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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  September 18, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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09/18/12 09/18/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" from grand rapids, michigan, this is "democracy now!" >> collective bargaining is what got us here. it is not just about my job, but this plant, the whole committee. vote yes. >> was chicago public school teachers remain on strike, another labor battle is brewing in michigan. in november, voters will be
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asked whether collective bargaining rights should be enshrined in the state constitution. voters will also be deciding on a law that allows unelected managers or corporations to take over cities, effectively fire elected officials. then "detropia." and looks at post industrial detroit and its struggle to survive. >> i am out there at 8:00, 7:30. i don't be late for anyone. what am i to do when all i have is the bus? please, please, don't take our transportation away. >> we will also look at the obama administration support for indefinite detention at home and abroad with logger marcy wheeler here in grand rapids. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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we are broadcasting from grand rapids, michigan. the occupy wall street of the celebrated its first anniversary on monday with actions in new york city and other cities across the country. in manhattan, protesters tried to block access to the new york stock exchange by erecting a people's wall. >> today is occupy wall street's birthday, and we are celebrating. we are rising above all of the corruption and police brutality that has happened already. i, myself, had never in all my 57 years seen anything like zuccotti park. i personally have been waiting for 10 years for something. i had no idea the kids -- i had no idea the kids were going to rise up like that. i am so proud of them.
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>> overall, more than 150 people were arrested including half a dozen journalists. monday's actions saw lower turnout than expected with around 1000 people taking part, far lower than the numbers seen last fall. a federal judge has denied chicago mayor rahm emanuel's effort to forcefully end the city's weeklong teacher strike ahead of a vote by the union later today. emanuel had sought a court order declaring the strike illegal. but on monday, a circuit court judge said he will not consider the request until after union delegates decide on whether to proceed with the strike in a meeting set for tonight. in a statement, the chicago teachers union blasted the mayor's effort calling it "a vindictive act." the obama administration has filed an emergency appeal of a federal judge's decision last week to block a controversial statute that gave the government the power to carry out indefinite detention.
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judge katherine forrest ruled against a provision in the national defense authorization act, or ndaa, authorizing the imprisonment of anyone deemed a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. a group of journalists, scholars, and political activists have brought the case, arguing the case was -- the provision was so broad it could easily infringe on freedom of speech. the government argued judge forced ruling could go beyond the statute itself to curb the indefinite provisions contained in the legislation authorizing the so-called post-9/11 war on terror, potentially jeopardize in the imprisonment of foreigners in afghanistan without charge. we will have more on the ndaa appeal later in the broadcast. the white house has quietly announced young immigrants able to remain in the west as part of a recent immigration reprieve will not be eligible for health insurance under the new federal health-care law. the new immigration program grants temporary legal status to
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live and work in the country to undocumented people who meet certain conditions, including being under 31 as of june 15. but in a ruling late last month, the white house said the federal health care law excludes undocumented immigrants because they still fall outside the definition of a "lawfully present" president. in a separate statement, the ministration decreed that young immigrants covered by the reprieve will not be eligible for medicaid or the children's health-insurance program. immigrant rights groups have denounced the decision, calling it reactionary and inhumane republican presidential nominee mitt romney has sparked what could be the biggest political firestorm facing his campaign to date. in manila under reporting released by mother jones, romney tells a crowd of donors that he thinks 47% of americans are dependent on government and see themselves as "victim's."
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>> there are 47% of the people >> the obama campaign immediately pounced on romney's
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remarks saying "it's hard to serve as president for all americans when you're disdainfully written off half the nation's." romley said last that although his words were not elegantly stated, he stood by their substance. >> well, it is not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. i'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. i'm sure i can state it more clearly and effectively than i did in a setting like that. so i am sure i will point that out as time goes on, but we don't even have to question given the snippet there nor the full response so i hope the person who has the video would put out the full material. of course i want to help all americans. all americans have a bright and prosperous future, and i am clear the president's approach will not do that. >> in comments that have received less attention, romney
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is also heard on the original tape joking to his audience that he would have a better chance this election had been born to mexican parents. >> my dad [no audio] ♪ [music break]
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>> just hours before romney made his comments, or rather before the comments came to light on tuesday, mitt romney spoke to the hispanic chamber of commerce and los angeles in a bid to woo latino voters. the obama administration has filed a challenge at the world trade organization accusing china of unfairly subsidizing its auto and auto parts industries. announcing the move during a campaign stop in ohio, president obama took a shot at republican rival mitt romney. >> he made money investing in
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companies that up routed from here and went to china. pioneers. you cannot stand up to china when all you have done is send them our jobs. today my administration is launching a new action against china. this one against illegal subsidies that encourage companies to ship autoparts, manufacturing jobs, overseas. these direct the hard-working men and women on the assembly lines in ohio and michigan and across the midwest. >> at least 12 people have been killed, including nine foreigners, in a suicide bombing in afghanistan. a militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it revenge for the anti islam film that sparked anger in muslim countries worldwide. on monday, demonstrations against the film continued to flare, with new protests in indonesia, pakistan, lebanon,
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and iran. the u.s.-led bid occupation in afghanistan says it has scaled back operations with members of the afghan forces in a bid to reduce attacks on coalition troops. at least 51 foreign soldiers, most of them americans, have been killed in attacks carried out by afghan police and soldiers so far this year. on monday, nato spokesperson guerter katz confirmed up to eight civilians were killed in u.s. airstrike in a village in eastern afghanistan. >> a number of afghan civilians were unintentionally killed or injured during the mission between [indiscernible] i take full responsibility for this tragedy. >> united nations has confirmed august was the deadliest month so far in syria's 18-long armed conflict -- a 18-month long
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armed conflict between president bashar al-assad and armed rebels. the u.n. special coordinator said the toll continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. >> the month of august registered a higher number of casualties thus far in the toll is growing. more than 2.5 million people, including refugees from iraq and palestine, need protection and assistance inside syria. as conditions deteriorated, with implications for serious neighbors that are dangerous. >> the oil giant shell will delay oil drilling in the alaskan arctic until at least next summer after suffering damage to a spill containment during a test. shell began the drilling earlier this month or the objections of indigenous and environmental groups. pennsylvania's board of pardons has denied clemency to a death row, but -- kristin convicted of murdering his sexual abuser.
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terry williams is scheduled to be executed next month for the 1984 murder of amos norwood. norwood had sexually abused williams for remember of years up until the night before williams took revenge by killing him. advocates of child sexual abuse have urged leniency for williams or advocates of sexual abuse victims had urged leniency for williams because jurors were not informed of all the facts, including that williams had been raped by other men. williams is now asking a state court to issue a stay of execution. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from grande valley state university in grand rapids, michigan, from the pgx station wgvu. voters in michigan will be asked to decide the future of a controversial state law that will allow the governor to appoint an unelected emergency manager or corporation to take
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over financially distressed towns and cities and effectively fire elected officials. the law, which is now on hold, empowers unelected managers to sell off public property, shred union contracts, privatize government services without any input from local voters. critics have described it as michigan's local dictators all. in addition, another initiative on the michigan ballot in november aims to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution to stave off future attacks on unions. analysts say michigan could be pivotal in the national fight over the future of worker rights and labor-backed groups are spending millions on ads like this one, in which an auto worker discusses the importance of collective bargaining. >> we are expanding. our industry is coming back and we are fighting for our future. we are bringing jobs back to
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america from mexico. we have paid the government had of schedule. we have all pulled together in tough times. collective bargaining is what got us here. it is not just about my job, but about this plant, this whole community to protect collective bargaining, but yes. >> for more, we're joined in washington, d.c. by paul abowd, investigative reporter at the center for public integrity who has been following this story closely. earlier this year, he wrote a piece called, "michigan's budget crisis puts democracy on the chopping block." he is originally from here in michigan, from detroit, where he reported for "labor notes" magazine. he also co-produced a documentary about public housing in the city. welcome to "democracy now!" talk about these laws, these of votes that will be taking place in november. >> good morning. these are two pretty monumental
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of votes coming before michigan residents in november. they both come after really drawn-out legal battles to even place them on the ballot. votes are -- the first one is an effort to repeal the emergency manager law and has had strong union support and mobilization, but also mobilization and support from a vast coalition of michigan residents. the second one is a more offensive -- is a representation of the union movement going on the offense. some people think it is offensive, including folks in the chamber of commerce who are opposing it. but it is a response to sort of the regional attack since 2010 on the labor movement and on their fundamental right to collective bargaining, which we have seen in wisconsin with the whole walker recall and budget
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bill debacle. a similar bill repealed after strong union mobilization in ohio. and the appearance for the first time in the industrial or post industrial, depending on how you see it, midwest, of a right to work bill an indiana. then in michigan, with the most expansive sort of attack in many ways on not just collective bargaining, but voting rights and democratic rights on the local level through this emergency manager law. we are seeing in response from state unions as well as national unions to get first the tell-to fight the battle to get these on the initiative, -- battle to get these initiatives on the ballot. >> i want to talk about this bill that could replace an elected mayor, for example, with
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the corporation. explain exactly how it came about, who is behind it, and how it is being carried out, how it is being put into effect throughout michigan. >> this is the product but a lot of different forces in the state, including a free-market think tank called the mackinac service for public' which has pushed laws like the emergency manager law for several years. the original law goes back decades to 1990, to give it a scope of the economic crisis in this state. politicians have been trying to position themselves as reformers and rescuers of the economic situation for decades. so it is not a new idea in the state, although when the republicans took over the legislature in 2010 and the governor snyder took over the
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governor's mansion the same year, we sought an intensified push the out-we saw an intensified push of an earlier law which basically gave the governor, as you said, the power to elect one person, a financial tsar to essentially shred collective bargaining agreements and the city level. the origins of the law and those pushing for it are sort of connected to a nationwide network of free-market think tanks including the mackinac center. five years before the law was passed, the mackinac center released an editorial calling for improvements to the regional emergency law including the power to assure a collective bargaining agreements.
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all four recommendations were put into the lock in 2011 that passed shortly after snyder took office. there are connections to nationwide groups like alec. the mackinac center is a member of the american legislative exchange council, which is sort of a clearing house of corporate lawmaking or corporate representatives and lobbyists meet with state legislators and craft loss and get replicated throughout the country. representatives -- legislators and representatives from the mackinac center have gone to alec meetings and in many cases exported pieces of anti-union legislation into alec for the will become model legislation and replicate throughout state houses across the country. >> just to be clear, the american legislative exchange council law, alec? >> it is a network of state
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legislators and corporate lobbyists who meet three times a year, i believe, at hotels and they have closed-door meetings, where by corporate representatives, members of free-market think tanks, and state legislators get together and act the craft the language of a variety of bills, including their most famous this year for the stand your ground law, which popped up in florida and throughout the south, which were tied to the trayvon martin killing. and also voter suppression and a voter id laws that spread throughout the country. those laws came out of these meetings that alec, which is this sort of laboratory for corporate legislation, and there are very powerful players in
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michigan through the mackinac center and public policy and state legislators who have taken part in that process and who have taken some of the lessons from alec and put them back into the legislature, but also exported some of the "innovations" regarding public sector employees and collective bargaining and taken them to the national stage where they sort of have replicated in to other statehouses. >> paul abowd, i want to play at a video produced by the mackinac center, which is part of this network of state based groups associated with the heritage foundation, the influential right-wing think tank in washington. in this clip provided to the media, mackinac center analyst dan armstrong gives his interpretation of michigan's protect our jobs amendment. >> supporters say the protect our jobs and it would help working families by enshrining
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union's collective bargaining power in the state constitution. the most workers are employed in the private economy, which is covered by federal law. so in reality, the tianeman involves the 3% of michigan residents who are government employees and would provide special powers to their unions. it would give government unions the power to bargain away laws passed by our elected representatives. it would make collective bargaining contracts, agreements settled behind closed doors, the law of the land and throw out cost savings legislation like requiring public employees to pay part of their own pension and health- care benefits. in other words, it would provide special protection for the few, paved the way to increase tax pare costs, and a special powers to government unions. >> that is produced by the mackinac center. paul abowd, your response? >> it is not surprising. it is a classic tactic amongst
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the business elite anywhere in the country when it comes to unions, union initiative to protect bargaining rights or to expand the power of membership. the ironic thing really is that these ds run by the mackinac center and by the chamber of commerce, their representative of the sort of very small, the 1%, if you will come on the anniversary of the occupy me that we can use that term -- their representatives of a small segment of the state's population. they're continually leveling a charge the union movement represents the special interest when in fact the irony is clear that they represent a very small fraction of the community and represent their own sort of corporate interests.
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the video itself is misleading because the protect our jobs initiative, which would make it a constitutional right or would make collective bargaining constitutional right in the state, applies to all workers, not just public sector unions or public sector employees. it is -- it would be the first constitutional amendment of its type in the nation in that it would effectively force all right to work laws in the state before anyone could propose it. so it is sort of a forward- looking measure by the union movement to protect the fundamental right. at the end of the day, as you will see from the protect our jobs as, the argument is collective bargaining is not just serving the needs and interests of d.c. union bosses or even just the interest of
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union members, but that collective bargaining is a form of democratic expression that can be used to before it is vision for how workplaces are shaped. in the case of the school system, as we see in chicago with the teacher strike, collective bargaining can be used as a way to really put forth a positive vision for what a school should look like. in detroit, because the public schools have been under emergency financial management, the manager imposed a contract this summer, which published on teachers, because they had no bargaining power. which includes not just a 10% wage cut for teachers, but also a drastic rise in class size. the argument the union movement is making with this constitutional amendment is collective bargaining affects not just the workplace, but it
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affects schools and society at large. >> paul abowd, thank you for being with us, investigative reporter at the center for public integrity. paul is speaking to us from dc. we are broadcasting from grand rapids, michigan. we are any 100-city tour around the country. when we come back, we stay here in grand rapids with marcy wheeler. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from grand valley state university in grand rapids, michigan, the pbs station. as we turn to marcy wheeler, investigative blogger who lives here in grand rapids, michigan. for years she has written extensively about national security issues and civil liberties. today we will look at indefinite detention at home and abroad. a yemeni man named adnan latif earlier this month became the ninth foreign prisoner to die guantanamo since the prison began in 2002. he spent nearly 4000 days at guantanamo, despite being cleared for release on three separate occasions. in one ruling, u.s. district judge called the accusations against latif "unconvincing" and
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said his was detention was "not lawful." nevertheless, the department of justice appealed the district court's decision and won. in a letter released in 2009, adnan latif wrote -- meanwhile, the justice department is defending its right to indefinitely detain people inside the united states. late last week the obama administration asked an appeals court for an emergency stay of a lower court ruling striking down a controversial statute that gave the government power to indefinitely detain anyone it considered a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. judge katherine forced had ruled the national defense authorization act, or ndaa, cannot be used to hold people in indefinite military detention on suspicion of having substantially supported al qaeda or its allies. for more on these stories, and for michigan, the home of both
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mitt romney and his father who was governor here, we're joined now by marcy wheeler. she is an investigative blogger who runs start off by talking about guantanamo and what happened to this prisoner. >> adnan latif is a yemeni who was born in 1980. in 1994, he had a head injury that crack is skull. he went to jordan for medical treatment. he is corporate he kept trying to figure out how he could get this debilitating head injury fixed. the workers that if you go to pakistan, i will help you get it fixed. that is what led him in 2001 to go to pakistan and afghanistan just before the war in afghanistan broke out. he was rounded up like a bunch of other arab men on the border of pakistan. this was a time that pakistan is
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for getting bounties for turning in "arab fighters." he had mental issues. he had his head injury. he was a longtime suicide hunger striker. the work force feeding him for years. >> at guantanamo. >> at guantanamo. when it came to his case, ultimately, the government said the main piece of evidence we have against this guy is an intelligence report that was done in pakistan, in pakistan custody in december 2001. there were obvious errors to it. we know they said he had a hand injury instead of a head injury. they could not get the basic facts straight. but this was the only affirmative piece of evidence that against him. ultimately, the legal argument the government made -- this is something that should terrify
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americans because this is the standard now for the d.c. circuit. it said an intelligence report from the government, no matter how obviously flawed, it will be assumed to be factually correct and as you can prove it was false. in kind of a crazy ruling that accused the district court judge of being like the wizard of oz, the circuit court said, you know, people in the u.s. can be held based on an intelligence report that the government does and they can say anything. >> how was it that he was held at guantanamo when he was cleared? >> he was cleared in 2006 and 2008 by the bush and ministration, then cleared by obama's gitmo task force
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started in 2009. he was in a group of 29 yemenis, who even though there were problems with him in and did not want to transfer them back, the obama administration said these people are a priority. we should not be keeping these people all. and yet because of the underwear bomb they held off on any transfers back to yemen. what obama could have done and why obama bears direct responsibility for adnan latif been in gitmo, is obama could have said when the tube was granted habeas and said, ok, we have done this with another yemeni. we untold we have to let him free by a district court. they could have done that and chose not to. now they have a dead body on their hands by some who was of is the troubled and not a terrific threat at all to the u.s. his lawyer has said he is now the face of indefinite detention and i think that is absolutely right.
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>> clint eastwood at the republican national convention raise that obama would close guantanamo but did not. many people do have that criticism, it was just surprising to hear from the stage of the rnc. but what about that? what has obama done? how has it been different than under president bush? >> he made an effort in 2009, but by 2010, when adnan latif won his habeas petition, they were already backing off of that because partly because of the underwear bomb, -- if you look at what obama has done in bagram and afghanistan were there has been no restrictions, where congress has said, we want legitimate reviews of the detainees in bagram, he has not even done that. it is clear obama has gotten less interested in closing its indefinite detention prisons. just recently, he would not hand over some of the detainees in
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bagram to afghanistan, even though we had agreed to do that. i think obama continues to say he would like to close gitmo, but when you look at his record, it is clear he would rather to the cowardly thing and just keep the detainee's where they are. >> the ndaa and the latest court ruling? >> just last night, the second circuit did issue a stay in that. friday night, the judge issued an injunction saying you cannot hold anybody according to this ndaa. the government immediately said they would appeal. there are some interesting legal issues about whether the government possible appeal should have been able to appeal, but nevertheless, judges in this country continue to say as soon as the president says national security, we will do whatever you say. they did that in this case. they issued a stay, which means they can go ahead and use the ndaa. what it means is, it is kind of
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vaguely defined. the government cannot even define it. it is vague. people can be indefinitely detained. u.s. citizens, obama says will be held in military custody, but there is a lot of gray area. >> one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the ndaa is chris hedges, a former correspondent for the new york times. he discussed the lawsuit earlier this year. he talked about it on "democracy now!" >> i think we have to ask if the security establishment did not want this bill and the fbi director actually goes to congress and says publicly they don't want it, why did it pass? what pushed it through? i think without question the corporate elite understand things certainly economically are about to get much worse, and i think they're worried about the occupy movement expanding. i think in the end, and this is
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a position, they don't trust the police to protect them and they want able to call in the army. >> that is chris hedges. marcy wheeler? >> he has made a compelling argument. the judge said because he is the reporting with terrorists, he might be at risk. jeremy scahill has also talked about how journalists in yemen, for example, have been held on obama's order for reporting closely from al qaeda. i think chris has a legitimate concern. the judge and a compelling argument. what was done about this case is a hearing in march when the government came before her and the judge said, can you tell me whether any of these plaintiffs would be held under the ndaa? they're like, know. since then they have tried and on their appeals to this day,
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they have tried to say, no, we guarantee none of these plaintiffs will be held if what they told us is true, if they're acting independently. but one of the other plaintiffs, has ties to wikileaks, we know the government has subpoenaed her communications. we know that bradley manning -- >> icelandic member of parliament. >> yes, and involved in the collateral murder video. we know that bradley manning is being accused of helping al qaeda for allegedly leaking wikileaks. anybody has a legitimate fear of being prosecuted. >> i want to turn to the upcoming elections, to match romney who has defended obama's approval of the ndaa, saying he would have done the same thing.
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this is mitt romney speaking earlier this year at the south carolina republican debate. >> governor romney, as president, which have signed the national defense act? >> yes, i would have. i do believe is appropriate -- [boos] to have our nation the capacity to detain people who are a threat to this country, who are members of al qaeda. look, yet every right to protest and express your views on a wide range of issues, the you don't have a right to join a group that has challenged america and threatened killing americans, has killed americans. that is treason. we have a right to take those people and put them in jail. >> that is mitt romney earlier this year. marcy wheeler? >> mitt romney, you know, as problematic as obama has been on things like indefinite detention, when you look at
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romney's aids, that people that really invented the counter- terrorism program that we have been using since 9/11. yes stephen bradbury, one of the -- >> and used to be an official with blackwater? but see what from the cia to the state department to blackwater. he invented targeted killing, invented tortured -- i mean, he is the architect of our entire counter-terrorism, call for black. yet tim flanagan, one of the architects of the torture program. you you look at people close to romney and what he said, he thinks we should bring back torture, it is clear, if anything, he will be worse than obama. we do not have a great choice on these issues at the top of the ticket in november. >> speaking at romney, we are in michigan. actually, speaking of blackwater, not far from where the prince family is, although erik prince left the country.
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[indiscernible] >> talk about mitt romney and his father who was governor of michigan. >> i think one of the things that people outside of the midwest missed for a big part of this election was how little people in michigan and ohio would respond ohiomitt after letting detroit go bankrupt. george romney was well loved. if you go to lansing, there are so many buildings and after him. -- there are many buildings named after him did he said he was born here, so i don't have to show you my birth certificate. my response to that was, no, your house got torn down just like so many others in downtown detroit that was because of the kind of globalization and the sting out of michigan that has happened since. as soon as mitt said, let
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detroit go bankrupt, you know, whatever people around the country think about the big publisher i call them 2.5's since chrysler has become so small, there are really the life blood. what he has done throughout his career, mitt romney has shut down these companies that are trying to make things -- if these from the u.s. and outsource them overseas. he had difficulty here against santorum because santorum has a better manufacturing record and romney. i do not know why romney never understood manufacturing, having grown up with it, but he did not. >> and his latest video of mitt romney saying to a crowd of donors that he thinks 47% of americans are dependent on government and see themselves as victims. >> and these are the working
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poor, people who do draw benefits and naked in earned income tax credit, but they are working. mitt romney just accuse them of paying more in taxes because once the papers as a security, they're paying more than their share in taxes, he is accusing them of being moochers. >> he also said at a private fundraiser, called the middle east peace almost unthinkable and says he would kick the ball down the field. >> and he said very different things in public. he is not backing off of the statements, but it is really interesting what he admits to when the cameras are rolling behind the curtain. 47% comment, but most important, even at the rnc, he bragged about the staples jobs secretive. those are $9 an hour jobs. in the same speech he said $9 an hour jobs, you cannot live off of says. he has admitted the jobs he
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created or jobs that require people to work two jobs and yet he is making fun of the working poor as mopochers. >> marcy wheeler, thank you for being with us. runs when we come back, we will look at a new documentary about detroit called "detropia." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from grand valley state university in grand rapids, michigan. we turn now to a new documentary about one of michigan's hardest hit cities, detroit, once known as the motor city, where the
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middle class was born detroit's auto industry and manufacturing sector have collapsed. today the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, facing a thinning population and massive cuts to basic services. the new film "detropia" takes an intimate look at some of the city's former members of the middle class as they struggle to make ends meet, and refuse to abandon hope. i want to turn for a moment to a clip of "detropia." >> this is the downsizing of detroit you are watching live. these are houses that are never coming back. these houses are disappearing from the landscape. >> i want to show you something. all of this is empty. they built a new plant in mexico and took all of the workers to mexico. >> the new proposal is $11 an hour, which means that would
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lose $3.35 an hour. >> why? how do you think you'll feel every day going into work? >> of the hot-button issues in detroit is the layout of this city and which parts of the city may be shrunk. >> they're shutting down schools. they're shutting down futures. >> we're not going to accept any more downsizing. we want to hear from the -- hear about super sizing each right. >> the city is broke. i don't know how many times i will have to say that. >> we looking at baltimore, new york city, and detroit came up. we can experiment here.
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>> what happened in detroit has spread throughout. there is double between the rich and poor. >> that is part of the trailer for the new documentary called "detropia." for more we're joined by the film's co-director rachel grady. she's joining us from new york city. she along with her co-director has made several films including the academy award nominated "jesus camp." welcome to "democracy now!" talk about why you chose to focus on detroit and why you called your film "detropia." >> we chose the trite publish first of all because i co- director is from the area and is a very personal film for her. as you said, as the birthplace of the middle-class, as a place that has been hard hit by a lot
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of issues in this country for the last 20, 30 years, we've hit detroit to look at and to try and humanize and hear from the man on the street what is happening there, what it is like to live there. we picked the name "detropia," inventing a word, which is always fun, because we wanted to kind of oppose the concept, is it a utopia? is it a dystopia? what is the future for detroit in this country? where are we headed? >> there is a remarkable scene in your film about the uaw. for listeners who could not see the clip we just showed, it is very interesting there thing was "we build it" that theme that has been taken up by mitt romney in republican party. i want to play a clip that has to do with the union meeting,
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but i was wondering if you could set it up for us, this uaw meeting and when it took place squar? what happened about two years ago with the union rep explaining to workers at a particular plant, the owners are threatening to move to mexico and an order to keep their jobs, they would have to take massive pay cuts. the guys are reeling from this information, are hurt, confused, and feel like they have an opportunity to fight back. >> let's go to the clip. >> i have been pulling my hair out about this, going back and forth with the company on this. i did a lot of negotiating over my time, but i have never would imagine it like this. but they're calling this their last proposal. you're going to get mad, i can tell you that.
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>> senior quality technician, $18.50 an hour will go down to $18 an hour. all the guys that are making $17, the want to move them down to $14.50. for factory support, which is the guys making $14.35, the new proposal is $11 an hour. >> come on, this is ridiculous. we do not even need to entertain this. >> i would like to make a motion that we do not even vote on this. return to the company and tell them we refuse to vote on this. this is a circus. >> all those in favor say aye. one had ever since i've read everybody put their hands up that go with that. >> i do not even want to waste my time voting on this.
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>> all right but i said, how do i tell one of my members who is already scuffling and making $14.35 an hour, said at the table with their family and got to tell them that my union, and i agreed, to take a $3.35 pay cut? i asked them that? i said, i told you, if we negotiate any kind of agreement, it will be a livable wage. >> [indiscernible] >> point blank. >> they did not accept it and the plant closed. >> yes. what we were watching was a couple of things. we were watching people slipping into the working poor right before our very eyes. we were watching union guys that
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were fighting back and try to use their collective bargaining rights basically, what was going on is the company said, you cannot quit. you are fired. your job is gone. it was very painful to watch. the man on the street, sort of take that in. >> i want to turn to another clip from your film "detropia." looking at cutting many services and downsizing, including some bus lines. this is one of the people you follow in the film, stephanie, and other residents, speaking before the detroit city council. >> by name is stephanie ware. i work. i make minimum wage. i keep pushing and pushing to improve myself. i have a new job i start this monday. i get up early in the morning faithfully. and may not have to be to work
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until 10:00, i am out there at 7:30, 8:00, waiting to catch my bus because i don't be late for anyone. what am i to do when all i have is the bus? please, please, don't take our transportation away. that is all we have. thank you. >> we cannot take any more cutbacks period. but only in relation to the buses, but services, period. we're not going to accept any more downsizing. we want to hear about up sizing, supersized in detroit. >> a clip of "detropia." rachel grady, take it from there. >> well, you know, we read in the paper about cutbacks happening. what does that look like? you see stephanie, ec her trying
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to do her best to work -- you see her try to do her best to work. the country has always told us that if we work hard, we connected to the middle-class. she is doing her part, but the government is not doing its part. it is not out of cruelty, either, the city is not doing this to be mean to its citizens. it is completely broke. it does not have any money, so it cannot sustain its quality of life for its residents. >> you are a private investigator. how did that help you making the film "detropia"? >> part of being investigated is listening. and really hearing what the people think of the story and what the truth is, and not imposing your opinion. try to stick a blank slate --
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tried to be a blank slate and listen to the man on the street. and understand what it feels like, the humanity, and living in a place like detroit. >> rachel grady, you were in detroit and showed "detropia" at a fund raiser at a public radio station in detroit. what has been the response of the people here to how you portray their city? >> i think it is very painful for them to watch. the people left are usually first, second, third generation to troyers. i think the whole process has been extremely painful. they feel abandoned by corporate america and abandoned by the promise of a better life. but they note it is true. they think we were accurate in their experience. i think ultimately they want the rest of the world to see that. >> thank you very much for being
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with us, rachel grady, co- director of the film "detropia" out now in theaters around the country. that does it for our broadcast as we continue our 100-city election 2012 silent majority tour michigan. today at noon, i will be here in grand rapids at the theater. tonight at 6:00 him in chicago at the columbia college, was center. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by
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