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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  May 8, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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♪ [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now!. >> you don't have to have done anything wrong. you just eventually have to fall under suspicion by somebody. then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you have ever made. every friend you have ever discussed something with. and attack you on that basis. derived suspicion from an innocent life.
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they can paint anyone in the context. amy: two years after edward snowden blew the whistle on the nsa, a federal appeals court rules that the nsa possible all collection -- nsa's bulk collection of phone records is illegal. we will speak with jameel jaffer . what will congress do? then to guantánamo's child. >> public has been so much better than anticipated. amy: the 28-year-old canadian born omar khadr has been freed on bail. he was detained when he was just 15. he became the first person since world war ii to be prosecuted and a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.
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with the obama administration asking congress to increase funding for charter schools by him is 50%, a new study by the center for media and democracy finds the federal government has spent $3.3 billion feelings a charter school industry already. where has the money gone? all that and more coming up. ♪ amy: welcome to democracy now! democracy now.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the court of appeals has rolled the nsa's collection of bulk phone records is illegal. in a unanimous decision on thursday, a three-judge panel called the phone records collection unprecedented and
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unwarranted. the ruling comes as congress faces a june 1 deadline to renew the part of the patriot act that authorizes the nsa's bulk data surveillance. we will have more on this story after headlines. the justice department has confirmed it will investigate the baltimore police department for a potential pattern of unconstitutional policing in the wake of the death of freddie gray. it comes one day after a request from such a probe by baltimore mayor stephanie rawlings blake. six officers were indicted on friday. attorney general loretta lynch said the federal government has a responsibility to look into potential abuses. >> when there are allegations of wrongdoing made against police officers and police departments, the department of justice has a responsibility to examine the evidence and help them implement change. amy: justice department reviews
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of other police forces nationwide have led to consent decrees that mandate change. nike will create 10,000 jobs in the united states if the transpacific partnership trade deal is approved. it is being negotiated in secret. critics say the deal would hurt workers, undermine regulations and expand corporate partner -- power. nike says it would allow the company to invest in domestic production. workers rallied against the tpp in portland, oregon. the group public citizen's said that is obama tries to sell impact that many will leave -- believe foot lead to more u.s. jobs off shoring, why would he honor a firm that produces an
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offshore sweatshops with rock-bottom wages and terrible labour conditions? britain's conservative party has won an unexpected victory for an overall majority in parliament and a second term for david cameron. pulls expected a tight race, but conservatives scored a series of surprise wins. labour's ed miliband is widely expected to step down. the scottish national party won seats. saudi arabia has proposed a five-day cease-fire in yemen to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid. the saudi kingdom said it will only comply if houthi rebels also comply. the saudi bombing has helped worsen the humanitarian crisis in yemen.
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secretary of state john kerry welcomed the proposal. >> today, we particularly welcome a new saudi initiative to try to bring about a peaceful resolution through the announcement of their intent to establish a full, five-day renewable cease-fire no bombing, no shooting, no repositioning of troops. amy: houthi sources they -- say they will comply. the senate has approved legislation that would give congress a say in the final nuclear deal with iran. the measure calls for a senate review of a final agreement and a potential congressional vote on blocking the listing -- lifting of sanctions.
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democratic senator ben cardin praised the bill. senator cardin: we understand that we are stronger when we find ways to work together. we did. the proper role for congress. we are one step closer to getting this bill done. i believe we are closer to being able to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. we would like to do that through diplomatic means. that is a much more likely result is a result of the action the united states senate has taken. amy: president obama is expected to sign the bill if the house gets final approval. the u.s. has begun training syrian rebel fighters as part of a program aimed at confronting the self-proclaimed islamic state. a group of 90 rebels are training at a base in jordan to be followed by similar efforts in turkey, cutter -- qatar, and
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saudi arabia. >> we are announcing that combat training has begun for a company-sized group from new syrian forces. this program is critical and complex. we expect a second group to begin training in the next few weeks. they are being trained and equipped to fight isil. that is the purpose and the basis upon which they are being vetted and trained. amy: omar khadr has been released on bail from a canadian prison. the toronto-born khadr was detained in 2002 in afghanistan before being transferred to guantanamo at the age of 16. he became the first person since world war ii to be prosecuted and a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile. after eight years at guantanamo
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he confessed to throwing a grenade that killed an american soldier. the lawyers -- his lawyers say his statements were illegally obtained. khadr briefly spoke with reporters after his release. omar khadr: i would like to thank the canadian public for trusting me and giving me a chance. it might be some time, but i will prove to them that i am more than what they thought of me. i am a good person. >> what do you want the american people to thank? -- to think? omar khadr: um. i am sorry for the pain i might have caused the families of the victims. there is nothing i can do about
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the past, but i hope that the future -- i hope i can do something about the future. amy: he will remain free while he appeals his war crimes convictions in the united states. the global level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has topped 400 parts per million for the longest time in recorded history. the milestone was reached on average for the entire month of march. the 400 parts per million threshold has been an important marker in u.n. climate change negotiations, widely recognized as a dangerous level that could drastically worsen human-caused global warming. the news comes as the republican-controlled house science committee has voted to cut over $320 million in funding
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for the study of climate change. the money would come out of the budget for nasa's earth science research. new york governor andrew cuomo has unveiled a plan to raise the pay of the state's fast food workers. he said taxpayers are subsidizing the industry's low wages through public assistance to its low workers. >> i announced today, as the governor of the state of new york, that i want to get out of the hamburger business. i don't want the taxpayers of new york subsidizing the profits of mcdonald's anymore. this has to end. [applause] >> i think the fast food industry should live up to the spirit of the law and pay him minimum wage that is truly a minimum wage and a livable wage.
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i think the situation is a fraud. i think their profits are made on -- based on unpaid wages and employee expenses and costs that have been improperly transferred to government. and if the republican senate does not want to hear it, then i will use the power i have. amy: the jailed army private chelsea manning has proposed legislation that would help future whistleblowers follow in her footsteps. the national integrity and free speech protection act would amend several laws, including the freedom of information act and espionage act, to protect soldiers -- journalists and their sources. chelsea manning is serving a 35 year sentence for leaking cables do wiki links -- wikileaks. >> welcome to all of our viewers and listeners around the country
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and the world. a federal appeals court has ruled the national security agency's phone records is illegal. -- collection of phone records is illegal. the aclu filed its lawsuit based largely on snowden's revelations. in a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel called the bulk phone records collection unprecedented and unwarranted. judge gerald lynch wrote that the government does not even suggest that all of the records sought our rep -- relevant to anything. in a concurring opinion, judge robert sack wrote that considering the issue of advocacy in the context and the leak by edward snowden that led to the litigation, calls to mind and disclosed daniel ellsberg
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that gave right to the legendary pentagon papers litigation. amy: thursday's ruling comes as congress faces a june deadline. another measure called the usa freedom act would lead to limited reforms of some nsa programs if asked. for more, we turn to jameel jaffer deputy director of the aclu. his new article for slate is called, "flip the patriot act's kill switch: let the worst parts of the law die." welcome back to democracy now! talk about the significance of the court ruling. jameel: it is a very important ruling. it is something that we have been working for for two years. this is a lawsuit under which the nsa is collecting information about every phone
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call made in the united states. the nsa has a record of who you called and how long you spoke to them and at what time you called . it is an immense amount of information. they are collecting and not only about suspected terrorists and criminals, but everybody in the country. we challenged that program right after the first snowden disclosures in june 2013. it has been winding its way through the courts. yesterday, we got this decision from a unanimous federal appeals court in new york and the opinion says that the call records program is not authorized. the patriot act is very broad but even that has its limits. the government has gone beyond the limits. it is significant, not only because of the ruling stands, if it is not overturned, it will end the call records program.
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the same program it is relying on to justify the call records program, it is using to justify other programs. this will require the government to reconsider other programs. juan: isn't this a major vindication by a federal appeals court of the actions of edward snowden? if snowden had not come forward this court case would not have even possibly reached this level. jameel: that is exactly right. we would not be having this debate without the snowden disclosures and we would not have been able to get the ruling. there were judicial decisions, even before the snowden disclosures, relating to the disclosures. -- the programs. it all happened behind closed doors. because of the snowden disclosures, we were able to have adversarial review of the
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programs for the first time. that is one of the things the court noted yesterday. they said that the ruling was based, in part, on the fact that there was adversarial review. amy: this is edward snowden in the first video interview he did with glenn greenwald at the "guardian." >> even if you are not doing anything wrong you are being watched and reported. the storage capability of the systems increases every year, consistently, by orders of magnitude, to where it is getting to the point that you don't have to have done anything wrong. you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you have ever made. every friend you have ever discussed something with. they can attack you on that basis to derive suspicion from an innocent life and taint anyone in the context of a
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wrongdoer. amy: that is edward snowden. judge gerard e. lynch wrote that the sheer volume of information sought is staggering, while search warrants and subpoenas for business records may encompass large volumes of paper documents or electronic data the most expansive evidentiary or he demands are dwarfed by the volume of records obtained pursuant to the orders in question here. jameel jaffer, can you comment on this. section 215. does that include section 215a? jameel: it is the same thing. amy: what does this mean? as early as yesterday morning, the senate majority leader was talking about how they were not going to change this. jameel: i think he is still talking about that. we get this decision in the middle of this congressional debate. the reason we are having the debate is that three provisions of the patriot act, they will go
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away unless congress does something. we think they should go away and that the provisions should never have been enacted in the first place. at the very least, congress should make strong reforms to prevent the kinds of abuses we have been talking about. in congress, there is a real split. some legislators, including the senate majority leader, want to extend section 215 in its existing form and to allow this kind of mass surveillance to continue indefinitely. there are pro privacy legislators who would like to scale back section 200 15 in some ways. as i said, we have been calling for a son that of 200 and -- sunset of 215. the reforms on the table now do not go nearly far enough. juan: the court not only ruled this illegal, but said that
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congress is free, if it so chooses, to enact laws that would make this legal. jameel: that is right. the court said -- we had argued both on statuary grounds and constitutional grounds. we set, this is not authorized by the statute and even if it is the constitution does not allow it. the court basically said this statute does not allow it. congress, if you want to pass a statute that allows it, go for it, but we will have to consider whether it is constitutional if you do that. amy: republican presidential hopeful marco rubio addressed the nsa surveillance. >> perception has been created that the united states government is listening to your phone calls or going through your bills as a matter of course . that is absolutely categorically false. the next time any politician, whatever it may be, stands up
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and says the u.s. government is listening to phone calls or going through your phone records, they are lying. it is just not true. amy: lying? jameel: this is very frustrating. what senator rubio is doing is creating a straw man. nobody is saying that the program is about listening to phone calls. it is about tracking phone calls, who you call and when you call them. that kind of information is very sensitive. it is one of the things the second circuit acknowledged. the government says it is not content, but that does not mean it is not sensitive. the government can track your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, your medical history, your intimate relationships. there is very little the government cannot find out by tracking your phone calls over a significant period of time. juan: what is the likelihood of the obama administration seeking
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to appeal this to the supreme court? jameel: it is difficult to know. it is so tied up with what is going on in congress. i think what happens next in the litigation is going to turn in part on what happens in congress. if they reauthorize section 215 i would expect that the intelligence community would want to appeal this and asked the supreme court to review the decision. it is a little bit hard to say. amy: how does this relate to the usa freedom act. jameel: the usa freedom act is a response to the june 1 sunset that is impending. usa freedom is an effort to scale back section 215.
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the bill includes many worthwhile aspects. there are many good things about it. it's reforms are very limited. its proponents concede that the reforms are limited. its champions include senator leahy and senator wyden who have been privacy reformers from the beginning. they have had to make a lot of concessions to the intelligence community to keep the administration on board. the bill is now fairly weak. we are hoping the decision we got yesterday will change the dynamic on the hill and create the possibility that that reform bill become stronger. juan: i want to ask you about president obama's comments in 2013, shortly after president obama reveal that the nsa was engaged in this collection. obama refuted snowden's claim at
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that time. >> when it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. that is not what this program is about. as was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. they are not looking at names and they are not looking at content. but by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. if these folks -- if the intelligence community then wants to listen to a phone call they have got to go back to a federal judge. just like they would in a criminal investigation. i want to be very clear.
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some of the hype we have been hearing over the last day or so, nobody is listening to the content of people's phone calls. juan: that was president obama in 2013. jameel: i would say that the administration's tune has changed over the last couple years. we now know, from the administration and official review groups, that this is a program that has never been pivotal in any terrorism investigation. we also know from the review groups and the administration that the government could track suspected terrorist phone calls without tracking everybody's phone calls. given those acknowledgments, it becomes difficult for the government to defend the program. you see evidence of that and the decision yesterday. amy: the aclu brought the lawsuit.
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you represent edward snowden. what is he saying? what does this mean for his case? jameel: he is thrilled by the decision. he has not spoken publicly about the decision, in part because he is happy with the debate being about the issue. that is what he has wanted from the beginning. there is a debate about the issues in congress and there is a larger national debate about the issues. there is a debate about these issues and other countries including canada, france, and germany. i think we all agree that that is what people should be focused on. amy: jameel jaffer, we thank you so much for being with us, deputy director of the aclu. his article for slate is called "flip the patriot act's kill switch: let the worst parts of the law die." we will link to it at
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democracynow.org. we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break] ♪
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>> this is democracy now! democracynow.org the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to canada, where omar khadr was released on bail from an alberta prison on thursday. the canadian-born khadr was detained in 2002 by u.s. forces in afghanistan. at the time, he was 15 years old. he was transferred to guantánamo. he became the first person since world war ii to be prosecuted by
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a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile. it was warned that there could be a dangerous tribunal for world child soldiers. after being held at guantánamo for eight years, he confessed to throwing a grenade that killed an american soldier. as part of a plea deal the united states allowed him to be transferred back to canada. amy: omar khadr is now appealing his conviction in the united states for work crimes. his lawyers said his statements were illegally obtained. he briefly spoke with the media after he was released on bail. omar khadr: i would like to thank the courts for trusting me and releasing me. i would like to thank my lawyers
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for working for such a long time. i would like to thank the community and public for trusting me and giving me a chance. it might be some time, but i will prove to them that i am more than what they thought of me. i'm a good person. thank you very much. >> what do you want canadians to know about you? omar khadr: just to give me a chance, see who i am as a person, not as a name, and then they can make their own judgment after that. >> who are you, as a person? omar khadr: i am still learning about myself. i'm still growing. i did not have a lot of experience in life. i'm excited to start my life. amy: that is omar khadr speaking an admin to alberta in canada.
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we are going to go to edmonton, where we are joined by michelle shephard, who has been closely covering his story since 2002. she is a national security reporter for "the toronto star" and the author of "guantanamo's child: the untold story of omar khadr." if you could tell us his story how he ended up as the youngest person, child, at guantanamo and now freed after spending more than half his life in prison. michelle shephard: it has been a long story. it has been going on since 2002. it has been an incredible legal odyssey. in canada and before that in guantánamo and the u.s. omar khadr is the second youngest child of an egyptian-canadian charity worker who had ties to some of al qaeda 's elite. he brought his family back and forth between canada, pakistan,
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and afghanistan. when 9/11 happened, the family was in afghanistan. they fled. a year later, omar khadr's father had lent omar out to some libyan fighters as a translator. the compound they were in came under attack by u.s. special forces. near the end of the attack, a grenade was thrown that fatally wounded a u.s. delta force fighter. omar khadr was shot and captured. he spent more than half of his life in detention. juan: in terms of the confession that he supposedly gave at a certain point during captivity could you talk about that? michelle shephard: he had been interrogated many, many times. some of the harshest
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interrogation was for the first 90 days when he was held in afghanistan before being transferred to guantánamo. at the time, he was severely wounded. during his hearing in guantánamo, we heard that he had been shackled and handcuffed to a stretcher during the interrogations because he could not sit up. when he was transferred to guantánamo, he was given some of the techniques that they used, including the fruits and squire program -- the sleep deprivation program -- before he was interrogated. he had an instance where, during an interrogation, he urinated on himself and he was used as a human mop -- that was the way they described it. he definitely underwent quite a lot during the interrogations.
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he later said, i have no idea what i said at that time. fast forward to 2010, when he is before the military commission. at that time, the pentagon was offering him a plea deal. the u.s. wanted to get rid of his case for a number of reasons. as we were on the eve of this trial beginning, they offered him a plea deal for an eight year sentence, a chance to return to canada, if he confessed to throwing the grenade that fatally wounded the u.s. delta force soldier christopher speer. he did that. he spent another two years in guantánamo, came back to canada. when he came back to canada, he said, my lawyers told me to say that, i would have said anything to get out of guantánamo. he is not sure whether he threw the grenade. i think for many years he believed he did. more recently, he said he has seen evidence that shows he
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possibly could and because he was buried under rubble at the time. yesterday, whether he did or didn't, he is sorry for any pain and wants to put that behind him. amy: michelle shephard, what is the u.s. response to canada releasing him on bail for jail us to mark he is living with his lawyer? michelle shephard: that is right. it is kind of a remarkable situation. his long-time canadian lawyer has taken him into his home, offered to supervise him. the judge was confident that it was a good bail package for him to be released on. we are not certain how long -- right now, he is free on bail. he should not be going back into prison. canada, as you may have seen reacted harshly to his lease --
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release and said they are going to do everything they can to keep them in prison. that was the latest legal action that they took. they tried to argue that his release would jeopardize relations with the u.s. the u.s. has said that his release does not have impact on relations and that is what the judge said yesterday. juan: i want to go back to omar khadr speaking on thursday. >> what about the modern world shocks you most? omar khadr: nothing, so far. freedom is way better than i thought. you can eat in -- what you can eat in public is so much better than what i anticipated. >> what do you want to do with your life? omar khadr: finish my education. i have a lot of learning to do. a lot of basic skills i need to learn. take it one day at a time. >> [indiscernible]
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omar khadr: i am going to have to disappoint him. >> what do you make of how polarizing a figure you have become in canada? omar khadr: i cannot do anything about that. all i can do is work on myself. that is all i can do. >> can you categorically say -- [indiscernible] omar khadr: yes, yes i do. >> [indiscernible] omar khadr: it is not something i believe in right now. i want to start fresh. there are too many good things in life that i want to experience. >> any career aspirations? omar khadr: something in health care. i believe that you have to be able to empathize with people in pain. i have experienced pain. i think i can empathize with people going through that. i hope i can do something in health care. juan: that was omar khadr
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speaking yesterday. i wanted to ask you, michelle shephard, there has been lots of references to the public opinion and public reaction to the case. michelle shephard: i have never covered a more controversial case for years. canadians seem to be divided. many saw him as a child soldier and a victim of post-9/11 policies. others saw him as a symbol of terrorism. for many years, that was the portrayal that the government had put forward. it is really divided. i would say, probably in the last few months, many of those who had been critical of omar khadr had reached a point where they have said, enough time has passed. give him a chance. that to me is my sense of public sentiment shifting slightly.
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that is not the sentiment of our government. they have remained very black and white. amy: he was also asked about his father during the news conference. >> what do you think of your father? omar khadr: there is a lot i would like to ask my father. i cannot change the past. all i can do is work on the present and the future. >> what would you ask him? omar khadr: everything. the reason he took us back there. a lot of decisions he made. his reasoning behind his life decisions. yeah. >> these are not life decisions you want to make going forward? omar khadr: no. >> [indiscernible] omar khadr: educate yourself.
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[indiscernible] education is very important. i have noticed that a lot of people are manipulated by not being educated. education is very important. amy: that is omar khadr yesterday in edmonton, alberta after he was released from jail on bail. michelle shephard, we have 30 seconds. his father died in pakistan in 2003. is that right? a final question. he was charged with war crimes. is it a war crime to kill a soldier on the battlefield? michelle shephard: that is the case that is now before an appeals court in the u.s. they are arguing that it has never been a war crime before 9/11. before his alleged actions happened, it was not a war crime.
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that will be the challenge. omar khadr is the only detainee who has ever been charged by the pentagon with those offenses. amy: michelle shephard, we want to thank you for being with us. reporter for " the toronto star" and author of "guantanamo's child: the untold story of omar khadr." we will also link to your piece " omar khadr walks free on bail after 13 years in custody." when we come back, how much has been spent on charter schools and what has this country gotten for that money? stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪
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amy: "don't be a dropout."
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james brown. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: with the obama administration asking congress to increase funding for charter schools by almost 50%, we turn to a major report that claims charter schools are already spending billions of dollars on federal money with nearly no oversight, regulation, or accountability. the report is called "new documents show how taxpayer money is wasted by charter schools." according to the report, the federal government has spent more than $3 billion over the past two decades on the charter school industry, but there is no comprehensive database showing how those funds are spent and what results come from them. amy: materials obtained from open records requests concludes that the anti-regulatory environment around charter schools, coupled with their lack
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of financial transparency warrants a moratorium, rather than increased charter funding. for more, we go to denver, colorado, where we are joined by lisa graves. the new report is called "new documents show how taxpayer money is wasted by charter schools. lay out the key findings of your report. lisa: thank you so much. we spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how much money has been spent by the federal government to fuel the charter industry. $3.3 billion. without much money, we thought there were be tremendous controls. our open records showed that the government has no idea how the money is being spent, in part because of the design of those schools. the design at the state level driven by the american legislative exchange council's policies and a number of extreme policies that show hostility
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toward government oversight in public schools. no one really knew how much money was being spent by the schools, how much of those tax dollars were being spent on executive pay, how much money was being outsourced to for-profit corporations. we know that the 3.3 billion dollars have fueled an industry that devotes millions of dollars to lobbying for more charter schools and advertise on public airways for people to send their kids to charter schools, things that public schools do not have a chance to do. public schools do not have the budgets to advertise their benefits. even though these are called public charter schools, they many -- they operate a lot for the private sector. juan: one of the things your report highlights is this black hole of accountability when it comes to charter schools.
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the federal government is not holding the states responsible for the money it gives to the states. the states are not holding their own charter authorizing agencies or even the individual charter schools accountable. you conclude that this was not by accident. lisa: that's right. one of the things we have seen over and over our promises by the department of education to do more to hold charter schools accountable. what you see on the ground based on the audits and the inspector general's report are a real lack of control. you have the department of education's charter education department encouraging them to do more. you have audits that show that the states have no idea where the money was spent once it went into the charter school system. they don't know how many kids were really served. they don't know what happened to assets purchased through our tax dollars. there is a recent report that shows if you are looking through
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federal and state criminal fraud indictments, that there have been more than $200 million worth of rod in the charter school industry. -- fraud in the charter school industry. this calls for much more control and restraint rather than the 50% increase the administration is calling for. amy: i wanted to turn to a mother featured in an ad released by charters work.org. >> i had the potential to be great, but no one helped me to identify that. i was not letting that happen to my kids. i have a daughter that attends and there are no limits for now. i voted for bill de blasio, but i did not vote for you to take my child's teacher. amy: they are talking about the mayor of new york city, mayor bill de blasio. lisa graves, what about this? what about the success or
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failure of charter schools overall? lisa: the studies that we have looked at -- and we have looked at a huge range of them -- show that charter schools do not perform better than the traditional public schools. in the worst circumstances, the charter schools perform far worse. you can see circumstances in the virtual public schools where dropout rates are higher, the failure rates are higher, so while people can point to examples of success here and there or innovation, the overall studies seem to indicate that we are splicing a lot of money out of our public school system to these charters and some people are getting rich off of it. some for-profit corporations are making millions and hundreds of millions of dollars out of our tax dollars and sending that money to lobby for more tax dollars and sending them money to advertise for more kids to come through the systems, even though they have had record after record of failure, in many
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instances, by the charter schools. what we have seen is that more money goes to so-called administration in charter schools then to students, directly. that is not a surprise, when you see how they are structured area did some of the charter schools outsource everything to the private sector. then the private sector is not accountable to open records requests where people try to figure out where the money went. how much money went to executive pay, for-profit operations, you cannot even tell. juan: i want to play a comment by reed hastings, the ceo of netflix. he is a supporter and investor in the rocket ship education charter schools network. last year, at a meeting of the california charter schools that will see asian, he called for the abolition of local school boards. his speech was posted on youtube. if you listen carefully, you can hear his words. >> the fundamental problem with school districts is not their
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fault. the fundamental problem is they do not get to control their boards. the charter school movement is involving america in a system where government is caught -- constantly changing and moving to a system of large nonprofits. you can say, here is an argument why you should [indiscernible] no one is going to go for that. school boards have been in a conic part of america for 200 years. what we have to do is work with school districts to grow steadily. [indiscernible] we have a lot of catch-up to do. juan: that was reed hastings, the ceo of netflix and a big supporter and investor in the charter school industry. that was at the meeting of the
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california charter schools association. lisa graves, your reaction and also this whole issue of the long-term goal of eliminating any kind of democratic process for parents and communities in their school boards. lisa: if you listen closely to what he said, he said we need to abolish the school boards, basically. school boards are the only way that we have democratic-controlled -- that is direct democracy -- over our schools. for ordinary public schools they have to go to taxpayers to get permission to expand the school system, to get taxes to expand. also, people can elect to was on that school board. what we see through charters and their agenda is an effort to circumvent local democratic controls. to basically remove control of the schools, of these charter schools, these often for-profit enterprises that are related to
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them -- that is part of the design of them. when you look back at the history of this, what you see is that the year after brown v board of education when schools had to desegregate, milton friedman, the godfather of the right on economics, someone who has fueled and supported the american legislative exchange council before he passed away, milton friedman suggested that the solution to segregation was that there ought to be purely private schools. people could choose all-white schools, all colored schools and mixed schools. amy: actually, we have a clip of the late economist milton friedman back in 2006 talking about the public school system should be eliminated. >> how do we get from where we are to where we want to be? to a system in which parents control the education of their children? of course, the ideal way would be to abolish the public school
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system and eliminate all the taxes that pay for it. then parents would have enough money to pay for private schools. you are not going to do that. you have to ask, what are politically feasible ways of solving the problem? the answer is, in my opinion, choice. you have to change the way government money is directed. and stead of its being used to finance schools and buildings you should decide how much money you are willing to spend on each child and give that money -- provide that money in the form of a voucher to the parents of the children, so that the parents can choose a school that they regard as best for their child. [applause] amy: that is the late milton friedman, the economist speaking in 2006.
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behind him is the banner of the american legislative exchange council. if you can talk about the significance of this and you referred to alec, but explain its role in all of this, as well as the koch brothers. lisa: that was a speech to alec. what milton friedman was saying is that the goal is to abolish the public schools. this is a radical, extreme goal and it had been his goal since at least 1955. that goal has been joined by numerous billionaire families in this country, including the koch brothers. when david coker ran for vice president, one of his platforms was to abolish privatized public schools. they wanted to do abolish the department of education they've talked about the need to get rid of education. they have joked about it.
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this is supported by the amway fortune, the walmart foundation -- all of them have basically wrapped their agenda in the words of choice that milton friedman suggested. they say it is about choice, when, in fact, there is an idea that is hostile to public schools. the radicals in the country, including fred koch, believed that the idea of public schools is communist or socialist -- which is ridiculous. it is one of the innovations of america that has made our country strong. what we have seen through alec is this combination of ideological right-wingers and for-profit trade groups to come together and both, as equals behind closed doors, with legislators across the country in this effort to privatize education.
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through charters exempted from state and federal regulation exempted from local regulation exempted from control by local school boards. what happens at those task force meetings it has been cochaired by for-profit corporations that benefit from the agenda, as well as nonprofits that outsource money to for-profits, those task force meetings, unbelievably legislators actually both, as equals, on those model bills -- vote, as equals, on those model bills. that is one of the reasons why we work to expose alec. juan: the mention of friedman having the money in the form of vouchers per child, rather than for schools itself. in wisconsin and other states, you are getting online, private schools. we are talking not just colleges. we are talking at the public school level.
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getting the same per child fee as a normal public school would get. can you talk about that? lisa: one of the most amazing bills i read after i was given them into thousand 11 that were approved through this corporate voting process of alec with legislators was a bill called the virtual public schools act. they basically require that the so-called virtual schools would get vouchers or tax dollars and would be paid the same per-pupil amount as schools with air-conditioning, blackboards, lunch ladies, school boards etc.. the difference is profit. some of these vouchers are going to support operations that have far fewer costs. some of these vouchers in the virtual arena are supporting schools or arenas where there is one classroom and teacher for 100 students. in some states like arizona they
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have stripped down teacher certification rules so that you do not have to have the traditional teacher certification, you can have uncertified teachers teaching in virtual classrooms, hundreds of students, getting thousands of dollars per-pupil and corporations that are involved are making millions of dollars. k12 has gone from a wall street firm created by the junk bond michael milken, that felon who was convicted for the junk bond schemes, it has gone from $200 million in revenue to nearly $1 billion in revenue. that is almost entirely supported by federal and state tax dollars. amy: we have to leave it there. thank you for being with us. we will link to your report at democracynow.org. juan, we will link your piece in the "new york daily news."
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that doesn't for our show. we have two job openings for video production fellowships. visit democracynow.org for details. special thanks to dennis moynahan in denver. i' amy: this is dem
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