tv Democracy Now PBS May 23, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
05/23/18 05/23/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we can lead a stronger georgia, a more compassionate georgia enabled an ambitious georgia. we can show the old guard something new and we can fight together for the good of all. amy: in another big primary day for democratic women, stacey abrams made history in georgia by becoming the first african-american woman to win a major party's nomination for governor in u.s. history. we will look at tuesday's elections results with congressmember keith ellison, deputy chair of the democratic national committee. he will also talk about how congress is dismantling key parts of the dodd-frank banking rules.
and we will speak to a texas man who believes he was the first activist jailed as part of the fbi's targeting of so-called black identity extremists. we will speak to rakem balogun, as well as black lives matter organizer malkia cyril. >> the bottom line here is we have a rampant situation where white nationalism is on the rise , and yet the fbi fish chosen to use its resources to construct and fabricate a threat that does not exist instead of addressing a threat that does exist. amy: and we look at the supreme court's latest blow to workers rights. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump expressed doubt tuesday about whether it's planned june 12 summit with kim
jong-un will take place. pres. trump: there is a chance it will work out. there is a very substantial chance it won't work out. i don't want to waste a lot of time, and i'm sure he does not want to waste a lot of time. there is a substantial chance it won't work out, and that is ok. it doesn't mean it won't work out over a period of time, but it may not work out for june 12. there is a good chance we will have the meeting. amy: that is president trump speaking to reporters as he welcomed south korean president office.-in to the oval north korea canceled recent talks with south korea in protest of the joint u.s.-south korea air force drills be good acted over the korean peninsula, which north korea called a deliberate military provocation will stop meanwhile, north korea says it is preparing to blowup its main nuclear weapons test site within the coming days and has invited a handful of journalists to travel to the site to witness the detonation. on capitol hill, commerce passed sweeping legislation to exempt
thousands of banks from key regulations in the 2010 dodd-frank wall street reform and consumer protection act, meaning the vast majority of banks will no longer have to follow the regulations aimed at preventing another financial meltdown. the dodd-frank act was passed after the 2008 financial crisis, which was provoked by years of risky lending by wall street banks. yet in a rare bipartisan effort tuesday, house lawmakers voted 258-159 to exempt banks with less than $250 billion in assets from many of these regulations, even though banks' profits are soaring. a report issued tuesday from the federal deposit insurance corporation said the net income of banks and saving institutions hit $56 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 27% increase from a year ago. 33 democrats joined their
republican counterparts in voting for the financial regulation rollback, which if signed into law, would leave fewer than 10 banks in the u.s. subject to stricter federal oversight. we'll have more on the regulation rollback later in the broadcast. the palestinian authority is demanding the international criminal court investigate the israeli military for alleged war crimes carried out against palestinians since 2014. this comes less than a week after the israeli army shot and killed more than 60 palestinians in gaza in a single day for nonviolently protesting against the israeli occupation and the opening of the u.s. embassy in jerusalem. the israeli military has shot and killed over 100 palestinians in gaza since march 30, when gazans launched the nonviolent great march of return protests. israeli is seeking to block the international criminal court
from carrying out the war crimes inquiry. israel is not a member of the court. to see our full coverage of the palestinians march of return demonstrations and the israeli military's brutal crackdown, go to democracynow.org. voters in georgia, texas, arkansas, and kentucky headed to the polls tuesday to determine a number of key primaries and it was another big night for female democratic candidates. in georgia, stacey abrams made history by becoming the first african-american woman to win a major party's nomination for governor in u.s. history. if abrams wins in november she will become the first african-american governor in the deep south since reconstruction. this is stacey abrams speaking at a victory rally in atlanta. >> we must remember we are in -- atate where the red state where martin marched on ballot boxes.
a georgia that gave us the godfather of soul, the queen of the met, and sent a peanut farmer to the oval office. that is our georgia. amy: meanwhile, in houston, texas, lupe valdez made history by becoming the first openly gay and first latina candidate to win a major party nomination for texas governor. we'll have more on tuesday's primaries later in the broadcast. the guardian is reporting that former new york city mayor rudy giuliani, who is now one of president trump's lawyers, helped oxycontin maker purdue pharma protect its profits and avoid prison time for its executives back in the mid-2000's. giuliani represented purdue pharma in an investigation into the company's deceptive marketing practices launched by the u.s. attorney for the western district of virginia. giuliani helped purdue win a deal that limited future prosecution of the company,
avoided prison time for its executives, and permitted purdue to continue doing business with the federal government -- allowing purdue to continue raking in billion-dollar profits. oxycontin is at the center of a national opioid epidemic that has killed an estimated 300,000 people since the late 1990's. in afghanistan, at least 16 people have died and dozens more have been wounded when a car bomb exploded as members of the afghan security forces were attempting to diffuse it. the majority of the victims in tuesday's explosion in the southern city of kandahar were civilians, including children. this comes after the taliban attacked two government centers in the southern province of ghazni late monday, killing at least 22 afghan police officers. in pakistan, a severe heat wave in the city of karachi has killed at least 65 people as temperatures have topped 104 degrees fahrenheit. the deaths were reported by the organization that runs the city's central morgue, although city officials have not yet
confirmed the death toll. scientists say soaring temperatures linked to climate change could make parts of south asia too hot for human survival by 2100. in nicaragua, the inter-american commission on human rights has condemned the nicaraguan government's bloody crackdown against protesters last month. the commission said at least 76 people have been killed since mid-april when mass demonstrations broke out in response to a proposed rollback of social security benefits. the protests, and theepression, mark the biggest crisis in leftist president daniel ortega's 11 years in power. back in the united states, officials of the environmental protection agency barred multiple journalists from covering in epa summit on water tuesday with one journalist reporting she was shocked out of the building by security guards. the reporters were from cnn, the associated press, and in a news. the reporter was ultimately allowed into the afternoon portion of the meeting.
the meeting was about nationwide water contamination from the chemicals pfoa and pfos which are used in teflon and firefighting foam. the attempt to exclude some journalists comes as scott pruitt, who spoke at tuesday's meeting, is facing an escalating scandal about how his agency and the white house have suppress the publication of a federal health study about the dangers of these chemicals after a white house aide said it would cause a public relations nightmare. to see our full coverage of the chemicals pfoa and pfos, go to democracynow.org. 10 women who work at mcdonalds have filed sexual harassment complaints with the u.s. equal employment opportunity commission, accusing male coworkers and supervisors of groping them, propositioning them for sex, and making lewd sexual comments. the women also say their supervisors ignored their complaints about sexual harassment or retaliated against the women for reporting the abuse. southern baptist leader paige patterson has been removed as
president of southwestern baptist theological seminary after thousands of people signed a petition demanding his ouster over his previous comments that objectified and demeaned women, including saying female seminarians should work hard to look attractive and that women abused by their husbands should stay with the abusive men. and a federal judge in virginia has ruled in favor of transgender student gavin grimm, who sued his local virginia school district for the right to use the bathroom that matches his gender identity. in tuesday's ruling, judge arenda wright allen said federal law protects transgender students like grimm and that the school district had subjected him to illegal sex stereotyping. after the ruling grimm said -- "i feel an incredible sense of relief. after fighting this policy since i was 15 years old, i finally have a court decision saying what the gloucester county school board did to me was wrong and it was against the law." to see our interview with gavin
grimm, go to democracynow.org 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. voters in georgia, texas, arkansas, and kentucky headed to the polls tuesday to determine a number of key primaries and it was another big night for female democratic candidates. in georgia, stacey abrams made history by becoming the first african-american woman to win a major party's nomination for governor in u.s. history, easily defeating state representative stacey evans. if abrams wins in november, she will become the first african-american governor in the deep south since reconstruction. abrams is the former house minority leader for the georgia general assembly. she had received the endorsement of numerous progressive groups, including our revolution -- the political organization that grew out of bernie sanders's run for the white house. abrams spoke tuesday night at a victory rally in atlanta.
>> we have a tough race to come. and sometimes we can find it easy to forget about the solid ground beneath our feet, but we must remember we are in the state where the red they live to generations of dreamers. a state where martin marched on ballot boxes and challenged the nation's conscience. gave us theat godfather of soul, the queen of the met, and sent a peanut farmer to the oval office. that is our georgia. and i know you know that as our state's richmond collocated history courses through our veins on a net like tonight when the unexpected becomes the truth -- [applause]
it reminds us of who we are. amy: meanwhile, in houston, texas, lupe valdez made history by becoming the first openly gay and first latina candidate to win a major party nomination for texas governor. valdez served as sheriff of dallas county for over a decade. she will now face incumbent governor greg abbott in november. in another closely watched race in texas, lizzie fletcher defeated laura moser in a run-off to win the democratic nomination for texas' 7th congressional district. the race was seen as part of a war within the democratic party. in february, the democratic congressional campaign committee took the unusual step of directly attacking moser even mohad thekingat. of bernie sanders our revolution. former air force intelligence officer jean ortiz jones
defeated rick trevino, who had also received the backing of our revolution. in kentucky, retired marine fighter pilot amy mcgrath defeated former lexington mayor jim gray in a primary for a u.s. house seat. mcgrath will now challenge incumbent republican congressman andy barr in november. to talk about tuesday's primaries and much more, we are joined by democratic congressman keith ellison of minnesota. deputy chair of the democratic national committ, ornc. thank you so much for joining us from capitol hill. talk about the results of these primaries. result to me is that we had an outpouring of enthusiastic citizens and residents who want to be part of our american democracy. we had people come out. we had women win. we had women win like stacey abrams, who may just be the first black governor in the deep
south and reconstruction. she is an amazing candidate. the candidates were great, but the outpouring and the enthusiasm was high. i think that is the most important metric for not just november, but for years to come if we can sustain it, if we can institutionalize that grassroots engraved german -- engagement it is a good and promising sign. juan: and many of these democratic primaries, you had, basically, a battle between the establishment dnc candidate and the candidate supported by journey -- bernie sanders our revolution. yes some one who is a prominent backer bernie sanders, how do you see these battles going out across the country effect in the democratic already come november? i think they are a good thing. i think we need to have these kind of debates. we need to engage on a battle of
ideas. look, there are some folks who think the urgency of this inequality we're living through is so great that we have got to have bold change now. there other folks who believe we need to have a more balanced, deliberate process of change. but democrats on both sides of that debate are not satisfied with the status quo. we all know that social security is embattled. we all know trump is trying to take a health care from many. we all know he is attacking immigrants. my opinion is, it is a good debate. let's have that debate. we had debates yesterday when we were debating the senate banking bill. folks on different sides of the question. but these debates are healthy. just because we don't agree doesn't mean we're going to fallout. we need to stay and keep on fighting for people. amy: i want to ask you about the divide -- political made a big deal.
last month democracy now! spoke with levi tilleman, the progressive candidate in colorado's democratic primary for six congressional district which includes denver. he recorded a conversation which he was directly told to drop out of the democratic primary by none other than the second-ranking house democrat, steny hoyer of maryland. tilleman went public with the recording which was turned into an animated video by the intercept. this is a clip. listen carefully. parts are hard to understand. in colorado, one of the most competitive seats in the country, the detour will see, moved in early to select jason crowe, the corporate lawyer as the party candidate, pushing resources, endorsements, and money to grow while elbowing out suppressive democratic. the democratic party often denies they play favorites. what follows is a meeting between steny hoyer and levi tilleman.
amy: that was representative steny hoyer of maryland. you can hear him say "that is correct" when levi tillemann asks him if he'd like him to get out of his primary race and that the decision to back his opponent was made early on. can you comment on this and just overall continuing, while use of the democratic divide is important, you are very strong spokesperson and fought for the leadership of the democratic national committee, saying the democrats have to take a different path. >> that's right. my opinion, progressive candidates are running anyway. they're running and winning a many cases -- in many cases.
personally, i think the democratic party should stay out of all primaries, should let the voters decide, should not put our thumbs on the scale for anybody. that is my opinion. but you should know there's a difference between the democratic national committee and the democratic congressional campaign committee. amy: explain the difference. >> the democratic national committee is the central body that connects -- it is the democratic party that represents the rank and file all across the country. the democratic congressional campaign committee represents the house democrats. they are separate entities, but they are related. we are not always in perfect agreement on everything. but what i will say is that it is important for have a burning passion to serve their neighbors to run, no matter who says they should not. it is important for people to step up and offer the leadership
and their ideas. and i believe in that. that is what i have to say about it. amy: when we come back from break, we want to ask you about this major vote in congress around banking curbs, easing them, deregulating the banks. you have very strong feelings about this. and the report that came out of your office on the wage gap. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. on capitol hill, congress passed sweeping legislation to exempt thousands of banks from key regulations in the 2010 dodd frank act, meaning the last majority of banks will no longer have to follow the regulations aimed at preventing another financial meltdown. the dodd frank act was passed after the 28 -- 2008 economic crisis.
in a rare bipartisan effort, on tuesday, house lawmakers voted 258-159 to exempt banks with less than $250 billion in assets from any of these regulations, even though profits are soaring. amy: a report issued tuesday from the fdic said the net income of banks and savings institutions had $56 billion in the first quarter this year, a 27% increase from a year ago. theemocrats joined republican counterparts in voting for the financial regulation rollback, which if signed into law, would leave less than 10 banks in the u.s. subject to stricter federal oversight. we are still with democratic congressmember keith ellison of minnesota. muslim member of congress. first deputy chair of the democratic national committee. hash type.-- cas talk about the significance of
this bill and the more of a score of democrats voting. forhis is a bad bill american consumers, investors, just everyday citizens, homeowners, people who want to keep their jobs. ofis like people for god all the financial and economic devastation of the 2008 collapse. 10 years later, we're rolling it all back again, setting ourselves up for another course,phe, which, of the big bankers are going to ask the american people to bill them out of -- bail them out of as the goal about consolidating wealth and income. not only are banks highly profitable, their consolidating and becoming warm enough ballistic. this bank bill will allow them to do even more. it was sold to people as a community bank bill. i think it is anti-community bank will. it will a mass and acumen that more money in the hands of the biggest banks, which they will then use to buy smaller banks and thereby deprive community
ands of their market share take people and a private people of those community bank they rely on to meet their financial needs. i think it will consolidate profits, can elevate -- consolidate markets and will be to the detriment of everybody. something else i would like to mention, if i may, stripping down the home mortgage disclosure act. it is very important because what it does is it says you may not discriminate against people on the basis of their race in mortgage lending. mortgage lending is a big deal. the biggest asset in the american, not any, but most americans are ever going to wire is going to be their own house. it is sort of the american dream idea for black and latino community members, they should i dream with the rest of americans. yet we know mortgage
discrimination is rampant throughout the country. what does congress do you go strip it down, it would of the data to make sure banks don't have to collect that data anymore so that the problem can't even exacerbate worse. so i'm really, really disappointed in that vote. look, i'm not going to comment on individual members and their decision. i did all i could to convince people to go no on this bill and said people still voted for it, so we will continue to debate this issue. juan: keith ellison, it is almost as if the financial -- the great recession and the financial collapse of 2008 has been forgotten. it has only been 10 years. this bill,ing, in for instance, american express, huge financial corporation in this country, is no longer considered systemically important to the u.s. economy and so it is now regulations governing it have been loosened, where the you see this ending?
this is only the beginning of attempts to roll that completely all of dodd-frank the trump administration has been touting. >> true. as you know, they've already try to attack the consumer financial protection bureau and make it not in agent of real assistance for consumers. but also don't forget this, just last december, they passed a massive tax bill that gave all kinds of advantages to big companies and wealthy individuals. so they're rolling back the banking bill now. they cut the taxes of the richest, biggest companies a few months back. a are full on lurching toward plutocracy. toward oligopoly. what that means is the idea of an american dream, of people working hard and making a better life for themselves, is becoming more and more difficult. we just did a study from my office called "rewarding or
hoarding." this would not have been possible without dodd-frank. dodd-frank required a publicly traded companies report the ratio between the ceo and the median worker pay, in which they did not have to do before. now they have to do it. the first data set after five years of them fighting it has come out, and we crunched the numbers and found that the ceo pay ratio is dramatic. 201968, he used to be about to one. in the 1980's, 34 to one. now it is 339 to one, but that is just the median. that covers the fact that for companies like mattel, it is a must 5000 and one. mcdonald's, 3100 to one. these huge corporations that give executive compensation with no bearing, no connection at all to the people who actually make their products on the ground. this is hurting our economy.
you ask where it ends? it does not end well. it means they use that extra money to buy political influence in washington to try to influence people like me to give them even more benefits. it is a bad sign. i'm going to keep on working on the grassroots to get americans understanding they deserve an economy where they can retire, where their kids can aspire, where they can put food on the table. because, certainly, it is certainly within our grasp. these are political decisions being made that are stagnating the american dream. amy: the ratio you talk about, the average ceo to worker pay for consumer discretionary industries, category that includes mcdonald's, gap and almost plus 1001 -- 1000-1? >> the people who make the hamburgers get nothing. they get survival money. one of the ceos am a they like
to defend themselves by saying, a lot of our people are just part-time. well, they're strategically part-time. people want full-time jobs, but these the company say, no, we're only going to let you get a certain number of hours because if you go past that, we have to give you benefits and that will cost us money and we don't want to pay you anything. they are pointing to the recent for the ratio, but that reason is something they have engineered. say, a lot of our workers are overseas. that is because they go to places where the wage environment and human rights records are poor so that they can exploit those workers even more. makene of the explanations any sense. it is greed. it is worse than that. if all they did with all that money is by consumer items, that would not be great, but it would be one thing. but they buy political influence with it. they merge with it and run the economy and our society with this practice they are engaging in. we have got to have americans
campaign finance reform. we have to stop the from using this excess profit to buy elections to put in a complaint politicians for themselves. juan: keith ellison, i'm wondering if your study was able to see any change in the last few years in terms of the spread of the five for $15 and the living wage movement around the country as more and more voters and referendums and city councils are passing legislation to raise the minimum wage, whether you have been able to see an impact on that in terms of the past three years? >> not in our study, but i can measure you i have been on the picket line for many workers for the five for $15. it is making an important difference. changing the minimum wage in congress, we're doing it
at ballot initiatives in the state. teachers are going on strike. but, you know, the instruments of government of our democracy are not working for working people. they're working for the very rich and the huge corporations. and that is why people are dissatisfied. that is how you end up with trump and the presidency. people are so dissatisfied, they need some kind of change. they will seek it wherever they can find it. if we won a healthy society, healthy democracy, we have got to bring that ratio back into proportion. 300-1 is certainly not reasonable. 5000-1 is an obscenity. we've got to do something about it. -- bernie sanders tweeted >> they call people like bernie
or doubt in the mainstream. he is right in the mainstream. you talk to americans all over this country, they will agree this is not an acceptable situation. you knock on doors and talk to people in the church basements, the vfw halls, the hair shops, and you tell them these numbers and they are absolutely outraged. the only people who don't seem to be aware of it is these folks voting for the big banking bill we saw yesterday. we are closed off because these people who benefit from these policies like deregulating banks and big tax cuts for the wealthy, they use the money to influence the political scene in washington and in state capitals around the country. that is what is happening. that is why there is this massive disconnect between the average american and what is going on in capitals around the country and in the nation's capital. monthkeith ellison, this
hillary clinton said she lost the election in part because the democrats being socialists. recently in a paper writing -- do you expect the democratic already to reflect that? >> the democratic base is not into any ideology. there into trying to make sure their kids can go to college or seek their dreams. there into putting food on the
table, going to the doctor, into retirement. that is what they are into. we have an economy saying that is not going to be available to them. you can put a label on it if you want to, but at the end of the day you have to have an economy that works for working people. there's a recent study that showed about 43% of all americans cannot afford their lives. this that make sense and the richest country in the history of the world? it has is richer than ever been. the united states of america gross domestic product per capita is at an all-time high, and yet we can't afford to send kids to college or fix flint water? it is ridiculous. it is a matter of decisions being made by policymakers who are often put in place by the very corporations that want the benefits from them. that is the problem. we have got to do something about it. we have to organize on the ground. we have to put candidate in there who are going to be responsive to the needs of the american people.
some folks want to put labels on it. if a candidate won't go to states like wisconsin, only touches on michigan, barely goes into the central part of pennsylvania, how do you expect them to win? you have to talk to the people. and if you do talk to them, you will hear they are not making it in this economy and it is because of the rules written in washington and in state capitals around this country. that is the heart of the problem. amy: democratic on december keith ellison, thank you for being with us. first muslim member of congress and also deputy chair of the democratic national committee, or dnc. thank you for joining us from capitol hill. as we move on to another economic issue, the issue of the supreme court and workers rights. juan: in a major blow to workers' rights, the supreme court ruled monday that employers can use arbitration clauses to prohibit workers from banding together to challenge violations of federal labor laws in class-action lawsuits.
the court ruled five to four. many workers may agree to mandatory arbitration clauses without even being aware of it when they sign a contract with their employer. arbitration is often confidential. amy: in a rare show of public displeasure, justice ruth bader ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, calling the majority opinion egregiously wrong and saying -- "the court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts -- including the provisions requiring employees to litigate wage and hours claims only one-by-one. federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees." for more, we're joined by terri gerstein, former labor bureau chief for the new york state attorney general's office. she's now an open society fellow, and a fellow in harvard's labor and worklife program, where she is working to strengthen state and local enforcement of labor laws. welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of the supreme court decision where
you have judge or should writing the majority -- gorsuch writing the majority opinion and justice ruth bader ginsburg writing a longer minority opinion, which is unusual. >> the rest significance of this case, most workers, especially low-wage workers, will simply not be able to get justice when they experience wage theft or rest his termination, sexual harassment. the decision, as you said, decides that employers are throughto force workers arbitration agreements to give iraq the rights to bring a class-action. and that is a problem. first of all, workers always get strength in bringing cases together. this is both because they are afraid to bring cases often because of retaliation -- but if it is a group of bigots more protection from retaliation. it is also true because of the economics of bringing a case.
if you think about how much a minimum wage case might be worth, even places were minimum wage is $15 an hour, if a worker is not paid 100 hours, that does not add up to very much money. it still takes a lot of work for a lawyer to do these cases. the only way the economics of these cases work for private lawyers to bring cases is to aggregate them and to -- into a class-action. and now it will be employers are free to require workers to give up their right to bring a class-action, i think it would be extremely hard for workers to find lawyers who can afford to take these cases. juan: would you say force workers, this is basically what -- a condition of employment, part of the small print and language whenever you sign to go to work. most people don't even pay attention to that, right? >> it is interesting. when you look at the underlying cases because these were three cases combined, and one of them
the arbitration agreement was part of the job application itself. you cannot even apply for the job without agreeing arbitration. in another of a couple of cases, the workers were already working at that company and suddenly got a gmail saying, here's your new arbitration agreement i continue to work here, you are agreeing to this agreement. as you said, for a lot of people, it is just in the very beginning when you get a mountain of paperwork or in some cases touch screens and you just sign everything. people don't have the opportunity to really understand what they're giving up. they're not really getting anything in exchange for signing this arbitration agreement and giving up their right to bring a class-action. amy: how many workers will be impacted? >> there was a recent study that over 50% or 53% of the nation's workers among nonunion, private-sector employers, or covered by
mandatory arbitration. of those, 30% had class-action waivers. i think those numbers are likely to massively increase after this decision because there were employers who were waiting to see what would happen. one management side law firm as of yesterday has something on their website, create your own -- diy arbitration agreement, create euro and arbitration agreement in your minutes, and online tool for employers. i think the proliferation of these agreements is going to skyrocket. juan: one -- what are the alternatives for those who want to be this back? it would have to go through congress, right? essentially the supreme court said congress did not intend for workers to have this ability. >> the most obvious frontal attack on this would be an act by congress. there is something promising and there is a bipartisan bill to prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements in cases of sexual
harassment. it is interesting because if you look at the press release when that bill came out, bipartisan, the reasons given for being a problem in sexual harassment cases really applies to all different kinds of workplace violations. the fact that workers tend to lose more in arbitration, they get less money when they do, it is secret, there's no appeal rights -- so that bill could certainly be expanded to include not just sexual harassment, but also wage theft, the fair labor standards act, and other types of workplace violations. the federal arbitration act could be amended to make it clear that this kind of arbitration agreement is not protected. assuming that congress -- i hope that congress will take action on this because this really should be a bipartisan issue, ensuring some kind of basic rights as 50 never workers. if congress does not act, there are some things that states can
do. the public and forces, the departments of labor, attorneys general -- they need additional resources to enforce the law because, of course, they did not signing the arbitration agreement and they are free to bring cases looking at a pattern of practice or an entire workforce. there are also some proposals, some innovative proposals at the state level to allow private lawyers to kind of step in issues of the government and bring a case similar to false claims act or a law in california the private attorney general act. in new york there is a law called the -- a bill called the empire act the proposes this kind of new right of action where a private lawyer could sue by standing in issues shoes of the state and therefore, not being bound by the arbitration agreement because it would onment the state's resources. there are some potential solutions. but again, the most straightforward way to resolve this would be through congress. amy: and the me too movement
challenging this. saying they cannot force people and arbitration. people are so furious about what is happening. a 2015 cornell university study found workers win just 21% of arbitration cases, compared with 57% of cases in state court. workers who won in arbitration like $109,000 on average, compared to $575,000 in state court. as we wrap up, the significance of this in this coming along with. >> i think all of these cases together really represent an attack by this court on working people, on working people's ability to exercise their rights, to come together to protect themselves and improve their working conditions. there had been to his in the economy that unionization right is at an 80 year low. workers are in a really difficult position right now. amy: yet you had this massive militancy, for example, if teachers across the country.
>> right. i think it is a moment of real peril but also real opportunity because there is movement and andgy and dynamism militancy among workers and unions that we have not seen and a long time as well. it is a depressing moment, but a hopeful one, too. amy: terri gerstein, thank you for being with us former labor , bureau chief for the new york state attorney general's office, and we willing to your piece on this latest decision in "the new york times." ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we ended today show in texas where a black activist says he is the first person to be targeted and prosecuted under a secretive u.s. surveillance effort to track so-called black identity stream is. on december 12, activist rakem balogun a will to armed fbi agents storming his dallas
apartment. he was then jailed for nearly six months without the possibility of bail as the fbi investigated him for domestic terrorism in part because of his facebook post criticizing police brutality. he was released earlier this month after u.s. attorneys failed to prosecute him was that he is a founding member of the group's guerrilla mainframe and a gun club. the groups coordinate meals for homeless people organize use pigments, run self-defense classes, protest pulleys brutality, advocate for the rights of been owners. the guardian reports investigators began tracking him after he was part of a 2015 protest against police brutality and that the fbi learned about the protest from a video on infowars, far right website run by alex jones. his arrest comes after a leaked august 2017 report from the
fbi's domestic terrorism analysis unit revealed the fbi claiming "it is very likely black identity extremists perceptions of police brutality against african americans spurred an increase in premeditated or the talent tree lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence." and because of a liberty groups have good for the memo to the fbi's covert going toe program of the 19th -- 1950's, 1960's, 1970's. many have also noted the fbi memo was dated august 3, only a whiteyfo deadly supremacist rally in charlottesville, virginia, where white supremacist ku klux klan members and neo-nazis killed in antiracist protester heather heyer and injured dozens more. the fbi does not seem to be surveilling and targeting white people who post violent things to social media, including multiple white men who have recently carried out mass school shootings. dimitrios pagourtzis, who shot
dead eight students and two teachers last week in santa fe high school in texas, posted on his facebook page a picture of a t-shirt reading "born to kill." in parkland, florida, had shared numerous posts on social media yet he was never arrested after posting. ando to rakem balogun malkia cyril. let's begin with rakem. you are arrested december 12. describe what happened. >> well, pretty much on december 12 around 6:00 a.m. in the morning, me and my son were at home resting when fbi agents rammed our door and immediately
rushed as outside in our underwear for you know, under gunpoint, to be arrested. for me and my son to be haurated and overall me be led off to jail. amy: on what grounds? what were you charged with? >> prohibited possession of a firearm. did you have a license for the firearm? >> well, in the state of texas ban, we don't -- you don't need a license or even have to register a firearm to have them legally, as long as you're not a felon or considered a prohibited person you are able to have firearms within your home or your vehicle.
and if it is a long barrel rifle, you're able to open carry ort without any licensing anything of that nature. amy: why were you held from west a year, half a year? >> well, the reason why i was held is because the fbi was pretty much surveillancing me for over 2.5 years as a domestic terrorist. surveillancing me for being a domestic terrorist, you know, they overreached and tried to from 2005ious charge to say that this charge made me prohibited of having a firearm -- which the elements of that charge actually did not. but the reason i was able to be detained for so long is because when i initially got locked up, i went to a magistrate hearing
for a bond and the judge denied me bond based off of me using my first a minute right to criticize -- first a minute right to criticize police officers on facebook. juan: how was your case ultimately resolved? >> it was dismissed. we filed pretrial motions stating that i am not a forcinged person and the united states person to prove i am a prohibited person not to have firearms. to provenment failed that. therefore, they had to release me after holding me over five months of being detained. amy: let's bring malkia cyril into this conversation the center foredyo thoughts on how k
and instagram posted people like the alleged mass shooters in texas and florida were able to post guns and other threatening language and symbols on their facebook page, yet someone like rakem is surveilled and held in jail for half a year and then not charged? >> welcome a first of all, let's be very clear. the history of gun control in this country is totally incomplete we focus on controlling the possession of weapons of black people while allowing white people to run free shooting of the nation. well, we have to first of all understand whether we're talking about posting online or we're talking about just living your off-line life, there is discrimination and how black people and white people are treated in terms of their first amendment rights and in terms of their right to carry. second of all, on facebook, we already know that black activists are being censored, are victims of hate speech
regularly, or surveilled. under cooperation between facebook and law enforcement agencies when it comes to the targeting of black activist. particularlyace, on these platforms, social media platforms and especially on facebook, the largest social media platform in the world is a contested space, is a discriminatory is a space that is verily -- if you're a lowly anti-black. amy: own to attend a sheila jackson lee questioning attorney general jeff sessions in november about the late fbi counterterrorism memo claiming that so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. with these names? my question is as a hold of the poster doing with a report under your jurisdiction, black identity extremists, it is interesting to me that you are opposing individuals who are
posing lethal force similar to the up attack on dr. martin king but not the same elsewhere. was there an attack on black activists forces in report still in with the alt-right and what nationalists -- what nationalists? >> when was that report completed? >> august 2017. >> i've not studied that report. >> it is an attack on those petitioning -- juan: that is used representative sheila jackson lee questioning attorney general jeff sessions. comments?il, your >> was a premises have committed the largest share of domestic extremist-related killings last year. we know what's a privacy and was supremacist represent the biggest domestic threat to the united states and yet trump cut
funding to fight white supremacy. we understand very clearly where the priorities lie. and in the digital environment, this priorities -- that discrimination and that undue focus on black people and black activists becomes exacerbated. first of all, i'm just so happy to hear that sister speak so clearly to this issue, but we understand very, very clearly that under these current conditions, black activists are being targeted, muslims are being targeted, immigrants are being targeted while whites from assists are running free. amy: what is happening with your battle against the fbi's black identity extremist program, which i think a lot of people are going to be hearing for the first time right here? >> let's be clear. i want to remind you all that in the 1970's, what it took to even
bring the counterintelligence program that was targeting the black panther party and other civil rights activists to light. several white people had to break into an fbi office, expose that program through illegal means. -- color of change center for media justice message for constitutional rights have process to find out more information about this program. color of change has been able to uncover something called a racist paper where they're looking into what really is going on. but at the end of the day, we understand that very little information is available to us. part of the problem is the deep lack of transparency, that the fbi is undergoing its own separate crisis, which makes it
even more difficult under the current political conditions to get any information. we know members of congress have , the fbihe fbi director, have gone to jeff sessions, intimated information and not received -- and amended information and not received any. stallingose in power and not sharing information. i think would require a lawsuit are pretty significant proportions, just to get basic information, the goal of which is to get the fbi to withdraw and resent any funds dedicated to attacking black activists using this designation. but it is when a been uphill battle and what we're prepared to be on. do you think you're still under surveillance? >> yes, i do. amy: and how are you going to challenge what happened to you, being held and then not tried?
iswell, what i want to do definitely continue to bring up the conversation, have the federal government overreached in his attempt to identify domestic terrorists. i also want to bring to the andersation the fbi goal two pretty much retaliate against -- and to pretty much retaliate against black activists protesting against excessive abuse of police. of abuse. you know, as this continues to unfold -- i have only been out of their custody for two months, so right now i'm currently just getting back to being back out in regular society and things of that nature. it me and my team will continue -- amy: we want to thank you for being with us.
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