one question. When the Titanic goes down, who lives and who dies?
Well ok. Again a point I had not considered before. But overall I gotta be honest with
ya. I’m not buying it. I still think it’s a liberal position. Titanic? Yea. I mean look.
The hero dies in the end. I got you right. I hope I’m not giving it away. The ship
sinks. But the middle class are the good guys. No it’s not the middle class. It’s the
working class. But what it really says is in the end is every class should stay within
their own class. I don’t think it says that. I think you will be happier. You think the
message is if you don’t stay in your class you’re gonna die when your ship hits an
iceberg? Well what happened? Ok well that did happen. Alright well maybe it’s more
subtle than I realized. And then the other thing that I would like the challenge Crispin’s
point on is he talks about we’re killing the aliens. It’s an interesting metaphorical
way of saying like why when you meet a foreign culture immediate idea is to destroy it. And
you see that in all the different movies. My favorite was Independence Day when Will
Smith actually punches the alien and knocks him out. It was awesomely absurd. But I enjoyed
the movie. And there’s a reason why they do these corporate movies for the masses.
Because masses like me enjoy them. So doesn’t it make sense in some ways Rick? Yea. The
big thing to me is aliens don’t need to attack humans. Nothing is doing a better job
of killing off humans than other humans. We are the deadliest thing that we have ever
faced. We are the virus. The aliens just merely need to wait. It’s the little guy beats
a bully story in it’s hundred different faces. And that’s the same thing bread and
circus was. It’s the same thing sports are. It’s giving you a fake hero beating a fake
bully while you sit there and eat something. You know let me take off of Rick’s point
because I was thinking about that before and you said it really well. He mentions the alien
movies and what’s really his critique? That they desensitize us to violence. I would say
much more dangerous than the alien is what you said. It’s the David versus Goliath
tale. That it’s Hollywood. When people have asked me what’s the. Is Hollywood liberal?
Is it conservative? What I would say is if you look at political films, self consciously
political films, the most popular from the beginning of the movie industry until today
are anti-authoritarian films. Yea absolutely. Avatar. When David beats Goliath. Starting
with Charlie Chaplin and working your way up I consider actually one of the most dangerous
films ever made, is Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Why? Because here you have Jefferson Smith
Jimmy Stewart going up against the Rupert Murdoch of his day. The guy who controlled
the radio, newspapers throughout the entire Midwest. And in two hours, in just two hours
Jimmy Stewart solves all the problems and good triumphs over evil. And what anyone who’s
ever been involved in movement politics knows is we are talking about a commitment of decades.
Not just years but decades. And movies like this well they make us feel good. And they
do give us the sense of hope that David can beat Goliath. What they make us forget is
it takes David decades to get ready to beat Goliath. And for every David that beats Goliath,
you got ninety nine David’s dying by that one Goliath. Well if he was here he’d say
Professor Ross. Cut it out. You’re discouraging people. Alright so my last point on this is
look. I think some movies are liberal. Some movies are conservative. And we enjoy a wide
variety of those. But the guys who make the decisions are the guys who are the ultimate
deciders. And they’re the guys with the money. Keep it real. Now when we come back,
Cuentame has a really interesting video on how unfortunately some of the businesses in
this country are driving the anti immigrant mood that you see and the anti immigrant laws
that you see in our country.
Back on The Point. And now we have really I think a brilliant video by Cuentame on how
the law in Arizona on immigration got made. And I think it’s a little stunning. Let’s
watch it. The detention of migrants is a multi-billion dollar industry. One in which immigrants are
traded like products. They’re for sale to the highest bidder. Who benefits and who profits?
Corrections Corporation of America or CCA, the Geo Group, and the Management and Training
Corporation combined own over two hundred facilities in the nation. WIth over one hundred
and fifty thousand bed spaces for a total profit of close to five billion dollars per
year. Private prisons profit like a hotel. The more occupants that go in, the more money
comes out. You just sell it like you were selling cars or real estate or hamburgers.
Private prisons rely on anti immigrant laws that guarantee them access to fresh inmates.
Here’s how they do it. The American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC is an extreme membership
right win organization comprised of state legislators and powerful multinational corporations
including the Corrections Corporation of America. ALEC is the most active private prison lobbyist
group pushing for anti immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB1070. Russell Pearce, like CCA
is an ALEC member. One with obscure ties to national White separatist neo-Nazi groups.
During an ALEC meeting, CCA and Pearce crafted a model legislation that became almost word
for word Arizona’s SB1070. Whether people are undocumented or not doesn’t matter as
long as they fill the detention facilities for days, months, or even years. SB1070 and
their copycat laws sprouting up across the country represent the perfect money machine.
Axel, you are the founder and producer of Cuentame. That was really powerful. How many
people do you think have any idea that that anti-immigration law has something to do with
private prisons? I think the percentage is really small. I think that within the Latino
community, we’ve seen an awakening. Particularly with actions like this and also because we
live it. We know who are going to where and we know that most of our immigrant community’s
going to detention facilities. And we know that these detention facilities are making
money off of it. So we know. The problem is that in the outside world it is not known.
This video in particular kind of raised the awareness of it, but I think that there is
a lot of work to be done. Particularly the amount of money that is made in these facilities.
Rick, if we are giving people and incentive to make seventy two thousand dollars a year
by imprisoning folks, aren’t they gonna have the incentive to imprison more folks?
I mean isn’t this the most obvious thing in the world? It would have a lot to do with
explaining why the US government doesn’t care about America’s desire to legalize
marijuana. Bingo. And people don’t talk about that. Busting marijuana users is like
a hunter hunting corn. It doesn’t run away. It just sits there. You just harvest it. It’s
the simplest thing you can harvest. Yea, the war on drugs. This is like the most futile
as our embargo on Cuba. Does anybody think like another year and I think we’re gonna
win. No. The point is that we’re not supposed to win. We’re just supposed to pack people
into prisons among the many other terrible things the war on drugs does. Again to this
point of this insidious group ALEC. This business group. And Steve I find it logical. If you’re
a business and you wanna make more money, of course you’re gonna do this. But it’s
insidious in that they buy our politicians and then get whatever they want no matter
what the cost is to the citizens. Well that’s because they would argue they are representing
good capitalist values. That we wanna privatize everything in this country. Because the myth
that I would say they’re thinking conservatives. Some of us who grew up in an earlier age could
see people like William Buckley, Barry Goldwater who I certainly never agreed with. But these
people were intelligent and they spoke intelligently. And they spoke logically and they were willing
to debate. Now we don’t have that anymore. We just have ideologues who are telling us
that somehow privatizing things are gonna help. But the worst thing is, when we privatize
things like prisons, it also mean forget about it. So the public, we share the blame too
that the public is doing nothing. That we are buying into this somehow privatization
works. I don’t know the figures on the private business of prisons versus government owned
prisons but I know in healthcare for example, it’s something like medicare is three and
a half cents on every dollar for administrative costs. And the private healthcare industries
are something like twenty three cents or twenty five cents. So where does this notion that
privatization makes things both more efficient and more just come in from? Certainly doesn’t
make much sense for the fire department. There’s like three houses get saved and the one guy
didn’t make the payment. They’re all sitting around having a smoke watching his house burn
down. Yea that’s what’s happening across the country by the way. That’s not theoretical.
But here’s the main thing. In public prisons for example, in public health for that matter,
there’s no incentive to add more people to it because there’s more cost. In the
private system there is incentive to add more people because they make money per person.
I mean that’s the main point and that’s the reason why we’re seeing an expansion
of detention facilities across our country. And why the video was great is you get a sense
of connecting the dots. So this guy’s got an incentive to make money. So what does he
do? He goes to a legislator and he says look. I can give you campaign donations. Maybe after
you lose at some point I can give you a job. So now that guy’s got an incentive to do
this guy’s bidding. And then the guys at the end of the chain are powerless. So that’s
why you’ve got all these kids who got locked up for the war on drugs or SB1070 etc. Do
the bankers ever get locked up? The guys who cost us billions of dollars, trillions of
dollars. Did they ever get locked up? Of course not. Cause the guys with the money win. And
in fact the head of the US marshall was a lobbyist for CCA or worked for the CCA. O
really? Ugh. I see another thing I didn’t know. How can you fight that establishment?
And in particular what’s sad is precisely to that point that is selling the idea that
they’re better. That they’re more cost efficient. That they save us money and that
we can forget about the problem. It’s completely the opposite. One of the videos that we’re
releasing in the next couple of weeks deals with a town in Texas, Littlefield, that went
bankrupt because one of these private prison corporations got a multimillion dollar contract
in the town. Right and Jefferson county Alabama was convinced by J.P. Morgan that if they
did their sewer system it would be cheaper. Turned out it blew up the whole town. It was
so expensive the entire town went bankrupt. I think the other thing is people who aren’t
really paying attention because there’s so many other things in their lives, they’re
also sort of believing this myth that if we privatize things like prison, and we know
private business works much more efficiently than government, we’re gonna have more money
for government to spend on other things that are important. When in fact all I can say
is I would like to have fifty six. If it’s two hundred dollars a day to put a prisoner
in there, that’s fifty six hundred dollars a month. How many of us would like that as
our mortgage payment? Think of what the country would be if everyone could get fifty six hundred
dollars a month to pay their mortgage. And the other great detachment is they think they’re
somehow separated from this being taxes that they’re paying for it. We actually have
no idea how much we’re paying for these private things. Absolutely. In fact the budget,
every year that we do the budget for DHS and for the amount of money we’re gonna spend
on immigration policy, it’s coming out of. Where is it coming from? Schools. Healthcare.
And this money is going to private companies. And it’s so easy because then they turn
around they say well this guy had it coming. They’re criminals. Or oh they crossed the
border illegally. Everybody had it coming. So it’s easy to marginalize these people.
They pick on the most powerless, the weakest members of our society. It’s supposed to
be the other way around. We’re supposed to protect the weak and the powerless. And
we’ve flipped that on it’s head and it’s disgusting. You know you mentioned something
in the video about neo-Nazi groups and Pearce’s connections. What is that? Basically Pearce
has been, when he was leading up to getting elected as a state Senator and president,
particularly of Arizona, he had strong connections with which are already documented by different
media groups with different neo-Nazi groups and White separatist groups in Arizona. He
was active with them. He particularly posed in pictures with them and dialogued with them.
And that is the really strange but obvious connections. There’s a for profit motive
and there’s a political agenda. And when those two connect you have something like
SB1070. You know the movie Machete. So over the top. I watched it. I was amused by it.
But as you find out the real facts you’re like Jesus. That’s pretty close to true.
It’s unbelievable. My final point on this is the way that you save money is you do public
financing of elections. Now conservatives will say wait a minute. That’s us giving
money to the politicians. That sounds terrible. No it doesn’t. Because if they don’t need
to raise money for people like these private prison corporations, that actually will save
us a ton of money. Because look at all the money we’re wasting on these private prisons
and all the people that were wrongly imprisoned. Because we’ve got a system where our politicians
get funded by the guys who are gonna make money off of imprisoning us etc etc. So look.
You know what I think. Wolf-PAC.com. That’s our website to get a constitutional amendment
on this. Obviously I’m a huge believer in that idea. Alright. And I wanna make one final
point for the week here. And it is on President Obama’s selections for his inner circle.
He did it again. Just when you got excited. Hey. Bill Daley’s going out and this guy
was a massive pro-banker. He said that we shouldn’t do basically any regulation of
the banking industry. He thought that Obama was too tough on business interest which is
a joke. He thought that they shouldn’t do the healthcare plan which is a joke. Why did
you nominate or pick this guy to be your chief of staff? So he’s leaving. Fantastic. Good
news. So who do we get in his place? Jack Lew who is just as pro-banker. In fact was
a banker at Citigroup. In fact he got paid millions of dollars some of which, nearly
a million was after the bailout. Well if he got rewarded so well he must have done well
at Citigroup, right? No. Disastrously. His group lost over five hundred million dollars
when he was in charge of it. Got so bad they stopped doing accounting for that particular
group. They merged it inside another group. That group lost twenty billion dollars. They
get forty five billion dollars in tarp bailouts from us. He gets nearly a million of it. Two
weeks later goes to the Obama administration. And now he’s their chief of staff. Why is
a guy who claimed to be in favor of change and claimed to be a progressive nominating
people and picking people for his own staff that has nothing to do with confirmation in
a lot of these cases. People like Tim Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke,
Peter Orszag, Jack Lew, Bill Daley. All these guys. Pro-banker. Pro-establishment. Nowhere
near progressive. Unfortunately the answer is if the guy walks like a duck, talks like
a duck, maybe he’s a duck meaning President Obama. I don’t think he’s a progressive.
I think when you see the people that surround him, his first instinct is the establishment
is right. Unfortunately that’s not a very good comment on the state of our government
today because we voted for change and we got the establishment. Alright now I wanna thank
everybody who’s part of the panel and who sent in points. Rick Overton great job. Professor
Steve Ross, chairman of the USC history department and author of Hollywood Left and Right. It’s
Pulitzer nominated. Everybody check that out. And Axel Caballero, founder and producer of
Cuentame. Of course Phil Donahue who sent in his point. Crispin Glover as well. A very
bold point on his part. And then the video which we saw from Cuentame. I wanna thank
all of you guys for participating and we’ll see you all next week on
The Point.