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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  November 8, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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11/08/17 11/08/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! tuesday was election day across the country. voters turned against the republican party one year after donald trump was elected president. in virginia and new jersey, democrat took the governorships. the first openly trans legislative was elected in virginia. in philadelphia, civil rights attorney was elected district attorney with the backing of black lives matter and occupy wall street. >> this is not another story about the history. this is a story of a movement. this is a movement that is tired.
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[inaudible] amy: this comes as a group of democratic and progressive activists have published a new report "autopsy: the democratic party in crisis." influence democratic party loyalists for refusing to examine their own role in their party's defeat. we will speak with co-author norman solomon. then more on money of politics as we look at new revelations from the paradise papers, a trove of millions of leaked documents in offshore finance that reveal commerce secretary wilbur ross conducting business with russian president vladimir putin's son-in-law through a shipping venture in russia. ross says he is to nothing wrong. made aink the media has lot more out of it than it deserves. the fact that it happens to be called a russian company does not mean that there is any evil.
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amy: we will speak with guardian reporter jon swaine who co-authored three reports from the paradise papers on tuesday .lone all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. democrats made big gains in elections across the u.s. tuesday, as voters turned against the republican party one year after donald trump was elected president. in new jersey, democrat phil murphy defeated kim guadagno in the race to replace the deeply unpopular republican governor chris christie. in virginia, democrat ralph northam defeated republican ed gillespie in a gubernatorial race that was widely seen as a referendum on president trump's policies.
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in response, trump tweeted - "ed gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what i stand for." he tweeted that from asia. northam's acceptance speech was briefly interrupted by activists whoghts protested northam's pledge to sign a ban on sanctuary cities as governor. the protest prompted a security official to rush northam off the stage. in maine, voters approved an expansion of medicaid for low-income adults, defying republican governor paul lepage and lending support to the affordable care act. in ohio, voters rejected a measure that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to reduce the price of prescription drugs after big pharma outspent its opponents by a three-to-one margin. in washington state, democrats have flipped the state senate and will take control the entire washington state government. in new york, voters rejected a convention to rewrite the
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state constitution. while in new york city, incumbent mayor bill de blasio won a second term in office in a landslide election. in philadelphia, pennsylvania, civil rights attorney larry krasner has been elected district attorney. krasner is a longtime opponent of capital punishment who opposes police stop-and-frisk policies. he has represented protesters with black lives matter, act up, occupy philadelphia, and other progressive groups. and in virginia's prince william county, democrat danica roem is set to become the nation's first openly transgender state lawmaker after she was elected to represent the 13th district of virginia's house of delegates. this is former journalist danica roem speaking ahead of tuesday's election. >> it shouldn't be a revolutionary act to say this is who i am, this is why i am well qualified for office as a
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longtime local reporter and a lifelong resident of the district i am running to represent. it should not be revolutionary to have to say "and i am transgender." yes, i am all of these things. amy: with her victory, roem will unseat 73-year-old incumbent republican bob marshall, who has repeatedly called himself virginia's chief homophobe. marshall authored an unsuccessful bathroom bill that would have prohibited transgender people from using public restrooms matching their gender identity. president trump told assembled leaders of south korea's government tuesday that the united states stands ready to attack north korea over its nuclear weapons program. trump made the threat in a speech to south korea's national assembly, in which he blasted north korea over its human rights violations. pres. trump: the time for excuses is over. strength. time for if you want peace, you must
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stand strong at all times. amy: to the shock of many, trump also used his speech to promote his golf course in bedminster, new jersey. and he pressed south korea to purchase billions of dollars in u.s. weapons. trump's south korea trip continued to draw protesters, including hundreds who gathered as trump toured the u.s. army base camp humfreys. >> we do not want trump to visit south korea because he keeps on talking about war in the korean peninsula putting pressure on ing weaponsd forc trading. how can we welcome someone like this? amy: earlier today, trump arrived in beijing for talks with chinese president xi jinping ahead of planned stops in vietnam and the philippines. in texas, new details have emerged revealing that devin patrick kelley, the gunman who massacring 26 worshipers and injured 20 others at a church in sutherland springs last sunday, once escaped from a psychiatric
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hospital, threatened to kill his superiors in the u.s. air force, and tried to smuggle firearms onto his base. kelley's attempted escape in 2012 came as he was being held for repeatedly assaulting his wife and fracturing his stepson's skull. who was 18 months old. despite these behaviors, kelley was never placed on a list that would have prohibited him from purchasing the ar-15 semiautomatic assault rifle he used to carry out sunday's massacre. in fact, a newsweek report finds the pentagon has reported just one domestic abuser to the fbi's federal gun database. the disclosure came as texas republican senator john cornyn -- a staunch gun rights advocate -- said he'll introduce a bill that would strengthen the gun background check system. on capitol hill, president trump's nominee for a high-level pentagon post called it insane that civilians can buy semi-automatic rifles for personal use. dr. dean winslow made the comment during his confirmation hearing tuesday before the
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senate armed services committee. >> but i would also like to come and i may get in trouble with other members of the committee, just say how insane it is that the united states of america, a civilian can go out and buy a fully or semiautomatic assault rifle like an ar-15, which apparently was the weapon used. i think that is issue not so much for this committee, but elsewhere. again, obviously -- >> dr. winslow come i don't think that is our area of expertise. amy: that last voice was republican john mccain, chair of the senate armed services committee. new revelations from a massive trove of documents known as the paradise papers reveal republican super-donors who stored much of their wealth in offshore tax havens pumped more than $350 million into the 2016 election. some are well-known backers of conservative causes, like casino magnate sheldon adelson and charles and david koch. others have sought to keep their activities out of public view, like warren stephens, the hidden co-owner of a payday lending
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company now under investigation for deceiving customers. and billionaire robert mercer and his family built a $60 million war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid u.s. tax. the guardian traces the money directly to future white house chief strategist steve bannon of the far-right news outlet breitbart media. we'll have more on the revelations contained in the paradise papers' 13.4 million leaked documents later in the broadcast with guardian reporter jon swaine. in yemen, residents are reporting severe shortages of food, fuel, and medicine after the u.s.-backed, saudi-led coalition stopped all shipments sea to ther, and war-torn nation. medical experts warn the clampdown puts millions at risk of starvation and will worsen yemen's cholera epidemic, which has sickened more than 900,000 people. this is a u.n. humanitarian affairs spokesperson. >> the situation is catastrophic
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in yemen. it is the worst food crisis we are looking at at the world today. 7 million people on the brink of famine. millions of people being kept alive by our humanitarian operation. so this is a lifeline that must be continued every single day. amy: in afghanistan, gunmen disguised as police officers stormed a television station in kabul tuesday, killing two employees in forcing the station off the air for several hours. the attack came as nato secretary-general said the military coalition is adding 3000 troops to its afghanistan operations with the u.s. supplying have the troop increase. in india, a thick blanket of toxic air pollution has covered the city of new delhi, prompting a public health emergency. in some parts of the city, air quality readings reached the maximum score that instruments can measure, 999, with a score above 100 considered unsafe by india's government. the pollution is so bad, delhi's chief minister called the city a gas chamber.
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a recent study by the medical journal lancet found air pollution kills 500,000 indians prematurely each year. in bonn, germany, delegates to united nations climate talks from nearly 200 nations have adopted a final agenda for the cop23 convention, they work toward a deal that would keep global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees celsius. on tuesday, climate activists staged a demonstration inside the convention space, saying governments are not doing enough. this is dipti bhatnagar of friends of the earth international. >> the poorest and most vulnerable community's are already facing impact. drasticallytries to reduce emissions now. we need them to provide means of implementation for us developing countries to be able to make their very much needed energy transformation. amy: democracy now! will be broadcasting live from the u.n. climate summit all next week.
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news from, this syria. syria's government said it would sign the paris agreement on climate change. the move by president bashar al-assad's government further isolates president donald trump, as he seeks to pull out of the deal. a withdrawal would make the u.s. the only nation on earth that's not a part of the landmark 2015 agreement. hollywood movie mogul harvey weinstein hired a corporate intelligence firm and a secretive agency run by former israeli intelligence officers to suppress allegations weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted women. that's according to "the new yorker's" ronan farrow, who reports one agent hired by weinstein repeatedly met with the actor rose mcgowan, claiming to be a powerful executive launching an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace. in fact, the agent was an undercover former officer with the israeli defense forces, and an employee of the firm black
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cube who was seeking information on mcgowan's contacts with the press. the gallant went on to tell reporters weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 1997 at the sundance film festival. in other instances, freelance journalists working for weinstein called his alleged victims for interviews, only to report back on details of the conversations. weinstein's operation was partly overseen by david boies, a powerful lawyer known for representing al gore in the 2000 florida election recount and for successfully arguing for marriage equality at the supreme court. on capitol hill, the head of puerto rico selector power authority known as prepa abruptly canceled a planned appearance before a house committee tuesday as questions mount over its role in securing a $300 million no-bid contract from the montana-based company whitefish energy. and executive with prepa said he is too busy overseeing reconstruction of puerto rico selector thread, which was totally just right by hurricane maria. whitefish is based in the home
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of interior secretary ryan zinke. head of the private equity company that backs whitefish was campaign donor. in texas, mexican national ruben cardenas ramirez is scheduled to die by lethal injection this evening over the objections of mexican diplomats who've called his planned execution illegal. ramirez was sentenced to death after he was convicted of killing his 15-year-old cousin in 1997. but mexican officials cite conflicting statements by witnesses at ramirez's trial and shoddy forensic evidence. this is carlos sada, mexico's deputy foreign minister. therom our perspective, procedures have not been exhausted. the fact that there is a violation of due process on the one hand and on the other hand to the vienna convention, and not having the possibility of an interview with consular officer of course is a violation, and that is why it was sanctioned in this way by the international court of justice at the hague where they recommend proceedings be reopened.
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amy: in washington, d.c., the justice department has dropped a case against a codepink protester who faced up to 12 months in prison on disruptive conduct charges after she let -- burst out laughing during senate confirmation hearings for jeff sessions as attorney general. desiree fairooz was arrested in january after the laughed audibly when sessions said he had a record of "treating all americans equally under the law." during the protest, the demonstrators wore white hooded robes and chanted "no trump! no kkk! no fascist u.s.a.!" sessions has a long history of making racist comments, included reportedly saying he thought the ku klux klan was "ok until i found out they smoked pot." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we turn now to the outcome of tuesday's elections around the united states, where democrats made big gains as voters turned against the republican party one
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year after donald trump was elected president. in new jersey, democrat phil murphy defeated kim guadagno in the race to replace the deeply unpopular republican governor chris christie. in virginia, democrat ralph northam defeated republican ed gillespie in a gubernatorial race that was widely seen as a referendum on president trump's policies. northam addressed his supporters tuesday night. >> we are back by popular demand . virginia, we have witnessed yet another democratic sweep today. you know it was said that the eyes of the nation are now on the commonwealth. today virginians have answered and have spoken. theenia has told us to end divisiveness that we will not condone hatred and bigotry and to end the politics that have
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torn this country apart. juan: in response, trump tweeted -- "ed gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what i stand for." northam's acceptance speech was briefly interrupted by immigration rights activists, who protested northam's pledge to sign a ban on sanctuary cities as governor. the protest prompted a security official to rush northam off the stage. in maine, voters approved an expansion of medicaid for low-income adults, defying republican governor paul lepage and lending support to the affordable care act. in ohio, voters rejected a measure that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to reduce the price of prescription drugs after big pharma outspent its opponents by a three-to-one margin. in washington state, democrats have flipped the state senate and will take control the entire washington state government. amy: in new york, voters rejected a convention to rewrite the state's constitution, while in new york city, incumbent
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mayor bill de blasio won a second term in office in a landslide election. in philadelphia, pennsylvania, civil rights attorney larry krasner has been elected district attorney. krasner is a longtime opponent of capital punishment who opposes police stop-and-frisk policies. he's represented protesters with black lives matter, act up, occupy philadelphia, and other progressive groups. this is krasner at his victory party tuesday night. likelya movement that is telling government what it wants. and what it wants his criminal justice reform, transformational change within the philadelphia district attorney's office. the voters, we are the bosses. [indiscernible] expect every right to
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that we will get what we just told you we want, which is in thermational change criminal justice and district attorney's office. amy: the minneapolis city council made history tuesday night as voters elected the city's first transgender councilmember, making andrea jenkins the first transgender woman of color elected to public office in the nation. and in virginia's prince william journalist democrat danica roem is set to become the nation's first openly transgender state lawmaker after she was elected to represent the 13th district of virginia's house of delegates. this is roem speaking with a reporter after she won. >> on the trans-part yes, i'm a transgender woman. i am a reporter. i'm a lifelong resident. because of my and your identifiers. i never run away from them. i champion them. because of that, our county is
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more inclusive. amy: with her victory, she will unseat 73-year-old 13 term incumbent republican bob marshall, who repeatedly has called himself virginia's chief homophobe. marshall offered an unsuccessful bathroom bill that would have prohibited transgender people using to look restaurants matching or gender identity. for more, we're joined by norman solomon, co-author of the new report "autopsy: the democratic party in crisis." he is the co-founder of the online activist group rootsaction.org he is the author of many books, including "war made easy: how presidents and pundits keep spinning us to death." let's talk about the elections that just took place. do you see this as a referendum on donald trump? >> certainly, he is back on his heels. it is always good when the proponents of bigotry and racism and xenophobia are defeated. so in that sense, certainly, we had a good night last night. and yet a very steep climb ahead
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with so much power vested in the right-wing corporate america in the military throughout government agencies and the federal government as well as most state governments. thing closely following these elections. juan: the washington state result were now democrats are in control of both houses as well as the governor's chair means the entire west coast of the united states, washington state, oregon, and california, are all probably the bluest sections of the country and that they all have democratic governors and democratic legislators. in new york city, apparently, 40 just bill de blasio's point victory in the city, but in the suburbs, westchester county and nassau county, both now have democratic county executives where they previously had republican ones. it seems to be some of the blue areas of the country are
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becoming even bluer, but that does not mean the rest of the country necessarily is shifting that much. i am wondering your thoughts on that? >> what happened in washington state means seven states out of 50 have total democratic party control over the governorship and the legislatures. but at the same time, we have fully half of the states, 26 where republicans control every branch of government. i think that is an indicator of just how many gains have been made by an extremist right-wing party, which noam chomsky correctly calls the most dangerous criminal organization in the history of the world. that is where we are right now. unfortunately, the democratic party has not been able to put together the mobilization of the base in a way that can counteract that kind of very vile corporate militarist force that we have. as a matter of fact, we have a
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situation where in the last nine years -- and this is particularly important because it spanned the entire obama administration. there were 1000 state legislative seats lost a democrats to republicans. and that tells us something about the overall effect of the corporate policies that have been pursued from the top of the democratic party. juan: norm, let's get into your book "autopsy: the democratic party in crisis." what are some of the key issues you raise in that book? >> yes, well, this special report, which we had a task force assigned for several months to work on and i co-coordinated with the chair of the progressive caucus of the california democratic party. our findings were particularly, i think, striking in that last year, the democratic party in the general election campaign pursued priorities and policies that have remained in place to
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this moment. and most strikingly perhaps, is to this respect and defund approaches and outreach toward the base. young people, people of color, and the working-class overall. and rather than put the messaging, the policy, the priorities, the funding and outreach, the advertising towards that based which is the future of the party -- and the future, i might say, of human progress in terms of decency, human rights, environment protection, and peace -- the top of the democratic party last year has continued to fund enormously expensive pursuits of what are called the persuadables . often suburban voters who voted for romney in 2012. according to the clinton mythology last year and continuing from the democratic national committee, somehow they are going to be dissuaded from voting for the republican party now. and that is a dead-end loss a
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very dangerous one. and it is a major reason why we have donald trump in the white house today. amy: one of the issues that was raced across the country that their top issue was health care. and something unusual happened in maine. voters approving an expansion of medicaid for low-income adults, defying republican governor paul , a supporter of donald trump, lending support to the affordable care act as well. norm, this whole issue of health care, a single-payer health care, of obamacare and how significant it is? >> it is crucial and it goes to the underlying broad question of, who is the government to serve? will it serve wall street or main street? the mythology that keeps being propagated by so many pundits and the top of the democratic party is that the party needs to move to the center -- "center"
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which is code for saying wall street and the big donors should determine policy about which very much means, and you have people who were in the democratic party leadership like gephardt who have been spending years preventing single-payer to the best of their ability from even getting on the top of the congressional agenda. i think this goes to the question of, what does it mean to have progressive populism? and if we're going to have a meaningful social change movement that can exercise great muscle inside and outside the electoral arena, then we need to redefine what it means to have progressive politics. there are many people in the democratic party, officials who call themselves progressive. there is a insurance companies that causes a progressive. that doesn't mean much of anything. what we need today i think, and i'm very happy the autopsy report has been getting such a strong response including an "the nation" magazine, what we need is a conscious effort
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with the tuesday elections behind us to transform the democratic party. to do that from the bottom up. i was just watching on msnbc , nowmorning, donna brazile with her blockbuster book out, telling the national audience, she said "i like what tom perez is doing" referring to the chair of the dnc. well, progressives should not like what he is doing. he engineered the purge of war progressives out of the dnc apparatus in the meeting in las vegas a couple of weeks ago. there is a conscious effort to maintain the corporate control over the power. we can stop that. i think an uprising and groundswell can transform this goalsto achieve the two spelled out in our autopsy. anybody can download it. it is not copyrighted. make any use of it you want at democraticautopsy.org. the first goal is to fight the , the trump republican
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party. we have to roll them back. we have to defeat them. the other goal is to advance progressive agendas. we are told constantly by the mass media that those are in contradiction. you have to moderate your message in order to defeat the republicans. on the contrary, we see what happens when you send across the wall street moderate message, consolatory so-called centrist message. we saw what happened to hillary clinton when she try to do that. we have trump in the white house as a result. juan: you mentioned donna brazile and her recent statements about the unethical agreements that were made between the dnc and hillary clinton campaign. of course, donna brazile is a mainstream centrist democrat, and yet she is suddenly now dining out her own dnc. can you talk about that and your reaction to it? >> what we have with this whole major uproar
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about donna brazile garcia's book and so forth is a falling out among corporate democrats. some of its personality and some of it is ok, since clinton lost the presidential race, then there needs to be some second-guessing that islamist inevitable. explosive before her expose, excerpt from her book appeared in politico, we issued our autopsy. one of the sections is titled "democracy and the party." it was written by a member of the autopsy task force, who was a civil rights attorney based in albuquerque, new mexico. we spelled out the just. -- gist. the loss, the suffering from democracy, the wound of a thousand cuts that continue to be implemented by the democratic national party.
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they really detailed the way in which the hillary victory fund and the really reprehensible shenanigans with the financial agreements would implement it. we were glad to have that in the autopsy also three days later with some details, some gory detas about tse death of a thousand cs of democracy in terms of funding came out from donna brazile. what does it boil down to? it is a falling out among people who are basically on the same agenda, the same orbit page, to have wall street -- it is like serving two masters, but the real master is wall street and then their appeals to the base voters would election time comes around. i would say, yes, donna brazile provided useful information. no, she is not really an ally for progressives. amy: let's go to donna brazile speaking on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. >> i was not a staff person.
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i did not work for the hillary clinton campaign. i was not onhe daily sateg calls. i had nothing to do the data analytics. i was concerned about the entire party, not as the presidential. >> it sounds like yet a pretty dysfunctional relationship with the high command in hillary's campaign. about nothing at has the two slaves. >> i could not control the purse string of the democratic party. i do figure out what was going on within the party that the chair of the party -- remember, i was not just the chair, i was in office for eight years. i've become chair and i'm trying to write a check for something i raise the money and they're like, you got to get a signoff from brooklyn. brooklyn? memorandumseparate of understanding. and i needed to break that. it in order to break it, i would
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cause a great commotion. amy: and this is massachusetts democratic senator elizabeth warren speaking to jake tapper on cnn who made a plea to the current dnc chair tom perez. >> this is a task for tom perez. and either he is going to succeed by bringing bernie sanders and bernie sanders representatives into this process and they're going to say "it is fair, it works, we all believe it," or he is going to fail. i very much hope for democrats everywhere, i hope for bernie and all of his supporters that he will succeed. >> do you agree with the notion that it was rigged? >> yes. amy: that is elizabeth warren saying the election, the democratic part of it, was rigged. "rman solomon, your report ,utopsy" along with this book extremely significant.
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but now with the victories around the country but the democrats, how will you push it forward? >> we're going to push afford by launching a national campaign tomorrow through routesaction.org which has 1.3 million active people online. most of them living in congressional districts and/or in thewith a democrat senate or the house, representing them. so we're going to be urging starting tomorrow those one million plus people to you now or otherwise contact the democrats in congress to urge that they read fully this autopsy, and they get back to the constituents so we can get a dialog in a public discussion going. we're going to do that for the house starting tomorrow and for the senate next week. already the organization has endorsed the autopsy. they're going to reach out to the membership likewise. now that the elections are over from yesterday, reaching out to many other groups who were
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preoccupied with virginia. and we are also going to be going to literally thousands and thousands of legislative people around the country, people seatsg state legislative were democrats likewise to say, here's the report, you can read it and let's talk about it. this is an autopsy not just to be a report, but to be a catalyst and a tool and a nonviolent weapon, if you will, to help organize to transfer him the democratic party. because as elizabeth warren was alluding to, this is a test for the leadership of the democratic national committee. and frankly, so far, it has not passed the test. it continues to flunk. kamber and all from the democratic national party and i had a meeting at the dnc headquarters last thursday afternoon. i quit this, just after result --brazile plus expose had been published. we met with a senior adviser to
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tom perez. karen sent him a letter afterwards with six specific questions to the chairman perez, pointed questions, gave him politely until thanksgiving to answer those questions about whether he is serious about democratizing and having an evenhanded dnc in democratic party. and we to up the ante if he does not respond appropriately. amy: the deputy head of the democratic national committee. do you feel that keith ellison makes a difference, though he lost to jerez, he is really -- he is deputy now at the dnc. >> yes. and a longtime ellison aid before that came in. between you and me, frankly, keith ellison is boxed at the dnc. as you noted, he lost -- he ran
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a good race to be chair. he lost to perez. he could not say no when he was invited to be a deputy. but it brought him inside the tent. that puts some limits on him in terms of being able to strongly critique what the dnc is doing. it is illustrative after the brazile step broke last week coming a tom perez issued a doubletalk statement basically doubling down justifying the unjustifiable. sweetheart financial to between the clinton campaign and the dnc. at the same time, perez said he was going to be evenhanded. well, in federal court two months after perez became chair, a lawyer for the dnc said the dnc has a legal right, despite its charter quirement to even handed during the nomination process, asserted the dnc has a legal right if it wanted to to choose the nominee in a smoke filled back room. that was under perez's chairmanship, chairperson ship.
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so we have ellison and a particular role doing the best he can. but it is the grassroots that has to do pressure. it is the grassroots that has to organize effectively. i would say to people that dismiss the democratic party, how are you going to defeat the republicans next year? how are you going to prevent their being republican speaker or majority leader? the only way to do that, the only feet on the ground, eyes on the horizon way to do that is to organize effectively. in it of essence of the term aggressive's take over the democratic party. amy: norman solomon, co-author of the new report: "autopsy: the democratic party in crisis." co-founder of the online activist group rootsaction.org. will he come back, more about the paradise papers. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "mirror monster" by deerhoof performing here in our democracy now! studio. to see their full performance and interview, go to democracynow.org.
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i am amy goodman with juan gonzalez, this is democracy now! juan: we continue to look at money and politics as we turn to new revelations from the paradise papers, a trove of millions of leaked documents on offshore finance that are being reviewed by the international consortium of investigative journalists and their partners. on tuesday, the guardian reported it had found seven republican super-donors in the papers who stored some of their fortunes offshore, beyond the reach of public scrutiny and tax authorities. together, the billionaires pumped more than $350 million into the 2016 election. ofe are well-known backers conservative causes, like casino magnate sheldon adelson and charles and david koch. others have sought to keep their activities out of public view, like warren stephens, the hidden co-owner of a payday lending company now under investigation for deceiving customers. the guardian also published a report on major democratic donor james simons, who spent $11
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million to back hillary clinton's 2016 presidential presidential campaign. simons is the founder of renaissance technologies, the world's most profitable hedge fund. leaked records show he kept much of his $8 billion fortune in an offshore private wealth fund in bermuda in order to avoid "particularly severe" u.s. tax bills that would be triggered if they tried to bring the funds onshore. amy: meanwhile, another report published tuesday shows how billionaire robert mercer and his family built a $60 million war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid u.s. taxes. the guardian traces the money directly to future white house chief strategist steve bannon of the far-right news outlet breitbart media. this is "new yorker" reporter jane meyer describing the instrumental role robert mercer and his daughter rebekah played in donald trump's 2016 campaign.
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>> bob mercer wants to shrink the government down to the size of a pinhead. he is content for social services and the people who need services services. he has been a power behind the scenes in trump's campaign. he can of rescued trump's campaign in the end, he and his daughter. rebekah mercer, the daughter of this hedge fund tycoon bob mercer, sort of cornered trump and said, you know, we would like to give money to your campaign. we will back you, but you got to try to stabilize it. basically, she said, and i have just the people for you to do the job. they were political operatives who the mercer family had been funding for a couple of years. the main one being steve bannon, who is now playing the role to trump, the political strategist for trump.
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that is the role he played for the mercer family prior to doing it for trump amy: that was the new yorker magazine jane mayer describing the significance of the mercers. for more, we're joined by jon swaine is a senior reporter for the guardian, where he is part of the team publishing stories on the paradise papers. on monday alone he co-authored these three reports -- "offshore cash helped fund steve bannon's attacks on hillary clinton," "the seven republican super-donors who keep money in tax havens," and "democratic donor built up vast $8bn private wealth fund in bermuda." welcome to democracy now! we just talked about mercer, so let's continue with mercer. robert mercer come the head of renaissance technology who has just basically been forced to step down from that role, though of course, talk about his wealth his role in the election of donald trump. >> robert mercer has been a huge patron of donald trump posted before that, a huge patron of ted cruz. one of the ways he sought to back donald trump and to back
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republican causes is through steve bannon. robert mercer and his daughter have a family foundation based in new york. that makes investments through his successful hedge fund you talked about. it should ordinarily be paying tax on the profits it makes from that hedge fund. instead, it routed through bermuda. in doing so, pays no tax. takes that money, gives it to steve bannon through various nonprofits. steve bannon produces books about clinton. he makes films with groups like citizens united, young america's foundation. what these documents show, this leak shows, much of this money avoids tax. juan: is it is a new york-based foundation of what is it, just keep the money in bermuda or send it there? what is the mechanics? >> basically, this is just all on paper. theything really
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renaissance technology does is a u.s. venture. they are based in new yorkn long island and manhattan. but on paper, they have these feeder funds, they call them, based in bermuda. that means they pay an offshore boutique law firm to use their address, to use the premises as a registration address in bermuda. that allows them to say, look, we have these businesses in bermuda. we are routing this money on paper through bermuda and therefore, avoids tax. none of israel. is real.f this it is all just for technical reasons which out some avoid tax. book.ou mentioned the it was a documentary cowritten by steve bannon, coproduced by , who sometimes is called the first lady of the alt right. this is a clip from the trailer for "clinton cash."
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>> i want to thank all of you. it weakens economic irrelevance, feeds black markets, and organized crime. it undermines the promise of democracy. >> i believe in the oldest adage in american politics, which is follow the money. >> a new report claims the clinton foundation gives about 10% of its money that it raises to actual charities. amy: talk about how seminal this book, then a film, and of breitbart media empire supported by the mercers, how seminal was in trump's victory and who are clinton's defeat? i think it was the first blow to hillary clinton took in her campaign. she just announced she was running for president. this was may 2015. .his book arrived, clinton cash it really painted the way the clinton foundation was treated for the entire election
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campaign. i think justifiably, a lot of clinton supporters were pretty upset and pretty window by the fact the clintons, for all of their various problems that liberals have with them, their foundation did a lot of good work overseas. it was a philanthropic foundation at its heart. this book made some questionable charges about the sale of a uranium company to russia. that really tarnished her from the very beginning of the campaign. it resonates today. only last month, the two committees in the house announced an investigation into this uranium sale, which comes back from "clinton cash." the fbi looked into it. did have some serious damage. that traces back to mercer and his offshore money. juan: in some of the articles recently as a result of the paradise papers, there is also a
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discussion of the current commerce secretary, wilbur ross, and his involvement in offshore money. could you talk about that as well? >> with the documents and public filings show is wilbur ross had a stake in this shipping company named navigator. navigator does tens of millions of dollars a year business with a russian gas company. one of the co-owners is putin's son-in-law. this had not been noticed before. it was not known before that wilbur ross retained this stake. he's continuing to be involved in this business venture, which his shipping company shipped gas russiann's son-in-law gas country from russia into europe. amy: and he is still involved with this now as commerce secretary. let's go to ross telling the bbc he had declared his interest earlier this year when he joined trump's a administration and has
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done nothing wrong. >> i think the media has made a lot more out of it than it deserves. first of all, the company in r, is a verybo major hydrocarbon company. its commercial relationship with navigator holdings is simply that navigator charters some vessels to them. they're still interlocking of board. there's a interlocking of shareholders. i had nothing to do with the negotiation of the deal. the fact that it happens to be called a russian company does not mean that there is any evil in it. the current commerce secretary wilbur ross. your response to what he is saying? >> we are not saying anything is evil, we're just saying it present some problems. this is the commerce secretary of the united states. he is responsible for various areas of trade and industry,
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including shipping. quite apart from the russia element, this is the commerce secretary of the u.s. carrying on in his own industrial business while being in government. he says he has recused himself from that area of business. but that still presents problems. it also this trump administration is responsible for imposing sections on various russian companies, some who were involved in sibor. that is a pretty big conflict of the part of this team and posing sanctions while doing business with people who are sanction. amy: only come back, the seven republican super donors who keep money in tax havens. jon swaine is our guest, part of the team publishing stories on the paradise papers. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. casinost is jon swaine reporter for the guardian, part of the team publishing stories on the paradise papers. one of his new stories, "the seven republican super-donors who keep money in tax havens." juan: could you talk about that? >> one-story particularly trysting, -- interesting, warren stephens. he is very important. he gives a lot of money to republican candidates. what we found is he is the hidden co-owner of the payday lending company that is being sued by the federal government
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for allegedly exploiting customers, over charging them with loans, deceiving them on how much it will cost. of the nose to all of us, he is been a co-owner of one of these companies while backing republicans who are seeking to bring down the regulator, the consumer financial protection bureau, that is taking this company to court. it is a clear conflict. before this week arrived, we did not know he was involved. juan: what about the major democratic donor as well? aboutes simons, we talked robert mercer, james simons took over as head of renaissance technologies. robert mercer took over james simons. james simons founded it. what we found is since the 1970's, he is been building private wealth fund in bermuda which is this tax haven in the atlantic ocean. it is worth at least $8 billion, probably more. it has been a acumen leading wealth year after year without facing any u.s. taxes.
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-- it has been accumulating wealth year after year without facing any u.s. taxes. he says he's going to give it to charity. i think it is proved to many that the super wealth have a different set of laws and practices that are out of reach for most people. amy: one of the filings leaked in the paradise papers shows how an attorney for renaissance technologies founder james simons asked bermuda's supreme court to hold hearings on restructuring his trust in private in order to prevent the simons name from being listed in the public docket. the lawyer writes -- "there has always been very great sensitivity as regards even the remotest possibility of publicity of the wealth of mr. simons and his family. mr. simons himself is exceptionally private." the guardian also reports that simons has publicly called for higher tax rates on americans he has termed "rich guys like me." so you have these two political guys, james simons, founder of renaissance technologies, and
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and robert mercer, who took over from him. now according to buzzfeed, it is simons that has convinced robert mercer to step back because he is demoralizing the entire company for supporting the white nationalist and yiannopoulos and breitbart news. mercer has stepped back. but you have these guys covering the spectrum, supporting the various parties, and all but what they have in common is the offshore tax havens. >> that's right. it speaks to why a lot of people on the left are disenchanted with the mainstream democratic politics. this is a guy who gave $11 million to priorities usa, the ager super pac that backed the clinton campaign. he is given millions more to other democrats in the senate and the house. as you say, he is storing billions of dollars offshore.
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as you said, it covers the spectrum to an extent, but it is the mainstream spectrum of u.s. politics and it is why i think a lot of liberals are disenchanted mainstream democrats. juan: i want to ask about the two russian state institutions with close ties to putin who are investing in facebook and twitter, but also through a business associate of jared kushner. >> so we knew the man you mention, a russian tech investor and also invested in a jared kushner company in the u.s.. what we did not know is a couple of his investments in facebook and twitter were funded by russian state banks, essentially. one is a bank and one is an investment vehicle. this is more information that came out in the paradise papers. twitter has an investment of $191 million funded by the bank in moscow that has close links
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to russian intelligence. facebook has a $1 billion investment funded by gas pump, and oil and gas company in russia but it has a financial arm as well. we do not know any of this before these leaks showed us the way to find these investments. amy: talk more about facebook, twitter, and what you found in the paradise papers and then lay out what these papers are and ist this appleby company the front page of the time say it is a picture of madonna, bono, and the queen of england. elby are legal and accounting services firm. they have tax havens all around the world. they basically get paid by corporations and wealthy people to find the most tax efficient, as they say, areas to put their money. the people who do this range from the royal family in the madonnacelebrities like
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to corporations like apple. all of them paying very expensive lawyers and advisers to find the new tax loophole, essentially, around the world for them to park their funds. apple, one of the most popular ubiquitous copies of our time am a parking tens of billions of dollars offshore rather than bringing it into the u.s. and paying taxes on it. they are a u.s. organization. they have employees using public services in california. they are an american corporation and yet they decide that they're going to park all of this money offshore. juan: appleby, a company from which many of these documents comehas insisted it has reviewed the allegations and is comfortable there's nothing illegal that has occurred here. what about this issue of whether there is anything illegal happening in all of these exposes of the paradise papers? >> they are probably right. there may be a few cases around the edges, but most of this is going to be legal because this is a system that is in place
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where these loopholes, these offshore vehicles and all of these systems and schemes are within the law. as i said, they are the most newest, cleverest ways of exploiting the system. these kinds of systems are out of reach for most people. most people just get paid and pay their taxes. they can't find its of lawyers to find them clever loopholes in bermuda or the cayman islands to save a bit more money here and there. they are right. as far as they're concerned, they've done nothing wrong. this is what they do, if you like. amy: your colleague at the guardian has a new report out today. what about harvey weinstein? >> he turns out to have been involved in an offshore scientific research company. it is a strange, to were several well-known people seem to have that money in.
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i think it is now ended, but as you said, this just shows what a range of people involved in this whole thing from political influence to royals to celebrities like madonna and harvey weinstein all involved in putting money offshore where -- away from the irs. amy: that means a lack of investment and infrastructure social services in the united states and other countries around the world. >>hat is right. i think that is what concerns people when they read the stories. times are tough. wages have been stagnating for decades for the average worker. the backlash against the system, which we see with brexit and trump and all of these movemes, actually perhaps part of that is because the medical be going into improving public services and basic infrastructure in the country been moved offshore. amy: jon sine, thank you for being with us. we will link to your pieces. he is part of the team reporting stories on the paradise papers. happy birthday kien krug meows! democracy now! is accepting
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