tv Democracy Now PBS February 26, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
♪ [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! is toxic,teachers literally harebrained, half cocked, creating more dangerous schools not less. amy: as president trump advocates for arming teachers, lawmakers returned to capitol hill under intense pressures to pass gun-control measures. even as the student movement rises, gun manufacturers are targeting young people. we'll speak with "the intercept's" investigative journalist lee fong.
we will also talk about how the supreme court would deal with t courses -- key courses and to the koch brothers. >> we have made more progress in the last five years than i had in the previous 50. amy: then it has been six months since hurricane harvey flooded houston, the most diverse city in the united states, home to the nation's largest refining and petrochemical complex. >> you talk about the invisibility and you talk about where the population lives and not only a disaster in terms of the flooding. you talk about a disaster in terms of the environment, pollution, the health threats, the potential for the kinds of impacts that we will see for years to come. amy: we will host a roundtable discussion with dr. robert bullard, the "father of environmental justice," and the sierra club's bryan parras about
andthe executive director goldman environmental prize winner hilton kelly. all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. syrian government forces are continuing to bomb rebel-held eastern ghouta two days after the united nations security council unanimously backed a 30-day ceasefire. according to the syrian observatory for human rights, at least nine people have died in shelling in eastern ghouta over the past day. more than 500 have been killed there over the past week. meanwhile, turkey is continuing its offensive in the kurdish-held town of afrin. at the united nations, u.n. secretary-general antonio guterres urged all sides to implement the ceasefire. >> eastern ghouta cannot wait. it is high time to stop this
hell on earth. i remind all parties other absolute obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all times and similarly efforts to combat terrorism do not supersede these obligations. amy: in parkland, florida, students returned to the marjory stoneman douglas high school on sunday afternoon for the first time since february 14, when a 19-year-old white former student named nikolas cruz walked into the school and opened fire with an ar-15 semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people. outside the school, students talked about what it felt like to return to the scene of the killing. >> i'm kind of scared what it's going to be like going back and aaron feis at the front gate with her stupid little conversations and
waiting. i'm sorry. kids,a hero, saving six and staying on top of them. same.ot going to be the not the morning, not when i face, not seeing his seeing him on the golf cart. it's going to be different. amy: meanwhile, the florida house speaker and 73 republican colleagues have called on governor rick scott to suspend broward county sheriff scott israel for not doing more to prevent the shooting. records showed broward county deputies received at least 18 --ls about the gunmen, gunman, nikolas cruz, over the past decade, including one warning that he "planned to shoot up the school." this comes as massive pressure is growing on lawmakers to enact new gun control measures amid the rise of an unprecedented
youth movement, led by survivors of the february 14 shooting. a new cnn shows the percentage of americans favoring "stricter gun control laws" has risen from 52% to 70% over the past four months. while congress returns to session today, republican lawmakers have yet to announce any plans for new gun legislation. the nra has publicly opposed calls for a ban on bump stocks and raising the age requirement to purchase a long gun from 18 to 21. but pressure is growing on the nra. since the parkland shooting, more than 20 companies have cut ties to the nra. the list of companies includes delta, united, hertz, avis, budget, metlife, and the first national bank of omaha. president trump's former deputy campaign manager rick gates has pled guilty to two charges and is now cooperating with special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation. the charges deal with work gates did in ukraine wit manafort, before they joined the trump campaign.
new charges have also been filed against manafort in part around an effort to secretly finance a lobbying for ukraine's government. meanwhile, democratic lawmakers have released a memo refuting key parts of a recent republican memo that purported to show the fbi and justice department abused their authority by placing trump campaign adviser carter page under surveillance in 2016 over his ties to russia. democratic congressman adam schiff said his memo showed the fbi acted appropriately. a court was informed that carter page had a history that the fbi knew of well before the trump campaign that he was the target effectively of russian recruitment, that the court was informed that another trump foreign policy advisor occupied the same kind of position as carter page and had similarly been approached by russian agents and informed that
the russians had damaging information on hillary clinton in the form of thousands of emails. amy: in business news, the weinstein company is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy. this comes after 100 women accused the company's former chairman harvey weinstein, of , sexual misconduct, including rape. new york's attorney general eric schneiderman recently sued the company and harvey weinstein over sexual harassment and misconduct. in political news, the california democratic party has voted not to endorse longtime democratic senator dianne feinstein in her bid for to win a sixth term. feinstein is being challenged from the left by california state senate leader kevin de leon. at their annual convention in san diego, californian democrats voted 54% to 37% to back de leon , who has also been endorsed by seiu, the service employees international union. on saturday de leon said, "the days of democrats biding our time, biting our tongue, and
triangulating at the margins are over." the political news website axios is reporting president trump has privately told friends and staffers he wants to execute drug dealers. one senior administration told official told axios, "he often jokes about killing drug dealers. he'll say, 'you know the chinese and filipinos don't have a drug problem. they just kill them." earlier this month the international criminal court opened a preliminary investigation into accusations that filipino president rodrigo duterte had committed crimes against humanity by overseeing the killing of up 8,000 people in his so-called war on drugs. the trump administration has announced harsh new sanctions against north korea friday just before the olympic games ended in south korea. during the games, north korean officials met with their south korean counterparts and reportedly expressed a willingness to hold talks with thunited states.
the state partnt has announced will me its bass in israel to jerusalem in may to coincide with the 70th anniversary of israel's declaration of independence or what palestinians refer to as nakba or the catastrophe. chief palestinian negotiator saeb erekat criticized the u.s. announcement. >> the american administration to choose the day of the catastrophe to move the embassy in this expeditious fashion reflects total insensitivities to what goes on in this region, which confirms our position that the u.s. can no longer be part of the peace process. amy: one of the biggest proponents of the move to jeruslaem has been billionaire casino magnate sheldon adelson. he is now offering to help fund the construction of the new embassy, which could cost as much as $500 million. in other news from israel, up to 20,000 people took part in protests in tel aviv saturday protesting against israel's
plans to push out african migrants in the coming months. israel is threatening to jail them if they do not leave israel. protesters on saturday condemned the israeli government for shutting the door on refugees. >> we came to demonstrate against deportation. we disagree with the decision of our government, especially as jews. we are people of refugees, of asylum-seekers for thousands of years, and we are here to say now that we are in a sovereign state, we have to deal with other asylum-seekers worldwide. amy: back in the united states, oakland , california mayor libby schaaf held a press conference on sunday to warn residents of a possible ice raid in the coming days. >> today i learned information from multiple sources that there ice activityy an
planned in the bay area that could be starting as soon as today. my priority is to keep the community safe. it is not my wish to panic people but to ensure that they are prepared with information, that they know their rights as well as their responsibilities, and know about the resources. amy: oakland is a sanctuary city , which has barred city employees from assisting ice raids. in environmental news, a federal judge in louisiana has revoked a permit for a new crude oil pipeline by energy transfer partners, the same firm which runs the dakota access pipeline. the bayou bridge pipeline has been opposed by a coalition of environmental groups as well as local fishermen. in west virginia, teachers have begun their third day on strike. the strike has shut down all of the state's public schools. teacher salaries in west virginia are lower than in all but two other states, with salaries beginning at just over $32,000 for a new teacher.
and in other labor news, the u.s. supreme court is set to hear arguments today in a key case that could deal a massive blow to unions nationwide. the case deals with whether workers who are covered by union-negotiated contracts are required to pay a portion of union dues, even if they are not members of the union. 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 am juan gonzalez. in parkland, florida, students returned to the marjory stoneman douglas high school on sunday afternoon. it was their first time inside the school since february 14 when a 19-year-old former student, nikolas cruz, walked into the school and opened fire with an ar-15 semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people. the students' return sunday afternoon is part of what school officials are calling a "phased reopening" of the school.
this comes as lawmakers returned to capitol hill today after a vacation. congress is facing massive pressure to pass gun control measures amid the rise of an unprecedented youth movement, led by marjory stoneman douglas high school students who survived the mass shooting. meanwhile, president trump has reiterated his calls to arm teachers with concealed weapons. this is trump speaking at cpac, the conservative political action conference come on friday. >> the beauty is its concealed. nobody would see it unless they needed it. this crazy man who walked in with not even know who has it. that's not bad, it's good. and the teacher would've shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened. [cheering] [applause]
they love their students. they love those students, folks. remember that. amy: according to the gun violence archive, at least 69 kids under the age of 18 have been shot and 26 of them were killed since the mass shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school less than two weeks ago. well, to speak more about firearms, gun manufacturers, and the unprecedented youth movement for gun control, we're joined now by "the intercept's" investigative reporter lee fong. his new piece is entitled "even as a student movement rises, gun manufacturers are targeting young people." welcome back to democracy now! how are gun manufacturers targeting young people? lee: we took a look at investor reports from gun manufacturers and other gun industry companies and is a number of reasons why, but gun executive say they are making a new push to target younger generations, teenagers,
millennials mainly because gun sales have been plummeting over the last year. that is partially because with the republican president and republicans in power, there has been little fear of gun control. what the gun industry has done haverically is that they used the potential for gun control to spur panic buying often using third parties like the nra to whip up hysteria. controlthat fear of gun , there is less gun sales so they are tempting to grow their market. there's new analysis from the gun industry shown that young people are not buying guns like older generations for hunting. they are mostly kind of emulating videogame culture. they are going to gun stores, buying targets of empires and ,ombies -- vampires and zombies buying sophisticated weapons are
lots of ammunition. this is what one gun executive said is the xbox generation they are trying to target. new youthh there is a led movement calling for gun control, this is coming at a time when the gun industry is hoping to grow their market share i selling more guns to young people. juan: could you also talk about the koch brothers and guns and a network that the koch brothers ,ave built up to fund campaigns both advocacy campaigns and political campaigns? lee: the interesting thing with the koch brothers and guns is i don't believe the koch brothers have a strong interest in gun control or no gun control. they understand that this is an issue that whips up the conservative base, that republican voters are likely to vote on gun issues. historically we have seen the koch brothers use their undisclosed money organizations to fund the nra.
that's because the nra will go out and engage in election efforts to activate republican base voters to get them to the polls. you see television advertisements from the nra. that money does come from nra members and gun companies, but it also can come from groups like the koch brothers that are hoping to use them as an identity group to activate their base voters. amy: can you talk a little about outdoor brands? it used to be known as smith & wesson, right? lee: this is a company that sells a number of different rifles, formally known as smith & wesson. they manufactured the ar-15 used in the parkland massacre. this is a company that has donated millions of dollars to the nra. they have engaged in marketing practices with the nra, saying that if you buy a certain number of weapons and guns from us, a portion of the sales will go to the nra.
they go out and provide big checks to the nra as well celebrating their partnership. it's a major company that sells weapons in retail stores all around the country. amy: tell us about james debney, the ceo of american outdoor. has been adeney longtime chief executive. in investorned presentations throughout the year last year, he talked about the need to grow their market share among young people and that the company is doing more marketing towards younger generations and targeting millennials. you look at just the stock price of the major gun companies of american outdoor brands and also the largest gun and ammunition companies, they have really tanked. they are hurting. they are hoping to bring in new consumers and they are noticing
that young people are very particular types of consumers. they are buying guns to emulate first-person shooters. the gun companies are very conscious of this in trying to market their weapons to them. juan: what do you make of the decision by major corporations in america now to sort of cut their ties with the nra, get rid of credit cards by some of the financial institutions? what is your sense of what that represents? lee: i think it's an interesting development, but the nra is organized through multiple 501(c) tax entities. we don't really understand their financials because they do not disclose their donors. how much of a hit this constitutes, we don't know. it is certainly not a positive development for the nra to see so many major corporations from airlines to car rental companies cutting their financial ties with the group, but at the same
time, the nra is a big money organization. they can fund raise not just from their members and gun companies and other republican donors. it is too early to see what the financial impact is. the nra will spend a lot of money this year, especially if congress picks up gun control. they will use this political development to activate their base and likely receive even more donations. amy: as you write about the efforts by gun manufacturers to market to young people through ,"gazines like "junior shooter we are showing some of the magazine covers for our viewers, which show young people holding rifles and handguns with cover glocks are for girls." other companies like gun manufacturers sell things like green glow-in-the-dark handguns
and shotguns and accessories marketed to kids so they can "hunt zombies in style" as you referred to earlier. explain that whole push to go to younger and younger people. lee: this is not something particularly new. don't companies have been doing this for a while. we are seeing an increased effort. just like any major consumer industry, the gun company knows that they will have more loyal and more active consumers if they target people who are very young to lock them in as buyers. they will reputedly go out and buy weapons and accessories and ammunition. we see these marketing efforts targeted explicitly to children with guns that look like they are from a videogame or they are pink and very friendly looking weapons. there has been partnerships with videogame companies like yearsonic arts several
ago. they had a partnership with several gun companies for a first-person shooter where players can play the game and be directly connected to a marketplace where they can buy weapons from the game directly from the manufacturers. there's a multitude of marketing efforts geared toward young people. if congress is looking towards enacting gun control, the marketing efforts might be a part of that larger national conversation. , speaking of marketing efforts, i want to ask you about another big marketing effort. the coat brothers -- koch brothers art talking about spending near $500 million on the upcoming elections. can you talk about their network that you have looked into and what the impact of such huge spending could be on these upcoming elections? lee: well, look, the koch brothers for over a decade now has organized other republican
donors. these are billionaires, very wealthy donors, to attend secret gatherings with the koch brothers to pledge money to the koch network. it goes to different groups, think tanks, and also campaign advertisements and grassroot efforts to get out the vote. the seminar network is an effort to institutionalize this fundraising network. there's a recent meeting where about 500 different doctors came to listen to the koch brothers and update them about the strategy. the big priority for the koch brothers this year in the midterm election was to preserve the republican majorities in congress and continue to elect republicans on the state level. there are two big efforts going on right now. they are very wary about the upcoming census that will redraw the political maps in every signal state. -- every single state. whoever controls the legislatures after this year's elections will control the maps
over the next decade. they are also concerned republicans will lose control of the senate. they are going on the offense. we have seen tv ads across the country in places like indiana and missouri, where there are vulnerable democratic senators in states where trump won the election. they are on care and hiring staffers for groups like americans for prosperity. pick up hoping to democratic seats while protecting the republican majority. amy: i want to turn to charles koch, ceo of coke industries -- koch industries making his remarks in palm springs. >> we have made more progress in the last five years that i have in the previous 50. central to art so limited progress -- our accelerated progress is that we have
increasingly followed the falafe philosophy that made frederick douglass such an effective social change entrepreneur. and that is as he put it to unite with anybody to do right and no one to do wrong. amy: if you can talk about the overall agenda, and also capitol hill lobbyists are not only funding think tanks but also polling organizations, in your recent piece about the koch brothers targeting claire mccaskill in missouri for opposing republican tax cuts. lee: right. the backdrop of a very chaotic first year. donald trump has help achieved much of what the koch brothers have lobbied for for a very long time it really rapid succession.
in three primary areas we talk about in the piece, the republicans in congress and trump enacted tax cuts that the koch brothers have fought very hard for. these are tax cuts weighted to the top. there's an estimate that each brother will receive $500 million per year. that's an estimate just from the tax bill alone. there's also the regulatory state. the trump administration with many appointees coming from the koch network have handed out a number of rulings and regulations that are beneficial to the koch brothers, primarily in the area of environmental rules. and in the judiciary, the koch brothers have pushed hard for long systemic change. donald trump is on pace to break records with a number of federal appointments to the judiciary. he is appointing judges to the district and appellate level at an unprecedented rate. these are lifetime appointments.
these are judges that will be there for another 10, 20, 30, maybe four years. -- 40 years. if there is a progressive president and congress after trump leaves office, these judges will be there to potentially invalidate any rules or laws that come out of a more progressive and menstruation. amy -- administration. amy: very quickly claire mccaskill? lee: she's a very vulnerable democratic senator coul. she's in a state that trump one big, missouri. that's part of the basket of democratic states that the koch brothers hope to pick up for republicans. even if republicans suffer elsewhere in terms of congressional elections, they are hoping to play offense. juan: speaking about the koch brothers, the u.s. supreme court is set to hear arguments today in a key case that could deal a
massive blow to the unions nationwide. the case, janus v. american federation of state, county and municipal employees, deals with whether workers who are covered by union-negotiated contracts are required to pay a portion of union dues, even if they are not members of the union. in 2016, after conservative justice antonin scalia died suddenly, the supreme court deadlocked 4-4 on the case. it's trump is expected appointee justice neil gorsuch will break this tie by ruling against the unions. right-wing and conservative donors have poured money into this case and other efforts to weaken unions. "the new york times" had a big piece about the conservative donor base around this case. can you talk about the importance of this case? lee: this could be the most devastating blow to progressive politics since the citizens united decision. and it case goes through
looks likely with neil gorsuch on the supreme court that he will decide in favor of the plaintiffs, it will allow, as you mentioned, right to work rules for public sector employees nationwide. that means that even for members and nonmembers of unions, unions can no longer withdraw what is called agency fees. that is the money deducted from a pay check to represent workers on a contract. as we have seen on the private sector side, many unions enter a death spiral and it becomes harder to retain members. there are opt out campaigns. members leave the unions. because public sector unions, teacher unions in particular, are some of the biggest donors to progressive politics, funding progressive democrats especially on the state level, sometimes they are the largest donors to progressive campaigns for
office. the effects can sadly be devastating. amy: we want to thank you very much for being with us, investigative journalist at "the intercept," covering the interception of politics. we will link to his piece as well as "koch document reveals a laundry list of policy victories extracted from the trump administration." this is democracy now! when we come back, it is the six-month anniversary of hurricane harvey hitting houston. we will talk with various people from houston about what happened since then. stay with us. ♪ ♪ [music break]
amy: johnny cash singing. this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: this week marks six months since hurricane harvey dropped more than 50 inches of rain and caused historic flooding in houston, texas, the most diverse city in the united states and its fourth largest. houston is also home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the country. we will spend the rest of the looking at the state of hour environmental justice there since the storm. as federal money for rebuilding trickles in, houston's chief "recovery czar" is the president of shell oil, marvin odum, whose past experience includes rebuilding shell's oil and gas facilities after hurricane katrina. this is odum speaking thursday. is also anovery opportunity to take an enormous step forward in achieving the vision of ensuring access to affordable and a safe home. to that end, we are also coordinating again with those around the room with private and
philanthropic funding sources to fill the gap before the federal funds get here. amy: this comes as newly released federal records obtained by the associated press show it took nearly four times as long to house people in trailers after harvey as after hurricane katrina, and repairs to houses have been much slower than after 2012's super storm sandy. immigrants and fence line communities suffer from pollution along houston's industrial corridor are still largely absent from much of the discussion about how the city plans to recover. well, now we get an update from people working to change that, who first joined us in the weeks following hurricane harvey. we host a roundtable discussion. we spoke with dr. robert , and i want to begin with dr. robert bullard, whose house we visited just after he
had evacuated and come back. he is a distinguished professor at texas southern university and on the steering committee of the coalition for environment, equity, and resilience. "invisiblenclude houston: the black experience in boom and bust." welcome back to the show, dr. bullard. what is the state of the communities and how disparate has the response been in cleanup? dr. bullard: houston is a big city and it has very diverse communities and there were extreme inequality when it comes to environmental protection and land-use and problems related to land and air quality. exacerbated and made those inequalities and and beties come alive
more apparent in terms of the larger community. what we have seen is that many communities are bouncing back, have come back, and those resources are able to get back quicker. it should be no surprise or it's not rocket science to understand that disasters exacerbate inequality. those communities that struggle before the storm are still struggling after. thate have to do is ensure all boats re and all communities are able to recover in a way that makes them much more resilient and much healthier when resources flow into the city. juan: dr. bullard, talking about those resources, the trump administration initially got a lot of praise for its response to harvey's impact. that hasn't followed through. i understand the mayor of
houston recently complained that only 1100 households have been approved by fema for assistance where there were 345 thousands households that were affected. your sense of how the federal response has either exacerbated or ameliorated the inequities that existed in houston before the storm? dr. bullard: if you look at those families and households who have nest eggs and resources, actually started to recover and rebuild shortly after the water receded and they were able to get back. but for those families and households that are more vulnerable and need assistance from the feds and may not have had insurance or may not have had any private funds are on their own to fix up and revealed. they are still waiting.
it's important that we understand that we have a recovery going on and houston is very entrepreneurial and prides charge, butking there is still that invisible side of houston that historically has gotten left behind. before there were storms and is whered i think that we have a large segment of our community that is still waiting and suffering. i think that is the sad thing about it. it slipped off the radar for the that is no less a priority that has to be dealt with. amy: i want to go to texas governor greg abbott, who says the state expects to receive more than $1 billion from fema for hazard mitigation projects like home buyouts and elevations or to build seawalls. governor abbott speaking in january. >> descent from the very
beginning that as we rebuild, we want to do more than just rebuild like it was before. we want to rebuild and a way that would reduce future risk to property and to lives. that is precisely the definition of what hazard mitigation funds are for. amy: this comes as officials in harris county plant to ask voters to approve at least $1 billion to help pay for flood control projects. talk about how this funding is being spent, dr. bullard. dr. bullard: well, i think the issue for many of us who have been working with communities in many years and houston -- houston is that oftentimes there is no level of transparency as to what the regular person on the street understands how the decisions are being made and how plans are being developed. the whole idea of trying to get a sense of will money follow
need or will money follow power? mitigation, the flood mitigation is very important that we talk about rebuilding and recovering in a way that we don't reproduce the inequalities that existed before. when we talk about environmental justice standpoint, it has to be fair and equitable and flooding plus. it's not just flooding issues that we are concerned about. it's also about those upsets and restarts and shutdowns of these industries that created lots of pollution during the storm, but also emitted lots of pollution before the storm. that's what we have to deal with, the lack of addressing the environmental problems, the superfund sites that were flooded, the communitieshat have been flooded routinely in the last three years before
there was harvey. those are the things i think we have to look at and make sure that resources and plans are put and that there's a good civic engagement plan an opportunity for people to involve themselves in the decision-making as opposed to individuals making decisions at the top and then announcing it. that's what i think we are talking about with the coalition tot has come about wanting get more citizen participation and public input io the process. juan: we are also joined by brya n parras from the sierra club. to ask you about the impact of the petrochemical industry centered and h in houston and what we know about the spills during the storm and how they are monitoring the public health going on. cusp of thee
supreme court decision, i want to express my solidarity with the union workers. i have my union shirt on, proud member. it's an excellent point to make because what we have seen in houston and places of communities that live so close to these facilities, the health impacts are not always immediately seen. they take years and years to gestate, sometimes decades. right now there are a number of entities doing research projects to look at some of these health impacts. ut health, baylor college of medicine, texas a&m, and one thing i will say is that houston and the communities and community groups and others that are starting in pasadena and other parts of the city are getting organized. they are documenting these health impacts. they are working with researchers. we are probably going to see a
big health impact as a result of this . i've been to several funerals in the last two months, way more than usual. whether those are related or not indirectly or directly to the storm, it's a fact it's happening. the stress alone from being in the storms and the unknown and the risks that are being taken at these facilities is just a lot for any person. amy: we were with you in houston as you took us on a toxic tour during hurricane harvey. more than 40 industrial fo facilities in east houston shut down and restarted, releasing tons of operations. others included flooded superfund sites. a new texas a&m study included the manchester area showing the
potentially carcinogenic police pollutions were distributed across the state. the post environmental exposures added to "ongoing chronic environmental exposures," and and also noted "the tandem , growth of disaster frequencies and populations living near industrialized areas has brought greater attention to the potential health effects of environmental contamination associated with joint natural and technological disasters." talk about the fact that the head of recovery is also the head of one of the largest oil companies in the world. bryan: it is really upsetting to see that he was appointed recovery czar and who he is and his long history. it was reported a few weeks ago that he actually profited from homethat were built in the reservoirs. direct conflict of interest.
as my dad says, there was extensive flooding, widespread flooding on the west side, but on the east side, communities are flooded with chemicals every day. we saw an upsurge of that during the storm, before the storm, and after the storm with the shutdowns and restas and also the illsnd leaks. they weren't reported until communities got active and started voicing their opinions. and witnessing the spills. amy: we will break and come back to this discussion. that is bryan parras with the sierra club. also, dr. bullard. kelley and cesar espinosa on what immigrants experienced during.
fenton robinson. this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman along with juan gonzalez. juan: it has been six months since hurricane harvey flooded houston. we continue our discussion. joining us is dr. robert bullard , the father of environmental parras, cesar hilton kelley. i would like to go to yo we heard about the budget deal that congress made about $90 billion in disaster assistance supposedly coming to texas, florida, puerto rico, and california to help the residents there adjust to and recover from these disasters. could you talk about what has the happening in texas and
problem with this federal aid that has to go through the states and not directly to the localities affected? what happens in the process of this aid getting to the actual victims? amy: hilton, that question was for you. hilton: for me? juan: yes, to you. yes, what's happening down on the ground in port arthur, texas is that we have a lot of folks who have been displaced and a lot of apartment renters and homeowners. of course, fema came out and assessed the properties, but many of the properties that were assessed were unfairly assessed. most people haven't to appeal -- have appealed the judgment that they have received for repairs.
wereresidents in our area given a certain amount of budgeting to help with those repairs but it's not enough. 80% of the folks who received fema assistance are appealing that decision in our community because it's well below what ed for work have bidd that needs to be done. i'm included in that. we have at least 50% additional that fema just seems to -- we are appreciative for what we do get, but it's not enough. those folks who are renters, many of the apartment complexes in this area, the bottom half of those apartment complexes and people downstairs are feeling people should have a right to return. many went to places like dallas and louisiana.
texas, it'snorth of really a mess. a lot of times the media is not covering it as much anymore, but people are suffering behind us economically. many of our elders are just living in squalor because fema did not see that their homes where banished. they did not give them any money. many people did not get anything from fema. amy: we are going to turn to espinosa, who represents undocumented immigrants throughout houston. whammy-hit, the double of the hurricane that hit everyone and also the precarious position that you had so many of them are in. if you could talk about what has happened in the six months? you have a spending bill that included funding for fema but not for daca and dealing with
the crisis that you are dealing with in houston. cesar: thank you for having a us. it's really important to point out the undocumented community was dealing with multiple storms at the time. the time that the storm is happening, there was a storm with daca. right after the storm passes, donald trump announces that they are rescinding the daca program. one of the stories i like to highlight is the story of a paramedic during harvey saving lives, and undocumented immigrant saving lives without asking for immigration status. he comes home at the end of the week just to find out that his daca protection is going to be over even though he gave everything during that week and worked 24 hours of us every day to make sure houstonians were safe.
we know congress has been trying to "start negotiations" on immigration. unfortunately because of the government deadlock, we have not really gone anywhere. we are still dealing with multiple. the other thing important to highlight is that we may not know how many people were affected by harvey because a lot have not come forward. we still continue to be a population that remains under the radar that has moved around and has faced many of these woes just by themselves. juan: what about this whole issue of if you are undocumented and a victim of a storm and lost her home? clearly fema and the federal government will likely not provided. what about local authorities and the local city government? have they tried to step into the breach here? cesar: at the beginning there was a lot of support for the undocumented communities. they were asking people to go to the shelters without asking for immigration status.
the mayor came out and forcefully said that folks would not be asked for status when going to shelters. unfortunately in the more long-term approach, we have not seen a lot of the aid that has come to the remainder of the community come to the undocumented community. there are still disparities and that has created issues. like i said, a lot of people were living in precarious positions because of their lack of status. a lot of landlords were taking advantage of them. it still continues to happen. a lot of these folks are moving out to other apartment complexes. or because of their status, people are taking advantage of them. we could talk for hours about all the disparities happening not only in houston but more undocumentedhe committee. we are asking city governments to step in and the federal government to step in and to help out everybody equitably. amy: i want to read a part of a "houston chronicle" headline.
we don't need is the hyperbole coming from environmental groups like the sierra club last week. for as long as i can remember, my hometown of houston has been littered with dangerous chemical plants, oil and gas refineries, and hazardous waste facilities," bryan parras, a sierra club organizer wrote in a statement. "these sites have caused devastation for my family, my friends, and my neighbors for years, polluting our air and water with deadly toxins." yes, he really did say devastation. it goes on to conclude "these plants are critical to rebuilding after true devastation." that was "the houston chronicle's "business columnist. did the the day that we tour with you. talk about the response of this business columnist that we need
plastics. don't engage in hyperbole, bryan. bryan: it has been devastating and i think tens of thousands of people would agree. to pop tomlinson, i would ask him to get up and pick up all the plastics that are now littered across the bayou. it has been recently reported in houston. what we don't need is language that dismisses the real dangers, the causes that have exacerbated the storms and made them more frequent. what we don't need is hyperbole on the other side, saying that everything is fine. everything is not fine. people are getting organized. i don't think it's a simple answer. i think there's a lot of work that needs to be done, but i will say that folks in houston are getting organized. they're working with unions and
undocumented populations. they are working with a whole range of communities that have not had the ability to communicate and work together. that is happening right now. we are doing that in a way that hopefully will get us off our dependence on these fossil fuel products. there's an explosion of facilities that are being proposed right now on the coast, putting even more communities at risk. plastics.and juan: i like to go back to dr. robert bullard. texas is a well-known conservative state. wondering year-long history dealing with environmental issues, do you get a sense that the residents of texas after the series of continuing for russia's storms -- ferocious
storms have had a change of viewpoint on the issue of climate change? dr. bullard: when you talk to individuals who are on the ground and on the frontline of flooding and other environmental problems, you start to get a sense that many people have that to see something needs to change, even if climate change may be a bad word in some of their both ca vocabulary. they are seeing more support for moving to a cleaner energy infrastructure and renewables. they are also talking about trying to build in a way that will become much more sustainable. you get mixed messages. inending on who you talk to
our major metropolitan areas coming will find much more acceptance of dealing with issues around climate and issues around sustainability and issues around building community resilience. i do think that you will get more and more positive reaction from people in our major cities as opposed to some of the rural areas where they may still hold onto this idea that climate change is a hoax. amy: cesar, your most critical need now you would say as we wrap up? cesar: i think it's important that our community gets a lot more help. we are being overlooked and continue to be overlooked. in a city that prides itself on being a welcoming city to all people, i think we should also take into account the undocumented people.
it's one of the messages we want to send out the federal government. once again immigrants prove that we are here not only to build up the city prior to the storm but during the storm and after the storm. there is a massive influx of workers coming in and making houston and rebuilding houston and putting back in houston so much of what has been given to them. contributions are endless and we hope that we are no longer overlooked in this process of recovery. amy: bryan? bryan: unions make houston charter. people like dr. bullard and 70 other folks make used in stronger. amy: i want to thank so much of you all giving us this six-month review. dr. bullard, bryan parras, cesar toinosa, and thanks so much
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