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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  August 29, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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08/29/18 08/29/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democrcracy now! whond education secretary is unwilling to cut all federal aid to colleges that break the be and sheet students would a disaster for both students and for taxpayers. amy: as student debt reaches $1.4 trillion, the top student watchdog official
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resigns. we''ll speak with dr. sara goldrick-rab, author of "paying the price: college costs, financial aid, and the betrayal of the american dream." then books, not magazines. as it students across the country return to school, we guns and country and for teachers. pres. trump: concealed carry, or a teacher would have a concealad gun on them. they would go for special would be thereey and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. gun-free zone to maniac -- because they're all cowards -- a gun free zone is let's go in and let attack because bullets are not coming back at us. amy: we will speak with adam .kaggs and randi weingarten
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then to texas to speak with a woman sentenced to five years in prison for voter fraud for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. she didn't realize her past conviction barred her from voting in texas. thursday she could have even more time added to her sentence. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. puerto rico has officially raised the death toll from hurricane maria last year from 64 to nearly 3000 following the release of a study ordered by the governor of puertoto rico. this officicially makes maria oe of t the deadliest storms s in . history. puerto rican governor ricardo rosello acknowledged the higher death count on tuesday. even though itng is an estimate, we are officially changing -- we are
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actually putting an official .umber to the death toll [indiscernible] amy: presisident trump haso o fr not responded to t the new offificial dthth toll. it is 46 times higher than the initial count. but in october, during a visit to puerto rico, trump boboasted about the low official death count. pres. trump: a real catastrophe like katrina, and you look at the tremendous -- hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing. nobody has seen anything like this. what is your death count as of this moment? 17? 16 people certified. 16 people versus in the
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thousands. you can be very proud of allllf your peoplple, all of our people working together. 16 verses literally thousands of people. amy: while puerto rico is now putting the death toll at 2975, hurricane katrina was 1833, other studies show the actual death toll from hurricane maria may be considerably higher. in study published in the new may, a england journal of medicine found the death toll to be at least 4645, and perhaps as high as 5740. in florida, progressive tallahassee mayor andrew gillum pulled off a stunning upset in the democratic primary for florida governor. if he wins in november, gillum will become florida's first african-american governor. polls had predicted gillum would place for. he was backed by bernie sanders, spent millions of dollars less than his better funded opponents, including former
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congesswoman gwen graham, the daughter of bob graham, the former governor and senator. on the campaign trail, andrew gillum had called for medicare for all, abolishing ice, reforming the criminal justice system, repealing florida's stand your ground law, and increasing corporate taxes. he held a victory celebration tuesday night. >> we together with all of you are the next several months going to make our way all across the state of florida to read counties, to blue counties, the purple counties, and we are going to unite this state in ways that are unparalleled in the history of the state of florida. amy: andrew gillum will face off against republican congressmember ron desantis, who won the republican primary tuesday after receiving the backing of donald trump. democrats have now made history by picking three
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african-american gubernatorial candidates in this year's primaries -- andrew gillum in florida, stacey abrams in georgia, and ben jealous in maryland. meanwhile, in arizona, another trump-backed candidate, congresswoman martha mcsally, easily won the arizona republican senate primary, defeating kelli ward and former maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio. in other election news, the "new york times" is reporting president trump warned evangelical leaders on monday that democrats will enact change quickly and violently if they take control of congress in the midterm elections. during a private meeting at the white house, trump went on to say -- "they will end everything immediately. when you look at antifa and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people." the white house has refused to elaborate e on what the presidet meant. in texas, former balch springs policece officer roy oliver has been convicted of murder for killing unarmed 15-year-old african-american student jordan edwards last year. police body cam video shows oliver, who is white, fired his assault rifle into a car carrying five black teenagers as they drove away from the
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officer. one of the car's passengers says the officer never even ordered the boys to stop driving before opening fire. they had been leaving a party. in education news, teacher strikes in two districts in washington state forced the cancellation of the first day of school on tuesday. strikes are expected to begin in four more districts today. meanwhile, in seattle, teachers and school staff have voted to authorize a strike next week if a tentative contract is not reached by the first day of school on september 5. at the united nations, u.n. secretary-general antonio guterres is urging serious consideration of a new u.n. report that called for burma's military commander-in-chief and other generals be tried for genocide for their targeting of rohingya muslims. >> accountability is essential between all ethnic groups and is a prerequisite for security. regrettatably, myanmar has refud to cooperate, despite repeated
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calls to do so, including by members of this council. amy: meanwhile, displaced rohingyas have welcomed the u.n. report saying that burmese officials must be held acaccountable. >> the military commititted most of the torturere and are also border guards and police -- actually, alll of the government forces committtted all sorts of totorture on us. they raped to our women, killed even killedbullets, small children, burned our houses, and now there is no place to stay. we have nothing, so we d demando the u.n. that they give us justice. we need our citizenship back. amy: the indian government has conducted raids across india this week targeting prominent humaman rights activists, wywyes and crcritics of the nardra momi government. at least five e people were ararrested. ththe novelistst arundhati r rod the hihindustan times -- "that the raids are taking place on the homes of lawyers, poets, writers, dalit rights activists
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and intellectuals -- instead of on those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in broad daylight -- tells us very clearly where india is headed." france's environment minister resigned on tuesday live on the air during a radio interview. nicolas hulot said he made the decision due to the country's failure to adequately address climate change and other environmenental threats. >> for the first time i'm going to take the hardest decision of my life. i don't wawant to lie to myself anymore. i i don't my presence in hisis govevernment too mean that we're not doing enough to tackle the climate change. i making the decision to leave the government today. amy: the atlantic magazine has revealed an immigration policy analyst with the department of homeland security had direct ties to several prominent white supremacists, including richard spencer. the analyst ian m. smith worked at dhs up until last week. the news comes just two weeks after white house speechwriter
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darren beattie was fired after news broke that he had spoken at a conference alongside prominent white nationalists. in immigration news, about 160 workers in texas were detained in a ice raid targeting the trailer manufacturing company load trail. one worker described ice agents raiding the factorory from every entrance. he said -- "they drew their guns and told everyone to hit the ground." california governor jerry brown has signed legislation making california the first state in the nation to abolish cash bail. brown said he signed the bill to ensure that the rich and poor alike are treated fairly. more than 48,000 people are currently being held in california because they can not post bail. but many criminal justice advocates, including the aclu of california, came out against the legislation warning it may result in more people being locked up while awaiting trial. lawmakers have passed nonbinding resolution that calls on the medical community to respect the rights of intersex people and
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affirms the right to autonomy in making medical decisions. intersex people have long spoken out against the practice of surgery performed when they are too young to give informed consent. the measure is the first of its kind in the united states. and in colorado nine-year-old , a boy died by suicide after reportedly being bullied by classmates after coming out as gay. jamel myles was a fourth grade student at joe shoemaker elementary school in denver. jamel's mother leia pierce said -- "we have to stop bullying and teach people it's ok to love each other. we have to stop hating each other for differences, differences that make us equal and unique." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, 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. just as the school year gets underway across the united states, the top government
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official who oversees student loans has resigned in protest, accusing the trump administration of siding with powerful predatory lenders over student loan borrowers. seth frotman works as student loan ombudsman under the consumer financial protection bureau director mick mulvaney. in his resignation letter to mulvaney, he wrote -- "unfortunately, under your leadership, the bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by congress with protecting. instead, you have used the bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in america." frotman's resignation comes as outstanding student loan debt has trot -- has topped $1.4 trillion. in the letter, he accused the bureau of failing to enforce laws that protect borrowers, defending predatory for-profit schools from scrutiny, and suppressing reports exposing banks and other bad actors "ripping off students." frotman continued -- "the bureau's current leadership folded to political pressure. and failed borrowers who depend on independent oversight to halt bad practices.
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the current leadership of the bureau has made its produce clear -- it will protect the misguided goals of the trump administration to the detriment of student loan borrowers." amy: this comes as education secretary betsy devos has proposed new rules that woululd cut an estimated $13 billion in federal student anan relief for people defrauded by for-profit colleges. the changes would roll back the so-called borrower defense rule president obama proposed after the collapse of itt tech and corintnthian college, whwhich ws then halted by the trump administration. in response, massachusetts attorney general maura healey tweeted -- "betsy devos rewrote the #borrowerdefense rule to let predatory schools cheat their students and enrich their executives. no surprise." well, for more, we go to philadelphia to speak with dr. sara goldrick-rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at temple university, and author of "paying the price: college costs, financial aid,
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and the betrayal of the american dream." welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. why don't we begin with the resignation of the top student loan watchdog and what he is accucused the trumump administrn dr. goldrick-rab. >> thank you for having me. this is a bold and, i presume, necessary move for someone like frotman to undertake. he is try to draw attention to some very serious changes, some of which are not being made public or transparent, to taxpayers. they're going to assess not only ,ur ability to afford collelege doesn't our college -- children to college and repay our loans, but also, frankly, for our ability to just have in a manageable amount of debt in the u.s. these changes are going to cost us all money and he wants to make sure that we all know it.
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juan: could you talk in general about the crisis facing so many millions of college students in america today in terms of student loans and student loan debt? and what has been happening under the trump administration to deal or not deal with the problem? the crisis is created by what i call the new economics of college. this is a time where, frankly, like it or not, colleges essentially mandatory for access to the middle class, forgetting one family out of poverty, and from keeping one's family from falling into poverty. but unfortunately, we have not created a financing system taxi make college attendance possible without having to take all loans. some millions of americans are taking on loans even when they don't want to just to be able to get access to college. when they take those loans, they need to be sure the risk to themselves is not too highh.
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and frank we, collectively, as taxpayerers, we need to be suree that those l loans are n not too risky to us, that they can be repaid. under the obama administration, they worked very hard to try to put some protections in place, both for taxpayers and for the borrowers themselves. for example, they wanted to make sure if students took their loans to certain type of college called the for-profit college, that they would not be ripped off. that they would get a job afterwards. that the credential would mean something. and they would have a chance to repay their debt. what is happening now is those protections are being removed. we are told they are not necessary. but it is clear that they were because we are receiving tons and tons of fraud complaints about these colleges. and that is the important work that cfpb has been doing, reviewing those fraud claims. the cfpb is being told they really cannot do that work stuff
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what seth frotman is telling us is they have not been able to do a some time. amy: i want to go back to seth frotman's resignation letter. he writes -- "the bureau's new political leadership has repeatedly undercut and undermined career cfpb staff working to secure relief for consumers. these actions will affect millions of student loan borrowers, including those harmed by the company that dominates this market. by undermining the bureau's own authority to oversee the student loan market, the bureau has failed borrowers who depend on independent oversight to halt bad practices and bring accountability to the student loan industry." the company frotman is referencing is thought by many observers to be navient, the nation's largest servicer of student loans. according to lawsuits filed last year b by a federal reregulatord two state attorneys general. according to lawsuits filed last year by a federal regulator and
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-- navient has for years misled borrowers and made serious mistakes at nearly every step of the collections process, illegally driving up loan repayment costs for millions of borrowers. can you talk more about this company and what is this relationship with mick mulvaney, who called his own bureau, the one that frotman is resigning from, a joke. biggest inc. he is pointing out is that we don't fully understand what mick mulvaney's relationships are. i think we have some speculation as to what is going on, but he keeps alluding to the fact that the real issues going on inside the agency are not being made transparent. i think we have the same concerns, frankly, about u.s. department of education and secretary devos' relationship, both with these companies and for-profit companies. that transparency is key in order to be a little protect consumers. -- in order to be able to protect summers. places like navient are servicing loans, which people
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are struggling to pay off. many folks who are not able to repay their debt, it is not necessarily they did not have the money, but they were not given the right information, the repayment process and the collections process was not transparent to them, it was not easy to follow. and so we have people who were falling into economic hardship and defaulting on a loan is a very serious mark persimmon's economic record -- mark for somebody's economic record. is raisingt seth questions about is the advice and practices of career people in washington. for those who do not know those folks, these are hard-working people who stay regardless of who is in charge at the white house and really stick by the job of these agencies and departments. the contrast between that and the political appointees who don't seem to really be aligned with the mission of the agency. juan: what about the issue of what congress is doing? $1.4 talking about
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trillion, and exploding problem in the country, yet congress ruled ink rolled -- personal bankruptcy cases can be cannot discharge or student debt. it is basically following you through life no matter what. >> that's right. , some of some reasons which are irrational and some are rational, for those kinds of rules. the big challenge is this. congress has not taken on in a serious way the need to create a financing system in this country that makes it possible for people to go to college without having to take all loans. that is the hard work that needs to be done. and it really has not happened. and for the folks who have taken a loans, they have made it incredibly hard for them to repay that debt, get out of that debt -- for example, if they served in terms of public service, if they become teachers in low-income schools, there is talk of rolling back that loan forgiveness.
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it seems that congress is at odds with the will of the american people. amy: professor goldrick rob, your work has been credited, your book is based on a study in state colleges, not for-profit schools, but your work has been credited with really helping to lay the groundwork for bebernie sanders proposal for free cocollege education. please explain. studies my team and i have undertaken over the last 20 years have revealed that the current financial aid system just is not getting the job done. in many ways, it is well-intentioned. it's just we can help -- it suggests we can help people by giving them grants. they have to fill out this horrible bureaucratic application form that takes ages to fill out. and that somehow it will make up for their lack of money by giving them that financial aid. we find that does not actually work in practice. for many
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reasons, quitting families cannot get through the application. they may not have parents to thought the application for some students who were estranged, for example, from their parents. dinner there is the whole middle class in this country that find themselves too rich to qualify for grants, but to port it up these college prices. that is where free college model comes in. it isn't about assuming everything in life is free or rf you don't have to pay something, you don't work hard. but just as we value people in this country being able to go to high school, and we would not want to have a country where people turned away from high school because the tuition is too high, we believe it is now time to start thinking at least about the 13th and 14th years of education as something that we need to collectively pay for so that anybody, especially anybody hard-working and talented in this country -- which is the majority of people -- can get a college education that they need. juan: what about the for-profit industry?
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because clearly coming of the private nonprofit colleges, the state universities, state colleges, but there has been an explosion of the for-profit industry. we are seeing some major failures, the sum continue to prosper, basically, on the backs of this loan program. >> that is right. in many ways, the model we are operating under is a voucher-driven model. it allows private providers to compete for student $8 alongside public providers -- student aid dollars, along with public providers, but with less scrutiny and no government oversight. companies realize they can step in and get students to walk in their doors by recruiting them with commercials. they spend a lot of money on advertising. they bring the students in and in many cases, not all, but in most cases, the students do not experience the sort of education that will lead them to lead a
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better life, get a better job, or more money. it is an industry, and frankly, this is a deeply racialized practice because these schools disproportionately breach out to, recruit, prey on people of color. those are people who really do not have the same access to forms of payment other than student loans that other folks have. so they go into deep debt and they get useless credentials. amy: finally, very quickly, professor, your report "hungry and homeless in college." you say of the students who surveyed, one entry reported they had g gone hungry while enrolleded in college? >> that is correct. this has been a decade worth of research and we're found that one in three students at four-year colleges and universities in between 40% to 50% of students of the nation's community colleges. this is how severe the loan
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crisis really is. you can take loans and have trouble repaying them, nonetheless, still not have enough money to cover today's college prices. and those prices are not just tuition. it is housing and food. so s students are legitimately falling short of what they need to learn and get degrees. amy: we want to thank you for being with us and we will continue to cover this issue. sara goldrick-rab is a professor of higher education policy and sociology at temple university. author of "paying the price: college costs, financial aid, and the betrayal of the american dreaeam." when we come back, booooks, not magazines. that was on the teacher of the father of a student killed in parkland last year wore. "books not magazines." we will talk about betsy devos' proposal to spend federal money
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on arming and training teachers to shoot. stay with us. ♪ [music brk]k]
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amy: "gone the promises of yesterday" by 24-carat black. this is democracy now!,, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalalez. juan: as students across the country return to school, we turn now to look at calls by house democrats for education secretary betsy devos to reject plans to grant federal funds to states to purchase firearms for teachers and school employees. the proposal comes after requests from oklahoma, texas, and other states to train and arm school marshals. more than 170 democrats -- about 90% of the caucus -- endorsed the letter to devos arguing she has the authority to say no to such spending. the letter was organized by representative bobby scott, the top democrat on the house education committee, and argues -- "arming teachers would not only jeopardize student and staff health and safety, but also run counter to congressional intent, precedent, and common sense." amy: devos' plan would use federal student support and academic enrichment grants to pay for firearms and to train educators in their use and would reverse longstanding federal policy prohibiting federal funds for arming teachers. last week democratic senator
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chris murphy from connecticut spoke out against devos' proposal, arguing it goes against guidelines about the use of title iv federal funding. >> title ive language allows for money to be used to try to quell viviolence, but there is a specific phrase here that seems to give clear guidance to the secretary because you can use the grants for us to -- school environment free of weapons and yet reportedly the secretary is about to issue guidance saying that money can be used to load schools up with weapons. that is indirect contravention of the statute itself. and certainly in contravention of the spirit of federal law given the ax we passed earlier this year that prohibits school safety dollars from being used to arm teachers. amy: senator chris murphy of connecticut speaking last week. murphy's district is home to the 2012 sandy hook elementary school shooting that killed 20
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children who were six years old and 7 years old, along with six adult staff members. well, for more, we're joined by randi weingarten, president of the american federation of teachers. also with us is adam skaggs, chief counsel at the giffords law center to prevent gun violence. welcome both of you to democracy now! adam skaggs, talk about this proposal that betsy devos is weighing. >> i think this proposal is, to put it in simple terms, outrageous. this violates every piece of evidence about what we need to keep student environments, to keep our schools safe. to put it simply, at a time when we are seeing schools that lack the resources to buy books and school supplies for our classrooms, the idea of diverting federal funds to be used to arm teachers is not only a terriblele idea as you heard senator murphy saying, we believe it is unlawful as well and violates federal law. juan: randi weingarten, the idea of using federal funds that were year marked to assist --
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earmarked to assist low income or troubled scschools and turn them into basically a subsidy for the gun industry? >> it is insane. it is reprehensible. it is insane. it is morally outrageous. but think about it. the funds that she wants to use, first off, last year to try to get rid of these funds. these go for summer school programs, afterschool programs, guidance counselors, restorative justice, helping kids learn how to defuse crisis, mental health supports -- which everyone, regardless of where you are on the gun debate in america, everyone believes we need to have more mental health support in schools. and it is targeted to places they can't afford it, to poor kids. witho she has not come out any of the things that we should be doing, but she was to divert these funds for something that will make schools less safe. it is repugnant. juan: and the reaction among
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teachers that you represent and teachers that you don't represent? what is the general sentiment? >> i would say i am being calm compared to the reaction i get -- well, there are some teachers who have said to me -- i've been in the parkland schools -- marjory stoneman douglas, the junior high school next door, spent some time -- many times in newtown after sandy hook. and people sometimes are scared and say, look, maybe i should. maybe i want to. i'm not saying this is universal position, but the more you think about it, the more you realize how unsafe this is. and, frankly, it is a people who know how to use guns who have talked to me -- nra members -- about just how insane this is. think about it, juan. a kindergarten teacher wearing a holster with a handgun. what does that say to her
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children? or where would you put guns? how would you safely locked them up? thisdo you do in terms of false sense of safety if somebody is coming in with a 60,on of war that can shoot 80, 100 bullets a minute? it will create a false sense of security and it will be more dangerous in schools. as adam said, the only entity is seems to help is the nra and the gun manufacturers, and that is why we are adamantly against it. why don't we do things that make sense -- mid to health support, things like the red flag laws where they are extraordinary orders of protection. an educator could get as governor cuomo has suggested. so that if you see a kid who may
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be a danger to himself or others, you go to a judge and you ask, with due process, to see if we can actually assure that kid does not have guns. there are ways we can handle this. arming teachers is not one of them. amy: i can only think about the fact where the money is coming from me using federal funding. they are saying oklahoma is asking for this. oklahoma teachers went on strike, among the lowest paid in the country will step as they are striking, they're providing lunches to the gets because they know the kids are not in school and they're going hungry. >> lunches, books, school supplies. 25 states spend less on education today than they did before the recession, including oklahoma. 41 states spend less on higher education. in this pot of money was for those kind of emotional supports. juan: i would like to turn to alabama governor who introduced
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the sentry program in the state earlier this year, enabling school administrators to carry guns. >> those glue ministers who volunteered to be part of the alabama sentry program will be trained by the safe councils created school safety training and compliance teams using a training program and designated as a reserve deputy sheriff authorizing them to respond to an active shooter. mustteer administrators undergo mental and physical fitness evaluations and a drug screening before being certified as a century and -- sentry and as an annual recertification process. they must also have an up-to-date concealed carry permit issueued by t the local sheriff. juan: earlier this year, 17 students and faculty were shot dead at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida sparking nationwide protests
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against gun violence in schools. following the massacre, president trump hosted a listening session with students and families affected by the parkland school shooting, as well as families affected by past school shootings. vice president mike pence and educatation secretary bebetsy ds were also in attendance. during the session, trump suggested the solution to school shootings is arming teachers. pres. trump: it is called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. they would go for special training. and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. gun-free zone to a maniac -- because they are all cowards. a gun-free zone is let's go in and let's attack. because bullets are not coming back at us. , what aboutkaggs the presidents can -- president process position?
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>> i think it is a terrible idea. what we need for our teachers is adequatete resources of the have the supplies, the books, classroom materials they need to teach our children. we all agree that our schools should be safe environments, should be welcoming and inclclusive, environments for educators and for our students. introducing more guns for nonprofessional law enforcement, for teachers, for classroom assistants, is not the way to get this done. if you look at the fact that groups like gifforords law c ce, which workss on dunlop safety issues, federation teachers, the southern poverty law center -- this is an unprecedented coalition of groups they care about groups that focus on educational environment, gun safety. it will all come together because we all recognize this is a terrible idea that will make our students less safe. when he introduced guns into the classroom, you introduce the possssibility will be e an acaccidentalal discharge, not tu
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and underestimate the idea that a teacher under stressful circumstances might use the weapon inappropriately. the risks this piles on our numerous. on top of that, i think you have to think about what this says to totudent in the classroom see armed guards or to see teacachers carryrying guns. what does that do to the students? the risk ofee somemeone being shot, what does that say students are in this kind of environment? i think what it says is that something we want to tell our children. amy: today's latest news, a texas firearms and to bring your announcing he i is selling 3-d n blueprints online despite the court ororder that essentially banned the distribution of such data online. explain the significance of this. >> what we see is a company and texas that once to make downloadable guns on the internet available for anyone anywhere to download and essentialllly build their own g. these are people -- these guys
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would be accessible to people that can't go to a gun store and buy a firearm because they feel a background check, children who are not old enough to buyuy guns could construct something that would have the firepower of a traditional weapon -- not to mention the fact these plasti guns kenenexa ke i it rough a metal detecr and ominously prest t numerous secury ririsk bebeuse of that -- thidea thawe woulde ming with the weapo available to ngerous ople whoan'pass a backgrndnd che is s sily a teiblele ide. ey clickn a liveerson acss the cntry is rking to combat ts in stas acrosshe cotry. gandi, e we thinyou beenn puerto rico like 1times sie hurrice ar, and ,ju three a one of the leadingctivistsnd thkers, jonalist cering what hapned ther ta abouthis late news, o
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top adline tt the gernment has filly ackwledged at mo people dd as a rult of hurrican mar than th prevusly said. i thinthey said 64 nearly 46 tim that, 3000 people. other studies put it past 5000. what is the significance of this? juan: it seems to me if people remember hurricane katrina, hurricane katrina was probably the low point of the bush administration in terms of demonstrating the george w. bush administration, that it was incapable of handling the of what katrina represented. somehow the crisis in puerto rico and not only the ability to handle the immediate crisis, but even to account for properly and count the dead, to me, has to be, certainly for the government of puerto rico -- the governor of puerto rico hasn't received, in my estimation, sufficient criticism for the failures of
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his government to properly the dayshe crisis in after hurricane katrina, but also for the trump administration. somehow the trump administration has managed to push the maria crisis aside and the failure of the federal response to katrina so that we now have an official recognition of nearly 3000 dead, perhaps possibly more, because the good -- at least now close to 3000 dead is astonishing, a year later as we are interesting the one year anniversary of maria. randi, you have been to puerto rico multiple times and have especially dealt with the local government and the federal government, how they have used the crisis as a prime example of calls disastern capitalism to reconfigure the education system of the island. -- it is, on some was, colonialism at its worst 2018.
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the first time i was there three weeks after the hurricane when we could finally get commercial flights in, you went outsidede f san juan and it looked like a war zone. kids drinking water from streams. this is 2017, 2018. separate and apart from the fact that we actually got 100,000 water filters there with operation blessing -- picture the afd and operation blessing and evangelical and christian groups working together with the mayor of san juan and our affiliate there to do this. but you knew that that number was false from the moment -- any person who is alive and could actually feel new that number was wrong. is the point that juan
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making, that i don't know if it was negligence, malevolence, probably both, but the utter failure to understand hurricane on an island and prepare for that, particularly in light of what had happened with katrina, that is a failure of the trump administration. and you compare it to the preparation in florida and in houston beforehand, and then the failure over the course of the , as three months exemplified by donald trump just throwing paper towels. -- puertos a sense ricans are american citizens, and they have not been treated that way. then on top of it, the disaster being used to pririvatize and to close a huge number of schools. let me just say one thing about that.
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what i saw over the course of the next few weeks is that teachers and parents wanted their neighborhood schools, of which there are many -- the same number, frankly, as in 1917. it is not as if there were many more, but the same number of schools in 1917 to 2017. they used those schools as key to keeping communities together, particularly when there was no lights and when there was no government facilities. and so when you have those schoolols closed now and kids walking down streets that are still in bad shape, that is a second disaster that says two kids that your community, which are the heart of what people believe in puerto rico, don't count. amy: we will leave it there. we will continue to cover puerto rico. randi weingarten is president of the american federation of teachers.
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adam skaggs, chief counsel at the giffords law center to prevent gun violence. when we come back, we go to whos to speak to a woman sentenced to five years in prison for casting a ballot, not understanding texas law of what happens to people who have felony records. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "come meh way" by sudan archives. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman withth juan gogonzalez. juan: we end today's show with the shocking case of a texas woman sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting, who could now have even more time added to her sentence. crystal mason cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election despite having a past felony conviction for tax fraud
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that prevented her from voting. in march, she was convicted of illegal voting, but says she did did not know that she was barred from casting a ballot in texas due to her criminal record. her supporters argue her conviction was racially biased and point to the case of terri lynn rote -- a white woman in iowa who was cononvicted of thee same crime after she tried to vote for president trump, twice. rote was sentenced to two year'' prprobation and fined $750. amy: for morore, we go to fort worth, texas, where crystal mason joins us along with her attorney kim cole. crystal has a federaral court hearing in forort worth, texas, on thursday, tomorrow. if she loses the hearing, she will be heading to prison. also with us in washington marc , mauer, executive director of the sentencing project. author of race to incarcerate, and co-editor of "invisible punishment: the collateral consequences of mass imprisonment." according to a 2016 repoport by the sentencing projectct, polics restricting the voting rights of
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convicted felons disenfranchise momore than 6 million people. we welcome you all to democracy now! crystal, you go to court tomorrow. explain what happened on election day. what you understood, what you did, and now what you are facing. >> ok. november 2016.te that iunderstood was could vote. so i went to the local church where i went before i went to prison. i went to vote. , they realizedd my name was not there. i was like, well, i have been living here for over 10 years. so when i got ready to walk away, that is when they stopped me and tommy, hey, you can fill out a provisional ballot. i said, what was that? they said if you are at the right location, it will count.
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won''re not come it i did not see in harm with that. the lady sat me down and helped me out with it. that is exactly what i did. happened?hen what happened? >> then i was arrested for illegally voting. it was several months later. it was marched 2017 -- it was march 2017 when they arrested me for illegally voting. i explained exactly what the lady kept telling me. shoot only, make sure everything matches, drivers license, so that is what i kept saying -- i put everything correctly, so i did not illegally vote. i put everything on the form correctly. juan: kim cole, you are crystal's attorney. can you talk about how in fortly this happens worth of people being prosecuted for illegal voting and -- i'm surprised in this particular
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case, there wasn't even any attempt to plea bargain down, even if there was a violation, to something of a much lesser sentence. is prosecuted for a frugally and terrance county. -- frequently and terrance county. ofre is a record discriminatory prosecution going to be politically correct, i guess i will say, but there is a record of discriminatory county.ion in tarrant certainly, for this particular to have a defense, there's not a lot of prosecution that goes on for illegal voting. this to thatompare story of terri lynn rote, a white woman, convicted of the same crime as crystal after r se tried to vote for president .rump twice
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she was sentenced to two years probation and fined $750 in iowa. crystal is going to prison for five years for mistakenly voting when loss change from state to state? >> i think it is absolutely ridiculous. there is -- i am not certain antre you're from, but tarr county is very proud to be the county, youn, red know, in the country. they want to keep it that way. this prosecution, in my opinion, is to send a message to minority voters to stay away from the polls. there is absolutely no reason crystal should have been prosecuted. she was not aware that she was
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not eligible to vote. texas is one of the states where convicted felons do actually have the right to vote. forso crystal, unaware being on supervised release would prohibit her from voting, that she was not eligible -- even a should serve her prison sentence, she was not eligible until after her supervisory release ended. she was not aware nobody told her that. officerrvised release testified on the stand that he did not tell crystal that she was not eligible to vote. and crystal herself emphatically has proclaimed from day one she was not aware that she could not vote in the state of texas. and here for the crime of illegal voting, a required that you vote knowing that you're not
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eligible, and that was that the case here. judgel was convicted by a and found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. like i said, in my belief, this is a concerted effort to keep tarrant county red. this judge is a republican judge. ae state's star witness was judge.can election he didn't report crystal to the police for a crime. he called up his friend, the district attorney, a republican district attorney. called her up specifically, directly, to prosecute this case. this is a clear message to disenfranchised voters tarrant in tarrant county and to keep minorities from the polls. juan: would like to bring in
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marc mauer of the sentencing project. --s whole issue of felons felon disenfranchisement across the country. are you saying at the national level any move to refeform these policies? and also this selective prosecution, are using any of that as may be happening here in fort worth? >> right, well we have record numbers of people who can't vote a felony, but the encouraging news is over the past two decades, a good number of states have begun to reconsider these laws. in many cases, they have been on the books for 100, even 200 years with very little scrutiny. so several states in receipt years have cut back the ban on voting after you complete your sentence. other states, maryland, connecticut, rhode island, no permit people on probation and/or parole to vote, too. tothere's a growing movement
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reconsider these to reconsider these policies, to scale back. nonetheless, because of the rise of mass incarceration, the number of people with felony convictions, we still have this record six many people who cannot vote. in terms of prosecutions, we hear stories from around the country -- i don't think the numbers are that dramatic, but it is not unusual to hear this. just recently, a prosecutor in a county of north carolina charged 12 people with voting illegally, very somewhat to the situation crystal mason's case. of the 12 that were charged, none of them were african-american. amy: can't people vote -- and vermont and maine i think it is, can you even vote from prison? >> you can. decades, they've allowed everyone to vote, including people in prison and vermont and maine. an internationally, that is often the norm. you look at western europe,
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canada, many other industrialized nations, many of them have no disenfranchisement, essentially saying their legitimate punishments for committing a crime which may involve a period of incarceration, but that does not mean you forfeit your fundamental right as a citizen. we still welcome everyone into our democracy. it is a mixed up set of opinions -- amy: if you move from one state to another and not realize,to ai mean, one place you can vote from prison and it in another place you are in prison if you vote if you are under supervised probation in a place like texas. is it true, crystal, that they have told you when you go to court tomorrow you should have your bags packed ready to go to prison? you have three children? >> i do. amy: and they told you you can
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go to prison tomorrow? >> yes, ma'am. yes. yes. son is justdest about to go to college? >> he is in college. and i go tolege court on the 30th. his first game is september 1, friday. he has been talking about coming home. he is down there on a football scholarship. he is been talking about coming home. i told him no. i don't know if i'm going to make his first game. amy: you could have this five-year sentence extended to even more time tomorrow? kim cole, is that true? >> that is true. is currentlytence under appeal, so she has not begun serving that time. however, in federal court, the
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judge could sentence her to up to two additional years in federal prison. violated whatg she was doing under supervision, though she did not know it was wrong, thought it was a citizen's duty? >> right. >>correct. forhaving a new conviction voting. amy: crystal, do you ever plan to vote again? >> i do. and that is what i am encouraging my kids, to get out there so we can make a difference right now. i do. i just feel right now the system failed me. you get out and rehabilitate yourself, get a good job, go to school, graduate from school, doing everything right so why would i go and vote to go back to prison? why would i do something like that to lose my kids again, to
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start all over again to you know? through all of this, i lost a good job. through all of this -- it is like i'm going backward instead of forward. amy: crystal mason, we have to leave it there. we want to thank you. [captionin ññññññññ
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hello, glad to have you with us on nhk "newsline." it's 9:00 a.m. on thursday in tokyo. i'm miki yamamoto. we begin in washington. u.s. president donald trump insists he still has a good relationship with north korea's leader and he chalked up any issues with pyongyang to the u.s.'s current trade disputes with china. >> sit well with north korea, we'll have to see.


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