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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  January 9, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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01/09/17 01/09/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> president elect and i working with the leaders of the house and senate are determined to keep our promise to the american people, and that all begins with repealing and replacing the failed policy of obamacare. amy: republicans are moving to repeal the affordable care act. democrats say it is repeal and run. republicans are moving to repeal the affordable care act as early as this week him about what happens next? we will speak with dr. steffie careandler, primary physician, lecturer at harvard medical school, cofounder of physicians for a national health program. then to kentucky, where more
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than 1000 people took to the streets saturday as republicans called an emergency session with their new super majority in the legislature to ram through a slew of controversial bills, including an antiunion right to work law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. >> we have never had in nearly 100 years, republican speaker. we have literally never had any legislation in the history of ultimately signed by three republicans. there's never been a republican house-senate and governor at the same time. these are historic times. amy: first, a barrage of senate confirmation hearings begins tuesday for what would be the wealthiest cabinet in modern american history. this comes despite concerns that ethics clearances and background checks are incomplete for a
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number of president-elect donald trumps cabinet kicks. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a barrage of senate confirmation hearings is set to begin tuesday for what would be the wealthiest cabinet in modern american history. this comes despite concerns that ethics clearances and background checks are incomplete for a number of president-elect donald trump's cabinet picks. facesr jeff sessions questions on tuesday for his nomination as attorney general come along with trump's pick john kelly. on wednesday, hearings are set for former exxon ceo rex tillerson as secretary of state come along with education secretary pick betsy devos. transportation secretary nominee elaine chao and cia director mark pompeo. tillerson's net worth is at
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least $300 million. several other nominees have assets will do more than $1 billion, whose confirmation hearing is on thursday. as cabinet appointees, the nominees are required to submit a financial disclosure report that is used by the agencies they are to take over, along with the office of government ethics. "the new york times" reports about the nominees have so many assets that are not enough boxes on the standard form for them. the head of the office of government ethics, walter schild, wrote in a letter to senators chuck schumer of new york and elizabeth war and of massachusetts that "this schedule has greeted undo pressure on the office of staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews." this comes as nbc reports requested emails between the office of government ethics and trumps transition team and found saying we haved lost contact with the
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trump-pence transition since the election. we will have more on the confirmation hearings and ethics concerns after headlines. video has emerged of the shooting at the fort lauderdale airport on friday, which left five people dead and eight more people wounded after the gunman, esteban santiago, opened fire in the crowded baggage claim area in terminal tubing. 26-year-old santiago, who was born in new jersey and grew up in puerto rico, was an iraq war veteran who deployed with the 130th engineer battalion in 2010. he was later discharged from the alaska army national guard for unsatisfactory performance. in november, santiago walked into the alaska fbi office and said he was being controlled by u.s. intelligence. he was briefly institutionalized and his gun seized. but law enforcement authorities returned his gun to him about a month later. cnn is reporting santiago used
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that gun during friday's attack, which he had checked into his baggage legally. during his flight from alaska through minneapolis to fort lauderdale. this is esteban santiago's brother, brian. inhe went to the offices anchorage, alaska, to explain what he was seeing, the voices he was hearing, that his government was writing to massacre go to do certain things. because theyault are people who never go to the government who ask for help. when a barbaric act like this happened and when the invite with them, the psychologist and psychiatrist understand there might is not well. what more than a person who went ahead of time to explain the situation, they knew it was going to happen. amy: esteban santiago also had a history of domestic violence. last january, santigo's then girlfriend told prosecutors he threatened her, broke down the bathroom door where she was hiding, then hit and strangled
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her. he was later arrested and released on the condition he'd avoid all contact with the victim -- terms he later violated. the fort lauderdale shooting came as lawmakers in florida were preparing to consider legislation that would loosen prohibitions on firearms in florida. the legislation which was proposed last month would eliminate some of florida's gun-free zones, which currently include airport terminals. president-elect donald trump is continuing to deny alleged russian hacking had an effect on the 2016 presidential election. on friday, trump was briefed for 90 minutes by director of national intelligence james clapper, cia director john brennan, and fbi director james comey on a classified 50-page classified document on how russian hackers meddled in november's election. a section of this document, declassified over the weekend, concludes russian president vladimir putin "ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the u.s. presidential election and aspired to help
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president-elect trump's election chances when possible by discrediting secretary clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him." following friday's briefing, trump released a statement saying -- "while russia, china, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations, , including the democrat national committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines." trump's briefing by intelligence officials came as hundreds of u.s. tanks and other military equipment arrived in germany, en route to eastern europe, where the u.s. is continuing its military build up against russia. the u.s. is in the process of sending 2800 weapons, including tanks and armored vehicles, and 4000 u.s. troops to poland and eastern europe over the coming days. this is major general timothy mcguire. >> so this is where we are
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starting, but this is the first of many deployments. it is a commitment by the united states continue to deploy brigade combat teams with their equipment. so while we started here at this area, we look to use other ports . so once again, we can learn, we rapidlywhat it takes to assemble this force and move it to where it is required on the continental. amy: in kentucky, hundreds of demonstrators packed into the capitol building on saturday to protest the kentucky legislature's passage of a slew of controversial bills, including an anti-union right-to-work law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. the surprise emergency legislative session saturday came after republicans seized a super majority in the house of representatives giving the , republicans control of the house, the senate and the governorship for the first time in kentucky state history. on saturday, the legislature
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also repealed a law that had guaranteed higher wages for workers on publicly financed construction projects. we will have more on kentucky going to louisville later in the broadcast. in iraq, at least 20 people have been killed in two separate suicide bombing attacks at markets in eastern baghdad over the weekend. isis took responsibility for the first attack, which killed 13 people. elsewhere in iraq, hundreds of civilians are continuing to flee mosul daily amid the u.s.-led coalition's campaign to retake the city from isis. in syria dozens of people died , saturday after a fuel truck blew up in front of a courthouse in the northern rebel-held town of azaz near the border with turkey. no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. elsewhere in syria, airstrikes resumed sunday against a rebel-held valley near damascus, after negotiations between the syrian government and anti-government rebels collapsed. russian warplanes began launching airstrikes in northern syria at the behest of turkey. in israel, four idf soldiers have died after a palestinian
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resident of east jerusalem drove a truck into pedestrians at a promenade in southern jerusalem on sunday afternoon. at least a dozen more people were injured in the attack. the driver was shot dead by israeli soldiers. in brazil, two more deadly prison uprisings have left 37 people dead, bringing the total death toll from prison uprisings over the last week to more than 90 people. brazil has the fourth largest prison population the world after the united states, russia, and china. widespread overcrowding in brazilian prisons have led to a series of deadly uprisings in recent years. in mexico, thousands of people took to the streets across the country on saturday to protest the mexican government's decision to rae fuel prices. the price of gasoline rose by more than 20% in most mexican states on january 1, sparking widespread unrest as protesters raided gas stations and blockaded highways and train tracks throughout last week. mexican authorities say over 1000 people have been arrested and at least six people have been killed during clashes between protesters and police.
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the price hike came despite a promise by president enrique peña nieto that the cost of gasoline would decrease as mexico de-nationalized its oil company, pemex, and opened its market to foreign corporations. in texas, two water protectors were arrested saturday after locking themselves to heavy machinery to delay the construction of the trans-pecos pipeline, which is slated to carry natural gas under the rio grande river and across the u.s. mexico border where it will then continue to export terminals on mexico's pacific coast. local residents and members of the society of native nations have set up a protest camp, the two rivers camp, to block the trans-pecos pipeline, which is being built by energy transfer partners, the same company constructing the $3.8 billion dakota access pipeline. this is mark glover with the big bend defense coalition during saturday's lockdown. >> we are trying to bring .wareness to the people
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the fact is, the oil and gas industry is the strongest entity in the world. and they control this planet. that if we don't do something soon, we are going to wish we had done something a lot sooner. amy: mark glover is locked down as he is speaking. trans-pecos is one of two pipelines energy transfer partners is currently building in texas. construction of the second one, the comanche trail pipeline, was temporarily halted in november by federal authorities after mistakes during construction caused the collapse of a canal and concerns about the poisoning of the el paso water supply. -- potential poisoning of the el paso water supply. in florida, seven volunteers of the group food not bombs were arrested saturday while feeding people in tampa's lykes gaslight park. they were arrested for sharing food without a permit, a costly procedure required by the city of tampa. some were arrested still wearing the plastic gloves they were using to dish out food. food not bombs has vowed to continue its twice weekly feeding program. in new york state, authorities have announced that indian point
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nuclear power will shut down by 2021 following decades of protests and lawsuits by local residents and anti-nuclear activists concerned that a disaster at the nuclear plant could wipe out new york city. residents have been protesting for the plant's closure since the including a massive 1970's, demonstration in 1979 when 200 people were arrested after tunneling under the plant's gates and chaining themselves to the entrance. earlier this year, new york governor andrew cuomo said that keeping indian point open "defies common sense, planning and basic sanity." , in sioux falls, south dakota, residents gathered for a vigil to honor the life of 28-year-old saturday jamie lee wounded arrow, the second transgender woman to be murdered in 2017. she was oglala lakota, originally from the pine ridge reservation in south dakota. former iranian president ali akbar hashemi rafsanjani has died at the age of 82. he was one of the leaders of the 1979 iranian revolution and went
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on to serve as president from 1989 to 1997. rafsanjani has long been one of the most influential political figures in iran, and the mentor of the current president, hassan rouhani, who is up for reelection this year. and meryl streep won the lifetime achievement award at sunday night's golden globes. the academy award-winning actress used her speech to call for protections for the free press and to criticize president-elect donald trump, without sayi h stunned her this year was the mocking imitation of a disabled reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign. this is meryl streep. >> it was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most spected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back.
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heartit kind of broke my when i saw it. i still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. it was real life. humiliatenstinct to when it is modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful -- it filters down into everyone's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. invites disrespect. violence incites violence. when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. amy: that was academy award-winning actress meryl streep at last night's golden globes. being awarded the lifetime achievement award. this morning, president elect donald trump slammed streep, tweeting -- "meryl streep, one of the most overrated actresses in hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the golden globes. she is a hillary flunky who lost big."
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and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a barrage of senate confirmation hearings is set to begin tuesday for what could be the wealthiest cabinet in modern american history. this comes despite concerns that ethics clearances and background checks are incomplete for several of president-elect donald trump's cabinet picks. senator jeff sessions faces questions tuesday for his nomination as attorney general, along with trump's pick to head homeland security, retired marine general john kelly. on wednesday, hearings are set for former exxon ceo rex tillerson as secretary of state, along with education secretary betsy devos. transportation secretary nominee elaine chao and mike pompeo. tillerson's net worth is at least $300 million, and several other nominees hold assets of more than including commerce $1 billion, secretary wilber ross, whose confirmation hearing
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is on thursday. as cabinet appointees, the nominees are required to submit a financial disclosure report that is used by the agencies they are to take over, along with the office of government ethics. "the new york times" reports that some of the nominees have so many assets that there are not enough boxes on the standard form for them. he had of the office of government ethics walter shaub wrote in a letter to senators chuck schumer of new york and elizabeth warren of massachusetts that -- "this schedule has created undue pressure on the office of government ethics's staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews." warren later tweeted -- "cabinet officials must put our country's interests before their own. no conference hearings should be held until we're certain that's the case." trump's transition team responded with a statement that -- "in the midst of a historic election where americans voted to drain the swamp, it is disappointing some have chosen to politicize the process." this comes as nbc reports that
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it requested emails between the office of government ethics and trump's transition team, and found shaub had emailed trump aides in november to say "we seem to have lost contact with the trump-pence transition since the election." for more we're joined by two guests. in washington, d.c., robert weissman is president of public citizen which has just launched the website to track the corporate connections and conflicts of interest of trump cabinet appointees. and in minneapolis, we are joined by richard painter, professor of corporate law at the university of minnesota. he was the chief white house ethics lawyer for president george w. bush from 2005 to 2007. welcome both of you to democracy now! richard painter coming with the ethics adviser for president bush. how unusual is what is happening now? having these hearings this week, confirmation hearings, where the senators question presently trump's fix without, in some
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cases, having forms, questionnaires, completed, submitted? explain who hasn't cemented, what these forms are, why the senators need them at this point. is we have this story collections for the office of president of the united hates every four years, and a transition from one president to another, at least every eight years, so we have all been through this process before the as the office of government ethics. it has been spending at least a year preparing for the transition that is taking place right now. but it is critically important for the nominees to have to 78, whichr form is the financial disclosure form that lays out what their assets are and what their sources of income are. then also to have entered into
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an ethics agreement with the agency that they're going to go into. what assets will be sold order to avoid conflicts of interest and what matters -- the government matters they will have to recuse from in order to avoid financial conflicts of interest with respect to the remaining assets. this is critically important because there's a criminal conflict of interest statute that prohibits in executive branch official from participating in a matter in which that person has a financial interest. so they either need to sell assets or recuse. we cannot have people who are going to be having ldership positions with respect to national security with a substantial invest or any investments in turkey, russia, indonesia -- countries that are strategically very sensitive for the united states. we can't have a secretary of education who is invested in a for-profit education business.
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these are investments that are going to have to be divested in order for the person to do their job. and the job of the office of government ethics is to make absolutely sure that happens. and work with the nominees and their lawyers before the senate confirmation hearings begin. so the senators see exactly what the assets are, what the sources of income are, and what the plan is with respect to addressing conflicts of interest. that is what they've done with rex tillerson and i believe they the assets are fully disclosed. i think the senate could have that hearing. but i understand with respect to some of the others that they do not have a complete form 278 or an ethics agreement in place. and those hearings will have to wait. this is exactly the point that senator mitch mcconnell made in 2009 when he wrote a letter to senator harry read about it. we can't have the hearings until we have the financial disclosure forms and the ethics agreement.
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it senator mcconnell was exactly right on that. that is what they need to do now. they have this agreement and as financial forms in place before the have the hearing. talkrobert weissman, me specifically more about these cabinet nominees that are up for scrutiny before the senate this week? what your major concerns are? i think what we're seeing with the failure to comply with these ethics rules is a reiteration of what we knew early on after the election, which is we're going to see the most corrupt administration in the history of the united states, and we're going to see two kinds of corruption. one that is extremely likely because of the failure to take ethics rules seriously, which is scandals and violation of the law. the reason you do this stuff in advance is to avoid breaking the criminal statutes that professor
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painter is referring to. actually to help the cabinet officials themselves. it is also to give the senate it's only opportunity to enforce these rules. the second kind of corruption, which is guaranteed 100%, is the revolving door kind of corruption. we have all kinds of people coming in from corporate america, billionaires, huge contributors, and they will rule all matters that directly relate to corporate interests, their own personal interest, whether or not they have -- are going to be transgression the conflict of interest rules. we have amazing spectacle of the former ceo of exxon nominated to be secretary of state. exxon runs its own foreign-policy and now it is effectively taking over the foreign-policy of the united states. at the department of labor, not out this week and i think, we , about theuzder
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worst possible place to look for someone to enforce labor laws, the fast food market, now proposed to enforce national labor laws. at the environmental protection agency, we're scott pruitt, the attorney general from the houma who has sued the agency who is written letters on behalf of oil companies drafted by oil companies attacking epa regulations, never post to run the agency. you go on down the list and it is kind of in list. each one of these people by themselves would be an outrage in any other administration. at the totality of what we're seeing from the trump administration has no president in american history. amy: what about price? what about the man who would be the had of the department of health and human services and the revelations this weekend about trading stocks? >> tom price is a member of congress come a nominated to run the department of health and human services.
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it turns out he has been an active trader and pharmaceutical stocks. thanks to recently passed law, members of commerce are required to disclose what they trade and when. we have seen his stock trades seem to correlate very closely with another member of congress, representative collins, representative collins who sits on the board and owns a 1/6 share in a small australian biotech company. representative price has also traded in this penny stock from australia that very few people would have heard of, and moments i correlate closely with the trades a representative price. representative collins. we do not know for sure something is wrong here, but it doesn't look good. it certainly merits an investigation. public citizens called on the office of congressional ethics to undertake that investigation. we think that investigation
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ought to take place before mr. price is confirmed for the department of health and human services. just don't want people were transgressing ethics rules as a matter of course in charge of these vitally important agencies. amy: do you think there was a concerted effort? last week at attack the office of congressional ethics, not to confuse it with the one we're talking about now that is saying they cannot vet these candidates, these picks fast enough, not to mention even get their questionnaires in. >> i think there are few things happening, but i think the biggest one is president trump -- president-elect trump has shown his utter disregard and lack of concern for ethics rules , as regards himself. just like meryl streep was saying in those remarks last night, or the president-elect to ben the president does, that filters down. so members of congress figure
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ethics rules do not matter for him, why should we be bothered with them? let's get rid of this pesky agency that actually enforces them. senate republicans figure, why should we bother with having these tough ethics reviews from the office of government ethics, this kind of standard does not apply to the president-elect, and may be is able to get away with it. i think that is a miscalculation. they will not be able to get away with it, as we saw last week. even if they do momentarily, it will come back to bite them because we are guaranteed to see multiple scandals because of the casual disregard for ethics standards. amy: in 2008, senator mcconnell insisted that all obama's cabinet appointments be fully vetted before their hearings. but speaking to "face the nation," this is what senator mcconnell had to say about democrats who have been urging similar checks on trump's cabinet nominees. >> all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration.
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at having not only lost the white house, but having lost the senate. i understand that. we need to sort of grow up and get past that. amy: so that is senate majority leader mitch mcconnell today. professor painter, your response to his different approach in both cases, and telling democrats basically to grow up? >> this isn't just a procedural issue. this is critical to the integrity of our government and avoiding violation of criminal conflict of interest statute that prohibits a government official from participating in any matter that has a direct or protectable effect on the government official's financial position. senator mcconnell was absolutely right in 2009 when he wrote that letter to senator reid. this is not just some procedural plastering. this is all about conflicts of interest. and we need to make absolutely sure we do not have them
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innocent administration, just like we did in the last administration and in the bush administration. there needs to be proper vetting of the nominees for financial conflict of interest before they go in. rex tillerson has disclosed his assets and he is disclosed he is going to sell the oil company stock. as far as i'm concerned, from the financial conference avengers perspective, does financial perspective, that clears him. global warming can understand he believes in, the fact that there is global warming, which anybody is an idiot would believe by 2017, but that may put them in the top class of the trump university. there's give them a chance now that he is made his disclosures and divestment decisions. everyone of these nominees has to do the same. the president of the united states himself should set the right example by divesting thatlf of his own assets
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create conflicts of interest. we're looking forward to an announcement on that this week. i will get -- give president elect trump credit for last week having blasted the united states house of representatives for that absurd plan to abolish the office of congressional ethics. they did not get that idea from him. they have been planning that for a long time because they do not like doing investigative. i think the voters ought to find out whether the congressman voted for that. i know mine did. we're going to hold them accountable in 2018. that is unacceptable. amy: he did not say was wrong to do, he just said the timing was wrong. let me ask about the non-cabinet appointees. people like, oh, trump advisors like carl icahn. how do they get vetted? >> well, carl icahn, the position, the transition is taking place right now with respect to carl icahn is that he
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is not going to be a government employee. that is just wrong. if you is what you be advising the president, be given a title, advising the president as to who the next chairman of the security exchange commission is going to be, who the top regulators are going to be, he needs to disclose his assets and divest from the assets that create conflicts of interest. you can't just get around a criminal statute by saying, well, he is not a government a play because you does not want to get paid. you would rather go in and influence policy with respect to billions of dollars worth of assets. that doesn't get around the criminal conflict of interest statute. carl icahn is to either be a government employee, subject to the same rules as everyone else, or he needs to but out. i would ask every single person who has put up for position, had communications with carl icahn, including the new nominee for this acute exchange commission, the senators need to ask specifically what conversations took place with carl icahn. yes no business helping choose
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performingees and united states government pensions when he is not going to be a government employee. the senators need to know exactly what is going on and refuse to confirm those nominees. amy: and carl icahn's significance is the former head of twa, why he is particularly concerned about him, professor painter? >> is a well-known corporate raider and skirts close to the edges of rules with respect to the securities laws that are enforced by the security exchange commission. i don't understand why president would put carl icahn in charge of choosing who the next sec chair is going to be. i would want to know exactly what was said between the nominee, mr. clayton, mr. icahn before even think about a confirmation vote on that. same with energy sector and everything else. he owns a lot of energy companies would like to see everything get deregulated over there so he can make more money. well, that may or may not be in
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the public interest. involved in to get advising the white house, decision-making, he is to be united to his government employee and file the disclosure form like everyone else and divest with the conflict creating assets or you'll end up violating the middle statute. they're not going to get around that by saying he is not an united states government employee. they can say that all he wants. amy: trump has been named as a special advisory. overall, he is held substantial controlling positions in many corporations including nabisco, twa, phillips petroleum for, dan river, marshall fields, and it goes on from there. motorola, netflix, time warner. robert weissman, a final conflict -- comment on your concerns as a slew of hearings takes place. do democrats and conservative republicans have any recourse other than holding hearings for some nominees who have not even
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handed in the questionnaires yet? a test for will be the republicans to see if they're willing to say, look, they're not following the rules, we will not let this thing proceed. so far looks pretty bad. amy: what you say to republican senators who say, they will have their questionnaires and by the time of the final vote? >> is during the committee process you have a chance to hold him accountable. this carl icahn example shows why the rules are so important and why mitch mcconnell is so wrong. procedural technicalities. carl icahn is not just making -- giving advice on matters that relate to enriching him personally. although, he is doing that because he has huge stakes in oil and gas industry and was sick of that deregulated. as richard painter was saying, pays -- lace fast and loose with the sec rules. he is giving advice on broad matters of policy that will materially affect all americans,
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including by worsening the prospect of climate change. these are not just technical a pain, rules that are to follow. they go to broad policy questions. that is why it is so important they be enforced. that is why it is so important traditions be respected. why it is so important committees have a chance to delve into these matters before they take votes. and while we are on course for the most scandal prone and corrupt administration in american history. amy: what is your website going to do, robert? >> folks can get a quick look at some of these were his nominees and their conflicts. we're trying with many others to mobilize opposition across the board, including too many of the worst most conflicted and corrupt fix. amy: robert weissman, richard painter. when we come back, we go to louisville, kentucky, where more
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than 1000 people took to the streets saturday to protest a slew of controversial anti-choice, anti-labor lawyers -- laws, ramped or a special session of the now super majority republican legislature. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in louisville, kentucky, more than 1000 people took to the streets to protest hundreds demonstrated inside the capitol building saturday to protest the legislature's passage of a slew of controversial bills, including an antiunion right to work law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. the surprise emergency legislative session that are day
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came after republicans got a super majority in the house of representatives, giving the republicans control of the state house, the state senate, and the governorship for the first time in kentucky state history. on saturday, the legislature also were killed a law that guaranteed higher wages for workers on publicly financed construction projects. by memberdeo filmed of teamsters local 89, you can hear democratic state representative rick rand speak in the house hillary, condemning one of the measures, senate bill six, which republicans call the paycheck protection bill. as he speaks, you can your the crowd outside the chambers chanting and booing. >> that a strong voice in the district i come from. i know [indiscernible] sometimes they hit a brick wall. they are being blocked in. byir voices being diminished
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this very body. amy: for more we're joined by two guests. joining us in new york lisa , abbott is a community organizer with kentuckians for the commonwealth. in louisville, richard becker is a union organizer with service employees international union. we welcome you to democracy now! richard, let's start with you. the capital is not louisville, the capital is an frankfurt. but you are speaking to us from louisville. describe what happened in the legislature and outside. >> thanks, amy, for having me on this morning. what we saw on saturday was a response to what had been a week of legislation being passed out of this new house of representatives, unprecedented break next bead. on tuesday, new members were sworn in and by wins day, the house economic development committee was passing right to work out of committee before
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freshman members had even had phone lines that or office space set up. the bills were passed out of both chambers on saturday and got the governor's signature later in the weekend. union members flooded in from across the state from paducah to pikeville to come to frankfurt so they could have their voices heard. they have been shut out of the committee rooms on wednesday while members of americans for prosperity were allowed into the committee room. union members have been thrown out of the house gallery for daring to take photos of vote counts as they happen. you had a lot of angry people, people whose livelihoods, the wait a few their families, were on the line. they came out in droves saturday bright and early before the sun came up to make their voices heard, as you heard in a video of representative rand speaking. can you explain what took place? first, you have the november election and the republicans get a super majority, lisa.
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you have the house, the senate, and the governorship. >> yes. i think it is important understand the political earthquake we expressed in kentucky in november and certainly a similar earthquake perhaps could be said occurred across the country. it is but a long time in coming in kentucky. kentucky is historically a conservative critic state. there significantly more democrats register than republicans. over the last 20 years, there hasbeen -- republican party gained strength both in the legislature and in terms of our delegation in washington, d.c. so what happened in november was a long time coming, but it also was an earthquake. 70 members of the house of representatives, income and, lost their seats. we had been -- kentucky had been the only state legislature in the south with the divided chamber. the house was controlled by the
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democrats. the senate controlled by republicans. they came to an end and the republicans now have a super majority in both the house, senate, and in 2015, kentuckians elected matt bevin, two-parter republican as governor. so with that power, they are now exercising the power -- amy: you're headed to north carolina before going back to kentucky. i could not help but think of parallels. when you talk about is emergency session that was called. is that how it usually happens in kentucky? >> well, no. i think the parallels to places like north carolina, wisconsin, are clear. what we are seeing is not just enacting a policy agenda, but breaking down whatever norms need to be broken down to exercise power in some of the sort of crudest, rost ways possible. as democracyng
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itself in north carolina and kentucky is weekend. amy: this is also very significant for the country is frommitch mcconnell kentucky. can you tell us a little bit about his background as he wields more and more power in the united states now is the senate majority leader? >> is a familiar figure to most americans watching politics now. louisvillebegan in and when he was elected to local office in louisville, the time, he prided himself on being pragmatic on making sure the trains ran on time. as he moved to washington, he declared the three rules of politics were very simple -- money, money, and money. he has pursued those rules for the past 30 years. as a result, today he is one of the wealthiest members of a very wealthy senate post a meanwhile, the living conditions in kentucky continue to be very
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hard. he has not provided the kind of leadership that is needed nor the kind of policy agenda that is needed to improve the welfare of people living in either our rural areas for our urban communities. amy: richard becker, the actual laws that were passed, the slew of laws that were passed on saturday, if you could go through them? >> we had house bill 1, which was the so-called right to work legislation. there is, -- twice its other states passed it in this recognition. to quickly touch on that, that ina law that allows workers a unionized workplace to opt out of paying union dues, even while enjoying union representation in the benefit of a collective bargaining agreement. what it does is it your roads solidarity in the union. that workplace -- it forces unions under the law after represent everyone in the workplace whether they pay dues or not, so it sets up a scenario
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that really weakens unions in the state it is passed. the other bill we had was house will 3, which was repeal of the prevailing wage law, which is a law that sets a minimum wage for skilled construction work on publicly funded projects. in encourages local hiring for publicly funded projects. that bill passed repealing surveilling wage. net senate bill six bang, which is, is he referred to it, they call it the paycheck protection act or we collect sometimes paycheck deception act because like all of these bills, its true purpose is shrouded in a lot of ministry. frankly, i just wanted to add, part of what has been such an outrage this week here in kentucky has been the means by which this legislation was passed. members were not able to thoroughly debate them before they were passed. result, those of us on the
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ground in kentucky are still trying to wrap our heads around what exactly passed. i'm told there were some amendment attached the senate bill six. we will have to spend some time letting the dust settled to figure out exactly what came out of the chambers this week and. amy: and the role of the koch brothers, lisa abbott? >> i think we have seen -- amy: and alec. >> absolutely. and the koch brothers and groups funded by them like americans for prosperity have been very active kentucky come as in many other places around the country, active in elections, active in providing so-called model legislation to state lawmakers who very often don't even know what is in the bills they're putting before the legislature as sponsors. and so we are contending with a very well-funded, multi-strategy agenda from the right. amy: americans prosperity state in the room, richard becker,
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this weekend. can you explain what happened? >> actually, last wednesday, so the day after new members were sworn in, the house economic development committee held its meeting at which they were to be discussing right to work in the repeal of prevailing wage. i was with several hundred union members in the halls of the capitol annex for the hours leading up to when the meeting was supposed to take place. five minutes before the meeting was supposed to start, we were told the room was full. none of us have been able to make it in. we later found out that is because america for prosperity had reserved the committee room for a breakfast that morning and come time for the committee to meet, they all remained in their seats. when the committee meeting started, union members were shut out of the committee room. the doors were shut and state troopers stood in front of the doors to keep union members from attending the committee hearing. amy: we will certainly continue to follow what happens in kentucky as we do the rest of the nation. richard becker, thank for joining us union organizer with
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, seiu based in louisville, kentucky. and thank you so much to lisa abbott, herewith as a new york, but is head of kentuckians for the commonwealth. back, repeal and replace? repeal and run? what is going to happen to obamacare? is there a road to single-payer, something that once president-elect donald trump said he supported? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "so called christian politician" by tyler gill. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. republicans in the newly sworn in 115th congress are moving swiftly to repeal the affordable care act, president obama's signature health care law. by a vote of 51 to 48 last week, the senate approved a procedural method clearing a way for a budget resolution that could repeal major sections of the law. the charge was led by vice president-elect mike pence, who admitted republicans have not yet decided how to replace the affordable care act. >> the president-elect and i are
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working with the leaders of the house and senate are determined to keep our promise to the american people, and that all begins with repealing and replacing the failed policy of obamacare. amy: president obama made a rare trip to capitol hill, where told minority democrats not to help republicans pass replacement measures that he called "trumpcare." at the white house, press secretary josh earnest said the republican plan would have devastating consequences. >> 22 million people are going to lose the health asserts -- insurance of the affordable care act is repealed. it will rip a hole in the federal budget. the budget will go up. that is not just my conclusion. you can as the cbo about that. amy: senate republicans are seeking to end billions of dollars in federal subsidies to states that have expanded medicaid, as well as subsidies for private health coverage through health insurance exchanges. well, for more, we go now to los angeles, california where we're joined by dr. steffie woolhandler, a professor at cuny-hunter college and a
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primary care physician. she is a lecturer at harvard medical school and the co-founder of physicians for a national health program. dr. steffie woolhandler, welcome to democracy now! we want to talk about two things. what is happening, republicans call it repeal and replace most of democrats are calling it repeal and run. and then where you see, if you see there is any road to single-payer. but let's start with what the republicans are proposing -- or not. >> we think what the republicans will do is they will rebrand the affordable care act with a new name, but keep the essential structure of the affordable care act is to use public money to purchase private the republicans rebranded version of the affordable care act will be much meaner and skimpier. it will have much more the way of copayments and adaptable's, particularly for poor people who are unable to afford it. i think a lot of the structures of obamacare were in fact
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structures first proposed by republicans. they were first implemented in massachusetts under romney care in 2006. first proposed by then-president nixon and fully fleshed out by the heritage foundation. the very structure of obamacare was a republican idea. so i think the republican replacement will at least show actually look like obama -- structurally look like obamacare, just be a leaner, meaner, rebranded form of the obamacare legislation. amy: rebranded as trumpcare. what you mean? kids until they're 26, can they be on their parents insurance? what happens to the 20 30 million people who are subsidized who did not have insurance before, who are the poorest in this country? >> of the issue is the republicans will be blocked granting medicaid. so turning money over to the
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states for medicaid to pretty much do what they want with it. we think what the states will do is create very skimpy, very restrictive medicare programs, as has happened in indiana under governor pence, vice president elect pence, where the minute a poor person misses a payment, they get thrown off of medicaid for six months. they have to make copayments, which they can't afford. we do expect that is what medicaid will look like going skimpy, and extremely stripped-down coverage that really does not allow people to get the health care they need. we also anticipate there will be more copayments, mortar dr. bowles for insured -- more deductibles for insured. probably the will be no guarantee of reproductive coverage, as there is under obamacare.
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i think most of the punishment will be meted out against four people, if you will, but will still probably have the structures of obamacare. the coverage of to age 26, frankly, that is the thing that is most likely tuesday in a republican plan. existing conditions? -- pre-existing conditions? that will almost certainly change. their only going to allow you the protection for pre-existing conditions if you keep your insurance continuously throughout your life. as many people know, that is something very, very difficult to do. many people have a lapse of a day or a month in their insurance. if you have that kind of lapse, you have no protection about pre-existing conditions and your insurance company will be allowed -- her new insurance company will be allowed to deny
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you coverage. amy: donald trump has talked about single payer in the past. yes talked about it on "60 minutes." this was in april. mr. trump: as far as single-payer, it works in canada and works incredibly well in scotland and could have worked in a different age, which is the age you're talking about here. what i would like to see is a private system without the artificial -- i've a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. if i'm negotiating in new york or new jersey or in california, i have like one bidder. the insurance copies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians. of course, with the exception of the politicians. they have total control of the politicians. they're making a fortune. get rid of the artificial lines, and you will have yourself great plans. then we have to take care of the people who can't take care of themselves. i will do that through a different system post of amy: 2015,s donald trump in
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coming out in favor of a form of single payer health insurance. mr. trump: obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. it is a disaster. if you look at what is going on with premiums, of 45%, 55% -- >> how do you fix it? un-trump: this is an republican thing for me to say. >> universal health care. mr. trump: i don't care if it costs me votes or not. everyone will be taking care of. >> the uninsured person is going to be taking care of. how? >> i would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care people. >> make a deal, who pays for it? mr. trump: the government. we will say so much money on the other side. a the most part, it will be a private plan. people can negotiate with lots of different competitions, with lots of predators, with great companies and they can have their doctors, have their plans,
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have everything. amy: so that is present elect donald trump speaking before he was president. dr. steffie woolhandler, what do you think of what he is saying, albeit a while ago? >> i certainly agree with him that single-payer works very well in other countries that have it. people in this country spend about half what we do on health care. they get free health care from the day they are born to the day they die without copayments or to dock doubles. i don't think -- deductibles. i don't think president trump is going to enact single-payer, but i think there is tremendous possibilities for moving forward to single-payer. it is pretty clear the american people got a good look at obamacare and said, this is not a solution, this is not working. and many of them do in fact support the idea of a single payer medicare for all. that is what we need to be pushing. amy: what is the road to that from here? --well, we need to be saying
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we need to go beyond the affordable care act to a single-payer system. merely trying to defend the affordable care act at this point is not going to work. the american people have seen it for three years and rejected it. people got insurance, and that is great, but there were 280 million people who saw no improvement in health care. they still cannot afford health care, despite having private insurance, because of the copayments and the deductibles and those their own networks. we need to go to a system that fixes the health care system for everyone. that is what is politically possible right now. defending the affordable care act, looks like defending the status quo in health care and that is not acceptable to most americans. amy: what you're saying is too important. we're going to continue the conversation after the broadcast and post it online at is there a road to single-payer under president trump? under president trump? dr.
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