tv Democracy Now PBS February 20, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/20/18 02/20/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> indictment charges 13 russians nationals and three russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the united states political system, including the 2016 presidential election. amy: with 13 russians and data, national security adviser general h.r. mcmaster says evidence of russian meddling in the 20 16 election is in controversial -- 2017 election is incontrovertible. the president continues to attack robert mueller, the fbi, and others. where were the mueller robe go
next? we will speak with independent journalist marcy wheeler and the two former labor secretary robert wright. robert reich. >> is there something that still unites us as a people? do have obligations to one another or are we just a bunch of self-seeking individuals that happen to be here in a place called the united states? amy: we will speak with robert reich about his new book "the common good." all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in syria, up to 100 people died in a barrage of syrian government airstrikes and artillery shelling against the rebel-held enclave of eastern ghouta outside the capital damascus monday. the syrian observatory for human rights is calling monday the
deadliest day in three years for the area. among the victims were dozens of civilians, including children, whose bodies filled a makeshift morgue on tuesday. at least four hospitals were reportedly bombed on monday. there are reports the syrian government is planning an impending ground invasion of eastern ghouta, which is home to 400,000 people and is the last rebel-held area near the capital. one doctor in eastern ghouta said -- "we are standing before the massacre of the 21st century. it's not a war. it's called a massacre." in florida, 100 students from marjory stoneman douglas high school are beginning a two-day, 400-mile bus trip to the capital tallahassee today to demand action from lawmakers on gun control, after 17 people were killed in a shooting massacre at their high school last week. this is a student speaking
outside the high school. >> it is not our job to tell you, senator rubio, how to protect us. the fact we even have to do this is appalling. our job is to go to school, learn, and not take a bullet. you need to figure this out. that is why you were unfortunately elected. your job is to protect us and our blood is on your hands. amy: in washington, d.c., dozens of students lay down in front of the white house for three minutes on monday in a protest symbolizing how it only took the white former student, 19-year-old nikolas cruz, three minutes to kill 17 people with his ar-15. the demonstration originally called for 17 students to lie down to symbolize those killed. but once the lie-in started, many more students and adults joined them. on monday, under enormous pressure from the youth-led activism, president trump said he's open to tightening background checks for gun purchases. cnn is reporting special counsel robert mueller has expanded his investigation into trump's son-in-law and senior adviser
jared kushner. mueller is now reportedly investigating kushner's attempts to secure foreign investors and financing for kushner companies during the presidential transition period, when kushner served as the primary point of contact between president-elect trump and foreign governments. mueller is reportedly specifically looking at kushner's meetings with chinese, russian, and qatari investors during the transition period. donald trump jr., the eldest son of president trump, has arrived in india for a whirlwind tour aimed at selling more than $1 billion worth of luxury apartments being built by the trump organization in partnership with indian developers. trump jr. is also slated to speak at a global business summit, where he and indian prime minister narendra modi are billed as keynote speakers. critics say the trip represents the array of the trump family's conflicts of interest. the trump organization has at least four real estate projects underway in india. former state department official
daniel markey, who served under president george w. bush, said -- "the idea that the president's son would be going and shilling the president's brand at same time donald trump is president and is managing strategic and foreign relations with india -- that is just bizarre." in israel, seven members of prime minister benjamin netanyahu's circle have been arrested amid a widening series of corruption scandals that tried to bring down netanyahu. among those arrested were netanyahu's close friend and former communications director, as well as the former director general of the communications ministry. netanyahu's inner circle has been accused of intervening with federal regulators to benefit communications giant bezeq group in order to secure more favorable media coverage for netanyahu and his family. this comes after the israeli police recommended charging netanyahu with bribery and fraud over two separate corruption investigations.
the british charity oxfam has been hit with dozens more misconduct allegations in the days since "the times of london" revealed oxfam tried to cover up sex crimes by senior aid workers in haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. on monday, oxfam released its own internal report into the sex scandal in which oxfam senior aid workers, including the country director for prostitutes at oxfam properties then tried to cover it up. prostitution is illegal in haiti, but oxfam refused to report the activity of its aid workers to haitian police. oxfam's internal report also includes claims that three oxfam staff members physically threatened a witness during the charity's internal investigation. haiti has threatened to expel oxfam from the country. this is haiti's external cooperation minister, aviol fleurant. >> i am investigation into
launch the function and role nongovernmental organizations regarding sexual crimes and abuse. the state will be keeping a vigilant eye on the actions of humanitarian workers. as required by the president of the republic, there will be new rules of cooperation and government concerning developmental aid. am canceled their donations to oxfam since the scandal broke. in iraq, isis has claimed responsibility for an attack against a shiite militia that left more than two dozen fighters dead on sunday night. last month, isis militants also carried out a double suicide bombing in the capital baghdad, which killed at least 27 people. all this comes after, in december, the iraqi government declared victory in the three-year fight against isis. in afghanistan, three tribal elders were killed after a bomb blast in a hotel room in jalalabad, the provincial capital of nangarhar province. no one has claimed
responsibility for the attack so far. this comes as, in western farah province, at least eight afghan police officers have been killed in taliban attacks on police checkpoints overnight. meanwhile, afghan artists have taken to the streets of the capital kabul to paint over concrete blast walls -- aimed at minimizing damage from bombings -- with murals promoting social justice and peace. this is omaid sharifi, cofounder of the artists' group called artlords. >> we are bringing down the blast walls. we painting. we're using it as a tool for social change. we are painting against injustices happening in society, for women's rights, to basically encourage people to come join us and -- amy: in pennsylvania, the state supreme court has redrawn the congressional map after the court found the previous map unconstitutionally benefited
republicans. the new map is expected to benefit democrats during the 2018 midterm elections. in new york city, four nypd officers are appearing in court today on a federal civil-rights trial in which the officers are accused of carrying out false arrests simply to increase their overtime pay. the practice is known as collars for dollars. if any of the officers are found guilty, the new york police department could face a broader trial over whether scheme of is a routine practice across the nation's largest police force. in west virginia, teachers are announcing they are planning a statewide walkout in order to protest for better health care and pay. they announced walkout comes after teachers have staged rallies and protests for weeks including a massive rally at the state capitol on saturday. and tito transgender women have been murdered this month. in buffalo, new york, 35-year-old tonya harvey was
fatally shot on february 6. only two days earlier, 36-year-old celine walker shot to death in jacksonville, florida. they are the third and fourth transgender women murdered so far this year. other victims include transgender rights activist and founder of the miss trans america pageant, christa leigh steele-knudslien, who was stabbed and beaten to death inside her home in north adams, massachusetts, january 5. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. there have been a number of significant developments in special counsel robert mueller's investigation into the trump administration. cnn is reporting mueller is now investigating trump's son-in-law jared kushner and his attempts to secure financing for his family's business while working on the president's transition team. meanwhile, "the los angeles times" is reporting former trump campaign aide rick gates has
agreed to plead guilty and testify against paul manafort, trump's former campaign manager. under the deal, gates will plead guilty to money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. amy: these developments come just days after the justice department indicted 13 russians and three companies in connections with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election by orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the u.s. election system. the indictment claims the russians spread negative information online about hillary clinton and support donald trump as well as bernie sanders. deputy attorney general rod announced the indictments on rosenstein announced the indictments on friday. >> committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the united states legal system. including the 2016 presidential election. the defendants allegedly conducted what they called
information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust toward the candidates and the clinical system in general. juan: president trump responded to the indictments on twitter by lashing out at democrats, the mueller investigation, the obama administration, and the fbi. in one tweet he wrote -- "very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign-there is no collusion." amy: trump also criticized national security advisor h.r. mcmaster who said the indictments offered incontrovertible evidence that the russians interfered in the 2016 election. >> as you can see with the fbi indictments, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past, it was difficult to attribute for a
couple of reasons. technically, it was difficult, but then also you did not want to double your intelligence capabilities. but now this is in the arena of law enforcement investigation, it is going to be very apparent to everyone. amy: to talk more about these develops, we go to grand rapids, michigan, to talk to marcy wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website emptywheel.net. marcy, welcome back to democracy now! why don't you lay out what came down on friday and then the response -- i mean, this is in the midst of the horror that took place in florida, the 17 people killed in the massacre at the high school, the weekend massivet trump spends a tweet storm around us can hardly mentioning the massacre. >> right. the indictment was for online trolling done by an organization called the internet research
agency in st. petersburg. it involves both facebook ads, facebook posts, twitter accounts , instagram -- a range of social media activity that purported to be american, but in fact, was up ands trying to gen ultimately supporting arnold trump. as rosenstein said in the quote you had, it is 13 russians and a number of russian businesses. but what is interesting about the case -- the charges are conspiracy to fraud the united states. i will come back to that. but wire fraud and identity theft. there are real crimes here. the crimes that these trolls use to pretend to be american, but really were not american. but what mueller laid out in the indictment is that the problem with this is that in the united
states, it is illegal to engage in certain kinds of activity without making it clear who is behind the activity. and in this case, this is the activity tied to electing one or another presidential candidate. and that is how he got to the conspiracy to defraud united states charge, which is interesting because it is the same primary charge that paul manafort and rick gates got charged with. so you're beginning to see where mueller is going with a larger investigation. as mcmaster said, you are seeing now real evidence tied to claims that russia was behind this activity. i think you will see more republicans like cam and even republicans who were involved. the indictment does not charge any american, but it lays out activities that a lot of good faith trump volunteers and campaign workers were engaged in. and their actions are perhaps now tainted or got touched or
got spun by russians, which isn't fair to them, much less hillary clinton who was ultimately targeted by it. i think you are going to see a change in how, especially the republicans, but even skeptics more generally, how they approach this issue. but we also now think we see where mueller is going with the rest of the investigation better. juan: what do you make about a thatment i rod rosenstein no americans willingly participated according to this indictment, and that there is no evidence that the alleged interference actually altered the election outcome? well, for one, i'm sure he said that to keep trump happy and to keep himself in his job, but i think -- it is really important said that. you can look at the indictment, and i'd do in a post i did on saturday, and there are at least 20 americans who were just
engaging in politics. they were putting together campaign events. they were engaging in online speech. that is like the most sacred part of being an american citizen, and yet they were unknowingly interacting with russians who were trying to, at times, funding or encouraging certain activities. so i do think it is important -- he did not say no americans were involved. there are ways in which the indictment suggests certain events may show up later in the investigation. for example, the indictment events, andwo anti-hillary and pro-trump event, that took place in the summer of 2016. and if folks is on a great deal of florida activity -- it focuses great deal of florida activity. 0, believed to. have a new's eye the russians to the stolen documents, that figure released a ton of
onuments from the democrats florida campaigns. so florida republicans are actually the ones who most concretely can be shown to have benefited from the stolen documents from the democrats. so it may be that we are going to see the florida activity tied it back into the actual hack and leak later on. the what rosenstein was importantly saying is that all of these americans, most of them named in the indictment were trump supporters, they did not do anything wrong. they were just engaging in politics and russians came in and used them, basically, to kind of turn their politics into something that it wasn't. amy: i mean, the key here, and rosenstein said it, trump said it dropped the weekend, is that this did not prove any kind of collusion. rosenstein said this, this is separate from it, it has to do with russians interfering with the elections. something the u.s. government knows well about over the decades, right? and being involved in
interfering with other countries elections. it can you talk about what happened in florida am a for example, the protests? also, describe this internet troll farm in st. petersburg and how it operates. >> you make a good point, amy. the indictment calls this information warfare. it says the troll farm consider themselves being engaged in information warfare. we do that. absolutely. one of the questions is, where are the lines going to be drawn? what are the norms? basically, these are people in st. petersburg who were fluent english speakers, who were paid usengage in certain things, fake twitter accounts, basically, to engage in certain things and prep the limits of certain partisan divides that already exist. not just partisan divides, there were also playing on religion
and race, guns. to rilee basically paid up americans even further than our politics already do. i will also say that all sides engaged in similar kind of behavior in 2016. campaigns do this as well. the difference here, according to the indictment, is that factbots are hiding the it was a russian effort, whether hillary or trump bots were claiming correctly to be hillary or trump. the indictment describes how much, how well these trolls were able to get actual people here in the united states to go out and say, hey and actress to pretend to be hillary clinton and pay somebody to build a case so that they could drag around a fake hillary clinton in a fake
cage to play on the theme of hillary going to prison. that is the sort of alarming thing is that from zinke's burke, they were able to get actual campaign events put together by pretending to be americans. again, none of the american side of this was charged. the people described in the indictment probably -- they were just engaging in good faith politics, whether or not i agree with their politics, they were just doing what we're supposed to do in the united states, which is engage in politics. said, theknow, as i guccifer 2.0 figure leaks a bunch of democratic targeting data on the florida races, so that state is want to watch in those events are ones to watch i think. >> can you talk about the now "l.a. times" report that rick gates, the former aide to trump's presidential campaign is
expected to plead guilty and testify against paul manafort? what is the significance of this, potentially? >> it is another cooperating witness. with the internet research's agency indictment on friday, there was not another guilty plea that was announced for a guy who had sold bank accounts that the trolls used to set up paypal accounts. gates, if he does look, will be the fourth cooperating witness for mueller. he is important because he was paul manafort's campaign manager deputy got the summer of 2016, which is when -- gates was not at the tonight and meeting when russians were sort of promise to offer dirt on hillary clinton will stop but gates was, for example, in the loop on discussions about setting up a meeting between trump and vladimir putin. manafort for him any millet said, we need to not signal -- and there were that means, gate
probably knows -- but we need to not signal on this. the public report in "the l.a. times" is gates will be testifying predominately against manafort, not against trump. i am a little skeptical of that. one, gates was very much in the loop throughout the summer and two, because gates stayed on. he was still working in the transition team all the way through the inauguration. i suspect gates has more to tell the mueller team than the "l.a. times" he's makes out. --piece makes out. trump has even said as much a couple of weeks ago, said that he doesn't think manafort will flip on him so he thinks he is ok. but with gates flipping and cooperating with the mueller team, it makes it far more likely that manafort is going to be forced to do so.
and that gets into things like that june 9 meeting. amy: marcy wheeler, i want to get your response to the intercept glenn greenwald who -- who wrote a piece "a consensus emerges: russia committed an "act of war" on par with pearl harbor and 9/11. should the u.s. response be similar?" he writes -- "all of this underscores the serious dangers many have pointed to for more than a year about why all this unhinged rhetoric is so alarming. if you really believe that russia -- with some phishing links sent to john podesta and some fake facebook ads and twitter bots -- committed an 'act of war' of any kind, let alone one on par with pearl harbor and 9/11, then it's inevitable that extreme retaliatory measures will be considered and likely triggered. how does one justify a mere imposition of sanctions in the face of an attack similar to pearl harbor or 9/11?" that is the question of glenn greenwald, marcy. trolling,o with the let's be really clear. while russia did spend a lot of
money to do this, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what either side, the republicans or hillary clinton spent, to do the same kind of activity. so it could have made the difference -- i'm in michigan. it could have made the difference here, in wisconsin, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the kinds of activities that go on in a political campaign. we don't know what else mueller is going to show. we don't know what kinds of quid pro quo, if in fact that happened. i always raised the fact that the shadow brokers, these leaked nsa files that were closely associated with all of this, if that is shown to be part of the same operation, that is a great deal of damage to the united states. that said, the trolling -- you and i already said this, this is stuff the united states engages in all the time. it is considered fair game for intelligence agencies. even stealing hacking tools,
fair game for intelligence agencies. hacking political candidates. the united states does that as well. so i do think we need to ask about what the appropriate response to this is, but part of that is understanding for cicely what happened. and part of it is understanding what is the best response is to prevent it from happening. didof the reasons putin this is because of the sanction regime put in place. asause of what he perceives the same kind of activity in 2011 and 2012 in elections in russia. so is more of the same -- don the clinton about supporter protests against him. >> or cicely. onlineh the same kind of activity. we call it democracy promotion, but it uses some of the same kind of tactics as these will farms used on as. is,more important question
is the issue keeping america safe and free from for interview -- intervention or is it needing to retaliate against putin? that may not be a binary choice, but it seems like this was a pretty remarkable attempt to interfere with the united states. the question is, what is the best response the united states can make going forward to prevent it from happening in the future? is ratcheting up the pressure the thing to do or is making ourselves resilient, fixing our own politics -- which is really what russia did. exploited both divisions within our own country, but also how easy it is to get money into own politics or have outsiders interfere in our own politics will stop we would be better off fixing that, fixing our politics rather than ratcheting it up against russia.
i hope we have a real debate about this going forward will stop people should not dismiss glenn's concerns out of hands. juan: can you give us a quick take on the latest report from cnn, a mother is looking into trump's son-in-law jared kushner a possible negotiations he had with foreign entities about business deals for his company during the transition period? is this going somewhat far field from mother's mandate? >> idle think so. so. don't think i said the main charge was conspiracy to defraud the united states. i basically pretending to do deschryver tending to be engaged in politics when you're not. that is the same charge that paul manafort and rick gates are facing. they are pretending, according inmueller, to be engaged lobbying for american interests
when in fact they were representing the interest of progress in ukrainian political party. exact parallel there. the idea is that paul manafort was engaging in politics and pretending to be interested in the united states best interest, but in fact, doing the bidding of progress in mining. pro-russian money. the reason why the business deals are important, we talked in the intro this was not the only example of there is the don and how poorly trump's people have separated his business interests from the interests of the country. the same is even more true for jared kushner, whose family business is basically bankrupt. and over and over again, he is been shown to be in negotiations with entities, including russians, but also chinese and he will go in so and say, ok, we will talk about
this grand peace plan, which is not about peace at all, but oh, by the way, can you bail out our 666 park avenue building, which is badly underwater? i think mueller can make the same argument he is made with the ira indictment and the manafort indictment and say that jared kushner is pretending to be serving america's foreign-policy interests, but in fact, he is just doing his own bidding. he is just trying to bail out his own company. but i would not be surprised if he is moving toward a very similar indictment on conspiracy to defraud the united states, having to do with his conflicts of interest. amy: and interesting that christer always has not managed to get top security cleared tony is a senior advisor -- christian has not managed to get top secret clearance when he is advisor. any of donald junior in india promoting trump businesses as, of course, donald trump is the president of the united states. he is standing with the prime minister of india as he does
this, promoting the truck brand, marcy. >> exactly. if trump and his son and his son-in-law are pretending to be doing the business of the united states but are instead just trying to enrich themselves, again, it -- we talked about the emoluments clause and how you go after the trump campaign, the trump officials for their egregious conference of interest , and frankly, it extends into his cabinet. but what mueller seems to be doing with some very good appellate lawyers, by the way, is to be laying out this framework that if you are pretending to be doing something in the interest of the united states but are actually doing something else, serving some but yes is bidding whether it is russia, pro-russian ukrainian political party, or whether it is your own family business, then they're going to go after you for conspiracy charge.
i would not be surprised if these conspiracy charges all kind of link up in the end in this grand moment. i think that is where he is headed. amy: marcy wheeler, own to thank you for being with us, independent journalist national covering security and civil liberties. we will link to your piece "what did mueller achieve with the internet research agency indictment?" when we return, we speak with , formert robert reich labor secretary to president clinton. he is a new book called "the common good." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as the presidential candidate, donald trump made a promise to the american people there would be no cuts to medicare, medicaid, and social security. pres. trump: save medicare, medicaid, and social security without cuts. have to do it. get rid of the fraud, get rid of the waste and abuse, but save
it. juan: that promise has not been kept. understood budget, trump proposes a massive increase in pentagon spending while cutting funding for medicare, medicaid, and social security. his budget would also cut or completely elinate poverty programs that form the heart of the u.s. social safety net from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly, and job training. this comes after president trump and republican lawmakers push through a $1.5 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly favors the richest americans, including president trump and his own family. amy: our next guest has been one of the vocal critic of president trump's economic policies, robert reich, served as labor secretary under president bill clinton and a professor at the university of california berkeley, senior fellow at the blum center for developing economies. most recent book is out today called "the common good." welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you back. respond to what we see today. you have this fall and wall
street, which does not necessarily reflect what happens on main street, and you have this budget that has been introduced that we just heard in their broken campaign promises of president trump. who is winning and who is losing at this point? >> i think we are all losing. that is actually the theme of my book will stop the rich in america cannot continue to do well when most others are not. it is a social contract. saying tobasically everyone, you're on your own, we're all going to be worse off. there is a common good. at least there was a common good. the purpose of the book is to ignite a discussion about whether we can reestablish a sense of common good in america. juan: when you say there has been a common good, talk about that historically in terms of the how the concept developed. >> in the constitution, he says
"we the people" are establishing a government and one of the domesticis for our own well-being. the declaration of independence and our founding documents. in the gettysburg address. i mean, go through everything over the last 200 years that has talked about who "we" means. it means, equal political rights. and that has been a goal. it is not been effectuated. we have sought it. i don't want to romanticize the past which we certainly have not had, but for much of our history, we have at least been seeking it, the same with equal opportunity, the same with the rule of law and no person is above the law. and you go down the list. these areemphasize
aspirations, these are ideals that kept us together again and again. i fear we are losing them. donald trump is sort of these ae aspirations, these are the essence of the problem, but he is not the cause of the problem. his election was, i believe, the result -- at least in part -- of a great deal of disillusionment and anger and cynicism that many people have toward a s ystem, a ruling class that did not deliver and has not delivered. trumps conflict of interest, is nazism, his inability to his narcissism him his inability to understand there is something called america that is greater and more important than flag salutes and expanding for a national anthem -- staining for national anthem or securing the borders is symptomatic of something that is much deeper that is gone wrong in america. to robert reich , who is a labor secretary under
president clinton. yet a lot of problems. walking the streets the day he signed off on welfare reform, what some called welfare deform, walking streets wondering where people are. there are young people, high school kids on the streets today who could turn the entire system on its head, not only around gun-control, the survivors of the massacre in florida on a bus 's tallahassee, doing lie-in and washington, d.c., and saying what the media is saying -- they start off by think him you can't get an automatic weapons ban. but what is it you think you can do? they are questioning everything right now. they're talking about corruption. they're talking about many of politics. these are kids in 10th grade, leavitt great, 12 grade, and younger. >> they give me a great deal of encouragement. the young lady, for example, that very powerful speech she
gave saturday about gun control. what i see around the country is there is a silver lining to trump and everything going on right now in our nations capital. the silver lining is that you have young people and also many activists who are becoming more active than ever. a lot of people who are given up on politics, had become cynical are saying to themselves, i can't afford to be cynical because this country is too important to me and my children, my grandchildren, and they are becoming engaged in politics the way i have not seen since the vietnam war or the anti-vietnam war. i teach young people. i can say that every day i count my blessings because i am surrounded by kids who care about this country, care about the future, and are not going to allow us to continue to ignore
the common good. juan: and yet the supporters of trump have double down even more in their backing of him, as we have seen repeatedly, most recently, the opera interview -- oprah interview. her ontarted blasting twitter. there is a sense among his supporters that he is doing exactly what they expected him to do. i think to a large extent, juan, those supporters have been -- the propaganda arm of the white house, fox news. if we get into that propaganda arm, you begin to accept the lies that trump has been propagating and fox news has been propagating. he in his whole life has been a con man.
i think a lot of americans, sadly, have been conned by him. look at the tax bill. the idea that working class is going to do better under that tax bill is absurd. that tax bill that went through congress, tax plan, is overwhelmingly favoring the very wealthy and it is being paid for -- they are already talking about paying for it. i am talking about paul ryan and trump are already talking about paying for it by cutting programs like medicare and social security and medicaid. so many americans depend on it. many trump voters depend on it. trump voters are the ones being shafted almost worse than anybody else, and yet because of the lies, the big lies, they don't know it -- or at least don't know it yet. i think they will. they can't help but understand it. in fact, i have spent a lot of time over the last year and a half in so-called red states talking to people who voted for trump. and many of them are becoming deeply disillusioned.
escapades thate are coming out about paying off playboy bunnies and prostitutes. i mean, you have evangelicals in america saying, wait a minute, we trusted this man was somebody who he said he was but he is somebody entirely different. the truth is going to catch up with them. you wrotewant -- recently in the 2016 election that he sucked all the oxygen out of the race by making himself the biggest story. now you sucking all of the oxygen out of america by making himself our national obsession. you go on to say schools and reality television in new york tabloids, trump knows how to keep both sides stirred up, vilified, disparaged, denounced, defamed and accuse the other conspiring against america >>. if you want to call it a gift, it certainly is technique. and that is what he knows how to do. divide and conquer.
we are all feel as if against one another, that the most important kind of conflict in america is between them, being either the trump voters or the people who are against trump, and disguise the fact that most americans are now battling over smaller and smaller share of an economic high. you have got, for example, what working-class people who were on a downward escalator and they still are. and they are now being taught to believe that african-americans and latinos and foreigners and children are somehow responsible for their plight. it is taking their eyes off the system, what has happened as a system. this is why a the book. if we don't start focusing on the common good and what we mean by that and taking our eyes, at
least occasionally, off of this egomaniac in the white house who knows how to aggravate us and going to, then we are in an ironic way, allow him to succeed. amy: we're talking to robert reich chancellor's professor of , public policy at the university of california, berkeley, and former labor secretary under clinton. he is a new book out today called "the common good." we will be back with them in a moment. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we turn to president trump talking about the infrastructure plan that he is just presented. pres. trump: this morning i submitted legislative principles to congress that will spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in american history. the framework will generated an
1.5 trillion dollar to $1.7 trillion investment. and because of that is president trump introducing his infrastructure plan will stop from infrastructure, if you can respond to that, to the budget, to the tax plan, talk about what he has proposed and what would be a plan for the common good. is proposinghe what he says will be federal money that somehow magically trillion of infrastructure spending. first of all, there's no money left in the federal budget. all of the money that was there as been basically taken with a big tax cuts. so he, on closer inspection, he and the white house are saying, that $200 billion is going to have to come out of other programs. programs,"ay "other we know what they mean.
that means programs for the working class and the poor. they are the first on the chopping block and have been for the entire administration so far. beyond that, where does the rest of the money come from? private developers, private investors. how can we track private investors for that much infrastructure? by giving them the receipts of --ls and fees and user fees basically, turning the future infrastructure over to the private sector. so we pay twice. we pay not only through our taxes, but we also pay through all of the tolls. juan: and expect large contributions from local, city, state governments that would also be us paying as well as the >> in the state governments are going to just be able to come up with the money. they will have to raise money as taxes as well. without any understanding of the common good, it is going to cost more people more money and it is not even going to be infrastructure where we most
need it. where we most need it is repairing old bridges and old highways and water treatment facilities. but where do private investors want to see if a structure? where can the biggest return? on brand-new highways and brand-new bridges that will -- basically, skirt poor areas in this country. not only poor rural areas, but many minority communities. tax: in terms of the cuts, many were talking about using an amnesty for corporate profits that were being held offshore. to use that for infrastructure because that was a one-time shot in the arm to the u.s. economy, and that did not happen. most of that money seems to have gone into the overall plugging the gap of this plan. but you also focused on stock buybacks and how companies are
with stock buybacks now this tax plan while all of the attention is going into the pittance as their giving them bonuses to their workers. >> exactly. those bonuses have proven to be very, very tiny relative to the amount of profit the companies are now sinking into buying back their shares of stock, which is a technique used by companies to artificially raise stock prices. why are they doing this? largely because ceo pay is so intimately related to share eraes that ceos, even in an like this, artificially keep them up or keep them from falling as much as they would by buying back the shares of stock. this has nothing whatever to do with the promise -- juan: have they increased in the past year compared to previously? >> buybacks were already at a record level in 2017 and so far
this year, they are even at a higher level. so all of that corporate tax in the new tax plan that was supposed to inspire and encourage a lot of new investment -- the trickle-down economics their? well, it is a ready proved to be bankrupt. amy: earlier this month, senator sanders questioned budget director mick mulvaney about president trump's budget plan. ofexpect to me the morality a process by which we give the third wealthiest family in america, a major contributor and might add to the republican party, over $1 billion year in tax rates and yet we cut a program which keeps tobin and the elderly warm in the winter. >> here's the morality o the prosal. 11,000 dead people got that benefit the last time the gop look at it. that is not moral.
toake your money, to take my money, take money -- >> 11,000 people got it shouldn't have, correct that. at 7 million people get the program. 7 million,00 out of deal with that. amy: that is bernie sanders questioned budget director mick mulvaney. robert reich? >> morality is very much at the center of this. we havethe discussion to be having. say what you want about donald trump am a he has at least brought us back to first principles. why are we together in this nation? who are we? are we just a bunch of individuals who happen to be born here who should be making us much money and acumen lighting as much power as possible? is that the meaning of america? or is it we are a bunch of white christians who were all born here and speak english as a first language? is that the meaning of america? i'm sorry, that is that the meaning of america as we have
understood it for much of the 200 years -- more than 200 years of our existence. there are ideals that undergird our understanding of why we are a nation. as a great political philosopher once said, to be a frenchman is a fact. to be an american is an ideal. we are not a creed. we are not a religion. we are a conviction, a conviction about the importance of certain ideals. donald trump obviously does not understand the common good. he is never uttered the words "common good" i'm sure. but they were understood. i am old enough to remember people like robert f kennedy who talked in terms of the common good. i even worked my first job in government was with robert f kennedy in his senate office in 1967. i, like many of my generation, went out and campaigned for eugene mccarthy 50 years ago
because we believed so deeply that there was a common good that was being violated by the war. many of us sacrificed our time and some of my -- a friend of mine sacrificed his life in the civil rights movement. wereof us, many of us, weaned on the notion that this country had moral principles. when bernie sanders asks mulvaney about morality, he is asking a question about what this country once represented and should represent. juan: in your book when you talk about some of the shifts that have begun to tear away at the concept of the common good, you talk about the notion of whatever it takes to win will step could you talk about that? >> that has become, and donald trump sort of emblematic of that going for thes last three or four decades. whatever it takes to win in politics -- it doesn't matter
what you do. it doesn't matter if you can win. the same with business. if you just show a profit until a bigger and bigger profit. itoesn't matter what affect your having on communities or on employees or the consequences for the nation, you just win. all of this when it any cost mentality is actually rather new. as americans, we went through a depression, we went through world war ii. we understood at some point that we are all in the same boat together. again, i want to emphasize this, not romanticize the past, it is not that we were an equal society that it feared and never respect to an understanding of the common good, but we at least strove for it. the civil rights act, the voting rights act, medicare, medicaid. the of our mental protection act. we at least were on the road to trying. and then there was a big u-turn.
and you know as well as i, district with ronald reagan. we no longer talk about the common good. amy: talking about the common good, let's talk about immigrants for a moment. you are a professor university of california berkeley. there are many students who have daca. we're talking about nearly a million young people who are threatened now with not knowing what is happening because president trump says he was ending the program, a judge has now stopped. but what is happening at universities, for example, in dealing with kids? how do you talk with young people who are dealing with this uncertainty, with this crisis, the ripping apart of their families? and if not them, the possibility their parents will be deported, immigrant leaders around the country being targeted, being detained, being threatened with deportation right now. as president trump talks about the national security of the country, explaining that is why
he is ripping families apart, and yet you have this 19-year-old self-confessed shooter who has easy access to guns and president trump hardly talks about this. >> i think this is a good innings -- exemplar of the ironies we find ourselves in. these daca kids were promised, there was a promise made to them that if they registered, if they basically provided information -- they cameves here as children. it is not their fault they came here as children -- that they would have an opportunity to stay and an opportunity to apply for permanent citizenship and an opportunity to work. then suddenly, arbitrarily, we have a president come along, a new president says, well, all of that is all. you're actually going to be targeted. you should not be here. well, it is too bad you came here as a child. this kind of insensitive amoral -- in fact, it is an immoral
approach to kids. at the same time you have guns in schools and guns all over the insensitivityof to the reality of what this experiencing. it seems to me it is, again, the essence of the problem we now face. why is it so hard to understand that no nion, except the united states, severs the gun violence we do? and no nation, except the united states, has as easy access to guns? you don't have to be a rocket scientist to connect the dots. but you do have to at least have a concern for the common good. juan: we have about a minute left, you talk in the book about bumping into the ceo of wells fargo one day at a light on a street corner at berkeley and
the conversation to had with them. wells fargo, probably racketeering conspiracy all of its own in terms of how it has dealt with its clients. ceo ofs today and the wells fargo at the time is just another example. i think don't understand they have public obligations they go beyond public relations. ceo, he said to me over coffee -- and we did bump into each other -- that he wanted to just distinguish wells fargo from all of the other banks that had been caught up in the 2008 banking crisis. he wanted to make sure the public understood that wells fargo really was a responsible bank. and he said this with complete seriousness. he for me. amy: three seconds. folks in three seconds, let me just say, it is not just trump.