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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  August 21, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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08/21/15 08/21/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! greek prime minister alexis tsipras resigns and calls for early elections in which he will run. we will hear from u.s. presidential candidate bernie sanders on the dangers of austerity at home and abroad. >> it is time for creditors to sit down with the government of greece and puerto rico and work out a debt repayment plan that is fair to both sides. the people of greece and the
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children of puerto rico deserve nothing less. amy: in july was hot. it was the hottest month worldwide since record-keeping began over 130 years ago. we will speak with a scientist who has exposed how global warming has worsened the california drought. into conflict minerals. a federal pills court rules corporations don't need to state whether they use materials from the war-torn democratic public of congo. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in news from greece, prime minister alexis tsipras announced his resignation on thursday, paving the way for new elections. the move came after tsipras lost the support of many members of his own syriza party who opposed his backing of the demands of international creditors for yet more austerity and economic reform in exchange for a new $96 billion bailout.
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tspiras, who is expected to win in the snap elections, said the vote will give the greek people a chance to have a say on the new bailout. >> i would like to summit the government's resignation and i would like to express my believe that the constitutional process needs to be set in moment -- movement immediately and with all disability to elections of the greek people can decide which way the country should be led safely and quickly out of the crisis will stop amy: we'll have more on greece after headlines. we will hear from bernie sanders. new data show july was the warmest month ever on record. the data, released by the u.s. national oceanic and atmospheric administration thursday, also shows 2015 has been the hottest year on record so far. the agency said the temperatures have caused global heatwaves throughout the summer. the heatwaves have worsened the wildfire season in the western united states. in washington state, governor jay inslee has called the
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wildfires "an unprecedented cataclysm" one day after three firefighters were killed after being engulfed in flames. a fourth firefighter is in critical condition with burns covering approximately 60% of his body. nearly 400,000 acres across washington state are currently on fire. meanwhile, in california, new research from nasa shows that parts of the san joaquin valley are sinking almost 2 inches every month as a result of the increased consumption of groundwater due to the drought. a least one town has sunk by more than a foot. the sinking is cracking roads and unearthing underground pipelines. researchers say the damage may be irreversible. we'll have more on climate change later in the broadcast. in news from the campaign trail, republican presidential candidate jeb bush has said he does not regret using the term "anchor babies" during a radio interview on wednesday. in the interview, he said he supports the 14th amendment, which guarantees people born on u.s. soil are automatically u.s. citizens, but that he wants more enforcement to protect against
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so-called "anchor babies." jeb bush responded to questions from reporters on thursday. >> d regret using the term "anchor babies" yesterday? >> no. do you have a better term? >> i'm asking you. >> you give me a better term, and i will use it. don't yell at me behind my ear, though. >> is that not bombastic? >> no, it isn't. give me another word. amy: in response, democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton took to twitter to suggest alternative terms, writing -- "how about 'babies,' 'children,' or 'american citizens'?" meanwhile, clinton is facing increasing pressure over her use of a private email set-up while serving as secretary of state. during a foia hearing on thursday, a federal judge said in reference to clinton -- "we wouldn't be here today if this employee had followed government policy." the justice department is currently investigating whether any classified email was handled improperly. in news from europe, macedonia
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has declared a state of emergency and sealed its southern border with greece after more than 40,000 migrants have flooded into the country over the last two months. a spokesperson for the interior ministry announced the decision thursday. >> the macedonian government has decided to declare a state of emergency in crisis regions on its southern and northern borders. so courting to laws, army can be deployed on the territory of the public of macedonia. amy: the majority of migrants have been passing through macedonia in efforts to reach germany, britain, and sweden. but with the border between greece and macedonia now sealed, thousands are stranded in a no man's land between the two countries. on thursday night, police fired tear gas at the crowd of migrants by the border. one man spoke out about the violence. >> [indiscernible]
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amy: two more women have accused comedian bill cosby of drugging and raping them, bringing the total number of accusers to more than 50. one of the women spoke at a news conference with lawyer gloria allred thursday. >> i don't know how we got to the hotel room. he went into the bathroom, undressed, and came out in a robe. i told him i needed to go back to the hotel. i could barely stand up, and owes either going to pass out get very sick. he made menial down -- i'm not going to repeat what happened next. all i know is that it was the most horrifying thing that could happen to any young woman. the next thing i remember is i was in the rolls-royce profusely vomiting. i apologized and the driver said
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first't the. amy: while she showed her face of a news conference, she did not want to be identified, simply called "elizabeth." she is one of now more than 50 women who have accused bill cosby of sexual assault and rape. defense secretary ash carter says the pentagon is visiting detention sites in the united states where the agency could relocate prisoners currently being held at guantanamo bay. the pentagon teams have already visited the army prison at leavenworth, kansas, and will soon visit the naval brig at charleston, south carolina. carter said thursday he wants to see guantanamo closed before president obama leaves office, calling the naval base a "rallying cry for jihadi propaganda." a new campaign is calling on five of the country's most influential museums to divest from fossil fuels. the campaign singles out the american museum of natural history in new york city, the field museum in chicago, the california academy of sciences in san francisco, the north carolina museum of natural sciences in raleigh, and the natural history museum of utah in salt lake city. the call to action was launched
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this morning by 350.org and the national history museum, a new mobile museum that champions climate action. former president jimmy carter has revealed his cancer has spread to his brain and that he has begun radiation treatment. in a news conference carter said thursday, he would like to live to continue his humanitarian work, but that he is "at ease with whatever comes." wast first i felt that it confined to my liver and the operation i completely removed it, saw was quite relieved. then that same afternoon, we had an mri of my head and neck and it showed up that it was already in four places in my brain. so i would say that night and the next day until i came back up to emory, i just thought i had a few weeks left. ease.was surprisingly at
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i've had a wonderful life. i've had thousands of friends and i've had an exciting and adventurous, gratifying existence. so i was surprisingly at ease, much more so than my wife was. know, it isel, you in the hands of god. i will be prepared for anything that comes. amy: and longtime civil rights activist reverend george houser has died. the white methodist minister helped found the congress of racial equality, alongside civil rights icons james farmer and bayard rustin. he also helped organize the 1947 journey of reconciliation, in which eight african american and eight white activists rode interstate buses through 15 cities throughout the south. the action prefigured the freedom rides of 1961, which galvanized the civil rights movement. earlier in life, houser also served a year in federal prison for opposing the draft for wwii.
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he died in his home in california on wednesday at the age of 99. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. greek prime minister alexis tsipras announced his resignation on thursday, paving the way for new elections. the move came after tsipras lost the support of many members of his own syriza party who opposed his backing of the demands of international creditors for yet more austerity and economic reform in exchange for a new $96 billion bailout. tspiras said an early election will give greek voters a chance to have a say on the new bailout. the would like to submit government's resignation and i would like to express my believe that the constitutional process is to be set in motion immediately so we can go as soon as possible and with all due
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civility to election so the greek people can decide which way the country should be led safely and quickly out of the crisis. amy: many analysts predict tsipras will retain his post as prime minister after the election, but the conservative government has announced plans to try to form a new coalition government ahead of the elections. meanwhile, 25 members of the left-wing of syriza have announced they are breaking away to form a separate party called popular unity. to talk more about the situation in greece, we are joined by costas panayotakis, author of, "remaking scarcity: from capitalist inefficiency to economic democracy." he is professor of sociology at nyc college of technology at cuny. welcome to democracy now! what has tsipras doing here? he has resigned and going to run in a snap election. >> he has transformed syriza to what you does he hopes will be the dominant party of the austerity. his claim is, even though he is
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following the policies does not agree with them, he has been forced to do it, that he will do it with a way that is a little more socialist humane and just. mandate't have a because there was a recent referendum in july were over 60% of the greek population voted against austerity. so i think he is also hoping to get the mandate so he can continue these policies. and part of his party did not support this, and that is why we have this split, which is a split the europeans had hoped for a long because they saw tsipras is more amenable to .heir policies the left-wing of the party is still trying to resist. juan: some analysts, quite a few of them, are saying that he is actually expects to get in even larger support for his policies
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in a new vote. route ofhose to go the a referendum rather than or new elections rather than for a vote of confidence within the parliament itself, where he thought he had less of a chance. >> yeah, i think what he is hoping -- i mean, the poll is in july. the opposition is in disarray. election,g up the because there's also discussions it might happen in october or november, but by speeding it up, he also gives less chance to his internal opposition to organize themselves and to form a party that would have a good chance of doing well. so there certainly political calculations that he made. and he clearly hopes he will do well and win. it is possible this is indeed the case. juan: and the sense that the greek people, even though he did this about-face, still blame the
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european union and germany more for their troubles and they do tsipras for caving in on some of these concessions? >> i think the anti-european and has grown a lot in greece and drought europe, and fact, because of the insistence of austerity policies. there is a lot of discontent with the previous political parties for how that is understandably the main culprits for the current situation. tsipras is still popular according to polls, but this is burden,ecause the full the full impact of this new wave of austerity measures has been hit ordinary greeks. so his popularity is likely to suffer in the future, and that is probably one of his calculations. party tells-nazi it's only party to -- do they stand to benefit from these upcoming elections? >> that is what they claim.
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they claim they will do very well because supposedly they're the only ones -- it remains to be seen. their last showing in january was really strong given the fact there under charges of being a criminal organization and they have been exposed the crimes and the violence they used against activists and immigrants. the immigration issue is also a big issue in greece right now. attack bybeen lots of the opposition, not just golden dawn, even the conservatives and even the centerleft party who are basically saying syriza is leaving the borders open and these immigrants are coming because they liberalized immigration laws. i think this is very concerning because it is not just the golden dawn that is been very populist about immigration issue, it is like suddenly mainstream parties -- solidly mainstream parties.
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amy: this new party? the syriza breakaway party that is now calling itself popular unity, where does it fit into this picture and will again in popularity? >> we will see. we have nothing to compare it to and they have not had much time to prepare, but they are hoping -- their claim is the 60% of voted against austerity has to be represented in the election, and that is what they're hoping to do. how many of the 60% of greeks will support them? it remains to be seen. juan: meanwhile, the selloff of national assets of greece is a reoccurring. this week, there were 15 regional airports in greece sold to, guess what, a german company? >> the whole point is that it is supposed to be privatization and the german company is a company owned by -- it is a german state company. it is a kind of paradoxical in the sense.
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the same thing happen in the past with privatization, like the greek telecommunication company, which was bought by deutsche telekom, which is also a state company. amy: buying greece? >> i guess. , thankstas panayotakis you for being with us, author of, "remaking scarcity: from capitalist inefficiency to economic democracy." professor of sociology at nyc college of technology at cuny. as we turn to democratic presidential hopeful bernie sanders, who recently convened a panel of economists in washington to discuss the debt crisis in greece as well as throughout the world. austeritynders said has worsened the situation in greece. this is some of what he had to say. >> we're here today to talk about the very, very important issue regarding the ongoing debt crisis in greece and the way
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that people in governments all over the world are struggling with too much debt. we're going to be focusing on greece, but in truth, this issue goes beyond greece. countries that are struggling not only with too much debt, too much inequality, and too little growth and income. today, as i think all of you know, there's a very, very serious economic situation unfolding in greece. in many ways, greece today resembles the united states in the 1930's and midst of the economic downturn in the history of our country. the greek economy is basically collapsed and the people of greece are trapped in a very, very deep depression. i want to begin by expressing my solidarity with the people of greece, where five years of cruel and counterproductive austerity policies, policies to minute by the european central bank, the european commission,
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and international monetary fund have left the people of greece facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis. in my view, there is no more obvious example of the failure of austerity policies than what is going on in greece. for more than five years, greece has cut pensions, slashed its government workforce, made deep spending cuts that have eviscerated it social safety net . in other words, despite what we have been led to believe by many in the media, greece has not gone on a shopping spree. it is not over funded government. rather, it has imposed massive spending cuts that have caused devastating pain to some of its most vulnerable people. it is done is because it's creditors, led by germany, have insisted austerity is the only way to dig greece out of its
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debt. as a result, today, greece has the highest level of inequality and the worst unemployment rates in europe. the official unemployment rate is 26%. 26%. youth unemployment in greece today is more than 50%. more than 30% of the people in greece are living in poverty. --the greek economy is 25% shrunk by 25% over the last five years. that is really quite incredible. problem,f solving the austerity, in my view, has made a bad situation much worse. greece has seen its debt to gdp ratio shoot up from about 120% to about 175% today. the problem,ix"
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the troika once greece to borrow more money and make deeper cuts to wages, pensions, and other social programs. in january, as you all know, the people of greece stood up and said, enough is enough. they elected a new government known as syriza. their promise to end the harsh austerity policies. that was their campaign pledge. i increasing the minimum wage, by increasing job production, by protecting the most vulnerable against pension cuts and ensuring that the wealthiest people in greece started paying their fair share of taxes. a very serious problem in that country. but instead of working with the new government, to find a rational path forward, the troika demanded more austerity than ever. on july 5, the people of greece spoke once again in an overwhelming show of solidarity .ith their government
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61% of the people of greece said no to more austerity for the poor, for the children, for the sick, and for the elderly. yet instead of working with the greek government on a sensible plan that would allow greece to improve its economy and pay back its debt, germany and the choice cap continued -- troika continue to push greece to accept even greater austerity. they want even deeper pension cuts, an increase in the back tax from 13% to 23%, automatic edit cuts is the greek economy underperforms, privatization of state assets including the electricity grid, deregulation of the transportation rail, pharmaceutical, and other sectors in the economy, weakening of trade unions.
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in other words, the people of greece are being told that their voices, which they cast into elections, really do not matter. that their misery does not matter. that in entire generation of young people who are unemployed or underemployed does not matter. that the sick and the elderly do not matter. that democracy itself does not matter. and that, to my perspective, is unacceptable. i believe that this plan is simply unsustainable, in my view, austerity has failed and continuing with austerity means the greek economy will continue to fail its people, unemployment, poverty, and inequality will increase from an already obscene levels. and maybe, just maybe, some people are beginning to wake up to this reality. in a confidential report made public earlier this month,
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officials from the imf warned that the imf could not take part in any new bailout for greece unless the greek government was offered a substantial debt relief package as part of any new deal. in light of this report, it is time for the troika to provide the greek government with the flexibility it needs to create jobs, raise wages, and improve its economy. without a substantial improvement in its economy, greece will never escape its debt crisis. and let us not forget a little bit about history. let us not forget what happened after world war i when the allies imposed oppressive austerity on germany -- on germany -- as part of the for site treaty. at the gaudy who know anything about history understand what happened. and that is the germany economy
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collapsed, unemployed and skyrocketed, people were pushing their money around in will there toto vile of -- wheelbarrows buy a loaf of bread, and the result of that massive discontent was that adolf hitler and the nazi party won an election and took power in you all know the results of that. what many people do not know about greece today is that the party that finished third in the greek -- recent greek election is called golden dawn. this is a party which some people call a neo-nazi party, but other people believe it is nothing neo about it. it is a nazi party, which came in third place in the recent election. in my view, we should learn from history and we should understand that when democracy fails, when people vote for something and
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cannot get with the government promised because of outside forces, this leads to massive discontent, contempt for democracy, and it opens the path for right-wing extremist parties like golden dawn. finally, let us remember that one of the main reasons why greece was unable to take on so much debt was because it had help from goldman sachs, who helped disguise the nature of the greek debt. today when we talk about dead, we should appreciate that something similar is happening right now in puerto rico where the government is struggling with unsustainable debt and a group of hedge fund billionaires are demanding austerity in puerto rico, demanding the firing of teachers, the closing of schools so they can reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the children and the
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people of puerto rico. it is time for creditors to sit down with the governments of greece and puerto rico and work out a debt repayment plan that is fair to both sides. the people of greece and the children of puerto rico deserve nothing less. over seven years ago, the major economic leaders of 44 countries gathered at a hotel in new hampshire. they established international economic and financial rules. as a result of that conference, the international monetary fund and the world bank were established. i think anyone who is looked at the situation, that the rules regarding our international financial system today are rigged in favor of the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of everyone else. today, 85 of the wealthiest people in this world own more
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wealth than the bottom half of the world's population, over 3 billion people. i next year, oxfam has estimated that the top 1% of the worlds population will own more wealth than the bottom 99% of the world's population. in my view, we have got to begin -- and i hope this form today is a start in that process -- a serious discussion about how we change our international financial rules to expand -- expand economic opportunity and and wealthme inequality, not only in greece in puerto rico, but throughout the world. the global economy do something unsustainable once doubly so if you have so much and so many have so little. amy: democratic presidential candidate senator bernie sanders speaking in july at a hearing he convened on the greek debt
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crisis. alexis tsipras announced his resignation, paving the way for new elections in which tsipras will run. back, july is the hottest month on record. this year, so far, has been the hottest year in history. we're going to talk about the links between climate change and the california drought. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: scientists at the u.s. national oceanic and atmospheric administration, or noaa, released a report thursday showing that july was earth's hottest month on record. nine of the 10 hottest months since record-keeping began in 1880 have occurred since 2005.
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climatologists also expect 2015 to be the hottest year on record. this news comes as scientists from columbia university's lamont-doherty earth observatory released a report, which shows that global warming has worsened the california drought, now entering its fourth year. amy: this new study is the first to estimate the extent to which rising temperatures are affecting the loss of moisture from plants and soil, and suggests that within a few decades, continually increasing temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push california into a permanent drought by 2060. joining us now to discuss the report and the impact of the findings is the study's lead author, park williams. he is a bio-climatologist at columbia university's lamont-doherty earth observatory. welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. so lay out the main findings of your report. >> i think we all know as you warm the air, the warmer air is able to more easily extract water from soil.
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we know this because a puddle on the sidewalk on a hot day will evaporate more quickly than a puddle on a cold day. so as we warm the atmosphere over a century as we have done, that atmosphere is more able to pull water out of soils and then when natural climate variability causes a drought, as is happening right now and california, the drought is probably going to be worse. but we've never actually put a number on how much worse or how much of the california drought or of any drought is due to global warming. what my colleagues and i did was put the number on that for the first time. we find in the absence of global warming, the drought in california would have been somewhere between 8% and 27% less severe. juan: how are you able to reach that conclusion? >> we used monthly precipitation data and then monthly data from all the variables that go into calculating evaporation. that is four variables --
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temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation. it turns out in terms of the year to your variability and in terms of trends in evaporation, temperature is most important of those four. we then use very standard soil most are modeling -- moisture modeling were we treat california says large network of what get. withe climate data precipitation to fill up the buckets, kind of like income pills up bank accounts and the we use the evaporation data to extract water from the bucket, like withdrawals from a bank. over time, we could track how much was in the buckets and it changes representing drought severity in california. amy: noaa sponsored a study last her that links the rain deficit on what is basically a weather related phenomenon, a high-pressure ridge over the northeast the civic in the probably had nothing to do with global warming. does your report contradict this? >> no, it doesn't. i'm glad you're giving me the
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opportunity to talk about this. the lead author of the noaa is the second author of this study that i have published. there are two different very different studies and i was just talking about inputs into the water balance and withdrawals from the water balance. all about by noaa was the input. that study found the drought is ultimately caused by a lack of precipitation and that lack of precipitation is ultimately caused but it's really persistent high-pressure ridge of the atmosphere that has been sitting over the northeast pacific ocean and blocking storms from hitting california, now for four years in a row. it is really an abnormal event. they find a connection with the global warming process and that ridge. or the high-pressure region. we look at the other side of the water balance equation, the withdrawal side. evaporation has been increasing because of warming. so even though climate change has not affected the precipitation -- precipitation is widely variable in california
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from year-to-year -- but underlying both of those variable things that occur naturally is this elephant in the room that is continue to grow larger every year, and now -- when he gets dry naturally, it is now more dry because of climate change. juan: and economic impact on california? we're seeing the reports of the battle over water. exacerbated by depending on income levels of the people experiencing it, land sinking because of the water being drawn out from underground wells or aquifers. >> california missing a lot of consequences of this drought. all droughts have consequences consequences, and presumably, it is the weakest links in the network that start showing signs of vulnerability first. we have poor communities that are suffering. in some of these communities, water is no longer accessible. the water table is too low to access water so the water has to
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be shipped in. land is thinking in the southern and central valley because water has been extracted from the ground at an unsustainable pace. amy: sinking two inches every month? >> is really remarkable. to my understanding, this is part of an aquifer that was established following the last glacial period. while it is possible to put new water into some places underground, it is no longer possible in these places where the ground has compacted because we have extracted the water too quickly. amy: you also are a specialist on how climate change affects forests worldwide. "rolling stone" wrote about you in a piece. >> i am one of many who studied that topic. most of my work so far has been focused on the southwest united states, which is to really relevant to california. what we found in that work is that wildfire is a direct -- is
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a direct link to the climate system. i believe it is part of the climate system. when you have drought, as long as there's fuels to burn -- burn.forests -- they will and we're seeing it in california, oregon, and washington because of intense drought. this drought is caused by natural climate variability. impact, warming, the wildfire season is more active. and there's a secondary effect that we have too many trees on the landscape right now. that means some places have not had fire in a century come and there is a lot of fuel. when a spark goes the wrong -- on the wrong day, we have wildfires that are much more energetic than they would be otherwise. juan: a would ask about increasing involvement of faith leaders and the issue of climate change. earlier this week, a group of islamic scholars issued a call for a rapid and abuse of also fuels and a couple of months
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ago, the pope released his ground breaking encyclical on the environment. as a scientist, what is your reaction to seeing this increasing involvement of faith leaders as a moral and religious issue, the world coming to grips with climate change? >> i think it is encouraging. the signs of the science of global warming is based on physics. so i'm really happy to see that leaders of any kind are letting people know, hey, this makes sense and we should really be taken care of our planet -- taking care of our planet that physics tells us we haven't been. amy: how do we reverse climate change? >>'s most recent work is on california. i think california actually has a unique role in the world. when they change policy to become more efficient with her carbon use by using less
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gasoline, for example, and the rest of the united states is soon to follow. when the united states makes a change, the rest of the world is soon to follow. california surprisingly has a large ripple effect, i believe. one thing we need to do globally is use fossil fuels in a sustainable way. i don't think that should go against anybody's political beliefs, do sustainable living makes sense. digging up nonrenewable resource and burning until it's gone, doesn't. drought perspective, california can do a lot more locally. by using water sustainably. there's been a lot, as we said, a sustainable ground water use in california. currently, actions are being taken to try to start regulations for groundwater extraction in california. what california tends to do, once a gets what again, they tend to forget they just had a really catastrophic drought the reminded them how vulnerable they are.
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it is important california does not drop these measures that it is beginning to make towards groundwater regulation. juan: what are some of the other sustainable measures they could take? i'm always astounded -- i learned a few years ago the average golf course requires during the hottest parts of the year as much as 300,000 or 400,000 gallons of water a day. >> the numbers are astounding that golf courses and lawns use. although, i would argue, in terms of sustainability for water use in california or for anywhere, you really need -- i think the goal should be to create systems that are resilient to the worst droughts. in california, that is very difficult to find that point because california's precipitation, rainfall and snow, and various so wildly from year to year it is tough to remember where the worst exist. but things like lawns and golf courses are pretty easy, you
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just cut the pipe for the lawn and golf course and let it go dry and nobody really cares. the things that are really tough , the things that make drought affects really tough in california, are things that are difficult to cut the line too. people in the agricultural communities, some of her agricultural practices probably are not sustainable. the fix is much more difficult. amy: park williams, thank you for being with us, bio-climatologist at columbia university's lamont-doherty earth observatory. lead author on a new report showing that global warming has worsened the california drought by up to 27%. we will link to that report at democracynow.org. we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "lonesome valley" by mississippi john hurt.
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this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. since 1998, more than 5 million people have died in the democratic republic of congo in what has been described as the deadliest documented conflict in african history. much of the fighting has been over precious minerals, including tin and gold. tantalum has become a precious commodity in the digital age, found in cell phones, dvd players, laptops, and hard drives. human rights groups have long pushed for mandatory labeling of so-called conflict minerals in order to allow consumers and investors to avoid fueling the bloody conflict through the purchase of their products. the mandatory disclosure policy became law as part of the 2010 dodd-frank wall street reform act. amy: but this week, a court has ruled the sec cannot force companies to disclose whether
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minerals come from the democratic republic of congo because the mandatory labeling would violate the companies freedom of speech. for more we go now to washington, d.c., where we're joined by zorka milin, a senior legal advisor with global witness. the group works to improve transparency and accountability in the extraction of natural resources. welcome to democracy now! why don't you start off by talking about what the judge has ruled and what exactly are the minerals you are talking about. >> thank you, amy, it is great to be here on the show. it is very fitting because what is really at stake in this decision is democracy and transparency. and what we have is renegade judges who have turned the first amendment on its head and allowed corporations to use it as a deregulatory tool. the decision from this week has sweeping implications for all kinds of important consumer disclosures ranging from
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nutrition labeling on foods, country of origin labeling, health and safety warnings in products. so it is certainly a very anentous decision and is intensification of this trend that we have seen, including with citizens united, of corporations kind of weaponize in the first amendment. the truth intended to protect the free speech rights of and eventual citizens and not corporations. juan: what specifically was the provision of the dodd frank act that was a question here? could you give a little more detail on that? >> sure. the provision is much broader than the phrase that was challenged here, which is just founde of the phrase "not to be conflict-free" which the companies did not want to use in their disclosures. to be clear, it is not an issue
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of labeling on a product, it is a phrase that appears in a file made in the securities and exchange commission. the companies did not object to the rest of the law, which really is much broader. the heart of that wall requires companies to engage in due diligence to ensure that their supply chains in the minerals their purchasing is not funding the terrible conflict in the democratic republic of congo. so the rest of the law still stands, and company still have to perform those kinds of to diligence measures. the phrase "not found to be conflict-free" was to ensure companies have the right processes in place. it is really shameful that rather than focusing their energies on that, copies of instead chosen to bring dubious constitutional challenges. companycan you name a and tell us exactly what is
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happening in the democratic republic of congo, why you want conflict minerals to be identified? >> it is an interesting question, can we name these countries -- companies. the lawsuit itself was brought by a group of business lobby associations that includes the u.s. chamber of commerce, the national association of manufacturers, and the business roundtable. effectively, individual companies are hiding behind these powerful business lobbying groups and so it makes it difficult to really kind of name and shame individual companies that have been challenging this law. this is a broader trend that is not limited to this case and it is something that we see in other cases or business groups are challenging regulations that they don't like. what we see ono the ground, of course, it is very complicated conflict and minerals are one of the factors, certainly akin to running factor to the conflict, but --
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contributing factor to the conflict, but there are numerous actors and groups. it is a really difficult to oversupply the situation -- it is really difficult to oversimplify this situation. but we do believe this locking contributed to positive changes in the ground. juan: this was a decision in the d c circuit court of appeals that is known as a very pro-business conservative circuit of the federal judiciary. what is the next step here? >> well, we don't think the decision can stand and we think the fcc will agree with us. the fcc was the defendant in this case. it is up to them to bring further appeals and to make sure that this incredible, misguided and damaging decision is overturned and we certainly expect to see that because the sweeping implications that i was describing earlier apply perhaps
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especially to the kinds of disclosures that the stock exchange disclosures that the securities and exchange commission routinely requires from -- we very much hope and expect to see further review on the several decision to be overturned. amy: with people increasingly walking around with smartphones, our conflict minerals a growing problem? >> well, i think the conflict minerals are not a necessary component of the electronics product that we all use. it is possible to source minimal -- minerals responsibly, including from the democratic republic of congo. in our analysis under the first filings of this law that were made last year shows that 20% of companies have complied with the law fully, so that shows it is possible. we certainly hope that more and more companies will engage with the law and a more positive way and contribute responsible
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sourcing of minerals in the congo for mines which are not controlled by the armed groups. amy: zorka milin, thank you for being with us, senior legal advisor with global witness, an organization working to improve transparency and accountability in the extraction of natural resources. as we wrap up our show today, well, we are beginning -- we are ending this week where we began this week, and that is remembering the late, great civil rights leader julian bond who died on at the age of 75. in may, julian bond spoke at the martha king, junior memorial as part of the "vietnam: power of protest" conference. both juan and i were at this event. afterwards, people marched to the martha king memorial. it was one of julian bonds last public speeches. he was introduced by the actor and activist danny glover. cooks julian bond at the age of 20 helped found the student
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nonviolent coordinating committee. history kept making wherever he went. he was elected to the georgia state house of representatives in 1965. but members of the house refused to see him because he opposed the war in vietnam. in 1966, u.s. supreme court ruled that the house had denied his freedom of speech and had to see him. from 1965 to 1970 -- 1975, he served in the house, georgia house, and served six terms in the georgia state senate from 1975 to 1986. he recently served as chair of the naacp. i have the honor, distinct honor, of welcoming julian bond. [applause]
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thank you. thank you a great deal. thank you. thank you for this kind welcome. it is fitting that we should have come to this place. dr. king believed that he's on the civil rights movement are tied inextricably together, that the people are working for civil rights are working for peace and that the people working for peace are working for the civil rights and justice. 1967,ingly, on april 4, king delivered his famous speech against the vietnam war. this was not without risk because the mainstream press and media elite announced his speech am including "the new york times," "the washington post" and "life magazine." king said he was compelled to speak out because, one, the cost of war made its undertaking of the enemy of the poor. two, because poor blacks were disproportionately fighting and
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dying. three, because the message of nonviolence was undermined when, in king's words, the united states government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. george asked me if that was on this memorial. it is not. [laughter] the organization of which i was a part in 1960 come the student nonviolent cornet committee or sncc come also felt committed to speak out a year before king did so. in january 1966, samuel young, junior, a student and colleague in sncc, which is civil rights demonstration in his hometown tuskegee. he needed to use the bathroom more than most because during his navy service, including the cuban blockade, he had lost a kidney. when he tried to use the segregated bathroom at a tuskegee service station, the owner shot him in the back. the arnie of sammy losing his
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life after losing his kidney and service to his country prompted sncc to issue an antiwar statement. we became the first organization to link the prosecution of the vietnam war with the persecution of blacks at home. we issued a statement which accused the united states of deception in its claims of concern for the freedom of colored people in such countries as the dominican republic, the congo, south africa, rhodesia, and in the united states itself. we said, the united states is no respect or persons or laws with such persons or laws run counter to its needs and desires. this, too, was not without risk. i was sncc's can medication director and had just been elected to my first term in the georgia house of her presented of's. when i can do take the oath of office, hostility from white legislators was nearly absolute. they prevented me from taking the oath and declared my seat vacant. iran for the vacancy and i want
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again. and the legislature declared my seat vacant again. my constituents elected me a third time in the legislature declared my seat vacant the third time. it would take a unanimous decision by the supreme court before i was allowed to take my seat. asking counsel, every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we all must protest. and protest we did. and in so doing, we helped to end the war and we changed history. now we have both a vietnam memorial and a martin luther king memorial, but we don't tell the truth about either. as tom hayden has written, the worst aspects of vietnam policy are being recycled instead of reconsidered. i urge you to read his forgotten power of vietnam protest. we refused to allow the vietnamese to vote for
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reunification in 1956 for fear they would vote for ho chi min. many people sadly believe the pervasive postwar myth that veterans returning home from vietnam were commonly spat upon by protesters. as christian says, it became an article of faith that the most shameful aspect of the vietnam war was the nation's failure to embrace and honor returning soldiers. honoring returning soldiers doesn't make the war honorable, be a vietnam or afghanistan or iraq. [applause] and the best way to honor our soldiers is to bring them safely home. as james fellowes writes regarding military members as heroes makes up for condemning them to unwinnable missions. the pentagon has chosen to commemorate the vietnam war is a
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multiyear, multi-dollar thank vet for ae as afghan rainy said, thank you to heroes discouraged dissent. we practice dissent then, we must practice dissent now. we must, as dr. king taught us, move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high ground of affirmed dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. as king said than an even more true now, a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. i want to close this as king close to his vietnam speech with an excerpt from james russell. he wrote -- once to every man a nation comes the nation -- moment to decide, in the strife of truth and falsehood, for the good or evil side. some great cause, god's new messiah offering each the bloom
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or blight and the choice goes by forever for that darkness and the light. though the calls of equal prosper, yet truth alone is strong, though portion be the stafford and upon the strong thrown be wrong, yet the scaffold sways with huge future and behind the dim unknown, stan got within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. i wish has the right choice. thank you. amy: civil rights leader julian bond is speaking in may at the vietnam power of protest conference in washington at the martin luther king memorial. it was one of his last public speeches. julian bond died august 15 at the age of 75. at the 1968 democratic national convention in chicago, julian bond became the first african-american nominated for u.s. vice president by major political party, but he had to withdraw his name because he was just 28 years old, seven years too young -- second highest elected office. if you want to see our special remembering the life and legacy
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of julian bond, visit democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]
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- hello, i'm john cleese. have you ever met a shaman or a spirit healer? well, if not, you're about to, because in this very special program, an eskimo shaman from greenland will be meeting for the first time a mayan spirit healer right here in our global spirit studio. it's a meeting of two wisdom traditions who have more in common than you might think, starting with what we all have in common: mother earth. so it's time to settle back and take a slow, deep breath as we join our trusted guide and host, phil cousineau, on this uniquely indigenous episode of global spirit, the first "internal travel" series.

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