tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 6, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST
11/06/14 11/06/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> i've got a lot of neighbors who believe international trade agreements are a winner for america. and the president and i discussed that right before i came over here. i think he is interested in moving forward. i said, send us the trade agreements. we're anxious to take a look at them. quite while the two parties aplenty to fight about and the new republic of congress, mitch mcconnell, the possible next
senate majority leader, says he shares common ground with the president on international trade. what does this mean for the transpacific partnership? the controversial so-called free trade pact. we'll speak with lori wallach, of public citizen's global trade watch. then, "maui v. monsanto. 87 to 1. that is the ratio agribusiness giants outspent supporters of a moratorium caps on hawaii, but they lost. in a victory for food safety advocates, voters on tuesday passed one of the strongest anti-gmo measures ever. >> if you want to have a conversation about gmo crops in maui, let's. but stop calling a suspension on gmo crops of farming ban. >> please stop using us local farmers as pawns in your propaganda campaign. campaigns claims are one more example of what this questionable industry needs more oversight. >> we'll go to hawaii for an
update and we'll speak with jerry greenfield, co-founder of ben & jerry's ice cream. the company has campaigned heavily for gmo labeling, renaming one of its iconic flavors, "food fight fudge brownie." finally, tuesday saw a wave of victories for to criminalizing marijuana and reduced sentencing for drug offenses. works are probably one million americans in the marijuana world that are growing it or using it regularly and they want to come out of the closet. >> all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama is vowing to take executive action on immigration reform before the end of the year. in a news conference one day after the republicans' midterm victory, obama said he had waited long enough.
>> tried to work on a bipartisan basis as much as possible, and i'm going to keep on doing so. but in the meantime, let's figure out what we can do lawfully through executive actions to improve the functioning of the existing system. >> obama had previously vowed to take executive action before the end of the summer, but then delayed his move until after tuesday's midterms. although he offered no details, obama's executive action will likely include a reprieve to slow his record-breaking deportations. president obama will host congressional leaders from both parties at the white house on friday. in response to the republican victory in the senate and gains in the house, obama said he has received a message both from voters who turned out and the many more who stayed home. i have a unique responsibility to try to make this town work.
so to everyone who voted, i want you to know i hear you. to the two thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, i hear you, too. >> in his remarks, president obama also announced he will finally seek congressional authorization for his military campaign against the islamic state in syria and iraq. also at the top of the congressional agenda is a new budget measure to avoid a government shutdown next month. one of republicans' top priorities will be to push through approval the keystone xl oil pipeline, which could carry carbon-intensive tar sands oil from alberta to the gulf coast. obama said he is open to working with republicans on energy issues, but will await the state department's review process on keystone. >> on keystone, there is an independent process. it is moving forward and i'm going to let that process play out. when i travel to asia or to europe, their biggest envy is incredible homegrown u.s. energy
production that is producing jobs and attracting manufacturing, because locating here means you have lower energy costs. so our energy sector is booming. i'm happy to engage republicans with additional ideas for how we can enhance that. >> in his own news conference one day after the midterms, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said approval of the keystone xl and cutting corporate taxes will top his agenda in 2015. >> we need to embrace the energy revolution that is going on in our country, promote it. this usually advantageous to america not only in the area of energy independence, but employment. i mean, the employment figures connected with keystone are stunning. the president has indicated is interested in doing tax reform. we all know having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world is a job exporter. all this talk about job expert
tatian? it is exporting jobs as having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. >> mcconnell is the presumptive senate majority leader for when republicans take control of congress in january. the head of the world health organization has said the pharmaceutical industry is partially to blame for the rapid spread of ebola. speaking at a conference in benin, doctor margaret chan said drug companies have ignored ebola because it affects impoverished countries unable to pay for expensive drugs. >> the recent development incentive is virtually nonexistent. a profit driven industry does not invest in product for markets that cannot pay. the who has been trying to make this issue visible for ages. now people can see for themselves. >> chan also faulted the absence of effective public health systems in the west african countries worst hit by ebola --
guinea, liberia and sierra leone. the latest us-led airstrikes in syria have reportedly targeted front.qaeda linked nusra they scored a major victory last week after seizing control of province.lib unrest continues in jerusalem in the occupied west bank. on wednesday, palestinian driver killed an israeli pedestrian and wounded 14 others after ramming his car into them on the side of a road. three israeli soldiers were also wounded in a similar attack nearby. the incident followed israeli forces entering the al-aqsa compound after palestinians protested plans by extremist israelis to enter. the clashes come as israel announced plans for 500 new settlement homes in east jerusalem. jordan has recalled its ambassador to israel in protest of what it calls an "increasing and unprecedented israeli escalation." at the united nations,
palestinian ambassador riyad mansour criticized the israeli government. -- asked the security council to intervene. >> the situation in with are trying to push the region into a religious confrontation and that attitude us to avior will take place where we don't know the intensification of this sensitive situation in occupied east jerusalem. >> tens of thousands of people have marched in mexico city and across mexico to protest the disappearance of 43 students for nearly six weeks. demonstrators have denounced the inability of the federal and state governments to find the students and continued to call
for them to be returned alive. the students disappeared following a police ambush and it is believed they were turned over to a drug gang with close ties to the mayor and his wife. the fugitive couple were arrested this week, but there is still no news of the students whereabouts. a protester compared the disappearance to the student massacre of 1968. march isason for this to stop the homicide of use that has existed for the past two decades. it seems being young is a crime. it seems a want to exterminate this generation as they did 48 years ago. >> in new york city, about 100 people gathered to block traffic in front of the mexican consulate to protest the role of the mexican government and demand justice for the missing students. three people were reportedly arrested. speaking at a news conference, juan carlos ruiz, of the episcopal diocese of long island, said u.s. support for mexico's military is fueling the crisis.
say thiswe can military aid is responsible for the massacres of our students, for the criminalization of our kids, for the disappearance of an unknown number of people. it is estimated 80,000 people are missing since former president called her own declared his war on drugs. at least 80,000. but we know there more than 120,000 or even 150,000. mexico with a mexican land, is a cemetery. >> a kuwaiti national has been freed from guantanamo bay after a nearly 13 year-imprisonment without charge. fawzi al odah is only the second low-level guantanamo prisoner to be freed this year despite president obama's declared intent to close the prison. odah has been repatriated to kuwait where he will remain in custody for one year. marriage equality bans have been overturned in two more states. on wednesday, a circuit judge in
st. louis struck down missouri's lgbt marriage ban as unconstitutional. the ruling came one day after a federal judge overturned a similar ban in kansas. more than 30 u.s. states now allow marriage equality. the death sentence of a texas prisoner has been overturned after prosecutors withheld evidence that could have aided his defense. alfred dewayne brown was convicted in 2005 for the murder of a houston police officer in a robbery gone wrong. brown has always maintained his innocence. his death sentence was nixed after lawyers found records of a phone call he had said he made from his girlfriends' apartment at the time of the murder. prosecutors say the phone record was withheld by accident, not intentionally. the case now goes to a lower court but it's unclear if prosecutors will re-try it. hundreds of mass demonstrators gathered outside the white house for an and all protest of the million mask march. organized by the fact of his
group anonymous, protesters rallied around issues including national security agency surveillance, government corruption, and freedom for wikileaks founder julian assange. the rally came as part of the commemoration of a failed effort to blow up the british parliament in 1605. lobby intate energy texas has filed an injunction to stop a voter approved ban on hydraulic fracking. voters in denton made their town the first in texas to ban the killing technique by approving a ballot measure on tuesday. denton is known as the birthplace of fracking, which is widely used throughout texas. the texas oil and gas association says the band is inconsistent with state law. anti-fracking measures were also proved to stay in athens, ohio and california san benito county. in a statement, the center for biological diversity said --
meanwhile, voters in richmond, california have rejected an attempt by the oil giant chevron to influence the local city government. the company spent more than $3 million to back a slate of pro-chevron candidates for mayor and city council in tuesday's election. but none of chevron's candidates won, with voters electing the candidates the company opposed. the vote comes two years after a massive fire at chevron's oil refinery in richmond sent 15,000 residents to the hospital. according o one tally, chevron's failed effort cost it $72 per voter. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. with republicans set to take control of the congress for the first time in eight years, president obama has pledged to focus on compromise with the party. republicans emerged from the most expensive midterm in
history with a majority of seats in the senate, and their biggest majority in the house in more than 60 years. on wednesday, president obama addressed the new power dynamic in washington. >> today at a chance to speak with john boehner and congratulated mitch mcconnell on becoming the next senate majority leader. i told them both i look forward to finishing up this congress's business and then working together for the next two years to advance america's business. and i very much appreciated leader mcconnell's words last night about the prospect of working together to deliver for the american people. trucks shortly before president obama spoke wednesday, senate majority-leader-in-waiting, mitch mcconnell, held his own press conference in louisville, kentucky. he said his first priority was to "get the senate back to normal." when asked what specific areas he could work with president obama on, this was part of his response. >> trade agreements. we were just talking about that
right before i came over here. 'sst of his party unenthusiastic about international trade. we think it is good for america. so i have got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for america. and the president and i discussed that right before i came over here. and i think he is interested in moving forward. i said, send us trade agreements. we're anxious to take a look at them. >> one of the international trade agreements in question is the trans-pacific partnership, or tpp. some analysts say republican gains will accelerate the passage of fast-track legislation in congress to enable an agreement on the tpp. the secretive trade deal involves 12 countries and nearly 40% of the global economy. trade ministers from the 12 tpp countries are due to meet in beijing ahead of the asia-pacific economic summit next week to continue negotiations. to see how the republican victory might impact these negotiations, we go to washington, d.c. where we're joined by lori wallach, director
of public citizen's global trade watch and author of, "the rise and fall of fast track trade authority." welcome back to democracy now! start out by explaining just what the tpp is and what exactly mcconnell says he has in common with the president. , unfortunately, is really a delivery mechanism for a lot of the things mcconnell and the republicans like. for instance, it would increase the duration of patents for big pharma and as a result, give them windfall profits but increase our medicine prices. it could rollback financial regulation on big banks. it can limit internet freedom, sort of sneak through the back door to stop online piracy act, sopa. and, they love this, it would
give special privileges and rights for foreign corporations to skirt around our court and sue the u.s. government, to rate our treasury over any and for theyl, consumer health law think undermine or expected future profits. the so-called investor state enforcement system, plus it would have the nafta style rules that make it easier to offshore jobs, making it easier to relocate to low-wage countries. so the sort of grotesque western is, why does president obama like the tpp? it is pretty clear why mcconnell likes it. it was negotiated with the assistance of 600 corporate advisors, traded visors in the u.s. the agreement has been with the obama administration and started by bush. instead of making something different, the obama folks picked it up and made it even more extreme. the question really and away is, the democratic congress -- that the democrats in congress and the public am including a lot of tea party conservatives, have
plenty not to like -- i forgot about the part of tpp where the bands buy america, buy local. 29 chapters, only a few of them about trade. it is really a sneak up pack branded -- sneak attack branded as a trade agreement. the key to that probably is right now a fight between the u.s. and japan in agriculture. there is a little weird twist with republicans in august of said either japan has to get rid of all of its tariffs on agricultural products or should be thrown out of the agreement. in a weird way, it is not clear to me republicans taking over makes it actually easier obama to make that deal, given they are the one to of been particularly harsh about that issue. it there is this big negotiation coming up in china in a week. this was supposed to be the deadline to finish tpp, which with any luck and a lot of citizen activism in all the countries, is not going to happen again. >> you actually
make the point, lori wallach, even the fast-track is not likely to go any quicker through congress as a result of this republican win. could you explain why that is? >> a lot of people who might read the mainstream media have seen all of the story saying it is going happen really quickly, congress is going to delegate its trade authority, it's constitutional exclusive control over trade, to the president through this old nick's in-era, rarelytreme feature used called fast-track. it basically gives congress authority over trade to the president. negotiatedt gets signed before congress ever approve said, and then the president gets to write legislation -- not subject to committee amendment -- and he gets a guaranteed 90 day vote with no amendments. could it we wish we had that
kind of procedure for legislation we like? that procedure has only been used 16 times in the history of the country, but it was used for nafta and wto. wholeess, for this time, congress has said no. the big pr campaign by the corporation says, with republicans, it will be a snap. there reality is, the fight over this is an house of representatives. and there are plenty of conservative tea party members of congress who, number one, think this violates the constitution. it does break from the most important checks and balances. it lets the executive branch diplomatically legislate. in addition, it is kind of hard for the republicans to voluntarily delegate more authority to the guy they have been attacking is the imperial president who grabs power that isn't his. the fact of the matter is, if we all do our work starting now, it
will be really rough between now and august when congress goes on august recess. a very dangerous window where for sure mcconnell and boehner and obama are going to want to on fast track. the math really doesn't change enough in a house if we do our work that we can't save ourselves from it. that is the reality underneath the corporate hype. >> i want to turn to a clip from one of mcconnell's ad campaigns. after his opponent, democrat alison lundergan grimes, criticized mcconnell for supporting foreign trade agreements that export jobs, the mcconnell campaign released an ad refuting the allegation, saying he has "fought against unfair foreign trade." this is a clip. >> he has been called a hero for saving kentucky jobs. the cardinal aluminum, mitch helps save jobs when he fought against unfair foreign trade. at blue grass army depot, he stopped a budget shortfall from hurting hundreds of working families. translate, lori wallach? >> well, i could not using words
that are appropriate for broadcast, but the baloney, i guess i would say -- the back story of that is that mcconnell, the guy is republican in kentucky where there are no democrats in congress, would be a shoo-in to get reelected. but action, the democrat who challenged him to suddenly catching up on him and people start looking at that raise saying, what is going on? add afterut she did adding some to the national democratic senate campaign committee and others that attacked him because in 20 of 20 trade votes, the man has voted importingre in jobs, bad food, undermining our future trade agreements. the guy has never not seen a china tradedeo grimmett he doesn't love. she starts writing these at -- running these ads. kentucky, as were several wilson country, has been clobbered.
you can go to our website tradewatch.org and look this up for your state or city. they start running these ads. his numbers start to go down in hers go up. there are so many ads the man has to basically run an ad campaign against his own record to try to cover himself on his bad trade record. that is a lesson of why we can still win. people should not be disheartened about the prospect of having fast-track dumped on us. enough conservatives -- this is a conservative state. in f conservatives get it, too. no one wants a job offshoring are cap discarding our courts and going to international raid our funds. buyhat you mean banning america? >> a provision in the tpp would require -- and this is done in
the agreement -- it would require us when we -- when the government buys automobiles p orens, paper, everything, office furniture, that right now under the buy american act, which has been around since roosevelt, and it's made in america and there is enough to actually supply the government that is available, you have to use the government money to buy american goods. which is good, because it reinvest the money back into more jobs in our country. and that policy is used to new innovations. before we had auto efficiency requirements for cars in the private sector, there was a standard that was set up for government purchases so the companies would actually have a market to do the right thing. that is being done right now for renewable energy purchases. we use this both to create jobs at home and to create industry innovations to promote our policies. in the tpp, you have to give
equal treatment to any good made in any tpp country for any government contract for certain buyshold, regardless of the america role. the gets waived. for instance, all of the chinese government owned companies in vietnam, which are constantly get written up for their terrible condition, we would have to have a bid from them -- were things would be cheaper, obviously -- then save furniture made in north carolina. this is also the role that was in nafta. it's not in a band for any company in any trade partner country. the big deal on this is, with the tpp, this is supposed to be what is called a launching agreement. so every other country that wants to join can join. basically, with all of the problems in tpp, it is bigger than already the 12 countries
that are in it because any other country can join. >> what if you refuse to do that? what if you said, no, we're going to buy america? what is the enforcement? >> good question. unlike most of our international agreements, the tpp has two strong enforcement mechanisms. continue towere to buy america and give the preference to our domestic economy -- four states would buy all of this things would be a violation of that agreement. than any other country can drag the u.s. into a tpp tribunal. if we don't get rid of the law, the u.s. would face perpetual trade sanctions. this is actually enforceable international corporate law. but worse, in the tpp, the tpp provisions on investment would make some of the tpp constraints of policies actually enforceable by private individual companies. when individual company to properly enforce the public
treaty by insisting the u.s. government compensate a private investor or company out of our taxpayer dollars for any violation of the agreement, that undermines their expected future profits. so while we have multi-agreements, human rights or labor rights agreements, those that are that enforceable. we set the standard internationally, but each country is supposed to enforce it domestically. there's no sanction. with tpp or the wto, there are sanctions, the ability to extract cash. that is what makes these agreements are dangerous and why everyone needs to talk to their member of congress in the house of representatives and get an eye to eye commitment, will you vote no on fast-track? do not give away your constitutional authority to save us from these bad trade agreements. >> lori wallach, could use a little bit about where democrats and republicans stand on these precise provisions that you have just outlined of this treaty?
if said both democrats and republicans are very unhappy. the one thing they agree on is our current trade status. so how is it they wish to resolve it and how the tpp fits into that? >> number one, you can go and see the polling of the public polling -- we keep a running summary at our website tradewatch.org that shows the stunning agreement across this very divided country between democrats, independents, and republicans. and conservative republicans and progressive democrats actually agree the most against tpp, against fast-track, against the tribunals come against the ban on buy america. as far as the members of congress -- the way the mathworks, and this is the house of representatives where this fight will happen -- almost all of the democrats are against the old fast-track system. the legislative lose run that roles had trade agreements right
over congress. however, in the republican party, there is a split. one should not write off talking to one's member of congress if they are republican. there is a wall street versus main street split and the republicans. the more conservative and the more moderate of the republicans are against fast-track. the sort of corporate main wall street contentions are for fast track. that is what the chamber of commerce once. -- thereprogressive are a handful of progressive republicans has support labor rights, etc. those guys and cows in the tea together byvatives the block of republicans who don't want fast-track. by the way, this is not just right now. mr. president clinton, trade expansion, trying to get fast-track himself, because he only had it for two of his eight years as president, he was defeated on the house floor when 171 democrats were joined by 71
noublicans in 1998 who said, , we're not going to give away our constitutional trade authority to make sure these trade agreements don't rewrite our domestic laws, don't offshore our jobs. and that, nation of left and right maintained trade authority for the congress, and clinton was denied it. in fact, in the last 20 years, there's only been a delegation of fast-track for five of the last 20 years. it would be an anomaly of suddenly,, escaped him. but you know with this election, that is going to be one of the top things that will come out of the chute in january. folks don't want tpp or fast-track and if they don't want fast-track, that -- you have to get to members of congress now and get a firm commitment, including new members coming in. as soon as they come here, they're going to be marinated in corporate lobbyists. you have to get them before it is too late. once they're here in january, they're going to be in the soup.
there is a window between now and when the new congress starts to get your new members of the house of representatives and get direct eye to eye, i will vote no and hold onto my constitutional authority and represent you, not give away the authority to be able to represent you in washington. go to old members as well. >> two things. president obama is going to beijing for the apex summit. what is going to happen there? does it matter who's in charge of congress, the house or the senate, based on what you're saying around so-called free trade? >> well, it does matter in the sense that it is probably the case the corporate agenda on trade has a friendlier ear was say a mitch mcconnell as compared to a majority leader said, i personally just am not putting fast-track on the floor. he just said, no. in the sense the senate is not
really where the fight is but it was very helpful to have senator reed to saying, we're just not doing it and shut down the whole thing, that is not good for us. but the fight over whether or not fast-track can be passed is the house. in the senate, the bill always passes. in the house, it has often been stopped. yes, it matters. however, on the apex issue. whether or not there is a tpp for to some degree, is not so much affected by a who is in congress, except republicans have been tougher on some of the issues. what is when happen at apac is, everyone who is working against tpp in the country should feel great. remember, this was the deadline president obama said in june to finally be done with this. it was supposed to be done this time last year. it is still not done. brothers and sisters in the other countries as well as folks here. today is the start of a national action day on tpp. go to tradewatch.org and you can find out about the activities
going on around the country are good to citizenstrade.org. same things is happening in singapore, japan, malaysia, australia. this campaign has question of upset that even though all of of tppds of state countries, they hope to have a signing ceremony. with any luck in a little more campaigning, they won't. but if we don't stop fast-track, it will be right over our february,in january, march that they will make a deal. it is very dicey right now. we can make a difference. >> lori wallach, thank you for joining us. lori wallach, director of public citizen's global trade watch, and author of "the rise and fall of fast track trade authority." when we come back, the cofounder .f de blasio --ben & jerry's what happened in hawaii around the issue of genetically modified foods?
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> ballot initiatives to require labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients, or gmos, failed to pass tuesday in colorado and oregon, after agribusiness giants monsanto, pepsico, and kraft spent millions to help defeat the measures. but in a victory for food safety advocates, hawaii's maui county passed one of the strongest anti-gmo measures ever. despite the opposition outspending supporters by a ratio of 87 to 1, in one of the -- the maui gmo moratorium won tuesday with a margin of just 1,077 votes.
the studies will be paid for by the seed companies, but a minister by the county. in the weeks before the election, the anti-moratorium group billed as "citizens against the maui county farming ban" paid for more than $1.3 million worth of tv ads statewide. in one ad, the group claimed the moratorium would cause the loss of hundreds of jobs and devastate the county's economy. >> this initiative truly has zero below half. it is not just gmos. it is the mom-and-pop store. i don't how people will pay their bills. i don't how people will gather medical or send kids to school for them.othing this will affect our economy, affect our future. >> scores of maui residents worked to counter pro-gmo propaganda with grassroots outreach to share their concerns about seed companies' farming practices. they also created their own ads seeking to debunk their opponents' claims.
>> aloha, maui county. your been misinformed by a group called citizens against the farming ban. >> the juneau initiative asked for a temporary suspension of gmo crops all studies can be conducted will stop there is no farming ban. >> this bill affects the chemical companies. that is just 1% of harming operations. they pay for the ads. >> maui is often called "gmo ground zero," and the moratorium that passed tuesday could have national implications because multinational seed producers such as monsanto and dow agrosciences use the county to research and develop new seed varieties. under the new measure, farmers who knowingly cultivate gmo's could be penalized with a $50,000 fine per day. on wednesday, monsanto released a statement saying it plans to ask the maui court to declare the initiative "legally flawed," so not enforceable.
well, for more, we go now to maui, where we're joined by dr. lorrin pang. he has served as a consultant to the world health organization and works for maui's department of health. as a private citizen, dr. pang has raised concerns about the possible health and environmental risks posed by gmo's. and from the studios of vermont pbs, we're joined by jerry greenfield, co-founder of ben & jerry's ice cream. the company has campaigned heavily for gmo labeling in its home state, vermont, as well as in oregon, where it renamed one of its ice-cream flavors as "food fight fudge brownie." dr. lorrin pang and jerry greenfield, welcome to democracy now! let's start in hawaii where this anti-gmo initiative actually won on tuesday. how did it happen? what exactly does the new bill, the new initiative say, lorrin happen?d how did it >> how it happens was historical. i have been watching this issue
for the last 12 years. 12 years ago, we began to win in court. i guess that raised some eyebrows. and we tried to win legislatively. over the last 12 years, we have been repeatedly not heard. the legislators in charge, whoever's committee would send it off to other committees. we could never get a hearing on this. nonetheless, we had a major victory about five years ago legislatively on the county level. the big allen county of maui, we have blocked the genetic on vacation of -- genetic in theations of tarrot markets and in the fields. so we tried for this one, but we knew legislatively, legislators would not hear it, so he put it on a petition for our voters initiative about three months ago. it looks like we won.
dr. pang, surprised, the initiative succeeded? >> i have been so used to losing so many times in the legislature, that i guess it is kind of like an abused kid. you don't expect anything better. nonetheless, this issue has moved very well over the last 12 years. 12 years ago, i can name on two hands of the people in the state who knew what genetically modified organisms, gmo, stood for. now we have thousands of people. it really has been a grassroots education effort. >> what you say to monsanto who says this is just illegal and the courts have a throw it out? and the significance of this goes way beyond maui. as we said, this is where monsanto and dow to a lot of their seed growing. you're saying you cannot grow gmo crops. >> correct. i think we have the right as a
county, at the lowest level of government, to be more precocious, that we are not to be preempted in the name of precaution by the higher , state and federal. we will not two things that violate people's rights, but the lower level governments always have the right to be more per cautious. we do not feel the regulators, the epa, fda, usda, nor the states have our best interest and are cautious enough with spec to health and environment. >> jerry greenfield, i would like to bring you to this discussion. of ben &e cofounder jerry's. can you talk about your fight in vermont, how you got involved with this? this is a moratorium on crops in maui. you are fighting and vermont for labeling. that is what failed in oregon and colorado on tuesday am of the attempt to get gmo's label.
what happened to you guys at the beginning? >> well, the fight for mandatory gmo labeling has been going on for a few years in several different states around the country. this actually -- the activity is still going on in 20 some odd states. in vermont, we went the legislative route. jerry's was actively involved in that. but there is a great coalition here in vermont of nonprofit right tohe vermont know, that was incredibly active. it was essentially citizens getting in touch with legislators that vermont said it was the most phone calls and contact they got about any issue. people are really passionate about the right to know what is in their food. that is what the issue is here. it is simply about the consumers right to know. it is about transparency.
and being honest some people have the right to choose what sort of foods they want to buy and feedhemselves their families. >> in the beginning, you lost. explain the argument against labeling that monsanto -- the companies used. you're not even saying anything should be banned, just that people should know. [no audio] that you should like gmo's are not like gmo's, it is simply being able to know. what giant food industry food companies, monsanto's, some of the chemical companies say, is that it will add huge costs to your food bills -- which is something not true. they spend millions of dollars trying to convince people that it is going to make your food more expensive. whereas, in truth, changing a label on a food package costs essentially nothing.
a company like ben & jerry's changes its containers all the time, whether it is for new ingredients, new marketing claims, whatever. this something you simply do in the normal cost of business. and there is no increase cost at all. there is no saying that any companies need to change their ingredients or do anything differently, is simply about being honest and telling consumers what is in your food. >> jerry greenfield, is ben & jerry's opposed to gmo's per se? >> no, ben & jerry's really doesn't take a position on that. we always say we are not scientists. you know, the really haven't been independent studies, but our issue simply about transparency, having a consumer have the right to know. it is funny to me, we are really proud of the ingredients we use
and we're thrilled to tell people about it. it is just so hard to imagine that other food companies wouldn't want to be talking about what is in their products. >> what about the issue of cost, jerry, that the companies raised and say, we're going to be put out of business if we have to label products? what has happened with ben & jerry's in that way? your battle began against one in milk?el rbh in the >> yes, that was about 20 years ago. first of all, the argument will mademore money is simply up. all of these food companies do business in countries around the world where there is labeling. there's currently labeling in 64 countries. these giant multinational food companies do business there. they are doing just fine. outumers union, which puts
consumers reports, did a study for this last election in oregon. they discovered adding labeling will cost about three dollars a year to consumers bills. so that is essentially nothing. and ben & jerry's, right now, is finishing up its transition to become all gmo -- non-gmo ingredients. so we will be done with that soon. then transition to all non-gmo raise thes will not cost of a pint at all to the consumer. it can be done. certainly, there is work involved. for ben & jerry's, to make this conversion, you need to work with your suppliers and you need to actually put some time and energy into it, but it doesn't need to cost more to the consumer. >> dr. pang, i want to ask, why
du think the measure passed in maui but left -- less aggressive labeling,sently failed in colorado and oregon? >> in maui, we think it is gm-farming. we think this experiment will nature is more aggressive or threatening to us. for us, we are beyond labeling. when they do this genetic modifications to farming, open air farming, we know, because i'm a party to the class-action pesticides,hey use the amounts and types use, is a norm is. i've never seen such, nations used before. they cannot contain it. it is going off into the water. it is drifting into the schools and the environment come into our oceans. we don't have the right -- we
don't see it. we don't know when it is coming into people get sick. if they ever were to grow gm foods, now doing seed corn, it is not even food we're supposed to feed ourselves and we're growing something to ship somewhere else to grow to feed their animals. so for us, it is really more of an environment of health issue, and we cannot seem to control it. it is going beyond their borders. that is why we have taken a more aggressive approach. >> jerry greenfield, you also have been active in those fights for labeling and oregon and colorado. why do you think they went down? what are the biggest battles here? they also went down in california and washington state, enormous amounts of money, millions being put in by the companies. >> yeah, in oregon, the most recent ballot initiative just last tuesday, the opponents to
gmo labeling spent over $20 million and the yes force spent less than $8 million. the people fighting against consumers rights to know are spending enormous amounts of , and they're just blanketing television and the messages that it is going to cost consumers more money, it is going to be confusing. they just want to put down into consumer's minds so they won't take action. unfortunately, it seems to be really effective. even in a state like washington state, which last year had a ballot initiative that narrowly failed, were once again the spending by the opposition far outweighed the spending for the for. the ballot initiative lost by
under two percentage points. but they did polling after the ballot initiative failed, and it showed two thirds of the people still wanted to have labeling. they just were convinced by all of this advertising that the bill wasn't right or seeds of sowed in their minds. just have a minute and we just came out of the most expensive midterm elections in history, $4 billion. ben & jerry's in you personally are post a money and politics. how do you link the whole issue of gmos to the issue of money and politics in what is called corporate personhood? if you could explain that. >> well, due to a couple of recent supreme court decisions, corporations are now considered .o be -- expenditures
this gmo labeling is all part of the same thing. you have these limited corporate expenditures to try to influence completelynd it is undermining our democracy. >> jerry, thank you for being with us as well as stock her dr. lorrin pang, involved in the maui struggle, when a five cosponsors of maui's successful gmo moratorium initiative. jerry greenfield, cofounder of ben & jerry's ice cream, which has campaigned for gmo labeling measures. a special things to our friends at pbs were jerry was speaking from. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we go to mexico to speak with ethan nadelmann about the marijuana initiatives on the ballot around the country. the issue of marijuana decriminalization and other drug policy issues.
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we end our show looking at the wave of drug policy reform measures that passed tuesday, . voters in oregon and alaska joined colorado and washington in making pot available for adults to buy in retail shops. and voters in the district of columbia approved an initiative that makes it legal for adults to possess two ounces of marijuana, and to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. one medical marijuana amendment narrowly lost in florida, while another in guam won by 56%, making it the first u.s. territory to approve such a law. >> meanwhile, california overwhelmingly voted to change six low-level, nonviolent offenses -- including simple drug possession -- from felonies to misdemeanors. after a two year campaign in new jersey voters approved "public question no. 1," which allows
legislation to go into effect that will reduce pre-trail detention for low risk offenders. a report by the drug policy alliance found nearly 75% of people in new jersey jails are awaiting trial rather than serving a sentence, often for more than ten months. nearly 40% have the option to post bail but can't afford to do so. for more we're joined by ethan nadelmann, founder and executive director of the drug policy alliance. their lobbying arm helped draft and support many of these measures. welcome back to democracy now! why don't you lay out what happened in these midterm elections. thoughty, we initially we waited until 2016 to try to move forward with the other marijuana legalization initiatives because typically, young people are so much less likely to vote and on presidential election year. we decided to get uncle activist role the dice. -- to get local activists to roll the dice. alaska's the first red state to endorse marijuana legalization.
70% vote in favor in the first marijuana campaign was really [indiscernible] focused on the racial disproportionality of marijuana arrest. i think it was an incredible endorsement of what colorado and washington to two years ago. it really set the stage nicely for what will happen two years from now when you will see a much bigger weight of marijuana legalization initiatives across the country. >> where do anticipate -- >> and on the medical marijuana, funny and happened in guam, but that is a fairly conservative jurisdiction, large military presence. that was significant. in florida, but technically lost because for the required 60% of the votes with the ballot initiative. but 57% to 50% endorsed for merit -- 58% endorse for medical marijuana. the huge majority is when a resident draw the south and on capitol hill.
we really do see a transformation on these issues. and those reforms linked with the other changes in california and new jersey suggested increasingly the american public is ready to end marijuana prohibition, tax and regulate this stuff. and on the criminal justice side, a significant majority of americans now say let's roll back the prison population, push back the powers of prison industrial complex. i think it is really an hour -- i think the wind is in our backs. >> where do you see this going in 2016? >> i assume california will be the anchor of the effort. we are ready making plans talking with allies and activist and others there, elected officials. i think maine in nevada are likely to have initiatives on the ballot in 2016. josé massachusetts and arizona have a decent shot. a lot of times the initiative is not taken by countries like my
but local organizations and local activists within reach out to us seeking our support. as for medical marijuana, i will keep my eyes on arkansas, ohio were among the few remaining states that have not legalized medical marijuana and also have a ballot initiative process. >> and the whole issue of both decriminalization of marijuana, medical marijuana, and these drug sentences. if you could talk about that and the drug war, what it means for u.s. and mexico? we're speaking to you in mexico. i think there are two major implications of the united states. the first one is when you're down here in mexico, the previous president calderon oversaw this is asterisk war on drugs. to his credit, when you did chance to strip the debate and raise questions about the failures of prohibition, he did so. the current president is really shied away from these issues. what i'm told by many people who
know him personally in mexico, the only thing forcing him to think about this issue and the only thing that will stir up the debate within mexico is for california to legalize marijuana. washington, colorado raised eyebrows, oregon raised more eyebrows. california is the big ten shall as farce the mexican debate is concerned. to that point, become sort of absurd to continue with the phil prohibition is policy and marijuana while in mexico -- and mexico and california their taxing and regulating it. basically, colorado and washington forced a shift in the global drug policy that turns out to be very significant in historic terms. >> ♪ [music break] , thank you for being with us founder and executive director , of the drug policy alliance. i will be speaking at george mason university at 2:00 p.m.. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by
action. spike lee. aahhh! no one's gonna say, "we're gonna take a chance on you." i never thought that would happen. so out of frustration, i wrote "reservoir dogs." hollywood is not very alluring to me. i am not susceptible to swimming pools and porsches. i got a '79 chevy. it's runnin' good. i'm a film outlaw, and i think that's a good thing to be. annenberg media ♪ and: with additional funding from these foundations and individuals: