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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  February 15, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PST

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02/15/19 02/15/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from washington, d.c., this is democracy now! >> i have just had an opportunity district to president trump, and i would say to all of my colleagues, he is prepared to sign the bill. he will also be issuing a nationonal emergency declaration at the same time. amy: as congress passes the government spending bill, including nearly $1.4 billion to
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build 55 miles of new border steel, trump has vowed to declare a natioional emergency to get the rest of the funding he wants for his wall. we will get response from robert the move willsays constitute an outrageous abuse of power, perhaps the most dangerous yet by an unstable and increasingly autocratic president he says. we will also get response from immigrant rights activists erika andiola. and it marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the renowned abolitionist frederick douglass. ancestors were born into slavery. they were born into the most horrific conditions that human being could be subjected to, but yet through the power of education, both of my ancestors understood from a very young age that education equals freedom. amy: we will speak with kenneth the great, great,
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great grandson of frederick douglass and the great great grandson of booker t. washington . and we will talk to professor ibram x. kendi, founding director of the research policy center at american university. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump is expected to declare a national emergency today to build a wall along the u.s.-mexican border despite opposition from congress.. on thursday, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell announced the president planned to sign the latest spending bill but to also declare a national emergency. the spending bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by president trump. house speaker nancy pelosi condemned trump's plan to
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declare e a national emergency. >> it is not an emergency. what is happening at the border. it is a humanitarian challenge to us. the president has tried to -- theing that insid aside, president making an end run around congress. amy: several senators, including rand paul have come out against the emergency declaration. marco rubio wrote "we have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the constitution." several groups, including public citizen, have announced plans to sue the trump administration once the national emergency is declared. we'll have more on this story after headlines. amazon has announced it is scrapping plans to build a major office facility in new york city after local politicians, unions and grassroots activists opposed the deal. amazon had announced the project in november after new york
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governor andrew cuomo and new york mayor bill deblasio offered nearly $3 billion in tax subsidies to build the project which could have created 25,000 jobs as part of the deal, new york even offered to build a helipad for amazon ceo jeff bezos, who is the richest man in the world. one of the leading opponents was democratic congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez who represents queens, new york, where amazon was planning to build. >> i think it is incredible. it s shows that every day americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities a and they can have more say in this country than the richest men in the world. if we are willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we inld invest those $3 billion our district ourselves if we wanted to. we could hire out momore teache, figs a are so was, put a lot of
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people to work for that money if we wanted to. -- one >> this is a very dangerous moment in our history where big corporations think that the pivotal governments what they should be doing. we turned away from it a century ago, and we should not go back to it now. it is time for people to stand up and say the corporations are not the most powerful thing in this country, governments are. amy: new yorork times reporter . david goodman tweeted on thursday -- "one factor that concerned amazon executives was how activists in new york city broadened their attacks from the specifics of the deal to the company's practices far beyond the five boroughs, on unions and working with ice." meanwhile, new study by the institute on taxatioion and economic pololicy has found that amazon will likely pay no
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federal taxes for a second year in a row, even though it is reported over $11 billion in profit in 2018. instead, the company will receive a $129 million federal income tax rebate. denver school teachers are declaring victory after securing a nearly 12% pay raise and annual cost of living increases following a three day strike. teachers returned to class on thursday after a tentative agreement was reached. denver classroom teachers association president henry roman said -- "this agreement is a win, plain and simple, for our students, for our educators, and for our communities. no longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms." this marked the ninth major u.s. teacher strike in the past year. new data from the u.s. bureau of labor statistics shows more u.s. workers went on strike last year
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than any year since 1986. nearly 500,000 workers took part in a major work k stoppage in 2018. on thursday, students at marjory stoneman douglas high in parkland, florida, and schools across the united sates observed a moment of silence to remember the 17 students, staff, and teachers who were killed on february 14, 2018 in one of the deadliest school shootings in u.s. history. one of the students who survived the shooting, emma gonzalez, spoke at an event in new york. >> a lot of people either do not knknow about or forget about t e and that gun violence it doesn't only resurface on the anniversary of the event. evevery day i feel the sameme. every day my friends feel the same. every day of feels like the shootiting is happening again or happened yesesterday or will happen tomorrow will stop for me andd most of my friends, we figt
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our, by fightiting against gun violence and the system that perpetrates it.. amy: since the parkland shooting, nearly 1200 children have been killed by guns in the united states.s. meanwhile, a new survey from npr and pbs has found that over a quarter of parents with school-age children say their child knows someone who has been the victim of gun violence. william barr has been sworn in as attorney general after the senate confirmed him thursday by a 54 to 45 vote. barr previously served as george h.w. bush's attorney general. during that time, he was involved in the pardon of six reagan officials, including elliott abrams, for the iran-contra scandal.l. he also oversaw the opening of the guantanamo bay military prison, which was initially used to indefinitely detain haitian asylum seekers. former deputy fbi director andrew mccabe has spoke out for the first time about why he ordered a counterintelligence investigation involving president trump and his ties to
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russia after trump fired bureau -- fbi director james comey in 2017. mccabe will appear on 60 minutes on sunday, but an excerpt of the interview conducted by scott pelley has already been releaseded. > i think the next t day i mt with the team investigigating te russia cases and i asked the team to o go back anand conductn assessment and determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward. amy: in the interview mccabe , also confirms that justice department officials discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to remove donald trump from office. he also confirmed that former deputy attorney general rod rosenstein offered to wear a wire in meetings with the president.
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vice president mike pence called on european allies to pull out of the historic iran nuclear accord while accusing europe of tried to undermine u.s. sanctions against tehran. pence made the comment during a summit in warsaw organized by the united states. vice pres. pence: the time has come for our european partners to stand with us and the iranian people, to stand with our allies and friends in the region. the time has come for our european partners to withdraw for me iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to get the iranian people, the region, and the world of peace, security, and freedom they deserve. amy: the european union's top diplomat responded by saying the european union still believes that upholdlding the iran nucler deal is an essential way to prevent iran from developing a nuclear weapon. the venezuelan government is accusing trump's special envoy elliott abrams of threatening to
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deploy u.s. troops to venezuela during secret talks between the two sides. venezuelan officials told the associated press that abrams made the threat during previously undisclosed meetings in new york with venezuelan foreign minister jorge arreaza. during the talks, arreaza invited abrams to come to venezuela to speak with president nicolas maduro. meanwhilile, cuba has publicly accused the united states of moving special forces to puerto rico, the dominican republic, and other caribbean islands as part of a covert plan to topplpe the venezuelan government. u.s. special envoy elliott abrams accused cuba of lying. meanwhile at the united nations, , venezuelan foreign minister jorge arreaza announced a group of about 50 nations have joined new coalition to oppose u.s.-backed efforts to topple the venezuelan government. >> thank you. yes, indeed, the so-called sanctions are not sanctions because the u.s. has no authority in order to impose sanctions to anyone.
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so it is in n breach of this charter. we're going to compel and convince humanity in the world that no government in the world can take such decisions. only the group of measures, if they were adopted by the u.n. organizations, the security council, can be legal. thosest -- the rest are that must be rejected by all of the peoples of this world. amy: india is accusing pakistan of having a direct hand in a bombing that killed as many as 46 indian soldiers in indian-administered kashmir on thursday. it was the deadliest attack on indian forces in kashmir since the late 1980's. the deaths occurred when a car packed with explosives droveve into a bus carrying indian soldiers. the group jaish-e-mohammad claimed respononsibility. pakistan rejected charges that it was responsible in any way for the bombing.
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the egyptian parliament has cleared the way president abdel fattah el-sisi to rule the country until 2034. human rights groups in egypt denounced the move saying it will permit el-sisi to "retain power for life and exercise unprecedented unilateral authority." since coming to office following the 2013 coup, el-sisi has imprisoned thousands of his critics. last year, the former military general won a widely criticized election whehere he receceived % of the vote after all of his main opponents were jailed or forced to drop out. soon after last year's vot,e president trump called el-sisi to congratulate him on his reelection. the department of health and human services has launched a probe of the indian health service over its mishandling of a doctor accused of pedophilia. the doctor, stanley patrick weber, was the focus of a recent investigation by "pbs frontline" and "the wall street journal." in 1995, indian health service officials concluded weber was molesting children but the
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agency allowed him to keep working for another 21 years continually transferring him , from reservation to reservation. he was eventually convicted in 2018 and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. in news from washington, d.c. ryan zinke has joined the , lobbying firm turnberry solutions just weeks after stepping down as interior secretary. he becomes the first former trump cabinet official to join a lobbying firm. shortly after taking office, presesident trump signed an executive order that purported to ban white house officials from lobbying for five years. but according to propublica, at least 33 former trump officials have managed to sidestep the ethics pledge. trump's former campaign manager corey lewandowski is also joining turnberry solutions. the american civil liberties union and a group of other civil rights groups have sued the trump administration over its new policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in mexico while
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the united states processes their asylum claims. melissa crow of the southern iserty law center, which part of the suit, said -- "this misguided policy deprives vulnerable individuals of humanitarian protections that have been on the books for decades and puts their lives in jeopardy." the oregonian newspaper is reporting federal law enforcement officials have launched an investigation after a number of saudi students living in the united states vanished while they were facing serious criminal charges, including manslaughter and rape. the paper found that in at least four cases, the saudi government paid the defendant's bail and legal fees before they disappeared. in one case, police believe saudi officials snuck a saudi national out of the country on a private plane using a fake passport so he could avoid being tried for killing a 15-year-old portland teenager in a hit and run.
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the democratic national committee has announced the first debate of the 2020 presidential primary cycle will be held over two consecutive nights in june. as many as 20 candidates could take part. the dnc said candidates will need to garner at least 1% in three separate polls to qualify or obtain 65,000 unique donors in a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. with one day left to pass a government spending bill before tonight't's midnight deadline to avert anotother government shutdown, both the house and senate passed the measure thursday that came out of the bipartisan conference committee earlier this week. the bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by president trump. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell took to the senate floor thursday to announce president trump's decision to sign the spending bill.
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as some had speculated, and many democrats feared, mcconnell confirmed trump's plan to declare a national emergency in an attempt to circumvent congress for his $5.7 billion in border wall funding. >> i have just had an opportunity to speak with president trump, and i would say to all of my colleagues, he is indicated he is prepared to sign the bill. he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. and i have indicated to him i am going to prepare -- i am going to support the national .mergency declaration so for all of my colleagues, the presidident will sign the bill,e will be voting on it shortly. amy: mcconnell's vow of support came despite reports that he warned trump against the move, saying it could split the republican party and prompt a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration. democratats quickly condemned te news.. this is house speaker nancy pelosi. did i say i was fighting a
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legal challenge? ,. that is an option. we will review our options. it is important note when a president declares this emergency, first of all, it is not an emergency, what is happening at the border. humanitarian challenge to us, the president has try to sell those goods -- putting that aside, just in terms of the president making an end run around congress. amy: trump is set to speak this morning at 10:00 a.m.. if he declares a national emergency, the consumer rights non-profit public citizen has vowed legal action against him, saying the move "will constitute an outrageous abuse of power -- perhaps the most dangerous yet by the unstable and increasingly autocratic president trump." for more, we're joined here in -- by the ceo of the president of public citizen, robert weissman. welcome back to democracy now! >> it is good to be with you. amy: talk about what your plans are for today. >> we will see what happens if the president goes forward and
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issues this outrageous emergency declaration. if he does, we are prepared to sue to block the declaration. we are also when a be working on our own andnd with hundreds of allies to o get congreress to pa resolution to disapprove the emergency declaration, which it has the ability to do. amy: so explain what this national emergency resolution would do. >> we don't know. we won't know until the president acts, but it seems what he is one of claim is there's a national emergency at the border and therefore he can move money around that has not been appropriated for the purposes of building the racist wall, to infect build the racist wall. there is a legal structure in place for how to declare an the anand a presidident does have authority under other laws to move money around if in fact there is a national emergency. we're going to sued based on what he does, challenging the idea there is an emergency and challenging whether the way he is moving the money is legal under the statute that exists.
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but the real big issue is going to be whether people turn out in droves to protest this and say not only do we not want a wall, but we don't want the president declaring emergencies to get around the will of congress. if this president is able to declared emergency to build a wall around a fictitious claim of urgency against the express interest of -- intent o of congress, there is no limit to what he mimight do in the future with an emergency declaration. this is likethink martial law. they should think it sounds scary and act appropriately. amy: what can congress do? it doesn't only have to counter a lawsuit. >> under the national emergencies act, congrgress has expressed authority to pass a resolution of disapproval for the emergency declaration. i think the house will move pretty quickly to do that. if the house doesn't, the senate must consider it. amy: let me go to joaquin
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castro, from texas, and his conversation with cnn who said he would file a resolution to block trump's declaration of national emergency. is a i don't think it national emergency. i think this would be a fake emergency. if you look at the active national emergencies right now, those mostly revolve around national security issues. , if the president does declare a national emergency to build his border wall, to file a joint resolution under the national emergencies act that would essentially terminate his declaration. we wouldld have a vote either on my resolution or somebody else's on the house floor. it is my understanding that resolution would have to be voted upon in the senate. there have been critical senators,ade by including republican senators, about the president's ability and the wisdom of declaring a national emergency for this purpose. amy: and house speaker nancy pelosi warned that by calling an unwarranted national emergency,
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trump is setting a precedent for future presidents. >> you want to talk about a national emergency? let's talk about today, the one-year anniversaryry of anothr manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in america. that is a national emergency. why do you declare that an emergency, mr. president? i wish you would. but he democratic president can do that. the prececedent the presidedents setting, something that should be met with great unease and dismay. amy: so that is house speaeaker nancy pelosi, robert weissman. >> i think has to is describing the process is going to go forward. he is right to say i assume this will pass the house, resolution of disapproval. but it might pass the senate. there are been a number of republicans who say they are worried about this. they will be tested to see they stand with their principal or with their party's president.
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we will find out. if it does pass by a majority of the senate as well, trump can veto the resolution and that would require two thirds and both houses to override a veto. that will be pretty tough. still, very significant if he is forced to be to a resolution of disapproval. nancncy pelosi is speaking to te implications of a nationall emergency. she is senending a m message to republican saying, look, if you think you can get away with this and our site is not going use this, think again. be careful what you wish for. ist i am most worried about this presidedent doing it not jt this time, but again. it is easy to imagine him declaring a national emergency to ban public protest and deploy military domestically. he might trump up claims about gang violence. and we suddenly have sweeps of
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people of color communities around the country. those extreme scenarios are not so extreme with this president and whether or not they might move forward depends both on how the national emergency is treated in the courts, but especially by how it is received by the people of congress. amy: and what do you think about what they would do? >> it is up for grabs. amy: has mitch mcconnell changed the course enough at this point with scores of conservative judges he has pushed through? >> therere are two parts. one, the law is fairly ambiguous. when congress passed the national emergencies act and tes theyergency statu expect people to use the long good faith. more or less, that is what has occurred in the past. the president does have some pretty broad latitude under the statutes to define what is an emergency. even so in this case, it is plainly not an emergency. there is no problem that has any
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sense of urgency. the president's powers, try to change spending decisions that congress has made. the legal question, which is not clear-cut. then there is the background of the courts. even if it were clear-cut, it would be a mistake to a assume e supreme court is going to side with civil liberties or separation of powers or anything else other than president trump. amy: i want to ask you about something else. i want to turn to president trump's election of the interior. bernhardt, former oil lobbyist has been the agencies acting secretary since ryan zinke stepped down in december amidst multiple scandals and ethics violations. bernhardt was confirmed as deputy secretary of the interior in 2017, where he helped roll back regulations overseen by the department. he worked to make the approval for land and offshore drilling projects easier, and proposed limiting protections for endangered specicies. bernhardt also ordereded some furloughed workers back to work during the govovernment shutdown to push through on oil and natural gas drilling permits,,
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offshore drilling, and drilling in the alaska refuge. according to an ethics complaint of public citizen filed recently with the interior department's ethics official and inspector general, bernhardt appears to have violated trump's executive order barring officials from working on any issues they had lobbied on in the two years prior to joining the administration. robert weissman, can you talk about what you have on bernhardt and what you think needs to happen? >> this is one of the most amazing but now normalized futures of the trump administration. what we've seen is that the scandal at the cabinet level, the cabinet official is forced replaced by a lobbyist. so the response to ethics challenges in the trump administration is to hire lobbyists to work on the agencies they are now going to be in charge of. that happened at epa with a call
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wherest i in place, at hhs tom price was replaced by a former exexecutive of a a drug cocompany, and now at the department of interior whehere n oil lobbyist comes in to take over for ryan zinke, who, by the way, leaveves the dedepartment s and becomes a lobbyist himself. amy: with the former campapaign -- campaign manager for trump. >> it is hard to keep track. with bernhardt, among other things he had done before coming into government, lobby on the clean water act, which he is n w inside govovernment t tried to l back. we filed an earlier complaint against bernhardt because he previously has been, we knew, in violation of trump supposed ethics rules. and now withth this informrmatin about his lobbying run on the clean water act, it is clear he is working on the exact same issue that he worked on as a
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lobbyist outside of government. amy: robert weissman, thank you for being with us, president of public citizen. the group has said it will sue president donald trump is he declares a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall. this is democracy now! when we come back, we get response from immigrant rights activist erika andiola on the passage of the bill and president trump's threats. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "mad world." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. wewe are broadcasting g from washington, d.c. prpresident trump is expected to
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declare national emergency to build a wall along the u.s. have in mexico border. on thursday, mitch mcconnell announced trump's plan to sign the latest spending bill but you also declare a national emergency. the bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by president trump. --xandra causey of cortez alexandra cortez, ill on more ilhan omar, and others. by erika we're joined andidiola, chief advocacy office for raices, refugee and immigrant center for education and legal services. thank you for joining us. can you talk about what the bill that is about to be signed an
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than president trump threat? alarmrmingit is very to see that this presesident is ababout to use theatational ememergency as a p political ca, basisically, to try get the wall, which h we know is not gg to do anything to actually solve the problem that is happening at the border. the problem happening at the border, it has been said over and over, is humanitarian. what i means is that are humuman beings literally right now trying to figure out how to ask for asylum in this country, which is legal. it is definitely a alarming. i really hope we can raise up if he does this because we cannot concede to let him do this. amy: talk about the congressmember is, like joaquin castro who represents the rio grande valley in texas, like alexandra cortez and ilhanan omr do to l leap.he
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they're voting against the legislation and why.y. >> which is the right thing toto do and thahat is because wee ned -- we than pushing for democrats to actually do the right thing to stop laying his game. he has been using this, using this basically for p political purposes. we saw when the elections for happening in 2018 where all of the sudden the cararavan was ths huge threat anththe electionons are over and there's nonothing else about t the caravan c comig out of t trump's mouth, right after november. so we have seen this is a political stunt. -- most alarming thing is what worries me is we have democrat actually playing these games, trying to give more money from dhs, which can be, and i sure you, will be used to continue to detained people. we have to make sure we pushed back and that we let democrats know this is the time toto stand
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up against trump and everything he is trying to do. atat the e end oththe day, he ee of push fofor what he wants ande are saying this right now. amy: the showdown over trump's border wall comes as riot police in northern mexico blocked hundreds of desperate central american migrants wednesday as they tried to escape an abandoned factory complex where they've been imprisoned while waiting for the u.s. to process their asylum claims. more than 1700 migrants have been held in the maquiladora in the mexican border town of piedras negras since february 5 after they arrived in a caravan of people seeking asylum in the united states. the vast majority have remained prisoners of the site after the trump administration adopted a "remain in mexico" policy for asylum-seekers, processing just 15 asylum applications per day at the nearby eagle pass border crossing. this is one of the migrants speaking with your group raices. >> we are not allowed to go
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outside. they have locked us up as prisoners. we need organization to support ,s with hats and gloves scarves. that is what we need because the cold is tremendous. in the real truth is there are children here. there are sick people, seniors. we are in an abandoned factory and now we are as a shelter. -- now we are using it as a shelter. amy: because the person was afraid of being identified. raices was also able to speak with a childld being held just outside the facility. this is the next. >> my name is anna and i'm 10 years old from honduras. what is happening here? toant everyone to listen what i'm going to say. i do not want to be here. they need to let us out because it is really ugly. it is very confined and there are lotsts of diseases. the doctors do not pay attention to us.
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we can to the doctor yesterday and they told us there are no pills. there are no pills every day. that is why my mom gets angry. they don't let us go outside if we do not go out without piece of paper. we want to go to the convenience store. but we can't. amy: talk about t the sittion, erika andiola. > it is really hard to hear this 10-year-old girl -- i'mm getting emotional. i apologe. this is ththe actual urgency wee have whichever and an elderly and human beings right now who are in this old factory in mexico being surrounded by mexican police. they don't know what is going on. our team has been on the ground
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trying to figure out how we can best support them and they are not letting us inside the shelter. not everybody is able to come out unless they have a humanitarian visa from mexico. we have heard a lot of stories people who are trying to get out of there, food, trying to get t necessities for women. for us, it is important to at least get in there and give them someme information of what is going on because theyey have no ideaea whatt the process is. that no ideaea how long theyey'e going toto be there. they know they can come and knock on t theoor and ask fofor asylum, butut wee can't t really assesess or we can't t really ge them advice on what they could possibly do because they are not letting us inside. they're basically in prison. crisis the humanitarian happening. i hope this little girl -- and
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all of these folks were telling their story -- can touch the hearts of some politicians here. i am pretty sure they are not going to touch trump's hard, but democrats can hear this and see even more money to this administration, it is not going to do anything. amy: erika andiola, thank youu for being with us chief advocacy , officer at the refugee and immigrant center for education and legal services. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from the nation's capital, from washington, d.c. month marksistory the two and a birthday of frederick douglass. frederick douglass was born into slavery around 1818. he died a free man in 1895. on july 5, 1852, in rochester, new york, douglass gave one of his most famous speeches, "the
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meaning of july fourth for the negro." he was addressing the rochester ladies' anti-slavery society. this is an excerpt of james earl jones reading the historic address during a performance of howard zinn's voices of a people's history of the united states. >> it is not light that is needed, but fire. ,his death the gentle shower but thunder. we need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake, the feeling of the nation must be quickened. the conscience of the nation must be aroused. the propriety of the nation must be startled. the hypocrisy of the nation must be e exposed and the crimes against god and man must be proclaimed and denounced. readinges roll jones the speech of frederick douglass. last night, leaders from around the country gathered at the library of congress here in washington, d.c., to honor the
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life and legacy of frederick douglass. the ceremony was the culmination of a year of events marking the bicentennial of the birth of the celebrated abolitionist, politician, writer, feminist, educator, entrepreneur, and diplomat. we are joined now by kenneth morris, jr., frederick douglas'' great-great-great grandson. he is here in washington, d.c., to celebrate his ancestor's remarkable legacy. kenneth morris, jr. is the cofounder and president of the frederick douglass family initiatives. he is also the great-great grandson of booker t. washington. welcome to democracy now! >> thank you, amy. amy: what a legacy. >> wow. peoplepecially for young , tell us about frederick douglass. tell us about his lifefe history and what he would have felt about what is happening today. >> he was born into slavery sometime in 1818. he was born to an enslaved woman in a white man, presesumed his mamaster was his father.
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he had an opportunity in his life where he was taken from the eastern shore of maryland to be the house servant for his master's brother. the reason i sayay it was an opportununity was because when e that there, his slave mistress did not know it was illegal to teach him. his master finds out and for bids the lessons. that was all frederick douglass needed, was that little spark of knowledge into his mental darkness. he would teach himself to read and write. slavery.d he would go on to become an advisor to president lincoln. he was ambassador to the council general, first african-american u.s. marshal, and the list goes on and on them and would pass away in 1895 in his home in washington, d.c. madetalk about the marquee , the fight against slavery, the
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-- really, a leading advocate of women's rights and women's suffrage? >> when he first published his autobiography in 1845, it became a bestseller. the notoriety from the book threatened his freedom because he was still a fugitive at the time at the age of 27. he had to flee to europe for a couple of years as a cooling-o-f peririod. whenen he was in europe, he's bn some time in ireland and came into contact with a great irish liberator daniel o'connor. daniel o'connor helped frederick douglass to understand about human rights and fight for human rights for everyone. when he would return back to the united states after his abolitionist friends paid for his freedom from his master, he came back with a different mindset of the fighting for human rights for everybody. that is why you see him becocome one of the first statesman of any race to fight for women's rights and women's suffrage and
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to speak out for the rights of immigrants and many other disenfranchised groups. amy: in 2017, donald trump seemed to suggest he thought frederick douglass was still alive. this is trump speaking at a black history month event two years ago. pres. trump: i'm very proud now that we have a museum, o on the national mall, where people can , someabout reverend king in other things, frederick douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more i noticed. amy: he noticeces. thatat was president trump. it might have been encouraging fofor you to know that your gret great great grandfather was still alive. >> it would've been nice because i have always looked forward to meeting him. had he still been alive, that would have been a great thing. at the last time the two of us were together, we talked about that two years ago. that really has been a gift -- amy: you are talking about me
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and you, not you and president trump. >> yes. the gift that keeps on giving because it really put his thing out there and to the publicc consciousness. when you people know the name frederick douglass, but they don't necessarily know what he did or what his contributions were to the country. there was good and b bad that ce from that. as far as our work, the name recognition is helped us advance the work in the bicentennial yearar. amy: youou are moving your institute to rochester, new york. while? >> frederick douglass spent 25 years of his life there. he published "the north star" newspaper there, where he chose to be buried in mount hope cemetery. it is really time for the frederick k douglass family initiatives in the family of frederick douglass to return back to the city that he loved so much. we of been able to develop some great relationships in the community during the bicentennial year. we worked on a project where we erected 13 statues of frederick douglass all around the city.
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sites that were significant in his life. amy: was one of the statues of frederick douglass recently vandalized? >> it was vandalized. it is interesting the site where that statue was vandalized by two students at st. john's fisher college was the site and hisederick and oldest daughter was enrolled, but she was forced to be segregated from the rest of her classmates and eventually frederick would take her out of the school. it was interesting that this racist act of tearing down the statue was at the site where rosetta had suffered racism and severed nation. amy: what do you want to leave we come out of the, well, february 14 is the day you have chosen to celebrate your great great grandfathers birthday, but especially young
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people today? >> that is the date he c chose r his birthday. he only saw his mother fourr times s his whole lilife and s's toalll him for little valentine. when he was looking for a day to celebrate his birthday, he chose february 14. what we e would help young peope would take away -- i think there is great story when frederick douglass was near the end of his ofe at his home here washington, d.c., he loved to walk aroround ththe streets and interactct with the kids. there was a young man that walked up to him and said, what advice would you give to a person that is looking to fight for justice and fight for equality? without hehesitation, he said agitate, agitate, agitate. he was always agitating. in the political climate we're in right now with the divisiveness and the rhetoric, it is really important that activists and young people understand they can lift their voices and agitate. amy: talk about the significance is of him being one of the most photographed people act and.
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>> i find it amazing. he was 22 years old, only two years removed from slavery, never having spent one day of his life in a classroom. he understood this do technology, photography, good help to make his arguments for liberation and equality. he understood he could present himself in the public as a man worthy of freedom, worthy of citizenship. and if we think about the visuals of frederick douglass and his intense steely glare thus photographs, he did that intentionally because he's that i never want to look like a happy, amiable fugitive slave. to shatter the notion that people of african dissent were not worthy of freedom or citizenship and perhaps they were better off as other"y, make them and " to justify exploiting them and dehumanizing them. amy: kenneth morris, thank you for being with us, kenneth morris, jr. is the co-founder and president of the frederirick
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douglass family initiatives. he is the great-great-great grandson of frederick douglass and we will have you back to talk about your other ancestor,. you're also the great-great grandson of booker t. washington. when we come back, we will be joined by american university professor ibram x. kendi. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "swing low." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue to celebrate the remarkable life of frederick douglass and his 201st birthday. we're joined now by ibram x. kendi, professor of history and international relations and founding director of the antiracist research and policy center at american university. professor kendi spoke last night at an event honoring for douglass were he quoted the burnout abolitionist who once said "if there is no struggle, there is no progress. those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. the struggle may be a moral one or it may be a physical one or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle." those are the words of frederick douglass quoted by ibram x.
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kendi, who is a national book award-winning author of "stamped from the beginning: the definitive history of racist ideas in america." his forthcoming book "how to be , an antiracist." he is also a contributing editor at "the atlantic." welcome to democracy now! great to have you with us. how does frederick douglass inspire you in this week of the anniversary of his birth? >> well, i think many, many people are trying to sort of imagine how to bring about a new world based on every thing that has been happening in recent years. and frederick douglass constantly told us that the road is not going to be easy, but the road must be a road of struggle. so for me, he constantly -- he tells me, as you sort of mentioned in that iconic sort of message, that we have to struggle and we can never stop
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struggling. and the only way we will be defeated is if we stop struggling. amy: i want to ask you about what is happening in virginia right now, the top three embattled officials virginia starting with governor northam, the democratic governor who continues to resist mounting calls for his resignation after a photograph appeared on his medical school yearbook page that showed a man in ku klux klan garb next to a man in blackface. the first, the governor suggestingfor this, he was one of these two men, then he said it wasn't him -- although, he did wear blackface to impersonate michael jackson at another point that same year. can you respond to what this means? you had a very interesting piece suggestions for
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what governor northam should read -- not to mention, , what e should do right now. >> i think, like many people, he should resign. for very long time, african-americans and other americans have felt offended from blackface, felt as if americans were not listening to them as we told him this was not something that should be going on. and now african-americans in virginia and other americans are callining on the governor to resign, and he is not sort of respecting them and that way, either. but if he decides to stay in office and he decides to take up for the racial inequality advisers areis suggesting, then i think you should embrace that fully and truly seek to be an antiracist governor and truly seek to look at the racist policies that are causing all of the racial ininequities i in the state.
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but first and foremost, he should seek to recognize how and why blackface is so offensive by going on a binge of reading of antitiracist text. amy:y: what arare some of those? >> oh, man. someuld start out with political memoirs and autobiography of malcolm x or maya angelou. he can read essays like "between the world and me" or "the fire next time" by james baldwin or "the fire this time" or he can read books on slavery. s that he so many text could read if you are seriously interested in learning about racism in this country. amy: you have just finished a book "how to be an antiracist." how? >> first and foremost, for us to
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recognize there's no such thing as a not racist. typically when americans are charged with expressing racist ideas were defending racist toicies, americans like respond by saying "i am m not a racist." i've yet to figure out what it means to be a not racist. first and foremost, for americans to stop being in denial about the racist ideas, about policies that are causing racial disparities, and recognize there only racist and anti-racist ideas, notions of racial hierarchy and racial equality. there are only racist and antiracist policies. policies that yield the quality and in equity. us to recognize there is the such thing as a not racist and we can only be racist or antiracist. you wrotessor kendi, a beautiful piece about this
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period, this last year that you been writing your book how to be an antiracist. you also went through a health crisis yourself, being diagnosed cancertastatic a colon over a year ago? it.of people don't make how about the diagnosis and you came through this. >> around this time last year, i think january 10 last year, i had a colonoscopy. we were shocked when the doctor came in and said that she saw something abnormal which she thought was cancer. the next day, they scanned my body and found that colon cancer had spread to my liver. there were tumors in my liver. i think those 35 years old. i was completely shocked. i did not have any of the risk factors.
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but at the same time, they said there was a chance that i could recover. of course, i did six months of chemotherapy and almost immediately, the tumors started to shrink. ultimately, i did surgery at the end of the summer. the surgeons went in and found there were no cancer cells left. for me, the weight i got through that process was more or less thinking about writing the book, but thinking about what was possible. i tried to really appreciate the little things in life and just know that if there is a possibility, then i want to be that possibibility. amy: you have a little girl. you are -- when you are diagnosed. how old was she? >> about one. amy: how did it change your views?
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you wrote, "the more of my death changed, the more reflected on what i was writing. if i can live on, why not live on to be antiracist? one not to live to be fully human and see others as fully human and fight to be sure our policies see and treat all equitably?" and >> in many ways, the cancer diagnosis and the fight -- i mean, it was extremely difficult going through six with the chemo treatments privately, but it allowed me to recognize just how precious our time is on this earth, just how short our time is on this earthth and just how serious we should be about our time on this earth. for me, that is what it really was. we need to take every moment that we have on this earth seriously. and for me, the seriousness was trying to create a new antiracist rolled. amy: you talked about a kind of
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cocoon of women around you. your little girlrl, your partne, and your mother. >> yes. her that when we told i more than likely had cancer, her response was, we will deal with it. that was it. that is typically how she responded to adversity "we will deal with it." like, ok, we will deal with it. and my partner as well, who is a physician and how serious it was. i didid not even know 88% of people with stage four: cancer are likely -- basically, dying, but she knew. she was extremely supportive throughout, and then my daughter, who did not know what was going on and expected her daddy to be acting the same way even if i got chemotherapy earlier in the day, so how could i not act the same way? amy: how did it feel to be part of the 12%? good.ean, it feels
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of course, i would like to continue to be in that 12%. amy: it is a pleasure to spend this time with you and we look for to interview new in your book when it comes out this summer. ibram x. kendi is a professor of history and international relations and founding director of the antiracist research and policy center at american university.
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[woman singing in russian] sami yaffa: a city of 12 millionon souls, moscow is the stewpot of history. the original recipe comes frfr the czars, but over the yeaears, the dish has been mixed with despotism,m, marinatd in bolshevism, and seasoned with the salt of f the cold war and the pepper of propaganda. but what's cooking here these days? [woman continues singing] i'm sami yaffa, and i'm a rock

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