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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  October 30, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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10/30/15 10/30/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> i have worked in all kinds of places, that i've never seen this before. this is deliberate targeting of health care personnel to bring retribution to prevent the community from having access to health care. amy: the wars in syria, afghanistan, and yemen have been devastating for some onions, a recent attacks show medical personnel are particularly vulnerable. we will speak with widney brown as well as a doctor who fled syria under the cover of night. in the latest on shaker aamer.
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after serving 14 your site guantánamo, the british resident is on his way home to london. he was cleared for release in 2007. then, "how the other half banks." >> they can gain a huge process because the business model is such you have to keep renewing the loan and the keeps accumulating interest and fees for you and a paying at all. lending in the payday business model is this idea that you can be indebted for a very long time. it is a trap that a lot of low-income people get into, but it is completely a rational choice -- amy: author mehrsa baradaran on the threat to democracy. then harvard versus the prisoners. the harvard debate team squares off a group of inmates in a debate. who one? the answer might surprise you. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. british resident shaker aamer has been released from guantánamo after more than 13 years in prison. aamer had been cleared for release since 2007, but the pentagon kept him locked up without charge. during his time in captivity, he claims he was subjected to abuses including torture, beatings and sleep deprivation. , at one point, he lost half his body weight while on a hunger strike. he is en route to london today. in texas 27 women imprisoned at , a for-profit immigrant detention center say they have launched ammediate release. the majority of the women are from central america. there held at the t don hutto residential center in taylor, texas, as they apply for asylum. the immigration and customs enforcement agency denies the
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hunger strike. this comes as another is held at louisiana's for-profit lasalle detention center for entering its 12th day. in turkey police have raided the , offices of news outlets ahead of sunday's national election. turkish journalist mustafa kilic, who works for one of the newspapers, spoke out. we came to work feeling as if we are criminals. we prepared today's newspapers under police blockade. we of mentioned it in our stories. we are under police blockade. psychologically, we cannot work postop and that is how we prepared this newspaper for print. the trustees came and said, go away, if that is i you think. amy: in yemen, doctors without borders is seeking security
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guarantees after one of its hospitals was bombed by u.s.-backed saudi-led airstrikes monday. at least one nurse was injured in the strikes. saudi authorities have denied their forces carried out the bombing. the attack in yemen comes weeks after a u.s. gunship repeatedly bombed a doctors without borders hospital in kunduz, afghanistan, killed as many as 30 people. meanwhile, an estimated 700 medical professionals have been killed in syria since the war began in 2011. on thursday, hundreds of medical workers staged a die-in near the new york city to protest the targeting of health care workers. dr. deane marchbein of doctors without borders spoke out. >> i have worked in syria. i have worked and supported syria. and the syrian people are asking, has the world forgotten about us? do they know what is happening? do they know that snipers are targeting doctors and nurses? this is horrible. it is unacceptable. amy: this comes as secretary of state john kerry meets with officials from nearly 20
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nations, including iran, saudi arabia, russia, turkey, britain, france, and germany to discuss the ongoing conflict in syria. is the first of the rent is taking part in global talks on syria after the u.s. stopped objecting to its involvement. in florida, a retired tampa police captain accused of fatally shooting a man at the movies after a dispute about texting during a movie is reportedly planning to use florida's controversial stand your ground law in his defense. police say former captain curtis reeves began arguing with fellow movie-goer chad oulson about his texting. reeves claims oulson then hit him in the face, although witnesses, including reeves' own wife, dispute that claim. reeves' lawyers plan to argue that the shooting was justified under the stand your ground law because reeves had reasonable belief his life was in danger. both former captain reeves and
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oulson are white. meanwhile, in texas, a white police officer who is accused of fatally shooting an unarmed african american man has persuaded a judge to throw out the case after arguing he is immune from state charges because he was working for a federal task force at the time of the shooting. officer charles kleinert was employed as an austin police officer in 2013 when he says he accidentally shot and killed larry jackson, jr. the officer began chasing jackson after the man allegedly attempted to enter a locked bank and then fled. when officer kleinert caught up with jackson, he says he meant to hit the man in the neck with his pistol. instead, the officer fired his gun, killing jackson. on thursday, a texas judge ruled the state court has no jurisdiction over officer eirt ithis cas bau he hadeen investigating an unrelated bank robbery foris fetask wn he beg the chase. in mexico city, the museum of memory and tolerance has unveiled an altar to the journalists killed over the last decade ahead of this weekend's day of the dead celebrations.
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at least 32 reporters have been killed in mexico since 1992, making it one of the most deadly countries for journalists. dario ramirez of the human rights group article 19 spoke at the unveiling. >> it is an altar that speaks for itself of the punishing silence which undermines the societies right to be informed. it is a humble altar, but the nation right in gordon's which is clearly -- nationwide importance. this simply a reminder of what we are losing. amy: in washington, the senate has passed a bipartisan budget jill to avert government default. the two-year budget includes cuts to social security, disability benefits and medicare payments to providers. the revenue wld come from sales of u.s. oil reserves and for teliklic airwaves
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medications firms. it will also increase military spending by about $25 billion for each of the next two fiscal years. the european parliament has voted to support a nonbinding resolution that calls on eu member states to protect nsa whistleblower edward snowden from extradition. on thursday, the parliament voted 285-281 to "prevent" extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." snowden celebrated the vote as a "game changer." and those are some of the headlines. this democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the wars in syria, afghanistan and yemen have been devastating for civilians, but attacks just this month lay bare the dangers to medical personnel as well. the latest figures from doctors without borders say the u.s.
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airstrike on its hospital in kunduz, afghanistan killed 30 people -- 13 workers, 10 patients, and 7 others who remain unidentified. another 27 staffers were injured along with an unknown number of patients and caretakers. the bombing left the 94-bed trauma center in ruins and hundreds of thousands of afghans without a critical surgical facility. doctors without borders has accused the united states of a war crime and demanded an independent international probe. just three weeks later, another doctors without borders hospital was destroyed in yemen, this time by the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition that has waged war there since march. doctors without borders says hospital staff and patients managed to escape as the facility was hit multiple times over a two-hour period monday night. the hospital's roof was marked with the doctors without borders logo, and gps coordinates had been shared with the saudi-led coalition multiple times.
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doctors without borders says the attack will leave 200,000 people without access to medical care. amy: meanwhile, syria, the world's deadliest conflict, has also been the deadliest for medical workers. nearly 700 medical personnel have been killed since the war erupted in march 2011. the group physicians for human rights says there have been more than 300 attacks on health facilities -- with the syrian regime responsible 90% of the time. according to doctors without borders, airstrikes in syria have killed at least 35 patients and medical staff since an escalation in bombings late last month. 12 syrian hospitals were targeted, six were forced to close. the group physicians for human rights says russian airstrikes have damaged six syrian health facilities this month, killing at least four civilians and wounding six medical staffers. the violence against health workers in syria was the focus thursday of a major demonstration in new york city. hundreds of medical professionals and volunteers donned white coats and took part in a die-in near the united nations.
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they lay on the ground to represent the nearly 700 colleagues who have lost their lives. >> health care personnel, hospitals, and balances are being targeted, which means that whole communities don't have access to care. our syrian colleagues, many of them are like the only remaining medical providers in communities of tens of thousands, hundreds thousand -- they're taking great personal risk to provide access to health care for their community. we stand in solidarity. i have worked in syria. i have worked in support of syria. and the syrian people are asking, has the world forgotten about us? do they know what is happening? do they know that snipers are targeting doctors and nurses? this is horrible. this is an acceptable. >> various people and various groups are targeting hospitals
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because they know if they wipe out the first responders and the doctors, all the injured will die. if you injure, one of the things people don't know about an explosive device, is the actual number of people injured for each person killed is actually 20 to one. so when you hear a boost of one person died, you have to multiply by 20. get rid of the doctors, and those 20 people don't make it. amy: thursday's protest came on the eve of international talks on the syria crisis in vienna, austria. iran, a key assad regime ally, is taking part for the first time after the u.s. dropped its objection to its involvement. we are joined now by two guests. widney brown is director of programs at physicians for human rights, which helped organize thursday's die-in to protest the killings of medical professionals in syria. and we are joined by a syrian doctor who is using a pseudonym, majed aboali, to protect his safety. he is a syrian health worker from east ghouta and coordinator for united medical office of east ghouta. he fled syria last year and now lives in turkey.
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we welcome you both to democracy now! talk about the die-in and what is happening in syria come also the bombings of the doctors without border hospital and afghanistan and yemen. >> the attack on hospitals in the killing of medical workers in syria is at a skill recently of never seen before. it is undermining a really long established norm, 150 your norm that says hospitals and medical providers must be protected in conflict, not targeted. what is happening in syria is devastating both to the health care infrastructure and the ability to help people who need health care services -- either because their victims and the bombing themselves or for other medical needs. and at this point, as you said, 90% of the attacks on hospitals we have been able to confirm our by the syrian government. of the killing of doctors and other medical professionals come again, is by the syrian government. juan: the
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protest was at the united nations. what can the united nations do in this conflict? >> the human security council is charged with maintaining peace and security and for nearly five years, it is been completely paralyzed with regard to the conflict in syria. they did pass a resolution where they exquisitely said the syrian government and all other parties of the conflict must stop the attacks on hot totals, schools, and attacks on civilians. is set in the resolution, if there is evidence of noncompliance, it will take further action. that was two years ago. i'm not sure what more evidence they need, but we need stronger actions by the un security council. amy: majed aboali dr. majed aboali, tell us your story. you come from good to? >> yes, which is from the capital damascus. there is been no electricity.
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there is no food. it is completely -- we are struggling just to get our food. in mayorn there and 2014, a good no more because i family and that the right to live. my decisions to stay and help people supporting medical , and the hospitals to provide health services for people and to treat the injuries. maybe would affect i family. i just want my kids to be safe. this could affect my son and my future -- and his future. he is the right to have a safe goodl, at least, to have systems. -- i'm working now --
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inigo where? >> in turkey. the city in the south. not just because it is due the syrian border. you can fill your very close if your home and you can at least be in contact with people. your colleagues were forced to build them in essence, an underground health system when you are in syria? >> axa, hospitals were targeted -- actually, hospitals were targeted. tortured to death in the persian prisons of the resumes. about 500,000 people are living where i'm at. before it was more than one million. when the regime hold the forces on the ground outside of this [indiscernible]
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stop all the services. thatappened november 2012. before we were treating the injuries because they were not allowed to be treated in the hospital's, neither the public or private hospitals, or they would be arrested. so we're just treating them away from the regime's security. now we have to provide all services for the people who are living in this area. so you have to provide primary health care -- all kinds of health services. it is too dangerous to work over the ground. we began today underground. this not healthy to have a hospital underground. it is a shame the doctor has to walk underground just to be safe. amy: i want to go back to the ghouta attack. hundreds of syrian civilians
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died in a chemical attack. the incident nearly caused the united states to launch military strikes in syria after the obama administration accused forces loyal to bush are al-assad, the syrian president, scaring of the attack. this is president obama speaking on pbs days after the attack. you start talking about chemical weapons and a country that has the stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, where over time their control over chemical weapons may erode, allied to known terrorist organizations that in the past had targeted the united prospecthen there is a , a possibility, in which chemical weapons that can have devastating effects could be directed at us. that that make sure does not happen. amy: russia and the u.s. eventually reached a deal to have syria destroy its chemical stockpiles.
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you were there when the chemical attack took place. can you describe what you saw two years ago? i think new yorkers can understand what i'm talking about because it is similar to 9/11. we were at home. may, for myself, i was at home. all the people were sleeping. receiving bombs and shelling, but suddenly, it was like a massacre. receive 15 to 20 patients after an attack. hundreds of people began to come to the hospital's. they were sleeping -- kids, women -- kids came. i think new yorkers can understand.
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nothing.o the doctors stand hopeless and helpless that night. it is who does too hard who you treat. because he has more chance to live and you have not enough stuff them and not enough equipment, not enough medical supplies. i think even a civilized city which has good equipment at a good capacity will not be able to do was such a disaster. juan: what were the symptoms of the patient's? how many ended up dying that you could tell? >> actually, the symptoms are the same, but the degree of the symptoms were different from a patient. it depends upon, to was closer to the center of -- upon how much closer he was to the center of the blast.
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experts consider a sirin attack. amy: sarin gas? >> yes. we described the symptoms exactly for the experts, for the united nations mission. damascus whens in the chemical attack happened. the experts considered it as a sarin attack. sarin orether it was chlorine are what the regime that thewas mentioned chemical of the regime was destroyed, but a lot of syrians
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in the same area -- more than that night. on the first anniversary of the chemical attack, we as a medical office look at our statistics. how many people were killed? it was double from the people that were killed by the chemical attack. how many people were killed from starvation and lack of medical supplies? many of them were killed -- more than the number that were killed that night. actually, what has happened that night is still going till now. justrs are standing -- hours ago, targeted a market and people died in the same area. but no one cared because it is not a chemical attack. amy: you protested, widney brown , outside of the united nations. what are you calling on the un
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and the u.s. to do? and this is about a tax on hospitals in syria. >> yes. amy: increasing attacks, doctors without borders are saying, russians? ,> yes, i spent a by russians by russian airplanes. we have confirmed several and nsf says they've had just 12 in october. the russians third bombing at the the last day in september. honestly, we have russians using -- obviously, whatever russians using with as they are smart bombs and attacking hospitals. now doctors are trying to survive both syrian and forced barrel bombs and guided missiles from the russians. what we're calling on the un to do, the un has imposed no sections to syria since the start of this war. the only existing sanctions against syria directly from the assassination of -- and lebanon. they've taken none of the measures they can take to try to address the violations that are
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happening. we're calling on them to take action. they themselves envisioned it in the resolution that they did past calling for a halt of the attacks on hospitals and killing of doctors, etc. amy: when we come back, we're going to ask about the attack on the bomb -- on the hospital in yemen as well as the u.s. attack on the doctors without borders hospital in afghanistan that left at least 30 people dead. we are talking to widney brown who is the head of physicians for human rights your the united states, director of programs. , not hisajed aboali running, from east ghouta, coordinator for united medical office of east ghouta. he fled syria last year and now lives in turkey. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we are staying with widney brown who is the head of programs at physicians for human rights to talk about attacks on hospitals. we spoke about syria. now yemen and afghanistan. would to turn to yemen where doctors without borders says the u.s. back saudi-led coalition bombed one of its hospitals late monday. hospital staff and two patients managed to escape a stop the hospital's roof was marked with a doctors without borders logo and the gps coordinates had been shared multiple times with saudi happen led coalition. -- saudi led coalition. most recently just two weeks ago. while the coalition denied responsibility, doctors without borders said there's no doubt the coalition is responsible. >> since the beginning of the last conflict, only coalition forces planes are capable to
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organize strikes, military strikes, in the county. have claims inot yemen. we are no doubt the coalition forces [indiscernible] physicians brown of for human rights, can you talk about this. >> yes. the thing that is so shocking about this, the u.s. has been very strong at condemning the syrian attacks on hospitals in syria, yet it is backing the saudis in yemen for supplying them with weaponry just like russia is in syria, and ignoring the fact the saudis are doing in yemen ever thing the u.s. government is accusing the syrian government of doing in syria. the head of both just says he is the more devastation informants in yemen under the saudi led coalition attack that in four years in syria. juan: what about the united states condemns syria's actions,
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but what about afghanistan is self, the attack on the doctors without borders facility in afghanistan, which united states has apologized for, but it is unfathomable how it happened. but from thegized, get-go they did everything they could jump scare would happen. the announcement came in their was an attack on the msf hospital. u.s. government said, well, we were taking fire from the hospital. then they immediate we had to change their tone and said, afghan forces were taking fire and they were supporting the afghan forces. then they said they had never been given the accordance, even though msf operating procedure always discordance except for in syria or that would even more targeted. in the u.s. went back and said, oops, we made a mistake. but to step in that rapidly with misinformation rather than say, something happened and we need to investigate, shows that no interest in actually finding out what has happened. that is reinforced by the fact it is a military, a two star general, leading the
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investigation into the attack. you don't have an independent investigation, and that is what physicians for human rights is calling for as is others. have called for the international committee of the red cross to activate its international communitarian fact-finding group, which is a group of international law experts that conduct this investigation. amy: in kunduz, tell us what is known so far, afghanistan. >> what we know is the u.s. did strike and struck over a period of an hour. immediately after the first strike, msf called the military to say, your bombing our hospital. a continued for at least a half hour after we know the call was made saying this was happening. thehe u.s. had to target -- other interesting thing, the u.s. is acknowledging they were investigating the hospital. they are making the claim that a taliban operative was working from the hospital. msf denies that.
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msf has no interest in allowing its clinics to become militarized because in some cases, militarization of the clinic can make it a legitimate target. the idea that msf would allow taliban operatives to operate from the hospital doesn't make any sense. the fact they were treating taliban fighters does not militarize the hospital. the doctors have an ethical obligation to treat anybody who needs medical care. amy: what is happening with both the u.s.-backed saudi attacks in yemen and with kunduz, this attack on the hospital, that has been rejected the u.s. explanation of why they bombed the hospital and killed so many inside? >> well, it is like most use allegations -- investigations of allegations of u.s. workers, there will not be an investigation and the be some form of cover-up and denial. in saudi, there has to be some accountability. the un security council passed the resolution that in lag --
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enabled a coalition the make go strikes. he was government cannot be a hypocrite, neither can the u.k. and the french government, who also are criticizing syria, but not saudi, and it needs to be addressed. amy: i want to go to shaker aamer, the latest news we have that he is flying right now as we broadcast, he is been released from guantánamo after more than 13 years in prison, on his way to london, home. he had been cleared for release since 2007, but the pentagon had refused to set him free. during his time in captivity, he claims he was subjected to torture beatings, and sleep , deprivation. at one point, he lost half his body weight while on a hunger strike. he has never been charged with a crime. for all the more than 13 years he is been held by the americans come he is never been charged with a crime. as recently as last week, british mp tania mathias had called for his release. >> very scary because he was cleared for release in 2007, and
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subsequently, 2009. so it is a form of torture to tell some and you are released but think he them for years. amy: can you respond to this, widney brown? >> first essay, shaker aamer plus --shaker aamer plus pr nses, no do process for trial, cleared for release in 2007 and health for an additional eight years. he was a british resident, not a british citizen. the u.s. use that as a pretext for refusing to release him even though he was cleared. there's also the issue of any of these men who are now being released. it is like time travel. they have been held for many of them for over a decade with no access to the outside world. if you think how much our world has changed, it is like their dropping them in their into a completely different place with very little support, and no
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right to a remedy for the allegations of torture, which absolutely credible, for prolonged arbitrary detention and for any other violations that happened. one of the things that helps victims of torture heal is to be able to claim an effective remedy against the state that tortured you. juan: i would to ask you in terms of torture about the psychologist in torture, the american psychological association has officially notified the u.s. government of its new policy barring psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. the new rules were approved in august after an independent investigation documented how the apa leadership actively colluded with the pentagon and the cia torture programs. amy: in a new letter to the white house and top federal officials, the apa asks the government to withdraw psychologists from any interrogation or prison setting that could put them in violation of the new ethics policy. the letter also urges officials to grant detainees all of the
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rights they're entitled to under federal and international law. explain the significance of this, widney brown. >> the cia turned to the american psychological association to get a psychologist to basically endorse what was euphemistically called enhanced interrogation techniquest. wo we know of, mitchell and jessen, the aca has filed a civil suit against. the apa had a panel that altered its ethics structure such that psychologist could participate in these interrogations, basically, colluding in torture. the american medical association prohibits that and the american psychiatric association prohibits that, but the imac and psychological association actually reduced the ethical standards. this vote restoring the standards is critically withdrawing of the
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interrogation of anyone being held and unlawful detention circumstances. a very important step forward. juan: what practical effect would it have for refusing to participate? in other words, what would be the sanctions imposed upon them if they did? >> the american psychological association has its own ethical board. if a psychologist when for that, they could be challenged, including possibly losing her license. our concern is more, if you think back to the navy nurse who refuse to participate in force-feeding in guantánamo bay, he was faced with a court-martial. we cannot have the military going after health professionals who have ethical codes when they stand by those ethical codes of conduct and refuse to engage in what is unlawful behavior. amy: widney brown, thank you for being with us director of , programs at physicians for human rights. when we come back, we're switching gears. we will be talking about how the other half banks, exclusion,
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explication, and a threat to democracy. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: the nation's financial crisis taught us that when it comes to wall street giants, the political leaders consider some banks too big to fail. after initial misgivings, democrats and republicans joined together to commit over $700 billion to rescue major firms from collapse. but what was widely accepted seven years ago this month may no longer be the case today. just this week, democratic presidential frontrunner hillary
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clinton said we should let the big banks fail should the same situation arise. clinton was speaking on the late show with stephen colbert. >> if you are president -- >> yes. >> and the banks are failing, do we let them fail? >> yes. yes. yes. >> wow. >> first of all, under dodd frank, that is what will happen because we now have stress tests -- i am going to pose a risk the on the big bank if they engage in what risky behavior. but they have to know -- shareholders have to know that, yes, they will fail. if they are too big to fail, then under my plan and others that have been proposed, they may have to be broken up. because if you can't manage it, it is more likely to fail. juan: but if so far big banks have been too big to fail, we
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look at the inverse of this policy -- when it comes to those local level, some are just too small to rescue. that's the lesson of the new exclusion, exploitation, and the threat to democracy," by author and law professor mehrsa baradaran. the book explores how poor communities have been denied the normal banking opportunities that help sustain households in growing economies. amy: between 2008 and 2013, some 2000 bank branches were shut down in the united states. 93% of those were in lower-income communities. without normal banks, these communities have been at the mercy of check-cashers and payday lenders who charge rates and fees far higher than any normal institution. the result is a predatory system that helps keep low-income people in a crushing cycle of debt. mehrsa baradaran argues in favor of a public banking option such as through the post office, a system shut down in the u.s.
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nearly 50 years ago. in an idea that came up recently -- on another late night talk show featuring another democratic presidential candidate ernie sambo -- sanders was interviewed by jimmy kimmel. >> you want to make post offices into banks. >> we're millions and millions of look and people who have to go to these payday lenders and pay outrageous interest rates. they're getting ripped off right and left. we can have our postal service provide modest making to low-income people were they can cash their checks and they can do banking. i think it will help the post office and it will help millions of low income people. amy: that was senator bernie sanders, speaking on "jimmy kimmel live." we are joined now by mehrsa baradaran, an associate professor of law at the university of georgia, specializing in banking regulation. she wrote, "how the other half banks." so talk about it and what we
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should know. >> half the population cannot toess $400 within a month meet some emergency needs. your tire needs to be fixed, your kid is in the hospital and you have a bill. you don't have that money, you have to borrow. if you don't happens and family coming up to go to a payday lender. 300% tosome one from 2000% apr. by the time all is said and done, you cannot just pay back the initial principle, but 10 times, 20 times the principle. this is something that not only doesn't help people, but it ins up turning a temporary cash crunch into a financial disaster. not to mention a whole slew of other services that are not available to people with banking accounts for stop for example, to just use your paycheck coming up to pay a lot of times 10% of your money just to cash it. and then another couple dollars to turn it into a money order to pay your bills. so this is more than a lot of lower-income people spend on
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to pay forhave financial services. i see that not just as an economic problem, as you said earlier, we bailed out the big banks and funneled so much government money to shore up this system, while half the public has no access to that. and that have also doesn't have access to any emergency liquidity as the banks have so voluminously had access to. the point of this book is a malaise equal is the playing field a little bit. juan: in banking, for instance, even on atm machines, the less money you have in your account the more you end up paying in fees just to be able to withdraw money. yet there is a lot of money being made. you mentioned the payday lenders. a lot of them are being bankrolled by major firms on wall street. >> that's right. these payday lenders operate behind us the side of him for malady. they seem like these mom-and-pop community shops, they are not. their huge corporations and they make 20 of profits.
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they're making a great margin on these loans. yes, it is more expensive to lend to someone that is less liquid, has less money, but it is not as expensive as they say they are. the reason is, i mean, look at how much payday lenders charge. most of them charge the cap. these borrowers are not price sensitive. they don't shop around. there's no incentive to lower the prices. where public option steps in and says, look, we're going to lower the price at the cost of the loan, not the cost plus profits plus all of the other overhead that we have, and have a forbear that cost. people who buffer to really need it. amy: of what to turn to a payday loan borrower named mary bates. the single-mother of two told cbs news she took out a $200 loan plus interest to fix her car. but after paying it off two weeks later, she couldn't afford to live on what was left.
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so she had to take out another loan, staring a two-year cycle with a variety of payday lenders. it reportedly ended up costing her $1500 plus interest to essentially recover from what was a $200 loan. >> in endless cycle. a dead-end. i would advise anybody not to. they are set there for people like me that live payday to payday. and then once you get in there, you can't get out. we do without electricity or water or whatever into my next payday. i would not do it. , explainsa baradaran her situation and how typical it is. >> it is so typical. it is so tragic. a lot of people just need that $500 to get, you know, just to live. life happens. you have unexpected emergencies. for many of us, we have this buffer that can take the hit of life. some people, they don't.
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they get involved in the cycle of debt. it turns, again, just a temporary problem into sometimes a permanent one. as she said, i would recommend anyone not to do this. the problem is, then wiped? what do you do? if you don't have a payday loan and you don't have printed family who can send you this money, there really isn't an alternative. an introduction of the book, i compare people like her who have this cash crunch and in-depth having to pay this much -- who end up having this cash crunch and having to pay this much. another man named stephen had a cash crunch and got this miracle in her to let to him as her percent interest and even bought up all of his bad investments. of course, it is a fictitious bank. is the nation i don't think the analogy is that far off. the banks did not just have a tip or a cash crunch, many were insolvent. so we didn't just give them temporary lows, we actually from thebuffering them
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cost of their own misdeeds. juan: how was it these affordable banking services became so rare? there was a time when committed he banks and credit unions were all over the place and you were able to get affordable banking service. what has happened? >> over the last 30 years, and there's a direct correlation, as the community banks leave these areas, credit unions, savings and loans, the french lenders come in. there was no payday loan before the 1980's. when communities had clinton banking options between small committed he banks and thrift, and over the last 30 years, it has an market changes and the regular and that has caused a massive conglomeration in banking. --are very large national multinational banks and very difficult for community banks to compete against these banks, especially given the really is no government support for these
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small institutions. if you are a credit union, yet to compete with the banks, so you're going to go after the higher income individuals. there is this gap. a couple of comedians weighed in on the payday loans. >> 41% of those surveyed who taken payday loans ended up having a bar from family or pond possessions or other things they could have done in the first place just to pay off that payday loan. and yet payday loans superficially look easier. all of these commercials are enticing and also they are everywhere. the least we can do is launch a counter campaign with celebrity spokesperson of our own to remind people to make sure they explore all their better options first. >> hi, i'm sarah silverman. if you're considering taking out a payday loan, i would like to tell you about a great alternative. it is called "anything else."
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instead of taking out a payday loan, you literally do anything else. , as wehrsa baradaran wrap up, the significance of what they are saying and also talk about postal banking. >> they say "anything else" but what? whenever i talk about this, people say, ok, people need to be educated on the harms of these loans. i think a lot of people know full well the harms of these loans, but what is that anything else? she goes into some off color situations, which i won't go into, but there really aren't any other options. the reason i go with postal banking in this book is because, as the community banks left these areas, the post offices remained. there is ap code post office. it is a place where people feel comfortable. it is an institution that has done this very well for 50 years, from 1910 until 1966. with a thriving postal banking system.
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as does every other developed country. these are institution secondary will handle the low risk transactional accounts were talking about and even possibly small loans that can really throw a lifeline to the people who most need it. essentially, cut out the middleman, the banking system that has become so bloated and it is just not serving this other half of the population. amy: it is a common period for the financial reduction bureau exploring new rules for payday loaning? >> that's right. that is been the model so far. we're going to regulate payday loans, put caps on interest if we can, take away some of the clause of the industry and the worst of the offenses. i think this is great and we should do this. the problem with these regulations is there easily skirted so you cap something in a pops up in something else. you lower interest and it comes out in a fee insurance product. so this is a wily industry. it is like cat and mouse. have very restricted
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regulations, but until we have an alternative, i think the supply is going to be met by some sort of demand. amy: a want to thank you for being with us, mehrsa baradaran, associate professor of law at the university of georgia, specializing in banking regulation. her book is "how the other half , banks: exclusion, exploitation, and the threat to democracy." this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. despite their stellar record, a loss by the harvard university debate team would not normally be national, let alone for international news but one match last month was a your typical sparring contest. remembers of the harvard team squared off with opponents not from a rival university, but a maximum-security new york state prison. the topic was whether u.s. public schools should be able to deny and roll it to undocumented students. and despite being forced to they don'tposition
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agree with, the prison team was the winner. amy: the prisoners we debating as part of a program that offers inmates a college-level liberal arts education. since its founding in 2001, more than 300 alumni have earned degrees what behind bars. for more we're joined by max kenner the founder and executive , director of the bard prison initiative. he is a 2014 recipient of the smithsonian american ingenuity award in education. described the scene. where did this debate take place? how did it take place? >> it was really very simple, it happened in an auditorium within a maximum-security prison while the people debating on our side are incarcerated, as they said, there are college students. we are a college team and we are a college. we run in this particular maximum-security prison and others across the state the closest thing we can to a full liberal arts curriculum at
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replicating a full college experience. so students study the full breadth of humanities, science, math, mandarin, and german, spanish, etc., and also engage in some extra curricular activities. amy: did the harvard students come to the prison? >> debate being one of them. people are interested in public speaking debate and that got to the point where we were doing regular intercollegiate debates once a semester. we started with west point. we debate the cadet every spring. we did well and it was exciting and fun. amy: who won? champion last a year. so far our record is three and one with the debates. juan: and the inmates, your team, argued against providing assistance to undocumented students? >> that's right. sure. a little more technical than that, but yes. amy: did the harvard students come to the prison?
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>> yes. everything happens in person, not remotely. amy: so they come to maximum-security prison and a debate. >> it is a large auditorium, same place where we have graduations and what have you. in the audience were over 100 other incarcerated bard students with a scattering of faculty and other friends of the program. there is a stage. there were three harvard kids on one side, three of the incarcerated students on the other side, and the panel of judges. juan: who were the judges? >> people who do this professionally, working that profession. amy: how to the prisoners feel? >> anytime you get on stage and are forced to articulate something clearly and be judged how well you are articulating it, as compared to someone else, that is causing anxiety. muchnow, it is amazing how the media has responded to the fact that harvard might lose.
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if we had been dennis for a while and just how special it was, did not quite honest and tell two weeks later after the event this was still the most popular story in "the wall street journal." reaction ofas the the harvard team and the harvard coach? >> to their credit, i don't think they thought it was extraordinary, either. you know, they may be, you know, wish they had prepared a little more, i don't know. amy: how are the prisoners selected? >> it is a self-selecting group and that you can join the debate union as a bard student, if you choose, r fun. something to do once or twice a week. then they prepare. these are people, all joking aside, who are very busy. they are enrolled full-time in college in an extremely rigorous academic program. sole there are 15 members or of the debate union, they sort of select -- self select the three or four who purchase a
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formally in the competition. juan: did the warden offer them any reduction in the sentences? >> i don't think that is at his discretion, but i think many andle felt surprise satisfaction missing -- amy: was the audience prisoners? >> yeah, that's right. amy: i want to turn to a clip on the occasion of the 10th anniversary. this is erica mateo who graduated from the program in 2011. brownsville, i was fell like a with end up in prison because i did not feel like i had any options. now i'm working as a case manager. who have had-olds some criminal justice involvement in the last 12 months. people don't expect a lot from these kids. if people actually got to know them, they would prove almost
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everything wrong. they aren't lazy kids. they want to work. they are eager to work. they have dreams. they want to be accounts and architects. a brings in a lot of pleasure to see someone choose their goals. amy: that is erica mateo who graduated from the bard prison initiative in 2011. how are the students taught? to the bard professors come to prison? >> absolutely. everything happens in person. the work is less extraordinary and less novel i think than it might seem. everything we do, the entire -- the basic idea of the program is in experiment, is what happens when we provide the same education that is typically afforded to the children of the lucky and the entitled and the rich to others. and the results have been extraordinary. alumni and graduate schools, yell, columbia, nyu, people working in management and
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billion dollar businesses. and most of all, alumni like erica going back to the committees from which they came serving youth at risk of people with hiv/aids, homeless, etc. program beens replicated in other states? >> absolutely. there's suddenly a real resurgence in the believe in the place of education in american prisons, and we have a program called the consortium for liberal arts in prison where we work with sister college universities, washington, notre dame, etc.. we're in 11 states across the country. amy: we have heard a lot about the school of pipeline program. you're talking about the prison of college pipeline. what could be done to help students? president obama announced a plan to offer limited help rest of federal and state prisoners. what would that mean? >> that will transform the meaning of our prison system back to what it was prior to the clinton crime bill in 1994, which is to say, though we
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incarcerate, you are the fellow citizen or you as a neighbor, we have not written off the possibility of your contributions to society from l.a.. amy: max, how did you end up doing this? 15 seconds. >> i was a graduate of bard college and recognized that the investment we made in punishment over a generation was extraordinary and that educators have a place in fixing these social problems and they should not wait for the government or the public sector to lead the way. amy: max kenner is the founder and executive director of the bard prison initiative. he conceived and created the bard prison initiative as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate at bard. that does a for our program today. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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