tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 20, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
paralympic runner oscar pistorius has been released under house arrest after serving less than a year in jail for fatally shooting his girlfriend, reeva steenkamp through a locked , bathroom door. pistorius claimed he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, but prosecutors are appealing, saying he should be convicted of murder. a british journalist has been found dead in turkey under mysterious circumstances and her colleagues are calling for an international investigation. jacqueline sutton, a former bbc
journalist and iraq country director for the institute for war and peace reporting, was reportedly found dead in the bathroom at ataturk airport in istanbul over the weekend, where she was supposed to board a flight to iraq. turkish media reported her death as a suicide but her colleagues are questioning that account. her predecessor at the institute for war and peace reporting was killed in a car bomb attack in iraq in may. texas has become the latest state to announce it's cutting off medicaid funding to planned parenthood in the wake of highly edited videos that show planned parenthood officials discussing the donation of fetal tissue to medical researchers. multiple state and congressional investigations have found no wrongdoing by planned parenthood. texas said it was removing all plan from the clinics, even those which provide hiv testing and cancer screening.
the move came just hours after a federal court blocked louisiana from cutting off medicaid funds to planned parenthood. the european center for constitutional and human rights has filed a criminal complaint against alfreda frances bikowsky, a top cia official accused of participating in the torture of khaled el masri. el masri is a german citizen who was seized in macedonia in 2003 as part of the cia's secret extraordinary rendition program. he was beaten, sodomized and held in a secret prison in afghanistan for months before being abandoned by the cia on a hillside in albania. the u.s. would later say it was a case of mistaken identity. u.s. officials are investigating claims that high school students hacked cia director john brennan's personal email account. the hackers released a spreadsheet showing the names, contact information and social , security numbers of more than 20 alleged cia employees, which the hackers said brennan was storing sensitive information in
his personal aol account. a teenager who told the "new york post" he was the hacker and said he was motivated by opposition to u.s. foreign policy and support for palestine. ohio is delaying all executions until at least 2017 as it struggles to renew its supply of lethal injection drugs. ohio ran out of execution drugs and has been unable to obtain more after european pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of the drugs for u.s. executions. the student government at the university of mississippi will vote today on whether to seek removal of the mississippi state flag from campus grounds. the flag features the confederate battle symbol in its upper left corner, making it the only state flag in the country that continues to use the confederate battle flag in its design. it's the latest public confederate symbol to face possible removal since a white supremacist who embraced the flag killed nine african-american worshippers in charleston, south carolina four months ago. meanwhile, commissioners in greene county, tennessee have
voted against a proposal to fly the confederate flag over their courthouse for the first time. greene county never flew the confederate flag during the civil war because of its close ties with the union. we will go to oxford, mississippi, to the university of mississippi to talk with two of the students were leading the effort to pull down the flight that contains the confederate flag rum campus grounds. -- flag from campus grounds. in missouri, officials are investigating a spate of arson attacks on predominantly black churches in the st. louis area. over the course of less than two weeks, six churches have been damaged after their front doors were set alight. in maryland an african-american , transgender women has been murdered in what police say may be a hate crime. 21 euro old -- 21 euro old zella ziona was shot in the head in montgomery village thursday night. her friend, jasmine black, spoke to the local nbc station. >> embrace her life. she wanted to show the world how to be transgender. she helped people.
she inspired someone else named chris to come out and be himself because it is hard for people to be themselves. amy: zella ziona was the 22nd transgender or gender non-conforming person murdered this year, the highest number ever recorded. and in pawtucket, rhode island, city and state police say they will investigate a school resource officer's tackling of a 14-year-old high school student. eight teenagers and two adults were arrested thursday after gathering to protest the tackling. cell phone video shows one student lying face-down on the floor as the officer grabs a second student around the neck and slams him down. meanwhile in nearby providence, protesters continue to show solidarity with a dunkin' donuts worker who faced calls for her firing when she wrote "black lives matter" on a police officer's cup. on friday, activists gathered outside the police station and offered free coffee in cups marked "black lives matter" to about 30 officers -- only one officer accepted the coffee. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,
democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin in canada, where voters have unseated right-wing prime minister stephen harper after nearly a decade in office. in a surprise result following the closest election campaign in recent history, the centrist liberals jumped from third place to a parliamentary majority. liberal leader justin trudeau will become canada's next prime minister. he is the son of the late pierre trudeau, who served in the same post for 16 years until 1984. justin trudeau celebrated his win monday night. >> my friends, we beat fear with hope. we beat cynicism with hard work. we beat negative divisive politics with a positive vision that brings canadians together.
most of all, we defeated the idea that canadians should be satisfied with less, that good enough is good enough, and that better just isn't possible. well, my friends, this is canada. and in canada, better is always possible! thank you. thank you very much. merci. amico justin trudeau host of stephen harper's loss ends a tenure that saw him take three elections despite his conservative party never winning more than 40% of the vote. harper addressed supporters monday night. ask our country is one of the most enduring democracies in the world today. and today, for the 42nd time in 148 years, canadians have chosen a national parliament. tonight's result is certainly --
the people are never wrong. canadians have accepted a liberal -- elected a liberal government, result we accept without hesitation. i have spoken, friends, to mr. trudeau and offered him my congratulations, all of our congratulations on his successful campaign. [applause] and i have assured him of my full cooperation during a process of transition in the coming days. amy: a recent headline in the guardian dubbed him "the last remnant of george w. bush in north america." under stephen harper canada , became the only country to withdraw from the kyoto protocol, the international agreement setting reduction targets on carbon emissions. harper slashed the funding of environmental canada and scores of environmental programs. federal scientists were barred from speaking publicly without permission, an edict that especially muzzled discussions of climate change. a series of water laws were gutted as the government heavily
promoted the expansion of carbon-intensive energy pipelines, including the keystone xl that would deliver alberta tar sands oil to the united states. the harper government was also riddled by corruption scandals, voter fraud allegations, a struggling economy, and accusations of race-baiting. harper made a campaign issue out of banning muslim women from covering their faces with the niqab, or veil, while taking their canadian citizenship oath. the actual number of cases where this happened was just two. harper was also criticized for his handling of first nations issues, including his staunch opposition to an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. monday's result is also a major loss for the traditionally leftist new democratic party, the ndp, which fell from holding official opposition status to third place. the ndp led the polls early in
august, but lost momentum as its leadership drifted toward the middle. areas, the ndp leader adopted a more right-wing stance than the liberals, including on ruling out deficit spending to stimulate the economy and fund jobs. in a reversal of harper policies, trudeau has pledged to end canada's anti-isis combat missions in syria and iraq while restoring ties to iran. but he also backs some of harper's most controversial initiatives, including canada's patriot act and the keystone xl pipeline, the fate of which remains in the hands of president obama. for more we are joined by two guests. pamela palmater is a lawyer and member of the eel river bar first nation in new brunswick. she teaches indigenous law, politics and governance at ryerson university and heads their centre for indigenous governance. and judy rebick, canadian activist and writer.
founder of rabble.ca, one of canada's leading independent news websites. we welcome you both to democracy now! judy rebick, your assessment of this upset victory? did you predict that justin trudeau would win? and tell us who he is actually, i did. i wrote a column on saturday and i kind of warned that this liberal rise that we just saw happen very quickly, as you pointed out, the three parties were very, very close until about two weeks ago, and then we started to see a slow rise and in the last week, we saw a rapid rise, especially in québec for the liberals have not one in québec in 20 years. in fact, justin's father won there. liberally did warn majority. the reason i say that, although we are all happy to see the back end of harper -- really, kind of
giddy about this morning -- nevertheless, the liberals have a long history of running on the left and governing from the right. so i would have preferred to see a minority liberal government. now who trudeau is, as we all know, he is the son of year trudeau and we don't really know much about him except that he ran of magnificent campaign. even his opponent admits that the liberal campaign was quite brilliant the way they stepped in, when the ndp, which seems to have this illness of doing the same thing over and over again, even though it has failed in the last three elections, they said they were going have a balanced budget, so they stepped into the center or even the center right post up the liberals saw the opening to define themselves as a party of change. this election was about stephen harper. the valid question was, how can we defeat stephen harper?
is best to defeat stephen harper, we are going to vote for. and that was right across the country. the liberals managed to get themselves from not just third-party status -- they only held 30 seats in the last parliament, they were barely present there at all -- to a majority by answering that question, the liberal party is the party of real change. they succeeded in that. other than his ability to campaign, we really don't over much about what kind of prime minister he is going to be because we have not seen him in a governmental sense at all. he was barely in the house of commons. he spent the last two years traveling the country, and really campaigning for this moment. he was a great campaigner. -- a high school drama teacher? right.'s that is his past history. he has been in parliament for a while, but he hasn't -- you
know, thomas mulcair, the leader of the ndp, was a very, very good politician, parliamentarian, as we say. he was the one who kept harper's fee to the fire as much as he could. trudeau had very little role in parliament. was barely there. so we don't know much about what kind of prime minister he will be. amy: trudeau said we are about investing in infrastructure, rejecting austerity politics that's right. he was in the campaign. it as i said, we have had other liberal leaders who campaigned against wage controls and then wagelected and brought in controls. campaign against free trade and came in and brought in free trade. so i am a little skeptical. -- some say is a new generation, and that is true. it reflects a new generation. in a speech he talked a lot about citizen engagement and the importance of engaged citizens and how he will be a prime minister who listens.
i think that is probably true. to describe how canada has changed under stephen harper. internationally, our reputation is shot, but also as a country, we have always been able to pressure our government. even under conservative government -- like i said, the one thing i could never forgive stephen harper four, he made brian mulroney look good. and that was a former conservative prime minister that we all hated did in the 1980's. but at least you could pressure him, he could change his mind on things. harper was very authoritarian. amy: judy rebick, the issue of pulling out of the anti-isis coalition that justin trudeau says he will be doing. what does that mean? >> that means we would not have fighting troops in the middle east in that area of the middle east. what he wants to do is just do troop training of the opposition isisyria, the non-
opposition. it is all very murky, as i'm sure you know better than i do. another thing harper is due in best done is create canada as a militarist state. all kinds of statues and big celebrations of wars, this kind of thing that we never had before. his policy in the middle east, even though canada plays a very small role, nevertheless, joining the u.s.'s military adventures in the middle east were candidate the past has sort antaken -- often taken independent role. for example, we do not support bush's war in iraq. harper did. amy: during his victory speech last night, justin trudeau addressed indigenous issues. >> you want a prime minister that knows that a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous people that respects rights and honors --
[applause] must be the basis for how we work to close the gap and walked forward together. amy: that is the new canadian prime minister elect justin trudeau. pamela palmater is also with us, lawyer and member of the eel river bar first nation in new brunswick. talk about who justin trudeau -- what he represents for you. talk about his victory and the issues you feel are most important to understand right now. first nations,st there is a collective sigh of relief that harper is gone. i mean, like you said, he has been the worst in terminal disaster, democratic right disaster, and he was the epic and many -- enemy of first nations. what you have what prime minister trudeau is the
possibility for change. he really has an opportunity to be a leader in environmental issues and democratic rights and freedoms versus a politician. so he has the opportunity. we have to give him a little time to cv is going to do it. however, he does come from a very problematic liberal legacy. his father was the one who introduced the 1969 white paper, which would essentially have annihilated indians and reserves and treaty rights and all of that, which was -- what about massive national protests by first nation leaders. i mean, but to his credit, yes distanced himself from his father's policies and saying he wants to do it differently. nation and nation relationship, which is keep her first nations because first nations consider themselves to be sovereign with their own laws in jurisdictions. he has an opportunity here to
talk about decision-making and sharing of lawmaking and things like that. but he also talked about very specific things. for example, the truth and reconciliation commission's an initial report had 94 recommendations. he was telling first nations during the campaign that if elected, he would implement those recommendations. he was also in support of an inquiry for murdered and missing indigenous women. many firstntly for nations and environmentalists, who is also saying that he would respect the requirement that government has to consult and get the consent of first nations before anything happens in our territory. and that in order to do that, he would remedy some of the laws that were abolished by prime minister stephen harper. now, he did not have a lot of civics on that, but he has at least indicated that he is
willing to look at those things like water protections and land protection said things like that. so that is very keep her first nations. on the program side of things, he has indicated a commitment to provide a couple billion dollars for first nation education, which was a huge issue under the harper government. harper had only promised money if we had agreed to very paternalistic controlling legislation that violated treaty rights. there is no such condition on the new prime minister's promises. he has also promised money for things like schools and to address all of the water issues and first nations. we currently have about 121st nations without clean drinking water in canada at any point in time on boil water and visors, and he actually has committed that within a five-year perio d to eliminate that.
so that would be something that is pretty significant. however, we have to keep in mind, and this is why i am very cautious about this government, that under the liberal government, they are the ones who put the 2% cap on education and created this crisis in the first nation education. under the liberal government, they allow the first nations to go without clean water. some of them for decades. and murdered and missing indigenous women is a problem that has been going on for decades. clearly, unaddressed by the liberal government. so while there is hope and possibility here for prime minister trudeau if you really takes this and goes forward, we still have a lot of concerns just based on liberal history. amy: during a debate in august, justin trudeau expressed support for the controversial antiterrorism act of 2015 known c-51 surveillance law.
courts the government of canada and the prime minister is expected to do two things by canadians. the first one is to keep us safe. the second is to uphold and defend our rights and freedoms. and mr. harper doesn't think we need to do anything more to protect our rights and freedoms, a mr. mulcair with his position on counterterrorism laws, doesn't think we need to do anything more on security. the liberal party has been very clear. we need to do both of them together. amy: that is justin trudeau in a debate in august. pamela palmater, talk about the c-51 surveillance act. >> so that was one of the biggest criticisms of the liberal party when justin trudeau was running, was his support for bill c-51. some of the people running for the liberal party were viciously , whereas of bill c-51 other liberal candidates were saying, look, once we get in, we will make amendments to makes
her democratic rights and freedoms are protected, to make sure first nations are not particularly targeted. so it is going to defend where he goes from here with this legislation. so if you just support the legislation as is, which is a clear violation of our constitution, the charter of rights and freedoms that his father brought in, all first treatyaboriginal and rights and international human rights -- i mean, it is really the most offensive legislation canada has ever enacted in this country. if he does something about it, then i think you could really build some goodwill, that he is committed to protecting democratic rights and freedoms as well as first nation rights. i could add, he voted for it in parliament. it is a loan now. it wasn't just something discussed in the election. it inberals supported parliament. they tried to amended, but of course, the conservatives had a majority. and this is very concerning because there's nothing in bill c-51 that is needed to protect
canada's security. the only reason they voted for was because at the time, it was very popular. ,hen groups like open democracy they campaigned against it, lots of groups campaigned against it and public opinion shifted. by the beginning of the election campaign, used a longer popular. but the liberals had only voted for it. this is what i mean about the concern for liberals, they're willing to do anything -- not anything, but willing to move and shift to do what is popular, but when push comes to shove, they are still a corporate party, party mostly supported by corporations financially or have been in the past. and they have a bad history. now maybe trudeau can change pam, i wouldm with like to be hopeful, but it is kind of hard when you know that history. andc-51 is a good example of it. amico: i want to go to the ndp, traditionally leftist party, which placed third in the
election, when he just 44 seats step thomas mulcair dressed supporters last night. oure will be unwavering and pursuit for better health care for canadians, stand strong against climate change and protect our land, air, and water. and we will be resolute in our effort to build a true nation to nation relationship with first nations people. it is on these priorities and on many more that new democrats will make real and lasting progress in this new parliament. with this election, canadians have asked as all to work for them. we will not them down. , talk aboutbick this stunning defeat for the ndp. i mean, this was astounding. 2011, they had come in second. at the beginning of this -- it was considered the longest presidential race ever, something like 78 days.
the conservatives thought it would benefit them. in the end, it benefited justin trudeau so people could meet justin trudeau across canada. people in the u.s. must laugh in the here 70 days is long. we're talking about a year and a half presidential campaign. but can you talk about how the ndp fell back and are there lessons here for people in the united states? >> yes. is threes is -- this factors, in my view. at one point in the election campaign, in fact, the ndp was significantly ahead, were leading. it looked like people were saying, will care is the one to beat harper. three things happen. as you pointed out in your introduction, the ndp moved to the right on fiscal policy. they said they were going to balance the budget. the reason they did that, i don't think it was an actual complete moved to the right that
we saw in ontario where the ndp did that and lost, i think it was just on -- and that area, but that is a pretty big area will stop it is where the media tends to define politics is economic policy. they moved to the right to they would not get attacked as they usually do. so that demoralized some of the base, i think. and also as i said, the liberals used that to their advantage is stepping to the left and campaigning, saying they would use a deficit to fight austerity. but the real shift in the campaign happened after the first french debate in québec, and was on the issue of the -- it is kind of complicated, but in québec, the majority -- there is a real visceral hatred of the kneecap and in the face covering
niqab. religiousigious, no fourth should have any effect on public life. in québec, the church controlled public life for many, many decades. for example, the rest of canada, women had to vote in 1919 and québec, not until 1940. that is the influence of the catholic church. there's a real visceral hatred of any kind of religion in public life in québec. can to symbolize that. harper use that. him,e end, it defeated which is coeditor justice, in my view, because harper -- with the barbaric cultural practices act which passed and now that will have a tip line for that. but mulcair was very principled. he defended the niqab, the right to wear it in the citizenship,
but he did it in his scrappy ways. he is a real scrapper, mulcair. he wasn't sensitive to the fact that a lot of people in québec were uncomfortable with the niqab. trudeau also defended the right to wear the veil, but he did it in a much better way. for the people in québec, basically, stop supporting mulcair over this. literally, like it is very dramatic, their support went down and québec was where they had the most support, and then people started to say, uh-oh, looks like mulcair is not going to beat harper and shifted to the liberals. as the campaign went on, trudeau looked better and better. as i said, what was the third? i can remember. amy: limit ask pamela palmater, why was stephen harper so hated? and what do you think are the lessons for your next-door neighbor in the united states, which is going through election.
harper wasstephen hated for three primary things. one, his stance on first nation issues. to look at canadians and say, murdered and missing indigenous women and little girls, who cares? that doesn't reflect the values of canadians. the fact he is the worst environment will disaster to ever happen to this country, certainly does not resonate with the majority of canadians either. and his ongoing very public attacked on basic democratic rights and freedoms in the ways he flaunted it as if he did not canadians or to first nations was just something that canadians were not going to take anymore. he is the reason for idle no more. he is the reason for all of these ngos coming together and protesting across canada. i mean, he really and start canadians to wake up and take their government back. amy: we will leave it there. we thank you both for being with us, pamela palmater, lawyer and member of the eel river bar
first nation in new brunswick. and judy rebick, canadian activist and writer. she is the founder of rabble.ca, one of canada's leading independent news websites. we will be back in oxford, mississippi, to talk about the vote that will be taking place in the student government today to take down the mississippi flag off the grounds of the campus because in that flag is the confederate flag. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. college students in mississippi are confronting the national legacy of racism and slavery in a new battle over the display of confederate symbols. the student government at the university of mississippi will vote today on whether to seek removal of the state flag from campus grounds. the flag features the confederate battle symbol in its upper left corner. the only state flag in the country that continues to use
the confederate battle flag in its design. it's the latest confederate symbol to be targeted for removal from a public space since a white supremacist killed nine african-american worshippers in charleston, south carolina four months ago. , alabama and south carolina have already taken down the confederate flag on capitol grounds. on friday, a crowd of several hundred people gathered beneath the university of mississippi campus flagpole to make their case for removal. >> the confederate flag and the way that -- of people's personal belongings. we think that the symbol to tracks from the purpose of what this university has adopted. but take it down. >> what we want? >> justice. amy: the students' rally attracted a counter-demonstration from white supremacist groups who carried the confederate flag and shouted racist slogans. if the flag is removed, the university of mississippi would join three other state schools who do not display it.
the towns of oxford and greenwood recently voted to remove the flag from public grounds, and a similar effort is underway in jackson. but it would be a particularly significant for the university of mississippi, a school with a deep-rooted history of white supremacy. it was there in 1962 that white students rioted over the registration of african-american student james meredith, an incident that became a flashpoint in the civil rights struggle. he would be the first african-american student to integrate the university of mississippi. for more we are joined by two guests. allen coon is the president of the university of mississippi college democrats. as a senator in the university's student government, he has introduced the proposal to take down the mississippi state flag from campus. and dominique scott is an undergraduate in sociology and african-american studies at the university of mississippi. she is the secretary of the university's chapter of the naacp and a regional organizer for students against social injustice. we welcome you both to democracy now! as you join us from your campus of the university of
mississippi in oxford, mississippi. dominique scott, let's start with you. why is this a vote important today and how did it come about? >> book, the vote is really important today because it is going to essentially put pressure on our senior leadership as well as the city as a whole, as the whole city, showing that students are really rallying together and that we want the flag taken down and we want to institutionalize inclusion here at the university. , you introduce this bill that will be voted on not by the whole student body, but by the student government? explain exactly how you introduced this. >> well, you know, after the tragic event central stone, there's been this national confederateaddress iconography. was as of confederacy and
primacy. i felt we are to utilize this momentum to address the symbols. so in late september, i contacted my allies in the naacp on campus and we decided to form a coalition and challenge and take a stand. so many universities across the state had released statements. the student body at mississippi state university released a statement challenging the state flag and yet our student government had done nothing up until that point. so we wanted to show the world that we are prepared to take steps forward and create a positive progressive change on campus. amy: what is your assessment, do you have the votes? >> we feel very confident that this resolution will pass tonight. amy: dominique scott, a lot of people refer to the university of mississippi as old miss. you don't. why? >> i avoid using the term " ole it is steeped in
history of racial oppression. historically, it is a term that slaves used to refer to the mistresses or matriarchs of their plantations and so when the school decided -- was deciding on what they would nickname the school, one woman was quoted saying that old miss was what old darkies used to refer to the mistress of their plantations as. when the vote was passed to use theterm "ole miss," masta."p was "ole . refuse to use it amy: dominique, can you talk about what happened around the statue of james meredith that is on campus, the first african-american to integrate the university of mississippi, what happened last year? >> yes, ma'am.
individuals placed a noose around the neck of james merritt -- of the james meredith statue with the old georgia state flag. and they shouted racial slurs to white power, in a way intimidate black students on campus and once again, perpetuate that culture of white supremacy and racial oppression. amy: allen coon, what do you say to those who talk about the flag representing heritage on campus? >> i agree, it does represent heritage, our heritage of hate. a represents a heritage of what super messy and a heritage that this university has in university actively oppressed people of color to receive an
personal, to acquire growth at this university and continues today. we are attempting to create a academic space. amy: what will take place today and what does the boat mean? >> tonight we have a senate meeting at 7:00 p.m. , debating discussing this resolution -- hopefully, it will be voted upon. there are 49 senators. we need a simple majority of 25 to pass this resolution. and it is a nonbinding resolution. so when it passes, the senior leadership of the university has the opportunity to listen to our voices come up but we have been receiving indications they may not necessarily take the flag down when we pass this resolution. we may have to do more. it is disappointing to know our voices are not enough, that our actions are not enough to bring down the symbol of oppression on
campus. amy: i want to turn to the director of public relations for the university of mississippi. he said "we commend our students for using the democratic process to engage in debate over civic issues as a state institution we fly the flag representing our state and nation, however, as university, committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students, we continue to join other leaders in mississippi to encourage our government to change the state flag. we wrap up,t -- as what about that? you take down the flight but it is still the plight of mississippi in the upper left, the confederate flag is very prominent. what is being done to change the flag of mississippi? >> i believe her husband efforts and there is conversation within mississippi government to change the state flag, but regarding that statement from that individual, i would definitely say that the students are very upset that our senior leadership
is not paying attention to the voices of these students. i honestly find that statement quite cowardly, that the -- that senior leadership will not institutionalize inclusion. we had a meeting with the vice thecellor who told us that primary reason behind them not changing the flag was funding, and that they received threats from alumni and the state government that they would have funding taken away from the school if they removed the flag. and so i find it extremely, honestly, disturbing that we would not be able to fully fund the education of our students here simply because the institution wants to institutionalize inclusion in separate itself -- and separate itself from symbols of white supremacy and racial oppression. i find the statement quite
cowardly and i really want to challenge my senior leadership to definitely be on the right side of history and be on the right side of what is right. you know, essentially, to me, statements like that that they're listening, that they hear the students, but, oh, well, there's nothing we can do about it, we are statements to to shun. that really shows me what side the university is on, on the side of those ku klux klan protesters that it is on the side of the leak of the south, that it will not stand with students who want justice. i would definitely say it is really disconcerting and very disturbing being a student here knowing my institution, from which i receive an education, isn't willing to stand with its black students and with other students that want justice. , if you vote to put it down, could up for the university an in an
uncomfortable position? >> we want to put pressure on our senior leadership. we want this to come down. we want our voices to be heard and it is time we take down the symbol of oppression from our campus. amy: we will continue to follow this story and will report on the headlines tomorrow what happened with your student government vote. allen coon is the president of the university of mississippi college democrats. dominic scott, the secretary of the university's chapter of the naacp and a regional organizer for students against social injustice. when we come back, there's a question about whether joe biden will run for president. it has been lingering for quite a long time. what is joe biden has record? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "life gone by," by steve brown. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. washington is abuzz with rumors vice-president joe biden will soon enter the race for the democratic presidential nomination. biden has huddled with key advisors while putting out feelers to potential staffers and supporters. the speculation has increased since august when new york times columnist maureen dowd reported biden's son, beau biden, urged his father to run before his death of cancer earlier this year. this month, politico reported
dowd's source for the story was joe biden himself. a longtime democratic senator from delaware, biden previously ran twice for the democratic nod. the last time was in 2008 when he ultimately became then-senator barack obama's running mate. while a new campaign would seek to capitalize on biden's two-terms as vice-president, it would also invite scrutiny of his senate record in a democratic political climate that is notably more progressive today than it was when biden last sought the nomination. biden's 1994 crime bill, while implementing sweeping gun control, also helped fuel mass incarceration with financial incentives to keep people behind bars. biden is also known for close ties to the financial industry, notably helping push through a 2005 bill that made it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy. he represented the state of delaware. according to the "new york times," the credit card issuer mbna was biden's top donor from 1989 to 2010.
now as speculation over biden's presidential aspirations reaches a fever pitch, the obama administration is seeking to repeal one of his signature legislative achievements. the white house wants to undo a provision in the 2005 bankruptcy law that made it harder to reduce student debt, preventing most americans from claiming bankruptcy protections for private student loans. in its bid to rescind the measure, the department of education says biden's legislation left "private student loan borrowers in financial distress with few options." the administration's bid to repeal the student bankruptcy provision follows the publication last month of an exposé by our next guest. david sirota's piece for the international business times is, "joe biden backed bills to make it harder for americans to reduce their student debt." david sirota joins us now. he is in denver, colorado. just lay out joe biden's record on student debt and go beyond. >> joe biden has been working on bankruptcy legislation for the last three decades.
he got into the senate in the 1970's. he was on the judiciary committee. there began to be a push in the 1970's to reduce court possibility to lower student debt -- courts ability to lower student debt starting the 1970's. it started with government loans. there was a push in the 1970's to say that students would have to wait five years from graduating to be able to seek a currency protection -- bankruptcy protection from government loans. that was a bill joe biden helped craft. he was on a conference committee. there's a series of other bills are the 1980's and into the 1990's in which joe biden worked on the same set of issues, lengthening the amount of time students would have to wait to be able to access bankruptcy protections for educational debt, and then as you know, into the late 1990's into the 2000's, there's this push by biden, teak democrat, pushing the bankruptcy bill that was ultimately signed
by president george w. bush that eliminated the ability of most americans to seek bankruptcy protections not only for the government loans, but also for the private student loans. that was a big objective of the private lenders. at the time, over his career, joe biden has raised about $2 million from the financial specter. while he is been sculpting these bills. again, he played the key role throughout the last three decades in the democratic party, really, in congress, pushing these bills will stop elizabeth warren issued a paper when she wasn't in the senate, which was a professor, talking about how pivotal joe biden was in pushing these laws to make it more difficult for students to reduce their student debt when they are in bankruptcy court. it puts a prohibition on the judges themselves saying, you really can't lower student debt like you can most other forms of
debt when you are in bankruptcy court. about vicek president biden's influencing a president obama on this and where they both and -- stand. 2008, the bankruptcy bill, the most recent, became a flashpoint in the debate for the democratic nomination and in the general election. obama had voted against the most recent bankruptcy bill, making a harder to declare bankruptcy. biden, of course, one of the chief proponents of it. and biden stood by his position. he was asked about it in a debate. he's a police said then senator obama and he disagreed on the bill. biden has subsequently, while being in the administration, has that really taken much of a position on whether to rescind the parts of the bill dealing with student debt, even of the administration itself, as you mentioned, very recently, said it wants to rescind some of
those provisions. biden has been silent. his office told us he supported studying the issue must up will be interesting to see if he runs for president and if he is asked about this huge issue. i should say all of the democratic candidates have an talking about student debt, so i expect he will be asked about this issue. amy: david sirota, there is nonstop talk about joe biden. everyone is talking about whether he will enter the race. but there's always no discussion of what his actual record is. where does he stand in relation, for example, to bernie standers, hiller clinton? go back to anita hill. quite joe biden has a very long record. he was a controversial figure in the anita hill hearings. he has pushed a lot of crime bills that made it, and of pushed mass incarceration.
a guy who has close ties to the financial sector, supported the bank deregulation. there's been an argument from his side, which is to say, his record in the senate representing delaware or there are a number of financial institutions, the argument from some of his supporters is that that is a different record then since he has been in the administration heading up the administration's middle-class task force, talking a lot about issues, for instance, like student debt. ps talked a lot about how we have to reduce student debt. which joe biden will show up if he runs in 2016? the guy in the administration or the guy who spent 30 years in the senate working in many cases with some of the most powerful political forces in corporate america? amy: his position on the iraq war, david? >> this is a guy -- well, i mean, the issue is that he has been, in some cases, on a lot of sides of the issue.
he has been a guy who has been supportive of continuing the war. he -- i think that will be a contrast point potentially with bernie sanders. hillary clinton as well. and i should also say, we don't know how the debate will be between hillary clinton and joe biden. hillary clinton has similarly been on both sides of a number of issues, the iraq or for example. the bankruptcy bill. hillary clinton voted for one version of the bankruptcy bill and voted against another version of the bankruptcy bill. it will be difficult to know how the flashpoints will play out in the race. amy: i want to thank you for being with us. david sirota, senior writer at "the international business times." his recent piece is headlined, "student debt: obama administration tries to block bankruptcy courts from reducing education debt." we will have a link to it. and that does it for our show. opening, full-time job as director of development to lead our fundraising efforts. find out more about our development director job at democracynow.org. ♪