tv Democracy Now LINKTV February 17, 2020 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
02/17/20 02/17/20 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now!w! >> we will not create the energy and excitement we need toto deft donald trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for, and enacted racist policies like ststop and frisk. amy: with the nevada caucuses
less than a week away, many -- presidential candidate are accusing all you know michael bloomberg of buying his way into the election and spreading his wealth to keep critics silent. "the new york times" has some are calling bloomberg a wallett too big to happen. we will speak with a lawyer who would you work for the bloomberg bundy, said she was told remove or revise a chapter on anti-muslim bias and surveillance of muslim communities in new york that mentioned bloomberg by name a times. then to yemen, where 31 people were killed in u.s.-backed saudi airstrikes, including women and children. the united nations called the atta shockinin here.we are this is one of the cars that were targeted by the saudi americanan air force l last n nt and ththey also tarted vilges in residential areas, causing tens of thousands of martyrsnd
ininjuries. this is s a civilians cacar. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the number of coronavirus infections continues to mount, with 71,000 confirmed cases globally and nearly 1800 deaths -- a all but five ofof the deats were in maininland china.. however,r, chise offfficials sad at sundaday marked thehe third straraight day whehen there wasa drop in nenew cases. a a chinese man n who was visitg france has died from the disease, marking the first fatality in europe and outside of asia. over americans were repatriated 300 after being evacuated from the diamond princess cruise ship ththat has been dodocked at a pt in yokohama, japan, fofor two weeks. 14 of the passengers that are being sent to the united states are infected with coronavirus. the passengers, who have now
landed in texas and california, will be quarantined on bases in the united states for two weeks. over 450 passengers on the cruise ship contracted coronavirus. around 3600 people were quarantined on diamond princess. meananwhile, chihinese state mea leased a a speech h by president xi jinpiping indicating he was aware of the sereriousness of te outbreak weeks before alerting the chinese public. over 1100 former justice departmentnt officials are callg for attorney geneneral william barr to step down after he intervened to reduce the justice department's sentencing recommendation for president trump's longtime friend and former campaign adviser roger stone. in an open letter published sunday, the former officials write -- "governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics. they are autocracies." barr intervened in stone's case
after trump called his sentence of seven to nine years a "miscarriage of justice." four federal prosecutors withdrew from the case and one resigned from his job over barr's actions. on friday, trump claimed he has the power to intervene in criminal cases. in response to barr's statement last week that trump has never asked him to do anything in a criminal case, trump tweeted -- "this doesn't mean that i do not have, as president, the legal right to do so, i do, but i have so far chosen not to!" a group of nine democratic senators, including presidential candidates elizabeth warren and bernie sanders, also called for barr's resignation in an open letter friday. meanwhile, attorney general barr has reportedly assigned an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case against trump's former national security adviser michael flynn. flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to
lying to federal investigators about conversasations he had wih russia's ambassador to the u.s. in nevada, early voters have been lining up at polling stations ahead of next saturday's caucuses. the nevada democratic party reported some 18,000 people took part in early voting on saturday, the first of four days for early voting. some election volunteers have expressed concern that they have not received sufficient training or information about the google forms that will be used to report results of the caucuses. meanwhile, the iowa democratic party says it has started a partial canvas of iowa's caucus results that was requested by the sanders and buttigieg campaigns. candidates are campaigning in nevada and across states set to vote on super tuesday, march 3. on sunday, senator bernie sanders held a rally in denver, colorado, where he addressed an estimated 11,000 people.
a and we are going to end corrupt political system in which billionaires buy elections! democracy, to me, means one person, one vote. [cheers] not bloomberg or anybody else spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy an election. amy: coloradans will vote on super tuesday, as will residents of alabama, arkansas, california, maine, massachusetts, minnesota, north carolina, oklahoma, tennessee, texas, utah, vermont, and virginia. in more news about the democratic candidates, senator amy klobuchar has come under after she did not know the name of the president of mexico during an interview on telemundo and was unable to speak about any of his policies. the mexican president is andres manuel lopez obrador. billionaire tom steyer also
could not name him. in other news about the e 2020 elections, facebook has reversed does come under scrutiny for allowing certain kinds of political ads which allows billionaire and former new york city mayor mike bloomberg to post so-called branded content for his campaign via the social media accounts of popular influencers. bloomberg is paying to have the accounts post memes and videos of bloomberg to raise his profile among younger voters. meanwhile, mike bloomberg continues to come under renewed scrutiny as for his past comments and positions, including promoting stop and frisk and support for redlining. on saturday, "the washington post" reported multiple lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at bloomberg's company, including one case filed by a former employee who blamed bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation. bloomberg and his organizations have been n defendndants in almt 40 s sexual haharassment and discrimination lawsuits.
we will have more on this and the e candidacy of mike bloombeg after headlines. lgbtq activists of color disrupted a speech by pete buttigieg friday at san francisco's national lgbtq center for the arts. a buttigieg supporter responded by calling the protesters "homophobes," to which protesters responded, "we're all gagay!" the two protesters were taken out of the event after they were booed by attendees to the fundraiser. outside the fundraiser, activists from the group queers against pete and other groups gathered to call out buttigieg's ties to wall street anand his policies that they say do not reflect the progressive views of many queueer-identifyiying peope and people of color. these include his lack of support for medicare for all, free college, and his track record on race issues during his time as mayor of south bend, indiana. in yemen, 31 people were killed in u.s.-babacked saudi airstriks over the weekend, including women and children. the strikes in the northern al-jawf province came just hours after the houthis said they had
shot down a saudi fighter jet in the same area. on sunday, the united nations said the houthis and u.s.-backed saudi and uae coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the long-running war. more than 100,000 have died and far more have been displaced since the conflilict began in 2015. in syria, fighting is intensifying between government forces and opposition groups, displacing more civilians who have had to flee towards the northern border. this is a displaced civilian speakingng from a refugee cacam. >> we fled five days ago from the western province. we escaped airstrikes in the shelling. the journey was very difficult. it was cold. we could not find a car. we kept walking until we found a car to take us here. the past three days have been cold on the road and in the streets. amy: 800,000 people have been displaced since december and the
u.n. is warning of a humanitarian disaster. syrian government officials said they seized most of the rebel-held aleppo province sunday amid their ongoing offensive. turkish and russian officials are holding talks in moscow today. in afghahanistan, an airstrike killed at least eight civilians, including a child in the eastern province of nangarhar, according to local reports. the latest c civilian deataths e as the u.s. declared a seven-day partial truce with the taliban and president trump said there is a good chance of reaching an agreement with the taliban to reduce u.s. military presence in afghanistan. at the munich security conference this weekend, afghan president ashraf ghani said a peace deal could come wiwithin days.. in mexico city, valentine's day protests called out the mexican government and media for its inaction, and in some cases, its complicity in the high rates of femicide. the friday protests were sparked by the publication of graphic images of the murdered 25-year-old ingrid escamilla's
mutilated body in a tabloid, accompanied by the headline "it was cupid's fault." escamilla was murdered by her boyfriend. this is lilia florencio guerrero, whose daughter diana velasquez flororencio was raped and killed in 2017. s us with rage and anger how president obrador mixtape is about material things and how an airplane raffle is more important to him than the 10 women who a are murdered evey day in this country, so it fills us with rage and anger and that is why we are here because they are murdering us and this government and the last what are not interested in us. amy: the trump administration began deploying specially trained tactical c customs and border protection units over the weekend to sanctuary cities across the country in the latest attempt to crack down on cities that refuse to cooperate with the trump administration on immigration enforcement. the cbp swat teams will
reportedly help ice, that's immigration and customs enforcement, carrie out raids against suspected undocumented people. they are being relocated from the southern border to cities like new york, chicago, detroit, and new orleans in an ongoing deployment that will last through may. in more immigration news, a new report by "the washington post" says that confidential notes taken in mandatory therapy sessions for immigrant minors be sessions for immigrant minors be passed onto ice, which can then use those notes against the children and teens in court. a memo from the trump administration about the u.s. targeted assassination of iranian general qassem soleimani last month does not refer to an imminent threat, which was president trump justification for assassinating him. the memo was released the day after the senate voted to pass a
resolution limiting trump's authority to attack iran without congressional approval. in new york, attorney michael avenatti was found guilty friday of wire fraud and extorting nike for up to $25 million. prosecutors say avenatti threatened to reveal damaging information on improper payments made by nike to student athletes unless they either paid him off or retained his services. avenatti is best known as stormy daniels' former lawyer during her hush money case against president trump. avenatti faces a maximum prison sentence of 42 years and will be sentenced in june. he is also facing charges in los angeles of defrauding clients and a federal case in new york, in which he is accused of stealing money owed to stormy daniels from a book publisher. a federal appeals court struck down trump's attempt to impose medicaid work requirements friday, saying health secretary alex azar's approval of the program in arkansas was "arbitrary and capricious." the measure allowed arkansas to
demand medicaid recipients work in order to receive their health benefits. and the case against activists who were arrested last april while they were stagaging a weeks-long protest at the venezuelan embassy in washington, d.c., ended in a mistrial friday after a hung jury. the four activists were staying at the embassy at the behest of the venezuelan government toto prevent its tatakeover by u.s.-backed supporteters of opposition leader juan guauaido. this is margararet flowers, onof the embassy protectors after the mistrial was declared. this are very happy with verdict. we would have been happier with an acquittal, but for today, we remainin innocent as we are ande appreciate the tremendous amount of support that we have received from people here, coming to the trial, as well as people around the world sending us messages of solidarity. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
i'm amy goodman. with the nevada caucuses less than a week away, many democratic candidates are courting voters and increasingly targeting their attacks on billionaire michael bloomberg, who they are accusing of buying his way into the election. this is leading democratic presidential candidate senator bernie sanders speaking sunday at a rally in carson city, nevada. >> we will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat donald trump if that candidatete pursued, advocated for, and enacted racist policicies like stop and frisk. would cause communities of color in a city to live in fear. amy: in the lead-up to super tuesday on march 3 when voters in 14 states go to the polls, bloomberg has spent an unprecedented $417 million of
his own $60 billion fortune on advertising. he's also paid meme influencers to share sponsored content on instagram and hired thousands of on-the-ground political operatives to work in more than 125 offices around the country. meanwhile, "the washington post" reports multiple lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at bloomberg's business-information company, including one case filed by a former employee who blamed bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation. bloomberg and his organizations have been defendants in almost 40 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits. but a major investigation in sunday's "new york times" headlined "in bloomberg, liberals see a wallet too big to offend" lays out how bloomberg established a to silence potential critics during his presidential bid by making major donations to progressive causes
and advocacy groups around the country. "the times" estimates bloomberg has spent at least $10 billion on charitable pursuits related to his political ambitions. in 2019 alone, the year he declared his presidential candidacy, "the times" reports "bloomberg's charitable giving soared to $3.3 billion -- more than in the previous five years combined." well, for more, we're
joined in philadelphia by blake zeff, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has covered new york politics and michael bloomberg's three terms as mayor. welcome to democracy now! last week you had a fascinating kind of twitter thread about what bloomberg's strategy is. and it is not just the unprececedented massive amounttf money he is spending, but also how he spends that money. and this has been going on for
many years. can you layout bloomberg's strategy? >> absolutely. i think there is this idea that spending so much money on ads that that enables him to get his message out a little bit more than other candidates. and that is kind of where the baggage advantage lies -- biggest advantage lies. but there is more to it than that. you talked a little bit about how much he spent in recent years
supporting causes and leaders and things like that but let's talk about that a bit more. i think a lot of people might be surprised to see how many endorsements go bloomberg has been racking up in his presidential campaign is kind of a former local mayor. he is congressmembers out the country, mayors throughout the country. well, he spent about $110 million last year -- sorry, last cycle alone in 2018 supporting house candidates. 24 w hom won. some are getting to me and dollars. some are getting $4 million.
the new year later they say, boy, i would love it i if you could help me out. it i is hard for them to say no. then yeah mayors. you might be surprised how many mayors he is getting. he has a philanthropy that gives out money for urban programs. it puts you in a tough spot. then he has nonprofits and charities. inn bloomberg ran for mayor new york city, h he tried to get himself a third term, which was at that time not really allowed in new york because the voters had had a term limit referendum. bloomberg engineered a backroom deal and a lot of the nonprofits in the city supported him on that. why? we found out he had given them millions of dollars. that money goes to l lots of places beyond just merely tv commercials. amy: explained what you mean. for people outside of new york city, for people to understand, it was mayor mike bloomberg himself who also supported term limits.
was in what the policy the city and how he ended up flipping it and going for third term with these good government groups who were absolutely opposed to a third term. it is not that he thought he could get them to say, we support this, but his strategy of neutralizing crititics using money. >> right. on term limits in particular, this i is fascinating. the voters of new york had said we don't want more -- we don'tt want our mayors to have more than two terms. this was on the books. bloomberg decides toward the end of a second term that he would like to be mayor again. they come up with a rationale, which is the city has been recovering from hard times -- this is right around the time of the great recession, if you will, the housing crash in 2009. they come up with hisis rationae that we need his economic expertise so badly that he needs to run again.
later it is revealed by some of his allies years later that this was just an excuse to come up with ways for him to stay in office. it is not just that he gave money to groups to not make a big fuss -- although he did -- she was also able to use his status as a billionaire to go to the billionaire publishers of the big newspapers in new york city. he got "the daily news" and "deposed" and "the new york times" and they rarely agree on anything, these newspapers. but they all met with bloomberg and decided to sign on to this plan for him to go for third term and all put out editorials in unison lockstep things is a great idea for the city. that was a big part of that developing sort of laying the ground for support for bloomberg to do that. your other point about him getting typical critics or potential critics to be silent on stuff come he changes his republican voter registration to be an independent in the middle of his mayoralty.
they never attacked them. people were curious why. he gave aa record $1 million to the republican state senate fund to not say too much. the money works and all these different ways. amy: we're going to go to break and come back
to our conversation. we are talking to blake zeff, journalist and documentary filmmaker. covered new york politics and michael bloomberg's terms as mayor. his forthcoming film is "loan wowolves," investigatiting the origins and effects of the student debt crisis in america. we will be back with him in a moment. ♪ [music break]
there was a major front-page story in sunday's "new york "in bloomberg, liberals see a wallet too big to " lays out how bloomomberg established a foundation for potential critics to stay silent . group turned in a report on anti-muslim bias in the united states. their draft included a chapter of more than 4000 words about new york city police surveillance muslim communities. mr. bloomberg was mentioned by name eight times in the chapter, which was reviewed by "the times." when the report was published a few weeks later, the chapter was gone. so was any mention of mr. bloomberg's name. for more, we go to washington,
d.c., where we are joined by yasmine taeb, one of the authors of the report. she says they were told to make major changes to the chapter or remove it. other officials told "the new york times" to revise the report to make a focus on right-wing groups targeting muslims. when the report came out, bloomberg had already given the center for american progress three grants worth nearly $1.5 million gain contributed 400,000 more dollars in 2017. yasmine taeb no longer works at the center for american progress, but she is now a member of the democratic national committee. and still with us in philadelphia, journalist blake zeff, who covers new york politics in bloomberg's three terms. thank you both for joining us. yasmine taeb, tell us what took place when you work for the center for american progress. tell us about this report. know,as you likely
fearing 2.0, which was released today andve years ago i was on your show five y years ago talking about the findings, it was a follow-up to center for american progress' blockbuster first report, which was released in 2011. the report was a follow-up to discuss the tightly knit network activists,lim politicians, organizations, and feigningho are anti-muslim sentiment. the report additionally was to chronicle in detail anti-muslim policies that were being promoted and in particular, this is racial and religious profiling by law enforcement across the country. amy: so talk about your chapter on surveillance of the muslim community during the bloomberg
administration by the nypd police and bias against the muslim c community. what did you say and what happened to this chapter? why didn't we see it? >> so there was a very detailed chapter about the nypd'd's demographics unit. the demographics unit was established shortly after 9/11 and was operating for more than 10 years or so. the demographics and it was tasked with mapping the muslim community in new york city, and that was following, monitoring prayed,d,ere they shopped and ate. the program was later ruled unconstitutional. mayor bloomberg and his administration, throughout the entire period, defended this program. this program, as you likely know, resulted actually in zero
terror leads. this program was unconstitutional -- it had a chilling effect on the local muslim community there. my colleagues and i, the and i, we simply detailed exactly what happened. purpose and impact of this discriminatory program. while we were in the final stages of this report being released -- and this is literally within a week of the launchedof the project -- we had to get approval from senior officials of the center for american progress, and that is when the chapter was flagged by member of the executive committee who actually previously had worked for mayor bloomberg. and he said there would be a strong reaction by bloomberg world if this report was released as it was.
so we went back and forth multiple times with the executive committee defending the importance of the inclusion of this chapter and importuning the executive committee ultimately decided to remove it because, in my view and my colleagues views, because of how it was going to be perceived by mayor bloomberg. amy: so talk about the significance of this. and i want to bring blake zeff in here to talk about the pattern here that you see. that was a report by the center for american progress. we did not see that particular chapter in "the new york times." theyespondent say -- respond and say they had focused on that they disputed the account, arguing there had been some stains the reasons to revise or remove a section on
police surveillance. ,hy did you, yasmine taeb decide to remove it entirely rather than revise it? >> because it was so clear that any wanted us to produce inaccurate portrayal of the demographics unit egregious actions. we absolutely did not want to .hitewash what the nypd did agagain, this is a program that was later ruled unconstitutional. this is a program that infringed on the first amendment rights of muslims in the local community. this is a program that that was disbanded by mayor de blasio because it was a complete failure. not only was it unconstitutional and led to zero terrorist leads, for me, it was incredibly frustrating and disconcerting because of the amount of work that we had put in to this
report. this was an ongoing report that we had worked for more than a year. and within days of launching the senior, being told by officials, a portal at the center for american progress, to remove it. the issue offf, the pattern and practice here? "new yorksee that times" article that you're referring to, there is an interesting quote were former dnc chair terry mcauliffe who was really one of the most prodigious fundraisers of the democratic party over the last couple of decades, first for the clintons and then the democratic party and the later for his own races, he basically says that michael bloomberg was one of -- not the most important fundraisers for the democratic party during that time. as a result, he has been a prodigious towering figure in the democratic circles because
of the pocketbook in that he is been bankrolled going -- bankrolling these groups. that amounts to an wielding terminusus manna power. " want to go to the blockbuster "new york times" piece from the opening paragraphs. up and new york times writes -- "in the fall of 2018, emily's list had a dilemma. with congressional elections approaching and the supreme court confirmation battle over judge brett m. kavanaugh underway, the democratic women's group was hosting a major fund-raising luncheon in new york. among the scheduled headline speakers was michael r. bloomberg, the former mayor, who had donated nearly $6 million to emily's list over the years. days before the event, mr. bloomberg made blunt comments in an interview with 'the new york times,' expressing skepticism about the #metoo movement and questioning sexual misconduct allegations against charlie rose, the disgraced news anchor. senior emily's list officials seriously debated withdrawing mr. bloomberg's invitation, according to three people fafamiliar with the deliberatio,
who spoke e on the conditionon f anonymity." when he addressed the group to show solidarity with christine blasey ford, the woman who accuse judge kavanaugh sexual assault, mr. bloomberg demonstrated why stuff he said "i will be putting more money into supporting women candidates this cycle than any individual ever has before. it was not an idle pledge. he spent more than $100 million helping democrats take control of the house of representatives and the midterm elections. of the 21 newly elected lawmakers he supported with his super pac, all but six were women.n. blake zeff? ofthat is a perfect example this larger pattern of trend we have been talking about stop also to come back to this terry mcauliffe quote i just mentioned, what is interesting is when bloomberg first rain in
2001 and mcauliffe was the head of the dnc, railed against anyone who have been part of the democratic party but was helping bloomberg, whether that was consultant, endorsers, groups, and whatnot. it shows 20 years later, terry mcauliffe talking about most of it is sparkle come about what a great donor he is and how he helped fund some gun controlol work that he had done. this is something you see with emily's list. you see with all of these groups who bases big dilemmas, just like the mayors i was mentioning. just like the members of congress, the charities come the nonprofits -- all of these groups we have been talking about all face the same dilemma where they are either undederfunded or need money for good cause. bloomberg comes in and offers a but then as a result, they're putting this position where it is difficult to criticize him and in many cases they're being told they need to support him. franklya difficult and unprecedented situation in american democracy. amy: several prominent african-american lawmakers have endorsed bloomberg in recentnt weeks. this is gregory meeks on msnbc.
york.m from n new michael bloomomberg ran three times. i did not support him three times, primarily because of stop and frisk. it was a bad policy. the same time, i also understand michael bloomberg w wanted to gt guns out of the community so ininnocent people did d not get killed. afafrican-american voters are vy phisticateted. they vote their interests. they know their interests is making sure donald trump is defeated. that i is absolutely their interest. they're going to move in the direction they thinknk, who is e best person n to to be donald trump? who was also going to talk about their agenda? amy: mayor bloomberg has also formed mike for black america. meanwhile, your times columnist wrote a new opinion piece "let me plant the steak now. no black person or hispanic person or ally of people of color should ever consider
voting for michael bloombeberg d the primary. his expansion o of the notoriouy racist stop and frisk program in new york which swept up millions of innocent new yorkers, primarily young black and hispanic men, is a completely nonnegotiable deal killer." blake zeff, what has just happened in these last few weeks? >> there has been a rewriting of the stop and frisk legacy by bloomberg and his supporters. we have seen bloomberg say, look, i inherited this policy. i apologize for it, it's excesses, and reduced at 95%. let's go through each one of those claims one by one. yes, the policy didn't exist initially under republican mayor rudy giuliani -- we all know who that is. at a new mayor can decide whether they want to continue it or not. bloomberg not only continue did, but expanded it. when he first came in, the number of stops your was under 100,000. it then rose steadily under bloomberg until 2011 when it reached its apex, 700,000 stops
that year. it.s say he inherited he greatly expanded. in terms of reducing a 95%, he kept expanding until eventually and 2013 it does get rolled that considerably but that is the year a federal judge ruled the policy unconstitutional. bloomberg was the subject of a lawsuit, a class-action lawsuit. that clearly had something to do with that. in terms of the apology, this is agree just because there were so many groups up in arms about this policy for many years, bloomberg and his defenders remained defiant constantly saying we need this in order for crime to go down and sort of suggesting if you opposed it, were basically opening the doors to the battle days of terrible crime coming back. after the policy was really curtailed after bloomberg left, new york continue to see these reductions in crime and he was
really proven wrong on that stuff again, did not apologize. years go by. "the daily news" one of his big editorial supporters issued a big apology a couple of years after bloomberg left saying "we were wrong on stop and frisk." bloomberg did not do that. january 20 19, a big event for the u.s. naval academy and he continues to defend the policy. finally in november 2019, he talks to an audience in brooklyn is as, "i'm sorry. i was wrong about that." seven days laterer, he declares his candidacy for president. amy: he said the before if he did run for president on the democratic ticket, he would have to do a long apology tour. yasmine taeb, i i want to go bak to you. you're no longer with the center for american progress but you are on the democratic national committee. you recently received a phone call from mike bloomberg. can you tell us what that was about? >> sure. of decemberthe end
2019. i ththink it was shortly after e launched his presidential campaign. he said he was calling as a courtesy to sit down with me to introduce himself to tell me why he is running, why he is able to win, and what he has done for the democratic party. i did not call h him back. simply because i wanted to avoid an uncomfortable conversation where i assumed he wanted to ask me to support him. as you noted, i am an elected dnc member, which means during a brokered convention on a second ballot, i will have a v vote to decide our next nominee. i identify as a progressive activist. i hope whoever our nominee is is able to excite the grassroots
and increase voter turnout and fifight for progressive platfor. amy: so why wouldn't you want to talklk to michael bloomberg? i mean, if they reach out to me now, i am happy to offer him the courtesy and sit down with him. at that time, honestly, because of what happened, because of the policies he supported, because of the way he kind of entered the race and is now essentially bankrolling his campaign and buying an election, i felt very uncomfortable. is he or a memberr of his team reached out to me now, i am happy to offer them that courtesy and s sit down n with , but at the timime, i just did nt feel comfortable doing that. amy: let's talk about what could happen in the future. this whole idea of a brokered convention and then the role you
would play, yasmine taeb,, as a member of the dnc. explain what this would look like. >> sure. know, reforms in the dnc eliminated the vote of superdelegates on the first ballot. at the time when we passed these reforms and these were the most progressive reforms the dnc had passed, from my understanding, and the grassroots was incredibly excited, these are reforms that i advocated for and lobbied for all across the commonwealth of virginia talking to democrats and telliling them why these reforms are needed -- at the time, unfortunately, when they passed, we were incredibly static thinking that now -- ecstatic aching now that the process in 20 become more fair and impartial and the grassroots would be kind of excited about
this and less inclined to attack the dnc and leaders in the party. unfortunately, because of how i do believe this nomination fight is going to move forward, , i believe we are still going to have at least four to five candidates that are viable heading into the convention. i don't believe we will have a single candidate that is able to receive a majority of delegates. so in order to avoid heading into a second ballot, we need to have at least one candidate that has at least, i believe the numbmber is about 1990 delegate. honestly, i don't think that is going to happen. importantrticularly and why candidates like mayor bloomberg are doing their homework. i mean, the fact he reached out to me, this is the very initial part of the first couple of weeks that he entered the race,
shows that he knows it will likely be a brokered convention and he is probably than reaching to to dnc members trying ensure he has as many supporters on the dnc. amy: blake zeff, , this issueuef superdelegates weighing in on the second vote. what do you see here and the significance of this? >> sure -- telliling amy: let me put that question to blake. close i was going to say i think this speaks to another key point about bloomberg that is worth getting into because if it was just he had billions of dollars and a ton of money, you know, tom has a lot of money. that alone is not really the entire story here. for me it is the story about bloomberg and what makes the candidacy potentially very potent is that it is a combination of endless resources, but also extremely smart team that he has.
they're very clever and also what i would call the monkey billion approach to winning. the fact they calling out that these members see if they can get that support this early on really speaks to that. they're going to understand -- look, mike bloomberg made his fortune, did not inherit a fortune from an oil family. it was from data, analytics, communication, media. he understands these areas. they understand what they need to do and their starting that this far out. that doesn't surprise me. amy: very quickly, the role of president obama. he is in so many of these national ads that are blanketing the networks across the country for bloomberg, though he doesn't specifically endorse him. clearly, it seems like bloomberg must have said, can i use you talking about me and these ads? what do you think of obama's role? >> i'm not so sure they got permission. look, very quickly, the history
between bloomberg and obama is not that they are some great friends at all. as everyone knows, republican -- bloomberg was a republican for a long time and endorsed bush when obama was giving his classic speech for john kerry that your post up the thousand eight, he does not endorse obama. then in the very last second and when she criticizes obama as being divisive and partisan and overly populous. they worked together on some issues like on safety reform, the environment, things like that and i'm sure that obama, like others we have talked about, was appreciative of the fact michael bloomberg gave a lot of money for democraticc caususes, but they were not best buy to work together on a lot of things. work togetherho on a lot of things. i'm not sure obama is secretly behind the scenes pulling for bloomberg and gave him permission to do that. amy: i want to go to a clip of seeing michael bloomberg at the u.n. climate summit in madrid.
we caught up with him after -- we thought it was holding a news conference at the u.s. climate action center, which he finds where journalists would go to ask politicians questions. even shocked the people who roomd at this conference when he, after speaking, wrapping up his comments after he called all of the press -- and there are pictures of him standing at the u.n. climate summit signed -- she was surrounded by his officials and security and walked out. so i tried to follow him to get my question to him. we be taking questions from the press? we all packed in there to ask a question. the does you are billionaire running for president. you spent tens of millions more dollars than the other presidential candidates.
will dive your strategy to win the presidency? we're here to talk about climate. amy: that was his campaign manager saying we're only talking about climate. of course that night he had a long interview talking about the election. but calling a news conference and then walking up over the journalists got to ask a question but having that photo op of hundreds of journalists around him. blake zeff, your last 20 seconds? >> that is just another example of the strategy, which is to control every aspect of the campaign they can. that is what the commercials enable him. if you run so many commercials, you don't have to susubmit to inteterviews,, to scrutiny, bece you're getting all of the media coverage you want. the money enabled in a large part to do that. amy: blake zeff, thank you for being with us, journalist and like many fell maker. and yasmine taeb, a civil rights lawyer and an elected member of the democratic national
amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman. we go now to yemen, where 31 people were killed in u.s.-backed saudi airstrikes over the weekend, including women and d children. the strikes in the northern al-j-jawf province came e just s after the houthis said they had shot down a saudi fighter jet in the same area. the united nations called the drone strike shocking. this is an uninidentified yemeni man speaking to reporters after the striri. we are he. this is one of the cars that were targeted by the sau american air force last night.t. and they a also targeted villags and residential areas, causing tens of thousands of martyrs and injuries. in thihis is a civilians car. amy: the deadly strike follows a recent uptick in balance in northern yemen and comes as the war there hits a five-year mark. more than 100,000 have died and far more have been displaced since the conflict began in 2015. on sunday, the united nations said the houthis and u.s.-backed saudi and uae coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the
long-running war. for more, we go to lansing, michigan, where we're joined by shireen al-adeimi, yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at michigan state university. professor, welcome back to democracy now! exactly what happened this weekend? >> this weekend was one of another airstrike, and partially, targeting civilians in yemen. the happened right after houthis down a jet. there were reports that say there were some children gathered around the area, around the wreckage, and there was a strike that targeted those children and some neighboring houses. it is not ununusualor the saudi led coalition to strike civililians. we just have not heard about a massacre really ofof 31 indivials. in a while. although it is certainly has
been common over the last five years. amy: can you talk about the u.s. role in what is going on right now and how dire the situation -- i mean, i think the u.n. has called it the most dire situation in the world, the situation is now in yemen. >> there is no crisis on earth worse according to the u.n.. many people have already been facing famine and have died of starvation and diseases like cholera and dengue fever are rampant in yemen, not just becacause of the airstrikes that have disabled the yemeni health care system and other systems, but also the blockade the saudis in the uae is enforcing. the u.s. has been a partrtner to the saudis are since president obama's administstration. ththey have not relented. they have continue to support them through hundreds of billions of dollars in weapon sales, but also targeting
assistance. . up until novovember of 2018, t y were providing midair refuelings. they're still providing intelligence and updating vehicles and aircraft and training pilots. so the u.s.s. is involved every step of the way. we know this is ununconstitutiononal. congress has passed a resolution saying this is unconstitutional t president trump's administration continues to provide extensive support to the outis and iraqis with which -- without this they would not be able to provide to the same scope. amy: can you talk about the was congress, given the u.s. is supporting through weapons saudi, who the trump administration is very close alliance the saudi regime. can you talk about what is happening in congress, what has passed and what hasn't? >> it took a number of years to do this. there was a lot of resistance
before but under the leadership of senator sanders in the senate and ro khanna in the house, they pass the war powers which authorizes congress another president to go to war. they declare this is an unconstitutional war and violates our laws here. of course, causes massive casualties in yemen. the worst we have seen in recent history. but more importantly, according to congress, they have been trying to stop this through legislation. unfortunately, president trump has vetoed this till. -- this bill. most recently they tried to amend the national defense authorization act of 2022 include certain provisions that would prevent the u.s. from providing targeting assistance any kikind of -- allocating any inn of budget for the war
yemen and unfortunately, that was dropped at the last minute as well. there have been efforts, but it is been difficult to try to get attention -- to try to get sustained efforts in this regard. the reality is that every single day, yemenis are dying and they are dying in massive numbers. the numbers we know now are fine, but they don't even speak to the full extent -- are horrifying, but they don't even ask the to the full extent. amy: bernie sanders, along with utah's republican senator mike lee and democratic chris murphy of connecticut reintroduced a resolution to end u.s. military support for the saudi led attacks on yemen. this is sanders speaking at a news conference. >> according to the united nations, the war in yemen could famine the most severe and more than 1000 years with some 100 million people at risk of starvation and one of the
poorest countries on earth as a result of this war according to the aid organization save the children, some 85,000 children in yemen have already died of starvation. death ifons more facace this horrible war continues. amy: so what has come of this, shireen al-adeimi? >> there is been so much resistance. resistance. once trump vetoed the bill, we needed two thirds majority to overturn a veto, which we have not been able to achieve. there has been republican unanimousd a full democratic support now, but it is going to take a lot more. at this point, supporting candidates like bernie sanders who have been committed to ending this war is really important. millions and millions and
millions of yemeni lives are at stake. it is important to continue to come at this from various angles because the work can't stop because of the veto, but it is things very difficult. the war popowers act can be enacted. amy: the relationship between the trump family and mohammed bin salman, the leader of yemen, the leader of saudi arabia, is very well known at the heart of the u.s.-saudi relationship. can you talk about how that affects what the u.s. does? jared kushner with others andd wall street leaders read the so-called davos in the desert and saudi arabia my meeting w wh bin salman. this all came out after the dismemberment, the murder of "the washington post" columnist khashoggi.
"the guardian" wrote a piece saying that house democrats detailed how top trump administration, including michael flynn and jared kushner, pushed to provide the saudi government with technology to build nuclear power plants. back put saudi arabia on the path of developing their weapons and further destabilized the middle east will stop is this a concern of yours? >> absolutely. i think it should be concern for everyone. the saudi regime has shown to be .ompletely impulsive has driven an entire country to the brink of starvation. he is killing is starving yemenis. we continue to support him. he prosecutes and persecutes members of his own country who show any kind of dissidents to him and we continue to support him. i don't think this is a man who needs to be having access to
more technology that would cause .ven more death and destruction the trump administration has been very clear about why they support mohammed bin salman. a number of times, has had the saudis paying cash so we have elected a businessman to the white house and he is operating in a very businessman like strategy where he is mostly concerned about how much money this is going to make the united states at the expense of not only international law and morality and humanitarian considerations, but also our own legal code in our own constitutition so nothing will t in the way of making money through the saudis and bin salman has been a very happy participant with the trump administration in power. amy: shireen al-adeimi, thank you for being with us yemeni , scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at michigan state university. democracy now! is currently accepting applications for a development
hello. glad to have you witith us on n "newsline." it's 9:00 a.m. on tuesday in tokyo. we start in beijing where the new coronavirus outbreak is affecting the political schedule of china's leadership. observers say president xi jinping is likely to have already decided to postpone the national people's congress which was due to open march 5. the state run xujian agency says they will discuss postponing the congress on monday next week. the leadership would find it