tv Democracy Now PBS February 2, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/02/17 02/02/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! president trump pushes the senate republicans to use the nuclear option if needed to push through the confirmation of supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. meanwhile, democrats attempt to fight back by boycotting committee votes on three cabinet picks. we will get the latest from ryan grim of the huffington post. plus, we will speak to an immigration lawyer suing the trump administration over its ban on refugees and citizens from seven majority muslim nations. and we will hear the voice of a holocaust survivor and former refugee, the late grandmother of
donald trump's son-in-law, jared kushner. >> we could never understand [indiscernible] this we will never know. amy: we will speak to the nation's lizzy ratner, author of a new piece, "nobody wanted to take us in: the story of jared kushner's family, and mine." all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the full senate has confirmed longtime exxonmobil ceo rex
tillerson to be secretary of state. reuters reports the 56 to 43 senate vote was the closest vote, by a wide margin, for a secretary of state nominee in at least a half century. three democrats backed tillerson's nomination -- mark warner of virginia, heidi heitkamp of north dakota, and joe manchin of west virginia. trump's nomination of tillerson has been widely condemned by environmental activist. klein said tillerson and other trump cabinet picks represent a corporate coup. the judiciary committee also approved the nomination of senator jeff sessions to be attorney general in a straight party-line vote. jeff sessions' confirmation has faced widespread protest over his opposition to the voting rights act and his history of making racist comments. on monday, about 10 members of the naacp, including president cornell william brooks, were arrested at a sit in in sessions
of westby office in mobile, alabama. in january, protesters wore white footed robes and pretended to be members of the ku klux klan. sessions once reportedly said he thought the ku klux klan was "ok until i found out they smoke pot." on wednesday, protester from codepink disrupted the senate judiciary committee's meeting. >> the nomination is approved by the committee and will be -- >> [inaudible] >>. >> meeting over. >> the nomination of a man [indiscernible] amy: the result boycott uncommitted votes of two of donald trump's cabinet pick, steven mnuchin as treasury secretary and representative tom
price as secretary of health and human services. the rules require at least one democrat present to vote. republicans then suspended the rules and voted to send the two nominations to the senate floor. democrats on the environment and public works committee also boycotted a vote on scott pruitt to become head of the environmental protection agency. through it is a longtime ally of the fossil fuel industry who sued the epa 14 times. in other senators, the confirmation of betsy devos as education secretary appears to be on thin ice as to republicans announced plans to vote against devos leaving senate republicans one vote section -- short of confirming her. if the vote is 50-50, mike would then cast the deciding vote, a new event that is never happened to any other nominee in history. devos is a longtime backer of charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools.
she and her husband have invested in a student debt collection agency that does business with the education department. as for president trump supreme court nomination of judge neil gorsuch, trump has urged republican leadership to consider using the so-called nuclear option. that is instituting a role change to prohibit filibusters to push through the confirmation. senate democrats have vowed to filibuster the nomination of gorsuch. international relations between trump's administration and multiple foreign governments deteriorated wednesday, as trump's national security adviser publicly threatened iran and new information emerged about heated conversations between trump and the leaders of mexico and australia. on wednesday, national security adviser michael flynn condemned iran's recent ballistic missile test launch and said the u.s. was putting iran on notice. >> president trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between iran and the obama administration, as well as the united nations as
being weak and ineffective. instead of being thankful to the u.s. in these agreements, iran is feeling emboldened. as of today, we are officially putting iran on notice. amy: many experts, as well as iran's foreign ministry, say sunday's missile test does not violate the terms of the 2015 un security council resolution. the test also does not violate the terms of the landmark 2015 iran, u.s., between and other tions. during his campaign, trump vowed to dismantle the iran nuclear deal, which he called "the stupidest deal of all time." "the washington post" is reporting trump abruptly ended a call between himself and australian prime minister malcolm turnbull on saturday after complaining about the terms of a refugee deal between the u.s. and australia, and telling prime minister turnbull that their conversation was the worst call by far that he'd had with a foreign leader that day. under the obama administration, the united states had pledged to accept and resettle 1250
refugees from a detention center in australia. but when turnbull asked trump to confirm the u.s. would honor this agreement, trump reportedly called it the worst deal ever and claimed the refugees could include the next boston bombers. the u.s. and australia have been longtime allies. meanwhile, the associated press is reporting trump reportedly threatened to send u.s. troops to mexico during a phone call with mexican president enrique pena nieto on friday. according to excerpts of the transcript obtained by the associated press, trump told pena nieto -- "you have a bunch of bad hombres down there. you aren't doing enough to stop them. i think your military is scared. our military isn't, so i just might send them down to take care of it." in delaware, prisoners at the james t. vaughn correctional center in smyrna have launched an uprising, taking correctional officers hostage and demanding improved education and rehabilitation services. the rebellion began wednesday morning when some prisoners took
four guards hostage and issued their demands. this is a phone call from inside the prison. you have to carefully. >> donald trump, all of the things he's doing now, we know the institution is going to change for the worse. we got the man's -- demands that you need to pay attention to. we want education first and foremost, and rehabilitation. we want the money to be allocated some people know what is going on in the prison. amy: two of the four guards taken hostage were released wednesday. as of this morning, two are still hostage, and the uprising continues. in north dakota, 76 water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion dakota access pipeline were arrested wednesday after militarized police raided a new protest camp set up on historic sioux treaty land. the last child camp was established on the west side of highway 1806 near the main oceti
sakowin camp. the land is now owned by energy transfer partners, the company behind the pipeline. this is water protector and former north dakota congressional candidate chase iron eyes. >> we just established a new camp called the last child camp in honor of crazy horse, who created that warrior society in 1873. amy: chase iron eyes was among the dozens arrested wednesday. the army corps of engineers appears poised to grant the final permit required for energy transfer partners to finish construction. a group of military veterans, called veterans stand, has vowed to stop the construction of the pipeline. meanwhile, a jury in morton county has convicted eight water protectors of misdemeanor charges related to the resistance to the dakota access pipeline. in more dakota access news, a seattle city council committee has voted to divest $3 billion in city funds from wells fargo, and concerns about wells fargo's
investments in the pipeline. the full seattle city council will vote on the legislation on monday. a mistrial has been dakota in the case of environmental activist ken ward who is facing three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge after he shut off a valve on the trans mountain pipeline in washington state to stop the flow of tar sands oil coming into the united states from canada in october. his action was part of a coordinated protest during which the valves on pipelines in minnesota, montana and north , dakota were also shut off. the mistrial was declared after a skagit county, washington, jury couldn't reach a verdict. in romania, the minister of business, trade, and entrepreneurship has resigned, after more than a quarter of a million people poured into the streets wednesday to protest the government's passing of an emergency ordinance decriminalizing official misconduct. the protests are the biggest in romania since 1989. in eastern ukraine, nearly a dozen soldiers have died in
recent days amid a surge in violence between ukrainian troops and russian-backed separatists. european monitors say there has been heavy shelling since the weekend. the u.s. backs the ukrainian military with training and equipment. israel has announced it's building an entirely new jewish-only settlement in the israeli-occupied west bank. the move marks the first brand brand-new official settlement in the west bank built by the israeli government in about two decades, although the israeli settlers have built un-official settlements, and the israeli government has dramatically expanded already existing settlements. last month, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu announced plans to construction -- to begin construction on more than 5000 housing units in the israeli-occupied west bank. in berkeley, california, white nationalist breitbart news was a milo yiannopoulos forced to cancel his planned speech at the university of california, berkeley, amidst massive protest. more than 1000 people came out to demonstrate against him.
yiannopouloshas -- has a long history of making racist, sexist and xenophobic statements. it's the second time in recent weeks university of california officials have been forced to cancel one of his speeches due to student protests. this morning president trump tweeted -- "if uc berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view -- no federal funds?" the group refuse fascism says, however -- "people who protest milo are not opposing free speech, they are opposing a fascist america, which is the actual, real, and gravely serious threat to basic rights of speech, assembly, and intellectual life." and president trump is facing criticism after he appeared to suggest that the great abolitionist and writer frederick douglass, who was born into slavery around 1818 and died in 1895, is still, in fact, alive. this is donald trump, speaking at a black history month event on wednesday. pres. trump: i'm very proud now
that we have a museum where people can learn about reverend king, some of the other things, frederick douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more i noticed. amy: that's president trump, speaking about frederick douglass, who is one of the most revered abolitionists in u.s. history. later on wednesday, reporters asked white house press secretary sean spicer about trump's comments. this is spicer. >> about frederick douglass being recognized more and more. do you have any had to what specifically he was referring to? >> i think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made and i think through a lot hethe actions and statements is going to make, i think the contributions of frederick douglass will become more and more. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. it was a chaotic day on capitol hill wednesday.
the senate confirmed exxon ceo rex tillerson by a vote of 56 to 43. reuters reports it was the closest vote, by a wide margin, for a secretary of state nominee in at least a half century. three democrats backed tillerson's nomination -- mark warner of virginia, heidi heitkamp of north dakota, and joe manchin of west virginia. the senate judiciary committee also approved the nomination of senator jeff sessions to be attorney general in a straight party-line vote. meanwhile, democratic lawmakers on the senate finance committee boycotted committee votes on two of donald trump's cabinet picks -- steven mnuchin for treasury secretary and tom price for health and human services secretary. republicans on the committee then suspended the rules and voted to send the two nominations to the senate floor. senator sherrod brown defended the democratic boycott. >> what is next is we want the
secretary designee of health and human services and treasurer to own up respected newspapers, conservative newspapers, both say they lied about the essential information. in our state, the secretary of treasury, his company, his bank foreclosed on at least hundreds of ohioans wrongfully. i want him to explain why he did it. i would hope he could make people hold when they basically threw people out of their homes. amy: democrats on the environment and public works committee also boycotted a vote on scott pruitt to become head of the environmental protection agency. in other senate news, the confirmation of betsy devos as education secretary appears on thin ice as two republicans -- senators susan collins and lisa murkowski -- announced plans to vote against devos leaving senate republicans one vote short of confirming her. if the senate vote is 50-50, vice president mike pence would
then cast the deciding vote, an event that has never happened to any other presidential nominee in history. ofos is a longtime backer charters and private schools. she and her husband have invested in the student debt collection agency that does business with the education department. and to cap off the day, president trump urged the republican leadership to consider using the so-called nuclear option, that is instituting a rule change to prohibit filibusters, to push through the nomination of -- confirmation of supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. to make sense of what's happening on capitol hill, we are joined by ryan grim, washington bureau chief for the huffington post. his most recent piece is titled, "after trying everything else, democrats have decided to listen to their voters." explain what you mean. >> if you think about the history of the democratic party, you probably have to go back to the early 1970's to find a place where the activist base was kind
of leading the party forward. right after the inauguration, democrats -- even democrats like elizabeth warren and bernie sanders were saying, we are willing to work with donald trump. we want to give him a chance. the democratic base kind of erupted at that and they were like, no, this person is a lunatic and you have to resist him at every step. the mantra to resist or resign rose up. yet many people filling the streets with the women's march is, but it did not stop there. you have phone calls pouring in. yes in the tenor change on capitol hill. moderate democrats, who in the past would have been happy to work with say a rex tillerson and vote for a secretary of state like that, instead, are saying, no and are demanding more information. they started boycotting hearings. you even had nancy pelosi and
others hold in impromptu rally. they are trying. they look a little awkward at times when they're doing it because they are not used to it because their muscles have not been flexed in a long time. clearly, they recognize there is a lot of energy and opposition, and that is where they're headed at the moment. nermeen: let's go back to that the devos -- the devos hearing. like your views on the relative advantage of measuring the assessments and using them to measure proficiency or measure growth. for that question. i think if i'm understanding your question correctly around proficiency, i would also correlate it to competency and mastery so that each student is measured according to the advancement that they're making in each subject area. >> that is growth.
that is that provisions single step in other words, the growth they're making isn't growth. the proficiency is arbitrary standard -- >> the proficiency is if they reach like third grade level for reading, etc. >> no, i'm talking about the debate between proficiency and growth, what your thoughts are. >> well, i was just asking to clarify then -- >> this is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years. nermeen: that is al franken questioning education secretary designate betsy devos last month during her confirmation hearing. ryan grim, can you comment on what her response was to the questions that al franken was asking her? >> it was kind of a flabbergasting response because this debate between growth and proficiency -- there are people of good faith on each side of
the debate within education policy, but in the era of school assessments, it is one of the fundamental debates in education policy. this is it. where you stand, whether you should be measuring the growth of a student or a flat proficiency at a grade level. where you stand on that kind of defines your view on education policy today. quiteer answer suggested clearly is that she has not thought about this. she is unfamiliar with this debate. while a lot of people talk about the level of malevolence within the trump administration, you have an extraordinary amount of ignorance. to have an education secretary who literally does not know about the primary issue -- not that she is wrong on the issue, necessarily, but she doesn't even know what it is -- is an extraordinary thing. it flows into putting then carson at the top of housing and urban development who has absolutely no experience in
housing policy whatsoever and has himself said he is unqualified for a cabinet position. we are in extraordinary territory. when democrats are taking a to a lot ofosition these candidates because the base is pushing them there, when i finally get there, they see, well, this actually is intellectually the right position. haveand on wednesday, you two republican senators announcing they will not confirm betsy devos as secretary of education, senator susan collins of maine followed by lisa murkowski of alaska. let's go to a clip of them. >> in keeping with my past practice, i will vote today to devos' to debate on mrs. nomination. but the madam president, i will not, i cannot vote to confirm nexts our nation's
secretary of education. >> i do not intend to vote on final passage to support mrs. devos to be secretary of education. i think -- amy: this is quite stunning. it is interesting they are women , women certainly in the minority in the senate. he also have the women judges in the attorney general who has trump'sn trouble' -- way blocking these bands saying they will not enforce them. the significance of this, and what this means if senator sessions were approved as attorney general before this vote. he would not be able to vote if you were confirmed -- if you were confirmed, and this would mean devos would go down. it is confirmation has just been voted out of the committee. i am sure they will wait so he can vote. that would just make this 50-50,
unless another republican says no. is that right? collects that is exactly right. that means they have to keep jeff sessions in the senate as long as they possibly can to begin be around the vote for devos and in the other nominees they feel are going to be right up against the edge. as soon as he becomes attorney general, he can no longer vote in the senate. there are a couple of other significant things. while alaska and maine are rural states, public education is still an important factor there. not only teachers, but parents of children in public schools are extremely motivated. collins he did it is, but murkowski said it exquisitely. she told me she got 30,000 calls this last week on almost all of them anti-devos. she said that helped her decide to oppose. activism from within these states did in fact move these people. which mcconnell spokesman told me they still have the vote and they're confident she is going to be confirmed.
mitch mcconnell is known for being quite an extreme era vote counter. her at thist on point being confirmed. but the level of hostility -- amy: vice president pence would have to -- the first time ever. is ane you said, that historical moment that education secretary that is so controversial that even though you have a senate majority, you need your a vice president to push her over the top. amy: and now you have rex tillerson, the new secretary of state, immediately jumping into the fray, has to deal with the travel ban and iran. iran he is very friendly with in dealing with iran around the cruise missile that they just tested because he was a longtime ceo of exxonmobil and actually had some secret negotiations with iran. >> right. this will be a short nearly difficult politics for some -- extraordinaire really difficult
politics for someone like rex tillerson. he is quite friendly with vladimir putin and russia, as is donald trump. it is not even clear that trump knows he is on the one hand picking a fight with the client and on the other hand cozying up to the boss state. at the same time he is picking a fight with australia's prime minister, hanging up the phone on him and threatening to send troops into mexico. this is literally in the last 24 hours. on wednesday, president trump urged the republican leadership to consider using the so-called nuclear option, that is instituting a rule change to prohibit filibusters to push through the confirmation of supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. pres. trump: i would say if you can, go nuclear. that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web.
so i would say go for it. nermeen: ryan grim, that is trump saying to go for the nuclear option. >> my read on this is that republicans will end up getting enough democrats to support this nominee so they will get 60 votes and will not actually go nuclear. i think there is 100% or close to 100% certainty that if they don't get to the 60 votes, they would go nuclear on this. i think there for the significance of this is that if donald trump is pushing some legislative agenda in the future, not a supreme court nominee, but does the legislative agenda and democrats are filibustering it, you will see him pushing for the nuclear , too. on legislation donald trump is not summit who will say, oh, well, my agenda cannot get through because the established norms of our democratic society, oh, well, i lost. he is him and he is going to say, no, we need to change those
rules and push it through. you'll see mitch mcconnell pushed back. he does not necessarily want the 60 vote threshold to come down because paradoxically, he looses power relative to donald trump then because if mitch mcconnell can tell donald trump, look, i would love to do your infrastructure project that i just don't have 60 votes, then there isn't a whole lot donald trump can do accept push on twitter and in speeches and rallies are the nuclear option. that has the capacity than two to the republican party apart heading into 2018. who knows where this element is going? amy: watching tv, you see a rinse missile going off and then you see nuclear option flashing across the screen back and forth. of course, the nuclear option is not dealing with iran at this point -- phrase. we need a new amy: then you have rex tillerson phase in 1000 diplomats and others within the state
department, signing on against the travel ban. we will and on that with just 30 seconds, ryan. think tillerson, i don't six months ago, thought there was any possibility he was going to be secretary of state of the united states. thelike you said, yes entire world against him. but that is, of a familiar position for next on ceo and -- exxon ceo and they have managed to thrive as by that. amy: ryan grim, they can for joining us washington, d.c., , bureau chief for the huffington post. keys, -- to to your your piece "after trying , everything else, democrats have decided to listen to their voters." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "qalb qalbi" by syrian artist saria al sawas. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: new information is emerging about u.s. state department guidance issued the day president trump signed an executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as all citizens from seven muslim-majority nations -- iran, iraq, libya, somalia, sudan, syria, and yemen -- from entering the united states. wbur has acquired a department memo dated january 27 that
provisionally revokes all non-immigrant and immigrant visas of nationals from iraq, -- the seven countries as of according to the memo, the friday. revocation, does not apply to diplomatic visas. amy: for more, we go to seattle, washington, where we're joined by matt adams, legal director for the northwest immigrant rights project and lead counsel for the class action lawsuit challenging donald trump's executive order. his lawsuit was filed in seattle on behalf of three parents legally living in the u.s. who are now restricted from bringing their children from somalia, syria and yemen matt, welcome to democracy now! tell us who your clients are and what has happened in the last week. >> our clients are three parents. one is -- to are united states citizens and one is a local permanent resident. we have, for example, mr. and mother, lawful permanent resident who lives in seattle and has been separated from her child, a six-year-old boy. she is filed a visa petition
that has been approved. he is in desperate circumstances in war-torn syria and now after she submitted her application with the consulate, the president has issued this order putting an indefinite hold and separation between her and her child. we have a mother and father, both united states citizens with two daughters who are here come also u.s. citizens, who are separated from their 12-year-old daughter who is not. application had already been processed and approved. the father went to pick up his daughter, who is from yemen. ownn is so dangerous, our u.s. consulate has pulled out of that so they had interview in jordan. it was approved. they showed up at the airport. when they arrived, they were told the father can get on the plane because he is u.s. citizen, but the 12-year-old daughter has to stay behind. what is the father to do? right now him and his daughter are left in a desperate situation. he does not know what he can do. he cannot send her back to the danger that exists in yemen.
citizena mother, a u.s. , and her six-year-old daughter is left in somalia. , visa an application petition has already been approved. the application went forward with the consulate. now president trump has said, no, these children are a threat to our national security because they come from predominantly muslim countries that have been targeted. the hold has been placed on them and hundreds of others who like them have reached out to us. these individuals are bringing a lawsuit not just on behalf of themselves, but others who are similarly situated. amy: matt adams, what is the status of your lawsuit now? what are you arguing? >> that this executive order blatantly violates not only the united states constitution and its guarantee of equal protection for all under the law and its guarantee of due process for all, but it violates the
immigration and nationality act, which explicitly states that visas will be issued without discriminating based on national origin for country of birth. yet that is precisely what trump has done with his secular border. and said, i'm going to target these individuals because they come from a country, not because of anything to do with them individually. it is absurd. if you look and say, how can he be try to tie this to national security when he is barring children from coming in to be reunited with their parents? their parents who are already living here? their parents who are lawful permanent residents? we hope to have you on in the coming days with your clients. matt adams, legal director for the northwest immigrant rights project and lead counsel for the class action lawsuit challenging donald trump's executive order. his lawsuit was filed in seattle on behalf of three parents legally living in the u.s. who are now restricted from bringing
their kids from somalia, syria, and yemen. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: prominent white supremacist and donald trump supporter richard spencer has been back in the news this week after he praised trump for not mentioning the 6 million jews killed in a statement commemorating international holocaust memorial day. trump has faced widespread criticism for the omission but the administration has defended the statement. tim kaine went as far as calling it a form of holocaust denial. spencer raised the statement as the de-judification of the holocaust. amy: earlier this week, one gonzalez and i spoke to andrea pitzer her upcoming book is titled "one long night: a global history of concentration camps." mass detention. she began by commenting on trump's statement.
>> one thing i think is interesting about the omission of the jews in the statement is looking back at the history, it is perhaps a mistake that was done at first. it may have been an omission. very strange omission given the concerns raised about whether trump had the support of white nationalists and that was reciprocated during the campaign. to have forgotten that when it would have been an easy thing to do correctly. it even if one gives him the benefit of the doubt, when it was pointed out, it was double down on. there was a strange statement it was including all groups. that is more where it becomes disturbing because this is one of the lines we have seen in soviet russia and in some white nationalist sectors that, sure, they say, a lot of people died in the war. as if it were inevitable casualty of war. certainly, tens of lines of people were casualties of combat and other crises during the war,
but it is really a single or moment. the attempt to eradicate people from the face of the earth. romans -- the gypsies, as they were known, and this was -- to been the power of state to eradicate people from the face of the earth coming even when it went against her or interest, is a really singler thing. to talk about the holocaust without it knowledge and that is to miss its singular moment. amy: andrea pitzer, i want to go what sean spicer said defending the decision not to reference jews in trump's statement on international holocaust remembrance day. of whatnk he is aware people have been saying, but i think by and large, he has been praised for it. the president recognize the tremendous loss of life that came from the holocaust. but i think with respect to
israel and the jewish people specifically, there is been no better friend than donald trump when it comes to rejecting israel, building a better friendship with israel. you look at what mr. netanyahu has talked about, he welcomes this administration and appreciates the friendship and respect he is shown to israel and the jewish people. but just suggest otherwise, john, frankly, i got to be honest, the president went out of his way to recognize the holocaust. and the suffering that went through it and the people affected by the loss of life. and make sure america never forgets. was so many people went through, whether they were jews or gypsies, gays, disability. spicer who issean the white house press secretary defending not referring specifically to jews on holocaust remembrance day andrea pitzer. said he went out of his
way. i don't think he went out of his way. residents have in issuing these proclamations before. it is not some new effort made. the second thing, i think the language that was used -- and it was something very close to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. that goes back to what i was saying before, this idea of stripping out context and history. that sounds like something from harry potter, some apocalyptic fairy tale. the holocaust and world war ii were very specific events. i think to neuter them down to this narrative of good and evil that can be carried around and used for other purposes goes to the same kind of trend the treatment of immigrants does, which, you know, it does not look at the exact context we are in and help us make good judgments about it. it renders it to something that can be used for propaganda. juan: at the holocaust museum in washington, one of the signs up
there is a plaque or that says "early warning signs of fascism." it has a list that includes powerful and continuing nationalism, disdain for human rights, identification of enemies as a unifying cause, supremacy of the military, rampant sexism, controlled mass media, obsession with national security, corporate power protected, labor power suppressed, disdain for intellectuals and the obsession with crime and punishment. your thoughts as this list of the early signs of fascism at the holocaust museum? >> the list speaks for itself. at this point, given the blitz that has been run on the normal democratic process by the administration that has just been in for a week and a half at this point, i do think we have to say even now that he is in power, dr. terry and tendencies that trump -- authoritarian tendencies that trump show before the election or coming
into play. the u.s. is not nazi germany in the 1930's. journalists can report, lawyers can litigate, individuals can run for local office and call the representatives in protest. whether trump is an authoritarian, he is not in an authoritarian state. there needs to be a lot of concern, but i do think there doesn't need to be panic at this point. it needs to be a strategic awareness and consideration of what our options are as journalists, lawyers, individuals, and citizens. amy: can you talk about what president trump has said he is going to do -- keep a list of "immigrant crimes"? >> this weekly report he is called for recalls a number of things from the past we have movebefore, which is this to isolate and identify and then vilify a vulnerable minority community in order to move against it.
i went back last night and reread his speech from when he declared his candidacy. the mexican rapist comments was in from the beginning. this has been a theme throughout. we see that in nazi germany, there's a paper called the -- they had a department called letterbox. readers were invited to send in stories of supposed jewish crimes. the paper would publish them. they would include some pretty horrific graphic illustrations of these crimes as well. there was even sort of a light version of it, if you will, in a "life"e like magazine that normally highlighted beautiful areas and pitiful homes, would run a feature like the criminal jew and show photos of jewish looking people, they would call it, and what to watch out for
fromjwes. this occupation of one subset population crimes, depicting that a somehow depraved and abnormal from the main population is something we're seeing quite a bit in the past. even in the u.s., before japanese-american internment, yet newspapers like the san francisco chronicle running the unassuming ability of the japanese immigrants and the crime tendencies and properties they had, which were distinguished from the main american population. juan: and this lies in the face of all of the studies that have shown that the crime rate among immigrant populations in the united states is actually lower than it is among ordinary american citizens, that yet this is attempting to take isolated incidents or two together crimes and sort of raise them to the level of a general trend, isn't it? >> it is.
i think it is part of a disturbing narrative in which you strip out the broader context and the specificity of actions like this. and you try to weave them into this preset narrative of good and evil somehow, that ends up being simple and dishonest and very counter productive for society as a whole. yes, in general, these groups would want to keep a lower profile, stay off law enforcement's radar. so this is one of the reasons that has been suspected that there is a lower crime rate. if you get a future of medicare images -- don't forget, now, this won't be coming out. has had this black rims type of use to try to do a similar thing in the past. now we have bannon in the white house. it is sort of a scaling up and doing this with a different minority group. you will have what will be no doubt dramatic nearness will come for that will eclipse the larger picture him and they will have the perimeter of a
government report, which i think is another disturbing aspect. amy: i want to ask you, andrea pitzer, about the white house considering a plan to make visitors reveal cell phone, internet data. describe the role mass surveillance place in authoritarian societies. >> over time we have seen it is very hard to have an authoritarian or totalitarian society, a state that runs without a secret police. what you need the secret police for is to gather information secretly. the surveillance techniques and abilities we have today are really unparalleled in history. and while we cannot yet be sure with the trump administration's motives are, what they have at their disposal is far greater than what was had in soviet russia and nazi germany, thinking in particular of hendler complaining that he had trouble keeping track of all of the people he needed to because he needed so many agents. when you have the kind of
technology we do, you don't need as many people if you have the right tools to use. so the ability to gather that kind of information and potentially use it domestically happen toigners who be here, i think is something that is worth thing attention to and be concerned about. amy: that is andrea pitzer, journalists and author. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. during code as attorneys and activists continue to fight donald trump's travel ban on nationals from seven muslim-majority countries, a new article takes a sweeping look at history to find what it portends. perhaps more fascinating is that the story involves the family of one of the senior most members of the trump administration. in "nobody wanted to take us in: the story of jared kushner's family, and mine," nation magazine senior editor lizzy
ratner looks at the journey of both her family and that of donald trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner. the husband of ivanka trump. both ratner's and kushner's grandparents came to america as jewish immigrants from poland, as the german occupation was ramping up, and u.s. borders were closing down. kushner was born february 27, 1923 and lost most of her family during the holocaust. in 1982, rae kushner was interviewed as part of a project for the king university resource center and recall the to inspire family to flee before the german occupation. >> we could not help ourselves. getknow how hard it was to a visa to israel?
three or four years. --america, pray hard to send very hard to send people. you would wait years. correct your family, your father was making attempts in 1935? >> yes, get a sister here in the united states. they couldn't do nothing. amy: that is rae kushner, the grandmother of jared kushner. she was speaking in 1980 two. she died in 2004. joining us now, lizzy ratner. her piece "nobody wanted to take , us in: the story of jared kushner's family, and mine."
talk about what you wrote this. >> i wrote this story because -- for a bunch of reasons. with the election, i began thinking about immigration. i knew trump had warned, immigrants were going to be targets, refugees were going to be targets. my family was enormously lucky. we got to the united states at the end of a period of really rich immigration from eastern europe, but it was at the very tail end. my grandfather arrived in 1920. he arrived from poland, which was not a happy place to be at the time. it was the end of world war i. pogroms were sort of attacks on jewish people that took place throughout eastern europe, yhroughout the 19th and earl 20th century. he can hear 1920. it turned out to be fortuitous. it was sort of rising xenophobia in the united states.
united states was not happy about all of the refugees coming from eastern europe, southern europe. -- the country passed a series of extreme anti-immigrant measures. i've always thought, my god, my family got so lucky coming here six months before one of the most severe anti-immigrant measures of that period was passed. if they had not got here 1920, they might not have gotten to the united states. who didpened to jews not get to the united states, many ended up dying in the holocaust. i was sort of thinking about all of this is the election happened, and i began to wonder, well, jared kushner is a very powerful person in the now trump administration. i knew his family -- they were holocaust survivors. i said, i bet there is an immigration story because many jews who came to the united states in the 1920's and the many sort of people who survived the holocaust had stories of
attempts getting to this country and sort of failed attempts to getting there because there were these immigration laws that really cut the borders off in 1920, 1921. i did some basic research and found this remarkable interview with rae kushner, who absence -- happens to be jared kushner's grandmother. in the interview, we hear her talking about her family's attempts to come to the united states in the 1930's. to1, 1924, these two immigrant measures were passed. after that, immigration from eastern europe did not completely stop, but it became a trickle. you have these new mothers stories of jewish families in the 1930's saying, oh, my god, there's anti-semitism rising around us and we need to get out of here. yet when they tried, they found the borders were closed. rae kushner was one of them. we hear in this clip how her family felt anti-semitism could not get here. amy: let's go back to rae
kushner speaking in 1982 comics wedding the difficulty her family faced trying to gain entry to other countries. -- explaining the difficulty family faced trying to gain entry to other countries. [indiscernible] nobody wanted to take us in. we had family in the united states. husband had a sister. verifying people. edy: rae kushner question roosevelt. >> even our good president roosevelt, how come he kept the doors closed for such a long time? [indiscernible] know.uestion i will never
nobody will give me the answer. nermeen: that is rae kushner, the grandmother of jared kushner. lizzy, in your research, did you find anywhere jared kushner's mention of his own family's story of coming to the u.s.? >> yes, in august of this past year, there was a big furor him a pardon the expression, because donald trump tweeted out an image sort of coloring -- calling for clinton cricket, and there was an image of a jewish star and a polyp cash. many said the trump campaign has been's support of anti-semi from engaging with in time and some of them a is donald trump anti-semitic? it was after that -- jared kushner saidhio
i know anti-semitism is because high-grade prince of are the worst of anti-semitism. they were survivors of the holocaust. that was sort of a moment he resurrected their story, but in order to justify the man who argued was deploying anti-semitic motive and was now of course in the white house furthering the regime of anti-immigrant regime, which really does echo the anti-immigrant regime that was put in place in the 1920's that ultimately kept out jews like the kushner's. amy: what about the travel ban today that donald trump imposed a week ago that led to a revolt all over the country? >> i think history is critical. the present is echoing the past. we just are the segment about the 1930's in germany. we all have our own history here that foreshadows this moment. our own history is a history filled with streams of xenophobia and hate, which has wrote consequences for people. i want to talk about rhetorical
parallels between the past and present. when it was researching the 1920's, and these anti-immigrant acts that had gruesome consequences for people, i was struck by the parallels and language. you had jewish people referred to as physically deficient, and normally twisted, un-american, peril to this country, a danger in all sorts of ways. jews were conceived as a threat to the economy, but also to national security. the idea was that jews who came from eastern europe, the hotbed of radicalism, would come here, turn our country read from the inside out and destroy it. we have the parallel rhetoric today being thrown against muslims, people from muslim countries who are being described as a threat to our society, trojan horse. donald trump used the term trojan horse. you could have heard that in the 1920's and 1940's against the jews. we can say horrible things from desperatee
people who wanted to come here. amy: let's go back to rae kushner. >> let's hope it is not going to happen again. but can happen. upyou don't want to comes [indiscernible] swastikas in front of the white house. this scares us. this is very painful. amy: that was rae kushner, jared kushner's grandmother. jared kushner, one of the top aides to donald trump in the white house, and his son-in-law. today, you quote the head of the hebrew immigrant aid society who says up with the way we describe ourselves is that we used to resettle refugees because they were jewish. now we settle refugees because we are jewish." >> it was a deeply moving, to
that he said to me. he said to me. i think that she be the sentiment for everyone. there was a time when our ancestors were in desperate need and some people responded to that need many people around the world did not. now we have an obligation is people who are here now who benefited from the privileges of this country to keep the doors open for other desperate people. there's another amazingquote he here,aid "for us to come it is ok to close the doors and other people is morally reprehensible." said itthink i could've better. amy: the conversation we played with an interview between jeff sessions who was being interviewed by stephen bannon, top aide to president trump, referring to the old immigration laws.
>> i was just listening to that. jeff sessions, interview you played yesterday, celebrating the 1924 act, the rita johnson or jonson reid act, which closed the border for jews, and for millions of people from other parts of the world, too. it was not just jews. it is terrifying to me that jeff sessions is celebrating this act that we now know in regard as -- universally regarded as distractive and baseless and a terrible mark on this country's history. amy: we have to leave it there, lizzy ratner senior editor at , the nation. we will link to her article "nobody wanted to take us in: , the story of jared kushner's family, and mine." that does it for today show. the headlines on wednesday included a claim by a man he told wjbk detroit that his mother, and her academic and green card holder, died after being to that entry to the united states. an imam us and said the woman
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