tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 22, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
05/22/19 05/22/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> there is good news. a good many members are now considering joining the impeachment effort. and i salute them. i am more than honored to say that you can never be too late when it comes to being on the right side of history in the right side of justice. amy: a growing number of house
democrats are calling on the gurney syphilis c to open an inquiry to impeach president trump. we will speak with texas congressman al green, the first to call for trump's impeachment two years ago. then we turn to a stunning investigation revealing the ride spread use of solitary u.s. immigration jails. >> one of the things that was most striking was the sheer number, and we're talking thousands and thousands of immigrant detainees being placed into solitary confinement, sometimes for prolonged periods of time, in ice detention centers and conditions that are highly punitive and under international law amount to torture. amy: and we look at how her predatory lending scheme has put many new york taxi drivers into debilitating debt, creating a system that has been likened to modern-day indentured servitude. i think the cy will help
keke comyou u kn yoko o assumed this. drivers kill themselves. i don't wanto kill melf. y: we willpeak to he new york tim" reporter brian senthal who bke the story, which has prodded the launch of an investigation by the new york city and state. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. calls for launching impeachment proceedings are growing among many house democrats as president trump continues to block congressional oversight efforts by refusing to hand over documents and by barring officials from testifying. however, the issue remains divisive as the chamber's leadership has thus far opposed the move. house speaker nancy pelosi has
argued that focusing on impeachment could hurt the chances of democrats in the 2020 election. she has called for a closed-door special caucus meeting this morning to discuss the issue. we'll have more on impeachment after headlines with houston congressmember al green. the house judiciary committee has issued subpoenas to former white house communications director hope hicks and former chief of staff to don mcgahn, annie donaldson. the panel is seeking documents and the two women's testimony as they investigate trump's potential obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power. the news came as former white house counsel don mcgahn skipped his congressional hearing tuesday after trump directed him to defy a subpoena for his testimony. house judiciary chair jerry nadler warned again mcgahn could be cited for contempt if he continues to refuse cooperation with congress. "the daily beast" is reporting former secretary of state rex tillerson met with members of the house foreign affairs committee tuesday about his time working for president trump. he reportedly discussed his tense relationship with trump's son-in-law and adviser jared
kushner and russian interference in the 2016 election. according to a congressional aide, tillerson told lawmakers trump actively avoided confronting russia over the issue in an effort to fortify the white house's relationship with moscow. "the washington post" is reporting a confidential memo from the internal revenue service states that congress has the right to request tax returns and that only an intervention by the president using executive privilege can stop it. this contradicts the reasoning given by the trump administration for refusing to hand over his tax returns to congress, as treasury secretary steve mnuchin has argued the refusal was based on the lack of legislative justification for requestingng them. the irs said that the unsigned, draft memo w was writttten by a lawyerer in the ofoffice of chcf counsel and did not represent the agency's official position. in more news from capitol hill, secretary of state mike pompeo, acting defense secretary patrick shanahan, and intelligence agents met with members of the house and senate for briefings on the situation with iran.
shanahan said the u.s. had received "credible intelligence about threats to our interests in the middle east and to american forces." he also repeated an earlier refrain from the administration that the current u.s. strategy is about deterrence, not starting a war. shanahan said the deterrence measures had been successful in put on hold possible attacks on americans for now. senator lindsey graham relayed further details about the briefing to reporters. >> they explained to us how the iranian threat streams were different than in the past, that the attack on the ships in the pipeline was coordinated and drifted by the iranian government, the ayatollah, that we picked up strong intelligence they had given the shiite militia basically more running room and direction, and that attacks against american interests of personnel were imminent. amy: but democratic lawmakers questioned the briefing, w which they said did not further clarify the administration's plans going forward. chair of the house armed
services committee adam smith warned about the risk of miscalculations on both sides and asked, "what is this maximum pressure campaign trying to achieve?" iran's foreign minister condemned the u.s. decision to send a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region. in an interview he said, having all these military assets in a small area is in itself prone to accidents, extreme prudence is required, and the u.s. is playing a very, very dangerous game. in related news, iraq said it will send delegations to washington and tehran in an attempt to "halt tension." iraq said it does not want war in the region, two days after a rocket attack in baghdad that the united states believes may have been linked to militia with ties to tehran. iran has rejected the claims. on tuesday, reproductive rights defenders around the country took to the streets for a day of action against abortion bans. hundreds of protests were organized to call out the wave of recent legislative attacks on
reproductive rights after alabama passed a near-total abortion ban last week and states including missouri, georgia, mississippi, kentucky, and ohio are attempting to enact different versions of highly restrictive bills. planned parenthood president dr. leana wen addressed crowds outside the supreme court in washington, d.c. judgesed the courts with willing to give politicians how are in control over women's bodies. launching -- [cheers] misinformation campaign, manufacturing crises to cover-up what they are really doing. they pass extreme bans in order to overturn roe. ? are we going to o stand for tha? >> no! amy: in more reproductive rights news, two dozen n states and
mumunicipalities havave sueded e federal government to block a new rule that would allow healthcare providers to decline abortions and other services for patients based on moral or religious beliefs. the trump administration announced the plans earlier this month, and t they are scheduledo go into effect in july. under the new rules, transgender patients could also be subject to denial of care based on providers' personal beliefs. meanwhile, blue states are moving to protect access to abortions. in vermont, democrats have approved a new bill that would prohibit t the government from interfering with the right to get abortions. the measure, however, must first be approved republican governor, phil scott. his spokesperson said he would sign off on the bill. customs and border protection is halting the intake of any new at the prisoners mcallen, texas, processing center following the death of a 16-year-old guatemalan migrant who died after being diagnosed with the flu. officials say they have identified a large number of likely flu cases. carlos gregorio hernandez
vasquez was the fifth known migrant child to die while in border patrol custody since december. before last year, no child died in immigration custody in more than a decade. in news from syria, the state department said tuesday the syrian government may have used chemical weapons during rececent fightingng in idlib. the state department warned that the united states and its allies would respond quickly and appropriately if it is determined that chemical weapons have been used. this all comes as new questions are being raised about an alleged chemical weapons attack in the city of douma last year. the syrian government was accused of dropping two gas cylinders on the city killing dozens of people. the u.s. and allies s respondedy carrying out airstrikes. but a newly leaked internal document from the organization for prohibition of chemical weapons reveals there were conflicting views within the organization as to what happened. the leaked document suggests the cylinders were "manually placed" on the ground and were not dropped from the air. this has led some observers to conclude that the chemical attack might have been staged by
syrian rebels. mit professor theodore postol responded to the leaked document by stating, "as such, 35 deaths that were originally attributed to these staged chlorine events cannot be explained and it cannot be ruled out that these people were murdered as part of the staging effort." back on capitol hill, house democrats grilled housing and urban development secretary ben carson tuesday. congressmember ayanna pressley pressed carson on condititions n public housing. >> a mother and a grandmother living in my district, raised her children and now cares for grandchildren and property with sick mold on the walls. her soson was rececently hospitalized because of bone tumors in his arm and lele he needs surgery to improve quality of life but he won't get a because the family must have a sanitary stable housing condition first. their actual home poses a risk of postop injury and infection.
her question is, what do they become? when you raise children in these conditions, what can they become? yes or no, do they deserve to live in these conditions because they are poor? >> if you listen -- >> yes or no, do they deserve to live in these conditions because they are poor? would you let your grandmother live in public housising? yes or no? under your watch, would you allow your government - -- grandmother toto live in public housing under these conditions? congressmember joyce beatty amy: asked carson if he was familiar with "omwi." he appeared not to be. it stands for office of minority and women inclusion. a video of congressmember katie porter questioning carson went viral after the secretary mistakenly thought she was asking about oreo cookies. >> also would like you to get back to me if you don't mind to explain the disparity in reo rates. >> an oreo? >> ann r.e.o.
>> real esestate? >> what t does the e stand for? real estate ownened. thatat is what we call it ,an r.e.o. amy: secretary carson sent a family-size box of double stuf oreos to congressmember porter's office after the clip from his hearing went viral. porter responded to the gift by telling a reporter, "what i'm really looking for is answers." the republican-controlled senate confirmed daniel collins to a lifetime seat on the 9th circuit court of appeals tuesday. collins has defended big oil companies like shell and occidental petroleum against communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction and the effects of climate change. he has also refused to say whether the landmark brown vs. board of education ruling was correctly decided and has filed briefs supporting the restriction of access to contraceptives through health insurance.
the mayors of the city would launch an investigation into the predatory practices of taxi medallion brokers. new york state attorney general announced her office is also initiating an investigation. more and the story later in the broadcast. austin eubanks, a survivor of the 1999 columbine mass shooting and advocacate for those sufferg from addddiction, was found dead in his home this past weekend. eubanks became a public speaker on the issue of addiction after battling with opioid abuse. he said he became addicted after being put on powerful painkillers to manage the pain from gunshot injuries sustained in the columbine massacre, in which two students killed 12 fellow students and one teacher. while no official autopsy results have been released, eubanks' family said in a statement that austin "lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face." and roz payne, a founding member and long time archivist of the newsreel film collective, has passed away.
formed in 1967 by filmmakers, photographers, and media workers, newsreel produced and screened over films on the columbia university student strike, the black panthers, and anti-imperialism. roz payne wrote, "we decided to make films that would show another side to the news. it was clear to us that the established forms of media were not going to approach those subjects which threaten their very existence. our films tried to analyze, not just cover, the realities that the media, as part of the system, always ignores." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show on capitol hill where a growing number of house democrats are calling on speaker nancy pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry against president trump. this speaker has called for a closed-door special caucus meeting this morning to discuss the impeachment question which has deeply divided house democrats.
pelosi has long opposed opening an impeachment inquiry, but "the dust arguing that focusing onn impeachment could h hurt the chances of d democratsts in the0 election. but she is facing growing pushback from other members of the house as president trump continues to block congressional oversight efforts by refusing to hand over documents and by barring officials from testifying. amy: on wednesday, former white was tuesday, and skipped a house judiciary committee at the request of the white house. earlier this month attorney generaral william barr also skipipped a house judiciary committee hearing. and at least one repepublican supports impeachment. on saturday, congressmember justin amash of michigan broke with his party to become t the first republican lawmaker to publicly say president trump has engaged in "impeachable conduct." we go now to capitol hill to speak with democratic congressmaman al green of texas. in 2017, he became the first member of congress to call for president trump's impeachment.
so the stakes are very high, congressman green. right after you talk to us, the house speaker nancy policy is holding a meeting with the democrats as you push for her to open an inquiry of impeachment. why have you done this for the lastst two years? >> thank you for having me. i'm here because i love my country. and i have called for impeachment because i love my country. you see, we are now at a point the house has to demonstrate its will. the framers of the constitution have shown us the way. we have to demonstrate our will. we indicated if you would just wait for the mueller report, this within give us reason to either move forward or not move forward. we have not moved forward as we should with impeachment. we have the mueller report. we are at a point now, miss goodman, were the house itself is on trial in the court of
public opinion. the question is, will we allow the time-honored system of checks and balances to be destroyed by this president? indicated herters is resisted -- in fact, he is stonewalling. he does not allow subpoenas or witnesses to testify. the question is, will he then amass the enormous amount of power the framers never intended him to have? this is the equivalent of becoming a monarch. we don't want a monarchy. we want democracy. impeachment is the means by which we maintain the checks on the president so as to keep the balance of power. juan: representative green, how do you respond to speaker pelosi's viewpoint that first of all, an impeachment proceeding, even if you or to move forward, would never be approved by the senate terms of removing the president and that effectively, the best way to move forward is unseat 2020 election to
president trump? >> let's not bring speaker pelosi into this because it is not about her. it is about democracy, not about democrats or republicans. let me as to your question this way. nowhere in the constitution does it say the house must have a senate that will agree with it. what it says is if the president commits impeachable acts, we must move forward. that gives us the prerogative. it does not require the republicans agree with us. it does not read are the public agree with us. what it requires is we act on principle, not politics, that we put the people above our political party. it requires that we decide we will not allow the moral imperative to be trumped by political expediency. this is really not about people in the house of representatives. it is about the people in this country and whether we are going to allow this president, who is demonstrated he is ruthless,
lawless, and reckless, whether we are going to allow him to destroy this system of checks and balances. we really don't have any other choice. we waited on the mueller report. now i hear we may have a call for anotother investigation by e judiciary committee. we are destroying the power of the judiciary committee, the most powerful committee when it comes to this issue of impeachment. we are destroying of because we are requiring it to do more than is necessary. it is an awesome committee with awesome power. if we do this, we're setting up proceeded -- precedent. juan: what do you consider to be the key impeachable offenses the president has committed? >> there are many. the mueller report gives us a good deal of obstruction of justice that has been committed by the president. we can act on the e obstructionf justice. but i also have contended and still contend the president has infused his bigotry and a
policy. i think this is impeachable as well. i have imprinted on my brain that baby standing on the border crying while she is been separated from her parents. this is not what a great country does. we cannot allolow a president to talk about an african country as s-hole countries and then engage in developing an immigration plan. we cannot have a president that will say they're very fine people among the homophobes and xenophobes in charlottesville were a woman lost her life protesting against bigotry and do nothing about it. his bigotry is worthy of his being impeached. but his obstruction of justice is what i think a good many people will focus on. that obstruction of justice is something we cannot allow the go unchecked. 800 plus former prosecutors, federal prosecutors, have indicated this president has obstructed justice. and were free anywhere else, he would be prosecuted.
if you are anyone else in this country -- if you run a stop sign and the police are aware of it, you're going to pay a price. mother anda welfare you defraud the welfare state of its money, which is the government of united states of america in the sense of welfare, then you're going to have to pay for that. we all pay for our crimes. no one is above the law. if the congress does not act, what we're saying is the president is above the law and it is ok to interfere with an investigation, which is critical to our investigative process to make sure people understand you cannot do. amy: msnbc's mika brzezinski recently spoke to house speaker nancy pelosi and asked her about michigan congressmember justin amash breaking from his republican party to support impepeachment proceedings. >> does it put more pressure on you that a threshold has been met? >> no postal >> y? folol this isn't about politics.
does not about passion, prejudice, politics. it is about patriotism and about the presesentatition of the fac. so the american people can see while we are going down a certain path. amy: during that same interview, nancncy pelosi suggested dememos find common groundnd with trump. >> the american people elected hihim presidedent. not by the popular vote, but by the college, the electoral college. so i respect the office he holds. and i think i respect the office the president holds more than he respects the office that he holds. and i do believe that we must to a highccountable ethical standard, whwhich he has not met, to integrity -- level ofof integrity that he has not met. and actually, respect for governance, scicience, and other
imperatives s that we h have. we have a moment. but the fact is, at the same time, we have to try to find common ground to work with them. amy: so finding common ground, not impeaching. your response, congress member green, as you go in to meet with nancy pelosi right after this broadcast? caucus member green? sorry. amy: if you can respond to what house speaker pelosi -- >> i'm honored to give your response to the question of should we work with common ground with the president. i will answer that question. this is not a response to ms. pelosi. inet with the president houston, texas. the president and i shook hands and the president said to me, you are going to like me.
then he shook my hand again. and my retort was in the confines of my mind was this, i'm going to like you, i'm going to love you because my religion requires that i love you. i love everybody. but i'm still going to impeach you. we can work with the president and still fill our constitutional responsibility. working with the president is not easy. he will give you an answer today and then he will again be answered tomorrow or later today or perhaps in the same sentence he gives you the answer. i am all for working with the president, but i'm not for allowing the constitutional mandate that has been accorded the house of representatives to be obliterated because we want to try to a piece of president who clearly has demonstrated that he is not in the business of making reconciliation with us in any way. he does not want to negotiate will stuff you want to dictate. hehe will tell you, here's the deal, take it or leave it. i believe we can negotiate, but
i will not be dictated to. finally this. this is about the moral authority of the house to move forward. this is about the moral imperative. we hear people saying, you can lose a soul of the country if you don't handle this appropriately. before we lose the soul of the country, the members of the house will have lost the soul of the house of representatives. this is about us, 435 members of the house, who have been given a special place in history. this is about the framers of the it forution who design such as this in a president such as trump. juan: i want to turn to a resurfrfaced clip of presidident trump alally, senator lindsey graham, and in 1999, then congressman graham argued for the impeachment of president bill clinton for seeking to hide evidence of his affair with white house intern monica lewinsky.
>> you don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic. if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. because impeachment is not about punishment. impeachment is about cleansing the office. impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office. juan: that was lindsey graham back in 1999. your reaction? >> he was eminently correct then andhis words are as sound eminently powerful now as they were then. it is not about committing a crime. no president has to committed crime to be impeached. hamilton, j, that and medicine concluded a
president who does harm to society can be impeached. and they also went so far to say don't expect there to be harmony thaten the parties, democrats and republicans are probably going to square off against each other. this is not going to be something that is a walk in the park, but it is a duty that we have taken on when we swore to a pulled the constititution. when we took that oath of office, this was one of the things we said we would do when we have a ruthless, reckless president. it is about us. it is always about the president and his behavior, but it is about us in terms of what we will do. this is our moment. either we will honor ourselves in history or a good any reputations are going to be punished when people who do these things by way of recording history, when a look through the district time and see how we engaged in what dr. king called the paralysis of analysis, how we did one thing after another
to delay so it could eventually get to an election day wherein we would then deseat him as opposed to impeach him. this is about impeaching a president who has done the harm this year. amy: congress member, seems like trump welcomes inquiry into impeachment to begin. i'm wondering if you can talk about his point of view, thinking it could serve him -- of course, the senate is repressed -- is run by republicans for the trial would be. just like with a mueller report you are holding as you speak to him --imately, it found it exonerated him of collusion, not corruption, which is a whole other issue which are some of the questions being raised in the house right now through this questioning, but the idea that it would once again make president trump look like the victim. if you could respopond to perhas
you are playing right into his hand, and not moving ford with an agenda, getting the green new deal past, getting medicare for all, getting what so many new congressmember's have been pushing for an saying they want a new, you know, a whole new deal in every way, foreign and domestic. thank you very much. i am the kind of g guy who wants the tough questions. i want to deal forthrightly with the issues. you have put me in a position where i could do it. the first point, the president does not want to be impeached. this is called reverse psychology. this is the kind of psychology that says, going to do that, that is what i want, when he is bluffing. he does not want this on his record. bigots, people who were to be autocrats, and would-be dictators, want to be loved. that is why he has his cabinet members to grayson at cabinet meetings and talk about how great he is. thank god for the defense
secretary who refuse to do it. he talked about the troops, not the greatness of the president. referencnce those who would say, we have to work with him and love him and make sure that we can get our agenda over so he can feed till it? please. the president is not going to sign a green new deal. the senate is not going to support a green new deal. people who would say let sent a new deal over to the senate -- by the way, i think the people are practical and they're not thinking the president is going to sign it and they are not thinking the senate is going to approve it. i don't think they believe that. they understand that we do our job. i think this makes the case for impeachment because we will do our job when it comes to passing legislation that we know the president is not going to support in the senate will not sign off on, but we will send it to them and say, "do your job." this is what we have to do. give visitors a chance to act. with reference to the trial, the
chief court justice presides. we will have an opportunity to see the request for subpoenas and the ruling of john roberts, the chief of the supreme court. the supreme court has no role in this process. it is an inferior court to the senatete when it comes to impeachment. all of the courts are inferior. this is where impeachment takes place, the trial of impeachment takes place. the impeachment itself takes place in the house. the president can be called as a witness to give his testimony. this is not just another trial wherein mr. mcconnell will have is way in the senate can dominate. this is presided over by the chief justice of the united states of america. finally, if this senate decides they're not going to impeach, if they decide they're not --
excuse me, not going to convict, find the president has committed the impeachable acts alleged, if the senate concludes this, then we will know which senators we ought to review. we will know what to do. that will energize people say, you know what? maybe we need some new senators. if we don't impeach, here's what the president will say. you will said the democrats have the house by overwhelming numbers. he will say they did not impeach me. you will say by their inaction, i have been vindicated, i have been exonerated. mr. mueller did not exonerate him. why would the house of representatives do it? he will say by virtue of this, you ought to elect him president again. let me share this with you. you will make a powerful argument that we were complicit in his actions by not having our action in the house of representatives. green,mmerce number al
thank you for being with us, texas democrat from houston. in 2017, he became the first congressmember to call for president trump's impeachment from the floor of the house of representatives. he goes from here to his meeting with house speaker nancy pelosi. she is meeting with the democratic caucus around the issue of impeachment, as a group of scores of democrats attempt to convince her to open an inquiry around impeachment. when we come back, immigrants in solitaryry detention. and then we will look at the explosive expose in "the new york times" how taxi drivers were fleeced of hundreds of thousands of dollars and why so many have taken their own lives. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
gonzalez. juan: we turn now to a damning investigation revealing the widespread abusive use of solitary confinement in immigration jails overseen by u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. the united nations special rapporteur on torture says solitary confinement should only be used in exceptional circumstances and defines extended use of solitary as "inhuman and degrarading treatment." despite this, a new devastating report by the international consortium of investigative journalists reveals that since 2012, ice has used sololitary coconfinement as a rououtine punishment f for thousands off immigrants andnd asylum m seekes locked up in immigration jails across the countryry. amy: the review of more than 8400 reports of solitary confinement in ice to tension found offices repeatedly used isolation cells to punish immigigrants for
offenses. at least 373 cases got immigrants were put in isolation for being potentially suicidal. comearly 200 instances immigrants were held in solitary confinement for more thanan hala year. the investigation is called solitary voices. this is an excerpt of a videoeo released along with the report. fore are beining locked up three hohours, t two hours in na small room. >> it made me feel like i i was going crazy. contemplated trying to kill myself because i could not bear being alolone. >> it is hard. >> it is presented as it is a form of protection when affect the experience is this is extreme punishment. it is only way you can ensure
the safety of detainees who are extremely vulnerable 24 hour,to put them in 20 two hour lockdown. i think it raises a profound question about the overall system. gallagher,was ellen a whistleblower who reputedly warned immigration officials that ice was in violation of its own standard. solitary voiceces is an investigation by the international consortium of investigative journalists in collaboration with number of other news outlets. amy: congresswoman ilhan omar shared the investigation on twitter tuesday, writing, "solitary confinement is torture. it's time we abolish ice." for more, we are joined here in new york city by spencer woodman, a staff reporter for the international consortium of investigative journalists and the lead reporter for the new investigative series "solitary voices." and howhat you found you went about doing this report. >> we found that ice has
repeatedly overused and misused solitary confinement to manage its sprawling detention network. the report is based on 8500 thatent reports describing we obtained through the freedom of information act request -- describing individual placements of detainees in solitary confinement. we also interviewed dozens of these detainees who have spent time, sometimes very prolonged periods of time, up to a year, in solitary confinement cells that ice facilities. and along the way, we got wind of a whistleblower who has a supervisory role within the department of homeland security who has for years been trying to effect change internally through formal whistleblowing channels at dhs with little luck. yesterday she came out publicly
for the first time to tell her story. juan: most americans are not aware that people being held by ice in these facilities, these are -- they are under civil penalty, not being detained for youes necessarily stop can talk about the distinction and the importance of that in terms of solitary? >> under u.s. law and the supreme court has repeatedly affirmed this, civil detention cannot be used as -- for any form of punishment. it is not punitive in nature. and what we're seeing in immigrant detention in the united states are highly punishing forms of solitary confinement being used on manynees routinely, and a cases, as a first resort to manage these facilities. it might be worth it to step back for a second and talk about what solitary confinement ice is. before i started doing this, i did not totally know what a solitary confinement cell is.
you don't think about -- the important thing to remember is solitary confinement cell is a bathroom sized room that you're are locked in. but it has a solid metal door with typically a small window in case with safety glass. when they close and lock that solid metal door, you are in an armored steel box. you can't get out. there's the opportunity to speak with anyone. if you want to have a conversation, get some fresh air, you cannot get out of that little room will stop if you yell out, you can be additionally sanction to more time. amy: we are shown the door that says "suicide safe." but it is been shown over and over again people help for long periods of time in solitary become more suicidal. >> right.
is among the long list of very serious harms that are well-known and well-documented that result from being in solitary confinement. one of the things that was quite striking that we came across were hundreds of reports of detainees becoming suicidal in .olitary confinement and then, because of their suicidal impulses or even suicide attempts in solitary confinement, being moved to another solitary confinement cell designed to manage suicidal detainees -- which some of these cells are more harsh than the cells that drove these detainees to attempt suicide in the first place. juan: tell us a little how you got onto this story. you initially filed a freedom of information request and had gone for a couple of years without any response.
and why was it necessary to have an international group of journalists throughout latin america participate in the uncovering of a story that was basically here in the united states? >> in early 2017, i filed a freedom of information act logsst asking for agency of the placement of detainees in solitary confinement. i have filed a few similar request of narrower scope around the same time. after a few months, i had forgotten i filed this larger request. about two years later, i opened my mailbox to find a letter from ice with a cd containing a huge trove of thousands and thousands of these incident reports. so that is what basically started the investigation. , we typicallyork partner with international news organizations to do stories that cross borders. amy: you did the animal papers.
>> we did. this was an opportunity to vote get the story out to a spanish language audience and also work with reporters who work in populations who have been affected by solitary confinement at ice. erica i want to go to a clip from an nbc interview with two trans women who were held in isolation while in ice custody. in this clip you'll hear from dulce rivera, a trans woman from honduras who was kept in solitary confinement for 11 months while in ice custody, and attempted suicide. but first, this is joselin mendez, a trans woman from nicaragua who was put in solitaryry confinement twice foa total of nine days. >> while the truth is what i went throuough inn their is i 't even wish on my worst enemy, it is horrible. i felt like i reallyly did not know what was going to happen in the.
rivera.t was dulce she is from honduras, originally held in an el paso processing center. now want to turn to a video from solitary voices. this is a 30-year-old from afghanistan who came to the u.s. when he was 12. he has spent most of the last four months inin solitary at a south texas detention complex. is ilyaf.rst name it is like a cage, you know? it is a tiny window. ththere's nothing to seeee. it seems like i woke u up in a nightmare. >> united statates retaliates. afghanistan.rn in my fatather got killlled with ab
can be severely curtailed. they can at some point get access to phone privileges. a detentionly means officer hands the phone through slot and a solid metal door and allows them to talk on the phone, usually kind of huddled up to the door because the phone cord is not very long. so that was ilyas in the solitary confinement cell talking to me. it is worth noting that people who are already in psychological totress are much more prone the worst forms of solitary confinement. and a lot of people in immigration detention are under a lot of stresses. in many cases, they've been separated from their families. in a lot of cases, their pending removal back to theheir countris were they may not be saved. ilyas. the case of
it was pretty obvious talk to him, the research and points where he broke down and he was not really able to have a conversation. and that kind of -- that difficult to death socializing and that basic emotional distress, we found over and over again will we talked to particularly people in solitary confinement, the difficulty to even of the conversation. amy: we have to leave it there but we will link to your piece, spencer woodman, lead reporter ernesto investigative e series solilitary voices on the widespread use of solitary confinement in ice detention centers. when we come back, we look at how our predatory lending scheme has put many new york taxi drivers into debilitating debt, creating a system that has been likened to modern-day indentured servitude. back in 30 seconds. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: a new investigation by "the new york times" exposes the financial schemes at the root of the new york city taxi driver crisis. the report reveals that a group of industry leaders artificially inflated the cost of taxi medallions and orchestrated a predatory lending scheme, collecting millions of dollars in the process and putting many drivers into debilitating debt. city agencies did little to curb the system, which a harvard professor was quoted in the report called "modern-day indentured servitude." in response to "the new york times" report, mayor bill de blasio said monday the city would launch an investigation into the predatory practices of taxi medallion brokers. amy: new york state attorney general letitia james announced her office is also initiating an investigation. while the advent of rider apps
like uber and lyft contributed to a loss of income for licensed taxi drivers, the investigation finds that the taxi medallion bubble had already laid the groundwork for the current driver crisis. at least eight drivers have died by suicide, including three taxi medallion owners, since the start of 2018, with at least some of the drivers linking the -- linking to their crushing debt. we're joined by the story's author of the investigative reporter friend rosenthal. welcome. incredible expose. brian, lay out what you found. >> basically, we found a bubble in the taxi medallion industry, the much larger bubble in the real estate industry. we found the price of these medallions, the permit required to operate a cab in new york city, had grown from 200,000 in
2002 up to over $1 million by 2014, even know there had not been any change in what the cap to generate on the road. we found the reason for that was really people in the industry, industry leaders artificially and waiting the price, have been making hunundreds of millions of dollars by providing these reckless loans to drivers interested in buying medallions. juan: interestingly, you noted it was under first mayor bloomberg and mayor de blasio the city actually made a lot of momoney off increasing the controlled number of medallions. i think it was about 1000 under bloomberg, another 1000 or so under the blasio. deblasio himself had huge campaign contributions from the yellow cap industry, didn't he? >> that is one of the things interesting about this as a poster real estate or anything else, this is something that was sold why the city. we found the city new the prices
were inflated, but still sold these medallions at very high bloomberg and a blasio, they made more than 850 finally in dollars off these medallion sales. politicald a lot of connections between industry and not just bill de blasio, but also governor cuomo and senator who was responsible for this baback in the day. we found the taxi industry is one of the more politically connected industries. amy: i want to turn to a clip from the weekly. this is one of the taxi drivers you profiled in your "new yor times" piece. th i is mommeded hsain..
amy: that is mohammed hossain. tell us about him. amy: he is one of those people who bought the medallion at an auction. he was unlucky enough to buy the final auction. he thought he was making a decision that was going not to just improve his life, but improve his family's life. amy: he paid? >> $890,000. she got a loan for the vast majority of that. you did put his life savings into the purchase. now he is under r and cannot pay that back. juan cococa new talk about the racial aspect of this, the changing demographics of the taxi industry, just as increasing people from asia and a lot of indians and pakistanis
became taxi drivers, one of the predatory practices for skyrocketing? >> if you look back in history, the taxi driver in new york used to be kind of a classic new yorker -- i think we have this image from the tv show "taxi" which is before my time, but in recent years, 91% of taxi drivers were born outside the united states. 40% were born in south asia. that was a factor that really contributed to this because a lot of the people that were buying these medallions did not speak english fluently, did not necessarily understand what they were signing up for, and thahat left them vulnerable. amy: can you talk about those that have benefited being similar to, as you have said, perhaps the same as, those who benefited from the housing market crash in 2008 and 2009? >> we found a lot of similarities. similar lenders to the loans,
and also the lending practices themselves. these no down payment loans, balloon loans where there is a teaser rate that looks good at first, but it will cost you later. and his interest only loans. really, a lot of practices that created a lot of profits for banks, born were risky. juan: what about the impact of uber and lyft? there are about 13,000 yellow cabs in new york, but more than 60,000 black cabs and others doing -- working for uber lyft or. what did that have on thee ability of these drivers to get sufficient money to payoff the medallions? >> it has had an impact no doubt. but one thing we found in our story was it has had a small impact than you might think. 97% of the reason is taxi rides are either in kornman town manhattan or the airports. the majority of uber and lyft
are in the outer bars. the problem is they were operating at such a sin margin and it was so a sustainable and so unstable already that even at relatively small revenue drop led to this huge catastrophe. amy: talk about the investigations. now letitia james, bill de blasio, the city mayor. what will these investigations do? >> it is still early so we're not exactly sure. the attorney general has said she is going to look at the lending practices and see if they violated any laws related to predatory lending. and that mayor has said he will look at the brokers, which is the area he can control the most , and see if they engaged in any predatory lending practices. amy: we want to thank you for being here. we will do part two of our discussion and post it online at democracynow.org. brian rosenthal is an investigative reporter for "the new york times."
♪ thank you for joining us on nhk "newsline." i'm kyoko tashiro in tokyo. we begin in indonesia, where violent protests continued for a second night. demonstrators are railing against the results of last month's election that gave the country's president another teterm. policece fired tear gas and rubr bullets a at s supporters of opposition candidate prabowo subianto. they had gathered outside government offices in the capital city of jakarta to