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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  March 20, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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03/20/17 03/20/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >>agree or disagree with him, al of his colleagues on the bench cherished his wisdom and his humor. and like them, i miss him. amy: supreme court confirmation hearings again today for neil gorsuch. we will look at his record, what it means for workers, women, and voting rights. plus, we look back at his time as the student activist when he criticized anti-apartheid protesters at columbia university. then we go to vermont where the immigrant community has been shaken after ice detained three
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prominent immigrant rights activists, including a member of the state attorney general's immigration task force. >> when i was detained, they stood up for me in the mobilized the community to fight for my freedom. and i was freed. so now i am here to fight for of these men because they deserve their freedom, too. amy: and recent spike in casualties in u.s. airstrikes abroad and nearly 49. in syria with the u.s. struck a mosque and iraq u.s. air sex continue in mosul. often coast of yemen, saudi arabia is accused of using a u.s. apache helicopter to kill refugees on a boat. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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confirmation hearings begin today for neil gorsuch, president trump's pick to replace the late antonin scalia on the supreme court. if confirmed by the senate, gorsuch would give conservatives a narrow 5-4 conservative majority on the court. as a judge on the tenth circuit, gorsuch ruled in favor of hobby lobby in the case deciding whether the company could refuse to provide birth control coverage to employees as required by obamacare. judge gorsuch also has a long history of ruling against employees in cases involving federal race, sex, age, disability and political , discrimination and retaliation claims. neil gorsuch is a member of the federalist society and has close ties to conservative colorado billionaire philip anschutz who owns "the weekly standard" and the "washington examiner." and judge gorsuch comes from a deeply conservative family. his mother, anne gorsuch
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burford, briefly served as president reagan's epa administrator where she slashed staff and eviscerated anti-pollution regulations before resigning amidst scandal. we will have more on judge gorsuch after headlines. fbi director james comey is set to go before the house intelligence committee today, where he will face questioning about president trump's unsubstantiated claims that president obama tapped his phones at trump tower during the 2016 election. president trump has continued to stand by the unsubstantiated claims including while meeting , with german chancellor angela merkel friday. trump joked he and merkel had something in common regarding wiretapping -- a reference to reports the nsa was monitoring merkel's phones during obama's presidency. we have ap: tremendous group of people that around the i can get media when the media does not have the truth. so i like that. as far as wiretapping, i guess, you know, this past a administration -- at least we
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have something in common, perhaps. amy: both top u.s. lawmakers and british officials have rejected trump's wiretapping claims. that president obama tapped his phones at trump tower in new york. the former british ambassador to washington has accused trump of peddling falsehoods by claiming that it was british intelligence agency which helped carry out the alleged wiretap. during fbi director james comey's testimony to the house intelligence committee today, he will also face questioning about russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential race. a new reuters investigation reveals dozens of russian elites have invested nearly $100 million in seven trump-branded luxury buildings in florida. meanwhile, germany's defense minister has rejected president trump's claim that germany owes nato money. in hawaii, a federal judge has rejected the justice department's request to narrow the injunction which halted , trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees and people from six majority muslim
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nations from entering the united states. u.s. district court judge derrick watson's temporary restraining order blocked trump's ban only hours before it was set to take effect last thursday. the former greenville police chief hassan aden says he was detained for over an hour by customs and border protection agents when he was flying into new york city's jfk airport after returning from visiting his mother in paris. in a facebook post, hassan wrote that he was a u.s. citizen and had worked in law enforcement in the u.s. for nearly 30 years. he wrote that after his detention -- "this country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world and its own people in an unprecedented fashion." he was the police chief of greenville, north carolina. president trump has reportedly tapped kellyanne conway's husband, george conway, to head the civil division of the
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justice department. if confirmed, george conway would head the department of government lawyers charged with defending key lawsuits, including those against trump's embattled travel ban, those alleging trump's business interests violate the constitutions emoluments clause. george conway has worked as a corporate lawyer for nearly three decades, during which time he represented corporate clients such as cigatte company philip morris and the national football league. kellyanne conway told "new york magazine" that, despite her anti-abortion views, she's sympathetic to women who get abortions, and has helped female friends by driving them to the procedures and helping them pay for the abortions. conway spoke at the anti-abortion march for life in washington, d.c., in january. meanwhile, the 24-year-old pundit tomi lahren has admitted she is pro-choice, saying -- "i am for limited government, so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body." education secretary betsy devos
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has hired for-profit college official robert eitel. he previously served as a chief compliance officer for bridgepoint education inc., an operator of for-profit colleges, which is facing multiple government investigations over deceptive lending. meanwhile, trump's administration has revoked guidelines that prohibited student debt collectors from charging exorbitant fees on past-due loans. secretary of state rex tillerson wrapped up his first visit to asia with a trip to beijing on sunday, where he warned regional tensions with north korea had reached dangerous levels. on saturday, north korea tested a high-thrust rocket engine, the latest in a series of rocket and missile tests north korea has carried out in recent weeks. during tillerson's asia trip, he also suggested the u.s. may make a preemptive strike against north korea. while on president trump tweeted friday, --
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42 somali refugees were killed when they were gunned down by a helicopter gunship near the yemeni coast late on thursday. somalia accused saudi arabia of carrying out the strike. eyewitness accounts suggest a u.s.-made apache helicopter was used to carry out the deadly strike. meanwhile, the death toll from an airstrike on a mosque in syria has risen to at least 49 people. that is according to the u.k. based syrian observatory for human rights. the u.s. has admitted to carrying out an airstrike on the syrian village of al-jina, the pentagon denies having hit the mosque. the journalistic project airwars is reporting the number of civilian casualties in u.s. air strikes has been escalating since donald trump took office two months ago today. we'll have more on the deadly strikes later in the broadcast. palestinian president mahmoud abbas awarded former u.n. official rima khalaf palestine's medal of the highest honor after khalaf's resigned rather than bow to pressure to withdraw a u.n. report accusing israel of imposing an apartheid regime on
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the palestinians. this is former executive secretary of the yuan economic and social commission for western asia rima khalaf. ,>> it was to be expected that israel and its allies would put enormous pressure on the united nations secretary-general to renounce the report, and he gave me instructions to renounce it. i asked him to review his stance, but he insisted. so i said bit of my resignation to him. the crimes that they continued to commit amount to war crimes against humanity. amy: her resignation came the same day as soldiers opened fire on a group of palestinian teenagers in a refugee camp in the israeli-occupied west bank, killing 16-year-old murad yusif abu ghaz. on saturday, israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at a group of mourners, following the boy's burial. to see our full interview with richard falk, who co-authored the u.n. report accusing israel of imposing an apartheid regime, you can go to
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in france, thousands of people rallied in paris sunday to protest police brutality. the march demanded justice for a 22-year-old black man who was allegedly raped with a police baton by an officer after being arrested in february. the man, who is known as only "theo" was hospitalized for two weeks related to the injuries sustained in police custody. one police officer has been charged with rape, and three more have been accused of assault. in peru, more than 70 people have died amid the country's worst flooding in more than 30 years. hundreds of cities across peru have declared states of emergency. the intense rainfall has been linked to abnormally higher ocean temperatures, which are in turn linked to climate change. in japan, activist hiroji yamashiro has been released on bail after he spent five months imprisoned on charges he cut through a barbed wire fence surrounding a u.s. base. for decades, residents have called for the expulsion of u.s. troops from okinawa, which houses about two-thirds of the 50,000 u.s. troops currently
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stationed in japan. in the philippines, a lawmaker has filed an impeachment complaint against president rodrigo duterte over the thousands of extrajudicial police and vigilante killings carried out under duterte's so-called war on drugs. he is also facing threats of a criminal case before the international criminal court over accusations he oversaw death squads when he was mayor of davao. back in the united states in miami-dade, florida, prosecutors have announced they will not againstiminal charges four prison guards over the death of 50-year-old darren rainey, a schizophrenic prisoner who died after the guards locked him in a shower stall and exposed him to 180-degree scalding water. when his body was found two hours later, he had burns covering 90% of his body. to see our full interview with -- on darren rainey, go to
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oil could start flowing through the highly contested $3.8 billion dakota access pipeline as early as today. on saturday, an appeals court rejected the standing rock sioux and cheyenne river nations' request for an emergency injunction to stop the pipeline from becoming operational. meanwhile, the university of california's chief investment officer has announced the university system is taking steps to divest from two companies behind the pipeline -- energy transfer partners and sunoco logistics. and legendary new york city journalist jimmy breslin has died at the age of 88. breslin won a pulitzer prize in 1986 for his columns, which the committee said "consistently champion ordinary citizens." in 2004, democracy now! spoke with jimmy breslin at the dnc about actions in the lead up
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to the iraq war. >> [indiscernible] they can't write too good. 47 words and a lead sentence and the public to follow and read. they do 47. -- the term want papers before this. amy: pulitzer prize-winning journalist jimmy breslin. he died sunday at his home in manhattan. 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. confirmation hearings begin today for neil gorsuch, president trump's pick to replace the late justice antonin scalia on the supreme court. there has been a vacant seat on the court for over a year following scalia's death on february 13, 2016. president obama nominated
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merrick garland to replace scalia, but republicans refused to even hold hearings fearing that garland would tip the ideological balance of the court to the left. once donald trump took office he quickly moved to nominate gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal judge on the tenth circuit with deep ties to the conservative movent. if confirmed by the senate, gorsuch would give conservatives a narrow 5-4 conservative majority on the court. when he was first nominated, he praised antonin scalia a >> justice scalia was the line of the law. agree or disagree with him, all of his colleagues on the bench chairs his wisdom and his humor. and like them, i miss him. amy: as a judge on the tenth circuit, gorsuch ruled in favor of hobby lobby in the case deciding whether the company should -- could refuse to provide birth control coverage to employees as required by obamacare. judge gorsuch also has a long history of ruling against
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employees in cases involving federal race, sex, age, disability and political , discrimination and retaliation claims. gorsuch is a member of the federalist society and has close ties to conservative colorado billionaire philip anschutz who owns "the weekly standard" and " the washington examiner." gorsuch also comes from a deeply conservative family. his mother, anne gorsuch burford, briefly served as president reagan's epa administrator, where she slashed staff and eviscerated anti-pollution regulations before resigning amidst scandal. we begin our coverage of george best search -- judge gorsuch with fordham law professor zephyr teachout who recently ran for a congressional seat in upstate new york. her recent piece for the "washington post" is headlined "neil gorsuch sides with big , business, big donors and big bosses." zephyr teachout, explain. look, all of us are going to
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be part of sort of unearthing all of neil gorsuch's opinions, but import parts to look at our where he expresses his philosophy. and what he is done in antitrust cases and also in one money and politics case is show he is going to be at least as bad as scalia, and we can't forget how bad scalia was, and possibly worse in favoring -- elite favoring corporate power and favoring the power of big donors. so there are two to antitrust cases that are really important to look at. i know antitrust consume like this arcane area, but if you look around the world right now i'm a look around america, you see this incredible concentration of power in office supplies, with amazon, with monsanto, comcast, and oil and gas, you see this incredible concentration. a lot of that comes from justice scalia and other people in the believing that we
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should got antitrust and basically allow the novelists together power. -- monopolists together our. he shows he is with the chicago school. in fact, suggested he might go further saying, well, one of the reasons people go into business capacity to get not only to rent, so we don't want to discourage people from going into business. instead of understanding is the true liens of our democratic past understood, that antitrust law was really critical for challenging excessive concentrations of power. juan: if you could talk about judge gorsuch's interest in natural law and what that might mean about his position on marriage equality. >> this is an important area for the senators to ask about this week. in his dissertation, not that long ago, 2004, george -- judge
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gorsuch shows he is skeptical of the idea that theonstitution prects the intimate decisions that people make in the privacy of their own home. there's a long, long line of cases that respect and understand there's constitutional protections for instance, the ability of people to use of control. the rights of people to make their own sexual choices. dissertation, gorsuch was really skeptical of those decisions. and what that could mean is that gorsuch might be a vote against marriage equality. because thosdecisions underpin the decision a few years ago, recognizing the right of all people to marry who they wanted to. amy: i want to turn to george gorsuch addressing the conservative federalist society in 2013. >> what about our criminal justice system, you might ask.
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it bears the share of ironies, too. consider this one. without question, the discipline of writing the law down, a codifying it, advances the laws interests in fair notice. but today, we have about 5000 federal criminal statutes on the books, most of them added in the last few decades. and the spigot keeps pouring with literally hundreds of new statutory crimes iinked every civil year. neither does that begin the cap of thousands of additional regulatory crimes buried in the federal registry. there are so many crimes cap old in the numbing fine print of those pages that scholars have given up counting and are now debating the number. amy: so that is judge gorsuch. if you could respond to that, zephyr teachout, and also talk about citizens united. >> ok. look, we're going to see a lot of particular quotes pulled out. i think what we have to do this week is ask him about, first of
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all, what that means for his judicial philosophy. secondly, more broadly, we're not going to get him on a gotcha. to ain's well polished fault. he really is the sort of dream elite candidate in that way. that we are going to be able to, i think, reveal, what is underpinning him, who he thinks should govern in society. this relates to citizen united. in a concurrence -- this is a case where judge gorsuch decided to go out of his way and explain, here is what i think. in riddles versus sick the per, a case involving limits on campaign contributions. judge gorsuch said campaign attributions -- what out of his way to say you're one of the most fundamental he protected parts of our freedom. it suggested that we might want to apply strict scrutiny to campaign contributions. let me translate. that means judge gorsuch might be open to not only upholding
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citizens united, which has been a wreck for our democracy, but actually striking down laws that limit how much individual or corporation can directly donate to candidates. which is actually a really terrifying idea. but what that suggests is that gorsuch thinks public decisions where we all come together and pass lost together, the idea of the public coming together -- that is not the right when a make decisions. it should be more in the billionaires and marketplace as opposed to in our democratic's fear. amy: we are going to break and come back to our discussion .bout judge gorsuch the confirmation for him to become supreme court justice begins today. zephyr teachout with us, constitutional and property law professor at fordham university. she has run for public office twice. we will be back in a minute. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now!
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p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "promised land" by chuck berry who died saturday at his home in missouri at the age of 90. he was the first musician to be inducted into the rock 'n roll hall of fame on its opening in 1986. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we talk about supreme court nominee neil gorsuch, i also want to bring the nations ari berman into the conversation. he recently wrote a piece headlined "in e-mails, neil gorsuch praised a leading republican activist behind voter suppression efforts." welcome. republican, leading
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activist or operative? >> the person that neil gorsuch prays that he worked with was the leading figure behind gop voter suppression efforts, the myding figure in pushing the oft widespreadh voter fraud. the overlap in the justice department from 2005 and 2006 1 a lot of controversial things were happening when the justice department, for example, manipulated the process to prove georgia's voter id law, the first of its kind. or they launched all of these investigations and a voter fraud or very controversial. and then misleading figure behind restricting the right to vote was nominated to the federal election commission. gorsuch wrote "good for hans" which suggested they had some sort of relationship. at another point, he invited gorsuch to a valid access and voting integrity conference or the justice department was going after voter fraud. this eventually led to seven republican u.s. attorneys being dismissed for refusing to file fraud cases with no evidence and
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gorsuch also praised this conference or this effort he was going to try to come. this adjusts relationship between gorsuch and then man comes suggesting gorsuch is at least from earlier with some of the worst element of the republican party when it comes to suppressing the right to vote. amy: talk specifically about the georgia 2005 voter id law. >> it was controversial because it was one of the first voter id laws in it was clear evidence that it discriminated against black voters. the sponsor of the law told the justice department lacks only voted when they were paid and if there was less fraud, it was because fewer blacks would be voting. inflammatory lane which behind this law. it had to be committed under the voting rights act for federal approval. four of five lawyers on the review team recommended it be blocked as discriminatory against african-americans, but process forated the
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putting this law through, for proving the law. -- approving the law. when this was begin to come he praised voter id laws, which was totally unethical. this was the kind of person that gorsuch was praising. love the voter id law was being manipulated and approved at the justice department. gorsuch was at the justice department and praising this kind of act. toit just yet a hostility putting right that is to be probed by the senate. juan: in the emails were released by the senate judiciary the time during -- at when gorsuch was in the bush of administration. is there anything else in the house that struck you? >> we got thousands and thousands of emails a week before the testimony. i did not even have time to go through it. the mouse i got were part of 5000 pages. -- the imo's i got were part of the 5000 pages. days garland waited 321
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and did not even get a hearing, which was totally unprecedented. now we have a situation where gorsuch is nominated essentially a seat republican stole from president obama. we're getting all of this information in week before the hearings? what is the rush? they made mayor garland wait three other 21 days with no hearing. what is the rush? we need way more time to examine neil gorsuch's views the customer so little about him. they have to read between the lines to figure out what he really believes. amy: and did anything -- restoreth i? >> is seem like yet a strong view of executive power, meaning he might be some pathetic to things the bush of administration was doing a national security. we know from other things he was hostile to a women's right to choose. general, scalia was so outspoken, but here we have a situation where gorsuch wants to be another scalia.
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there's such a small paper trail. these earrings are so important because we really need to get down to what he believes and we have a situation where john roberts -- he said, i just want to be an umpire. i'm just going to call balls and strikes. we know john roberts has been a reactionary figure. offering decisions that gutted the voting rights act. i'm gorsuch be the same sure he will be polished and professional, but we need to read between the lines. juan: and the debates along democrats as to whether they should do an all-out press to obstruct theand approval of gorsuch and those who say, hey, he is trump's pic, there's a majority of republicans, let's not make a big deal. >> mayor garland waited 321 days ended that even get a hearing and was a very centrist figure
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that was praised by both parties. president obama spent over backwards to give republicans someone they could approve and they still refuse to even hold a hearing. already gorsuch is further along in terms of how democrats had treated him then as republicans treated him and merrick garland. i don't know what democrats are doing. they say, if we let gorsuch go through, the republicans will allow us to filibuster the next -- that is crazy. if you believe the next nomination mitch mcconnell is what allowed democrats to block it, that is insane. this is such an important fight because it sets the groundwork for what happens afterwards. i think if they let gorsuch go through with very little scrutiny, that will make us would use your pull republicans -- amy: on television, they're mainly talking about the politics of the nomination, not actually the record of neil gorsuch. on the issue of hans a. von spakovsky, what about voting rights and having neil gorsuch as a supreme court justice and
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jeff sessions as attorney general? >> gorsuch has not ruled out any major cases in the 10th circuit. we cannot really look at his traditional record, we can only look at what he has been part of. the fact he is used justice scalia as a little who claim the voting rights act led to racial entitlement. gorsuch would be the deciding case on so many important cases on voting rights and other issues will stop there are laws struck down like voter id laws and redistricting maps in states like texas and north carolina that have been found to be discriminatory against blacks and latinos and other minorities. those cases are going before the supreme court very soon. there is but a deadlock on these issues when the supreme court has considered them in the last year. gorsuch will be the tie-breaking vote. he could allow strict voter id laws, discriminatory redistricting map, those kind of things that go into effect in north carolina and other states that will make it harder for millions of people to be able to vote. this is the kind of stuff that should be the locus of the hearings and i hope when he says
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that justice scalia is his legal role model, people really dive into what that means. juan: i would like to also bring into the discussion, jordan kushner, civil rights and criminal defense attorney in minneapolis. he was an undergraduate student at columbia university at the same time as neil gorsuch. while on cap's, gorsuch co-founder the right-wing campus newspaper "the federalist paper." the associated press reports in papers's writing for the , he criticized anti-apartheid protests saying divest make her the university's endowment. he also criticized racial justice protest and black led movements on campus while he defended the reagan administration during the iran-contra scandal. jordan kushner, welcome to democracy now! >> good to be here. juan: tell us about your gorsuchions with neil
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when you are both undergraduates there. progressive activists, personally got singled out for attack. i think what stands out about neil gorsuch was that his views were completely formed as soon as he entered college as a freshman, which i think is unusual. right-wing solid reactionary views from the beginning. he was veryl level, polished and affable. i think this is part of a consistent pattern where he has a real commitment to reactionary politics and is able to put an appealing face. i think is positions were extreme. had alreadyty decided to divest. you put out a real divisive argument that it was going to hurt students. he attacked a protest led by black students against racism on campus, not based on the substance of the issue, but
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saying people involved were revolutionaries. he did stick up for ronald reagan in the iran-contra affair -- scandal, which was an extreme position, even for conservatives at the time. he said it was within ronald reagan's executive power to engage in these covert operations where he engaged -- he worked with one hostile regime the finance the iran-contra's and to finance the contras in nicaragua, which were people might not know where watching this who were not around at the time, but they were really reactionary cia funded group trying to overthrow legitimate government nicaragua. you could in a real strong defense of the contracts and said it was urgent they succeed. i think the other aspect of him that is really consistent here is that whenever he attacked these progressive positions and attacked progressive activists,
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which he did a lot of, it was never based on the merits of the issue. it was based on some other reason. again, south african divestment, not an issue of apartheid being wrong, an issue of having student gain or that he is protest -- the protests are not bad, but the protesters are bad because they're revolutionaries were superficial. he made a lot of claims they did not really know what they were doing and just enjoyed protesting. that seems consistent with a lot of what he does as a judge where he does not really addressed the merits of the issue, but comes up with legal reasons are making unjust decisions. one opinion he made that really stands out is against -- has got some publicity, he dissented in the case involving a truck driver who got fired because his truck broke down on the side of the road at night time in the winter and he thought he was freezing to death, so he drove -- left the trailer and drove the cab of his truck to a gas
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station so he could save himself and he got fired. the nlrb or the federal agency cited with him, two of the three judges appeals sided with them, but george gorsuch dissented saying the plainly much of the law did not protect him from being fired so here is a case or you happen extremely inhumane treatment of the worker a judge gorsuch decided he has to just stick with what he sees as the plain language of the statute, which is something that other people disagree with. so he is willing to interpret laws in a way that comes out to really unjust results. so i think, if you look at the kind of positions he took in college, even though he was a polished, affable person, the positions he took were really ruthless. and that seems to be a continuing pattern when he is an appeal judge. i think we can presume it will be that way as a supreme court judge as well. amy: i want to ask you back in
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college, one, he founded the federalist paper, very conservative newspaper to counter the columbia daily spectator. in 1987, in a column he wrote in the spectator, gorsuch opposed from divesting from apartheid south africa, arguing -- "pro-divestment students call for the immediate withdrawal of university funds from all companies conducting business in south africa. but in their haste to do the right thing, they are willing to overlook such mundane things as facts. namely, that many of these companies are themselves in the act of divesting. committee and coalition members seem willing to sacrifice the large income from the endowment, which goes to pay for our need-blind admissions policy, among other things." can you talk about the politics at the time on campus, the divestment movement so often credited by the democratic movement in south africa as helping to bring the apartheid movement down? the apartheid government down? is, thing divestment was a done deal on campus two years by the time he
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wrote that column. the university had already decided to divest in response to massive student protest, that really affected the national agenda. and here he is almost two years later, still attacking the idea of divestment step is group also brought in a speaker from a right wing think tank to denounce divestment as well. so this is someone who is really clinging to reactionary views and coming up with really divisive arguments, trying to turn students against the idea saying these activists are your enemies because they will figure your ability to be able to go to columbia college. so he is coming up with real divisive arguments as well. i think his positions are disturbing and insidious on many levels. on one hand, you don't want to hold against someone something they did in college, but again, i think this part of a consistent pattern here.
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he had really strong right-wing ties through his family connections coming into college. he got coors beer funding, which is a notoriously right-wing advocate. corporation that had notoriously right-wing positions. this is something that has continued with his connections throughout his career, working with billionaires, working -- being an active number of the federalist society, which is the main right-wing law organization that produces a lot of the judges on the federal bench. amy: i wanted to -- i want to wrap up with zephyr teachout in albany, new york, anfessor at fordham, about npr report that says a former law student of judge neil gorsuch alleges that in the course she took from gorsuch at the university of colorado law school last year, the judge told the class employers specifically
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law firms should ask women seeking jobs about their plans for having children and imply that women manipulate companies starting in the interview stage to extract maternity benefits. we're going from him in college to him this past year teaching at university of colorado. >> wow. i had not seen that report. it helps senators really push him on that -- i hope senators really push him on that. that is a reactionary, harmful approach. i think what you're hearing overall is this is a guy who cleans up nice, but deep down is deeply reactionary. to do again.ave i think all citizens should be paying close attention because this guy could be around for an extremely long time. if you think scalia did damage to our country, think about damage gorsuch could do. amy: we want to thank you all for being with us, zephyr teachout, constitutional and property law professor at fordham university. she has run for public office
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twice, first as a candidate for governor of new york and last year, for a seat in congress. her recent piece for the "washington post" is headlined "neil gorsuch sides with big , business, big donors and big bosses." we will link to it. ari berman, senior contributing writer for the nation, where he covers voting rights. we will link to your piece, "in e-mails, neil gorsuch praised a leading republican activist behind voter suppression efforts." ari berman is the author of "give us the ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in america." and thank you to jordan kushner civil rights and criminal , defense attorney in minneapolis. he attended undergraduate school at columbia university with neil gorsuch. this is democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to look at two recent harrowing attacks involving the united states and its allies. one in syria, the other off the coast of yemen. the first took place thursday when a u.s. reaper drone struck a gathering in the rebel-held village near aleppo. as many as 49 people died. according to the syrian observatory for human rights, most of the dead were civilians who had gathered at a mosque to pray. the pentagon acknowledged carrying out the strikes but denied hitting a mosque. pentagon officials said that the gathering was a meeting of al qaeda members. this is syrian indolence driver -- amy lentz driver. fromam an ambulance driver western province.
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we came here after we were called come after an airstrike targeted the mosque while worshipers were inside. there are more than 30 martyrs. and dozens of injured people were transported to the hospital. there are still many people missing. five or six missing people. the women of the martyrs was an elderly woman who lived close to the mosque. martyrs wase an elderly woman who lived close to the mosque. amy: somalia accused saudi arabia of carrying out the strike. eyewitness accounts suggest a u.s.-made apache helicopter was used to carry out the deadly strike. this comes as the journalistic project airwars is reporting the number of civilian casualties in u.s. air strikes has been escalated since donald trump took office two months ago today. we're joined by samuel oakford, investigative reporter for care wars. sam, you recently tracked the civilian casualties tied to coalition strikes in iraq and syria. can you talk about what we just learned about saudi arabia
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attacking the somali refugee, syria, iraq? what about these increasing numbers, casualties? >> there's a lot to an package. there's a unilateral campaign in syria, which the mosque strike was. also the anti-ice i'll coalition anti-isil strikes. there's also the war the u.s. is supporting in yemen. there are three separate things. the casualties we are seeing in greece are largely in syria and iraq in have to do with the isil galician campaign. in mosul, we have seen more than 300 civilian casualties in the last month alone. the fight against mosul is becoming horrible and much raqqa as well.n we're seen over 150 casualties at the beginning of the year. these numbers are increasing.
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they were increasing under the last months of the obama administration, but there are been signs they are increasing further currently. juan: there's a pretty huge discrepancy between the numbers you have been compiling and the and its allies. are acknowledging. could you talk about that? >> the coalition has admitted to 220 civilian casualties going back to 2014. our best estimates are that over 10 times as many civilians have died in that time, so around 2500 and it is increasing every day. the u.s. is the only coalition member to have admitted casualties. , they launched. a substantial number of strikes and have admitted to realty's of civilians -- casualties of civilians. our fear is that the sheer number of strikes means that any effort they made so far, they're
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going to fall behind. what we're seeing now is it could grow further. amy: where do you get these numbers? airwars? >> we have a team of researchers that focus on arabic language media, look at social media -- which is really important. a lot of the things you would never find out about. once you look at twitter and facebook and any number of social media outlets, you piece together kind of the consolation of evidence. if there are more than two credible sources and the coalition has reported strikes in the area, you can assess that as a fair strike. the total number of allegations thus far is higher. the 2500 deaths is from v theetted figure we look at. juan: i want to turn to something donald trump said in the summer 2015 regarding his plans for fighting isis. pres. trump: the other thing is with the terrorists, yet to take out their families. when you get these terrorist,
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yet to take out their families. they care about their lives, don't kid yourselves. you have to take out their families. juan: your response to that and also the news reports that have been surfacing that trump is paying far less attention to these actual strikes than president obama did, who had a much more hands-on approach to making sure he vetted every strike? >> that audio clip, i'm sure horrify's a lot of people. it violates international law if you're purposefully going after civilians. i'm sure it horrify's those in the u.s. military as well. fast forward to when trump is now president in late january, he issues this memorandum that to take on ices, promises throughout his campaign -- not clear exactly what that would entail. but in the request, he asks the military to consider drawing to the civilian
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casualty policy. in essence, if you're doing anything above the level of what international law asks, one or two, not do that, and that is an extremely worrying sign. if you put together the signs right now, the strike on a mosque or the u.s. said it did not knows a mosque, which is an troubling, you look at the increased civilian casualties and you look at even yemen where there is been a rash of strikes, that is a picture that is evil in. you can imagine that might have played a role, this request. amy: finally, the issue of the changing jurisdiction. who approves, signs off on kill lists, donald trump signaling, though this did not get a lot of attention, that the cia could do it on their own, that the pentagon he would not personally have to be on top of this? how does this affect the
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reporting you're doing? >> are reporting privately has to do with the coalition. there has been a cia strike recently that global number two for al qaeda was killed in syria. but the vast majority of these civilian casualties are coming from -- these military campaign in raqqa and mosul. and one of the ways this could manifest itself is the lower-level commanders could approve things, could be the gradient moves where they could approve operations where there might be more civilians. you can look at the targeted killings of things like that, but the real numbers right now are, and from airstrikes, artillery, things like that in those areas. amy: thank you for joining us, samuel oakford, in-house investigative reporter for arwars. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez.
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juan: on saturday, hundreds of people rallied in burlington, vermont, following the arrest of three immigrant rights activists in recent days. the first arrest occurred on wednesday when agents arrested 23-year-old cesar alex carrillo outside a courthouse where he was scheduled to appear for a hearing to dismiss charges from a 2016 dui arrest. carillo was a dairy worker who was married to a u.s. citizen. they had a four-year old girl. he is also a member of the group migrant justice. then on two leaders of migrant friday, justice were arrested and detained by undercover ice agents in burlington. enrique balcazar is a 24-year-old from mexico and zully palacios is a 23 year-old from peru. they were both prominent activist leaders. balcazar, who is known as kike, serves on vermont attorney general tj donovan's immigration task force which was created to , responded to the trump administration's immigration policies. speakers at saturday's rally included abel luna of migrant justice.
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>> we are here because yesterday, kike, we were at the office about 3:00 p.m. talking this moredo we make secure, educate our committees to not be afraid that even though times are changing and there's a changing government and things are making progress, we cannot stay back. we need to fight. we need to fight even harder. i get home, we get a phone call that he was being detained by ice. --e and his partners have ice -- are demanding we're demanding that kike and zu lly are freed.
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we go to burlington, vermont where we are joined by , will lambek, staff member with migrant justice. so three of your members, will, have been picked up by ice, arrested and detained, facing deportation. can you explain what is happening on whether the vermont government is involved with this? >> that's right, amy. we have a rogue ice in the state that is targeting community leaders, human rights defenders who are organizing for our rights and dignity in their community. we have no reasonably be state was involved in these three arrests. actually, enrique has helped to write the policy and for much doubt make sure law enforcement in this state are not a party to trump's policy of mass deportation. juan: i would to turn to victor diaz, a member of the farm workers coordinating council with migrant justice. victor had been detained by ice.
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>> when i was detained ,kike and zully stood up for me and immobilized the community to fight for my freedom. and i was freed. and so now i am here to fight for the freedom of kike, of alex so they can be back with their community, committed to the fight for dignity. juan: we also have a clip of another member of the migrant justice court in any committee who also spoke at saturday's rally in burlington. he spoke in support of zully and industry.iry got involved, she knew the risks she was taking on, but she did not let that stop her. she went ahead and fought for the rights of the more than 1500 immigrant farm workers that are living and working in this state. lly in our dairy
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industry, she said, we need to put a stop to this. i'm going to raise my voice because this cannot continue. juan: will, could you talk about campaign andce's how that can possibly be connected to all of these detentions or an arrest by ice? >> absolutely. migrant justice is organization founded and led by the more than 1500 workers in this state dairy industry. immigrant workers who sustain the industry and produced some of the world-famous products as ben & jerry's ice cream, cabot has helpedd eique craft and lead the milk with dignity campaign, calling on been in jerry's ice cream to sign a commitment to the immigrant farmworker community ensuring that their ice cream is made free of human rights violations.
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he'll lead a campaign that resulted in ben & jerry's signing that commitment in 2015 and is been negotiating with them ever since. the they have been dragging their feet. to this day, ben & jerry's has yet to implement that agreement in their supply chain. juan: wasn't there a threat previously to kike that he was next on the list of people to be picked up? >> indeed. when another migrant justice member was arrested last year, going tos kike he is be next. we know his house was being surveilled. he was arrested. he and zully were arrested together when they were leaving the migrant justice office. this is a clear case of political retaliation trying to break the spirit of organizing in this community. amy: describe how they are each taken. i mean, because the state government is not working with ice on this. they see their names if they're going to court or something and
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then they go there? alex's arrest on sunday when he was taken in front of his wife, ice may have gotten that information from the state court. we don't know. itthe case ofzully and kike, is clear they were surveilling our office. these are keita prominent human rights leaders organizing for rights and dignity in this country who were taken as they were heading home after leaving the migrant justice office. juan: what is their status now? >> they're both being detained. all three are being detained at a detention facility in new hampshire. and we are organizing to demand their immediate release. as your viewers saw, 500 people turned out on three hours notice to call for their release. we have rallies planned around the state this week. and when boston ice director open up his computer this morning, he saw more than 4000
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emails from supporters calling for the release of these detained human rights leaders. donovan's task force. can you tell us the status of the law passing through the vermont legislation, which states for my government will not work with ice on these detentions? >> that's right. there are a couple of hills in the vermont statehouse which would strengthen vermont's policies that are currently in place to limit for might law enforcement collaboration with immigration enforcement. one bill promoted by the governor would make sure the state does not sign on to the agreements that deputize local law enforcement to do ice's dirty work for them. another, house bill 492, the racial justice reform bill, we
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see as even more important. that would mandate full enforcement of the state's fair and impartial policing law, a law that kike helped to write. juan: have you been in touch with your senator bernie sanders about intervening in these cases? >> we have. both senators sanders and senator leahy had been made aware of the case, as well as many of vermont's political leaders. we fully expect they will speak out and take action against these her rend us targeted arrests of human rights leaders in their state. amy: will lambek, thank you for being with us, staff member with migrant justice. we will continue to follow these cases, three migrant leaders have been detained by ice and vermont. that does it for our broadcast. 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 democracy now!]
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