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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  January 4, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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01/04/17 01/04/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> should proceed to what is in fact an urgent necessity to grant the general pardon to 11 million people who are living and working here, productive citizens in all but name, threatened with deportation by the incoming administration. amy: as president-elect donald trump prepares to reverse obama's immigration polices, noam chomsky and human rights advocates are calling for him to
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-- calling for obama to pardon all undocumented immigrants. we'll speak with representative raul grijalva, one of more than 100 lawmakers calling for obama to protect more than 750,000 migrants shielded from rotation by daca. a newly obtained memo reveals trumps kick for secretary treasury may having gauged in widespread misconduct or foreclosing on thousands of homeowners. we'll speak with a reporter who broke the story. if you received a home digital assistant like amazon echo or google home, you might want to listen closely. >> is called amazon echo. >> it is on? >> is always on. >> what does it do? >> what do you do? >> i can play music, answer questions, get the news and weather, create to do list, and
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much more. amy: we will look at the case of a man charged with murder after prosecutors had pained a warrant -- obtained a warrant for his echo, a voice i committed device that is often listening and recording. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on capitol hill, republican senators backed down tuesday from a plan to gut the office of congressional ethics following widespread outcry among the public. if the rule change had gone through, it would have been the first move enacted by the new republican-controlled congress. but the effort quickly fell apart tuesday as lawmakers' offices were inundated by calls from an angry public and president-elect donald trump took to twitter, calling the ethics office unfair, but encouraging republicans to "focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far , greater importance!" today, republicans are now
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slated to begin debating legislation to dismantle parts of president obama's affordable care act. with the 115th congress now sworn in, republicans outnumber democrats 52 to 48 in the senate and 241 to 194 in the house. this is house speaker republican paul ryan of wisconsin, speaking tuesday about congress's republican majority. speaker ryan: to the majority, especially to our returning --bers, i want to say this this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. this is the kind of thing that most of us only dreams about. i know because i used to dream about this a lot. the people have given us unified government. and it wasn't because they were feeling generous. it was because they want results. how could we live with ourselves if we let them down? how could we let ourselves down?
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amy: in mobile, alabama naacp , national president cornell william brooks and five other civil rights leaders were arrested tuesday during a sit-in at the office of alabama senator jeff sessions, demanding he withdraw his name for consideration for attorney general. trump's pick of sessions for the position has drawn widespread outrage due to session's history of making racist comments, opposing the voting rights act, and supporting anti-immigration legislation. reportedly he said he thought the ku klux klan was "ok until i found out they smoked pot." he is also called the americans civil liberties union and the and communistcan inspired. in 1986, sessions was denied confirmation for federal judgeship by republican-controlled senate committee over his racist comments. the sit in came as more than 1000 law school professors sent a letter to congress urging lawmakers to reject sessions' confirmation, writing -- "nothing in senator sessions public life since 1986 has convinced us that he's a different man than a 39-year-old
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attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district or judge." sessions confirmation hearing is scheduled for january 10 and 11. it is followed by the confirmation of rex tillerson, for secretary of state, who will go before the senate on january 11 and 12th. tillerson stepped down as exxon ceo on january 1, receiving a $180 million retirement package. on january 11, trump says he'll also hold his first formal news conference in nearly six months. his last press conference was in july when he called on russia to hack hillary clinton's email servers. trump claims in his upcoming news conference, he'll reveal "things that other people don't know" about the hacking of the u.s. election. the turkish parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency for another three months following a new year shooting attack in an istanbul nightclub that left 39 people dead. the state of emergency was first imposed after the summer's
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failed military coup. since then, 100,000 public workers have been suspended from their jobs and 40,000 people, including dozens of journalists, have been arrested. on tuesday, hundreds protested outside the reina nightclub in istanbul, condemning the violence and calling for more democracy in turkey. >> the only way to get over this kind of situation is to bring more democracy, freedoms, peace, and institutionalization of secularity. want -- grizzly attacks. i'm here to show up will not surrender to this violence. i am very sorry. amy: in iraq, fighting continues in mosul, amid the u.s. and iraqi militaries ongoing campaign to retake the city from isis. the united nations says 6878 civilians were killed and more than 12,000 were wounded, amid fighting in iraq in 2016. in israel, an idf soldier who was caught on video executing a
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wounded palestinian man has been convicted of manslaughter. the video shows palestinian abdel fattah al-sharif, who was reportedly a suspect in a stabbing earlier in the day, lying immobilized on the ground in hebron in the israeli-occupied west bank. the video then appears to shows israeli sergeant elor azaria firing a single shot into the man's head from a close distance, killing him. azaria's conviction today comes as a new report by the human rights group defense for children international says israeli soldiers killed 32 palestinian children in the west bank and east jerusalem last year, the highest number in a decade. in puerto rico the new governor , ricardo rossello has promised to push immediately for u.s. statehood in his inaugural speech monday, saying there can be no resolution to the island's economic crisis while puerto rico remains a territory of the united states. >> there is no way to overcome
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the current crisis that affects puerto rico, while maintaining this colonial condition. act the time has come to and to defend the dignity and rits to equality of puerto ricans as citizens of the united states of america. amy: the puerto rican governor. fox news anchor megyn kelly has announced she's leaving fox to host her own daytime news show on nbc. kelly famously faced off with donald trump during the 2016 election when she asked trump about his history of calling women "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals." after the debate, trump criticized kelly, saying -- "you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her, wherever." fox news had offered megyn kelly $20 million he year to stay at
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the network. it is believed she will be making at least that at nbc news. in a major victory in pennsylvania, imprisoned journalist and former black panther mumia abu jamal has won an injunction forcing the pennsylvania prison system to provide him life-saving hepatitis c medicine. lawyers with the abolitionist law center say -- "this is the first case in the country in which a federal court has ordered prison officials to provide an incarcerated patient with the new medications that came on the market in 2013." in south carolina, the sentencing phase of the trial of white supremacist and convicted murder dylann roof is opening today in charleston. roof has been convicted of 33 counts of federal hate crimes for murdering nine black worshipers, including pastor clementa pinckney, at the historic emanuel ame church in june 2015. and here in new york, governor andrew cuomo has unveiled a new plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for families earning $125,000 or less a year. cuomo announced the plan alongside vermont senator bernie
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sanders on tuesday. >> college. $30,000 per student. just think about that. debt in new student york is higher than $30,000. that is not fair. that is not right. -- new york state state is going to do something about it. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. a newly revealed memo from president-elect donald trump's transition team sheds light on his plans to reverse immigration polices put in place by the obama administration and to expand the border wall. it reportedly asks the department of homeland security about its ability to expand the use of immigrant detention centers and an aerial surveillance system, and whether
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federal workers altered biographic information kept about immigrants. an agency official told reuters it interpreted the request to mean the transition team wanted to ensure workers were not altering the data in order to protect recipients of president obama's executive order known as deferred action for childhood arrivals, or daca, which has so far has shielded 750,000 young people from deportation. amy: more than 100 members of congress sent a letter to obama in december asking him to take action to protect the names and private information of those enrolled in daca. in a minute, we'll be joined by one of its lead signatories. human rights advocates have also called on obama to pardon all undocumented immigrants in the united states before trump takes office. they include noam chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, and author who spoke out in a message posted on youtube last month. >> president obama, to his credit, has given -- issued
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personal parties in deserving cases, but he should go far beyond. you should proceed to what is in fact an urgent necessity to grant the general pardon to 11 million people who are living and working here, productive citizens in all but name, threatened with deportation by the incoming administration. this would be a horrible humanitarian tragedy, a moral outrage, can be averted by a general pardon for immigration infractions which the president could issue. and we should join to urge him to carry out this necessary step without delay. amy: for more we go now to , capitol hill where we're joined by congress member raul grijalva, democrat of arizona. he is also co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus. we're also joined in manchester,
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new hampshire, by cesar zamudio, a freshman at columbia university who is an undocumented immigrant and a recipient of daca. he is active with the sanctuary campus campaign and came with his familyo the united states from the country of colombia when he was five years old. we welcome you both to democracy now! congressman raul grijalva, what are you calling on president obama to do in his last week? >> a simple request. based on the chilling request from the trump transition team names, relative not only to the daca students and young people protected by that executive order, but going beyond that. our request is to protect those names, to protect the confidentiality. we all ask these young people to come forward willingly and voluntarily, and guaranteed them information about themselves, more and portly, tir parents and relatives in this country wouldght be undocumented,
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be protected. asking the president to a poll that commitment we made to those young people and to do so. in terms of the pardon, it is an overall protection. there is no doubt the trump administration, part of the red meat he ran on from the first day when he announced his candidacy was a very extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric that he kept up through the whole campaign, the wall, deportation, more detention. i think that particular piece of red meat he is going to throw out every once in a while and of all of the commitments he is made, this is the one that is most disturbing because it is one that he will try to fulfill through his presidency. i really believe that we need to not pretend that that it isn't happening. more importantly, "back, begin to strategize, begin to unify around how we protect the document it in this country, how
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we not only protect them, but pushed back in a very concerted and resisted way to what trump is going to try to do. juan: congressman come in november, trump ritter raided his pledge to deport up to 3 million undocumented people during an interview with "60 minutes." this is "60 minutes" correspondent lesley stahl. >> let's go through it quickly, some of the promises you made and tell us if you're going to do what you said or change it in anyway. are you really going to build a wall? mr. trump: yes. >> they're talking about offense the republican congress. would you accept a fence? areas, i: for certain would. a certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. i'm very good at this called construction. there could be some fencing. >> what about the pledge to deport millions and millions of undocumented immigrants. mr. trump: what we're going to do is get the people that are criminal and have, records, gang members, drug dealers -- a lot
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of these people, probably 2 million or 3 million, we're getting them out of our country or we're going to incarcerate. we're getting them out of our country that are here illegally. juan: that was trump speaking on "60 minutes." a couple of questions. one is, the issue of you did not say he was going to seek to ,eport the so-called daca youth but if he reverses the executive order, that means they no longer would have the ability, for instance, have work permits, etc. what can be done by the democrats in congress to prevent trump from actually moving to start deporting some of the daca people? and what is your sense of the possibilities right now given the fact you don't have a majority in the congress? >> certainly the house, the
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possibilities are not very bright. to try to provide legislative relief to the daca young people. talking about a bipartisan bill. the only concern i have is it caps it at the students that are eligible or have become eligible up to this point. i think there should be no cap come as young people age in daca two, they should have the same rights and abilities to apply and to have that protection extended to them. legislatively, it would make it permanent and would be a legal protection for the long haul. a possibility. like anything that is going to be worked out in a bipartisan way, the political atmosphere we have in washington, we have to make sure it is not something in the long-term that is going to prove to continue to beto youngr ability to do what they need to do with their lives in this country, and more and portly, not to cap it at a certain
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number where it leaves potential he another one million people out of the process. juan: on the issue of the pardon. there is a presidents for this. jimmy carter in his waning days provided a pardon for all people who have been convicted of draft violations during the vietnam war, and that was tens of ousands of people so this has happened in the past. the prospects, your hope, in terms of what president obama could do in his last weeks in office? >> it certainly is a hope. the attorney general lynch made a statement that -- early on that that was something that legally she did not feel could be done by the president through executive order, through the pardon powers that he has. many of us and other legal scholars feel differently. we really feel this would be a testament and a statement so that, i think, to avoid what is going to be potentially one of the most devices, difficult, and
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turbulent domestic issues with the deportation issue becomes primary to this administration. the expansion of private prisons, which has been a nightmare for detainees throughout the last five years. you know, president obama did the most deportations of any president. i don't know how this president can say that 3 million, 4 million, and redefine what criminal -- the definition of what criminal activity is in order to reach those goals. those are all major concerns. at the local level and communities are already organizing to protect their immigrant families in their communities, and to provide them both sanctuary and protection. i think that is where the fight is going to be as well, very much a local level. a makeup congressman raul grijalva, we want to talk about what happened in the first session. enormous blowback around the
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republicans first move, forcing them to turn around. before we do that, we want to bring in cesar zamudio, a freshman at columbia university, an undocumented student. could you briefly tell us your story and what you're calling for? >> yes, definitely. thank you for having me. basically, my story is that my family and i came to the united states on tourist pieces. my parents decided while they were here after staying on the visa that it was better for us to start a life here and for my brother and i to start school here. so they overstayed their be set. since then, i have gone to school. amy: you are five years old? >> i was fighters old, yes. i have paid taxes. i went to boarding school. i met columbia now. proving iof been like am an asset to this country, that i'm here to contribute to this society, and to really be a part of this great country and to final be record asked as an american because this is the
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only country that i know and love. juan: at what point in your life did you realize -- first of all, that you were undocumented or in the country illegally? were you then a recipient of daca? if so, how has that changed your situation in life? >> yeah, i first realized i was undocumented when i think i was eight. my dad had lost his job because he did not have the proper paperwork to work at the job he was working at. i sort of -- like, my mom told me i was undocumented. i did not really know what it meant until i got older and i saw my parents could not work. my dad kept hitting stopped for driving without a license. you know, small things that make you realize other kids are living a different life than you. can spend time with their families. their parents can drive. it was different for me. that is when i knew and when i realized. then i first applied for daca
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when it came out in 2012. as soon as i was able to, i applied. i renewed in 2014 and 2016. i just got my new renewal that will expire in 2018 post of amy: are you documented now? >> i have daca. that does not count as legal status, so i would not say i am documented. we have a phrase en-dacamented. amy: what are you calling for? your call goes beyond people on daca. ofyeah. i'm calling for sort the country to come together and realize that these laws have real human implications. they have real human consequences. there are people here who just want to country b to this country, people who lived here for a long time such as my family, and just want to continue to pay taxes, work, get a drivers license and be able to be recognized as americans because that is what they are.
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i realize there are people who do commit crimes, that we do need to get them out of the country. when we talk about criminal aliens and committal immigrants, -- terminal immigrants, there are people that commit minor crimes that could be classified as criminal immigrants. nuances we have to look into as a country and realize not all immigrants are this aim and every immigrant has a different story than every other immigrant. i am calling for this country to come together in an act of compassion and act of reflecting on what the core principles of this country are, i be quality, of freedom, of bringing an refugees in oppressing other countries. juan: i want to go back to representative raul grijalva and talked a little bit about what is going on in congress right now.
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on tuesday, the house republicans changed the way congress calculates the cost of transferring federal land to states and other entities that would make it easier for members of the new congress to cede federal control of lands. you're the ranking democrat on the natural resources committee. your response to this and what it means? >> those rules put in place, i think by the majority yesterday in the house, while all of the concentration was on the ethics issue and how badly they handle that and how badly they had to retreat from that, in those rules, no longer are you going to score land transfers. if you take a piece of federal --d in arizona, cede transferred to the state of arizona or particular county, there will be no congressional budget office analysis of what cost is to the taxpayers in general of this country in terms of the transfer.
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so it would be counted as a zero. that facilitates the transfers. in the past, because of rules and laws, there had to be in exchange of either equal value or the cost involved in that exchange. now with that being eliminated, it makes that whole -- give the federal and back to the states movement a shot in the arm because the groundwork has been set now for them to transfer it without having to follow their own rule which they set in place, which is to have a cbo score to make sure it is not a gift and a make sure the taxpayer was the protected. that facilitates it and says the groundwork for those types of transfers to states and counties down the road. amy: congressman, we saw something incredible yesterday. you have the surprise the day before on the eve of the first session of this republican congress, a closed-door meeting behind closed doors, the
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republican conference voting to gut the ethics office. because of enormous outcry, which i think prompted donald trump's tweet that even he did not support this, they were forced to back down. what does this bode? we have seen this in the enormous outcry when the trump transition team asked the department of energyor a list of names of those who attended the u.n. climate summit -- when this happened, when there is backlash, they back down. talk about what this means and how you reacted yesterday. >> the reaction was, you know, while they were making the swamp even murkier in d.c., they prove they have -- that this whole election was about railing against government and against corruption. and then come the first action they were going to take was to gut the ethics office. in an doing so, protect
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themselves from any potential charges, be it staff or be it constituents. togo forward and the had back out. not so much because of the tweet , but because of the flood of emails,e nails, and -- and appeals that hit every office in congress yesterday. that was the reason. i think what it bodes for the future, amy, this is the way to be able to affect, to resist, and to stop some of the worst instinct said this congress is going to have. that is an example of of that instinct. and they have many of them. so when the public comes into the discussion, when they are part of it, when they put that kind of pressure on -- and that is part of the strategy i think going forward that is so important. those of us in congress and opposed to what is going on are inoice, but the real power holding back some of the worst instincts of trump and the majority in the house and senate is going to come from people
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themselves. i think that bodes well and is a good example of how that should be done. congressman, i would like to ask about one of the trump appointments, scott pruitt , to head the environmental protection agency. you have introduced earthquake prevention feels to call attention to the fracking crisis in pruitt's own home state of oklahoma. your response to this appointment? >> well, you know, that appointment for working people, for poor people, for the working poor, is a disaster. disaster in the terms of an doing everything from overtime rules the family leave -- a huge opponent, in extreme opponent of , andinimum wage raises basically, you have put the real fox in the chicken house when it comes to the protections of
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workers in the protections of their hard earned dollars. i think when we see, as this department unfolds another political appoint its in, you're going to see this is -- this department is not there for the protection and the benefit of working people and labor. it will be there to undo and hand over more and more control to employers, not only at the corporate level -- at the corporate level and down, and undo relations around health and safety, osha -- all of the things this man has complained about consistently are going to be part of it. and cap congressman, the first act they're saying is to repeal obama care. what does that mean? what will replace that? do you see people losing their insurance or will they back down? >> i think this is one in which you're going to have to back down. you can't just repeal. you need to tell the american people. democrats should not
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participate. tell us how you're going to take care of those millions of people. tell us how that cost transfer is not going to affect every wage earner in this couny. tell us how you're going to replace it. i think they're going to have a very difficult time coming up with a replacement that deals with pre-existing conditions, that deals with subsidy for poor people and working people. i don't know how they can come up with it. but right now, to say repeal is easy. to provide a replacement which the american people are going to demand, is going to be difficult, if not impossible. amy: congressman raul grijalva, they give for being with us, compass minerals arizona co-chair of the congressional , progressive caucus. cesar zamudio and we want to thankcesar zamudio of columbia university. when we come back, we look at another of president-elect , stevennominees mnuchin, to head the treasury
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department, a new revelation. 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: we turn now to trump's pick for treasury secretary, steven mnuchin, who faces scrutiny for his role at onewest, a bank which has been called a foreclosure machine that profited from the collapse of the housing market. on tuesday, the intercept reported on a newly obtained memo that reveals mnuchin may have engaged in widespread misconduct while foreclosing on homeowners. the memo argued onewest was guilty of a host of infractions, including backdating mortgage documents to speed up foreclosures and manipulating the results of home auctions, and it urged top california's attorney general to sue.
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amy: mnuchin's hedge fund bought out the failing california bank indymac in 2008, renaming it onewest. under his ownership, it foreclosed on 36,000 families, particularly elderly residents trapped in reverse mortgages. for more we go to los angeles to speak to reporter david dayen, who broke this story for the intercept. he's also the author of the book, "chain of title: how three ordinary americans uncovered wall street's great foreclosure fraud." david, welcome back to democracy now! lay out what you found. explain what this memo shows. >> so this is a memo from deputies in the california attorney general's office, and it describes a year-long investigation that they conducted into onewest, finding well over 1000 violations of california's foreclosure process. california is a nonjudicial state. the courts are not involved in foreclosures. but there are precise steps that lenders are supposed to take
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when they foreclose on a home owner. onewest was found to have violated these. it was a somewhat limited investigation because onewest is a national bank, and states do not have the jurisdiction to do widespread investigation of them. but they found over 1000 violations just in this limited violation -- investigation. if they did file a civil enforcement action, there would be a discovery period where the extrapolated the deputies that they could find thousands more violations. so they requested authorization to file this action. the california attorney general's office did not move on that. amy: in the california attorney general was now the current california senator, kamala harris. >> that's right. she will have the opportunity to vote on steven mnuchin's onewest war on his treasury secretary nomination.
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mnuchin actually was donor to kamala harris as recently as february 2016. he gave $2000 to kamala harris' ate election campaign. there is no real explanation given to these deputies as to why harris decided not to move forward with the case. there is a lot of speculation, but now we are seeing sort of the blowback from failing to prosecute these banks and these top executives. now one is potentially going to be the treasury secretary. juan: and this issue of backdating documents. obviously, the mortgage fraud crisis -- there was the original problem of all of the high interest loans there were issued, but after the collapse, the financial collapse, there were all of these banks and financial institutions they can do so-called clean up the mess
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and engaged in massive fraud in terms of documentation of who owned what loan and who had paid back what. talk about the importance of onewest in this second stage of the crisis. >> yes, onewest was deftly part of the cleanup crew. they were built out of the ashes of indymac, which was a failed lender that originated really bad toxic mortgages. onewest was brought in, and they engaged in a number of practices to do foreclosures. wasbackdating scandal here they would file notices of default -- and that sort of kicks off the foreclosure process here in california -- without actually designating what is known as a trustee that would engage in a foreclosure sale. so when they would do that document to designate the look likeo make it
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the notice of default was done correctly, they would back a the document. the way the deputies at the ag's office figured this out is that some of the documents were backdated so far back it was before onewest became a bank. onewest was inaugurated as a bank in march 2009, at some of the documents had date before that that the mexican border known as substitutions of trustee before onewest even became to being. evidence, from what you have uncovered that mnuchin had direct knowledge of it was going on were approved it in any way? >> no, we don't. right now the investigation was practices. onewest's it did not move up the chain to see who authorized and directed. as i said, it was a limited investigation. presumably in discovery, those questions would be asked. i certainly ask those questions
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of the spokesperson for steven mnuchin. the spokeswoman a sickly dismissed the case -- basically dismissed the case saying the attorney general did not file anything. presumably, that would have come out in a longer -- an actual enforcement action in the lawsuit. that is something the senate finance committee can take up when they go into hearings with steven mnuchin in the next few weeks. amy: donald trump had sued stephen -- steven mnuchin? >> yes, that is true, regarding some sort of deal that was made prior. mnuchin was a goldman sachs for a long time and then started his own hedge fund on his capital management. obviously some trump has been involved in real estate and involved in the source of hedge fund deals and using them as investment vehicles. there was apparently a lawsuit
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between trump and mnuchin, but i guess they have made up a this point. a makeup mnuchin intends to eliminate government control of freddie mac and fannie mae to privatize the largest players in u.s. home mortgage market? >> yes, this is an interesting deal. mnuchin -- one of the first things he said as treasury secretary nominee is that he would seek to privatize fannie mae and freddie mac. hedge funds, quitting former partners of mnuchin's in onewest bank like john paulson, purchased fannie mae and freddie mac stock at a very low rate, less than one dollar a share, on the expectation that if those were privatized and returned back and allowed three capitalized themselves, that that stock which you back up. they file lawsuits against the government. they were seeking this repressed
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it is a of these two very large entities. if the trump administration is able to pull this off, it would be a massive windfall for these hedge funds that happened to make these purchases. the fact that mnuchin and trump, by the way, because he has invested in john paulson's hedge sod, or so involved -- are involved with these actors that would seek to have his financial windfall is certainly concerning. juan: how would this work? we're talking about two of the largest financial institutions in the american housing market. how would that work, the actual privatization? >> well, right now the treasury sweeps up all profits from fannie mae and freddie mac under a 2012 order. that could be reversed. then fannie and freddie would be allowed to rebuild capital. there currently under
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conservatorship. if that were to end, they still have that private --quasi private/public function and we go back to the days where you have them sort of in the private market and in the stock markets, but they would have that implicit government guarantee. you profits would be privatized and the risks and the losses would be socialized. this is certainly possible. certainly, you could see the recapitalization. that would happen by executive order. then it would probably need to be legislation to fully privatize the market. republicans are certainly on board with that. it never happened during the , but now it is a new day in washington and you could certain we see that come to pass. amy: david dayen, what do you think is the most important question for senators to ask to put to the treasury secretary nominee steven mnuchin? >> i think you want to know what
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he knew about this large violation of foreclosure process. not just in california, but all over the country. how was he involved, ceo, when 29 -- onewest from 2009-2015? did he authorize these types of misconduct as the caliphate attorney general's office said it was? you know, you really want to understand what his role was at onewest. this is another reason why it was so toxic to field prosecute in theypes of behaviors aftermath of the financial crisis and during the foreclosure crisis. because now you have -- if they theress this issue, he has alibi of saying, well, the california attorney general decided not to prosecute.
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it is just so toxic that you end up rehabilitating the reputations of these types of actors who were involved in so much pain and suffering on the part of the american people and millions of people losing their homes. amy: david dayen, thank you for being with us, author of it article and intercept "treasury , nominee steve mnuchin's bank accused of 'widespread misconduct' in leaked memo." when we come back, your hope assistant, as they call it, alexei, the amazon echo, are to actually recording what you say in your house gecko we will talk about what is the latest news on this. 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: if you received one of those home digital assistants like amazon echo or google home over the holidays, you might want to listen closely. privacy experts are keeping a close watch on the case of a
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bentonville, arkansas, man who was charged with murder after prosecutors obtained a warrant to receive data from his amazon echo -- a voice-activated device that is always listening and often recording. james andrew bates says he's innocent of the murder of victor collins, who was found strangled in bates' hot tub. prosecutors hope to search audio recordings on bates' amazon echo for clues. amy: so far lawyers for amazon have refused to comply with the warrant, and experts say it's unlikely the device was recording at the time of the murder. but the case has drawn national attention and alarmed civil liberties groups. bates' lawyer, kimberly weber, told "usa today" -- "i have a problem that a christmas gift that is supposed to better your life can be used against you. it's almost like a police state," she said. well, for more, we are joined by marc rotenberg, executive director of the electronic privacy information center. welcome to democracy now! can you explain what these devices, like alexa, the amazon echo, actually do? there are listening?
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you would be in your house new say something like, play miles davis," and they play it. so they are listening to every word you say. >> these are category of consumer devices that we refer to as always on devices. to operate, they literally have to be list thing to the user to interpret the instruction and to act on it. now the company's say they rely -- companies say they rely solely on the wake words. be problem turns out to quite more complex because first of all, the devices are easily triggered. people have had the experience when a radio is on in the background, for example, it can alert the device. also, we have found in a number of these new consumer products, when companies say that privacy protection measures work in fact, they don't. very famous example of that occurred with snapchat which was
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telling its users that he would delete photos, that they would literally vanish once they were sent. of course, that is not what snapchat was doing. they were changing filenames in the photos could be retrieved. similar experience with a search company called ask eraser. it said it was deleting all search queries, except for the ones law enforcement wanted. these are the reasons that actually more than a year ago, epoch went to the trade commission in the trade commission and u.s. department of justice and we said, you need to look closely at these products. we're not against new technology that helps consumers and has aen a bit of fun, but we need better understanding of how they operate. what information about the user is being collected? how reliable are these wake words? most significantly in this case, how can it be that the company is in possession of information that can be useful to law enforcement?
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if you play back the tape and think about what mr.'s note showed us regarding the collection and use of telephone logs for, it would be quite easy to imagine a company such as amazon could persistently retain this type of data on all of its users and make it available to law enforcement and a whole variety of circumstances unrelated to criminal investigations. so there are a lot of important policy issues here, a lot of important legal issues here that we think both the federal trade commission and the department of justice need to look at much more closely. a lotto what degree are of the information that you are seeking protected in one way or another by the trade secrets of each particular company? what kind of public disclosure to regulators now require of these companies in terms of how they set up their system? >> that is a very important question you are asking because when we go into these
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investigations, the companies often say, well, we can't tell you exactly what type of information we are returning on our consumers. we can't tell you exactly the technique of the wake word or how much data is being retained. this immediately i think should be a warning to those who do public oversight and help enforce important privacy safeguards. that of the companies cannot establish the products work as they're supposed to work, for example, they only record when the wake word is being used, then there is a real problem. another point which i think is important to keep in mind, this is not just a debate about law enforcement access to personal information. i think we are familiar with that debate. we have had it also around the apple iphone will stop these are also devices in the home that could be exploited by criminal hackers. in other words, once you put a device like echo in your home, someone can gain remote access to that device and may be able to listen to private communications.
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this has certainly been the experience with webcams on laptops. the reason a lot of people are now placing a post-it note on top of those webcams to prevent that type of surreptitious remote recording. this can also happen with audio devices in the home. it is the reason we think law enforcement and the ftc actually have a responsibility to protect consumers from that type of unwanted listening. amy: a bunch of people that donald trump is naming would like to have in his support the expansion of domestic surveillance, including attorney general nominee jeff sessions. people were just in his office in mobile, alabama, getting arrested like the head of the it doubly to be -- naacp protesting. people that several are opposed to expanding domestic surveillance. jeff sessions, mike pompeo, national security advisor mike flynn. what about the incoming
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administration and its positions on surveillance? >> that is a critical question. the senate judiciary committee will hold two days of hearing next week on senator sessions to be the attorney general. i think it is absolutely vital for that committee to ask the nominee is views about privacy, about some of these new surveillance techniques, about what the appropriate limitation should be. i don't think there is any real dispute that for a proper criminal investigation or even for a national security matter where there is legal authority and the judicial determination that searches are appropriate. but if we have learned anything in the last two years, it is that these techniques can be used to the public at large. there is a real risk right now with the growing use of these consumer devices connected to the internet. it is not just alexa. it is thermostat, connected toys , that the government will take advantage of all of this personal data being collected
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for the type of mass surveillance but i don't think we could permit. so the attorney general needs to be asked about this issue. we need to get -- i should say the nominee for the attorney general, should be asked about this issue, and wish to get his views. amy: marc rotenberg, thank you for being with us. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to new developments in the push for president obama to grant clemency to 71-year-old native american activist leonard peltier before he leaves office. the former member of the american indian movement was convicted of killing two fbi agents during a shootout on south dakota's pine ridge indian reservation in 1975, and has long maintained his innocence. now the u.s. attorney whose office prosecuted him added his voice to those calling for peltier to be given a compassionate release. james reynolds told "the daily news" -- "i think it's time.
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40 years is enough." amy: this comes as american university in washington, d.c., took action on tuesday to remove a nine-foot statue of leonard peltier from its campus. the statue is based on a self-portrait by peltier and the university first welcomed it with a ceremony on december 9. it was set to be on display through april. but after a critical fox news report on the artwork aired last week, followed by a letter from the fbi agents association to the school's president, the university issued a statement on monday that its "decision to host the peltier statue required a more thorough assessment of the implications of placing the piece in a prominent, public space. with the benefit of a fuller review, we have made a decision to remove the piece from this location." for more, we're joined by rigo 23, the artist to created the leonard peltier statue and brought it to american university. longtime activist for and collaborator with native communities and contributor to the forthcoming book "zapantera negra: an artistic encounter
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between black panthers and zapatistas." we go in the pictures we are showing. for people listening on the radio, you can go to we can see a man and a cowboy hat removing the head of your peltier statue yesterday. can you expl what happened? has it been fully removed from the university? >> i believe the sculpture has been fully removed. as far as explaining what happened, and at a loss to explain what happened. the attitude of the university put forth by the president is so devoid of logic, that i really do not understand. the university held a weeklong symposium organized by the defense committee arguing for leonard peltier's clemency. this was between the cymer five and december 10 -- december 5
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the cymer 10. after the letter arrived from the association, the president saint it might appear that the university was taking an advocacy position on behalf of leonard by displaying this statue. it is confounding to me how hosting weeklong symposium forcating for his clemency that showing the sculpture of a man sitting down by age three constitutes -- by a tree constitutes -- juan: you can discuss the issue, but you cannot have art on the issue or an actual sculpture on the issue. >> i only found out about this letter from the fbi agents association after the fact.
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what i was communicated by the director of the arts center is the university received credible sculpture, the nearby buildings, and to its community. and due to the threat being deemed edible, they decided to remove the sculpture. amy: is it true that it is across the street from the department of homeland security? the department of homeland security. somebody threatens to harm the sculpture, so the reaction of the president is to dismantle, to be had and dismember the sculpture. they also threatened to harm holdings. i wonder what his approach to protecting buildings from being destroyed is. i hope it is not akin to his notion of how to protect the sculpture from injured tried -- from being destroyed. amy: rigo 23, tell us why you created the statue. >> leonard peltier represents
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the plight of millions on this continent. i think the fact that he is severely represented as -- again to president barack obama being described as an african without proper papers to be in the united states as a citizen. they both come from communities to whom exactly the opposite happened. arrived in this country, came here against their will, or stripped of their identity, of their heritage, prevented from knowing where they came from, who they really were. and likewise, leonard peltier, as a member of the native american community, represents a people that suffered genocide at the hands of people that were wearing uniforms, of different federal forces of the united states government. amy: before we wrap up, you travel the country to bring the statue to american university, which had originally been approved.
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you have people stand in his feet, the feet of this culture, all the country, including standing rock? >> correct. --nding rock and heinrich pine ridge, san francisco, los angeles at a communities school, and more than 500 people have stood in those feet demonstrating their solidarity with leonard peltier and sharing his journey. amy: if people want to see our conversation with one of his attorneys, who was pushing for clemency for leonard peltier, you can go to rigo 23, thank you so much for joining us. rigo 23 is a california-based political artist. his 9-foot-tall statue of leonard peltier is now being removed from the campus of american university. though it was originally approved. that does it for our show. 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.
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