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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  February 5, 2020 8:00am-9:01am PST

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democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! pres. trump: my fellow citizens, three years ago we launched the great american comeback. tonight i stand before you to share the incredible results. jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is
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highly respected again. amy: with republicans chanting "four more years," president trump gives his state of the union address i had up today senate vote to acquit him in the historic impeachment trial. before the speech, he refused to shake house speaker nancy pelosi's hand. afterwards house speaker nancy , pelosi ripped up trump's prepared remarks. she later described the speech as a manifesto of untruths. but first, the latest from iowa as the state democratic party releases impartial results from others caucus pete buttigieg is leading in a tally state delegates while senator bernie sanders is leading in the popular vote. >> i am very proud to tell you that last night in iowa we received more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate. amy: and we will look at the controversy around the new book "american dirt" as a movement
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" as a movement led by latinax demands more representation in the publishing industry. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in iowa, partial results from monday's caucus show former south bend mayor pete buttigieg with a narrow lead over senator bernie sanders in the delegate count, while sanders continues lead the popular vote overall. this is buttigieg speaking in new hampshire. >> a little later than we anticipated, but beer late than never. verified caucus results are coming in from the state of iowa. they are not complete, but results are in from a majority of precincts and they show our
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campaign in first place. amy: with 71% of the precinct's isults announced so far, it not clear when the rest of the results will be announced. democratic officials have attributed the chaos in iowa to a newly created app, built by a little-known firm called shadow. "the new york times" reports the company was founded by members of former secretary of state hillary clinton's presidential campaign, and its previous work had been marred by failures and a near bankruptcy. nevada's state democratic party says it will now not use the shadow app in its upcoming caucus. buttigieg's campaign paid shadow $42,500 for "software rights and subscriptions." former vice president joe biden, who is currently in fourth place in iowa, also had contracts with shadow in 2019. many say the fiasco in iowa may mark the end of iowa's
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first-in-the-nation caucus tradition. in a piece headlined "kill the tradition: new hampshire and iowa should not vote first," "the boston globe" editorial board called for "the end of an antiquated system that gives outsized influence in choosing presidents to two states that, demographically, more resemble 19th-century america than they do the america of today." we'll have more on what we know -- and still don't know -- from iowa after headlines. amid the chaos in iowa and president trump's expected acquittal today in his impeachment trial in the senate, trump gave the annual state of the union address tuesday night. during his 78-minute speech, trump made his case for reelection while touting the economy and trying to stoke fear and xenophobia about criminal aliens. and calling public schools "government schools." a number of democratic lawmakers protested his address.
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michigan congressmember rashida tlaib walked out after trump touted the appointment of supreme court justice brett kavanaugh. others didn't attend at all, including new york congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez, massachusetts congressmember ayanna pressley, texas congressmember al green, georgia congressmember hank johnson, tennessee member, oregon's old, florida's frederick a wrestling -- frederica wilson, and california congressmember maxine waters. democratic compass members who did attend the speech also broke into chance of "hr 3" when trump spoke about lowering drug prescription prices. it would require medicare to negotiate for lower prices on insulin and other life-saving medications. trump refused to shake house speaker majority leader nancy pelosi's hand.
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after the address, she wrapped up a copy of his speech on the podium when he finished speaking. >> it was a manifesto of mistruths. and because called it a manifesto of mistruths. during the speech, the father of one of the victims in the in parkland, florida, was ejected after he shouted about his daughter's death. fred got burke was ncy pelosi's guest at the state of the union and interrupted trump's speech when trump touted his pro-gun position. in melania trump bestows the medal of freedom on right wing radio talk show host rush limbaugh who has spread racist conspiracy theories about president barack obama, among other racist lies. we will have more on the state of the union later in the broadcast. the world health organization is calling on countries not to impose medically unnecessary restrictions as the coronavirus spreads, warning these moves can
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fuel racism without improving public health. imposecountries not t restrictions inconsistent with the international health regulations. such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and public healthttle benefit. amy: the coronavirus death toll is approaching 500, nearly all of whom are in china, with nearly 25,000 people infected worldwide. the virus has also unleashed a wave of anti-chinese racism and xenophobia. the news outlet axios is reporting israel is pressuring the united states to recognize moroccan sovereignty over occupied western sahara. morocco has occupied western sahara since 1975. currently, no other country on earth besides morocco recognizes its sovereignty over the territory. to see our full coverage of
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western sahara's struggle for independence, including our on-the-ground report from western sahara, go to a magnitude-5 earthquake rattled puerto rico tuesday, as residents are still recovering from a magnitude 6.4 earthquake last month that destroyed homes, left 300,000 people without water, and knocked out the power for two-thirds of the island. tuesday's quake was the 11th earthquake to hit puerto rico in the last month. canada's federal court of appeal has dismissed a challenge to the $5.6 billion trans mountain oil pipeline brought by four indigenous groups who say they were not adequately consulted about the pipeline expansion project. the ruling greenlights the construction of the project, which will triple the pipeline's capacity to as much as 890,000 barrels of oil per day. new data shows homelessness among school-aged children in the united states has surged to a decade-long high.
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more than 1.5 million public school students experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year. that's more than double the number of students who were homeless over a decade ago. experts say homelessness can have long-term effects on a student's health and academic performance. in medianews, hbo max has picked up the documentary "on the record" which chronicles the stories of women who have accused to popemobile russell simmons of rate, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. the documentary also explores the ways in which women of color are often silenced or sidelined in the movement against sexual violence. in a federal court has reversed the convictions of four human entering volunteers with the group no more deaths. the four volunteers had been fined and sentenced to probation last year after theyeft food and water for migrants inside in scorching wildlife refuge the summer of 2017.
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arizona judge rosemary marquez has reversed it after a number -- scott one was found not guilty after he provide food, water, shelter to micro to survive the perilous journey across the sonoran desert. to see our coverage of the journey of migrants over the border, go to and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin the show in iowa where the final results of monday's democratic caucus remain unknown. with 71% of precincts reporting, senator bernie sanders is leading in the popular vote while former south bend mayor pete buttigieg has a narrow lead in state delegates -- the number traditionally used to determine the winner. sanders won the popular vote in both the first and second round of voting, followed by buttigieg
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and senator elizabeth warren. former vice president joe biden placed fourth, followed by senator amy klobuchar. meanwhile, buttigieg currently has 26.8% of state delegate equivalents, followed by bernie sanders with 25.2%. again, about a quarter of the vote still remains to be counted. amy: it is unclear when full results will be released and how the reporting snafu will impact the democratic race. on tuesday, senator bernie sanders campaign in milford, new hampshire, head of tuesday's first primary. >> i am proud to tell you that receivedt in iowa, we more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate. [cheers] with 62% of the vote. for some reason in iowa, they're having a little bit of trouble counting votes.
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but i am confident that here in new hampshire, i know you will count your votes on election night. and when you count those votes, i look forward to winning here in new hampshire. amy: former south bend mayor pete buttigieg celebrated the early iowa results during a campaign stop in laconia, new hampshire. all of then't know numbers, but we know this much. a campaign that started a year members, nor staff name recognition, no money, just a big idea -- a campaign that some said should have no business even making this attempt has taken its place at the front of this race to replace the current president
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with a better business for the future. juan: during a press conference on tuesday, troy price, the chair of the iowa democratic party, apologized for the crisis. >> the reporting of the results of the circumstances surrounding the 20 would democratic party caucuses, were unacceptable. as chair of the party, i apologize deeply for this. last night we were faced with audible reporting challenges and decided out of an abundance of caution to protect the integrity of the iowa caucuses and their results by taking the necessary steps to review and confirm the data. amy: democratic officials cited problems with a newly created app built by a firm called shadow that was supposed to help precincts report results. the democratic party in nevada was also planning to use the app during its upcoming caucus but abandoned that plan on tuesday. we are joined now by reporter lee fang of the intercept.
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his new piece is headlined "new details show how deeply iowa caucus app developer was embedded in democratic establishment." lay it out for us. what happened in iowa? much forhank you so having me. there is no way around this. the delay in reporting the iowa caucus results is a catastrophe. we are two days out from the caucus. we still do not see the full results. smalls a dark day for democracy and a very bad on for that democratic party. ist appears to have happen in a short period of time, over a couple of months, this product, this app was secretly developed, deployed to the i would democratic party. it was now fully tested. the iowa democratic party and
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campaign officials who were supposed to deploy the technology did not properly trained volunteers and other officials who were running these caucuses. there were problems downloading the app, logging into the app. there were inconsistencies in reporting the data from the app so that explains part of the delay. we were one of the first to report the identity of this firm that developed this app for the democratic party, but answers are still trickling out why there were so many problems, why there were so much incompetence in terms of deploying this, and why it was rushed and why this only came together in a few months before the caucus. has dealt witho the rollout of a new software or program in any institution or workplace knows you've got to
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test it out will before you actually put it --? live. this troyunding that price is still the chair of the i would democratic party who should have resigned at the same time that he made this announcement. i am wondering if you could talk a little bit about who was behind it and how did they get the contract? amy: who were the shadows behind the shadow? >> that is an interesting name for a company. just to give you somof the thek history here, after 2016 election, there was a lot of discussion about the trump campaign besting the hillary clinton campaign on digital outreach -- outreach on digital advertising on facebook and other social media platforms. so number of mostly hillary clinton campaign alumni formed a for-profit company and a group acronym/pacrony they
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raised tens of millions of dollars largely from big democratic donors, folks on wall street, silicon valley, and hollywood, and they promised a robust response to the trump agenda. to face trump in 2020. last year in january 2019, they andired this company renamed it shadow. it is fully affiliated with this ym group.acron they had a small step. we talked a number of firm.duals close to this they used their leverage with high level democratic donors, with democratic establishment types to quickly secure this contract with the nevada democratic party and the iowa democratic party to deploy this app.
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that a small number of delopers working on this app in secret. as you mention, the nevada democratic party has canceled their plans to use this app. the iowa democratic party released very little information about this app. we have heard reports that folks were told about the app even on the very day of the caucus. they had no idea how to use it, how to report the system. nhere were serious bugs the app. it was shut off while the caucus was being run. a plethora of problems, but this was created by relatively small group of democratic insiders, former campaign staff to hillary clinton. there has also been a little bit of talk about conflict of interest. there is no discussion, no evidence so far this app was hacked were any of those type of cybersecurity problems.
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there is no evidence of that. but there is some question about the appearance of conflict of interest. pete buttigieg's campaign has paid over $40,000 to this company shadow. joe biden's campaign has worked a little bit with this company. but for a company that is expected to be a neutral arbiter, to be literally developing the app to tabulate the votes, i think it is important to have a neutral, objective entity developing this, not a company that is only working with a few of the campaigns and not the others. juan: what about this whole issue of, i guess you would call it technical arrogance that creating an app per process that had a pretty fine way of counting in thpast? you get the results, get on the phone, and call the central headquarters and give them the results. technologyidea of
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can solve every problem and produce faster results so the media can more quickly tell the american people what happened -- isn't this another warning sign of this arrogance of the technological community? >> i think that is fair to say. in the last 10 years, some of the biggest scandals and the business community -- we have the juice company that overpromise and under delivered. , blood the company testing company that was a multibillion-dollar failure based on lies and just a very solid pitch to investors but without the underlying technology. i think a lot of folks are looking for quick fixes. there is this ideology that technology alone can solve all of our problems. i don't want to condemn everyone involved in this. we are still getting answers. but it is clear from what we know there was this pitch high-level democratic donors that this company, these
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individuals could deliver powerful platform in a short amount of time. and the most basic questions were not asked in a product simply did not work. amy: tell us who tara mcgowan is. desk is thet i founder of the umbrella group that owns or invested in shadow which made the app. she is helped raise a lot of money. she is married to pete buttigieg's senior campaign staffer. hall stuck looks correct. over the last years, our profile was written over a lot of quotes. i think as far as i understand, she has promised a robust
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democratic response to trump's advantage in digital media. that is all well and good, but from talking to different democratic operatives and others close to this group, it appears objectivehad not focus just on trump some close relationships with just a few of the campaigns. i don't know the future -- her company distanced themselves from shadow saying they are merely an investor. but we reported yesterday, they are deeply embedded with her group. the app developer shares offices with her company in denver, share resources, share staff. this is part of her company. amy: lee fang, if you could talk about a few things. why did the iowa democratic insist the name of the app should be kept secret?
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precinct leaders, the days before they were saying they had lots of trouble -- there was no full-scale testing, but some people tried and could not make the app work. the backup was the phone system, what used to be. you just call up. it was so poorly staffed, that people waited on line for hours and then more often hung up on. all of these issues. and one other question, trump's cybersecurity group within homeland security said they offered to test the app and the democrats said no. >> look, i don't have all of the answers to this. there's been a lot of reporting on the interactions between the app and the party. i expect in the next few days there is going to be a lot more answers trickling out. why this was not better vetted
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is still not clear. we do know the bernie sanders campaign expected these types of trainednd actually and created their own kind of digital platform to report the results on their own expecting this type of failure. at least some of the presidential campaigns were aware of some potential problems. but why there were so much trust in this democratic consulting firm that it just launched a few years ago, this company that just launched one year ago that had a small developer team and why there was so much secrecy really isn't clear yet. amy: we're going to go to break. lee fang, we want you to stay with us as we shift gears and talk about what happened last night. the state of the union address. you may call it state of union disunion -- state of disunion. we will link to your they peace headlined "new
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details show how deeply iowa caucus app developer was embedded in democratic establishment." back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: president trump delivered his third state of the union tuesday tuesday night, just a day before the republican-controlled senate is expected to vote to acquit him in the third presidential impeachment trial in u.s. history. trump's speech sounded at times like a campaign rally with republican lawmakers chanting "four more years." trump focused much of his speech on the economy and immigration. he never once mentioned his impeachment trial. pres. trump: my fellow citizens, three years ago, we launched the great american comeback. tonight i stand before you to
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share the incredible results. jobs are bending, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again. amy: the night was filled with drama of a reality tv show. prior to the speech, president trump refused to shake house speaker nancy pelosi's hand. once the speech was over, pelosi was seen on television ripping her copy of the speech from the podium. she later called the speech a manifesto of mistruths. a number of democrats walked out during trump's address. congresswoman rashida tlaib walked out after trump touted appointment of supreme court justice brett kavanaugh. ohio congressmember tim ryan walked out and then tweeted -- "i've had enough. it's like watching professional wrestling. it's all fake."
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massachusetts congressmember seth moulton and bill pascrell of new jersey also walked out. a number of democrats boycotted the night altogether including alexandria ocasio-cortez of new york, ayanna pressley of massachusetts, maxine waters of california al green of texas, , hank johnson of georgia, steve cohen of tennessee, earl blumenauer of oregon, and frederica wilson of florida. none of them came. juan: the father of one of the victims of the mass shooting and parkman, florida, was thrown out after he shouted about his daughter' is death. fred guttenberg was nancy pelosi's guest at the state of the union. he interrupted trump's between trump touted his pro-gun positions. melania trump bestowed the medal of freedom on right-wing radio host rush limbaugh, who has spread racist conspiracy theories about former president barack obama among other racist
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lies. amy: we will have more on the state of the union as we are joined by two guests, lee fang still with us from san francisco and here new york, roberto lovato. lee, let's start with you. give us an overview of the state of the unit address and what exactly took last night. >> look, the constitution provides that the president is expected to correspond with congress with his or her legislative priorities over the last 100 years this has manifested in the state of the union address before a joint session of congress. been over the last decade or so, it has really become more of a partisan political theater that is divorced from the actual legislative priorities of the
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president. it was clear from anyone watching this that this was a campaign rally speech. trump previewing his alexis ren message -- election message for 2020, talking about the success of the economy, throwing red meat to his base on guns, abortion, talk radio rush and i think there's an interesting dynamic here in that it looked like trump was pivoting back to his 2016 message, actually ting to co-opt democrats by talking about how he would protect social security and medicare, increase social spending, boost infrastructure spending, tackle drug prices. this is kind of unusual for a republican in the modern era, but that was the campaign message that trump ran on in 2016. simultaneously, he painted a lurid picture of immigrant s murderingorist
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americans, and the need for law enforcement and ice to keep a say. he simultaneously co-opted these poor economic ideas from democrats while pushing xenophobia and hate and demonizing immigrants, demonizing foreigners. this is a combination we are seeing the populace right all over the industrial world. the campaign message in strategy that boris johnson used in the december election in the u.k. what a hard right and popular right has used in poland and hungary, co-opting the left on some core economic ideas well demonizing immigrants and boosting xenophobia. juan: let's go back to her president speaking last night. pres. trump: after decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast and wonderfully. they are rising the fastest for low-income workers who have seen a 16% pay increase since my election. [applause]
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pres. trump: this is a blue collar boom. household income is now at the highest level ever recorded. [applause] election,p: since my u.s. stock markets have soared 70%, adding more than $12 trillion to our nation's wealth, transcending anything anyone believe was possible to stop this is a record. it is something that every country in the world is looking up to. they admire. juan: that is president trump talking about the economic a college placements -- accompaniments. when he mentioned the 60% rise low income workers, and as large the result of a $15 and our movement sweeping the country. having nothing to do with the administration but actually with
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a popular movement that developed to raise wages. he never mentioned perhaps the signature accomplishment of his administration, his tax reform. his tax bill. wondering your sense on his speaking on his economic accomplishments? close thats an incredibly important point. i think it implicitly shows the weakness of trump's actual legislative accomplishment. his biggest legislative accomplishment by far was his tax cut bill that is over $5 trillion over 10 years, waited mostly to wealthy individuals and corporations, boosting the stock market as corporations use that extra cash to buy back their stock shares, enriching their investors. for trump is focusing on his reelection, i think he is implicitly acknowledging his own base is not happy with this
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biggest legislative accomplishment. he does not want to talk about the chileans of dollars he is shifting upwards to the ceos and wealthy individuals and instead talking about vague economic reds and pivoting to the meat of cultural conservative values. amy: let's return to president trump beaking last night. pres. trump: from the instant i took office, i move rapidly to revive the u.s. economy, slashing a record number of job killing regulations, and acting and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements. amy: so getting regulations stop lee fang, you just did incredible piece, the playbook for poisoning the earth. explain what you found. >> this investigation took us over a year. we have lots of exclusive emails thelobbying documents, but big picture view of this is over the last 30 years, there is a
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new chemical compound. they are now the most widely used insecticide in the world. they are increasingly blamed for insect extinctions, nontarget insects all across the world. that is why we are seeing disappearing bumblebees and solitary bees, dragonflies and butterflies. i know we don't have time to go deeply into this piece, but when trump talks about cutting regulations, cutting red tape, just in the last ek, his epa rubberstamped the re-approval of these dangerous pesticides. meanwhile, the eu is moving to ban them. this is the reason we are seeing an ecological collapse and in many areas, a loss of biodiversity across the country. juan: trump also had much to say about immigration. clip see if we have that
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when he talks in his state of the union. pres. trump: forcing american taxpayers to provide unlimited free health care to illegal aliens sounds fairly you, then stand with the radical left. but if you believe we should defend american patients and american seniors, then stand with me and pass legislation to pass legislation to prohibit free government health care for illegal aliens. [applause] pres. trump: this will be a tremendous boom to our already strongly guarded southern border , where as we speak a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built. [applause]
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pres. trump: we have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time. early next year, we will have substantially more than 500 miles completed. juan: that was president trump last night. we're joined now by roberto lovato, award-winning journalist. your take on the president's remarks last night about immigration and not only about immigration, but supposedly the huge crime wave that is occurring as a result of sanctuary cities permitting undocumented immigrants who were jailed from ice detainors? >> if you look at last year state of the union address, some of the same tropes, same .riminals, same immigrants stealing jobs. this is tried-and-true for them.
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the republicans are going to use it because it works for them. trump is also playing to the fact that democrats don't really have much to offer on immigration. nancy pelosi may have ripped the speech, but they both draw from the same playbook on issues like immigration, foreign-policy, corporate domination. trump knows that. me forng was clear to example that trump did not say anything about el paso. we had all of these latinos who white killer by a who was inspired by trump's rhetoric and that of the extreme right. you did not have any of those victims and the audience. you had other victims. we are at a very dangerous time. i think immigration helps trump get started and he is going back to it because it works for him. it was the democrats in the uncomfortable position of hiding the fact when it comes to things
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like mass deportations, when it comes to things like caging children, when it comes to things like the separation of children from their mothers by the thousands -- this was barack obama. it started us on that path, not donald trump. in the democratic debate. all of the candidates run like rats when the lights go on when it comes to barack obama. they don't want to touch him because people know, especially in the latino community, know what happened with immigration and obama. trump knows this. he is playing that card that shows -- amy: the whole issue talking about criminal aliens. show peopletudies who are not native born are less likely to commit crimes, whether violent or nonviolent. interestingly, as he touted the wall, just a few weeks ago newly
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installed panels from the u.s. border wall fell over -- this was from california -- into mexico to ask ago because of high winds. >> yeah. the wall is symbolic adjusted immigration, i think it is the closing of the u.s. mind. that is a trap i think the democrats have fallen into. they played to anti-immigrant sentiment. instead of saying racist tropes, they said -- at the leveled immigrant body, the tortured, the starved, dehydrated from the dead child at the river and in the desert, there is not that much of it statistical difference between obama and trump. -- trump strategists know what they are doing when they are deploying immigration as an electoral tactic and part of the core strategy. juan: president trump also talked last night about venezuela, subject over which he
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has not been saying much. this is what he said last time. pres. trump: maduro is a tyrant who brutalized his his people. grip on tierney will be smashed and broken. here this evening, a very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all venezuelan. theing us in the gallery is true and legitimate president of venezuela juan guaido. juan: president then pointed to juan guaido who in the gallery and stood up and got applause from both democrats and -- i mean, not only republicans, but from what i can see from most democrats as well. amy: there is nancy pelosi on the podium right behind trump who within minutes would be ripping up his speech, standing up and applauding. off my is why i started comments talking about the way
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the democrats used the same playbook as the republicans. at the core level of foreign policy, militarism and staging coups and economic neoliberalism , there isn't that much of a difference which is what i think the sanders threat brings to both parties. the democrats are in check -- i look at the regularities, for example in iowa, and i'm looking at a president who has been impeached and i look at the appointment of a foreign leader and it is targeting back to a digital age latin america dictatorship. --watching what i would call u.s. politics when you have the division between rich and poor being so stark. is just being there their continued efforts to prop up this failed most recent to attempt that has been going on
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almost 20 years in venezuela. i have been on the show here with both of you and talked about lopez was the great eminence behind the throne of the venezuelan right, of the extreme right. the venezuelan opposition is vast. it is broad. u.s. and elliott abrams whom i know from salvador in his support for mass murders of isldren in places like -- supporting the most extreme elements. you have here the introduction of guaido to prop him up, but i also thing to play against bernie sanders and the socialism. you heard trump referring to socialism. he repeated the term just like he repeated the tropes of civilizational warfare. he even said the word "barbarian." immigrants,rorists, criminals, all of these codewords come all of this red meat as lee fang said, being used for the base. again, both democrats and scenescans play to these
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in different ways, except for -- they both draw from a guy named samuel huntington who brought us to the age of civilizational warfare is kind of the post-cold war narrative of the united states in decline. mention of trump's guaido as a legitimate president of venezuela with 59 countries recognizing him obscures the factory are over 100 countries that still recognize the current government of venezuela. >> it is fear. it is all political theater. global political theater. it is going to continue because the united states still has come after 20 years, failed to destabilize and remove the venezuelan government. amy: and the complicity of the corporate media, the mainstream media. cnn, when juan guaido's wife came to washington and had a meeting with president trump,
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the lower third inscription on the first lady of venezuela. juan guaido's wife. >> it is absurd. i was on your show some years back when lopez in 2014 tried to stage a coup and i brought up the fact i had been receiving death threats, with the gun guaidod, from allies of and lopez, his mentor. from a guy who sounded like captain america curious about the death threat and yet i asked him, how do you know about this? he says, i'm not at liberty to tell you, sir. so these are -- i mean, it is a joke at one level but your will and with extremely violent -- anchorage people to google juan killers andarco
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you'll see pictures of juan peopleat the border with at the treasury department have identified as hardened mass killing narco terrorists. amy: thank you for being with us. i would ask you to stay with us, roberto lovato. of theou to lee fang intercept. we will link to your pieces. this is democracy now! when we come back, "american dirt." the controversy around it and writers are declaring victory. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we end today's show looking at the massive backlash and criticism against the novel "american dirt," as well as the
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movement led by latinx writers demand for more representation in the publishing industry. the campaign is called dignidad literaria, literary dignity in english, and it formed in response to the controversial novel "american dirt" whose author tuning cummins who is not mexican received seven-figure advance and was chosen for oprah's book club. but critics say it misrepresents mexico and the expense of mexican migrants. critics also say the novel completely erases the voices of central americans, who actually make up the largest number of asylum seekers currently fleeing to the u.s.-mexico border. amy: on monday, the leaders of dignidad literaria celebrated a successful meeting in new york city with the book's publisher, macmillan, which owns flatiron books. the publisher agreed to expand latinx representation in its staff and its publications. the campaign is also calling for an investigation into discriminatory practices in the publishing industry at large. for more, we're joined by the
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cofounders of the literary dignity movement. from los angeles, myriam gurba, a chicana writer, podcaster and artist. her most recent book titled "mean," a memoir about gurba's sexual assault as well as her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race chicana growing up in southern california. she also wrote the first viral review of "american dirt." here in new york, we are continuing with roberto lovato, author of the forthcoming book "unforgetting: a memoir of revolution and redemption." democracy now! welcome both todemocracy now! myriam, tell us how this all began. >> this began when i got an askingrom ms magazine me to review for them. i agreed to do so. i was told the title was "american dirt" by jeanine cummins. i had no idea what it was. i had never heard of it, given the title, i thought it was
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about agriculture. the book blurred on jacket referencing "grapes of wrath" i thought it was about agriculture. i took the book with me to mexico and i was on thanksgiving break visiting my family. andove into the book immediately got very, very angry. the book ruined by mexican vacation. i read the book while they're and came back to the u.s. and wrote my review. ms.nt it to ms. and responded to take down, while it was "spectacular" i was not famous enough to write something so negative. the email also said ms. magazine does not like to make room in its pages for negative reviews period, they would rather steer the readers toward a more positive read. crap out of mee
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so i decided to publish the review myself. and eventually right an essay about the entire experience, which was published. juan: you subsequently learned the publishing industry was all abuzz about this was going to be a breakthrough book about the huge contract. how did that affect even more your response to this novel? >> it grossed me out that this novel was being constructed as a blockbuster. it's bestseller status was pretty ordained -- was preordained. it was anointed work. as an anointed work, i got to observe all of this machinery come into place in order to elevate the book and prop it up. -- has the book is revealed how big publishing and the big five work.
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juan: what were the main concerns, if you could summarize? the objections you found where the problems you found with about. >> first and foremost, it is a poorly written book. the prose is shaky. when i say the book is frankenstein-esque, i don't only mean that she had no command of the trip since it's abilities and blended them and mix them altogether, the book is frankenstein-ish at a structural of lexicon and syntax, it is sloppy. , the folkshat represented by the book, brown folks in the book are paper dolls. they are paper dolls there in order to advance a plot. in order to advance an allegory. and that allegory is united
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states of america good, exit co., bad -- mexico, that. and mexico isn't even mexico. it is anything south of the u.s. border as far as the book is concerned. everyone flattens into one faceless mass. amy: let's turn to sandra cisneros being interviewed by maria hinijosa on npr's "latino usa" last week. cisneros has been widely criticized for endorsing "american dirt." here she addresses why she supports the number one new york times bestseller. >> did you know jeanine cummins before you got "american dirt"? close no. i did not know her at all. i just know the story. reading this book i said, ok, it had great residence for me. i knew the amount of work it from a read this testimonial and make it into a novel that moves on the first page. a novel is different from a piece of journalism for
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nonfiction. it is different from a script. it has its own engine and it has got to roar from page one and it did that for me. amy: that is sandra cisneros. but there was a major protest outside the offices of flatiron books, which is owned by mac miller and, on monday. you had a meeting. can you describe this meeting on monday and one of the claims was the publisher canceled the book tour for cummins because she was receiving death threats. what did you find out in the meeting? >> we found out the latino community in the united states is capable of exerting its voice and its power to enter the national dialogue that we have been excluded from through most of the history of united states. this was a historic victory with material political and cultural effect.
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there's no precedent when you room on thele in a top executive not just a flatiron, but mcmillan, one of the most powerful publishing to d's in the world, coming to meet with the leader of this movement that is this five foot schoolteacher, a little taller myriam, whols, sparked our imaginations to act on this. i was moved by that and i decided along with their other colleague, requires mention dignidadlaunch latinx literaria. cartoonish images of the latina in the united states are starting to be dead.
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i think the guarantors of that, can find them on #dignidad literaria. during the meeting, which had moments of tension and agreement, we wrote out a collective agreement, basically. if, read it, that would substantially increase the latinx representation across mcmillan and the overall ecosystem. this has never happen in the annals of u.s.-latino literature . this is what has been agreed to. in addition to developing an action point to address these objections within 90 days. and to regroup within 30 days with latinx groups to assess progress. we were in the room was some very serious executives who very much noted the explosion of the latino community in a brilliant critique like mariam's and
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david's and others. a lot of us never learned to make the artificial distinction between poetry and politics. a lot of us are poet warriors, i would say. we came out with a success that is measurable and will be held accountable by the latino community for the ultimate guarantors of this. juan: myriam, your response to the meeting and how mac miller and is dealing with the crisis? >> i went in there to tell them, look, you guys that you wanted to build a bridge a bridge and you feel. you built a while instead. we are here as latinos to offer sillysistance in this " tearesque term down that wall." we know it they were to about
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intellectual infrastructure as well as manual labor. the other thing that was really startling during that meeting was folks in that room admitted that cummins had received no death threats. i was able to express to executives that i envied was a critic who have been receiving death threats throughout this entire process. amy: how are you going to follow-up up on this meeting? >> we have several check-in dates in place so they are supposed to be a 30 day progress report. when that report is issued, we're going to release it publicly and then there's also a 90 day check and point as well. amy: thank you for being with us. we will continue following the story. myriam gurba and roberto lovato, cofounders of dignidad literaria , the literary dignity movement. that doesn't for our show.
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