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tv   Q A  CSPAN  November 30, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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power. locally and globally. it's good they put the corporate ahead of it so it's not just me against the world. >> as you know this is written by people we don't know and comes together. have you looked at it? >> no. i have this allergy. >> okay. let me keep reading. she was brought none a jewish family with a left wing activist family. they moved to the usa as world resisters to the vietnam war. her mother documentary film maker. is best known for her antipornography film, not a love story. her father is a physician and her brother seth clooin is director of the british colombia center for canadian center for policy alternatives.
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. he used to draw a donald duck for disney. in the 1940's, he was one of several union organizers and they staged the first animator'' strike and he got fired and blacklisted. because of the history of blacklisting in the family, when my father was drafted to go to vietnam, he did not want to go. he was a pacifist.
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he also did not want to go through the process of proving his political credentials because of the history of un- american activities and the political resonance in his own family of having been the son of a blacklisted artist. he preferred to leave and came to canada. that is why i am a canadian. i was born a few years later. >> your mother and father were married here? >> in new jersey. i have an older brother. >> where did they move? >> to montreal. >> are they still there? >> no, they are in vancouver for the weather. many american young people in this time moved to canada. it was kind of a brain drain. our universities are filled
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with war resisters from the vietnam era. my father taught medicine at mcgill. we moved back to the united states when i was a baby and lived there till i was five in rochester, new york. this was after it had become safe for war resisters. they both decided they preferred it in canada. my father preferred the single payer health care system. my mother was working for the national film board, which is a public institution that allowed her to make the political films that she wanted to make. they left the u.s. because of the war in vietnam, but they stayed in canada because of the social programs.
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>> do you remember when you first learned of this story and it sunk in? >> in canada, you did not have to be rich to get sick. i did understand that it was unfair that people were denied access to medicine because they did not have money to pay. as a doctor, my father preferred to work in a system whereby money did not have anything to do with the care that you received. i have dual citizenship. it was our nuclear family that moved to canada.
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my grandparents were in the united states. we were always going back and forth over the border. i was always aware of the things that made canada different. the fact that canada was not involved in vietnam, did not send troops to vietnam. our prime minister declared that canada would be a haven for people who resisted the war. we have different values when it came to health care. it was a formative for me, the choices my parents made. >> how did you get dual citizenship? >> both of my parents are american. they did not lose their citizenship. if your parents are both american, you are american no matter where you were born. but i was born in canada.
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because i was born in canada, i automatically have canadian citizenship. >> go back to what you said about your grandfather being blacklisted. who blacklisted him? >> walt disney himself testified against the strike organizers. the blacklist was unofficial, but he could not get work as an artist. he painted signs and he worked in the shipyards, but he was not able to work in the profession that he loved. it was always interesting to me that despite the fact his career was ruined by walt disney, he still loved films and he used to delight us as kids drawing perfect caricatures of all the disney characters.
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we made a distinction between the fact that the films could be wonderful, without the corporate politics. it informed how i wrote about pop culture and how i wrote "no logo." a lot of people that write about pop culture tend to throw it all out. anyone who wants to go to the mall has terrible values. there was a disdain for pop culture. i felt like it was possible to critique the corporate power but maintain an appreciation of why we are drawn to this culture.
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>> let me keep reading. >> her paternal grandparents were communists who began to turn against the soviet union. in 1942, grandfather phil klein, an animator at disney, was fired as an agitator after the disney animators strike and went to work at a shipyard instead. is all that true? >> it is pretty much true. i do not know the exact years. i always double check with wikipedia. i was saying that this feeling that the state was watching, in order to be a conscientious
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objector, you have to prove your credentials. having been the child of the blacklisted man, it was just too close for him to think about proving his familial credentials as a leftist and a pacifist and the idea of turning on his family and giving the state information that they would use against people he loved. >> i hear the canadian accent. are you aware of that? >> people tell me i have a very neutral accent. >> he comes from a similar background. he is a tv journalist and documentary filmmaker. michelle landsberg.
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the reason i am doing this is that this is your wikipedia site. is this good or bad? >> this obsession with my family history is bizarre. it is not an area that i have written on. i write about politics and culture. i am not an autobiographical writer. this is seen as the most relevant thing about me. i think it would be if i were memoirist.
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i might write one of those one day but it is not what i have done with my life. >> this is what i want to ask about. >> back was the pass of this rebellion in my family. we used to joke that i was like the oldest daughter on family ties. of course, they had a wall street watching son. we were reenacting that in our home. >> what about a feminist mother? did that bother you?
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>> she was a filmmaker and she made films about the women's movement. she was part of the first women's film studio. i was very much influenced by my mother and her ideas about media and culture. studio d was this film center that saw itself as part of the women's movement. the women's movement was in high gear. this was the early '70s. the film world was a male- dominated. they needed to mentor women filmmakers. the films that they made were films that were consciousness raising films. this was the second wave of feminism.
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it happened with books and then it happened with films. i learned a lot growing up around that. seeing how books and films could be parts of movements. any powerful movement has culture deeply imbedded in it. i think that was a counterbalance for me. i got more traditional journalism training. my mother told me that when people say that i lack objectivity, it means that i object to your activity. she always thought that you
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could be fair, but the most honest thing you could do is admit that you had a point of view. a passion for the subject deals your work. in grade six, i had a mother that was out there on controversial subjects like pornography. it was not ideal from the perspective of a preteen. >> why did she feel so strongly about pornography? >> you would have to ask her. i was so young when she made the film. she made lots of films. it was not an obsession. she would become obsessed with a subject for a couple of years and then move on. she had a consistent commitment to human rights.
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pornography was just one interest of hers. it was a sensational topic. she got attacked for this film. it is not a conversation i have had with her. >> this gets into your mother having a stroke and becoming severely disabled when you were 17. how was your mother today? >> she is good. she made a pretty remarkable recovery. she had two devastating strokes. >> at what age? >> she was 46. she was young to be having the strokes.
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the second stroke, she lost all movement and she was on a respirator. it turned out that she had a brain tumor in her brain stem that she had had her whole life. it was made up of blood vessels. when she reached 46, they burst. you can live your whole life and not know that you have this time bomb. they were able to operate on it at an excellent hospital. she has made a remarkable recovery. she walks with two canes. she has a tricycle that she bikes on.
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i just took a year of school to take care of my mom. then i went to the university of toronto. i study philosophy. i left after i got this job. i had a couple of credits left. there was an election campaign and they asked me to stay on and i never actually made it back to school. >> so, your career -- this book, "no logo" has sold a million copies? >> at least. >> why? >> it came out 10 years ago. the book tracks the increasing power of corporations.
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it was a time when corporations were changing. it embraced this idea of branding over the production of goods. after i left the globe, i started writing a column for another newspaper. i was the token youth columnist. that was my beat. i looked at the kind of jobs people were getting, the kind of culture we were consuming, the issues we care about. it was a great platform to explore different subjects. there were these teams that were emerging in my columns. what was the increasing fact that my generation of workers were not getting offered jobs,
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we were getting offered contracts. this was a change from the previous generation. 10 years ago, it was a phenomenon. there was an amazing voraciousness. i was covering of that. more and more corporate sponsored research on university campuses because funding was collapsing. in canada, there are no private universities. everything is public. but it was becoming public in name only. >> there are no private
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universities in canada? >> no, we have a public education. not at the university level. i decided to write "no logo" when i started to see this management phenomenon. it seemed to make sense of these two trends that i had been following at once. companies like nike that did not own a single factory but were this athletic giant.
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they were incredibly aggressive in their marketing. i discovered that this increasingly aggressive market was one side of a coin. young people are less loyal to corporations. that is different from the loyalty that our parents' generation had to the companies that were offering them employment for life. it could really turn on a dime. in the last half of book, i focus on young people going after companies like nike for using sweatshops.
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talking about how brendan was being used and boomeranging back on these corporations. i would tell people that i was writing about anti corporate activism. everything seemed to be going well with the free market economy. but the book was that the printer in november, and the world trade organization meeting was being held in seattle and seattle was flooded with tens of thousands of activists. they were talking about many of these issues. labor records of companies like nike. it really took the mainstream
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media by surprise. the book's success was because it came along when this movement can along. >> you are probably about 25 years old? yes, 26. around there. >> did you feel you are awfully young? were you always activist? >> no, certainly not in high school. in university, i got involved in politics a little bit. i was the editor of my university newspaper at the university of toronto, which is a full-time job. the newspaper came out three times a week. i cared a lot about issues, but it was not like i was out with a picket sign.
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coming from what my mother showed me, writing was part of any movement. on university campuses, a lot of people feel that way. a lot of campus journalism is very opinionated. >> can you vote in both canada and the united states? >> i can if i want to. >> have you voted in the united states? >> no. i do not actually have an american passport. if i moved to the u.s. and wanted to, i would vote in the elections. >> i have the new forward to your book, "no logo." >> the 10th anniversary edition is coming out with a new foreword.
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this is what i track in the book. the ambition of the super brands of the 1990's in companies like starbucks and nike and apple. they ended up making themselves very vulnerable to their consumers demanding more of them. when a company like apple uses ghandi in an ad, or anti racism in their market, it is usually
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because somebody at their advertising firm did research and found that this would be most resonant with their target. they were not prepared for being held accountable for these ideas when consumers ask why 16-year- old girls are making your speakers for a paltry wages if you believe in treating women fair. the most suitable to development in the world of branding is the application of this theory of the hollow corporation and all of these ideas of messaging been totally absorbed into the world
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of politics. they use absolutely every tool. there were interesting similarities in nike's campaigns. we are in a time were a lot of people that believed in him are feeling this gap between the emotions. this is what made this campaign more like lifestyle marketing. he very studiously stayed away from really clear on a lot of topics. create associations with the evolution without actually taking that extra step and saying i am going to do this and this is exactly how i am going to change the world and
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invite people to project what they wanted. that is where the feelings of the trail come in. his opponents are extremely mobilized an extremely angry. his supporters are pretty tentative. i think he has a branding problem. i think he has the same problem that he had in the 1990's. he has raised hopes and has not lived up to them. i really think he has failed to do that so far. >> did you ever think that you heard something you wanted to hear from him? did you believe it? >> absolutely. because i had studied marketing so closely, i was aware that i
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was witnessing a very effective marketing. i did a fair bit of research about what his actual policies were and i knew that there was a gap between these euphoric hopes he was raising and what he was promising. it is not as simple as broken promises. what is also demobilizing his base, he made the them feel like they were part of an anti- war movement. they were sick of bush's wars. but if you look at his policies, he did say he would ask the late in afghanistan and he did say he was one to draw down in iraq but not pull out completely. his base is in an awkward position.
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he did not break its promises. people do not know how to respond to this particular kind of a campaign which is so much like the world of marketing. >> if we followed you around on a day-to-day basis, what would you be doing? >> mostly writing. it would not be a terrifically interesting. >> i guess i should ask, you are always in front of audiences and you travel a lot and you and your husband are in separate worlds. >> when my last book came out, "the shock doctrine," things went pretty crazy for me. i had only written two books and seven years passed between the two books.
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i go into hibernation when i am writing. when i wrote "the shock doctrine," i had no distractions. my husband came with me but had to go back because he was hosting tv shows. i did a lot of research for "the shock doctrine." when it came down to actually writing, i totally holed up. i am saying no to a lot. i am coming out of hibernation and doing a little bit of public stuff. i am in research mode. >> where did you meet your husband?
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>> i knew his family. his mother is a wonderful journalist and somebody i respect a great deal. >> speaking of different countries, when you are in canada, do you feel differently than when you are in the united states? when you interact with people, is there a different attitude among canadians that there is with americans about country and patriotism? >> i think it depends on where i am in the united states. i think the countries are coming more together.
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i feel pretty comfortable going back and forth. >> who is the most angry with your writing? >> milton friedman fans were pretty angry with "the shock doctrine." the book is pretty tough on milton friedman. i think that there are probably still people who are most annoyed with my books. >> wanted to pick on milton friedman? >> "the shock doctrine" tells an alternative history of the globalized world. it is a pretty fundamentalist version of market economics. pretty much everything should be privatized. we have seen the results on wall street. "the shock doctrine" tells the story of how we got here and milton friedman played a big role in that story.
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not because his ideas were so original, but he took that tradition to the masses. he was the one who did the 10 part series on pbs. he had that incredible talent for writing and taking economics to a public audience. he was a political adviser to many governments. the focus of the book is much less on him personally that on the university of chicago and the particular world at the university of chicago played internationally. the university of chicago had an aggressive program. it had nothing to do with milton
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friedman. this was a decision that came out of the state department. there was a concern that latin america was moving to the left. it move further and further to the left in the 1970's and 1960's. this idea was cooked up between the economics department and the head of the usaid. they would bring chilean students and it was outside the mainstream of american economic discourse. all of the ivy league's had an economics department. they had this program to bring hundreds of latin american students to study under friedman and his colleagues. that had a tremendous impact on
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the politics of latin america because in the 1970's, there were teams of economies that were ready to work with those military governments that did not have any expertise. they formed a partnership with the military and the college students. >> how did you research that connection? >> there was a huge amount of research there. this research actually came out of the fact that i had lived in argentina for almost two years. i went there in the end of 2001 and my husband and i made a film called "the take." it was about the economic crisis that hit argentina in 2001.
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>> your standing in front of $90 million of equipment. we have a word for that. it is called stealing. >> [speaking spanish]
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>> this history is very strong and argentina. i learned about it from what happened in argentina during the military coup. >> can you do a simple definition of the difference -- identify each one of these? >> keynesian economics should not be subject to the market. the thing about it is that it is not a rule book.
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this is what makes it different. milton friedman says this and that should be privatized. it is a little bit like apples and oranges to compare them. you do not have keynesian disciples. if you're in an economic recession, you should spend your way out of it. that is the clearest keynesian rule. the friedman philosophy is that in the midst of an economic crisis, there was contraction in the midst of an economic downturn.
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>> if you just watch this network for the past couple of years, people are pointing at each other and saying you did it, you did it. people are saying we have always had the laws but they were not applied. >> i do not think that is true. in the 1990's, there was a series of decisions that were made that deregulated the financial sector, that allow banks to take garden levels of debt that were illegal before him. you have a situation like bear stearns where they had a ratio of 33-1 of debt to assets. there was an extensive debate that we now know was over whether or not to be regulate derivatives.
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there was a push back from alan greenspan, who said that they did not want to regulate derivatives. the idea that there were rules but there were not applied, this was a concerted lobby not to have regulations over this part of the economy. that was the fundamental flaw that alan greenspan has admitted to. there was the law that deregulated -- that was the deregulation decision. if we look at the really key factors that led to this particular economic crisis, and look at a sector that was outside the reach of regulators, that was not the case of rules being on the books
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and not being enforced. >> in your new introduction to "no logo" you say -- >> what i am describing here is the key pieces of deregulation that created the context for this crisis. they were all clinton era decisions. they were all when larry summers was in charge of the u.s. treasury. the fact that larry summers is the most powerful economist in washington is troubling. i always remember that sarah
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palin and john mccain barely got a bump out of it. we were looking pretty seriously at a future of a mccain/palin ticket winning. barack obama found his voice and he started talking about how this financial crisis was not the result of just one or two bad apples but a result of ideology of the regulation. that is where he was not telling the truth. it was not just the bush years. what gives me a little bit of a different perspective is because
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i do not live in the u.s.. i am much less partisan. i am not driven by a desire for democrats to win elections. that is not what drives my riding. during that election campaign, we knew damn well that the key pieces of legislation that created the economic crisis had been created during the clinton years. we knew that this was a better political message to claim that the ideology was bush policy. the problem with the intellectual dishonesty is that it comes back to bite you. if you are lying to yourself and everyone else, then what is to prevent larry summers from coming back and being given the keys to the treasury once again. >> what grade would you give on this issue? >> what grade?
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the problem with the u.s. economy is that it has been in this cycle of bubbles and busts. bubbles are all about hype. john stewart was criticized for going after jim cramer. why pick on him? >> this is the hype. jim cramer was a hot air machine.
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in retrospect, there was some incredible investigative reporting. >> name somebody? >> the new york times investigative team has been absolutely incredible. why am i forgetting her name? gretchen morgenstein. it is retroactive. we needed that reporting at the time. this is forensic reporting.
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i do think that there is some really good work being done. i think that huffington post is doing some really good stuff. one thing that is important is that there is an outing of lobbyists. lobbyists prefer to remain anonymous. this has made lobbyists fair game. these are major power players that enjoyed not facing scrutiny. the chamber of commerce is facing unwanted scrutiny. this is one of the reasons why i am releasing "no logo."
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this is a bit of a "no logo" moment. it is back with a vengeance. it seemed like the timing was right. >> the other book "the shock doctrine." what you did this come out? >> 2007. >> i know you started off talking about a woman who has severe mental problems for a reason. tell that story as a metaphor for the book. >> the book is about different kinds of shock. it is about the political uses of shock. it came out of reporting that i did in iraq.
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i did a piece for "harper's." the shock awe attack on iraq was exploited by the bush team. one man said that what paul bremer tried to do was more of an extreme method.
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i happened to be in iraq when the torture scandals broke. i tried to understand what these different forms of shock meant. these non-metaphorical shocks. i read the declassified documents. the manuals talk about the need to put a prisoner into a state of shock. they become compliant and a regress. they go into a childlike state and they are more likely to cooperate with their interrogator. when i read that, i felt it was
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a description of what i have witnessed in iraq. the idea was that the war strategy was that iraq would be so shocked and so awed that they could easily be marshalled from point a to point b. iraq would be this perfect free- market economy. the first summer, it was all about economic reform. it allowed foreign investors to come in. donald rumsfeld said it had the most enlightened of tax policies in the world.
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they were bent to the will of their interrogator. this was a country that was put into a state of shock and they attempted to bend it to the will of their occupiers. that is why i start the book with a woman who underwent extreme electric shock treatment as part of these horrible cia experiments in the 1950's. >> do you and your family ever sat around and say that the americans are getting what they "deserve?" >> my parents consider
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themselves american as well as canadian. they do maintain their dual citizenship. >> do canadians feel this way? >> if you look at how much people want to believe in american redemption, look at the excitement around the world about obama's election. there is a tremendous feeling of goodwill. obama mania hit canada pretty hard.
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>> what is your take on the obama administration bringing these guantanamo bay prisoners to this town and trying them? >> first of all, i do support the decision that they be tried in the united states. i think that americans need to regain their faith in their justice system. the ideas that you could have these pockets where you could send people for unlimited amounts of time is utterly wrong. it is painful to bring the system back into lawfulness. to me, i think guantanamo
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should never have been opened in the first place. it is a very good sign that obama is doing this. to say that results don't matter, that is undermining that message. it is kind of a typical obama compromise. he really undercuts himself by trying to split the difference. if there is anything that we can learn from obama, is that no matter how modest his reforms are, the attacks are going to be as if they are the most radical reforms ever attempted.
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here we have been called a socialist, a fascist, being compared to hitler. to me, the message seems to be that they may as well stayed true to their beliefs. they may as well introduce several reforms rather than these half measures and endless compromises. then people will go to the wall and defend them. they keep making this mistake. they did it with health care. their supporters do not know whether or not they should support it. the same thing will happen with the energy bill. every serious environmental group in this country looks at both versions of this bill and says that the emission cuts are nowhere near what the science demands.
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>> another book from you? what are you doing this time? >> it has to do with that. it is much more exciting than that. >> what you do you hope to publish it? >> i would say that it is two years away. >> are you more in demand in canada or in the united states? >> definitely in the united states more than anywhere else, which has really changed. my first book was the best seller. it was not a best seller in the u.s..
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with "the shock doctrine" it sold better in the u.s.. >> our guest is a dual citizen in the united states and in canada and she is the author of "no logo" and "the shock doctrine." >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> for a dvd copy of this program call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q& episodes are also available as podcasts.
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>> coming up, which will take your questions and comments. also, a look at the obama administration needs and hiv policy. -- also, a look at the obama administration's aids and hiv policy. this morning a discussion on pilot safety but capt. john prater. following that, shane harris.


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