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

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06/01/15 06/01/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> people say, how will we protect ourselves without these programs? what about using the constitution? what about using judicial warrants? the boston bomber, they say, how will we look at his phone records? get a warrant. put his name on it. amy: the government's authority to sweep up millions of american's phone records has expired. the practice was first exposed by national security agency whistleblower edward snowden and could now face limited reforms as president obama calls on the senate to approve the usa freedom act, which would require the government to ask phone companies for a user's data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. we will go to brazil to speak with glenn greenwald, pulitzer prize-winning journalist who
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first reported on edward snowden's revelations. then to colorado for a democracy now! exclusive, the valedictorian speech the valedictorian was barred from giving. >> and hope this does not change your opinion of me, i am gay. amy: 18-year-old evan young was supposed to be the 2015 class valedictorian of twin peaksarter academy high school in longmont, colorado. but his principal prevented him from giving his speech after learning he would announce he was gay. instead, two weeks later, last night, evan young got to give his speech at a fundraiser before a not hence of hundreds, a number of them politicians congratulating them for his bravery. we will speak with them live after playing his full speech. all of that and more coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the government's authority to sweep up millions of americans phone records is temporarily expired after the senate failed to renew it before a midnight deadline. republican senator rand paul of kentucky blocked an extension of bulk surveillance and two other patriot act measures are in a special sunday session. the senate later voted 77 to 17 to now consider the measure known as the usa freedom act which would reform bulk collection by requiring the nsa to make specific requests to phone companies for user's data. rather than vacuuming up all of the records at once. this month marks two years since whistleblower edward snowden revealed the mass surveillance tactics by the nsa. we will have more from the journalist who first exposed the revelations, glenn greenwald joining us from brazil. a weekend of violence in syria has left dozens of people dead.
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government bombings killed at least 70 people, mostly civilians, on saturday in the northern province of aleppo. some 65 people died in government attacks on the city of qamishli. at least 40 people were killed and dozens seriously wounded when an explosion set off a fire at a clinic in the northeastern province of hasakah. the u.s. has formally removed cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing a main obstacle to restoring diplomatic ties with havana. state department spokesperson jeff rathke made the announcement. >> we have issued this morning a statement about the rescission of cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. it is effective today, may 20 9 2015. and this reflects our assessment after undertaking the review that was requested by the president, our assessment that cuba meets the statutory secretary for versus her look.
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-- rescission. amy: cuba was placed on the terrorism list in 1982 at a time havana was supporting liberation struggles in africa and latin america. president obama ordered a review of cuba's inclusion as part of his bid to normalize relations. but broad sanctions under the existing u.s. embargo on cuba make the move all but symbolic. talks are continuing between the two sides on reopening embassies. european officials say at least 5000 migrants have been rescued in the mediterranean since friday. the migrants were on 25 vessels that left from libya on their way to various european countries. it's said to be the biggest wave of migrants this year so far. the beleaguered head of the soccer governing body fifa has won a new term amidst a corruption scandal in his top ranks. sepp blatter was re-elected on friday just days after the indictments of 14 people including two fifa vice-presidents, on corruption charges. michael van praag, a former rival contender, criticized the vote. >> we did our very best.
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i've spent a lot of time in the past couple of months to help achieving change. the majority of this congress don't want a change. that says a lot about the people who voted this way. amy: friday's session also saw palestinian delegates withdraw a bid to suspend israel over its restrictions on the movement of palestinian soccer players in the occupied territories. palestinian football chief jibril rajoub announced his decision. >> i am here to find a solution for a painful issue so close to the hearts of all defenders of football values. rather than to score goals, even against those who are responsible for my football family suffering. i decided to drop the
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suspension but it does not mean that i give up the resistance. according to the states of fifa. amy: the fifa congress instead approved a measure establishing a new committee representing both sides to resolve disputes. in the palestinian city of ramallah, zeid shueidi of the boycott divest sanctions movement criticized the outcome. >> disappointed the entire fifa congress have not lived up to their obligations and stated principles. fifa and its membership have delayed the suspension of israel but they cannot delay the growth of international bank of israel or prevent the continuing isolation of israel. amy: an egyptian-american activist has returned to the united states after nearly two years behind bars in egypt. mohamed soltan was arrested in september 2013 and had been on hunger strike for over a year in protest. he was recently sentenced to
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life in prison on charges of supporting the muslim brotherhood and transmitting false news. but he was freed over the weekend after the u.s. helped secure his release. new figures show the death toll from police shootings in the united states this year is twice the official figure. "the washington post" says police have shot dead at least 385 people in 2015, an average of almost 2.6 per day. the fbi's death rate for police killings over the last decade is 1.1 per day. more than 80% of those killed were said to have been carrying a potentially deadly weapon, while 16% were unarmed. african-americans were disproportionately high among the victims, killed at three times the rate of other racial groups. more than 200 protesters including some carrying weapons, gathered in phoenix on friday for an anti-islam rally. an equal number of counter-protesters met the group as they stood outside the islamic community center during evening prayers. the organizer of the anti-islam protest says he called the event after two gunmen tried to attack
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an anti-muslim gathering in texas last month. more than a dozen participants carried semi-automatic weapons and chants of anti-islam slogans. imran siddigi of the council on american-islamic relations said local officials had failed to speak out in opposition. >> these are your own citizens are here in phoenix, a growing community where voters -- we are voters positive contributors to society, but how come there's some kind of clinical hot potato that takes place when the muslim community is being targeted? amy: a muslim passenger is accusing united airlines of discrimination after she was told she could not have an unopened can of soda because it could be used as a weapon. tahera ahmad, who wears a headscarf, was on board a flight to washington, d.c. when she asked for an unopened diet coke. although another passenger was given an unopened beverage ahmad was told she could not have one because it was a security risk. united says it has apologized. a new website is targeting pro-palestinian college
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activists by seeking to deny them jobs after they graduate. dubbed canary mission, the site profiles dozens of students and graduates as well as others involved in the palestinian cause, in the hopes employers won't hire them. in a promotional video, a narrator asks for help in ensuring that "today's radicals are not tomorrow's employees." >> these individuals are applying for jobs within your company. there is no record of their membership of radical organizations. no one remembers the yelling profanities on campus and anti-american rallies. all evidence has been eradicated and soon, they will be part of your team. canary mission allows you to easily explore profiles of radical individuals organizations. it will keep you up-to-date with the latest developments and follow our blog for an in-depth analysis of radical campus activity. join us to combat this wave of
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hatred, protect freedom, and make campus life save for everyone. it is your duty to ensure today's radicals are not tomorrow's employees. amy: the targeted students include members of students for justice in palestine, which is active on campuses nationwide. although the students' names photographs, and biographical information are extensively shown, the canary mission keeps its own backers and staffers completely secret. former maryland governor martin o'malley has announced his bid for the democratic presidential nomination. in his kickoff address, o'malley voiced indirect criticism of fellow candidates hillary clinton and jeb bush. >> the presidency is not a crown to be passed back-and-forth by you between two royal family's. it is a sacred trust to be earned from the american people and exercised on behalf of of the people of these united states. the only way we are going to rebuild the american dream is if
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we retake control of our own american government. amy: o'malley's tenure as baltimore mayor has come under scrutiny since the riots over the death of freddie gray. he oversaw a drop in the crime rate but was accused by critics , of rigging the numbers and encouraging abusive policing. meanwhile, may was baltimore's deadliest month in more than four decades, with 43 reported homicides. secretary of state john kerry has cut short a european trip after breaking his leg in a biking accident. kerry sustained the injury saturday in france after wrapping up a new session of talks with iran. he will be treated in boston and is expected to make a full recovery. and beau biden, the eldest son of vice president joe biden, has died of brain cancer. he was 46 years old. senate democratic leader harry reid paid tribute to biden on sunday. >> far too soon, 46 years old. he looked a selfless, noble life.
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and for my friend joe biden whom i served in congress with for some many years, i extend id this thoughts -- extend my deepest thoughts and condolences to you, joe. amy: biden served eight years as delaware attorney general and had planned on running for governor in 2016. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the u.s. government's authority to sweep up millions of american's phone records expired at 12:01 this morning after the senate failed to renew the practice exposed by national security agency whistleblower edward snowden. the move comes after republican senator and presidential hopeful rand paul of kentucky blocked an extension of three controversial measures in the patriot act during a special sunday session of the senate. >> let us be clear, we are here tonight because the president continues to conduct an illegal
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program. we are not collecting the information of spies. we're not collecting information of terrorist. we're collecting all american citizens records all of the time. this is what we fought the revolution over. people say well, they're not looking at it, they're not listening to it. it is the tip of the iceberg what we are about here, and realize, they were dishonest about the program until we caught them. they kept saying over and over again, we are not doing this, we're not collecting your records. and they were. the head of the intelligence agency lied to the american people, and he still works here. we should be upset. we should be marching in the streets and saying, he has got to go. people say, how will we protect ourselves without these programs? what about using the constitution? what about using judicial
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warrants? the boston bomber come a they say, how will we look at his phone records? get a warrant. put his name on it. amy: the three parts of the patriot act that have now expired include section 215, which authorizes the nsa's bulk collection of telephone metadata, a lone wolf provision giving intelligence agencies the authority to follow terrorists who may not be affiliated with a terrorist group, and so-called roving wiretaps that allow the government to monitor someone who may use different phone lines to escape detection. in the hours ahead of sunday's failed vote to renew the measures, cia director john brennan appeared on cbs's "face the nation" with outgoing host bob shieffer. >> do you think terrorist elements will take advantage of this? >> i think that watched carefully what is happening in the united states, whether it is disclosures of classified information or changes in the law and policies, they're looking for this seems to
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operate within. this is something we cannot afford to do right now. if you look at the horrific terrorist attacks and violence been perpetrated around the globe, we need to keep our country safe. amy: after the debate sunday the senate voted to 77 to 17 to now consider the measure known as the usa freedom act, which calls for reforming the bulk collection of telephone records by requiring the nsa to make specific requests to phone companies for a user's data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. the measure passed in the house, but failed in the senate by three votes last week, leading to sunday's showdown. the vote can come no earlier than 1:00 a.m. on tuesday. well, for more we go to rio de janeiro where we're joined by glenn greenwald, pulitzer prize-winning journalist. he first exposed edward snowden's revelations around mass surveillance. his recent piece for the intercept is headlined "anonymous fearmongering about the patriot act from thehite house and nyt." welcome back to democracy now!
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why don't you start off by talking about the significance of these key provisions of the usa patriot act sunsetting, expiring early this morning? >> i think the greatest significance of the most recent event is more symbolic than anything else, but it still is quite significant. it is really worth comparing the debate we are now having to what passed for a debate both in 2005 and 2011 over whether to renew the patriot act. remember, even after 9/11 and the weeks after 9/11 when the country was willing to give the government essentially anything it ask for, the patriot act was regarded as extremely radical piece of legislation, a very fundamental departure for how we always understood what the government could and could not do when spying on us. even in the wake of 9/11, it was regarded that way. that is the reason why when it was enacted, embedded into some of his provisions was the idea
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look, this is only supposed to be a temporary measure. it will automatically go away sunset lapse unless congress every five years reauthorizes it. in 2005, the bush of administration demanded its renewal with no reforms. in 2010, the obama administration did exactly the same thing, demanded renewal with no reforms. there were some is no opposition in either house of congress, either political party come to some to open opposition from some libertarians in congress renew the patriot act. the fact we are now having is very contentious debate where the patriot act actually has lapsed, at least for a few days, and that we're going to have some kind of change in the law that we are calling reform underscores how significantly public opinion has changed in the climate of the country is changed, the views have changed when it comes down much surveillance we're willing to allow our government to engage in against us in the name of
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terrorism. i think that is the greatest significance, the seachange this represents. amy: former florida governor and likely republican presidential hopeful, jeb bush, has been calling for the reauthorization of the patriot act. he spoke to face the nation on sunday. >> there is no evidence, not a shred of evidence the metadata program has violated anybody's civil liberties. the first duty of our national government is to protect the homeland and this has been an effective tool along with many others. the patriot act ought to be reauthorized as is. amy: during his weekly address president obama spoke about the , freedom act. this is part of what he said. >> usa freedom act a conscious something i called for a year and half ago. it in sleep bulk metadata program. the book collection of phone records as it currently exists and puts in place the reforms. the government will no longer hold these records. telephone providers will. the act includes other changes
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to surveillance laws including more transparency to help out, it's among the american people that your privacy and civil liberties are being protected. amy: that is president obama on the freedom act that could be voted on very shortly in the senate and before that, jeb bush. interesting, when greenwald, the lines are breaking down between democrat and republican. president obama for a much against the expiring of the usa patriot act. can you talk about what is happening right now in the senate with, well, the republican rand paul up against the senate majority -- the senate speaker, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, ron wyden taking rand paul's side? talk more about what the lines are now. >> i think it is fascinating that jeb bush has sort of become the republican spokesman for demanding a renewal of the patriot act, position that he
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shares with president obama. because it really is the kind of classic bush-cheney mentality that is behind not just the opposition, but the arguments being invoked in its favor. if you listen to what obama administration officials have been saying for the last month, they essentially sound just like karl rove and the cheney and that whole crew in 2004 and 2005 every time they wanted to course something they wanted, which is, we are in danger, the terrorist threat is mounting. and unless you submit to what it is we want, which is a renewal of the patriot act, you are putting lives in danger. if you are a critic of the patriot act, you are endangering american lives. they actually went anonymously to "the new york times" to say that anybody standing in the way of patriot act renewal is playing "national security russian roulette." something karl rove is probably jealousy never thought of himself of a phrase of scaremongering. you see them very much a line on
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this question. mitt romney tweeted last night in opposition to rand paul and said the patriot act keeps us safe and we need its renewal. exactly what obama officials have been saying for the last several weeks. on the other side of the debate come and not only rand paul but huge numbers of liberals. 86 people in the house who voted against the usa freedom act, not on the grounds a restricted the nsa to much, but it did not restrict the nsa enough. and you have leaders in the house like tea party conservative justin lamarche standing side-by-side with civil rights euro john lewis and john conyers another saying we need more restraints on what the nsa is doing. there is no democrat versus republican or even left versus right split on this issue. nationally or in the congress. what you have is the establishments of both political parties that want to keep american empire strong, want to maintain the weapons of
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militarism and the surveillance state, and the profit it generates and the power it generates completely intact. they're working in unison together to demand patriot act renewal. and then you have these outsiders on the left and the right, a coalition we saw in opposition to the wall street bailout and now we're seeing it again, saying, no, we don't need or want our government to be able to monitor the communications of hundreds of millions of citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong. mass surveillance is intrinsically dangerous and something the constitution for bids. i think it is exciting to see the breakdown of the standard partisan divisions and leaves democrats, particular, with a lot of cognizant dissidence. during the bush years, they were trying to think of the patriot act as this evil thing that did cheney dead. and they were trained to think it was terrible if you stand up and say, if you oppose our policies, you're helping the terrorists.
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and now you have the leader of the democratic party president obama, and the leaders of the democratic party in the congress, leading the way demanding the renewal of the patriot act and sounding exactly like dick cheney and yet rand paul being the nominal leader of the effort to undo the patriot act it really since democrats and is sort of a spasm of cognizant dissidence over why it is their party is now defending the law that for so many years they were told they should hate. amy: we're talking to the pulitzer prize-winning journalist glenn greenwald in rio de janeiro, brazil. his piece in the intercept is headlined, "anonymous fearmongering about the patriot act from the white house and new york times." i also want to talk to about the media's role and after we finished speaking with glenn, we go to colorado. you'll hear the full graduation speech that a valedictorian in colorado did not get to give because his principal learned he would be coming out as gay in the speech. we will speak with 18-year-old evan young himself after you
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hear his address. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. speaking to face the nation on sunday, cia director john brennan called for the reauthorization of the patriot act, arguing that it has been integral to preventing terrorist attacks in the u.s. >> the tools the government has used over the last dozen years to keep this country safe are integral to making sure we're able to stop terrorist in their tracks. the tools we have under the patriot act those ways were able to monitor their activities really have helped stop the attacks. these tools are all heart of a package of safeguards that have been put in place. so the president, the attorney general, the director of the fbi, heads of nsa and cia are very supportive of an extension of those capabilities and those
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authorities. unfortunately, i think there's been a little too much political grandstanding and crusading for ideological causes that have really skewed the debate on this issue. but these tools are important to american lives. amy: that is sage rector john brennan: for reauthorization of the patriot act. the key provisions were expired at 12;01 monday morning. they will be taking up the usa freedom act in the next few days. glenn greenwald, can you respond to what he said? >> it is hilarious to listen to the director of the cia accuse other people of having ideological causes in the policies they support, but even more amazing is the fact he is sitting there telling the american public something he knows to be completely false which is these tools have been critical in keeping the country safe.
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for one thing, how is the country -- how has the country been kept safe? there been multiple terror plots aimed at the united states, some of which have succeeded, including an attack on fort hood and one of the boston marathon and others that were thwarted by very traditional law enforcement means having nothing to do with the patriot act, like the detonated bomb on an airline jed over detroit on christmas day by the so-called underwear bomber. there have been multiple commissions since edward snowden came for including one convened by the obama white house itself, they gave the commission access to all the classified data and they issued a report saying this domestic metadata program has never, ever been successful in stopping even a single terrorist plot. the federal court come up which in 2014 said the program was unconstitutional, said there was no evidence the nsa or the justice department can point to that this program is ever stop a terrorist plot. democrats on the intelligence
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committee who have access to all the classified information have all said the same ring, that there is no role these programs play in stopping terror plots. or john brennan to go on television, unchallenged of course by bob schaffer, and to be able to say something that even the a administration's evidence completely negates, which this -- which says it is helpless stopping terrorism, is extraordinary. these programs that had no role in stopping terrorism at all. if anything, it is because government is collecting information on everybody that it is incapable of knowing when somebody is plotting an attack like the one like the boston marathon. amy: let's go to edward snowden in an exclusive new interview argued mass surveillance programs do not help deter terrorist threats, as you are saying, glenn, around the world. >> truly unfortunate in this
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context. we know these programs don't help mitigate terrorism. in the united states, we're programs appointed by the white house, two different panels that look at these programs and found not a single case did mass surveillance produce information that made a concrete difference. amy: that is edward snowden speaking -- well, he has political asylum in russia, in moscow. glenn greenwald, you met with him in hong kong. you are the one with more portraits who revealed the documents -- laura poitras who revealed the documents. president obama said this debate would've happened anyway without ed snowden's revelations. do you see what has taken place in these last hours as directly -- that ed snowden is directly
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responsible for this debate? >> of course. first of all, president obama's claim the debate was about to happen anyway, he was already up to get the debate going before he even heard of edward snowden is the most laughable thing ever. of the time edward stone came forward, president obama was in office for five will years. not only had he not started such a debate, he actively block the debate from happening by sending the justice department over and over to court when the aclu would sue and say these programs of surveillance are unconstitutional. president obama's justice department was say, you have no idea what it is redoing and no court can role on whether these programs are constitutional or illegal. they did everything possible to suppress the debate, not make it happen. of course the only reason we're having this debate, the only reason this is an issue, go the reason why the patriot act is going to be reformed is because one person was courageous enough in an act of conscience to come
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forward and tell his fellow citizens about what his government was doing that should have been known all along, even knowing would unravel his life in all sorts of unimaginable ways. that is why i think it is clearly the case and really worth thinking about today -- and i think other people who previously were attacking snowden and condemning them have come out in the last month and said, you know what? i was wrong. i think what he did was patriotic. we should realize we owe him a general -- genuine gratitude. amy: they cited an article last week : in "the new york times" also urged the reauthorization of the patriot act, citing unnamed obama administration officials saying that such security measures cannot be suspended at a time of "mounting terrorism threats." in the piece headlined, "white house presses for deal on phone data bill," the author goes on to quote an unnamed senior official saying, "what you're doing, essentially, is you're playing national security russian roulette." another source is quoted as saying, "we're in uncharted
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waters. we have not had to confront addressing the terrorist threat without these authorities, and it's going to be fraught with unnecessary risk." these are unnamed quotes in "the new york times." glenn, your piece in the intercept, not only goes after the usa patriot act and the white house, because after "the new york times." >> "the new york times" the biggest journalist disgrace and a history was they help the bush and sell the iraq war to the american public by disseminating false claims. the way they did that was by giving anonymity to government officials to make utterly false claims with no accountability and then laundering it to the public. and after that all happened and it got exposed, they said they had learned that lesson and they would no longer allow government officials to scare the public while hiding behind anonymity. and yet nothing is changed at "the new york times." that article you referenced is a
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pure example of how judy miller got to be a scapegoat and fired for, giving anonymity to government officials discover the public to get what they want. this was not even a case where some government official called the reporter at "the new york times" and said, oh, i've some information for you, and pretended to be leaking something an authorized and said i will only give it to you if you give me anonymity. it was a white house call for multiple reporters were invited to appear on his conference call. the officials were at the white house making these claims, and they said the only way we're going to let you do the reporting is if you keep our names suppressed from your readers. in the subservient journalists said, ok, we agree. we will write down and print what you say, but we will hide the edit in the of who the person is who is saying it so there's no count ability for you. what makes it worse, the article were they said those who are opposing the patriot act were playing national security russian roulette and ignoring mounting terror threats, they did not quote single critic
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the patriot act. all of this evidence shows these programs -- it was a one-sided pro-obama administration press release are anonymity was given to scare the public into endorsing the patriot act which is exactly what "the new york times" limits is journalist recklessness and continues to do it. it raises questions of out what they see their function as being. amy: for people are still having trouble understanding, you have these key provisions of the usa patriot act that have expired. the usa freedom act, which kentucky senator and the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell didn't want to first consider, is now going to be voted on by the senate. it was passed by the house. what are the key differences and what are your concerns with the
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usa freedom act? >> right, so there's basically three factions in congress. one is the rand paul led faction that says, this new law, the usa freedom act, doesn't go far enough in limiting the nsa and in some cases, it strengthens the nsa. which is classic washington tactic, to call something a reform when it is actually strengthening the factions of the reform. then you have the right wing the neocons, who say, we don't want any reform of all of the nsa so we are opposed to the usa freedom act because we don't think anything should be reformed. then you have the big bipartisan coalition in the middle that includes the obama white house that says, we like this new law the usa freedom act, we think it provides just enough reform to limit some of the abuses of the nsa while at the same time, keeping the nsa strong and vibrant. the big change in the usa freedom act that is being heralded is that it ends the
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domestic data metadata program. there will no longer collect the phone records showing all of the americans who are talking -- and who they're talking to. instead, those records will be cut by the private telephone company. if you make a call through spread, it will be sint they keep a record. and if the government wants to access some of those records that of just being able to look on their own in their own private stash, they now have to go to the phone companies and ask the phone companies for these records. there's a slightly higher standard they have to meet in order to access it, so it does provide some additional safeguards. it also provides some added transparency in what the fisa court does. it will require there be someone present at the fisa corp. proceeding assigned the government -- court proceedings besides the government. the problem is, it leaves overwhelmingly undisturbed the
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vast bulk of what the nsa does and it is very unlikely there will be another reform bill, which means the nsa's core mission and activities will remain unreformed and unchanged. in in some sense, it does expand the nsa's capabilities because a federal court just two weeks ago said under the patriot act they never had the authority to engage any kind of bulk collection at all. it was illegal for them to be doing it all stop and the usa freedom act, to some degree allow some kind of bulk collection in a way that arguably is an increase over even what the current law allows. so there is a real debate. i am sort of ambivalent about where i fall. of whether it is a good or bad thing. but it is true there are some things in it that are real reform, it is really a step in the right direction. and i think symbolically, it is important that for the first time, we're taking powers away from the government after 9/11 rather than giving them more.
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i think that can be built on to someday get real reform. amy: as we are in an expanded presidential season, we heard what jeb bush had to say who is expected to be a republican presidential hopeful. bernie sanders announced on the democratic side, said he opposed usa patriot act pretty sure he will vote for the usa freedom act at this point. but voted against keeping the reauthorization of the usa patriot act. hillary, where does she stand, glenn greenwald? >> it is a huge myery. i heard -- her tactic seems to be to take no position on anything controversial until she is forced to. if you look at hillary clinton's record of the past decade, she is one of percent in the camp of the democratic party hawks. she was behind patriot act reauthorization in 2005, and then again in 2010. she was part of an
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administration that oversaw massive expansion of nsa spying. she is never uttered a word to suggest she is at all bothed by any of it. although she is consistent with her general tactics, currently refer used to say what she thinks on this matter, i think you can infer from her long history, not in the past but in the very recent past, that she is fully supportive of this regime of spying. amy: i want to thank you for much for being with us, glenn greenwald, kilis are prize-winning journalist, one of his recent pieces for the intercept is headlined "anonymous fearmongering about the patriot act from the white house and the new york times." we will link to it. glenn greenwald speaking to us from rio de janeiro, brazil. when we come back, the graduation speech the high school valedictorian did not get to give. you will hear it here first on democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as return to this democracy now! global broadcast exclusive it's , graduation season and students across the nation are
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celebrating their hard-won academic achievements. and in high school, there's no greater honor than the title of class valedictorian. traditionally, the student with the highest academic record is invited to address the graduating class -- and that's exactly what evan young planned to do when he was named valedictorian of twin peaks charter academy high school in longmont, colorado. however, young was prevented from delivering his speech at his graduation ceremony because after school officials learned he planned to announce he was gay as part of his broader message about respecting differences. in the days leading up to graduation, school principal bj buchmann reportedly instructed young to omit the disclosure. when evan refused the principal , called the student's father and prematurely outed the teen. then the school prevented young from addressing his class and also refused to recognize him as the class valedictorian at its may 16 graduation ceremony. evan young is a graduating senior with a 4.5 gpa and a scholarship awaiting him at rutgers university.
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his story has sparked national outcry from gay rights activists and allies. well, on sunday, evan young got another chance to deliver his speech. the 18-year-old spoke at the annual fundraiser for the gay-rights group out boulder. he was introduced by out boulder's executive director mardi moore. >> so when evan and i started communicating about this, we really did try to work things out without going to the press. that was -- we did not want to go to the press. you can as people . dave montes, is a great colleague of mine and i'm grateful to dave, i went into a meeting with him and with the principal and some others and tried to get them to allow evan to give his speech. the refused to do that. when i talked to evan, said guillen thing we can do is bring public pressure, this is what he told me --
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i have mixed feelings about making the story public. i don't want to seem like i am bitter and trying to exact some revenge because i'm not. i would not do something like that. i only think we should do something if it is absolutely clear that number one, this will improve my school in the long run. number two, this will lead to increased exceptions for the dbt community. number three, to ensure my situation doesn't happen again. amy: out boulder's executive director, mardi moore introducing 18-year-old evan young, valedictorian of twin peaks charter academy high school in longmont, colorado. now this is young himself, who was supposed to give this graduation address on may 16
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but instead, it was last night for a sunday night, in a backyard with hundreds of people gathered, many of them politicians. this is evan young's graduation address. >> in the words of one of my heroes stephen colbert, dreams can change if we all stuck with the first room, the world would be overrun with cowboys and princesses. i don't really remember what my first tree and was, although, i'm pretty sure i never wanted to be a princess, but my dreams have changed many times over the years and not all of them have-field. there are two i've stuck with my entire life. one, finish high school with perfect grades. and two, where a cape. [applause] tonight i call pushed both. when i was a toddler companies to watch "arthur" on pbs. i remember saying to my dad that i wanted to get straight a's in
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the future. i did not know what it meant at the time, but sure enough, i will give -- fulfill this except for the b i got an art class but that doesn't count because art is really a class anyway. [laughter] i'm quite honored to be the class valedictorian. i haven't quite figured out how to say it correctly. in all seriousness, this is an honor and i can say at this moment reluctantly delivering a speech to a school in a green cape is the greatest moment of my life so far. [applause] first up say thank you to everyone. i know it is super cliché, but it is a good flesh a like slow-motion and movies.
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always members, thank you so much for sitting through all of the speeches you knew you were going to be bored by and proximal is 6.5 minutes, your trials and jubilation's will be over. at any point you feel like pretending to go to the bathroom so you can play on your phone in the hallway, we know who you are , i won't be offended. fellow students, thank you for putting up with me for so many years. you are always so nice to me. i love you guys. while we will probably make new friends wherever we go, it won't be you and that makes me sad. almost cried at the thought of leaving you. almost, not quite. my manliness is still intact. i want to think my teachers follow the wonderful things that taught me, frankly, i forgot most of it. i had a bad habit of making stupid comments and i can't thank enough for putting up with me. as often as i complained about your comic is summits in class behind your back, i never complained about you guys are too awesome for that.
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i would like to thank my family for all of their encouragement and support and for forcing me to do my college essay despite whining and procrastination. i would like to thank my mother and brother, troy, for hiding candy in the rooms. those gun drops and lolly lollipops got me through so many classes. where would we be without the internet? i daresay the internet is better than the wheel because wheels are pretty useless unless you have google maps to tell you where to go. whether you're scrolling through facebook instead of working or frantically reading through spark notes in five minutes before english class because you forgot to do the reading last night, come on, you know you have been there, you can't thank the internet enough. really. i would like to thank the coca-cola company and all its subsidiaries which have not listed as unshakable icons for american consumerism but also provided mankind with a delicious source of caffeine for so many years.
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[applause] i would like to say this speech is sponsored by them, but it's not. they did not give me the money. unlike killer clinton, i donate millions of dollars a year for flapping my lips. -- unlike hillary clinton, i do not make millions of dollars each year for flapping my lips. the inspiration and meaningful part of my speech. for those who have been inspired and determine the meaning of their existence, feel free to play on your phone but just laugh every once in a while so i feel like i'm been funny. for the rest of us, we are going in. since we're never going to see each other, i thought i should share several of my deepest and darkest secrets. first, i dislike doing homework. seriously, i hate it. it is not just that it is boring, it's most of the time it doesn't feel necessary or helpful.
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the line between homework and busywork is a blurry one because most of the time, they're pretty much the same thing. not all homework is bad. sometimes it is helpful, but like the heimlich maneuver, euro was supposed to do it when it is absolutely necessary. otherwise, you will just make children throw up for no reason. [laughter] homework is ok when it is intended to reinforce the things learned in class or prepare students for the next lesson but not when it is just meant to make the dreary hours of school take up even more of the students day. homework is, like those 18 month wall calendars you see a barnes & noble. sure the first 12 months or helpful, but what a mess posted do the last six? -- but what am i supposed to do the last six? i totally forgot where was going with this. anyway, students, if your grades are good and you occasionally feel stressed out and don't want
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to do your homework, don't feel like you have to. just relax, play on the internet, entering some coca-cola -- and drink some coca-cola. [laughter] to reiterate, i am not sponsored by them. second, i never took notes in class and only paid just enough attention to crack a joke every once in a while. i was busy twirling pens working on homework due in the following class. seldom finishing the summit days before it was due. once i finished an english essay after pulling an all later at 7:00 p.m. and still got a 100%. i have no idea how i got straight a's in high school as i was not the best student. of 70 more secrets to reveal. i wrote in all the answers in history to the test of my textbooks are one lucky student this year did not have to read any of the chapters.
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i dislike doing outlines so much, i just underline passes in the textbook and copied them down on the shoot paper when i got around to it but i was too lazy to erase the marks before a given back to you. ms. gilmore only read about halfway through "crime and punishment" before switching to spark of us. i may or may not have stolen your candy earlier the year. i'm not saying anything. miss freeman, a hardly ever sing in choir. i mostly saying in a way i thought was funny. choi, one time -- wait, you're my brother. i'm not going to take you anything. my second biggest secret, i once asked a girl on a date. you guessed it i'm not really supposed to tell you. earlier the year, i've many classes with her over the course of the year and i noticed how durable she was. about a month ago i typed into her calculator, will you please be my first girlfriend?
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she said, no. thoroughly embarrassed, i wrote her a letter post up i will now read it to you. my dear friend, i'm sorry i asked you to be my girlfriend. i always see you as more than a friend on account of hours of classroom had together in the amount of time we have each other. i just wanted to get to know you even better and be around you more before we part ways for the remainder of our lives. i think you're smart, finley, an adorable and the only girl i've ever had a crush on. i want you to be my girlfriend because i genuinely adore you and a perfect understanding few don't feel the same way about me. we will always be friends. on a more serious note, there's something i would like to reveal to you. you may have suspected this, but i hope this does not change your opinion of me. i am gay. i have been attracted to men for as long as i can remember but i've never had a girlfriend because i prefer members of my own sex. i thought if ever i'm to refer to some it is my girlfriend, and may be the best friend i ever had. sincerely, evan young.
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[applause] i'm not quite done yet. i'm getting there. and that is my biggest secret of all, i'm dave. i understand this might be offensive to some people, but it is who i am. whether you suspected this or it is a total shock, now you know. i was debating with myself whether i should reveal this on account of how gay people tend to be stereotyped. i thought if i did i should beg you guys not to think differently of me. but i shouldn't have to. if there is one thing i learned at this school, how we can stub be friends even if we profoundly disagree with each other. sure, there's only 30 of us, so it's not like we had a choice am a but we have disagreed over politics, sports movies, who's speaking at graduation -- pretty much everything else. no matter how much we disagreed
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we learn to overlook our differences and respect each other no matter how annoying, boring the speeches were or no matter what weird snacks they brought to history class from coffee creamer to coconuts. i want everyone here to do the same. before you leave, i have one final request for you. hug someone. that's right, hug someone. students, hug a teacher. people who own a gun, hug one of those liberals that once to snatch it out of your cold, dead fingers. and, hug a jewish person. -- mel gibson, hug a jewish person. christians, hug a day person. actually, please, don't, because -- you get the point. finally, we're at the part you been waiting for, the end of this beach. this is the part where in the words of a sappy love letter we part ways for the remainder of our lives.
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it is either literally the last words most of you will ever hear before you say anything stupid, keep it short and simple. goodbye, everyone. i will miss you. whatever happens to us and where for we go, my only hope is that we will meet again -- don't know where, don't know when. [applause] amy: that was 18-year-old evan young, giving the graduation address he did not get to give at his high school graduation ceremony. he was the 2015 class valedictorian of twin peaks charter academy high school in longmont, colorado. his school prevented him from addressing his classmates at graduation after learning he planned to out himself as gay in his speech. the school also refused to formally recognize him as its valedictorian. on sunday, he got a chance to deliver his speech at the annual garden party benefiting the gay-rights group out boulder. well, for more, we go now to denver, colorado where we're joined by evan young.
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welcome and congratulations. how does it feel to finally have given your address? >> it was amazing. i was very nervous, actually. a lot of my friends had read the speech and they all said they liked it, but it wasn't really sure which jokes they liked which parts they didn't like. a the most part, when i gave my speech it seemed like everyone like the old thing. it was just awesome. amy: what happened? when did you learn you are not allowed to give your address on may 16 when you were the valedictorian, the one who is supposed to give the address? >> basically what happened, i sent the principle a copy of my speech, a rough draft on the monday before the graduation said monday. the next day, he reviewed the speech and did not like some parts. he especially did not like the part where i said i was gay. i made most of the edits he asked me to, but i did not remove the part where he told me -- the part where i revealed i was gay because i thought that part was very important to the speech. i wrote a letter explaining why
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i would not remove that part of the speech. then he told madoff prime minister for the simona began that i was not allowed to speak. amy: you are at the ceremony with your speech and hand. >> yes, i did and practicing all day. i was kind of disappointed i was not allowed to give it. amy: why did he say you were not allowed to give it? >> at the actual ceremony, he did not give any particular reason. he just said, you're not going to be allowed. to speak amy: how did you feel? >> at the time, i was very mad. i spent a lot of time preparing that speechnd -- well, i'm not mad anymore, but at the time i was very frustrated. i felt kind of that because i did not want to ruin the event for any my friends. i don't think i did. amy: you outed yourself in the speech. since he had read it, he knew what you're going to say. he called your parents and told
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them you were gay? >> that is correct. yes, he did. amy: were they surprised? >> not really. they were not too upset with me or anything. amy: how did it feel to give the speech last night? >> it was awesome. just like everyone liked the whole thing. i did not think that would happen. i was so nervous. amy: we have to wrap up the show, but i want to continue talking to you and we will post it online at a congress member was there and gave you a major citation. many politicians were there. thanks for joining us. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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