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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  February 25, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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02/25/15 02/25/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we has something to say to all of those big corporations and special interest who spent all those billion's to install their own mayor. we want change. >> chicago mayor's race is headed to a runoff as incumbent mayor rahm emanuel fails to win the 50% of the vote. good to a garcia -- president obama vetoes a congressional bill to veto the
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keystone xl pipeline. the fight against the controversial project isn't over. we will also look at the link to south african spy cables. i was greenpeace's kumi naidoo being spied on? the to the corinthian 15, and group of students go on a debt strike refusing to pay their debt owed to a for-profit college. >> a lot of the older generations the criticized the millennials grew up in a time when you could go to a state university and pay your way through with summer jobs. these millennial children they got to college and realized, the money is not there to pay for me, i'm not going to be able to try to it in took issue job. in fact, everything i was told about the way the world works turns out not to be the case. >> and we will hear why adjunct professors are holding a national walkout. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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president obama has vetoed a republican bill approving the keystone xl tar sands oil pipeline. obama says the measure unwisely bypasses a state department review that will determine whether the project is in the national interest. white house press secretary josh earnest said the veto should not be seen as a judgment on the pipeline's merits. >> it circumvents a long-standing administrative process for violating whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country. and it is not represent a specific position on the pipeline itself. it just merely says that the benefits and consequences of building that pipeline should be thoroughly evaluated by experts and through this him in a straight a process that has existed for decades. >> the rejection of keystone marks the third veto of obama's six years in office. senate republicans say they will try to override obama's veto but they don't appear to have enough votes.
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more on this story later in the broadcast. the department of homeland security is closer to a shutdown in a stalemate over immigration. mitch mcconnell has agreed to allow a vote on a clean bill to fund dhs after democrats rejected four republican bids to tie the funding to a repeal of obama's executive actions on immigration. but senate democrats want reassurance the house would pass the clean bill. last month, the house passed a dhs funding bill that would have effectively reversed oath of obama's recent plan to spare millions of immigrants from deportation and his 2012 policy of allowing so-called dreamers brought to the u.s. as children to remain here. if dhs runs out of money friday, mena republican backed policies would halt including the employees screening system e- verify. the islamic state has reportedly kidnapped more than 100 males
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including nine boys, near the iraqi city of tikrit. most of the captives have relatives fighting the ice is advance and the kidnapping is seen as a pressure tactic to stop the resistance. a new u.n. reports has isis has intentionally and systematically targeted iraq's various ethnic groups and subjected them to gross human rights abuses. the news comes one day after isis militants kidnapped an estimated 150 syrian christians in northeastern syria including women and the elderly. eurozone finance ministers have formally approved a four-month extension of a financial rescue package for greece. the new syriza government in athens sought the temporary deal as part of a bid to undo the austerity demands of its international bailout. in exchange, greece committed to several reforms, including cracking down on corruption and tax invasion, and tightening public spending. european commission vice president valdis dombrovskis announced the deal's approval.
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>> basically, it was concluded that reform program or least of reforms presented by the new greek government is sufficient enough to start or to be a good starting point for successful completion of the program. >> the extension grants a temporary lifeline to greece but delays a longer-term standoff over its campaign pledge to reject the harshest austerity conditions imposed by creditors, which has caused massive unemployment and other hardships. the truce in eastern ukraine appears to be taking hold after more than a week of violence since it first took effect. pro-russian separatists have pulled their heavy weaponry from the front lines, a key demand under the ceasefire deal. the ukrainian military says fighting has ceased, but that it's too early for a pull-back of their own following the rebel offensive to take the city of debaltseve last week. on tuesday, a rebel leader said
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his side still aims to control the entire territory of the two separatist provinces including , the port of mariupol, but seek this through "negotiations with the ukrainian side." in an appearance before congress, secretary of state john kerry accused russia of lying to his face about its military involvement in eastern ukraine. >> russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that i have seen since the very height of the cold war. and they have been persisting in their misrepresentations, lies whatever you want to call them, about their activities there to my face, to the face of others, a many different occasions. >> top administration officials continue to criticize israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu for an upcoming visit to the u.s. that seeks to undermine a nuclear deal with
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iran. speaking to pbs, white house national security adviser susan rice said netanyahu's planned visit and speech to congress said the trip has -- "injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, i think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship." speaking before congress secretary of state john kerry criticized netanyahu's stance without mentioning him by name. >> the policy is iran will not get a nuclear weapon. and anybody running around right now jumping in to say, well, we don't like the deal, or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is. i caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce. >> the u.s. and iran will resume talks next week in a bid to reach a deal before a march 31 deadline. a leaked cable discussed on tuesday's democracy now! shows israel's own intelligence agency, the mossad, contradicted netanyahu's claims on iran's nuclear capability.
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go to our website at to watch the broadcast. leaked cables show a number of foreign request to south african intelligence with the spying on activist ngos, and. according to al jazeera, one document shows south korea sought out a specific security assessment of greenpeace director kumi naidoo. he called the disclosure chilling. >> sadly, especially after the edward snowden weeks and the wikileaks information came out that in fact we are heavily monitored and being under constant surveillance. but it is one thing [indiscernible] it is a little more chilling to have it confirmed as you are being right now. >> the disclosure is among scores containing cables leaked to al jazeera by south african intelligence source. we will speak to kumi naidoo
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later in the broadcast. the chicago mayor's race is headed to an april run-off after incumbent rahm emanuel failed to get more than 50% of the vote. emanuel will face second-place finisher jesus "chuy" garcia, a county commissioner and former immigrant rights activist who has support from the chicago teachers union and other labor and progressive groups. garcia received about 34%, far higher than expected. more on this story after headlines. chicago police have reportedly operated a secret compound for detentions and interrogations, often with abusive methods. according to the guardian, prisoners as young as 15 years old have been taken to a non-descript warehouse known as homan square. some are calling it the domestic equivalent of a cia black site overseas. prisoners were denied access to their attorneys, beaten, and held for up to 24 hours without any official record of their detention. brian jacob church, who was arrested during chicago's 2012 anti-nato protests, said he was
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shackled to a bench for 17 hours without being read his miranda rights. >> when they first arrested us, they took us to this building. we were never booked. we were never processed. i was in homan square for about 17 hours handcuffed to a bench before is actually allowed to see an attorney. >> at least one victim was found unresponsive in an interrogation room and later pronounced dead. brought to the homan site "are most often poor, black and brown." two. former senior officials in the justice department civil rights division have called on their colleagues to launch a probe. the justice department has announced it won't charge george zimmerman for the 2012 killing of unarmed african-american teen trayvon martin in sanford, florida. trayvon was walking home from a convenience store carrying candy and juice when zimmerman followed him, claiming he looked suspicious.
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after an altercation, zimmerman fatally shot trayvon in the chest. zimmerman's acquittal galvanized the country on issues of race and bias in the criminal justice system. on tuesday, federal officials said there is insufficient evidence to charge zimmerman with violating trayvon's civil rights. in a statement, the justice department said -- "our decision does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of trayvon martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases." thursday marks the third anniversary of trayvon martin's death. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i am amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we turn to chicago where mayor rahm emanuel failed to get more than 50% of the vote in tuesday's election and must now face off a run-off against second-place finisher jesus "chuy" garcia in april. despite vastly outspending his
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four opponents and receiving an in-person endorsement from president obama, emanuel received only about 45% of the vote. emanuel served as obama's first chief of staff. >> chuy garcia, who serves on the cook cnty board of commissioners, received about 34% of the vote -- far higher than expected. garcia jumped into the race last october after the teacher's union president, karen lewis dropped out after being diagnosed with brain cancer. garcia, who was born in mexico and is a former immigrant rights activist, addressed supporters last night. >> would be here tonight. they wrote us off. they said we didn't have a chance. they said we didn't have any money. while they spent millions attacking as. [applause]
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well, we are still standing. [applause] we are still running. and we are going to win. we have something to say to all of those big corporations and special interest who spent all those billions to install their own mayor. we want change! >> mayor rahm emmanuel raised roughly $16 million, more than four times his challengers combined. on tuesday night emmanuel vowed -- addressed supporters. >> tomorrow morning, i will be seeing you at the el stops, as i have every morning. that skinny kid. i've a sneaking feeling you will be there. we will get back out there
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talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this rate city forward so we can secure the future of this great city for our children. thank you and god bless you. >> to talk more about the chicago mayoral race, we are joined by salim muwakkil. he is senior editor of "in these times" and host of the "the salim muwakkil show" on wvon in chicago. welcome back to democracy now. the significance of rahm emanuel, who president obama came out to endorse them who raised well, four times the amount of money of all of the candidates against him combined, him not hitting the 50% marks of yes to go to a runoff? >> he was widely disliked in chicago, especially in the african-american -- in the african-american committed the some and the latino community as
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well, but primarily, he was seen as a candidate of privilege, a candidate who is dedicated to the development of downtown chicago on neglect ing the less privileged precincts of the city. and he was seen as someone who would continue that process of privatizing the public's fear, or the commons, privatizing the commons to the highest bidder. and i think was simply a reaction to that attitude and especially with the activism and organizational prowess of the chicago teachers union, his initial clash with them, i think, is what started his downward spiral in certain communities, because he had the kind of arrogant attitude and attitude that was pro-charter schools, sort of dismissive
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attitude toward the public in chicago. and the teachers union championed that alternative. in championed a lot of candidates in this contest, a lot of other candidates. they provided chuy garcia with some of his seat money in order to get started. there were a number of factors that contributed to emmanuel's lack of fulfilling what a lot of the media took to be kind of conventional wisdom, that he would triumph. well grassroots organizing of the chicago teachers union and other organized labors and community groups that got involved with chuy's campaign, they simply outnumbered the money. that will happen if the passion is there. >> one of the things that struck
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me which happens repeatedly in many of these local races, is that the polls were way off on the support for chuy garcia. there talking about he only had 20% support. i am wondering, one, your sense of what happened there and also, careless was originally the head of the teachers union and was supposed to run, but of course when she got ill, should a dropout. i'm wondering if she hadn't, if she might have beaten emanuel in the first round? >> is a great possibility of that, yes. but karen lewis was a polarizing figure, also. she would have inspired a lot of passion, but she may have inspired just as much opposition. i think chuy garcia is that compromise figure who was a moderate, a spot between her passion and -- her great passion
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and sort of organizational prowess and knowledge that chuy garcia possesses. yes, but you know, karen lewis drafted chuy garcia, according to his own accounts. she was the one who convinced him to get into the race. she is a large part -- she is his ideological backbone, i guess you could say, or is great supporter. he certainly gives credit to her support. chuy was a very essential part of the harold washington coalition back in the day. that stood him in good stead let us say, among many of the progressives who still rallied to his side. many of them meeting progressives, black or aggressors progressives were in his
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scam. and also the candidacy of willie wilson and dock walls siphon the way some of that discontent from the black community that may have -- may have gone to rahm emanuel because there is some residual -- there is a little bit of animosity in the african-american community toward the latino committed the, primarily, because of economic threats. the threat of employment. replacement. that kind of thing. so there's a little bit of that and the black unity. perhaps, the candidacies of willie wilson and doc walls siphon that out to allow a clear kind of expression of discontent for the mayor to consolidate on chuy garcia. >> and the significance of luis gutierrez, maybe the most prominent latino leader in chicago not backing chuy garcia
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but going with rahm emanuel? >> that is another thing. chuy comes out of the progressive wing of the latino political power in this city. and gutierrez represents the opposite wing, let us say. there was always that tension between the two. this is an indication that could dearest -- iteris really doesn't have the support of the committee behind him. he has long ago seated his credentials to support for these kind of mainstream candidates. he continues that dynamic. i think he was repudiated in this election. i'm sure he won't get the message. >> salim, thank you for being
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with us. when is the runoff in april and what was the voter turnout and you think that will change? >> the voter turnout was extremely low. estimates are that -- in fact it may have been -- it may have hit a record for lack of interest. and that is something also that defies conventional wisdom. the pundits said if the turnout is low, it is likely that emanuel would win without the need of a runoff. but that too you know, was contradicted by the results of this election. we look forward to the general election and chuy's chances look very good. very good. >> salim muwakkil is a senior editor of "in these times" and host of the "the salim muwakkil show" on wvon in chicago. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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when we come back, we will look at president obama's veto of the keystone xl pipeline and we'll speak to kumi naidoo, the head of greenpeace international in south africa. why was he being spied on? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> president barack obama has vetoed a republican bill approving the keystone xl tar sands oil pipeline. obama said the congressional measure unwisely bypassed a state department process that will determine whether the project would be beneficial to the united states. white house press secretary josh earnest said the veto should not be interpreted as the administration's opposition to
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the actual pipeline. >> the reason the president will veto this legislation that has passed the congress is that it circumvents a long-standing administrative process for evaluating whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country. and it is not represent a specific position on the pipeline itself. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has announced the republican-led chamber will attempt to override obama's veto but he does not appear to have , enough votes. opponents of the keystone pipeline have warned against further development of the tar sands in canada. in 2011, nasa climate scientist james hansen said obama approval of the keystone xl pipeline would be "game over for the earth's climate." executive director of said --
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>> the debate over keystone comes at a time when much of the country is experiencing extreme weather from record cold in the alabama to maine to historic droughts in california and other parts of the west. joining us now in washington is kert davies, executive director of the climate investigations center, formerly with greenpeace. davies was in the news this week after he obtained documents that revealed one of the nation's most prominent scientists involved in denying climate change has failed to disclose his extensive funding from the fossil-fuel industry. we will talk about that story in the moment, but first, the keystone. kert davis, your response to the veto, but the fact that it does not mean keystone is over? >> great to be here. this fight is long from over. the president clearly has enough
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information to cancel this project. this vote, this bill that was sent to the president yesterday is a charade. if anything, it is an indication of the power of the oil industry over this country. the fact that senate bill number one, the very first order of business when the republicans took over the senate was an oil pipeline for foreign oil company to get through our country. our country is an obstacle for this company to get their oil to international markets. and that was the first priority of our congress when they came back from that victorious election. that is the first thing you need to realize. the president needs to cancel the project. they're going through the bureaucratic process of letting the state department review and everything but we need to stop listening to the oil companies and do what is right for this country. and what is right for the climate. the pipeline is an excel right for climate change. -- accelerate for climate change.
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>> about the state department study. we're talking about what is been going on for about six years now, the environmental impact. why do they say it is taking so long? >> they're not very good at it. basically, they're not good at doing environmental impact statements. they have blown it a few times and had to redo it. there's a department of energy within the state department to try to expedite things on energy as a geopolitical weapon. but the real matter here is, we don't need this. it basically makes -- the keystone makes the tar sands oil more available to markets. it absolutely is a bad thing for the climate. if the epa weighs in and does the right thing and says this will increase greenhouse gas emissions, the president said several years ago, if it does that, we shouldn't approve the pipeline. it clearly does increase global warming. >> kert davis, i want to turn
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your new investigation that exposes how one of the top site is involved in denying climate change has failed to disclose his extensive funding from the fossil fuel industry. dr. wei-hock soon of the harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics has downplayed global warming and rejected human activity as its cause, arguing the sun is more responsible than greenhouse gases. climate denialists -- including republican senator james inhofe, chair of the senate environment and public works committee -- frequently cite his work to reject concrete action. but documents obtained by the climate investigations center obtained show soon received more than $1.2 million from fossil-fuel corporations and conservative groups over the last decade and failed to disclose those ties in most of his scientific papers. funders include exxonmobil, the american petroleum institute coal utility southern company, and charles g. koch foundation. in letters with his funders, dr. soon referred to his
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scientific papers or congressional testimony as "deliverables." these new details confirm earlier concerns about soon's funding, which he downplays in this clip from 2013. cook's i>> i have no penny of government money since 2004. i have been receiving money from whoever wants to send me money. i have received money from exxonmobil, but they have not given me money for a long time. american petroleum institute. anything you wish for from all of these companies. i write the proposal. [indiscernible] always for very small amounts. >> that is dr. soon from 2013. kert davies, you are executive director of the climate investigations center, which obtained new documents through public records requests that shed new light on the influence
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of fossil fuel interests on the research of dr. willie soon. can you talk about what you have found? >> first to clarify it, greenpeace investigation going back to 2009 when i was there, we started with a public records act request through the smithsonian, asking for the information on soon's sources of outside income. we knew from 2007 he was getting money from the charles koch foundation, american petroleum and exxonmobil. we said, show was where he is getting his funding from. we got a spreadsheet back. we said, we want to see the communication with these funders. years go by. we got some e-mail. in the e-mail, showed there were contracts. we said, let see the contracts and let see the proposals. we finally got those. it is a very rare window into this universe. an amazing moment, actually, probably the most important investigation that greenpeace has done on climate denial.
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what we discovered is that these contracts are explicit in keeping the funder quiet, keeping the funder of secret. in the case of the southern company, one of the largest polluters of the country massive utility that stretches from georgia alabama to mississippi, owns some of the largest coal plants in the world, and in the country, burns powder river basin coal, trains going a mile long entities plants every day and up into the atmosphere. we want to keep a is in the dark about climate change and willie soon is one of their ponds actually. there using him and using the harvard smithsonian name to get that word out that there is misinformation. that there is no scientific consensus, rather. >> the harvard smithsonian center for astrophysics says it has launched an inquiry into whether dr. soon properly reported the more than $1.5 million in private funding he received to journals that have published his research.
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the center said it "does not support dr. soon's conclusions on climate change." but it has previously insisted its scholars are peer reviewed and vetted by other scientists saying -- "this is the way the scientific process works. the funding entities, regardless of their affiliation, have no influence on the research." your reaction, but also the impact on these journals and the scientific community of these undisclosed donations to dr. soon? >> we are britain all of the journals of them what the reaction is. -- we have written all of the journals to ask them what their reaction is. we have uncovered basic conflict of interest in science. if a medical doctor wrote a paper saying, you know, a drug was bad for you and was taking money from its competitor, that would be pretty immoral, if not illegal and unethical, to tell people that a drug was harmful
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while they're taking money from the other side. this is what is happening. this is a guy taking money from polluters to say greenhouse gases are not the problem, it is actually a variation in the sun's radiation that causes the warming we are experiencing. he is taking money from the other side and not disclosing it in the papers, then telling the corporation -- this is what i did for you, i wrote these papers. >> the deliverables. >> exactly. like anyone who is ever written a grant, you have, here are the out comes, here's what i promise to do with your money. this is a pretty important thing. senator markey has launched an investigation, the house science committee, house resource committee are looking into it. there are a lot of people who are very concerned that other rules may have been broached. the ig's investigation into smithsonian, we hope will look into a lot of things and we are posting on climate views about what they might ask, the questions they may ask
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internally. >> do you think you should be fired? >> i'm not the judge of that. if he wants to do his science if you wants to go back to studying plasma in the atmosphere and the sun's corona and whatever his next that, that is fine. if he discloses who is funding it, that's fine. we needed a paper in 2007 as that it was funded by exxon koch and saying polar bears are fine and the arctic is not melting, it is a pretty simple line. they don't want us to know that polar bears are in trouble in the arctic is melting. they want us to think the really about that. he can go on doing whatever he wants to do. i don't care if he stays there or gets fired as long as it is transparent and the world knows he's being paid by polluters. >> are also joined by kumi naidoo, executive director of greenpeace international. al jazeera reported tuesday it obtained the cables showing the number of foreign request to
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south african intelligence for the spying on activists ngos, and politicians. according to al jazeera, one document shows south korea sought out a specific security assessment of kumi naidoo in the run-up to a meeting of g20 leaders in seoul in 2010. kumi, welcome to democracy now! can you talk about these revelations that have just come out? >> thank you very much and thank you for having us. we were contacted late last year with information that al jazeera had some surveillance intelligence they had picked up. essentially, this was in 2010 when i was planning to go to the g20 when his request was made. this was also the time when south korean government is at the g20 with nuclear technology on south africa and so on.
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obviously, this is quite a big story in south africa. i am in south africa at the moment. we make an assumption, right that there are surveillance. we have many cases where companies have actually spied on us and paid damages to us or apologized publicly and so on. this is the first time we have sort of evidence, especially since the edward snowden and wikileaks information has come out, and we would be naïve not to anticipate that governments might be doing this. but it is one thing sort of knowing the government's might be doing that, then having it confirmed by looking at these cables and so on. the bottom line is it was once
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said first they ignore you then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. they are not ignoring us are laughing at us, they are fighting is really hard. not just this case, but in india and elsewhere. we are also going to take some comfort at the fact our campaigning -- by the way, this is not just greenpeace it has impacted, but other environmental groups as well. i would urge us to take some comfort to say that we are winning the argument. those who are holding us back are getting desperate. and it would see this more as an act of desperation rather than an active strength on the part of the governments. >> kumi, what has been the reaction of the south african government to the revelations how they justified or attempted to defend their actions? >> well, a question was made by
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south african -- south korean intelligence. any cases in who the so-called spy cables [indiscernible] a request made in south african cases, in some case with regard to an opposition leader when requested by intelligence, to say -- to give information about his activities while he was in south africa. the south african government said, we do not believe there is a need to actually respond because there's no justification for it. what is missing from the cables package is with regarding the request of whether they are dangerous or not. that is how it was put, you know, consider dangerous.
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the african government needs to answer the question, whether they shared information. the need to either confirm or deny that. they need to also, if they confirm that, obviously, we will push hard to find out exactly what information was actually shared. but right now, and consulting a public interest, ngo south africa which has been around since apartheid. i am doing a press conference with south african media to more morning, where i will outline what cause of action greenpeace and myself are planning. >> where are we speaking to in south africa? our should i just ask south african intelligence? [laughter] >> they know this. i am in johannesburg at the moment. >> i was interested because, of course, i saw you -- well, at
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all of the u.n. climate summits not the last, but certainly in durban, south africa. we in the united states right now are experiencing, to say the least, extreme weather. the weather centers on television used to be called weather centers, where the meteorologists stood, now it is extreme weather center or severe weather center. the south has never experienced this kind of cold or snow. the northeast them a freezing temperatures, drought in california. as we wrap up and you heard, we're speaking to kert davis as well about the american petroleum institute and other corporations funding dr. soon, the climate denier, your thoughts on this backdrop of what is happening in the world today around climate change? >> well, most of all, political and business leaders have now been pushed into a corner where they have had to acknowledge the science, acknowledge the fact we have to change and are saying
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in broader terms, the right thing -- that we have to cut down emissions, transition to a clean economy and so on. where there is a fundamental gap between what we are saying and the environment movement and what governments are saying, is that the pace of change is sort of based with their more business as usual approach in our political and business leaders have to understand, we cannot change the science. the only change political will. and the longer we delay but the more -- the consequences in terms of the loss of human life and infrastructure, economic impact and so on, are all going to be negative. and what we are saying to the south african government governments around the world is, turn the crisis of climate change into an opportunity. in south africa right now, there is a crisis.
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the dependency on coal and to a lesser extent, nuclear. our government has the capability of actually revolutionizing our energy supply by harnessing the fact that solar has unlimited potential. other renewable energy potentials. and if we did it smart, in south africa and elsewhere in the world, we could have a double win. a win for the economy, shows the job krishan potential -- job creation potential, to clean green, renewable-based energy. if done smartly and strategically, could give us the jobs. >> kumi naidoo -- >> the interest of the current coal gas and oil companies which actually own many of our governments that are holding us back. >> thank you so much for being
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with us, kumi naidoo, executor director of greenpeace began to us from johannesburg, south africa. and thank you to kert davis executive director of the climate investigations center, formerly with greenpeace. when we come back, we're talking education from student debt to an adjunct walkout across the country. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn now to what some have called the nation's next financial crisis -- the over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. the massive cost of u.s. college tuition has saddled millions with crushing debt and priced many others out of the classroom. now, 15 former students of the
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for-profit corinthian colleges system have launched what they say is the nation's first student debt strike. the students have refused to pay back loans they took out to attend corinthian, which has been sued by the federal government for its predatory lending. in a moment, we'll be joined by one of the "corinthian 15," latonya suggs. in november, she spoke at a department of education, or doe, hearing in anaheim, california. she drew cheers from the crowd as she returned her graduation cap to doe officials. >> and only did the school filming, but the department of education failed me as well. i feel the department of education failed me because it is your responsibility to make sure that these schools provide a quality education at an affordable cost.
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>> meanwhile, an activist group has announced it has erased over $13 million of debt owed by students of everest college, a corinthian subsidiary. the rolling jubilee uses donated funds to purchase debt at discounted prices, then abolish it. this is how rolling jubilee explains its campaign. >> the debt we have are not legitimate. >> we shouldn't be forced into debt to cover basic needs like health care, housing, and education. >> we need a jubilee, a clean slate, cancellation of debts for the 99%. >> here's how we're going to do it. in america debt collectors turn around and try to extort the full amount from us. >> that is where the rolling jubilee comes in. it raises money to buy the debt. >> instead of collecting on the debts we buy, we are going to abolish it. proofpoof. >> well, for more, we go now to
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cincinnati, ohio's pbs station where we're joined by latonya suggs. she is a student debt striker, part of the "corinthian 15." the tiny is in debt after $62,000 completing a two-year program in criminal justice at everest college. and, here in new york, we're joined by laura hanna -- a filmmaker, media activist and organizer. she helped launch strike debt's rolling jubilee initiative. laura hanna is also an organizer at the debt collective, which helps people work together to challenge creditors. we welcome you both to democracy now! laura, how did you buy it the debt for the everest students and the abolish it? >> thank you for having us. we have been working on the rolling jubilee the last couple of years and as we develop relationships within the market, we found -- we came upon an opportunity to focus on corinthian. we knew they were struggling and so we thought this was a good space to develop the rolling jubilee as a tactic and also an organizing tool. we found around $4 million of everest tuition debt and we
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purchased that about a month before last summer, then started developing come organizing with students out in california. the most recent portfolio is a specific case, we check and get into if you would like. it was actually retired by debt collector, which we purchased it for one dollar -- it was $39. >> when you say you purchased the debt, explain how the process works among the financial institutions. with defaulted student debt. >> when you can't pay the bill the banks write it off. they then sell it to the debt buyer. the debt buyer turns around and sells it to a debt collector for pennies on the dollar. we step in at that point and pick it up. instead of collecting, we erased the debt and then send a letter out to individuals and tell them what we're doing and why. they can contact us from there. >> latonya suggs, how did you end up becoming a student debt striker? you are the first member of your
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immediate family to attend college and graduate? >> yes. i actually went on the everest university concerns page. that is when i found the contact information. i told her my experience i had with everest. that is when everything began there. >> $63,000 is a lot of money. what does the school do? how did they ensnare you in this predatory lending? >> well, i did attend college. i attended college to better my future. i attended everest to get a better job, land a better career, a better opportunity and what we call the american dream. and they lied to me about everything. there was no career placement after i graduated.
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they did not help me with interviewing, anything like that. they were basically preying on me to get my money. i don't feel that i got a quality education out of attending everest. >> what would you tell everest administrators today? i would tell them that what they're doing is wrong and to try on people like me, african american, single mother living in low income housing, is wrong. i took the necessary steps to better my life, to do better in america. and you turned it around and put it in my face and slapped it on the table and said, hey, we don't have nothing for you. and that is exactly what happened. so if it was up to me, i also -- the schools would be closed down. they're wrong for even volunteering to even get -- be
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involved in this type of scam. >> have you bought her debt? >> no, i just want to be clear we have not purchased latonya plus debt. we have been organizing with other students and this is just on parallel track. i want to talk a little bit about our campaign, which is organized in the debt collective. right now what we're saying, the department of education should discharge these debts. that the statutory power to do so. they're making money. it is the same story over and over. they're funneling public funds into the for-profit sector by what is called the 9010 role. for-profits are actually funded 90% of the finding comes from federal loan subsidies. corinthian needed to make up 10% of that amount the business model. they started what is called genesys, a predatory lending scheme. that is what they have been sued for. there being investigated -- they are being investigated.
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>> this is not just a problem with for-profit colleges. a lot of nonprofit universities or so-called nonprofit universities are also ensnaring students in huge amounts of debt. >> that's right. $1.2 trillion is the student debt. on average, people coming out of for-profits graduate with twice as much debt than the average which is around 33,000 for students. the debt collective certainly wants to point out the broader structural systemic issues around education, and we think higher education can be tuition-free. we wrote a paper where we talk about funding tuition free education across the board, next to $15 billion would get us there. obama's plan, which is the to your plan, is about $60 billion right now. >> we're moving onto another segment on education, but we have 30 seconds. latonya suggs, what do you tell other students who are burdened with debt right now?
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>> joined this movement. do not be afraid. i was afraid at one point. do not be afraid. we are here for you. if it was up to me, i would have every person that is in a for-profit college or everest college to walk out now because you will end up like me if you don't. stand up join, strike that movement and that's all i have to say. what's latonya suggs, thank you for being with us, student debt striker, six to $3000 in debt after completing a two-year program in criminal justice at everest college summit which is a subsidiary of the for-profit corinthian colleges system. and laura hanna, help launch strike debt's rolling jubilee initiative. organizer at the debt collective, which helps people work together to challenge creditors.
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>> we e the show with another look at college education, this time from the perspective of those who teach. today is national adjunct walkout day. adjunct professors on campuses across the country hope to draw attention to what many say are poverty-level wages, with no chance to advance to a tenured track position. >> for more, we go to seattle, where we are joined by louisa edgerly, an adjunct instructor at seattle university, where she will join other adjuncts and students, along with tenure track professors, in walking out at noon today. welcome to democracy now! why are you striking? >> thank you for having me and thank you for covering this important issue. we are striking today and walking out, really, to raise awareness nationally but the situation that adjunct faculty face across the country and really, to highlight our desire for higher quality education and more support for faculty across the board. >> talk to us about the extent of the problem with these
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nonprofit universities and their increasing use of adjuncts or part-timers to teach the courses. >> yes, as a matter of fact, over the last 30 years, the proportion of faculty on the tenure track versus the faculty not on the tenure track has shifted from about 75% who used to be on the tenure track to today, about 3/4 of the faculty in higher education are nontenure track come either adjunct contingent, some are part time, some are full-time, but across the board, we are paid less than our tenure-track colleagues. we have few, sometimes no benefits, sometimes no office space, very little time to meet with students. many of us in up having to work multiple jobs at different campuses just in order to make ends meet. >> tell us your own experience, louisa edgerly. >> well, i finished my degree in
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2010 middle of the economic collapse and the worst academic job market possibly in history unlike many of my classmates and many people across the country i have been adjuncting and working several jobs since then. i work at the university of washington. fortunate to get work at some does some work at seattle university. i've had to bring part-time staff jobs. at any one point, i've had as many as five different jobs working between them, traveling from campus to campus, and managing the needs of my students and getting everything done. >> how many classes do you have to teach to make ends meet and how much do you get paid her class? >> it varies by institution how much they pay. seattle university currently pays -- we're on the quarter system on the west coast, so the number's are slightly different than on a semester system.
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between $4000 to $5,000 per class. there are no benefits attached to teaching single class. in order to make a living wage for the seattle area, you actually would not be able do do that, putting together adjunct classes here and there. most schools will cap the number of single classes you can teach and the number of quarterly contracts you can have so you don't come eligible for benefits. so to make a median wage in seattle, teaching as an adjunct would be almost impossible for step three classes per quarter sometimes four, may be possible but also, very difficult to manage. >> and of people listening to this or hearing this one to get involved, how could they do this in the movement you are building? >> there are a number of organizations that have begun to
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address the concerns of adjunct faculty. there's a new faculty majority and also adjunct action. we've been organizing on our campus with the service employees international union, seiu local 925. unionizing movements fragile faculty across the country are really gaining steam. i would encourage people to look at organizing on their own campuses, joining some of the other groups -- >> louisa edgerly, as we wrap up, an adjunct professor is the full teacher of the class, not the assistant. >> that's correct. we have the same training, the same degrees, the same qualifications and we teach in exactly the same classrooms. students are getting the best quality we can give them. >> we have to leave it there. i thank you for joining us louisa edgerly, adjunct instructor at seattle university where she will join other adjuncts and students, along with tenure track professors, in national adjunct walkout day.
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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> today, three great dishes. they are delicious, easy to make, and they all include a little bit of pork. [theme music playing]
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tutti a tavola a mangiare! the italian art of good eating...


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